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Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

     I have a confession to make.  French fries are one of my favorite foods of all time.  I love their greasy carb laden deliciousness and if it came down to my last meal, curly fries dipped in buttermilk ranch would be the star : )  So you can see my dilemma as I am an advocate for healthy eating but also a deep fried fanatic.  These sweet potato fries from goveg.com satisfy my love for french fries without sticking me with the greasy guilt afterward. 

     Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A and C and they’re great because they retain a large amount of it even through the cooking process.  Quick hint:  The better a vegetable or fruit keeps its color after cooking the more vitamins and minerals it retains.  So the bright orange color you see in the fries above are just about the same color they were before cooking.  Some other vegetables that keep their color well after cooking are brocolli, carrots, green beans, corn, and peas.  Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so to be absorbed you will need to eat some form of fat with it.  The same goes for vitamins D, E & K. 

    This recipe is really easy and  if you don’t have all the spices on hand you could also make it with a few shakes of your favorite seasoning salt.  I also made a batch using Fiesta Party Dip Mix and they were just as delicious!

Ingredients:     

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1  Tbsp. olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 375°F.  In a small bowl, combine the cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.  Peel the sweet potatoes and julienne them using a very sharp knife.  Then in a large bowl, combine with the olive oil and the spice mixture. Toss until evenly coated. 
    Place wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and edges are crisp.
Makes 6 servings

  

    Boyfriend was a little skeptical about these turkey burgers.  He loves beef burgers and as he says, “why mess with something that’s perfect just as it is?”  But he came around and helped me out to make these FANTASTIC burgers that were so good he wants to make them again!  Here’s what we did….

    First, fire up the grill, we used mesquite charcoal but it’s up to you.

Ingredients:

    For the Burgers:

  • 2 lbs of ground turkey ( I used a mix of 99/1 and 85/15)
  • 1 cup of raw spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

    For the toppings:

  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 cups of portobello mushrooms
  • Couple shakes of Seasoned Salt

     Mush all the burger  ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands and form into patties about as wide as a CD.  Sprinkle a little Everyday Grillin’ seasoning over the top and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear. 

     While the burgers are grilling, spray some cooking spray or use a little olive oil  in a pan and put the mushrooms, onions and seasoning together over medium heat.  Cook covered for about 10 minutes or until cooked through, stir occasionally to avoid burning.  

    Now we didn’t weigh each patty so you might get a different number but we ended up with 8 patties.  Top each burger with the cooked mushrooms and onions and whatever your other favorite toppings are.  ENJOY!!! 

Matcha Green Tea Latte

   

     I bought some Matcha from amazon.com for cupcakes I made a few months ago and I’ve been trying to figure out what do to with the rest of it. For those of you who don’t know, Matcha is like the ultimate version of green tea.  It’s made of  finely ground Japanese green tea leaves and it trumps bagged green tea since you get the WHOLE leaf instead of just a water infusion.  This stuff is loaded with antioxidants shown to help reduce the risk of chronic disease, cancer and aging.  Of special note are the catechins found only in green tea that are believed to be the most powerful of the antioxidants.    One gram (1/4 tsp) of matcha has a higher antioxidant rating that pomegranates and blueberries combined!  The recipe below uses only 1/4 tsp so a little bit goes a long way! 

Matcha Green tea Latte 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk is fine too)
  • 1/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 packet of stevia sweetener (I used Pure Via but I also like Truvia)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp whipped cream (optional)

     Heat almond milk until boiling then turn heat on low and add all ingedients and stir until mixed.  Add whipped cream on top and enjoy!    Nutrition information (including whipped cream)  99 Calories, Fat 5 g, Sodium 270 mg, Carb 10 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 2 g

   Well folks it’s been a month since I started this blog and I’ve had some successes and some failures and here’s a few things I’ve learned so far:

1. I am MESSY in the kitchen

2. I’m not very good at website designing

3. I need a larger food processor, the black  bean burgers had to be done in halves because mine is too small and it was a hot mess

4.  I like to use apples a lot

5.  Almond milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk even in baked things

6.  I haven’t put this in a post yet but I have been secretly obsessed with Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt and  I’ve been eating some just about everyday since its discovery earlier this month

7.    Tastefully Simple makes the best Grill Seasoning and if you like to grill I STRONGLY suggest you order some!

8.  Gluten free cupcakes are delicious : )

9.  I don’t like washing dishes and even more than that I HATE drying them

10. Lastly, I have loved making these foods and sharing with everyone, I hope anyone who has read this has enjoyed it too and I look forward to the next month!

  

    Yesterday the sister and I went to Maple City Market, the local food co-op for some exploring.  I love grocery stores and even more than that I love organic/natural stores!  I know they are very expensive and normally I can’t buy more than a few apples and a loaf of bread but even the smell of these place makes me feel healthy and they are one of my guilty pleasures : ) I bought  a Kombucha tea in cranberry.  I haven’t had one of these since I graduated college, the taste isn’t for everyone but it’s full of healthy probiotics and antioxidants and I love them!   I also picked up some oatmeal and the price on bulk grains was very reasonable!

    I wish I could tell people to go organic all the time, but I know most people (myself included) can’t afford to do this.  If you’re interested in buying some organic products I recommend you first concentrate on produce.  They have a crazy amount of organic products out there from cooking spray to clothing so it’s up to you how far you want to take it.  But fruits and vegetables with no protective skin like pears, peaches or celery are more exposed to pesticides and other chemicals than say bananas or oranges.  And it’s my personal opinion that organic or homegrown tomatoes taste a lot better than non-organic!    There are quite a few regulations a company must follow to certify their product as organic so to make sure you’re getting the real deal look for the USDA organic stamp as seen below.  For more information you can check out these websites USDA/FDA organic or sustainabletable.com

    What I really want you to watch out for is when a products claims that it’s “all natural”.  There are no regulations as of yet to call a product all natural so you can never really be sure what you are purchasing unless you see the certified naturally grown seal.  I don’t see these seals very often so careful what you buy.

All Natural
no seal



    I also encourage buying local and seasonal as much as possible to support small farmers and local economy.  This can be difficult in areas where the weather isn’t always grow friendly (like Indiana).  When it’s possible, try to buy from farmer’s market’s like the Goshen farmer’s market , road side stands or trying out co-ops like the one mentioned above.  These are great ways you can support your local farmers and your health!  Hope everyone is having a great day!

Lazy Sunday

    Today instead of working out I made garlic knots out of extra pizza dough and chamomille tea : )     Happy Sunday!!

Garlic Knots

  • 1/2 pizza dough recipe
  • 2 cloves of garlic- Minced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle

   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out dough and cut into 2×4 inch strips.  Roll out and knot each slice and place on a greased baking sheet.  Combine garlic, oil, salt and pepper and brush onto unbake knots.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle parmesean over the top and serve warm.

      I am on a mission to find the tastiest whole wheat pizza crust recipe.  For me, the crust is the MOST important part of a pizza, the toppings are nice, but if the crust is bad I won’t even bother.  This challenge is especially hard for me because I’m not very good at making bread doughs.  So I first tried the easy way and go for a whole wheat mix, but here in nothern IN, those are hard to come by.  I finally found a pre made crust from Boboli, but at 5 dollars a pop not including the toppings I wanted something a little more economical.

    This is the first of probably many pizza crust posts and today we have two contestants- Crust 1 and Crust 2- they are essentially the same recipe, with the measures of wheat flour and all purpose flours flip-flopped.  My ultimate goal is to find a recipe that is tasty and uses all whole wheat flour, but small steps!   To fully appreciate the products I added some of my favorite toppings and ended up with a fantastic version of a margarita pizza that everyone needs to try!   Here are the crust recipes:

Crust 1

  • 2 cups all purpose flour                                                                
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

    In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes stir in the oil and salt and the flours and stir with a spoon until most of the flour is absorbed, then take the dough out and knead until the rest of the flour is absorbed.   Place the dough in a oiled bowl roll it around a couple of times till the dough is coated.  Let dough sit covered with a towel in a warm dry place for an hour or until the dough has doubled.   If you want a fluffy pizza then use the whole dough to make one pizza, if you’re looking for a thin crust then split the dough in half to either make two crusts or you can freeze one for later!  Roll out your dough and place your favorite toppings on and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 

Crust 2

  • 1 tsp raw cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

     In a large bowl, dissove sugar in warm water, then sprinkle yeast over the top and let it sit for 10 minutes (it should be foamy).  Stir in the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture and then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, then tip dough out onto a surface  floured with the remaining all-purpose flour and knead until all the flour has been absorbed.  placed dough in an oiled bowl and roll it around a couple of times till all surfaces of the dough are oiled.  Then let it stand for an hour or until doubled in size.  If you would like a thin crust then split the dough into 2 to make two crusts or keep it whole to make one fluffy crust.  Roll out your crust and let it stand for another 45 minutes covered with a towel to let it rise a little more.  Then add your favorite toppings and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.   

Crust 1

Crust 2

     AND THE WINNER IS ………CRUST 2!!!  –It’s from allrecipes.com and  this was the unanimous winner, it was fluffy and tasty and it was even the crust with the larger proportion of wheat flour to all purpose and less sodium!  It had a little more sugar but the difference in flavor was worth it!  Crust 1 was good, but as my family put it, ” very healthy tasting”. 
    For my toppings I went with what I had in the kitchen.  I didn’t measure any of these so I’m sorry for the rough estimates! Per pizza I used:
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic- minced
  • About 1 jar of Ragu homestlyle pizza sauce
  • Enough sliced mushrooms to get a few slices on each piece of pizza (probably about 3/4 cup)
  • Enough raw kale to cover the pizza (except the crust)
  • 2 tomatoes thinly sliced (I used a yellow and a red one to add some different flavor)
  • About a 1/2 cup of Crumbled feta cheese

    First brush the areas you intend to make the crust with olive oil,  I got this tip from my cousin and it adds a crispiness to the outside but keeps the inside very soft.  Spread the sauce first and sprinkle the garlic evenly over the top.  Then place the kale, then mushroom slices, then tomatoes and finally the feta.  Bake in the middle of the oven for the 15-20 minutes.  Add a glass of two buck chuck chardonnay and you have yourself a great little meal!!  This might be my new favorite pizza.  What’s your favorite pizza?  Leave any tips or recipes you might have, I would love to here from you!