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Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Almond Haystacks

Chocolate Coconut Almond Haystacks

I was thrilled to discover what I consider to be the healthier, all natural, easy to make version of an old fav: the Almond Joy Candy Bar.  But I was even more thrilled when I made them and tasted it first hand:  Delish!  I came across it in the Food Network Magazine's December 2013 article "50 No-Bake Treats" and it couldn't be simpler:   

Chocolate Coconut Almond Haystacks Recipe:
Melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  Mix with 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut and 1 cup toasted sliced almonds.  Form into 16 small mounds and place on wax paper, chill unit set.  Eat & enjoy!

It really is that easy.  And you can make it even easier, by simply melting the chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until it's completely melted.  You will only have 1 dish to clean!

Chocolate Coconut Almond Haystacks

Okay I know some of you are saying "this isn't healthy eating, it's dessert!"  Well of course it is, but we all need dessert sometimes...I am strongly opposed to deprivation, and prefer to focus on enjoying treats in moderation; we all need to have a little fun once in a while!  And each of the 3 ingredients do have redeemable qualities (unlike the candy bar it resembles).  But you don't have to take my word on it, read more about it here:

The Health Benefits of Chocolate 

The Health Benefits of Almonds

The Health Benefits of Coconut

These all natural ingredients are easy to just have in your kitchen ready to go when the right moment comes along.  Then you won't have to resort to processed treats with an ingredient list that starts with Corn Syrup (yes that's right, the first ingredient in an Almond Joy candy bar is Corn Syrup!) and contains things such as:  Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Trans Fats!), Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, or Sodium Metabisulfite.

So next time you are craving a little chocolate treat, why not whip up a batch of these Haystacks, you will not regret it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lentil Arugula Salad

Lentil Arugula Salad

Lentils:  High in Protein, Low in Calories, super filling and super affordable!  They are a healthy addition to your day.   Not convinced?  Check out: 9 Reasons to Love Lentils

I particularly like Yellow & Red Lentils because they cook up fast and are ready to go in a jiffy!  Today I enjoyed them tossed in a super simple yet delicious salad with Arugula and Tomatoes:

Lentil Arugula Salad Recipe

2 large handfuls Arugula
1 cup cooked Yellow Lentils*
chopped Red Onion (as much of this as you like!)
handful cherry tomatoes, halved (again, as many as you'd like!)
1 tsp Avocado Oil
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar (a little more if you need more 'zip'!)

*My husband cooked up these Lentils in our Dutch Oven with Onions, Olive Oil, Garlic, a mixture of North African spices, a little Tomato Paste and Low Sodium Chicken Broth the night before so this was a 'cool' salad, but this would be just as good served with warmed Lentils over the Arugula.  Lentils can be cooked with all sorts of flavors and spices, depending on your tastes.  If you have never cooked with them before, here is an easy recipe to get started with: Vegetarian Yellow Lentil Dhal Recipe.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower Saute

I love Buffalo sauce - love it!  Grew up eating in on Chicken Wings, in Chicken Sandwiches, and in Buffalo Chicken Dip - love it!  But when I realized how unhealthy it is (high in saturated fats, sodium & calories!) I decided to create a healthier version to enjoy with a lot less guilt!   Here are a few recipes I have tried and enjoyed:

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Buffalo Chicken Pizza 
Buffalo Salmon Salad 

My newest experiment, pictured above:  Buffalo Cauliflower!  Buffalo Cauliflower Saute with Eggs to be precise.  Yes.  And yes, it is delicious.  Why?  Because anything covered in Buffalo Sauce is delicious!  Here is the recipe:

Buffalo Cauliflower Saute with Eggs

Buffalo Cauliflower Saute with Eggs Recipe:

1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped
1-2 tsp Canola Oil
1 head Cauliflower (or 1 bag of thawed frozen Cauliflower) 
1-2 large cloves Garlic, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Butter
No Sodium Red Chili Pepper Sauce (or whatever hot sauce you prefer)
2-3 large handfuls fresh Baby Spinach

Saute Onion in oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat.  Meanwhile clean Cauliflower and cut into bite sized pieces.  Once the Onions are beginning to soften, add 1-2 cloves of fresh chopped Garlic.  Stir for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, then add the Cauliflower to the pot.  Saute until the Cauliflower begins to brown a little, then add the water and cover to cook the Cauliflower to desired doneness.  When the Cauliflower is at desired doneness, remove lid and add Butter & Red Chili Pepper Sauce.  Stir until completely mixed.  Then add 2-3 large handful of fresh Baby Spinach and cover and turn off heat.  While the spinach wilts, heat another pan to cook Eggs as desired (I did mine over easy for this particular meal).  Once Spinach is wilted, mix Veggies all together, plate and then top with Eggs; enjoy!

Incidentally, Cauliflower is good for you in so many is just another: Need a Memory Boost?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Healthier Pumpkin Pie

Healthier Pumpkin Pie!

Happy New Year!  Cheers to finding more delicious and healthful foods to fuel our days, make us stronger and to share with dear family & friends!

If you find yourself craving something sweet, and you want something that won't ruin any of your New Year's resolutions, check out this super yummy and healthy Pumpkin Pie. 

I found the recipe in Health Magazine's November 2013 issue and have made it many times since.  Not because I love it (though I do!), it is because my husband and children keep asking me to make it again and again, because they can't get enough of this 'treat'!

Yes, I make mine without a crust, but do not be scared, it is still delicious!  And hey, filled up with all these good for you ingredients, you can enjoy it without any guilt!

Healthier Pumpkin Pie Recipe
*Below is the recipe I used, but here is the link to the official one that inspired me: Health Magazine Healthier Pumpkin Pie

15 oz can Pure Pumpkin
3/4 cup Light Coconut Milk (shaken well first)
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Whipped Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a glass pie plate with Canola Oil.  In large bowl mix all the ingredients and then pour into pie plate.  Bake until set, 45 - 60 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack.  Slice and top with dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

Healthier Pumpkin Pie
Okay, I didn't wait for it to completely cool before serving it up (pictured above), which is why it looks more like pudding, than a slice of Pie.  However, if you have the patience to wait until it is cool, you can have your standard triangular piece of Pie.  Believe me, if you are a  lover of Pumpkin Pie like I am, it will be delicious regardless!!

Hiya! Me this summer:  all time fav beach pic!

The Story of What Amy Ate Today:
Last year I created the What Amy Ate Today blog to share my personal story of losing over 40 pounds by making simple healthy changes to the way I was eating.  I wanted to show the real life picture of what my daily food choices looked like by simply posting every single thing that I ate every single day; which I did for 9 straight months!  

I wanted to show that it is possible to lose weight and be healthy without being on a diet and without starving or depriving yourself of anything.  I make healthy choices whenever I can, but I am a normal person living a real life and I want to enjoy it, so I indulge in special treats regularly too.   
It has been a great journey for me, further motivating me to seek out new foods, new recipes and new ways to prepare and eat more healthily and get more Vitamins and Nutrients (and Energy!)  into my day.   I look forward to continuing this journey by highlighting special recipes, new foods and/ or preparations that I discover or create, alongside any helpful Health information or news that I come across through the above "Today's Tidbit".  Thanks for joining me on my journey to better health and better living!

It all started on May 1, 2012, check out a sample post here:  One Day in July...