Tuesday, April 22, 2008

High Protein White Bean Feta Dip with Notes of Tarragon and Lemon

4 oz reduced-fat feta cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, strained
1 14 oz can white beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp sesame seeds toasted**
1 large sweet onion, roasted with salt and pepper, until well-browned and mostly dry

4 large garlic cloves, roasted
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tarragon springs, leaves only, cut into small pieces

1. To roast the onion, slice the onion thinly and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top as desired and place in the oven. Roast at 350F until dark golden brown, fairly dry, and slightly crispy on the outside—this will take 25-30 minutes! It is worth the wait!*

2. Chop off the nubby end of the garlic cloves and place on the cookie sheet with the onions. Leave the skins on.

3. To strain cottage cheese, place over cheese cloth in a strainer in the sink and allow the liquid to drip out as you are preparing other ingredients.

4. Rinse a can of white beans. If your stomach is sensitive to beans, you may want to boil them for 5 minutes or so; drain completely.

5. Toast sesame seeds on the stove top or in the oven on 350F until light golden brown. Babysit the seeds—they will burn!

6. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the cottage cheese. This does not have to be an extreme effort; it just shouldn’t be drippy

7. Combine the feta, cottage cheese, white beans, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor on high until mostly smooth.

8. Transfer the mixture to a container and cut just the leaves from the tarragon springs over the dip (please don’t cut the leaves individually—grab a whole bunch of the leaves and cut finely).

9. Stir the tarragon in and allow the mixture to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

10. Don’t want cracker calories? Me neither! Serve this tasty little number with sliced cucumbers, raw zucchini, or jicama.

If this recipe sounds like entirely too much work, you can: 1) Replace the onions with ¼ cup dried onion bits; 2) Replace roasted garlic with 1 tsp of jarred, chopped garlic 3) Replace the sesame seeds with 1 tsp dark sesame oil; 4) not drain the cottage cheese and add 1 Tbsp corn starch to the mixture. Please do not use bottled lemon juice. It’s just a bad scene. The modified version will not be as knock your socks off awesome, but it still going to be good!

Serves 8; serving is ½ cup or 1/8 of contents. So be sure, transfer the mixture some the food processor directly into a large measuring cup.

Nutritional Bits: 118 calories, 8.3g pro, 11.25g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 3.9g fat, 2g sat fat,

* If the onions are not sufficiently dry, you will end up with a soupy product. If your dip is soup add 1 Tbsp of corn starch, 2 Tbsp of flour, or 2 Tbsp oats

** To cut the fat in half and save 20 calories, omit the sesame seeds from the recipe

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All-Natural High Protein Chocolate Cream Pie Filling

Artificial sweeteners are a sources of controversy, since they are lab-created compounds with only a hundred years (saccharin) or a decade worth of history (like sucralose/splenda). Since I have an immense sweet tooth, and specific dietary specifications, I decided to write a few recipes that highlight "all natural" products.

What does natural mean?

Essentially, natural products are not made in a lab. For example, vanillin, the chemical that makes vanilla taste distinctive, can be extracted from a vanilla bean with a solvent (like alcohol). On the other hand, the vanillin compound itself can be created in a lab and dissolved in alcohol. They are both tasty products that add flavor to food, but the bean extract is a "natural" product and the lab-created version is "artificial."

Directly from the FDA:

Foods are natural "if they contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients, and if they are minimally processed"

By this definition, every artificial sweetener is a synthetic and unnatural product. Furthermore, a sugar source like honey is more natural than a sugar source like white granulated sugar because it is less processed.

Below is a recipe for high-protein chocolate cream pie filling (pudding filling); the recipe contians the natural non-nutritive sweetener Stevia to boost the sweetness of the finished product. Be sure that you use pure Stevia powder (link for illustration only; any brand of pure stevia will do); avoid the product with extra starch filler.


Combine in a food processor:

1 8 oz package fat-free cream cheese
1 12 oz container low-fat ricotta
½ cup no sugar added soy milk

4 scoops Elemental NutritionNatural Chocolate Whey Protein
1 Tbsp natural chocolate extract
2 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
1 tsp pure stevia powder (or artificial sweetener, if you prefer)


1/5 recipe: 230 Calories; 5g fat; 3g sat fat; 14 g carbs; 1 g fiber; 29g pro

Serving Suggestions

1). Use as a healthy, high-protein alternative to pudding to pudding in Graham cracker chocolate pie

2). Allow to set as a pudding in a bowl

3). Freeze and enjoy 3-4 hours later as a high-protein frozen snack

4). Use as a layer to bolster health of birthday cake

5). Combine one serving with a banana and ice for a testy low-fat post-workout smoothie

6) Serve with a cup of strawberries, raspberries, or a sliced banana

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tropical Fruit Experience: An Exotic and Refreshing Fruit Salad

Helping athletes meet their workout needs is one of my favorite things to do. I used this recipe recently for a hands-on cooking class with Division I athletes.

Players who do hours of explosive activity need a good amount of carbs, preferably through natural sources. This fruit salad always gets rave reviews at potlicks, but the athletes, as well as coach's kids, love it too!

1 large papaya, diced
3 medium mangos, largely chopped
2 large bananas, sliced
½ cup large, flaked coconut
¼ cup of honey or 5-6 packets of artificial sweetener
½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1 tsp real vanilla extract

1.) Combine all ingredients in a medium-large bowl
2.) Stir until mixed

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe): 150 Calories, 35 g carbohydrates, 1.25 g protein, 2.25 g fat

Jean offers nutrition coaching for weight loss, muscle gain, or any of your personal goals at her office in the Alico building in downtown Waco, TX right in the heart of central Texas. She also offers personal training services at Ironhorse gym on the corner of Franklin and 17th, which is also very convenient to downtown Waco. Contact information can be found on her personal website.