Aug
31

I have a little confession…

I don’t eat a lot of Italian food.

I know, crazy right? I think it’s because I’m a tiny bit obsessed with all things Mexican (enchiladas, chips, guac, tacos… etc)! It’s just too good to refuse.

This past week though I just had a craving for ravioli, lasagna, garlic bread or basically ANYTHING ITALIAN. Unfortunately all I had in my cupboard was tomato sauce, but man, did that sauce look good. Like I sort of wanted to eat it out of the jar and call it dinner.

Is that weird?

Yep.

I thought to myself for a very long time about what I could do with the tomato sauce. I mean, besides spooning it into my mouth or just warming it up and pretending it was tomato soup. At one point I considered ordering breadsticks from Pizza Hut just so I could dip them in the sauce, but decided I wasn’t that desperate.

I ended up searching the freezer and found lean ground turkey. Obviously cute little meatballs came straight to mind!

Just look at that steamy goodness!

I especially love this recipe because it only takes about 30 minutes to throw together. The ground turkey is combined with an egg and the following spices: cumin, garlic salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, a pinch of cayenne, basil, oregano, plus a bit of dijon mustard. Now that may seem like a lot of spices, but it results are drop dead delicious!

Read more.


Aug
28

Everything about Fall is lovely. Warm sweaters, over the knee boots, sipping hot cider, apple picking, pumpkin pie (!!!!), soups, winter squash, lasgana…. I could go on forever. And yes, I understand that it may still be August but I’m already pulling out the fall recipes to share with you.

Out of all winter squash varieties, I’d have to say that acorn squash is probably my favorite. It’s creamy, slightly sweet, and incredibly good for you. Often times on Sundays I’ll roast a couple of squashes in my oven, and then enjoy them throughout the week for my meals. I especially LOVE eating it for breakfast with a little bit of honey and cinnamon and greek yogurt; you’d be surprised by how filling and delicious it can be. Sometimes I’ll even mash the squash and throw it in quesadillas with goat cheese.

Of course, stuffing them with southwest flavors is pretty incredible too.

These are probably one of my favorite dinners I’ve made in a while. The creaminess of the squash combined with the southwest black bean and corn filling and the tangy melted goat cheese is out of this world. And of course it’s healthy, easily vegan (take out the cheese) and gluten-free.

I topped them with my homemade roasted green chile sauce to add a little bit of spicy kick, but they are certainly delicious enough on their own.  Read more.


Aug
27

How was your weekend? Mine was full of cooking! My roommate and I made arugula salads with fresh fruit vinaigrette, chicken stir fry, and spent hours making chile verde and the best apple crisp in the world. Our bellies were happy.

After all of that cooking, I wanted to bring you something simple: a green chile sauce that goes on top of nearly everything! I’m also a huge fan of how easy this recipe is. All you have to do is roast chiles (or you can used canned), put a couple of ingredients in a pot, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

This green chile sauce is slightly spicy, but it reminds me of all things Summer. You can put it on anything, and is now a staple in my diet. I put it in on eggs,  chicken, over enchiladas, in tacos, basically anything… oh and it’s incredible over squash. See?

Doesn’t that look good? I can’t wait to share a million other things that make Fall the best season everrrrr.

Until then, I’ll savor ice cream cones, shorts, the bright blue ocean, fresh fruit, iced coffee, and everything else that makes Summer oh so good. Here’s a look at some photos that I’ve snapped over the past month. (The recipe for the sauce is at the end of this post.)

Won’t you savor the rest of Summer with me? Preferably with this roasted green chile sauce; I’m telling you it’s soooo worth it!

Now, if you don’t know how to roast green chiles, here’s a great tutorial (with photos!) from the Pioneer Woman. Basically all you have to do is place  green chiles under the broiler for 10-15 minutes. Cool, huh?
You’re gonna need this recipe for another recipe I have coming soon!
Homemade Roasted Green Chile Sauce
 
Author: 
Recipe type: sauce, topping
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Roasted green chilies are combined with tomatoes, garlic, onions and spices to make a great sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted hatch green (or Anaheim) chilies, skinned, stemmed, seeded, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and chopped onions. Cook onions until they become slightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  2. Next add the chilies, tomatoes, broth, cumin, salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Gently whisk in cornstarch and cilantro and continue to simmer another 10 minutes until the sauce becomes thicker.
  4. Transfer to a blender and puree sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Taste test and add honey or brown sugar if the sauce is too spicy for you.

Aug
22

I woke up early this morning eager to bake a banana bread. I silently mashed bananas in my kitchen and watched the sunlight creep through the windows. I mean to be perfectly honest all I wanted to do was turn on Jay-Z’s 99 problems, sing loudly and change the lyrics to “I got 99 problems but BANANA BREAD AIN’T ONE!” Too bad my roommates were still sleeping or it totally would have happened.

Now that I think about it I’m kinda glad I didn’t as I can’t say that rapping is one of my talents. And if you don’t know who Jay-Z is then maybe we’ll just move on and talk about the real star here: Banana bread. With peaches. Annndddd cinnamon. A brown sugar topping too!

It just makes me feel all cozy and wonderful.

Since there are an abundance of peaches in August, I wanted to bring you a fun recipe. Of course peach pie is delicious and peach cobbler is amazing but those are classics, and I wanted to bake something a little creative to make you swoon. The answer happened to be staring right at me: ripe bananas on my kitchen counter! I don’t know, it’s like these bananas just beg me to be mashed into delicious breads or something. Or to be made into pie.

Either way I know that anytime there are ripe bananas around, magic is about to happen. Hehe.

Look at that crust on the top of the banana bread! No seriously, stare at it for a good minute.

The crust is simply perfectly golden brown and the result of sprinkling brown sugar on top before baking. The brown sugar caramelizes and hardens when baked then forms a nice crusty exterior for that superb crunchy topping.

Oh and the inside? So flavorful and moist! Plus who can feel guilty about this bread? Not me considering I already ate 3 slices.

This bread is downright sensational. The peaches add a juicy flavor and a gorgeous addition to the top. Of course the bananas are more prominent that the peaches flavorwise, but nevertheless the juicy bits of peaches surprise you with every bite and the cinnamon really makes the flavor pop.

I wanted to keep this bread lower in fat and calories so I used minimal butter and nonfat greek yogurt. I didn’t have any whole wheat flour in my cupboard, or I might have used some of that in the recipe instead of only using white flour.

Peach Banana Bread. Don’t miss out. I enjoyed mine with a drizzle of honey and a cup of hot coffee. Then I busted out the Jay-Z.

 

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Low-fat Cinnamon Peach Banana Bread
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 1/12 of recipe
  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.1g
  • Sugar: 13.2
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Protein: 3.3g
Recipe type: Banana bread, Healthy, low fat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Succulent fresh summer peaches combine with a low-fat moist banana bread made with greek yogurt and a touch of cinnamon.
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 cup finely diced peaches (about 2 peaches), plus about 8-10 thin peach slices for topping
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 2 tablespoons butter, browned or melted (you can also use coconut, olive, or canola oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain vanilla greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and egg and whisk again until well combined. Whisk in diced peaches. Add in dry ingredients and yogurt alternatively, folding together well combined.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Top with thinly sliced peaches and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top. Dust lightly with cinnamon. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or toothpick comes out almost clean in center.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan gently and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
Notes
Can replace some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
Bread is better the next day.
Awesome toasted and drizzled with honey


Aug
21

Since being in LA, I’ve been trying to get out and do as many things as possible. Most days all I wanted to do is eat ice cream but you know I guess I have to get out and do things besides cook. This past weekend a friend invited me to go hiking and have a picnic in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. We purchased delicious salads at Trader Joe’s (the best place evaaaa) and packed fresh fruit. I mean for heaven’s sake I was eating those peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt allllll last week so sweat and salad sounded pretty awesome.

Ohhhh and sweat is exactly what I did. The hike was uphill and grueling, but the views were absolutely breathtaking! We could see the beach, the bright blue ocean and Catalina Island in the distance. Sometimes there is nothing more fun then getting out and being a little adventurous. It just feels good, you know?

After our hike I was still incredibly hungry, but I wanted a healthy snack since I knew I was going out for dinner that night and would be most likely stuffing my face with warm tortilla chips and a giant Mexican salad. So what did I decided to make? Zucchini chips!

Don’t you look at your computer screen like that. Just trust in the power of your oven.

Zucchini is in season and if you haven’t found a recipe to use with it, here’s your chance! These are easy to make, cheap, and healthy. Who knew zucchini was such a triple threat?

I should also mention that zucchini is low in calories so I love finding new ways to eat it.

To make these I simply cut my zucchini into about 1/4 inch thick rounds, then dipped them in egg whites and coated them in a bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. I even added a little bit of red pepper flakes for spice, which I highly recommend!

These would be the perfect side dish to any burger you are cooking up for labor day. However, if you’re chowing down on them for a snack, I suggest dipping them in a classic marinara sauce!

 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Chips
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Appetizer, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Zucchini coated in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese then baked until crispy and golden.
Ingredients
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with Parchment paper.
  2. Place egg whites in small bowl. In separate small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
  3. Dip each zucchini slice in egg whites then dip each round into the Parmesan bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat it evenly on boat sides. Place slices evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes or until zucchini chips are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
Notes
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Feel free to add or subtract spices to suit your tastes.


Aug
17

I have to tell you something.

It’s kinda weird.

Here it goes…

I keep having dreams about cheeseburgers! Seriously… juicy burgers hot off the grill are haunting me every single night.

I’ve had these dreams consistently over the past two weeks. The strangest part is that I haven’t had beef in over two years, so I don’t know what’s going on in my subconscious. It’s translating over to real life too! For example, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself staring at a piece of steak on the grill like a freaking lion about to attack its prey; I almost had to wipe my drool.

I decided it was best if I tried to clear my mind of burgers and all things beef. Dessert always helps.

Sometimes a classic chocolate chip cookie brings an unexplained comfort to the soul. The aroma of butter browning in your kitchen; blending the smooth texture of the peanut butter with eggs, sugar and vanilla; the mess of flour and the delicious flavor of sweet cookie dough in your mouth. Of course, I love baking cookies. And of course I can’t think of anything else when they come out of the oven. Not even how much I’d bake cookies for somebody special if they were here with me. Well, maybe I thought about that a little, but baking cookies always gives me a little romantic feeling.

When it comes to cookies, simple is good. Oh yes, simple is perfect sometimes. But! when you want something unforgettable, then you NEED extraordinary. That’s why we add peanut butter and sea salt.

Mmmm salty sweet peanut butter and chocolate in a warm little cookie; it’s an undeniable magic. I can’t explain how much I love them! They’re crisp on the outside but chewy in the middle. Eating them straight out of the oven is an outrageous experience you must try.

It’s really like this: they’re the type of cookie you want to bring to a party, the perfect cookie to bake for your boyfriend (and his parents), and most definitely the best solution for getting rid of cheeseburger dreams.

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Creamy peanut butter, chocolate chips, and sea salt combine to make one delicious, unforgettable cookie.
Ingredients
  • 11/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the softened butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Next beat in the egg, honey, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on size of your cookie) or until cookies begin to turn a tiny golden brown and crisp up around the edges. Do not overbake! Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes and sprinkle cookies generously with sea salt. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely or just inhale them like I do. Repeat with remaining dough.
Notes
-Cookies may appear underdone in the middle, but they will become more firm as they cool. It's important to allow them to cool a few minutes before removing them from cookie sheet.
-You may require less or more baking time depending on the size of your cookie.
-If you are using all-natural peanut butter, try adding in another 1/2 tablespoon of flour, as cookies tend to spread too thin when baking with all-natural peanut butter.


Aug
14

Sometimes I find myself in an entranced state when I cook. It’s as though I get lost in the food; in the flavors, the smells, and sometimes just the simple pleasure that good food brings to my soul.

I also get lost pinning things on Pinterest. Which is mostly just a distraction from what I’m actually trying to do which is work like a normal person and get to the gym.

Speaking of the gym, I have an update on my Big Foot/marine/professional wrestler trainer! Uhhh… he is legit crazy (yes I just said that). He made us do 30 jumpsquats, some weird miliary squats with weights, 20 billion planks, and suicides. It’s like high school basketball practice all over, and again, I thought I was going to die. Apparently he enjoys torturing people while he sits there and plans his next attack as Sasquatch or whatever he does in his free time. I mean he even told us to eat a Paleo based diet, which of course I won’t be doing. Only because I really like carbs and pumpkin pie season is coming (my obsession).

What?! No one tells me what to eat.

…Unless it’s someone really ridiculously good-looking like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek. Then I MIGHT consider his suggestion.

Bruschetta is delicious and quite healthy as far as appetizers go. Well unless you put fried onion rings and bacon on it.. then not so much.

However, I like good-for-you sorts of things. So toasted slices of whole grain french bread are slathered with one of my favorites: heart-healthy smashed avocado mixed with sea salt and fresh lime juice. Then I pile on a mixture of tomato, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Oh and let’s not forget a little fresh basil!

Goodness. These cute toasts are simply delightful. Especially with fresh tomatoes from your garden!

 

 

They only take about 10 minutes to throw together.

Annnnndddd they are vegan! But I mean, if you hate vegan things you could just add a little goat cheese. Or bacon.

Hey by the way… did you guys know that I don’t eat pork or beef?

Seriously. What is wrong with me.

 

Smashed Avocado + Tomato Basil Bruschetta
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Lunch, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Whole grain slices of french bread are toasted to perfection and topped with smashed avocado and a garlicky tomato basil mixture.
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 loaf whole grain french bread (or 1 petite loaf), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 avocados, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus exta
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven on broiler setting.
  2. Place slices of bread on baking sheet, spray with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt; broil slices in oven about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub with one clove of garlic (make sure to cut it in half before rubbing).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix smashed avocado, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and ground pepper.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mince other garlic clove and add it into tomato mixture.
  5. Spread smashed avocado mixture onto each slice of toast, then generously spoon tomato topping on top. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

 

 

 


Aug
12

Sometimes in life you do things you aren’t proud of. Like that time I went to Chick-Fil-A and ordered their chicken nuggets because I was starving. At the moment little chicken nuggets (bites of childhood happiness) dipped in BBQ sauce sounded absolutely tremendous. What a mistake that was! The chicken nuggets were coated in a ridiculous amount grease (I literally had butterfingers) and the breading wasn’t crispy, but rather soggy. The entire meal just tasted like hydrogenated oils. I felt like I was committing a crime against my heart.

BUT let me tell you something even more disturbing: I ate them anyway.

Ew… I know. Perhaps because it was one of those days where I was really hungry, stressed, and greasy chicken nuggets seemed to rationalize hating my job. All I wanted was a little bite of comfort… but even loading (literally coating) them with sauce didn’t provide that. They still tasted like lard. I mean, not that I know what lard tastes like or anything, but you get the point.

However that day got me thinking about how easy it is to roll through the drive through, sometimes just for that comfort meal… or for that childhood moment! But more than likely because your kid is chanting and/or crying that they are hungry, and oh look (!) you see a fast food joint and well, maybe you’re kinda hungry too… so you order a burger and fries. Now your kid is happy but you’re feeling guilty. It’s happened to me, and I’m not even a parent. Sometimes it’s easy to give in to what’s convenient.

I won’t lie, sometimes I really crave a small fry from McDonald’s. BUT I realize that they aren’t even that great (salt overload) and that quite frankly, I could probably cook something better tasting and better for me at home. And you can do it too! In 30 minutes! Just give the kid an apple to tie them over.

Soooo what do you think? Wanna make some crunchy chicken tenders with me or what?

Great! Let’s get started.

While rummaging through the pantry, I found a box of Honey Bunches of Oats, and starting thinking to myself that they would be incredible on chicken; they’re sweet, crunchy and have a slightly nutty flavor from the almonds. Basically they are honey cornflakes! And who doesn’t want to put cereal on everything in sight? My thoughts exactly.

I knew I wanted my chicken tenders to be extremely moist because I really despise dry flavorless chicken. So, I marinated my chicken in nonfat plain greek yogurt and honey. If you want to make these honey mustard flavored all you have to do is all a little dijon mustard to your marinade.

Finally, I placed a couple of cups of the cereal into a ziploc bag, crushed them into tiny flakes, then placed my chicken in the bag and shook to coat. All I had to do was bake them until crispy and golden brown. See? Look at those perfectly cute little tenders.

Mmmmmmm tasty crunchy chicken tenders that don’t make me want to die. This is a miracle! You don’t understand how awesome it felt to not have a cup of grease on my fingers after eating these (Chick-Fil-A please take note).

BUT seriously I can’t tell you how mega good these are. The honey cornflake exterior is complimented with a slightly nutty crunch, and the chicken stays incredibly moist. I recommend dipping them in my homemade honey mustard sauce.

Let me know if you or your kids approve as much as I do.

Oh, and do you guys notice the new font on my blog? I kind of love it! I also added an easy print button for the recipes! Let me know if you like it.

 

 

 

Baked Honey Cornflake Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish, Dinner, Kid-Friendly, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Chicken breasts are marinated in honey and greek yogurt to ensure tenderness, then the chicken tenders are coated in a honey cornflake cereal and baked until golden and crunchy.
Ingredients
  • Olive or Canola Oil Cooking spray
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into vertical strips
  • 2 cups plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard (if desired)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of Honey Bunches of Oats (either with almonds or honey roasted) cereal, crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse your chicken breasts strips and pat dry with a paper towel; set aside. Add greek yogurt, honey, salt, and dijon mustard (if desired) to a large bowl. Place chicken into bowl and toss to coat each in yogurt, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Next, place 1/2 of the crushed cereal in a zip loc bag and add 1/2 of the yogurt covered chicken to the bag, shaking to coat. Remove and place on large greased baking sheet then repeat with second half of the cereal and chicken.
  4. Spray the chicken with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Notes
Baking time will depend on how large or thick your chicken tenders are. Check after 20 minutes for small tenders. These can also be made into chicken nuggets, just cut chicken into smaller cube like pieces before marinating.


Aug
10

Let’s catch up. How have you been?

This week I joined a new gym, where I’m quite certain my trainer is either Big Foot, a marine, or a professional wrestler. He teaches my Nike Training Camp classes, which are a mix of plyometrics, military drills, cardio, and weights. Literally sweating waterfalls every time I walk out of there; it’s very similar to the Insanity videos! I just think he’s trying to kill me. But who knows.

I’ve also been enjoying living next to the ocean as much as possible. Every day I try and make it down to the beach. I don’t mean to make you jealous BUT look at this view from my rooftop! Amazing.

I’m not even prepared for Summer to end or these sunny days that seem to never cease. I’m dropping my roommate off at the airport in a few hours, where she’ll head to Greece for a vacation… on a yacht. WHAT! I can’t even talk about it because I’m so jealous. My weekend plans consist of more cooking, maybe a little surfing, and most likely a dinner with these mushroom + kale quesadillas and probably a couple of roasted blueberry basil margaritas to drown in my sorrows. Only kidding, I’ll be fine.

Maybe my trainer would chill out if I offered him a margarita? But then again, he’s there to push me to help me get in great shape; that’s why I made these skinny! I can’t go around eating pie and doing jump squats; those two activities would not mix well.

These strawberries are a great party appetizer or summer treat for anyone. The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (protein!), key lime juice and zest. All you have to do is hollow out the strawberries then fill them with this mix.

I topped my strawberries with sliced toasted almonds, but I think that crushed graham crackers would add a lovely texture and be more reminiscent of a true key lime pie or cheesecake.

After I filled the strawberries, I froze them for about an hour. I think they would be also delicious if you froze them before filling, but that’s up to you. I also found that I had a bit of the filling left over… UM, thank goodness because I spooned that on top of everything. And when I mean EVERYTHING I mean granola, bananas, almonds, in a smoothie, on a muffin, AND on top of graham crackers. My crazy drill sargent trainer would not be proud that all these things, but you act like I could resist putting this dip on everything in sight. It’s called recipe testing!

So really the filling can act as a dip, too! A creamy, healthy key lime cheesecake flavored dip perfect enough to serve to guests at a party, give your kids, or just to distract you from real pie.

Well until next week when pie takes over this blog and I throw pictures of oreos, bananas, peanut butter, and whip cream in your face. So just trust me, eat skinny things while you still can.

Skinny Key Lime Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dessert, Healthy Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Strawberries filled with a sweet and zesty key lime cheesecake yogurt filling.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb large strawberries
  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup vanilla nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • Optional toppings: Sliced toasted almonds, graham cracker crumbs, extra zest, chocolate drizzle
Instructions
  1. Rinse the strawberries and dry. Remove the top with a pairing knife; set strawberries aside until ready to fill.
  2. Whip the cream cheese until it is fluffy and light. Fold in yogurt, key lime juice, and zest; mixing until well combined. Refrigerate to thicken, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add cream cheese mixtue to a pastry bag or ziploc bag with the tip cut off. Fill each strawberry with the mixture and add additional toppings such as almonds, graham crackers crumbs, or chocolate drizzle if desired. Serve immediately or place in freezer for an hour for a cool treat.

Aug
09

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for nearly a year! It seems like forever ago, I was sitting in my college house attempting to determine what I would call this blog.

It also seems like yesterday I was helping my Dad in the kitchen; we were always baking together. Our favorite thing to bake was a moist yellow cake with a simple, but extraordinary homemade chocolate frosting (also known as the best birthday cake in the world). Although the recipe is simple, I don’t know it’ll ever taste the same. I’m simply not sure I could ever put enough care, or for the matter, enough love into a cake like he did.

Every time we made chocolate frosting, Dad would always add in a little freshly brewed coffee. When I asked why, his answer was simple, “Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor.” I remember looking at him like I was puzzled, and he responded, “Because that’s just the way it is Loveys (my childhood nickname).”

And I was okay with his answer, because it was Dad telling me so. He made things so easy to understand.

Our days were simple together. We had fun flipping pancakes, flying kites, and reading books. I drew pictures of him while he watched TV. Once we even made homemade butter because I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder for a good six months. Our moments of laughter will never be forgotten in my heart. And yet after nearly five years of life without him, I still ache for our weirdness; our absurd obsession with cake, pickles, and the perfect sandwich. These past five years could never erase any moment with him; it just brings a better appreciation.

Losing him was a striking, bold moment in my life that left me wondering what I was meant to do, how I would survive without a parent… or simply carry on. But I did, and will continue to. I’m pouring my heart into my passion.

You see, there are moments in life when you are blindsided, and it will happen to you, I promise. Why? Because it happens to everyone.  Life is simply a building experience of beauty, tragedy, and significant moments that change us for the better, even if we can’t see it in the present. Our defining moments are our worst moments, yet remembering the positivity behind every life experience can enable us to flourish.

I decided that I would never live my life waiting for the what-ifs; for those unexpected moments to sneak up on me. Of course I’m not perfect; I just want to experience what life has to offer. I know what I’m capable of, where my passion lies, and how hard I have to work to get there. Maybe the odds are against me, but I’d rather try to do something and fail then always wonder about what-ifs.

I also want to enjoy living in the moment… and right now that includes eating pancakes every single morning.

A year ago I didn’t think I would be living in Washington DC. Six months ago I never knew that I would be making my way to California. It never crossed my mind that I’d ever be dreaming of being a chef, or a cookbook author! But these were choices, and I’m choosing to design my life.

I have plenty of goals that I want to accomplish in my next year of blogging. I want to cook more and challenge my abilities in the kitchen. I’m hoping to improve my photography and writing as well. Last but not least, I’m going to bring a more personal touch to Ambitious Kitchen… there might even be some cooking videos!

Anyway, maybe now you can see why I’m so passionate about the things I do: about food, this blog, and mostly just about life. And when I ask myself why I’m a little overly ambitious, I can almost hearing my Dad say, “Because that’s just the way it is Loveys.”

I hope you’ll continue to read Ambitious Kitchen as it continues to grow and change. Thank you all so much!

 
 
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