Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Baked Pear Steel-Cut Oatmeal {And a pregnancy update!}

I am almost 25 weeks pregnant! Meaning I only have about 15 weeks left to prepare for this little guy!

Where to begin? I don't even know! I only have mountains of baby girl clothing, accessories, toys, etc.
And I have been way too busy to even think about going out and buying any boy stuff.

Yeah...not feeling very prepared yet!

While I may not be prepared for him to come yet, he sure is getting ready! 
He is so active, especially after I eat or exercise. And he is definitely growing.
For you moms out there, were there any foods you ate that really got your kids moving?
Because foods like curry or chocolate get my little guy moving a ton! :)

I just had another prenatal appointment today and everything looked and sounded great!
*sigh of relief*

No matter how many times I go in for a prenatal appointment and everything looks great,
I still end up worrying about all sorts of random things: Why isn't he moving right now? Is he okay? Am I eating enough? Is he getting the nutrition he needs?

Anyways, I am really excited for this new baby to join our family! :)

Another exciting event coming up: graduation! I graduate next month.

I know, it's crazy. It really is. And it's still difficult for me to wrap my mind around.
Done. Done with school? Forever?! Well, maybe not forever. But for a while.

However, that doesn't mean I don't plan on continuing my education.
I plan on learning lots of things post-graduation: how to sew, bake more, cook more, budget, organize, and all those other things I have been wanting to do but just have not had time for. 

I also cannot wait to spend more time with Kaiya-bear and our new little man.
I cannot wait to take them to the park and play games with them and help their dreams and imaginations run wild. At least that's what I would like to do. 

I hope to teach them to love life. And food...which leads me to this beautifully delicious dish...

Baked Pear Steel-Cut Oatmeal!












This recipe is very similar to my Baked Pear-Berry Steel-Cut Oatmeal, just without the berries.
And with some shredded coconut added!

Pear+coconut=delicious! If you haven't had that combination before, you will be pleasantly surprised. :)
























This is the perfect dish to use up those pears that you forgot about in the fridge or on the countertop.
I totally forgot that I had a couple of pears sitting in the pantry. I was going to throw them away but then thought that I should try to use them somehow. So I made this oatmeal!

I am really working on not wasting so much food. The other week I realized I was throwing away so much leftover food and vegetables that had gone bad, and I decided to change that.

So, no more wasting food for me! :) At least, that's my goal.















Baked Pear-Berry Steel-Cut Oats
Inspired by: This New Old Thing
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories (193), Fat (3.1g), Protein (5.5g), Carbs (37.1g), Sugars (12.6g), Fiber (6.2g)
High in dietary fiber, 16% DV of Calcium

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 ripe pears, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp. raw honey (depending on how sweet you want it!)
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, optional (but not ;) )
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix oats and milk in large bowl and set aside for 10 minutes, so the oats soak up a bit of the milk.
  3. While the oats are soaking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the raw honey and pears. Saute the pears for a 4-5 minutes until pears are softened.
  4. Add the pear mixture and all other ingredients (maple syrup, baking powder, chia seeds, shredded coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt) into the bowl with the oats and milk. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour the oat mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 baking dish and bake in oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the center is set and no longer runny.
  6. Serve warm with an extra splash of milk and a sprinkle of coconut. 
  7. Refrigerate leftovers in a airtight container. To reheat leftovers, heat a small to medium saucepan over medium heat, add the desired amount of baked oats and some almond milk. Feel free to add as much/little milk as you want, depending on how you like the consistency of your oats. More milk for thinner oats, less milk for thicker oats. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chocolate Coconut No-Bake Cookies

I get chocolate cravings on a daily basis.

And I usually eat some kind of chocolate snack/treat twice a day...at least.
SO...it's important for me to make sure I satisfy my chocolate cravings with some healthy options.

These cookies are one of those options, for sure.

You are going to LOVE them! They are rich, chocolatey, satisfying, and have that melt-in-your-mouth quality that are a must for any good no-bake cookie. :)






































These no-bake cookies are made with all sorts of healthy ingredients:

coconut oil
raw honey
cocoa
almond milk
almond butter
oats
unsweetened coconut

And you would never know they were healthy.

Oh, and if you are worried about the fat content, don't be!
These are healthy fats from the almond butter and coconut oil.
While coconut has been notorious in the past for its fat content, research now suggests
it is one of the healthiest fats you can eat! Hallelujah for that because it is delicious! :)

This recipe makes 1 dozen cookies and the moment my husband took a bite,
he looked at me incredulously and said, "Are these all of them? This is not going to be enough!"
Haha, talk about making a girl feel good about her cooking! ;) He's too sweet.

Anyways, you have got to make these cookies ASAP, and double the recipe,
and hide some away from your kids, roommates, etc. ;)




































Chocolate Coconut No-Bake Cookies

Inspired by: Homemade for Elle
Total Time: 5-10 minutes (to make), 30 minutes (to cool)
Servings: 12 cookies
Nutrition (per cookie):
Calories (140), Fat (9.7g), Carbs (10.2g), Protein (2.5g), Sugars (2.8g), Fiber (1.4g)

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey (or 4 Tbsp. granulated sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 c. almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (if you don't like/have coconut, just use more oats
Directions:
  1. Combine oil, honey, cocoa powder, and almond milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately add your almond butter, vanilla, oats, and coconut.
  4. Quickly drop mixture by Tablespoonful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.
  5. Let cookies cool in fridge for 30 minutes and then consume with a nice, tall glass of milk! :) It's important to keep the cookies refrigerated until you eat them because they will get really gooey at room temperature (thanks to that delicious coconut oil!) However, I have eaten them at room temperature...and they still taste awesome but just may not be the consistency you like. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Baked Pear-Berry Steel-Cut Oats

I've been in a baked oatmeal mood lately. 
It just sounds so good during the chilly Winter mornings.
(Although Spring is now on its way - yay!)


































It is so convenient to make some baked oatmeal at the beginning of the week
so your next few breakfasts are already ready to go! 

I'm all about convenience, especially in the morning when I wake up with a monstrous appetite 
(thank you pregnancy!) and I don't feel like making anything.



With baked oatmeal, I can just take leftovers out of the fridge, scoop a serving into a small saucepan over medium heat, pour a little milk over it, and voila! Breakfast is ready in just a few minutes.





































PLUS, it makes my house smell amazing. Best smell ever!


























Eating steel-cut oats is also a great way to start the day! I'd say they were a "superfood" breakfast.
They are rich in dietary fiber, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower blood pressure, and aid in weight-loss (since it keeps you full, longer!). Awesome, right?!

Isn't it wonderful that something so healthy is also super tasty? ;)


























Baked Pear-Berry Steel-Cut Oats
Inspired by: This New Old Thing
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories (193), Fat (3.1g), Protein (5.5g), Carbs (37.1g), Sugars (12.6g), Fiber (6.2g)
High in dietary fiber, 16% DV of Calcium

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 ripe pear, chopped
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen mixed berries (if you use frozen, let them thaw and drain as much liquid as you can)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, optional (but not ;) )
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix oats and milk in large bowl and set aside for 10 minutes, so the oats soak up a bit of the milk.
  3. While the oats are soaking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the raw honey, pears, and berries. Sautee the pears and berries for a few minutes until pears are softened.
  4. Add the pear-berry mixture and all other ingredients (maple syrup, baking powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt) into the bowl with the oats and milk. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour the oat mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 baking dish and bake in oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until the center is firm.
  6. Serve warm with an extra splash of milk (or cream if you're feeling really adventurous!).
  7. Refrigerate leftovers in a airtight container. To reheat leftovers, heat a small to medium saucepan over medium heat, add the desired amount of baked oats and some almond milk. Feel free to add as much/little milk as you want, depending on how you like the consistency of your oats. More milk for thinner oats, less milk for thicker oats. 
Comment and let me know what your favorite baked oatmeal recipe is! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Lemony Glaze

I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, but the nicer weather here in Utah
makes me long for Spring and Summertime!

And nothing seems to bring in the freshness of Spring like lemons!
So, in honor and celebration of the upcoming Springtime weather, I made some
Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes!




















These pancakes have the perfect hint of lemon and are super fluffy.
Plus, they made my little apartment smell like lemons, which reminds me of Spring!

Love it!

I don't have any pictures of it, but I topped these fluffy cakes with some
lemony glaze to take them to a whole new level of lemony-sweet goodness.

So, I've got to know, what is your favorite springtime breakfast? :)
















































Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
          with a Lemony Glaze

Total Time: 25-30 minutes
Servings: about 24 (3-4" diameter) pancakes
Nutrition (per pancake):
Calories (80), Fat (2.1g), Protein (1.9g), Carbs (13.6g), Sugars (3.4g), Fiber (1.5g)

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (can use regular whole wheat or all-purpose flour) **See Notes
  • 3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. raw honey, melted (if you like sweeter pancakes, add 2 extra Tbsp. honey)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 medium eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
Lemony Glaze:
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 1/4 c. raw organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 pinches baking soda

Directions for Lemony Glaze:
  1. In small saucepan, stir honey, sugar, almond milk, and lemon juice constantly over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. 
  2. Allow to simmer for 1 minute without stirring, then remove from heat and whisk in the 3 pinches of baking soda for about 10 seconds until mixture becomes frothy. 
  3. Return mixture to low heat and cook for about 30 more seconds.
  4. Serve syrup warm over lemon poppyseed pancakes. Leftover syrup needs to be warmed to drizzle on pancakes because it will become sticky (like honey) as it cools. 
Directions for Pancakes:
  1. Preheat griddle to medium-high heat (about 250 degrees F on a griddle).
  2. Combine the flour, poppyseeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the melted raw honey and the lemon zest. Then add the buttermilk, almond milk, eggs, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Make sure you stir the coconut oil into the mixture as you are pouring it in to make sure it gets distributed evenly and doesn't clump. 
  4. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. The batter will be lumpy. 
  5. Lightly spray pre-heated griddle with non-stick cooking spray, if needed. Pour batter onto griddle  a scant 1/4 c. at a time. Cook on first side until the bottom is golden brown and the edges are set. Flip pancake and cook until other side is golden brown as well. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Serve pancakes warm with the lemony glaze and enjoy with a handful of blueberries or sliced strawberries.
**Notes: If you use regular whole wheat flour, the pancakes will be more hardy than fluffy. However, if you use half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose flour it should act similarly to whole wheat pastry flour! :)

These pancakes are great as leftovers (if you have any!) as well. Just store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Slow Cooker Almond Joy Steel-Cut Oats

I am a huge fan of Almond Joys. 
If I had to choose a candy bar, Almond Joy would be #1.

Unfortunately, because of my "trying to eat clean" thing, I have not had 
an Almond Joy in...years probably! I can't even remember.






































Well, I wanted to recreate an almond joy. A healthier version.
In a steel-cut oat form.






































I love steel-cut oats and I love Almond Joys.
Why not combine the two?

Well the result was this:

deliciously healthy

chocolatey

coco-nutty

almond-buttery

Perfection. In a bowl. For breakfast.


























But wait, it gets better!
This recipe makes SO much so you can enjoy this all.week.long.
Or for two weeks.

But probably not because I always end up eating a little more than a serving.
It's just way too good.

Plus, this recipe requires minimal effort.
Just throw everything into the crockpot and anxiously wait. ;)
Then top the oats with coconut, a dollop of almond butter, and a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips.

I have to admit, it was difficult to take pictures of this before digging in.
It smelled amazing! And looked amazing. And I could really eat this forever.

I hope these oats help cure your chocolate and/or almond-joy cravings because they sure satisfy mine! :)






































Slow Cooker Almond Joy Steel-Cut Oats

Total Time: 4-5 hours (varies from crockpot to crockpot)
Servings: 12
Nutrition (per serving, does not include toppings):
Calories (212), Fat (5.3g), Protein (6.9g), Carbs (34.9g), Sugars (3.9g), Fiber (6.3g)
Low in saturated fat, high in calcium and iron, high in fiber, very high in vitamin B6, high in vitamin E

Ingredients:
  • 3 c. steel-cut oats, uncooked
  • 9-10 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk) See Notes**
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 heaping cup) See Notes**
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Toppings: unsweetened shredded coconut, dark chocolate chips, almond butter, almonds

Directions:
  1. Lightly spray inside of crockpot with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pour all ingredients (minus toppings) into large 6 qt. crockpot and whisk until cocoa combines with the milk.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally, if possible, to avoid oats sticking to sides. This shouldn't be an issue though if you sprayed the crockpot with cooking spray before adding all the ingredients.
  4. Oats will be thick. Add more milk, or water, if you want a thinner consistency. 
  5. Transfer oats to a bowl and add desired toppings to make it "almond-joy-like" :)
  6. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheat oats in saucepan on stovetop over medium heat with a bit of almond milk or water until oats reach desired consistency. Add more/less liquid depending on how thick you like your oats.

**Notes: You can use water or half water, half milk but I used all almond milk because it makes the oats so creamy! I actually used almond coconut milk to get some added coconut flavor. ;)

Using 2 ripe bananas may not make the chocolate oats as sweet as you like them to be. I like my chocolate super rich and dark so I don't add tons of sweetener. If you like sweeter oats, add honey or your preferred sweetener, to taste, either before or after you cook them.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Zucchini Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions

I have a problem.

It's pretty bad...

I'm 99.99% positive that I'm addicted to Pinterest food.
I could look at that stuff all day!
I love looking at all the amazing recipes out there and dreaming
about having them in my kitchen (or my belly) right this moment.

Now, I just need to figure out how to make my food look that good!

Anyways, during one of my Pinterest perusals, I found this recipe
for Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza by Diethood.

It looked SO good.
But I didn't have the energy or will-power to make pizza dough.
(It's a rare occurrence that I do!)

So...I decided to take this pizza and turn it into...

A quesadilla!

And this was one dang good quesadilla.



























First, you can't go wrong with caramelized onions.
They are so sweet and full of flavor!

And

Second, the goat cheese gets all melty and gooey inside the quesadilla
and simply melts in your mouth with every bite.

Both complement the tender, sauteed zucchini perfectly.

Yum!

Now for a funny/horrifying story...

While I was making said quesadillas, sweet little Kaiya climbed onto a chair
in the kitchen and knocked a cup of water all over the kitchen table...
and onto everything else on the table!

Luckily, my husband's laptop was spared, but tons of papers and other books got wet.
You think I would know by now not to leave cups of water on a table for
a toddler to spill over lots of important things, right?

Apparently I haven't learned that lesson yet. :)

Luckily, this little incident did not result in burnt quesadillas!

And now, for your eating pleasure....


























Zucchini Goat Cheese Quesadillas
               with Caramelized Onions

Total Time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 2 quesadillas
Nutrition (per quesadilla):
Calories (331), Fat (19.5g), Carbs (23.5g), Protein (17.4g), Fiber (2.6g), Sugars (2.8g)
Low sugar, high protein, high calcium, and very high in vitamin B6

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 c. - 2/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sliced red onion and sauté until onion begins to appear translucent, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the chopped zucchini, salt, pepper, and garlic to the skillet and continue to sauté until the zucchini is tender. Remove from heat. Be sure to stir the red onion and zucchini occasionally while they are sautéing so they cook evenly. 
  3. Lightly spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place your tortilla in the skillet and cover one half of the tortilla with half the mozzarella cheese, half the zucchini/onion mixture, and half the crumbled goat cheese. 
  4. Fold the tortilla in half and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the quesadilla and cook until the other side is golden brown.
  5. Transfer quesadilla to a serving plate.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 with the remaining ingredients to make your second quesadilla.
Enjoy! 


























What's your favorite kind of quesadilla? :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Cookies {GF/Vegan}

Anyone else here guilty of eating raw cookie dough straight from the bowl?






































I know I'm guilty!

Well, you can be sure you will want to eat the entire batch of these cookies
straight from the bowl. They are THAT good!

My toddler sat at the table and licked the bowl and spoon clean. That's my girl!

And I didn't feel a bit guilty about letting her eat lots of that cookie batter because
it is full of all sorts of healthy stuff. ;)

You're in for a treat...

Sweetened with ripe bananas.

Thickened and infused with nut butter goodness.

Gluten-free.

Vegan. No eggs, butter, or milk.

With a delicious combination of coconut and dark chocolate...

Is that drool on your chin? ;)

Anyways, you are going to love these cookies!
You won't regret making these. Your kids won't regret it.
The hubby won't regret it. Your waistline won't regret it.

It's really a win-win all around. ;)

































Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Cookies
{GF, Vegan}

Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 1 dozen cookies
Nutrition (per cookie):
Calories (107), Fat (7.5g), Carbs (9.4g), Protein (1.8g), Fiber (1.6g), Sugars (4.7g)

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c. nut butter (I used a mix of homemade PB and almond butter)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats (use gluten-free oats)
  • 1/4 c. almond flour (ground from raw almonds - can also use oat flour)
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. - 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips if you want a completely vegan cookie)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the mashed banana, nut butter, and vanilla extract. 
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the oats, almond flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and drop in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes until the cookies have set and are no longer mushy.
  5. Indulge (without any guilt!) :)
Note: Cookies will keep best in an airtight container in the fridge. Feel free to warm them up for a few seconds before enjoying! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins with Cinnamon Coconut Streusel

Who here loves blueberries?!
I do I do!

I adore blueberries. They are super cute and super sweet!
I love adding them to everything: Oatmeal, cookies, muffins, breads...
Or just popping a handful of them into my mouth. Yum!

And not only are they delicious, they are a "superfood" meaning they
are packed with tons of health benefits, including antioxidants, which
protect our bodies from cell-damaging substances called free radicals.

So there you go! A wonderful fruit that is delicious AND super healthy. :)

To show my love of all things blueberry, I wanted to make a healthy, delicious
oatmeal muffin packed with this delicious little fruit. :)

This muffin also has applesauce instead of oil! Awesome!
Feel free to grab one of these as a quick, healthy breakfast when you're on-the-go.
Or grab one as a snack during the day. Or when you have a craving for sweets!



















Yep that's the good stuff right there.
By the way...please ignore the green-ish appearance of these delicious muffins.



















They turned out green-ish looking because I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh
so the frozen juices on the outside of the berries dispersed throughout the batter,
making it appear green! (Maybe you could make these for St. Patty's Day? :) )

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
  with Cinnamon Coconut Streusel
Inspired By: Ambitious Kitchen
Total Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
Nutrition (per muffin):
Calories (130), Fat (3.1g), Carbs (24.1g), Protein (3.2g), Fiber (3.1g), Sugars (5.7g)
High in vitamin B6

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten (could use a flax egg)
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
For the streusel:
  • 3 Tbsp. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

To make streusel:
  • In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. I like to mush it all together with my fingers (clean fingers of course!) to make sure the coconut oil gets distributed evenly throughout the streusel. The streusel will be crumbly.
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl mix the applesauce, brown sugar, raw honey, eggs, and almond milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly between a 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper muffin-liners or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of streusel over each muffin and bake in oven for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin's center comes out clean.
I really hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do! :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes with Blue Cheese Slaw

This ain't no sloppy joe from a can, that's for sure!

This is a spicy, kicked-up buffalo chicken sloppy joe recipe that is sure to please!

Even my toddler loved it...but she is kind of strange and likes that kind of spicy stuff. :D
She kept asking for "more chichen (chicken)!" even though I could tell she thought it was spicy.
But no worries because you have total control over how spicy or mild the recipe turns out!
If you or your kids don't like a ton of spice, then just add less of the hot sauce/buffalo sauce. :)

I pretty much followed this recipe from Cupcakes and Kale Chips with a few minor alterations.
And I used her blue cheese dressing recipe and just mixed it with a bagged garden cabbage mix to create a blue cheese slaw - WAY good! :)

I know you'll love it too!




























Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes 
    with a Creamy Blue Cheese Slaw

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories (363), Fat (10.7g), Carbs (37.8g), Protein (26.1g), Fiber (5.7g), Sugars (9.3g)
High in protein and vitamin A

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 c. diced baby carrots
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. lean ground chicken
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce (no salt or sugar added)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. buffalo sauce
  • 1 recipe of blue cheese dressing (given below)
  • bagged cabbage mix (I used one with green cabbage, red cabbage, radish, romaine lettuce, carrots, and green onions)
  • whole wheat hamburger buns
Blue Cheese Dressing:
  • 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
Directions:

Follow the directions given here for making the sloppy joes (the only thing I omitted was the Worcestershire sauce) and here for making the blue cheese dressing. 

Mix the blue cheese dressing with the cabbage mix. Less cabbage mix if you want more dressing than cabbage and vice versa. :)

Top your sloppy joes with the blue cheese slaw and enjoy! You may need to eat this with a fork.
Just FYI. ;)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Goat Cheese

I think I have discovered my breakfast for the rest of forever.
(Not really, but close, because I have to get my oatmeal in there as well!).

I really can't think of a time when I have gone out for breakfast and had eggs this good.
Not even IHOP compares (and I love IHOP)!

These are gourmet scrambled eggs.
Just give 20 minutes of your morning to make these and I promise,
your taste buds and your tummy will thank you.

Savory scrambled eggs with a hint of sweet from the sweet potatoes, and some creamy goat-cheesy goodness will have you coming back for seconds, and thirds, and so on...until there is no more.
You may even have to make more. They are that good.

My husband also LOVES these scrambled eggs. They are his favorite way to start the day as a personal trainer. And as a personal trainer, he endorses them as a healthy, nutritious way to start the day!
(Which makes them even better!)

So basically, they taste good and they are good for you!

Okay, enough chit-chat. Let's get to the good stuff here...





























Scrambled Eggs w/ Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Goat Cheese

Total Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories (176), Fat (10.1g), Carbs (5.5g), Fiber (1g), Sugars (1.9g), Protein (16.2g)
Packed with Protein & High in Vitamin A (94% daily value)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 whole eggs (yolks and whites) 
  • 3 egg whites
  • splash (about 1/2-1 Tbsp.) of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/8-1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese, for topping
  • non-stick cooking spray
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft and tender. Make sure to turn the sweet potatoes once during the 10-15 minutes.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting in the oven, prepare the egg mixture by whisking together the whole eggs and egg whites in a small bowl. Add the splash of milk and whisk again to combine.
  4. Spray small to medium-sized skillet lightly with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 of the sweet potatoes (set aside the other half for future scrambled-egg-making) and the egg mixture to the skillet and scramble eggs until cooked through.
  5. Transfer scrambled eggs from the skillet to a bowl or plate for serving. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over the eggs and finally...
  6. Dig in! 
I hope you love these scrambled eggs as much as my husband and I do! To save time, try preparing the sweet potatoes the day before you want to use them for these scrambled eggs! :)

For this recipe, I used leftover sweet potatoes from a Sweet Potato Kale Pizza that I made a few days earlier, which I highly recommend making! This helped save some time in making this dish.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Chinese Valentine's Day! {Sushi Included!}

Hope you had a fabulous Valentine's Day! <3

Whether you were able to spend it with a special significant other
or celebrate with close family and friends, I hope you were
able to enjoy a holiday devoted to expressing love for those
who mean the most to us in life! :)

For Valentine's Day, Joshua and I decided to go with a Chinese theme!
I guess I have kind of been in a Chinese food mood.
First with the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken, and now with sushi
(thanks to my pregnancy cravings)!






































Joshua and I have been wanting to try making our own sushi for a while now
but I am going to admit, it seemed like such a daunting task!
For some reason, I thought making sushi would be really hard.

All our yummy sushi fillings!

























Well, I feel silly...because it is probably one of the easiest things I have ever made!
And it is so rewarding to make a dish that looks so pretty and tastes just like you
got it from your local sushi joint!

















I found this great tutorial and recipe for sushi from Minimalist Baker.
I LOVE her recipes. They are all super healthy and very simple.
As the name states, she uses the minimal and most natural ingredients for her recipes.

We filled our sushi with:

Cucumber
Red Peppers
Carrots
Avocados
Shrimp





























They were super good. And made even better with chopsticks!
All Chinese food tastes better when eaten with chopsticks. ;)

The sushi making process...






















Ready to be cut!


















The finished product! Delish!




















Kaiya LOVED the sushi! We were pleasantly surprised.
She knows good food, that's for sure. ;)
It always baffles me, though, that it doesn't seem like she chews her food at all.
She just shoves it down! Haha.

Joshua and I enjoyed our sushi, ate some amazing ice cream, and watched Mulan.
It was wonderful and I cherish the fun memories we made!






































How did you celebrate your Valentine's Day? 

Dark Chocolate Banana Avocado Cookies

Okay, this is going to sound weird.
Really weird.
But you gotta hear me out!

I've been seeing pins on Pinterest for Chocolate Avocado Cookies.

That's right. Avocado!

I was instantly curious. 
Any baked good made with avocados had to be weird. And taste weird.
Avocados are for guacamole, not cookies.

Despite my reluctance to believe that cookies made with avocado could be palate-worthy,
I decided to try them! I'm one to try everything at least once.

Source

So I made these chocolate avocado cookies from The Smoothie Lover.

When they came out of the oven, I was thinking,
"Man, these better taste as good as they smell!" Haha.
Well, I ate one a few minutes after they came out of the oven 
and it was pretty good, but not the greatest.
Then I realized the recipe recommended refrigerating the cookies 
before eating them, so I did just that.

I waited, and waited, and waited. 
But boy, was it worth it! The chilled cookies were SO good!
The texture is definitely not the same as your ordinary cookie. 
They are thinner, more dense, and more moist compared to your average cookie,
but the flavor is amazing! I was pretty impressed.

They were chocolatey and riddled with bits of delicious dark chocolate chips.

These cookies inspired me to try my own version of chocolate avocado cookies,
but I wanted to make them a little different, so I added...

Bananas!

Yep, it doesn't get much stranger than a banana-avocado cookie. 
But I was determined to make it work.

I tried it once, and the texture just wasn't quite right. They were super gooey.
The not-so-great kind of gooey.

So I tried again, and my Dark Chocolate Banana-Avocado Cookies were born!



Dark Chocolate Banana Avocado Cookies

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1 dozen cookies
Nutrition (per cookie):
Calories (81), Fat (3.1g), Carbs (12.2g), Fiber (2.1g), Sugars (6.9g), Protein (2.3g)
High in Vitamin B6 and Fiber

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/4 c. ripe, mashed avocado (about 1/2 a large avocado)
  • 1/4 c. very ripe, mashed banana (about 1/2 medium banana)
  • 5 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 5 Tbsp. dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. miniature dark chocolate chips (or any kind of chocolate chip you have on hand!)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, and honey. Add mashed avocado and banana and mix well. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet in 1 heaping Tbsp. per cookie. Bake in oven for about 8 minutes or until the cookies appear set and are not "shiny" anymore (see picture below).
  5. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes and then transfer them to cooling rack. If you try to transfer them when the cookies are still really warm, they will fall apart.
  6. Place the cookie-filled cooling rack in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes until the cookies are chilled.
  7. Enjoy with a tall glass of chilled milk!























Cheers! :)




What surprisingly delicious foods have you tried? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{Healthier} Valentine's Day Red Velvet Pancakes

Boy, are you in for a treat today!
If you were looking for a special Valentine's Day breakfast, look no further!


I have got the perfect recipe for you!


They are fluffy, moist, and sweet. Did I mention they smell divine?

AND they are a little bit healthier for you than your typical red velvet pancakes.
But I promise you won't be able to tell! Pinky promise.

These taste just as decadent as any red velvet dessert you've had.
(And they're pretty too!)


They are made using whole wheat flour, almond milk, organic cane sugar, and coconut oil 
rather than all-purpose flour, cow's milk, white sugar, and butter.

But to be honest, that's about as healthy as it gets...the rest of the ingredients are, well,
typical of red velvet desserts. ;) 


 { Healthier} Red Velvet Pancakes
             (with a Cream Cheese Glaze)

Inspired by:  Cooking Classy and Mother Thyme
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: ~14 pancakes
Nutrition (per pancake, without cream cheese glaze):
Calories (77), Fat (2.1g), Carbs (12.7g), Fiber (1.9g), Sugars (3.7g), Protein (2.3g)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular milk works fine too!)
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. raw organic cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2+ tsp. red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat electronic non-stick griddle to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and white wine vinegar. Let sit for 2 minutes.
  4. Add to the milk mixture: the cane sugar, powdered sugar, egg, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. Whisk well to combine. Add more food coloring as needed to get desired coloring.
  5. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 
  6. Spray griddle with cooking spray, if necessary. Scoop about 1/4 c. of batter onto hot griddle at a time for each pancake. Cook until bubbles begin to form on top of pancakes and a spatula can easily slide underneath (about 2-3 minutes). Flip pancakes and cook for about another 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes are cooked through. Try not to overcook them or they will turn out looking brownish-red.
  7. Serve warm with a cream cheese glaze (see recipe below), fresh berries, and/or powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
  8. Enjoy with your sweetheart or all by yourself! ;)
Notes: If you like a sweeter pancake, add more sugar to taste. I didn't find more sugar necessary with the cream cheese glaze over them, though. If you're really wanting to be healthy this Valentine's Day, try using beet juice as the red food coloring--I have never tried it, but I have seen some recipes do that!

Cream Cheese Glaze

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8-1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1-2 c. powdered sugar
Directions:
  1. Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and milk in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add powered sugar to cream cheese mixture 1/4 c. at a time until desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  3. If mixture is thinner than wanted, add more powdered sugar. If it is thicker than wanted, add more milk.
  4. Enjoy over pancakes, french toast, cinnamon rolls, and anything else your heart desires!



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Healthy Minute Blueberry Mug Oatmeal

So, I eat oatmeal a lot.
Like every day...
Sometimes twice, or even three times a day...

I know! It's crazy, and there are some people who
really don't like oatmeal and would think that's really gross.

But trust me...with oatmeal like this, it is most definitely not gross. ;)

And you might end up eating oatmeal every day too!

Plus, oatmeal is super good for you!
It has tons of fiber and is versatile so you can add
all sorts of yummy, mix-ins:
shredded coconut
nuts
dried fruit
yogurt
fresh fruit
chocolate chips
etc, etc, etc...

Get what I mean? Super versatile!

 And, just so you know, this recipe is:
-low in saturated fat
-high in calcium
-high in fiber
-high in vitamin B6
-very high in vitamin C and
-high in vitamin E

If you already eat oatmeal a lot, this recipe is a great way to mix
things up just a little bit...by making it in a giant mug!
And adding some special ingredients (like applesauce!). ;)

Trust me, eating oatmeal in a mug is way more fun
than eating it in a bowl for some reason.
You've gotta try it.














Healthy Minute Blueberry Mug Oatmeal

Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 mug serving
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories (218), Fat (3.9g), Carbs (41.8g), Fiber (6.7g), Sugars (11.8g), Protein (5.8g)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 handful blueberries (or more or less depending on how much you want!)
  • Optional: sweetener of choice, to taste
  • Optional toppings: shredded coconut and/or whipped cream for some creamy, sweet decadence
(I didn't add any sweetener and thought it tasted fine, but if you like sweeter oatmeal, feel free to add some!)

Instructions:
  1. Combine dry ingredient in a large mug. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in blueberries.
  2. Cook in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes-2 minutes depending on how thick vs. runny you like your oats. 
  3. If oats are thicker than you like, add more milk; if it's too runny, cook it longer.
  4. Top with some coconut flakes and/or whipped cream for some creamy, sweet decadence.  
Tip: Keep an eye on the oats so they don't overflow while they cook! 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sunday Fun and Pigtails

This past Sunday, my Grandma and Grandpa
came to visit us, which was way exciting because
they hadn't seen Kaiya for about a year!

The last time they saw her, she was only 7 months old!
It is truly amazing how time flies!

Kaiya immediately opened up to them,
especially since they walked in with an
adorable pink, stuffed monkey just for her!

If you give Kaiya a toy (or food), she's immediately your best friend.

Also, she's immediately your best friend if you have a cool phone.
Like Grandpa's. His phone is about as big as her forearm. Haha!

























Side note: doesn't she look just like Joshua?! I think so.
Plus, aren't her pigtails a.dor.able?! She finally has enough hair!
They make her look like such a big girl...

I miss my baby, sometimes.

Anyways, Kaiya does enjoy her phones, but she
does also like to read books, believe it or not!

And I have the pictures to prove it...














































I am in love with these pictures!
And I am oh so glad we caught these memories of Kaiya
with her great-grandparents.
They will be cherished forever. :)




































My favorite!!!
Grandpa "eating" Kaiya's toes.
She loved it.
And even requested it. Haha. Silly girl.

I love my family.
There is truly something special about families coming
together to enjoy each other's company.

There's something especially special about having your daughter
play with and make memories with her great-grandparents
because that is exactly what I did with them when I was a little girl
running around in pigtails. :)


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