Monday, September 15, 2014

Veggie Cream Cheese

I have a really easy recipe for you. But, I mean what else is new? I always give you guys easy recipes. That's because I care about you, k? Cool, let's do this!

We're making vegetable cream cheese. Remember when I showed you how to make your own cream cheese? Remember how easy and tasty it was? Well, this takes that up a notch. All you do is chop up your favorite vegetables and herbs, and you're done! You can use it on bagels or as a dip with some crackers. Here's how I made mine:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homemade Ricotta

Today we're going to make ricotta. Yep, it's a weekend and you got nothin' else to do, am I right? Set aside a few hours and soon you'll have fresh homemade ricotta. A big plus: it's eaaaasy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Strawberry Sauce

I got this recipe from Ellie Krieger, she's a nutritionist and cook. I found out about her from watching Food Network and Cooking Channel, she has some amazing recipes. This is definitely one of them. This strawberry sauce is so versatile and delicious. My favorite way to eat it is with some fluffy buttermilk pancakes. You can use fresh or frozen and thawed strawberries so this can be used all year-round. It's also very fast!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Back to Basics 29 - Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

These pancakes have become my new favorite. They are fluffy, sweet and filling. They're also a great blank canvas so you can add anything inside or on top of them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back to Basics 28 - Herbed Veggies

This is a great vegetable side to make when you're in a hurry or too lazy to cook. All you need to have on hand is some frozen vegetables and herbs, ANY herbs!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cream Cheese

Homemade cream cheese is pretty amazing. It doesn't taste like store-bought at all. It's a little tangier which might take you a while to get used to, but I love it! It's also creamy and fresh-tasting. You can make cream cheese at home. I KNOW you can! It's a lot easier than it sounds, you just need a few key things for it to turn out perfect. I got this recipe from an awesome book called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hamburger Bun

I know a few people who have been waiting for this recipe. I recently made these and brought them to a cookout and they were a hit! The buns are soft, egg-y, a little sweet and DELICIOUS! This is also one of the easiest dough recipes I've ever made. Honestly, try them out!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

BBQ Sauce

I got this great BBQ sauce recipe from Skinny Taste, it's an awesome blog! This sauce is thick, sweet and a little spicy. Perfect for pulled pork. Then, while you're at it why not make some coleslaw too? You can also put it on pizza dough and make BBQ chicken pizza. I just want you to eat really really well ok? That's what friends do. This sauce is really easy to make, let me show you.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back to Basics 27 - Coleslaw

I'm kind of picky about coleslaw. I don't like coleslaw that's swimming in mayo and the veggies are limp and lifeless, I also don't like coleslaw that barely has anything and it just tastes like cabbage salad. The worst though, is watery coleslaw. UGH. This recipe is perfect. The cabbage is crispy, there is enough mayo to coat all the veggies and it's also gorgeous! This goes great alongside some pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Homemade Mayonnaise

Making mayo at home is not as crazy as it sounds. I feel like that's a pattern on this blog. Many things sound super complicated but when you actually found out how to make them, they're super easy. I decided to make my own because of the same reason I make everything else, I wanted real food. It's also really cool to see how it's made and it's a lot fresher. The taste of fresh mayo does not even compare to store-bought. This recipe is from Alton Brown, who is a culinary genius! If you cross Mythbusters with Food network, you get Alton. You don't need any unusual equipment to make mayo, all you need is a whisk and a bowl.

The only thing I will say about the homemade mayonnaise is, there is no way to make this "low-fat". Once you see what ingredients go in mayo, you will question just how they can sell it in a store and call it low- fat or even fat-free. There's gotta be some crazy science behind making mayo only 10 calories per tablespoon. So, I would suggest using the real thing, but just use less of it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Back to Basics 26 - Spicy Broccoli

I'm always looking for sides recipes. I can make grilled chicken breast and I know right away what grains I want to make with it (Quinoa with pine nuts, brown rice, farro with pistachios). Same goes for steak, fish or meatloaf. But I'm at a loss for the veggie side. Well, this recipe has saved many dinners! It's quick, nutritious, delicious and easy. I always have everything in my pantry, including the broccoli which I keep in my freezer. You don't even need to defrost it, just pull out the amount you need and add it to the skillet. Just omit the chicken stock or add a tiny bit.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Back to Basics 25 - Meatloaf

This is my go-to recipe for meatloaf. It makes A LOT of meatloaf, it's tasty and it has so much nutrition! The bulgur and mushrooms allow you to decrease the amount of fatty ground beef, while not taking away any of the flavor. In fact, it adds to it! This recipe does have a few steps so let's get right to it!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Back to Basics 24 - How to Cook Chickpeas

"Why would you cook chickpeas when you can buy canned?"-you ask
Well, #1 it's fresher. Who knows how long those chickpeas have been in that can? Plus the can might contain BPA which we don't like.
#2 it's cheaper! You can buy organic chickpeas, or any bean for that matter, and it will be cheaper than the organic canned beans or maybe even the conventional ones!
#3 you get to choose the consistency you want for your beans. You can cook them for longer, or add different spices and herbs to flavor them.

Plus it's really not that hard! You barely do any work. I'll show you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Better Onion Bagels

Soooooo I've given you guys a recipe for onion bagels in the past (click here). This one is infinitely better. It's softer and chewier and it has the perfect amount of onions. It was taken from this awesome book called "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter", it teaches you how to make all this great stuff at home and answers the questions: is it worth it? Is it cheaper? So, give this a try! It's really not that hard to make!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yellow Mustard

Today's recipe is a good one. It takes you about 10 minutes to do and everybody will think you're a chef when they learn you made this. The humble yellow mustard!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whole Wheat English Muffins

I was looking online for a recipe for whole wheat English muffins that were mostly whole wheat flour without being too dense, and I'm pretty sure I found the perfect one. It uses 5 cups of whole wheat flour and only 1 of white all purpose flour. If you find that it's still too dense for you, you can always substitute all purpose for the whole wheat until you reach the perfect density. English muffins are surprisingly easy to make. Give'em a try!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Greek Pasta

This pasta recipe is pretty interesting. Instead of using the typical tomato to make a sauce, we use jarred roasted red peppers; instead of Parmesan, we use feta. It's an especially perfect recipe for Meatless Mondays because it's so quick! First of all, you don't miss the meat. Second: Mondays are hard! Nobody wants to spend hours in the kitchen after coming home from work and you can work on cooking the pasta while the sauce is being made. You also proooobably have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now. That being said, if you do want to add some meat, chicken, tuna or shrimp would be a great addition.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Miso Soup

I came across this delightful recipe when I was searching for miso soup with a bit more substance. I had a cold and wanted to get better VERY soon and this did the trick. It has garlic and ginger which are great for you when you have a cold (and also great for your taste buds). We add mushrooms and bok choy which give you lots of vitamins. Lastly, it has some very flavorful and not-at-all-dry chicken thighs. So, let's get this going!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to Basics 23 - How to Pick the Perfect Canned Tuna

Canned tuna can be very easy and quick to use. You can mix it into salads, pasta dishes or sandwiches. But there can be a danger in buying canned tuna: BPA lining in the cans, mercury and it can also not be so great for the environment. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for canned tuna.
  1. Look for cans that say "Pole and Line Caught" or "Troll Caught". This means that the fishermen will catch each fish individually. If you can't find that, try looking for the blue MSC label, it means the product you're buying is certified sustainable and it's given by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  2. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in the lining of most cans. The reason we don't want BPA in the cans is because it has been linked to the development of precancerous lesions and abnormal development of reproductive systems in animals. It's especially important when the product inside the cans is acidic, like tomatoes. But it's also important when shopping for tuna. You can find tuna in pouches that don't have BPA but it's difficult to find pouched tuna that is environmentally safe.
  3. I also look for tuna that will have less mercury in it. The tuna that has less mercury is one labeled "light" and comes from skipjack.
  4. The last thing I look for is the word unsalted or no salt added. I always look for unsalted everything when it comes to canned food. Beans, tomato products, seafood, vegetables, etc. You can control the amount of salt that goes into your food so it won't raise your blood pressure and it's also better for the overall flavor of the dish. Nobody likes oversalted food.
I do have to say that tuna with these labels will not be the cheapest. In my supermarket they are usually about $1 more than the well-known brands. But it's ONLY $1 more. To me, it's worth it.

I found this tuna at Whole Foods this past weekend and it's the most perfectly labeled can. It says pole and line caught, has the MSC label, is BPA-free, it's light skipjack tuna, and it is also unsalted.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Back to Basics 22 - Stuffed Shells

So here's a cool thing I did recently... I MADE CHEESE!

Guys, I'm a cheesemaker now. Sort of. I made cream cheese and ricotta which are 2 of the easiest to make but still, I made it happen.
It's a really cool feeling to know that you are able to make something with your hands in your own kitchen. It's so rewarding to watch something as ordinary as milk transform into this thick, creamy and rich deliciousness. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are slathering the thick creamy cream cheese deliciousness on your own hot homemade onion bagels.

It's definitely something to write about in your diary: "Dear diary, I'm a badass. That is all."

Anyway, I made ricotta so I could stuff it into some pasta shells with spinach and homemade tomato sauce. This recipe does not disappoint. Trust me.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

I love love loooovveee this pancake recipe. It's just so dang good with the fluffy pancakes, the sweet and crunchy apples and the warm and comforting cinnamon. There are no words. It's seriously scrumptious.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Roast Chicken

I love roasting chicken. First, it's simpler to make than you would think but looks pretty impressive to guests. Second you get a ton of leftover chicken so it's great to make it on a Sunday, and use those leftovers for meals for that week. You could even roast 2 at the same time without double the effort. It's also so versatile! You can season the chicken itself with so many different spices and herbs, you can roast it along with different vegetables and make it a seasonal meal. And c'mon... chicken is so good!
I made this chicken following the same recipe I usually follow, all I did to make it a "winter" meal is put some different herbs in the chicken, and the vegetables were mostly root veggies and I even added an apple. So I guess it's a sort of fall/winter thang. Whatever you wanna call it, just know it's delicious. Let me show you how simple it is.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This recipe is my go-to for easy pancakes. I always have bananas in the fruit bowl and chocolate chips in the cupboard so I know I can whip these up in no time at all. They're easy, fast, delicious and sweet enough so you don't have to add any maple syrup on top.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Onion Mushroom Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese will get me every time. It doesn't matter how it's made or what goes into it, I wanna eat it. This mac and cheese recipe happens to be the best I have ever eaten. The pasta is ooey and gooey, the middle layer is sweet and savory, and the top is crusty and golden. I have a very similar recipe on the blog, the only difference is that the middle layer is spinach. I made this as a side dish to go with some grass-fed filet mignon for my Valentine's Day dinner with my boyfriend. It was heavenly.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Back to Basics 20 - Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you're not sure about Brussels sprouts, this is the recipe you want to try out. Roasting makes almost anything taste better. And adding bacon and garlic will make rocks taste good! Not that I would know from experience. Ew. Anyway....recipe!

Friday, February 14, 2014

100% Whole Wheat Bread

I love making bread at home. It's just so fun and it makes your house smell like the most amazing bakery. It's also really really easy if you have a stand mixer, I use my Kitchenaid and it's the best appliance I own. Another reason, of course is that you know what's going in the bread. Most "whole wheat" breads you buy at the store are not 100% whole wheat. This one is aaaalll whole wheat. That might actually scare you because you think it'll be dense but as long as you know the secret trick, your bread will come out fluffy and easy to slice.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to Basics 19 - Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Behold, the humble chocolate chip cookie. Is there a better dessert? I think not. You can make it crispy or chewy, thin or fat, fill it with whatever you want, and it comes in a nice little convenient package. All you need is one free hand to savor it and you're good to go.
My favorite is thick and chewy, with dark chocolate chips and nuts. And to make us feel less guilty, we make it with whole wheat flour and oats, we also replace some of the butter with canola oil. Perfection.
Now, stop drooling over that picture and let's see how you can make these.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Onion Bagels

Update: I have a newer and better version of these guys here

Bagels. They're delicious. They're doughy. Fluffy. SO GOOD. Buuuut as for most carb-loaded foods, they're not so great for you. Especially if you eat store-bought ones, or the ones you get from your favorite coffee shop loaded with cream cheese. We can make them a little better though...
Deceptively Healthy is all about food that is good for your body and soul. It's health food that doesn't necessarily scream healthy. Bagels CAN be deceptively healthy, when you make your own.

How can they be better?
-First, you are making it yourself. This means you know what is in those bagels, there are no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
-Second, you can customize it. I've NEVER seen whole wheat onion bagels out there. Although these are not whole wheat I know that when I want to make them, I can. You can also add more or less salt, make whatever crazy topping for them that your big creative brain can think of.
-Third, if you eat these foods only when you make them yourself, it will be harder to overeat. It's so easy to go out and get a bag of french fries, or buy a pizza. But when you make it yourself, it's not so fast and easy to crank them out. You won't have it readily available if a crazy craving hits. This gives you more time to think about your decisions and it also makes you realize that maybe you don't need the supersized bag of french fries.
-It's also way cheaper, which is a big reason behind homemade food. A lot of people make food from scratch not because they're thinking of their health, but because they have a big family and need to cut back. My boyfriend loves onion bagels, they are his go-to breakfast if he's going to be sitting down and eating. Other than the Almond-Honey Power Bars that he can eat on the go. So buying them every week can add up. Thomas' Onion Bagels are about $.78 cents per bagel. If you make these, they'll cost about $.16 OR LESS for a bagel. You can't argue with facts. FACTS.
-Convenience. I know making your own bagels doesn't seem very convenient but they can be just as convenient as store-bought ones. Just slice your bagels once they're done, wrap them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, then throw them in a freezer bag and pull them out whenever you need a bagel! You don't even need to wait for them to thaw, you can thaw them in your toaster or oven. Or toaster oven.

So enough babbling, let's see how they're done.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Back to Basics 18 - Beef Goulash

Goulash is a soup or stew of meat, veggies and pasta, it's usually seasoned with paprika and some other spices. Depending on where you are in the world, people use different spices, different cuts/types of meat and different starches to go alongside it. This recipe is a lighter version but it's still pretty indulgent-tasting and will give you that nice, warm, cozy feeling you need on a winter's day.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lighter Hummus

I love hummus. SO MUCH. It's good with pretty much anything. It makes vegetables taste better and crackers seem healthier. You can add it to a sandwich or eat it straight up. It's pretty magical.
I have another hummus recipe on the blog that is a sort of basic recipe that you can go to when you want hummus. This is exactly the same but made a little lighter. We use a little bit more olive oil so we get the health benefits from that but less tahini and we skip the liquid from the can, which has a little bit of sodium in it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fettuccine Alfredo with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

Fettucine alfredo is one of the most popular Italian dishes in America. It's such good comfort food, you feel like you're in heaven while you're eating it. Once you're done though, that feeling turns to shame and regret, or is that just me...? It's so good but it's also so evil! It has an insane amount of calories.
If you are looking for something to hit the same notes as Alfredo sauce does but without all the calories, this dish is for you. It's not a traditional Alfredo because it doesn't use butter or cream but it's just as good! Let me show you how to make it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts. Every child's nightmare. I always saw these in the grocery store and thought "Well, they're ADORABLE! Baby cabbages, how freaking cute. But I don't know what to do with them so...nope". I only recently tried Brussels sprouts and they're surprisingly really good! A little bitter, crunchy, but sweeter than cabbage. You can cook them in many different ways, you could even juice them! Some people say they are even better for you than kale, but what makes them so good?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back to Basics 17 - Stuffed Peppers

There are a ton of stuffed pepper recipes out there, and that's the beauty of stuffing peppers, mushrooms or tomatoes. You can stuff them with anything you want. This is a pretty basic one using just a few ingredients and a very secret one. Keep reading and you'll see!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Health Benefits of Farro

So....what exactly IS farro? It originated in the Middle East and was used everywhere during the Roman Empire, and has since played a vital part in Italian cuisine. It has a nutty, earthy flavor, and a supple texture that's chewy on the outside, with a firm center. It's also awesome for your health:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Asian Lettuce Wraps

If you're bored of all the meals you've been making, try these lettuce wraps. Seriously, the flavors are unlike anything I've ever eaten. We use a blend of five spices along with some Asian sauce to take these from plain turkey lettuce wraps into a mini vacation for your mouth. They're that good. Let me show you how I make them.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken Broth VS. Chicken Stock

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the 2? I have. Many times. I've googled it SO many times. Yet, I still forget. Gettin' old...
Well wonder no more!!

Chicken broth: Made more from the meaty parts. So when you toss in an entire bird along with your usual vegetables and spices, that's broth. I don't ever make this one because I just feel like using a full bird for broth and then throwing it out is a complete waste. Ina Garten has a recipe where she uses 3 roasting birds! That's 3 roasted chickens you just threw away Ina!! I love her but c'mon. I'm not rich.

Chicken Stock: This is when you mostly use bones. It's still chicken stock even if a little bit of the meat and skin are attached. This is my favorite of the 2 because you can make use of leftovers. And who doesn't want to make something new out of things you would throw out anyway? Chicken stock also has a lot richer flavor than chicken broth, due to the gelatin being released by the long hours simmering on the stove. Did I just gross you out? Get over it.

I have a recipe teaching you how to make chicken stock here. There's no ONE way to make it. You can throw in whatever veggies you want, whatever herbs and spices you want but this is a really good, basic recipe.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Tomato Sauce

This recipe comes from EatingWell on a Budget cookbook. It's a great pantry recipe! Which just means that most, and in this case all the ingredients can be kept in the pantry or freezer. It was also very quick to make, and is obviously delicious. This is really one of those recipes you want to have in you back pocket for busy weeknights.
We use anchovy paste here but don't be scared, trust me, you can't even taste it in the recipe. We use only a small amount to give it a briny and salty taste. I'm not into fish that much and was skeptical about using it but seriously, you can't taste it. Enough babbling.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are truly a superfood. They are great for your body, taste really good and are very versatile. You can put them in almost anything! Here is why you should be eating more of these:

-Anti-inflammatory & great for your heart! This is because of their vitamin E content, which is an antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory effect of these seeds means it reduces symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin E has also been show to reduce colon cancer and decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. Vitamin E is also great for your skin by combating UV rays!
-Phytosterols can lower cholesterol.
-Its magnesium content will help lower high blood pressure, reduce severity of asthma, calm you down, and prevent migraines. Magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and energy production. It regulates nerves and muscle tone.
-They're a good source of selenium, which may help decrease your chances of cancer.

Eating just a 1/4 cup of these guys a day will be enough to get these health benefits. You can add them to your cereal, granola, yogurt, pancakes, salads, pasta or even just straight up as a snack.

If you want a good recipe where you can incorporate these, this Almond-Honey Power Bar is for you. It is PACKED with healthy ingredients and it tastes AMAZING.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back to Basics 16 - Almond-Honey Power Bar

I've got a really great breakfast/snack recipe for you! This, no surprise, is an EatingWell recipe. I got it from my Simple Art of EatingWell cookbook. I make a batch of these granola bars at the beginning of the week for my boyfriend Eric to take with him in the morning as his breakfast.

These bars are very complex, filling and just sweet enough. They have so many tasty and healthy things in them! They're seriously amazing. Everybody that has tried them looovvesss them and begs me to make more.

Yields 8 bars

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Green Juice

I got a juicer for Christmas and it's the coolest thing! Eric, my boyfriend, now loves juicing mostly because the juicer is a beast. You can put almost anything in there and it crushes it! And we all know how much boys love power tools. If you want to get one like it, here it is on Amazon.

I know juicing is very controversial. Some people don't like it because they believe it takes out all of the fiber in the produce, making it just a big ball of sugar. Which isn't exactly true. Yes, most of the fiber is gone but some studies say that SOME fiber is still left in there. But one of the benefits of juicing is that taking the fiber out means your body doesn't have to work as hard on digesting the food, so all those vitamins and nutrients go straight into your body way quicker. Fiber is great for keeping you full longer, but it does take a while to digest. Juicing isn't the thing you want to do when you're trying to stay full. I like to use it as a snack between meals, or as part of my breakfast along with a slice of toast.

Another thing that is important is knowing HOW to juice. Meaning, knowing the right the amount of fruits and vegetables to put in your juice. Fruit has a lot of sugar, you don't want a juice that is entirely made of fruits. You also don't want to eliminate them completely because then your juice might be too bitter and you won't want to drink it. So I like to do 1 fruit for every 3-4 veggies. That keeps it just sweet enough. Adding lemon also helps keep it less bitter and adds a bit of zing!

I'm not an expert on juicing so if you want to know more about it, I suggest you do your research. Go online and you'll find thousands of articles and blogs written by people who know their stuff.

This is a recipe in the new Giada De Laurentiis book called Feel Good Food. If you know me at all you know I love her. This is a book all about how she keeps that figure while still eating amazing Italian food. She makes this as a morning juice to drink instead of coffee. I like it any time of day. Enough babbling. Here is a little video of me making it: