Monday, February 18, 2013

Banana Cookies


These are pretty much cookies at first, banana bread the 2nd day. When they come out of the oven they are like warm chocolate chip cookies. The next day, after they set a bit, they become a little soft, more like a bread then a cookie. These have a lot of moisture, so they would be great to freeze and pop out when you're ready to eat them. If you don't freeze them, make sure to eat them within a couple of days. 

The best part about this recipe besides it being super healthy and easy, is you can switch it up any way you like. You can add chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, etc. There is no added sugar, butter or flour! Just good ol' bananas and oats. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large bananas (ripe works best)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • chocolate chips (optional) 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add the oats and chocolate chips; stir until combined. 

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (these will stick!) and scoop 1 tablespoon of the "batter" onto the sheet. It should make approximately 16 cookies. 


Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy right away or freeze for later. Easy peasy! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Carrot Chips


Simplicity; something that is not so simple to come by. We are always so busy with work and life obligations, it seems as if nothing is simple anymore. It used to be, right? 

Looking back now, everything a few years ago seemed so simple, but at the time, it did not. Life is funny that way. Sneaky little bastard. 

What CAN be simple in life is cooking and the food you consume. You don't need to make crazy complicated recipes to eat healthy and feel accomplished in the kitchen. This is my favorite example of a simple, but healthy and delicious snack. This isn't so much of a recipe as an idea. There are a million different ways you can change this up. Different veggies, different seasonings, etc. 

I liked the carrots, but you need really larger ones in order to make the most of this veggie. They started out pretty large, then shrunk down to mini crisps (almost like fries, which was nice!). If you are going to want to dip these in anything I would recommend using extra large carrots.

My first attempt at these, the carrots were so small they literally torched in the oven; and I mean charred, like black ash; not good eats. Next up for me to try is zucchini, I think those will be awesome! 

Ingredients:

  • Carrots or whatever veg you want to use
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Cooking spray

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°

Slice carrots into thin strips using a mandolin or veggie peeler. The thinner the carrots, the crispier they'll get. 


Line a baking sheet with foil (unless you like to clean, then no need) and arrange carrot slices evenly, leaving just a little space in between each one to ensure crisp cooking. 


Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until they look crispy enough. Keep an eye on these bad boys as they tend to burn super fast!


I only used one carrot, and ate them in about 2 minutes; sooo if you plan on wanting to eat these again later, make a bunch! :) 



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Turkey Sausage Veggie Frittata


Happy Sunny Saturday! I haven't seen the sun in what feels like months! I was so happy to wake up to a little bit of Vitamin D this morning; feels so good! 

I was making this frittata in my head last night before bed, and was delighted it came out just as good as I had hoped. A frittata is such a wonderful, versatile dish. It's basically just a quiche without the crust. You can make it a thousand different ways and with any ingredients your heart desires. They are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also very easy to throw together with whatever you may have on hand. Leftover veggies, meats and cheeses are all great accompaniments to the frittata. 

I have been watching what I eat very closely the last few weeks, so it's really important to me to make healthy but satisfying dishes. I also used my new favorite ingredient, pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles. I have been using this on everything from breakfast tacos to mini pizzas. 1/4 of this quiche is only 3 WW+ points! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup turkey sausage crumbles
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk shredded cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cooking spray


Method: 

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray a medium sized skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for 1 minute. Add in the broccoli and red bell pepper; cook an additional 2-3 minutes just to soften the veggies.



While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper.



Spray a medium sized glass dish with cooking spray and sprinkle in the sausage crumbles. 



When veggies are cooked, transfer to the dish and top with the cheese. I used a mix of colby and monterey jack, but you can use whatever you have. Pour in the egg mixture and mix until everything is combined.



Bake for 25-30 minutes until the eggs are set. Let cool slightly and cut into 4 slices. Serve with a side salad or if you're feeling indulgent, potatoes and toast :) 



Friday, February 8, 2013

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf



Buzzwords in the food world lately: Kale and Quinoa. I'm probably a million years behind on this health craze, but oh well! In case you have never had either, which I hadn't until a couple weeks ago, here is a tiny blurb:

Quinoa is Spanish and originated in Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru. It is a grain-like crop with edible seeds that are most commonly used here in the United States. 



Kale  is a form of cabbage and is also sometimes referred to as borecole. It is similar to collard greens and is most commonly seen in soups, particularly Italian types. 


It's funny because this dish has been a buzz lately around my office. I got the recipe from Dana, my co-worker, and ever since everyone has been making it! I opened the fridge to heat some up today and noticed 2 other containers filled with the same dish :) 

This is a super easy and super healthy one pot meal. Both of these things are "superfoods," which makes this a fantastic option if you're watching what you're eating or simply just trying to get a healthy dose of vitamins! 

Onto the recipe! I adjusted this one a bit from Food 52.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
  • 1 lemon zested, and half juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese


Method:

In a medium to large sauce-pot bring the chicken stock to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes on a low simmer. Top with the kale and cook 5 more minutes (do not stir in the kale). Turn off the heat and let steam for 5 additional minutes. 



While the kale and quinoa cook, mix together the lemon zest, juice of half the lemon, olive oil, scallions and pine nuts in a large bowl.



Check the kale and quinoa at the end of cooking time to make sure all of the stock is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but firm. The kale should be tender and bright green. Transfer the kale and quinoa mixture to the bowl with the "dressing." Toss to combine all the ingredients. Top with goat cheese and lightly toss again. 



Sprinkle with additional goat cheese if desired to serve!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gratitude

"After all, oftentimes it’s the things that bring us to our knees that remind us to look up. Sometimes being so low leaves us no reason but to rise above."

I know this is a food blog, so I apologize in advance for not posting any food, but I really wanted to share this. 

One of the few blogs I follow regularly is Sweet Tater Blog. Katie, the author of the blog, posted this last Wednesday. LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE! You must watch the video, it's so good.


This really hit me hard today because I woke up in a terrible mood. No reason really...except for the fact I got up at 6am to workout only to realize I have been eating air and working out almost everyday and gained 1/2 pound this week. *shakes fist at the sky* 

You ever have those days where one bad thing starts a spiral of several others? So naturally I started thinking about how nothing ever goes right for me, how much I hate this cold weather and how much I need to GTFO out of Chicago. Which in turn caused an almost slap to the man next to me on the train ride to work (JUST MOVE OVER) among several other dirty looks to anyone who dared look my way. 

While eating lunch at my desk (because it's too damn cold to go anywhere in this God forsaken place) I was reading my daily list of blogs when I came across said post. It was like God was saying "Calm down bitch, read this." So I did. 

It reminded me of one very important point that I so often forget; Happiness is a CHOICE. You can chose to be angry because you live in the worst place in America (sorry I'm not sorry Chicago), that you would cut someone for a piece of cake, that you have to go to work today, that you have to stand next to a D-bag on the train, that you have a hole in your shoe (yeah, that happened too), etc, etc. 

OR...you can chose the latter, to be happy you are alive to live in the worst place in America, be happy you have food and nutrition, blessed to actually be employed, happy that YOU'RE not a D-bag, and be happy you have shoes at all (Just to clarify I am not a weird holey shoe wearing person, I didn't notice the large gash in my UGG until there was snow inside and I was halfway to work). 

So there's that. I CHOOSE to be happy today. Or at least not punch anyone in the face; which is saying a lot for me.

XOXO. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dad's Famous Spaghetti


You know those smells that transport you to another time and place? That make you feel like somehow everything is right in the world? That's what this spaghetti is to me. I've been eating this for as long as I can remember, and I'm pretty sure it was one of my first meals. My brothers and I loved it growing up, hence the name Dad's 'Famous' Spaghetti. It may not be complicated or super gourmet, but it was and still is one of my favorite meals! When I went away to college, I had to ask my Dad for the recipe so I could take it with me. Somehow, no matter how many times I make it, I can never get it to taste exactly like my Dad's, but it's close enough to make me feel at home every time :) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (I use turkey but my dad usually uses beef unless I'm eating it)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper (usually use green, I had yellow this time, so it's what I used)
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 jar store bought sauce 
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Heat a large saucepan over medium/high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add ground meat and cook until brown. Remove from pan and set aside.



Chop onions and bell pepper to desired size. I like to leave them a little chunky, but when I was little my brother wouldn't eat large chunks of vegetables (he still won't by the way), so my Dad pulverized them. 



Spray a little more cooking spray into the pan and add vegetables. Sweat just until slightly soft and onions are translucent. Add wine and scrape up any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. 



Add the whole tomatoes and crush with a wooden spoon (you can also do this in a food processor if you prefer a smoother sauce). 

Add the jar of sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 30 minutes on low heat to allow all the flavors to meld together. The longer, the better!



Serve with spaghetti or your favorite noodle!