Tag Archives: Cooking

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

Carrot Cake Mugcake & Notella Covered Strawberry Mugcake

10 Jul

Yes, two last mugcakes that I wanted to share. I promise, after this I will stop. They are just so good and easy! I usually can’t wait for desserts to get done baking before I just snack on other things, so these work perfectly for me.

The Carrot Cake mugcake was inspired by a friend I have met through instagram. He is an amazing Texan chef, and trains hardcore as he is an incredible triathlete. If you haven’t been to Jason’s website, you should go check him out here! Anyways, he liked to make jokes about these mugcake creations, as he likes to keep his food real and would rather bake a dessert (I guess it makes sense, he is a chef!). BUT, after my many mugcake creations, I think I tempted him a little bit, and he told me if I could make a dairy free mugcake (preferably carrot cake or pecan pie), he would make it and eat it! I instantly got into the kitchen. I knew I needed to make one so he would finally have one.

What resulted was a delicious, carrot cake mugcake that even my mother said was the most delicious one so far (well, an equal competitor to my pina colada one which I’ll be posting soon).

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Carrot Cake Mugcake
-2T coconut flour
-1 ground flaxseed
-4T almond milk
-4T egg whites
-1/2 small ripe banana
-4 baby carrots, cooked
-1T each: chopped walnuts,shredded coconut, honey
-1/2 tsp baking powder
Directions: Combine all ingredients in blender except nuts and coconut, and blend until smooth. Add in nuts and coconut. Pour into mug and cook in microwave for 1.5 minutes. Top with Coconut Cream if desired!

Coconut Cream (Dairy-Free)
Option1: Whip the contents of canned coconut milk until stiff
Option2: Blend 2T soft tofu, 1T honey, 1/2 tsp coconut extract

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Remember that healthy version of nutella I made, called not-tella?! Well, I made a chocolate strawberry mugcake as well one day, with that delicious “not-tella” taste! If you haven’t seen it yet, you better go check it out soon right here. If you are wanting a fruity yet chocolate-y (I know it’s not a word, but it fits in my lifestyle great) mugcake, this one is for you! If you want the sweet taste of carrot cake, that the first one is for you! For me, I had to compromise and make one for dessert one night, and one the other night:)

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Not-tella Covered Strawberry Mugcake

For Cake:
-2T hazelnut flour
-1T flaxseed
-3T egg whites
-1T Greek yogurt
1tsp baking powder and stevia
**Separate into two small bowls
In one: add 2 mashed up strawberries+1T water
In other: add 1 tsp cocoa powder+1T almond milk

*Spray mug. Place strawberry “batter” in first, then chocolate batter on top. Cook for 2 minutes.

For Strawberry Cream:
-2T Greek yogurt
-2T ricotta/cottage cheese
-1T almond milk
-2 strawberries
-Sweetener to taste, pink food dye optional
*Blend altogether until smooth

Not-tella Dip/Spread
-For every one-cup fresh nut butter, blend one very ripe banana and 2T cocoa powder in until smooth (can add milk or water if desiring a thinner consistency.

*Assembly: Place half strawberry cream on plate. Place mugcake on top. Top with rest of cream. Place a spoonful of “not-tella” spread on top along with a not-tella dipped strawberry. Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Balsamic Salmon

9 Jul

I love salmon. I go through periods where I’ll eat it 3 times a week! Well, that is when I’m home from college. I use to have it all the time when I lived at home, but up at college, it’s a little more tough to fix delicious, fresh salmon or dinner (busy college girl problems).

I got in a rut of fixing it the same exact way every time, some olive oil, herbs, garlic, and sea salt. Simple yet delicious. But I wanted to spice it up the other night, and try a new flavor on my salmon. See, many times when I’ve made salmon, I have also had a little side salad on my plate with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Why am I telling you this? Well I usually pour too much balsamic vinegar on my salad, and it spills out on my plate over to the salmon. At first I thought, oh no, now it’s going to have a vinegar taste. But to my delight, it was delicious with the balsamic taste! And that is how this recipe was inspired.

I decided to take this sweet and savory taste of balsamic vinegar, and add a bit of spice with hot sauce and ginger. It was one of my best salmon dinners yet.

Salmon is a great protein to include in your diet, as it is not only high in protein, but also a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. The only warning is that farm raised salmon can contain high levels of mercury, so I always make sure to buy Wild Alaskan salmon.

salmon

Sweet and Spicy Balsamic Marinade:
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1T hot sauce (or sriracha sauce)
-1T olive oil
-1 tsp sea salt, ginger powder, and basil
*Amounts for one big piece of salmon (about 8oz). You can double or triple ingredients as needed.

Directions: Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Mix all marinade ingredients together. Made an aluminum foil “tray” by folding a piece of aluminum foil up on all sides (so no liquid spills out). Place 8oz piece of salmon skin side down on foil, and pour marinade over. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, or you can proceed to cook right away. Place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until done all the way through. Paired great with a side salad and sweet potato.

Salmon Benefits
1)Omega 3 fatty acids: protects heart health
2)High Quality Protein
3)Essential Amino Acids
4)Vitamin A
5)Vitamin D
6)Vitamin B6
7)Vitamin B
8)Vitamin E: powerful antioxidant that lowers risk of heart disease
9)Appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus

Source: WildForSalmon.com/health-benefits

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

5 Jul

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!

Who doesn’t like good ole’ Barbeque? That pork and chicken, smothered in BBQ sauce, mmm.

What guess what that delicious, tasty barbeque sauce is made of? TONS of sugar, mainly in the forms of either molasses or white sugar. What’s wrong with that? Well in small amounts, nothing is truly wrong with sugar or molasses unless your following a strict no sugar diet. But see, typical barbeque sauce doesn’t contain tiny amounts of barbeque sauce. It contains a whole lot of the stuff. Usually being one of the first ingredients listed which means it’s one of the main ingredients!

A serving size on a barbeque sauce bottle is typically one tablespoon. I am almost certain that no one enjoys a good barbeque dinner with only one tablespoon of sauce. Without mentioning exact numbers or amounts consumed, let’s just take it for granted that a typical BBQ meal is not the healthiest. Tons of sugar and calories, and not good ones.

So why am I saying all of this? Because I love a good old barbeque dinner, and I wasn’t willing to give it up. But I was willing to find a better solution. And that is when I went to work. The sauce ended up being delicious, still having that barbeque sauce taste, yet not near as much sugar or calories. Now I call that a win.

Homemade barbeque sauce, pulled chicken, all stuffed in a tomato. It was a great way to celebrate the fourth of July for lunch! How did you spend your Independence Day?!

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Homemade Barbecue Sauce
-1 8oz can tomato sauce
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-2T liquid aminos (or normal soy sauce)
-1T dijon mustard
-1T apple cider vinegar
-2 tsp stevia
-1T molasses or honey (or more stevia to taste)
-1/2 tsp instant coffee grains
-1 tsp each: cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt
Optional: dash of liquid smoke (makes for a great taste!)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove, and cook on a medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Store in jar in the fridge. Keeps fresh for about one week!

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)

Source: fitday.com

Taco Salad

2 Jul

You know those taco salads you can order out at any Mexican restaurant? Aren’t they just delicious?

But did you know that most of them have more calories and fat that a typical entree?! Yes, a salad, made unhealthy. Welcome to America. It’s horrible how people think they are selecting the healthy option, when in reality, it is just as bad as any other choice on the menu.

The ground beef, shredded cheese, beans, tortilla chips, creamy dressing…Does it taste good? Oh of course. Is it healthy? Ehh, to say the least no it is not. But have no fear, you can now enjoy this lovely taco salad again, but in a healthy new way! I have prepared for you all, a nutritious spin on this heavy laden taco salad. And boy, it is delicious! Made with ground turkey and my homemade chia wraps, toasted as tortilla chips. Oh, and a protein packed delicious creamy dressing instead of that fattening dressing you get served at restaurants. Enjoy!

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Taco Salad
For Salad:
-2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
-1/4 cup each: sliced bell peppers, red onion, raw corn
-2 red cabbage leaves, cut
-1/2 big tomato, diced
-1/4 Cup garbanzo beans,cooked
-1/2 cup ground turkey, cooked

Dressing:
1T dijon mustard
-1T Greek yogurt
-1T milk
salt and pepper to taste

Other:
-My homemade chia wrap, found here
-1T salsa

Directions: Place lettuce on plate and top with al the vegetables, beans, and meat. Mix dressing ingredients together and drizzle over top. Finish with one heaping spoonful of salsa. Toast chia wrap (or other healthy wrap), and serve on side.

Savory Peanut Protein Bread (and why I rarely use protein powder)

1 Jul

I use to make high protein recipes a lot, using protein powders as my source to accomplish that. But ever since my sugar detox, and realizing just how many artificial ingredients and sugars there are in most protein powders, I haven’t used them. Now I am not saying I am completely 100% against them and will not ever use them again, as there are some decently clean powders out there; but I am a big believer now in eating real food vs. processed food for most of my nutrients.

This is a huge change in perspective as when I was a competitive athlete, I would drink protein shakes at least once a day, and make tons of protein powder recipes. But I just truly believe that the best way to get all your nutrients is through real food. The real, unprocessed, natural food that God has provided us. Why consume all of this processed junk when the natural stuff is so delicious in itself?! Fruit is nature’s candy, and it truly has satisfied all my sugar cravings during this detox of mine. It is so sweet in itself, why add extra syrups and sauces and junk to it? I just get very confused when seeing a ton of people claiming to “eat clean” and live a healthy lifestyle, spending hours in the gym, only to come home and fill themselves with processed powders as recovery. Or even better, fix something that is healthy, like oatmeal or Greek yogurt, only to load it up with sugar free chocolate syrups(aka processed artificial sugars), “protein icings” (made of processed protein powder and water), sugar-filled bars or store-bought cereal, and my ultime favorite, TWO or THREE packets of artificial sweetener mixed in–and then claim its a clean recipe!! One packet of stevia or whatever their choosing would already be so sweet, but two or three?! It just shows how artificial sweeteners make you crave an unnatural, extremely sweet taste. Which is why I did my sugar detox in the first place, as I was one of those who for a long time, which fell into the false thinking of “sugar free” products being good since they were “calorie free”. But oh was I wrong. Thankfully, I was shown the light and now am freed from all of that :)

Anyways, enough of my ranting, let us get to the recipe! I wanted a bread higher in protein, but didn’t want to use protein powders. I realized my peanut flour was very high in protein, (16 grams for every 1/4 cup!) so I knew that was the flour I would use. Plus, who doesn’t like the slight taste of peanut butter in their foods? I know I usually add nut butter on top of my breads anyways! But I didn’t want to make this a sweet bread. I wanted this to be more of a bread I could use for savory meals and snacks. Which meant I knew I couldn’t use all peanut flour.

But then I found one of my other great flour buys that was high in protein, soy flour! Now, if you have never tried it, let me just tell you something. Without cooking it, soy flour tastes horrible. I learned my lesson when tasting the dough of something I baked in the past. I thought I had surely ruined my creation, but decided to bake it anyways. But to my surprise, when coming out of the oven, the muffins I was experimenting with turned out amazing!! The soy flour now did not have the horrid taste to it! So for the other base flour of this bread, I knew I wanted to use my soy flour.

I have been experimenting with breads so much lately, really wanting to create a paleo bread that in high in protein, not too high in calories, yet actually doesn’t taste like cardboard like all the ones in the store! I have made some absolutely delicious attempts at this, but they will not rise. Ever. Never ever. It has been so frustrating as I have been wanting to share this delicious recipe that I’ve been tested multiple times, but not once have I got it to actually rise well! So I guess I will keep on trying until I find the secret :) (Any tips would be awesome!) But anyways, so as my paleo bread wasn’t working in my favor, I decided to try a different bread, that wasn’t paleo exactly, but still very  nutritious and containing no gluten! This was my result (on the first try too!!).

photo 1Savory Pumpkin Bread
-3/4 cup peanut flour
-1/2 cup soy flour
-1/4 cup raw wheat bran
-1 egg
-1/2 cup egg whites
-1/2 cup water
-1/4 cup Greek yogurt
-1 tsp sea salt and cinnamon
-2 tsp baking powder
-Optional: honey/stevia to sweeten as desired
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all ingredients except baking powder together in bowl until smooth. Add baking powder and stir until incorporated. Spray bread loaf pan (medium sized) with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, until browned. Enjoy!

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

Healthy&Fresh Dinner Salad

29 Jun

Sometimes, you just want a big salad for dinner.

The problem: salads don’t fill one up and satisfy as a meal in itself most times

The solution: a huge, fresh salad creation full of fiber filling ingredients, and topped with a protein to keep that stomach satisfied!

I made this salad for my mom the other night, and she loved it! She was completely satisfied the whole night..of course, until I made her my healthy chocolate protein mug cake(recipe on site)!

If you’re wanting a lighter meal, this is a great option. If you’re wanting a more filling, satisfying meal, this is still great, just add a big serving of protein on top! Grilled chicken, salmon, or even steak would be yummy.

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Dinner Salad
-Spring Lettuce Mix
-Arugula
-5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
-1/4 red pepper, diced
-1 mini cucumber (or about 1/4 cup chopped)
-about 10 baby carrots, chopped small
-1/2 avocado, sliced
-2T nutritional yeast
-1T chia seeds
-1T walnuts
-2T dried cherries or raisins
-2T feta cheese
-2T olive oil/coconut oil
-1T balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste
-optional: grilled chicken, salmon, or steak to top salad
Directions: cut up enough lettuce and arugula to fill plate. Cut up all veggies and place on salad mix. Sprinkle nutritional yeast, seeds, nuts, cheese, and dried fruit on top. Drizzle oil and vinegar over all. Top with protein if desired. Enjoy!

“Creamy” Herb Protein Quinoa

27 Jun

Quinoa. [KEEN-wah]. Yes, I am putting the pronunciation because I was pronouncing it wrong myself for a long time embarassingly :) A grain high in fiber and protein.

But I love adding just a little bit more protein to my grains. It not only has it’s nutritional benefits, but it makes it oh so fluffy. Yes, I used “fluffy” to describe quinoa. But let me tell you, it is the perfect description. How do I add protein you may ask? It’s all in the whites..egg whites that is! If you stir them vigorously into your grain of choice (quinoa, oats, rice), it doesn’t get “eggy”, but only fluffy and delicious!

But there is also 2 other ingredients that lend the creaminess in this recipe. And nope, it is NOT cream or butter. But it does add even more protein and flavor!

I’ll give you a hint. I was very intrigued when I passed samples of carrots and ranch at Costco the other day , that is, when I saw the ranch was made from simple ranch flavored powder :)

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Creamy Herb Quinoa
-1.5 cups quinoa
-3 cups water
-1/2 cup egg whites
-1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
-1T  powdered ranch dressing packet
-1 tsp crushed garlic
-1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Bring quinoa and water to boil, reduce to medium heat and add in ranch dressing powder, salt, and garlic; cook until most water is gone. When most liquid is gone, add in egg whites and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Take off heat and add ricotta cheese, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Enjoy!

Quinoa Benefits
1) One of the most protein rich foods we can eat (contains all 9 essential amino acids)
2) Twice the fiber of other grains (aids in regularity, reduces high blood pressure, keeps you feeling full
3) Contains iron (keeps red blood cells healthy, increases brain function, muscle functioning)
4) Contains lysine (essential for tissue growth and repair)
5) Rich in magnesium (helps relax red blood vessels which alleviates migraines; also aids in formation of healthy bones and teeth)
6) High manganese content (an antioxidant, which helps prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production)

Source: MindBodyGreen.com
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Enjoyed my quinoa with chicken off the grill!

Mediterranean Eggplant Crust Pizza

24 Jun

Everyone has been making cauliflower crust..but have you ever tried an EGGPLANT crust?!

I had an eggplant that needed to be eaten soon. And just happened to be in the mood for pizza too. As I thought about taking out some cauliflower to make a crust, I thought, why not try using eggplant?! And guess what? It turned out amazing!!

Not only did it taste great, but the crust actually did not stick to the wax paper for once, it browned perfectly, and I was able to pick up a slice without it falling apart like most cauliflower crusts! The secret? Well I think there are a couple :)

I was so in awe when tasting this, as I didn’t know what to expect. I was keeping my mind open, and was hoping for the best. And thank goodness I gave it a try! I enjoyed it BETTER than a cauliflower crust!

So what’s the recipe?? Here it is! I topped it with easy, quick ingredients as I was hungry, but feel free to top it with whatever you would like!photo 5Mediterranean Eggplant Crust Pizza

For Crust:
-1 big eggplant, shredded (about 2.5 cups packed)
-2T ground flax
-2T coconut flour
-1 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
-1 egg (do not just use egg whites!)
-1T basil
-1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Topping:
-3 tomato basil laughing cow wedges
-1 cup spinach, slightly cooked
-1/2 cup artichokes, canned
-1/4 cup dried tomatoes
-seasoning to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove outside skin of eggplant (can use potato peeler), and shred it. Place it in a towel and squeeze to take as much liquid as you can out of it. Allow it to sit in towel for 10 minutes at least. Then place the shredded eggplant in a bowl and add other crust ingredients. Mix to combine all ingredients. Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet, and spray it lightly with cooking spray. Place “dough” onto wax paper and spread out to thinness you desire in a circular shape. Place sheet in oven for 20 minutes. Remove. Take another piece of wax paper, and flip crust over on to that one. Put back on cookie tray and cook again for another 10 minutes. Check to see if done. If crust is as desired, take out. If desiring a more crunchy crust, cook for 5 minute intervals until done. Take tomato basil cheese out of wrapper, and spread onto crust. Cook spinach for a minute or two, just enough to slightly wilt it. Place artichokes and sundered tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with sea salt or season salt and enjoy!

Eggplant Benefits:
1) High in fiber–aiding our digestive system
2) Rich in Vitamin C and B1
3) High in phytonutrients such as caffein and chlorogenic acid and flavonoids
4) High in potassium–balances salt intake and maintains hydration
5) Contains folate, magnesium, and niacin

Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels + Garlic and Herb Quinoa

23 Jun

You can never go wrong with a chicken dinner.

Tonight was a very exciting night. My boyfriend is back in town for the week so he and his family came for dinner. As I’ve been home taking classes all summer, he has been up at the university we both attend taking classes, so I haven’t been able to see him since spring semester ended! I wanted to keep the dinner simple, yet delicious.

We had these spinach and mushroom chicken pinwheels, savory garlic and herb quinoa, my freshly baked herb bread, and some delicious tomato salad made with chopped celery, bell pepper, cucumber, and red onion. It was a great night.

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Don’t you love those stuffed chicken breasts you can get out at restaurants? Unfortunately, most of those are filled with high fat cheeses and ingredients, and then cooked in so much more fat! (Don’t even get me started with the unhealthiness of most restaurant meals) I will never understand why chefs must take such delicious ingredients, and lather them in butter. Reason why I love home cooking, still delicious, and healthy.

This recipe will allow you to enjoy that delicious stuffed chicken breast flavor, without guilt!

What is your favorite chicken meal to prepare?

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Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels
1 lb Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins
1/2 cup Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup pieces Mushrooms
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Chopped Spinach, drained
1 tbsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Crushed Garlic
1T Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Olive Oil
Directions: Place tenderloins in between two pieces of wax paper. Pound down chicken until very thin. Combine rest of ingredients up through sea salt (using only 1 tsp of salt) together in bowl. Place about 1T mixture on the end of one side of each tenderloin, and roll up. Place chicken seam side down on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle rest of sea salt and Italian seasonings. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Simple Garlic and Herb Quinoa
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 tsp Trader Joe’s crushed garlic
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1T dried basil
1T dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Add all ingredients to a pot on the stove, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until all water is gone.