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I love reading Friday favorites posts when some of my favorite bloggers link up to recipes from other blogs – it’s great for inspiration and overloading my poor Google Reader.
Here’s what I’ve tried recently:
Low-Fat Blueberry Scones [Skinnytaste]
I mentioned that I had blueberries to use up, and these scones were pretty good nutritionally – but the taste was only so-so. It was the first Skinnytaste recipe I’ve tried that wasn’t a home run.
Dinner last Thursday was comprised of tofu and leftover roasted veggies – I made peanut sauce for the tofu with the simplest recipe ever:
4 ingredient healthy peanut sauce [Daily Garnish]
Emily’s recipe was incredibly simple and made dinner come together in about 20 minutes.
I made a second batch after enjoying the first ones so much – and seeing how great they were nutritionally! I used a whole package of frozen spinach this time around and made 12 (using 2 whole eggs + 8 whites). I’ve read about avocado toast on Bianca’s blog and had one on it’s last legs – why would anyone ever use butter again?
Oh my gosh, this one is so simple – why haven’t I tried it before?
Almond meal/flour in greek yogurt [italktofood]:
I saw this on Aubrey’s blog several times before trying it myself – and wish I wouldn’t have waited! The almond meal is a great alternative to cereal or yogurt, which can be too crunchy – it adds protein and healthy fats and an amazing flavor.
Layered Mexican Pizza Lasagna [Peas and Crayons]
I got this idea from Jenn’s blog a while back and it was the perfect opportunity to use it when I made beef enchiladas for the rest of my family. My veggie dish had crumbled tempeh, three kinds of peppers, mushrooms, enchilada sauce, corn tortillas, and reduced fat cheddar. So satisfying!
Fish tacos thrown together from Mexican leftovers and extra fish from an Italian restaurant the husband and I went to Friday night. Quick, easy, delicious. Like I said, I could eat Mexican at least once a day.
Hippie Cookies [Running To the Kitchen]
After Gina eluded to these cookies and didn’t share the recipe until Friday, I had to try them right away!
I made a few changes (less oil, more applesauce, subbed in date syrup for some maple syrup, forgot the lemon zest) – but they were delicious and packed with wholesome ingredients. My husband asked why I don’t make “normal” cookies, but ate 3 of these anyway.
After I get a workout in, I’m planning on making some of Laura’s [Sprint 2 The Table] zucchini bread oatmeal.
What’s the best recipe you’ve tried recently?
My family is obsessed with bread. It doesn’t matter how much we have at home – a new loaf of bland, white carbs shows up at least every other day. Then we keep them all until after they are stale. Our bread box is so full that the overflow gets stored in the microwave – we then proceed to remove it and stuff it back in every time we need to heat something.
But I love good raisin bread. And my favorite cranberry walnut wheat loaf.
I couldn’t let these raisin rolls go to waste.
Traditional Bread Pudding (serves 6-8)
4 cups bread cubes
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Spray baking dish and spread bread cubes in an even layer.
Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla, then add sugar. Pour over bread.
Melt butter and drizzle over top of bread mixture. Allow to soak while oven pre-heats to 375, or at least 15 minutes.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until browned and puffy, depending on the depth of your pudding.
Pumpkin Protein Bread Pudding (makes 2 individual servings)
1 cup bread cubes (whole wheat raisin)
2 egg whites
4-5 drops vanilla stevia
1/4 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Press bread cubes into sprayed, oven-safe ramekins.
Lightly beat egg whites, then add stevia, pumpkin, milk and protein powder.
Pour mixture over bread and mix to combine.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until browned and puffy.
The mixture is thicker and does not soak into the bread as well, but still tastes delicious!
Approximate nutrition information (per serving, pumpkin version): 244 calories, 28 g carbs, 4 grams fat, 16 grams protein
Are you a fan of bread pudding? It’s not an appetizing name, and it seems like “grandma food”, but I love it. 😉
When I buy soup, it’s usually something with beans or lentils, so that I know it will have a decent protein content and will keep me full. I used to love plain cheesy tomato or broccoli cheese soup, but they typically aren’t the healthiest options (full of cream, butter, and cheese).
When Nicole posted this Creamy Roasted Cauliflower soup a few weeks ago, it really caught my attention. I love the deep, savory flavor of roasted vegetables, and I’ve been on a kick to try new cauliflower recipes (like on my husband’s birthday). Once I saw that there roasted garlic involved, I was sold. If you haven’t roasted a head of garlic yet, do it. I can’t believe it took me so long. Need more reasons to try it? Check out Jess’s post.
I didn’t measure the broccoli and cauliflower prior to roasting – I just used two bunches of broccoli and 1 large bag of frozen cauliflower florets (thawed).
I think an immersion blender is one of the best inexpensive small appliances you can buy. I don’t use it all that often, but it saves so much time, doesn’t take up very much space, and spares you the annoyance of pureeing things in batches in a blender or food processor. Most importantly, clean up is way easier!
It took about 3 minutes to go from this:
The meal was complete with a new (to me) pizza from Trader Joe’s – my lovely husband grabbed it the other night when he brought home sushi for dinner.
It even looks similar to the photo on the box – always a bonus!
I knew my husband would want it to be a cheesy soup (creamy isn’t good enough), so I made myself a few taste tests – one plain, one with nutritional yeast, and one with shredded cheddar.
Honestly I liked them all, but decided to add about a teaspoon of each to my bowl. 🙂
Other simple changes I made to the original recipe: no celery, 2 carrots, 32 oz of vegetable stock (instead of 28), 1/4 cup of 2% milk (instead of 1/3 cup of half and half).
Delicious, warm meal for a cold, rainy night in Pittsburgh.
PS – My ever complimenting husband said the soup looked like “baby vomit”, but liked the flavor (after adding a ton of cheese). Gotta focus on the positives, right?
I’ll admit it’s not the prettiest of soups. What’s your favorite “ugly” food that tastes delicious? Any “must have” small appliances in your kitchen?
Good morning friends! A quick recipe to share with you as part of my “What I Ate Wednesday”. Want to join the party? Link up over at Peas and Crayons!
I wanted a break from oatmeal for breakfast this week, but typically don’t have time to make eggs in the morning before leaving for work – enter portable, re-heatable crustless quiches!
You can pretty much throw together any combination of eggs, cheese, and veggies to make these work!
2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites
1 cup spinach, sauteed
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped & sauteed
1/2 cup onion, chopped & sauteed
1/4 cup milk (I used almond)
1/4 cup feta cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Lightly beat eggs, egg whites, and milk until combined.
- Spray muffin tins with cooking spray (generously!)
- Divide cooked vegetables among 6 muffins tins.
- Pour egg mixture on top of vegetables, filling 3/4 way full.
- Top each with about 1.5-2 tsp cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until centers are set. Allow to cool in tins before removing.
Makes 6 crustless quiche cups. Approximate nutrition per cup: 55 calories, 3 grams fat, 5 grams protein.
6:30 am, after the gym: banana with peanut butter
8:30 am, at work: 2 crustless egg cups
Lunch, 12:30 pm, at work:
Veggie “taco salad” – crumbled veggie burger, homemade salsa, 1/4 of an avocado. Ugly? Yes. Delicious? Most definitely.
Snackage, 2:30 pm:
My favorite hummus and baby carrots.
More snacks, 4pm:
Greek yogurt and blueberries!
Dinner, 6:45 pm:
Trader Joe’s sushi – thanks to my husband! Also some unpictured edamame. Leftovers for lunch today, yay!
I have a huge box of Costco blueberries at home – I’ve been eating them in yogurt and oats, but need some good blueberry recipes (preferably healthy). What’s your favorite use for blueberries?
I make enchiladas all the time (classic, lightened up, and vegetarian enchiladas verdes) . Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, and it’s so easy to customize it for meat eaters and still make myself something deliciously vegetarian. I was in the mood for stuffed peppers last week, but they always end up being just okay, never incredibly delicious. I was planning to add cheese to my regular recipe to jazz them up, then decided to just make them in to a Mexican style stuffed pepper.
I bought a package of three red/yellow/orange bell peppers and a pack of 2 regular green peppers from Trader Joe’s. The green ones were the size of softballs, so I cut them in half and got two from each!
Browned, seasoned, and drained ground beef mixed with brown rice.
Topped with enchilada sauce (instead of tomato) and some shredded cheese.
Vegetarian version for me – with TJ’s “meatless ground”, which my tummy unfortunately was not a fan of. I don’t think TVP & I get along very well.
But they sure did look pretty.
Enchilada Style Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers, tops & cores removed
- ~ 1 lb lean ground beef (or meat substitute)
- 1 tsp fajita seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided (I used a mix of cheddar and colby jack)
- 1 large can of enchilada sauce (or this recipe)
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup black beans, cooked (or canned)
- 1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked (or canned)
- optional: onions, peppers
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown meat in a skillet, drain excess fat, and season with 1 tsp fajita seasoning.
- Sautee corn, beans, and additional vegetables, if using.
- Combine cooked rice, meat, and vegetables, mixing well.
- Stir 1/4 cup of cheese into rice, meat, and veggie mixture.
- Scoop 1/4 of the mixture in to each pepper and set in sprayed baking dish. If desired, cut peppers in half and divide mixture into 8 servings.
- Bake, covered, for 40 minutes – remove from oven, top with remaining cheese, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese melts.
- Serve and enjoy!
Approximate nutrition, per pepper, with ground beef: 275 calories, 39 grams carbs, 6 grams fat, 19 grams protein
I never get tired of Mexican. What is one cuisine that you could eat every single day?
- #1 You must post these rules.
#2 Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog.
#3 Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
- Lactose Free Lizzie Award: ” The blogger that is tagged must host an award thing-ama-gig about FOOD. Yes, food (it’s the food awards). Anything related to it. A food blogger, a company, a favorite meal, or even whatever you like to sprinkle on your popcorn. After you are finished you tag 3 other bloggers to host a Food Award ceremony (aka a post)”
So this will be a post similar to Friday Favorites / Miscellaneous Monday. Enjoy!
11 Things About Me
- I’m a dietitian but I entered college as an English Writing major. Then switched to pre-med, pre-pharm, and ended up in Biochemistry. I didn’t take the MCAT or apply to grad school, but got a flyer for the Masters program in Clinical Dietetics a few weeks before graduation. Woot!
- I played tennis from age 6 through highschool, then really didn’t keep up with it in college. I was never all that good (I played first singles on my highschool team, but we were pretty pathetic), but I do miss it.
- I gave up red meat after trying the “Atkins” thing in college and thinking I just needed lower fat proteins. Then we watched a video in Food Science on stuffing a whole turkey and that was the end of me + poultry. I figured it was as good a time as any to learn how to fuel myself with a mostly plant-based diet.
- My husband and I went to highschool together but didn’t know each other. Our younger brothers (mine 10 years younger and his 12 years younger) are now teammates on the tennis team and set us up.
- I’d love to go to med school some day. My dream job would be as a Pediatrician.
- I could never be vegan. I’m obsessed with cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates have been a losing team for 17 years, but my family has been season ticket holders for about that long. Since all of 10 people in the city really love baseball and the team, I wrote an entry for a “Real Fan” contest, ended up winning and had a larger than life sized poster in PNC Park for half a season.
- My ankle injury (which was never definitively diagnosed as a torn tendon or broken bone) is acting up again. Just when I was running 3+ miles without pain.
- I’ve lived in Pittsburgh all my life. Only applied to Pitt for college + gradschool. No plans of leaving any time soon.
- If I had no other ties or comittments and unlimited funds, I would move to Italy and never look back.
- I don’t know what my favorite color is. I guess I’d have to say pink, but I went through a hardcore purple phase back in middleschool. There was even an “I ❤ Purple” giftware line back at that time, and my mother bought me everything from hats to notepads. Over purple these days.
Now Melissa’s 11 Questions…
1. What’s one goal you’ve achieved that you never thought you could? I don’t know if there’s anything I’ve ever considered myself “unable” to accomplish. Maybe running a 1/2 marathon one day, based on my ankle injury.
2. Is your life now what you thought it would be 10 years ago? If I look back on my 16 year old self, I don’t know what I saw my future looking like – I’ve always wanted to get married and have healthy children, and I can check the first one off my list!
3. What’s your favorite quote? “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.” I think it applies to being healthy, too!
4. Do you like to read? What was the last book you read? I love to read but it puts me to sleep! I just finished “A Secret Kept” and am currently reading “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”.
5. Do you think you’re photogenic? I think there are equal numbers of embarrassing and flattering photos out there.
6. When was the last time you made a new friend? I think I make new “blog friends” all the time – “real life” friends less often.
7. Do you wear nail polish? Having my nails nicely painted makes me feel so much more put together, but I have a terrible habit of picking at them once they start to chip! For that reason, I LOVE shellac!
8. What’s one food that other people go crazy over that you could take or leave? Scallops!
9. What was the last thing you tried that was completely new to you? My mother in-law’s vegetarian stuffed cabbage that she made specially for me.
10. Do you like to take risks or play it safe? I’m more on the safe side!
11. What is the best experience you’ve had in the past year? Marrying my bestfriend and soul mate!
And as for the other “foodie list” part of things…
5 Things I Can’t Leave Trader Joes Without
- Brown Rice California Roll (even though I found a piece of plastic in it once)
- Reduced Guilt Tortilla chips (no brainer)
- Hummus – either roasted garlic or tomato basil
- Pizza dough – the best ever, and only 99 cents!
- Protein – I typically pick up both their tempeh and sprouted tofu – great staples to have in the fridge!
I’m going to combine these two surveys – sorry if it’s breaking the rules – and tell me about your 11 favorite foods (restaurant, grocery store, or homemade)! I’m tagging people I want to know more about:
- Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance
- Laura @ Sprint 2 The Table
- Hayley @ Oat Couture
- Jamie @ Food in Real Life
- Jenn @ Peas and Crayons
- Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate
You guys can follow the original rules if you want, too. 😉
I want to hear from you, too! Tell me some random facts or random foods you love!
This was my second time visiting Habitat at the trendy Fairmont Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. I had been here once before with my parents and brother before seeing a show, and we loved everything about our first meal. As soon as I saw that Habitat was participating in Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, it was the perfect excuse to indulge in a night out with my husband.
Their pre-fixe menu included the following options:
Roasted organic local beets
Goat cheese, local wild flower honey, coriander
Baby bibb salad
Local apples, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, toasted hazelnut-Dijon dressing
Pennsylvania mushroom tart
Braised leek and parmesan cream
Homemade ricotta gnocchi with braised organic oxtail
Root vegetables, red wine jus
Georges Bank diver scallops
Ratatouille, Tagiasco olives, white anchovies
Roasted chicken thigh
Sage, onion and sausage cannelloni, chestnut sauce
Selection of your choice from the dessert menu
From my first visit to Habitat, I remembered the service being exceptional – and this time was no different. Although I’m a pescetarian (I eat fish), scallops are one dish that never interest me. When I asked the server about a vegetarian option for the pre-fixe dinner, the server said I could do a vegetarian fried rice with tofu (which I heard from Skinny Architect was nothing spectacular), vegetarian pad thai with tofu (very tempting) or the ricotta gnocchi with a vegetable ratitouille instead of oxtail. I typically only indulge in pasta once in a while, and decided THIS would be the place to try a homemade gnocchi.
I started with a glass of wine that I always choose when available – Sangiovese. According to Wikipedia (incredibly reputable, I know), it’s a variety with “fresh fruity flavours of strawberry and a little spiciness”. Yum.
For my first course, I chose the mushroom tart:
The mushrooms were incredibly flavorful and the parmesan cream was no joke – very indulgent and buttery, but it didn’t overpower the rest of the dish.
We chatted and munched on fresh bread before our entrees came. Most people would be appalled at a 3 piece serving of pasta, but it was the perfect amount.
My ricotta gnocchi:
My husband chose the steak of the day, which happened to be a 12oz NY Strip:
A close up of his potato gratin – incredibly thin layers of stacked yukon gold potatoes with a buttery richness in between each slice. This has to be labor intensive!
Since I was smarter than my husband and ordered the prefixe menu, I got a dessert with my meal! We asked our server which were his favorites – once he described them both, we had to order one of each!
Hot brandysauce, brown butter pears and lemon ice cream:
Oh my gosh. Perfection on a plate – perfect balance of the warm gingerbread, cold ice cream (one of the best I’ve ever tasted and I would never choose a citrus ice cream) and the candied ginger put it over the top. The online menu said it was with pecans, but I loved the pears instead!
Apple a day
Calvados, sour cream pound cake, caramel apples, crisp streusel, Gala apple chips and Kistaco Farms apple cider sorbet:
All of the different apple textures – baked, fried, raw – gave this so many layers of flavor. The streusel is something I could eat by the handfull, and the apple cider sorbert was so simply perfect.
Dessert was my favorite part of the night, but each course was wonderful and totally worth the price. Habitat isn’t a restaurant I can afford to dine at more than a few times a year, but it would be my first choice, hands down.
Thank you, Chef Andrew, for another amazing meal!
So it’s been long enough now that I think I can talk about it.
Football season is over. Not really, but to me it is, and has been since the Steelers lost two weeks ago.
It’s nice of them though – since we have one the most superbowls of any team (six), we may as well let someone else have some fun once in a while.
Anyway, these are superbowl-snack worthy. And under 100 calories a piece.
Take that, Tebow.
In researching methods for baking these mozzarella sticks, all of the tips centered around preventing the cheese from “oozing” while baking, including freezing the sticks for an hour before preparation.
I blended up a mix of breadcrumbs, paprika, Italian seasoning, and parmesan – just for good measure.
Line up your roll/dip/roll stations, similar to anything you want to bake “fry”.
No oozing yet!
Oh well, they oozed. But just to warm and melty, not runny, making them still perfectly dippable.
In the world’s classiest
homemade tomato sauce.
Give me a break, I had already baked buffalo chickpea dip and made some lentil sloppy joes. These turned out to be just as delicious as the deep fried ones I used to order out at restaurants, but you can actually feel good about eating them.
Lightened Up Mozzarella Sticks
- 1 package mozzarella string cheese (I used Sargento Light)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- Unwrap string cheese and place in freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Prepare three stages of breading – flour in one dish, egg in the next, breadcrumb and remaining ingredients in the last.
- Coat each frozen cheese stick with flour and tap to remove any access.
- Lightly dip in egg, roll in breadcrumb mixture, and place on sprayed baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray to help the sticks brown as they cook.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned (and beginning to ooze).
Approximate nutrition (per stick): 98 calories, 4 grams fat, 8 grams carbs, 8 grams of protein
Will you have (or attend) a super bowl party if you’re team doesn’t make it to the big game? Like I said, the season is over as far as I’m concerned – but it wouldn’t hurt to see Baltimore lose. 😉
I’m going to Habitat tonight with my husband for my third Pittsburgh restaurant week adventure – it’s been a blast! Some of my readers said they checked out some restaurants too – I’d love to post their restaurant reviews if they’d like to share!
The bad part about deciding to bake at 9 pm? No natural light.
And thinking about these things in my sleep.
If you were an early follower of my blog, you might remember how I get stressed about using up dairy products. I made a whole slew of buttermilk recipes when I could only find buttermilk by the half gallon. Since I bought lite ricotta cheese to make that fabulous roasted red pepper sauce, I had the majority of the pint left over.
What’s a girl to make?
Muffins. And pumpkin ricotta oats. But I digress.
Lemon ricotta muffins. I think they’re the perfect balance of sweet and citrus, but my husband thinks they don’t taste anything like cupcakes (FYI – they aren’t supposed to).
Lightened Up Lemon Ricotta Muffins [adapted from this recipe]
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar (I resisted the urge to use an artificial sweetener)
2 tsp grated lemon peel (or more if desired)
1 cup lite ricotta cheese (I used Lamagna – it’s very creamy)
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
2 Tbsp pumpkin (or applesauce)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients and sift or stir with a whisk to mix well.
Combine wet ingredients until well mixed.
Make a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients and lightly fold in wet just until combined. Do NOT overmix.
Pour into sprayed or lined muffin tin, filling 2/3 full (I used a 1/2 cup ice cream scooper). Top with turbinado sugar or a pinch of regular sugar, if desired.
Bake 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
Makes 12 muffins.
They were much lighter than most low-fat baked goods I’ve made – not at all chewy or rubbery. The crumb was nice and delicate.
Approximate nutrition information (per muffin, no sugar topping): 135 calories, 5 grams of fat, 16 grams carbs, 5 grams protein
You could definitely try substituting sour cream or greek yogurt for the ricotta, making them even lower in fat and calories.
The bad things about working the 7 am shift in the dead of winter in Pittsburgh?
Too many to name.
The good thing? Enjoying a toasted muffin while it’s still quiet in the office.
Glad I snagged that jar of jam from a hotel at some point in the past year – it came in handy!
Do you think a muffin has to be incredibly sweet to be enjoyable? My husband thinks these need an icing!
Instead of focusing on the fact that my breakfast looks disgusting and my lunch looks like something a third grader would find in their lunchbox, let’s focus on the progression to a beautiful dinner courtesy of Chef Brian Volmrich from Braddock’s Pittsburgh.
Breakfast, 7 am (at work):
Chocolate strawberry overnight oats – with Chobani, chia seeds, Green Superfood powder, dark chocolate cocoa powder, sliced strawberries, and perfect granola.
Lunch, 12:15 (at work):
My stomach isn’t used to super rich food and I wanted something simple after our decadent meal at Elements. PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin peanut butter and sliced banana on light wheat toast…. and the rest of the banana on the side.
Sweet, warm tea:
Dinner, 7 pm:
Chef Brian’s Pittsburgh Small Plate Sampler: Strip District Kielbasa, Braised Short Rib Pierogie (with delicious artichoke spread underneath), and homemade potato gnocchi with lobster. Of course I only sampled the gnocchi, but the ladies at our table raved about all of the dishes (my meating-eating Polish husband would have loved them too!).
Although the pre-fixe restaurant week menu sounded delicious, I opted out and got the beet and goat cheese salad with a crabcake on the side. See the top left hand side of the plate? Warm, fried goat cheese. Oh my heavens, so amazing. I’ve had this salad combination at many restaurants but I loved the thin slices of beets and pistacios sprinkled on the salad.
Chef Brian came and out and introduced himself after the meal. He told us about various challenges he’s faced – like having two vegetarians show up for Thanksgiving dinner. He’s also accomodated vegans, making a 5 course special meal. Next time I’ll call in advance and see what he has up his sleeve!
Do you ask restaurants to accomodate your special dietary needs, or do you choose to dine out only at places where you know they’ll be met?