Healthy Appetizers for Football Sunday: Spinach Feta Dip

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Dear Diary,

We were featured on Lauren Conrad again! And with football season in full effect, we thought it was the perfect time to share!  This time we’re talking about comfort food that doesn’t weigh you down…

We struggle with finding healthy options that still taste like indulgences. So, when preparing food for our parties or any social gathering, we try to make dishes that have lots of flavor but with a lot less calories. One of our favorites is Skinny Spinach Tofu Dip. It’s packed with protein and doesn’t weigh you down after eating it.  If you’re looking for the perfect football Sunday dip… this is it!

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Skinny Spinach Tofu Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt (we used Fage 0% fat)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce package of soft tofu, drained (we used NaSoya Silken)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cans of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese (we used Trader Joe’s Fat Free Feta)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place chopped garlic, tofu, and artichokes in a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can chop by hand. Then place these ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, saving the spinach for last. Mix together until well blended and then place in an oven safe serving dish.
  4. Bake for about 25 -30 minutes and serve piping hot!

We also have lots of healthy dipping options: carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and whole grain pita bread, oh my!

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Are you going to try this healthy appetizer?

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Healthier Hummus

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Dear Diary,

Last week I went to the LA Green Festival and got the pleasure of checking out everything from solar powered scooters to watching health food demos. Free samples?! I’m there! (I could probably live off pursuing Costco aisles…)

While there, I watched vegan chef Leslie Durso rock the Vitamix and llllloooovvvveeeddd everything she made while learning some clever tips and tricks in the kitchen! She’s adorable, savvy and she used to be Leslie the Lab Girl on Bill Nye the Science Guy! Pretty cool, I know. Check out her site for more tasty, vegan and gluten-free recipes.

When I was leaving I commented on the fact that her cilantro hummus was amazing, but I was surprised it tasted that good without the olive oil. She told me she had every intention to use it, but accidentally forgot. (She had a very hands on “helper” who resembled a garden gnome and was more distracting than anything else… You know those over eager expo volunteers that run up to people with a microphone asking if they have questions…yeah, that guy.) But it got me thinking hummus tastes surprisingly good and has a nice consistency even without olive oil.

Not that olive oil is bad for you, but it adds an additional 477 calories per 1/4 cup serving (typical amount in hummus recipe).

Try it…I dare you to forget something… Or check out my other hummus recipe and healthy tailgating foods here!

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 Ingredients:

* 2 cans of garbanzo beans (make sure to get the kind without any added ingredients like food coloring. Yuck!)

* 1 garlic clove

* 1 juiced lemon

* (Optional) A couple sprays of Braggs Amino Acids instead of salt

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Directions:

1. Take your garbanzo bean and drain one can and use a little over half the water of the other can. Pour the cans and garlic into a food processor and blend on low and then get faster to smooth out any chunks. (The water acts in place of the olive oil)

2. Next, add the juice of one lemon. (This helps preserve your hummus for up to a week) Blend again.

3. (Optional) Spray Braggs Amino Acids (in place of salt) to taste.

4. Serve with fresh veggies and enjoy!

Have you ever left something out of a recipe and it became healthier and still tasted good?! Please share on our Facebook!

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Fashion For the Heat Wave…

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Dear Diary,

My Nordstrom’s shopping cart was all set for checkout: tall boots, chic jackets and wool knee highs.  But then, whoooaaa…Mother Nature seems to have another vision for California’s “fall” with a 100 degree heat wave. While working yesterday, I felt the high temperature slowly drain my personality, till I became an empty shell of life searching for the nearest air-conditioned shelter. I’d be in the middle of doing something, forget my current task and see large bodies of lake in my horizon. Things got weird.

So today, I thought I would better prepare myself for the weather and go with a dress that allowed a lot air flow. Oh hey cut-outs, hey! Cut-outs seem frightening, but they actually break up monochromatic dresses – like the one I’m wearing below  - accentuating curves and making your waist appear smaller.Skinny Fat Girl Diary - LSpace Navy Maxi - Mr C hotel - 07

I’m actually obsessed with L’Space Maxi’s because they are extremely long. Being 5’11, finding dresses that are long enough can be a real challenge! Best part I can even wear heels.  Judging from the picture below, I’m actually a little shocked myself.

Skinny Fat Girl Diary - LSpace Navy Maxi - Mr C hotel - 05

This weekend should have prepared me for the week ahead, we were up North for Lauren Conrad’s wedding and rented a house. This said house, didn’t have air conditioning. This “mistake” will never be made again in my life, especially when trying to create sleek hair. In the end, my curls won out after I started to feel light-headed while trying to blow dry my hair in the bathroom.

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Back to the fashion at hand…the heat makes me ramble… Halter maxi dresses that are more flattering for your chest and highlight your shoulders…When a heat wave, go with the fashion that makes you look great while “glowing.” :)

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I also found Jackie’s coconut coffee float recipe to be a life saver… Any other cool down tips, let us know. Today is going to be a hot one…

lauren2

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Quest Bar cake pop anyone?!

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cake pop with quest bar by SFG Diary

Dear Diary,

I suffer from dessert addiction… but fortunately, I have learned to manage my cravings by picking healthy choices most of the time.  While I may make better choices, eating dessert in moderation is also essential!  From previous posts you guys might have picked up on the fact that us SFGs are fanatic about Quest Bars!!! I mean, what’s not to love?  In my humble opinion, these bars are the tastiest and healthiest nutritional bars in the market right now– with minimal processing, few ingredients, tons of protein and low carb to boot… I’m in dessert heaven!  And yes, I said dessert haha… I not only munch on these bars throughout the day… but the cookie dough flavored quest bar is my go-to dessert food.  Unfortunately, after a massive dinner, I probably don’t need to consume a protein bar on top of it… and they’re so good, I often eat 2 or 3 at a time! yikes!!  While binging on quest bars may be a better alternative than cookies… it’s not ideal.

cookie dough quest bar cake pop

I decided to take control by creating a cake pop out of my favorite quest bar– this not only creates the perfect bite-size treat, but it’s a great way to experiment with some new flavors as well!

Here are three simple crunchy toppings for a cookie dough center cake pop with a chocolate shell:  coconut, protein powder & almond!

quest bar cake pop SFG diary 3 flavors

Want to try this out?  Here’s what you do:

cookie dough quest bar SFG DIARY

  • first, cut your quest bar in half (you don’t need the whole thing right now ;))

quest bar cake pop sfgdiary

  • Place each half on a pop-stick and mold into round shape

chocolate sauce SFG Diary

  • Place cookie dough balls in freezer to harden (only 5 minutes is necessary)
  • then melt dark (no sugar added) chocolate (about 1 cup) in a sauce pan with about 1/4 of a cup of almond milk (it will form a creamy and shiny ganache
  • Finally dip the balls into the mixture until completely coated
  • before it dries– sprinkle on your topping: I chose almonds & coconut flakes!
  • However, my last pop was caked with chocolate protein– in order for the protein powder not to dissolve, allow the chocolate coat to completely harden before dusting with chocolate protein powder

SFG Diary cake pops made with quest bars

will you try quest bars the cake pop way?!  Experiment with flavors and let us know your favorite combination!

quest bar cookie dough center cake pop SFG Diary

Another way to make dessert fun, delicious and GUILT-FREE… just how we like it… :)  Enjoy SFGs!

 

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Button up that fridge!

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Dear Diary,

I’m slightly obsessed with taking photos. I mean helllooooo I made it my job! haha. So having pictures of the people I love hanging around my house is important to me. My favorite place though, is the kitchen! Probably because I spend most of my time in there contemplating my next meal… oops. There’s definitely limited real estate on my fridge for more photos because it’s already collaged to the max like a teeny bopper’s bedroom wall.

And lately my free phone book magnets are sparse and not holding it down so I have to resort to buying some… But why would I do that when I have old glass vase fillers and buttons lying around? I sense a DIY project in the works!

DIY Button Magnets

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Need:

* Buttons

* Magnetic Strip

* Permanent Glue

(The magnetic strips I had were already sticky so I didn’t even need the glue.)

* Scissors

Steps:

1. Cut off a tiny part of the magnetic (the width of the button, not longer)

2. Stick it or glue it to the back of the button

3. That’s it! How easy is that?!

…OR…

If you’re using the vase filler glass beads the magnet will likely show through (clear beads or colored). My solution to that would be cut out tiny pictures of your friends and fam (small enough to fit in the bead’s circumference), pretty colors or shots out of magazines, etc. and glue them to the back of the clear filler bead. Then, glue or stick the magnet to the back or the jazzed up glass bead. Bam! I just redid your fridge, son!

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How cute do they look?!

What other household items would look cute as a magnet?! Please share with us on our Facebook page!

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Tackling stress with a chickpea & eggplant crepe

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chick pea crepe with eggplant SFG Diary

Dear Diary,

You know the saying when it rains it pours!?  Well no statement has rang more true– you hope that when it happens, it’s all good things that come your way, but unfortunately, stress is always met with more stress too.  This past week was one of the more difficult weeks I’ve had in a long time… and while I didn’t always handle all of the stress so gracefully, I learned something from the experience… oh, and picked up a new recipe to share too! :)

eggplant dish with chickpea crepe SFG DIARY

I know we’ve all been there… where everything seems to go wrong… not only are you trying to balance several responsibilities at once, but your phone stops working, you start a new stressful job, your carbon monoxide alarm goes off in your apartment and your landlord says “hmm, don’t know… this has never happened to me before”… oh, and you have to be taken to the ER for an allergic reaction to– you don’t even know what– leaving you with swollen eyes for about a week.  Oh, never happened you?!  Just me? cool.  haha.  Let’s just say it was NOT my week… I tried to keep a positive attitude, but I have to say I had my moments.  And by moments, what I really mean to say is that I was a complete nightmare to be around for about three straight days… especially if you live with me (sorry boyfriend)!!!!

Stress can get the best of us… but that’s okay, we’re all human!  However, by day four I was able to see the light, and realize that the stress would pass.  It was time for me to take control and relieve some stress anyway I could… how did I do that? That’s easy, two things: YOGA & the food network.

You may laugh, but I think many of you would agree that the food network is the most stress-free television on the planet!  If you haven’t used it to get your zen-on, I dare you to try it the next time you feel overwhelmed… there’s nothing like Ina Garten or Giada to make you feel right as rain.

Fortunately, I got home from a long Monday at work, and Giada was cooking… I got inspired.  Not only was I suddenly motivated to create something based off her amazing recipe for a chickpea crepe– but I also got excited to take the time to make something delicious and healthy for my boyfriend and I to share that night.  The perfect way to say “thank you for taking care of me this past week” is through food right?!  And I was thanking myself for getting through this past week too by making something satisfying and HEALTHY for my mind, body and soul.

Here’s my spin on this crepe creation:  Giada introduced me to a new kind of crepe (don’t you love that we’re on a first name basis ;))– this chickpea crepe only has a few ingredients & chickpea flour is full of dietary fiber and is more protein rich than wheat flour.

I thought making a crepe would be difficult– but I was pleasantly surprised!

chickpea crepe SFG Diary

chickpea crepe SFGDiary

  • you need: 3/4 cup of chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons plus four teaspoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin & 1/4 teaspoon of coriander
  • Combine until completely smooth & then pour into a medium hot non-stick pan… once the crepe starts to bubble flip over onto the other side and continue to let it cook for another minute or so… and that’s it!  Now for the filling…

I was craving eggplant & was lucky to have some in the kitchen, so I decided to make an eggplant filling based on one of my favorite mediterranean dishes… here’s what I made:

  • you need: 1 yellow onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of organic marinara sauce, a bundle of mint leaves, a can of chickpeas, a splash of red wine, 1/4 tablespoon of allspice, red pepper flakes and cumin, half an eggplant and extra virgin olive oil

eggplant crepe mixture SFGDiary

eggplant dish SFH Diary

  • you do: first, drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil and cut the eggplant into thin slices, then cover the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of salt and a half of a teaspoon of pepper and crisp in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Next, slice up the yellow onion & garlic into big chunks and throw into a medium hot sauce pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  When the onions and garlic are slightly sauteed, add in the chickpeas (rinsed) as well as the red pepper flakes, all spice and cumin, let the flavors mix in the heat and then deglaze the pan using red wine.  Then add in the crisp eggplant and continue to cook for just one minute.  Finally add in the marinara sauce as well as the mint leaves.  Continue to let simmer until all flavors are completely combined.  That’s it!

After the crepe is cool, fill it with the eggplant filling & add some greek yogurt for some tang and protein (you guys know I can’t live without some greek yogurt!)  Lastly, top with some mint!

    I’m not kidding, this eggplant dish is one of the BEST DISHES I’VE EVER MADE, it is so delicious and satisfying!!!!! Healthy too…

eggplant and chick pea

Enjoy SFG’s!

Next time you’re having a rough week… what are you going to do to make the next week a better one?!

Let us know!

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Weekend Picnic: fig-goat cheese spread on a baguette

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picnic spread SFG Diary

SFG Diary baguette picnic

Dear Diary,

The weather is beginning to change, and a new season is beginning… while it’s hard to say goodbye to summer, I have to say I’m not too bummed.  Fall is my favorite season… the crisp air, cozy fashion, the anticipation of the holiday season… there’s nothing about fall I don’t love.

But that doesn’t mean I have to kiss summer goodbye immediately.  With great weather still on the horizon I decided to treat myself and friends to a laid-back picnic with some of my favorite treats… how do peanut butter cookies, and a fig, goat cheese,walnut spread on a toasted baguette sound?!  Here’s what I made on my leisurely picnic…

These aren’t just regular peanut butter cookies– these are HEALTHY, CHEWY, DELICIOUS, 2 INGREDIENT peanut butter cookies introduced to me by the blog mind over much.

All you have to do is:

  • combine 1 cup of peanut butter (organic no sugar added) & 1 egg… that’s it!!!!
  • when the “dough” is mixed,  roll into small balls and gently press down with a fork to create the shape
  • bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

What I decided to do is dip some of my peanut butter cookies in melted dark chocolate– I used Lily’s dark chocolate with no sugar added.

  • In a sauce pan pour 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • turn on the heat and combine until melted
  • the chocolate should be smooth and glossy
  • dip cookies when cooled for some extra flavor and sweetness

peanut butter cookies SFG Diary 2 ingredients!

While dessert alone would suffice my appetite, I thought it might be smart to have some extra food around!

I decided to make brussels sprouts for my picnic for three reasons, and three reasons only… 1) brussels sprouts are absolutely delicious, 2) they are easy to prepare, and 3)… they were in my fridge ready to go!  ha always the best reason to cook something… don’t you think? brussels sprouts don’t require a lot of attention– this is what you do:

  • buy organic, fresh brussels sprouts
  • chop off the dead ends
  • drizzle on extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
  • broil in the oven until crisp! (high heat for about 20 minutes)

SFG Diary brussel sprout picnic

Another picnic necessity– vegetables and greek yogurt dip– the perfect alternative to ranch.  It’s simple, tangy and healthy.

  • combine 1 cup of plain greek yogurt with the juice of 1 lemon
  • add a dash of salt & pepper
  • add as much chopped red onions and chives as you like!
  • mix until completely combined

SFG Diary greek yogurt dip and carrots

Lastly, NO picnic would be complete without a baguette!  Picnics seem so Parisian to me, don’t you agree!?  Cheese and bread is the perfect way to complete this picnic masterpiece… and making this delicious baguette spread was easy!

  • slice open the baguette, then toast in a 350 degree oven until crispy (about 10 minutes)
  • spread goat cheese on one side of the baguette, once coated add a dash of salt
  • slice fresh figs and place on top
  • for the other half of the baguette- combine a small handful of walnuts, fresh spinach and a dash of salt and pepper in a food processor
  • pour the mixture on the other half and viola!  Put the halves together and you’ve got one heck of a baguette sandwich!

walnut and spinach baguette SFG Diary

The sweet fig is the perfect compliment to the salty walnuts and creamy goat cheese– I’m so glad I have another baguette, I think I’ll have to make another one of these babies before the weekend is over!

picnic baguette SFG Diary

Are you going to try any of these recipes this weekend?!  Let us know!  :)

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Details from SFG Lauren’s Wedding…

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Dear Diary,

I can’t believe how fast time has flown, summer is already gone and I’ve been married for 6 months! Whoa and I haven’t even blogged about the big day…seriously it was the best day.  I was mad looking through photos that I didn’t have more of a half smile. I was just so happy!!!

Now that wedding season is coming to an end and the holidays are coming up, there is likely to be a lot of new engagements on the horizon. There are so many details that go into a wedding, and so much advice that people give you it can be overwhelming. I thought I would share my take on one of the most important parts of your wedding – the bridesmaids. These are the people that hold your hand, put on your bachelorette party and bring the champagne… So why put them in something turquoise and taffeta? Right??

However, when looking through bridesmaid selection, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. So, when Lauren and Maura from Paper Crown showed me their bridesmaid line… I fell in love!! I wanted a bridesmaid dress made for myself. The soft colors and flattering shapes were perfect for the people I hold most dear.  The Paper Crown dress pictured was actually a top and skirt. The blogger in me, saw this as a practical; the girls could re-style the pieces and wear them again! However, I did go with a different dress for my sister, the maid of honor…! Enjoy the pictures and a special thanks to Timepiece Studio who captured the day perfectly! Hopefully they inspire :)

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My wedding venue had a lot of exposed brick and wooden tables, so I went with a soft pink as our wedding color.

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Then we got a little serious with the accessories… blush straws to match are a must.

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Once again, the half smile wasn’t present….

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The day goes by so quickly so enjoy every minute of it!

lauren2

Wedding Coordinator: Kristin Alexander of Esoteric Events

Venue: Carondelet House

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Dear Diary,

Last month our feature on Lauren Conrad was a fun gluten-free option. Cauliflower pizza crust! Mmm mmm good!

We have a newfound obsession with cauliflower. Okay… it may not be so new, but it seems like all summer long we haven’t been able to get enough of this veggie. Summer sports, traveling and work have had us all running around like crazy! We’ve tried to stick to salads at lunch with lots of protein, but we’ll be honest—some days it’s not enough. Instead of running to the nearest food truck with words like ‘burger,’ ‘sweet potato fries’ and ‘pulled pork’ on the menu, we’ve found cauliflower could miraculously satisfy some of our starchy cravings.

This probably doesn’t come as a complete surprise. However, if you are looking for some cauliflower inspiration here are some of our favorites: cauliflower mac no ‘cheesecauliflower soup with sharp cheddar and thymecauliflower hot wings, and cauliflower mashed faux-tatoes. But one of our absolute favorites is this gluten-free cauliflower crust recipe. Not only is the crust delicious, but we make it with a sweet potato sauce, load on steamed veggies and top it with toasted walnuts… It’s amazing.

We enjoyed one this weekend after a six-mile hike, and we can say without feeling guilty that there were no leftovers. Enjoy this perfect summertime meal. And THANK YOU cauliflower!!

Healthy Recipes - Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ¼ cup of goat cheese
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 4 handfuls of arugula
  • ½ cup to 1 cup of steamed asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • olive oil

Instructions:

For the crust: Boil cauliflower until soft and grind it up (food processor is the easiest). Then add a ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, a pinch of salt, and 1 egg. Mix together and shape into a pie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the sauce: Boil the sweet potato until soft. Drain and then mash up in a bowl along with olive oil, crushed pepper flakes, and a dash of salt. Keep adding that olive oil until smooth and then spread on top of the cauliflower crust.

Assembly: Finally, sprinkle on goat cheese, asparagus, walnuts, arugula and whatever else you want to add to your pizza. Then place in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. And that’s it!

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

You’re in for a satisfying and delicious treat!

What cauliflower recipes are your favorite?

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Job Bliss

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Dear Diary,

After another overwhelming week with too many late nights editing, my Momma reminded me of a time in 2nd grade when she came to pick me up and I was sitting on the curb crying. She asked me what was wrong, and all I could get out was, “there’s just not enough time.” She didn’t understand what I was talking about, so I said, “I want to be a surgeon and do nails!” (My class was asked to decide what we wanted to be when we grew up.) I was so distraught at the thought of not being able to do everything. Being all of seven, I already knew I had a lot of “passions” and didn’t like the idea of being told I could only do or be one thing. By the way, I still don’t…

Soooo I never became a brain surgeon or a nail tech, but I still maintain that same desire to do it all. Which keeps me up to 4AM most nights. To me, “Skinny Fat” is representative of trying to have it all… a great body and the ability to eat the entire Cheesecake Factory menu (our solution: create hearty recipes that satisfy, but substitute in healthy ingredients)… buy the expensive purse, but stay on a budget (DIY that sh*t), be successful in your career, but have an amazing social life (make time for yourself!)… I have yet to meet a doctor/beautician, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist… I moved to LA determined to “make it” as an actor and dancer and had every side job imaginable, all at once, for several years. I most recently took my favorite passion and turned it into a career as a wedding photographer. With a hint of blogging, Adidas, acting, and working for my charity SoCal HeARTs on the side, of course. So as much as I feel focused on my photography, I’m still pulled in several directions.

We recently discovered the Tiny Devotions brand, which is a company that sells beautiful products with a statement. “The Tiny Devotions girl is free spirited and connected, but is also driven to leave her mark on the world while turning heads as she does it. She creates her own path, sets daring goals, always follows her intuition and does not sweat the small things.” (Something I’m still working on…)

With the chaos of wedding season, I sometimes need a reminder to stay calm and focused. This scarf does that for me. As I rock their colorful threads, I’m reminded to keep things in perspective, live my bliss and be thankful for having the opportunity to do what I love most. (Even in my most stressful moments I know I’m lucky!)

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Summer is typically hotter than Hades, but Southern California summer evenings actually tend to get pretty chilly. So in the spirit of keeping it light and summer-ish, I choose white jeans and a bright/light colored top. (I hate that Labor Day is almost here, and, technically, I’m supposed to retire my white apparel until Memorial Day next year… I will wear them everyday until then!)
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Jeans: Seven // Scarf: Tiny Devotions // Shirt: Maison Scotch // Shoes: Steve Madden (free shipping on $50+ orders right now!) // Purse: Handbag Butler (Psst… It secretly charges your phone! Thanks, Martha!) // Bangle: Stella + Dot
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Flourless Cheesy Zucchini Bread…Yes Please!

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Dear Diary,

Last night we all went out for dinner and I was lamenting to Valorie, that it was just one of those days…Val, never one to miss a comedic opportunity, broke out into the popular Monica song, “Don’t Take it Personal,” a la 1995.  I had forgotten that little ditty, but it couldn’t be more perfect in describing my mood this week. During times like these, I crave comfort food of the worst kind, namely deep dish pizza (You can take the gal out of Chicago, but you can’t take the Chicago out of the gal). But with our upcoming weekend trip to Laguna, I didn’t want to completely throw all my early morning workouts to the wind. So I decided to meet my craving halfway with cheesy flourless zucchini bread! It was definitely the right call…If you are in need of some YOU time, might I suggest this paired with a good rom-com!

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Here’s what you need:

-          2 eggs

-          ½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese

-          2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

-          5 cups of shredded zucchini

-          1 tsp of garlic powder

-          Shake of salt and pepper

-          Fresh basil

-          Olive oil spray

First you need to shred the zucchini, I used this handy, “as seen on TV,” tool. I, also used it to make zoodles for my pasta sauce.  Then, using a knife I cut the zucchini into smaller pieces. If you use a food processor to shred the zucchini, you will need to squeeze out some of the water the zucchini contains. It’s really easy. Just wrap the shredded zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze over a bowl. After a couple hearty squeezes, the zucchini will be good to go.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, scramble the two eggs, add the zucchini, cheese, yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Combine all the ingredients together with your hands. Making sure to thoroughly coat the zucchini with the mixture. Using spray olive oil, lightly coat a large baking sheet or circular pan. Shape the mixture in the pan, as you see fit.  Then bake for about  25 – 30 minutes, until the cheese is browned.

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It’s great by itself, topped with some fresh basil or use pasta sauce as a dipping sauce. Serve warm and enjoy immediately… It reminds me of Pizza Hut’s cheese breadsticks, which is perfect for one of those days…

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SUMMER PASTA: healthy Carbonara

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carbonara 1 and SUNDAE 002 Dear Diary,

You guys know I’m no stranger to a great pasta dish!  Growing up, Italian food was a staple in our house and I’ve continued the tradition.  It seems like the SFG’s have had pasta fever lately… which is quite odd in the dry heat of a Los Angeles summer… but craving good, hearty food just can’t be helped!  But what can be helped is how we decide to prepare it.  At home in New York, my mom has a very specific way of preparing this dish– and it involves a LOT of cheese and heavy cream… and while her original version is quite delicious, I have to say my version is a strong competitor in taste and health.

Healthier is always the way to go… as much as I love food, I love my body more!  I’m not willing to undo everything just because I have a craving.  I say, give into your cravings… but add a guilt-free healthy twist!  Just ONE change, can make all the difference physically and mentally… so that the next day, you’re not feeling unmotivated or sluggish… but good about yourself; mind, body and soul.

What makes this dish so satisfying is the rich flavor– the sharp bacon and cheese combined with the sweet cream is a killer combination that can’t be beat.  But the great thing about such bold flavor, is that you don’t need as much as you think for it to shine!  Try my version out and tell me what you think– with less fat and more protein… I think you’ll agree!  ;)

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Here’s what you need:

1/2 bag of frozen peas

small bundle of chives

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup of Parmesan

1/4 nutritional yeast (adds the parmesan kick without more cheese!!)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons of skim milk

1 box of barilla–protein plus spaghetti pasta (add extra protein wherever you can!)

salt/pepper

organic turkey bacon (as many slices as you like!)

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Here’s what you do:

boil pasta, drain pasta and then return the cooked pasta to the same big pot

In a separate pan, heat olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic and organic turkey bacon until turkey looks completely cooked (add the garlic a couple minutes after the turkey has been cooking so that the garlic doesn’t burn!

When cooked add these ingredients into the pot of cooked pasta and mix together under low heat

then add one tablespoon of my FAVORITE butter GHEE for some extra smoothness!

In a separate mixing bowl combine 3 eggs, nutritional yeast and parmesan cheese… also a dash of salt and pepper! Then slowly add this mixture into the pot of pasta. Continuously mix the pasta and egg/cheese mixture together so that the egg slowly cooks and cheese slowly melts over the pasta, forming a sauce!

Half way through adding the egg/cheese mixture, add a dash of milk to cream-ify as well as the small bowl of peas!

continue to mix until everything is combined and add a small bundle of chopped chives for some extra crunch and flavor!

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And there you have it… a healthier version of one of my all-time favorite dishes!

Enjoy SFG’s!

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Sandy toes…

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Beach Pineapple

Dear Diary,

I grew up thinking I was of Puerto Rican descent because my momma spent her high school years there. When people would ask me how I was so tan I would nonchalantly say, “Well I’m Puerto Rican.” I remember the day my mom over heard me and had to explain that just because you live in a certain country doesn’t mean you’re of that nationality. Major buzz kill.

However, the past few summers I’ve been hiding from the rays and trying to protect my skin. Whether it’s hats, SPF or spray tans, staying youthful and cancer-free is a higher priority than getting dark. This summer between wedding season and my Peru trip with Tommy (in their winter!) I haven’t had a chance to hit the beach at all, so my first trip to the beach had to happen after getting a spray tan (Let’s face it, being tan makes you feel more slim, toned and helps hide problem areas) from On The Go Glow Mobile! They’re an amazing 24 hour service that’s all-natural and come to your house! Plus, you’re left smelling like vanilla instead of fried chicken.

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If you read Lauren’s post on swimwear you might remember her saying she likes to accentuate her top with a pattern and keep her bottoms solid for an optical illusion that draws your eye up. For me, I’ve always described my body like a 2×4 – Very narrow and straight up and down. I realize that everyone sees themselves differently and in all actuality I’m more womanly than I think, but in my defense I was given this complex since birth thanks to my delivery doctors. They told my mother that, “If she didn’t have shoulders on her like a Green Bay Packer she would have shot right out!” (Why thank you?… Who says that about a baby girl anyway?!)

So for me, I like to wear bottoms with a fun pattern to give me more in the hip department and help give the optical illusion of having a smaller waist. I also tend to go for bottoms with less material because the wedgie look makes your booty look rounder. More material tends to sag when it’s wet and no one wants to look like they’re wearing a diaper. If you have an old swimsuit and want to give it a quick makeover, try my swim DIYs!

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 L*Space Swim – Strap Back Top (pistachio) // Monique Bottom Bitsy-Sugar Rush Print

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Janessa Leone “Rita Panama” Hat (on sale!) // Banana Republic Sandal (sold out)

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my kinda sundae…

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HEALTHY SUNDAE SFG 5

Dear Diary,

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been in celebration mode.  First, I was celebrating my boyfriends homecoming after a long trip away… and since I always associate celebration with food… you can assume that there was A LOT of poor eating choices involved.  For almost a week we spent money (that we don’t have) on everything from pizza to Indian… then a few days later, it was time for yet another celebratory event– my BIRTHDAY!!  And you guessed it, with more celebration, comes more expensive meals and poorer food choices.  Hey, a girl only turns 27 once, right!?  But sadly… the festivities have all come to an end, and all that I have left to show for it is an empty wallet and a less-lean physique.

While I’m ready to jump back into my healthier routine– it’s not that simple.  Once I’m out of my routine, it takes a real effort to get back into the swing…But I’m up for it!  Plus I know that since I live a mainly healthy and fit life, I’ll get back into the swing a lot quicker than I think.  But that doesn’t mean all of my cravings will be gone… Once I start eating pizza consistently… all I want is the good stuff… and it goes the same with dessert!

This weekend I was finally getting back on track, when a craving hit… I had been eating so much cake and candy (thanks to my wonderful mama’s b-day care package), I felt like I was going into sugar withdrawal… and with the weekend finally arriving– I felt that it was again time to celebrate with sweets.  But this time, I was going to create something a little more satisfying for my body and mind with the perfect ice cream sundae!  This sundae is deliciously simple, and certainly a lot healthier than the traditional…

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what really takes this dish over the top is the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients– I was inspired to incorporate figs.  If you’ve never had them before– go to the store and grab them while you can!  The chocolate fig sauce and whipped “cream” really make this sundae unique.

The sauce is DI-VINE… the figs add an extra sweet bite while the dash of salt brings an unexpected kick!

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To balance out that rich, deep flavor of the chocolate sauce, I think a smooth whipped “cream” is in order…

Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to a fatty cream… You guys know that I like to use greek yogurt in pretty much anything!  I can’t help it– it’s such a tangy and healthy addition to any savory or sweet dish– by adding just a few simple ingredients it is easily transformed.

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Here’s how to create the perfect healthy sundae:

3 scoops of our FAVORITE ICE CREAM… halo top of course! (whey protein in our dessert?  Yes, please!)

FIG CHOCOLATE SAUCE:  4 Figs, 2 TBSP of Vanilla, a pinch of salt, half a bag of Lily’s vegan- no sugar added dark organic chocolate chips, & 2 tbsp of almond milk (melt all ingredients together in a sauce pan… then strain the chocolate sauce to get rid of the fig seeds for a smooth sauce!)

NO-CREAM WHIPPED CREAM: 1 vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, cup of plain greek yogurt (slice open that vanilla bean for those beautiful and flavorful seeds and whip everything together!)

spoonful of sliced almonds & elemental superfood crumble (this “granola” is THE BOMB DOT COM!!!!)

tsp of raw cocoa nibs for some extra sweet crunch!

1 banana

2 figs & no sundae would be complete without a cherry on top ;)

Share this sweet treat with a friend this week… trust me, you won’t regret it!  Enjoy SFG’s!

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Mac + “Cheese”

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Dear Diary,

After a very glutenous vacation in Peru (Check out our Instagram #SFGinPeru for some pretty snaps!) I’ve been trying to be better in the health food department. If you have any question that I’m exaggerating let me just say that for Tommy’s birthday I treated us to a 29 course meal. Yes, you heard me correctly… 29! And I may or may not have mistaken tomato infused butter for tuna. And ate it. All. However, the only thing I truly regret was brushing my teeth that night. I wish that flavor could live on my tastebuds for eternity. (Sigh.)

Needless to say, we’ve been doing our best to eat clean since we’ve been home. I’ve been recalling all my favorite healthy, yet filling dishes and whipping them up like the domestic goddess I sometimes pretend to be. This recipe in particular is one of my favorites because it’s comfort food made healthy. It’s a recipe I picked up from my girlfriend Abby over at Hummingbird Pilates (with a slight variation). It’s vegan and gluten-free, but has the hearty taste of a family comfort food classic. It’s Mac + “Cheese” and I’d say it’s just as good as the real thing! Don’t believe me?! Try it, I dare you!

Vegan Mac n' Cheese

Squash Mac ‘n “Cheese”

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut squash (Or substitute for canned pumpkin)
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavored Almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4-3/4 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp Salt + Pepper (to taste)
  • 4 servings Brown Rice Macaroni
  • (Optional: Veggies. I like to mix in fresh spinach!)

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Slice your butternut squash in half. Lay the halves in a dish and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Roast uncovered until tender. (Around 45 minutes)

2. To prepare the cheese sauce: Add coconut oil to a sauce pan over low-medium heat. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch. Add into saucepan and continue to whisk. Mix in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic, lemon, salt + pepper) and stir until all the ingredients fuze together and start to thicken up.

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3. In a separate saucepan, cook your brown rice macaroni until tender.

4. Remove your butternut squash from oven and scoop out the center (1 cup) adding it to your food processor or blender. Blend the sauce with your roasted squash (if canned, just add 1 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree into the pot with your cheese sauce).

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5. Strain and rinse your noodles and add them into the cheese pot. Mix them all together on low heat and serve.

I used the extra “cheese” sauce as a dip for veggies too!

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What’s your favorite healthy dinner recipe with a hearty feel? I need to add some more gems like this to my cook book!

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