Here’s the deal, I am not super fancy. Nope, in fact, far from it. I despise dressing up and wearing makeup, but adore having a fresh face and wearing my workout/yoga gear all day. Yes, I am one of those women. In essence, I like being comfortable because when I’m comfortable, I feel like myself. Lucky for me I have a husband who also appreciates my casual approach to life! 🙂 Why do I bother telling you this? Well, because unlike my personal style/lifestyle, I actually like for my food to have flair with a hint of fancy.
I’m keeping this post simple because I feel it could easily get out of hand, fast!
Here’s the deal, like the rest of America, I am in love with pumpkin.
For some people, this is just a trendy type of love, but for me, it’s the real deal and it’s got roots, people, serious roots. You see my love of pumpkin stems from my love of Halloween. And that love story began a long, long time ago, back when I was embarking on my first trick-or-treating experience. Long before I knew that candy was just the beginning of my beautiful (and believe it or not, healthy) relationship with all things sugar. Now that I have such an advanced palate (uh huh, yep, I do. Ha!) and a degree in Nutrition, I can take what I love and put a de”light”full spin on it. Enter, my pumpkin spice granola.
It’s time for another recipe for the Short and Sweet Series:
Let’s talk blueberry muffins!!!
Why I made this recipe: Because I wanted muffins. 🙂 Oh, and I wanted to try and make them healthier by using Greek yogurt.
Why I love this recipe: Because they are loaded with blueberries and I adore blueberries (see below). Plus, I like that they are a little heartier and denser than your average muffin, thanks to the Greek yogurt.
I love jam. I am not kidding. It’s just my thing…jam is my jam. There really is something special about it. In fact, there was a Christmas a few years back where my mother-in-law bought me jam, and it just about brought me to tears! Bless her, because it was and still is, a very happy and memorable moment. Jam-of-the-month club? Sign me up!
But here’s the deal, sometimes those jams are loaded with sugar. I know, a lot of people dig that extra shot of carbohydrate-crazy in the morning, but not me. I like the fruit and I want to taste the fruit, not the sugar. So, when I’m itching for some seriously tasty, fruity jam, I make my own. It’s completely simple to do and I love that I control what goes in it, that means less sugar, more fruit. Yay!
This triple berry jam is a great way to enjoy the rest of your summer produce. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are all delicious and amazingly nutritious, so why not make a jam out of them!? If you don’t have fresh, use frozen, just know that you may need to cook it a little longer than the recipe below states.
What else can you use this delicious jam for besides toast? How about swirling it in yogurt? Or adding it to your bowl of oatmeal? I also think it’s pretty amazing on top of frozen yogurt or a piece of angel food cake. Yum!
Ps-Don’t skip the zest! It’s such a refreshing addition. Just be sure to wait to add it until the jam has cooled off a bit, otherwise it’ll just taste bitter.
A simple homemade jam made with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, orange and a touch of honey.
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quarted (or cut into eighths if large)
Combine the honey and orange juice in the bottom of a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the fruit, stir, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat, transfer the jam to a bowl or jar and allow to cool.
Once cooled, stir in the orange zest then cover with a lid and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
The theme of this month’s redux is “back to the dinner table” and I love this theme because I am a huge advocate of sitting down at the table and eating and enjoying meals as a family. When I grew up, this was something we did, maybe not for every meal, but as often as we could. Sure, it was a little crazy at times and there were definitely instances where foods was pushed around on plates or tossed across the table, but it was great and I have many fond memories of sitting and eating with my family.
The tradition of sitting down and eating dinner as a family continues at my house. And to honor the family dinner, I thought pancakes were in order since they happen to be one of our favorite foods. And hey, breakfast for dinner is always fun, right?
My husband happens to really like carrot cake, so he inspired these little Carrot Cake Pancakes. It’s totally like having your cake and eating it too. The great thing about them is that these little cakes are loaded with nutrition instead of fat and calories.
To top off the theme of family, I have to include a special thanks to two very special people who helped me with this recipe and blog post, my mom and her husband Stan. Notice how awesome these pics look? Yup, that’s their handiwork! My mom created those amazing vignettes and Stan was an expert at holding the makeshift paper “screen” to help create/block light. They also happily obliged to taste-testing, and judging by the looks of the empty plate, I’m assuming they liked them.
So, from my family to yours, we wish you many happy meals at the table!
P.S. – These little cuties are super delicious with a little drizzle of maple syrup and a light dusting with powdered sugar. 🙂
The tasty goodness of carrot cake without all of the fat and calories!
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup low fat milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 cups finely grated carrot
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and brown sugar. Stir in the nuts and carrots. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir gently until combined.
Heat non-stick pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Once hot, spray with non-stick cooking spray and drop pancakes onto hot pan using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Cook on the first side until batter begins to bubble, then flip and cook the other side an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
This recipe serves 8, which gives each person two delicious pancakes apiece.
Tired of your usual bowl of cereal in the morning? It’s no wonder if you are! You’re taste buds are likely bored after eating the same thing every day for breakfast. Yes, it’s reliable, but is that bowl of flakes filling your “nutritional bucket?” Meaning, is it offering a myriad of nutrients that keep your body fueled to function at its best? Instead of filling that bowl with cereal, why not give yourself a meal that tastes good, fills you up and gives you the energy you need to start your day off right?
I love mangoes. They are exquisite in every way. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than enjoying the sweet, tropical flavor of a ripe mango. Mangoes have only been a relatively recent discovery for me. Growing up in Indiana, I never once encountered a mango anywhere. That’s not too ironic, I suppose. Now, it seems mangoes are everywhere. Thank goodness! And when they go on sale, I just can’t help myself and buy way more than I (or the rest of my family) can possibly eat. Not wanting to waste their tasty goodness, I needed to find a way to make use of mine before they went from ripe to inedible. I immediately thought of jelly/jam/preserves. Since my breakfast EVERY DAY consists of peanut butter on toast with some kind of jelly, I knew, that if I turned those extra mangoes into preserves, I could enjoy them EVERY DAY! Woo hoo! So, with just a little bit of time (20 minutes max!) and only a little bit of sugar and lemon juice, I had a winning recipe for mango preserves! Now I share the recipe with you! Enjoy and feel good that you made something delicious and perhaps, even better, than some of those store bought preserves.
This mango preserve recipe is simple to make is a delicious treat on toast or as a topping for yogurt or ice cream!
3 large, ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly.
Remove from heat and allow preserves to cool before placing in a jar or bowl. Once fully cooled, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Enjoy within 7-10 days.
Jazz it up! You can add other ingredients for a fun twist. Add a cinnamon stick while the mixture simmers (remove before storing) or add the zest of a lime or lemon after the mixture has been taken off of the heat. You could even add flaked coconut or chopped, dried pineapple for a fun tropical version.
I love when Recipe Redux time rolls around each month. It gives me inspiration for creative time in the kitchen, which I love. This month’s theme is “stop being wasteful and use the stuff that’s been sitting in your pantry!” Ok, that’s just my summation of the theme. It was put more eloquently of course, but that’s basically it. Pick something that’s been in the pantry for awhile and put it to good use. Great idea!
So off I went to my pantry, on the hunt for something inspiring. I opened the door and immediately (and embarrassingly) noted its “fullness.” Ugh, there was plenty of food in there that was simply begging to be used. So I acknowledged my pantry with a quick “noted” comment and promised to cook and use that food before it went to waste. Then it was back to my original task…finding the one thing that’s been in there for far too long. After a quick inventory, it came down to three things: brown rice, canned diced chiles and light coconut milk. A glance at the packages revealed that the light coconut milk would be heading to the trash can soon if I didn’t use it, so the light coconut milk was the winner. Now, just what was I going to do with it?
I immediately thought of Thai food. So many delicious dishes use coconut milk and I had a million (ok, maybe just two or three) ideas running through my head. But then something struck me. Maybe it was the delicious scent coming from the apartment next door, but I swear I smelled waffles. It smelled so amazing, that my thoughts of Thai food were immediately replaced with thoughts of waffles. Then, the light bulb went off and my Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles were born.
I adore waffles which made this recipe even more fun to create! They are a great breakfast option, especially when all-purpose white flour gets replaced with whole wheat flour and when a simple topping of fresh fruit is the perfect finishing touch. Coconut milk and a little toasted coconut add a fun tropical twist and the vanilla bean paste add just the right of balance and “sweetness.” These are a perfect treat for breakfast or a handy snack. Try these waffles and I promise you’ll fall in love.
Ok, so my part is done…now it’s time to take a look at what’s in your pantry!
I need a healthy snack that tastes good,” said no toddler ever. If toddlers had their way, I’m sure they would eat only noodles and cookies. Because I am in charge, I am faced with the challenge of trying to find just that: a healthy snack that tastes good.