Friday, June 29, 2012

20--- Patriotic Berry Pretzel Salad

I have always loved this dessert.  Sweet and salty.  Perfect.  Now I need to get rid of the leftovers so I do not end up with a 12 lb baby.  Any takers?

The creamy filling of this dessert is typically made of cream cheese and frozen whipped topping.  Aka: frozen artificial stuff.  So I made up my layer of my Russian Cream instead. Not "healthier" in the form of calories and fat, but made from real ingredients.  And it was BETTER with less stuff.  And I didn't use flavored Jello in with the berries (standard recipe).  Berries are sweet enough without the extra sugar and stuff, right?

Happy Birthday America.  Thank you for a reason to celebrate.

Patriotic Berry Pretzel Salad
Serves 12

3 cups crushed pretzel sticks
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
RUSSIAN CREAM (click link to view recipe)-- you will use one batch
1 cup blueberries
2-3 cups chopped or sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl mix together pretzels, butter and sugar.  Press into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish prepared with baking spray.  Bake for ~12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (I put mine in the refrigerator after about 20 minutes).

When crust has cooled, mix up Russian Cream, following directions in linked recipe.  Pour Russian Cream mixture over cooled pretzels and return to refrigerator for 3-4 hours, or until set.

Prior to serving, decorate with berries.  To serve, cut into 12 even slices.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

80--- Spicy Chicken and Spinach Salad

Dipping your toes into vegetarian cuisine doesn't have to mean meatless meals.  It can mean just less meat at your meals.  Try treating it as a condiment rather than the center of your meal.  

This salad has beans combined with chicken for a spicy, filling combination.  

Spicy Chicken and Spinach Salad
Serves 4

3 oz chicken breast, shredded
1 cup canned navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup hot wing sauce
4 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 small cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1/3 cup light sour cream
2 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste

For salad: combine shredded chicken and navy beans in a small bowl and stir in hot sauce. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Layer spinach leaves, cucumber and red onion in a large bowl.  Top with spicy chicken and beans, then sprinkle with gorgonzola cheese.

For dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving.

Drizzle dressing onto individual servings of salad and enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 263 calories, 9 g fat, 20 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g fiber

Monday, June 25, 2012

80--- Roasted Veggie Tray Leftover Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Whenever we host a party that involves a veggie tray (yes, the pre-packaged ones, not the "I spent three hours cutting these veggies" ones) we always end up with leftover broccoli and carrots.  The sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes are gone like yesterday's garbage.  And while snacking on these raw veggies over the next several days is good-- even I will admit that it gets a bit boring!

This is a recipe that will use up those leftover veggies and make a lovely side dish for your family.

Roasted Veggie Tray Leftover Salad
Serves 4

4 cups leftover veggies, chopped into 1" pieces or smaller
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp seasoning salt

1/4 cup light sour cream
2 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place veggies into a large baking dish, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.  Toss to coat, then bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.

Remove veggies from oven and place into a shallow bowl.  Cool in refrigerator for 2 hours.

For dressing: whisk together all ingredients and place in a covered container in refrigerator while veggies chill.

Just prior to serving, stir dressing into veggies.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup serving: 73 calories, 2.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Saturday, June 23, 2012

80---Inside Out Cucumber Sandwiches

Because it's SHOWER season.  Bridal, baby, etc. 

More veggies are always better than less. Less is not more.  More is more.  Forever and always and research will never prove me wrong.

Inside Out Cucumber Sandwiches
Makes ~12 sandwiches

1 large cucumber
2 Tbsp light vegetable cream cheese (try mine)
12 rice crackers
Celery salt

Peel cucumber leaving strips of peel on cucumber (yes, for decor).  Slice cucumber into 1/2" slices.  Place slices onto a plate and sprinkle each side lightly with salt.  Place slices in refrigerator for 30 minutes (some of the water will seep out of slices).  Rinse each slice with water, then place onto a paper towel and press to remove excess water.

Spread 1/2 tsp cream cheese onto each side of a rice cracker.  Sandwich cream cheese spread cracker between two slices of cucumber.  Sprinkle the top of each sandwich lightly with celery salt.

Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 sandwich: 20 calories, 1 g fat, 0.5 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber

Thursday, June 21, 2012

80--- Smokey Southwest Portobello Burgers with Sundried-Adobo Spread

This is not just any portobello burger. It's very flavorful, with just a wee bit of smoky spice, thanks to the goat cheese spread. My hubby dreamed about this the night after I made it.

I designed this recipe to please even those who are not die-hard plant eaters. Portobellos cook to form a dense, juicy meat-like texture and can absorb a multitude of flavors! This is a great recipe for anyone new to vegetarian cuisine.

Smokey Southwest Portobello Burgers

Makes 4

4 large portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and thoroughly washed
4 English muffins, toasted or grilled

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried cilantro
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp water

1 avocado, halved and seeded
2 Tbsp lemon juice

4 oz soft goat cheese
4 tsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chiles—freeze the rest for future use)
1 tsp milk
6 sundried tomato halves, coarsely chopped (if using dried soak in boiling water for 5-10 minutes until soft)

For burgers: Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place mushroom caps in a flat container, bottoms up. With a fork, poke small shallow holes in bottom of each cap and pour marinade ingredients over the top. Flip caps over and use your fingers to rub marinade into cap. 

Place covered in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Preheat grill to a medium heat. Spray grill racks lightly with olive oil spray. Place mushroom caps onto grill and cook for 10 minutes, gently flipping halfway through cooking.

For avocado: Slice each avocado half into four lengthwise slices. Gently remove peel from each slice. Rub lemon juice into each slice and place on grill over medium heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Monitor closely to ensure they do not burn, but you do want grill marks on each side.

For goat cheese spread: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to serving.

To assemble: Spread about 2 Tbsp goat cheese spread onto half of each English muffin. Place two slices of grilled avocado onto spread, then top with portobello cap and other muffin half. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 burger: 358 calories, 17 g fat (8 g monounsaturated, 2 g polyunsaturated), 15 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber

This post is part of the BlogHer Light & Fresh Summer Grilling series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Michelob ULTRA Light Cider and BlogHer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's my blog and I can post about parties if I want to...

Happy Summer Solstice! This last weekend was our annual summer solstice party.  It typically rains every year.  This year was different! We had lots of sun and warmth. What a great way to spend the almost-longest day of the year!

My favorite part is theming the party.  It's based on food, of course.  One year we did a taco bar.  Last year (best ever) was a build-your-own grilled pizza bar.  We provided the crusts, encouraged everyone to bring a topping to share, and let the creativity flow! 

This year was a Steak & Shake party.  Build your own slider bar AND build your own adult milkshake bar.  Luckily I have friends who are fantastic chefs.  Burger toppings included caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, fig compote, caramelized leeks, spicy peppers, and bleu cheese, just to name a few!

I had several different recipes for milkshakes to serve as guides.  They included a Drunk Monkey (pb, banana, rum), a Grasshopper (peppermint schnapps and oreos), and a Birthday Cake.  We used my Magic Bullet blender and had a ton of fun.

The Birthday Cake milkshake was the biggest hit.  Here's the recipe:

Birthday Cake Adult Milkshake
Serves 1

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup milk
1 shot Triple Olive Cake Vodka
1 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

BTW: Just in case you were wondering, this is a 20!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

20--- Berry Fudgsicles

These are for my hubby.  He loves the berry chocolate combo.  I can't complain because it is delicious and antioxidant-laden.  

Berry Fudgesicles
Makes ~6

1 1/2 oz (3 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup half & half
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup raspberries, pureed until a chunky puree is formed

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate.  Whisk in milk, half & half, sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch (I used my spatula/whisk , which if you do not have, you need).  Continue to stir mixture for 8-10 minutes, until thickened.  Fold in butter and pureed berries.

Pour mixture into popsicle molds.  Freeze until solid.

Friday, June 15, 2012

80(ish)--- Light Pumpkin Gingerbread

I don't know how to explain this.  My craving for holiday food in June must be hormone related (as is everything in pregnancy, or so I've read).  I'm afraid you will have to bear with me until October.

Light Pumpkin Gingerbread
Makes 1 loaf, ~10 slices

15 oz pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat together egg whites, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until smooth.  Mix in flour, followed by spices, baking soda, and baking powder.  Pour mixture into a 9 x 13" loaf pan, prepared with baking spray.  Bake for ~45 minutes, testing center with a toothpick to ensure doneness.  

Nutrition Info per 1 slice: 222 calories, 5.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

80--- Caribbean Forbidden Rice

Forbidden rice, also known as black rice, is a sticky rice that is un-milled and therefore full of nutrition!  It is high in iron and fiber.  When you cook it it turns purplish, which of course makes it very fun.  You can find it in the bulk section of your specialty grocer or Lundbergs makes a mix.  Add some Caribbean spice and fruit and VOILA!

Caribbean Forbidden Rice
Serves 8

1 cup black rice
2 cups water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp honey
1/3 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion (red or white)
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes

Bring water to a boil, then stir in rice.  Cover and cook for ~40 minutes, until rice is tender and water is absorbed.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Fold in red pepper and onion. 

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, honey and spices.  Fold mixture into rice mixture.  Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill for at least two hours.

Prior to serving stir in pecans and mangoes.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 136 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 100 mg sodium

Sunday, June 10, 2012

80--- Grilled Pasta Packets

If you missed my previous post, this is a camping dinner that is so easy to throw together (and it does not include processed meats- hooray!).  

I would suggest cooking your pasta ahead of time and keeping it in a ziploc bag.  Prep your ingredients ahead also for ease at camp!  Let everyone build their own individual pasta packet with what they want in it.  I made mine using the following ingredients but feel free to modify!

Grilled Pasta Packets
Serves 6

1 lb whole grain spaghetti, cooked slightly less than al dente per package instructions (subtract 1 minute from cooking time)
6 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat grill to medium heat (if you are using the previous Grilled Garlic App recipe, just reduce heat to low after you pull your garlic off of the grill).

Cut one dozen 8x12" pieces of aluminum foil.  Layer foil so that you are using 2 per packet.  In a bowl, toss together pasta, chopped tomato, basil, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil.  Spoon one serving of pasta mixture (~1 1/4 cups) into the center of each packet.  Squeeze lemon wedge over pasta before adding to packet.  Spoon a few teaspoons of goat cheese into packet.  

Bring long edges of foil together, then roll to secure.  Roll edges of packet to form a closed space (do not squeeze out all air). 

Reduce grill heat to low, then place packets on grill.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking packets halfway through cooking.  

Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 packet as shown above: 224 calories, 11 g fat, 8 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber

Friday, June 8, 2012

80--- Grilled Garlic App

Week of camping and not wanting hot dogs every night? Never fear, Italian food is here.  These next two posts will be your guide.

Here is your app.  Like roasted garlic, but on the grill!  Spread the softened cloves onto slices of grilled bread.  Yummo.

Grilled Garlic App
Serves 4

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and ends trimmed
Olive oil spray
1/4 tsp sea salt
Aluminum foil
8- 1/2" slices sourdough loaf

Preheat grill to high heat.  Layer two 8x8" foil pieces.  Place trimmed cloves onto foil and spray generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.

Reduce grill heat to medium, then place foil packet on grill. Cook for ~8 minutes, shaking package halfway through cooking.

Spray both sides of bread lightly with olive oil.  Place onto grill.  Cook until grill marks appear on one side ~2 minutes.  Flip and cook for additional two minutes.

Spread softened garlic onto slices of grilled bread. 

Nutrition Info per 2 cloves and 2 slices bread: 163 calories, 2 g fat, 6 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

20(ish)--- Pineapple Rhubarb Crunch

Rhubarb is a fantastic fibrous vegetable that is often eaten like a fruit.  It's tartness requires the addition of quite a bit of sugar in baking, or you can combine it with a sweeter fruit (more natural sugars) and use less sugar.  Read on.

My grandmother used to combine pineapple and rhubarb into a pie.  Weird combo? You have to try it.  Grandma knew what she was doing.  A crunch allows you to add (hide) lots of healthy nuts, seeds, and grains to make dessert a bit healthier.  

Pineapple Rhubarb Crunch
Serves 6-8

20 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained with juice reserved
3 cups sliced rhubarb
2 tsp cornstarch
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped almonds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil

In a nonstick saucepan, combine reserved pineapple juice and white sugar.  Bring to a low boil over medium heat, then whisk in cornstarch.  Continue to cook until slightly thickened, ~5 minutes.  Place rhubarb and pineapple tidbits into a bowl and pour warm liquid over.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine bran, oats, brown sugar, almonds and chia seeds.  Pour in olive oil and melted butter and use a fork to mix until crumbs are formed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart glass baking dish.  Press half of crumb mixture into bottom of the dish.  Pour in pineapple rhubarb mixture.  Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top.  Bake for ~40 minutes, until top begins to brown and filling is bubbling.  

Serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt or light whipped cream.

Monday, June 4, 2012

80--- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Walnuts and Raisins

I realize that breakfast is all abound on my blog.  But it IS the most important meal of the day.  Forget your cinnamon roll and eat more fiber and healthy fats.

These pancakes, with oats, bran, walnuts and raisins, will fill you up so that you can make healthy decisions for the rest of the day.  And they taste spectacular.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Serves 3 (Makes ~6, 6" pancakes)

1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat bran
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp raisins

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sifted all-purpose flour

Place oats into a medium bowl and pour in almond milk.  Whisk in flours, bran, baking powder, honey, egg and egg white.  Fold in cinnamon, walnuts and raisins.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together drizzle ingredients.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Spoon one ~3/4 cup batter onto skillet.  Use a spoon to drizzle cinnamon mixture over batter evenly (whatever design you like!), using ~1 Tbsp mixture.  Cook until batter begins to bubble, then use a thin spatula to gently flip over pancake.  Cook for ~3 minutes until cooked through.

Serve immediately!

Nutrition Info per 2 pancakes: 340 calories, 10 g fat (5 g monounsaturated, 4 g polyunsaturated), 14 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Healthy Tip: Pregnancy, What I've Learned So Far

Before I took off on this adventure into creating a human, I had always thought that I could and should be the ultimate healthy pregnant woman.  I had the knowledge, I had the skills.  I would eat load of fruits and vegetables, avoid sweets, caffeine, and anything remotely processed to give my little one the best start possible.

What could stop me? 

Hormones, apparently.  Now,\
 it's not like I've been UNHEALTHY but I have certainly not been my ideal.  In my first trimester, vegetables, especially cooked vegetables, sounded revolting.  The smell of them cooking was even worse.  I did not want to eat anything that I prepared myself, often leaving me to cook foods for the blog and my hubby, then have cereal instead.  Odd? Um, yeah.  What exactly is the purpose of that pregnancy mechanism?  Avoiding foods that you put time and love into and know the exact composure of?  It's unexplained but very real.  

But I didn't have morning sickness. I'm thanking genetics for that one.

I know that I need a little bit more protein during pregnancy.  After analyzing my diet for a few days I realized that I was not getting enough (must have been all that cereal).  So, my mostly-vegetarian self tried to eat a bit more meat in my second trimester.  And I have failed at that as well.  Most days it grosses me out.  But at least now I want to eat vegetables!  If it wasn't for ultrasound confirmation I would be sure that this little one was without kidneys, or some other vital organ.

I also imagined that I would be the pregnant woman who ran through her entire pregnancy.  Why not? I know people who have done it no problem.  I can handle it.  I'm strong.  So I signed up for a half marathon that would occur right around my 6 month mark (this weekend) to keep me on track.

Bologna (hmmm, actually that sounds good right now).

My friends and I ran 10 miles two weeks ago (only a couple miles further than my typical) in preparation, and they kindly walked with me every now and then.  Piece of cake.  Uh huh.  Until that evening when my pelvic ligaments decided to teach me a lesson.  And now I'm flying to San Diego to walk this half marathon.

So what's a girl to do? What's my advice to you during pregnancy?

Listen to your body, take your prenatal vitamins, and hope for the best.  And don't beat yourself up.  Your babe will be fine.  

My plan is to make up ground in the breastfeeding after party.