Thursday, July 9, 2015

Healthy Hazelnut Creamer

Coffee is my biggest health struggle. For so long I've either had a super sweet drink or nothing at all. I've been getting myself closer and closer to a strictly natural drink and today I've finally found one that is epic!

I've realized that I fall off the wagon on eating healthy because I haven't learned how to utilize spices and natural flavors to make my healthy food interesting. You can only have so much plain veggies before saying, "just give me a freaking pizza." ;]

This homemade healthy hazelnut creamer will be my coffee's best friend from now on. It can be adapted with any nut of your choosing! I got the majority of my ingredients from Trader Joes.
-Ingredients-
-2 cups of roasted and unsalted hazelnuts
-1/2 cup of coconut cream from a can
-3 tsp pure hazelnut or vanilla extract
-Pinch of salt
-2 tbsp honey
-3 cups of filtered water
-1 tsp stevia
-Directions-
-Put the hazelnuts in a medium bowl and cover with cold water to soak for 4-6 hours (I did 4).
-Drain the hazelnuts and place in a blender or food processor to grind down, adding in the 3 cups of water as you go. Mine came to a consistency similar to almond meal. I have not mastered the processing of nuts yet so this took me a while. I found that adding the water in once most of the hazelnuts had been ground up to be helpful. It kept the blades digging into the mixture. 
-Add in all of your other ingredients and blend well.
-Next you will drain the liquid from the nut meal. I used a handheld strainer that had pretty tight weaves. Others have recommended a milk nut bag or cheese cloth. I found my strainer worked just fine, but it did take time to drain it all. I did it in batches and used a spoon to press the liquid out. I discarded the remains this time, but next time I will try to utilize it somewhere else. 
-Now you have your creamer! Store in a sealed container in the fridge and you're good to go.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nice Cream!

Say hello to super sweet and delicious homemade froyo...minus any dairy and additives :) Nice cream is my newest favorite discovery. 
It's as simple as taking two bananas, slicing them up and sticking them in the freezer. Once they are frosty you stick them in a blender and you have a delicious ice cream like treat. This state can also be the base for other adaptations. You could add chocolate, other fruits or anything really!

For the one pictured above, I added re-hydrated PB2 with drip coffee. It was mighty tasty :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Words cannot describe how delicious this healthy recipe is. I have been eating it for lunch for the past week and still cannot get enough, which is good because it makes a big batch!
Unfortunately I've eaten my meals so fast that I don't have any other pictures of this recipe yet. I will definitely snap more the next time I make it.

-Ingredients-
-1 cup quinoa (I cook a cup dry and then use the majority of the cooked outcome)
-1 (10-ounce) can Old El Paso™ mild enchilada sauce
-1 (4.5-ounce) can Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles, drained
-1/2 cup corn kernels, canned
-1/2 cup canned low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
-1 avocado
-Directions-
-Cook the quinoa according the instructions on the bag.
-Preheat the oven to 375.
-In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder.
-Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
-Stir in half a cup of shredded cheese.
-Spray your baking dish(es) with coconut oil spray and then spread the whole mixture in evenly.
-Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.  
-Serve or store for delicious lunches throughout the week.


Adapted from: http://damndelicious.net/2014/07/07/quinoa-enchilada-casserole/

Basic Healthy Frittata Bars

Lately I have been on a major egg kick. Of course my favorite eggs to get are from an epic diner over here where they smother them in butter and cheese :p My recipe is all about health but still tastes wonderful!
-Ingredients-
-8 eggs + 1 cup egg white in a carton
-Splash of milk or milk substitute
-Garlic powder and Turmeric
-A meat of your choice. I used freshly sliced bacon from our Safeway butcher
-Shredded sharp cheddar
-4 cups of mixed, freshly cut veggies
For this recipe I used:
-1/2 cup frozen Potatoes O'Brien from Safeway
-1 cup diced red and green peppers
-1 1/2 cups of diced zucchini
-1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
-1 clove of garlic, chopped
-1 layer of sliced black olives
-Directions-
-Cook your meat. I cooked my bacon in the oven at 400 for about 40 minutes, flipping over halfway through. I like my bacon pretty crispy. I also make sure that the baking pan in on a lower rack to help it cook faster. Once bacon is done, dry out on a paper towel and chop up.
-Chop up your veggies to fill a measuring cup up to 4 cups. 
-I used a baking sheet meant for making bars, lightly coated it with coconut oil spray and then evenly distributed the veggies. This is a great time to add the crumbled bacon to the top. I seem to always forget and then I have huge frittata bars. 
-In a medium mixing bowl combine your eggs, egg whites, milk and spices. Whisk until well mixed and then pour over the veggies and meat in the baking sheet.
-Stick in the middle of the oven and bake until eggs are fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes.
-Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top
-Serve immediately or store in the fridge for healthy breakfasts :) Heck, I took mine in for lunches too. So delicious with Picante Sauce or Sriracha. 


If you would like to make one large frittata that you slice up, visit the original recipe for baking guidelines.
Adapted from: http://www.eatlivegrowpaleo.com/2012/07/basics-frittata.html?m=1

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thin Mint Chocolate Shakeology

I have been doing the 21 Day Fix and I have decided to try Shakeology for the month. I got the chocolate flavor and have had an interesting time trying to get a tasty drink out of them. They are much more bland than your typical protein powder which is most likely a good thing ;) My favorite recipe so far has been the Thin Mint Chocolate Shakeo.
-Ingredients-
-1 tsp coconut oil
-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
-1 cup drip coffee
-1 cup soymilk
-1 scoop chocolate Shakeology

-Directions-
-Put all ingredients in the blender with the Shakeology scoop in last and blend!
-Add ice and enjoy. (This equals one teaspoon, one yellow and one red container for tracking nutrition)


Sunday, March 15, 2015

PB&J Smoothie

This smoothie tastes even better than it sounds ;] 
-Ingredients-
-2 tbsp creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
-1 small banana
-1 cup soy milk
-1 cup coconut milk
-1 scoop strawberry protein (I love Dymatize Strawberries & Cream)

-Directions-
-Blend the banana, peanut butter and a little bit of soy milk to get these ingredients smooth.
-Add the rest of the soy milk in as well as the coconut milk and blend.
-Add the protein powder and blend.
-Put in a fancy cup and add some ice!
Delicious :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Coffee Ice Cubes

These are super simple and make iced coffee drinks 10x better! One of the biggest problems with getting iced coffee is that the ice waters it down. You no longer need to worry about this :)


This recipe is as simple as brewing a pot of your favorite drip coffee and then filling an ice cube tray with some. 


Add to your favorite iced coffee beverage, or simply a glass of cold milk and you've got a latte that will slowly become stronger. 




Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Protein Drink

Today I had my coffee in the form of a protein drink. This is such a great way to make your iced mochas healthy. 


-Ingredients-
-1/2 banana
-1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk - I use Costco Kirkland brand
-1 cup of drip coffee - I love Gevalia Majestic Roast
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-2 tbsp sugar free hazelnut syrup - I get this from Cash & Carry
-1 scoop chocolate protein powder - I use Market Pantry

-Directions-
-Blend the banana first, then pour the hot coffee into a cup with the coconut oil and let it mix together. 
-Add the coffee/coconut oil mixture to the blender and then add the rest of the ingredients except coffee ice cubes and blend. 
-Pour in a cup and add the coffee ice cubes. Yum!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Salads-in-a-Jar!


My new lunch best friends :) These are so quick to make and even easier to eat. Surprisingly enough there is a trick to making them so that they stay fresh longer.

The goal is to keep the wet ingredients at the bottom with the dressing and set the dry ingredients between them and the lettuce. The mason jar lids give the salads an air tight seal so they keep very well in the fridge. 


This is a protein packed Italian salad.

-Ingredients-
-Wishbone fat free italian dressing
-1 hard boiled egg white
-Black olives
-Cooked shelled edamame
-Shredded cheddar cheese
-Cashew pieces
-Greens of your choice

-Directions-
-Start by adding 2+ tablespoons of dressing to the bottom of a pint sized mason jar (quart if you want the salad to be your main meal option). 
-Add layer by layer of each wet ingredient.
-Add cashew pieces and shredded cheddar
-Mash as many greens on top as possible and seal the jar.

Store in the fridge and they are good to go!

I honed in my salad-in-a-jar skills because of this awesome lady! Cassie from Back to Her Roots: http://backtoherroots.com/2013/04/09/salad-in-a-jar-101/

Savory Protein Sandwich

I am having a fantastic day because of this sandwich. Can you tell I am a super foodie? I made it this morning to pack for lunch and ended up eating a quarter of it :)



The red onion makes this a powerful sandwich with a hint of sweetness. I sprinkled garlic powder over the avocado and the mustard adds a zing. The sprouts and edamame add an earthy and fresh flavor while the olives hold it all together. Plus, I never forget cheese ;)


My healthy lunch for today looks great in my Lunchbot :) I am definitely someone that needs portion control and this has been a great tool for me. Plus it's stainless steel so its easy to clean and you don't get the plastic leeching into your food. 

I also brought my favorite new discovery:


Salads in a jar! I've been bringing one of these babies every day to work for about a week. They are such a great size and really help me get in as many veggies as a I can. 

Cassie from Back to Her Roots introduced me to Lunchbots! http://backtoherroots.com/2014/09/17/lunches-lately/

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Green Curry Chicken Salad

The Green Curry Simmer Sauce makes this chicken salad a touch spicy and very delicious. Each serving has 15g of protein and tastes amazing in a pita pocket with lots of spinach. I like to bring it to work for lunch and it keeps me going quite a while! 1 Serving= 3/4 cup. 
-Ingredients-

-2 chicken breasts
-1/2 cup Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce (Trader Joes)
-3/4 cup Fat free mayo
-4 tbsp yellow mustard
-1/2 cup cut green onion
-1/2 cup diced red onion
-2 large pickles, diced
-3 hard boiled egg whites
-Pepper to taste
-Directions-

-Cook the frozen chicken breasts in a skillet and slice into small chunks. Add the simmer sauce to the fully cooked chicken and let heat up.
-Place curried chicken in the fridge to cool while prepping the veggies.
-Dice the onions, pickles and egg whites and throw into a Tupperware container. 
-Mix the mayo and mustard together and add to the veggie mixture.
-Add the chicken to the mixture and stir well. 
-Sprinkle with pepper. 

Use Sparkpeople and want to add this recipe to your nutrition tracker?
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2666963 

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

This creamy cauliflower sauce is hearty, a touch spicy, healthy and delicious.


-Ingredients-
-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
-4 cups cauliflower florets
-1/2 a small avocado
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-Garlic powder
-Cayenne pepper (to taste)
-3-4 tsp ranch herb mix (see link to the recipe)
-Black pepper
-1 tbsp salted butter
-1/4 cup grated parmesan
-1/4 cup 2% mozzarella cheese


-Directions-

-In a big pot put the chicken broth and cauliflower in and bring to a boil, then let it cook and soften between 7-10 minutes.
-In a small frying pan, add the butter and minced garlic. Saute, but do not brown the garlic.
-In your blender (preferably one that can handle 6 or more cups) blend the avocado, with a sprinkling of garlic powder, until smooth.
-Once the cauliflower is fully cooked, transport it to the blender, straining away the broth, but add 1 cup of that broth to the blender and a dash of pepper.
-Puree the cauliflower and avocado until smooth, then add the buttered garlic.
-Return the sauce to a big pan and add the cheeses and ranch herbs and a touch of cayenne pepper.
-Stir until the cheese begins to get stringy.

Pair with your favorite thing to put sauce on. I chose noodles. Next time I will have it with broccoli. You could also have it on rice or quinoa.

This recipe relies heavily on two other blogs that provided me with the ranch herb mixture and the base for the cauliflower sauce.
For the ranch herb mix: http://wellnessmama.com/4430/14-homemade-spice-blends/
For the cauliflower base: http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-cauliflower-sauce


If you are a SparkPeople user, go to this recipe to add it to your nutrition tracker :]
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2670483&ff=1
Adapted from: http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-cauliflower-garlic-rice

Sugar Free Hazelnut Soy Latte

Once I became dedicated to eating well I decided to experiment and find a drink that doesn't cost me much in my nutritional tracker. I have always preferred iced coffee over hot coffee. I think the espresso tastes better that way. I discovered an iced soy latte with sugar free hazelnut. It's the perfect amount of sweet and creamy for me and you only have to consider the soy milk in a nutritional tracker. Espresso and SF flavors have barely anything to them when it comes to calories, carbs, fat, so soy is the only major factor :]


-Ingredients-


-You can either order this at your favorite coffee shop: 12oz (tall) iced soy latte with sugar free hazelnut and one shot of espresso.
-Or! If you have a personal espresso machine at home you can make a shot of espresso and add it to one cup of soy milk and about 2 tbsp of sugar free hazelnut flavoring.

Thinking about buying a personal espresso machine? Here's mine: 
http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-ECM160-Espresso-Machine/dp/B000U6BSI2 

Want sugar free hazelnut syrup for less than $4 a bottle? Find your nearest Cash & Carry store. They supply small businesses with great products, including a whole isle of syrup flavors.


Chocolate Mousse With a Twist!

Do you like to be daring and adventurous with your food? This recipe asks people to step out of their comfort zone and happily surprises them with delicious creamy rich chocolate. Don't let a little tofu scare ya ;]


-Ingredients-
-12.3oz silken or firm tofu (Mori-Nu lite leaves no aftertaste!)
-1 tsp cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp milk of your choice
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
-2-3 tbsp agave syrup
-crust is optional if you want it to be like a pie. I would try graham cracker :]

-Directions-
-melt chocolate in pan.
-throw everything into a blender until smooth.
-pour into a crust or dish! Yep, it's that easy!

Reduced Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are dangerous. I can eat a whole batch in a day, which totally defeats the purpose haha.


-Ingredients-
-3 overly ripe bananas
-3/4 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of butter!)
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cup flour
-Directions-
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Mash the bananas well in a large mixing bowl.
-add the sugar and egg while continuing to mix.
-add the applesauce and then slowly begin to add in the dry ingredients, letting the batter build up.
-mix in the chocolate chips! (best part)
-distribute into muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Greek Pasta Salad Dressing

I am a pasta salad fiend. I have always wanted to make my own salad dressings and have finally found the first one I really love. I recently discovered a base recipe for salad dressings that has been another success for me. I will introduce both of them to you now.




-Ingredients-

-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
-1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 1/2 tsp dried basil
-1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
-3/4 tsp black pepper
-3/4 tsp white sugar

-Directions-

-Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
-I like to use elbow pasta, kalamata olives, feta cheese, green onions and salami in my Greek pasta salad. 



Allrecipes.com gave me the Greek dressing recipe!
They have a video on making it! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/greek-pasta-salad-i/

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I had a sweet tooth tonight and decided to make my super yummy peanut butter ice cream that is low in fat and high in protein :]

-Ingredients-
    -2 tbsp PB2 (I get mine at Fred Meyer, it goes a long way)
    -1 tbsp Zola Coconut Water Espresso
    -8 tbsp safeway light whipped cream.


    -Directions-
    -Hydrate the PB2 with the Zola Coconut Milk and stir thoroughly.
    -Add the whipped cream and stir!


    If you are a SparkPeople user, go to this recipe to add it to your nutrition tracker :]
    http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2670511&ff=1



Friday, March 6, 2015

Iced Soy Green Tea Latte

If you've ever been to Starbucks and had a Green Tea Latte and loved it, you can now make it at home! I am a huge fan of these deliciously creamy and earthy tasting splendors. 



Matcha consists of ground up baby green tea leaves and little bit of sugar. Whole Foods has a spectacular jasmine matcha powder that is exactly like the Tazo version sold exclusively to Starbucks.

It's very simple to make! You just add about two spoonfuls of matcha powder to a quarter cup of hot water. If you like a little sweetness to your drinks then add some sugar at this point before mixing with your cold milk. Dissolve the matcha and sugar and then add the liquid to your favorite milk. I love vanilla soy milk from Costco. Add some ice and you'll have a green tea latte!

Coffee

To say I love coffee would be the greatest understatement. I live coffee.



For 7 years I was a barista while trudging through school, dreaming of the day where I could open my own coffee shop and be able to finally do things the way I wanted to. I graduated from college this past June and began to write up a business plan for my ultimate coffee shop. 

Along the way a few things happened that reminded me that I was tired of being broke. I wanted to be able to afford to rent a house with a backyard and have a puppy and start making roots for Thomas and I. So, I decided to try an office job out while I planned my future coffee shop. Turns out that I've fallen in love with my work place and really enjoy coming here every day. I still have urges and wishes to be in my own place, making great espresso, teaching others to make great espresso and feeling that epic pride in having done it all. Maybe someday, as Thomas would say. ;]

For now, I have a little Mr. Coffee espresso machine at home that I can make magic with. Every morning it brews my favorite iced white mocha and I have the best baristas in town at Cascade Grind

Check in for some great coffee recipes soon. I've recently discovered the bliss of adding coconut oil to my coffee and I will also post a recipe for a SF Hazelnut Soy Latte.