Vday Menu – Watermelon Feta Salad

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salad, watermelon, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

Dear Diary,

I could just look at this salad all day! It’s so pretty I almost don’t want to touch it…but that would be a lie. It’s so sweet, light, refreshing, and satisfying that it couldn’t wait to devour it and it quickly became my favorite appetizer item.

And, lucky for you, I love you enough to share the recipe… Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Want to try it for yourself? Keep reading!

Watermelon Feta Salad

salad, watermelon, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

What You Need:

* Watermelon

* Feta

* Mint

* Heart Shaped cookie cutter

Directions:

*  Slice the watermelon into 1 inch thick slices. Use the heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

* Plate the watermelon hearts

* Crumble feta over the top

* Finish with garnishing the dish with hints of mint

It’s so adorable it’s the perfect Valentine’s snack. What are you whipping up in your kitchen?

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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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Holiday Hosting Life Hack

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Dear Diary,

I’m what you would call a perfectionist. And when the holidays are upon us I typically take it to the next level doing Martha Stewart-esque things until the wee hours of the morning… but sometimes I just throw in the towel and accept defeat, realizing I need sleep more than hand painted wrapping paper.

But what do you do when you’re hosting a dinner party and everything you pinned on Pinterest turns into an epic #fail? FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT, that’s what! Give yourself a break and feel free to add in some store bought items. Dress them up to make them look like you slaved away though! Adding a garnish always helps disguise too! (Did you see my DIY Apple Mugs?)

Then, work on mastering your best, “Oh this?! It was nothing…” I’m the worst at this part. Whether it was my hair, outfit or meal being complimented I always find some way to down play it and give away my secret. (ex. Oh they’re extensions. It’s from Forever 21 for $5. I just spray painted the bottoms to make them look like Loubs! The list goes on…)

At this dinner party, I cored out mini pumpkins and used them as bowls, but faked the homemade soup for the yummy organic boxed soup Trader Joe’s provides. This one was Butternut Squash, but they have a wide variety of tasty healthy soup options! Coring out the pumpkins was slightly labor intensive, but made that bisque that I couldn’t master look that much cuter and taste all the more homemade…

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What’s your favorite hosting hack? Please share, because I’m in desperate need this holiday season!

Spoon : For Such A Time Designs

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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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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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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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The Skinny Fat Girl Fries

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Dear Diary,

Winter is upon on…gingerbread lattes are back, Mariah Carey was photographed wearing a jacket, instead of her usual “asset-bearing” attire and comfort food is trending.  I’m talking mashed potatoes, cornbread and chili.  Damn-it-to-hell, there goes my skinny jeans and any attempt to wear a Herve Leger bandage dress. What is it about cold weather that makes lettuce lose its luster?

Before I get too carried away and toss my greens to the Santa Ana winds… Los Angeles winter season doesn’t allow for me to hide under significant layers of clothing.

So with my cover “literally” blown for my muffin top, I’ve discovered ways to recreate hearty without all the “heart”.  Meet skinny fries – roasted carrots and parsnips – appropriately mellow yellow and bright orange. They brighten your plate, add 13g of insoluble fiber to your diet and taste like fries…Salty, greasy and delectable fries…

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees; peel about 7 carrots and 7 parsnips, then cut in long strips. The place on a large baking sheet.

Toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and dill. Place the cooking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. Check on the veggies, add a bit of oil and shake SONY DSCand then cook for another 25 minutes.

They should be done, but if you want them a little bit crispier, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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Serve hot and enjoy! They are really easy to reheat as well…so make extra!

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XO – SFG  Lauren

Skinny Fat Girl Diary