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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Parmesan Eggs with Zucchini, Tomato, Garlic and Avocado

I may have gone overboard today, but I was shopping all morning and was tired and very hungry.  I was craving a restaurant style omelette with potatoes and toast....but I decided to make this healthier version and have tomatoes instead of potatoes and avocado instead of toast.  Guess what?  YUM!   Tons of flavor, very filling and loaded with vitamins, fiber and protein = no guilt =  delicious healthy lunch success!

It's Easy Peasy!

Simply heat up a pan and swirl in 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute the following items all together:

1 Zucchini, diced
1/2 pint of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 large clove Garlic, chopped

In a separate pan scramble 3 large Eggs with 1 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese

When both are done, plate them with 1/2 Avocado, sliced.


I didn't even add salt!  It didn't need it between the Parmesan cheese and Garlic adding so much rich flavor :)

Maybe you didn't know....

Parmesan cheese is high in protein!
Cherry Tomatoes can decrease your risk for Cancer!
Garlic is high in Vitamin C!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Asian Soup with Salmon

So yesterday I was craving an "Asian" style soup.  I did a few quick searches, found lots of things with exotic ingredients that I did not have in my kitchen, so I ultimately just started throwing things "Asian-ish" from my kitchen into the pot.  The result was super healthy, but also totally delicious - craving satisfied!!!   Just got to enjoy the leftovers for lunch (as pictured here!)  So here is how I did it....

Amy's Asian Soup with Salmon Recipe:

1.  In large dutch oven cook the Salmon fillet, seasoned with salt and garlic powder in olive oil until cooked to your preferred done-ness - a little pink in the middle is nice!!

2.  Remove Salmon from dutch oven (tent with foil to keep warm) and with heat on, add to the same pot:

- 1/2 chopped sweet white onion
- 1.5 tsp ginger

Saute a minute or two, in the oil left from the Salmon, then add:

- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 pint of sliced mushrooms
- 3 zucchini sliced into bite sized pieces
- 3 cups water
- juice of 1 fresh lime
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 large cloves of garlic (you can throw them in whole, after removing the skin!)
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- salt, to taste

3.  Bring it all to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

4.  Serve in large bowls - place salmon in bowl and top with hot soup.  Garnish with additional lime juice, soy sauce and Cilantro if you have it!

I can't help but think this is a grand slam of nutrition - it's my new Chicken Soup replacement - a cure all for everything that ails me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Veggie Jalfrezi

I have fallen back in love with my slow cooker!  It is sooooo easy to make something full of flavor, while doing almost nothing, like my lunch today.  All thanks to my slow cooker I was able to make a hearty and delicious Veggie Slam: Spaghetti Squash topped with Eggplant, Onions and Sweet Green Peas in an Indian Jalfrezi sauce, in no time at all.   

Yesterday I simply turned on my Slow Cooker to low and threw in:

1 Sweet Onion, cut into 8 big chunks
1 Large Eggplant, diced (leave the skins on!!)
1 Jar of Indian Jalfrezi Sauce (purchased from Aldi)

I cooked that for 5 or so hours, then added 2 cups Sweet Green Peas and let it cook another hour.   So today all I had to do was plate a heaping cup of my already cooked Spaghetti Squash, topped with a heaping cup of the Jalfrezi Veggies, microwaved it for two minutes; and done!   

Friday, October 21, 2016

Meatloaf Meatballs

I am always looking for short cuts to get good homemade meals on our table.  This is an example....I love meatballs, but I find the process time consuming and messy all around with more steps than I'd like.  I found myself making Meatloaf more often, because well it was just easier and faster, but guess what - they have about the same ingredient list (at least in our house!)   So what I do now, is make a Meatloaf and then simply cut it into 'meatball' pieces for dishes like this!

My simple Meatloaf recipe:

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 organic ketchup
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp canola oil

Mix it all together and put into greased meatloaf pan and bake at 350 for one hour.

We actually ate it meatloaf style when I made it, but then I had 1/4 of it leftover and it became a great lunch the next day, as meatballs, over my favorite pasta substitute: spaghetti squash!

So here is the 1/4 pound piece of Meatloaf left over from the night before.

I cut it down the middle and then into halves creating 8 pieces.

Cut those into half to make 16 little meatballs; 8 for my lunch and 8 to save for the kiddos dinner.

Then it was time to plate up my lunch:

1 cup of precooked Spaghetti Squash.

Topped with a heaping 1/2 cup of organic Marinara.

The meatballs of course!

Parmesan cheese on top, a couple minutes in the microwave and done.  And yum!

This delicious and totally satisfying meal and didn't feel a bit like just leftovers; this one is going into the weekly rotation here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Veggie Tikka Masala

Another easy lunch thrown together in no time: delicious, grain and gluten free, veggie-nutrition packed, low calorie and super filling!   

It is that time of year again - spaghetti squash time!  I have eaten hundreds of nice crisp salads to get through the hot summer, but as temps cool down, I love to enjoy a nice warm meal!  Just about anything you love can be served over spaghetti squash - meat/ fish/ veggies/ all sorts of sauces/ cheeses; truly the options are endless.   

Today for me that means a culinary trip to India via the rich flavorful spices in my Tikka Masala sauce.  I have friends who could make a mean home made version of this (invitations always accepted!!)  but for now I'll use my handy jar of sauce from my favorite store: Aldi.  Just watch how quick this comes together!

Turn on dutch oven to medium heat.   Throw in 1 jar of Tikka Masala sauce.  

Add 1 bag of Butternut Squash

and 2 cups of grated Carrots

and 1 cup of thawed Sweet Green Peas.

and then just cover and let it all heat up.....about 10 minutes oughtta do it!

Meanwhile, plate 1 cup of already cooked Spaghetti Squash:

then top with 1-2 cups of the Tikka Masala Veggies!

You will be warmed up and full by the time you finish this plate of delicious food; I promise.  And you get to walk away knowing you did your whole bod a huge favor with all those good for you veggies at such a low calorie price!  Free Radicals and belly bulge, be gone!!!

You are welcome :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Quick, Easy, and Delicious Brussels

I am not sure I can make these Brussels look pretty, but I can make them taste good!  Brussels Sprouts are one of those veggies that I think gets a bad rap because not everyone knows how to cook them to their full delicious potential!  But it is really super simple, I promise.

Buy a bag of fresh Brussels, wash them, dry them, cut off the ends, and then throw them into a wide saute pan along with 1/2-1 inch of water, some salt and 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

Then simply cover and bring to boil, then lower heat and let them simmer until they have achieved your desired doneness (this is about 10 minutes for me - you can check them by poking one with a fork).

Remove the lid, crank up the heat and reduce until all the liquid is gone and all that remains are the Brussels and the olive oil which will create a beautiful browned crunchy caramelized candy sweet morsel of delicious goodness.  

One last important step:  Once browned to perfection, turn off heat, toss 1 Tbsp of Butter into the pan and cover again.  Let that sit for 10 minutes or so, stir and serve, being sure to pour any remaining juices out of the pan and onto the serving dish.  And then eat - oh my!  SO GOOD.  

Delicious, quick and easy to make, and, yes, of course, so so so good for your HEALTH!  About 5 will give you all the Vitamin C and K you need for the day, and may even with cancer prevention!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Best Best Ever Maple Roasted Carrots

This blog post breaks 2 of my very important blog post rules:  

-Always share the link to the recipe I used or inspired me

-Take picture (nope, that's not my photo, but looks a lot like the ones I made; though I let mine brown a bit more!)

And I did use a recipe, which I found online, but sadly I cannot find the link!  

But I broke these two rules because I HAD HAD HAD to share this with you all because these Carrots were the BEST BEST BEST Ever, seriously.  I like carrots, I eat them all the time -nearly everyday, but I've never felt a love so strong for them, as when I was housing these little goodies.  I'm telling you flat out, they tasted like candy.  Seriously, seriously healthy candy.

So I have to write this recipe down quick, before I forget!  I'm giving full credit to the Barefoot Contessa on this one, as I'm 99% sure it's her recipe.   For the life of me I cannot find the link to it, but I put in a good effort and ran about a hundred different searches.  Alas, I give up and give you my version of her recipe, which was crazy simple.

Best Best Ever Carrots

1 pound bag of Organic Baby Carrots, rinsed and dried off
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
1 Tbsp 100% Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large glass bowl toss dried Baby Carrots with Olive Oil and Salt.
Scatter on sheet pan, don't crowd them!
Roast for 10 minutes.
Turn over and roast another 10 minutes.
Remove Carrots from Oven and using a spatula, carefully scoop Carrots back into the large glass bowl.
Toss them with the Maple Syrup.
Return to Sheet pan.
Put back into oven for another 10 minutes of baking.
Remove from oven.
Cool 10 minutes.
Eat. Them. All.  Or Share them :)

I will be making this for Thanksgiving this year because who doesn't like a good solid root veggie on Thanksgiving, seasonal color is just a bonus; enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Fav Ranch Dressing: Healthy and DELICIOUS!

Garden Salad with Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

I have a new favorite salad dressing!!!  I'm thrilled because as a lover of Ranch I have spent lots of time avoiding the traditional stuff (loaded with fat and a super long junk filled ingredient list) and trying organic or all natural versions that never seem to taste as good.  But that all changed today - eureka!   AND this one is lower in calories, has no artificial flavors or colors or preservatives, yes.  

This is all true and its DELICIOUS - creamy and zesty and only 45 Calories for a 2 Tbsp serving, with only 3 grams of fat!!  Other brands can be as much as 170 Calories and 19 grams of fat for the same amount.  Crazy, right?!  So, sorry for all the exclamation points, but yes, I'm actually this excited about it :)  

Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch.  How do they do it?  Simple:  Yogurt.  Put all your preconceived notions of what Yogurt Dressings are like aside, and spend the $3.50 for a bottle.  Nope it's not in the regular "Dressing" aisle, it is in the fridge case, where all fresh creamy things belong.  After a couple tough days this week I deserve this win :)  And am thrilled to share this wonderful good news.    

Healthy Food: 1
Junky High Fat, High Calorie, Artificial flavored Food:  0

Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Honestly I cannot wait to try all these flavors!

So how did I enjoy it today?   A garden salad made up of things in the fridge, quick and easy and so creamy, zesty, healthy AND delicious!

Amy's Garden Salad

2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 Avocado, sliced
1 Cup Ice Berg Lettuce, chopped (yes I still love this for its refreshing crunch on a hot day!)
handful Carrots, chopped
handful Sugar Snap peas, chopped
some Sauteed Mushrooms (leftovers from last night's pizza)
some Pesto Green Beans (leftovers from dinner party two nights ago)
2 Tbsp Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing YUM!

Garden Salad with Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Ways Coffee Helped Me Lose Weight!

Things that have helped me lose weight and keep it off: Coffee!

I LOVE Coffee.  It's smell, it's taste, it's warmth in the winter and the cooling effect of an iced coffee in the summer.  Not to mention its seemingly magical powers to get me moving in the morning and keep me motivated in the afternoon.  But also, Coffee has been a great tool for weight loss for me through the years and has helped me keep it off! Of course, I eat tons of Carrots and Zucchini and Fish and Nuts, and I exercise a couple times a week, so it is no magic pill (literally, stay away from the anxiety and jitters inducing caffeine diet pills!)  BUT, drinking a cup or two of (caffeinated!) coffee a day can help be part of healthy weight loss plan; it has been for me!  So here goes:  

5 ways that Coffee has helped me lose weight and keep it off!

1.  Suppresses appetite: yup, makes me feel full longer.  I know this is true because on the rare occurrence that I skip my morning coffee I find myself ravenous for lunch by 10:30am, even though I have eaten the exact same breakfast as usual.  This never happens on mornings I eat that same exact breakfast with a cup of coffee.  This also happens in the afternoon when I miss my 2nd and final cup of coffee for the day.

2.  Speeds up metabolism so you are actually burning more calories without doing anything except drinking a coffee; this is a great freebie!

3. Provides extra energy to get moving and keep moving, thus burning more calories and building more muscle mass, which incidentally also burns more calories: win-win!

4.  Boosts calorie burn and endurance during exercise; think harder, faster, longer.

5.  Replaces other higher calorie drinks.  The trick here is to drink it black, which has virtually no calories!  Years ago I was a 'light and sweet' girl, but realized I'd be better off without the milk and sugar.   I eliminated milk first and drank coffee with sugar for another year or so, but ultimately got rid of that too by slowly decreasing the amount of sugar I used week by week.  I save any 'liquid calories' for wine, the rest of the day is Coffee and Water; it works!

There are loads of other benefits to drinking coffee in moderation (it's packed with antioxidants and can help with memory and sharper thinking for example), so sit back and enjoy knowing you are doing something good for your mind and body!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Garden Salad with a Hummus Dressing

Garden Salad with Hummus Dressing

My new favorite dressing for a salad is really simple and yummy if you like Hummus, because it is made with Hummus! It is so simple to make; all you need is Hummus, a fresh Lime or Lemon, and some Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Seriously that is it!

This recipe is for just one serving, because I made it for myself for lunch....

Amy's Hummus Salad Dressing Recipe:

In a medium sized bowl add:
1/4 cup of Hummus
the juice from 1/2 Lime or Lemon 
1/2 Tbsp of EVOO (using 1 full Tbsp wouldn't be a bad idea!)

Whisk it all together and then add your salad stuff and toss it all together and enjoy!

Today was hot so I'm went really light with my salad:

-1 cup of a "Garden Salad" mix, which included: ice berg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage (there's a lot of Vitamin A & K in there! What are they good for?)
-1 cup of extra grated carrots (extra Carotenoids! What's that?)
-1/2 large cucumber, skinned and diced
-oh, also, I cut up a few sprigs of Cilantro (detoxify!) on top: pretty, healthy and yummy!

This is all good.  The Hummus provides protein and fiber and the Olive Oil provides good fats, so you have a lot of healthy stuff going on in this salad despite its meager appearance.

I would of course have added Avocado if I had any ready; I have a ton, 10 to be exact, but zero that are ripe and ready.

So that was it.  It was crisp, refreshing on a hot day and filling and full of good stuff.  Cheers to good eating!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chocolate Chip Peanut Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (NO added sugar or flour!)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Tonight the kids helped me try a new recipe that I found on Prevention's list of "No Sugar Added Baked Goods".  In a word:  YUM.  My boys ate three each; I did too!

Well this recipe is great because its delicious, easy to make and as the title claims, there is no added sugar or flour. Meaning, it's super easy to make these Gluten Free, just double check all your labels!

The original recipe calls for some low fat ingredients, but I just used the regular stuff we already had in the kitchen.  I'm not anti-fat when its the good kind, like it is here, in Peanut Butter.  Rejoice for the MUFAs, some of my favorite foods are MUFAs!  Ok, so here is my version of the recipe....

Chocolate Chip Peanut Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper.  Into a large food processor add:

2 Ripe Bananas, mushed
1/3 cup All Natural Low Sodium Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup All Natural unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Organic Cinnamon

Pulse food processor 5-6 times, until its all mixed up.  Then add:

1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup Dry Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
1/4 cup Semi Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes (the original recipe called for unsweetened of course, but this is what we had in the house!)

Pulse food processor 8-10 times until its all mixed.  Carefully remove blade and plop into bowl for a final mixing.  Then drop little spoonfuls onto the Parchment Paper lined baking sheet.  Use a fork if needed to slightly flatten and shape cookies.  Bake for 20 minutes or until starting to brown just a tad around the edges.  Cool for a few minutes then dive in!

This recipe made us 22 cookies total; almost half are already gone!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Homemade Oven Roasted Steak Fries

Homemade Oven Roasted Steak Fries

I LOVE french fries.  This point cannot be overstated.  I would literally eat them every single day, if I could. But I can't.  And I shouldn't!  So, as always my goal is to make my favorite guilty pleasures more healthy, simply so that I can eat them more often and not feel badly about it.   I have a long history making roasted potatoes; they are good.  But it wasn't until this week that I think I finally found a great recipe for making Homemade Steak Fries; yum!

This recipe comes courtesy of May 2016 issue of Health Magazine, page 52, in "Snack Makeover".  They call them "Oven Baked Potato Thins", but I'm happy calling them Steak Fries!  They look like it and taste like it and I want to enjoy them thinking that is what they are.  This may just be a mental thing for me, but if I think I'm eating "health" food, I just don't think I enjoy it as much.  Just me?  Oh well....

Here is my version of Health Mags Steak Fries Recipe:
(This doesn't seem to be posted online yet, but here are other good recipes from Health Magazine!)

-Preheat oven to 475
-Slice 6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes into Steak Fries
-Toss with 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1 tsp of White Vinegar
-Sprinkle with Paprika, Garlic Powder and Salt (amounts to taste)
-Spread out slices on sheet pan
-Roast for 30 minutes, or until they brown nicely
-Eat alone, with Ketchup or Dijon mustard, or if you are looking for something really exciting, why not whip up some Sriracha Mayo?

Homemade Oven Roasted Steak Fries

PS.  Do not feel guilty about eating Potatoes - they are actually good for you in lots of ways.  Potassium of course, Vitamin C?  YES. Yukon Golds are my favorite because they are versatile and mild flavored.  


Friday, April 29, 2016

Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondie

At home today nursing a cold.  Was flipping through magazines and came across an ad for a prepackaged Flourless Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Blondie.  That got me thinking.....couldn't I just make some at home?  Certainly you have heard the old adage "Feed a cold?"  Well I'm a true believer!  A quick google search resulted in finding this recipe, that had great ingredients (all of which I had in my kitchen already!) and looked very easy to make.  

30 minutes later I was up and in the kitchen making these super yummy treats.   Because there are no eggs needed, you can safely eat the batter.  YUM.  I had to force myself to pour the rest into the pan, it was not easy.   I decided to be patient and just wait for them to cook to eat more.... and again, YUM.

I love ingredient lists like this:  Peanut Butter, Maple Syrup, Chocolate, Chickpeas, .... lots of good stuff in there.  By the way, did you you know Maple Syrup is loaded with antioxidants?  Truth. Here are 8 Benefits of enjoying a little Maple Syrup.

Meanwhile here is the link to the full original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.  I pretty much followed it to the T. We didn't have chocolate chips, so I just chopped up a bunch of chocolate kisses we had leftover from some kid event.  I also forgot to sprinkle additional chocolate on top, but I didn't miss it, there was plenty of chocolate goodness in every bite.  Here is how I did it, but check out the Ambitious Kitchen recipe for variations and more tips on technique!

Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondie 
Preheat oven to 350.   
Spray brownie pan with Canola Oil Spray.

Into food processor drop:  
 1 can Chickpeas (rinsed/ drained)
 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
 2 tsp Vanilla extract
 1/4 tsp baking powder
 1/4 baking soda
 1/2 tsp salt

Run it til its all mixed up, then pour in 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips and pulse a few times.   Pour into baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on rack for 20-30 minutes. Then taste!  Enjoy, you may want to eat two.

Raw Batter in Glass Pan

Dee Lish Us.

Top has a nice crust after baking,  yet is still gooey inside!

Note:  Be careful not to overcook, likely these would dry out and become a bit crumbly.  Of course, if that happens you can just sprinkle it on top of a little ice cream.  Yes I just said that!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Asian Chicken Thighs over Arugula & Zucchini

Asian Chicken Thighs over Arugula & Zucchini

Delicious lunch today!  Everything was ready to go in the fridge and came together in less than 5 minutes: Asian Chicken Thighs over Arugula & Zucchini.   

Standout ingredient to me here is the Chicken Thighs.  They really do get a bum rap due to higher fat levels, compared to Chicken Breasts, BUT they are full of flavor, and always moist and delicious!    And they are also higher in Iron.  You don't have to believe me, check this out from WebMD: "Bad" Foods That Are Really Good!

Every so often I buy a large bag of frozen skinless, boneless Chicken Thighs at my fav store ALDI.   When I'm ready to use them I just thaw them overnight in the fridge and then chop them up into bite sized pieces the next day.  All they need is a little Canola Oil spray and some Salt and Garlic Powder, roasted at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, and out they come, delicious morsels ready to be enjoyed!  And then there are the leftovers....for the next day's lunch of course.

So this is how I did it:

This is how it looked going into Microwave

1 large handful of Organic Arugula, topped with 1 cup of Grated Zucchini (I use my food processor grating attachment, but a box cutter can do just as well!)  Then I spooned some of my Roasted Chicken bites on top.  I covered it with a large microwave food cover and put it into microwave for two minutes.  Then I drizzled 1 Tbsp of my fav Asian Sesame Sauce from Trader Joe's on top and added some fresh snipped Cilantro.


Then I mixed it all up and ate it; YUM!

Everything all mixed up and ready to eat!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Breakfast

12 Grain Bread with Organic Peanut Butter & Sliced Banana

I am a serious breakfast eater, in that I always eat it, never skip it.  I cannot get into my day without eating breakfast first.  I have always marveled at people that just get up and get going and wait til lunch to eat.  I don't get it and I can't do it.  The good news for me is that most nutritionist say skipping breakfast is not a good idea.  You have heard the old adage "Eat Breakfast like a King"?

For the last 4 years or so I have eaten the exact same thing: 1/2 cup Plain Oatmeal, cooked in 1 cup Skim Milk and topped with Cinnamon and Sliced Almonds.  I loved it:  it was yummy, quick, easy, filled me up and was a healthy start to my day.  

But a couple months ago I wanted to eliminate dairy to improve various skin and sinus related issues (yes, it helped!)  SO, I had to think up a new breakfast that was still delicious (first things first!), and also quick, easy, healthy and filling.  (I cannot stand feeling hungry before noon!)  Tall order!  So I came up with this - grand slam!  It's everything I wanted in a handy little package :)

12 Grain Bread with Organic Peanut Butter & Sliced Banana

So here is my new go-to Breakfast:

2 16 oz glasses of cold water (I drink this first before eating anything!)
1 slice 12 grain bread (43g)
2 Tbsp Organic Creamy Peanut Butter (with no added sugar!)
1/2 large Banana, sliced
16 oz of Black Coffee 

Lots of good Protein/ Carbs/ Fiber.  Here are the stats:

Total Calories: 364
Total Fat: 18.5
Total Saturated Fat: 2.5
Protein: 13
Fiber: 9
Sodium: 285
Sugar: 11 (only 2 are 'added sugars' from the bread)
Carbs: 45
Potassium: 570
Whole Grains: 21

For me, this is total breakfast perfection!