Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Easy Light Chocolate Hazelnut Pecan Granola

I have a bit of obsession with granola, and who doesn't love chocolate? I have played around with various Nutella granola recipes.  After much experimentation, I came up with this creation.  You get that wonderful sweet taste, and yet it is light on the calorie side.

2.5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup hazelnut spread 
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Measure out rolled oats into a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine honey, hazelnut spread, and water into a microwave safe container.  Microwave for about 30 seconds.  Stir and spread over oats and mix.
4. Once combined, spread mixture onto baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and mix granola.  Add pecans and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool.  If more chocolate is desired, mix in 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips.

Nutrition Information (not including chocolate chips): for 1/4 cup serving -
Calories: 102
Fat: 4.9 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Carbs: 12.9 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Sugars: 4.2 g
Protein: 2.2 g
Calcium: 0.4%
Iron: 3.7%

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peanut Butter Banana

I am revisiting my favorite easy, fast, and healthy recipe.

It only requires 2 ingredients and about 1 minute of your time to put together.

It is perfect as a quick snack or small breakfast.

This is one of my favorite foods before a run outside!

I do highly recommend organic peanut butter.  I used to be a huge fan of reduced fat peanut butter.  Then I read the label and found a ton of ingredients that I did not recognize.  All there is in the peanut butter I currently use is peanuts and sea salt.  It's really nice to know exactly what I am eating.

1 medium banana
1 tbsp organic peanut butter

1. Measure out peanut butter on to a plate.
2. Peel and slice banana on to the plate.
3. Grab a fork and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 210
Fat: 8.5 g
Saturated: 1.8 g
Carb: 33.5 g
Protein: 5 g
Sodium: 60 mg
Potassium: 450 mg
Fiber: 4.5 g
Sugars: 20 g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 15%
Iron: 4%

Monday, August 22, 2016

Light and Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is my most favorite meal to make.  It is so easy, and a great option at the end of the week when you have a bunch of veggies and are trying to make sure you use them.  Stir fry is also a great meal prep option.  Usually what I do is make chicken stir fry for dinner and then package extra for lunches for a few days.

Here is the thing though - it is easy to gain a lot of calories if you over sauce your stir fry.  One day I was horrified when I discovered my husband poured a full bottle of hoisin sauce in our stir fry.  There were over 1,000 calories in the bottle and tons of sodium.  This led me to research lighter options.

I know some people like to "drown" their food in sauce.  You are really missing out on the great, natural flavor of the meal when you do this.  When you cook your protein and vegetables just right, the taste of a stir fry by itself is amazing!  You really don't need to add much.

If you are going to be in a rush for dinner, plan ahead and cut up your chicken the night before.  You can also chop up your veggies the day before.  This will save you a lot of time the next day!  Usually, this is what I do.

Here is one of my most basic stir fry recipes.

3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp minced garlic
2-3 cups chopped veggies - I like broccoli, mushrooms, and red/green/yellow peppers
4 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
Grain - I usually cook up quinoa or brown rice.

1. Pour chicken broth and minced garlic into a pre-heated wok on medium heat.
2. Add chicken to the wok.
3. Add 2 tbsp soy sauce.
4. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost cooked through.
5. If you have veggies like broccoli, add them in at this point and cook for about 5 minutes.
6. Add other veggies and continue to stir.  Add 2 tbsp soy sauce.
7. Once veggies are tender crisp, you are done!  Serve the stir fry on top of your grain.
8. If others want more sauce, they can always add after the dish is served up.

Served over rice
Served with quinoa
Taken to work for lunch...mmmmm......

If you don't like quinoa, how about a sweet potato with that stir fry?  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Whole Wheat and Oat Blueberry Muffins

It is blueberry season, which means it is time to make some blueberry recipes.  Here is one for some pretty healthy blueberry muffins.  They include whole wheat flour and just enough sugar to not become a dessert or take away from the natural sweetness of the blueberries.  There are also oats in there, which really give you some staying power.  This is a great snack or breakfast.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 egg

Central Ingredient:
1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Get a muffin tin and fill with 12 liners.
2. Blend all dry ingredients together in one bowl.
3. Blend all wet ingredients together in another bowl - start by whisking the eggs and then add in the milk and the vanilla.
4. Add #3 to #2.
5. Mix all together.  I don't use an electric mixer, just the power of my hands and a big spoon.
6. Once mixed, gently stir in the blueberries.  You may wish to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula for this step.
7. Pour batter into liners.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Blueberry picking success.
All shapes and sizes.

These muffins were a hit with my youngest.
I took these to work and they were gone within an hour.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

4 Ingredient Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Could not resist and had to take a bite!
How did this one not get eaten already?

We all deserve to treat ourselves.  For me, if I am going to treat myself I would like to know what I am eating, and I would like to keep it simple.  Enter these 4 ingredient cookies.  This recipe is so easy that all you need is a bowl, the ingredients, and a big spoon to make this batter.  If you are on a gluten free diet, these will work for you.  Yes, it does use sugar.  I would love to cut it out but my kids would never let me!

These cookies have been a hit at potlucks, bringing them to work, and giving away as gifts.  The recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate bar, cut up into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Crack egg into bowl.
  • Add peanut butter and sugar.
  • Mix the 3 ingredients together until blended.
  • Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drop rounded tablespoons full of batter onto baking sheet.
  • Flatten each round slightly.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking time.
Here is one satisfied customer!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wholesome Banana Bread

One of my most favorite foods in Maui was banana bread.  I had to make some when I got home!

The final product.

This recipe does not require sugar and it makes a nicely dense loaf.  Make sure you use really, really ripe bananas to get that wonderful sweet taste.

2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 ripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Peel and mash bananas in a bowl.  Add applesauce, honey, and eggs.  Mix it all up.
3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add the banana mix.
4. Pour mix into a parchment lined loaf pan.
5. Bake for 65 minutes.

Best eaten warm!
Toasted slice to enjoy the next day.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Papaya Yogurt Fruit Bowl

I am still going along the Maui theme and my obsession with papaya!

This recipe uses tropical fruit but also includes granola for some more energy and crunch.

This recipe makes 2 servings.

One papaya
1 cup sliced pineapple
1/2 cup granola
1 cup greek yogurt

1. Slice papaya in half.
2. Scoop out the papaya seeds.
3. Scoop 1/2 cup greek yogurt in each half.
4. Top each yogurt scoop with 1/2 cup sliced pineapple.
5. Top each yogurt scoop with 1/4 cup granola.
6. Eat with a spoon.

This makes a nice presentation for breakfast or brunch!
Another successful Maui breakfast.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hawaiian Snack: Lime Papaya

One of my most favorite fruits in Maui was papaya, with mango running a close second.

Before buying papaya to enjoy at the local farmers market, I found an interesting presentation of it at a local bakery.  The bakery had sliced a papaya in half and presented it with a lime.

OK, there is a lot more going on in this picture than a papaya.
But you get the idea!

I decided to make my own tropical fruit for breakfast.  This is super easy but you just have to make sure that you have access to the fruit, depending on your region and the season.

1 papaya
1 mango (or substitute another tropical fruit, such as a pineapple)
1 lime (or you could also use lemon)

1. Slice papaya in half.  Scoop out the seeds in each half.
2. Slice lime in half.
3. Peel and slice the mango.
4. Squeeze juice from the half lime over the half papaya to drizzle it over.  Drop the lime into the papaya half.
5. Repeat for the other half lime and half papaya.
6. Serve each half on a plate.  Scatter some mango around.

You can always save half for later if it's just you - or just go ahead and eat it all because it's so amazingly tasty!

Presentation is the key.
This would be fun for a party.
And just as sweet as a dessert, minus the guilt.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Teriyaki Salmon

I did not intend to, but I went vegetarian on my trip to Maui.  Between sushi and seafood, I was loving my meals.  The seafood in Hawaii is so fresh.  I would see fishermen every day and restaurants would share which fishermen they use.  Talk about "farm to table" - this was "ocean to table"!

I have read that if you look at Americans' top protein sources, fish shows up 11th on the list.  Bread ranks 5th.  Yikes - Americans get more protein in their diets from bread than fish.  This makes me scratch my head, because I find seafood dishes to be so much more fulfilling, not to mention the health benefits to improve your vitality.

In Maui, my husband loved eating tuna and I enjoyed a lot of mahi mahi.  However, my favorite dish by far was at a local restaurant known for traditional Hawaiian plates.  I got the teriyaki salmon there and it was amazing.
My teriyaki salmon plate.
Yes, I take pictures of food in restaurants.
I am that girl.

I knew after I ate it, that I had to recreate it.  I searched Pinterest far and wide and I actually wound up completely using a recipe that I must give credit to.  Thank you to Cookin Canuck for this one which Dara calls Soy Honey Glazed Salmon!

What I love about this recipe is that there is honey in it, which adds some sweetness.  Also, the recipe only uses 6 ingredients, plus the salmon.  Finally, this recipe is super easy and tastes great.

I chose to serve my salmon on a bed of black and white quinoa and shredded cabbage with roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

My remake. Delicious!
4 salmon fillets (we got wild caught for this dish)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp olive oil (I used sesame oil)
1 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven on broil.
2. Place salmon fillets on an aluminum lined baking sheet.
3. Whisk together the glaze ingredients.
4. Broil the fillets for 4 minutes.
5. Pull out the salmon and brush half of the glaze on to the fillets.
6. Return to broil and broil for about 3 more minutes.
7. Pull out salmon and microwave the remaining half of the glaze.
8. Brush the remaining half of the glaze on the salmon and serve.