Jul 102014
 

Ever get into a breakfast rutt? Are you a serial cereal eater? Do you wish your toast was toast? Looking to scramble your egg routine a bit? (Insert additional breakfast puns here). I find that more than any other meal, I am a creature of habit and often go months eating the exact same breakfast. For the past several months for me this has been cereal with almond milk, berries/banana, and cinnamon. A great breakfast, but I was looking for a change. I decided to go the savory route with these super healthy, protein-packed quinoa, veggie, and egg bites.
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A few great things about this recipe. 1) It’s the perfect refrigerator clean out recipe. You can pretty much throw in any type of vegetable or cheese and these will turn out great. 2) It’s easy to make and makes 6 servings so you’re set for the whole week. 3) These are SO healthy…stay tunes for more on that…
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Nutritional highlights: If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast you really can’t do much better than that. The bulk of these muffins are veggies and quiona, which provide tons of vitamins and protein. A few eggs to bind it together adds even more protein and some healthy fats. I used 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs because the bulk of the nutrients in the egg are actually in the yolk (like B vitamin choline). Plus, contrary to popular belief, even though the yolk is high-ish in dietary cholesterol, it doesn’t actually seem to increase our blood cholesterol. So why not use all whole eggs? Of course you could, but to keep the calories in check I went with half and half. And two of these little cups are only 150 calories! That with a piece of fruit and a coffee (or two or three, oops) is the perfect breakfast.
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Mini Summer Vegetable & Quinoa Frittatas
makes 12 muffins (6, 2 muffin servings)
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What’s in it:
1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked in 3/4 cups water
1 leek, chopped
2-3 cups chopped vegetables (I used zucchini, yellow squash, and baby portobella mushrooms)
2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk but any type you have works)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray.
2. Get your quinoa cooking. Note: Your quinoa box/bag probably says to use a (1:2 ratio), ie 1 cup of water for a 1/2 cup quinoa, but I like it to have a little bite and not be too mushy. But prepare according to your preferences!
3. While quinoa is cooking, saute your vegetables. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add your chopped leeks. Saute for 1 minute and then add your other chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 minutes until the vegetables a softened and slightly browned. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, whole eggs, and milk. Add cooked quiona and vegetables and spoon into your prepared muffin tin. Top with three cherry tomato slices each and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until frittatas are cooked through.
6. Enjoy hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Notes:
1) This is more of a quiona-veggie muffin than it is a true frittata. If you’re looking for something light and fluffy and eggy, use more egg and less quinoa/veggies.
2) Feel free to swap any type of vegetable or cheese that you like.
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Here’s to switching up your breakfast routine this summer!
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Jun 302014
 

If you’re anything like me, there’s really no such thing as summer “vacation” anymore. If your summer has been as busy as mine has been, and you’re looking for literally the easiest possible festive 4th of July treat, here it is. There is no culinary skill needed here, just some delicious red and blue fruit, skewers, and if you want to get fancy, a drizzle of honeyed greek yogurt and a sprinkling of roasted coconut chips.
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Every 4th of July BBQ or picnic needs some fruit, and this recipe takes your average fruit salad or mundane watermelon wedges to the next level. You can get creative by cutting the fruit into different shapes and it could even be a fun activity for your kids (hey, if you have kids, why not put them to work, right?).
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Nutritional Highlights: Berries are in their peak season right now, which means they have the highest level of vitamins. Berries get their bright color from an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which also decreases inflammation. Another antioxidant in berries, quercetin, may help slow age-related memory-loss and also reduces inflammation, especially in the joints. Vitamin C is another big highlight of berries powerhouse nutritional profile, which is also a strong antioxidant and has many powerful effects in the body. Basically, fruit is good for you! Crazy idea, I know. This is a great way to make fruit a little bit more fun, so everyone will enjoy it this 4th of July.
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Patriotic Fruit Kebabs with Honey-Yogurt Dip
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What’s in it:
– Red and Blue fruit of your choice!
blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and watermelon all work well for this!
– Mini wooden skewers
– 6 oz plain greek yogurt
– 1 tablespoon honey or agave
– Toasted coconut or roasted coconut chips for garnish

How to make it:
1. Cut your strawberries and watermelon into the shapes of your choosing. Leave small berries whole. Skewer in different patterns onto your wooden skewers.
2. Mix the yogurt and honey in a small bowl. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon or tiny bit of vanilla extra if you’d like.
3. Put 2 tablespoons of the yogurt into a small ziplock bag and cut a tiny tiny piece off of the bottom corner. Use this to squeeze a drizzle of the yogurt over the fruit kebabs.
4. Sprinkle with coconut chips and serve along side the remaining yogurt dip.
5. Oh say can you see…how easy that recipe is?
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Here’s to a happy and healthy 4th!
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Feb 092014
 

How can you let someone know that you love them this valentines day? Option A: Chocolate. Never fails. Option B: Make them something super healthy to let them know you want them to be around for a while. Well this granola bar recipe does both!
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I’ve had a few failed granola bar attempts–some were too crumbly and fell apart, others were too sweet, but these were really perfect to me. They were a great soft consistency but still held together really well. They are so much tastier and better for you than store bought granola bars, and you can make them with any variety of dried fruits and nuts you like or have on hand. These were not too sweet, but just sweet enough to satisfy my daily afternoon cravings.
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Nutritional Highlights: A lot of granola bars at the store seem healthy but really are packed with sugar, ingredients you can’t pronounce, and other things that you wouldn’t want in your “heathy” snack. These bars are sweetened only with dried fruit (dates and cherries), coconut, and dark chocolate. There is tons of fiber in here, from the chia seeds and oats, and lots of protein from the variety of nuts and seeds. Extra bonus…these are gluten free (as long as you use GF oats) and vegan.
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Dark Chocolate-Cherry Granola Bars
makes about 12-15 granola bars
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What’s in it:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed pitted dates, quartered
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup creamy almond butter
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I used roasted unsalted)
1/3 cup roughly chopped almonds (I used roasted unsalted)
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/4 (or maybe a little more :) cup roughly chopped dark chocolate (or use chips/chunks)
1/4 tspn sea salt

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast the oats for about 10-15 minutes until slightly brown and fragrant. Let cool. Reduce oven temp to 325.
2. Soak dates in water for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients excluding the oats (seeds, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, sea salt).
4. In a small food processor, blend half of the oats (3/4 cup) into flour. Add the oat flour and remaining whole oats into the dry mixture.
5. Add the dates/water and almond butter into the food processor and blend until smooth. Mix into the dry mixture.
6. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment. Press the granola bar mixture in the pan into a 1/4 to 1/2 in thick, even layer. Press it in very firmly for a few minutes, this will help keep them from falling apart. My batch only filled half of my sheet pan.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm and slightly brown. Allow to cool completely and then cut them into bars (or other fun shapes).
8. Enjoy and share with someone you love!

You can wrap these individually and keep them in the freezer if you have left overs…although I doubt they will last that long!
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These will definitely make you and your valentine a little bit happier and healthier this year. Valentineless this year? Lucky you…you don’t have to share :)

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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Oct 132013
 

Has anyone else noticed a recent flood of facebook and instagram photos of friends at the apple orchard?  Maybe with a nice “low-fi” filter, or an artistic close-up of an apple hanging from the branch? It’s OK, I’m guilty of it too.  Since everyones homes are now overflowing with these amazing freshly picked apples, I thought I’d share a creative new way to use them.  I’m pretty much obsessed with this breakfast and sad that it’s already gone…no idea how that happened (insert guilty face here).  Luckily there are more apples where that came from, so a second batch, hopefully with proper rationing this time, is definitely in my future.
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Nutritional Highlights:  Not only is this easy to make (mix everything and throw it in the oven), it’s also incredibly healthy.  Apples are in their peak season right now, which also means they are at their peak nutrient potential.  Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols (a powerful antioxidant).  In addition, this recipe has fiber packed oats and chia seeds that will keep you full until lunch time.  This recipe does not have a ton of added sugar like some oatmeal recipes do, and the sweetness comes only from the apples, dried fruit, and a tiny bit of maple syrup.  Finally, pecans add a little bit of protein, healthy fat, and crunch.
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Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
makes 6 servings
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What’s in it:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, or a mixutre)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups diced apple (probably about 2-3 apples)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (skim milk works too)
  • 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons mpale syrup

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 and spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the first 8 ingredients (through the apple).
  3. In another bowl, whisk the remaining wet ingredients (milk, egg, egg white, vanilla, apple sauce, and maple syrup). Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add the apples, and mix until combined
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan and bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Slice into 6 portions and enjoy hot or cold!

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I packed this up in tupperware all week and reheated it in the microwave for a minute at work.  Seriously the perfect fall breakfast! For a minute you might even forget that you’re at work on Monday morning as you savor this apple cinnamon deliciousness.  But then you’ll remember.  Sorry.
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Jun 302013
 

Remember me?  I don’t blame you if you don’t because I’ve been so delinquent with blogging these past few weeks, but I am back!  I just moved to a awesome new apartment in NYC, so things have been a little hectic.  The good news is I am now settled, and somehow convinced (tricked?) my boyfriend to agree to an apartment that is approximately 50% kitchen.  So, the first thing to come out of this new amazing kitchen are these mini granola cups filled with greek yogurt and fresh berries.  Perfect for brunch, a snack, or as a healthy 4th of July treat!


As you may have noticed, I love just about any recipe that can be baked in a muffin tin–frittatas, meatloaf, you name it.  This is an impressive twist on your typical granola and yogurt parfait.  You make a pretty simple granola mix, and then instead of spreading it out on a sheet to bake, you press into mini muffin (or full sized muffin) tins to bake into these cute little bowls.  


Nutritional highlights:  These cute little nuggets have so many great things going on.  1) built in portion control (at least until you eat 4 of them like I did).  2) This granola is made with whole grain oats, flax seed, almonds, dried fruit, coconut, coconut oil, and honey.  It’s not overly sweet or high in fat like a lot of store bought granolas.  3)  Fat free greek yogurt is packed with protein. 4) Berries are back in season and packed with nutrients.  So in sum, these are healthy, delicious, so freaking cute, and you should make them immediately.


Mini Granola Cups with Greek Yogurt and Berries

adapted from Mommie Cooks

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or butter if you’d rather)
1/4 Cup Honey 
1/4 Cup Unsweeted Apple Sauce
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats 
1/3 Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries, Cranberries or other dried fruit 


1 cup fat free greek yogurt
Fruit of your choice for toppings: I used berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) and banana slices 

Directions:
1. To a small sauce pan, add the coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt.
Heat until all ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and stir in the apple sauce and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl mix together the oats, coconut, flax seed, almonds and cranberries.

3. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until completely coated.

4. Place the mixture into the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool.

5. When ready to bake, grease up a muffin tin or mini muffin tin and fill each opening about 2/3 full.
Using your fingers press into the center of the hole and then work your way around the edges to form a bowl. If the dough is sticky, wet your fingers with cold water, shake them out, and proceed. Repeat as necessary.

6. Place the bowls into an oven preheated to 325 degrees. For regular sized muffin cups, cook about 20-25 minutes. For mini muffin cups, cook about 15-20 minutes.
Let cool completely before removing from the tin. (This part was a little tricky for me, but just run a knife around the edges and carefully remove…I only had a few casualties)

7. Store in an air tight container. When ready to eat, fill with the yogurt of your choice. Top with fresh berries.  Enjoy!!


Hope everyone has a happy and healthy 4th of July!  

Apr 302013
 

My weekend was spent celebrating the bachelorette party and bridal shower of one of my best friends in the world (and also a blogger celeb…see ericasweettooth.com and be amazed).  Here is what I learned about bachelorette parties.  They are great for: bonding with friends, seeing how many party accessories come in inappropriate shapes, and discovering an amazing array of photos on your phone the next day.  They are NOT great for: my liver and my ability to fit into that bridesmaid dress in a month.  Oops.  After a weekend of sustaining pretty much on bagels, candy, and adult beverages, my body was pretty much crying for some produce.  So, I made this super health (and also delicious) Green Monster Smoothie.  


I promise it looks a lot greener than it tastes.  Does that make sense?  Well, it does to me.  It really just tastes like a regular fruit smoothie but has extra health benefits from the greens.  Smoothies are great because they are so versatile and easy to make.  This one has almond milk, banana, green apple, kale and spinach, and frozen fruit (I used mango and strawberries but anything will work). 


Nutritional highlights:  This smoothie is a great way to get an extra serving of veggies into your day and really not taste it at all.  It is a perfect breakfast or snack and is great for vegans and gluten-free-ers.  The greens add vitamins like A, K, folate, iron, calcium, and also a good dose of fiber.  


Green Monster Smoothie
adapted from Table for Two

makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

– 1.5 cups frozen fruit (I used strawberries and mango but you can use any you like)
– 1/2 green apple, cut into pieces
– 1 banana, broken into pieces
– 1 1/2 cup almond milk
– 1 to 2 large handfuls of spinach, kale, or other dark greens
 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Throw everything in the blender and blend until a smooth consistency. If it gets stuck, turn it off, and use a spatula to break it up and start it again.