Dec 312013
 

Looking for a recipe to cure your New Years Eve hangover and start your resolution all at once? Well here it is.
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Nutritional Highlights: Eggs are boasted as the “perfect protein” source, containing all the amino acids we need plus omega-3’s in the yolk. I used corn tortillas which have about half the fat and calories of flour tortillas. Black beans add extra fiber to this dish, and tomatoes and avocado on top make it even healthier. You can make this with or without cheese depending on how healthy you’re trying to be and how serious the hangover (for me, melted cheese is the only true cure).
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Baked Huevos Rancheros
makes 4 1-egg servings
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What’s in it:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained*
2 teaspoon olive oil*
1 clove garlic, minced *
1/4 cup finely chopped onion*
Hot sauce to taste*
4 corn tortillas
4 large organic eggs
1/2 cup ranchero sauce or non-chunky salsa
optional: 1/4 cup low fat shredded mexican cheese
Garnishes: Cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Make the black beans. Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant and softened. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the black beans and hot sauce, stir and cook for about 5 minutes, adding a little water if they seem dry.
*NOTE: you can skip this step and just buy a can of refried black beans or use the whole black beans without additional doctoring
3. Spray the bottom of a cast iron skillet or square glass baking dish with olive oil spray. Arrange 4 corn tortillas against eachother and the side of the pan so that the sides are raised, creating a little basket for each egg. Note: my 10 inch skillet only fit 3 of these which was the perfect amount for 2 people.
4. Add a scoop of black beans to the center of each. I used a spoon to create a space in the center of the beans for the egg to sit so it would stay in place. Crack one egg onto each tortilla.
5. Drizzle ranchero sauce or salsa on the top and sprinkle with cheese. Transfer to oven for about 10-15 minutes, until egg white is cooked but yolk is still soft.
6. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro and enjoy!
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Dec 222013
 

Around the holidays, everything is better covered in chocolate and peppermint. This is a fact. I was looking for a festive treat that wouldn’t take hours to make, and would feel decadent without putting me in a full blown sugar coma. So I came up with this Peppermint-Chocolate Popcorn (aka: christmas crack). IMG_7225 Nutritional Highlights: I popped my popcorn in a very small amount of oil in a pot, which is already WAY better than butter-loaded movie theater popcorn. Plus, it doesn’t have any of the weird chemicals in some of the bagged popcorns out there. Sure, I proceeded to drizzle it with white and dark chocolate and sprinkled it with crushed candy canes, but at least the base is natural, high fiber popcorn, right? One thing to keep in mind in general, is that fiber will slow your blood sugar spikes, so you won’t have quite a steep rise and crash as you would if fiber wasn’t in the picture. And we know that Santa needs to watch his blood sugar. IMG_7216
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Chocolate-Peppermint Popcorn (aka: Christmas Crack)
makes about 8-10 cups
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What’s in it:

1/2 cup popcorn kernals
2-3 tablespoons oil (coconut or vegetable oil work well)
sea salt to taste
1 6-oz bar of dark chocolate
1 6-oz bar of white chocolate
3 full sized candy canes, crushed (I put mine into a large plastic bag and used my rolling pin to let out some aggression)

How to make it:

1. Pop the popcorn: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add popcorn kernels and cover. Shake the pot occasionally so the kernels don’t burn. After a few minutes, the kernels will start a-poppin. Shake the pot often until the popping slows or stops.
2. Spread popped corn into an even layer on a large baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with plenty of sea salt.
3. In 2 small microwave safe containers, melt the white and dark chocolate separately, stirring every 30 seconds until it is melted.
4. Drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. You’ll want to work relatively quickly so the chocolate doesn’t fully harden before you sprinkle the candy canes.
5. Allow chocolate to harden at room temperature for at least a few hour or overnight (you can cover with tinfoil once it’s cool).
6. Break the popcorn into chunks and enjoy!

IMG_7227 Let me tell you, Santa will be extra generous this year if you leave some of this out by the chimney.

Dec 172013
 

Tis the season…for potlucks. I’ve had three potluck events already this year, and I was getting a little tired of the kitchen (yep, even I feel that way sometimes). So here’s a simple and festive appetizer that looks a lot fancier than it is. This crostini is a twist on my favorite baked brie recipe and uses my favorite winter fruit: pears.

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Nutritional Highlights: Baked brie can be a pretty deadly holiday appetizer, because it’s really tough to keep track of how much you’ve actually had. This recipe makes individual portioned bites. Plus, whole wheat baguette, pear slices, pomegranate seeds, and arugula add some vitamins and fiber. Vegetarian friendly.

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Brie, Pear, & Honey Crostini
makes about 20 crostini
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What’s in it:
Whole grain or multigrain baguette
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon herbs of your choosing (I used a mix of dried thyme and fresh rosemary since that’s what I had)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 large triangle of brie
2 ripe bartlett pears
Honey for drizzling
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Handful of arugula leaves

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice baguette on an angle into 1/4 inch slices.
3. Mix garlic, oil, herbs, and salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with the oil mixture.
4. Spread crostini on baking sheet and cook until lightly browned, about 15 minutes (turning once).
5. Meanwhile, remove brie rind and cut into 20 slices that will fit on the crostini. Slice the pear thinly.
6. Now you have two choices. If you want to serve these warm (recommended), top the warm toast with a slice of brie and return to the oven until the cheese melts. If serving cold, allow toast to cool and top with the brie slices.
7. Before serving, top each brie with a pear slice and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds (they will stick to the honey) and top with a few arugula leaves. Enjoy!

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Dec 072013
 

You’re probably thinking that Challah French Toast isn’t the most “cook-tush” approved meal, but some occasions just warrant a little french toast. For example, if your boyfriend coordinates with your entire family, flies to Chicago the day after Thanksgiving, completely shocks you, and PROPOSES, I would say he probably deserves some french toast. Yep, that actually happened and I am so excited to say that I am engaged! So, a little Challah French Toast with Bananas and Blackberries was definitely in order.
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This is the perfect way to use up your leftover Hannukah challah…and of course, even though it was for my sweets loving fiance, I still took a few cook tush liberties to lighten it up a bit. I used mostly egg whites and vanilla soy milk, and served it with plenty of fruit. Let’s just say this morning after eating this, Jeff new he made a good decision.
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The other great thing about french toast is that it’s super easy and only takes about 20-30 minutes total. Perfect for a lazy Saturday breakfast in bed.
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Challah French Toast with Fresh Fruit 
adapted from Ina Garten (makes 8 large slices)
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What’s in it:
6 large or extra large eggs, 3 whole, 3 whites only
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk (almond milk or regular milk will work too) *I recommend using the sweetened almond milk or soy milk because that way you don’t need to add any additional sweeteners
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread (or if you want to be even more health concious, choose a whole grain loaf)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Nonstick cooking spray

To serve:
Pure maple syrup
Sliced bananas and blackberries (or other fruit of choice)
Toasted pecans or walnuts
cinnamon for dusting

How to make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2. In a large shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, soy milk, orange zest, cinnamon and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

3. Heat griddle pan or large saute pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and melt half the butter. Add the soaked bread and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Cook the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked.

4. Top with fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkle of cinnamon, and maple syrup. Enjoy!

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And here’s sneak peak at the happy couple and the lucky recipient of the french toast. But really I’m the lucky one :)
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