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Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Yay for Humpday AND another WIAW!

Peas and Crayons

If you’re new to WIAW, click on the image above to head to Jen’s blog Peas and Crayons and learn more :).

Let’s go ahead and get down to brass tax, so I can share the uhhh-maaazinng recipe I concocted last night with you!

Breakfast Office Overnight Oats: Day before: 1 packet Quaker plain instant oatmeal, 1/2 container Chobani plain yogurt, enough Vanilla soy milk to soak mixture thoroughly. Morning of: added Kashi Go Lean cereal, sliced banana, 1.5 ish tbs peanut butter, cinnamon, pinch of salt. Was quite sad to say goodbye to this bowl!

Lunch: Penny Egg Sandwich! For some reason a good ole’ breakfast sandwich just sounded spot-on to me today. Only bummer is they left out my 2nd requested egg! Fried egg, Swiss, hummus and pesto mayo on an amazingly doughy Portuguese muffin

Veg and balsamic for some nutrients and fiber!

Last chunkies of my Vosges Banana Victoria Bar

Tropical Trio–super ripe cantaloupe, pineapple and raspberries

Honey Cinnamon Flax Almond Butter with Happy Herberts Oatbran Pretzels

Breakstone 2% cottage cheese with Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

After this snack/work, I met my awesome friend Elissia for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on Greenwich Avenue for a quick catch-up before heading back to the city! Loves her :).

Last Coconut Cherry Pie Larabar nugget eaten on the train. The blur is from my tears.

Dinner: Giant falafel ballz with hummus over tabbouleh dressed in a delectable sesame-tahina sauce

Crumbled, mixed, devoured.

Chocolate avocado mousse with cashew pieces and another extra-special topping…see below for the big reveal!

Milk mug shot–took this about half-way through consumption

I also just had a handful of unsulphured dried apricots and cuppa TJ’s Ginger Tea!

WIA-wheeeeew! Great day of eats, all-in-all!

Ok then. So this “recipe”…or, I should really say, this sheer ALCHEMY that took place in my kitchen last night…

I ADORED my Coconut Cherry Pie Larabars, and as the first batch began to dwindle, I started brainstorming new flavor combinations to quell the rising panic!

In the last week (I’d be lying if I said I remembered when exactly), something reminded me of a trail mix that my sweet Mama makes almost every year around Christmas time as a gift for friends and family.

It is so simple but SO fabulous–dried cherries, cashews, dark chocolate chips. The taste of all three ingredients together is truly magical!

They say mother knows best. I don’t know who they are, but they’re onto something.

Merry Christmas…to me.

Chocolate Cherry Cashew LARALEABARS:

  • 2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries (Kirkland has the best!)
  • generous 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (you could probably also use 1-2 tbs cocoa powder but I can’t vouch)

Quick shout-out to one of the best deals in town!

Think chocolate keyboard.

$4.99 for 17.6 ounces of, in my opinion, some of the best-tasting dark chocolate out there. Great for baking, better for eating straight up. Run, don’t walk.

For this recipe, I used 4 squares of the Pound Plus bar, which I estimate around 1/3 cup chopped or in chip form.

Instructions:

Blend dates and cherries in food processor until they form a sticky paste but still maintain some small pieces of fruit (not pure paste).  Remove and place in a mixing bowl. Next, process the cashews and chocolate until chocolate bits are incorporated throughout and small cashew chunks remain.

Add cashew/chocolate mixture to the bowl of dried fruit, roll up your sleeves and start working it all together. You’ll feel like you’re imitating the way bread-kneading looks (with me?). It might seem dry at first, but keep on keepin’ on and eventually it will form a sticky ball of deliciousness.

line a 5×8 in pan with parchment paper. Turn ‘dough’ into the pan and press until you reach preferred thickness for the bars. Cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into whatever shapes you like (this takes some elbow grease as well)!

NOTES: 1) These bars are very dense and rich, and I just happen to like the look of rectangular-shaped bars, so I made mine about 1/4 inch thick. 2) Because of the chocolate, it is best to keep them refrigerated, but not crucial–they’ll just be a lil’ melty.

Now style them like you’d actually consider giving them away, chuckle to yourself, and go to town.

Make a you wish

These bars are absolutely absurd

Honestly–I’d take one over the ‘real’ Larabar flavors I’ve tried any day! I don’t know why the combination works so well, but I think I’ll be hard-pressed to top it.

Thank you for the inspiration, Mom! You always seem to know me better than I know myself, and I love you much :).

Night night!

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Hello again!

I just polished off a fantastic weekend visiting two of my dearest girlfriends in Richmond, VA!

My travel accommodations there and back left something to be desired, however, to say the very, very least.

Excited for a steal, I spent $50 to take the Apex bus roundtrip from Chinatown to VA. I’ve taken the Bolt Bus several times before to Washington, D.C., and I just assumed that Apex would be a similar experience…

It made an a*s out of…only me.

CATCH THESE AS I THROW ‘EM ATCHA: Potential roach infestation, duct-taped bathroom door, trash-covered, soda-sticky floor, blasted air conditioning…on an already cold bus, and the thick unmistakable scent of  stale, deeply fried food.

Needless to say, I cannot exactly recommend the Apex bus, except for the mere fact that it is an absurdly cheap way to travel, and it offered me the opportunity to meet some lovely folks! Amazing what you can learn about someone on an 8-hour bus ride.

Today I have a SUPER easy, why-didn’t-I-do-this-before recipe to share with you all! So easy that I whipped up a batch last night, after dragging myself and my rolly-suitcase through the subway post-bus adventure.

First things first though, some snapshots from my Richmond visit! I really was living in the moment this weekend and did not take a ton of photos, but hopefully the below will give you an idea of the fun we had!

Or the fun I had entertaining myself at the gas station rest stop. Go big or go back North.

Triple Threat to my eyes at 1 am on Friday–Berkley’s Beautiful Bed!

Kath’s boyfriend’s dog Maggie, who kept a rather loud night vigil slept in the room with me.

Bright and early Saturday–my first BARRE BURN class

There’s been serious buzz about Barre Burn recently, so I jumped at the opportunity to try it out with Kath and Berkley!

What is Barre Burn? “It’s a total body workout that slims your hips, tightens your thighs, lifts your seats and mobilizes your metabolism. Utilizing ballet movements, intelligent isometrics, challenges in rhythm, range of motion and progressive core training, your body heals, tightens, strengthens, so you look, feel and move better!”

VERDICT: I absolutely adored this class. Leaves your muscles screaming for mercy in the best way, without the intensity of most strength workouts. Equinox offers a few classes, and I am DEFINITELY adding it to my fitness routine!

You’d better believe it. Post-burn, Kath and I hit up the annual Richmond WOOFSTOCK Festival! This is an adorable event for a fantastic cause, and I’m so glad we stopped by to support it!

Gentle Giant–One of the many sweet pups up for adoption.

A kinship discovered.

Snack attack at Sweet Frog! Me: Vanilla,White Chocolate Macadamia nut and Cake Batter fro-yo, with Reese’s Cups, Snickers, coconut and peanut butter sauce. HIT THE SPOT.

Kath: Irish Mint and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, pound cake, raspberries, unrecognizable chocolatey goodness

Richmond dreamhouse-spotting

Afternoon delight with our friend Lacy  from UVA!  Manchego, goat cheese, crackers, champagne, a hand, antlers.

I didn’t snap any shots at Berkley’s engagement party out of respect for the betrothed couple, but it was a total blast! Replete with signature Mojitos,  famous local cupcakes, and an ADDICTIVE nut/cheese spread–Berks lemme know if you figure this one out!

Droolworthy leftovers from Sunday brunch at Kath’s boyfriend’s parents’ home (you with me?!). Everything was scratch-made and out of this world! Buttery cinnamon coffee cake pictured.

Chicken-salad comfort for the bus-riding soul.

The STAR of the brunch didn’t make it to my camera before my mouth, but I feel fairly certain that these homemade HAM BISCUITS were laced with the same ingredient as the nut/cheese spread.

Somethin’ like that.

Powered by an incredible meal and a potent combination of fear and revulsion, I said goodbye to Kathleen yesterday at 1 pm and boarded the Apex bus back to NYC.

8+ hours and multiple hand-washings later, I was back at my apartment NEEDING to make something fast and delicious to mask the odorous memories of my journey. I’ve been getting down to the wire on my  Justin’s Maple Almond Butter packets, previously praised here and here, and as I scoured my pantry I realized I had all of the ingredients to make my own!

 So I thanked the stanky-bus for inspiration and I didn’t look back!

MAPLE VANILLA ALMOND BUTTER

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups roasted almonds*
  • 1.5 tbs  maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (my stellar addition, not in Justin’s)

*NOTE: If you start with raw almonds, toss your almonds in maple syrup, and roast in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing once. Allow to cool completely after removing, and proceed with the rest of the instructions.

Process your almonds for about 5-7 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed until completely smooth.

Don’t be alarmed! For the first few minutes, it will clump up and rattle around like a hamster

Battle of wills.

Eventually, however, your FP should do its job and turn your nuts into a lovely, creamy consistency!

Hoosyerdaddy.

At this point, add the maple syrup, salt and vanilla extract and process again for another minute or so until ingredients are fully incorporated.

Makin’ magic.

Now sample your gorgeous nut butter straight-up, feel all become right with the world, and empty every last bit into a Tupperware container.

Owe you one.

I savored 2 tbs of mine this morning on a whole wheat English muffin, paired with cottage cheese that I mixed with strawberry jam and strawberries!

The warm scent of maple syrup made me feel like I was eating pancakes at work! Perfect way to lick my bus wounds start a Monday.

Much as I love Justin’s, it will run you a pretty penny, so I’m psyched to have created an equally-scrumptious homemade version.

I haven’t been able to get my baked Parmesan chicken tenders out of my head, and I have a TON of the cheese/breadcrumb mixture left, so I’m headed out to the grocery to pick up ingredients for a new batch!

Have a wonderful Monday night :).

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THIS JUST IN:

I made THE most delicious BAKED chicken tenders last night, with a surprisingly killer dipping sauce:

It’s ALWAYS the right time for me

Whoops, couldn’t help it my b!

Lemme try that again.

Proud batch delegate.

Oh yeah, that looks about right.

Last night was Nellie’s and my turn to host the “Current Events Club” dinner! Every month or so, a group of my UVA girlfriends  get together at one of our apartments, and the hostess cooks dinner. We drink wine, catch up on each other’s Current Events, and enjoy a delicious homemade meal!

Unfortunately with our busy lives, I might otherwise go months without seeing these girls, so the CEC has turned out to be a really wonderful ritual.

Keep up the good work!

This week had been jam-packed, so I knew that I wanted to make something simple and with a comfort-food vibe. I’d seen a zillion recipes for baked chicken tenders and had always wanted to give ’em a whirl. The iron was hot!

I settled on a recipe by my girl Giada de Laurentiis

Smiling’s my favorite!

I LOVE Giada. I really do. Despite the fact that this was the only non-cleavage baring picture I could find:

  1. Her recipes taste fantastic, are (somewhat) innovative, and are easy to re-create.
  2. She has an infectious enthusiasm and positive attitude that make me excited about life!

I was intrigued by Giada’s recipe for Parmesan baked chicken tenders, which receives rave reviews and includes a balsamic vinaigrette dipping sauce rather than the usual BBQ or honey mustard?!

Mad genius.

       3. Girlfriend’s a little crazy…and I dig it!

I modified the recipe a bit, but stuck with the vinaigrette idea and IT.IS.SLAMMIN.

PARMESAN BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS

Chick:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 lb chicken tenders
  • 1 cup toasted panko breadcrumbs with homemade seasoning (see below or you can use Italian pre-seasoned.)
  • 1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

Self-Seasoned Panko:

  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or cayenne)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine spices in a small bowl and add to breadcrumbs. Toss to distribute spices evenly!

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs honey-my addition but I think it’s key 

Mash the minced garlic with the salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and then the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. Whisk in the honey. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with pepper. Transfer the vinaigrette to a small serving bowl.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over each of 2 heavy large lined baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand AT LEAST 30 mines, preferably overnight.

Buttermilk bath–available for humans?

Optional: before adding seasoning, toast your panko by heating it in a large medium-low skillet for 5-8 minutes. Stir constantly until it turns a golden brown. Toasting the panko will make your tenders crunchier, but they’ll taste great either way!

Stir the seasoned panko and Parmesan in a shallow baking dish (pie, cake etc.).

This combination of spices and cheese smelled amazing

Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken tenders and bake until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Turn your chicken tenders halfway through the baking time. I did not do this and some of their poor fannies got scorched! Thankfully, the crunchy brown bits were still super yummy :).

Tender lil thangs!

I was THRILLED with how these bad boys turned out–moist from soaking in buttermilk, crispy and incredibly flavorful from the seasoned Panko/parmesan mixture!

Dipped in the outrageously tasty vinaigrette? FUGGEDABOUTIT.

Nellie and I served these with a delicious spinach salad:

Tossed with dried cherries, orange wedges, toasted sliced almonds, feta and Brianna’s Blush Wine Salad dressing

And Annie’s Organic White Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese !

Shells come to life.

Great job on the sides, Nellie!

We ended the night with Edy’s Chocolate and Vanilla fro-yo and a toppings bar! (Oreos, Samoas, M&M Minis, sweetened coconut flakes and gummy bears)

The night was a huge success–everything tasted incredible, everyone went back for seconds, and we had a blast gettin’ Current on each other’s lives.

What is your go-to recipe for entertaining a group?

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Good morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

You know how there are times when you meet someone, and it’s as if you’ve always known each other? It’s a special chemistry that applies to romantic relationships and friendships alike, and in my experience, it is both extraordinarily rare and extraordinarily wonderful!

This weekend, one of those “Insta-friends” came to visit!

Test of time

Berkley and I met during the sorority rush process my freshman year of college, and although we were supposed to try to chat with as many people as possible, we only had eyes for each other!

Berkley is the kind of friend I couldn’t lie to if I tried–she can read me in an instant, knows the ugly and loves me anyway, and although life has placed us in different parts of the country,we always pick up right where we left off.

This was evident the moment she came through my apartment door on Friday to the intoxicating scent of a 1-2-3 Cake! Berkley had specially requested one of these beauties outrageously delicious cakes, and I HAPPILY obliged.

Sans sprinkles with chocolate protein frosting: 1 c plain Greek yogurt, 1.5 tsp sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp agave. 

Berkley was primarily in town for a friend’s engagement festivities, but we had a BLAST in the time we spent together! Thankfully, I had brunch plans with Rachael’s parents at PEELS to look forward to when Berks and I parted ways Sunday morning :(.

This weekend was a JAM-packed (note: Foreshadowing) whirlwind, but here are a few snippets!

Saturday Brunch at Delicatessen with Berks and her old/my new friend Elena. Standard but delicious brunch fare

Me and Elena: Spinach and mushroom omelet which we added GOAT CHEESE to, home fries and multigrain toast/jam for the table (unpictured).

Berkley: poached eggs and bacon, homegirl’sfries and toast

Pat-myself-on-the-back bargain find:

Validation for impulse checkout purchases

I absentmindedly sniffed the above perfume while waiting in the Zara checkout line with Berkley, and I’m tellin’ you, this is a DEAD-RINGER for Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue, one of my absolute favorite scents that’s too expensive to buy on the reg. This tube was $5 and will last for a loooongg time.

Slurped down a coupla these!

Tried my first and last-ever Balance Bar (peanut butter flavor). Picked this up for a protein boost, but hould have checked out the nutrition first. Chemical-saturated ingredient list and high sugar content (17g). Ew.  At least my nails look really good.

On Saturday afternoon, I had my second volunteer orientation session at Animal Haven! I’m officially a purple-tee wearing volunteer and cannot wait for my first shift.

Sunday brunch at Peels: LOVED spending time with Rachael’s family, but not Peels’s strongest showing. Mediocre service and you needed a magnifying glass to see the Daily Market Quiche, which came without sides.

SLAMMIN’ biscuits and jam though

After Sunday brunch, with the NOR’EASTER that is blowing through the East Coast right now (we got complacent, didn’t we?), the only thing that sounded good to me was BAKING!

I was SO disappointed by that Peanut Butter Balance bar, and knew I could make something with a solid protein punch that not only tastes better, but has a list of ingredients I can pronounce and count on (less than!) ten fingers!

Thus, the birth of these High-Protein, No-Oven-Required, SCRUMDIDLYUMPTIOUS Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars!

A Tasty Mouthful

I used this incredible recipe by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows as my inspiration. Definitely check out Angela’s site–her’s was one of the first blogs I read, and she is also the mastermind begin the Green Monster Smoothie revolution!

HEALTHY NO-BAKE PB & J BARS:

CRUST:

  • 3/4 c roasted unsalted almonds
  • 3/4 c roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1.5 c regular oats (I used quick cooking steel-cut oats this time, but have made this crust with regular and I think I prefer the regular)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (you can sub canola)

FILLING:

  • 3/4 c Peanut Butter (I used crunchy unsalted Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 c JELL-AYYYY (it just has sass, you know? Used TJ’s Strawberry!)

This recipe is WAY easy. The one crucial element is a food processor or a really good blender.

Line a rectangular pan (I used 8×5) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Add the almonds, peanuts, oats and salt to your chopper of choice and process until a fine crumble forms. Next add the dates and and pulse until incorporated. Add oil (melt first if using coconut) and process until the mixture is sticky and can hold shape when pressed. If necessary, add a bit more oil until you achieve the desired texture.

Jammy Jewels!

Smooth Operator.

Remove mixture from the processor, set aside 1 cup for the top layer, and press the rest FIRMLY into the pan. I used my palms to cover more surface area.

Next, just pour your peanut butter and jam on top and schmear around with a knife until evenly coated! My PB&J sandwiches are always peanut butter heavy and lighter on the jam, but if you like an even pb to jam ratio, use 1/2 c pb and 1/2 c jam.

As far as the eye can see

Lastly, cover the filling with the remaining cup of crust, cover with saran wrap/aluminum foil and pop in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Cut into bars and serve! Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

THESE BARS ARE UN-FLIPPIN BELIEVEABLE! I could NOT STOP coming back for forkfuls throughout the afternoon.

The front-page news?! Packed with good fats, protein and natural sugars, these are actually healthy enough for a snack BUT sweet and decadent enough to satisfy a dessert craving!

People-friendly. Just let me sniff your hand first.

I brought one to work with me today (stored in fridge), and I’m literally counting down the hours until I can devour it as my pre-workout fuel!

Have a great Monday guys!

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HAP-PY FRI-DAY!!! (birthday tune)

Patented

This week FLEW by for me! And I know we’ve all said it countless times, but how quickly the weeks and years go by! I cannot believe that I am going on FOUR years post-graduation.

I must say though, with rare passing exceptions, I have never wished to turn back the clock and repeat any of my younger life stages. Sure, there were wonderful and unique elements to each, but being young is also HARD! The vulnerability and confusion–the not knowing of it all–this only seems to get better with time, and with each passing year I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin. As for the changing landscape of our faces and bodies–bottom line people, NO ONE gets an E-Z Pass, and that’s good enough for me :).

Just Join ‘Em!

Not that it hurts to do whatcha can to keep the clock at bay (the old fashioned way) :).

These last few weeks, I’ve had to squeeze my workouts into a more narrow time frame than I would ideally like, but I’ve managed to get a few good ones in! In particular, I’ve found myself gravitating towards the following:

  • The arms-related portion of my Monster Workout, combined with light cardio. I’ve found that I can almost always fit in the arm exercises from this routine when I’m running low on time but feelin’ the need for a little burn!
  • This Interval Treadmill Blast, which guarantees me a nice sweat and endorphin rush
  • The Women’s Health Supersets that I posted about this past weekend. I absolutely LOVE this workout. I haven’t run across many other routines that can be done from home without equipment and are actually challenging!

Please let me know if you give any of these a try and/or having any questions about them!

Today, some delectable meals got me through AND got me thinking…

Breakfast: 2 tbs pb and a schmear of Bonne Maman jam on a toasted whole wheat English muffin, cup of vanilla soy milk and a banana!

Lunch: Juicy roasted turkey, avocado, romaine and sundried tomato mayo on toasted 12-grain bread. Side of carrots sticks dipped in more mayo-mixture!

Just.sounded.good.

This morning, when I went to the office kitchen to rummage for breakfast, I was planning to have a cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with my pb&j for an extra protein boost. I am totally spoiled by our kitchen, which is STOCKED with fabulous healthy eats Monday-Thursday. However, occasionally Fridays are slim pickins,  and I was completely thrown off when neither of my anticipated protein sources were available!

I ended up supplementing a cup of vanilla soy milk, but I was still hungrier more quickly than usual, and the incident served to reinforce the importance of protein! 

NOTE: I am NOT a registered dietician or other health professional, but from my own research and experience, two elements CRUCIAL to a woman’s health are:

  1. Weights/strength training IN ADDITION to cardio
  2. Protein to repair existing muscle tissue and allow new muscles to grow AFTER weights/strength training

Neon warriors!

Unfortunately, I know a lot of women who don’t LOVE filling their diets with meat and struggle to find tasty, easy protein alternatives. So, I’ve decided to start PROTEIN FRIDAYS!

Every Friday, I will pick a non-meat protein source and share a handful of simple recipes that I enjoy, which highlight the star of the show! I hope that this will spur your creativity to experiment with new ingredients OR ingredients that you’ve discarded as boring and/or difficult to prepare.

I thought I’d start the tradition with one of the latter…another dietary hall-of-famer that makes up in nutrition what it lacks in the glamour department.

I present to you, the incredible, edible egg! 

Just one lil’ medium-sized egg, according to the Egg Nutrition Center (least somebody’s lookin out) has SIX grams of protein! If you’re watching calories, there are only sixty cals to go along with that protein punch. A force to be reckoned with! Check out the website for more info: http://www.enc-online.org/.

I adore eggs, but with the eggception (went there) of trendy brunch dishes, I think eggs are underutilized in all three meals. Well, I vote for a comeback, and here are some of the ways that I enjoy this eggcellent (to forgive is divine) ingredient!

  • Egg Breakfast Sandwich: 2 fried eggs, slice of Muenster (or favorite cheese), smear of JAM on toasted English muffin–trust me on this one.
  • Egg-Avocado Toast: 1/4 c smashed avocado on toasted multigrain bread with slices of hardboiled egg and a sprinkling of sea salt and cayenne. This is also good with hummus in the place of avocado.
  • Breakfast Pizza: Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and rub a bit of olive oil on the foil. Cover one whole grain tortilla with a thin layer of tomato paste, shredded cheese (I like mozzarella and Gruyere) and herbs/spices (I like oregano and red pepper flakes). Bake at 400 degrees until tortilla is crisp and cheese bubbles. Take ‘pizza’ out, crack an egg in the center, and bake for another 2-3 minutes until egg is preferred done-ness.
  • Microwaved Egg Cup: Break 1 egg into a microwave-safe cup, bowl or ramekin. Poke the yolk with a knife. Add 2 tbs milk and beat until mixed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with saran wrap or a plate and microwave in 45-second intervals until cooked (to your liking). Add toppings: Shredded cheddar and salsa, goat cheese and rosemary; greek yogurt, crumbled bacon and chives (anything!). If using cheese, nuke for another 20-25 seconds.
  • Good Ole Egg salad: You can use my recipe here, but my favorite combo starts is: 2 eggs (1 serving of salad), 1 tbs mayo, 2-3 chopped sweet pickles  (or 1 tbs sweet relish), 1/2 tsp paprika or Old Bay Seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

I hope you enjoyed this first edition of Protein Fridays and have a fabulous, fueled Friday night!

What is your favorite way to prepare eggs?!

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Sharing IS Caring!

There are a couple of reasons why I share pictures and descriptions of the food that I eat.

From an artistic and creative perspective, I think food is beautiful, and I can only see an upside in sharing and spreading images of beauty.

On a more practical level, one of my goals with this blog is to inspire others to take care to make each and every meal, snack or treat as delicious, balanced and enjoyable as possible. I believe that the majority of our meals should be nutritious, but I absolutely advocate PRESENT indulgence–digging into something decadent  with the presence of mind to savor and appreciate every bite.

I certainly do not ALWAYS succeed at this, but it is a daily goal, and I think I do a pretty dern good job! Because at the end of most days, I can look back on the food choices I made and say that they tasted good, made my body feel good, and were lovely to look upon to boot.

So, with that in mind, let me begin with some scrumptious stand-outs from the last two work days!

My meals yesterday and dinner tonight were repeats of meals I’ve already shared, and I don’t want to inundate you with too much sameness. BUT yesterday’s lunch was noteworthy, because it was semi “home”made!

Egg salad in a whole wheat pita, veggies and hummus (cut out)

I noticed that there was an option on one of our Seamless restaurant menus to order hard-boiled eggs. I LOVE egg salad but most delis tend to be a little heavy-handed with the mayo. So, I made my own using our fantastic kitchen’s offerings!

Egg Salad for One:

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 tsp mayo (approx)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (approx)
  •  1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (key)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I first cut the eggs into quarters and throw them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Once everybody’s in there, I use a fork to mash the mixture against the sides of the bowl, rotating the bowl as I mash! I think my mom taught me this trick, which creates the soft, creamier texture that I prefer over large chunks.

I must say, I truly ACED my food choices today–everything I had tasted soooo good!

Breakfast:

Plain oatmeal microwaved using Vanilla Soy Milk; approx. 1.5-2 tbs peanut butter stirred in; sliced banana, cinnamon and Kashi puffed rice cereal on top!

Messy heaven! 

Lunch:

“Arizona Gobbler” special: All natural pepper roasted turkey, organic arugula, tomato, avocado, pepper jack cheese and salsalito mayo on fresh artisan multi grain bread.

This is one of my favorite specials from Bruckner’s Good to Go, an incredibly cool place on our Seamless Menu that uses all-natural and organic ingredients whenever possible.

I try to order Bruckner’s each time it’s available, and after some extensive taste-testing, I’ve decided that their Salsalito Mayo is approx. 1/4 cup salsa, 3 tbsp mayo and I think 1 tbs plain yogurt. Absolutely something that anyone could re-create at home!

I threw in a bowl of these lil’ guys to round out my delectable meal

Sweet and spicy!

BBQ Soy chips!  Our firm orders a brand that I cannot remember the name of, but it’s not Glenny’s. I will check soon and update you! These are so flippin’ delicious and an extra protein boost to boot.

Snack Attack 1:

Daily fresh fruit delivery! I wanted to dive face-first into this Tropical-scented bowl

Snack Attack 2:

Come closer and I will tell you a secret.

ANDERSON’S PEANUT-BUTTER FILLED PRETZELS! I worship these nuggets (andallnuggetsIlovenuggets!).

Nellie’s office buys these in bulk a la’ the above, and she graciously brings me baggies to fulfill my fix of them! I may or may not have campaigned to get these at my firm, to no avail…

SUCH a treat–thank you Nellie!

I received ANOTHER treat today from one of my very best friends in.the.world, a girl who deserves a drum roll, if you wouldn’t mind obliging?

………………………

Absurd minds think alike.

(In Jock Jams announcer voice) The One, the Only….KATHHHH-LEEENNNNN!!!

I sort of like her, if you can’t tell :).

Kathleen and I were on the same dorm hall our freshman year of college and the endless, varied and bestleftdeepinthecloset fantastically fun memories blossomed from there!

This morning, Kathleen forwarded me an article from Daily Candy. On the tail of my last post, I couldn’t help but share!

If you’re not familiar with Daily Candy, it’s a fabulous New-York based e-newsletter with an attitude, so I’ll let it take the floor and describe itself:

DailyCandy, the authority on all things food, fashion, and fun, is the ultimate woman’s lifestyle resource. DailyCandy reaches women across multiple platforms while delivering daily communication and a dynamic point of view to over 3 million email subscriptions. DailyCandy offers national coverage with local flavor and speaks to women across all genres, in all aspects of their lives, from shopping and deals to kids and travel.

The article that Kathleen sent me is a mouth-watering SNACK RECIPE ROUNDUP, filled with a variety of healthy and indulgent edibles from all over the country!

You should be able to view the article without having to sign up, but in case you don’t feel like rummaging through them all (who am I kidding?), here are MY favorite-sounding goodies:

  • Sweeteeth Chocolate Bars-Ok, I have actually tried the salted-caramel dark chocolate bar from this company, and it is sell-your-soul-to-lick-the-wrapper good.

  • Two Degrees Apple Pecan Bars– Love the sound of this flavor combination, and their nutritional stats look pretty good! I’m always on the hunt for new, tasty, natural ingredient snack bars
  • The Cookie Sandwich Co– assorted gourmet cookies and cream fillings with flavors like Peanut Butter Truffle Cookie and S’mores Chocolate Ganache?

We speak for ourselves.

  • Frog Hollow Farm Nectarines– If you know me but at all at this point, I ❤ dried fruit. Plus, I’ve heard fantastic things about this company.

Nature’s Candy

  • And the one that REALLY left me salivating: 240 Sweet Artisanal Marshmallows: I am a total sucker for homemade marshmallows and these I’ll store ’em like a chipmunk in my cheeks if you give me a chance works of art might just be order-worthy! They literally have every flavor imaginable (Bacon maple toffee, honey lavender, pumpkin chai!?)

OK then! Now that I have properly saturated my mind with GLORIOUS images to dream about, I will say goodnight!

I hope that something on my page, or the pages of another blog, cookbook or even television show, inspires you to combine flavors in a new way and view the most simple of meals in a new light!

If you looked at the Daily Candy article, what snacks jump out at you??

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1-2-3 Cake!

BOY OH BOY, do I have something for you guys…

  • THREE ingredients
  • MINIMAL dirty dishes
  • MAXIMAL couch relaxation

One cake so moist and delicious, I couldn’t you can’t help but be appalled by the inadequacy of your fork to do its job.

Amateur hour

Now, when it comes to cooking and baking, the majority of the time, I’m a make-from-scratch kinda girl.

But dash it all, sometimes that childhood Betty Crocker vanilla birthday cake taste is EXACTLY what I’m looking for.

I’d heard of using instant pudding in cake-mix cakes along with the typical add-ins, but I wanted something even easier.  After a bit of Google-rummaging, I found a few recipes that nixed almost everything but the instant pudding.

The recipe that will unfold before you is winning amalgam of those few.

Back to Basics

Not only does this recipe take all of five minutes to whip up before popping in the oven, it’s significantly HEALTHIER than a traditional cake-mix cake. No butter, no oil and MOST IMPORTANTLY, a serious reduction in sugar.

Before we dive in, let me just express that in my opinion, moderate use of butter and heart-healthy oils like canola and coconut is PART OF A BALANCED lifestyle. Despite my love of all things sweet, however; I will almost always be an advocate of less sugar in recipes. 

Why’s that?

1) It’s not good for your sweet lil’ body

2) Most recipes call for more than necessary to make a great-tasting product.

3) There’s nothing scarier than being at the whim of your dentist and his drill. Just sayin’.

Ok, now on to the good stuff!

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 in. baking dish or a round cake pan–we used melted butter, but you can use canola oil or other spray if you like (‘we’–roomie Carina co-chaired this project with me!).

Empty your packet of instant pudding into a bowl along with two cups of COLD milk, and whisk vigorously for about two minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken.

Bring back that elbow grease!

Open your box of cake mix and slowly add it into the pudding along with one teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional).

Still with me?

Once the batter is just barely incorporated, stir in any goodies that you like. Carina and I opted for spring-time sprinkles!

Around this time, that familiar and intoxicating scent of reproduction cake batter will start makin’ you a little light-headed.

You’re getting sleeeepyy…

Stay strong. It is  important that you taste the batter while remaining aware of your surroundings. You CAN be in control of the situation–we’re not bobbing for apples here, people. Stick with a mixing spoonful. Remember that there is more to come.

Now, just pour the batter into your greased baking dish and pop it into your preheated oven.

Finish line.

Alright, you have some time to regroup.

I would recommend beginning to check on your cake after 25 minutes, and every 5-10 minutes thereafter. It can take up to 40 minutes, depending on your oven. You want to be able to stick a toothpick or fork in and have it come out with a tiny bit of dough–not completely clean.

When AREN’T sprinkles a good idea?

Once out, use the stamina you built during that re-grouping period to LET YOUR CAKE COOL FOR AT LEAST TEN MINUTES.

Not gonna lie, 10 was ALL we gave it.

We topped our slices with another version of protein frosting! This brilliant version was inspired by Carina’s fabulous mom, and I gotta say, it knocks version 1 outta the park.

PROTEIN FROSTING 2.0

  • 2/3 container Cool Whip
  • 1/2 17.6 oz container Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp sugar-free vanilla instant Jello Pudding

Stir together and MARVEL. This stuff is addicting.

Schmeared on a piece of 1-2-3 Cake?

Get my good side.

I think I blacked out. 

1-2-3 CAKE!

  • 1 box sugar-free vanilla instant pudding (we used Jello)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (we used Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Yellow mix)
  • 1 container sprinkles or add-in of your choice. White chocolate chips? Coconut? Sky’s the limit.
  • 2 cups cold milk (we used skim but anything will work except soy, which cannot be used with instant pudding)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

This cake could also be made using CHOCOLATE cake mix and chocolate instant pudding, or whatever combination your heart desires!

EASY PEASY and absurdly tasty, this cake is the perfect solution when you’re in need of a quick party dessert, or when you just need to experience the miracle of having an ENTIRE cake before YOU in a matter of minutes!

Can’t blame a guy for trying.

Now all you need are some party hats and a scary clown to complete the time warp!

Let me know if you give this incredible recipe a try, and have a great Saturday night!

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