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.
Living in a place where it can snow 9 months out of the year (so far, I have seen snow in ever month except June, July, and August) that worships being outdoors when the rest of the country is saying that it’s just too freaking cold, I drink a lot of hot cocoa. But the really, really good stuff is loaded with milk and cream, and the packets don’t really fit well into that whole cleaning thing. While I’m far from ever going full vegan, I do try to limit my dairy, especially milk. So here’s my favorite non-dairy hot cocoa. It’s so rich and creamy that you’ll never know that it’s vegan friendly as well.
Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa
makes 4 servings
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Mix sugar, cocoa, salt and water in saucepan over medium heat. Stir well and bring to an easy boil while stirring continuously. Simmer for about 2 minutes making sure it doesn’t scorch.
2. Add almond milk and heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs and enjoy!
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.