Stephanie Brookshier, RD

Health is having the energy to exercise and play with your kids, the mental clarity to excel at your job, and the focus to get what you want out of life. Most people don't know what it's like to truly feel well.  It's more than just the absence of disease.  Good nutrition and physical activity are the core to truly feeling well. Whether you're helping employees reach their goals or setting your own, Stephanie can help you find better nutrition as the first step towards a better life.

Famous Pistachio Pesto

pistachio pesto

This recipe has brought me to HOF status at many parties and barbeques.  It's thicker and less oily than other pestos I've tried, so it's perfect as a dip, sandwich spread, over pasta or with veggies.  I can get my boyfriend to eat almost anything if it's covered in this stuff.  He's even happy to wash the food processor afterwards since it's so tasty. :)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dry roasted pistachios, shelled

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 lime, juiced plus zest

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup spinach

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add olive oil or lime juice until you reach desired consistency.

Grilled Salad

Over the past few weeks I've found a new favorite food to order when we eat out... grilled Caesar salad!  The grilled lettuce adds a different twist to this staple meal by bringing out new flavors that compliment the dressing.  So good and definitely worth the extra 5 minutes on the grill!

grilled salad

Ingredients:

2 heads romaine lettuce

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon mustard

salt and pepper

4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan 

Directions:

Cut lettuce heads in half lengthwise and drizzle with olive oil.  Place on medium heat on the grill for about 5 minutes, or until lightly brown.

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to make dressing.  Top warm lettuce with dressing and Parmesan.

Cashew Spread

Cashew Cheese Spread

I love nuts! But munching on those suckers alone can get boring.  Blending them with a few other healthy ingredients make for a spread so packed with antioxidants that it's hard to name them all.  But here are a few highlights... 

Cashews are loaded with antioxidants zinc and copper, along with healthy fats and protein.  The juice of a lemon has 1/2 of your vitamin C (antioxidant!) needs for the day.  Crushing or chopping garlic releases alliinase, which helps the formation of allicin, another powerful antioxidant.

So ditch those toxins and try this cashew spread on your next sandwich or with your favorite raw veggies. It's creamy texture and cheesy flavor make it the perfect healthier substitute for mayo or ranch.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews

1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2-1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Directions:

Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water.  

Soak in the refrigerator overnight.

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Non-Fried Rice

This simple and non greasy version of fried rice is perfect for leftover brown or wild rice.  We make it with the go-to garlic, peas and carrots, but any of your favorite veggies would work!  Same thing with the meat, anything (that's a lean cut) goes.  We went with a lean cut of pork since it's comparable to chicken.

healthy fried rice

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

8 oz lean pork, cubed

1/2 cup carrots, cut into small chunks

1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 1/2 cups brown or wild rice, cooked

1 egg

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Green onion for garnish 

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop or use a garlic press to mince garlic.  Let set 5 minutes before heating. Add oil, garlic and pork to a large saute pan over medium-high heat until pork and garlic are browned.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add carrots and peas and cook until pork is done and carrots are cooked.   Add pre-cooked rice.  Make a space in the center of the pan and drop the raw egg into the center.  Stir the egg to scramble it and mix into the rice.   Add soy sauce, teriyaki, and Worcestershire sauce.  Plate and garnish with green onions, salt and pepper.



Protein Packed Cookie Dough Bites

protein packed cookie dough bites

We were craving something sweet last night and the boyfriend was considering an ice cream run. So I whipped these up instead. When refrigerated, they seriously have the texture and taste of raw cookie dough, but are packed with protein. And did I mention that they only take 5 minutes?

Ingredients:

1/2 cup nut butter

2/3 cup vanilla protein powder

2 1/2Tablespoons honey

Toppings:

Dark chocolate chips

Chia seeds

Unsweetened coconut

Instructions:

Mix nut butter, protein powder, and honey until combined into a paste. Roll into 12 evenly shaped balls, and then in the topping of choice to cover.  Refrigerate about 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Camilla V Saulsbury

Thai Peanut Tofu

That wobbly, beige, block of coagulated soy known as tofu may not seem too appealing if you didn't grow up eating it. If you don't make it right it just tastes bland and mushy. But if you know how to use it, this versatile and inexpensive source of protein and calcium can be used for everything- smoothies, sauces, creamy dressings, and in place of meat when you're feeling like something lighter. 

This is the bf's bowl, and he loves peanuts so he gets more than the recipe calls for. :)

This is the bf's bowl, and he loves peanuts so he gets more than the recipe calls for. :)

But my favorite tofu recipe is probably the siracha honey baked tofu and mushrooms used in the Miso Soup recipe posted last month. It's so tasty and easy. Make a big batch and make Thai Peanut Tofu one night, and the Miso Soup recipe the next. You can't beat those two for one meals!

The bf loves Thai peanut sauce, but it's a pain in the butt to make so in the past I've used the bottled version... until I found this 6 ingredient simple recipe on RasaMalaysia's recipe blog. Last time we made this I switched it out for the bottled stuff and he didn't know the difference.  Success!


Ingredients (makes 4 large bowls):

1 package rice noodles, cooked according to package directions*

1 package extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed

1 8-oz package mushrooms, sliced

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

Siracha to taste

Sauce ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

salt to taste

Garnish:

4 Tablespoons peanuts

4 lime wedges

Directions:

Coat tofu and mushrooms with oil, soy sauce, honey vinegar, and siracha. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Flip tofu and mushrooms and bake another 10 minutes or until browned.

Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Whisk all the ingredients together before transferring to a stove top on low heat. Continue to whisk the peanut sauce until all ingredients are well-combined and the mixture starts to simmer.  Remove from heat.**

Add noodles, tofu and mushrooms to the bowl. Top with sauce, lime wedge and peanuts.

*You really should follow those crazy directions on the rice noodles.  For the longest time I couldn't figure out why my rice noodles were so sticky.  I read the directions and realized I should be soaking the noodles before cooking. Duh!  It's worth the extra few minutes of soaking. :)

**This makes a thicker sauce than shown in the picture, I thinned mine out a bit

Ways to simplify this recipe:

Make a big batch of tofu and mushrooms ahead of time and use leftovers

There's always the bottled sauce (but this one is really quick and easy!)

Simple Arugula Salad

arugula salad

Salads are a staple at our house.  But not those boring salads with iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes smothered in ranch. We only go for the best- a salad that's creamy and crunchy, sweet and salty, and fatty and acidic.  Inspired by my favorite Italian restaurant, this salad hits all of those marks while providing lots of fiber, healthy fats, lycopene, and vitamin C.  And it's so simple!

Salad ingredients: Arugula, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, fresh ground s and p.

Dressing ingredients: 4 parts olive oil, 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 part honey, salt and pepper

Pistachio Goji Berry Bites

A perfect snack contains a whole grain, protein, and healthy fat.  It has just the right amount of sweet and salty, and a mixture of textures- soft, chewy, crunchy.  This is the perfect snack!

These energy balls take about 10 minutes to make and are great to keep in the fridge for a quick bite or post-workout snack. 

Ingredients:

1 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup honey

1 Tb chia seeds

1 Tb flax seeds

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup dried goji berries

Directions:

Pulse dates, honey, chia seeds and flax seeds in a food processor until they form a paste.  Mix with oats, nuts, cranberries, and goji berries until well combined.

Roll into balls and refrigerate about 15 minutes until firm.

Pork in a Pot

Step one: season and cook the pork

Step one: season and cook the pork

I'm not sure why pork has such a bad rap.  Unfortunately I'm not recommending a daily dose of bacon... unless you'd like an extra chin or to increase your chances of going donk down early.  But if you choose the right cut (like pork tenderloin) it can be a healthy option and similar to a chicken breast in calories and fat.

Try pork enchiladas- light on the cheese and add some veggies

Try pork enchiladas- light on the cheese and add some veggies

We're big pork lovers in this house.  I'm not talking about those overcooked pork chops you had as a kid. I'm talking about moist, falls apart, shred with a fork pork. If you're into that, and into simple and delicious dinners, you'll be into this recipe.

 

Or add avocado, tomatoes, and arugula in your tacos. Top with plain, fat-free yogurt for some bonus probiotics

Or add avocado, tomatoes, and arugula in your tacos. Top with plain, fat-free yogurt for some bonus probiotics

Since I cook for two, it's a go-to meal that can be turned in to lunch the next day, or re-purposed into two or three different dinners.  Try the leftovers in tacos, sandwiches, salads, enchiladas, and wraps.

Ingredients:

1 Pork tenderloin

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 Tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add pork, water, and seasonings to crockpot.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, until fork tender.

No Wrapper Eggroll in a Bowl

This recipe has the flavors of an eggroll without the unhealthy fried wrapper. Who knew that the eggroll flavors were so easy to replicate?

To preserve the cancer fighting glucosinolates in cabbage, don't overcook or microwave it.  This damages myrosinase enzymes which help transform the glucosinolates into cancer-protective compounds.

The recipe is so tasty and simple to make that It has become a staple at our house.  If you're really craving the crunch of the fried wonton wrappers, try baking them in strips and sprinkling them over the top.

*Recipe adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom

Forgot the lean sausage? No problem! Leftover chicken, pork, or beef also work well.  Other tasty substitutions include cilantro for green onions or frozen peas and carrots for the plain peas.  Miso paste adds a nice flavor and some gut healthy probiotics. Lastly, try some avocado on top for more soluble fiber and healthy fats. 

Ingredients:

1 lb lean chicken sausage

1 bag shredded cabbage and carrots

1/2 cup frozen peas

4 cloves garlic, minced 

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1/2 Tb white miso paste

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

2 Tb water

1 green onion, sliced

Directions: 

Cook sausage over medium heat in a large pan until done and drain any leftover grease.  Add peas, garlic, and ginger.  Mix miso, soy sauce, and water.  Add soy sauce mixture to pan and cook until thoroughly combined.

Plate and add green onions for garnish.

 

 

Roasted Tomato Salsa

This salsa goes both ways- raw or roasted. I like the roasted version because it makes the lycopene in the tomatoes more bioavailable.  Lycopene gives tomatoes their deep red color, and is a powerful antioxidant.  So eat up!

Blend all ingredients together raw or roast to bring out the flavors.

Blend all ingredients together raw or roast to bring out the flavors.

Ingredients:

4 dark red tomatoes, halved

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno 

1/2 bunch cilantro

Salt

Directions:

Roast all ingredients except for the cilantro in the oven at 375 until the onion is translucent and all ingredients are browned. Allow to cool and pulse in food processor with cilantro. Add salt to taste.

Honey Siracha Stir Fry

This sweet and spicy dish is great if you're craving yourself some takeout.  When I made it tonight the response I got was, "I like this even better than the Pad Thai takeout we get!"  And that's saying something, because there's a Pad Thai request practically weekly in this house.

The recipe only took about 15 minutes since I cooked the chicken in the crock pot earlier in the day- totally recommend this cooking method for most meat dishes!  Even very low fat cuts always turn out so tender you can shred them with a fork.

Ingredients:

8 oz chicken breast

2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp grated ginger root

Sauce ingredients:

2 Tablespoons cup honey

1 Tablespoon water

1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon siracha

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Toppings:

2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley

2 tablespoons cashews

 

*Recipe adapted from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Oh yes, I added the extra siracha.  The honey mellowed the spice more than I thought it would.

Oh yes, I added the extra siracha.  The honey mellowed the spice more than I thought it would.

Directions:

Place chicken in a crock pot with salt and pepper. Add water until it reaches the top of the chicken.  Slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

When the chicken is fully cooked remove it from the pot and shred it using two forks. Create the sauce by mixing honey, water, vinegar, siracha, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Shred Brussels sprouts and carrot in a food processor.

Mince garlic and let sit 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and canola oil to a medium sized pan and cook over medium heat until aromatic, 2-3 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of the sauce mixture. Cook until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add cornstarch to sauce mixture. Remove Brussels sprouts from the heat and plate. Add sauce and chicken to the pan on medium heat and stir 1-2 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Top Brussels sprouts with chicken, cashews, and cilantro.

3 Ingredient Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

This dessert is a cross between cookie dough and a peanut butter cup, but way healthier. No joke, this recipe nails it. The texture is perfect and it's just sweet enough if you're craving dessert. 

I know the raisin thing sounds weird, but you wouldn't know they were in there unless someone told you. Try them for your family or at your next party. I'd be shocked if anyone knew they were eating a healthier recipe!

The delicious taste makes up for my poor chocolate dipping skills, haha

The delicious taste makes up for my poor chocolate dipping skills, haha

Ingredients: (makes 18 balls)

1 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

Pulse the peanut butter and raisins in a food processor and mix until the raisins are completely blended and it forms a paste.

Roll into balls and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.  Dip in melted dark chocolate and refrigerate or freeze until chocolate hardens. 


Just Right Lentil Soup

For some reason it took me forever to master a lentil soup recipe that I loved.  I'm not sure if my spices were off or if I just had a secret aversion to lentils. I tried 3 or 4 recipes and couldn't find a really tasty one... until now.

This has just the right level of spice with a touch of sweet. Make a big batch and freeze it for those chilly nights when you need a "fast food" option.

garlicpress.jpg

Ingredients (makes 2 hearty servings)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

1 apple, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced with garlic press

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric 

salt and red chili flakes to taste

3/4 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

2 Tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt

Directions: 

Press the garlic and let sit. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook onion and carrot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add apple, ginger, cumin, turmeric, lentils, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir occasionally. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. 

Serve and top with Greek yogurt.

 

Why use a garlic press?

You'll never peel garlic again! Just shove the whole thing, peel and all in the press and remove the peel after you mince the garlic.

 

Why let the garlic sit before adding it to the pot?

Once garlic is chopped or chrushed, the alliinase enzymes need time to react before they're introduced to heat or pH changes. Heating garlic immediately after chopping it halts this process and decreases it's health benefits.

 

Best Brussels Sprouts

For years as an adult I thought that I hated Brussels sprouts.  And I'm not alone.    

Any time I teach a cooking class that features the vitamin C packed greens there are at least a few groans or vocal complaints.  You can't blame people for despising overcooked limp cabbage balls that make the house smell like sulfur farts.

But if you treat them right, you can turn Brussels sprout haters into true believers with this simple recipe.  Shredding the sprouts make them practically unrecognizable, and sauteing them with onions and garlic give them a slightly sweet nutty flavor.  This recipe isn't just a hit at my cooking classes, it's also approved by my self proclaimed Brussels sprout hating boyfriend.  He now happily eats Brussels sprouts, as long as they taste like these.

Squeeze some extra lemon on top right before serving for an extra burst of flavor and vitamin C.

Squeeze some extra lemon on top right before serving for an extra burst of flavor and vitamin C.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded

4 Tablespoons pepitas or sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

Saute garlic and onions until translucent

Add Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper and cook until they they turn tender and have a nutty aroma, 5-10 minutes

Transfer to plates and top with lemon, Parmesan, and seeds.

Brussels sprouts have one of the highest glucosinolate concentrations of all of the cruciferous vegetables.  Glucosinolates are phytonutrients that are starting points for many cancer-fighting substances.  So eat up!

This recipe is also rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps your body make collagen, heal wounds, and fight aging free radicals. A 1/2 cup serving provides 85% of your daily needs.

Antioxidant Power Smoothie

Dirt isn't my favorite flavor, so I don't typically eat beets. But for some reason this smoothie hits the spot if I'm craving something sweet.  This smoothie is already packed with antioxidants, but if you want even more vitamins A and C, add the beet greens to the mix.

And yes, I do realize that this is a smoothie recipe and it is December, but it's been warm in San Diego.  It was 86 degrees on Thanksgiving!

Bring your toothbrush if you're going to drink this in public because the bright purple can be hard to get out of your teeth!

Bring your toothbrush if you're going to drink this in public because the bright purple can be hard to get out of your teeth!

Ingredients:

1 beet, cut into quarters

1/2 cup blueberries

6-8 ounces 100% coconut water with pulp

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together.  Add coconut water until desired consistency is reached.

Bonuses:

For 120 calories, you get 8 grams of fiber, 22% of your vitamin C, 26% of your folate, and 30% of your daily potassium needs.

Beets are high in betalins which have been shown to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support.  Red betalin pigments in beets are very susceptible to heat so using raw beets in this recipe helps you to reap all of their benefits!

Flourless Banana Muffins

I'm not much of a breakfast person, but I feel so much more energized and focused when I eat before my coffee or tea. This recipe is a lifesaver for those times when I'm not in the mood for my typical boiled eggs, yogurt, or almond butter on toast.

If you want to go healthier than the dark chocolate chips, you could try walnuts and banana chunks or pumpkin puree and spices.

I made these muffins last week as a backup breakfast option and we ended up eating some for dessert because they were so good!  There's no way you'd know that the main ingredients were oats, bananas, and yogurt.

I made these muffins last week as a backup breakfast option and we ended up eating some for dessert because they were so good!  There's no way you'd know that the main ingredients were oats, bananas, and yogurt.

Why these muffins are dietitian approved:

Bananas and yogurt provide moisture and are a tasty and healthy fat substitute.

They're whole grain and only use oats.

Dark chocolate chips- enough said.


Ingredients:

1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

2 bananas

2 eggs

2 cups old fashioned oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Mini dark chocolate chips to sprinkle on top

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray your muffin pan with oil

2) Add oats to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on high until the batter is smooth and creamy.

3) Fill each muffin hole 3/4 with batter and top with a few chocolate chips. Bake about 15 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Skinny 7 Layer Dip

Football season is one of my favorite times of the year, but something about watching a football game with your buddies makes you want to eat a bunch of crappy food.  I'm down for some junk food and a beer here or there, but there's football on Monday night, Thursday night, and ALL DAY on Saturday and Sunday. That's a lot of dips and chips! 

This is a go-to recipe for me because it's delicious and approved by my buddies. It tastes even better than the original processed, high fat recipe. My boyfriend actually requests this as a snack and prefers it over the store bought versions.

Bring this Skinny 7 Layer Dip to your next party as a tasty appetizer. I promise no one will know that they're saving themselves 50 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 75 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup serving.

Bring this Skinny 7 Layer Dip to your next party as a tasty appetizer.

I promise no one will know that they're saving themselves 50 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 75 mg of sodium per 1/4 cup serving.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized avocados

2 Tbs lemon juice

1 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt

1/3 package of reduced sodium taco seasoning mix

1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup sliced olives

1 cup 2% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Mash beans in a bowl with a fork, or in a food processor
  2. Mash avocados with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste
  3. In another bowl, combine yogurt and taco seasoning
  4. Assemble in a shallow dish or glass bowl:
    1. Beans on the bottom
    2. Avocado mixture
    3. Greek yogurt
    4. Shredded cheese
    5. Olives, tomatoes and green onions

Other recipe options:

Make your own taco seasoning.  Combine 1 Tb chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp salt and you have taco seasoning without any additives!

Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream in most recipes.  Regular plain yogurt works too, but doesn't have the same thick, creamy texture.

Go for cherry tomatoes instead of large tomatoes for a nutritional boost.  Small, dark red tomatoes have more vitamin C, lycopene, and antioxidants than their larger counterparts.