orange scented couscous with Golden California Raisins

Disclosure:  I was asked to participate in the California Raisins. Sweet. Naturally. campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network.  I received free samples of the California Raisins used in the post and I was compensated for my time.

Here is a healthy and delicious “quick meal” to have ready when hunger strikes!  Orange Scented Couscous with Golden California Raisins!  Bursting with flavor and a hint of sweetness from California Raisins!

Orange Scented Couscous with Golden Raisins ~ vegan~ A perfect "quick meal" for when hunger strikes!

California Raisins are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit you can feel good about sending with your kids as they head back to school, or as an after-school snack, or to beat that 3pm craving.  The ingredient list says it all:  Raisins

Whether you need a pick-me-up in the late afternoon or a quick grab-and-go meal for a lunch box or busy work day, here is your solution!  You all know how much I like “quick meals!”  When you keep your refrigerator stocked with healthy food, you will eat healthy meals!  The same theory goes for snacks, especially after school or after work snacks!  I know the feeling of coming home starving after a long day and grabbing the first thing I see!    This recipe is so simple to make and has loads of fiber from California Raisins, which will keep you full for longer!

In fact, research suggests that among children, eating raisins as an after-school snack may prevent excessive calorie intake and may increase satiety (or feeling full) when compared to other common snacks, including cookies and chips.  

(Source: Bellissimo, N., et. al., An After-School Snack Reduces Subjective Appetite and Energy Intake and Increase Satiety in Normal Weight Children.  Poster session presented at: Canadian Nutrition Society Annual Meeting; 2012 May 23-25; Vancouver, British Columbia.)

My favorite way to store snacks and on-the-go meals is in mini-mason or ball jars.  The perfect portion, packed and ready to go! 

For a gluten-free version, substitute the quinoa in place of the Israeli couscous!

Orange Scented Couscous with Golden Raisins ~ vegan~ A perfect "quick meal" for when hunger strikes!

orange scented couscous with Golden California Raisins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Israeli Couscous
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup Golden California Raisins
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice and water to a boil. Add couscous, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until water has evaporated and couscous is tender. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until fragrant, add cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute until shallot is golden. Pour on top of cooked couscous, stir until well combined. Let cool.
  3. Once couscous is cooled, add orange zest, scallions, California Raisins and almonds. Mix well, adjust salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Orange Scented Couscous with Golden Raisins ~ vegan~ A perfect "quick meal" for when hunger strikes!

Visit www.loveyourraisins.com for more information about California Raisins and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/californiaraisins where you can sign up to receive a California Raisins prize pack!  Limited supply; while quantities last!

chopped apple salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Chopped Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette, a knock off recipe from The Cheesecake Factory!

Chopped Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette ~gluten free~ A recreation of The Cheesecake Factory's signature salad!

It’s been years since I’ve had it, but I think I got pretty close to recreating The Cheesecake Factory’s signature salad!

Pomegranate juice is slowly boiled down to make a sweet molasses for the vinaigrette.  Chopped apples, crunchy red cabbage, fresh cucumbers, sweet beets, bite-sized green beans and crisp romaine make up salad along with some sharp white cheddar chunks and chilled edamame for protein…a perfectly balanced plate :)

Chopped Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette ~gluten free~ A recreation of The Cheesecake Factory's signature salad!

This festive fall salad is bursting with antioxidants, just check out all those deep purple and bright green colors!

Perfect as a healthy meal on it’s own or can be served along with your fall favorites!

chopped apple salad with pomegranate vinaigrette
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the Pomegranate Molasses:
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • For the Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Chopped Salad:
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces (quickly blanched and cooled)
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup cooked beets, chopped (roast on own or buy pre-cooked and refrigerated such as "Love Beets")
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • ¼ cup purple cabbage, finely chopped
  • ½ cup shelled edamame, steamed and cooled
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese, cubed
Instructions
  1. To make the Pomegranate Molasses:
  2. Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to a fourth, stirring occasionally. (~1/4 cup should be remaining)
  3. To make Vinaigrette:
  4. Combine pomegranate molasses, apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To make Salad:
  6. Add all ingredients into a large bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette and enjoy!

 Chopped Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette ~gluten free~ A recreation of The Cheesecake Factory's signature salad!

Happy First Friday of Fall :)

apple pie smoothie ~vegan, gluten free~

The Apple Pie Smoothie!  

Tastes just like apple pie a la mode, but much healthier for you!

IMG_3822

Last weekend we extended our Big E vacation to include apple picking (along with the rest of Massachusetts, the place was packed!)!  But not to worry, the trees were dripping with sweet, ripe fruit!  Varieties of apples I have never even heard of before!  One of our new favorites was called the “Liberty” apple, super crisp, slightly sweet and a little tangy!

Apple Pie Smoothie ~vegan, gluten free~ Tastes just like apple pie a la mode, but healthier for you!

After a day of walking through the orchards, visiting farm animals and going on hay rides we got back in our car with loads of apples!

Apple Pie Smoothie ~vegan, gluten free~ Tastes just like apple pie a la mode, but healthier for you!

So, guess what’s in store for you?  

Yup, you guessed it…apple recipes!!!

apple pie smoothie ~vegan, gluten free~
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons pecans or walnuts
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • additional add-ins: ground flax seeds or chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy!

Apple Pie Smoothie ~vegan, gluten free~ Tastes just like apple pie a la mode, but healthier for you!