Foodie

Final Summer Snack Attack

Well, it’s official. With Labor Day weekend on the horizon, our last days of sweet, sweet summer are numbered. I mean you might as well be spending your weekends digging out those moth-eaten sweaters because once August is over, you know its time to hunker down in your home and watch the days get shorter. Not depressed yet? You should be. All that is standing between you and a pair of long underwear is a mere 2-3 months. So this is a call to all you ‘could-be-more-tan’ people – get out there and soak up the final days of summer.

There’s a very real possibility this coming weekend could be my final trip to the beach for the season. In that spirit, I give you my summer beach snacks! Pick up a bag of ice, clean out that cooler, and load it up with some delicious, refreshing and nutritious snacks. You will be all set for hours of leisure time without ever feeling pangs of guilt or hunger. These nom noms are perfect for the beach, pool, lake, river, swamp or local watering hole.

THR’s Healthy Summer Snack Attack

  • Aged White Cheddar Pirates Booty
  • Hummus with Sea Salt Pita Chips, Carrot Sticks and Cucumber Slices
  • Watermelon Slices (leave the rind on for easier eating)
  • Pineapple (take some toothpicks for clean hands)
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels
  • Mini Babybel Cheese Wheels, Light or Original (wrapped in wax, safe unrefrigerated for 2-4 hours)
  • Raw, Unsalted Nuts
Image from google.com

Image from google.com

Eggplant Cannelloni

This one is an easy dinner that’s sure to impress should you choose to have (the dreaded) company over. It’s also a great summer meal for those hot nights when you don’t want to break your back in the kitchen. Sure, the oven may be required, but the run time is short! If you’re looking for a little more protein, feel free to throw some grilled chicken, seafood, pork or beef on the side. I prefer to serve these vegetarian eggplant cannelloni’s with a fresh, roasted vegetable. Pictured below with sautéed spinach and lentils.

 

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Eggplant Cannelloni

Serves: 4 main course

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jars (12 ounces each) roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
Cooking spray
4 ounces goat cheese
5 kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1 teaspoon drained capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté   shallots and garlic until soft for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat. Cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppers and juice; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cool. Place in a food processor and blend until pureed . Pour mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Meanwhile, coat eggplant slices with cooking spray and broil on a baking sheet until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 400°F. Combine goat cheese, olives, capers and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of filling at the end of each eggplant slice; roll up. Lay seam side down in dish. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Top with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Plate and enjoy!

The Nuttiness of Natural Peanut Butters: Fad or Fact?

Smuckers, Skippy and Jif – they all have ‘natural’ peanut butters, but are they really natural? What does one qualify ‘natural’ peanut butter as in the first place? Well I’m sure there is some FDA branch who has determined this definition, but I’ll tell you the simplest definition there is going. In my mind, the ingredients label should read ‘peanuts and salt’. That’s all folks.

While at a friend’s house for brunch last week, a jar of Skippy Natural Peanut Butter was placed on the dining table. Being the freak dietitian I am, I hustled on over and read the ingredients list. Look nothing gets this RD more excited than a bomb peanut butter just placed on a brunch spread, but the ingredients need to be right. I don’t care if it has less fat or more sodium or more freaking peanuts, the ingredients list is where it’s at people!

Now that you know, below is THR’s breakdown of ‘natural’ peanut butters hot on the market.

1. Skippy Natural Peanut Butter: FAIL

Image from Google

Image from Google

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt

The minute you see ‘oil’ in the ingredient list of any nut butter – go running. Nuts are naturally oily, that is why they are considered a fat. There is absolutely no need to add oil to an already oily product. I don’t care if that oil is ‘natural’.

2. Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter: WIN

Image from Google

Image from Google

Ingredients: Peanuts and salt

3. Jif Natural Peanut Butter: FAIL

Image from Google

Image from Google

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt, molasses
*See oil comment above.

There’s countless niche natural peanut butters out there. As a New Englander, I LOVE Teddies. Not living in my area? Hop on over to Walmart, Target or Amazon to purchase your first jar today! But seriously, feel free to experiment. Natural peanut/nut butters have come a long way in the last 5-10 years. They don’t always required heavy stirring and are far from their initial chalky prototypes. So get out there nut lovers and rediscover what it means to eat natural peanut butter!