Gluten-free No Sugar Sticky Date Cupcakes

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This sticky date cupcake is just perfect to satisfy a sweet tooth without actually having any process sugar. I used a little maple syrup to add to the dates natural sweetness. I preferred mixing this in the blender because it’s so quick and easy to pour.  It is also gluten-free!

 

1 1/4 cups water
1 cup dates, pitted
3 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
2/3 cups coconut or almond flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 270°F (185 C).
**Grease muffin tins and set aside.
Heat the dates and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the dates break down and thicken. Use a fork to mash them together and set aside.
Place the flour, egg, banana, vanilla extract and baking powder in a blender or food processor and mix well until well combined.
Add the dates to the banana mixture and combine. Evenly distribute into the ramekins or muffin tin. Cook in the oven for about 20-22 minutes.

** You can use paper cupcake cups but be aware due to the ‘stickiness’ part of this cake, the paper will stick to it.

Melon Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers

Melon Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers Recipe

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Ingredients

1 large ripe cantaloupe
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto de Parma
8 ounces cherry-size mozzarella cheese balls
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out small balls of melon flesh. Then cut each ball in half. Cut each mozzarella ball in half as well. Cut the prosciutto lengthwise into ½-inch strips.

To assemble, place one mozzarella half and one cantaloupe half together and wrap the prosciutto around them. Skewer with a toothpick.
To make the pesto, process the basil, olive oil and salt together until well blended.
Top each melon-mozzarella ball with a drizzle of pesto and serve.
Total time: 25 minutes  Yields 50

Nutrition (2 skewers per serving):

78 cal
7 g fat (2.4 g sat)
2 g carbs
120 mg sodium
0 g fiber
3 g protein

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Individual Phyllo Apple Cups

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Candy apples are a decadent fall treat, but they’re loaded with sugar and calories. These rehabbed apple cups taste just as indulgent with all the gooey, seasonal goodness of fall, but contain just 144 calories a serving — that’s half the calories of a candy apple. Plus, the perfectly portioned apple cups are not only easier on your waistline, but on your teeth as well!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Non-stick cooking spray
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
4 (9×16) sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, zest, agave, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices in the pot thicken and very little syrup remains, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and water. Unfold the phyllo, lay one sheet on a cutting board, and brush the dough with the melted-butter-water mixture — be sure to keep the pastry you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat three times, stacking the layers of dough on top of each other so that you have four layers.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets three times crosswise and then cut again lengthwise twice so you have 12 even squares. Lay the phyllo squares in the wells of the muffin pan and gently press them into the cups, letting the edges fold and overlap naturally.

Spoon ¼ cup of cooled apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the apple cups cool in the pan before trying to remove them. Serve warm with a small spoonful of frozen yogurt.

Nutrition info. (per serving): Calories: 144, Total fat: 4 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 74 mg, Protein: 2 g, Fiber: 4 g, Carbs: 27 g

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Spaghetti With Wilted Greens and Walnut-Parsley Pesto

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This meal makes for excellent post-workout fuel (a great mix of whole grains and protein).
• It helps keep you energized, since it provides one-third of your daily iron needs.
• You get antioxidants from the veggies, herbs, and walnuts

1 (1-pound) box whole-wheat spaghetti

1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

6 large eggs

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Add chard after 5 minutes of cooking and drain; return pasta and greens to pot.

2. While pasta is cooking, combine parsley, spinach, walnuts, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until chunky.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, crack eggs into skillet. Cook until the whites are completely firm but the yolks are still soft (about 2 minutes). Season eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

4. Toss reserved pasta mixture with pesto and enough reserved cooking water to make a thin sauce. Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls and top each with a fried egg.

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 439
Fat per serving: 14.8g
Saturated fat per serving: 2.9g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 6.8g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 4.1g
Protein per serving: 20g
Carbohydrates per serving: 62g
Fiber per serving: 11g
Cholesterol per serving: 186mg
Iron per serving: 6mg
Sodium per serving: 448mg
Calcium per serving: 128mg

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad With Seared Salmon

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Fatty acids from the walnuts and salmon, as well as monounsaturated fats from the avocado keep this dish heart-healthy.
• Grapefruit helps kick up fat-burning and stabilizes blood sugar.
• This salad nets you a good amount of the B vitamin niacin, which helps keep your skin, hair, and eyes healthy.

1 large grapefruit

2 large bunches arugula, stems removed (10 cups)

1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

Cooking spray

3 (5-ounce) wild salmon fillets (skin on)

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Peel and segment grapefruit with a sharp knife on a cutting board; reserve juice in a bowl. Toss grapefruit segments and juices with arugula and avocado; divide salad among 4 serving plates. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over both sides of salmon. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add fish (skin-side down) to skillet, and cook until skin is golden and fish releases easily from pan (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, gently flip fish and cook about 3 minutes more. Break each fillet into 4 pieces; top salads with 3 pieces fish. Drizzle salads with reserved dressing; sprinkle with walnuts.

Brown Rice Bowl With Turkey

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Very low in sugar—only 1 gram!
• This dish serves up about one-fourth your daily requirement of vitamin B6, which is crucial for a healthy immune system.
• It’s super lean, too, with just 1.2 grams of saturated fat.

1 1/3 cups dry short-grain brown rice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided

1 (2-pound) bone-in turkey breast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, divided

4 cups baby spinach

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until rice is tender (about 45 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil. Place turkey on sheet and coat with oil. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce. Roast, turning halfway through, until turkey is cooked and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 165° (50-55 minutes). Remove from oven and transfer turkey to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest (about 5 minutes).

4. Stir spinach, scallions, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce into rice with remaining 1 cup warmed broth. Thinly slice turkey. Divide rice and sliced turkey among 4 bowls; drizzle each with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

 

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 486
Fat per serving: 9g
Saturated fat per serving: 1.2g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 2g
Protein per serving: 42g
Carbohydrates per serving: 57g
Fiber per serving: 5g
Cholesterol per serving: 94mg
Iron per serving: 4mg
Sodium per serving: 528mg
Calcium per serving: 81mg

The ‘healthy’ snacks that are secretly making us fat and what to eat instead…

It’s common to reach out for a small to stave mid-morning hunger pangs but your snacking choices may be doing you more than good.

Items we consider healthy such as cereal bars, bran-flakes and low fat biscuits, are full of sugar which, while they may provide a temporary energy boost, will end up making you crash.

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods and avoid sipping on smoothies or fruit juices.

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods,  rather than items which are full of saturated fat and sugar  

When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods,  rather than items which are full of saturated fat and sugar.

It might be tricky to resist mince pies but hold off for the big day itselfA handful of dried fruit will hit the sweet spot while getting one of your five a day.

It might be tricky to resist mince pies (left) but hold off for the big day itself. Instead try a handful of dried fruit (left) to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.

Nutritionist Dr. Sarah Schenker told FEMAIL: ‘So many people are misled by snacks which we’re told are healthy, in reality, people need to be thinking about the nutritional content and how that can help you maintain your energy levels.

‘Snacking still has negative connotations that need to be overcome – which I fully support. Introducing convenient and nutritious foods can overcome the stigma of snacking and help us to become more active and healthier.’

Here she shares ten snacking swaps you can make to ensure you are consuming all the right foods.

SWAP: Low-fat biscuits

FOR: Oatcakes with hummus

Oatcakes have much lower sugar content than many low-fat biscuits on the market and are a great source of fibre. Top this with hummus for a fix of essential vitamins and minerals.

SWAP: Mince pies

FOR: Dried fruit

This time of year can be tricky to resist, however if you’re holding off for the big day itself, then try a handful of dried fruit to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.

SWAP: Cereal bars

FOR: Peanut butter on wholemeal toast

Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional value. Peanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels, perfect if you have a big day ahead.

Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional valuePeanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels

Cereal bars (left) are often packed with hidden sugars whilst peanut butter (right)  is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels

There is nothing wrong with snacking but make sure you choose foods which are light and healthy  

There is nothing wrong with snacking but make sure you choose foods which are light and healthy

SWAP: Lighter crisps

FOR: Vegetable sticks and avocado dip

Light crisps are often high in salt, as an alternative, swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip. Avocados are high in antioxidants and provide you with good, monounsaturated fats that can help keep hair and skin healthy.

SWAP: Processed fruit bars

FOR: Mixed raisins and nuts

Whole fruit has a much higher water content contributing to hydration, helping to prevent dehydration that can be a root cause of the afternoon slump.

SWAP: Smoothies

FOR: A glass of milk

A glass of milk provides essential calcium and minerals and is comparably much better for you than a smoothie, which contains large amounts of sugar.

Light crisps are often high in saltVegetable sticks and avocado dip

Light crisps (left) are often high in salt so swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip (right)

SWAP Fruit Juice

FOR Coconut water

There has been some debate as to whether fruit juice should continue to count towards your 5-a-day as the process of juicing releases the sugars, having similar impact to added sugars, particularly on teeth. Coconut water has less sugar than most fruit juices and could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. It also provides electrolytes that can help you rehydrate more effectively.

SWAP Strawberry ice cream

FOR Greek yoghurt with frozen berries

Strawberry ice cream is loaded with sugar and light on any actual fruit. You can get the same effect by swirling frozen berries through protein and calcium packed Greek yoghurt with a fraction of the sugar content.

SWAP Bacon on toast or a bacon butter

FOR Poached eggs on toast or a fried egg sandwich

Although both eggs and bacon provide protein, that’s where the nutritional similarities stop. Bacon is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health.

SWAP: Bran flakes

FOR: Porridge

Although they contain fiber, bran flakes are still relatively high in sugar, which means they have a higher GI, releasing their energy more quickly. Porridge will give you a slow release of energy to ensure you start your day right.

How to make the perfect fried egg to go with your sandwich

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Bacon is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gutEggs are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health

Bacon (left) is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs (right) on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health

The tips are part of Sun-Pat’s Spread the Energy study, which revealed that 24 per cent of teenagers felt they lack the energy needed to take part in after-school activities.

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7 Ways to Eat (& Drink!) Turmeric

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Do you have a jar of turmeric languishing in your spice cupboard? Or perhaps you’re looking for ways to add it to your diet in response to all the recent studies indicating its health-promoting and disease-preventing properties. Turmeric has long been a staple in Indian curries as well as in foods like mustard (it provides that golden yellow color!), but there are lots of other ways to eat and drink this spice. Here are seven easy ideas.

  • 1. Add it to scrambles and frittatas. Use a pinch of turmeric in scrambled eggs, a frittata, or tofu scramble. If you or your family are new to turmeric, this is a great place to start because the color is familiar and the flavor subtle.
  • 2. Toss it with roasted vegetables. Turmeric’s slightly warm and peppery flavor works especially well with cauliflower, potatoes, and root vegetables.
  • 3. Add it to rice. A dash of turmeric brings color and mild flavor to a pot of plain rice or a fancier pilaf.

→ Recipe: Fragrant Yellow Rice

  • 4. Try it with greens. Sprinkle turmeric into sautéed or braised greens like kale, collards, and cabbage.
  • 5. Use it in soups. A bowl of vegetable or chicken soup feels even more warming when it’s tinged with golden turmeric.
  • 6. Blend it into a smoothie. While fresh turmeric root is especially great in juices and smoothies, a pinch of ground spice is good, too. The slightly pungent flavor is usually well masked in smoothies.

→ Recipe: Superpower Morning Smoothie (the recipe doesn’t call for turmeric but you can definitely add it!)

  • 7. Make tea. Simmer turmeric with milk and honey to make an earthy and comforting beverage.

→ Recipe:Turmeric-Ginger Tea

 

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Stocking & Maintaining a Wholefood Kitchen Pantry

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The key to changing everything is simply awareness. If we don’t know that something exists, we will never know what we’re missing.  With the ever changing pace of our busy lives and our efforts to try and balance what is quick & easy with what is good for us, we can take a practical approach to our weight and health goals, by changing what we keep in the house, and therefore what we put in our bodies.

Keep your commitment to yourself by implementing what you learn in this article to slowly and steadily re-stock your kitchen with new, healthy items you may not have heard of before. By purchasing 3-5 new products each time you shop at a health food store, and making a commitment to experiment with them, you can have access to more vibrant health than you ever thought possible. Nothing in here involves a sacrifice, it’s simply either an upgrade to a product you might be using or an addition to your diet.

Tempeh, nuts, beans

PROTEIN

      • Aduzi Beans- buy them canned to start out. Eden Organic is a good brand. This bean strengthens the adrenal glands and supports kidney function
      • Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)- for those eating less meat this bean packs more iron than any other. Have it in hummus form to cut back on dairy or in salads to double as a complex carb and a protein.
      • Tempeh- a natural fermented soy that makes a great veggie burger patty. Full of protein, dietary fiber and b vitamins; a healthier choice than tofu and easy to cook.
      • Fresh Fish- Look for “wild caught” to protect yourself from heavy metals and to maintain the nutrient content. Fish is the fastest protein to cook so if you are intimidated by it, start out with the flaky white fish like red snapper and tilapia and look up some recipes to bake them. Then move on to salmon, tuna, and any others
      • Nuts and seeds- raw almonds and walnuts are a great daily source of protein and healthy fat; bound to sustain you for hours. Have a handful of these with an apple for a snack and enjoy the feelings of satiety.

produce

PRODUCE

      • Leeks, red radishes, daikon radishes, and green onions- great fat emulsifiers for those trying to detox, loose weight or lower their cholesterol. Daikon radishes mirror the shape of carrots but they are white and translucent. Grate them into a salad just like they do at Japanese restaurants.
      • Broccoli Sprouts- 10x more cancer-fighting ability than regular broccoli. Keep your fridge stocked with these to put in salads, wraps and sandwiches. Great detox and weight loss vegetable as well.
      • Sweet Vegetables- beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and yams are a great way to stave off sweet cravings during this time of year as well as to stay grounded. Cut up your favorites, coat them in olive oil and bake them for 45 minutes at 375. Good for breakfast, over a salad for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.
      • Boxed/bagged mixed field greens- easy, convenient way to eat your greens and to get more than one variety in your salads. Store with a paper towel to ward off excess moisture that wilts the greens.
      • Kale- most powerful source of well-absorbed calcium than any other food. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you incorporate this food in your diet on a daily basis. Use in sandwiches and wraps in place of lettuce, mix in with a salad or sauté it with garlic and olive oil (or coconut oil). Make sure to de-stem it.
      • Lemons- powerful cleanser. This fruit is highly alkaline and helps wash excess acids from the stomach into the intestines so our bodies can eliminate them. Try the juice of ½ a lemon in water first thing in the morning. This is a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.

grains

WHOLE GRAINS

      • Bread- try wheat alternatives like brown rice bread, ezekial sprouted grain, manna bread, or many others avoid allergies, mental fog and weight gain.
      • Pasta- pick up brown rice pasta for a low-glycemic choice. You will never taste the difference, but your body will process it much better.
      • Quinoa- a south American grain packing more protein than any other grain. Delicious, full of fiber and b vitamins and one of the least allergenic foods. Cooks in 20 minutes!
      • Millet- this light, fluffy grain is good to use as a breakfast porridge when mixed with almond milk, trail mix and a touch of agave and cinnamon. It is a complex carbohydrate easily processed by any body type.

ghee-coconut oil
FATS AND OILS

      • Flax Oil- great source of desperately needed Omega 3 fatty acids. Never heat it – best on steamed veggies and used in salad dressings or in smoothies. The good fats lower cholesterol, balance our moods, reduce inflammation and promote weight loss!
      • Coconut Oil- use to bake and stir-fry. Helpful with weight loss and stable under high heat.
      • Ghee- alternative to butter because it’s clarified which means the milk solids have been taken out.
      • Avocado- more vitamin E than any other food and provides monounsaturated fat 80% of which is digested immediately.

dairy alternatives

DAIRY AND ALTERNATIVES

      • Goat’s milk yogurt- considered dairy-free for those who cannot process lactose, casein or whey.
      • Feta Cheese/Goat cheese- dairy-free, low fat, and the healthiest cheese.
      • Almond Milk- nut milk found in a box in the cereal isle. Great source of magnesium and protein. Tastes good too!
      • Rice Milk- healthy alternative to milk and much easier to digest.

condiments
CONDIMENTS

      • Tamari- wheat-free soy sauce.
      • Apple cider vinegar- healthiest vinegar to alkalize the body. Can alleviate indigestion and acid reflux with regular use of 1T/day. Make it be your mainstay in the vinegar category.
      • Cayenne Pepper- boosts metabolism and warms us from the inside.
      • Herbs and Spices (a variety of fresh or dried)
      • Cinnamon- will balance your blood sugar for 24 and stave off sweet cravings
      • Coconut Milk- use for asian dishes and to replace milk and crème on deserts. Nice topper to your breakfast cereal.
      • Agave Nectar- honey-like natural sweetener that is completely safe for diabetics, low in calorie and 1/4x sweeter than sugar. My personal favorite!
      • Xylitol- This natural sweetener comes from plants and can be used cup for cup in place of sugar in any recipe for a healthy “sugar free” treat.
      • Celtic Sea salt- matches the exact mineral profile of our blood; supports healthy skin and digestion.
      • Raw Almond butter- healthier than peanut butter and more satisfying.

Now that your pantry is all stocked up here’s a few recipes for you to try:

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

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1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pear , peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove , halved
2 pounds portobello mushrooms , stemmed and gills scraped out
1 cup red or white quinoa
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach , chopped
4 green onions , thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds , toasted
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: , 280 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 43g carbohydrates, (7 g dietary fiber, .9g sugar), 12g protein.

Creamy Sesame Greens

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6 cups chopped kale, Swiss chard or collard greens , tough stems removed
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
1 clove garlic , finely chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, 2 additional tablespoons water and garlic. Add hot greens, toss to combine and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving: Serving size: , 200 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 95mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, (5 g dietary fiber, .0g sugar), 9g protein.