Category Archives: Recipes

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

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

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

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.

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.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Well it’s a cold October morning and I was craving something warm for breakfast.  I came across this recipe for baked oatmeal and was psyched.  And since fall has arrived, a pumpkin version seemed a necessity.  Warm breakfast, plus the added benefit of using the oven to warm the house, bonus.  This is a great breakfast to make at the beginning of the week and divide into portion size containers for breakfast on the run during the week.  It easily reheats in the microwave and tastes delicious.  This is not a super sweet breakfast, you can add more brown sugar if you want a sweeter taste, but I prefer less (decreases the calories).  Enjoy this oatmeal while making your house a toasty little oven.

Yield:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1.5 cups rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Combine oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in large sized mixing bowl.
3.  In a different medium mixing bowl combine egg, pumpkin, rice milk, vanilla and 1 tablespoon brown sugar.  Mix until blended.
4.  Add wet ingredients into bowl with oats and mix well.  Add in raisins if desired.

5.  Pour ingredients into baking dish.  (I used a 2 1/2 qt dish)  Sprinkle top with remaining brown sugar.

6.  Place in preheated oven and bake 30 minutes, or until center is set.  Allow to cool slightly and cut into portions.

Adapted from: Kathy Eats Real Food

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