Monthly Archives: November 2012

Guilt-Free Onion Dip

This dip is incredible and literally took 2 minutes to make. Is there anyone on this earth that doesn’t like chips and dip?  I think not, but if your watching your waistline chips and dip are not part of that equation.  Well, make room on the table for chips and dip again, with this fat-free protein packed dip.  Using Greek yogurt you get the creaminess of sour cream, without all the fat.  It would make a great appetizer for any party and I guarantee you people will rave about it.  So go ahead and start dipping again.


Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 (17.6oz) container fat-free Fage Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • Place Greek yogurt and onion soup mix into bowl and mix well.
  • Dip is best when allowed to rest in refrigerator for 2 hours prior to eating.  Although if you just can’t wait, it still tastes wonderful immediately after making.
  • Serve with your favorite chips or veggies.  I used Baked Ruffles to continue with my guilt-free theme.

White Turkey Chili

 

This white turkey chili is a great, tasty alternative to the traditional red chili.  If your looking for something warm to cook on that cold winter night, look no further.  By using green chili, jalapenos, cumin and chili powder, this chili is packed with delicious flavors.  This dish has a unique taste that even the pickiest eater will enjoy.  You can spice this dish to your own taste, by adding more jalapenos or even a little hot sauce to your own bowl.  I served it with baked tortilla chips, but it would be out of this world to dip homemade tortillas in.  This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. It is actually what he requested for his birthday this year.  So, therefore; I am adding it to hubbies favorites. This will be a new category, for my blog.   

Ingredients:

 
 • 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 (20-ounce) package chopped cooked lean ground turkey
• 2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and divided
• 2 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, chicken broth *less 1/2 cup
• 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chiles
• 2 cans white hominy drained and rinsed
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
    1.  Melt the margarine in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, sauté 5 minutes.
2.  Add cooked turkey, 1 1/2 cups beans, broth, green chilies, hominy, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.   Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mash remaining beans with a fork. Add mashed beans and milk to the turkey mixture.  Simmer uncovered, 20 minutes or until mixture becomes slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
4. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro.
 

 

Adapted from: Cooking Light- November 1998

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

As Thanksgiving weekend is coming to a close, there is so much to be thankful for.  Even despite having to work on Thanksgiving day, we were able to make the 4 hour drive to see my family after I got off of work and arrive just in the nick of time to say hello to all my family and devour a delicious plate of Thanksgiving delights.  From braised turkey and cheesy augratin potatoes to insanely rich chocolate cake.  Yummy!

I have to say I love driving I-70 from Denver to the Western Slope.  You get to zoom over 2 beautiful mountain passes, through the Eisenhower tunnel and my favorite, wind through the Glenwood Canyon.  I love the canyon because it is a raised interstate, winding through a tight canyon above a river.  Also,  I like to pretend I am a race car driver and zip around the corners.  Sorry mom, I hope your not reading this one.

Over all, it was a wonderful holiday.  I am so thankful for so many things, but today I am especially thankful for my family.  I have been truly blessed to live this life surrounded by loving people.  Thanks to everyone for being a part of it and looking forward to many more beautiful memories.

Just a few pictures of the cutest nephews ever made.  I might be a little bias.

 

Recipe Review:

                             Oatmeal Applesauce Blueberry Muffins

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  And with this I will leave you with the thought below.

“Having a place to go – is a home.  
Having someone to love – is a family.  
Having both – is a blessing.
 ~Donna Hedges

Oatmeal Applesauce Blueberry Muffins

 

I know Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and blueberry muffins aren’t exactly a typical traditional Thanksgiving food.  Well, the truth is I ran out of time for doing a Thanksgiving recipe.  I am working this entire week (including the holiday) and then headed on a 4 hour drive to see my family on Thursday evening.  So, I won’t even be cooking on Thanksgiving, I’ll be driving up as the table is set.   I’m sorta bummed about this, but sometimes it is what it is.  I promise next year to make something totally delicious.  However, these muffins were super yummy.  They would be good for a brunch or breakfast side dish the day after Thanksgiving.  Maybe you could put one in your purse for a power snack during black Friday shopping.

These muffins are surprisingly moist and flavorful.  The are a whole grain, light on fat, oatmeal loaded and fruit filled delight.  A great choice for those wanting to enjoy a muffin without any of the guilt.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoy the day.  There are so many things to be thankful for.

Yield:  12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking cups. I like to use parchment paper cups, because the batter doesn’t stick to the paper.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk together.

In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and beaten egg.  Mix well.

Next add applesauce mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not over-stir.  Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups with batter, divided evenly until all batter is used.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

Adapted from: joythebaker

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

Can I say again how I love living in the city.  I walked to the grocery store yesterday and when I arrived home realized I had forgotten the applesauce for my delicious blueberry muffins (recipe will be posted this coming week).  So, I dropped off my groceries, walked back to the store got the applesauce and was back home again 20 minutes later.  It’s awesome.  I hope I never have to fill my tank with gas again.  I should start my car every once in a while to make sure it still works.

Last Sunday was a lazy day, we ordered calzones from a place called, Sexy Pizza.  I know the name is weird, but it was delicious.  And hey if the name can distract you from the fact that your jeans will no longer fit after all the cheese you consumed, all the better.

I also found a Whole Foods near my house this week.  I wandered around the store thinking it has to be one of the most beautiful, peaceful stores.  With the dim lighting and beautifully decorated fruit stands, I think it’s a way to distract you from the fact you’ll need to get a second job to pay the bill when you check out.  Maybe they secretly spray aroma therapy into the air as you shop, to help you relax and avoid a heart attack when you check out.

I also went to dinner at the Capital Grill in Larimer Square on Wednesday.  It is a beautiful restaurant with outstanding food.  But seriously, did I need to order the 10 oz filet?  On the other hand, my dog was a very happy camper when I brought home my left overs.  Hmm…I guess in this case it really would be a doggy-bag.  Interesting.

Recipe Review:


Italian Spaghetti Squash

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful week.  And to this I will leave you with the thought below.
 
This is a lyric from an amazing song by Tiesto.        
 
 

Lemon Almond Butter Cake

 

There is nothing better than spending a snowy, freezing Saturday night cooking and hanging out with good friends.  We decided since the the air outside was enough to make your nostrils stick together, that would would invite our friends over for a cook-in.   We decided on steaks and a baked veggie and pasta dish.  My friend, Desiree came prepared with a recipe she had found for a delicious sounding dessert.  So, with the menu planned out her and I began the cooking frenzy.  I have to say, having a girlfriend to cook with was wonderful.  We both just jumped right in and had a blast.

 

So, here is our dessert creation.  The original recipe was for a plain lemon butter cake, but we didn’t have any lemon extract on hand, so improvising we chose to use an almond extract instead.  I must say, it was a great choice.  Sometimes not following the directions exactly turns out to be delicious.  The lemon zest and juice combined with the flavor of almond was mouth watering.  The only mistake we made was making dessert first and having to smell it the entire time we were cooking dinner. Having to wait until after dinner to try a piece was torture.  Patience is a virtue, right?

For the cream cheese filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

For the cake

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of two lemons

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°.  Spray a 9″ springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

First make the filling:

1.  In a large bowl, using a mixer beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

2.  Add confectioners sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes.  Add egg and beat until well combined.  Next add butter, almond extract, vanilla extract and lemon zest beat until completely combined and set aside.

Second make the cake: 
3.  In large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add in melted butter, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest, whisk together until combined.  Do NOT over mix.

 

4.  Pour batter evenly into springform pan.  Carefully pour filling mixture, evenly over cake batter to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pan.  The filling mixture should cover entire cake batter except for a 1/2″ ring around the outside of the cake.

 

5.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake has slightly puffed up and a toothpick inserted near edge of cake, comes out clean.

 

6.  Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove springform sides and allow to cool on rack for 1 hour.  Place in refrigerator and allow to cool completely.

7.  Serve chilled and sprinkle each piece with confectioners sugar.

Adapted from:BlackJackBakeHouse

Italian Spaghetti Squash

This is a wonderful dish when your craving pasta, but are also watching your calories.  The flesh part of the spaghetti squash when removed, comes out in long strands, resembling the noodles from which its name comes from.  While eliminating calories by cutting out the pasta, you add a unique flavor and slight crispy crunch from the spaghetti squash.  These “noodles” are tossed with vegetables and feta cheese to bring this recipe to deliciousness.  You may add or substitute different vegetables, like zucchini or yellow squash if you prefer.  Serve this dish with a nice loaf of fresh warm bread  Considering all the carbs you cut by eliminating the pasta, you deserve it.

Servings:  4

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes (about 3 Roma tomatoes) chopped
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes if desired

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with spoon. Place spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only little resistance.  Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion to skillet and saute until tender, approximately 2 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. 

3.  Stir in tomatoes and black olives, cook only until tomatoes are warm. Remove from heat, add feta and basil, toss well. 

4.  Using a fork, scrape out insides of spaghetti squash and place in large bowl.  Add sauteed vegetables to spaghetti squash and mix well.

5.  Place servings in individual bowls, salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a fresh basil leaf and/or red pepper flakes.

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

Well, sorry for the lapse in my chronicle of adventures, but this past weekend was moving weekend.  In other words, craziness!!!!!!   But I have to say it is done, went off without a hitch and the Yox family is now back together.  We are now living back in uptown Denver and in the thick of it.  I love the energy that comes with living in the midst of the city, it makes me feel alive.  One of my big accomplishments for the week is getting my parking permit, there is nothing worse than having to park on the street and move your car every 2 hours in front of your house to avoid a ticket.  Hey, at least I am getting my practice at parallel parking.

And here’s to a blast from the past, I watched the movie The Breakfast Club.  Ah, the 80′s…crazy hair, day-glow, acid washed jeans, aerosol hairspray, shoulder pads and Molly Ringwald.  Do you think being able to put on lipstick with your cleavage is a lost art form?   In the movie Molly Ringwald seemed to have it down to a science.  Anyways, it was the perfect film to bring out a great time for laughing.  Thanks Molly Ringwald for all the 80′s classics, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, For Keeps and last but not least The Breakfast Club.

On a more serious note the Election is over.  I want to shout it from the mountain tops, stop knocking on my door, calling my phone, sending me mail, posting signs in my yard and bombarding me with commercials.  No matter who you voted for, whether you agree or disagree the decision has been made and remember what is most important, to work together for common goals.  After all we are named the United States.  Hope everyone had a wonderful week.  And to this I will leave you with the thought below as we move into a new era with our current president.

“An idea not coupled with action will 
never get any bigger than the brain 
                                cell it occupied.” 
~Arnold Glascow~

Recipe Review:

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal                                                                        Fall Vegetable Curry

                          

 

 

 

Delightful Breakfast Toast                                                                       Vegetable Quinoa

Vegetable Quinoa w/Garbanzo Beans

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has made a name for itself within the health community over the past few years.  With its high protein content and unique texture, it has become a popular substitute for starchier rice and pasta.  It is one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, it also has the benefits of containing high amounts of iron, magnesium and fiber.  This grain is extremely versatile in its uses and simple to cook.  When cooking quinoa make sure to rinse it before using in your recipe.  Rinsing removes a natural coating quinoa has called saponin.  If left on, it can leave a bitter or soapy flavor to the grain.  Most boxed quinoa is pre-rinsed, but I always rinse it again, just to make sure.  So, go ahead and join the quinoa craze, it is deserving of all its praise.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1 yellow squash chopped 
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped 
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
  • Cayenne pepper if desired 

 Directions:

1.  Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 1 minutes.
2.  Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  
 

3.  In another pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Toss in garlic, zucchini, yellow squash and  onions. Saute veggies over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until desired level of tenderness reached. Then toss in garbanzo beans, tomatoes and lime juice.  Cook for 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

4.  Season with cumin, salt and pepper. Fluff quinoa with fork and add to pan with vegetables.  Mix well.

5.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired and/or a little cayenne pepper to spice things up a bit.

Delightful Breakfast Toast

After getting tired of plain old toast with peanut butter, I decided it was time to mix things up.  That’s when I came up with this wonderful breakfast treat.  When looking for a healthy bread here are a few pointers I go by.  Just a little education on whole grain vs multigrain.  When something is labeled “whole grain” it means it was made out of the entire wheat grain kernel.  The whole grain is where all the good nutrition content is held.  Don’t be tricked by terms like multigrain, if the multigrain bread does not say whole wheat, then it basically has the same nutritional value of white wonder bread.  So, don’t be afraid of the overwhelming bread isle, from the cracked wheat, stone ground, whole grain, multigrain, 9-grain, etc…..  Simply look at the ingredients.  If the first ingredients is “whole wheat”, you are going to be okay. It is usually less processed than most of the other brands.  Most nutrition is lost during the processing of the wheat, so go for the whole wheat.

  

Ingredients:
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened shredded coconut
Directions:

1.  Toast piece of bread in toaster.
2.  Spread peanut butter over toast
3.  Top w/diced banana, chia seeds and coconut.