SUPER green bowl for dinner

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green bowl dinner

Dear Diary,

It’s now officially SIX MONTHS until my wedding… and I can’t believe it!  It still feels so far away, but I know that it will be here before I know it.  Thank goodness I’ve been maintaining my lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise– because the last thing I want to do is starve myself with a diet a month before the wedding… am I right?!  But between work, exercise and evening/weekend plans, it’s been tough to find the time to experiment with new recipes!  So when I recently wet to this amazing NYC Vegan restaurant for a “spicy green bowl”, I was not only HOOKED, but I realized I could easily tweak it and make it my own!  In my book, what makes something a super GREEN bowl is portions… make sure that you are making 50% of the bowl steamed greens!  The rest is a great mix of carbs and protein, perfectly spiced with the miracle spices: cayenne and turmeric, of course :)

super green bowl

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED/DO

  • half a sweet potato (clean skin with a veggie safe brush instead of peeling– the skin has tons of nutrients!)

chop up into bite size pieces and then toss with sunflower oil (higher burning point compared to traditional olive oil) and dashes of cayenne, turmeric, salt and pepper

place in a 400 degree oven until crispy and tender

  • In a microwave safe bowl, steam frozen broccoli and kale
  • then on another cooking sheet bake chickpeas, click here for the recipe… they are delicious snack on their own!  Full of protein and healthy carbs!
  • Lastly, poach an egg and combine!  Egg poaching is really easy– just boil water and add a couple of tbsps of white vinegar to settle the boil… then gently add an egg.  Stir egg slightly to help it create shape and let it cook for about 10 minutes!

green bowl

Now how easy is that!  It’s delicious, it’s healthy, and it’s the perfect go to meal after a long day!

You’re welcome SFGs! ;)

 

Lighten Up Guacamole…!

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Pea Guacmole - Recipe

Dear Diary,

I know Cinco is over, but I don’t think the fiesta has to end..! First off, I’m tequila’s biggest fan and chips are near to my heart. Guacamole, however, I have only recently come around to liking. I used to fear both the fat and calorie content of avocados. I know it’s GOOD fat! But still it’s a lot of fat…

However, since I refuse to not continue to celebrate the joys of tequila, tacos, guacamole and chips. I use this trick to lighten up my guacamole, but keep my irrational fears at bay. My secret ingredient – sugar snap peas! They add a sweet creaminess and make the guacamole call for less avocados; cutting the calorie content, but not the flavor. This is one recipe you have to try! Let’s keep the celebration going.

 

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Pea Gauc

Here’s what you need:

- jalapeno, diced with the seeds removed

- 1/4 cup chopped red onion

-  one avocado

- 2 cloves of garlic

- 20 sugar snapped peas, shelled

- 1/4 cup cilantro

- 2 limes

- salt to taste

Directions:

Shell the sugar snap peas, then bring 3 cups of water to boil and place the peas in for 2 minutes. Cook until they are bright green and place aside to cool. Dice the garlic, scoop the inside of the avocado and place in a mixing bowl. Then add chopped red onion, cilantro and lime. Mash together, then add peas and jalapeno.  Put as much or as little jalapeno as you like. I tend to like it hotter, so I put about half of the jalapeno in. :) Salt to taste and then serve! I served the mine with flax seed crackers. A snack packed with good fat.

Pea Gauc 3

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Chicken Pot Pie Make-Over

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Dear Diary,

I’m starting to traveling more and more for work, so I needed some downtime this weekend, along with some comfort food – and nothing is more comforting than Chicken Pot Pie!! However, most recipes are full of calories and would leave me feeling guilty after a weekend indulgence-  #thestruggleisreal! So, I took some liberties with the standard recipe to cut the calories and it was still so tasty! A couple things that cut the calories from the get go, eliminate the crust from the bottom. Also, instead of using crust I used biscuits. Yes, biscuits are not the least caloric thing available, but they are easier! Let’s just admit it, finding the time to make my own crust is on my list, but in the meantime these biscuits will definitely suffice!

Here’s what you need:

5 cups of vegetable broth

1 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (ones in the hot cases

5-6 medium sized peeled and diced carrots

1 russet potato peeled and cubed

5-6 diced celery stocks

1 1/2 cups of peas

1 medium sized chopped yellow onion

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 can of pre-made biscuits

salt and pepper

olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

2. Place chopped potato, carrots and celery into a large pot with 5 cups of vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.

3. Place diced onion into a large frying pan – the pan should be the size of what you would use for stir fry, the bigger the better because you are going to transfer the broth and veggies to the pan.

4. Sautee the onions over medium heat with olive and then add flour, cook until the onions are coated. Transfer the veggies and broth to the onions, when they are soft.

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5. Add the almond milk to the this mixture as well as the shredded rotisserie chicken and 2 cups of peas, simmer on medium heat until it starts to thicken 10 – 15 minutes

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6. Add the mixture to a large casserole pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Then remove the dish from the oven and place your pre-made biscuits on top and cook for another 14-17 minutes, until the biscuits are a golden brown.

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Serve each portion with a biscuit and indulge!

laurenSignature

 

Lighten Up!

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Cucumber Salad

Dear Diary,

After stuffing myself all holiday season long I’m now trying to reset! Anyone else feel like they ingested a wet towel? Just me?! Well then, this cucumber salad is just what the doctor ordered…

INGREDIENTS:

* Cucumbers

* Cherry tomatoes 0r Mini heirloom tomatoes

* Basil

* Feta cheese

* Vinegar

* Olive Oil

Cucumber Salad Recipe

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Wash the cucumbers, tomatoes and basil.

2. Then, slice the cucumbers and half the tomatoes. Cut the basil leaves in thin slices.

3. Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil together.

4. Sprinkle a little feta cheese and drizzle olive oil and vinegar, then mix together.

5. Enjoy!

My BASIL Plant!

Fresh Basil Plant

PS – I’m attempting an herb garden! Anyone who knows me, knows I have an affinity for killing plants. Even desert plants. Yeah, I’m that girl. Maybe my boyfriend will lock it down when he sees me successfully keep my herbs alive… I swear I’ll make a good mother. ha. But in my defense I think I give my little dying succulent garden too much attention… I will say though, I’ve been doing great with my herbs so far (2 weeks) and I love having fresh herbs without having to continuously purchase the tiny containers of overpriced ones that go bad in two days…

What’s your go to healthy recipe?! Please share in the comments.

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Low-Carb Thanksgiving Side Dish

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Dear Diary,

Can you believe it’s already November?! What the…?!?! As excited as I am for the holiday festivities I can’t believe how fast the year has flown by. Ahhhh. I wasn’t ready for it! Which I never really am… Although, I will say having an extra hour of sleep last night was looovvvveeelllyyy :)

November means hearty meals, comfort food, seasonal treats, parties galore and momma stockin’ the pantry (HELLO!) so that doesn’t exactly equal a six pack for the holidays. And I want abs for Christmas y’all! Who’s with me?! haha. Let’s be real it’s still bikini season in LA in December. Which sounds nice until you’re faced with the seasonal drinks at Starbucks everyday and you’re having to repeatedly refuse pumpkin spice latte yumminess with extra whipped cream and carmel sauce drizzled on top. It’s times like these I just want to live in North Dakota and hibernate under several layers of parkas as I enjoy my entire daily calorie count in a cup… Most days I’m pretty sure it would be worth it, others I turn to one of our holiday drink alternatives (Peppermint Mocha + Pumpkin Protein Shake).

And while we’re on the topic of alternatives, here’s a great one for mashed potatoes! It’s incredibly delicious and will satisfy your cravings and keep you in check. Honestly, it’s one of my favorites and something everyone can enjoy – most people can’t even tell the difference! So when you’re indulging to the fullest over the holidays try trading in a couple of your highly caloric side dishes for healthier options. It’s low-carb and a quarter of the calories… Yes, please!

…CAULIFLOWER MASHERS…

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INGREDIENTS:

* 1 large Head of Cauliflower (chopped into florets)

* 1 tbsp. milk (or even Fage 0% greek yogurt – I’ve used this in a pinch and it tastes great!)

* A couple sprays of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (Or 1 tsp. salt)

* 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

* 1 tsp. Chives or Oregano

* 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

* 1 tsp. Pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Wash the head of cauliflower.

2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.

3. Steam the cauliflower for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure it’s soft. (This is important! If it’s not soft enough it won’t blend well.)

4.  Blend the cauliflower. (I prefer my Mashers smooth, so I continue to blend until it’s the consistency I prefer.)

5. Then, add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend.

6. Garnish with some fresh herbs and enjoy your low-carb side dish! YUM!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving comfort foods?! Share them with us and maybe we’ll come up with a healthy version for you :)

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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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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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Yumm Bowl

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Dear Diary,

I just got back from shooting a wedding in my college town of Eugene, Oregon and of course I got all nostalgic. I had to see all my old spots… I got excited when I thought I recognized someone from the grocery store, I went to my old coffee stand (I was employed at Dutch Bros. Coffee all through college. Tried to jump back in the stand to show off my barista skills and they thought I was trying to rob them. Oops.) and I HAD to go to one of my favorite restaurants, Yumm Cafe!

They have these incredibly tasty and seemingly healthy “Yumm Bowls” with this special sauce I’ve been trying to master for years. They’re now selling it, so I had to stock up! Only to forget them in Oregon :( My sweet girlfriend offered to mail them down to me packed in dry ice, but I thought that was a bit excessive and would only feed my ridiculous obsession.

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Then there was a miracle… I found the recipe online! (I wrote it in here too!) Thank you, Taste Book, for fulling my greatest fantasies! So thankful I can now make this sauce to have whenever I please!

INGREDIENTS:

…YUMM SAUCE…

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grape seed or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or finely chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked soybeans or 1/3 cup tofu
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small measuring cup, mix together the water and lemon juice. In a separate small measuring cup, measure out the appropriate amount of oil. Set both aside.

2. In a small measuring cup, mix together the water and lemon juice. In a separate small measuring cup, measure out the appropriate           amount of oil. Set both aside.

3. In a blender or food processor, process the almonds, nutritional yeast, garbanzo beans, soybeans or tofu, garlic, salt, curry, oregano, and cilantro together until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.

4. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With the machine running, add the oil mixture in a steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until the sauce is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

5. Transfer the sauce to a clean bottle or jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

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…YUMM BOWL…

  • Brown rice, cooked
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I don’t think this is necessary so I forgo cheese, but it is part of the Original Yumm Bowl)
  • Salsa (Optional: I only show love for the Yumm sauce on this one :)
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced fresh avocado
  • Sliced black olives
  • Sour cream (I skip this too since the Yumm sauce is all I need!)
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs (Optional: I’m not a fan of cilantro. Yuck.)

ASSEMBLY:

1. Place a scoop of brown rice in an individual-sized serving bowl, then layer a scoop of black beans over the rice. Drizzle the rice and beans with a desired amount of Yumm Sauce, then sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the rice.

2. Spoon a dollop of salsa in the middle of the bowl, then spoon the tomato, avocado, and olives around the perimeter. Place a dollop of sour cream in the center of the bowl, garnish with some cilantro sprigs, and serve.

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To get some more veggies, I like to mix in arugula too!

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Raw Dinner

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Dear Diary,

I love everything about fall including the comfort foods the holiday season brings. It’s always fun to create a healthy dish that tastes like comfort food though! Here’s a Mac & Cheese makeover! Remember Lauren’s post on working with winter squashes? I decided to make a raw, vegan, vegetable “mac & cheese” using this kabocha squash!

Ingredients:

(Approximate to taste)

- 4 oz of chopped kabocha squash (peeled)

- 1 or 2 zucchini (Julienned)

- 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (For vegan readers: Use soft tofu)

- 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk

- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

- 1/4 tsp minced garlic

- 1 handful of raw cashews (garnish)

- salt & pepper to taste

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 I used Lauren’s trick of steaming my squash in the microwave so it was easier to cut through.

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Cut the squash into cubes and puree it with all the ingredients except the cashews and zucchini. Mix it until it has this saucy consistency.

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 I then used a Julienne peeler to cut my zucchini into spaghetti like strips. Green noodles!

spaghetti

I then steamed my “pasta” (saran wrap over microwave safe dish and nuked it for about 45 sec.) so that the “cheesy” sauce would get all melty! Something about a warm meal just feels more like comfort food :)

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Finally, sprinkle some raw cashew nuts on top as a garnish. Mmm mmm…good!

ValSignature

Lighten up!

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Dear Diary,

With it finally starting to feel like Fall around here I’ve been loving everything pumpkin, comfort and hardy! Tis the season right?! I might have gone a bit overboard early on and have been feeling the effects of some heavy dishes, so lately my body has been especially craving light eats. It’s always good to mix it up! This healthy salad brings me back to summer and is oh so yummy – perfect to bring as a party appetizer too!

…Watermelon, Mint & (low-fat) Feta Skewers…

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1. Cube your watermelon and low-fat feta block.

2. Wash your mint leaves and pad dry.

3. Use a toothpick to skewer the watermelon, mint and finally the feta.

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 …Cucumber & Watermelon Salad…

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 Need:

* Watermelon

* Cucumber

* Olives

* Mint leaves

* (low-fat) Feta cheese

* Balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette

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This salad is equal parts watermelon and cucumber. The olives, mint, and feta are just thrown in as you like and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette to finish.

ValSignature

Healthy pizza?

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Dear Diary,

After reading Jackie’s post about her amazing adventures in Italy and seeing her mouth watering photos of pizza, I had to have some. Like that second. I’ve always had the mentality that if you’re craving something, your body must need it in some way. Right?! Okay, okay, even if you don’t need it per se, I feel like by not depriving yourself of it you’re not going to go overboard later on. Moderation people! So in an effort to keep myself in check I told my sweetheart that we were having pizza for dinner. Homemade pizza!

Need:

*Trader Joe’s fat free pizza sauce

*Whole wheat pizza dough

*Shredded mozzarella cheese

*Healthy toppings – (Ours included brussel sprouts, onions, green & yellow peppers)

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Fat free pizza sauce! Heck yes!

{For 1/4 cup – 40 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 2g protein}

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Whole wheat pizza dough!

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Flour the designated space to roll out your dough.

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Tommy was being very helpful :)

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Spread a thin layer of sauce on the crust.

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Sauté your healthy toppings. Ours included brussel sprouts, onions, yellow & green peppers. Mmm mmm delicious!

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Spread your toppings on top of a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.

{Mozzarella cheese is naturally lower in fat than other cheeses! One low-fat mozzarella stick has only 80 calories and provides 7 grams of protein and 222 mg of calcium.}

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Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crust looks crispy and golden brown.

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Alright, alright… it’s no Italy, but a girl can dream!

PS. I clearly didn’t wait to devour it, hence this shot of the last couple slices.

ValSignature

St. Patty’s Day Feast

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Dear Diary,

Despite my Scandinavian heritage, I enjoy me some St. Patty’s Day celebrations and food like I a good pseudo Irish girl! To me, nothing compares to a tangy reuben and Dubliner cheese! Uh. Maze. Zing. So as the green beers flow today (or in my case, a green Red Bull, vodka slushy) make sure to pad that stomach with a hearty traditional meal!

I got a cut of corned beef and rubbed garlic, mustard seeds, and pepper corns on top…. Fatty side up!

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I put it in a baking tin with 1 inch of water and cooked on 350 degrees for 3-3.5 hours.

Roasted veggies!

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I tossed potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in light olive oil topped with a sprinkle of rosemary, salt & pepper. Baked on 350 degrees for 1.5 hours until browned (Flip them half way through).

Bon Appetit!

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Quite the spread! Sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, cabbage with melted Dubliner cheese on top and corned beef! YUM!

I had to finish the night off with a PIE for National Pi Day! (3.14.13)

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I wanted to make a “healthy” or at least a “healthier” pie, so I chose not to use butter or sugar in the filling. I used 4 cups of strawberries and rhubarb and heated it up with 1 TBS of cornstarch to help thicken it. Poured the filling into the crust and baked it for 13 minutes on 400 degrees. I then sprinkled a little stevia on top to help sweeten it up.

Let me just tell you that of all the fruit pies to make with no added sugar, don’t make it rhubarb. It was a bit shocking to bite into a rhubarb chunk. Poor Tommy shivered his way through his slice…

ValSignature

Winner, winner, CHICKEN dinner!

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Dear Diary,

I’ve been a very lucky girl lately! My man has taken it upon himself to make me some very well planned out dinners. Either he’s spoiling me, or he wants very healthy/balanced meals for himself during “Pilot Season.” (When actors get to audition for next year’s shows.) I’m the type that makes weird, but quite tasty meals out of left overs and bizarre ingredients, while he buys everything specifically for each meal and measures everything out to a T. Let’s just say he’s very cute and focused while in the kitchen :) This was one of the tasty meals he created for me – so yummy and healthy! I can only take credit for getting in his way while taking pictures…although, he did let me flip the chicken in the mixture! And I must say, I nailed it.

Baked Bread Crumb Chicken

Ingredients:

* 6 chicken breasts

* 1/4 cup parsley

* 1 cup dry bread crumbs

* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

* 1/4 cup olive oil

* 2 garlic cloves

* Salt & Pepper (to taste)

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Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Then lightly salt & pepper your chicken breasts.

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Combine parmeasan cheese, bread crumbs, fresh parsley, & chopped garlic. Put the olive oil in a separate dish.

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Dip the chicken in the olive oil. Flip the chicken in the mixture to evenly coat each breast. Then bake on 375 for 40-45 mins.

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For the lettuce, slice vertically.

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Lightly drizzle with olive oil & bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.

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Throw some pasta sauce in a pan to heat up and coat the chicken as desired.

Dinners done right!

Voila! Dinner is ready…PS – A squeezed lemon adds a nice citrus twist.

Skinny Fat Girl Diary