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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce on Spaghetti Squash

1 Aug

Have you tried Spaghetti Squash before? If not, I highly recommend it!

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Not only do I truly like it better than spaghetti, but it is so much healthier. My mom was very iffy before trying it, as she is not always into my “healthy recreations”. But she is now a full supporter of the lovely squash. She gets so excited every time she comes home to one in the oven. With it being so much lighter than regular spaghetti, it allows you to fully enjoy whatever toppings you put on it. Which brings me to the main part of this post, my homemade sauce.

I love spaghetti sauce. Actually, anything with tomatoes. Salsa, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, even just plain sliced tomatoes with some salt and pepper! But with some store bought sauces being filled with so many unneeded ingredients, I decided to come up with my own recipe that I could revisit every time I wanted some.

Side Note: I finally got an actual camera! Yes, all the pictures until now have been from my Iphone! I could not be more excited to finally begin taking photography again whether it be food or other thing..like my pup!

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But back to the main focus :) This spaghetti sauce recipe is so simple, it certainly does not take a personal chef to make it! And guess what? without counting seasonings, it only has FOUR ingredients!  Served with spaghetti squash, and you have yourself a meal. Don’t know how to make spaghetti squash? That can be learned below as well :)

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
-1 cup red onion, diced
-1 15oz can Tomato Sauce
-1 14.5oz can Diced Tomatoes
-1 6oz can Tomato Puree
-1T fresh chopped Basil
-1 clove of Garlic
-1 tsp each: dried Parsley, Oregano, Thyme
-1/2 tsp garlic salt
-Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place minced garlic clove and onion in pot on stove, and sauté until onion is transparent on medium heat.  Add in all other ingredients, and stir to combine. Allow to simmer on medium low heat for 20 minutes. Serve on spaghetti squash or other desired food. Keep in sealed container in fridge for up to one week.

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Spaghetti Squash
-1 spaghetti squash
-olive oil spray
-seasonings of choice (garlic salt, sea salt, pepper, season salt, onion powder)
-sauce of choice (marinara, meat sauce, Alfredo, pesto, homemade sauce, simple olive oil)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut squash in half long wise. Take out seeds from middle. Either wash seeds for baking separately, or throw away. Lightly coat flesh of both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Put flesh side down on baking tray. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes (depending on size). If wanting more aldente “spaghetti” texture, check after 30 minutes. Take out of oven. With fork, begin to scrape out insides, going length-wise down the entire half of the squash. It will begin to come off as string-like “spaghetti noodles”. Continue to do so until all flesh is out of the hard outside shell. Toss shell or use as serving bowl. Prepare “noodles” with one of the following additions: 1)with one tablespoon or two of olive oil, and delicious seasonings of choice for a light side 2) toss with homemade sauce above for a real taste of spaghetti, 3) with any other sauce of choice, like Alfredo, pesto, or a homemade sauce. Top with any additional veggies or protein as desired. My turkey meatballs would be delicious for this :)

Tomato Benefits
1)Low in calories
2)High in vitamin C
3)Good source of vitamins A,K,folate and potassium
4)Provides thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper
5)Source of fiber
6)High water content
7)Source of beta-carotene and lycopene (good skin protectors)

Spaghetti Squash Benefits
1) Rich in vitamin C
2) Contains vitamins A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K
3) Rich in minerals that lead to good healthy, the dominant being manganese. This aids in healthy bones, tissues, and sex hormones, and also plays in metabolism and regulation of blood sugar.
4) High in fiber, leading to satiety and decrease of cardiovascular disease
5) Only 42 calories in 1 cup compared to about 200 in a cup of spaghetti.

Source: LiveStrong.com
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Pumpkin Peanut Butter

29 Jul

Ever since I was a child, I have loved peanut butter. It’s one of those things I don’t think I could ever get sick of. I use to sit on the couch after school with a banana and an entire jar of peanut butter. Spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, repeat continuously. Banana is gone? No problem, I would just start eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Thankfully I’ve learned the meaning of moderation now, at least most of the time :)

As I was enjoying some peanut butter yesterday, a brilliant idea came to me. Why not made a more creamy and light tasting butter by adding pumpkin?! It only made sense as I love my pumpkin.

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The result was incredible. It give the typical heavy and rich peanut butter, a more refreshing, mousse like texture. And guess what? It cuts the calories and fat down in a natural way! The addition of pumpkin lends that lovely taste of fall inside that spoonful of delicious nut butter<3

This is absolutely delicious on toast, as a dip for apples, a mix-in to oatmeal and yogurt, of just by the spoonful!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter
-1 cup homemade peanut butter (or any natural peanut butter)
-1 cup pumpkin puree (or decrease to 1/2 cup if wanting a richer taste)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Optional: 1T honey or stevia
-Optional: 1/4 tsp seal salt (if butter is not already salted)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Store in fridge.

Note: Turn it into a sinlessly sweet butter with the addition of sweetener and extract, or enjoy as your typical savory peanut butter by just adding pumpkin.

Note: Want a really low calorie option? Instead of 1 cup peanut butter, use peanut flour and almond milk to make 1 cup worth!

Note: Want a really low calorie dip? Use peanut flour mixed with water or almond milk in place of the peanut butter! (But don’t be afraid of all the healthy fats, they are good for you!)

Peanut Benefits
1)Rich in energy, containing many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
2)Good levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids
3)Good source of dietary protein
4)Great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant found to protect against cancers, heart disease, and fungal infections
5)Excellent source of vitamin E, which maintains and protects cell membranes and skin
6)Packed with B vitamins

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

Watermelon Lime Pudding

25 Jul

Here is another creation of mine in order to beat this summer heat! I absolutely love watermelon. It’s probably my favorite fruit. My only problem is once I cut it open, I can’t stop. No self control when there’s delicious, refreshing watermelon in front of me!

Usually I just eat my fruit plain or with some type of yogurt dip/nut butter, but this time I decided to make a recipe with my favorite fruit! With watermelon being so sweet, I thought the pairing with lime would be the perfect combination.

I’ve made another recipe similar to this, but pumpkin flavor! As you know by now, that too is one of my favorite foods. That one can be found here.

How do you like to beat this summer heat? What is your all-time favorite fruit that you just can’t stop eating once you start?!

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Watermelon Avocado & Lime Mousse

-1 cup watermelon
-6 oz soft tofu
-1 very ripe banana
-1/4 cup mashed avocado
-juice from 1/2 lime
-1tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Scoop out lime and serve mousse inside!

Tip: **If it isn’t sweet enough for you with the banana and watermelon, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of honey!  **Use mini chocolate chips for “seeds” if your desire a pretty presentation.

Watermelon Benefits
1) Contains 92% water: aids in hydration
2) Full of antioxidants: neutralizes free radical damage in body, reduces inflammation, reduces chance of cancer and arthritis
3) Contains phytonutrients: naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive and able to trigger healthy reactions in body
4) Filled with Citrulline: this converts to Arginine, which is great for our hearts, livers, and circulatory system
5) Rich in vitamin C and Beta-Carotenes: anti-inflammatory properties
6) Aids in bloating and constipation: watermelon has a natural diuretic effect which can help eliminate water retention and wastes
7) Stops itchy skin: as a cleanser, it flushes out toxins that take the form of itchiness
8) Reduces blemishes: rub watermelon on your face, leave juice on for 10 minutes, rinse.

{Travel Snacks} Homemade Nut Butters

21 Jul

Sometimes, the food is the best part of the journey.

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One thing I never forget to pack when I am leaving home is my food. Whether it be for a long day of classes as a college student, a road trip for the weekend, or hours in the airport traveling across the country, I always remember to plan.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

That is something I heard awhile back that always stuck with me. It is so very true. The times that I haven’t had time to plan my food for a long day away from the house, I always end up eating unhealthy, last resort foods after becoming too hungry. That is why I’m sharing with you an easy, travel-friendly snack that is a safe option no matter how far your travels are taking you.

I must admit, this is my favorite snack, even when I’m not traveling. It is my go-to food whenever I get those hunger pains mid-day. But when the theme this month for Recipe Redux was travel food, I knew immediately what I wanted to share.

Homemade Nut Butter. All kinds. With fresh, crunchy celery as dippers, or even apple slices. Could there be anything more delicious or refreshing? Is has those healthy fats along with protein to keep you satisfied.  The best thing about it, is they are airport safe! I take a little container of my nut butters every time I fly, and have never had a problem. What is the great result? Instead of eating those salty, oil saturated peanuts, I enjoy my healthy, all natural nut butter with some veggies or fruit!

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I have a couple of homemade nut butters on my site already, like my Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter, my healthy version of Nutella called “Not-tella“, and my Almond Joy Butter. But I made two new, absolutely delicious butters to share with you today. Something I love to live by for most of my diet, keep it simple, yet keep it tasty. These nut butters are just that. Coconut Cashew Butter & Cinnamon Java Butter

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Cinnamon Java Almond Butter

– 1 cup almonds, toasted
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp instant coffee powder
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Place nuts in food processor and blend until butter forms (this will take at least 5 to 10 minutes).

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Cashew Coconut Butter

– 1 cup cashews, toasted
– 1 tsp coconut extract
– 1 tsp coconut oil
– optional: 2T unsweetened shredded coconut, stirred into final product
Directions: Place nuts into food processor. Blend until butter forms (again, about 5-10 minutes). Add extract and oil and blend for about 10 more seconds. Keep in container.

*Neither of these butters need to be refrigerated if consuming within a week!

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Yum. And benefits?

Almond Benefits
1) Reduce Heart Attack Risk
2) Lower Bad Cholesterol
3) Protect artery walls from damage
4) Build strong bones and teeth
5) Provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss
6) Lower rise in blood sugar after meals
7) Alkalize the body

Cashew Benefits
1) Prevents Cancer
2) Heart Health
3) Increases Hair and Skin health
4) Beneficial for Bone Health
5) Good for the nerves
6) Prevents Gallstones
7) Aids in weight loss

Coconut Benefits
1) Fights viruses and bacteria growth in body
2) Fights yeast, fungus, and candida
3) Positively affects hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control which leads to increase metabolism, energy and endurance
4) Aids in digestion
5) Absorbs fat soluble vitamins
6) Lowers cholesterol
7) Special fat called medium chain triglycerides (Research shows 2T a day allowed women not only to gain less weight but lower abdominal fat)

Sources: doctoroz.com, care2.com

Pina Colada Mugcake

11 Jul

The day has finally come. Remember that mugcake contest over Instagram I have mentioned a few times (like here and here)? Like I have told you all before,  Susanna,who is hosting this contest, (TastyHealth), also had a 4 week pancake challenge back in the spring. Unfortunately after entering in each week with the most creative recipes I could come up with, I didn’t win (stil great recipes though that you can find on my site!).

When she began this 4 week mugcake challenge, I knew I had to participate again. The first week was chocolate themed, and unfortunately, I didn’t win (even though my good friend Amy DID win!). This past week was then a new theme, fruit. I knew I had to do something special.

When it comes to desserts, I am usually more of a chocolate lover rather than fruit, but I do love my pina coladas. I knew that is what I’d make! I scooped out the coconut from its shell that I bought at the store, and decided I would make the shell my “mug” for the full pina colada effect.

This recipe has absolutely NO sugar, except all the delicious, fresh fruit in it. It is all you could want in a fruit, healthy dessert, and more! Let this dessert take you away to a tropical island :)

P.S. I won!

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Piña Colada Mugcake:
▫2T coconut flour
▫2T oat flour
▫1/2 cup cubed pineapple
▫1/4 cup melted ripe banana
▫1/4 cup egg whites
▫1T fresh coconut (or unsweetened shredded)
▫3T almond milk
▫2T cottage cheese
▫1/2 tsp vanilla and coconut extract
▫1tsp baking powder
▫1 coconut shell (if desired to cook cake in)

For Pineapple Coconut Cream:
▫2T cottage cheese
▫4 one-inch cubes of pineapple
▫1/4 tsp coconut extract

◻Directions: Melt half a very ripe banana in microwave for 30 seconds. Place all other cake ingredients with banana in blender (except coconut shell) and blend until smooth. Pour batter into 1/2 a coconut shell (filling only 3/4 full) or normal coffee mug. Cook in microwave for 2 minutes. For cream, blend all ingredients until smooth. Top cake with a spoonful of cream. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts, and toasted coconut if desired!

Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter & Pumpkin Protein Crepe

7 Jul

I have TWO recipes to share with you today. I have been going a little bit crazy with the pumpkin lately. But when you have delicious, fresh puree to use, why not?!

I love nut butters, all kinds. Well, all MY kinds that are made fresh and healthy, without added sugars and bad oils that is! I literally am pulling out my food processor at least one time if not two times a week to make some. It just seems to..disappear. Weird.

And I don’t think I have to tell you how much I love pumpkin. So the two combined together to create a smooth, creamy, fall favorite flavor–flawless. I was tempted to just eat it all with a spoon! (Okay so maybe I did have a spoonful or two and made sure none was wasted on the food processor). Anyways, it is a must try if you are a fan of pumpkin! A warning that I sometimes don’t think of since mine never lasts that long, nuts go bad when combined with liquids after about a week, so make as much as you think you will have in that time frame (and keep refrigerator!) :)

Next up, I came home from a long 4 hour morning of organic chemistry class (yes, I am stuck taking organic chemistry during the summer), and wanted a protein packed sweet treat. I was going to resort to egg whites and have something on the side at first after not being able to decide, but then knew I really wanted to use my pumpkin once again. So, call me crazy, but I combined the two. What resulted from the combo+ some other ingredients, was something I can’t quite call a pancake, or a crepe, or a sweet omelette. I wasn’t really sure what to call it, but crepe was the closest in texture :) I filled it with some vanilla “cream”, and had a delicious, sinlessly sweet pumpkin creation sitting on my plate. High in protein, healthy and delicious. Don’t judge it until you try it!

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Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter
-1 cup walnuts, toasted
-1/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 tsp ground flaxseed
-1 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Optional: Sweetener of choice (fresh pumpkin was sweet enough for me, but if using canned, you will want to add 1 or 2T honey or 1 packet of stevia)
Directions: Food process toasted nuts until butter forms–this will take about 5-10 minutes of blending. (Check out how to make homemade nut butter here). When smooth nut butter has formed, add all other ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Enjoy! Great on toast, oatmeal, or any other way you typically use nut butter!

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Pumpkin Protein Crepe with Vanilla Cream filling
For Crepe:
-2/3 cup egg whites
-1/3 cup pumpkin
-2T cottage cheese
-1T ground flaxseed
-1 tsp baking powder and vanilla extract
-dash of sea salt
*Sweeten to taste (fresh pumpkin and my filling were sweet enough for me alone)

Vanilla Cream
-1/4 fat-free or low-fat ricotta cheese
-1/4 greek yogurt
-1/2 very ripe big banana
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1T honey if banana isn’t sweet enough

Directions: Blend all crepe ingredients until smooth in blender. Cook in pan on medium heat until done (makes one big crepe or 2/3 small). Blend all vanilla cream ingredients together. Fill crepe/crepes with filling, and roll up! (Mint leaf for decoration) Enjoy!

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html

Pumpkin Breakfast Pudding

4 Jul

Why yes, yes it certainly is another pumpkin recipe. How after this post you may ask? I found myself a huge real “calabaza” in my food store, baked it, and the product was a whole lot of delicious pumpkin puree. Is it just me or is fresh pureed pumpkin so much more delicious than the canned stuff? I don’t even need sweetener for most of my pumpkin recipes when using fresh! And there is no way I could do that with canned pumpkin.

Back to how this was created. I woke up really wanting to use my fresh pumpkin in my breakfast, but wasn’t wanting anything hot like oatmeal or my pumpkin french toast. I knew I wanted some of my all natural, 4-ingredient cottage cheese as well, and that is when the wheels started turning.

I took out my nutribullet, measured out equal parts of pumpkin, cottage cheese, raw bran, and a couple other things, and I truly was surprised with the result. I did not think it was going to be that good. Boy was I wrong. I didn’t even need to add any sweetener!

When I had reached the bottom of my jar, it was a sad day. Just kidding, but I was wishing I had more of it to eat! This was a delicious and healthy way to start my morning. Pumpkin has so many nutritional benefits, and this was high in protein and fiber as well to keep that tummy satisfied!

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Pumpkin Breakfast Pudding
-1/2 cup fresh pumpkin(can used canned)
-1/2 cup almond milk
-1/4 cup cottage cheese
-1/4 cup raw bran (can use oats if you don’t have)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-dash of sea salt
Directions: Blend in high speed blender until smooth. Add sweetener if desired. Fresh pumpkin is so sweet to me on its own that I didn’t need any! (I topped mine with baked cinnamon pumpkin seeds, fresh pumpkin puree, and cinnamon)