Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roasted Jalapeno Black Bean Dip

Roasted Jalapeno Black Bean Dip recipe

How excited are you for the Super Bowl?  On a scale of one to I only care about the food.  Really, I only care about the food.  My friends are hosting on Sunday and I'm so excited, they are both great cooks and I heard the party was epic last year (I was on a plane home from NYC, bad planning).  I won't be bringing this dip, but that is only because as a blogger, it is hard for me to repeat recipes even if they are absolutely amazing.  This roasted jalapeno black bean dip is just that, it is creamy and spicy, and so delicious.  It tastes just as good with carrots as with tortilla chips, so you can eat it and feel quite good about yourself.  This dip is packed with protein and will make a nice contrast to all the other salty, greasy food you'll find at a Super Bowl party.

As for me, beyond cheering for the snacks, I'll be happy regardless of who wins.  Since I've lived in both the Bay Area and Maryland, I don't have a preference... though I did really enjoy when the Ravens won last time and I got to dress down at my Catholic school as long as I wore purple.  Who are you rooting for? Or will you be cheering for snacks, like me?

Check out my Pinterest board of Super Bowl party food for more ideas!

Skinny Black Bean Dip recipe

Roasted Jalapeno Black Bean Dip

1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
2 jalapenos, halved and de-seeded
1/2 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1-3 tablespoons Cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Turn on the broiler, and lay the de-seeded jalapeno halves on the baking sheet inside down.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and place 2 to 3 inches from the broiler.  Broil for 3-4 minutes until the skin of the jalapeno browns and blisters.  Transfer the peppers to a wooden cutting board and invert a metal bowl over them. Leave the bowl for 15 minutes. This will help to steam the peppers and make it easier to peel them.  Always be very careful with jalapenos, and wear gloves when handling them.

While the jalapenos are steaming, turn the oven down to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Drizzle sliced onion and garlic cloves (in the papery skin still) with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. Let the garlic cloves cool slightly, then squeeze them out into the bowl of a food processor.  Chop the roasted onions and add them to the food processor as well.

Add the jalapenos, black beans, Greek yogurt and hot sauce to the food processor.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pulse to purée until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Serve with veggies - carrots, cukes, tomatoes, celery - and tortilla chips.

Roasted Jalapeno Black Bean Dip recipe

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Slow Cooked Kale

Slow Cooked Kale Recipe

This slow cooked kale is addicting.  Honestly, I made it to put into some stuffed peppers (recipe coming next week), and I almost ate all of it before it was time to add to the stuffing mixture.  I couldn't stop myself from grabbing a few forkfuls every time I saw it sitting on the counter.  I know, you probably think that I'm a crazy lady for calling kale addictive.  And I'm not even talking about kale chips!  Just trust me on this one.  Kale is so good for you and finding a great way to prepare it can make it fun to eat, too.  I typically eat raw kale, usually in salads, but this slow cooked kale will definitely be on repeat around here.  It is so tasty!

Slow Cooked Kale

Adapted from Bon Appetit via Alexandra Cooks
Serves 2-4

1 head Lacinato (Tuscan or Dinosaur) Kale
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 big pinches red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preferred level of spice)

Clean your kale well, then chop into bite sized pieces.*

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (the kale will cook down, but at first it takes up a lot of space, so you'll want a large pan).  Add the kale to the skillet.  Cook for a few minutes, until the kale starts to wilt, then add the garlic and shallots.  Season with salt and pepper, then toss in the red pepper flakes.  Stir well, then turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn.  The edges of the kale may start to blacken a bit, you want that, trust me.

*The original recipe called for blanching the kale. The first time I made this I was in a bit of a rush (plus was trying to remember the recipe off the top of my head), and I didn't have time to blanch the kale.  I thought it was delicious anyways, and the kale was nice and tender. I think the blanching may make it crispier, more like a kale chip, so if you want that, then maybe try blanching the kale as the first step.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blood Orange Avocado Salsa

Blood Orange and Avocado Salsa Recipe

I love citrus season.  When I first realized my grocery store had blood oranges last week, I was overjoyed.  These pretty red / pink / purple oranges make me so happy.  They are just so delicious and so beautiful.  After scooping up a large bag of blood oranges though, I found myself wondering what I could make with them.  Well, I have to say, you have to make this blood orange and avocado salsa.  Just do it.  It is sweet, spicy, and creamy.  This salsa is good on its own, or could be served on top of grilled chicken or a white fish, like halibut.  I was actually eating it with a spoon and had to restrain myself from finishing it in one sitting.  I definitely suggest making a double batch if you have to share this, because a single batch might not actually make it out of the kitchen.

PS now that we know who is playing in the Super Bowl, I've started a Pinterest board dedicated to Super Bowl snacks!

Blood Orange Salsa recipe

Blood Orange Avocado Salsa

From Saveur

2 blood oranges
1 ripe, avocado, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Using a serrated knife, slice the peel off the oranges removing as much white pith as possible. Place a mesh strainer over a small bowl; segment the oranges, letting the pieces fall into the strainer. Gently break up the segments into smaller pieces with your fingers. Set aside to drain.

In a medium bowl mix together the avocado, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt to taste. Add the orange pieces (discarding the juice) and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Blood Orange and Avocado Salsa recipe

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Maple Leaf Cocktail

Bourbon Lemon Maple Syrup Cocktail

Tomorrow, January 19, is Beaver Day.  I know, you are probably thinking to yourself, "Kelsey, what the heck is Beaver Day?"  Well, obviously, it is a very important holiday here in Canada, celebrating one of our most beloved creatures.  There is a significant amount of legend surrounding the holiday, and I don't think I can do the story justice, so I will just reiterate that it is a really important and fun holiday.

In honour of Beaver Day, I wanted to create a cocktail to represent all that is good and wonderful about this holiday.  My inspiration would be the BeaverTail treats served here in Ottawa.  BeaverTails are a delicious fried dough pastry, often topped with cinnamon and sugar or Nutella.  In other parts of the world, they are known as Elephant Ears.  One of the popular, though albeit strange, variations of the BeaverTail has lemon, cinnamon and sugar.  So that was where I would start.  My love of bourbon is well documented, so of course the drink would be bourbon based. And there would be maple syrup, because what is a drink celebrating a Canadian holiday without maple syrup.  I figured that I would call it a Beaver-tail as a play on the word cocktail.  Sometimes, when I think I've stumbled upon a brilliant idea for a recipe, I do a quick Google search to see if I'm the only one with this idea.  Apparently in this case, I was not the only one to think of combining bourbon, lemon, and maple syrup.  There is a well known drink that consists of these elements, and wouldn't you know it, it is called the Maple Leaf!! So Canadian, it was perfect!  And the drink itself is perfection.

Happy Beaver Day!

Maple Leaf Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

The Maple Leaf Cocktail (aka the Beaver-tail)

As seen on the Kitchn, Leite's Culinaria, etc.

2 ounces Bourbon
1 ounce freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
3/4 ounce pure maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick)

Combine the bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon (unless you have a cinnamon stick) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. (You can pour the drink over ice if you wish).

Making cocktails for a crowd?  Try the Smitten Kitchen's Vermontucky Lemonade and add a bit of cinnamon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Green Chile Lime Sauce

Over the last two weeks, Kelsey and I have both committed to doing the Chris Powell 12 Week Body Transformation.  At the end of first two weeks, we have identical results of being down 5 lbs.  Now if we were living together and eating the same, I could understand it but we are 561 miles apart.  Needless to say, we are both thrilled with the weight loss, but even more thrilled with how easy the Chris Powell Challenge has been.  When we started this, we also decided that our blog meals should try and go along with the carb cycling of the plans.  So this week, I made Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Green Chile Lime Sauce for our high carb dinner.  It was not until after that I realized that mangoes are not one of the smart carb fruits that are recommended by Chris Powell.  But it was too late and the mango salsa was a great part of the dinner.  Never the less, the dinner was delicious and satisfying and great even if you are not watching your weight!

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Green Chile Lime Sauce

Adapted from recipe found on Love & Olive Oil from Culinate

Makes 2 serving


3/4 lb of flaky white fish, such as tilapia, halibut, snapper (I used turbot as it was the only wild caught fish available at Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce

4 low carb, high fiber whole wheat tortillas (I used Trader Joe's)
3 cups of shredded cabbage
1 tomatoes diced
Chunky salsa, favorite brand (not part of original recipe)
Avocado (smart fat )

For Lime Sauce:
1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup of non- fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon green chilies
2 tablespoon of lime juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

For Mango Salsa
1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange) deseeded and chopped 1/4" squares
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced finely
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped in 1/2" squares (substitute a peach to stay with Chris Powell smart carb fruit)

Cilantro, destemmed and chopped, handful or less depending on your taste
1 clove of garlic, minced
Juice of lime
salt to taste


Prepare the fish marinade by combining lime juice, soy sauce and oil in a glass dish.  Add fish, turn to coat fish and leave in marninate while you prepare the rest of the toppings.

Make the lime sauce by combining the ingredients in a small bowl.

Prepare mango salsa by combing all the ingredients and adding salt to your taste.

Remove fish from the marinade and grill on BBQ according to direction for fish that you use.  Our turbot was 7 minutes per side.  Fish can be baked also.

Arrange cabbage, lime sauce, mango salsa, tomatoes, and chunky salsa in individuals bowls.

For each individual taco, place fish on tortilla, drizzle with lime sauce and top with cabbage, tomatoes, mango. salsa and chunky salsa( if desired).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Banana Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Banana Blueberry Protein Pancakes recipe

I saw this recipe ages ago and it seems to have certainly become popular with fitness bloggers (and anyone with a New Year's resolution to get into shape).  I wanted to believe that these pancakes were good, but I was totally skeptical... until I made them for myself!  They are really tasty, a little bit sweet and surprisingly have a decent texture.  Plus, these are a great breakfast option for Chris Powell's Body Transformation Challenge, because they have the right servings of carbs and protein to fit the breakfast requirements. And they are so easy to make!

Banana Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Adapted from The Skinny Confidential, Blogilates
Serves 2

1 ripe, mashed banana
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (you can omit this and the pancakes will still work)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Handful of blueberries
Vegetable oil
Pure maple syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, mash bananas to a smooth consistency.  Whisk two eggs into the mashed banana, then add cinnamon, ground flax seed, and vanilla.

In a medium skillet, heat a small amount of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Once a droplet of water sizzles in the pan, pour the pancake mixture in the pan, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  Allow the pancakes to cook for about 30 seconds, then add a few blueberries to each one.  Cook an additional 30 seconds (or until the batter bubbles) and flip.  Serve with more berries and a little bit of pure maple syrup.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A healthy, happy 2013!

The New Year is a little over a week old and I can already tell it is going to be a great year!

First, I joined Real Food Runner's 7-day green smoothie challenge to kick off the New Year.  After the indulgence of the holidays, my body was craving healthy food and I wanted to snap myself back to reality.  Head to her blog to check out the green smoothie recipes she and the other participants shared.  My go-to green smoothie is the Green Goodness.  This time around I made it with kale and threw in some ground flax seed.  After my holidays, I definitely needed this challenge and I'm glad that I participated.  My typical breakfast is a green smoothie anyways, but I had gotten off track while I was on vacation.

We are also doing the Chris Powell Bod-e 12-week Transformation Challenge.  Do I expect to win the prizes - Caribbean cruise, makeover and shopping spree? No. But I'm going to at least try it.  Plus, my family is doing it too.  It felt like a great excuse for me to come up with some new, healthy recipes for the blog!  The Bod-e challenge takes advantage of the incredible products available in the Vemma Bod-e line, which include Burn, Cleanse, Rest, and the new meal replacement shakes!  Unfortunately these products aren't yet available in Canada, though the shakes will be shipping in mid-January, but I am still planning to follow the carb cycling plan and once I have the shakes, I will incorporate those as well. Update! The shakes are available in Canada now!

So what does this mean for the blog, well... carb cycling involves alternating high carb and low carb days.  That doesn't mean that we are allowed to eat mountains of pasta and bread on high carb days. In fact, it just means we are allowed to have one serving of "smart carbs" at each meal, whereas on low carb days, we only eat "smart carbs" in the first meal of the day. Smart carbs include milk, whole grain breads, fruit (apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, etc.), grains (quinoa, barley, couscous, oatmeal, wild rice), legumes, and root vegetables. And we get one guilt-free day, so you will still see some guilty, delicious things here as well.

The really fun thing about the challenge is that it comes with a free app (available for iPhone and Android) that helps you track your progress, sends you reminders, allows you to create shopping lists for the recipes that are available, and includes daily video messages from Chris and Heidi Powell!  And of course, you are encouraged to exercise - Chris and Heidi taught Dr. Oz their 9-minute workout - and apparently it is tough, but great!

Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures today! Just wanted to give you guys an update on what's going on around here.  I'll do a round-up of current recipes that work for the Chris Powell challenge and add them to this post later, so definitely check back!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter Sun Cocktail

We made it to the first Friday of 2013! I think you deserve a cocktail.

We made this as a family while we were all together for the holidays. It got pretty good reviews from everyone, including some faces that said "we ran out of fruit and can't make anymore?" There was also a funny exchange where my dad was making fun of me for my robotic and completely unrelaxed cocktail shaking skills, then decided to show me how it was done. I really wish I had gotten that on video, too funny!

Anyways, this cocktail is bright and sunny, just as its name implies.  So let's inject a bit of sunshine into these dreary winter days. (And warm our bones while we are at it... it's soooo cold here in Ottawa).

Stay tuned on Monday for some resolutions and challenges for 2013.

Winter Sun Cocktail

From Two Tarts
Serves 1

Juice of 2 satsuma oranges (about 1/4 cup)
Juice of 1/2 small lemon (1/2 oz)
1/2 ounce triple sec
1-1/2 ounce vodka
Sprig of rosemary
lemon zest

Moisten the rim of your glass with some fruit juice. Combine zest and sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Turn the glass over onto plate and coat with sugar.  Pour juices, triple sec, and vodka into a shaker. Shake and then pour over ice. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
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