Tuesday, December 31, 2013

20(ish)---Pomegranate Rosemary Champagne Cocktail

Welcome to the last day of 2013!

Let me guess, you need a cocktail?

This one has a bit of champagne, a bit of antioxidant, and a bit of the holiday season.  And only three ingredients.  Cheers to that!

Pomegranate Rosemary Champagne Cocktail
Serves 4

20 oz prosecco (or a drier champagne if you prefer)
12 oz pomegranate juice
8 sprigs fresh rosemary

Soak four rosemary sprigs in pomegranate juice for one hour prior to mixing cocktails.  Discard sprigs and pour 3 oz of juice into four cocktail glasses.  Top each with 5 oz prosecco and a sprig of fresh rosemary.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

80--- Black Bean Pomegranate Salsa with Feta

There are quite a few "lucky" New Year's foods.  This salsa incorporates two of those!

Pomegranates are thought to bring prosperity and health.  With the seeds having high amounts of antioxidants, I don't think you will need the luck once you eat these babies!

Beans are also considered lucky and may bring prosperity to those who eat them on New Year's Day.  These gems also deliver 15 grams of fiber per cup, which will help you maintain a regular digestive system and lower your risk of heart disease.

Bring on the luck!

Black Bean Pomegranate Salsa with Feta
Serves 8

1 can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup pomegrante seeds (from ~1 pomegranate)** see the seeding tip below
4 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
Juice from one lemon
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
Dash ground black pepper

** Fill a large bowl (or sink) with water.  Gently slice the pomegranate into two halves (go slowly and make your cut so that it does not cut through seeds).  Submerge each half in the water and use your hands to gently peel away the skin from the seeds.  The seeds will sink in the water and the skin will float.  Voila!  No mess, no stained hands or clothing!

Combine black beans, pomegranate seeds, green onions, and jalapeno in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, pomegranate juice, salt and pepper.  Pour liquid mixture over salsa mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for one hour (or overnight) prior to serving. 

Just before serving, stir in feta cheese.  Serve with tortilla chips for dipping, or on a piece of fish.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 74 calories, 2.2 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Breakfast

What to make for Christmas breakfast can be a tough decision.

Especially if you have a lot of family involved..........

It should be something that pleases everyone.........

It should be delicious and filling, but should not overshadow Christmas dinner...........

This year I am stuck.  So I am digging into the archives to stir up some idears.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!  May you be blessed with health and happiness and the power to make good choices.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

20--- Nutella Kiss Cookies

This is a fun twist on a peanut butter kiss cookie.  Just in time for the holidays!  Go for the dark chocolate kiss- it makes all the difference.

Nutella Kiss Cookies
Makes ~2 dozen

1 cup nutella
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
24 dark chocolate kiss candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger bowl, beat together nutella, butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and brown sugar.  Continue to beat for 2-3 minutes, then add egg and vanilla extract and mix well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll 2 Tbsp batter into a ball, then roll in remaining 2 Tbsp white sugar.  Place balls 2" apart on the baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.  Gently press a kiss candy into the center of each cookie.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to transferring to a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Friday, December 20, 2013

80--- Marinated Chickpeas

This is another fun food gift! 

I like chickpeas all by themselves, but this jazzed up version is a nice change from the ordinary!  They can be eaten straight-up, or added to a salad or pasta dish.  Delish!

Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein!  High in folate and other phytonutrients, these filling little beans may lower your risk of heart disease.

Now that's a holiday gift worth giving!

Marinated Chickpeas
Makes ~ 2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use winterized if available)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
Dash ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Combine water, oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme in a two cup jar.  Shake well to mix.  Add chickpeas and shallot, cover and shake to coat.  Place container in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to serving or gifting.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 89 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

20(ish)--- Spicy Jalapeno Bloody Maria Mix

Here's my first food gift of the holidays!  A tasty drink mix that can add some spice to the winter weather.

A Bloody Maria is basically a Bloody Mary with tequila added instead of the traditional vodka.  Your recipient could also omit the alcohol for a spicy sipper on the rocks instead!

Spicy Jalapeno Bloody Maria Mix
Serves 2

3 cups tomato juice
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 lemon, juiced
Zest from one lime
1 lime, juiced
3 tsp cholula hot sauce
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno juice
1/3 cup pickled jalapeno slices
2 Tbsp chopped white onion

Combine all ingredients in a large jar, except for jalapeno and onion.  Shake to mix.

Add jalapeno slices and onion to a small food processor.  Chop finely, then add 1/2 cup of tomato juice mixture and mix until a puree is formed.  Return mixture back to jar, shake to mix.

Place in refrigerator overnight prior to gifting. Wrap with a small bottle of tequila (jalapeno infused is highly recommended) and a fresh lime.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Healthy Gifts of Christmas- #7-12

7.  Silicone cutting mats.  These easy to wash mats are perfect for those aspiring to prepare healthy meals!

8.  A gift card for new exercise shoes.  My favorite online shoe source is Holabird Sports. Great selection, hard to find styles and sizes, great sales, free shipping.

9.  Portion control serving pieces. This attractive serving set is also very functional- each is measured out for a specific portion of food and makes estimation easy!

10.  Cute yet totally functional for fitness leggings.  The Zella brand from Nordstroms is one of my ultimate favorites.  They last FOREVER.

11.  A new fruit bowl.  Because keeping healthful foods in sight makes you want to eat more of them!

12.  A gift certificate for a massage. Or better yet- just go ahead and book it for them.  Just to make sure that they get it done! Visit Schedulicity to find a professional near you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The 12 Healthy Gifts of Christmas--- #1-6.....

What is the best gift to give someone who is starting to make healthy changes in his/her life?

Support.  Encouragement.  Kind words.

What's the second best gift?  Something that supports their efforts, without saying "you need to do something ASAP".

How about one of these...........

1.  A new water bottle.  With a straw.  Because a straw encourages drinking.  And we all know that water is essential for living a healthy lifestyle.  This one is insulated, so it will keep your water cool and it won't sweat and leave a puddle on your desk!

2.  Sport earbuds.  I just received a pair of these myself since my wee babe destroyed my other ones (she didn't mean to, I'm sure).  These are great- they have great sound and they stay in place.  And they're purty and come in many colors.

3.  A bountiful basket.  This co-op serves many many locations.  A basket of fresh goods is delivered to a central location weekly, and you pick it up and enjoy!  The best part? It's a surprise what will be in your basket each week!  It encourages trying new fresh foods. Love it.

4.  A 4 cup food processor.  I use mine at least three times a week.  It's perfect for little processing jobs around the kitchen.  And the colors that it comes in makes it easy to find one that everyone will enjoy!

5.  A great new hat built for winter exercise.  Like the ones at Sauce Headwear.  Check out their new styles and patterns! Sure to please.

Zinnia Blush Holy Swift_Back
6.  A subscription to a healthy eating magazine.  Your recipient will receive new cooking inspiration each month- delivered right to their mailbox (or tablet if you choose).  Some of my favorites are........

Eating Well

Cooking Light

Whole Living

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things That I Know

Next week I will post some links to some 80s.  Until then...........

 1. If this holiday cream cheese doesn't just sing NOEL I don't know what does.  Yep- its a 20.

2.  I am sure that your mailman would bend over backwards to put your mail in the right mailbox (or is that just my issue?) if you made him this spiced pear and pistachio bread.  Pistachios = love. 

3.  This peppermint chocolate bread is certainly better than a lump of coal.  Maybe sub some pumpkin in there for the oil, you know, just for nutritional value?

4.  I'm almost done with my list of naughty 20s.  This General Tso's Chicken is a must.  For my love.

5.  Sur La Table has the cutest collection of food ornaments.  This Brussels Sprout calls to me.

6.  What would cause my wee babe to enjoy smoked oysters?  Her father.  That's what.  I know- I was shocked as well.  Right down the hatch.  I hope that she doesn't like pickled herring.  Or I will be surrounded by people who crave canned, preserved, slimy, fishy, sea creatures.


I hope that I didn't spoil your appetite.  That was not my intention.

Monday, December 9, 2013

20--- Banana Coffee Cake

If banana bread and coffee cake had a love child, this would be it.  A light taste of banana, all the strudely (it's a word) goodness of coffee cake.  Enjoy!

Banana Coffee Cake
Serves 12

1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan generously with baking spray.

In a large bowl, beat mashed bananas until pureed (you may also use a food processor if you wish).  Add in butter, sugar and vanilla and beat until well-mixed.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.  Beat in sour cream.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add dry mixture to wet, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until just combined.

In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon from strudel mixture.  Add in chopped butter and use your fingers to combine to form coarse crumbs.

Pour half of  the batter into the greased pan.  Sprinkle half of strudel mixture onto the batter.  Pour the remaining batter into the pan and top with the remaining strudel mixture.

Place pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes before gently transferring to a serving plate.  Cut into 12 equal pieces and serve.

Friday, December 6, 2013

80--- Quinoa Chili Verde with Bacon

Following a flexitarian diet means consuming MOSTLY plants and plant-based foods.  However, there is the occasional place for a small amount of animal product.  Which I think is important.  The all-or-nothing approach is the demise of many people's healthy lifestyle attempts.  And it leaves room for a bit of fantastic smokey flavor from bacon.  Opt for the nitrate-free stuff.

The quinoa in this chili adds great texture and actually thickens it a bit.  In a great stick-to-your-ribs sort of way.  Perfect for a chilly day.  Like the ones we have ALL been having lately.

*Note: here in my neck of the woods it has not reached over 0 (that would be ZERO) degrees in THREE DAYS.  Everyone has their struggles.  This is mine.

Quinoa Chili Verde with Bacon
Serves 8

1/2 lb lean nitrate-free bacon, chopped
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 anaheim chile, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tsp minced garlic
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2- 4 oz cans diced green chiles
16 oz green salsa of your choice
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon and saute until crisp.  Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except for cilantro, and heat on medium-high to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 30 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are cooked through.  Stir in cilantro and serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/4 cups: 294 calories, 6 g fat, 20 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

80--- Fried Rice Frittata

Forget the Chinese takeout! This is a quick and easy dish for a busy weeknight.  The sauces used in Chinese restaurants are loaded with sugar (among other things)!  Whip up this quick frittata for that Asian flavor, without the added "stuff".  Load it up with additional veggies if you desire!

Fried Rice Frittata
Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice (cooked in vegetable broth)
2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
2/3 cup finely chopped mushrooms
7 green onions, white and greens, sliced
2/3 cup green peas
4 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1-2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Stir in carrots, mushrooms, and green onions.  Saute until carrots are softened, 4-5 minutes.  Add in broth rice and peas.  Stir well, making sure that edges of skillet are lightly greased with oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, pepper, soy sauce, and hot sauce.  Pour egg mixture into skillet and make sure that vegetables and rice are evenly distributed.  Cook on medium on the stovetop for 5 minutes.

Transfer skillet to the oven and continue to cook for ~20 minutes, or until set.

Remove from oven and cut into 6 even pieces.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 1 slice: 174 calories, 8 g fat, 11 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber

Monday, December 2, 2013

20(ish)--- Vanilla Coconut Steamer

There is nothing like a warm drink to solidify the holiday spirit.  

But your choices are rather limited if you are avoiding dairy and don't want a ton of sugar.

You could always go with tea.

But when you want something rich and creamy?  This steamer is a winner.  A blender eliminates the need for a milk steamer.

Vanilla Coconut Steamer
Serves 2

24 oz coconut milk
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan on the stovetop.  Heat to a boil, stirring continually.

Transer contents to a blender and blend until foamy, 30 seconds or so.

Serve immediately in two mugs, sprinkled with shredded coconut if desired.

Nutrition Info per one 12 oz serving: 220 calories, 6 g fat, 11 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates