I can’t even begin to explain how much I love a good pastry in the morning with my coffee. My brain sometimes tells me that it’s a bad idea, but look how delicious these scones look. How bad could they be? Thankfully I figured out a way to make them taste fantastic but not be a huge calorie bomb like many of the purchased baked goods (for example a blueberry scone from Starbucks is almost 500 calories per serving; gasp! but they’re so good!). Now you can have your cake (scone) and eat it too. This recipe only has a few tablespoons of sugar and absolutely no butter. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? Seriously though, you won’t believe how good they taste until you give them a try.
Feeling less guilty about drooling over them yet?
The flavor combination may seem a little weird to some, but it’s actually pretty amazing. I found myself with about 4 cups of pomegranate seeds after buying two gigantic softball sized pomegranates and needed to find a creative way to use them. I started reminiscing about some chocolate covered pomegranate candies I’ve had in the past and voila a new recipe was created. If you’re not sold on the flavor paring feel free to add blueberries, strawberries, diced apples etc. instead. Hope you enjoy them! They are a fantastic treat and ridiculously easy to make.
- 2 cups of flour
- 3 tbs of sugar
- 3 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- zest of one small orange
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 cup half and half (or substitute half regular milk if heavy cream now makes this recipe horrifying to you)
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This is the first year I have ever embarked on cooking the whole Thanksgiving spread from start to finish. Matt and I decided that it would be best to stay local this year because we both had a lot of studying we needed to get accomplished before classes resume on Monday. Traveling unfortunately is both time consuming and expensive but we look forward to traveling for Christmas. Anyhow, I decided to get a few of my desserts out of the way before the mashed potatoes, turkey, and stuffing extravaganza begins tomorrow. Living in an apartment doesn’t necessarily make the task of cooking Thanksgiving too easy with only one stove and a few burners to utilize. I took a few shortcuts with a few of my dishes to help speed things up a bit. Be on the lookout for the rest of my Thanksgiving recipes this week; the menu includes: semi-homemade cornbread stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, cream cheese and chive mashed potatoes, gravy, and of course turkey! (with perhaps a new twist!). Plus Matt’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert will be making an appearance. So as you can see, I’m going to be very busy the next several hours…and then onto black Friday shopping!
Make one 9 inch pie
- Pie crust…either homemade (check out Smitten Kitchen recipe; I’ve used it before and it is delicious!) or store bought (I took this route this time because I have so many tasks to get done before the meal tomorrow! I recommend Immaculate Ready to Bake All Natural Pie Crusts)
- 4 Granny Smith Apples
- 4 Golden Delicious Apples
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup + 2 tsps sugar
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Splash of apple cider (if you have some like we did!)
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I love love love homemade salsa. It encompasses all the deliciousness of summer in a single bite. I try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as possible during the summer because not only is it good for your body but it’s when everything taste the best. Nothing compares to fresh picked produce in my book. I can’t wait to eventually have my own garden instead of growing herbs on my urban windowsill.
Anyhow, I make many variations of salsa (try my traditional Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa or Avocado Mango Salsa) but this is one of my favorites! I think salsa is a great, inexpensive way to entertain. I like to make a few variations and allow guest to sample each kind–it makes a get together a lot less boring having variation. This particular recipe is one of my favorites because it is a great balance between sweet and spicy. The fresh peaches and pineapple provide a sweet and tangy quality to the salsa that balances the heat from the jalapeños peppers. Trust me–you’ll love it.
Equipment needed: Food Processor
- 3-4 vine ripened tomatoes
- 1-2 large ripe Peaches, peeled and diced
- 1/2-3/4 cup of chopped pineapple
- 1 small red or sweet onion
- 2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic
- 1/4-1/2 cup of pickled Jalapeños--depending on your heat preference; I actually use a lot more than I usually do in regular salsa because the heat is balanced nicely by the fresh, sweet fruit
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- Small pinch of Oregano
- Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
- Roughly chop the red onion into large pieces–rinse under cold water to get rid of the pungent onion smell/taste
- Add to food processor and lightly pulse to break it down a bit
- Roughly chop tomatoes and pineapple and add to food processor
- Slowly pulse to break down mixture
- Grate 2-3 large cloves with micro-planer directly into food processor
- Add desired amount of jalapeños based on your heat preference–I added a little less than a 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeños (considerable less spicy than fresh jalapeños)
- Pulse to desired consistency
- Stir in diced peaches and add juice of 1/2 lemon or lime–the citrus juice really helps keep the flavors clean
- Add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste and serve chilled
Hi friends! Sorry for the week long hiatus. We have been busy traveling for a wedding and had an opportunity to catch up with some of our lovely friends in Indianapolis. We had a fantastic trip visiting with my husband’s family and my two favorite 8 and 6 year old little girls. It was definitely a busy couple of days but despite how great our trip was, it was amazing to sleep in our own bed last night! I remember as a child I was able to sleep soundly anywhere, but now that I am older that is definitely not the case. I guess our king sized bed has really spoiled us. I thought I’d share a few pictures for our trip. The photo immediately below was one Matt was able to capture of a hummingbird while sitting in my mother in law’s living room. I absolutely adore it. The other photo is of my extended family highlighting Matt’s step brother Christopher and his new wife Sarah on their wedding day.
Anyway, enough about our travels and onto this delicious treat! I have seen Dulce de Leche everywhere lately, so I thought it was time to give it a try. I’ve seen several recipes where you just boil the aluminum can that the Sweetened Condensed Milk comes in…but I wasn’t into that version because I was worried about all the toxins that would enter the Dulce de Leche as a result. Consuming gross toxins is not on my list to do, so I tried to think of another way to cook the condensed milk safely. I checked my cabinets and remembered that I had a mason jar from when we ate our dessert from Barbuzzo. My problem was solved. All you have to do is transfer the sweetened condensed milk to the mason jar and throw it in the crock pot for a few hours. Genius. My mason jar was just a mini one, so I was only able to cook one can of condensed milk. It’s on my to do list to buy a larger one so I can make a bigger batch the next time.
Necessary equipment: Mason jar with lid & Crock Pot
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Some days it is really hard to get the recommended daily allowance of fruits and veggies in your diet. An easy way to make sure you are getting a few extra servings is by using your juicer. The great thing about juicing is that if you always use carrots and apples as your base, despite adding spinach or other hearty greens, it still retains a sweet flavor. Plus you know that there are no additives–you are only consuming fresh fruits and veggies not sugar filled juice cocktails. It is also said that juicing allows you to digest the produce more readily so your body is making the most of the nutrients–but there is a draw back to juicing. Juicing doesn’t provide a high amount of digestible fiber like just eating a piece of fruit with edible skin does (fruits are most fiber rich with the skins left intact–that’s when it is important to get your fiber from a different source too–from beans, corn, whole wheat pasta, brown rice etc). It’s important to only juice as much as you are going to drink in one setting because fresh juice doesn’t store well (no preservatives = gross bacteria growth). Great juicers are really coming down in price too, so they are a great gadget to add to your kitchen.
I absolutely love my juicer and love the fact that I’ve never had the same juice twice. I often just gather whatever produce I have in the fridge and give them a try. Today I had an apple, 3/4 cup of carrots, a kiwi, 3 ripe plums, 1/4 cup of green grapes, and 1/2 cup of strawberries. I usually toss in a handful of spinach or some fresh ginger but I didn’t have any of that on hand today. I really enjoyed today’s combo though–I had never juiced plums before (remove the pits obviously) and I loved the flavor and color it added to my juice. There’s no real recipe–it’s pretty much trial and error to find what you like. I often incorporate cucumber into my juicing combinations too, which is really light and refreshing. Adding carrots gives you a lot of great health benefits (vitamin A and antioxidants) and also keeps the cost of juicing down. Enjoy!
Sometimes it is really hard to convince yourself to eat breakfast in the morning but you have to because it really is the most important meal of the day. Your body uses food–primarily carbohydrates (this is your body’s favorite food to fuel source)–as it’s go to source for energy. It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet to not only keep your metabolism going but to also keep your brain functioning on early mornings. I know some people skip meals in order to reduce their calorie intake because they think that this will help them burn stored fat–well, unfortunately the body doesn’t quite work that way.
Skipping meals is actually bad for your metabolism. The body gets tricked into preservation mode when you don’t eat enough calories/a balanced diet. What does preservation mode mean? It means that your body is actually tricked into storing fat/won’t give up fat because it thinks that there are impending bad times ahead–you can thank evolution for this phenomena. When food used to be scare, our bodies would store and hold onto as much fat as possible–think of it as your bodies very own rainy day fund.
This is what really happens in the body.
- Body breaks down carbohydrates –> energy
- Once carbohydrate stores are depleted–>body looks for other sources to break down for fuel in the body…
- HEALTHY BODIES (diets rich in protein/complex carbs)–> body will breakdown stored fat –> energy
- NOT SO HEALTHY BODIES (i.e. not enough calorie intake/not a balanced diet): body goes into preservation mode –> body skips fat break down–> body breaks down protein for fuel
What this all means? If you don’t ingest enough protein and carbs, your body will actually start munching on its own muscles for fuel. Not good!
Extreme athletes that push themselves to extreme limits will use protein as a source of energy after all other stores are depleted–but they also know how to replenish protein quickly so it doesn’t do damage to their bodies. The average person–who say is walking to work–shouldn’t be using protein as a source of energy at all. That’s why it is important to eat a diet that has both protein and healthy carbs. One of my favorite college professors always used to tell us “Carbohydrate ingestion–spares protein breakdown”–as you can tell she was anti the extreme low carb diets. So what she was saying is that if you eat enough complex carbohydrates–your body will never go into that preservation mode & burn your muscle tissue. What it is really all about is feeding your body the right kind of carbs–complex carbs, in place of insulin spiking simple carbs. My strawberry peanut butter wraps offer a great source of protein and complex carbs with a side of antioxidants & vitamin C from the strawberries. It is a great on the go snack/breakfast–just wrap it in aluminum foil and eat it burrito style on the go. Couldn’t be more simple or tasty.
- Multigrain tortillas
- Peanut or Almond Butter
- Sliced strawberries
- Raw Agave syrup for drizzling
My husband, Matt, was craving apple crisp so I decided to fulfill his request…and to mix it up a bit and create my own recipe highlighting the perks of summer. Since apple crisp reminds me of fall (and there is no way that I’m ready for fall yet), I knew I had to add my own summery twist to a classic. I have been obsessed with peaches this summer, so they were an obvious choice to incorporate into my recipe redo. I also have a huge (seriously–almost an addiction) to sweet cherries. We lived in MI for a while and the only perk of living there was how cheap the cherries were during the season. My habit has become quite expensive since we’ve moved–but I refuse/can’t give them up. A few of my favorite things all wrapped into one yummy, bubbling morsel? Yes, please.
I decided to make a small batch since we are trying to eat healthy/minimize junk…but still feed our cravings so we wouldn’t splurge elsewhere. I came up with a super yummy recipe that makes 4 individualized portions of Peach, Apple, & Cherry Crisp. Enjoy!
Necessary equipment: 4 large (about 4.5 inch) ramekins
- 4 ripe peaches
- 2 apples
- Lemon juice
- Brown Sugar
- Old fashion oats
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Summer is great for a lot of things…sun tans, BBQs, outside sporting events…but out of all perks of summer, I’d say my favorite is the overabundance of fresh, delicious fruit. As much as I love sweets like chocolate–I’d still take this sweet treat over any cake or cookie any day. So if you are looking for a light, refreshing snack go to the grocery store and stock up your refrigerator. Prices are so low on fresh fruit currently and it’s an easy way to ensure you’re snacking healthy. Add your favorites to a bowl with a little lemon juice and enjoy. My fruit salad contained: watermelon, plums, sliced strawberries, raspberries, cherries, & blueberries. I topped it with a little whipped cream–I feel like that tiny addition helps it read as a dessert and cuts my craving for all things junk later. You can also serve this as a side for dinner–it tastes great with grilled chicken or fish–plus it’s a light way to help fill you up so you don’t consume a high calorie dinner. I was always taught to: “Eat like a King at breakfast, a Queen at lunch, and a Peasant at dinner”. It’s a great strategy because it allows you to burn off all the calories while you are the most active during the day. If you want to eat it for breakfast–top with some greek yogurt and a sprinkle of granola. Keep an eye out for my own homemade agave granola–it’s the best.