Monday, June 30, 2014

Avocado Toasts

I'll say it again - I'm addicted to avocados this summer.  Every which way!  In guacamole, on sandwiches, sliced plain with a pinch of sea salt.  But die for. 

Avocado mashed with green onion and cilantro.  So simple, so fresh and the BEST appetizer!  I served ours on a multi-grain baguette that I drizzled with some olive oil, then toasted.  I first had this years ago when my sister served it at a dinner at my mom's house.  I can see why she said she made it all the time!  

Serves 2

Avocado Toasts

4 slices from a baguette
Olive oil
1 avocado
1 green onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Toast in the oven until they start to turn golden, about 5-8 minutes.  

Meanwhile, cut and scoop out the insides of an avocado and place in a small bowl.  Dice the green onion, using the white and green parts and add to the bowl.  Add the cilantro and a pinch of sea salt and mash everything together with a fork.  

Evenly distribute the avocado mixture onto each slice of toast.  Serve immediately.  

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Skinny" Three-Ingredient Fudgy Brownies

 Skinny and super EASY!  Only 3 ingredients - box brownie mix, bananas and applesauce!  No eggs or oil.

Every box mix is different.  Mine happened to be 1 egg, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 oil.  The applesauce I used as a substitute for the egg.  1/3 cup = 1 egg!  Use unsweetened applesauce.  The banana I used as a substitute for the oil, in equal parts.  The banana does affect the taste of the brownies, but I thought the slight banana flavor was excellent!

Little fingers, always in the desserts!!  Sometimes I wish there was a lock on our sunroom door when I take pictures!  The awesome thing about these is that since there are no eggs, you can make these are as gooey as you like.  I baked mine according to the lowest time on the box for an 8 x 8-inch pan and the middle was way underdone.  They were SO good.  Like fudge.  

 Yields 16 Brownies

"Skinny" Three-Ingredient Fudgy Brownies

1 box brownie mix
Substitute 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce for the egg
Substitute equal parts mashed banana for the vegetable oil
Use the amount of water called for
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven according to directions on box.  Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the brownie mix, applesauce and banana in a bowl and stir until everything is combined (about 50 strokes).  Pour into the greased pan and top with the chocolate chips. 

Bake according to package directions.  Let cool before cutting.  Store in the fridge to keep them longer.   

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tenders

So, it's World Cup time and we are pumped!!  My husband especially, but he has gotten me really into soccer and we have a lot of fun watching it together.  Typically, when it comes to big games like this in our house, we always do "game-day" food.  Right?  Think dips and wings, all that good stuff...  

Well, I recently became a Beachbody coach, which is the BEST thing I have ever done in my life (I'm going to have to do a whole post about that because I can go on forever about it if I don't stop myself!).  So, we are exercising and eating right (or I should say better) and I just joined a Clean Eating challenge group that started the day of the US vs. Ghana game.  Husband was not happy.  No game-day food?

Well, needless to say, I had to come up with something.  And these were a hit!!  I will absolutely make them again and again.  And neither of us missed the breading or the fried flavor typical of Buffalo chicken tenders.  I served them with Ranch dressing, which I didn't use because it was bottled ranch and I was sticking to my Clean Eating challenge.  Still on the hunt for that perfect homemade ranch dressing recipe...

Serves 2

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tenders

1 package of boneless, skinless chicken tenders (usually about 6 to a package)
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce, plus more for after they are cooked
1 tablespoon salt-free seasoning blend 

In a resealable zip lock bag, combine everything, seal and shake to make sure all the chicken is coated in the sauce and seasoning.  Place bag in fridge to marinade for about a half an hour. 

Preheat grill.  Cook the chicken strips for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.  

Coat with additional sauce if desired and serve with your favorite ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.  

Are you interested in learning more about Beachbody?  Or any of our challenges?  Message me and/or friend me on Facebook!   

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Turkey Burgers with Guacamole

I'm still in awe as we try new and healthy recipes how tasty it can be, even when you are "clean eating".  Here is a simple, ridiculously delicious, healthy meal that your whole family will enjoy.  Who doesn't love a good grillin' recipe for the summer?

I topped our turkey burgers with my Super Simple, Super Addicting Guacamole.  By the way, I'm officially obsessed with avocados.  I make this guacamole so much - it's SO easy.  You don't even need to measure anything, just throw it all in to your taste.  I hope you'll check it out!  

Serve the turkey burger on a bun or just eat it with a fork.  Have you tried grilled corn yet?  Here is one of our absolute favorite recipes for that as well (grilled corn with lime and chili powder, yum!).  Makes an amazing side dish for this dinner.    

Serves 4

Turkey Burgers with Chunky Guacamole

1 pound extra lean ground turkey
1 egg white
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt-free spicy seasoning blend

Preheat your grill.  Combine all of the ingredients for turkey burgers together in a large bowl.  Mix well using your hands.  Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into 4 patties, using your thumb to make an indent in the middle (the burgers will puff up when you cook them and this will ensure they come out flat across the top).  Grill until cooked throughout, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Top with my guacamole (or store bought) and/or your favorite toppings.  Serve with a whole wheat bun or plain!

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Maple-Honey Coconut Granola

You can't believe how easy it is to make your own, healthy granola.  It's such an amazing snack on top of yogurt or even as cereal with milk!

I chose raisins and dried apricots, but you can do any kind of dried fruit you like!  Cranberries, dates, cherries, etc.  Add almonds or walnuts, even chocolate chips (after it's done baking or you might have a mess on your hands!).  

My two-year is constantly grabbing the container off of the counter and grabbing handfuls of it.  I love that we've done a lot of "cleaning" up in our house as far as our food choices and it doesn't seem to bother anyone!  My husband mixes the granola into greek yogurt with a little PB2 or a dollop of peanut butter.  SO good!!

Serves 4

Maple-Honey Coconut Granola

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the wet ingredients in one small bowl and the dry ingredients in another larger bowl.  Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated.  Pour onto a large baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes.  Shake or stir the granola on the baking sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the granola becomes golden.  It may still be a bit "wet" but once it is out of the oven for a couple of minutes, it will become crunchy.  
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Super Simple, Super Addicting Guacamole

I'm not kidding when I say this is super simple and super addicting.  I'm obsessed.  I buy the ingredients for this every time I go to the grocery store because I make it so often! 

Really, there's no need to measure.  Just throw your ingredients in to taste.  You may like more red onion or jalapeno.  Or more lime juice (or less!).  Taste as you go along.  I honestly don't even add salt, I don't think it needs it.  You may want to, up to you.  

Serve with tortilla chips, veggies, crackers or on top of chicken or fish.  You'll soon find out why I'm addicted to it!  Tastes like summer in a bowl!

Makes 2 cups

Super Simple, Super Addicting Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon minced jalapenos (I use from a jar)

Combine everything in a bowl, stir and mash together to desired consistency.  Serve with veggies, tortilla chips or on top of grilled meat or fish.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Vinaigrette

I love roasted vegetables - and brussel sprouts are one of my absolute favorites to roast.  We typically make Ina Garten's Balsamic Roasted Brussel Spouts, but I found this recipe and had to give it a try!  Yum, yum, yum!

The vinaigrette is light and sort of sweet (you can substitute coconut sugar for the brown sugar to make this a completely clean eating recipe, or omit it altogether).  The turkey bacon adds a bit of crunch that is a perfect addition.    

The original recipe called for butternut squash, which I'm sure would be equally fantastic.  Sweet potatoes were just what I had on hand.  A perfectly easy and delicious side dish for your next dinner!

Serves 4

Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Vinaigrette

1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette
1 shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and add the brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes.  Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Toss with hands until all the vegetables are coated.  Roast for 25-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender and the brussel sprouts lightly browned.  

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking the shallot, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and thyme together.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until everything comes together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Place the roasted veggies in a large bowl and pour the dressing over.  Stir just enough to coat everything.  Add the crumbled bacon and stir again.  Serve warm.  

(Source:  Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad

A healthy, hearty salad that is also pretty gorgeous if I don't say so myself!  Loaded with tons of good for you ingredients - chicken, eggs, avocado, veggies and black beans.

We ended up using bottled Ranch dressing to top this.  If you want to make this even healthier, feel free to try your hand at making your own, or stick with a simple vinaigrette.  I actually did try making my own Ranch, but it just didn't cut it for me.  Although I didn't have buttermilk and tried to substitute it - so really, it's my bad and when I have the proper ingredients, I'll try it again and let you know how it turns out!

My husband, who is not a salad man AT ALL, loved this.  It's so filling!  And we love barbecue chicken anything in our house.  Also, I think I eat an avocado a day.  I can't get enough of them.  You'll love the crunchy bits of turkey bacon and the sweet bites of corn.  What can I say?  Everything just goes so well together.  Enjoy!!  I know we did!  

Serves 4

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad

2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I use McCormick Spicy Grill seasoning)
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite bottled or homemade)
3 small heads Romaine lettuce
1 avocado
4 strips turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup canned corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Add the olive oil to a medium skillet and heat on medium.  Add the diced chicken and sprinkle with grill seasoning.  Cook for approximately 6-8 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat, add barbecue sauce and toss to coat.  Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, wash and chop the Romaine.  Place in a big, wide bowl.  Assemble the salad by placing rows of the corn, eggs, avocado, chicken, turkey bacon, tomato and black beans (really any order you like!).

Serve with Ranch dressing or one of your choice.

(Source:  Adapted from Damn Delicious) Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homemade Bubbles and How to Make a Bubble Snake

It's summer and it is the first week that we had no preschool, no camp and really nothing going on.  Time for projects!  Luckily, months ago, I had started a board on Pinterest, called appropriately, "Keeping the kiddos busy".  So, my 4-year old and I started looking at some of the things I pinned and she picked making bubbles.

We grabbed a bucket from our stash of beach toys and went to work.  She's a fantastic helper and did all the pouring and mixing herself.  This mixture filled up about half of that bucket.  Enough to make a ton of bubbles - that is unless you have a little brother and he ends up spilling it.  But, we got plenty of bubble time in and it's easy enough that I know we will make it again and again this summer!

It worked great.  Of course I wasn't totally prepared to be making bubbles that day so we ended up using the end of a sand toy that had a small hole to blow bubbles with.  This mixture gets very sudsy, especially, again, if you have a little brother who just wants to play in the soap mixture.  We just made sure to dip down into the bucket past the suds and into the more liquidy part.

I don't recommend eating the bubbles, but try to tell that to a 2-year old...

Since we didn't really have a true bubble wand, the kids got bored very easily.  Well, daddy to the rescue!  He googled how to make bubble wands and found this on wiki how.  Bubble snakes!  Yes, he used an old sock (haha!), which if I had known before hand that we were going to do this, I might have used something a little nicer looking, like a washcloth, for the pictures.  Oh well, this is a glimpse into our fun, far from perfect life. 

Definitely pretty cool.  And easy too!  All you need is a water bottle, scissors, fabric (sock or washcloth), and a rubber band.  And of course your bubble mixture.

Luckily, there are loads of other homemade bubble wands on Pinterest.  Click the link to go to my "Keeping the Kiddos Busy" board and follow along...I've pinned a few.

Homemade Bubbles

6 cups of water
1/2 cup dish soap
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder

Mix everything together in a large bowl or bucket and use your favorite bubble wand or toy!

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Monday, June 2, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate and Raisin Oat Bars

If you've been following my blog, you may have noticed I love peanut butter, chocolate and oats together.  Alright, who am I'm kidding, I'm borderline obsessed.  I have made these bars so many times I can make them in my sleep.

Sometimes I use a 8 x 8-inch pan, sometimes it's a 9 x 9 and this time it was a 9 x 13 pan.  It doesn't matter to me, just depends on what I have available or if I'm in the mood for a thicker bar or if it feel like I want them to last longer (in that case, it's a 9 x 13-inch pan).

Do not substitute or leave out the coconut oil!  It makes these bars so creamy.  I'm so addicted to these.  It's about time to make another pan!  

Makes approximately 30 bars

No-Bake Chocolate and Raisin Oat Bars

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups oats
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

In a medium saucepan over medium, combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat and add oats, chocolate chips and raisins.  Combine everything together until the chocolate is completely melted.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and store in the fridge for about 2 hours until firm.  Cut into squares or bars and store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

(Source:  Adapted from New Nostalgia)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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