Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heavenly Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Quick Cake

My oh my, am I loving this quick cake.
Honestly, it makes making dessert so much more exciting because I don't have to slave over it.
I just pop it in the microwave for 1 min, think of some awesome topping...
like strawberry cheesecake, 

and then eat it.




3 tbs quick cake mix--hit your head on a counter because you didn't think of this, easy recipe HERE
2 tbs water
1 tbs plain greek yogurt
2 medium strawberries.
1 tsp cheesecake pudding, sf/ff

Make your topping first, because your quick cake will be done in a really.

Add in greek yogurt and pudding, blend away unil you have a creamy yet till strawberry-chunky frosting.

Mix cake mix and water in a mug very well.
Microwave for 1 min.
Gently tap out baked cake from mug.
cut in half.
Layer half of your frosting on one half of the cake. Top that with the second half and then frost the top with the rest.


Nutritional Information
1 cake
125 cals * 28 carbs * 1g fat *  3g protein * 1g fiber

Zucchini Chips

Snacks are  very important to me. 

On my weight loss journey I learned the power of eating and eating often but in small portions; i.e. the snack.

I planned out an eating schedule that allowed me 2-3 snacks a day and found that I was less hungry, and more energized.

The schedule was, and pretty much still is, as follows:

7-8 am: Breakfast: Most important meal of the day!!!!
10-11 am- Snack
1-2 pm Lunch
3-4 pm Snack
6-7 pm Dinner
8-830- Snack/Dessert.

Now I am a person who loves variety, so I love finding new and creative snacks for myself to enjoy; and these are one of them!

They are sooo easy to make, hit that salty and cheesy crave spot, and, of course, are healthy!

So make a batch or make two to share!

Recipe adapted from Dashing Dish
1 zucchini

1-2 egg white whites
2 tbs reduced fat Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbs bread crumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 450 F.
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place egg whites in a small bowl.
Mix together Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt and pepper in another small bowl.
Slice Zucchini into small chips--the thinner the crisper.
Dip sliced zucchini in egg whites then bread mixture.
Place on lined baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray/olive oil.

Bake for 7 min. Flip chips, spray again and bake for another 7-9 min until a crisp golden brown.

Server warm.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meat-a-tarian Chili

The snow is flowing out here in the mid-west.
School's are canceled, work is postponed;
Nothing better to do than make snow angels and eat chili!

Chili is such a great and easy meal to make. I mean seriously, you put it all in a pot, let it simmer for and hour or so, and then you eat it!
Yes, please!

Since I am a meat-a-tarian- It's a personal choice- like ground beef in my chili.
You could easily use ground turkey, chicken, or make it vegetarian by using quinoa;
But, if you eat red meat, give ground beef a try, at least once.

As an advocate for chili, I think beans are essential to the meal.
Some say it's not authentic, but what does that even mean, "Authentic chili."
There are sOooooo many ways of making chili (Uh, chili cook-offs where people create unique, personalized chilies, so really there is no authentic in my mind, just make it the way you want it to taste and viola!)....anyways, add your fiber (or not, but I vote you  should) and enjoy it.

1/2 lb 93-97% ground beef*
1 can rotel
1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water 
Salt and pepper, to taste

* If you don't have 93-97% ground beef or just want to make it even healthier, cook you meat like normal in pan. when fully cooked, dump into a coriander and rinse with HOT water--essentially you are washing off the excess grease. 

Cook ground beef in a large pot on Medium-High heat. If desired, drain grease and return to pot (see note above).
Add chopped onion and minced onion and let simmer for 1-2 min.
Season with oregano, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Let  warm for 1 min
Add Rotel, stir. Then add light and dark kidney beans, stir. Then chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir until and well combined.
Bring to a simmer--just below boiling, and then reduce heat to low and let sit for 1 hour+ (the Longer you wait the more the flavors combine--do not exceed 2 hrs on heat.)

Truly, chili is a taste as you go meal, if you feel like you want more of one spice and less of another adjust according to your palate.

Serve in a LARGE bowl, topped with shredded cheese.


Healthy Hamburger Buns


We love our turkey burgers!
We have them at least once a week and they are always stocked in the freezer.

My husband loves a good, hearty, whole wheat bun with his burger and I usually pair mine with a sandwich thin for calories sake.

But with my wonderful bread machine quickly becoming a staple appliance in my kitchen, and since I don't have a kitchen aid, I decided to find some middle-ground solution for my husband I's burger loving days.

 Thus, these. They are light, filling, and healthy. A perfect pair for any type for any sandwich you would dare put between these buns.

I cut mine a little small and  but they made awesome sliders!!!

Second time: Cut larger and with honey

Don't fret if you don't have a bread machine or kitchen aid, these are easy to kneed by hand if you have the time! 

Recipe adapted from One Sweet Heat and Holy Cow Vegan
1/2 cup almond milk, warmed
1 cup water, warmed
2 tbs coconut oil
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
2 tbs vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
3 tsp sugar *UPDATE: I tried 3 tbs honey instead and they were way softer! so your choice!
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Heat almond milk and water in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 min.
Mix flours, wheat gluten, and baking soda together.
Add salt to warmed water/milk mixture.
Add mixed ingredients into bread machine as directed by the manufacture--mine, the wet ingredients go in first then the dry. 
Add the coconut oil and sugar to opposing corners of the pan.
Make an indent in the center of your mixture and pour yeast.
Set machine to "Dough" Cycle and let it run its course (check at the end of the first knead to see if dough has come together properly, if too wet add a tablespoon of flour, if too dry, add a tablespoon of water then check again after the second knead).

When dough is done, pull out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface.
Either roll out dough to 3/4th of its size and cut dough with the largest biscuit cutter you have, or can, or lid, etc. Re-roll into a ball, roll out, cut. Repeat until all the dough is cut.
for more roundish buns, take the ball of dough and separate into 6-8 balls. Slightly flatten the top of the balls.

Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and let sit in a warm place for an hour to double in size. (I placed mine in the NOT TURNED ON oven with the light on)

Preheat oven  350 F.
Brush the tops of the dough with milk or butter or oil and top with oats if desired.
Bake for 15-20 min until golden brown.

With sugar:
With honey:
Let cool for 2 min then serve with a turkey burger!!!

with sugar:

with honey: 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ramekin Cheesecake


Sometimes we just want cheesecake.

(I over filled this one! yummy)

But who has time or the patience to bake a whole cheesecake every time you have that craving.

So I give you the Ramekin cheesecake.

Bigger than those cheesecake bites that you know you will devour in minutes, and smaller than a whole cheesecake that you feel guilty indulging in.

Cheesecake; 4 ramekins

1 pk 1/3 less fat cream cheese; softened
1 egg
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar

Healthy Crust
3 graham crackers, crushed
1 tbs applesauce (or butter)
1/2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven 375 F. 

Crush 3 crackers with fork. 
Add applesauce and cinnamon and mix well. 
Press cracker mixture into the bottom of the ramekins. 

Soften cream cheese either by leaving it out until room temp or place in the microwave for 10 sec on each side. 
With a stand mixer/hand mixer/kitchen aid etc. whip cream cheese and egg together until smooth. Add yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and lemon and mix until VERY smooth. 

Equally distribute cheesecake mixture between the 4 ramekins. 
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 min.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Seasoned Chicken Spinach Roll Ups

I have been wanting to make roll ups since I saw them pop up in the food blogging world but I hardly ever have lasagna noodles. Odd I know, but it's just not a meal I go for.

However, when the recipe came back into my mind, I found exactly 6 noodles left from a lasagna dinner I had made for some friends months earlier and was overjoyed that I could make this for my husband and I for dinner.

It's so easy and a fun alternative to the lasagna noodle stacking method.
It's also quite versatile. I've seen classic beef lasagna roll ups, alfredo chicken roll ups, veggie roll ups, caprese roll ups, even enchilada roll ups!

So don't be afraid to experiment and make this meal a fun one!

2 chicken breasts, cooked & seasoned
6-9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup pasta sauce
1 cup spinach, shredded
~ 1cup shredded cheese, your choice
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook lasagna noodles according to package.
Shred cooked and seasoned chicken--I used my stand mixer!
Season shredded spinach with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven 350 F.
When noodles are done gently remove them from water and place lengthwise on a clean surface.Pat dry with towel.
Non-stick a 8x8 pan and pour 1/2 cup pasta sauce on the bottom, spreading it out evenly.
Spoon about 2 tbs of pasta sauce onto each lasagna noodle, spreading it out evenly.
Add shredding chicken, then spinach, then ~1/4 cup cheese, on top of noodle strips.

Gently roll up noodles, lifting slightly as you roll to keep it from smooshing out its inner parts. Lay seam side down in pan.
Pour some more pasta sauce over the top of the rolls, and sprinkle with cheese as desired.
Bake for 25 min or until cheese is melted and has a lightly golden top.

Serve with a side salad and roll
Sorry my photos are lame, my camera battery died so I had to use a regular digital...


Friday, February 22, 2013

Burning Arms: Literally

My arms are on FIRE!
Man this was an awesome arm work out video that requires no weights just fast, upbeat arm rotations and swings.

I have always been self conscious about my arms; When I was big, they were big, and as I got smaller I had extra skin which, thankfully over time and my new love for weight lifting, this has decreased a great deal.

But one could always use a little switch-up in their work out routine. So give this video a try and let me know how you feel afterward!

Let em' burn!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black Bean Fudge Cookies

Yes I am on a roll with these black beans: burgers, brownies, bites...
 and why not, they are awesome!

I feel so adventures and somewhat edgy when I pour beans into baked-goods batter;
So let's just say its the foodie adrenaline rush that keeps me going.

And a good thing, eh?
 Fudgy, Chocolate, Healthy, Cookies.
 Nothing more needs to be said. 

makes 24 cookies
1 can black beans
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 packets truvia (or 1/4 cup sugar or agave/honey)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven 350 F. 
Line a 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
Pour everything into a food processor and and blend until smooth and creamy.
Spoon ~1tbs of wet mixture onto parchment paper and smooth out into a cookie shape. Repeat until pans are full.

Bake for 8-10 min.
Let cook on pan for 3 min--helps firm up.

The recipe is gluten and dairy free but if you don't have those dietary restrictions I encourage you to melt some chocolate on top  of them to experience ultimate chocolate bliss.


 Nutrition Information
 Serving: 1 cookie
29 cal * 7 carbs * 0g sat fat * 1g protein *1g fiber

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chocolate Avo Pudding


Are you ready for this? 

Avocado pudding.

I know, sounds insane, and little off, but truly this foodie experiment creates a rich, mouse-like, pudding that is hard to believe it is healthy.

This is a no joke chocolate recipe too. If you have a deep chocolate urge that no, kit-kat can fix, dive into a serving of this and you'll be fully satisfied.

Also, don't let the green turn you or others away make it, serve it to others, and they'll beg you for your secret.

makes 2  servings
1 medium ripe avocado
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tbs agave
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/16 tsp of salt-a pinch!
2 packets truvia (or 3 tbs agave)
1 1/2 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips

Blend avocado and milk in a food processor/cup blender/high power blender until silky smooth. Add in everything else except chocolate chips, blend until smooth.

take a tsp of the the pudding and add it to the chocolate chips and microwave it in 15-30 sec intervals, stirring until melted. Add chocolate mixture to pudding and blend until well combined.

Pour into two ramekins or small dishes.

Nutrition Information
194cal * 23 carbs* 4g sat fat * 3g protein* 2g fiber

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pop-able Black Bean Brownies


I love small, pop-able, treats. My mind works in the sense that if I can have more of one thing it's more satisfied. So mini versions of food are a go-to thing. 

Pop-able brownies are hard to resist. One thinks, "hey, they are the smaller than a regular brownies so it can't hurt to have a few." Well unfortunately that is not the case.
Costco's Kirkland brand brownie bites run you 130 calories a brownie bite and Trader Joe's Brownie bites will cost you 190 calories for 2!

So those adorable little treats turn into a healthy foodie's nightmare.
But have no fear, the black bean is here. 
I was overjoyed when the foodie world discovered a way to make brownies--along with many other treats--healthy by subbing in black beans.

My first attempt were Andes Peppermint Black Bean brownies, and my oh my, were they fudgey, chocolate, minty bliss.

Yet, they still contained flour (still not edible for my gluten free friends), and quite a bit of sugar.
So I did some foodie experimenting and created these delectable, pop-able, 29 cal a piece, brownie bites.

 So go ahead, laugh in Trader Joe's face and eat 4-- you'll only be at 116 cal...

(Gluten free, Dairy Free)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (~1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 packets truvia (1/4 cup sugar or honey/agave)
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder* updated!
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 350 F.
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender until smooth and creamy.
Non stick a mini muffin tin.
Fill each compartment with  1 tbs of mixture.
Bake for 8 min.
Let cool in pan for 3 min. 
Pop them out of pan by gently tapping back of pan or scooping out with a spoon.

Let cool for another 5 min to allow them to firm up in the center.

Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar if desired.


 Nutrition Information
 Serving: 1 cookie
29 cal * 7 carbs * 0g sat fat * 1g protein *1g fiber

Friday, February 15, 2013

Oat Drop Cookies


No sugar, No eggs, No butter. 

When I saw the recipe for these on Shape magazine I was all for it! 
They have 10 delicious healthy and easy-to-make cookies for the healthy-minded foodies--ME!
You can find them all HERE.

I decided to make these for last minute Downtown Abby watching party and they were a perfect pair for the tea! 

I took the original recipe and made two different types of cookies in one batch: Sweet Cranberry Oat Drops, and Cinnamon Raisin Oat drops. All I did was make the base*, cut it in half, and add the "extra" ingredients I wanted to make them unique.

These are healthy enough to eat for breakfast---no joke.

Easy bake, no mistake. 

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup applesauce
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 tsp salt
1tbs ground flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sweet Cranberry
2-3 tbs dried cranberries

Cinnamon Raisin
2-3 tbs raisins
1 tsp cinnamon

Smash bananas in a small bowl. Add vanilla and apple sauce and mix well. Add in oats,salt, and flaxseed and mix until well incorporated.
Divide dough in half--I just pushed half of the dough to the side of the bowl.
Fold in dried cranberries to one half of  dough.
Fold in 1 tsp cinnamon and raisin in the other half of the dough.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, press out drops of dough into cookie shapes.

Bake for 20 min-until edges are golden brown.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Toaster Strudel


I'm sure you've had this feeling: 

I know I have. 

They may taste "good" but man are they "bad" for you. 

My husband used to eat them a lot as a young boy, and for me, I ate it's devious counter part: pop-tarts.

Thankfully we both became healthier-minded eaters in our college days and my developed allergy of red dye 40 put those preservative filled breakfast "treats" on the back burner.

But you can't say "no toaster strudel forever," that would be deprivation and I don't like that word or that action
So I say, "Make my own, healthier toaster strudel"; and thus I did.

I made the puff pastry from scratch, a conquest I hold with high honor since I made it with NO BUTTER.
You can find that HERE along with it's epic story.

But you could--and by could I mean you shouldn't unless you ABSOLUTELY are in a bind for time-- but the per-packaged pastry puff.

My end result were unbelievably delicious, why did I ever buy the store bought brand,  flaky, gooey, strawberry filled breakfast pastries.

homemade puff pastry dough (found here)
3/4 cup strawberry jam
1 tbs cornstarch
1 egg

Creamy icing
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1tbs milk or cream or half and half

Preheat oven 350 F

Divide dough into 2 equal parts (if you are using my dough recipe  ~8 oz ea.)
Roll each dough half into 9x12 squares--don't worry they don't have to be perfectly square.

Width-wise, cut the dough into 4 strips--approx every 3 inches.

Cut each strip in half, and lay the two pieces on parchment lined baking sheet: keeping the pieces next to each so that they pair up correctly.

Repeat with second half of dough
Whisk egg and brush the top of each dough square.

Combine Strawberry jam and cornstarch in a small bowl until jam is thick.
Scoop 1 tbs of the thickened jam onto the center of one half of the cut strip. Gently spread it out while leaving about 1/4 of the edges untouched to close the seam.

Take the other half of the strip and lay it directly on top of the jam filled square and pinch seam all the around to form a jam filled pocket.

Repeat with the other 8 pastry paired squares.

Brush the tops of the pastry pockets with remaining egg mixture.

Bake for 25-30 min until tops are golden brown.

Serve warm and with creamy icing.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Easy Puff Pastry -NO BUTTER


Wow, what an adventure this recipe was. 
I was seriously on the hunt for a flaky, but durable, and healthy pastry dough for days. 
No such luck.

Every blog I read, every thread I browsed,
the response was: use butter or fail.
Luckily for me, and hopefully for you, I am a strong willed and very determined woman so I decided to experiment and make my own. 

My butter replacement: coconut oil! 
(full of good fats, healthy nutrients, and a whole host of other health benefits, google it!)

I pulled directions and tweaked ingredients primarily from 3 blogs: Annie Eats, Lick The Bowl Good, and Smitten Kitten.
 I spent a tedious amount of time making sure everything was going alright, but alas, created my masterpiece;

to me, 
a honorable 
and Healthy feat.

I was so so proud of myself in the end, 
but after that long ordeal I truly felt I could have skipped the 1 hour refrigeration step the pastry bloggers called for.
My dough was very pliable and ready to use by the 3rd turn, but I followed their instruction just to be safe.
But my end result was unworkable, cold dough that I had to put in the oven while it preheated just to get it to roll out.
I don't know if it was because I used coconut oil instead of butter, but if you follow this recipe I left the 1hr in the fridge OUT--less time for you!

The outcome of my delectable dough was a slightly denser (perfect for my durable demand), but quite flaky, buttery tasting, delicious puff pastry.

Give it a whirl--or turn!

2 cups all purpose flour
1tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut oil, solid*
1/4 cup ice water
2 tbs milk

 *I broke it down into 16 tbs

In a large bowl or food processor, blend/pulse together flour, sugar and salt. Add 4 tbs of coconut oil at a time and pulse until mixture resembles small peas.--You could blend with a pastry blender or 2 forks if you don't have a food processor.

Dump into a large bowl and do a quick swish mix with your hands.
Add 2 tbs of water, and gently mix in with dough. Add 2 tbs milk, and gently min in with dough, add last 2 tbs of water and gently mix in with dough. Dough should still be crumbly but with when pressed together will hold.

Dump dough onto a clean surface. Keep in mind, the dough will be crumbly.

Fraisage dough--quick inward strokes with the palm of your hand.

Mold dough into a ball and Fraisage again. Dough should start to stick to itself.

Mold dough into a 8x4 square and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 min.

Once refrigerated, place dough on a lightly floured parchment paper and roll into a rectangle (~ 15x10).

Fold dough lengthwise into thirds.

Starting from the long end, roll up dough up into a coil

Gently roll over coil to connect seams. ~6x5 rectangle: 
Your 1st turn.

Repeat the rolling out,folding, and coiling for a 
2nd and 3rd turn.
 (notice the dough is smoother the 2nd turn)

Dough should be very malleable and smooth at this point and you have two options:

Either start shaping for your recipe or wrap dough in plastic to either set in the fridge until ready to use, or freeze.

Dough bakes well at 350 F.


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