February is American Heart Health Month and February 16th is Almond day. Almond Day is a day set aside to celebrate the heart healthy and energy benefits of almonds. California Almonds and wellness expert and registered dietitian Katie Cavuto have teamed up to share some great almond recipes as well as a “16 Days to a Better You” wellness regiment. Some of her tips include snacking on nuts like almonds, eating more plant based proteins and adopting trends like Meatless Mondays, as well as practicing mindfulness while you are eating.
The nutrition profile of almonds makes them a great snack for their satiety. There are 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber in one ounce of almonds at 160 calories. That’s 23 almonds, and we think that almonds are so much more satisfying than the same amount of potato chips. Almonds are also high in monounsaturated fat, which is good for your heart. They also have a low glycemic index, and they are gluten free. Almonds are also good to cook with as we found out.
In honor of Almond Day, we decided to try some of Katie Cavuto’s delicious almond recipes. We set out to try a breakfast, a dinner, and a dessert. For, breakfast we made Katie Cavuto’s recipe for Almond, Pear and Cherry Overnight Oats.
Recipe created by Katie Cavuto, MS, RD, Chef
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk. We used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried cherries, divided. We used dried mango and cranberries instead.
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon orange zest. We opted out of the orange zest since the mango would give us this sweetness.
1/2 pear, diced (skin on)
1 tablespoon sliced almonds, divided
1 teaspoon almond butter. I think we put in a tablespoon of our almond butter, and we used crunchy almond butter.
1. In a mason jar, combine the oats, milk, dried fruits, ginger, cardamom, and the almonds, and almond butter.
2. Stir to combine.
3. Refrigerate overnight.
4. In the morning heat up for a tasty breakfast.
This breakfast oatmeal is tasty and so easy. Rather than cooking your oats over the stove, you let them soak overnight. The combination of dried fruits and pear sweetens the oatmeal. The unsweetened vanilla almond milk makes your oatmeal soft and creamy, and the pinch of cardamom also adds some sweet flavor. We love cardamom spice for its aromatic fragrance and sweetness. The almond slices add a little crunch.
For our dinner we made a variation of Katie Cavuto’s African Root Vegetable Stew with Almonds
Recipe created by Katie Cavuto, MS, RD, Chef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, 1 inch dice. We did not include carrots or celery.
1 cup celery, chopped 2 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 (14-ounce) can low sodium diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup sweet potato, peeled, 1 inch dice
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, 1 inch dice. We opted out of the butternut squash and used two sweet potatoes.
1 cup rutabaga or turnip, peeled, 1 inch dice. We opted out of the rutabaga or turnip as well.
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed. We used black beans instead.
1/4 cup crunchy natural almond butter. We used 2/3 cup of crunchy almond butter.
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups of kale, chopped. We did not include the kale.
*hot red pepper flakes or freshly ground pepper to taste
Lime wedges to garnish
Sliced almonds to top
We added a cup of brown long grain rice.
We also added a cup of chunky salsa.
We added chopped red pepper as well.
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cubed sweet potatoes and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cumin and sauté about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid a bit.
2. We then transferring this mixture to our crock pot on high. We added our vegetable broth, a jar of chunky salsa, as well as a cup of brown long grain rice uncooked. As the mixture cooked we added in the drained and rinsed black beans and crunchy almond butter and the cilantro.
3. We kept stirring the stew and waited for the rice and sweet potatoes to be soft. We cooked the stew on high for about 2 ½ to 3 hours.
4. Garnish with lime and top with sliced almonds.
Overall, this African stew with almonds is savory and a little spicy. The creaminess and crunch of the almond butter pairs well with the sweet potatoes and rice. The spiciness from the salsa, cumin and curry powder adds some heat, which makes this a great meal for a winter dinner party. We have also made this African stew with crunchy peanut butter in place of the almond butter. Both are savory and delicious.
Lastly, for our dessert we decided to make our own variation of almond brownies with beans. We want to try Katie Cavuto’s dessert recipes with almonds too. However, we were just craving brownies at the time. This recipe is very simple and provides fiber with the black beans and almond butter.
One box of brownie mix
One can of black beans rinsed and drained.
¼ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
2/3 cup of crunchy almond butter
1. Add box of brownie mix to a bowl.
2. In a blender combine almond milk and can of rinsed and drained black beans and blend until you have a semi-smooth mixture.
3. Add bean mixture to the dry ingredients until you have a nice batter consistency.
4. Add the crunchy almond butter and stir.
5. Use the cooking spray to grease your muffin tins or brownie pan. Add brownie mixture.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if brownie is done.
These are our favorite brownies as they are sweet and delicious. You do not need any eggs or butter in this brownie recipe. The black beans replace these ingredients, and they also reduce the richness a little, which we prefer. The almond butter and almond milk add some creaminess, and these brownies give you protein and fiber. You will feel good knowing that you are eating a healthier version of the classic brownie–just try to eat only one.
By being mindful of your health and including more plant proteins like almond products in your diet, you will be on your way to the start of your health journey. Actually, Katie Cavuto wants you to tweet or share your health journey using the #MyChallenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, from February 1-16, 2016 California Almonds’ social media followers are encouraged to share how they incorporate almonds in their favorite recipes or daily routine while tagging California Almonds for a chance to win our “16 Days to a Better You” prize package, which includes a Fitbit, almond tins, bag, snack packs and a full list of our “16 Days to a Better You” tips and recipes. Visit Almonds.com/AlmondDay for more information, tips and recipes.
Happy Almond Day and be sure to celebrate the whole month of February by being mindful about your heart health!