Monthly Archives: December 2012

Healthy Green Smoothie

After all my holiday eating and then having to getting ready for a fun New Years Eve party, I decided to come up with a healthy pre-party snack.  I wanted something quick, easy and good for me.  I hoped it would balance out the cocktails and food I would consume later in the night.  I came up with this smoothie on the fly.  So, hope you enjoy it and hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Years!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana chopped

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until thoroughly combined, about 2-3 minutes.  

**If you want a thicker smoothy either add more banana, which makes it a bit sweeter or you can add a few ice cubes.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

 
Now that Christmas has come and gone another year and I am totally “turkied” out, I was craving some type of vegetarian soup for dinner. Something easy to make, full of flavor and healthy.  I settled on this recipe since I had never made a red lentil soup before.  It was a perfect cold winter night dinner.  I have to admit it wasn’t the prettiest soup to take pictures of, but believe me it was delicious.  I will definitely be making this one again.  

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 (32-oz) container vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb. red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup raw barley, rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In large soup pot heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, saute over medium heat until onions transparent, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a rapid boil, then decrease heat.  Cover and simmer until lentils are mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.  Stirring occasionally
  4. When lentils are done, remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  5. This soup thickens as it sits.  If you want a thinner soup, add more water as needed.

Adapted from:  VegKitchen

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

I decided to make these when I signed up for a cookie exchange at work.  I wanted something different than your everyday chocolate chip and I thought the cranberries and white chocolate seemed so Christmas.  They ended up being such pretty little cookies and they tasted delicious.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.  A time to enjoy family and friends, give thanks and eat good food.  So, go ahead put on your elastic band sweat pants and savor every bite. 

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 °.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until combined.  Add in egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Combine flour, salt, baking soda in separate bowl, mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture into sugar mixture.  Stir well.
  5. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips. 
  6. Drop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto baking sheet.  Space cookies evenly to fit 12 cookies per sheet.
7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.  Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack.   Allow to cool completely.
 
Adapted from:  taste of home

Quinoa “Veggie” Fried Rice

 Hello, delicious.  This recipe takes an old traditional recipe like fried rice and amps up the vegetables and substitutes the rice for quinoa.  It’s a great vegetarian dish that even my husband could love.  Also, this is one of the only times I will eat mushrooms in a meal.  For whatever reason mushrooms always taste a bit like dirt.  Sorry mushroom lovers of the world, they just do.  I’ve tried them fried, baked in butter, you name it and I have tried it in attempts to learn to tolerate mushrooms.  I decided when making this dish I would not omit them, realizing most of the world does not share my views.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this dish, including the mushrooms.  Maybe I will become a converted mushroom lover.  You never know stranger things have happened. 

Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos, it’s much better for you)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • Sriracha sauce if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small skillet over medium heat.  Add beaten eggs and fry until cooked through.  Flipping only one time.  Allow eggs to cool before dicing into small pieces.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add remaining olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, saute for 4 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini.  Saute vegetables until tender, about 4 minutes.  Stirring constantly.
  4. Add corn, peas, carrot and quinoa.  Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add ginger and soy sauce, stir to combine.  Next add green onions and eggs, cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or Sriracha if desired and serve immediately.

Adapted from: damndelicious

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Well let me tell you I have attempted mashed cauliflower in the past and it did not turn out so well.  It was gritty, not creamy and lacked much of a flavor.  So, when I came across this recipe I was a little hesitant to attempt this side dish again.  But, considering cauliflower is my favorite vegetable,  I was determined to give it another chance.  This recipe was a hit.  It had a smooth texture and was loaded with delicious flavor.  So, if your looking for a healthy mashed potato alternative, give this a try.  Let me know if you think it was a good as my husband and I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into smaller pieces (florets only)
  • 1 (6 oz) container nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.  Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until florets are soft.
  2. Remove cauliflower from heat and drain in colander.  Place cauliflower in food processor, add Greek yogurt, butter, garlic and shallots.  Blend until creamy.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste or any seasoning of your choice and blend again. 
  4. Transfer mixture into serving bowl and mix in Parmesan cheese while still hot.  Garnish with scallions. 

Adapted from: sproutandpea

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

I think the title alone says enough about this dessert for anyone to make it.  Any sentence containing salted and caramel has my attention.   Even my husband who is a die hard chocolate lover liked this one.  He actually said they were fabulous.  And after not winning the giant powerball jackpot, I needed something to make me feel better about knowing that I get to continue working for the next 30 years.  I think this was it.   A sweet caramel flavor, with a salty bite.  For a few moments, I was lost in the sugar bliss.  Okay, now back to reality, time to hit the gym and go to work.  Oh well, at least there is the option of having a calgon moment with a dessert bar.  Yummy!


  Ingredients:

  • 2 cups salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 325 °.  Line a 9×13 cake pan with parchment paper, cutting paper to fit just the bottom. Lightly spray paper with cooking spray.
2.  In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugar and powdered sugar. Using hand mixer, beat until creamy.  Then add vanilla and beat until combined.
3.  Next, add flour to sugar mixture.  Add 1 cup at at time and mix until a soft dough is formed.
Press half of dough mixture into prepared pan and place remaining dough in refrigerator.  Bake for 20 minutes.

4.  Remove from oven and set aside.
5.  Place caramels into a microwave safe bowl, add cream and vanilla.  Microwave mixture for 1 minute.  If caramels are not completely melted, microwave for additional 20 second intervals until caramel mixture is smooth.  Making sure to stir mixture after each interval.

6.  Pour caramel filling over cooked crust, making sure to pour evenly, because it is difficult to spread once mixture is poured.  Sprinkle salt over melted caramel.

7.  Take remaining dough from refrigerator and crumble it over caramel layer evenly.  Return pan to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Bars will be done when top is a firm golden brown.
8.  Allow to cool completely before cutting it into serving size squares.

 Adapted from: cookiesandcups

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

This week was pretty uneventful.  Work, cook, clean and play with the dog.  I did take Biza, my dog, to City Park and there are about a billion geese there.  Really, a billion.  And a billion geese mean, truckloads of goose poop.  Something I discovered about my dog is she REALLY loves to roll in it.  It was lovely, let me tell you.  My once red dog was now red and green.  Maybe she wanted to start Christmas early.  Needless to say, once we got home she got the scrub-down of all scrub-downs.

I did get to cook some delicious food this week, so be on the lookout for those recipes.  Hope everyone had a great week and a restful weekend.  Happy Sunday!

Recipe Review:

Guilt-free Onion Dip

White Turkey Chili

 

 

 

 

 

Also, remember not to take life to serious, enjoy yourself and have fun.  And with this I leave you with a picture of my husband having a fun kid moment and posing with a gorilla.  Who says in your 30′s you have act like an adult.

Fun is Good.

 ~Dr. Seuss~