Jul
08

I get really intense cravings.

Usually for peanut butter. Sometimes for a big banana milkshake. Always for a slice of pumpkin pie. But today, I wanted sweet potato fries more than anything else in the world… with a little somethin’ special: homemade honey mustard dipping sauce.

If you’re wondering what the combination of the two is like, it’s quite difficult to say. I mean, how do you explain magic when it happens?

Honeymustardoholic: Not a word, but probably will be soon. This stuff is addictive.

With only three ingredients this honey mustard is incredibly easy to throw together. All you need is low-fat mayo, honey, and dijon mustard. Whip the three together in a small bowl, then be prepared to make more. Why? Because you will be putting it on everything.

It’s unusually versatile: Slather it on a slice of bread and top with turkey, dunk your kids chicken nuggets in it (eating them yourself, obviously), dip some veggies in it (you’re so healthy!), or just do like I do and eat it by the spoonful (I like you).

Oh and now you want to know about these crispy, LOW-FAT sweet potato fries?

I’ve been making my own fries for a couple of years now, so I’ve experimented with several different methods. Here are five tips that I’d like to pass along to ensure a crispy, delicious baked sweet potato fry.

  1. Cut them thick. Cutting your fries into large slices about 1/2-3/4 inch thick will ensure a nice sweet interior that doesn’t dry up when baking.
  2. Use cornstarch to keep them crispy. Sweet potatoes are made up of a higher percentage of water compared to regular potatoes which causes them to sometimes get soggy when baked. Coating the fries with a little bit of cornstarch prevents this, as the cornstarch will form a crust on the outside of the fry. I got the corn starch idea from The Art of Doing Stuff. I’ve also thought about using flour, but I’m not sure it would have the same effect.
  3. Drizzle them with a little olive oil. We’re not fry baking them, so a lot of olive oil isn’t necessary. Usually 1 or 2 tablespoons is sufficient enough to crisp them up and add flavor.
  4. Give them room to breathe. Don’t allow your fries to touch on your baking sheet. You want the air to circulate around them so that they will bake and crisp evenly. You can use two baking sheets if you are making a lot of fries; be sure to rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.
  5. Turn them halfway through. We want crispy fries on all sides, not just one.
Hmm… what else could you possibly need to know about these?

Oh yeah, how about how to flavor them?

My favorite way is with a little bit of cinnamon and sea salt, but it’s up to you! If you like your sweet potato fries spicy, try adding cayenne pepper. Another great option is cumin and garlic powder for a little bit of mexican pizazz. I know a lot of people who prefer paprika as their seasoning of choice too. It’s fun experimenting with different flavors.

I love to make a giant batch of these because I never feel guilty about eating them. They are low in fat, and just so happen to be packed with vitamins and minerals! Technically sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat; they’re full of vitamin A, C, and E, plus fiber, potassium and beta carotene. They’re also a complex carbohydrate which means that they take longer for your body to break down, keeping you fuller, longer.  Read more about sweet potatoes and their nutritional value here.

The daily health information session is now over. Let’s get back to drooling.

Crispy, golden orange, salty-sweet, incredible, plus one million other delicious adjectives.

My goodness I love these fries… and I think you should make them.

But don’t you dare forget that dipping sauce!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Serves 2-4

For the fries

Cooking spray

2-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired

1-2 tablespoons of corn starch

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (if desired) or your own spice combination

 

For the honey mustard dipping sauce

1/4 cup low-fat mayo (can also use fat-free or olive oil based)

1/4 cup dijon mustard (whole grain dijon is good too)

2 tablespoons honey

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut the sweet potatoes evenly into even fry shapes and place into a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the uncooked fries and use your hands to gently toss sweet potatoes and corn starch together to lightly coat the sweet potatoes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the fries and toss with your hands, adding more if you feel the fries are not LIGHTLY coated. Sprinkle whatever spices you’d like onto the fries (I use sea salt and cinnamon) and gently toss again.
  4. Spread sweet potatoes evenly on your baking sheet(s), making sure that they aren’t touching each other. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip fries with a spatula, and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. Do not overbake or they will burn. A little caramelization on the edges of the fries is good, but we don’t want black fries.
  5. To make the homemade honey mustard combine mayo and dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy. Slowly add in the honey and stir again until combined. Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Notes

  • Preheating your baking sheet will also result in a crisper fry, but sometimes my fries cook quicker so just be aware of the timing.
  • I do not recommend using aluminum foil, as every time I do my fries come out soggy.
  • If you are making a smaller batch of fries, or if you cut them thinner, I recommend flipping them after 10 minutes and only baking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Try my other five favorite dipping sauces for variety

Jun
12

Hey you! Yes, YOU! I like you… a lot. You brighten my day.

I feel so lucky to have such incredible readers; readers who make me feel amazing and inspired every single day. Many of you have been tweeting with me or posting on my Facebook page letting me know which recipes you’re loving, or what’s inspiring you to cook. Some of you have even sent me an email saying how my recipes have encouraged you to eat healthier. You are all so sweet and I’m OVERJOYED that this blog has inspired you.

I don’t know what to say other than… THANK YOU! It’s appreciated more than you know!

Now, let’s talk about quesadillas.

I love them. Adore them. Salivite over them! Yeah, I’m pretty weird but you’re probably okay with that by now if you’re still reading this.

Quesadillas are a traditional mexican dish that usually involves cheese and a savory mixture of vegetables and/or meat. They’re one of my favorite meals to put together at the last-minute because it involves throwing delicious combinations in a tortilla and toasting or frying it until crispy and golden brown. These days the traditional quesadillas have evolved into something wonderful: breakfast (or dessert) quesadillas!

It’s as simple as this: I am obsessed with the peanut butter and banana combo. Typically when I’m in a rush I put the duo on an english muffin and barely remember inhaling my breakfast, but I was getting a little bored with that. So instead of the usual, I thought I’d make it interesting by making peanut butter and banana quesadillas and adding in seasonal, ripe strawberries for a sort of PB&J twist.

My mind was BLOWN AWAY after one bite. In all seriousness, yours probably will be too.

If you’ve never experienced the peanut butter, strawberry, and banana combo–prepare to be amazed!

First of all–the strawberries in the quesadilla! They almost taste like they were roasted–exploding with flavor and juicyness from the heat. It reminds me of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, except with a fresh, more interesting appeal. The crunch of the tortilla and the warm, creamy peanut butter makes me wish I could go back to grade school and demand ask nicely for this in my lunchbox.

When making quesadillas I always use whole wheat-low carb tortillas because I love the nutty flavor of them, plus whole grains keep you fuller, longer. I recommend using Joesph’s Tortillas, but any whole grain tortilla would work well. This also would be an optimal pre or post-workout snack or meal because of the good carbs and healthy fats.

Additionally I HIGHLY recommend trying this for dessert. It’s pretty guilt-free, perfect for sharing, and kids will even love them. Plus they are vegan, and you could certainly make them gluten-free by using GF tortillas.

The possibilities are endless! Think about it.

Wouldn’t replacing nutella for peanut butter be dreamy? Or perhaps sprinkling in a few mini chocolate chips? What about dipping them in a warm chocolate sauce?

THAT could be like tasting a little bite of heaven. But those are just suggestions, feel free to get creative!

As requested, nutritional information is included.

Just please note that after this quesadilla, you’ll never want to settle for a traditional PB&J again. If you try them, be sure to let me know what you think.

Peanut Butter, Strawberry, & Banana Quesadillas
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 1/2 quesadilla
  • Calories: 263
  • Fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 8g
Recipe type: Breakfast, On the Go, Healthy, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Delicious breakfast quesadilla stuffed with peanut butter, bananas and fresh strawberries. A great on the go breakfast.
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray or butter
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 large ripe banana, sliced
  • 4-5 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (if desired)
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and spray pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter evenly over each tortilla. Arrange both the banana and strawberry slices over one tortilla, sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon, and top with the remaining tortilla, peanut butter side down. Press gently to help them stick together.
  3. When the skillet is hot, add the quesadilla, flipping once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla into halves or quarters.
  4. Serves 2-4.
Notes
For a dessert version try adding 1 teaspoon of mini chocolate chips in
Serve with honey, maple syrup, vanilla greek yogurt, or chocolate sauce
Try with different nut butters, nutella or almond butter would be good
The nutritional information below is based on using a flour tortilla. Using a low carb, whole grain tortilla would lower the calories and carb count. It would also increase the fiber.

Jun
08

Sexy is in!

50 Shades of Grey.

Goat cheese stuffed turkey burgers dripping in BBQ sauce.

Better than sex cake? (That’s up to you).

Baking up sexy sweet-n-salty cookies.

Cake Batter Martinis.

… But I heard that few fruits are as sweet, succulent or downright sexy as a peach.

With all of these ideas that you can cook or bake at home I’m wondering why people don’t do it more often!? I mean, I get that you might live near an incredible thai restaurant and LIVE for the blueberry muffins from the local bakery–but when was the last time you made a meal made you feel like a total goddess?

Fortunately for you, I have a 15 minute solution. It requires peaches, french bread, brie cheese, basil, and a little balsamic vinegar.

You’re about to be sexed up.

Seriously I mean it.

Alright you should probably know that I’m a complete romantic. I believe that food has total sex appeal that can’t be ignored. Flipping pancakes for dinner is perfect. The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies makes me swoon. Authentic mexican food wins my heart. But putting fresh peaches on pizza? Oh my goodness I can’t even describe it.

But sometimes simplicity is good. Like homemade pizza and a glass of red wine for dinner. I don’t know why but it screams irresistible to me.

Now you’re probably reading this through a computer or some tablet that I’ve never heard of, so I can’t do much convincing. But I can tell you this: cooking is attractive, pizzas are delicious, and making this for an appetizer (or dinner) will be the best thing you’ve done in weeks. And the best part about it? It’s not complicated or fussy — it’s just delicious!

French bread toasted to perfection with loads of creamy brie cheese, ripe peaches, fresh basil, and a little balsamic reduction. Because what’s better than enjoying a meal cooked especially for you? (Well probably devouring 5 of these ice cream cones, actually.) But that’s besides the point–the problem is that many of us don’t make time to eat, drink, and enjoy time with the people we love.

So single or not — Make pizza, drink wine, enjoy life! Get your sexy back.

Fresh Peach, Basil, & Brie Cheese French Bread Pizza

1 french bread loaf (preferably whole grain), sliced in half, lengthwise

2-3 ripe peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

4 ounces of Brie cheese, thinly sliced (I used goat’s milk brie cheese from Trader Joe’s)

2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 cup balsamic vinegar

dash of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place bread on baking sheet and brush olive oil over each half. Sprinkle with a dash of salt. Top each half with brie cheese slices and peaches. Bake for 10 minutes. Broil for 30 seconds until cheese gets a tiny bit brown and bubbly.
  3. Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).
  4. Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza and top with basil. Cut pizza into wedges and serve.

Serves 2-4


May
11

Before we get into life updates let me just inform you that I’m writing to you from a Starbucks in the middle of the desert (also known as the state of New Mexico). I’m here visiting my grandparents for a week.

Do you know what one of my favorite things about my grandmother is? She knows how much I appreciate good food. She even had green chile chicken stew waiting for me when I got off the plane. How sweet is that? 

In fact she’s been going crazy in the kitchen: homemade whole wheat bread, corn muffins, raisin bran muffins, sopapillas, and much more. Going to the gym twice a day is necessary when she’s cooking. In fact we did Zumba together yesterday… then several Ludacris songs came on. Yeah I can’t even describe what a 77 year old doing Zumba to hip-hop looks like. She was literally bopping around to ‘how low can you go’. WHAT IS HAPPENING!

You don’t want that picture in your head. Let’s move on.

I’ve been writing over at the Food Network’s Healthyeats.com recently. I’m sharing recipes and creative inspiration from my kitchen. Check it out and get my fresh spring veggie pasta with butternut squash sauce recipe (pictured above), along with links to my other favorite pasta dishes.

Can I just say that I love the Food Network? I’m hoping one day I can pay for it as a single channel because it’s all I watch. I’m being completely serious by the way.

 

Okay are you ready for the big news?

I’ve been waiting to tell you this.

It’s totally exciting!

I’m moving to California!

Year round sunshine and surfing here I come.

Okay I have to run, but make your Mom a nice lemon pie for Mother’s Day. It’s a present she won’t forget.

Chat soon!


May
02

Guess what Saturday is?

Cinco de Mayo!

Guess what we do?

Stuff our face with Mexican goodness and guzzle skinny margaritas. Duh.  

Don’t act like you’re not intrigued with breakfast enchiladas. Psssstt… they’re healthy too! The guys who taste tested these for me even approved, buuuuttttt I have a feeling Paula Deen would not. Sorry Paula, we’re saving our calories for margaritas.

Let’s be honest with eachother for a moment. There is no pretending that we won’t chase down everything with alcoholic beverages come Saturday. Margaritas with breakfast? Why not? it’s Cinco de Mayo and I love to pretend I’m Mexican! Come on, we know how this holiday works… and how painful Sunday is going to be.

Forget about hangovers. Focus on a breakfast that gets you ready for a day full of delicious chips and guac. Since Cinco de Mayo happens to be this Saturday (and because I prefer a week full of celebrations), I thought I’d share this with you a little early.

I had been thinking about breakfast enchiladas for quite sometime. More like dreaming about them every night. Anyway I decided to wrap the traditional huevos rancheros breakfast (eggs + beans) into tortillas and load them with delicious business (also known as red sauce and avocados). 

I’m really happy with that decision because I now want to eat these everyday for the rest of my life. And I can do that because they only have about 230 calories per enchilada. Yes!

Let me break it down for you.

Whole wheat tortillas (because we’re healthy whole grain eating people, duh).

Fluffy scrambled eggs (with mostly protein packed egg whites).

Refried black beans.

Jalapeno.

Cilantro.

Red peppers.

Low fat cheeeeeese.

Uhhhh can I just tell you that basically these enchiladas are made from the best stuff on earth?

This is the fun part. The delicious business.

We combine the things I dream about into the tortillas. Drizzle with LOTS of red sauce, and roll them up tight. Time to pop in the oven and get ready for a tastebud party in less than 30 minutes. 

To be honest, enchiladas never disappoint me. And these certainly wont disappoint you.

 

Skinny Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Enchiladas

6 whole wheat tortillas (I like low carb, or you could also use corn tortillas to make these gluten-free.)

2 whole eggs + 6 egg whites

1 can (16 oz) good red enchilada sauce

1 can (16 oz) refried black beans

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

3/4 cup low-fat cheese (I like colby jack or mexican)

Pinch of salt

Black pepper

1 tomato, diced

1/2 avocado, diced

6 tablespoons fat free sour cream

 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine refried beans, diced red peppers, cilantro, and jalapeno together in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium bowl beat your eggs together. Coat large pan with non stick cooking spray and add your eggs. Let eggs set around the edges, and then begin to stir every few seconds, until eggs are barely set and still fluffy. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place your tortillas on a microwave safe plate and microwave for about 20 seconds. Next, coat 11×7 inch pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Next fill each tortilla the following way: spread 1/4 cup of black bean mixture in the middle of each tortilla, add 2 heaping tablespoons of scrambled eggs, 1 heaping tablespoon of cheese, and 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce. Roll each tortilla up one by one and place seam side down in the baking dish. You will end up with 6 tortillas.
  4. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas, then sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake 25 minutes. Let stand a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with extra cilantro, tomatoes, and avocados. Add 1 tablespoon of sour cream on top if desired.

Serves 6 

Notes:

  • You could certainly use all egg whites if desired to cut more calories from the recipe
  • These would also be delicious with a green chili enchilada sauce
  • To make gluten-free, use corn tortillas
  • For another great, healthy enchilada recipe, check out my black bean chicken enchiladas

 

Nutrition facts

Calories 228
 
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Total Carbohydrate 31g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 2g
Protein 10g
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

* I used SweeterSpoon.com to calculate the nutritional information


Apr
29

Mmmm banana pancakes. With quinoa.

Oh yes I did.

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. I mean what’s not to love? It’s versatile, gluten-free, protein packed, and the nutty flavor delivers every single time. Remember my lemon blueberry quinoa pancakes?  They’re my absolute favorite. I devour them in 5.6 seconds everytime I make them. Can you tell I’m a fan? I could be the quinoa spokeswoman.

Quinoa queen?

Nevermind.

I wish I would have had these pancakes today before I did three hours worth of yoga this morning. I was aching for these through every downward dog and warrior two.

Then guess what happened? I got pulled over (for the first time ever) after leaving class. Apparently I went through a red light. Seems I was distracted with the thought of delicious quinoa pancakes in my belly. Thankfully the police officer didn’t give me a ticket. He was surprisingly nice – I’m guessing because I looked like a hot sweaty mess who was about to eat her own arm.

Once I got home and I devored these like I was a contestant on the biggest loser who hadn’t eaten in weeks. A little absurd. I even paired each pancake with different flavor toppings because who doesn’t love a little variety? One had maple syrup and bananas (classic), another had raspberry jam and toasted coconut (so so so goooood), and finally my favorite: mini chocolate chips with peanut butter (love the banana, chocolate, and peanut butter combo). I recommend trying out some different toppings.

But SERIOUSLY, these pancakes are actually good for you. If you’re trying to eat more whole grains, or if you are looking for a healthier breakfast, then I think you should give these a try. I love making pancakes and then throwing them in the freezer. They’re incredibly easy to heat up in the microwave and take to go. Just spread with a little healthy topping and devour!

Okay… one last bit of news! I’ve decided to restructure my blog a little bit. I will now be focusing on healthy, creative recipes. Of course you’ll see the occasional cupcake and brownie, but generally less sweets and more good eats. In my own life, I try to eat healthy and balanced and love sharing my passion for health with others.

Now let’s eat!

Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Pancakes, Breakfast, Brunch, Healthy, Whole Grain
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 large egg whites or 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of milk of your choice (skim, soy, almond, coconut)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (you could also use honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large very ripe bananas, pureed
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add pureed bananas and mix until just combined.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter.
  3. Makes about 10 pancakes. Top with peanut butter, maple syrup, fruit, or chocolate chips.
Notes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's quinoa pancakes
If pancakes are too thick, add 1 tablespoon of milk to the batter. If pancakes are too thin, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the batter
Sub gluten free flour for whole wheat if you'd like
Adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to batter would make great chocolate banana pancakes

Apr
18

 

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are the best.

Simple pretty things that dance around in my head.

Like the summer flavors brought together in this salad. Juicy ripe watermelons, creamy avocado, annnnnddd lime + cilantro? Holy. I took one bite and I knew I had fallen in love.

Read more.


Mar
14

I apologize for not blogging as frequent as usual. I was traveling, thinking, and making this bruschetta.

I really like to think. I go to the grocery store and I think about things I can make. Every day I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish. In the mornings, I think  about how much I want to go to Starbucks drive thru. I’m thinking about how much I want cake right now… no surprise there! This week, I thought about how badly I needed to empty the dishwasher and do laundry. Still on my mind. Most days I daydream about what the future holds and where I’ll be in 10 years. I think I think too much.

Lately my thoughts have turned into actions. I’m making HUGE decisions. Decisions that will change my life!  It’s exciting… it’s making me nervous… it’s OMG! We all have to start somewhere right?

Maybe we could all just begin with bruschetta and hang out a while. I like that idea.

Read more.


Feb
26

I love a good Sunday routine.

Usually I roll out of bed, throw on an outfit, and stop at Starbucks. This happens all before 9am.  After I get my sweat on at the gym I head straight to the grocery store, where my cart crashes into at least 3 people. I smile and kindly apologize for being an aggressive cart driver. It’s Sunday after all and I’m feeling extra nice.

Really though, I’m on a mission to get home and put my Kitchen Aid mixer to work, do some laundry, and watch a trashy television show while I eat a giant bowl of pasta.

Read more.


Feb
23

I had oatmeal, a chocolate protein shake, and broccoli for dinner tonight. Wait… what?! Yes, it’s that time of year. Warm weather is on its way, and soon I’ll be spending my days in oversized sunglasses and a bikini. That’s my plan.

I’m getting ready by eating simple meals, but that only gets you so far. I’ve also been attending hot yoga classes. I’m really hoping the next time I go the guy next to me doesn’t smell like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Broth sweat is not cool dude!

Anyway, I’m getting prepared and I’m sure you all can relate. This is real life. I know you want chocolate cake and fluffy cream cheese frosting… I do too. But let’s just play it cool this weekend, okay?

Time to hush up and make some healthy, delicious chili!

 

Read more.

 
 
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