Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Well, the holidays are DEFINITELY upon us. Everybody is always extremely busy and you sometimes need to cut certain things from your to-do list to make time for something else. The #1 thing that gets dropped from that list? A homemade dinner. Well, no more excuses. This dinner cooks itself. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Make your own brown sugar!

Uh oh.... you're out of brown sugar. What do you do? It's easy, MAKE YOUR OWN!! Provided you keep molasses and white sugar in your pantry.

Why would I EVER make my own brown sugar? You must think I'm crazy. Well for starters, it's cheaper. You can also control the amount of molasses in your brown sugar. Sure, you can buy light or dark brown sugar but this way you can make it medium dark, extra extra dark, super light, whatever you want!

One thing that is different from almost all other homemade things is, making your brown sugar doesn't make it any healthier. You could add organic molasses and that's definitely better but sugar is sugar. It's a misconception that brown sugar is healthier for you than white. As you'll see it's really just white sugar mixed with molasses. Molasses is this really dark and syrupy by-product of refining sugar. So they take it out to make it white, then if they want brown sugar they add it back in. So neither of those things are necessarily GOOD for you but hey, sometimes you need a little sugar in your life.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Back to Basics 14 - Spinach Mac & Cheese

Hey guys! Wow, it's been a while huh?? It's been a little hectic. I got a new job in the field I went to school for (YAY!) and I started working more hours in the other job I had so by the time I got home, I didn't really feel like pulling out my camera and taking pictures for every single step while making dinner. But now my routine is a little less crazy so I have more time to devote to the blog.

I came back with a really really great recipe for you guys. I mean, who doesn't love mac & cheese? And one you can feel good about eating? Well, that's even better!! I got this from, where else, EATINGWELL! Let's just get right into it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Watermelon Blueberry Popsicles

Well, there's no denying it, it's summer. It was 90 degrees at 9am yesterday. We're in it now! Which means: POPSICLES!!

This popsicle is so refreshing, light and satisfying. You won't feel guilty for eating a sugar-loaded treat, or weighed down with a heavy cream based treat. Plus, it's gorgeous! I personally prefer popsicles over ice cream any day, and making popsicles at home is the easiest thing EVER! You barely have to do anything. All you need to do is go out and buy some popsicles molds, which I got for a $1 at the local dollar store.

This recipe, as usual, is from EatingWell. It uses white granulated sugar, but if you'd like you can substitute it with agave or honey.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strawberry-Orange Muffins

I'm baaaaack!! I have been gone for a while. I have no excuse. BUT, I am bringing you a gorgeous and delicious recipe.

I went to my grocery store this week and they had some beautiful organic strawberries on sale. Since it is strawberry season and I plan on going to as many Farmers' Markets as I can, I thought I'd add this recipe to my arsenal. It's from EatingWell and I followed the recipe exactly. I do recommend buying organic oranges because you will be using the zest.

This muffin is not overly sweet so it's perfect for breakfast. The strawberries give it just the right amount of sweetness. The orange isn't overpowering, it just gives off a hint in the background. An the topping...OH THE TOPPING. It's sweet and salty and nutty. SO GOOD!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Back to Basics 13 - Basic Quinoa & Chicken Skewers

The first time I ever made this meal was last summer. It brings back lots of good memories, so I thought I'd make it again to chase away the cold. Plus it's an amazing combination of flavors and so easy to make.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Back to Basics 12 - Choosing a Weekly Menu

If you have trouble trying to decide what you're going to make for dinner, and how to put together meals so that you're under your calorie goal, this post will help you.

First thing I do is write down the meals I'm making on the back of this little notepad that I got from Knock Knock.

Friday, March 15, 2013

White Pizza with Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper

I made the dough for this pizza Sunday night, froze it, then topped it on Wednesday night. It was perfect! You might think freezing pizza dough might not work well but trust me, it was just like delivery pizza.
The fact that we top this with so many healthy veggies and both lean and full fat cheese makes it filling but healthy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back to Basics 11 - Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Once you realize how easy it is to make your own pizza dough, you won't go back to delivery. Plus, like with anything you make at home, you know exactly what is in the dough. This recipe makes enough for one whole pizza/1 pound/5 servings (slices).

Calories: Without any toppings, 1/5 of this pizza is 196 calories.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cheeseburger Wrap

This is a recipe from the first cookbook I ever purchased!! I bought this book in the beginning of my healthy journey, 200 meals all under 200 calories?? I NEEDED THAT! I probably cooked about 90% of the meals in this cookbook, and I read it cover to cover. I don't eat as many Hungry Girl meals now because she does use a lot of "diet" packaged foods to make meals so low calorie, and I'd rather eat fresh and real ingredients. But sometimes, here and there, it's ok.

This recipe uses a soy patty by Boca, low carb and high fiber tortilla and those Laughing Cow cheese wedges. It taste VERY good. You can add more cheese if you'd like (maybe some fat free shredded cheddar), lettuce and tomatoes, or some baked fries. Here we go:

Calories: 199

Monday, March 11, 2013

Creamy Greek Salad

This is a recipe from the Hungry Girl cookbook "200 under 200". It's very quick and easy to make and you probably have most of these ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Calories: 173 per serving (about 1 cup)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

How to make Almond Butter

This recipe came about because I had been buying this really expensive organic almond butter from the grocery store. I didn't even bother reading the label (which I always do, and you should too) because you know, "it's organic! must be totes healthy". Well, this almond butter had a few more ingredients in it that I didn't really want to be eating all the time. All I want in my almond butter is ALMONDS, and maybe a little salt.
So anyway, I decided to make my own. It's cheaper anyway! And like many of my recipes, extremely easy.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Quick Quinoa Salad

I made this salad, including cooking the quinoa, in about 25-30 minutes. I was starving, didn't want to order out or eat the super-terrible-but-damn-tasty ramen in my pantry. So I pulled some quinoa out of the cabinet, and took all the vegetables I had in my fridge and threw everything in there. This is just an idea of what you can do, not a set recipe. I actually don't remember the particular measurements because if I stopped to measure, I'd pass out from hunger (ok, not really. I'm being dramatic).
Here's my post on how to cook quinoa. While that was going, I chopped up the veggies.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Health Benefits of Quinoa

You've heard of it, but do you know what it really is? And how good it is for you? This is what quinoa looks like before you cook it:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are the best option you can make when it comes to nuts. You can put them in anything and you can even make almond butter by just throwing them in the food processor and letting them go until they become a paste. I throw it in smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, bars, salads, rice, casseroles, ANYTHING, PEOPLE!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Breakfast Smoothie

This is a great smoothie for a breakfast on-the-go. It's VERY filling and it has a bunch of different perfect foods. In fact, this smoothie alone has 5 superfoods: oats, nuts, spinach, berries and almond milk. Although if you ask me, these are all pretty super.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whipped Coconut Lotion

Ever since I learned coconut oil can be used not just in cooking but also in beauty, it has been an intense love affair.
At first I started by using it in my hair before washing it, to make it extra soft. Then I would leave it in the sink with hot water while I showered so that when I came out, the oil had melted and I could put it on. But that was too messy and most of the time I forgot to melt it. Then I figured I'd add my own lotion to the oil to help it not be so hard and made it easier to put on. But that was only a temporary measure because I did not want to repurchase any more lotion. I wanted to make my own! So this is how this "recipe" came about:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get rid of dark under-eye circles!

This is kind of a different post. Or, COMPLETELY different. I don't know what inspired me to do this but I just thought I'd share the products I use to combat the dark circles around my eyes.
Obviously, getting a lot of sleep and drinking tons (gallons?) of water helps. But when it's genetic, only concealers will get you out of that mess!
These are the products I've been using for years:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back to Basics 10 - Homemade Chicken Stock

I use SO MUCH chicken stock. I throw it in everything from soups and sauces to quinoa and mashed potatoes, so it makes sense for me to make my own. Plus, store-bought stock SUCKS. It just has no flavor! Plus, with homemade you get even more benefits than just better flavor.

This stock couldn't be easier to make. Whenever I roast chicken, I keep the bones in a zip lock bag in the freezer for when I'm ready to use them. Or sometimes, if I'm a party or a dinner and I know the host well, I may or may not ask (aka annoy) them to give me the bones. Then you just gather up some kitchen staples and leave it cooking on the stove, the longer the better. SO EASY! Try to use as many organic ingredients as you can.

Don't worry if you don't have some of these ingredients, the point of stock is to throw in anything that's about to go bad. But please don't throw veggies in that are ALREADY bad. That would not make for a good chicken stock. You can also add any veggies you like! I made this chicken stock during the recent blizzard so I couldn't go out to the grocery store to get some of the missing ingredients. This is all about what you've got at home.
(Recipe for vegetable stock on the bottom)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why Do You Bother?

I've been asked many, many times why I bother having everything homemade. While I do have a lot of time on my hands to do this, there's not a crazy amount of work that goes into it. It's enjoyable and it's a way to spend your free time and bond with your friends and family. This is the why:

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Ricotta, Brown Rice & Lentil Rolls

This is a vegetarian recipe, YAY!!!!! Trust me, you won't miss the meat.The past two posts have led up to this recipe. I made the brown rice and the marinara sauce in the morning on the day of. This was actually a recipe I saw on Giada at Home, she made them with goat cheese. I was all up for going to the store and buying some overpriced goat cheese. I've never tried it before so I thought it'd be fun. But then I saw she had the same recipe in her cookbook except she used ricotta instead of goat cheese. I had that lying around so, why not? I did make other changes to her recipe to suit our taste.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Back to Basics 9 - Homemade Marinara

Why would you ever want to buy marinara sauce at the grocery store? Convenience? Well, this sauce could not be any easier to make. And it only has 7 ingredients:
Olive oil
1 onion
28oz whole peeled tomatoes (organic if you can)
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper to taste

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Back to Basics 8 - How To Cook Perfect Brown Rice

I know a lot of you are scared of cooking brown rice, I was. You need to cook it way longer than white rice and you don't know for how long, then it comes out either rock hard or super soggy. I've been there! But this method combines my mom's great way to impart flavor in rice and Nicole's way to cook fluffy brown rice.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Strawberry Fruit Leather (Roll-Ups)

This recipe for strawberry (check out why they're great for you) leather was inspired by Weelicious. This is the second video I've made, it went A BIT smoother this time. This recipe is crazy good, my boyfriend didn't know what to expect. He thought it would taste like crap (NO FAITH!) but was pleasantly surprised.
The entire thing has 202 calories, once you cut them up into 7 strips, each one has 29 calories. And it's pure fruit. This is what you would get out of the box:

Strawberry Health Benefits

They're sweet, adorable and a great addition to almost anything you're eating. But do they actually have any nutritional benefits? Ohhhhh yes!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Back to Basics 7 - Dirty Dozen

Buying organic is very important. It means putting food on your table without any kind of pesticides or chemical fertilizers that could harm your body and those of the ones you love. It also means less fossil fuel converted into fertilizers and it means healthier soil that should sustain crops for generations to come.
But not all of us can afford to buy everything organic. It would be great if you could just pick out anything in the grocery store and it didn't have harmful chemicals in it. But unfortunately, that is not the case. Boo.
So what is a person to do??? Well, we can start off buying organic food that would have had the highest pesticide residue. This is a list of the foods you should ALWAYS buy organic:

Friday, February 01, 2013

Fancy Ketchup

I already have a ketchup recipe up. But this is a very different one I found in one of my favorite books: The Homemade Pantry. If you're interested in making healthy, fresh food that is cheaper than you would get at the store AND doesn't have a thousand unpronounceable names, this is for you. This recipe has way more ingredients than the last one, and it might be for a more mature palate. These are just some of the ingredients that go in here:

Avocado Banana Shake

Don't mind the terribly shaky picture

Banana's Health Benefits

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers

Look at the flaky layers of cheese in that cracker!
I know we all crave crackers sometimes. I do ALL THE TIME. I just need that salty, crunchy bite in the afternoon so I reach for that box of crackers and I.can't.stop. To help with my addiction, I made this whole wheat cheese cracker (it's pretty much like cheezits). First of all, it's whole wheat. Second, it has FIVE ingredients and no crazy chemicals. I got the recipe from Big Bear's Wife, Angie perfected it by going through tons of recipes to try and get that perfect taste. And let me tell you, she did an amazing job. My boyfriend tried it and he said it didn't have that whole wheat taste at all. Seriously, it tastes exactly like the boxed kind. So here we go:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Back to Basics 6 - Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms and Angel Hair Pasta

This delicious and creamy meal is going to satisfy ANY cravings you have (except for chocolate). You get a briny and creamy sauce with mushrooms, capers and parsley, starchy nutty pasta, and a crispy chicken breast. I mean, look at it! It's beautiful!! This recipe was tweaked slightly from Eating Well.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coconut-Almond-Cranberry-Chocolate Granola Bars

This is a recipe tweaked from Joy Wilson's cookbook. I got her book and was obsessed with it because of the beautiful pictures and the sweets. But once I saw this granola bar I realized how well-rounded it was. Not only does it have DELICIOUS deserts (that maybe aren't so low in calories) she also has some very California-ish healthy meals.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

This is a recipe adapted from Hungry Girl. She uses an extra cup of water to make the oatmeal grow. I like to add some flaxseed meal or chia seeds to make it even healthier. At one time I was so obsessed with this oatmeal that I had it for breakfast and dinner a week straight. That's love.

And today, I won't have any pictures because this is actually the first time I've made a video for you! It's kinda ridiculous and terrible quality, I was using my iPhone to film so please ignore all that and just focus on the deliciousness that is this oatmeal.

Also, let me know either on the blog or the video if you'd like to see more videos or any suggestions for me.

Here's the video:

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Perfect Quick Breakfast!

Whole wheat English muffin with almond butter and banana slices.

So, why is this the perfect breakfast? Let me break it down for you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

If you love buffalo sauce but are understandably afraid of eating it because of the calories, this is the meal for you!
This casserole is amaaaazing. You won't believe it's healthy. Seriously. Pasta, chicken, creamy buffalo sauce with blue cheese?! Doesn't sound diet to me..
But, it is.
This is adapted from EatingWell. I do pretty much everything the same, except I like to add 2 little blocks of Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese. I also switch up the pasta shape every now and then.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Make your own ketchup!

If you want to impress the PANTS off your friends (maybe even literally..I'm not judging), make a batch of this ketchup. It is SOOO easy, you'll feel a little guilty that everyone is complimenting you. It's also way healthier than buying ketchup because you can choose the ingredients that go in, there is nothing artificial in there (as long as you have some good powdered garlic and onion), and it's so much cheaper. This is the ingredient list in the Hunts ketchup.