Thursday, January 31, 2013

Heavenly Chocolate Quick Cake

Alright my friends, stop everything.
This dessert, as the original Pinterest post stated, is genius, pure genius.
I give many hugs and thank you's to the amazing person who decided to put a box of angel food cake and a box of any other flavor cake mix together and microwave it. Genius, I say.

So yes that is what this quick cake is. Angle food cake, regular cake, and water.
Easy, delicious.......oh and did I mention...HEALTHY!
Yup, 105 calories a cake :)

Gahh. I can't get enough of this stuff. I love making those microwave, single serving cakes since my husband never has a sweet tooth--and I always do. They're perfect.

Now, the chocolate single serving cake I've made is delectable and healthy;
But this one, blows it and all microwave mug cakes out of the water for easiness sake.

3 steps. 3 ingredients. Really that's it.

1 box of angle food cake (has to be angle food cake because it comes with egg whites, the leavening for this recipe)
1 box of dark chocolate cake mix (or any flavor of cake you want!)
2 tbs of water

Mix the 2 boxes of cake mixes together.
Scoop out 3 tbs mixed cake powder and place in a large mug.
Add 2 tbs of water to powder and mix well.
Microwave for 1 min.


Top with anything you want: fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, more chocolate (my fave)

Nutritional Information
 Mix makes 35 cakes; 
serving size: 1 cake
 105 cal * 24 cabs * 0 sat fat * 2 protein * 0 fiber

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apple Cider Quinoa Salad

I got this recipe from THIS hilarious YouTube video.
The man knew his quinoa and had some tasteful ideas for making a simple extremely versatile quinoa salad.

I was excited and nervous to add the apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar, as many of us know, has a very strong taste, but "would it go well with beans", I questioned. I've never paired them before.
 Alas, "Never fear" I exclaimed after a taking a bite. Apple cider vinegar never ceases to amaze me. 
Besides it having a just enough of a great kick in the mouth taste, it has great health benefits and is so versatile . 
You can read about some HERE

In the end I added some of my own ingredients for my personal taste-black beans-- but as the guy says, you really can use what ever is in your fridge: Clean it out and make a salad.

1 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked*
3 small yellow sweet peppers, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed
3-4 small cherry tomatoes, diced
1 small carrot, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

* click HERE to find how to cook delicious, fluffy quinoa

Place cooked quinoa* in a large bowl or baking dish.
Add olive oil and apple cider vinegar and gently fold into the quinoa.
Add chopped sweet peppers, carrots, black beans, and salt.
Gently fold in tomatoes--not too much or they will get mushy.

* Quinoa can be hot or cold (I made mine in advance and pulled it out of the fridge. DELICIOUS!)

Viola! Done!
Now eat as is, in a pitta, or soup-- I made this for a potluck and many people loved adding it to a soup! So really it works for anything

Again, feel free to add anything you want, I think some purple onion might go nicely, and maybe some cucumber.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Ranch is not my favorite salad dressing, BUT I sure did love it as dip for many many other foods. However, along with many other foods during my healthy lifestyle change, ranch was almost eliminated. 

Thank goodness for the wonderful person who posted this recipe and also that person who pinned it on Pinterest. 

Using my all time favorite healthy food: Greek Yogurt, how can I not love this. 

With only 2 ingredients and 200x more healthy for you, you can't go wrong.

                                  So make some and dip your veggies in it!

1 packet ranch "DIPS" mix (NOT the salad dressing mix)
1 cup of Plain greek yogurt
*optional: 1/2 cup of milk (makes it more liquid-y, perfect for salad dressing, but if you want a thick dip omit)

Mix it all together in a small bowl. 
Serve with your favorite veggies, or drizzle over a salad. 

Gahhh so good. 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chickpea Chicken Chili

Chili is so flavorful, and filling; 
add a side of toast, and you have a DELICIOUS meal.

You do have to mindful of what and how much of something you put in to keep it healthy, but with beans, broth, veggies, meat (or more veggies!), and seasonings you can't go wrong. 

 I choose to use chickpeas for the beans because I thought they would be a fun alternative to the normal chili kidney/navy bean, and boy were they.  The flavor and texture was perfect and help create a protein packed and fiber rich meal. 

This recipe is perfect for two people but feel free to double, or trip it to your liking.

1 chicken breast
1 can of chickpeas(aka garbanzo beans)
1 cup of natural chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
2 oz of diced green chilies (I used half of a 4oz can)
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet medium-high heat and cook chicken with onion and garlic powder until chicken is cooked through.
While chicken is cooking, dump the can of drained chickpeas, 1/2 cup chicken broth,  pepper, cumin, and oregano in a food processor (a blender could work, but you may have to scrape down the sides) and blend to a smooth cream.
Heat a small sauce pan with 1/2 cup chicken broth on medium-high. Add creamed chickpea mixture, diced chilies, and onions from chicken pan.
Shred chicken and add to sauce pan.
Simmer for 15 min.

Serve warm with a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, and/or a sprinkle of parsley flakes.


Nutritional Information
1 serving
279 cal * 43 carbs * 1g sat fat * 25g Protein * 11g fiber

Friday, January 25, 2013

Healthy Popcorn Chicken

Chicken is a staple in our diet. 

So I love making new recipes with it. 
This one was so fun and easy; a perfect healthy and quick dinner.

Adapted from
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs milk 
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450. 
Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
Cut chicken in 1 inch pieces. 
In a small bowl whisk egg, milk, mustard, and salt. 
In a pie tin, or on a large plate, pour bread crumbs.
Dip chicken in egg mixture then in bread crumbs. 

Line breaded chicken on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 10 min. Then flip. Spray flipped chicken and bake for 8-10 more minutes.--watch closely they will brown quickly. 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brownie Bits: For your Ice Cream!

Ice cream can really hit the spot when you have sweet craving but don't want to feel weighed down by the cakes, cookies, and bakes. 

And now days, you can buy healthy ice cream, or better yet, frozen yogurt, with half the sugar/fat and never feel the guilt (just look out for the fake additives in some of them).

BUT, I also love ice cream with other dessert things in them...brownie bites, cookie dough, gummy bears...okay, I add those in myself...but really, having something to nibble on while you swivel cold creamy sweet ice in mouth is a wonderful experience.

But alas, those fillings come with a heavy calorie price that add up REALLY fast--No matter how healthy you try to buy your ice cream.

So I made an alternative.

This delectable alternative came when I was craving chocolate and ice cream at the same time (yes, it can happen)
In my freezer I had all natural strawberry and slow churned vanilla bean: two great combos for chocolate. However, I didn't have any chocolate sauce to drizzle and really wanted some more "bite" to my dessert.

So I made my bites, swirled them into a cup of the two ice creams and enjoyed each bite with a bit of chocolate brownie bliss.


1-2 tbs cocoa powder (More powder equals larger bits)
1 tsp + more almond milk
1 tsp coconut oil

Place all ingredients in a small bowl or cup and mix very well. The mixture will clump up but should still be gooey.
I popped mine in the microwave for ~20 sec.
Add more milk if you want it more runny.
Then plop mixture on top of ice cream.
Mix well.
The brownie mixture will harden upon contact with ice cream making each bite full of delicious brownie bits for you to enjoy.


                                       up next: cookie dough bites! oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Bread


I really wanted to make my own sandwich bread.

My bread machine has been wonderful; providing me delicious, but quite large and tall breads. However, nothing quite able to suite my sandwich making needs.

So I decided to use the bread machine's awesome feature: dough setting, and then bake it in a small bread pan to attempt a smaller loaf...

The outcome: 
 Soft sandwich bread: slightly denser than the bread I buy, but tasted WONDERFUL!
It was fun and easy and now I have great sandwich bread at a very very little cost (98 cents or something like that)

Adapted from
1 1/4 cup water, warm *
2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp bread machine yeast, fast acting.
1 tsp salt
2 tbs non-fat dry milk powder
2 tbs vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup honey *Update (add another 1/4 cup for softer/sweeter bread)
2 tbs olive oil (or butter)

* Heat water in a microwave for 1 min.

Mix flour, gluten, and dry milk milk powder together in small bowl. 
(If you don't have a bread machine use a stand mixer: Kneed all ingredients for 12 min, let rise for 1:30hr and continue instructions)
Place warm water and salt in bread machine pan, then equally distribute flour mixture on top of water. In each corner of the flour make a crater with your finger.
Pour 1 tbs olive oil in each opposing corners.
Pour 1/8 cup honey in the other opposing corners.
Make another crater in the center of the flour and fill with yeast

Select dough cycle on machine and let it do its magic for about an hour and a half.
Even if cycle is not complete, take dough out of machine and roll out on a floured surface.
Preheat oven 375
Roll into a 14x9 rectangle
Roll up like rolling a jelly roll. Tuck and pinch seam under dough
Create end-seam by taking the edge of your hand and slicing down ward on edge of dough. Tuck and pinch that piece under dough.
Wiggle into a lightly greased or parchment lined 9x5 bread pan.
Let rise for 30 min.

Bake for 30-35 min.

Cool on rack for 20 min.
Slice up!

If you are freezing, (we do because we don't use if fast enough) slice before you freeze and place in freezer zip lock bag.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Cranberry Lemon Scones

Scones are a pastry I did not enjoy until I went to London. 

I would anticipate tea time every day just so we could venture out and find a Patisserie and enjoy some delicious freshly baked tea and scones. 

But I've never attempted to make them myself, and man what was I thinking: They are so easy!

So I had some fresh cranberries and lemon on hand and decided they would be the perfect fit for my first attempt at scones.

I used the methods from an article in the Atlantic: The Secret of the Irish Scone, as well as from the blog skinnytaste, to create a fluffy, golden brown, and healthy-for-you scone. 

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup buttermilk 
1/4 cup granulated sugar +3 tsp, divided
1 tbs baking powder
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 egg white**
2 tbs lemon juice + 1 tsp, divided (fresh or from a container) 
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped

* I used 3 tbs but I could taste it  in the final product, and feel like maybe 2 will be enough--I'll try that next time and update) 
**If you don't have egg white or don't want to waste a yolk, use milk.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes, that high!), place rack in the middle
Line large baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix flours, salt, and baking powder, set aside. 
In a smaller bowl, mix buttermilk, sugar, whole egg, vanilla extract, 2 tbs lemon juice and olive oil 
Mix in chopped cranberries into the flour mixture
Slowly add in buttermilk mixture, blending flour mixture the whole time.

Dump dough onto a well floured surface (yes, it will be sticky) and with floured hands kneed dough 3-4 times. 
Place dough onto parchment lined baking sheet and press into 8 inc circle--should be easy now that dough is floured. 

Using dental floss slice dough into 8ths but gently pressing the taught string into the dough. 
Glaze the to of the dough with egg white, 1 tsp of lemon juice and 2 tsp of sugar. 

Place in oven turn oven down to 425 and bake for 15-18 min, until top is golden brown and tester comes out clean. 

Serve warm with Tea, Coffee and or course JAM!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From Scratch: Pizza!

Pizza is a wonderful meal. You get your carbs, your dairy, your protein, and your veggies in one. or rather, on top of one another...

Anyways, take out pizza is a great last minute dinner but is not very healthy no matter what you decided to leave on or off the greasy meal.

But homemade pizza can be a nutritious option and you can enjoy it that much more knowing you made it from scratch!
So roll up those sleeves and make some!


2 1/4 yeast (or 1 pkt), active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water 110 degrees *
1/4 cup canola oil 
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup wheat flour,
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 

1 can tomato paste, 6 oz
1/2 onion, minced
1 tbs olive oil 
6 oz of water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8th tsp pepper, and crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder, basil, cumin, and chili powder

Toppings (all optional-you choose what you want) 
2 cups mozzarella cheese, low fat
1 cup turkey pepperoni
tomato slices
2 strips of bacon, chopped

* microwave water for 1 min 10 sec to reach ~temp 


Combine yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl. Let sit for 5 min. Add oil and salt, combine. Add in Flour and mix until soft dough forms. 
Turn dough onto a floured surface and kneed for 2-3 min. 
Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 45 min (will double in size). 
Meanwhile, start sauce
Punch dough down, roll/press into a greased 10x15in pan or separate into 2 doughs and  roll/press into (2) greased 12in pizza pans.

In a sauce pan heat oil on medium heat. Saute onions until tender. Stir in tomato paste and water. Season with sugar, salt pepper, garlic powder, basil, cumin chili powder, and crushed red peppers.
Simmer for 15-20 min on medium low.
Return to finish dough. 

Preheat oven to 400
Once dough is ready, top with sauce--leaving about 1 inch of dough around the edges-- and desired toppings: Cheese first, then the rest, as desired. 

Gently brush 1 inch edge of dough with a little olive oil. 

Bake for 15-20 min until crust is a light golden brown. 

Slice and Server with a side salad and you have meal under 400 cal!


Nutritional Info
*Based on the 10x15 inch pizza, 8 slices
Serving, 1 slice (large)
 344 cal * 44 carb * 1 sat fat * 17 g protein * 3 g fiber

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken Pockets

I am so glad I made these, they were so delicious and soooo easy to make. 

My favorite part was wrapping the filled dough into a ball because I felt like was tenderly tucking in a masterpiece of flavor. 

This recipe is easily adaptable so please experiment  and share your outcome! 

I did!!!

My Rendition: 
Creamy Chicken Parmesan and Spinach  
Creamy Chicken Parmesan with Spinach and Sun dried Tomatoes

My Healthy Secret:
 I used greek yogurt instead of cream cheese and butter
 and of course it turned out 

Recipe happily adapted from Pennies on a Platter
1 pkg of crescent rolls
1 large chicken breast, chopped (or 2 small)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese + some for sprinkling
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper-(depends on how much you like it)
1 tbs Sun dried tomatoes diced
1/8 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped (I didn't measure this, I just grabbed a pinch of leaves)
~1 tbs butter, for brushing

Mix greek yogurt, spinach, Parmesan cheese,  garlic salt, and pepper in a bowl. 

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat and cook chopped chicken and minced garlic cloves. 

Preheat oven to 375. 

Add cooked chicken and garlic to yogurt mixture.

Unroll crescent roll from pack and separate into 4 squares--2 triangles attached. Pinch seams to close square. 

Place on a ungreased baking sheet .

Place a large spoonful of chicken mixture onto the dough.  Sprinkle top with either a pinch of Parm cheese or sun dried tomatoes

To fold into a ball, pull the two opposite sides together and pinch close. Repeat with the other side, and pinch any open seams. 
         If you notice a tear in the bottom of the dough where the mixture may be pushing out, gently pick up the ball and  pinch seam close. Place back on baking sheet. 

Gently brush the top of the dough ball with butter. 

Bake for 11-13 min until ball is a golden brown. 

Serve with a delicious side.


My husband and I wanted to try both so we cut them in half and shared! Mhmmmm! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Healthy Mexican Pizza

When I was a young girl, I loved Taco Bell's mexican pizza.
I could eat one whole paired with hard-shelled 1-2 tacos and soda. 1000+ calories without a blink of an eye. 

Thank goodness I have learned different eating habits.

But I still crave the layered beefy and bean entree. 
So using some healthier food ingredients I created this delicious alternative that tastes PHENOMENAL

2 corn tortillas
1 tsp olive oil 
2 oz 93% or more ground beef
2 tbs salsa of choice
3 tbs black beans
1 tsp sriracha
1/8 cup shredded cheese
chopped lettuce


Cook ground beef to your liking (I had left overs from tacos earlier in the week)

Preheat oven to 400
Spray, wipe olive oil on both sides of the corn tortillas
Bake in oven until crispy and golden brown, turning once

Smash black beans in a bowl and mix with sriracha

When tortillas are done. Top one tortilla with warm beef, salsa, and 3/4 of the cheese.
Top the other tortilla with the smashed beans mixture. 

Microwave for 30 sec. 
Top cheese tortilla with lettuce, then place smashed bean tortilla on top of beef tortilla and top with 1 tsp of either salsa or sriracha (if you like it extra spicy) and the other 1/4 of the cheese. 


Nutritional Info:
all approx depending on the ingredients/brand you use. 
257 cal * 28 carbs * 4 sat fat * 19g protein* 5 fiber

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I love my bread machine. 

I love it. 
Did I mention, I love it? 
It's true. 
I love bread, and my machine makes it for me. 
What more can I ask for? 

So here is a wonderful, pretty healthy, delicious for breakfast, snacks, and dessert, cinnamony sweet raisin bread; for your bread machine!

Recipe adapted from and 100 days of real food

yields 1.5lb loaf 
1 cup warm water *
1 1/2 cup bread flour**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs honey
2 tbs sugar 
1 tbs brown sugar 
2 1/4 tsp bread yeast/Fast acting yeast.
1 cup raisins, soaked**

 * I microwaved the water for 1 min.
**Bread flour is the best for bread machines and almost always generates wonderful, RISEN, bread; however, the original recipes use all-purpose flour.
** Soak your raisins for 5 min in boiling water to make then large and full.  Then toss in some flour before adding to the machine.

Follow the instructions for your bread machine the order the liquids and dry ingredients go in. My water goes in first, then flour, then the rest. 

Make sure that none of your ingredients touch each other before you start. Add yeast last, by making drilling a small whole in the flour with your finger (preferably the middle of the bread pan) and fill with yeast. 

Set machine to "Sweet" and "Light Crust" (Mine was 3:00hrs).

***I made this overnight, meaning I set the timer to delay until 3 hours before I woke up, that way, when I woke up, I woke to the smell of sweet cinnamon!****

When done, cool on rack for 15 min. 
Enjoy plain or toasted; My husband and I loved both!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili

I love fix it and forget it meals. 

This one in particular because it's perfect for those cool weather days, those days when you don't want do anything but snuggle under the covers, watch tv, or read a good book. 

This wasn't one of those days for me, but a girl can dream. 

However, it did turn out wonderfully delicious!

If you've been following along with my blog you've probably noticed new food addiction to quinoa. It's such a wonderful seed full of great health benefits and best of all KEEPS YOU FULL!

But the real truth as to why this recipe? 
Not that it was easy (it was), not that I could make it and forget it (I did, until the timer went off), not because it's healthy (it is!), but because I made a small loaf of french bread in my NEW bread machine and needed a good hearty soup to eat it with. 
Oh yeah!

So fix it, forget it, remember it, eat it!

Recipe adapted from Sweet Treats and More
2 large chicken breasts (mine were frozen!)*
1 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can of Rotel
1 can reduced sodium black beans
1 cup of frozen corn (or 1 can or corn) 
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped (I used 3 small sweet peppers: 1 yellow, 2 red)
1-2** tsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp crushed red peppers
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

* If using frozen chicken, follow directions below. 
   If using thawed chicken reduce time to 3-5 hours. 
** I used 2 tsp for everything because I love spices!
Place chicken on bottom of slow cooker, dump liquids first, then solids, then seasonings. Stir. Cook on low for 5-7 hours. 
When time is up, either remove chicken and shred, or shred in  pot.
Stir well to combine. 
Top with shredded cheese, and/or a dollop of plain greek yogurt if desired!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fancy Mac & Cheese

I hardly ever have Mac & Cheese these days, but sometimes creamy, milky, cheesy pasta calls my name and this one, from Iowa Girl Eats, is packed with some of my favorite ingredients: Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken!


This is super easy dish to prepare for those busy week nights when the tummies are rumbling (I made mine after a particularly busy day of work, a long workout, and seemingly endless errand running day).


Say cheese and cook away!


2 chicken breasts
2 cups of pasta (your choice!--I used whole wheat penne)
1-3 cups broccoli florets,cooked (depending on size--I had large florets and cut them)
1 container of laughing cow cheese: Garlic and Herb (6 oz/8 wedges)
1/4-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced ( I did 1/4 but wanted more!)
2 tsp olive oil (use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
3/4 cup milk of choice
Salt & pepper, to taste


Boil water, and cook pasta until al dente
Heat large skillet with olive oil.
Steam broccoli with 1 tbs of water.
Cut chicken into small cubes, salt and pepper, and cook completely in skillet. Plate chicken and set aside.
In same skillet (with chicken juices if you have any) place milk, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until cheese in melted and sauce is thick. 
Add in chicken, broccoli florets, and pasta. Stir until well combined. 


p.s. share this with ~5 people and you'll have a UNDER 300 calorie dinner! (4 people is about 330 cal)

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