December 29, 2013

Lemon Almond Asparagus

Asparagus swimming in lemon butter... butter!... enough said!!!

Makes 8 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
And Action:

Melt butter; stir in lemon juice. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add asparagus in batches; cook 2-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with butter mixture; top with almonds. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 78
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 11 mg
Sodium: 36 mg
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 2 g

December 28, 2013

Winter Caprese Salad

I came across this recipe for a Winter Caprese Salad while menu planning for our Christmas dinner. Not sure what makes this wintery but any recipe with grape tomatoes has my name all over it and I don't try to over analyze it. Being Italian, this was a great way to add a touch of home to our traditional ham dinner and for a flavor punched side dish... Wintery would be roasted tomatoes... ;)

I prepared this with the intent of serving it as a side dish but ended up forgetting about it in the refrigerator. Partly to blame was that this can be conveniently made ahead. Thankfully, while preparing this all I could think about was how delicious this would be tossed with pasta. This will make for an easy week night meal coming up.

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 (8 oz) container fresh mozzarella perlini (pearl sized balls)
  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pesto - Original recipe calls for 1/2 cup but I think that was too much.
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
And Action:

Mix all ingredients together. Let the flavors meld for an hour at room temperature before serving. Serve on its own, topped on a bed of mixed greens, or tossed with pasta. 

December 27, 2013

Spiced Nuts

Talk about taking raw nuts to another level. Sweet, spicy, and slightly salty. This is a party-worthy snack. I prepared these spiced nuts for my family on Christmas to enjoy before the meal was ready. You can use just one type of nut or a mix like I did. The aroma of these baking in the oven will fill your house and scream the holiday is here!

These spiced nuts would make for a perfect gift idea after you pack them into decorative tins.

Spiced Nuts
Makes 8 oz

Stars of the Show:
  • 8 oz raw nuts - I used peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashews.
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the nuts in a bowl and add the egg white. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. 

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Scrape the nuts onto the baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake, stirring often to break up any clumps, until the nuts are lightly toasted, 15 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate and spread them in a single layer to allow them cool. Personally, I prefer them warm from the oven. Enjoy!

December 26, 2013

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Herb Roasted Potatoes are the perfect side dish for just about any meal. They're filling and flavorful. The seasonings can be altered to suit your tastes by swapping the rosemary with thyme or sage. I served these herb roasted potatoes as an accompaniment to our Christmas dinner of honey glazed ham and lemon almond asparagus (recipe to come). You should definitely give these a try tonight just make sure you give yourself about an hour total.

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 3/4 lb fingerling potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
And Action:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Pour mixture onto baking sheet in a single layer and place in the oven.

Cook the potatoes until they are tender, about 45 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

December 02, 2013

Healthy Low Carb and Low Fat Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Little Man spent his Thanksgiving break from school with his Dad and Grandma. I spent Thanksgiving at Smith & Wollensky's, a fine dining steakhouse, with a bottle of wine and their pre-fixe menu... Butternut squash soup, herb crusted rolls, turkey, stuffing, gravy!!, roasted brussels sprouts and root veggies, and au gratin potatoes, ending the meal with pumpkin pie and cinnamon whipped cream. Not only did I overeat there I took home leftovers and heated them up for breakfast the next morning and overate again. 

Before Little Man left for vacation we made a plan to celebrate our Thanksgiving on Sunday when I'd get him back. As usual, I made a plan for the menu... a cheese platter, spinach and artichoke dip, spinach salad, beef stew, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green bean casserole... I was over ambitious. Thankfully I know better than telling Little Man what we're having to avoid overpromising and under delivering. We had the cheese platter (cashews, brie, colby jack cheese cubes, applewood smoked salame, and crackers), spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips, turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and rolls. It was delicious, we overate, and there are leftovers so we can do it again tomorrow.

If you are looking for a warm healthy appetizer for an upcoming Christmas party or Game Day then look no further. This dip is low carb and low fat. Using cauliflower instead of cream cheese or a fat-laden alternative reduces the fat grams drastically. While my version turned out chunky yours will be smooth and creamy with help from your food processor. I was too lazy to pull out the food processor with a mound of dishes already in the sink and figured I could mash the shit out of the ingredients to get them smooth enough... WRONG! If you go the route I took be sure to have thick chips sturdy enough for dipping. Either way, it'll be a crowd pleaser. 

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 cups steamed cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup artichokes, chopped - I used the precooked packaged artichoke hearts found in the produce section. Could use frozen (make sure to thaw them). 
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, packed and chopped
And Action:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Process the cauliflower, parmesan cheese, sea salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, mustard, and olive oil until smooth and creamy.

Pulse in the chopped artichokes and spinach.

Pour the mixture into a small baking dish.

Lightly sprinkle parmesan cheese on top for a golden crust. 

Bake for 10 minutes until heated through. Serve with tortilla or pita chips...veggies if you really want to be good and enjoy!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 59 
Fat: 3 g 
Saturated fat: 1.2 g 
Unsaturated fat: 1.8 g 
Trans fat: 0 g 
Carbohydrates: 5.3 g 
Sugar: 1.5 g 
Sodium: 304 mg 
Fiber: 2.4 g 
Protein: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg

November 18, 2013

Dairy Free Sugar Free Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

Cacao nibs and mint blend together with nondairy vanilla ice cream to create a healthier version of the mint chocolate chip shake. By choosing sugar-free ice cream like So Delicious' Coconut-Milk Vanilla you cut out the dairy and sugar. This shake is creamy, sweet, and crunchy from the cacao nibs. This shake makes for a great dessert option or an after workout recovery shake by blending in your favorite plant-based protein powder.

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs - Could not locate cacao nibs at the store and used a 100% cacao bar instead.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - Used vanilla bean paste. 
  • 1/2 cup dairy free vanilla ice cream
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 2 tsp Green Vibrance food supplement (can be found at Whole Foods), optional
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt
And Action:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Thin out with more almond milk if needed. 

November 12, 2013

"Summer In A Glass" Cantaloupe Juice

I realize this recipe is seasonally challenged but so is this Texas weather. Cantaloupe went on sale for less than $1/lb. As mentioned before, I plan my juices based on what's on sale and the recipes I find... seasonally appropriate... or not.

An update on my progress for the Biggest Loser Weight Loss Contest at work:

I've had a workout setback since coming down with a sinus infection and now fighting off this chest congestion. My feet haven't hit the pavement in a couple of weeks. Even with the lack of sweat sessions I have managed to drop a few lbs and threw up a 2.8 lb loss this week. Aiming to lose a total of 10 lbs by the December 14th weigh in.

Makes About 35oz

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 bag romaine lettuce
  • 3 pinches of grated ginger
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 1 lemon - Unfortunately my lemon was no bueno and I didn't pick any up at the store today. Boo!
And Action:

Run all the ingredients through the juicer and enjoy!

November 05, 2013

Grapefruit Celery Juice

Grapefruit juice is too tart for my liking which doesn't make sense because I love grapefruit segments. The only way I've ever enjoyed grapefruit juice is cutting the fruit in half, sprinkling with a packet of zero calorie sweetener, eating the segments, and then squeezing the juice out of the fruit until it's dry.

I haven't come across a store-bought grapefruit juice I can stomach yet. When grapefruits went on sale I added them to my shopping list. As I've mentioned, I'm really into juicing right now and search the Internet for new juice combinations depending on what produce is on my weekly grocery list. After searching for grapefruit juices I came across a recipe for this Grapefruit Celery Juice.

Two ingredients... that's it. This juice is tart but not in that face puckering kinda way.

Grapefruits provide folic acid and Vitamin C... which we can use more of with all of the illnesses going around right now. In fact, Little Man is home sick today with Croup. Boo! The celery provides potassium and sodium making this juice great for preventing dehydration. The phytonutrients in this juice also help reduce cholesterol. This juice is also very refreshing.

Disclaimer: ***Please be aware that grapefruit juice does not agree with some prescription medications. Check your prescription labels and if you have any questions or concerns please consult your primary care physician or pharmacist.***

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 head of celery
And Action:

Run ingredients through the juicer and enjoy!

November 04, 2013

Pear Carrot Ginger Juice

We've began the "Biggest Loser" weight loss contest at work and we're 3 days in. I am 2 days behind due to a diet setback thanks to Wurstfest 2013. Saturday morning I was invited to road trip it to New Braunfels, TX to gorge on sausages and fried foods. That I did... 5 sausages on a stick, fried turkey leg, fried pickles with ranch, frito pie, corn on the cob slathered in butter and salted, fried oreos, funnel cake with strawberry topping, and countless cups of iced tea.

My food binge carried into Sunday with a stop at Einstein Bros. Bagels. I couldn't decide between a spinach florentine bagel with garlic schmear or the under 350 calorie bagel thin with turkey sausage and green chiles so I got both and a pumpkin spice latte. Sigh. No shame... kinda.

Feeling guilty about not being able to commit longer than 1 day to this healthy lifestyle change I made a trip to Whole Foods and loaded the cart up with healthy choices for the upcoming week. Juicing is something I've been enjoying lately because I feel so good after downing a glass of it and not to mention all of the health benefits.

Getting back on the wagon I pulled out the juicer. Here's to hoping I can stick to this for another month.  The Pear Carrot Ginger Juice is a little bit thicker than the juices I've made so far but this is so tasty.

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 pears, cut into pieces
  • 8 carrots, peeled
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
And Action:

Run ingredients through the juicer and enjoy!

October 26, 2013

Homemade Tomato Juice

Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants...Vitamin A, C, and K, folic acid and fiber. Juicing increases the absorption because you break the tough cell wall of the vegetable...err...fruit? Tomatoes also help prevent cancer (especially prostate and pancreas), heart healthy, a natural anti-inflammatory, and aid in lowering your cholesterol.

I've been told that tomato juice is a hangover cure. Yet to be tested since the last thing I want to do when I have a date with the toilet bowl all morning is stand over my juicer making fresh tomato juice. A handful of my guy friends that I work with flew in from our Detroit office and we met up at the bars two nights this week and partied until midnight. Another night we celebrated a retirement party. I overdid those nights but surprisingly did not get hungover. Will report back on this theory another time.

One night I was hungry and getting close to going over my allotted calorie count for the day so I decided to whip up a glass of homemade tomato juice. Juicing is easy, quick, and the health benefits of fresh juice are numerous. I am aware that sharing this recipe during the months of July-September would have made more sense but they were on sale and ended up in my cart during my last grocery trip to Whole Foods.

The taste is nothing like V8 and much more refreshing. It would be perfect for a Summer morning or a recovery kinda morning. Enjoy!

Adapted from: The Best of Raw Food
Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cucumber (peeled is optional)
  • ginger (1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1 jalapeƱo 
  • black pepper, to taste
And Action:

Run all of the ingredients through the juicer. Add the black pepper to taste. 

October 19, 2013

Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes

I don't understand why a bunch of bananas ends up in my cart every week, they sit on the counter until they are overly ripened, and then they get shoved into a bag in the freezer. I'm always on the hunt for ways to use up what I have on hand and bananas are always on hand.

(Photo from Fitness Magazine by: Chris Gallo)

Instead of the usual loaf of banana bread I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes. I had all of the ingredients on hand and knew I had to give this recipe a try.

Made these before I headed to work one morning and put them in a sandwich tupperware container. When I got to work I couldn't wait to dig into these. Oh my! These are hands down my favorite pancakes I've made to date. They are sweet, moist, and absolutely delicious!

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 banana, chopped
  • 2 tsp peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup prepared whole-grain pancake batter
  • 1 tsp honey - I used agave nectar.
And Action:

Add banana and peanut butter to batter. Cook pancakes and serve with honey drizzled on top. 

Head over to The Country Cook: Weekend Potluck #89 to see what others have been cooking up this week and for some kitchen inspiration.

October 14, 2013

Creamy Vegan Buckwheat Porridge

I packed my lunchbox with all of the ingredients needed to make breakfast at work. I figured I would be able to just throw this together without an issue. I've made oatmeal before but this was my first time working with buckwheat. Wasn't as easy as adding hot water and letting it sit for a couple of minutes. This actually required microwave time and stirring.

Not a breakfast I would recommend taking to work to prepare but a good option for the weekend rotation and those sensitive to gluten.

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats - I used cream of buckwheat.
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • Optional mix-ins: Cinnamon, chopped fruit, nut/seed butter - I added cinnamon and raspberries.
And Action:

Grind buckwheat groats in a spice/coffee grinder for 2-3 seconds, two times. There should be some larger pieces left of the groats. In a small saucepan bring buckwheat, water, and milk to a boil and reduce heat, stirring frequently. After four minutes stir in banana and keep whisking frequently for two more minutes. Serve with cinnamon, chopped fruit, and nut/seed butter. 

October 13, 2013

Panko Crusted Halibut

I am failing at keeping up with my workout sessions and slipping on healthier choices. No excuse is ever a good excuse but Little Man started swim class and it puts us home later in the evening. The nights go... dinner, shower, homework, and straight to bed. 

The stars have not been aligned lately and I've been having a string of bad days. No excuse but it has drained me emotionally and physically. I know, I know, exercising and healthy eating will put me in better spirits but I'm just so damn tired by the end of the night.

Every meal is a chance to do better. 

I'm training for a 5k coming up in December and a half marathon in March. I was browsing the Internet (aka Pinterest) for post run meals and came across a recipe for Panko Crusted Fish Over Kale. A guilty pleasure of mine is shopping at Whole Foods on Sundays. Easily my favorite errand to run. As I've mentioned before I have the best of intentions to stick to the plan. I set myself up for success by shopping there and fill my cart full of fresh produce and lean proteins.

After Wednesday's swim class I prioritized my night time to do list on the drive home. When we got home I enacted the game plan. Showered first and then set Little Man up at the table to work on homework. While he got to work I got to work on preparing dinner. 

Luck has not been on my side this week. I went to pull the halibut out of its wrapper and one of my filets landed on the floor, the kale was limp, grabbed garlic salt instead of powder, and forgot to add the parsley. The kale was the game changer and were subbed with green beans steamed in the bag. 

Thankfully I delivered a balanced meal that was absolutely delicious. 

Protein is necessary for your body to recover after a strength training session or a long run. I did neither but Little Man did swim. He earned this meal and it came to the table within 30 minutes and packed 36g of protein. I prefer halibut but you could use tilapia or cod. 

Panko Crusted Halibut
Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter - I used Land O Lakes with Olive Oil.
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice - I LOVE! citrus but even this amount was overpowering. I would cut the amount in half next time.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 small halibut filets
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
And Action:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a small baking dish with the cooking spray.

In a small dish, whisk melted butter, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt well. In a separate dish, make an even layer of panko breadcrumbs.

Take one halibut filet, and dip it in the butter mixture. Flip the filet and dip again so both sides are covered.

Press the skinless side of the filet into panko crumbs, then place the fish skin side down on prepared baking dish. Repeat with other filet, then sprinkle both with fresh parsley.

Place baking dish into the oven and cook for 13 to 15 minutes (mine needed 5 minutes more).

October 02, 2013

Refreshing Cantaloupe Juice

Looking for a way to sneak veggies into your child's diet? The cantaloupe in this juice masks the flavor of the greens. My 5 year old went crazy for this juice and was not put off by the green color, however, he was hesitant at first until I told him it tasted just like cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe is full of beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A.

This juice is refreshing and acts as a body coolant and thirst quencher. This would be the perfect juice recipe to have on hand for next summer.

Makes about 16 oz

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 container mixed greens
  • 1 container spinach
  • 1 cantaloupe
And Action:

Remove the outer rind of the cantaloupe and juice with the greens. Serve over ice or chill in the fridge before enjoying. 

October 01, 2013

Key West Chicken Avocado Sandwiches

Avocados have lots of health benefits from protecting the body's good cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Avocados have necessary minerals like potassium, calcium, Vitamin C and K, folic acid, copper, sodium, and dietary fibers.

This sandwich is packed with lots of flavor. Whole grains, lean protein, and belly fat trimming ingredients make this a healthy and satisfying meal. When buying the rolls or buns for this sandwich check the calorie count and aim for 150-180 to avoid overdoing it with calories.

I made this for dinner but think this would be perfect for taking to work for lunch.

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup mashed avocado
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp green pepper sauce (Tabasco), optional
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 10 oz grilled or roasted chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • 4 small whole grain rolls or buns (2 oz each), split
And Action:

Combine avocado, lime juice, and green pepper sauce in small bowl. Spread top and bottom halves of rolls with 2 tablespoons each of the avocado-lime mixture.
Layer 1/4 cup of the spinach, one-quarter of the chicken, and 1/4 cup of the mango on bottom halves. Top with other halves of rolls.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 367
Protein: 29g
Carbohydrates: 19g
Fiber: 8g
Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 2.5g
Cholesterol: 60mg
Sodium: 355mg

September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Living in Texas the weather does not cool off until the end of Octoberish but I'm so ready for Fall. It's the time of the year I can't get enough of the seasonal treats, especially pumpkin and especially pumpkin pie! I also love this time of year because it brings about the best holidays... speaking of which... I need to start decorating for Halloween and on a more exciting note Starbucks welcomes back their seasonal favorites too.

Ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is saved for special occasions since I can't bring myself to spend $5 on a coffee and with the weather still in the 90s it's hard to justify that price. Starbucks is something I rarely treat myself to so I'm grateful I have a very generous boss who often treats us to Starbucks and I can indulge without the guilt. Of course when I say indulge I mean order a grande nonfat and no whip. Still not the best nutritionally speaking.

Pumpkins are filled with complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin A.

Whip up this pumpkin pie smoothie and enjoy a guilt free treat for breakfast like I did or a grab and go treat. Tastes like the pumpkin pie filling without the crust. Just a heads up I did not add the 1 tsp cinnamon since I did not have it on hand and it ended up being perfectly spiced from the pumpkin pie spice and ginger. The recipe below produces a thick shake, like I'm talking stick to your ribs thick. I prefer a smoothie that I don't have to work so hard to get through a straw looking like a fish. Next time I'll thin it out by adding more almond milk. The best thing about smoothies is that they can be adapted to suit your tastes.

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, canned or freshly cooked
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 -1 cup almond milk, depending on how thick you like it.
  • 1/2 scoop (approximately 2 tsp) vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of ground ginger
And Action:

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

September 29, 2013

Carrot Apple Grape Juice

I have been turned on to juicing since watching the documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Once a week I try to do a one day juice cleanse. Usually on a Monday since Sundays are usually my free day to eat what I want. I can easily justify splurging on items that promote healthy living such as my Breville Juice Fountain.

I feel so good after drinking homemade juices and the taste... oh the taste! So delicious! No additives and all natural. I'm always looking for new flavor combinations to try. After browsing the grocery ads to see what's on sale for the week I'll search the Internet for new recipes or stick to the combinations I already love. My favorite juices tend to contain beets and carrots.

Carrot juice is sweet which is surprising to me because sometimes when I munch on baby carrots they can taste bitter. Carrots are great for your liver, digestive tract and eye sight. One of the richest sources of Vitamin A. It's also concentrated in Vitamins D, C, E, K, B1, and B6.

Apple juice is high in antioxidants and great for your lungs and eye sight. Rich in potassium, improves intestine function, maintains lower levels of cholesterol, and helps to clean the kidneys and liver.

Grape juice is also high in antioxidants and vitamins.

When you need an extra boost of energy consider this instead of a caffeine jolt.

Makes about 30 oz

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 fuji apples
  • 1 cup red grapes
And Action:

Core the apples. Run all of the ingredients through the juicer. Stir and serve over ice or chill in the fridge. 

September 28, 2013

Capellini with Pine Nuts, Sundried Tomatoes, and Chicken

There is no need for a high fat cream or butter sauce with this pasta because it is packed full of flavor from sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. Your waistline will thank you.

(Photo from Prevention)

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 oz whole wheat capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 3 oz sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
And Action:

Prepare pasta per package directions without adding salt. 
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat while pasta cooks. Season chicken with salt. Add chicken, garlic, and red-pepper flakes to skillet. Cook, stirring, until garlic turns golden, 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is completely cooked.
Drain pasta, add to skillet, and toss. Add basil and toss. Divide pasta equally among 4 bowls and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. Top with more basil, if desired.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 387
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrates: 36g
Fiber: 6g
Fat: 19g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 33mg
Sodium: 562mg

September 19, 2013

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bars

I've been trying to eat healthy and get myself back on track. This has been a struggle for me the past two years. Yo-yo dieting and not committing to working out. I've turned into that person who makes excuses. Sigh. Who have I become?

A coworker invited me to join her do a half marathon coming up in March. Without hesitation I said, "Of course!" I can't even run a mile without gasping for air. What the hell was I thinking? I could register now and save money but I have anxiety about not being able to finish and haven't fully committed. I have serious commitment issues.

Granola bars are a go to in our household for breakfast. Because I have to juggle many things in the morning opening a wrapper and pouring a glass of milk is a no brainer, however, in the back of my mind I know I'm not providing the best nutrition for my son or myself.

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner... Healthy & Low Calorie posted about Healthy Oatmeal Banana Cookies and I knew I had to give these a try since I had everything on hand. Being in a healthy mindset meant that I had to change the name from cookie to bar because serving a cookie for breakfast doesn't sound right and I have that fear of my son going to school and telling his teacher that mommy feeds him cookies for breakfast.

The base for these bars is made up of two simple ingredients. Oatmeal and bananas. You can get as creative as you'd like with mix ins. I added flaked coconut and raw almonds. The end result tasted just like banana bread. You could also swap pureed pumpkin in place of the banana. This is a breakfast option I felt good about offering to my son. Try these for yourself and taste the difference.

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Bars
Makes 6 Bars

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup oatmeal, regular or quick oats
  • 2 bananas
  • mix ins, optional
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mash bananas and stir in oatmeal and optional mix ins. Spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment  paper. Form the mass into a rectangle about a 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes or until desired crispness. I left mine in for 25 minutes. They will be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

August 21, 2013

Quick Pad Thai

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 6 oz whole wheat capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces, precooked
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red chili flakes - If making for little ones I recommend cutting back on this amount. It was too spicy for little man. 
And Action:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add remaining olive oil. Add chicken pieces and saute until just browned and no longer pink (about 4 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk fish sauce, peanut butter, sugar, chili flakes, and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Set aside.

Crack eggs into pan and scramble until firm. Add in chicken and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and peanut butter mixture to pan, tossing with chicken and eggs. Add chopped cilantro. Garnish with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, or lime wedge if desired.

Nutritional Facts per serving


FAT9.9 G








August 20, 2013

Lemon Herb Chicken

Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 4 tsp
  • 2 chicken cutlets
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon - The juice alone makes this dish very lemony.
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine
And Action:

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof skillet on high heat. Place the chicken in the skillet and sear for 2 minutes per side. While the chicken cooks, put the remaining 4 tsp oil, along with the lemon juice, zest, and herbs, into a blender or food processor and pulse until well mixed. Place the skillet with the chicken in a 400°F oven to roast for 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and place the chicken on a plate. Season with salt and pepper, then pour the wine into the skillet, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the herb sauce to the skillet and cook on the stove top for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

August 19, 2013

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

My brain has been in another place lately and the blog gets neglected when I need time to clear my head. This isn't an update on running around upstairs, instead, a delicious weeknight dinner that comes together quickly. The best part were the leftovers. The flavors had time to develop overnight and made for a tasty take your lunch to work option. 

(Image from Women's Health by Joe Schmeizer)

Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 oz whole wheat penne
  • 2 chicken cutlets, cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup canellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp diced roasted red peppers - If roasted red bell peppers aren't your thing then feel free to substitute sundried tomatoes.
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
And Action:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is boiling, season the chicken on each side with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sear it in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes a side. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add the oil, garlic, rosemary, beans, red pepper, and spinach to the skillet. Cook, turning frequently, until the spinach wilts (1 to 2 minutes). Slice the chicken and drain the pasta; toss them with the bean mixture. Spoon the pasta into two bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of parmesan.

Nutritional Facts per serving


FAT6.3 G








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