Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Appearance of the 2 Ingredient Appetizer

Hi friends!  Happy Thursday!!! or Thursday Eve, to those of you that are reading as I post at 11 pm :)  A few weekends ago, I hosted a dinner party for my birthday for some of my friends.  I was inspired to make this dish because of a to-die-for recipe I had when I was in Chicago in June...the item was bacon-wrapped dates.  I know it sounds a little creepy, but they were incredible.  The sweetness of the dates and the smoky flavor of the bacon gave them an incredible flavor.

However, as a dietitian, I just couldn't see myself wrapping bacon around dates and serving it to my friends.  I just. couldn't. do. it.  You might think a dietitian is judging you about what they eat and most of the time they aren't, but I know people are definitely going to judge by what I feed them and or think that because I served bacon-wrapped dates it's okay to eat them everyday (it's not, sorry).  So what's a gal to do... oh heyyyy prosciutto is like ham's lean cousin.  Let's sub it in!   Ladies, you could probably wow your date with this recipe and it's ridiculously easy, so you might wanna bookmark ;)

Um yeah, this was amazing.  I want to eat these every single day for the rest of my life... and then I want to buy new skinny jeans.


Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

Ingredients

24 pitted dates (smaller sized)
6-8 slices prosciutto

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Attempt to cut your prosciutto into slices, fail miserably, instead wrap small sections around the dates. This will take you about 20 minutes. Sorry, sorry it will, prosciutto is not user friendly, at least not for me, but maybe you have better prosciutto skills?
3. Line dates in a small baking pan, bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy.  Feast away!


Sorry for the lame picture, see the bottom right corner :)

What's your favorite easy appetizer?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hosting 101

Happy Tuesday friends!!!  I know I'm supposed to dislike the first half of the week like the rest of the world... but I don't.  It brings a fresh start to the new week that is full of new opportunities.  Remember that :)

On that note, today's post deals with one of my favorite topics.... how to be an impeccable hostess.  There is absolutely nothing I love more than having people over for drinks and appetizers.  I'm 100% serious.  Dear future Lindsay, I have no doubt that you are hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas... err but I do hope that whoever you married knows how to cook a turkey.  Anyway, being a hostess isn't really that easy and there are lots of things to think about and plan for ahead of time.

1. Your house/apartment/condo must be spotless.  I don't care if you are a neat freak, a little cluttery, normally messy in a bomb went off way or whatever, if you're going to have people over your house it had better be spotless.  No one wants to hang out in a messy house - sorry, but I'm not sorry.

2. Plan what you're going to have a head of time.  This is usually not the time to test out a new recipe - if it fails, it could be an epic disaster.  Cook the things that you know will go over well with the crowd you're hosting to.  Obviously, you wouldn't serve all-meat dishes to a group of vegetarians.  Be aware of food allergies and what kind of reactions people have to them.  Use common sense.  Have a friend that breaks out in hives if she eats eggs?  Don't serve them or if you must, tell her which dishes contain them.  Have a friend that will go into anaphylaxis if they're around peanuts?  Don't serve them and make sure none of your friends show up with them.

3. Have a back-up plan.  I hosted a mini Christmas party for my friends last year and I wanted to buy mini quiche - they didn't have them at the store - so I bought frozen tartlets.  I opened them up to put them in the oven... and they were MOLDY.  Luckily, I had enough food already so it wasn't a huge disaster, but it definitely could have been.  The second moral of this story is yes, you can return food to the grocery store. 

4. Send out an Evite or make a Facebook event.  Save yourself the stamps - plus this will give you a count of how many people to expect.  I love Evite :)  For smaller get togethers, it's my best friend.  I've also created Facebook events before, but they just aren't the same.

5. Keep your cool and have a glass of wine.  It's a little stressful to be a hostess - you have to make sure everyone is getting along, everyone is fed and that your house isn't a disaster at the end of the night.  

6. Introduce people that don't know one another and encourage mingling.  You don't want divided sides of the room, trust me it never ends well.

7. Enjoy yourself!  This is your party :)   





Sample Serving Ideas

Crudites with hummus, ranch dip, spinach dip etc.

Baked Brie (you can find a gazillion recipes online - I use pecans, thyme & cranberries) serve with GF crackers


Roasted Oven Wedges serve with fat-free sour cream & chives

Spinach-Artichoke Dip serve with blue corn tortillas


Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (this recipe is coming in a few days!)


Zucchini Brownies (sub GF flour)




Do you love hostessing? Or do you prefer to be a party go-er? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Potato Series: Part II

Hi friends!! So sorry that I've been so MIA lately... life has been a little crazy :)  Happy Monday btw!  Anyway, it happens to the best of us.  I've been busy working on my thesis, buying a new car, planning nutrition classes for my dietitian job while getting ready to graduate and looking for a full-time job.  It's all very exciting, albeit a tiny bit hectic.

When I was a little girl, my mom always used to make me potato pancakes.  They were incredible and to this day I haven't been able to imitate the recipe...even if I use the same ingredients.  The best part is she just threw them together... egg, shredded potato, flour, parsley....and they turned out like magic.  They were even the recipe in my kindergarten cookbook!

Sorry to disappoint you, but no, I did not recreate those potato pancakes.  In a recent effort to start being more creative in the kitchen while simultaneously using ingredients I already had on hand, I came up with this.

They weren't the same, but they definitely didn't disappoint me :)


Not Mom's Potato Pancakes


Ingredients

2-4 red potatoes (large red potatoes, choose 2)
1 egg
1/4 C 2% cheese, shredded
2 tbsp brown rice flour
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Cut off any wonky spots on your potatoes - mine had a few.  Shred into a medium-size bowl.
2. Mix egg into shredded potatoes, then add rice flour, cheese and green onions.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat - don't get too freaked out about using 2 tbsp of oil, you'll see why in a second.
4.  Use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measure to add mixture to the pan.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom, then flip.
5. Drain potato pancakes on paper towels.
6. Devour :)







What's your favorite recipe for potatoes? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Post With No Words















Just Another Maniac Monday...

Happy Monday, I wish it was a Sunday, cause that's my fun day...hehe.  I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and an even better week to come.  On Friday, I created one of the easiest recipes ever... it took about 15 minutes to throw together and tasted even better than I ever expected.

The only enchiladas I've ever had are the frozen kind that Chef Amy makes.  Can you believe it?  Anyway, I figured that it couldn't be too hard to make my own.  I scoured the internet for an easy cheese enchilada recipe... and came up empty handed :(  Then, I thought about the ricotta and cottage cheeses I had left over from the cheesy pasta bake I made last week.... so I combined them with green chilies and mexican cheese and this recipe was born!


Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients

10 corn tortillas
1/2 C cottage cheese
1 C part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/4 C mexican cheese, shredded
1 small can chiles, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1 10-oz can of enchilada sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine cheeses (only use 1 C of the mexican cheese), chilies and tomatoes.  Set aside.
3. Empty 1/2 of enchilada sauce into a rectangular baking dish.
4. Place ~ 1/4 cup of filling into each tortilla, roll up.  Place rolled tortillas in baking dish, seam side down.  Sprinkle with remaining mexican cheese and top with chopped green onions.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until top is golden brown.


What's your favorite enchilada filling?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

26 Lessons Learned

Happy Saturday!!!  My Saturday is going to be spent going to my sorority's recruitment workshop - they needed alumni volunteers - running last minute errands and throwing a mini dinner party for my birthday.  On the menu for this evening is hummus with veggies, prosciutto wrapped dates, baked brie with pecans, cranberries & thyme, alexia fries and champagne punch.  I'm so excited to see all of my friends and celebrate my birthday

In honor of my birthday and the 26 years I've spent on earth, I thought that I would like to take some time to reflect on a variety of things.  I could be upset about turning 26, but I'm really not.  I feel like every year that passes, life gets better and better.  While I do miss my days in college spending, so much time with all my friends and beginning to figure out who I am, I wouldn't trade that for who I am today.  I believe it was Frank Sinatra who sang "the best is yet to come" and I truly believe that.  Each year, I become a little more sympathetic, a little more resilient, a little more grown up and a little more grateful.  So this year, I wanted to take a little time to share the things I'm thankful for, the things I've learned and the things I appreciate. 

I hope you're ready :)



1. Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what you love, because when you do what you love, the world will need it. - Howard Thurman

2. It's your choice to be happy throughout the challenges that life throws at you - it's hard not to say my life will be perfect when I graduate or when I find a career I love or when I get into grad school or when I fall in love or when I buy a house or when I (fill in anything else you can think of here) - the trouble with that thinking is this is your life - right this second.  Do you really want to waste all that time being unhappy by reaching for this time in the future where everything in your life will be "perfect"?  Your life is perfect right now.  Sheryl Crow did say, "it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got"

3. Take time to appreciate the beauty in everyday.  The way the sun comes over the ground when you're driving to work, the birds in the trees, the chilly fall days, the people you pass in the hallway.  When you see the beauty in life, you become more appreciative of the fact that you get to be here, and honestly you are pretty damn lucky.

4.  Your family and friends are the most important thing in your life, they should be your whole life and if it's not that way you might need to step back and re-prioritize what is really important - or in simpler terms, love is the most important thing.  Two days before my grandpa died, he said to me "I never would have gotten through this without grandma and you kids, you're my whole life".  In that instant, I knew that's exactly how I wanted to feel about my life, I wanted my family (and my friends of course) to be the most important things in my life.

5. If you haven't done it yet, now's the time to clear out all of the toxic friends out of your life.  At some point, everyone has had them.  The friends that don't care about your feelings, the friends that bring you down or make you feel bad about yourself or the friends that are hurtful to others in ways you couldn't imagine - cut the ties.  You don't need negative energy in your life.

6. Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune - without the words, and never stops at all. -Emily Dickinson

7. You should always follow your heart, even when it takes you into the unknown.  Wouldn't you rather lead a life of oh well's than a life of what if's?

8.  Find your own personal style.  Maybe you like boots or big earrings or maybe you hate shopping.  Whichever the case, find what works for you and what flatters you.  Wear what you love.  I love scarves and skinny jeans :)

9.  Being an aunt is the best thing in the entire world.  Now, you have to be an even better person, because there is a little person who is full of so much love that is going to look up to you someday.  Your refrigerator will become decorated with artwork.  Your heart will melt when you see that even though they don't see you that often, they know exactly who you are.

10.  Families come in all shapes and sizes.  I grew up with my grandparents, so they were like my parents.  My aunt is like my sister.  My cousin is my niece.  Sometimes I feel like my mom behaves more like a sister than my mom haha.  Who cares.  All that matters is that we love each other, which is truly all that matters.

11. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.  I grow in this area a little bit more every year.  I'll admit that being an only child didn't give me the world's greatest starting point.  I was pretty sensitive and probably at times a bit of a pushover.  Not anymore.  Life is so much easier when you say how you feel and don't let people take advantage of your kindness.  Remember that.

12.  Take a little time every day to just be quiet with your own thoughts.  No one knows you better than you know yourself. 

13. We all face challenges and struggles - that in no way means that mine are any more difficult for me to deal with than yours and vice versa.  Challenges and struggles all present the same emotions - frustration, sadness, pain, anger - those are all emotions that we can all relate to.

14.  Bethenny Frankel said that you might not always be the most beautiful person in the world, but you should always be the most interesting.  I couldn't agree more - if you don't have hobbies, you need to find them.  Mine are baking, cooking, going to barre classes, meditation, making cards, blogging... sure they might not be things that everyone loves - but they are definitely mine.

15. There’s another kind of love. One that gives you the courage to be better than you are, not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible. I want you to know that you could have that. I want you to hold out for it. – Nights in Rodanthe.  I don't know about you, but I don't plan on settling for any less than that.

16. Sometimes it's hard to be a good friend because you don't always know what to say.  Whether it's the friend who's going through a devastating breakup, lost her job, broken a leg, one who's just had her mother die, sometimes you just don't understand if you haven't been there.  The thing to know is that it's okay, it's completely okay to say to someone I want to be there for you but I don't know how because of xyz, what is it that you need? Do you need me to listen? Do you need me to hang out with you to take your mind off of it?  Above all though, don't ignore the elephant in the room - because then, you just look like the crappy friend who doesn't ask or care and I guarantee that person is never going to forget about that.  Oh yeah and don't make comparisons about well that happened to me but mine was so much worse because of xyz = don't do it!!

17.  Unfortunately, life with blind side you occasionally.  That's okay, because it's part of being human. When it does, whether it's due to losing your job, your significant other, a parent, a friend, don't allow it to make your heart bitter.

18.  If you don't know what you want to do for a career even if you already have a career, don't panic.  You have plenty of time to figure it out.  Whether you're in college and constantly switching majors or already have a degree, there is always time to go back if you make time.  You can accomplish anything you set your mind to do.

19. There are two ways to live: you can live if nothing is a miracle, you can life if everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein.

20. One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response.  "I don't know," Alice answered. Then, said the cat, "it doesn't matter." - Lewis Carroll

21. Take good care of yourself.  Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep at night.  Wear sunscreen and don't use tanning beds.  You only get one body and if you don't take good care of it now, chances are you are going to be really upset about that later.

22. Who knows where the road will lead you, only a fool would say.  And yes, I did just modify Frank Sinatra to get that, but it's true.  It's good to have a plan, but be a little flexible because you might end up somewhere even better than where you thought you were going.  When I couldn't find a job right out of my internship, I was devastated...but then I ended up getting a full scholarship to graduate school, made amazing new friends and expanded my horizons.  It wasn't what I planned for, it was better.

23.  When someone you love dies, it never gets easier, your life as you know it will never be the same.  Everyone will tell you that it will get easier with time and time heals all, but I would be lying to you if I told you that.  This is what will happen instead - you will learn how to cope.  You will learn how to get out of bed every morning and you will learn how to go on with your life.  You will learn that the person you lost is always with you - you can pray to them, you might dream about them.  Things will happen when you need them and you'll completely fall apart.  Your life won't be the same but you'll be okay.  You'll realize that you're a more empathetic person than you ever were before and you know that you'll be able to help your friends more so than anyone helped you when you have to go through the same thing.

24.  Pray for other people if you don't already do.  Not only does it connect you more to the fact that we really all the same, but it really helps you to see the good in every person.  Some of the women from my high school started a facebook group where announcements will go out for alumni who have sick children, or spouses or who might be sick themselves.  It's comforting to be able to see that much love and support going out to someone you may not even know.

25.  Music makes everything better and yes it really is that simple.

26.  Each year you learn something.  Things happened that you never expected to happen, both good and bad.  Sometimes I like to ponder who I'll be in the future, what will I be like?  The most important question to ask yourself is who do I want to be?  Then, you can plan the steps to get there :)

What lessons have you learned?

The Greatest Thing Ever

Happy Saturday everyone!  Sorry I've been MIA... Thursday was kind of a big deal... well at least for me... because it was my birthday :)  I've always been a person that just adores birthdays, as in, can we celebrate them for a whole week?!  Back when I was in college and worked at Curves, one of our clients said that in her home her family celebrated birthday week for each of their family members - let's just say that is totally going to happen in my house.  This year, this was what I got....




See you tomorrow with a list of 26 things I'm thankful for!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pasta Party Pronto

Hooray for Wednesday!  Happy Hump Day! Does anyone ever really say that anymore?  Oh well, I do :)  A few weeks ago, I had a post on healthy back to school breakfasts.  For today's post, I'm going to give you a healthy lunch option.

I really like this pasta for a couple of different reasons, it's high in fiber from the quinoa pasta (if you are a gluten eater then use 100% whole wheat) and high in protein from the cottage and ricotta cheeses.  It also freezes well and is even more amazing if you add edamame!  Ellie Krieger's recipe that I've posted is pretty amazing, but I've added some changes to make it more my style and also to make it gluten-free of course.  This recipe is pretty easy, requires minimal cleanup and comes together quickly. Feast away!


Cheesy Baked Pasta adapted from Ellie Krieger

Ingredients


16 oz quinoa pasta (if you use Ancient Harvest, you'll need 2 boxes)
1 16-ounce can basil, garlic & oregano diced tomatoes
1 C tomato basil pasta sauce
1 1/2 C shredded pizza cheese blend, preferably 2%
1 1/2 C low-fat cottage cheese
1 C low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic (I use the pre-minced kind)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tspdried rosemary
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp pepper


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil water for quinoa pasta.  Add and cook for about 7-8 minutes, until al dente. Drain. Return to pot.
2. Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Saute onion and garlic over medium low-heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.
2. To garlic mixture, add tomato basil pasta sauce and the 16-oz can of tomatoes.  Add red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary & pepper.  Allow mixture to simmer until thickened, about 12-15 minutes.  Stir the mixture occasionally.
3. Combine parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and 1 cup of the pizza cheese blend. Stir in parsley.
4. In pasta pot, add sauce and cheeses.  Stir to combine.
5. Spray cooking dishes with non-stick spray (I used 3!) and top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until top of pasta is golden brown.
7. Devour.  Freeze leftovers in Pyrex containers for the work week :)


Serves 10 Lindsay-sides portions or 8 normal people :)


Don't be fooled, I had to bake this in 3 different dishes!


With a side of asparagus? Yes, please :)

Do you like baked pastas?  Any I should try?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

C is for Cookie

Happy Tuesday everyone!  I hope that by now your week is off to a fabulous start.  I'm loving the fall weather and looking forward to the months ahead :)  Lately, I've been saying that I want a cookie literally everyday.  Really?  I'm too lazy to make an entire batch though and I wanted a quick and easy gluten-free cookie that didn't come out of a box.  So I've been putting off the cookie baking.  Then I had a thought... what if I made a small batch of cookies and froze most of them.... then if I wanted a cookie, I could just pull one out of the freezer, easy peasy style.  I wanted them to be a decent size, but not a monster size.  This continued for a few days but today I had the grand realization that I had these in the refrigerator...


So, of course this had to happen....


Sunflower Seed Cookies

Ingredients

1/4 C Smart Balance Omega-3 Blend, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
 2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix 

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup candy coated sunflower seeds (if you don't have these, you could sub M&M's)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together Smart Balance & brown sugar - I used a hand mixer, but feel free to use a stand!
2. Add egg and vanilla to creamed mixture, combine.
3. Add in baking mix, combine.
4. Add in chocolate chips and candy coated sunflower seeds!
5. Drop tablespoon fulls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Enjoy!

Finished product :) 



What are you looking forward to this fall?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cinnamon Monday

Happy Monday friends!  It's official, fall is here... and yes, I did kind of make that up because it's not the official start of fall until the fall equinox.  Anyway, when it's starts to get cold, who doesn't want comfort food?  Things that come to mind when it's fall included pumpkin, oats, cinnamon..... I'm not quite ready to break into my pumpkin stash, so in the meantime I decided to make cinnamon pancakes.

Have you had cinnamon pancakes?  My grandma used to make them for my cousin and I when we would have sleepovers at her house.  These were the only times in my life that I had been blessed with the glory of cinnamon pancakes.  That is, until today, and now I'm sharing this recipe with you.  Enjoy :) 


Cinnamon Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
1/3 C Pamela's Pancake Mix
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup soy milk + 1 tsp
1 tbsp light whipped cream cheese
1/8 tsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp stevia

1. Combine baking mix, cinnamon, flaxseed and 1/3 cup soy milk - allow to sit for ~5-10 minutes.
 2. Pour mix into a nonstick pan sprayed with nonstick spray (I use coconut).
3. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, stevia and 1 tsp soy milk.
4. Top with your toppings of choice - I went with chopped walnuts :)



What are your favorite kinds of pancakes?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Things I'm Loving This Fall

Happy Friday Eve everyone :)  I hope you're enjoying your Thursday... and the start of fall.  September has always been my favorite month of the year, so today I'm going to share with you 5 things that I'm loving this fall...


1. Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte - my favorite thing about fall... I look forward to this every year.  Seriously.  I've tried to re-create it at home, but it's just never the same.  The day I can order a grande Soy Pumpkin Spice Latte is when I know the start of fall is officially here... I had my first one yesterday :)




2. Ponchos - Seriously, these are the outfit item that dreams are made of.... cozy, lazy, stylish... really what is not to love?!  It's basically like walking around with a huge blanket on.


3. Madden Girl Zeda Boots - I purchased these last year at DSW.. but lucky for you they are available at Zappo's!  I love riding boots of any kind with skinny jeans.


4. Sushi - okay okay, this is something I always love, fall or no fall, but a restuarant that serves sushi Chipotle style?  I'm already sold.






5. Long Sleeved Mini Dresses - Everyone knows I love dresses and long sleeved mini dresses are no exception.  My personal favorite is this one from Express in black.  It's totally adorable and will be perfect for cooler weather.



What are you loving for fall?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspiration for Wednesday

Happy Wednesday :)  Today, I wanted to share with you something inspiring... so I leave you with the Holstee Manifesto.




What inspires you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You're Welcome

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday... err but more like Monday for most of us.  At least we're one day closer to Friday.  This post will change your life.  You should also go make this as soon as humanly possible, this will require the purchase of a donut pan, but it's definitely worth it.  You could probably make this cupcakes in a muffin pan, but then you would have cupcakes and not muffins.  I promise I won't tell anyone. 


I've never really been a fan of traditional donuts - no thanks to the glazed donuts, or the filled donuts or the twisted donuts.  However, I've always loved cake donuts.  When I was a little girl... my grandpa used to always buy donuts from Graeter's, you know the ice cream store that just so happens to have amazing baked goods.  I grew up with my grandparents, so this occurrence was fairly often.  After I left for college, I always looked forward to my visits home that were full of laughter and love, oh and donuts of course.  


My favorite were the cake donuts topped with white icing and chocolate sprinkles, actually they were the only ones I liked.  He used to buy them just for me :)  My last Graeter's cake donut was eaten on my 23rd birthday, but at the time I had no idea it would be the last.  It's  amazing how life can blindsight you.  Two weeks later, the trips to Graeter's went on a hiatus when my grandpa entered the hospital.  Three days after Christmas, they were officially over and they would never come back.  I knew I would never be able to bring myself to eat a cake donut with white icing and chocolate sprinkles ever again.


Now, I won't be eating any kind of donuts since I've become gluten-free.  I've seen numerous donut recipes on blogs... and they made me remember the wonderful days of the cake donuts... so maybe I could start a new tradition and make my own gluten-free cake donuts.  


Obviously, donuts definitely aren't a great nutritional choice, but if you follow the 80/20 rule like I do, you certainly can have them.  This recipe is great because the donuts are baked instead of fried and the fat content is fairly low.


I present you with... the sparkle donut.






Sparkle Donuts


Ingredients

1 1/2 c Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake Mix
3/4 C soy milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
2.5 tbsp Smart Balance Omega-3 Blend, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4-1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp soymilk
1/4 cup spinkles (or sparkles like mine!)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.  
2. Combine yeast with sugar and heated soy milk - allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until yeast becomes foamy.  Add eggs and vanilla to mixture.
3. Combine mix, cocoa powder, baking powder in a medium sized bowl.  Add yeast mixture and melted butter, stir until combined.
4. Place batter into a ziplock bag, seal top.  Cut bottom corner, this will enable you to pipe the mixture into your donut pan. See photos below for help. I recommend using one that is non-stick, if not, spray lightly with cooking spray. 
5. Bake donuts in the oven for 7 minutes. Flip donut pan to release.
6. While donuts are cooling, combine confectioner's sugar and soy milk in a small bowl.  Add sparkles to a second bowl.
7. Dip donuts into the icing, then dip into sparkles :)
8. Enjoy!














What are your favorite donuts?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fireworks & Rain

Hi everyone!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day weekend.  It's back to the real world for the most of us - especially me, since I have my thesis proposal meeting tomorrow.... I hope it goes well.

Anyway, back to this post.  One of my friends decided to host a party to watch the Labor Day fireworks on her rooftop.  Obviously, I needed to make some sort of dish - so I decided to bring my favorite dip.  I've made this on numerous occasions.... Thanksgiving, bachelorette parties, work parties, birthdays... the list goes on and on.  It never disappoints... it's cheesy and incredible... oh yeah and you'll never believe that it's lower in fat than traditional spinach & artichoke dip. 

Unfortunately, it rained for the fireworks.  We still made it work with umbrellas and we managed to save the food!  So.... here's the moment you've been waiting for... the recipe!  Enjoy :)

PS: See you tomorrow with the best recipe EVER...I'm not even giving a hint, so you'll have to stay in suspense ;) 


Spinach & Artichoke Dip, adapted from Cooking Light 

Ingredients

10 oz spinach, frozen
14 oz artichokes, canned 
1/2 C fat-free sour cream
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
2 blocks 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/4 ts black pepper
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese with parmesan cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, black pepper, garlic & crushed red pepper.
3. Rinse artichokes. Chop into small pieces with a chef knife. 
4. Thaw spinach by microwaving 2-4 minutes, drain.
5. Add spinach & artichokes to cheese mixture, top with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
6. Bake until cheese is golden brown 20-40 minutes based on the depth of the dish you use.
7. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips. Feast away!

use your cooking dish - make life easier :)

heaven


What's your go-to party dip?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Single-Serve Pancake Heaven

Hi friends!  Happy Friday.... TGIF!  Who is super excited for the weekend?! ME.  One of my favorite meals has always been Sunday brunch.  Up until the day I moved into my dorm room, my Sunday's were always spent attending mass with my grandparents followed by Sunday brunch.  Can you believe that when I was little I actually thought that everyone ate brunch and no one ate breakfast and lunch on Sunday?  Obviously, I don't think that anymore, but one thing hasn't changed - I love brunch, probably in capital letters.


In terms of brunch foods...I've always loved pancakes... but when you're out and about they aren't always the healthiest choice.  Sometimes they are the size of a frisbee and come in sets of 3.  Other times they come slathered in butter with an ocean of syrup.  Making them at home isn't any easier, when every recipe makes 8-10 pancakes.  On the days that you don't have time to make 8-10 and freeze them for later, you just want one.  Is that such a hard thing to ask for?  Not anymore. 


For the following recipe, I now use Pamela's Pancake Mix (it's gluten free) but I used to use 365 Whole Wheat Pancake Mix and it rocks.  If you don't leave near a Whole Foods, try to find the least processed whole grain pancake mix that you can - the ingredients list should be something like 100% whole grain flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar.  I would recommend looking for Bob's Red Mill - you can usually find this in the organic/health section of your grocery store.   


Perfect Pancake for One


Ingredients


1/3 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I use Pamela's. If you aren't GF use 100% whole wheat)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed 
1/4-1/3 cup soy milk (feel free to use skim, 2% or almond )
1 tbsp 75-80% cocoa chocolate chips (I use WF 365 - 2 grams of fiber!)


1.  Combine the flaxseed with the pancake mix.
2.  Add in your milk of choice.  Let it set for about 10 minutes - this is very important.  Ground flaxseed acts as a binder since you aren't using eggs - give it time to do it's job :)  You might need to add more milk because it can get kinda gummy.  Now, toss in your chocolate chips.  Add a few extra because it's Friday. 
3. In a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, cook the pancake over low heat.  When bubbles form or the edges seem done, flip and continue cooking until the other side is set.
4.  Enjoy :)


The possibilities are endless for toppings - I like almond butter & coconut :)  Or Justin's Hazelnut Butter.  Toss some berries on the side and enjoy your pancakes for one.  If you are feeling extra decadent, add a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder to your batter. 






What are your favorite kind of pancakes? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Great Potato Series: Part One

Happy Friday Eve readers!  Today, I'm going to share a recipe with you that features one of my favorite foods.  Potatoes.  If you ask my family, they would be the first to tell you that potatoes are one of my favorite foods.  Actually, I'm 100% sure that for the first 8 or so years of my life, I consumed potatoes daily.  I had obnoxiously long hair as a child and I remember my grandma and mom joking about how my secret must be all of the potatoes that I ate :o) 

Now, you know I'm an RD, so you might be a little surprised that potatoes rank high on my list of favorite healthy foods.  Actually, potatoes are a really great source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C and potassium - this is especially true for those of us that can't eat gluten since many gluten-free carbohydrate substitutes are higher in fat than there normal counterparts.  The reason potatoes get such a bad name has to do with the things we do to them... let's see, there are french fries, aka, deep fried potatoes.... they get topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and sour cream.... did I mention butter?  The list goes on and on.

So how can you have your potatoes and eat them too?  Well, my friends, let me introduce you to the great potato series!!  I'll be sharing with you my favorite potato recipes over the next few months and you can decide for yourselves.

Simple Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

2 medium/large potatoes (or 3 small)
1/2 cup 2% sharp cheddar, shredded
1/3 cup soy milk (I used Silk)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
salt & pepper

1. Bake your potatoes - I recommend baking in the oven, but if you're short on time feel free to microwave. Cut in half and allow to cool.
2. Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet.
3. Scoop insides of potatoes out and place into a medium bowl.  Mash potatoes with a fork, add soy milk, cheddar and onion.  Season with salt & pepper.
4. Fill potato shells with the mashed mixture.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden brown.  I would recommend using an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees - I used a toaster oven so if you go that route, cut your time down to about 10-12 minutes
6. Enjoy!



What's your favorite way to eat potatoes?