Category Archives: Recipes

Healthy Goals for March

February was a month of major ups and major downs. More on that tomorrow. Sort of.

Anyway, it made me think that maybe I need to set some simple, healthy and reasonable goals for myself to focus on throughout the month of March.

1. See my friends more.

I had the pleasure of seeing all of these smiling faces last night, which in turn put a huge smile on my face. I spent so much of February sick that I ended up being holed up in my apartment for most of it. No more! I’m happiest around my friends. And gosh, they’re great.

2. Get back into my fitness routine.

Between a very busy work schedule and losing my patience with my ever-frustrating knee, I’ve been in a phase in my life in which fitness has been on the back-burner. I so miss the fitness side of myself (and of this blog!).

Fortunately, I talked to my Physical Therapist about this last night, and she decided that we’re going to come up with a consistent fitness routine for me that I can keep up even with the knee problem.

Right now, we’re leaning towards Pilates. While this would be an expensive decision to make, I also feel it would likely be one I wouldn’t regret.

3. Master the art of painting my own toenails.

Random, but it’s a solid budgetary goal. I’ve already mastered the art of painting my fingernails (you have no idea how long of a process this has been). Any pedicure tips?

4. Cook more.

Especially, cook more foods like this:

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Those were dishes cooked for me last night at the dinner party with those wonderful people you saw pictured above. So delicious and so healthy! Specifically, those foods are salad, Vegan Ragu, and Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Amazing.

The Vegan Ragu recipe was created by my friend James and the Kale recipe was created by my friend Brian. I convinced each of them to email me their recipes. I will post them this month!

So, some sub-goals…

4a. Cook and post about the Vegan Ragu.

4.b. Cook and post about the Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Now that they’re specifically listed out like that for the world to see, I can’t get lazy about it. πŸ™‚

Oh, we also ate this delicious Apple & Almond Cake last night. I’ll be making this at some point, too!

I don’t know if that’s a March goal, but itwill happen.

5. Get more sleep.

I make this goal every month. I rarely follow through. Doesn’t mean I won’t try this month.

6. Take my vitamins every day.

See Goal #5. πŸ™‚

6. Take some me time.

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I don’t know if I’m quite the type for Meditation or anything, but I do know that I need to find some balance in my life. I work a lot. I love the work I do — and all of the jobs I have — but I also stopped finding much time for myself. Not having the gym be a daily part of my life these days took away time that used to be my “me time.”

Lately, I’ve been taking my hours off to watch TV or read scripts for work. While these are great ways to escape, I think that’s exactly what I’m doing — escaping. Maybe I need to take time to write in a journal, or something. I’m not even sure how to spend “me time” anymore.

How do you spend your “me time?” And what are some of your goals for March?

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Tortellini Soup

Good lord, did this day get away from me. How is it 5:30PM? How??

Anyway. I was going to call this “I’m Sick Soup,” but then I didn’t want to make anybody think that the soup was what made me sick.

And it’s definitely a good thing I’m not calling this “Food Poisoning Soup,” right?

To be clear, the soup didn’t give me food poisoning. A stupid, awful, frozen meal that I left out for way too long did.

This soup is what made me feel better.

But… let’s stop talking about food poisoning in a recipe post, shall we?

Anyway, this soup is great. It’s easy. It’s literally “dump it all in a pot” easy. My favorite kind of recipe these days.

And I got all of the ingredients at Target because I simply didn’t have it in me to go grocery shopping anywhere else.

Tortellini Soup

makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 16-oz cans vegetable broth
  • 1 26-oz can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 26-oz can-full of water
  • 1 package Buitoni (or whatever) whole wheat tortellini
  • 1 can white kidney beans
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetable (I used peas/ carrots/ green beans)
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tsp Italian spice blend (parsley/ rosemary/ thyme)
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan/ romano cheese (plus more to top with)

Directions:

Bring vegetable broth, condensed tomato soup and water to a boil.

Add tortellini, mixed vegetables, spinach, Italian spice blend and garlic powder and cook for 8-11 minutes over high heat (until tortellini is cooked through).

Add cheese and cook for another minute or so more.

Serve, topped with a little more cheese if you know what’s good for you. πŸ˜‰

Almost as easy from soup from a can — just a little fresher!

Enjoy. πŸ™‚

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Cheesy Quinoa

I made up this recipe out of desperation, if I’m being honest.

What I really wanted was my new go-to comfort food, Upgraded Mac & Cheese. Alas, I didn’t have any Mac & Cheese. I also didn’t have any noodles. I was SOL, if you know what I mean.

While I won’t pit them against each other (they’re both my babies), I would definitely say this meal is a bit… classier. Thankfully, it’s just as easy!


It’s also just as delicious. Seriously. What a winner of a recipe, and all because I was forced to be creative.

Cheesy Quinoa

makes 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry tri-color quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 tbs low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan & romano
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (regular milk would work just fine — I just used what I had)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • shredded mozzarella to top with (optional)

Directions:

Over high heat on a stovetop, bring the quinoa and water to a rolling boil. Stir, lower heat to a simmer, cover pot, and let cook for about eight minutes more or until the water is nearly gone. Add spinach and cook for about two minutes more.

Add kidney beans and cook about two minutes more, stirring often.

Add cream cheese, almond milk, parmesan & romano, garlic powder, oregano, salt and and pepper. Stir, mixing everything evenly throughout. Cook about one minute more to let the flavors settle.

Serve topped with (optional) mozzarella.

There are lots of flavors in this dish. There’s also lots of protein! I’m a big fan.

Β 

Plus, it’s kind of pretty, isn’t it? There’s something very… Italian about it to me.

Have you ever come up with any favorite dishes out of desperation?

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Chocolate Granola for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

I hope you all have loved ones with whom to celebrate. If you do, I think you should be starting your day off with chocolate.

You know, to celebrate.

And if you don’t… you should definitely be starting your day with some chocolate.

To… make yourself feel better. Or, hey, to celebrate being single. Whichever.


It’s because I love you guys that I spent part of my weekend creating a recipe for chocolate granola.

Definitely not because I knew I’d need some chocolate on Tuesday morning.

Not telling you which of the above scenarios has me needing chocolate in the morning, though. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I thought this might be a nice Valentine’s Day recipe to wake up to. Healthy, but not too healthy. Chocolate-based, but not wildly caloric (the cocoa makes it taste decadent without being coated in melted chocolate). A good balance. A perfect start to the day.

Chocolate Granola

makes about 2 1/2 cups worth… whatever that means to you, serving-wise πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds (I actually switched to sliced after I took the above picture)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Set oven to 300 degrees.

Pour all ingredients into a bowl. Mix, preferably with a wooden spoon.

Try really hard not to eat some with a spoon.

Fail. There’s no raw egg in there. Fail happily.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Spread (remaining) granola mixture evenly across the baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the granola every seven-ish minutes.

Voila! That’s it. I love easy recipes.

Serve however you want.

So far, I’ve tried it with milk…

Almond milk…

(soooo good)

And in a delicious yogurt bowl for Valentine’s morning. πŸ™‚

Delicious. Decadent. Still healthy.

And totally holiday-appropriate.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you have chocolate in your breakfast today? Share!

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Quinoa White Bean Chili

I’ve actually been sitting on this recipe for a while now.

That’s really quite selfish of me. I’m sorry. Because, honestly, this recipe is really very good.

But, hey, I’m sharing it now, right?

So you can’t really be mad at me.

(If I had a new and awkward picture of myself, this is exactly where I would say, “Plus, you can’t be mad at a face like this!” Alas, I have no such picture… so really, I’m not sure why I bothered with this tangent. Annnnnyway….)

My friend Lauren and I made this dish over a month ago. We got it from Clean Eating Magazine. You can find the original recipe here, but we changed it pretty drastically — and, to be honest, we did so because the original was pretty bland.

Quinoa White Bean Chili

makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans white beans
  • 1 16-0z can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 cups fresh chopped spinach
  • grated parmesan to taste (or, if you’re Vegan, don’t)

Directions:

In a large pot, combine quinoa and water and cooke over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add bell peppers, beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin and oregano to pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

When chili has thickened and the quinoa has a white halo-like appearance, stir in spinach and cook for one more minute, until the spinach has just wilted.

Serve topped with fresh grated parmesan.

And no,Β  you totally do not have to serve it in a glass jar…


But isn’t it pretty like that?

 

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Lazy Girl’s Lentil Chili

Boy, do I have an easy dish for you today!

I call this the “lazy girl’s” lentil chili because it’s made entirely of ingredients that are already basically prepared for you.

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All you really have to do is dump everything into a pot together. And, I mean, does it get much easier than that?

No. The answer is no. Not unless you’re making a frozen meal, but this can be passed off as homemade, you can control the sodium levels, and it’s preservative-free! Hooray!

This dish is a good, very healthy meal to have at the ready for busy girls (Not just lazy girls! Maybe I should change the name…) who don’t have time to prepare lunches every day before work. All you have to do is throw this dish in some tupperware and you have individual, microwave-ready meals.

Lazy Girl’s Lentil Chili

makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package TJ’s prepared lentils
  • 1 package frozen rustica carrots
  • 1 package frozen yellow & green wax beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (16 oz)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (despite the picture, I actually used Annie’s organic BBQ sauce)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
  • low-fat shredded cheddar (or other) cheese (optional)

Directions:

I wasn’t kidding. This couldn’t be easier.

Literally:

Dump all of the ingredients into a pot. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Top with a dollop of sour cream/ greek yogurt andΒ  low-fat shredded cheddar cheese if you like. You should. Unless you’re vegan… since this meal is otherwise vegan!

I know, right? You’re welcome.

Don’t tell me eating healthy is hard!

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PB&J Smoothie

I made a really yummy smoothie yesterday morning.

I’m calling it a PB&J Smoothie. Ironically, it has neither peanut butter nor jelly in it.

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Work with me, here.

Instead, it’s fruit-based and has sunflower butter (my obsession!) in it.

PB&J Smoothie

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makes one smoothie

Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup (ish) frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (ish) frozen mango chunks

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  • 1/3 cup (ish) frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/3 cup (ish) Chobani vanilla 0% yogurt

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  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbs unflavored whey protein powder
  • 1 tbs sunflower butter

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All blended up…

And then you get this!

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Wait. That’s sort of ugly. Not even just “sort of,” actually. That smoothie looks beaten by an ugly stick.

Is this better?

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You know what? Don’t worry about how it looks. That’s not important. It’s full of good-for-you ingredients, it tastes delicious, and it keeps you full for hours.

That’s what’s important!

And no, people, you cannot taste the spinach. I get this question every single time. πŸ™‚

What healthy breakfasts have you been making lately?

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