Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fall Vegetable Curry

For those of you who like a meal packed with Indian flavors, this is the dish for you.  It is a quick, easy and delicious curry, that only requires 30 minutes of prep and cook time from start to finish.  Enjoy fall with this flavorful vegetarian dish, loaded with nutritious veggies.  It’s not really a spicy-hot flavor, so I added red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.  If you want more substance to add to the meal, try serving it over brown rice or basmati rice.

Yield: 4 (1 cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • red pepper flakes, if desired

Directions:

1.  Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sweet potato and saute for 3 minutes.  Decrease heat to medium and add cauliflower, onion, curry powder and red pepper.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2.  Add broth, salt, garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir occasionally.
3.  Dish into serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt.

Adapted from: Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2010

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

Let’s see, this week….   To start off we had our first official snow storm.  And this desert girl, of the past 5 years, did not have a snow-scraper.  So, needless to say I had a very wet coat sleeve when I arrived to work that morning.  Despite the wet clothes, I loved every flurry.  There is something about snow that makes the world seem fresh and clean.

Also, topping the list of my “no-so-favorite” things to do, is registering your car and getting new license plates.  That was my fun adventure on Tuesday.  Can I say how expensive things are getting?  I nearly had to give my left kidney for new plates.  It cost me $480, yikes!  Guess, I can’t retire just yet.

On a brighter note, I did get to go to breakfast at a cute little place called Devil’s Food, with a coworker.  It is the cutest little diner near Washington park, decorated with old ovens, baking utensils and wooden doors.  It’s delightful.  So if your in the mood for a non-chain, unique breakfast, check it out.  Thanks, Jocelyn for showing me such a cute little place.

Recipe Review:

Cabbage Soup:

 Adorable Pumpkin Cookies:

Hope everyone had a wonderful week.  And to this I will leave you with the thought below.
I took this picture on my morning walk around Expo Park, Aurora, Colorado 2012.

Adorable Pumpkin Cookies

With Halloween quickly approaching, I wanted to make a dessert to celebrate the holiday.  I found tons of recipes for witch fingers, spider cupcakes and eyeball cookies, but I decided on a not-so gruesome theme.  I thought these little peanut butter flavored cookies, dipped in white chocolate and covered with orange sprinkles were just the thing.  Besides they are delicious and look too cute for words when placed on a nice serving dish.

Serving:  15 pumpkin cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 package Mother’s peanut butter gauchos cookies, finely crushed
  • 1 package (4oz) Ghirardelli baking white chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup orange colored sugar sprinkles
  • 5 pretzel sticks, each broken into 3 pieces

Directions: 

1.  Place cookies into zip-lock baggie.  Crush with potato masher, until finely crushed.
2.  Place crushed cookies and softened cream cheese in bowl and mix well.

3.  Place piece of parchment paper on cookie sheet.  Roll cookie mixture into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.

4.  Place white chocolate in small microwave safe bowl.  Cook until melted, approximately 90 seconds.
5.  Roll each cookie ball in the melted white chocolate.  Poke cookie ball with toothpick once coated and sprinkle all sides of cookie with orange sprinkles.  Place on cookie sheet and put 1 pretzel piece into the top of each cookie, for the stem.

6.  Place in refrigerator for 1 hour to firm, before removing from cookie sheet.

7.  Once chilled place in airtight container and keep in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Adapted from: Kraft

Filling Low-Calorie Cabbage Soup

When reading about cabbage soup, people claim anything from an age-old folk remedy for curing the common cold, to burning fat.  I don’t know if these stories are true, but hey if it tastes good and has the possibility of keeping me slim or getting rid of a stuffy nose, what do I have to loose?  I do know that it is a very low calorie, filling soup.  I like to eat it for dinner, because I feel full and satisfied without worrying about going to bed with my stomach having to digest a heavy meal. 

Most people think being a good cook is complicated, but when it comes to soup recipes, there is nothing more simple.  This is a very easy recipe for cabbage soup.  And soup recipes are so flexible when it comes to their ingredients.  You may add vegetables you have on hand in the refrigerator, or delete ingredients you don’t like in a recipe, without effecting the taste.  So go ahead and awaken your inner cook and let her run.   Soup is a good place to start experimenting.  Happy Souping!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (32 ounce) containers of chicken broth
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In large stockpot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic.  Saute until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.

2.  Add chicken broth to stockpot and bring to boil.  Stir in cabbage and simmer until cabbage wilts, approximately 8 minutes.

3.  Add in diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper (if desired).  Return to boil and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.  Salt and Pepper to taste and serve.

Words of Wisdom

 This was a wonderful weekend.  Kevin came in from Phoenix, so we could spend some much needed time together.  He flew in Thursday night and we ended up grabbing a late bite to eat at Fat Sullys, on Colfax. There is nothing better than a ice cold beer and a slice of NY style pizza.  It’s hard to go wrong with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.  Besides, did I mention the slices are as big as a football.  Not even kidding, it’s the best bargain dinner in town, $3 a slice.  Go and check it out.  Then Saturday we got a hotel room in downtown Denver at the Magnolia.  It’s a historic, retro looking building, within walking distance to everything.  We ended up getting a suite for $138, thanks Kayak.com!  Then we got dressed up, I’m talking a dress and heels, a far cry from my daily scrubs I’m used to wearing and walked around the 16th St mall.  Lemon drop martini’s, filet mignon sliders and creamy Gouda/jalapeno mac&cheese, oh yes, it was a night of indulgence, where calories and fat had no meaning.  Then, Saturday night we went to party with some friends where the theme was keg beer and lawn games.  I have to say I played a few mean games of Baggo.  Yes, 35 year olds can be entertained for hours with throwing bean bags into a hole cut into a piece of plywood.  Overall, it was an amazing weekend of spending time with my favorite guy, Kevin, enjoying the company of good friends and remembering to take in every moment.  I am truly blessed.

 

Easy Green Chili Enchilada Casserole

I was craving something spicy and Mexican when I decided on enchiladas.  However, whenever I have made enchiladas in the past, I end up cracking the tortillas and it turns in to a blob of enchiladas instead.  So, why not avoid the lost time of rolling the individual enchiladas and just make it right into a casserole.  And if you have ever been intimidated by making enchiladas, don’t be afraid of this recipe.  It is so simple and easy.  I also tend to like the flavor of green chili enchilada sauce rather than the red, so that is what I chose to use, but you could always substitute red enchilada sauce instead if you prefer.  I love this recipe with the creaminess of the Greek yogurt and the spice of the green chilies and jalapenos.  By using the Greek yogurt it cuts out the fat of using sour cream, but doesn’t lose any of the taste.   I served this with tortilla chips and some home made guacamole.  It was a hit.  Inviting my friends over, there was barely any leftovers.  It is one of my husband’s favorites, especially on a cold night.  Yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 (4 oz) can diced jalapenos, drained (use less if you don’t like spice)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (8 oz) container fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 13 (6 inch) corn tortillas, torn in half
  • 1 (28 ounce) can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 (8 oz) package shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
  • salt and pepper for taste

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray medium sized baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Fill medium sized  pot with water and bring to boil.  Take chicken breasts and trim any excess fat off and cut each breast into 10-12 pieces.  Place chicken into boiling water and boil until chicken thoroughly cooked.  Remove chicken from water and shred with two forks.

3.  In a mixing bowl combine shredded chicken, onion, jalapenos, garlic powder and Greek yogurt.    Sprinkle w/small amount salt and pepper for taste.  Mix until combined.

4.  In baking dish place 1 cup enchilada sauce into bottom of dish.  Breaking tortillas in half cover bottom of dish with layer of tortillas (3 1/2 tortillas).

5.  Spread 1/3 of chicken mixture over tortillas, then sprinkle with 1/4 bag shredded cheese and pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the layer.

6.  Repeat this process 2 more times.  For top layer place remaining tortilla halves, cover with remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

 

7.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before eating.

Easy Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

In the spirit of fall, I wanted to continue with a pumpkin theme.  I was so excited about my prior blog on Pumpkin No-Bake Energy Bites, I wanted to make another pumpkin breakfast treat.  Well, inspired from a pumpkin bread recipe I found hiding in my mass of recipe books, I decided to convert it into a healthy muffin recipe.  This is my version of a lower fat pumpkin muffin.  I used extra pumpkin puree and applesauce, instead of oil, and whole wheat flour for added nutrition.  They tasted wonderful, with a soft, spice filled center.  Also, these muffins were a cinch to make.  Minimal mixing, chopping, or prep required.  One muffin pan, two mixing bowls and a whisk is all you will need.  You don’t even need a mixer, your own hand will do the trick.  An example that delicious muffins don’t have to be unhealthy or difficult to make.  So, go ahead enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups and 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/8 cup quick oats to sprinkle on muffin tops if desired

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.  Soak measured raisins in hot water for 10 minutes to plump, then drain.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.  Whisk together until combined.

3.  In a separate bowl mix eggs, pumpkin and applesauce until smooth.

4.  Add pumpkin mixture to the bowl with dry ingredients.  Stir thoroughly until batter is smooth.  Fold in raisins and walnuts.


5.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes  or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

 

6.  Allow to cool on wire rack.  

Happy Fall and Pumpkin Muffin Eating!!! 

Words of Wisdom

Have you ever felt that making a big change in your life, can re-spark your excitement for life?  I feel like moving to Colorado, starting a new job and doing this blog has awakened some new enthusiasm in me about life.  Now considering I have exchanged the Arizona sound of the weatherman saying, “haboob” on the TV, for the Colorado sound of crackling wood in the fireplace may have something to do with it.  Just saying.  No more dust storms the size of Miami for me thank you very much.   So, if you have ever been afraid to do something new or drastic, don’t be.  It could be the thing that changes your life into something you have always wanted.
 
“The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.”
~Robert Fulghum~
 
 

Zucchini Pizza Bites

These are a great way to satisfy a craving for pizza with a low carb twist.  Use them as an appetizer, healthy snack or main dish with a side salad.  You can easily change up the toppings to make them your own.  Try adding fresh basil, pepperoni, olives or mushrooms.  Go ahead and eat some pizza while leaving the guilt at the door.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini sliced on a diagonal (1/4″thick)
  • spray olive oil (I used a Misto)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup skim shredded motzzarella cheese
  • parmesean cheese for topping

Directions:

1.  Cut zucchini about 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal.  Place on cookie sheet.

2.  Spray zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle each piece with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Flip zucchini pieces over and repeat process.

3.  Broil zucchini for about 4 minutes, flipping over half way through.

4.  Top each piece with 1 teaspoon marinara sauce and cheese.  Broil for 1 more minute.

 

5.  Sprinkle with parmesean cheese and enjoy.

Adapted from: skinnytaste