Date Pecan Bites with Peanut Butter

Pop up recipe! So I’ve decided that simple recipes that I throw together for no reason and end up being good, I’ll be posting here as an extra recipe to my usual blog post schedule and naming them “pop up recipes”. I did this last year in the summer when I kept making my own popsicles. Now that I’m doing it again, I thought I’d give these type of posts a name.

Here is another one for you for those who want a whole food sweet treat! Sorry for those with a nut allergy.

Date Pecan Bites with Peanut Butter

Ingredients

  • 12 whole pitted dates
  • 12 pecan halves
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • Agave/Honey/Maple Syrup

Directions

  1. Open the dates but cutting one side.
  2. Put a pecan half in each of the opened dates.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  4. Drizzle peanut butter over top the date bites and drizzle agave/honey/maple syrup.
  5. Enjoy!

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Chickpea Sonoma Salad

Most of you might know by now I’m allergic to soy. I love it, but I have to pick and choose when I have it, otherwise I’m itching, I get congested, and my ears start itching and it can contribute to an ear infection later down the line.

So! Since 2020 got me off the rails of my allergy diet and more processed, 2021 I want to get back to the diet that makes me feel the best – which means little to no soy or dairy in my diet and as minimally as processed on a decent regular basis.

Whole Foods has a delicious processed soy-based “Chicken” Sonoma Salad and it’s usually grab and go. It’s so good! So a little while ago I had gotten a small container of it and was going to split it up and have it with other things so it wouldn’t get to me too bad. And then I realized, why not make my own “Amanda-Friendly” version with chickpeas?

So here we are! Chickpea Sonoma Salad with Pecans. You can leave the pecans out if you are allergic to nuts, but it just goes with it. And knowing how grapes and pecans are readily available in the winter, it’s a good seasonal recipe as well!

Enjoy with crackers, as a sandwich, or wrap. I personally like it as a veggie wrap since the creamy dressing can be heavy somedays. Or if I do make a sandwich I put a good layer of fresh baby spinach.

Chickpea Sonoma Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

    DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise *See Note
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey or agave
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • SALAD
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, or about 3 1/2 cups cooked
  • 3/4 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
  • 1-2 small stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

NOTE
If you are plant based and want an unprocessed plant based version of mayonnaise, one of my favorite ways to substitute, is by using a soaked cashew recipe like this simple one from Nutriciously: https://nutriciously.com/cashew-mayo/

Directions

  1. Make the dressing. Add mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey or agave, and poppy seeds to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Add chickpeas, pecans, grapes, and celery to a large bowl and pour the dressing on top. You can start with 1/2 and mix together and add more if needed.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Eat with crackers, or as a wrap or sandwich. If you are planning on eating it as a sandwich, before mixing the chickpeas with the other ingredients, take a potato masher and mash the chickpeas slightly so they will be less likely to roll out of the sandwich.

Summer Peach & Roasted Chickpea Salad

For some reason I have been craving peaches. Don’t get me wrong – peaches are delicious and it’s their season to shine, but I don’t usually crave them. Or when I think about what I wanted to put in a smoothie, or thinking of what I want for lunch, peaches don’t usually come to mind.

Well that’s changed! For a week every time I thought about what I was hungry for, peaches came to mind. I was truly craving them! I know when I keep thinking of a food throughout the day or think about it over days, it’s gonna have to happen.

I thought I’d share one of the meals I made with them that turned out so good! Here is another non-scheduled, just so happened I made it, and it was delicious so I thought I’d share – recipe. Enjoy!

Summer Peach & Roasted Chickpea Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed OR about 2 cups cooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • 2 large peaches, or 4 small (I used 4 small yellow peaches)
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Baby Spinach

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put chickpeas in sandwich ziplock bag. Add spices, 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper if desired. Toss until coated.
  3. Add chickpeas to a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. If slivered almonds are not already toasted, add the almonds to a dry skillet and toast on medium heat. Continually toss to make sure they do not burn. Take off heat when they are browned (about 5 minutes).
  5. Make the dressing. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic clove, and dijon mustard.
  6. Once chickpeas are cooled you can start to assemble your salad.
  7. Since this makes 4 servings, it would be 1/4 of the chickpeas, 1/4 cup toasted almonds, 1/2 peach or 1 small peach sliced, 1 slice of red onion, 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles on top of a bed of spinach. Drizzle with the dressing.

The New “Beet”

To All My Followers on A Different Beet,

I never wanted to be absent from the blog or from you, but it ended up happening. I realized that what the website was turning into was not what I intended it to be. I want it to be more than just a blog. Ironically, I was still finding my own “beet” for the website and my content.

I have been reorganizing the website, adifferentbeet.com, to be more than a blog. Nutrition articles, wellness articles, and recipes will still be posted. However my focus is to be here for you. I’m here to be your support, accountability, and guide to help you to find your own personal healthy, or your own “Different Beet”, when it comes to your relationship with food. Right now, you can check out the new website and find a free guide on the homepage to help you begin finding your own personal healthy.

Next Few Months

I will be posting on the blog to breathe some life into it again, and will be posting more regularly on my Instagram, @differentbeetnutrition, to engage with you on a more consistent basis.

I will also be posting some blog posts that I’ve had in draft mode that I wanted to post previously. You will be seeing those in your inbox twice a month, throughout the next few months.

2021

I am working to get a YouTube channel ready to start posting videos! There will be recipe and nutrition related videos that will coincide with the blog posts that I have published or will be publishing in 2021. Because of this the blog posts might be less than usual, but you will be able to find more content with the videos. The actual date for the YouTube channel is still to be determined.

If there is content that you’d like to see, email me at amandaarroyonutrition@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from all of you!

I am looking forward to consistently engaging with you. I want to make sure that the content is something of quality and that I’m posting any content that you would find interesting to the best of my ability.

Thank you for continuing to follow A Different Beet and I hope the “new beet” of this website will be what you need.

Amanda Arroyo

How To Cook with Less Oil

One of the more common questions I get is how to cook with less oil or fat when trying to watch calories or when people are watching their cholesterol levels. Let’s first talk about the purpose of cooking with oil, the purpose fats have in nutrition, and then how to cook with less.

Purpose of Oil in Cooking

Stove Top: One of the main reasons to have oil in a recipe when cooking on a stove top or in a skillet is to help the ingredients either not stick to the pan or for the ingredients not to burn. Since oil has a high heat tolerance it helps when vegetables or other ingredients are coated to let them cook through without burning.

Baking: In baking, oil is used to help with keeping the dish from not drying out, so it’s there for moisture.

And let’s face it, things just taste better when there’s a little fat mixed in. That’s the essence of comfort foods. There are some recipes I don’t skip on the oil/fat. For instance, if I’m actually going to indulge and make cookies, or make homemade mac and cheese, or have been craving really fattening mashed potatoes, I don’t skip on the butter. Choose your battles. Because of lessening my oil and fat intake throughout most days, the days I do make something fattening, there is no bad feelings. Now I’m hungry for oatmeal cookies… Let’s talk about fats in nutrition and why it’s needed!

Photo by jonathan ocampo on Unsplash

Purpose of Fats/Oils in Nutrition

There are healthy and non-healthy fats. The easiest way to tell the difference is whether or not they are liquid at room temperature. If they are liquid (olive oil) it is most likely a healthy unsaturated fat. If it is solid at room temperature (shortening or butter) it’s most likely unhealthy saturated fat.

Fats are important in nutrition and to always have in your diet. They help protect the nervous system, is needed for heart health, brain function, digestion, and cell reproduction. All very important reasons to take in fat.

Why Choose a Low Fat Diet?

Fats are are needed in the diet and are needed to be eaten each day, but there is a balance.

Fats are twice as many calories and although we do need them in our diet, it doesn’t take much. Especially now that fats are more abundant and part of most processed foods, in dishes when we eat out, and the fact that things with fat in them taste so much better so we usually will choose the higher fat option.

High fat diets have been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. All things that can be controlled or lessened by diet.

Still keeping fats in the diet, we want to make sure we are not having excess fat or oil if we can control it. When we do our cooking, there are plenty of ways to cook with less fat and make sure the fats we are eating are more of the healthy unsaturated fats than the saturated fats.

There are some healthy high-fat diets out there. But you need to do your research and make sure you are doing it the healthy way if you choose to go a high-fat diet route. But for this post, we are talking about lessening the fat/oil in our diets.

Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash

Cooking with Less Oil

Stove Top Cooking

  • First off, if you have a non-toxic non-stick skillet, use it. You don’t have to use as much oil to help with food sticking, if at all.
  • Start with 1/2 the oil the recipe is saying to use at first. You can always add more later.
  • Cook with lower heat. It might take a little longer but your food won’t burn as quickly.
  • If you can not turn the heat down, starting your dish with chopped onion, celery, mushrooms, etc. on a low heat, will coat the pan in it’s own juices and will help to use less oil. You will most likely have to use some.
  • The other thing, if you are making a sauce or if there will be liquid in the bottom of the skillet and it still calls for oil, try to cook it without it.

For Example: If you are making chili or spaghetti sauce, start on low heat and add any vegetables it calls for like onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc. They shouldn’t need any oil to cook. If it starts to dry out you can always add a small amount of water or broth. Then you can start adding any sauce, beans, tomatoes, etc.

Baking

  • When baking a cake, muffins, bread, etc. always start with 1/2 oil and then substitute the rest with applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, etc. Whatever flavor will go with whatever you are cooking. It will keep the mixture moist throughout cooking.
  • You can also use those substitutes for the whole recipe if you’d like, but to start off try doing it 50/50.

Pasta

  • Sometimes when I cook pasta I keep the pasta separate from the sauce. Once it’s done cooking you CAN add oil to help it not stick, but after draining the pasta, rinse it with cold water. This will help it not stick and you don’t need any oil. The noodles will be cooler, but the sauce you are using should be hot if you are making a hot pasta dish.

Salad Dressing

  • If you make your own salad dressing, start with 1/2 or even 1/4 of what is called for. I can not tell you how much oil I realized I was using when I started to do this. The other seasonings and any acid like vinegar or citrus juice is what adds the flavor. The oil helps to spread it around and sometimes is needed, but it doesn’t have to be much.

Roasting Vegetables

  • This is a big one for me. Start by using a small amount of oil to make sure the oil is coating the vegetables.
  • Use the shake and bake method. Take whatever vegetables you are using and put them in a large ziplock bag or a glass bowl with a cover. Use only about 1 tbsp or less oil and toss it around to coat. You can always add more if it’s still dry. The oil will go a lot farther this way.
Bottom Line

We can get our healthy fats in a number of ways throughout the day: nuts, seeds, nut/seed spreads, butter, avocado, olives, meat if it’s not super lean, crackers, breads, hummus, guacamole, other spreads and dips, dairy, etc. Cooking with oil adds to your total fat intake throughout the day that might not be needed nutritionally. Oil/Fat is needed in our diet for good nutrition. There are many reasons to balance your diet and a lot of people are seeing the need to keep their fat intake in check for multiple reasons. Cooking with less oil, whether in baking or on the stove is possible with little to no changes in the recipe or flavor and little to no extra effort on your part.