Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tropically Green Smoothie


I have been forever making smoothies.  When my daughter was little, she did not like meat.  A whole period of time where she just wouldn't eat it.  So I would make her smoothies with Silken tofu in it.  She drank those up- no problem.  Now, it is a thing. Totally trendy.  Smoothies everywhere, with all kinds of ingredients that I would have never thought to put in her smoothie at the time- wish I knew- I totally would have.  In fact, I totally would have made this one.  Love it!  Thought I would taste the spinach. Not at all.
Tropically Green Smoothie

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pumpkin Almond Squares



Let me start out by saying that if you are looking for a sweet treat, you might need to go somewhere else.  Or you could up the sugar content pretty easily.  But that is not what I was looking for and if you are also looking for something with minimal sugar, this is your treat!  I like to have it in the morning with three egg whites (210 calories).  Delicious.  Not sweet, more like a biscuit in its level of sweetness. Fills me up until lunch.

Honestly, I am all about counting calories these days.  I have struggled with my weight for years, ah hem, all my life.  I come from a family of thin people.  I was the most active in my family.  I had tons of energy.  Literally my Mom would make me sit down and watch television sometimes just so I would stay put for a few minutes.  If I could have played tag all night with my neighborhood friends I sure would have.  My absolute favorite thing to do.

I played soccer for three years, starting in fifth grade, then basketball, then track and field...  I wasn't any good mind you but I was moving.  I would go to the local weight loss center and work out there- aerobics, step, dance, whatever.  I have always kept myself moving.  Honestly, I think in a lot of ways it is the reason why my blood pressure, despite my weight is still normal.  I have always had good eating habits.  My parents always went to market every week and brought home tons of fresh fruit and vegetables.  And I loved them.  Okay well, maybe not onions and peas at the time, but all the rest of them.  We rarely went for fast food and really I still don't- ask my kids, they feel like they missed out.  So, what the heck is my problem?  I am not a binge eater, though when I was young I did binge a little.  For me, at least for the past 25 years, it has been more about portion control and making poor choices.  Probably genetics has a lot to do with it too.

I have been counting calories.  I use My Fitness Pal.  There are a ton of apps out there and I have tried a few others but this is the one I am currently using.  I have built up my database so it is easier for me to log my calories. Recently I went down to 1200 to 1300 calories.  1500 sure wasn't working for like, six weeks.  Can't even begin to tell you how frustrating that was.  Giving up sugared things and gluten and still not losing weight was making me crazy.  But unlike before I am not giving up.  I am getting this weight off me! 

I am tired of getting winded going upstairs.  Ha, sometimes at night pulling myself up the 12 stairs that I need to go up to go to bed.  I want to tie my shoes easily.  I want to not worry about sitting in restaurant booths- whether I can fit or not. I want my ankle pain to decrease.  I want more energy to do more of the things I like to do.  Like bike riding.  I love biking.  I can go for an hour but I want to do that effortlessly! I want to shop in the small girls area. I want to have clothes that hang nicely around my body, that don't pull where I don't want them to pull.  I want to get rid of mounds of clothing that I have held on to for years because clothing is so hard for me to find. I want to fit into the seats at the amusement center so I can have fun with my kids! Oh, there is so much I want to do! 

If you are not into dropping the sugar- add a 1/2 cup of sugar to the recipe and you will find it sweet enough. 

I will share with you where I am today as soon as I get up the courage.  Probably, when I have lost a little so you know how serious I am about this!
It was, like, a really big strawberry.
Pumpkin Almond Bars


1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup pure brown rice syrup
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish.


In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

Combine pumpkin, brown rice syrup, eggs and vanilla, until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and continue mixing for a full minute, until smooth and well blended. Pour into prepared pan

Bake for approximately 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick insert in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes, before cutting into bars.

12 servings, calories 145 per square

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Texas Caviar




I could have sworn I posted this last year!  I can not find it anywhere on my blog.  Which means either cyberspace has eaten my post or I never posted it.  No fear, I made it again.  It really is something you will make over and over again. It is just that good.  It travels well, so it is great for a potluck! Or Memorial Day picnics.

Beans are a really great addition to your diet. " Eating the right foods can help you lower body fat and cholesterol. Beans such as kidney beans and black beans are high in essential dietary fiber important for healthy digestion. Adding beans to your daily diet is good for lowering body fat and controlling weight. This helps to prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease."(SF Gate News). Thats pretty exciting!

Beans offer a few other benefits.  They have a lot of fiber so they will help keep you feeling fuller longer.  They also help your body with insulin spikes. "Soluble fiber in beans slows the passage of glucose from food into your bloodstream. Because of this, your body has to produce less insulin; high levels of insulin are a precursor to diabetes." (Johns Hopkins)

Beans are an undiscovered super food!  Lets keep it our secret though because you know the price is going to go up as soon as beans are discovered to be great! Will let people go on thinking that kale is the star.  We will know that there are some major stars waiting in the wing.

If you want some bean recipes, I have some here such as,  Frijoles- 3 Days, 3 WaysBorracho Beans, Party Beans, Negro Frijoles, Moroccan Fave Bean SoupLucknow Red Bean Chili, Black Soy Beans, Hoppin' John, Pasta e Fagioli, Jamaican Coat of Arms... Many other recipes can be had because the bean is like a blank canvas (sweet or savory). 
 

TEXAS CAVIAR

4 cups black eyed peas*
1 (11 ounce) cans white shoepeg corn
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup red pepper, finely chopped
6 -10 jalapeno peppers, minced (if you don't like the heat, leave it out)

Marinade
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, pour over chopped onion and cool.

Drain beans if using canned and shoepeg corn. Combine all ingredients and marinade the bean and vegetable mixture for 24 hours.


*You can use any type of beans, it doesn't have to be black eyed peas.  You can use a mixture of beans for a very colorful mix.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mini Raspberry Almond Tarts

I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  It came to me last night as I was thinking what I could make with these fabulous Driscoll Raspberries!

I was contacted through The Daily Meal by Driscoll's with an offer to come up with a raspberry recipe in exchange for some coupons on there fabulous berries. Okay!  Twist my arm, I will do it.  Nonsense.  No twisting necessary.  I love Driscoll Berries.

So here is my idea.  Since I am nearly sugar free, trying to take off, taking off some major poundage, I decided to go as sugar free as possible and up the protein content.  So many people are into low carbs and high protein.  Why not?  Now, good carbs, like raspberries rock my world.  I love raspberries!

Mini Almond Raspberry Tarts

Crust:

1 cup almond flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

2/3 cup Greek Plain Lowfat Yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar- of course you can replace it with honey or something
1 large egg

Topping:

Why beautiful raspberries of course!

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line mini muffin tins with mini cupcake liners.

With a fork combine almond flour and baking soda- then ad in egg and vanilla.  Mix until combined. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar and egg. Set aside.

Get a little bowl with some water in it.  Set near work surface.

Spoon a scant teaspoon of almond mixture into cup. Fill all the little tins.  THe mixture is just enough.  So borrow from one to another if you need to to make sure all 24 cups have the almond base in them.  Next, dip your finger tip in the water and smush the almond crust into the bottom of the cup.  The water will help with the stickiness.  Once you have dabbed down all those little crusts flat, wash your hands.

Pour a scant two teaspoons of filling into the cups.  Keep going to make sure all 24 cups get the filling.  Divide as evenly as possible.  You should have just enough.

Bake in a preheated over for 20 minutes. They should be lightly golden.  Remove, cool, and then chill.  Top with AMAZING raspberries!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

South Western Quinoa Salad



The good people at Red Pack tomaotes contacted me and sent me some of there wonderful canned tomatoes. This recipe is slightly adapted from Red Pack's recipe.  Visit there website for more delicious recipes and pcik up a can and make some of these fresh delicious salads!

South Western Quinoa Salad
Recipe courtesy of Red Pack Tomatoes

1 cup quinoa cooked
1 – 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 14 ounce can corn, drained
1- can Red Pack Tomatoes
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
4 green onions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice from 2 limes
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
for bonus flavor and added heat add a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or a chopped pickled jalapeno

In a small bowl whisk together limes, olive oil, garlic powder, barbeque sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions,  and cilantro.  Mix in the dressing.  Serve with cilantro sprinkled over top and some lime wedges.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Thai Beef Salad


If you have some steak leftover this dish comes together really fast.  You can totally substitute chicken as well or skip the meat all together.  I have had this salad before and I have to tell you anytime I have leftover steak- which is not too often, I think of this salad straight away.  I have mainly used Hangar Steak before.  

Thai Cabbage and Steak Salad


2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil ( roasted)
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 pinch ground red pepper (cayenne), if  you like a little heat
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 
 
leftover steak, sliced as thin as you can
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
10 cups romaine, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup mint, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Thai basil or regular basil, thinly sliced
fresh ground black pepper
3 green onions, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)

 
The most important thing here is to do a nice chop of everything that is in this salad. With a whisk combine the lime juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, Thai fish sauce and olive oil. Set aside.

Chop and then toss the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl.  Toss in the dressing and then serve with steak and peanuts sprinkled over top.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Camponata on Quinoa


The good people at Red Pack Tomatoes sent me some of their delicious tomatoes.  I had to make this quinoa and camponata dish with the tomatoes.
With summer coming and so many delicious vegetables coming, this is a recipe that will use a lot of them and is sure to please.  Whether you serve it like a bruchetta or over quinoa it is very flavorful and delicious.


Camponata

2 tablespoons plus two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 rib celery, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup  minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1- 15 ounce can Red Pack Petite Diced Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Sauté onion, celery and red pepper in oil.  Add in eggplant and the extra oil.  Continue cooking until eggplant is tender.  Add in garlic, salt and pepper, mint, parsley, cinnamon, raisins, tomatoes. capers, sugar and vinegars. Cook on a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered.  Remove from heat.  Best if made a day in advance, flavors will marry.

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