Tag Archives: Healthy

Feeding the Sweet Tooth

On Saturday night, I met up with some friends from my previous company that I hadn’t been able to see in a crazy long time. One of them is in the book club and actually has a blog of her own, Dresses and Desserts. She just made these flower girl dresses that are adorable!

Anyways, I wanted to bring something with me for dessert and decided on some brownies. I wanted to take a turn at making some healthier brownies, and ended up combining ideas from a few recipes to build this one. It tasted fantastic, and was definitely lower in calories and fat than any other brownies I have made.

Double Chocolate Brownies

 

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips 2 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 3/4 Cup Egg Whites
3 Eggs 1 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Milk

Directions:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter and 3/4 Cups Chocolate chips. microwave until melted and blended at 30 second intervals. Stir in milk to make smooth.

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2. Stir the flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

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3. With a mixer, mix the eggs, egg whites and sugar. Then add in the applesauce, oil and vanilla.

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4. Blend in the chocolate-butter mix. And then gradually add in the dry flour mix. Blend until mixed well. Lastly, add in the last chocolate chips.

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5. Pour the batter into a 13×9 dish that is greased. Bake it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the center is cooked throughout. Use the toothpick method.

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They definitely tasted healthier than your typical brownie but lost no real chocolate flavor. They didn’t last long at all.

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While the brownies were in the oven, Bacon and Oreo had gotten into a tug of war with a cute little pink bear…and the bear lost.

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Normally this isn’t a notable occurrence, but it just looked so devastated on the floor haha.

After brownie baking, I ran over to the gym to get a quick workout in and this message was up on the board as a little motivational point…and I have to say…it worked.

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Haha…Runnnnn!

 

What do you grab for when your sweet tooth is calling you??

 

 

Banana Almond Oat Bread

A few weeks ago when I made the Baked Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Brent had made the suggestion of making a cinnamon banana version of it. There isn’t a banana bread out there that he doesn’t like and I have to agree. Of all of the breads out there, it has be one of my favorites. So, when he suggested it, I obviously thought it was a fantastic idea, and went to work on creating one.

I like it better than the cranberry almond, and others liked the cranberry almond better. I guess it really is up to your own taste. But the best part I think, is the fact that it is gluten free, so my youngest sister Bridget can enjoy it along with the rest of us. Now, the directions for each of them are the same so if you do like the pictures that go along with it…just head over to the Cranberry Almond.

Banana Almond Oat Bread

Ingredients:

2 Cups Oats 1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup Vanilla Yogurt 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Milk 1 Banana Chopped
2 Tablespoon Honey 1 Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions:

1. In a bowl, mix the oats, almonds, chia seeds, baking soda and cranberries.

2. Add in the egg, honey, yogurt, milk and honey. Stir until consistent throughout.

3. Bake it at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes in a greased bread pan.

As soon as the edges as browned and the center looks cooked through, it is good to go. Really kind of a simple recipe but the outcome is fantastic. It’s really healthy and filling.

I’m not even going to lie, I enjoyed it with another latte.

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Ever since Maggie introduce me to to them, I can’t get enough of it. They are light, and really not difficult to make. They get a bed reputation because the clean up is supposedly difficult and time consuming, but I don’t really find it tedious. I think it’s completely worth it to whip these guys up.

What are your thoughts on an at home latte??

Eggplant Parm, Love it or Hate it?

I have NEVER really been a fan of eggplant. The texture, the flavor…the everything about it. Well, the color is kind of pretty. But, I can’t really say I ever would have ordered eggplant anything throughout my entire life. But, I feel like the whole, your taste buds change while you grow up is completely true. I really like eggplant now. And onions, and tomatoes, and veggies in general. Brussels sprouts might just have to stay in limbo for right now.

  • Fun fact: They say that the bitter flavor of brussels sprouts is really distasteful to children because when you are younger you have more taste buds. The bitter flavor typically indicates something that may contain toxins, where as sweets are generally safe to eat. So children will spit it out in response to the bitter flavor, where adults won’t be keying in on the bitter flavor and be able to enjoy them a bit more. 

Eggplant I think has always been a texture thing to me. I’m finally getting used to the texture of a nice fresh eggplant and it is kind of growing on me. It is also my father’s favorite so I know this meal is going to be around for a long long time. My dad had been talking about eggplant parm for a while and when my mother was out of town for a few weeks, we decided to whip some up for him.

Eggplant Parm

 

Ingredients:

 

 

2 Large Eggplant 2 Jars of Tomato Sauce
2 Eggs 2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Cups Bread Crumbs 1 16oz Bag Mozarella Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Garlic 1 Large Onion
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

 

Directions:

1. In a medium sized pan, add in a tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic and your large onion, diced. I used a vidalia onion, but a yellow onion would work well too. Set it on a medium heat and stir frequently until the onions are cooked through. When the onions are cooked, add in the two jars of sauce. It can be any flavor you like. I used an italian sauce.

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2. With the sauce sitting on simmer, take your eggplant and cut them into thicker slices.

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3. Next, in a flatter dish, whisk the eggs with your milk until they are well combined. Then dip the eggplant slice into the egg, covering it on both sides and then dip it into your bread crumbs, covering it on both sides, as well as the edges.

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4. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake them all at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant looks browned. Then, flip them over and give it another 5 minutes.

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5. In 13×9 baking dish, line the bottom with some sauce and start layering the eggplant on the bottom. You want to fill the bottom as much as possible. You may have to cut a few in half.

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6. Then top the layer off with some more sauce, and a mozzarella cheese layer. Then another eggplant layer and so on. Until you have no more eggplant and the top layer is sauce and cheese.

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7. Bake the dish at 350 degrees for 25  minutes, covered with tin foil. You need the dish to completely warm up and the flavors to blend. If you do not cover it, you will get a crunchy top. You can always take the tin foil off for the last 5 minutes if you want that effect.

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Not too complicated but just a little time consuming! On the other side, you will have enough eggplant parm to hold you over for a while! And if you have any left over baked eggplant, you can put it on sandwiches or on salads for other meals!

 

What are some foods that you like now as an adult that you may have hated when you were a kid??

Popcorn Cookies and Clockwork Abs

Yesterday I told you that I was working on a clockwork abs workout and here you go! The whole time I was actually doing the workout I was trying to come up with a clever name for it…Like “Rockin Abs Around the Clock” or “Rock Hard Abs Around the Clock” but I couldn’t come up with something that just seemed to roll off the tongue. Sooo Clockwork Abs it is.

For this workout, you simply go down the list of exercises and do each for a minute straight, except for the ab circles clockwise and counter clockwise, do each for 30 seconds. If you get to the point where you can complete them for a minute straight each…that’s amazing. I have included some videos to go along with the exercises to clarify what I’m talking about but couldn’t find a few…so I have described them. If you have trouble understanding…let me know I will try to clarify 🙂

Clockwork Abs

Leg Lifts

Side to Side Pendulum

Ab Circles Clockwise and Counterclockwise: Lie on your back and lift your legs a few inches off the ground.  With your legs completely straight the entire time, begin drawing a large circle with your feet in either a clockwise or counter clockwise manner. Your arms should be placed in the same position as the Side to Side Pendulum.

Ab Circles Alternating: Staring with your feet at the top most position in the ab circles, move your feet in a clockwise motion. When you reach the top mot position again, pause and move them back in a counter-clockwise motion. Continue pausing at the top and alternating between clockwise and counter-clockwise.

V-Crunch

V-Crunch Alternating Sides: Get into your starting V-Crunch position with your knees pulled in and your shoulders off the ground. Instead of extending your legs straight out, twist your body onto your left hip and extend your legs out to the right side. Bring them back to the middle with your body centered. Then twist your body onto the right hip and extend your legs out to the left side. Bring the back to the middle with your body centered.

Please let me know if any of this is confusing. I will keep looking for the appropriate videos if the description is confusing.

I had Maggie do this workout with me yesterday and she loved it. You don’t have to count how many you are completing, just push yourself through each minute and get as many reps in as you can. The workout is also going to target every muscle in your abs. We are both feeling sore today and looooove it.

Popcorn Cookies

A little while ago I can up with the idea of putting popcorn into cookies. I know this isn’t an original idea but it was in my head 🙂 I added some white chocolate chips and cranberries to the mix because I am really a big fan of cranberries in cookies (if you couldn’t tell). They are extremely healthy and packed with flavor. When my family was eating them, they at first weren’t really sure what to make of them because they have such a different texture in comparison to a typical cookie. My mom thought they should be cut into bars and be called a snack cookie or something to the effect. They are extremely crunchy is what I’m getting at. But delicious. I really recommend you give them a try if you are looking for something that is sweet but on the healthy side. Because they are so crunchy, it takes you a little longer to eat…which isn’t a bad thing if you are looking to cut down on the number of cookies you are eating 🙂

Cranberry Popcorn Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Stick of Butter, Softened 1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4 Cups Flour 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Salt to Taste 3/4 Cup Popcorn Kernals
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. In a sauce pan, add in a tablespoon of canola oil and the popcorn kernals. Over medium heat, heat until popcorn popping has slowed down. Make sure you put a cover on the sauce pan or your will have oil and popcorn EVERYWHERE!

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2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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3. Add in the egg and vanilla.

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4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Then gradually add it into the wet mixture. Top it off with the lightly CRUSHED popcorn, chocolate chips and cranberries.

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5. Spoon dough onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake them at 350 degrees for approximately 14 minutes. You want them to be slightly browned.

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Just let them cool before you start tasting them, but I was really happy with the way that they came out. Such a different take on a cookie. They were sweet and healthy at the same time.

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And just a little update on the Oreo, my little problem child. She is doing much better. She is walking around and has a ton more energy. She still won’t attempt going up stairs but in just a few days she will be as good as new 🙂

Have you ever tried to combine two of your favorite snacks to see if you can make a better one?!

 

Blueberry Chocolate Cake with Blueberry Buttercream Frosting

Sunday night was also my Dad’s birthday and birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family. There are a few unique things that I think make a birthday in this house a bit different than what you might see elsewhere.

  • There are usually 7 of us, and now with Brent there are 8. So, it’s loud. Picture the stereotypical Italian family getting together and multiply that by 6 girls. Seriously loud.
  • Dinner is all out. The birthday person gets to pick what they what for dinner and that is what is whipped up. This time was a seafood pasta.
  • When singing Happy Birthday, sing as loud and as out of key as possible. Ear splitting high notes, piercing notes and anything else you can make your voice do. This is usually when the dogs run away in terror. If we have company, they think it’s weird at first then they join in with something we’ve never heard before. We all think it’s hilarious.
  • When picking out a card, it NEEDS to pop up. If it doesn’t pop up, put it down and find another. If you can find one that sings AND pops up, you probably have a winner. There is a competition for the best card and strangely enough, we have never shown up with the same card. Only every once in a while from year to year. Those immediately lose. Sorry.
  • Have fun. Obviously.

For my Dad’s birthday, I decided that I would make the cake and his favorite thing in the world is blueberry. So I decided to make a blueberry cake. Originally it was going to be a Blueberry Lemon Cake, but he didn’t really like that idea. He wanted chocolate. Chocolate it is.

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour 1 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Water 1/2 Cup Blueberries, melted
1 Egg

 

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter, softened 4 1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla 3 Tablepsoon Milk
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries, thawed and drained

 

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients. Then, with a blender, blend the blueberries, egg and water.

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2. Whisk the wet ingredients in with the dry. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

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3. Bake in a greased round 8 inch pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I made two of them in order to stack them for the cake.

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For the Frosting:

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar. Lastly, mix in the blueberries, and milk. Use the milk to get the consistency that you would like.

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Easy! When the cake is completely cooled, COMPLETELY cooled. You can start frosting it. Just know that it needs to be stored in a chilled area because the frosting is made of butter.

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I was struggling a little bit with the icing of it. But that’s a skill that I will pick up eventually 🙂

We all sat down for dinner and Maggie gave us a mini wine lesson on the two that she had picked out for dinner.

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We sat down and had some seafood pasta with a delicious red sauce.

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As we were sitting down, I grabbed one of the naked rigatoni still sitting in the strainer just to munch on. I was talking at the same time, and decided to goof around a little bit, so I blew through the rigatoni…IT WHISTLED! I felt like a five year old that just discovered the best thing ever! Why I never realized this when I was younger, I have no idea. I know I would have driven my mom nuts if I did figure it out earlier.

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So fun! You just have to pinch the sides of it a little bit to restrict the air flow and it will make this loud, high pitched whistling noise. 🙂

 

After dinner, the cake came out and I was honestly a bit nervous about how it was going to go over. I have never made one of a birthday cakes and this one was a bit different in itself. I don’t know if you noticed…it has NO OIL. There is no butter, no canola oil, no nothing. The icing obviously has butter but the cake itself. Nada. It’s a healthy chocolate cake. YUP.

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But it was delicious! The cake itself was really rich. The chocolate flavor really came through in it. The blueberries were also really apparent in the frosting. Big hit!

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It was even better the second day. The blueberry flavor came out a lot more the second day.

When cake was finished and we were starting to clean up, my dad brought over the wish bone that I had been waiting to dry out for a few days. Brent and I broke it and I guesssssss my wish won’t come true. MER.

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Happy Birthday!!

Do you have any weird traditions in your family??