With the hammy and mother nature still thwarting my marathon training attempts, my focus has switched over to hitting the weights to get back the strength I’ve lost over the winter. Ok, really, I just want to look like Erin Stern when bikini season comes around. This has meant cleaning up my terrible winter eating habits (hello, muffin top!) and getting back into a strength training routine. Sadly, every diet I’ve seen out there for people looking to build muscles mass while slimming down includes massive amounts of egg whites. I HATE eggs!!!! I have never been able to stomach them. And my dislike for eggs was further solidified in college when a developmental biology project gone wrong resulted in me becoming the parent briefly of an adorable little chick. Spike, if you’re reading this, mommy loves you! So when it comes to having eggs for breakfast every day, Rocky, I am not.
I did what any girl would do, and posted on facebook about my dilemma. Luckily, I have some amazing friends that probably could chug down raw egg whites like they were a frat boy at a kegger. Hello breakfast souffle!! Primallyinspired.com has a couple of amazing breakfast souffle recipes that are not only decadent, but healthy to boot. The breakfast fruit souffle is like eating a really fluffy pancake topped with fresh fruit. Best part is, you can just use whatever fruit is in season or that you have on hand. I made it with some strawberries that were starting to go a little soft and fresh blueberries. YUM!!! Serve it with some vanilla greek yogurt, and it’s kind of like eating berry pie à la mode. I actually ate the rest for my evening snack as a dessert. The dark chocolate breakfast souffle is to die for. It was so rich, I felt like I was eating chocolate cake for breakfast. Minus the OMG-I-had-cake-for-breakfast guilt that hits you on the elliptical later that morning. I omitted the honey in the glaze, and it was still plenty sweet. I can’t wait to try the gingerbread breakfast souffle later this week.
Whatever it is about eggs, if must be working. The muffin top is gone (and there’s still snow on the ground!!!). A few more weeks of this, and I don’t care if it’s still winter in Minneosta. I won’t be hiding my six-pack (currently a four-pack, but much improvement over February’s keg) under bulky sweaters. My neighbors will just have to deal with me shoveling the driveway in my bikini (gotta get some use out of them since the summers are so short).
Today’s big discovery? Pre-cut bagged kale at Trader Joe’s! I’ve bought several bunches of kale with good intentions to make kale chips, but I get busy, forget about it, and then when I finally get around to it, I find it’s morphed into a soggy mess. No more using laziness as an excuse to make a batch!
Great thing about kale chips, you can season them however you want. Today’s lunch is tomato soup, so something on the cheesier side sounded good. I rummaged through the fridge and pantry and found some parmesan, garlic powder, salt, and parsley. Perfect! These are amazing on their own or dipped in soup. And super easy to make!
Parmesan Kale Chips
- 1/2 bag of pre-cut kale (check for and remove any stems)
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- sea salt to taste
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. In large bowl, toss together kale, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, and salt. Make sure kale is well coated.
2. Spread leaves evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 min until edges start to brown. Check often, removing finished chips as needed.
The past few months, I’ve been participating in the Foodie Pen Pal program organized by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. After a few months of ending up empty-handed, I was really excited to come home one day and find a package from Sarah full of goodies from her home state of Colorado.
I had a great time unpacking the box to discover all the goodies she’d sent me.
In the box, I found a bag of Archer Farms Pecan Sticky Bun Granola from Target, Korma Curry Powder, Corn Chips with flax-seed from one of the local health food stores, almond butter, Celestial Seasonings Fruit Tea Sampler, a peach Greek yogurt granola bar, Ghirardelli hot cocoa and peppermint stir sticks, white chocolate chai, a seasoning packet, and some homemade spiced nuts (eaten before I could snap a pic). The granola, hot cocoa, curry and almond butter are some of her favorite things that she wanted to share. The spice mix is from a spice shop one of her coworkers owns (and really good on potatoes!!!). The stirrers are made in Denver. They went so good with the hot cocoa mix!! The chai was from her favorite chai place. It was the perfect treat one chilly night while sitting by the fireplace. The tea is made in Boulder. I love Celestial Seasonings tea!! I always throw a bag or two in my med kit for nights I have to work hockey and need something hot to drink. The fruit sampler is one of my favorites. I haven’t had a chance to try the curry yet, but everything else was so yummy. Most of the box has disappeared already. Thanks Sarah for all the wonderful treats!!
This month I sent my package to Lyndi at The Journey. Click here to see what all I sent her way. If you’re interested in being a foodie pen pal, click on the link on my homepage. Instead of sending food gifts to each other this month, Lindsay is asking the pen pals to donate the money they would normally spend on their food gifts to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you’d like to donate, click here for more information.
Call it what you like. Pasta fa-jol-ee or fas-ool. I’m going to call it a quick and easy dinner that is great for those cold fall nights. Paired with a tomato, mozzarella, and pesto sandwich on ciabatta or quinoa fritters, it’s a filling, guilt free dinner. I usually double this recipe to make plenty of leftovers to freeze for those nights I’m on the run and want a hearty home cooked meal.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt to taste
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta (rotini, ditalini and radiatore work well)
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans or great northern beans, with liquid
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook celery, onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.
- Add undrained beans and mix well. Heat through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
I needed a snack yesterday that wasn’t left over Halloween candy, and I needed one fast! The question was, “What could I make with the lack of food in my fridge?” I had Greek yogurt, some pears, and condiments. That was about it. Getting a little creative, I decided a yogurt parfait sounded delicious. With my fingers crossed it didn’t turn into a huge kitchen disaster, I grabbed a skillet, some seasoning, and went to work. Here’s what the final result was…
Warm Pear Yogurt Parfait
- 1 pear, sliced
- a dab of butter (butter flavored spray will work as well to cut out the fat and calories)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 oz vanilla greek yogurt
- granola cereal (I love the Sweet Georgia Grains Heirloom Oatmeal Cookie Granola)
- In medium skillet, melt enough butter to coat pan. Add pears, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Combine well and cook until pears begin to soften.
- Pour pear mixture into a bowl and top with yogurt and granola.
- You can add other toppings such as raisins, dates, dried cranberries, nuts or honey if desired.
I may be digging a little deep for this one, but with being out-of-town for the marathon all weekend and not having a chance to go grocery shopping, cut me a little slack. I was excited to find a new use for the apple butter I whipped up earlier this month beyond toast, pb&ab sandwiches, and on crackers with a little cream cheese. I was craving something sweet after dinner, but was way too tired to put the effort into baking, so I when I saw the cup of Greek yogurt and the apple butter sitting next to each other, a little light bulb went off in my head. In reality, it was probably the fridge light deciding to go the way of ALL the batteries in ALL of my smoke detectors, but the result was pure genius. Add a spoonful or two of apple butter to vanilla Greek yogurt, stir together well, and VOILA! Cinnamon Apple Greek Yogurt. Easy as apple pie…. mmmmm…. apple pie……
I’m having one of those “OMG, I really need to go to the grocery store!” nights. I just opened the fridge and it’s pretty much hummus and Greek yogurt, which I’m guessing is the female vegetarian version of a bachelor’s fridge. Sick of veggie burgers and PB & Apple Butter sandwiches, I needed to make a real dinner. Like any good single person, I had pasta and lots of it. A bit of a pasta snob, I can’t do jarred pasta sauce. I have flashbacks of the college days where the cafeteria served vats of Ragu nightly in the pasta bar for those of us that didn’t want to eat the mystery meat. *shudder* This recipe just happened to pop up in my inbox earlier today, and as luck would have it, I had some leftover pumpkin puree in the freezer. Score!!! I deviated a bit from the original recipe, but I’ll post it without my major tweaks below and let you have some fun with the flavors you enjoy. It is a bit on the mild side, and I like pasta with a bit of a kick, so I added extra Parmesan to my liking and sprinkled a bit of garlic powder on my portion, which probably defeats the whole purpose of all the original spices. But I don’t care. I love garlic and with Halloween right around the corner, I want to be prepared in case Twilight is real.
Pumpkin Parmesan Penne
- 6 ounces penne pasta (go for whole wheat if you’re a better person than me)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (more if sauce is too thin)
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup skim milk (or vanilla almond milk if you’re out of real milk)
- a sliver of unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered according to the box, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite. Drain well and set aside.
- Heat the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, milk, butter, onion powder, black pepper, salt, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in a large skillet over low heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the drained pasta, and toss with the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired.