Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie


I've never been interested in juice cleanses and I was certainly never interested drinking one of my meals (minus the occasional night out with my girlfriends)...until I found this recipe. J & I discovered a beautiful park near our home that has some AMAZING hiking trails.  In the spirit of not being so lazy, we've even been getting up before work to hike. If you know me...that is a BIG deal!  Below are some pics from some of our recent adventures.

Coldwater Canyon at Sunset

Coldwater Canyon

Palos Verdes...a hike with one hell of a view!
The following picture I just HAD to share. We recently stumbled upon this trail in Palos Verdes with some friends.  It was such a perfect day with beautiful views. At the end of the hike, I demanded J take a photo with me, despite being sweaty & gross. I had NO IDEA what Dukes face looked like until I got home & was going through the photos taken...


Freaking HILARIOUS!  So glad to know Duke enjoyed the hike! What a little ham.  Anyways, with all the hiking, I needed to start getting more protein.  I'm not super into smoothies because the only crushed ice I can handle is in slurpees.  I've always preferred a smooth beverage, even my Nana would pour OJ through a strainer for me when I was a kid.

Well thanks to Pinterest, I found a recipe from Prevention with normal ingredients that was healthy & could be made without crushed ice!  I also happened to have all the ingredients already on hand, which was so helpful. I've made these twice now and they really make a nice breakfast after working out.  I really can't even believe I typed that last sentence. WHO AM I?!!! Just don't make the mistake I made the first time and assume that the recipe below is for one serving...it is definitely for 2! Luckily it was so good, I didn't mind that I drank 2 portions. 

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
Serves: 2
Blend time according to Rachel: 5 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!

Ingredients: 

1.5 cups fat free milk
1/2 cup vanilla or plain fat free yogurt
2 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 ripe banana
1 tbsp honey
(if you want ice, 4 cubes)                            
Directions:


Dump everything into the blender


Blend until smooth. 

How difficult.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lox & Eggs Scramble



One of my most favorite foods in the world is Smoked Salmon...aka Lox. When I need to indulge, instead of going for the bag of potato chips or a container of ice cream, I actually CRAVE a bagel, lox & cream cheese. It's tradition in my office for your "team" to get you sweets to share in the office. Generally it's cupcakes or a cake, but for my birthday this year, my team  got me a platter of bagels, lox & cream cheese...in ADDITION TO cupcakes. 


I mean, how awesome is that?! While the cupcakes we had later in the day were tasty, this was by far the best surprise.  Recently my team went out for a successful show celebratory lunch to an awesome place called The Waffle.  I surprisingly decided not to get a waffle when I saw this egg scramble with lox, cream cheese, onion & capers. I prefer my lox w/o capers because they kind of gross me out.


This scramble was right up my alley & tasted amazing.  I knew this was a recipe I would actually be able to duplicate at home & it wouldn't be complicated!  I was a little suspicious of adding in cream cheese to my eggs, but it actually tasted really smooth & creamy. I am happy to say I WAS able to successfully recreate it in all it's deliciousness.   It was SO easy & didn't take long at ALL. We ended up having this for dinner & J absolutely LOVED it & said this might be his favorite breakfast I've made so far.  I will definitely be making this many more times...possibly again tonight!

Lox & Eggs Scramble
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Rachel: 15 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!

Ingredients: 

4 eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
2-3 tbsp fat free cream cheese
1 pkg Nova Lox, sliced into small pieces
1/4 red onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste                           



Directions:



Crack eggs in a small mixing bowl. Add in milk. Whisk together until completely combined


In a large skillet over medium heat, add eggs. 
Scramble until they are just a tad bit runny. Aprox 5-7 mins.
Add in onion & Lox


Mix thoroughly. Eggs will be a bit runny due to the onion, so might have to cook a bit longer than usual.
Add in cream cheese right before eggs are done.  Let cheese melt a bit and then mix in thoroughly.


That's it! Serve when eggs are cooked to your liking.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cool Veggie Dip


Sometimes it's easy to forget that even the simplest of recipes can be delicious!  This recipe was floating around on Pinterest called "Poolside Skinny Dip" and while it is definitely a healthier appetizer...if you eat as much of it as I did, it's not so skinny anymore :)  Absolutely delicious and PERFECT for the summer! You won't have to worry about the cream cheese spoiling in the hot sun because it won't last that long! I served this with crackers, but found myself also dipping in other veggies. This will definitely be a staple this summer!

Cool Veggie Dip
Serves:15-20
Prep time according to Design Life & Style: doesn't say
Prep time according to Rachel: 10 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? SO EASY!

Ingredients:
I red bell pepper
1/2 can corn, drained (small can ideal)
2 Jalepeno peppers
2 8oz reduced fat cream cheese packages
1 pkg Ranch seasoning

Crackers for serving

The original recipe also called for half can diced olives. I skipped em.



Directions:


Dice peppers


In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingreidents


Mix thoroughly. THAT'S IT!




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherds Pie

Time to update another recipe!  As the temps start to finally drop (high of 77 here today! Yes, that is cooling off for us) it's time to bust out the foods that warm your stomach & your soul.  Ok, was that too cheesy? Maybe. Anyways, this recipe is amazing. Make it.

OLD:

NEW:

It was always drilled into my head that healthy eating meant a salad, grilled chicken or fish. Sometimes (always) chosing between the 3 doesn't excite me.  I do actually really enjoy fish, but not when I make it. (See Grilled Balsamic Salmon.) I was absolutely STOKED to find this recipe because not only is it really healthy & looked delicious, it was DIFFERENT.

This dish lasted us 3 nights and even by night 3, I still found myself looking forward to it. One of my biggest downfalls is the struggle with portion control. I always want MORE of the foods I love. For once, one serving of the dish actually filled me up!  I was really intrigued by Gina @ Skinnytaste's decision to sub in sweet potato instead of your typical yellow potato in this classic dish.  I recently tried to make a healthy mashed potato and it just did NOT satisfy...and you won't be seeing that recipe here.  The sweet potato is exactly the topping this dish needed.  The only thing I was missing was the individual dishes that Gina recommends you cook the pies in...because that is tradition. Well, baking it in one large dish worked just fine for me! You will also notice I took some liberties & left out a few veggies that I felt were either unnecessary or veggies I wasn't a fan of.

Sweet Potato Turkey Shepherd's Pie
Serves: 6
Cook time according to Gina: Doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 1 hour 15 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Not difficult, just a decent amount of steps...BUT WORTH IT!

Ingredients:
For the potatoes:   
3 sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup fat free chicken broth
2 tbsp light sour cream
salt & pepper to taste
For the Filling:
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
10 oz frozen mixed veggies
2 tbsp flour
1 cup fat free chicken broth
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
salt & pepper
paprika

Additional veggies that I omitted from the original recipe: 
8oz mushrooms, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 parsnip, diced              

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add peeled potatoes & whole garlic cloves

While potatoes boil, in a large saute pan, brown ground turkey. 
Season with salt & pepper. Drain & set aside.

OLD:

NEW:

Add olive oil to the pan, then add onion & sauté for one minute.

(Add celery & parsnip & cook about 12 mins)

If you don't add the additional veggies, sauté onion for aprox 4-5 mins until tender.

Add garlic (and mushrooms) and sauté another 1 minute (3-4 mins if w/ mushrooms)

Add flour, salt & pepper & mix well.

OLD:


NEW:

Add frozen veggies, chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce & rosemary. Mix well.

OLD:

NEW:

Add cooked turkey & mix well. Simmer on low about 5-10 minutes.

OLD:

NEW:

In a 9x13 greased baking dish (or 6 small oven safe individual dishes) pour meat & veggie mix. 
Spread to cover the bottom.

OLD:

NEW:

In a large mixing bowl, remove potatoes & garlic from boiling water. 
They should be nice & soft by now. 

Mash potatoes with chicken broth, sour cream, garlic, salt & pepper.

OLD:


NEW:

Spread potato mixture over the turkey & veggie mix. Sprinkle top with paprika.

Bake 20 minutes or until potatoes turn golden.

OLD:

NEW:

Let cool for 10 mins. Serve!

OLD:

Best part of this whole thing? I forgot to take a picture of the dish spooned out. Oh well.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Guest Post! Creamy Light Mac & Cheese


Welcome to another Guest Post! Thanks for this recipe Becky! This looks so yummy, I can't wait to try it!!

         

Rachel and I have been friends since our freshman year of college. Neither one of us were big cooks back then, we ate out a lot. Now that we’re all grown up and she’s cooking so much, I thought I’d take a page out of her book and start cooking more often. 

                            

Both my husband/lovely assistant and my growing baby (Note from Rachel, when Becky sent me this post she was 6 months pregnant...now she's due any day!!) appreciate the tasty, healthy meals at home. The first thing I made when I started my good wife/mommy routine was Rachel’s ground turkey enchiladas


I figured since I stole a recipe from her, I’d share one with her too! Here it is, “How to Make Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese” also known as “Tricking Your Husband into Making Dinner.” Because let’s face it, working full time and growing a baby is hard work.

Creamy Light Macaroni and Cheese
From Cooking Light Magazine
Hands on time - 1 hr. Total time - 1hr. 25 min.
Serves 8 (or 1 regular person and 1 hungry husband, with left-overs)


Ingredients:                                                                                                      
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1, 1lb squash)
1 1/4 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese 
(I replaced  the Romano & Gruyere w/ shredded Chedder Jack. Hubby doesn't like "fancy cheese")
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound uncooked wheat macaroni
cooking spray
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup panko *we just used regular breadcrumbs and only 1/4 cup
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley *totally forgot this part and it didn't matter


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F



Cube & peel the squash. Never done that before? Me either. This video helped!



At this point, you may notice that cutting up and peeling squash requires a little muscle, this might be a good time to bring in your lovely assistant. Make sure you tell him that you need someone manly…they like that.



After your lovely assistant has finished peeling and cubing the squash, you can retire him for now, but don’t let him go far. If you’re like me and you accidentally manhandle the garlic, causing cloves to fly all over the kitchen, you’ll need him again. Lovely assistants are very useful for digging out that pesky clove that got stuck inside the trash can peddle.



Once you’ve cleaned up the garlic clove explosion, combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over med/high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 min. Remove from heat. The official recipe didn't say to, but I stirred it periodically to keep the milk from getting a skin.


You’ll need the blender now, and you probably keep it in a hard to reach place. For example, ours is at the very back of a bottom cabinet. That makes pulling out the blender a task for your lovely assistant!




Place the hot squash mixture in the blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt, be sure to do this part yourself. Husbands/lovely assistants will believe that you’re doing all the work if you handle the adding of ingredients. Remove the center piece of the blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid to blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid *I used two folded paper towels so I wouldn't yucky up one of my towels, which worked fine. Puree until smooth. Blending is fun, but since he’s already in the kitchen, why not just have your lovely assistant handle this task?


Place blended squash mixture in bowl; stir in Gruyere, pecorino Romano *or chedder jack which works and is yummy, and 2 tbs of Parmesan. Stir until combined. Again, since he’s still in the kitchen, assign this task to your lovely assistant, but make sure you do the actual adding of the cheese and stirring. He’ll perceive that as you doing the cooking.



Cook pasta according to package directions, drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture and stir until combined. Again, make sure you do the stirring. Men think stirring=cooking. Have your lovely assistant spread mixture evenly into a 13x9 in. glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.



Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tbs of Parmesan cheese (you’ll notice I didn’t “remove from heat” before adding the Parmesan, didn’t make a difference). Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.



Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Ovens are hot, here’s one last task for your lovely assistant! Sprinkle with parsley, serve immediately *unless you forgot the parsley, then just eat it!




Looks yummy right? It really is and the best part is that the average serving of macaroni and cheese has over 600 calories, but this healthy version only has 390! Best of all, it still tastes like macaroni and cheese! Yay! The best part is that, since you worked so hard on dinner, your lovely assistant will probably volunteer to do the dishes.