Monday, July 30, 2012

Eggs and Pesto

As promised here's another way to eat your leftovers!

This morning I chopped up a few veggies and made an omlete. I used the pesto spread as a topping for bread and served it with diced fruit. I'll walk you through how I prepped my omlete.

Omlete for 2:
-2 whole eggs
-3 egg whites
-handful of cherry tomatoes
-3 baby bellas
-2 handfuls of spinach
-dash of salt
-dash of hot sauce

-Dice up your veggies first and heat your skillet. Crack your eggs, whisk them together with the salt, and hot sauce then set aside. I used non stick cooking spray and sauteed up my veggies for a few minutes. Then I set them aside and sprayed the skillet again for my egg mixture. Add your egg mixture and watch it closely ( I used medium high heat). As the edges start to cook lift them with a spatula and let the uncooked egg seep underneath. Do this a few times to get a nice fluffy omlete. Once the top of the omlete looks mostly cooked add your veggies and then fold on side over and serve. I'd show you a picture of this but I failed! Too much multitasking. No worries, I just scrambled it together and ate it anyways :)

In the meantime toast up a slice of bread and spread some of that wonderful pesto on it!

Eggs and Pesto Bread!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

White Bean Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Dressing

Lately I've been making a lot of the same recipes we've already posted, sorry for that! Roasted veggies and chicken/fish are just one of those things I can eat repeatedly and not get sick of. Thankfully my morning trip to the local farmer's market inspired me to make something new! This recipe is a great "make ahead" and eat throughout the week in various ways kind of meal. I'll illustrate this throughout the week as I eat my own leftovers!

The following recipe can be used eaten as a  meal or side dish. It can be incorporated into a pasta salad or eaten plain. Ingredients can even be swapped out. Just have fun with it and use what you have. Since my Ninja blender was already on the counter I decided to make my pesto using it. Here's the recipe.


Lemon Basil Pesto:
-3/4 cup pine nuts
-3 or 4 cups fresh whole basil leaves
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1/8-1/4 cup lemon juice (i used between this amt)
-1/4 cups olive oil
-2 pinches of salt
-1 tsp garlic (powder or fresh)

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and let it whirl. I pulsed the ingredients without the olive oil first but if you don't want to do that, it'll be fine. Pour the pesto into an airtight container and put it to the side (this will make about 1-2 cups pesto).


White Bean Salad:
White Bean Salad
-1/2 large english cucumber (diced)
-1 1/2 large carrots (diced)
-1 small red pepper (diced)
-9 baby bell mushrooms (diced)
-1 cup diced tomatoes
-1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed, no salt added)

Mix all the diced veggies and beans together in a bowl or tupperware.

Rustic Croutons:

-1/2 a small loaf of sourdough multigrain bread
-pam spray

Cube up the bread and spray it with pam spray or a misto full of olive oil. Then place on cookie sheet and broil on High. You'll need to watch these because they won't take long, really only a few minutes!

Salad + Wine :)

How I served my meal:

I started with a bed of spinach in a plate and set it aside. Then in a separate bowl I mixed the portion of salad and pesto I wanted for this meal and added it on top of the spinach. I also added rustic croutons on top and a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar. DELISH!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crab Cakes with Pineapple Mango Salsa

It's been a pretty eventful saturday over here. Ihit a great workout with some friends in the morning, ate breakfast, my power got cut off, I relocated all my refrigerated food, my power got turned back on, I brought back all my refrigerated foods, and I just made crab cakes with pineapple mango salsa. I really do love cooking and baking. To help me get in the "mood" to cook, I turn on some tunes and start jamming out while I cook. This may or may not involve ridiculous dancing and horrible singing...

Anyways, this is a great summer recipe. It's light and flavorful. So turn on those tunes and get out your cooking supplies. Here's what you'll need for the recipe.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

-2 1 inch thick slices of fresh pineapple
-1 mango
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
-1/4 of a small red onion
-3/4 of a jalapeno
-1 1/2 avocado (or just one)
- juice of 1 lime
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp salt

Step 1: Dice up your mango, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and avocado. If you plan on making the crab cakes dice up 1/2 of a small red onion, the entire jalapeno, and 1/2 bunch of cilantro (or one very small bunch). You will need the remainder of the ingredients for the crab cake mixture.
finely chopped red onion

Step 2: Mix all the ingredients into a bowl, make sure the juice of the lime and lemon coat the entire mixture so the avocado doesn't brown.
completed salsa

Set aside and start making those crab cakes

Crab Cakes

-14.5 oz of crab meat (I used a mix of white meat and claw meat)
-1/4 small red onion
-1/4 jalapeno
-1/4 c cilantro
-1/2 + 1/8 c whole wheat bread crumbs
-1 egg
-4 tbsp lemon juice
-1/4 c fat free greek yogurt
-3/4-1 tsp salt
-Hot sauce

Step 1: Toss the leftover jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Add the crab meat. You'll want to use your hands for this, but feel through the meat and make sure there are no shells or hard pieces.
unmixed ingredients 

Step 2: Add remainder of the ingredients into the bowl and mix together. Once it's completely mixed it should form into balls or patties easily.

Step 3: Again, use your hands here. Get about 1/4 of a cup of mixture into your hands and form into small crab cakes. Set these into the refrigerator for a few hours so they can firm up.

crab cake mix
formed crab cake patties

Step 4: Preheat your oven to 350F. When you're ready to cook, put a little cooking spray and olive oil into your frying pan. Use medium heat to sear the outsides of the crabcakes. Depending on your range it shouldn't take more than 5 or so minutes per side. Then place the crabcakes in the oven to bake for 10 minutes (so they can cook all the way through).

you'll want to flip them before they look like this!

Once it's all said and done plate up your crab cakes and enjoy!
crab cake with salsa, black beans, and carrots! YUMMY!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Date and Spinach Salad

Happy Friday Everyone. I hope your weekend is starting off well. I've got a super easy salad recipe for you tonight. I served this alongside pizza and a class of white wine. Since we've had a few blog posts about pizza type dishes already I left it off tonight, it's super easy to create a new pizza with whatever ingredients you have on hand. This salad mixes sweet and salty perfectly!

Date and Spinach Salad 
(I made 3 side salads with this recipe)

-3 cups fresh spinach
-9 pitted medjool dates
-1 cup diced mushrooms
-2 beets (already cooked-you can buy can or pre-pacaked or boil/steam some yourself)
-3 slices of prosciutto
-2 1/8 in thick medallions of goat cheese with cranberries (or any flavor goat cheese)
-fig tahini dressing (i was intrigued and bought it from whole foods)
not the best pic, sorry!

Step 1: Divide the spinach into 3 bowls, then top with sliced mushrooms, and sliced up dates.
Step 2: cube up the goat cheese (you'll need 9 cubes). Open up each date (slice it in half) and fill it with a cube of goat cheese.
Step 3: Slice the prosciutto (you'll need 9 strips) and wrap each date with the prosciutto.
Step 4: add the dates to the bowls and dress your salad.

*This salad is a great appetizer salad. If you wanted to make it into a meal I'd suggest doubling the veggies and maybe adding in some walnuts and sliced pear.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homemade Snack Bars

Granola bars are a solid choice as a grab-n-go when you are in a rush.  Choosing a healthy snack between meals can help stave off hunger and are a good way to prevent over-eating later in the day.  However, most of the granola, energy or protein bars found in the grocer (yes, even the organic or 'all-natural' brands) are packed with added sugar and preservatives.  To make your between meal snack, truly a nutritious choice, try this easy recipe to make your own granola bars!

This recipe can be altered to suit your taste preferences.  It is just a combination of whole grains (oatmeal, cereal and whole wheat flour), dried fruit, nuts, a touch of honey, and some eggs to bind everything together.  You can also add in some protein powder or dry milk powder.  Protein powder is expensive, but I know many folks have it on hand already.  DO NOT go out and buy some just for this recipe- dried milk powder is a great, and INEXPENSIVE, way to add a little extra protein to recipes. 

I usually use a combination of dried fruit, so use whatever you have on hand- chopped dates, raisins, dried cherries and craisins all work wonderfully.  I like to use pecans because they have a great flavor- almonds, walnuts and peanuts also work very well. 

Besides the ingredients, all you need is an oven, a baking dish and a food processor (you can use a blender if you don't have the food processor).  Simply blend your dry ingredients in the food processor. 

Add your eggs and honey and blend until flour mixture is moistened.  Press mixture firmly into a greased 13x9 baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  And there you have it- homemade, and healthy, snack bars.

Homemade Granola Bars
1 cup quick oats
1 cup plain life cereal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder or non-fat dry milk
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc)
1 1/2 cup your choice of dried fruit (I like doing a blend of chopped dates and craisins)
1 tsp cinnamon or ground ginger
2 Tb honey**
2 large eggs

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly coat a 13x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2- Blend oats, cereal, flour, dry milk (or protein powder), nuts, dried fruit and cinnamon (or ground ginger) in the food processor. 
3- Add honey (**tip- spray the measuring spoon with non-stick spray to prevent honey from sticking to the tablespoon) and eggs and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened. 
4- Dump the mixture into the baking dish and use your fingers to spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Spray a little of the non-stick spray on your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to you- this helps you spread everything more evenly.
5- Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the pre-heated oven.  The edges of the mixture should be browned.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Cut into 16 evenly sized bars.  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  These bars freeze well if tightly wrapped.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Squash Skillet

I love this time a year!  The weather is gloriously warm, everyone has that 'sun-kissed' glow, there are plenty of outdoor activities, and the farmers' markets are heaping with more types of fresh fruits and vegetables than you can count. 

Here's one expert tip for staying healthy and happy... include a fruit and/or vegetable each time you eat a meal or a snack.  You can't argue the nutritive value in these colorful foods.  And better yet- you can't beat the feeling you get when you know you are doing something good for your body! 

Here is a recipe that utilizes just some of summer's bounty- zucchini, red pepper, tomatoes, basil and sweet corn.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it now!

This is a simple, one-skillet meal.  Great for busy nights when you only have 30 minutes until you want to get some dinner in your belly. 

First, you slice up some chicken or turkey sausage (lower fat and cholesterol than pork or beef sausage).  If you want to make this vegetarian, you could certainly use some firm tofu or soy crumbles.  Cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. 

While sausage cooks, cut your fingerling potatoes, red pepper and onion.  I used purple fingerling potatoes because I wanted to pack this dish with all the colors I could!

When sausage is browned, remove to a plate and set aside.  Add the potatoes, onion and pepper to the hot skillet with a touch of oil. 

While the veggies are tenderizing, mince up some garlic and thinly slice your zucchini.  Add those to the skillet. 

While the zucchini is cooking.  Chop your tomatoes and then add into the skillet.  When the zucchini is slightly tender and the tomatoes are becoming soft, stir sausage back into the skillet.  Add some fresh basil, oregano and red pepper flakes and you are good to go!! 

I served up this quick and easy meal with some fresh corn on the cob and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of the whole plate.  Can't beat that!

Check out my recipe...

Summer Squash Skillet
12oz pack chicken sausage (recommend spicy Italian flavor)
1 Tb olive oil
1.5 cups sliced fingerling potatoes
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 Tb fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
2 Tb fresh basil, minced (or 2 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1- Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with non-stick spray and add sliced chicken sausage to hot pan.  Cook until browned.  Place sausage on a plate and set aside.
2- Turn heat down to medium and add 1 Tb oil.  Add your potatoes.  While potatoes start to cook, chop your red pepper and onion.  After about 3 minutes of potatoes cooking, add your pepper and onion and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3- While veggies are cooking, mince your garlic and slice the zucchini.  Add to your skillet.  Cook about 3-5 minutes while you chop your tomatoes.  Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. 
4- Add the sausage back into the skillet and cook about 1 minute until sausage is heated through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in fresh basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cherry Steel Cut Oats

Happy Father's Day! I whipped up a batch of steel cut oats this morning. I never make steel cut oats during the week because of how long they take to make but when you have a little extra time it's definitely worth it. Oatmeal is one of those breakfasts that really stick with you, high in heart healthy fiber and a decent source of protein. Not to mention they are versatile. You can add so many different "toppings" to change the flavor up, you can even make them savory. Also, it's very easy so serve a crowd with different taste buds. You can make 1 huge pot of oats and then have a "mix-ins" bar out with nuts, dried fruit, nut butter, yogurt, etc. GIve it a try!

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
-1 cup steel cut oats
-4 cups water (per directions on container)
-2 cups pitted sweet cherries (remember, go organic here, they are on the dirty dozen)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1 banana
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Start by cooking the steel cut oats as directed on the box. Then after they have started to form and get thicker add in your cherries and banana. Mix it all together and let it continue to simmer. Once the oats are formed and to the consistency you like add the sugar, walnuts, and vanilla extract. Let it sit just a bit longer on low heat and serve. Steel cut oats aren't difficult to make they are just time consuming.

I added a touch of milk right before serving to loosen it up. I also topped it with plain greek yogurt and honey (because greek yogurt rocks!).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Whoopie Pies

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I'm having my parents over for a brunch celebration. My Dad is a very simple man, he doesn't like things and he doesn't want you to buy him anything... EVER! There is one thing my dad loves and that's Whoopie Pies. Last Thanksgiving I made pumpkin whoopie pies with a maple cream cheese filling and they were a huge hit! My Dad has been talking about them ever since. Yes, they were reduced fat and high fiber, I'm a dietitian, it's what I do! Anyways, so today I created a new recipe for my Dad. My oven is FINALLY working and this was the first thing I threw in there. Could you make these rich and decadent? Sure! But why do that when you could make them healthier and still taste great? That's what this blog is all about anyways, right?

Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll be posting about the actual brunch I make sometime this week but for now here's the whoopie pie recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Whoopie Pie
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/8 tsp ginger
-1/8 tsp nutmeg
-1/3 tsp baking powder
-1/3 tsp baking soda
-1/3 cup light brown sugar
-2 tbsp white sugar
-2 tbs fat free greek yogurt
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1/3 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts
-1/4 cup raisins

-Preheat your oven to 350F

-Mix all the dry ingredients (oats-baking soda) in a bowl, set aside. Mix all wet ingredients (brown sugar-egg) in another smaller bowl). Mix the wet until well combined (should look like the picture below). Add the raisins and walnuts to the dry ingredients and toss them so they are lightly coated in flour. Then mix the wet and dry. I didn't use a mixer for this but you could!

before mixing together

all combined

-Spray a whoopie pie dish or regular cookie try and dollop a tbs worth of batter down (I used a heaping tbs and these got a little bigger than I would have liked). Then place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven).

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling
-1/2 package of low fat cream cheese (softened)
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to combine all these ingredients into a creamy frosting, like below.

When you're whoopie pies have sufficiently cooled down frost the whoopie pie and try not to eat them all! :)


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

chicken n' squash

Funny story about this recipe, I actually planned on making it Monday night. Moving disrupts my cooking schedule! These chicken breasts have been "marinating" since Monday night, whoops! I was supposed to bake them that night but my oven decided to smoke. Being the frazzled genius I am, I didn't there was any other solution than to eat a salad with deli turkey on it (nobody wants to see that). My brilliant brother shed some light on the issue and reminded me today (while I complained about my chicken) that I could cook it on the stove top. GENIUS! Why didn't I think of that? Oh yeah, I was too paranoid about the water bug I found in my laundry room. Ew, those things are big and scary and I swear they want to eat people! So yeah, I can't think clearly and I'm a coward when it comes to killing bugs.

Anywho... back to the chicken (since I know you're hungry after all that gross talk).

Mustard Marinade
-2 heaping tbs dijon mustard
-1 heaping tbs lemon juice
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper

(rub all over your chicken and let it sit overnight...or 2 days, whichever..)

-You can bake your chicken breast in the oven at 375 for 20(ish) minutes or you can do it on the stove top like I did. I seared it on medium high so each side browned nicely and then put the lid over the pan to help it cook evenly throughout.

Summer Squash
-3 yellow squash
-1 zucchini
-1/2 orange pepper
-5 baby bella mushrooms
-1 small yellow onion
-1/4 pint cherry tomatoes
-2 tsp lemon juice
-2 tsp garlic powder

-I precut all these earlier in the day and sprinkled them with salt/pepper (about 1 tsp each), lemon juice, and garlic powder. Spray down your pan with PAM and sauté these bad boys up. It's really that simple! It took about 15 minutes to get them soft and browning a little.

Tonight was one of those quick dinners where you don't worry about proper cooking process or anything. You just throw it all in the pan and let it go! I promise, it works! I'm way too worried about that stupid waterbug to be concerned with dinner. I'm hoping it finds its way out just like it found its way in! There I go mixing grossness with delicious food again, sorry!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jerk Chicken

This post is a little bit overdue.  But what can I say- it's definitely worth the wait.  When it comes to grilling out, nothing else quite gets the senses going like jerk chicken (or jerk anything really).  Yeah, you can go buy a bottled jerk marinade at the store and call it a night.  But why cook with all the extra preservatives and sodium when you can whip up a tasty recipe from fresh, nutritious ingredients?

Vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices are all packed with flavor and can lend a lot to a dish... when sodium just falls short.  In this recipe, you do need a food processor or blender.  Then we blend together onions and peppers, spicy ginger, pungent garlic and a whole bunch of spices.  You can use the marinade for chicken, vegetables, meat, fish, even tofu (yes I really have used this marinade on tofu before!)

I used some meaty pieces of chicken (chicken thighs, breasts, etc.).  This recipe is better with skinless chicken pieces because it allows the flavor to soak deep into the meat.  I have done it both ways though, so feel free to experiment.  Although I didn't cook kabobs this time, my favorite way to use this recipe is chicken kabobs with peppers, onions and pineapple..mmm mmmm!

All you do is blend the ingredients of your marinade in a food processor or blender...

Toss your chicken, vegetables, or whatever else you like in the marinade.  Let sit, covered in the refrigerator, for at least an hour and up to overnight.  Cook on a hot grill- this was Sonny's job! 

Buddy likes to sit and watch the magic happen.

And there you have it!  The yummy jerk chicken is pictured here with jerk-marinated vegetables, grilled pineapples and plantains.  As you can see there is a little dipping sauce next to the chicken.  You can reserve about 1/4 cup of the marinade (before you use it on the raw chicken- do not use the same marinade that you used for raw chicken because that is how you get salmonella) and mix that with about 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt.  Now you have a yummy jerk sauce to extend the flavor a little more!

Jerk Marinade
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tb fresh ginger, roughly chopped (may use 2 tsp ground)
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup salt
6 Tb lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Use to marinate your poultry, meat, seafood, veggies or tofu.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Asian Salmon and stir fry

Happy Hump Day all! I hope it's warm and beautiful wherever you are. It's definitely a nice day here but sadly my iced coffee is almost done! Man, I love coffee...

Enough of the small talk, let's get to this fish dish shall we? This is a quick weeknight meal. Honestly, it took me about 30 minutes or less from start to finish. I created the recipe on a whim and called out ingredients and amounts to my brother so he could keep track, I was thinking of all of you guys! :)

I'll write this out in the order I cooked it. I did chop up a sweet potato and put roast it but that was a so-so addition. I couldn't find baby corn at the grocery store so I had to make a substitution and sauteed sweet potato in stir fry just seemed wrong.

Preheat your oven to 400F


- 1 bunch of bok choy (baby or regular)
-1 red pepper
-3 carrots
-1 shallot
-2 cloves garlic or 1/2 garlic scape
-2 cups diced shitake mushrooms
-1 can baby corn or 1/2 package fresh baby corn (if you can find it)
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
-1 tsp honey
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp rice vinegar
-2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
-1 tsp lemon juice,
-pepper to taste

Start by putting oil in a wok or saute pan over medium high heat. Add shallots and garlic scapes. Then add the other spices/sauces as the shallots and garlic soften. Add all other vegetables and saute until soft. Make sure you cook the bok choy well otherwise it can taste a little bitter.
saute those veggies!

While the veggies are get your fish out and whip up the following sauce.


-1 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp rice vinegar
-2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
-1 tbsp honey
-1/4 tbsp chili powder

Mix the above ingredients and then pour over your fish. NOTE: if you plan making this dish in advance rather than winging it like I did then it'd be a great idea to marinate your fish for an hour or so in the sauce above for extra flavor.

pour the sauce over your fish

- 1.5ish lbs of fresh caught salmon

NOTE: It's best to buy wild caught salmon, farm raised salmon is lower in nutrients and omegas (those heart healthy fats we all love). Farm raised salmon is actually gray and dyed pink because they aren't able to eat the plankton that wild caught salmon do giving them all their phytochemicals and pretty pink color.

I cooked the fish for about 20-35 minutes and bumped up the heat to broil at the very end (for about 5 minutes)

All done!

Now you're dinner is all done and ready to eat! This recipe made enough for 3 hungry adults and 1 very happy pup!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cookie dough? Yes please!

Who doesn't love cookie dough? Nobody worth hanging out with that's for sure! Okay, maybe that's a bold statement. If someone doesn't like cookie dough they must have just not had a good experience, we can change that. In fact, I think this recipe will convert someone over into the "cookie dough fan club".

I got this recipe from I changed it up a little bit but the recipe is basically the same. She's got an awesome blog and if you haven't checked it out already you should.

I was dog sitting for a few friends when I had the urge to bake something but didn't want to actually turn on the oven. This is a great "lazy baking" recipe since it actually doesn't require baking at all. Plus, who doesn't want to come home to cookie dough balls after a vacation?

Here's what you'll need for the recipe:

-1/2 stick butter (original recipe uses a whole stick)
-1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp sea salt (or 3/4 tsp kosher salt)
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup fat free greek yogurt
-3/4 cup chocolate chips (original recipe uses 1 cup)
-1/4 cup caramel chips (original recipe doesn't add these)
-1/2 cup chopped pecans (original recipe uses walnuts)
-1.5 cups chocolate chips for melting and dipping

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. Then whisk together butter, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla extract (the wet ingredients). You need to use softened butter here so if you don't have time to leave the butter out at room temp than just put it in the microwave for a little bit. I did this by hand but you can use an electric mixer if you'd like to speed up the process a bit. Once the wet ingredients are whipped together slowly add the dry to the wet. Lastly, add in the nuts, chocolate chips, and caramel bites.  It should look like this...

Next you'll want to make little balls out of this dough. I choose to make small-medium sized balls. I used a large spoon (~1 tbsp) to scoop and rolled the balls in my hands (clean hands). They should look like this.

Now here comes the hard part. You have to put them in the freezer (I put them in a deep freezer) for a few hours to harden and cool off, otherwise they won't hold. If you don't have a deep freezer plan on waiting about 4-6 hours before these little guys are good to go. In the meantime you can watch a silly movie or go for a walk with your dogs or workout or nap or cook dinner for the week ahead!

Once they were frozen I melted the 1.5 cups of chocolate chips in the microwave, you could also use a double boiler. Then I dipped the cookie dough balls in melted chocolate and put them back in the freezer so the chocolate shell could harden. I had a picture of these and accidentally deleted it, whoops! Just imagine a chocolate shell on the outside or go to and see them! 

I recommend storing these in the freezer and taking them out 20-30 minutes before you want to eat them. I couldn't wait so I ate them straight out of the freezer, weird right? You could also pop them in the microwave for 5-10 seconds but be careful they get melty. Cookie dough soup could be good though...

Adaptations you can make...
1. Try using replace 1/2 cup of the flour with oats, use 1 cup of raisins instead of chocolate chips, use walnuts instead of pecans, and 1 tsp cinnamon and you've got oatmeal raisin cookie dough balls. I wouldn't dip them in anything but you could certainly dip them in chocolate
2. Use 2 mashed bananas instead of yogurt, 1/2 cup peanut butter chips, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and you've got chocolate peanut butter banana cookie dough balls (wow that's a long title).
3. Use shredded coconut and chopped almonds for an almond joy inspired cookie dough ball. 

The possibilities are endless. Have fun in the kitchen and experiment. Turn on some music, get your hands a little doughy, and invite a friend over. Sometimes you make fail but sometimes you'll end up with a tasty treat! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Smoked Turkey Salad

Seems like I may be on a "salad" kick. I do that with food but at I'll try to bring a variety to the table, promise.

I went to my favorite wine/coffee bar a few weeks ago and had a "salad sandwich" which typically I don't order because they are mayonnaise with a side of meat which is not only unhealthy but unappealing because I absolutely hate mayo. I dislike the texture, the smell, the flavor, everything. Mayo is to me as Ketchup is to Morgan (SAT throwback, hope I used that correctly...). Anyways, back to the salad sandwich it was smoked chicken with dried fruit, SO SO good and didn't have mayo (or at least I couldn't detect it). So naturally I had to try to recreate it. So today I stepped into the kitchen and created this recipe. I hope you like it.

Smoked Turkey Salad
-1 package of smoked turkey deli meat (I used organic applegate farms)
-1/2 package uncured ham (also applegate farms)
-6 unsulpherized/unsweetened dried apricots
-3 medjool dates (pitted)
-1/4 cup chopped pecans
-1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
-1 tbsp fat free greek yogurt (I suppose you could use mayo)
-1 tsp lemon juice
-pepper to taste

First you'll want to dice/cube the smoked turkey and ham. Then chop the nuts/dried fruits into bite sizes pieces, you don't want big chunks in this recipe. Next whisk up the wet ingredients and add them to the bowl. Mix and serve! It's really that easy.
                             before you chop them
after you chop them

Next choose how you want to eat it!
1. In a sandwich. Try whole wheat bread, a slice of smoked gouda and lettuce.
2. In a whole wheat wrap with avocado and arugula
3. In a bowl on top of local salad greens! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mango Orange Salad

Happy Mother's Day to all those Moms out there! This morning my brother and I teamed up to make a brunch for our mom. My brother worked on some home made biscuits and I created a side salad to go alongside the eggs and biscuits. This salad was so light and refreshing. I hate when brunch turns into a heavy meal leaving you sluggish all day. I understand "brunch" is breakfast and lunch in one but it doesn't mean you can eat 2-3x as much as you normally would. After this great brunch we went for a walk with Emma, no food comas here!

Salads can be a great light summer time meal or side dish for cook outs! This salad is packed with fruit and vegetables. If you want to make it into a "meal" top it with some grilled chicken, fish, or an egg (like I did) to add protein and staying power. 

Another great thing about salads is how easy they are to make. If you don't have some of these fruits on hand feel free to swap them out with pears and berries or apples and grapes. Really, anything can work.

Mango Orange Salad

-1 champagne mango (peeled and diced)
-1 naval orange peeled and segmented (you can use a blood orange too)
-4 cups of spring vegetable mix
-1/4 of an english cucumber thinly sliced
-1 hass avocado sliced

For the Vinaigrette
-1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup champagne vinegar
-2 tbsp dijon mustard
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tbsp honey
-salt and pepper to taste

(shake it up and dress your salad. This recipe will make extra if you lightly dress your salad like I did).

This salad will serve 4 as a side salad or 2 for a meal salad (protein added). 

In the salad I showed above I added 1 egg sunny side up and let the runny yolk also dress my salad. It was delish!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Strawberry Cucumber Smoothie

It's finally getting warmer outside!!! YEY!!!! As the weather gets warmer many times heavy meals and drinks just don't seem very tempting. In fact, they can be a little repulsive. I love drinking refreshing smoothies in the summer for this reason and many others (they can be packed with antioxidants and micronutrients). Watch out though, many smoothies are made with "juice" rather than fresh fruit and are loaded with sweeteners that add excessive calories and bring the overall nutritional quality down. It's best to make your smoothies at home and it's super easy! I got this idea from but switched things up a little bit.

If you remember from my last post on smoothies, these blended drinks can be a great way to sneak in a vegetable for picky eaters. This recipe may not be the best for that since it does have a "cucumbery" taste but it is delicious! Other mild vegetables to add into smoothies are carrots and celery. If you blend these with strong fruit flavors like apples, pears, and mangoes you won't really taste them!

Cucumber Strawberry Smoothie (serves 1) 

-1/2 diced english cucumber (skin on*, seeds in)
-1 cup frozen strawberries 
-3/4-1 cup light vanilla soymilk
-1 tbsp honey
-1/8 tsp almond extract
-splash (1/4 - 1/2 tsp) rose water**

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend away!

*the skin of fruit/vegetables contains a large amount of the fiber. English cucumbers have a very thin skin so go ahead and blend it right in! I try to make sure I buy organic produce to avoid all the extra pesticides and waxy coatings that may be on certain fruits/vegetables.
**You can exclude this but I love the flavor. Rose water is the liquid that comes out of pressed rose petals. I buy the bottles at middle eastern grocery stores. If you can't find it, it's really no biggie just skip it.

Alternative options:
-Try adding fat free greek yogurt for a creamier and protein packed smoothie!
-Swap out the frozen strawberries for another frozen berry like blackberries or raspberries.
-Use agave nectar instead of honey as a sweetener. You could also exclude the sweetener.