Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yogurt Treat

At the grocery store, I imagine you've noticed these fun and yummy looking yogurt treats.  Chobani brand has "Chobani Flips" and Fage brand has "Fage Crossovers".  As you can see above, the yogurt container has two compartments and you can flip the container of toppings into the container holding the yogurt.  I keep eyeing these at the store and considering trying one since I had a coupon, but these treats have a lot of sugar in them (20 grams of sugar per serving which is equal to 5 teaspoons of sugar in one serving).

I decided to try out my version of this flavor combination at home just the other day and it was a really yummy treat.  The Fage Crossover above is Greek yogurt with caramel blended in and the topping is honey roasted salted almonds.  Sounds amazing!



For my at-home version, I started with Fage brand plain 2% milkfat Greek yogurt and drizzled over about a teaspoon of pure maple syrup.  I topped it off with some roasted & salted almonds that I chopped up using my Pampered Chef food chopper. I love that thing!


This is a really good treat. It's healthy enough for a meal or snack but makes a nice dessert, too.  I think it also might be good with some sliced banana added in.  Maybe I'll try that next time!?!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What I Ate Yesterday (W.I.A.Y.)


Hydrate:  Starting off the day with water and coffee.

I was reading another blog that I enjoy they other day (www.affectioknit.blogspot.com), and she has started a post on her blog called "What I Ate Yesterday"; she abbreviates it "W.I.A.Y.".  I think I've seen this on other blogs before and I find this kind of post interesting. The writer of Affectioknit is a vegan so I enjoy seeing what her meals look like.  She is a very creative lady and she has a second blog called "The Vegan Version".  In this blog, she is cooking her way through Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but she is making all of the recipes vegan.  That's a pretty good trick since a vegan diet is entirely plant based... no eggs, no meat, no butter, and so on.

Today, I got to thinking about what I eat in a day and what that looks like.  I have been maintaining my weight loss (I am 35 pounds lighter than I was in June 2016) and I am amazed by what I can eat in a day and still keep off this weight.  There are a few tricks: I've totally changed the way I look at food, I've changed the kinds of foods I eat, and I've learned a lot about portion sizes.  Most days, I do a 30 minute workout and I try to get in at least 10,000 steps. 

So if you are interested... watch for posts called "W.I.A.Y." and you'll see what yummy things I am eating to stay fit and trim.

BREAKFAST:  A breakfast sandwich made from 1 egg, 1 ultra thin slice of Swiss cheese (Sargento brand), 2 pre-cooked turkey sausages (Johnsonville brand), on a sandwich thin (Oroweat brand Multigrain Sandwich Thin).



Pre-workout Snack:  A banana and some peanut butter (I've switched to the kind of peanut butter that has no added sugar or fat.  It's just roasted nuts and a little salt. It's amazing what you discover when you start reading labels... my old peanut butter had a lot of added fat and sugar.)


Snack after walking the dogs:  A Flourless Banana Nut Bread Blender Muffin (I keep these in my freezer).  Here is the recipe LINK.


FANCY LUNCH:  No! I don't ordinarily make such a fancy lunch on a Monday. But this fish was thawed out and I cooked these veggies on Thursday, so we did have a fancy lunch today.  This is my favorite fish dish; I could eat it once a week if not more. Here is the fish recipe LINK.  The broccoli is just steamed and the cauliflower recipe can be found by clicking this LINK.


Afternoon snack: I had an apple and a little peanut butter.


DINNER:  Zoodles and Marinara Sauce with Turkey.  I find Jenni-O brand Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey at my grocery store and I use jarred marinara sauce (Barilla and Bertolli brands are our favorites).  I add in extra salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.  I make pasta for my husband but I love zoodles (zucchini noodles).


Snack:  Most nights I have a glass of wine and some almonds or popcorn before I go to bed.  I gobbled up my popcorn before I took a photo last night.


I sent some of these photos to Zach the other day and he said, "You sure make food look appetizing even if it's got yucky ingredients!"  Funny guy!



Monday, February 20, 2017

Asian-style Cauliflower Fried Rice



Asian-style Cauliflower Fried Rice

Can you handle one more post about cauliflower rice? This is post #3 about cauliflower rice in case you've lost track.  This is the recipe I am enjoying this week and I love it.  The first night I enjoyed this dish, I ate it as it is pictured above. I think it needed some added protein for some texture variation (chicken or shrimp). The next day, I went to the store and got some fresh shrimp (it was on sale) and I loved the addition of sautéed shrimp to this dish.

This recipe comes from one of my very favorite blogs called Skinnytaste (www.skinnytaste.com).  The Asian-style Cauliflower Rice recipe can be found by clicking HERE.  I did not really make many changes to the recipe except I added even more peas and carrots and I also added in a few fresh, chopped sugar snap peas since I had a few on hand.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Oven Roasted Cauliflower Rice


Oven Roasted Cauliflower Rice

After enjoying a Moroccan-style Cauliflower Rice recipe recently, I had to try out yet another cauliflower rice recipe.  I made the Moroccan-style rice on the stove top, but this next recipe was made in the oven!  So here's the kicker. When I made the recipe on the stove top, I ended up with a HUGE amount of cauliflower rice (I am thinking four or five servings from one head of cauliflower), but when you oven roast cauliflower, it gets nice and fluffy, but the volume seems to magically and drastically reduce in size (I am thinking two servings from one head of cauliflower). I realize all heads of cauliflower are not the same size, but... I kid you not... this stuff shrinks in the oven. That being said, both recipes are great and flavorful. 

I made the Oven Roasted Cauliflower Rice to go along side my favorite fish recipe. Both are flavored with fresh lemon, garlic, and parsley.

Here is the LINK to the Oven Roasted Cauliflower Rice recipe (from www.skinnytaste.com):

Here is the LINK to my favorite fish recipe which was posted here a few years back (for this recipe you can use fish such as tilapia, flounder, or swai).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Moroccan-style Cauliflower Rice


Moroccan Cauliflower Rice


 

This recipe comes from my "Whole 30 Cookbook".  The Cauliflower Rice recipe in the book is for a rather plain version of cauliflower rice, but the recipe also includes options for a Moroccan-style cauliflower rice or an Asian-style cauliflower rice.  I went for the Moroccan-style since it sounded exotic and I had all the ingredients on hand.

Never heard of cauliflower rice?!? Yes, it's a thing! Basically you pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until the cauliflower resembles rice. 

Don't have a food processor?!?  No worries. You can buy cauliflower already "riced" up for you in a bag in your produce section where you find bagged and prewashed salads.  Pretty cool, right?!?  You can also rice cauliflower using a box grater to shred the cauliflower but that sounds like a time consuming task.

Also, I highly recommend you add nuts to this recipe as is specified below.  I had my first serving of the dish and it felt like I forgot something. Yes, I forgot to add nuts!  I toasted raw whole almonds in a dry skillet on the stove top and then chopped them up using my Pampered Chef food chopper. The added texture from the toasted nuts really adds a lot.

Moroccan-style Cauliflower Fried Rice

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter (I used coconut oil)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds or finely chopped almonds, toasted (pine nuts can also be used)

To "rice" the cauliflower rice, place half of the florets in a food processor and pulse into a rice-like consistency, 15 to 20 pulses.  Don't over crowd the cauliflower in the food processor and don't over pulse or the florets will get mushy.)  Repeat to rice the remaining florets.

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrot, and cook, stirring frequently until the onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the garlic, raisins, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon, and cook an additional minute.

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly.  Add in the broth or water, cover the pan with a lid, and steam for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to saute the rice for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until you've arrived at a rice-like consistency. The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.

Remove pan from the heat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Make Ahead Yogurt & Fruit Parfaits with Homemade Granola


Make Ahead Yogurt & Fruit Parfaits with Granola


Do you ever find the most perfect food combination and then just keep making it over and over and over?   I have been making these Make Ahead Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Granola the past few weeks and I seriously cannot get enough of them.  They make for a super easy breakfast or a very satisfying afternoon snack.   

I am using frozen berries, plain Greek yogurt, and homemade granola.  At the grocery store just yesterday I noticed the yogurt cups with the clear plastic lids filled with granola in the dairy section and I thought to myself, "that granola looks so sad!"  The fruit, yogurt, and granola I am using have no added sugar; the granola is sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup.  When I first started making these parfaits, I was adding a drizzle of honey to the tart yogurt, but I stopped adding it as I am finding the berries to be sweet enough. If you are watching your sugar intake, be sure to check the label on your frozen fruit because sometimes they sneak in some sugar.  It does seem to take more than 10 hours for the berries to thaw out in the refrigerator so keep that in mind. But when the berries do thaw, there is a wonderful liquid released from the berries and it swirls into the thick yogurt beautifully. 

Here is the frozen fruit I am using; this is from my Kroger Store and the "Cherry Berry Medley" contains cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.


I've posted this granola recipe in the past, but I've tweaked the recipe a bit... so here it is again!
Unlike many granola recipes, this recipe has no added fat (ie. vegetable oil or butter).

ENERGIZED GRANOLA WITH CHIA SEEDS

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats 
1/2 cup black chia seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coating:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout, combine the maple syrup and vanilla; stir with a fork to combine.  Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well until all dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour all onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake, stirring after 15 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown, about 30 minutes total.  Turn the oven off; open the oven door and leave it open. Allow the granola to toast further in the oven as it cools off (about another 30 minutes).

Store the fully cooled granola in a plastic or glass container with a tight fitting lid; store at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD YOGURT & FRUIT PARFAITS (Make 3)

3 cups frozen berries (Private Selection brand "Cherry Berry Medley")
1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt plain (Fage brand 2 percent milkfat)
About 9 tablespoons Energized Granola with Chia

Use 3 plastic cups with lids.  In each plastic cup, add 1 cup frozen fruit and about 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (more if desired).  Top the cups with the lids and refrigerate (berries will take more than 10 hours to thaw in the refrigerator).  When ready to serve, top the Yogurt and Fruit Parfait with about 3 tablespoons of Energized Granola with Chia.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blueberry Muffins


Blueberry Muffins


Blueberry muffins seemed like a good idea today. Blueberries were on sale this week so I got just one 6 ounce container. I used just one cup of berries in the muffins, ate a few berries solely for the purpose of quality assurance (yeah, right!), and then also poked a few blueberries into the muffins just before I popped them in the oven.

This recipe is based upon some Almond Poppyseed Muffins I made with Zach this past summer. It's a really basic muffin batter and can easily be adapted to make different flavors of muffins.  I've also used this recipe to make Chocolate Chip Muffins (just use the recipe below and add about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips in place of the blueberries).  This recipe calls for sour cream which I often have on hand. Today I only had 1/4 cup sour cream so I used 1/4 cup sour cream plus 1/4 cup Greek yogurt in place of the 1/2 sour cream and the muffins turned out great.


Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from a recipe on www.bettercrocker.com

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 1/3 all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper or foil baking cups (or spray cups with cooking spray or grease with shortening).

In large bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat in sour cream and milk until blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir until well blended.  Add dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients; gently stir until nearly all the flour mixture is moistened.  Add in the blueberries and carefully stir a few more strokes until the flour mixture is all moistened and the blueberries are evenly distributed in the batter.  Lumps are okay; do NOT overmix.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. 

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (my muffins were lightly browned at 19 minutes). Remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm or cool.