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We’re planning a brunch wedding shower for my sister next month, and I needed some good food ideas (not that it’s a difficult task, brunch is my favorite meal!). Sara sent along this delicious recipe from Whole Foods that I knew I’d have to try. I did a test run recently on a rare Sunday when my husband was off work, and we both loved it.

Quinoa egg bake fresh from the oven

The dish was quick, simple, had few ingredients, and reheated well. I actually thought it was better the second day, and it was nice to have a fast and hot breakfast before work. Quinoa is a great plant source of protein, and eggs and garlic are superfoods as well.

...and on my plate!

We rounded out the brunch meal with Al Fresco apple chicken sausage (which I’d never have but highly recommend) and wheat toast with homemade apricot preserves (thanks, Eva!). Yummy way to start a Sunday, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to serving this up at the wedding shower!

– albledsoe

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Earlier this week I was having a serious pasta craving. Not just any pasta would do, I wanted the mother of all pasta dishes. Fettuccine alfredo. But, the problem with fettuccine alfredo, is that it’s like going swimming in a vat of salt, butter and cream. It tops the list as on of the worst foods you can eat and I knew that I don’t want to put all that bad stuff in my body.

Spinach Fettuccini Alfredo

The healthy version of fettuccine alfredo.

Self.com came to the rescue with one of their oh-so-good and healthy dishes. Their Spinach Fettuccine with Yogurt-Cream Sauce was just what I needed. I was able to indulge in a pasta treat with a cream sauce and still feel great about what I ate. I heart healthy versions of unhealthy classics! This dish comes in at 249 calories per serving, 4.9 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 38.9 g carbs, 3.3 g fiber, and 13.3 g protein.

I didn’t have everything I needed to follow the self recipe exactly, so I used asparagus instead of squash and I added a cup of grilled chicken to the recipe. It was delish! Since I was only cooking for two, I had leftovers for lunch the next two days. Consider this healthy alternative the next time a pasta craving hits you!

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Roasted Purple Potatoes

Roasted Purple Potatoes

I stumbled upon these little purple guys at one of my favorite grocery stores, Trader Joe’s. At first I thought they would only have a purple skin, but much to my surprise these purple potatoes were just as purple on the inside as they are on the outside. How fun is that? I think any vegetable that is purple automatically makes it more fun to eat, but it’s even better when said vegetable goes above and beyond in the good for you department.

As it turns out, these little purple guys are more than just pleasing to the eye. The Purple Majesty is a natural breed that is purple from the inside out. This violet veggie that is loaded with antioxidants debuted in 2006. In addition to being rich in Potassium and Vitamin C, the Purple Majesty variety boasts a whopping amount of antioxidants per serving (235 milligrams of anthocyanins). In case you’ve forgotten about the benefits of indulging in free radical fighting antioxidants: they can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and they can also help to boost your immune system and lower cholesterol. It doesn’t get better than that!

Once you get your hands on this purple tuber, what do you do with it? They are about the size of a new potato, and they have a very thin skin so you can use it in a number of ways. This variety is a little sweeter than a regular new potato, and the mellow flavor and thin skin makes the purple potato perfect for roasting. It’s a nice break from the usual Russet or Yukon Gold variety used day in and day out. I have also used them for potato salad; this purple potato definitely stands out among the crowd and will spark some conversation, so be ready to defend your purple potluck contribution.

Have you ever tried purple potatoes? Leave a comment to share your favorite purple potato recipe.

-Sara

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With the super-sized culture showing up everywhere you look in the food industry, I was delighted when I received a gift that was the exact opposite of the, “bigger is better” philosophy. A dear friend treated me to a set of mini kitchen goodies complete with miniature utensils, baking dishes and preparation bowls.

My Miniature Kitchen Utensils

She knew that I would enjoy anything for the kitchen, but she picked these out so I could sample new recipes without committing to an entire 9×13 pan of it. What a sweetie!

My most recent mini-adventure was during my Mexican food challenge. I made miniature chile rellano casseroles. Cooking with smaller dishes and in smaller portions is great because:

  • You can try out some things that you might have otherwise dismissed; small portions equal a small commitment.
  • Your cooking time gets cut WAY down. A casserole that takes 60 minutes to cook when in regular casserole size may only be a 20 minutes. Who doesn’t love a 30 minute meal?

Sure this was a gift for me, but I’m ready to share the love and try any sort of miniature treat you want to have tested. I’ll give it a go and report back with all the details. (I mean, we’re called Fit To Be Tried for a reason!)

Leave a comment to submit your mini recipe today!

-Sara

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My Mexican food challenge is complete! I’m happy to report that I have enjoyed 13 healthy Mexican inspired meals and tried out a total of 4 new recipes over the last 7 days. I came up short only one meal which was due to a work trip I took on Thursday. I wanted to pack a lunch in my purse, but my travel arrangements left me without any option to B.Y.O.F (Bring Your Own Fajita). Here’s a very quick recap of my menu from this week.

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Tuesday
Lunch – Leftover fiesta chicken soup from this weekend. Mmm, mmm good. This was my go-to choice for lunch on more than one occasion.

Dinner – I tried out a new entrée. Since I wound up with so much extra food from making tamale pie on Monday, I adjusted this shrimp enchilada recipe by half. And, I know I said no refried beans, but when I saw this recipe I decided to use vegetarian beans and give it a go. I also cut way back on the cheese that this recipe called for. This turned out to be quite a delightful meal. Even though I cut it in half, this recipe still made a lot of food.

Wednesday
For lunch I finished off my soup and had a salad topped with grilled chicken, black beans, avocados and cilantro. My dinner was made up of leftover tamale pie. I think this meal tasted even better as a leftover!

Thursday
This lunch was the only meal that I didn’t get to stick to the plan. Boo. I was in TX for work, and our host arranged for a BBQ lunch. At least the meal was a local dish, but I was disappointed to have to have to stray from the challenge so close to the end!

Shrimp Enchilada

Shrimp Enchilada Bake

Dinner – I was exhausted from my trip, so instead of charging forward with a new recipe, I enjoyed one more night of leftovers. I couldn’t let the good stuff go to waste! Shrimp enchiladas – part two!

The beauty of the Mexican food challenge was that I was able to focus on eating lots of fresh goodies – peppers, tomatoes, avocados – which all top my list of favorite things to eat. I had to pass on a lot of the toppings that come along with “traditional” Mexican foods like cheese sauce, sour cream, etc. But as long as you have fresh salsa, guacamole and cilantro on hand, who needs it?

What is your favorite healthy meal you think you could eat everyday?

-Sara

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The Mexican food challenge is well underway and I’m loving the healthy and delicious meals. I was a little bit concerned that I would have a crazy craving for something other than Mexican food over the weekend, but so far, no problems in that department.

Friday
First up, lunch – I had a romaine salad with seasoned chicken (cumin, garlic powder, crushed red peppers) black beans, cherry tomatoes and guacamole. This salad was a good way to finish up some of the leftovers I had in the fridge. The beans and chicken in the salad really filled me up.

Friday night – Dinner out with friends. My friend suggested splitting her favorite item on the menu, and I am sure happy we did. Our dish was the pollo adobo, which was a chicken breast topped with a spinach sauce and served with grilled veggies, tortillas, cilantro rice and beans. As with most restaurant portions, it was huge. I’m so happy we split it. The veggie selection was made of up your usual peppers, onions, mushrooms you would expect, plus they had broccoli, cauliflower, and squash too which was a nice surprise. And, my big splurge for the night, a margarita. It was Friday night and I just couldn’t resist…

Saturday
Lunch – I worked a half day on Saturday, which put me in a bad spot around lunch time. I had several meals in mind for the weekend and coming week, but I hadn’t yet made it to the grocery store. I was very hungry (and about to get really grouchy), so I grabbed a quick burrito bowl for lunch with black beans, cilantro, rice and steak with the cheese and guacamole on the side.

Dinner – I seasoned some tilapia fillets with cumin, garlic, chili powder, garlic olive oil, lime juice and baked it. We had fish tacos with a salad, black beans and rice. Yum, yum, yum – I’m loving this challenge!

After dinner on Saturday night I loaded up at the grocery store for the rest of the week. (Lots of fresh veggies.) In addition to sticking to the challenge, I’m trying out 5 new recipes this week! I’m hoping it’s not too ambitious! We’ll see.

Miniature Chile Relleno Casserole

Sunday
Brunch at home. I took advantage of having some free time on Sunday morning and I spent it in the kitchen. I made miniature chile relleno casseroles with tortillas for brunch and I made a white bean fiesta chicken soup in the crockpot for dinner. The leftover soup will be great for lunches this week.

Monday
Lunch – I made a meal in a bowl out of the leftover rice, grilled fish Saturday’s tacos and black beans from this weekend. I also added some homemade salsa and avocados and it was a delicious!

Dinner – This was a new recipe for tamale pie, and it was an adventure. This was the first time I’ve ever used cornmeal to top a casserole. That stuff changes from a liquid to a solid FAST! All in all, it tasted pretty good, but I think I would have rather enjoyed real tamales for the time and preparation that went into making this dish.

That brings you up to speed! No major heartburn, I’m not sick of black beans yet and I’m really excited about the recipes for the rest of this week. Up next, two different types of enchiladas (shrimp and chicken) and I’m going to attempt to make a cilantro sauce to go along with one of the chicken recipes I have found.

P.S. – My husband is hanging in there with me on this challenge. So far, no complaints, but I’m anxious to hear his thoughts once we make it through a full seven days! Also, I’ll be traveling this week for work so I may have to make a Mexican inspired breakfast before I fly to TX on Thursday morning. Maybe huevos rancheros?

-Sara

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I’ve read so many articles over the years about the best time of day to work out, but this one from medicinenet.com sums up all the advice in one article. Mornings are great for routine, you may have greater endurance in the evenings, pollen counts are lower early, but later workouts might interfere with sleep…there are many tidbits of advice, but basically, the best time to exercise is any time you’ll actually do it!

Last year when Daylight Savings Time ended, I knew I would be awake an hour earlier than my alarm went off, so I took advantage of it and started an early morning exercise habit. It was great to have my workout behind me heading into the day, especially when it’s dark at 6 p.m. and cold and I want to snuggle into bed for the night by 8!

Now that shorter days are upon us once again, I’m struggling to make the commitment to morning workouts. I’m one for three this week, but my bed is so nice in the mornings! I know I’m more likely to get the workout in if I do it early, so I need to buckle down and just do it.

P.S. Sara’s spaghetti squash dinner inspired me to try the fall veggie for the first time as well. I used this recipe from DrWeil.com (he posts some great healthy recipes). Instead of baking the squash, I boiled it, which was so simple. Sara’s the cook on this blog, so I was anxious, but it turned out really great. The only problem was that I severely underestimated how long it would take to prepare. It’s more time than I normally have for cooking on a work night, but we have so many leftovers, we won’t have to cook for a few more days! The casserole (almost like a lasagna, really) was all veggies, spices, and a little cheese, so it’s a great dinner that’s not too heavy before bed.

– albledsoe

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