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  • Kristina’s Superfood Granola

    Originally Posted May 20, 2013 on

    I’m obsessed with food blogs. I love to cook, I love the food photography that everyone seems to capture that I cannot, I love everything about food and writing about it! So I cook, watch cooking shows, and learn from all the other foodies out there.

    This morning I made this granola, I sort of improvised my own concoction. It’s reeeallllllyyyy yummy! This SuperFood Granola can be eaten by the handful as an afternoon snack, but it’s also a great way to begin the day. I don’t like my granola overly sweet like store-bought granola. And with the slightest bit of sea salt, this one has that savory-salty-sweet combo!

    Serve with a bit of fresh fruit, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, for optimum health benefits, and a dollop of creamy coconut or oatmilk yogurt (I’m also currently obsessed with cashew yogurt) or a bit of your fave milk-alternative.

    Kristina's SuperFood Granola

    Prep Time: 45 minutes

    Cooking Time: 20 minutes

    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 cup quinoa
    2 tbsp. cold-pressed coconut oil
    1/2 cup white sesame seeds
    1/2 cup good-quality raw honey
    1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
    1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
    1 cup rolled oats
    1/2 tsp. sea salt, coarsely cracked
    1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
    1/4 cup flax seeds
    1 cup (4.5 oz.) dried cranberries
    1 cup (4.5 oz.) hazelnuts, chopped
    3/4 cup pitted prunes, chopped roughly


    Preheat the oven to 400*F.

    Prepare the quinoa. Note: I always rinse my quinoa first, then I heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the quinoa for about a minute before adding the water.  (Another tip: I prepare about twice the amount (1 cup) and keep the extra in a container in the fridge for other uses. It’s easier to make quinoa ahead of time and have some ready for breakfast or lunch when I’m in a h

    Whisk together 1/2 cup coconut oil, honey, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and add the cooked quinoa and rolled oats to combine thoroughly.  Evenly spread the quinoa-oats mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with cracked salt. Roast, turning now and then, until the flakes are dried and crunchy and a lovely golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Let the quinoa-oats mixture cool completely.
    While the quinoa-oats mixture roasts, heat the 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a frying pan.  Add the sesame seeds, and toast until a light golden brown. Pull off the heat and put in a large mixing bowl.

    Add the remaining ingredients to the toasted sesame seeds: puffed rice cereal (try to find a good quality cereal without any added sugar or preservatives, Whole Foods has one), flax seeds, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and prunes.  Then add the quinoa-oats mixture and combine all together.  I use a mixing bowl that has a handy cover so I can close it tightly and shake it all up.  Store in a glass container for up to 2 weeks.

    A few notes on why I chose these ingredients:

    I use raw honey because it has a much milder flavor than some, it adds a little sweetness without lending too much character. Raw honey is preferred over regular honey because it ‘s completely unprocessed and unpasteurized and is an alkaline-forming food, which helps with digestion.

    Oats, via their high fiber content, are already known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Now, the latest research suggests they may have another cardio-protective mechanism. Antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Quinoa is a terrific gluten-free source of protein, one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids, and is nicknamed a superfood all by itself. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains, and is rich in iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and has a high content an manganese, and antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

    I’m also trying to use coconut oil whenever possible, it’s great for baking and frying and Dr. Oz has been talking a lot about this great oil, calling it one of the top 5 superfoods, a must-have for your diet, helping you lose weight, treat skin conditions and ulcers.

    Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch, and are one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, prized as an oilseed for at least 5,000 years.  While it is beginning to regain favor due to its exceptionally high calcium and magnesium, copper and iron content, few realize it is also one of the most potent medicinal foods still commonly consumed today. In the past twenty years, a glut of scientific information has poured in demonstrating that sesame seed, and its components, have over three dozen documented therapeutic properties. There are evidence-based medicinal properties of this food-medicine to help treat diabetes, high blood pressure, gingivitis and dental plaque, depression, stress, and many of the most common cancers.

    Flax seeds are one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them: omega-3 essential fatty acids (each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant  omega-3s), lignans (which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods), and fiber (flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types).

    Hazelnuts pack a large amount of valuable nutrients. Hazelnuts have adequate amounts of B Vitamins, largely responsible for proper metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein. A specific B vitamin found in hazelnuts, thiamin, works to help regulate your nervous system and aid healthy muscle and cardiovascular health. One small serving size of hazelnuts offers a near 20% of your recommended daily consumption of Vitamin E, eliminating free radicals within your body. As an essential nutrient, Vitamin E does not occur naturally in your body, meaning you have to consume the nutrient through food sources hazelnuts. The Vitamin K in hazelnuts helps regulate blood clotting so that you do not encounter excessive bleeding when injured. The vitamin also works alongside other nutrients to form healthy bones. Hazelnuts have nearly 13 grams of monounsaturated fat per every one ounce serving. Paired with the polyunsaturated fat, these healthy lipids work to reduce bad cholesterol, maintain healthy arteries, and improve overall heart health. Healthy fats have also been linked with lowering overall fat storages, known as triglycerides. This promotes more heart health and overall well being through weight management. Hazelnuts lack both sodium and cholesterol, making them a healthy choice for those watching weight and looking to improve heart health. Although hazelnuts only contain about 5 grams of protein per each one ounce serving size, they still act as a sufficient secondary source of the valuable macronutrient. They also contain viable amounts of magnesium and calcium, both of which greatly improve bone and teeth formation and density. The copper within hazelnuts plays a vital role in protecting against and improving some forms of arthritis, slowing down the overall aging process, and even stimulating brain cells. Copper also works to increase immunity, protecting you against common sicknesses.

    Recent scientific studies have ranked prunes, or dried plums, as #1 food in terms of antioxidant capacity. Using a laboratory analysis called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity), researchers found that prunes had more than twice the antioxidant capacity of other high ranking foods such as blueberries and raisins. With a score of 5770 ORAC units per 100 grams, the antioxidant power of prunes also topped that of fresh plums. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that result from normal cell metabolism, smoking, pollution and UV irradiation. Research suggests that excess free radicals may contribute to pre-mature aging, wrinkling of the skin, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Much of this antioxidant power can be attributed to the high levels of hydroxycinnamic acids, including neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, both of which appear to be highly effective at scavenging free radicals. In addition, prunes and plums are rich in anthocyanins, flavonoid pigments with strong antioxidant properties. Prunes are also famous for their constipation-relieving abilities thanks to the fiber and sorbitol, but prunes can also support bone- health and stave off osteoporosis with the high content of potassium and boron.


    Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. This one cup of cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that, so throw some of those on top of this granola when serving…
    and Enjoy! 🙂

  • Teff Pumpkin Craisin Pancakes

    As originally posted on June 16th, 2018 on LifeThroughtheOtherLens…  

    There’s a ton of talk everywhere about what you can’t eat! I’m really sick of it! Whenever there’s a social media post about summer, you’re immediately bombarded with diets, get fit fast plans, and then lists of everything you can’t have! I don’t know about anyone else, but the constant onslaught of what I can’t have is exactly what makes me think about those things and then want them all the more, even if I never did in the first place. This was very true while I was modeling in my early twenties. I was modeling in Europe and New York and I was constantly being told to lose five or ten more pounds. It’s the only time in my life where I think I’ve had an issue with food. And inevitably, I ended up gaining weight, losing it again, and having an unhealthy diet/binge attitude towards food. The minute I stopped that, feeding my hunger for life and for active fitness, and thus fueling my body to be able to do what I wanted to do, I developed a healthy mind and a healthier body.

    Even with a healthy relationship towards food, we can get into routines, or be short on time, and fall into habits or forget to try new ideas. With my activity level, running, parenting, and the stress of life, I think that I could always use a little extra help. I have battled anemia off and on my entire life, and as I get older I find I’m short on minerals and other nutrients with my running and workouts.

    Back then when I was modeling in my twenties, I was also working in a gym for martial artist Billy Blanks, I went back to school to study for my certification in physical training and nutrition. I had the idea that if I was going to battle the modeling industry in dieting, or at least a few model roommates with eating disorders, I was going to have the knowledge to back it up. Since then, I have wholeheartedly maintained the beliefs in food and nutrition that my Danish mother raised me with, eat whole foods, listen to your body, don’t get swept up in fads, and don’t eat anything that you can’t pronounce (chemicals. Not for example, “quinoa!” haha!)

    With these things in mind, I am currently obsessed with the cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow, by NY Marathon Winner, Shalane Flannigan, and her running-chef co-writer, Elyse Kopecky. It is exactly what I love, fueling and nourishing your body with the whole foods that it is craving! I couldn’t believe when I flipped the pages, it was filled with every food that I can’t get enough of, beets, nuts…. I think I’m doing a Julie and Julia type day-by-day page-by-page trial of the entire book! Stay tuned!

    These Teff Pancakes are the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever had! Teff, a whole grain flour made from the smallest grain in the world, has a much higher percentage of bran and germ, a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports and Nutrition concluded that the regular addition of teff to the diet of female runners “showed significant improvements in total iron intake and modest improvement in iron status.” I chose to fill my pancakes with dried cranberries, craisins, something I thought was an odd option in the recipe, but turns out to be amazing! I’m not a pancake person, but these are delicious. And… my picky gourmet food-crazy Charlie, gave them a thumbs up! Growing kids can always use extra iron and fiber! These will be a weekend staple from now on! Focus on what you can eat, what’s nourishing your body and soul, you’ll end up thinking of those foods, listening to your body, and feeling great!

    Recipe: Teff Pumpkin Pancakes with Craisins

    Serves: 2

    Adapted from Run Fast Eat Slow  by Shalane Flannigan and Elyse Kopecky


    In a large bowl, whisk together:

    3/4 cups teff flour

    1/2 tbsp. baking powder

    1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

    1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

    In a separate bowl, whisk together:

    1 egg

    1/2 can pumpkin puree (I choose organic)

    3/4 cup milk-alternative (I use oat milk, you can also substitute milk or almond milk)

    1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use Oat or Cashew yogurt)

    1 tbsp. honey

    Fold together the dry and wet ingredients, and add:

    1/4 cup dried cranberries or “craisins.”


    Cook on a hot pan as you would regular pancakes, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. These pancakes are darker in color naturally, so be sure to cook thoroughly through, the color can deceive you in thinking they are burning. Serve with a good maple syrup, and add some fresh fruit to top!! Yummmmmmm!!!

  • Sunday Brunch Scrambled Eggs with Trout and Tri-Color Quinoa

    A weekend breakfast is the perfect time to do a little something more than you would on weekdays. Weekends during my upbringing always brought family together to the table for a relaxed, leisurely, and sometimes hours long, meal. I grew up eating a lot of fish, for a Dane, breakfast absolutely includes a fish, either smoked or cured salmon, pickled herring, or like this one, trout. On the weekend, this involved walking down to the harbor, and picking out your own fish from the fisherman or vendor, always plucked right out of the sea that morning! But if you’re by yourself, or with a child who, let’s face it, prefers one of two things, ever, then you don’t really want to put in too much effort. In this case, it feels a little gourmet, but is incredibly easy!  Added bonus… super healthy!

    I have always been a pescatarian. We always want to label ourselves, or fit into a group. I believe this makes rules too rigid. Sometimes we need to be more lenient. Maybe we choose to be vegan five days of the week, but treat ourselves for a favorite no-vegan meal on a weekend. Maybe we have to be restricted or a food intolerance or allergy. Nothing means you can’t use the label, or adapt it to fit how you live. Non-dairy, no-land-animal, gluten-free, struggling-with-sugar-intake, alcohol-sparingly, pescatarian over here! 😉

    I learned from my aunt, the one with the gorgeous vineyard up in Santa Ynez that I’ve featured on here before, that the best way, to cook scrambled eggs is in a double-boiler. I think she learned the trick from another vineyard owner! The difference is amazing!  Who knew vintners who knew wines also knew eggs?!

    And honestly, I could add tomatoes and quinoa to everything. It suits most things perfectly, in my opinion. Sauté the onion and tomato first, over a medium heat, just until the onion is fragrant and the tomatoes are soft. Then add the cooked quinoa (follow package instructions, usually about 15 minutes) after a few minutes, to give it the sautéed flavor.

    The finale crowning touch, grilled trout! Also super easy and quick! I get the whole trouts from Costco, keep them in the freezer until the night before, take one out and grill it up. The indoor grill is just as good and easier for those lazy weekend mornings.