Friday, March 30, 2012

80--- Orange-Infused Honey

Honey is the world's most natural sweetener.  No processing needed (unless you prefer yours pasteurized). 

This is fantastic on toast, or stirred into tea.  The orange flavor is dramatic and so summery!
Place this in a jar tied with a ribbon and give it as a gift!

Orange-Infused Honey
Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup honey
Zest from one orange

Heat honey in a small nonstick skillet on low heat.   When honey consistency is more liquid, stir in orange zest.  Allow to heat through for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant.  Stir occasionally during heating.

Remove from heat and place into a small glass jar, seal and refrigerate until ready to use.  You may heat it in the microwave prior to serving.  You may also serve it immediately!

Nutrition Info per 1 tsp: 22 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g protein, 5.2 g carbohydrates

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

80--- Roasted Vegetable Egg-less Rolls

Phyllo dough saves the day once again! These baked egg rolls are fantastic and full of fresh veggies.  Yes, you can actually SEE the vegetables inside of them.  And no eggs.

Roasted Vegetable Egg-less Rolls
Makes 8

12 sheets phyllo dough
Olive oil spray
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
8 green onions, ends and greens trimmed
8 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 Serrano peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
4 large napa cabbage leaves, stem end trimmed then sliced in half
Low Sodium Soy Sauce or dipping sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place vegetables (except cabbage leaves) into a bowl and add sesame oil, a dash of salt and pepper, then toss to coat.  Lay out vegetables onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes on the upper rack until softened.  Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough and spray with olive oil spray.  Layer with two additional sheets, spraying between sheets.  Lay one cabbage leaf (two halves) onto the middle of a long end of the layered dough.  On top of it place 2 asparagus spears, several strips of carrot, 2 green onions, and several strips of pepper.  Lightly douse with soy sauce.  Fold in ends of dough over vegetables, then roll vegetable end toward empty long end (like a burrito).  Place egg roll onto the baking sheet that held the vegetables.  Spray lightly with olive oil spray, making sure that the "free" end of the roll sticks down.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, rolling three more rolls.

Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Remove from oven and slice in half to serve.  Serve with Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, or other sauce of your choice!

Nutrition Info per 1/2 roll: 114 calories, 1.4 g fat, 4.2 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber

Monday, March 26, 2012

80--- Creamy Mexican Kidney Bean Salad

I was asked to bring a dish that could be a side for fajitas........hmmmmmm.  Kidney beans are a great source of fiber, folate, protein, iron, potassium and vitamin B1.  Shaped for a very important organ, these are perfect packages to bring health to your entire body!  Try to include beans in a meal AT LEAST once per week!

Creamy Mexican Kidney Bean Salad
Serves 7

2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz sliced black olives
 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno
1/3 cup cilantro
1/2 cup red onion
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks (optional)

4 oz non fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper

Mix together all dressing ingredients and place in a covered container in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, toss together all salad ingredients. Note: if using avocado, wait until just before serving to fold it into mixture.

Gently fold dressing into salad mixture.  Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving.  Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup: 149 calories, 2.5 g fat, 8 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Saturday, March 24, 2012

80(ish)--- Cinnamon Salted Roasted Almonds

I needed some inspiration to increase my nut intake a bit.  Are these as healthful as raw almonds?  No.  But they are very tasty and a lovely little treat and you still get all of the unsaturated fat goodness.

No need to wait for the fair for roasted almonds (you'd be waiting a while.....).

Cinnamon Salted Roasted Almonds
Serves ~10

2 cups raw almonds
1 egg white
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until foamy.  Whisk in vanilla and brown sugar.  Fold in almonds and stir until coated evenly.  Sprinkle in cinnamon and salt and continue to fold until well-distributed.

Prepare a large baking sheet with baking spray.  Spoon almonds onto tray evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Let cool and enjoy! Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per ~1/4 cup:  195 calories, 15 g fat (9 g monounsatured, 4 g polyunsaturated), 7 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 85 mg sodium

Thursday, March 22, 2012

20(ish)--- Light Chocolate Muffins

There's just something about a chocolate muffin.  It tastes like dessert, but you think that maybe, just maybe, it's a tad bit healthier than a cupcake.  This is not always the case.  Except in this case.

Don't be afraid of the pumpkin!  You do not even taste it.  Just enjoy the chocolatey goodness.  Are there healthier things that you should have for breakfast? Sure.  But this is a nice change from the ordinary.

Light Chocolate Muffins
Makes 15-16 standard muffins

2/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light  brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup skim milk (or almond or coconut milk)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp distilled vinegar
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 1/2 oz dark semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place paper liners in muffin tins and spray very lightly with baking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

In a smaller spouted bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin, and vinegar.

Whisk wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined.  Fold in ~2 oz of chopped chocolate.

Spoon batter into prepared tins, filling each cup 3/4 full.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 oz chopped chocolate onto the batter.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Nutrition Info per 1 muffin: 135 calories, 2.4 g fat, 4 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates,1.6 g fiber, 128 mg sodium

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

80--- Vegetable Cream Cheese

You know those bagel shops with umpteenmillion choices for cream cheese? I ALWAYS choose veggie. I guess it's kind of my way of justifying the whole bagel and cream cheese thing.  It makes me feel better knowing that I can just make my own and add some healthy protein into it too!

Vegetable Cream Cheese
Serves 10

8 oz light cream cheese
2/3 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely (I used a food processor)
2 celery stalks, de-veined and chopped finely (again, food processor)
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large food processor, puree white beans (consisency will not be smooth, but finely chopped).  Add cream cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.  Add chopped carrot, celery, and chives and mix until just combined.

Place in a container in the refrigerator for at least one hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per ~2 Tbsp: 75 calories, 3.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Sunday, March 18, 2012

80--- Ricotta Nacho Cups

This easy appetizer is a great way to share nachos with your friends. Simple and healthier than your typical nachos.  The creamy ricotta adds a fantastic dimension.

Ricotta Nacho Cups
Serves 4

16 tortilla chip cups (whole grain preferred)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup black beans
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz canned green chiles
Salsa of your choice, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread cups onto a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together ricotta and cumin.  In another small bowl, combine black beans with salt and chili powder.

Into each tortilla cup, spoon 1 Tbsp black beans, 1 tsp green chiles, and top with 1 Tbsp ricotta  mixture.

When all cups have been filled, place baking sheet into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until heated through.

Garnish with salsa and serve!

Nutrition Info per 4 cups: 182 calories, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Thursday, March 15, 2012

80--- St. Patrick's Day Asparagus Cream Pasta

Green creamy sauce for St. Patrick's Day. Bring it on! You can puree any vegetable to add creaminess to this recipe, but the asparagus is so yummy and in season! Here's to spring.

St. Patrick's Day Asparagus Cream Pasta
Serves 3

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and discarded, then cut in half
2 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp vegetable seasoning
2 Tbsp chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 1/2 cups cooked pasta of your choice, prepared al dente
1 cup raw golden tomatoes, chopped (sundried would be good too- just use 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss asparagus and chopped garlic with olive oil and vegetable seasoning in a baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, until asparagus is softened.

Remove vegetables from oven.  Place stems of asparagus (ends without the flowers) into a food processor along with roasted garlic, chicken broth, and parmesan cheese.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.

Toss vegetable sauce with prepared pasta, then garnish heads of asparagus and chopped tomatoes.  Serve warm!

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups: 436 calories, 8.5 g fat, 25 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 277 mg sodium

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

80(ish)--- Phyllo Pocket Pasties

If you've checked into my Just Peachy Tartlets, Baked Chicken Phyllo Chimichangas or Little Mama's Chicken Pot Pies, you know that I love phyllo.  So easy to use and can make 20's a little more like an 80.

My hometown is Butte, Montana.  Butte is known for it's rich Irish history, extreme St Patrick's Day celebrations, and for it's pasties.  A pasty is a turnover that is filled with meat, potatoes, and onions.  They are often served with a brown gravy, but I also like them with ketchup (please, no comments on the evils of ketchup, I am allowed my vices).

These phyllo pasties are filled with veggies.  They make a great appetizer.

Phyllo Pocket Pasties
Makes 12

20 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
Olive Oil spray
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
2 ribs celery, cut into small cubes
1 1/4 cup potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, garlic, and carrots to pan and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened.  Add chopped potatoes, celery, and spices and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add broth 1/2 cup at a time and allow to reduce slightly prior to adding more.  After adding final 1/2 cup broth, whisk in cornstarch and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook until liquid has thickened and potatoes are softened.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean cutting board.  Spray dough lightly with olive oil spray, then lay another sheet on top and repeat spraying.  Add final layer of dough and press sheet down evenly.  Cut layered sheets in half lengthwise.

To each layered sheet strip, place 2 Tbsp filling diagonally across the top of the strip (see photo). 

Fold over the corner of the strip so that a triangle is formed. 

Gently fold the filled triangle over onto the strip and continue to fold so that a triangle turnover is formed. 

Place pasty on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with baking spray, then repeat for remaining pasties.

Prior to baking, spray each pasty lightly with olive oil spray.

Bake for ~15 minutes or until each side is lightly browned, flipping halfway through.

Serve with ketchup (my frenemy) or gravy for dipping!

Nutrition Info per 1 pasty: 154 calories, 2.8 g fat, 6 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 150 mg sodium

Friday, March 9, 2012

80--- Muesli

What's the difference between granola and museli?  The oil or butter is missing in muesli.

I found out that muesli was developed long ago by a Swiss physician.  Part of his patients' hospital stays included a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, and this is what he provided them for breakfast, served with orange juice instead of milk.  Smart dude!  Seems like we could learn a lot from him, circa 1900.........

Serves 4

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (substitute walnuts or almonds if you wish)
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots (substitute craisins, raisins, dried blueberries, etc)
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combination of nutmeg and cinnamon)
2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine oats and bran and spread over a baking sheet prepared lightly with baking spray.  Place in heated oven for 7-8 minutes.  Stir in coconut meat and nuts.  Continue to bake for 5 minutes. 

Remove sheet from oven and turn heat off.  Stir in dried fruit.  Heat honey and pumpkin pie spice in microwave for 20 seconds.  Drizzle mixture over oat mixture and stir to coat.  Return sheet to warm oven and allow to set for 1 hour.

Remove mixture from oven and stir in chia seeds, if desired.  Store in an airtight container.  Serve with milk or yogurt of your choice with a drizzle of honey.

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup: 263 calories, 11 g fat (4 g monounsaturated, 2.5 g polyunsaturated), 7 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 3 mg sodium

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

80--- Spring Break Smoothie

Spring break is right around the corner.  What are your plans?  I will not be traveling anywhere tropical, so the tropics must come to me.  In Montana.  Burrrrr.

This smoothie helps ease the no-spring-break-travel-plans blues.  I shall lay in the sunbeam that comes through my bedroom window with my Boston Terrier and sip my smoothie.

Spring Break Smoothie
Makes 1- 16 oz smoothie or 2- 8 oz smoothies

1 frozen banana, sliced
3-4 frozen pineapple rings
1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup 100% orange juice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Ice, if needed

Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until a puree is formed.  Add ice and continue to mix if you desire a thicker consistency. 

Pour into a glass, garnish with an umbrella (essential) and some coconut flakes.  Sip slowly (avoiding ice cream headaches that could wake you from your fantasy).

Nutrition Info per 1 large smoothie:  336 calories, 2.4 g fat, 7 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Monday, March 5, 2012

80--- Italian Salsa-Stuffed Omelet with Pesto

Here is a fun Italian twist on an omelet.  Leftover pesto from last night? Perfect.  Whip up some Italian Salsa and POOF! A healthy breakfast is served!

Italian Salsa-Stuffed Omelet with Pesto
Serves 2

2 eggs
5 egg whites
2 Tbsp skim milk
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup Italian Salsa
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp pesto (try my Spinach Parmesan Pesto or Arugula Pesto)

Whisk together eggs, egg whites, and skim milk.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat and swirl pan so that oil covers the bottom.  Add half of egg mixture to skillet.  While edges cook, use a rubber spatula to scrape edges toward middle of pan and fill remaining spot with liquid egg mixture by swirling skillet.

When eggs begin to cook through, spoon 1/4 cup Italian Salsa (drained of most juices) onto half of egg mixture.  Allow to heat through, 2-3 minutes.  Gently fold remaining half of omelet over salsa-covered half.  Allow to cook additional 2 minutes to seal.

Gently slide omelet from pan onto serving plate.  Garnish with 1 Tbsp pesto and 1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese.

Repeat instructions with remaining ingredients.

Nutrition Info per 1 omelet: 260 calories, 14 g fat (7.5 g monounsaturated, 2 g polyunsaturated), 21 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 339 mg sodium

Saturday, March 3, 2012

80--- Mexican Black Bean & Pork Lettuce Wraps

Eating a plant-based diet does not mean that you have to cut out meat entirely, unless that is your goal, which I will not argue with.  However, instead you can make it a side show to your meal instead of the main act.  With these wraps, the majority of the filling is the beans, but pork steps in to offer that extra dimension.

This meal comes together in a snap thanks to our trusty slow cooker!

Mexican Black Bean & Pork Lettuce Wraps
Serves 6

1 lb lean pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1 1/2 cups 100% apple juice
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
12 large butter lettuce leaves, stemmed and thoroughly washed

2 mangoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely minced
1/4 cup lime juice
Pinch salt
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh jalapeno, finely chopped

In a slow cooker, whisk together apple juice, chili powder, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper.  Add pork tenderloin and sliced red onion.  Heat on low for 6-8 hours, until cooked through and pork is shreddable.

Shred pork in slow cooker, then fold in black beans.  Continue to heat on low for 30 minutes, until heated through.

For mango salsa, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving.

For wraps, spoon 1/4 cup bean, onion and pork mixture into the center of each butter lettuce leaf.  Top with mango salsa and eat like a taco!

Nutrition Info per 2 wraps:  280 calories, 3 g fat, 28 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Thursday, March 1, 2012

20--- Sweet Coconut Loaf Cake

This was one of my grandmother's favorite cakes.  I don't remember her ever making one, but she would purchase them regularly.  I wish that she was still around so that we could make this together.  Thanks for the inspiraion Grandma Pringle!

Sweet Coconut Loaf Cake
Serves 6-8

3 small egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 cup + 3 Tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom and long sides of a 9x5" loaf pan with a parchment paper rectangle and spray the paper and ends of pan lightly with baking spray.
Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and the vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Beat dry ingredients well in order to break up any lumps. Add the butter and remaining coconut milk and mix with a handheld mixer on low speed to combine. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, ~2 minutes.  Add the egg white mixture in two additions. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Monitor your cake and place a sheet of aluminum foil lightly over the top of the pan if your cake is becoming overly brown.  Allow the cake to cool in its pan for 10 minutes. Then gently lift your cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place it on a cutting board to cool.

For frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl using an electric mixer.  Add vanilla and beat until light and creamy.  Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Gently add powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to mix until smooth.  Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.

When cake has cooled, use a spatula to gently frost top and sides with frosting.  Place cake in refrigerator.  Remove chilled cake after 15 minutes and sprinkle coconut flakes over top of cake and gently press them into frosting.  Sprinkle coconut flakes into your hand and gently press them into the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Use a sharp knife and/or spatula to remove cake from parchment paper and place on a plate prior to cutting and serving.