Monday, October 27, 2014


It is another Secret Recipe Club reveal day.  Each month, we are assigned a blog from one of the other members.  We take time to look through their recipe archives... in secret of course... then we make something and reveal what we have picked on Reveal Day. It's a lot of fun and a great way to discover new blogs and tasty recipes!

Thank goodness for our blog followers that we participate in the SRC or another month would go by without a post.  Kelsey is busy this weekend with her first half marathon so she asked me the mom, Kim, to do the post this month.  This month we were assigned Kirstin's blog Troyers Loving Life.  It is always fun to peak into someone else blog and share in their life and experiences and especially find a great recipe to try.  Kirstin had lots of great recipes but the Starbucks Pumpkin Scones won out.  Along with crisp weather and beautiful fall colors, Starbucks Pumpkin Scones and Lattes signal Fall for me so it was prefect to find a recipe for them.  They were very easy to make and they are delicious.

P.S.  Kelsey did amazing on her half marathon……so proud of her and she deserves to eat one of these yummy scones.

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. (I made to small circle and cut into 4 instead)

Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

While cooling, mix the powdered sugar glaze ingredients together until smooth. Paint the glaze over the top of the scones.

As the powdered sugar glaze hardens, mix together the ingredients for the spiced glaze until smooth. Drizzle the spiced glaze over the top of the scones and allow it to dry before serving.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Carrot Cake Crunch Bowl

Carrot Cake Crunch Bowl

How has a month flown by since the last SRC reveal day? Can we all agree to slow time down a little bit? I mean, it is practically winter already!

Anyways, as a reminder, each month, we are assigned a blog in our Secret Recipe Club group to visit "secretly" and to make a recipe from.  On reveal day, we all share the recipe that we have chosen.  It is always a lot of fun to look through the archives of the assigned blog and this month was no different. Nora's blog, Natural Noshing, is packed with amazing recipes and if you happen to be gluten-free, you are in luck because all of her recipes are gluten-free and also refined sugar free!  She focuses on real, whole food and minimally processed ingredients, and the results are quite fantastic. I've actually been following her blog for a long time now, since coming across it back in the early days of joining SRC.

You all are well aware of my smoothie addiction, so it may be no surprise that I chose a smoothie for the reveal day.  I've seen a few of these smoothie bowls before, and I'd always wanted to try one.  And I've also seen a few "carrot cake" smoothies and I'd always wanted to try one of those too.  Well, Nora's version sounded fantastic.  I don't know if I will go back to drinking my smoothies after trying this bowl version.  The crunchiness added by the toppings really takes this from good to amazing. So go ahead and eat your smoothie with a spoon next time!

Carrot Cake Crunch Bowl

From Natural Noshing

6-7 baby carrots, chopped (or 1-1/2 medium carrots, chopped)
1/2 cup plain coconut milk yogurt (can use cottage cheese, tofu or other yogurt for variations) - I omitted this
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk  (or other non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional
splash of pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 medjool date or drizzle of honey
4-5 ice cubes

For serving
2 tablespoons raw buckwheat groats (granola can be subbed)
1-2 tablespoons chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (or a combo)
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)

In a blender, combine carrots through ice and blend until smooth.
Pour into a bowl, top with buckwheat groats, nuts and coconut flakes and enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Cocada de Forno

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal day. Time is really flying by this summer isn't it!?  For August, we were assigned Sally's blog, the Bewitching Kitchen.  I've been looking forward to being assigned her blog for a long time now. She has tons of great recipes and a really interesting background. I knew that Sally was from Brazil, so I was really looking forward to making a Brazilian recipe from her blog. My obsession with coconut made this recipe for baked coconut, or Cocada de Forno, an easy choice. It has a creamy texture and depending on how long you bake it, could be either a pudding or a bar. I opted to bake it into bars for easier consumption. Delicious and oh so coconutty!

Cocada de Forno (Baked Coconut)
From Bewitching Kitchen

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup sweetened, condensed milk
1 Tablespoon rum (optional, but why not)
1- 1/2 cups grated coconut (unsweetened)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the butterand sugar together at medium speed until creamy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix.  Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add the coconut milk, condensed milk, and rum, and continue to mix until well blended.  Add the coconut and mix until incorporated.   Fold the flour with a rubber spatula, and spread the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake until the top looks golden brown, the edges are set, but the center is slightly jiggly, about 20 minutes (or if you prefer a firmer consistency, bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes). Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sparkling Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Sparkling Watermelon Strawberry Sangria recipe

Have no fear, we still have a lot of summer ahead of us.  It may be August, but we still have a whole month left.  To me, summer time means summery drinks shared with friends on the patio.  Sangria is the perfect choice for sharing, and what better way to celebrate the flavors of summer than with strawberries and watermelon. Add a splash of sparkle and you're ready to fiesta. 

Sparkling Watermelon Strawberry Sangria recipe

Sparkling Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

3 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup white rum
1/2cup fresh lime juice
2 sprigs of mint
1 bottle dry white wine
1 bottle strawberry champagne (I used Passion Pop)
1 lime thinly sliced

Muddle 1 cup watermelon, 1/2 cup strawberries, mint, rum, and lime juice.

Add the remaining fruit, lime slices, mint, white wine, and champagne. Stir and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Coco-Kale Banana Muffins

Coco-kale banana muffins recipe

It's been ages, I know.  I even made these muffins weeks ago, and I've been totally holding out on you by not posting them until now. Life has just been pretty darn crazy lately!  Which makes it more important than ever to have healthy food on hand to grab and go as you rush about town. Right?!

Well, these muffins are just perfect for a quick breakfast or snack with your afternoon coffee (because duh, afternoon coffee is a must when you're busy!).  I tried these muffins at a friend's house during an ice cream social (gotta love a bunch of athletes eating ice cream with a side of kale muffins).  The recipe came from the Ottawa Public Health Food Advisor program newsletter edition on kale.  You know I love kale, so I had to ask for the recipe.  Well, when I read it, I decided that there was way too much sugar and other junk in there for my taste, so I made a few tweaks. Then I added some coconut flakes for good measure, because I've been cuckoo for coconut lately!  These muffins were awesome and I will be making them again soon!

Coco-kale banana muffins recipe

Coco-Kale Banana Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (mashed bananas, apple sauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, and egg).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Gently stir in chopped kale and coconut flakes.

Pour batter into a non-stick muffin tin (or into paper muffin liners) using a 1/3 cup measuring cup.

Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes or until the top of the muffin is browned and springs back when gently pressed.

Adapted from Ottawa Public Heath Food Advisor

Monday, July 28, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Single Serving Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

Apparently all you ever see here is Secret Recipe Club posts now... so here with go with another Reveal Day!  I promise that I have a delicious Sangria recipe to share with you soon and I've been cooking up a storm this weekend too, so hopefully will get some other posts up here.  But for now, let me introduce The Spiffy Cookie!  We were assigned Erin's blog this month for SRC and let me tell you, her blog is awesome and filled with amazing recipes. 

Well, how could I not make a cookie recipe from a blog called The Spiffy Cookie?!  Erin also has a cute series called "Single Serving Sunday" and since I'm trying to be "good" with not eating too much sugar, I thought a single serving cookie would be the way to go. Though I'm sure my coworkers would have gladly eaten any cookies had I brought some in to work.  This cookie really doesn't disappoint. It is decadent and will definitely satisfy any chocolate chip cookie cravings you might have.  In fact, I kind of wish that I had someone to share it with, just so I wasn't the only one to enjoy it!

Single Serving Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

From The Spiffy Cookie

2 tablespoon unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
2 tablespoon packed of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 heaping tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
Ice cream, for topping (not really optional LOL)

Preheat oven to 375F. Have a 6 ounce ceramic ramekin ready.

In a medium microwavable bowl, melt the butter. Vigorously whisk in both sugars and vanilla for at least 1 minute (make sure you whisk hard, you want the sugar crystals to melt!) Whisk in the yolk until blended. Whisk in salt, baking soda, and flour until combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and using s spatula scrape the batter into the ramekin.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top is firm and brown (the inside will still be slightly gooey). Let cool for a few minutes then serve topped with ice cream.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Berry Trifle

Today is my 57th birthday so obvisously I am the mother of the K and K team.  Over the years, my favorite birthday treats were Angel Food cake with strawberries and Grandmom's Icing or Grandmom's cream puffs made with custard inside. So today for my birthday, I wanted to share this Summer Berry Trifle that combines some of the best of both desserts.  This also is a beautiful dessert to celebrate the 4th of July with the combination of the red, white and blue.  It is super easy to make so you still have time to whip one up for your celebration today.

Happy 4th of July to all of our followers and remember the fireworks are really celebrating my birthday (that is what I was told growing up by my family)!

Summer Berry Trifle

Recipe from the Compliments Foods Inspired Summer 2104

3 tbsp custard powder (I love Bird’s) * I added a couple of more tbsp to thicken faster                    
¼ cup + 1tbsp sugar, divided
2 ½ cups skim milk
¾ cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sliced strawberries
Angel Food cake cut into cubes (I used a store bought one for easy prep)
2 tbsp orange-flavored Liqueur (I did not have any so I left it out)
1 cup each of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
½ cup sliced almonds (I forgot to put them n mind, oops)
¾ cup whipping cream (I used Cool Whip as it was faster)

In a medium saucepan, stir together the custard powder and ¼ cup sugar.  Slowly add milk, whisking to prevent lumps.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl and set it in a larger bowl of ice, stirring occasionally until completely cooled, about 10 minutes.  Mix in the yogurt and vanilla.

To assemble the trifle, spread ½ cup of the custard in the bottom of a 3 to 4 cup or liter glass bowl (I used an actual trifle bowl).  Stand some of the sliced strawberries in a ring against the sides of the bowl.  Add half of the cake cubes and dizzle1 tbsp of liqueur over the cake.  Add half the berries and half of the remaining custard.  Repeat layers.  Recipe can be made ahead up to this point.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator over night if wanted. 

To finish before serving, lightly toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat until golden.  Cool to room temperature.  Using an electric mixer, whipping cream to stiff peaks, gradually beating in remaining sugar.  Spread the whipping cream over top of the trifle and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

This banana bread is fully loaded.  No messing around here, that is for sure.  I made it once with just strawberries and coconut, then I got a request for chocolate and nuts as well.  Believe me, I was happy to oblige. 

I know we've been sticking to healthier choices lately on the blog (when we post at all that is), but do yourself a favor and make this for your guilt-free day or maybe just because life is short and we all need some decadence once in a while.  Do it! You will be happy.  Share it with others and they will be happy too.  Spread happiness in the form of fully loaded, extra-delicious banana bread.

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of sea salt
1 cup diced, fresh strawberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.

Mash bananas and whisk together with coconut oil, brown sugar, and sugar until well blended.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Whisk in flour and baking powder until just combined.  Don't stir it too much. Then fold in the strawberries, dark chocolate chips, coconut, and walnuts. 

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour at 350.  Allow to cool before removing from the pan. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

Whew, it's time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  Our assigned blog this month was Flying on Jess Fuel, an adorable blog written by Jess as she feeds her Navy pilot husband, Nick.  Together, they've lived all over the country and are settled in California for the time being.  I'm just a tad jealous, especially since I used to live there, and since one of Jess' recent posts was "Why California is the best place to live."

I made these cookies to share with my triathlon club teammates as we cheered on the runners for the Ottawa Race Weekend half and full marathon.  It felt like I needed to bring something "healthy" for my fellow athletes and I was thoroughly impressed by all the healthy choices on Jess' blog.  Plus, these cookies reminded me of my favorites from a local coffee shop, so I knew that I had to try them.  The cookies were a hit and I had a great time cheering for the runners!  It's so inspiring to see people of all ages putting themselves through the test of a marathon or a half marathon.  Maybe one day, I will be out there running one myself!

Thanks for the recipe Jess!  (As a note, these are a vegan version - you can check the original recipe on Jess' blog for one with butter and eggs if you'd prefer.)

Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

From Flying on Jess Fuel

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
6 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

Stir together ground flax seeds and lukewarm water in a small bowl to make your "eggs."  Let sit for a few minutes.

With an electric mixer, cream coconut oil and sugar together. Add orange juice and zest, vanilla and water/flax mixture and continue mixing. Beat in applesauce.

In a bowl, combine flours, baking soda and powder, and salt. Mix into applesauce mixture. Add oats, fruits and almonds and mix on low until just combined.

Chill dough in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.

Form the dough into heaping tablespoon sized balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Jess recommends an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden around edges.

For more delicious recipes, check out my fellow SRC members' picks!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Baked Eggs in Avocado

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal day! Each month we are assigned a blog, and we get to choose a recipe to make in secret.  This month we were assigned the blog, Curious Cuisiniere, a blog written by Sarah with help from her husband Tim. They love to travel and explore the cuisines and cultures of new places. And if you need some inspiration, go read about their philosophy on food on the About Us page. I loved it and couldn't agree more about the power of food and sharing it with others. And obviously, they have a treasure trove of recipes!!

I chose Egg Baked in Avocado, mostly because brunch is probably my favorite meal and avocado is one of my favorite foods.  If you pay better attention to your cooking time and watch the egg carefully, you'll end up with nice runny egg yolks paired with creamy avocado. I like to have some toast handy to spread the avocado and egg on for easy eating. Delicious, filling and good for you!

Eggs Baked in Avocado

By Curious Cuisiniere

2 avocados
4 eggs
2-4 slices of bacon
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven broiler and place your oven rack in its lowest position.

In a small skillet, fry bacon until desired crisp-ness. (We’re so-crispy-it’s-nearly-burnt people.) Remove from pan, let cool, and crumble into pieces.

Halve the avocado. Remove pit.  Remove about half of the interior pulp, to create a bowl large enough to hold one eggs. Leave a layer of avocado intact to surround the egg.

Place avocado halves into a oven-proof bowl or small baking dish. You want to make sure the halves stay upright so the egg doesn't spill out.

Crack one egg into a small bowl. Pour egg from bowl into the hollow you have cut out of the avocado half. Repeat with second egg and second half.  Feel free to crack the egg directly into the pit. 

Top each egg with the crumbled bacon and a little salt and pepper.

Place baking dishes on a baking sheet in the oven.  Broil for 10-15 minutes, until egg is firm, checking frequently to be sure the egg is not burning (be careful!).  Remove from the oven and serve with toast.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Bowl of Goodness

The "Big Bowl of Goodness" is more of a guideline than a recipe, inspired by Oh She Glows and Deliciously Ella.  You can take your favorite ingredients and make it your own.  My recommendation is to have:
  • Protein: chicken, tofu, tempeh, beans
  • Carb: brown rice, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes
  • Roasted veggies (I like peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini)
  • Raw veggies (shredded carrots, beets, chopped peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes)
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Marinated kale
  • Hummus or avocado
These are just suggestions, so feel free to make this any way your heart desires.  I love the big bowl of goodness, because I can prep a bunch of ingredients ahead of time, then throw things together willy nilly when I'm ready to eat! I can mix and match what I've prepped or add a salad dressing to switch the flavors around depending on my tastes.

These bowls are really filling and satisfying.  They are full of nutrients and you can feel good about what you are eating!

The bowl pictured contains the following:

Kale massaged with garlic vinaigrette
Quinoa (with coconut oil stirred in after cooking)
Shredded roasted chicken
Roasted sweet potatoes
Roasted cauliflower
Chopped red peppers
Shredded carrots
Sundried tomato hummus

Roast veggies for about 20-30 minutes at 400F.  Cook the quinoa according to the directions (usually 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, boil, then cover and cook for 15 minutes).  Once the quinoa has cooked, fluff it with a fork and stir in a 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil and season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding recipe

Sometimes you just need something chocolate.  This quick dessert makes just enough for one person and it is chocolate overload!  It is packed with superfoods too - chia seeds and cacao - and topped with more if you add Goji berries for some crunch.  I love how chia seeds magically turn this mixture into a pudding like consistency.  Chia seeds have a massive absorptive power, and they are full of fiber, protein, and calcium.  I've been adding chia seeds to my smoothies, and I even made jam out of chia seeds last summer, but this was my first attempt at chia seed pudding.  I have a feeling this dessert will be on heavy rotation this summer.  It is so simple to make and so delicious!

Superfood Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

3/4 cup coconut milk (you could use almond milk)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon cocao powder
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon

Goji berries
Toasted coconut
Dark Chocolate Chips
Chopped almonds

Blend together all ingredients in a blender.  Pour into a glass jar and cover.  Refrigerate for a few hours.

Top with toasted coconut, dark chocolate chips, goji berries, and chopped almonds. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Banana Bread Granola

Banana Bread Granola recipe

Okay, I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I had to make it immediately.  I often pin things that look delicious, but I rarely get around to making them.  I'm sure you are the same way.  Pinterest is how my life would be if I had about 20 extra hours in every day to make my life pretty, perfect, and full of delicious food, fabulous clothes, and fantasy vacations.  I love my life the way it is though, and as much as I wish it looked more like my Pinterest boards, I'm definitely more than happy with reality.  BUT, sometimes, life is better if you really do reach into those boards and actually try something new.  And this is definitely one of those occasions... this granola is amazing!  Your house will smell fantastic and your tummy will be very happy.  I had to give some of it away because I would have eaten it all myself (in a day).  I also served it at brunch during the Olympic Gold Medal hockey game, and I think it was a hit.

Banana Bread Granola recipe

Banana Bread Granola

Slightly Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup whole, raw almonds
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium ripe banana, mashed (approximately 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix the oats, cinnamon, sugar, salt, flaxseed and nuts together in a large bowl (see photo).

Whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until well combined, then whisk in banana puree. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly onto one or two baking sheets (making sure it doesn’t get crowded) and bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown. The coconut oil will help it crisp up well, but be sure to watch it carefully as it can brown quickly. It is up to you whether you stir or toss the granola while it is baking. The less you stir it, the clumpier it gets, but watch to make sure its not burning if you do not stir it!

Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and toss just a bit to let the heat escape.

Cool completely on the baking sheet or in a heat-safe bowl.  Seriously, make sure it is completely cool so that it stays crispy, if you put it in a jar too quickly it will soften (which is still delicious, but I like mine crispy).  Store in a container or jar with an air-tight seal – it should keep for a couple weeks (if it lasts that long without you eating it all!).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Roasted Pepper, Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata

I've hosted two brunches now and served a variation on this fritatta.  It has been a good go-to and it is healthy enough that you can add something sweet to your brunch menu without feeling bad.  This frittata also goes particularly well with mimosas.

It feels good to be blogging again.  I know that 2014 has been a little bit spotty on the blog front, but hopefully things have calmed down enough that I can start cooking new recipes.  In January and February, my diet was pretty boring as I was trying to stay with my carb cycling plan.  It worked and I ended up losing about 10 pounds through the combination of the Vemma Bode program, carb cycling, and my triathlon training.  Now that I am in full training mode, I've adjusted my carb cycling a bit (though still need to keep tweaking it) and I've just been focused on getting enough fuel for my workouts.  But, I am finally into my routine, so there should be more time (and energy) for me to cook up some new dishes!  And of course, I will continue to experiment with low-carb meals -- not just for my own sake, but also for my group that has been following the Bode plan too.  We have had so much fun and everyone has had such amazing transformations since the start of the year.  People have dropped 10, 15, even 20 pounds just by making some simple changes to the way they eat and by ensuring that they are getting some exercise.  I'm so proud of everyone!  And I get to see many of my challenge group next week on our family cruise! My mom even bought her first bikini in years!

Anyways, back to the frittata.  When a dish is this full of flavor and also packed with nutrients and protein, healthy eating is a breeze.  The trick really is to make your meals exciting - colorful and flavorful.

Roasted Pepper, Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata

1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups kale
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup goat cheese
5 eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Cut the peppers into 1/2 inch pieces, then toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sea salt.  Spread the peppers out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

While the peppers roast, sautee kale in remaining olive oil with minced garlic until the kale is slightly wilted.

Vigorously whisk together eggs, milk, sea salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Stir in the kale, peppers, and cherry tomatoes.  Pour the egg and vegetable mixture into a casserole dish.  Top with chunks of goat cheese.

Bake the frittata for 35-40 minutes or until the center is firm and doesn't jiggle.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Skinny Strawberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

I love muffins.  Easy to grab and go, but sometimes muffins are calorie bombs full of sugar and more like dessert than a healthy on-the-go breakfast.  These muffins could be made with a little bit less sugar, and I'm definitely going to keep tweaking this recipe, but they are significantly better than what you'll find at your local coffee shop.  These muffins are also reminiscent of chocolate covered strawberries, so even though they are on the healthier side, they taste very indulgent!

Skinny Strawberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white beaten
2/3 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray muffin tins with olive oil cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, protein powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, apple sauce, and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in beaten egg, then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Stir together until just combined, being careful not to overmix.  Stir in strawberries and dark chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin tins with 1/3 cup batter.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

*I use Vemma Bode powder. If you don't have protein powder, add 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Apricot Almond Bars

Apricot Almond Bars recipe
I love having easy snacks to grab on the go.  Lately, I've been reaching for bars.  I like to keep one in my desk drawer at work, or in my purse, to make sure that I don't succumb to "hanger."  And these bars are a homemade version of my favorite bars out on the market - Kind Bars.  These are so easy to make and so close to the original!  You could easily adapt these with different types of nuts and dried fruit, or leave out the apricot to make the Almond Coconut version of the bars.  The best part of these is that you always know exactly what is in them!

Apricot Almond Bars recipe

Apricot Almond Bars

Adapted from Feasting at Home

2 cups nuts (1 cup each, almonds and cashews)
1 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup finely diced dried apricots
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
Pinch of salt

Lightly toast the almonds at 325F for 7-9 minutes.  Mix the nuts, coconut flakes, and apricot together in a bowl.

In a medium pot, stir together honey, water, and salt over medium heat.  When the honey mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low.  Use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.   It will take about 15-20 minutes to bring the temperature to 255-260F.  After the temperature reaches about 230F, keep a close watch, because it will heat quickly after that.  When the temperature reaches 255-260, stir the nut mixture into the honey until the nuts are well coated.

Press the mixture into a parchment lined 8x8 inch baking dish.  Use the back of a greased metal spatula or the bottom of a glass. Let the bars cool for 20 minutes.  Before they cool completely, then cut the bars.  Store in an airtight container.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

Okay, I really need to get my computer fixed gang.  Last time I posted was for last month's SRC reveal day, and I can't believe that a month has flown by and here we are again posting for Secret Recipe Club.  This month, we were assigned Without Adornment, a blog full of amazing gluten-free recipes, including tons of delicious baked goods. Bean is a smart cookie (she's an engineer), and aims to live life unadorned, meaning to be herself and to be alive! I love the honesty of her blog and her baking and photography skills are quite evident. If you have any food sensitivities, she has you covered with gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, etc. options.

As I flipped through Bean's recipe index, I admit, I was tempted by all the tasty baked goods, but this Coconut Curry Chicken jumped off the page.  After a bit too much indulgence over Valentine's Day weekend (hey, a single girl has to celebrate too!), I was craving something healthy and delicious, yet comforting at the same time.  Not only did I drool over the ingredients, I was also excited that it was a slow cooker recipe, because I honestly don't use my slow cooker enough.  It is a great timesaving way to make an easy and healthy meal, and this recipe from Without Adornment is definitely easy, delicious, and healthy!

For my version, I used light coconut milk and instead of adding the cauliflower florets to the curry, I put the cauliflower in a food processor to make "rice" to serve with the curry. (Just pulse in the food processor until all of the cauliflower is the size of rice, then sauté for a few minutes in coconut oil with salt and pepper over medium heat.) I also cooked mine on low, since I made it overnight and felt like sleeping longer than 5 hours haha.

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

From Without Adornment

3 or 4 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
1 red pepper, seeded and quartered
1 small onion, skinned and halved
2 cloves garlic
1 can coconut (light) milk
1 can tomato paste
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cardamom
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
3 carrots, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 c. cauliflower florets, chopped (I used the cauliflower to make "rice")
cilantro or parsley

Add the chicken breasts, chopped red pepper, and carrots to the bottom of your slow cooker.

In a food processor, combine coconut milk, second pepper, garlic, spices, and tomato paste.  Process until smooth.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on either low for 7-8 hours or high for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it.  It should fall apart easily at this point.  Set the chicken aside for a moment.

Create a roux with cold water and cornstarch.  Gradually stir the roux into the sauce in the slow cooker to thicken the sauce. Add the chicken back into the sauce. 

At this point, you can either steam your cauliflower florets and add them to the curry, or you can make cauli "rice" as described above.  Alternative serving options: rice, noodles, or nothing at all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blueberry-Banana Baked Oatmeal

Well, for the K and K family members, 2014 is the year we commit to healthy eating! Kelsey is leading the way for us as she switched to clean eating back in June and she finally convinced us to change our eating habits!  In December, Kelsey lead a group of seven family and friends in a Holiday Challenge of healthy eating and fitness to help us ward off the holiday weight gain.  I am happy to report that all of us were successful in actually losing weight in December.  First time ever that I came to the New Year actually losing 4 pounds instead of gaining.  So, we all committed to doing the month of January and we added more family and friends and we are a group of 30!  Some are using the Vemma Chris Powell Bode products and carb cycling and some are doing their own programs, but all are getting the fantastic daily emails from Kelsey and support of our FB group!  This month has produced even greater results with our average weigh loss over 4 weeks was 8 pounds per person.  Amazing to think at my age (50+) that I would be a part of the latest craze called social dieting.  It is so much fun.  Kelsey will be leading a new group starting on Feb. 7th.  If you are interested in learning about the February challenge, contact Kelsey. 

Tim and I just got back from five days of skiing with friends.  Each morning one couple was assigned breakfast for the group.  I knew that I wanted to make something that was hearty but healthy.  So this great recipe of Blueberry-Banana Baked Oatmeal was my choice.  The recipe contributor assured that it “would help power you through your day and guard against energy fluctuations.”  Our group of skiers agreed that it was delicious and indeed gave them lasting power until lunchtime. I made a few adjustments to recipe to up the protein level and served it with Greek yogurt and fresh berries!  It made great leftovers so your breakfast is ready for the week! 

Blueberry-Banana Baked Oatmeal

Elizabeth M. Ward, Muscle and Fitness Hers

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup honey
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt (optional)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup of Vemma Vanilla protein powder or protein powder of your choice
¼ cup flax seed
2 cups non-fat milk or almond milk
2 medium fortified eggs, beaten
¼ cup butter or coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I did not have with me so I just had the vanilla flavor from protein powder)
2 ripe bananas
2 cups fresh, or frozen and thawed, blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease the inside of an eight-inch square baking dish.  (I used a round one as we were skiing and I used what was available in the condo.)

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of the walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, protein powder, and flax seed.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine honey, milk, eggs, butter or coconut oil, and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

Arrange the bananas in layers on the bottom of the baking dish.  Place 1 ½ cups blueberries on the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. 

Slowly pour the milk/egg mixture over the fruit and oats, making sure it covers them completely.  Sprinkle the remaining berries and walnuts on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and the mixture has set.  Remove from the oven.  Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.  Storage leftovers in refrigerator. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Almond Stuffed Dates.

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club post and despite the fact that my computer is broken and no longer lets me connect to the internet, I wouldn't miss an SRC reveal day. 

Plus, this month I have an delightful little treat to share with you from a really neat blog.  Dena is the author of "Oh, You Cook," a kosher blog.  Besides being an accomplished cook and a librarian, Dena is also the author of "The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook" (find it at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon).

Dena's blog is filled with lots of fabulous recipes, including many traditional recipes for Jewish holidays. 

I'm always on the lookout for sweet treats that aren't *that* bad for me.  Well, these Almond Stuffed Dates may be my new favorite treat.  They are so easy and perfectly satisfy my sweet tooth.  The cream cheese cuts some of the sweetness and the almond adds a nice little crunch.  Dena originally made these treats to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, the New Year for Trees.  On Tu B'Shevat it is customary to eat dried fruits and nuts.  The holiday just happened to land on January 15th, so besides being the recipe that I was instantly drawn to on Dena's blog, it felt appropriate to make for the January SRC.  Of course, there were plenty of other recipes on Oh, You Cook that I have bookmarked for later - Israeli Beet Dip, Sweet Potato Mini Muffins, and Challah.  For now, these stuffed dates will be on heavy rotation in my sweet treat snacking repertoire. You need to go make these now! Thanks for sharing Dena and for being such an amazing resource for kosher recipes!

Almond Stuffed Dates

From Oh, You Cook

8 ounces whipped light cream cheese
8 ounces dried, pitted dates
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 (or a handful) of raw, whole almonds (that's the only kind I keep in the house)

Whisk together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice until well combined.

Carefully slice the dates lengthwise, being careful to not cut all the way through.

Using a pastry bag and tip, fill the dates with the cream cheese mixture.  Top each date with an almond, pressing the almond into the opening.  Refrigerate until serving or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Roasted Beet and Heirloom Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette

Roasted Beet and Heirloom Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette

Hello lovely K&K Test Kitchen readers!  Are you still there?  Did you think we'd ever be back?  I have to say, the holidays really got the best of me.  I was so busy having fun with my family that I just didn't get around to posting on this little old blog.  I even have a round-up to post still from the cookie exchange that I went to on... December 10th.  Oops. Well, I hope you all had an amazing holiday season, filled with family, friends and good food of course!  And now that we are a few days into 2014, I'm back.  I even wrote a goal for myself for 2014 related to this blog, so I think that means that I better get back to it!

To start our year right, I am giving you the most beautiful and delicious salad.  I devoured this salad.  Seriously, it should be about 4-5 servings, but I ate it in 2.  It is sweet, tangy, creamy, and oh so good. Vegetables don't have to be boring, that is for sure!

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette

Adapted from Food & Wine

4 large beets
6-8 heirloom carrots, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soft goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Cut the top and bottom off of the beets and scrub them clean.  Place the beets in on two sheets of aluminum foil, drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper.  Wrap the tin foil up into a package around the beets. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes.

Chop the carrots, toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the carrots on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes (put them in 10 minutes after you put the beets in!).

Allow the beets to cool slightly, then peel the skin off.  I use a paper towel and just rub the skin off, so my hands keep from turning purple.

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together.  Mix the carrots, beets, and dressing together, then stir in the fresh thyme.

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