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.
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.
This week I’m supposed to be fueling for my marathon next Saturday in Kansas City. I used to be a pasta freak. Don’t get me wrong, I still love pasta, but all those carbs usually leave me feeling bloated and sluggish after a giant helping. Enter the spaghetti squash. Just about as easy to prepare and if you’re straining challenged like me, you don’t have to worry about half the pasta ending up in the bottom of the sink. Just cut in half, bake, scoop, and voila! A flavor filled, lower calorie substitute for any of your favorite pasta dishes. And no scraping dried pasta noodles off your pan! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. Not a huge fan of olives, I left those out and added some more garlic and a pinch of salt to the tomatoes for a little added flavor.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta
Makes 6 servings
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped roma tomatoes
- 3/4 cup crumbled fat-free feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F. spray cooking sheet with cooking spray.
- Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake at least 30 min in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, and basil. Serve warm.
Stop!! Don’t throw out the seeds when getting those pumpkins ready to cook for puree or to carve for Halloween! Toasted and tossed with a little bit of seasoning, they make a great healthy snack. You can simply bake and toss with a little salt or try this recipe, which is one of my favorite pumpkin seed recipes from wholeliving.com.
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Makes about 1 cup
- Pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove seeds from pumpkin. Discard membranes and spread seeds on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Toss seeds with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, plus cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and honey.
- Return to oven and roast coated seeds until golden, about 15 minutes. Scrape from pan and stir seeds as they cool to prevent sticking.
Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Makes 18 muffins
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites plus 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup all natural unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.
- In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg whites and egg, pumpkin and applesauce. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
- In separate bowl, mix together remaining flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter until the mixture resembles course crumbles. Sprinkle on top of muffin batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.