Friday, April 27, 2012

Zesty Blue Cheese Dip

Sonny is outside grilling up some delicious chicken for dinner tonight.  The savory smell of the grill is making me hungry so I whipped up a quick veggie dip to go along with some celery sticks. 

All you need is some plain yogurt (I prefer Greek of course) a lil dab of light mayo and some white vinegar.  Throw in whatever seasonings you like- I went with dill, chives and onion powder and tossed in some blue cheese.  You only need a little since blue cheese has a very strong flavor.  And there you have it- a light appetizer as the amazing chicken is getting grilled to perfection!

Zesty Blue Cheese Dip

1 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayo
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 Tb white vinegar
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried chives
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve with fresh veggies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday FUNday!

Happy Monday everyone! Yesterday was a beautiful day, I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the awesome weather. Morgan and I spent a relaxing Sunday the only way we know how-cooking, baking, grilling, and drinking. It was great! Morgan will be posting the recipes to our Jerk themed dinner, she took charge of the chicken and veggies. I took charge of the drinks/cookies. I should note I made plantains, you'll see them in the picture of our tasty dinner plate but unfortunately they didn't taste too great so I'll revamp the recipe and get back to you on that one. On to the drinks.

It's get warmer and there's nothing like a light refreshing cocktail to cool you down on a Sunday afternoon. Inspired by strawberries and lemons (wonderful summer flavors) we created this little guy. Morgan and I enjoyed them while we cooked the rest of our dinner.

Strawberry Lemonade Spritzer (serves 2)
-4 muddled strawberries (you can just mash them with a fork)
-1.5-2 shots of Limoncello (depends on how strong you like it)
-1/2 mini shot bottle of passionfruit rum
-Seltzer water.

-Start by muddling up those berries and fill 2 cups with ice. Then add strawberries, along with their juice, to the cups. Poor in the Limoncello and rum. Top off with seltzer water. Stir and drink!

And now...

Dessert! Cookies are wonderful. I really can't say anything negative about these cookies. If you're looking for a healthier alternative to your go to cookie recipe, give these a shot. Save those more decandent desserts for a special day and enjoy a little cookie after dinner all week long! I may have enjoyed 3, but who's counting anyways?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
-3 cups oats
-1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/8th tsp nutmeg
-2 mashed bananas
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup canola oil
-1/2 tsp coconut extract
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup coconut flakes
-1 cup dark chocolate chips

-Preheat your oven to 375F. These cookies should only take about 10 minutes, but this can vary based on your oven so keep an eye on them.
-Mix all your dry ingredients together first. Then toss the chocolate chips and coconut flakes in the dry ingredients. Set aside.
-Mix all your wet ingredients together, make sure there are no brown sugar clumps. You can use an electric mixer but we did it by hand.
-Then add your wet to your dry and scoop away. We used small spoons to make mini versions. Who does love a little cookie? They are so cute!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shmancy Spiced French Toast

You know what is awesome?  Brunch!  You know what else is awesome?  Impressing your friends with a brunch dish that appears that you worked and cooked for hours- but in reality it took little to no time!  That's exactly how I feel about this super shmancy pants baked french toast.  The special thing about baked french toast is that you can do it ahead of time (like the night before even) and then it's all ready to pop it in the oven when you're ready to mix up some mimosas Sunday morning.

All you need is some bread- this is a great way to use up semi-stale bread.  Then, whisk together eggs and milk with whatever spices or flavors you desire.  I went with some warm spices from cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and vanilla.  But you can play with the flavor a little by adding in orange or lemon zest or even adding a different extract like almond or coconut.  Then change it up a little more by throwing in any fresh or dried fruit and chopped nuts- I went with chopped dates and pecans... mmmm mmmmm.

Lightly coat a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Simply cube some whole-wheat bread into about 1in. x 1in. pieces and layer evenly in the bottom of your baking dish.  Sprinkle with desired chopped nights and fruit. 

Whisk together the egg, milk, a touch of sugar and your desired spices and extracts.

Pour the egg mixture over your bread.  Let this sit for at least an hour, or up to overnight in the refrigerator.  When you are ready to bake it, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook covered with foil for the first half to prevent over-browning and then remove the foil so the top can crisp up a bit (about 45 minutes total baking time).  When it starts to puff up and is no longer jiggly in the middle, it's ready to go!

After you have your french toast, you can take it to the next level with your sauce.  I kept it simple and did a maple yogurt sauce.  I want flavor without overdoing the calories so I stuck with a fat-free Greek yogurt and added some real maple syrup- a little goes a long way when you use real maple.  Simply drizzle your sauce over the french toast when it is hot out of the oven- so GOOD!  Now all you need is a fresh fruit salad and some cocktails and you're ready for brunch!

Shmancy Spiced French Toast w/ Maple Yogurt Glaze
6 slices whole wheat bread, cut into 1 in. cubes
1/4 cup chopped dried dates (or dried fruit of your choice)
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choices)
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup skim milk
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
3 Tb real maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1- Lightly coat 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2- Spread bread cubes evenly in baking dish and sprinkle chopped dates and pecans over top
3- Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.  Pour over top of bread and let sit for at least an hour (or up to overnight) in refrigeration.
4- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cover french toast with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until puffy and golden brown.
5- Whisk together yogurt, maple syrup and cinnamon.  Drizzle sauce over french toast and serve warm.