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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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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Aug 192013
 

Oh HEY there! I’m finally back from my blogcation. But really, it wasn’t quite as relaxing as you might think. I was busy working with Kristy from ohksocialmedia.com to move the blog over to wordpress and give it a spiffy new look. What do you think? And don’t worry, I was still cooking up a storm while I was away (a girl’s gotta eat) so I have some awesome recipes to share over the next few weeks. This first one highlights my absolute favorite summer ingredient: Peaches.
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This appetizer is perfect because it’s easy to throw together (so you can focus your efforts on sweating outside in the sun rather than in your kitchen) but still incredibly tasty and even pretty fancy looking. It also uses a whopping 5 ingredients- multigrain baguette, peaches, burrata, honey, basil…ok, and also olive oil, salt and pepper, but those don’t really count.
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Nutritional Highlights: The farmers markets are overflowing with peaches right now, which means you’re getting them at their peak nutritional level. That means you’ll be getting tons of vitamin A, C, E, K, fiber, and potassium. Quickly grilling the peaches develops the sweet flavor without losing any of those nutrients. Using multigrain baguettes for your crostini a great way to add in some fiber and whole grains and no one will notice the difference. Burrata, like most cheeses, may not be the healthiest food ever, but it is certainly one of the most delicious so a little goes a long way. It’s summer…you have to indulge a little.
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Peach, Burrata, & Basil Crostini
makes about 16 crostini
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What’s in it:

  • Whole grain baguette, cut into 1/4 inch slices on a diagonal
  • 3 ripe yellow peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into about 6 slices each
  • 6-8 oz burrata ball
  • 10 large basil leaves, julienned
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • salt & Pepper

How to make it:

1. Slice your crostini and lightly brush both sides with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toast in 2 batches in the toaster, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned and crispy.  You could also do this in the oven but you couldn’t pay me to turn on my oven right now.

2. Heat grill or grill-pan over medium high heat.  Spray your peach slices with olive oil spray and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, until there are nice grill lines and peach as softened slightly but is not mushy.  Set grilled peach slices aside.

3.  Construct your crostini by spreading 1-2 teaspoons burrata on the toasted baguette.  Season with a little salt and drizzle with honey.  Top with a grilled peach slice and julienned basil.  Enjoy!
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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.
Mar 102013
 

A glorious discovery was made in my kitchen this morning.  Potentially earth shattering, ground breaking, and other dramatic things like that.  Drum roll please…Quinoa for breakfast.  OK maybe some of you don’t find that quite as exciting as I do, but I was SO excited to see how great quinoa was as part of this baked oatmeal.  You can’t go wrong with the  combination of blueberries, bananas, walnuts, and cinnamon and added to super foods like quinoa, oats, and chia seeds, this is an amazingly healthy and delicious breakfast, brunch, or even healthy dessert.  


The other benefit of this dish (beyond the nutritional and flavor aspects) is that it makes about 6-8 servings making it perfect for a family or group, or for filling tupperware for a weeks worth of breakfasts (if you are me- party of 1).  It’s also super easy to put together.  You just layer sliced bananas and blueberries on the bottom of the pan, top with the dry ingredients, pour over the wet ingredients, and then top with a few extra banana slices, blueberries, and walnuts for a lil extra flair.  


Nutritional Highlights:  This is a crazy healthy meal.  Here are a few of the highlights: 

  • Quinoa: Apparently the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.”  Who in the world knows what that means, but it’s packed with protein and fiber.  
  • Blueberries and Bananas:  antioxidants, potassium, deliciousness.
  • Walnuts: omega-6 fatty acids
  • Chia seeds:  No relation to our grass covered pets of the 90’s…They’re so hot right now so I decided to throw in a few tablespoons.   They have omega 3’s, protein, and fiber, and they soak up a ton of liquid so they keep you full for a while
And I didn’t even mention the fiber filled oats or the skim or soy milk to get a little calcium in there.  There is really nothing bad I can say about this recipe, and I can’t wait to eat it at work every single day this week.  
 


Quinoa-Oatmeal Bake with Blueberries, Bananas, and Walnuts
adapted from Milk and Honey Living

 
Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 T chia seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/4 cups milk (skim or soy/almond if you want non-dairy)
1 large egg
1 T butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 bananas, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups blueberries plus a few extra for the top
Preheat oven to 375 and grease 9×13 pan
  1. Mix together oats, quinoa, most of the walnuts (save a few for the top), baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl lightly beat egg and add in milk, vanilla, melted butter (let cool slightly).
  3. Cut bananas into slices covering the bottom of pan (reserve a few slices for the top).  Top with the berries (again, saving a few for the top) and cover with oat mixture.
  4. Pour wet ingredients to cover dry ingredients and top with remaining berries, banana slices, and walnuts.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup if you like it a little bit sweet like I do!  Enjoy!

Note:  If you like your oatmeal a little sweeter, feel free to add some maple syrup or honey into the bake (my version only has fruit to give sweetness).  Also, if you’re going to save the leftovers and reheat, I recommend adding a little milk or water for reheating as it dries out a bit.