May
13

Recently the college I attended interviewed me for an article. I thought it was sweet, but also a little funny. In college I was the girl who baked way too much; I used to bring fresh homemade cookies and cupcakes to everyone. Once I even wore my “baking is sexy” t-shirt to a house party.

Totally screams date me, right?

Wrong. I am a nerd. A nerd who thinks it’s fun to make smores with raspberry jam, peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate. And then take pictures of them and write about how delicious they were.

Did you know that it takes an incredible amount of time to run a food blog? Reading about blogging platforms, learning about photography, figuring out how to work wordpress plugins; it’s time consuming! Somedays I could pull my hair out. I’ll spend four hours on a photoshoot with a bunch of different recipes and end up not writing about any of them. (Figuring out who to pawn off food to gets tricky.) But you know what? I can’t get wrapped up in trying to make everything perfect. I’m just happy that I get to share some of the food I create with readers like you. It’s a little magical to me.

Kinda like this super magical vegan rainbow asian edamame salad. It totally makes me feel like a pot of gold.

 

Another great thing about blogging is being sent products to try. Companies often ask me to do product reviews and/or giveaways on my site. Over the past 6 months I had been travelling for work so much that doing giveaways was fairly difficult… but that’s about to change! From new products to my favorite color lipstick, I’m going to be doing to fun giveaways. I’m totally excited and you better be too cause we’re starting today!

I’d like to share the revolutionary whole wheat Mara’s Pasta.

Mara’s pasta asked me to review their whole wheat pasta months ago and sent me samples. Recently I got around to using it in my healthy fresh veggie spring pasta with butternut squash sauce. I was completely impressed by the unique texture and flavor of the pasta. Some whole wheat pastas tend to taste like cardboard and be excessively grainy in texture, but not this pasta. Eating it was a great way to get more whole grains in my diet. In fact, Mara’s pasta is higher in protein and fiber than most other whole grain pastas, so it made a great meal after one of my workouts.

You won’t be able to find Mara’s pasta in most retail stores since they are a fairly new product, but you can certainly order it online (ummm yes, they ship for free!). Learn more about Mara’s Pasta on their website. You can also keep up to date through Facebook page and Twitter.

You know you want to sample these delicious pastas for yourself and you can! Mara’s pasta has kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway where you will recieve a gift box full of Mara’s pasta. All you have to do is head over and like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter, then simply tell me (by leaving a post on my wall or tweeting me) what your favorite pasta dish is. Winner will be chosen randomly next week.

I hope you all enjoyed your Mother’s Day weekend!

 


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
07

I made you a snack!

In cake form.

I know you just got super excited, right? Surprise, surprise, snack cakes make me jump up and down too. But shhhh, this snack cake is full of secrets. Healthy secrets that will make yo’ abs pop. (Because after eating brownies and cookies and pies for months, I figure that it’s time to lighten it up). This snack cake actually won’t get you a six-pack nor do I suggest you invent a new ‘bundt cake diet’; this recipe just uses minimal butter because I secretly despise Paula Deen.

I’m joking! I’ve got nothing against that woman. I just enjoy giving you healthier alternatives that make it possible to enjoy something a bit indulgent while still being able to button your skinny jeans.

I bring you a snack that you most certainly can eat if you’re having a-stressed-out-of-my-mind-and-I-NEED-CARBS-OR-SOMETHING-SWEET-NOW kind of day. At only about 200 calories per serving, I’d say this might even be a breakfast cake. Or you could turn it into muffins.

I know you’d high-five me if you could right now.

I hate to admit this, but I really lovelovelovelove making bundt cakes. They’re SO pretty and perfect for sharing. Wait… when did I turn 70? Must have been last year when I started drinking tea and obsessively grocery shopping.

Maybe when I’m actually 70, I’ll act like I’m 23. That would be interesting… yet incredibly scary at the same time.

Anyway I’ll give you my full attention and provide you the deets on this lemon and blackberry cake shenanigan that I dreamt up. It began after I stopped by the grocery store (shocker!) after the gym. I’d been wanting to bake something for over a week. I realized that I haven’t made a simple cake in quite sometime and remembered how beautiful my last bundt cake was. (Bragging rights because it won a contest.) I snatched up blackberries; well because they’re like the best berry ever, and picked out a couple of lemons. Once I got home I realized that I had a ton of greek yogurt that needed to be used; this was perfect because putting yogurt in cakes makes them SUPER moist and delightful. I used a combination of whole wheat and regular flour to make the texture dense and divine.

I’ll be honest. It tastes like a muffin cake that I want to live in.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this cake! It’s pretty, snackable, and definitely worth baking up for Mother’s Day.

I can’t wait to surprise my Mom with this!

 

 

Lemon Blackberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup skim milk (or almond milk)

3/4 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt

1 pint of blackberries

zest of 1 lemon

 

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk both flours with baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time, beating well. Set aside.
  3. In separate bowl mix together milk and lemon juice; add in yogurt and stir to combine. Next, combine all wet ingredients together. Turn mixer on low-speed and slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients; mixing until just combined.
  4. In a bowl, gently smash blackberries into smaller pieces and mix with the teaspoon of flour. Add your lemon zest and stir again. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 of batter in prepared pan. Layer with blackberries. Spread another 1/4 of batter on top of blackberries. Continue to do this until all of the blackberries are gone.
  5. Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.
  6. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, if desired. Or make the lemon cream cheese glaze. To make glaze combine lemon zest, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Drizzle over cake.
Makes 12 servings
 
Notes
  • I calculated this cake to be about 200 calories per serving with the frosting. Feel free to use your own calculations.
  • I do not recommend using ONLY whole wheat flour to make the cake.
  • Feel free to make these into muffins. They would be delicious!

 


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
26

 

Since April is almost over, I wanted to take the time to talk about the things that I’ve really fallen in love with over the past month.

Facebook and Twitter. I use them a lot and it’s the easiest way to ask me questions or just to say hi! Make them your favorite. 

Let’s get into it. I’m nuts for coconut. Head over heels in love with it and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I can put it in banana bread and still keep it healthy.

Coconut flour is AMAZING (more coconut love). It makes gluten-free waffles taste like candy. Especially when you add vegan coconut whip cream on top of them. Any coconut lovers out there?

I purchased Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Wow… it is completely fantastic! I want to cuddle with it everynight and dream about all of the recipes. The gorgeous, vibrant images will blow your mind. Even though the recipes are vegetarian, they are entirely unique, easy to follow, and above all, delicious!

I finished up the second Hunger Games book too. Sadly it wasn’t as good as the first which means I probably won’t read the third. I will however go to all of the movies and bring my own popcorn from my house. That’s what big purses are for.

I started reading Women, Food, and God again. Basically it’s about not opting out of life when things get difficult. I enjoy reading it when I’m in a stressful situation. If you are a woman and in love with food (like me), I suggest reading it!

The beach is always a favorite. And California. So pretty.

I’m very much in love with the blog Bakeaholic Mama. I found it through Tastespotting. Carrie takes some great photos and makes fun meals for her family including Red Velvet Oreo Cake and amazing looking Broccoli and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I drool like a puppy dog over her recipes!

Mmmm Mexican. I want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll never get tired of it. I’m especially excited for Cinco de Mayo. Sometimes I call it Cinco de Drinko. Maybe that’s after a few margaritas though? I dunno. I might have to whip up something special for my favorite holiday. Any requests? Get in my belly enchiladas!

THIS SANDWICH. It’s incredible. Eggs and avocados complete me sometimes. They make a good food marriage. I think I eat eggs at least once a day. I hope I don’t end up having an egg shaped head like Adam Sandler.

Figuring out how to do this yoga move has become an obsession. Can someone please teach me? Either that or I’ll just continue to fall flat on my face and entertain others in class.

Strawberries are in season! My Mom’s favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake. I’ve never been a huge fan but it was practically the only dessert she made when I was growing up. (My Dad was the baker in the family.) If you haven’t noticed, I’ve made Strawberry Bruschetta and even Strawberry Buttercream lately. I’m full of berry love.

Okay, my ABSOLUTE favorite thing this month is the Dairy Queen Banana Cream Pie blizzard. I had it a couple weeks back when I was feeling indulgent, and I’m smitten! I actually want to combine it with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to make it even more out of this world. What’s your favorite blizzard flavor? Or if you could create one what would it be?

I think I’ll probably do favorites every month, so if you have anything you are loving be sure to share!

Let’s chat soon. I’ve got some healthy breakfast recipes coming!


Apr
22

Ahhhhhhhh! I’ve been so completely busy lately.

Today I competed in a Chinese take-out cook-off. It was amazing to see the turn out and all of the creative dishes.

We were required to make 250 samples. I know… that’s a lot of freakin’ samples! I spent my Saturday night chopping, dicing, and listening to Bon Iver. I was totally in the zone. There is something about the combination of music and food that leaves me feeling completely content. I mean, I LOVE creating dishes more than anything in the world. Music tunes out everything else. I end up being happiest in my brain thinking about flavor combinations.

Read more.


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.

 
 
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