Black Bean and Yogurt Ranch Pinwheels

Here is the first of three game-day appetizers I have for you this week that uses my Yogurt Ranch recipe. Click below to view the recipe. This one is one to do ahead of time since after you roll the pinwheels it needs to sit for a few hours at least before you cut them.

NOTE: Before we get into the recipe, and I’ll have this again in the instructions, if you are making these little guys and using the yogurt ranch recipe, omit the 1/3 cup milk of choice. You want it to be thick and then anything else remaining you can thin out later.

Oh! And this is also a great meal prep idea for easy cold lunch with no mess or have a few with some veggies as a prepped snack.

Okay! Onto the recipe!

Black Bean and Yogurt Ranch Pinwheels

  • Servings: Makes 16 pinwheels
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Ingredients

  • 2 large spinach wrap tortillas
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini, or you can substitute corn
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt Ranch – without adding the 1/3 cup almond milk. Keep it thick. Link to recipe is above
  • add salt if needed

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients from black beans to red onion in a medium size bowl. Add in 1/2 cup thick yogurt ranch.
  2. Taste and see if you think it needs salt. The yogurt ranch recipe already calls for salt so it might not be needed in the bean mixture.
  3. Take plastic saran wrap that is a little bigger than your tortilla, and lay it on the counter. Top with the spinach tortilla.
  4. Put 1/2 the mixture on the tortilla, spread it out evenly, leaving some room on the edges. Start rolling the tortilla. Some filling might fall out and that’s fine, add it back to the bowl.
  5. After it’s tightly rolled, wrap it up with the saran wrap and put in fridge.
  6. Do the same with the other tortilla. Any leftover filling, eat. : )
  7. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hour if not overnight before cutting. Cut the very ends off. Cut 1 inch pieces. Mine made about 8 pieces each.
  8. You can put on plate, cover and back in fridge until ready to eat.

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Green Chile Egg Muffins + Green Chile Garbanzo Flour Muffin Version (egg, soy, dairy, corn, gluten free)

An easy savory breakfast to prep is always something I love! And green chilies. Eggs have had some hype over the last few years and there is debate over whether they are something healthy to eat or not. Let me take a minute to talk about them and why you might not need to be so afraid to have them.

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Eggs have gotten a long and bad reputation for being bad for your cholesterol levels. True, eggs are high in cholesterol and there is no nutritional need to ingest cholesterol since our body, mainly the liver, makes it for us. However, eggs or other foods high in cholesterol are not necessarily the culprit when it comes to high cholesterol. Here is a peer reviewed study of egg consumption and the risk of increasing high cholesterol and stroke risk. They found there was no real evidence that eating high cholesterol foods, like eggs, resulted in high blood cholesterol or a greater stroke risk.

That being said, here are some tips on how to lower cholesterol which includes decreasing weight (even 5 lbs.), eating high fiber foods, and eating less saturated fats.

So now that we know eggs aren’t as bad as they might have seemed before, let’s look at the Green Chile Muffin recipe and nutrition!

Green Chile Egg Muffins

  • Servings: 6 Servings/Muffins
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Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 4oz can of chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup minced green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
  3. Put about 1 teaspoon of green chilies in the bottom of each of the 6 muffin molds, and about 1 tablespoon of the green chilies.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper until mixed together. Pour into the muffin molds until almost fill. Start with 3/4 of the way full and fill with what may be left.
  5. Cook for about 15 minutes. Top with cheese and cook for another 3-5 minutes
  6. Let rest for a few minutes before trying to move the egg muffins out of the tin.

To store, place in the fridge for about 3-4 days. For a more balanced breakfast, have 1-2 egg muffins with 1/2 cup of fruit.

Nutritional Information

1 Egg Muffin = 192 calories | 12.7 g total fat | 1.72 polyunsaturated fat | 5.37 monounsaturated fat | 3.89 saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 626 mg cholesterol | 8.27 g carbohydrates | 3.5 g fiber | 2.92 g sugar | 12.89 g protein

Now that we have the egg version, and after all this is Food Allergy Awareness Month/Week, here is an egg/soy/gluten/corn/dairy free version for a savory Green Chile Breakfast Muffin.

Tip: You might want to eat this with some green salsa since the garbanzo flour can make it dry.

Green Chile Garbanzo Flour Breakfast Muffins


Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened, plain plant based milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 4oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 c minced green onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 cup plant based cheddar shreds

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
  3. In a medium-large bowl whisk together all ingredients, except for the plant based cheddar shreds if you are using, until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into the muffin tin. It will not rise very much so fill them to the top.
  5. Cook for 18 minutes. Top with the plant based cheddar shreds if using, and cook for 5 more minutes. 23 minutes total.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before moving them from the muffin tin.


For a more balanced meal, have with a 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.
If the muffins seem a little too dry, have a small amount of salsa to eat with it.

Nutritional Information

1 Garbanzo Flour Muffin = 170 calories | 6.46 g total fat | 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.3 g monounsaturated fat | 0.9 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 21.5 g carbohydrates | 6.1 g fiber | 3 g sugar | 8.72 g protein

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

This is one of my favorite lunch recipes! It’s simple and easy to prep.  It’s packed with flavor and easily digestible energy sources to keep you going without the slump of the mid-afternoon. Plus every bite is a mouthful of nutrient dense, high fiber foods. Let’s look at a few nutritious components of this salad.

Quinoa

Per 1 Cup

  • 8 grams of Protein
  • 5 grams Fiber
  • 15% RDA of Iron
  • 13% RDA of Zinc
  • Contains a small amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Baby Kale

I enjoy baby kale since it’s easier to chew and can have a sweeter, milder taste than regular curly kale, but pretty much has the same nutritious benefits. So if you want raw kale in your salad, use baby kale next time to see how you like it.

Per 1 Cup

  • 3 grams of Protein
  • 2 grams of Fiber
  • 134% DV of Vitamin C
  • 206% DV of Vitamin K
  • Loaded with powerful Antioxidants

So dig in and enjoy!

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 15oz can (1 1/2 c) garbanzo beans
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 5 oz pkg of baby kale

Directions

  1. In a small pot, add quinoa and broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. Pour into medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cranberries, shallot, parsley, and garbanzo beans to the medium bowl and mix with the dressing.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add to the dressing mixture and combine together.
  5. To serve, take a handful of baby kale and top it with about 1 cup of the quinoa mixture and eat immediately!
  6. To store, keep the quinoa mixture separate from the baby kale until ready to eat.

Nutritional Information

449 Calories | 9.6 g Fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g Trans Fats | 0 mg Cholesterol | 315 mg Sodium | 72 g Carbohydrates | 13.6 g Fiber | 9.6 g Total Sugar | 18.2 g Protein

Macro Sources

65% Carbohydrates | 19% Fat | 16% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.4 Fruit
  • 2.1 Grain
  • 0.6 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables
Meal Prep

If you are wanting to have this salad for lunches throughout the week, here is how I pack mine. Keep the baby kale separate from the quinoa mixture since it will wilt the leaves, and store in the fridge! As you can see, I have sophisticated meal prep skills. : )

 

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

This is a great recipe to add to your meal prep for lunches. I always look for lunches that won’t “bring me down” come the mid-afternoon slump. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, but I do notice that whatever I eat for lunch can directly effect it. Easily digestible carbohydrates and raw food always keeps me running! Not all people are the same, but for me this recipe truly does the trick for busy days. Whether I have it as is, a bean salad, or I have it in a whole wheat pita – this is something I keep in mind for lunches.

Let’s talk a little about why this recipe is nutritious.

Chickpeas
  • High in Fiber – Good for Weight Management and Bowel Health
  • Can Help to Reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol
  • Omega-3 Fats – Reduce Inflammation
  • Good Source of Protein
  • Rich in Minerals for Bone Health
Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Good Bacteria for Gut Health & Immune Health
    • Relieves bloating and cramping
    • Combats bacteria in the stomach and intestines that can cause infection.
    • Helps prevent yeast infections by balancing pH levels
Cucumbers
  • Promotes Detoxification by Helping the Liver
  • Balances pH in Body
  • Balances Blood Sugar
    • A hormone in cucumbers helps the pancreas to utilize insulin
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals for Eye, Bone, Teeth, and Nail Health

Meal Prep Tip

If you are making this in advance, make sure to pat dry the chopped cucumber and tomatoes before adding them to the bowl. This will dry up excess water/juice so that the salad doesn’t become watered down the next day or two when you eat it.

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt
  • juice from 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • whole wheat pitas, if using

Directions

  1. Take the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes and stir together.
  2. In a small bowl make the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill, and garlic and combine.
  3. Add the yogurt sauce to the chickpea mixture and taste. If desired, add salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately as a bean salad, in pitas, or store for later.

Nutritional Information

349 calories | 5.5 g total fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 1.2 mg cholesterol | 484 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 15.5 g fiber | 11.2 g sugar | 19.1 g protein

Macros

64% Carbohydrates | 14% Fat | 22% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.3 Fruit
  • 1.2 Meat Alternative
  • 0.2 Milk Alternative
  • 2.8 Vegetables

White Bean, Garlic & Sage Dip

This is more of an Italian take on a bean dip, like hummus. It is great as a snack, or as a healthy spread to wraps or sandwiches. It’s also something healthy to take to your next party. Here are some nutrition facts of cannellini beans, or white kidney beans.

Cannellini Beans or White Kidney Beans

1 Cup Cooked Cannellini Beans

  • 255 Calories
  • 1.1 g Total Fat | Mainly Unsaturated Omega Fats
  • 47 g Carbohydrates
  • 19 g Fiber | Weight Managements
  • 0.7 g Sugar
  • 15 g Protein
  • 12% RDA for Calcium | For Healthy Bones
  • 23% RDA for Iron | For Healthy Blood
  • 24% RDA for Magnesium | For Healthy Nervous System & Bones

The Dip

White Bean, Garlic & Sage Dip

  • Servings: 2-3 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can white cannellini beans or white kidney beans OR 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1/4 cup low fat unsweetened yogurt, I use Kite Hill’s Plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Eat cold or warmed with pretzels, vegetables, multi-grain crackers, pita bread, etc. Or save as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.

Nutrition Information

216 calories | 1.1 g total fat | 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.2 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0-2 mg cholesterol | 30 mg sodium (unsalted) | 38 g carbohydrates | 8.8 g fiber | 3.4 g sugar | 14.9 g protein | 13% Vitamin C | 19% Vitamin K | 20% Calcium | 30% Magnesium | 29% Iron | 28% Zinc

Time Savers for a Healthy Lifestyle

Being mindful of nutritious meals, keeping a routine for exercise, and then also making sure you have time for relaxation can be stressful, which then becomes something unhealthy. I wanted to share with you a few things I do to keep on track so that my time is best spent in other ways and with my family.

1 | Meal Prep

I will be completely honest with you – I hated the idea of meal prep. The thought of having to plan more (even though I am a planner) and cook more (although I love cooking) was not appealling to me at all! My first “meal prep” experience with lunch was literally a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with carrot sticks and either apple slices or clementines. I usually just focus my meal prepping on lunch since our breakfasts are usually the same – yogurt, oatmeal, or a smoothie, and dinners I usually will be home to cook. But here are some things I’ve learned and why it truly is beneficial.

Photo by Nielsen Ramon on Unsplash

Don’t Have to Think About Lunch

After that first week, I realized throughout my busy week, I liked not having to think a wink about lunch. Where was I going to eat? What I was going to eat? Would it be nutritious or would I regret it? It was done and already decided and it wouldn’t be something I would regret.

Not As Tempted

I also realized that because I knew what I was going to be eating, I didn’t think about other foods whether nutritious or not, so I stayed on point with my goals. I set aside the time to prepare salads this week, so I’m having salad for lunch – or whatever it might be. No other internal conversations with myself, it’s already decided.

Keep it Simple

If you haven’t done it yet, try it out with an easy lunch like peanut butter sandwiches and fruits and veggies you just throw in a bag. And now they have those “snack packs” with chopped veggies and dip, or carrot sticks and almonds already prepared in the produce department to grab and throw in your lunch bag that it can be really simple.

Meal prep is suppose to be a time saver, so don’t get hung up on a complicated recipe.

Here is an easy hot lunch to get you started:

  • Frozen Turkey Meatballs
  • Brown Rice
  • Frozen Broccoli Florets
  • Jar of Marinara Sauce
  1. Make the rice. Add salt and pepper or other seasonings you might like.
  2. Add 1/2-1 cup of rice to your lunch container
  3. Add in 3-4 frozen meatballs
  4. Add 1/2-1 cup frozen broccoli
  5. Put Marinara in a small sauce container or sealed baggie if you want to keep it separate, otherwise drizzle on top.

When you are ready to heat up your lunch, the meatballs and frozen broccoli will cook and will have enough water to steam in the container. The only cook time is cooking the rice. The only clean up is the pot for the rice. DONE!

2 | Meal Plan

To go along with meal prepping, have a meal plan ready. I usually try to figure something out a month in advance. It will move and change throughout the month, but I try to be ahead of the game. The first month was hard so I just planned easy dinners and lunch preps to see how it went. Things like tomato soup and sandwiches, veggie burgers and salad, etc. Nothing too complicated. Here are some tips and benefits I’ve found.

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Save the Headache

Once you figure out what you are going to be making, and if you are like me, figure it out a month in advance, the headache of: What are we cooking? Do we have it? What are we ordering this week for groceries? It’s already taken care of. You do it once and month, and everything is already decided. Instead of thinking about it every night, you think about it maybe a few times a month.

Keep on Track

Meal plans help to keep you on track with healthy goals. For me, instead of thinking you’ll just pick something up for dinner, I already knew that morning what I was going to be cooking, I already have the ingredients, I just have to get home and make it. That way you can keep on board with whatever you might be watching and it won’t be as easy to get off track.

Grocery Shopping Becomes Easier

I used to go to the store every day or every other day. When I lived right down the street from my favorite grocery stores, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but now living and working about 20-30 minutes away is a big deal. So having my grocery list set for the week, although I might not be able to get everything that one time, has helped a lot. Knowing what I’ll be cooking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner makes creating my grocery list simple and quick.

Plus using a recipe database like Pepperplate makes it that much easier too. Getting all your recipes in one place, and then being able to click on it to add to your grocery list, it already populates the list. It also has a calendar you can create your meal plan on along with having a usable app on your phone. I’ve only ever used Pepperplate, but there are many others out there.

Soon I will be able to offer some meal plans for your family or help you individually with meal plans to meet your goals you might have, but until then!

3 | Order Your Groceries

I was hesitant too. I knew the grocery stores I liked getting my produce and that was the main thing I was concerned about. After the first time I drove up and picked up my groceries, I’ve never looked back. There is nothing like a crowded grocery store to stress me out and get me in a bad mood almost instantly. And that’s not even dealing with the parking lot getting in and out. I can not tell you how many times I came home after grocery shopping and was exhausted, fussy, and just didn’t want any interaction with my family for about 10 minutes after the groceries were put away. Serious. So this option has many upsides to it for me. But there are some things to know before you order it if you have not before.

Photo by leonie wise on Unsplash

Things You Need To Know
  • Different stores have their different ways of doing it
    • Some deliver, some you pick up at the store and call them that you have arrived. Some charge an extra fee, some do not. So figure out the logistics of your favorite store if they offer it
  • Most still honor online coupons so make sure to look to see what’s available to use
  • Most will substitute.
    • If there is an item you don’t want substituted, you can always let them know in your notes or comments when getting your order ready. Whenever there was a substitution to be made it was always equal or better to what I had selected and they honored the original price or it was lower.
    • Speaking of comments – if you want to make sure you have 4 tomatoes, and not just 1 lb. of tomatoes, you can also add those details in the comments when ordering usually.
  • Order ahead.
    • Some places can process the order within a hour or two. Some it takes longer.
    • For me – I make sure to do my order the night before I want to pick it up. That way the time slots to pick it up are at my disposal and I’ll know when will be the best time for me to pick it up.
Why I Love It
  • Produce has been consistently fresh.
    • I order from the grocery store I already knew had fresh produce and ordering it online was no different.
  • Never upset with any substitutions.
    • If there was something they did not have in stock, they substituted it with something comparable or equal to what I had ordered. For example: I needed dried thyme, they had an organic one on sale. They were sold out of it, so they made sure to replace it with another organic one – for the sale price of the other one that was out of stock. Something you would not get going to the store yourself.
  • Frozen products are always still frozen when they deliver.
  • Never overspend on what I need for the month.
  • I don’t get distracted by other things in the store
    • Like chips or that chocolate bar that stares at you while you’re waiting in line – you know what I’m talking about!
  • Saves time.
  • Save money.
    • Because of not getting more than what I need for the week, and them honoring things that are on sale, I always spend less when picking up my groceries (even with the small service fee) than if I were to go to the store myself.
  • Saves my mental and emotional well-being.
    • I’m serious. Life is already stressful. If there is any way to lessen stress and lessen time spent doing things that you could be relaxing and spending time with family – why not?

I truly haven’t had a bad experience and have yet to see a down-side to this. It’s been awesome. There are still things I need to run into a store for here and there, and somethings that are only at one store that I still need to go and get, so I do still actually grocery shop. And the days I have time to walk around to see what’s new, I enjoy. But for the bulk of my shopping that can take an hour or more in a crowded store while I’m trying not to get run over by a cart in the store or a car outside the store (for real), I now order and pick up. I feel fancy, and too be honest feels too good to be true.

Test it out! It saves me at least 2-3 hours of my weekend, which as you know, goes by way too fast.

Bottom Line

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

Being healthy is a mixture of things – your eating habits, time to exercise, and time spent relaxing and being with the people you love. All of those things take time, effort, and some preparation. Keeping my meals planned and organized has really helped to eliminate wasted time and stress. And then ordering groceries online, I cannot tell you how much that relieves me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Whatever it is that might stress you out or sucks the time out of your day that could be better spent, see how you can adjust it. The more you make an adjustment the more it becomes permanent and the easier it gets. Time is precious, make what you are doing count.