Archive for healthy eating

Food: Strawberry shortcake cupcakes

I’d consider this cupcake experiment a direct product of fate. There were 2 things that happened in order to not only make this a delicious recipe, but also a healthy treat!

1. I found the idea on Pinterest, via Lady Behind The Curtain

But, I knew her awesome recipe was a little too complicated for me. Plus, I wanted to find a way to reduce the calories. That’s when #2 popped into my inbox.

2. An updated, healthy HungryGirl version of tie-dye (or funfetti) cupcakes

After a little planning, I instantly knew exactly how I was going to make this work. First, I started with a healthier cupcake option, using part of HungryGirl’s recipe. So simple, it fell under my 5 ingredient rule and made these perfect looking cupcakes…

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Cupcake recipe (servings: 12)

  • 1 3/4 cup of moist-style white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of egg whites (4 eggs for me)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of water

Mix together until batter is smooth. Fill your cupcake liners at least 3/4 of the way so you get nice puffy cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes.

While my cupcakes were in the oven, I mixed together my frosting.

Cupcake frosting

  • 1 container of Fat Free Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • 1 box of Sugar Free Vanilla Jello pudding mix

Mix together and whip. Refrigerate after mixed thoroughly.

After the cupcakes have cooled, carve out the center and add a small strawberry.

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Next, put your frosting into a small ziplock bag. Cut the corner off and voila – instant piping bag. Swirl around and top your cupcakes with frosting.

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Add small chunks of strawberries to the top for a little extra color and flavor.

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And finally, it’s time to enjoy your low-calorie strawberry shortcake cupcake. Even though YOU made them, the little strawberry surprise inside is just divine and the cool whip/jello frosting is perfect without being too heavy.

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Nutritional facts:

HungryGirl puts her tie dye cupcakes at 135 calories which includes a modified real frosting and sprinkles. I don’t know the exact calorie count, but these should easily come in under 135 since a.) the center of the cupcake has been replaced by a strawberry, b.) the frosting is not only sugar free, but fat free, c.) we nixed the sprinkles. But just to be on the safe side, we’ll say they’re 135 calories.

135 calories for a strawberry shortcake cupcake? Sure why not! I might just even have 2.

Food: Tofu potato scramble

I love subscription boxes. They are definitely a guilty pleasure, but recently I’ve been trying to save every last penny so I cancelled all of them (All them being 3. Told you, guilty pleasure!). However, my mom passed on a $40 gift card to HelloFresh¬†and I couldn’t resist, especially when there was a no commitment policy to their subscription service. Meaning, I could buy as many or as few boxes as I wanted before cancelling.

So, I signed up and bought their vegetarian box that contained 3 meals for 2 people for $59, but with my gift card it was only $19 (all shipping included)! To put it simply, the box I chose was the cheapest of all the options available, but you can choose boxes with meat, more meals, and for more people. The price is magically adjusted for you.

My first box arrived yesterday and I was excited to cook up a storm. The ingredients themselves are high quality and were packaged nicely with reusable cool packs and with a thermal wrapping. The meals are also broken down into different bags and each had a detailed picture recipe card. At one point, I actually laughed to myself as I felt like I was in a Ratatouille reality TV show as I said, ‘So simple, anyone can cook!

I think what I loved most is that the meals were different to what I’d make/dream up myself AND the nutrition value was listed right on the recipe card. Good for people like me who like to count their daily intake.

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So I started my HelloFresh journey with their tofu potato scramble recipe and I definitely had a happy belly at the end of the night.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 2 small white potatoes
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lettuce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 wheat tortillas (not pictured)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (not pictured)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (no pictured)

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1. Prepare your veggies & tofu: cut potato into 1/2 inch pieces, shred the lettuce, chop the garlic, halve the tomatoes, cut pepper into strips, slice the scallions, and finally drain & crumble the tofu in a bowl. It all pretty much looked like this after:

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2. Next, put your potatoes in a pot & cover with water. Bring them to a boil and then let them simmer for 8 minutes. Wait at least 5 minutes before you continue with the skillet portion of the meal. You’ll need your potatoes there.

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3. When your potatoes are nearly done, start your skillet and add the olive oil, scallions, garlic, and chili powder and cook/stir for 2 minutes. Next add your peppers and potatoes, cook/stir for another 5-7 minutes.

Note: when you drain & add your potatoes, save 1 tablespoon of the starchy water for later.

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4. Next, add the tofu & that 1 tablespoon of water you saved. Cook/stir for about 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

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5. Heat your tortillas (I used the microwave) and then divide your mixture in 1/2 since this recipe is for 2 people. Place your mixture on the tortilla.

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And then top it with the cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.

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6. Finally, hone your inner Chipotle burrito wrapping skillz and roll that puppy up. My burrito looked terrible, but it still tasted great.

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One final note: If you don’t like heat/spice, then consider less chili powder, because the chili powder is added early on and it gives everything a nice deep heat flavor; the kind that sneaks up on you after a few bites. It was amazing!

I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

Nutrition per serving (according to HelloFresh)

  • Calories: 527
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fat: 29g
  • Protein: 34g

Food: Holy moly cannoli cones

It wasn’t a particular goal of mine to start cooking/baking more in 2013. In fact, that’s never been a goal of mine. My food goals are usually directly related to the number that appears on the scale and are fairly simple like, ‘eat healthy’.

So, I have no idea why I’ve been on a food kick this month; but, I’ve really been enjoying it. In addition to the white bean & chicken chili of late, I’ve made a slew of healthy treats and today Hungry Girl’s holy moly cannoli cones.

I bought HG’s books last year when I thought for some reason I would love to cook more. Apparently, it’s only now kicking in. But hey, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I’ll take the noms & notivation where I can get them. So without further ado, a 134-calorie speedy sweet treat.

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Only 20-30 minutes in the kitchen, no baking, and just sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving. If you fancy it yourself, you can snag the recipe here (without having to buy the book).

Food: White bean & chicken chili

Sometimes to break up my day a bit in the afternoon, I’ll put the TV on in the background while I’m working. When I’m not picking up design tips or house hunting on HGTV, I’m usually tuning into Giada at home. Her show is definitely a guilty pleasure as I don’t really understand why I like it. Most of her food is heavily Italian and feels far too complicated; but, the other day she made white bean & chicken chili and I instantly decided I was going to make it too.

It did take me a good hour and a half to make (as estimated) and I certainly wasn’t as quick and graceful in the kitchen as Giada, but the chili was amazing and one I’m adding to my cooking repertoire. For added approval, BF loved it too!

I think the reason I’m raving about this recipe is because I’ve always been hesitant to make chili, maybe because I didn’t understand/appreciate it’s nutritional value? I know it’s meaty and all, but it still didn’t seem like a good way to use up my day’s calories. However, this chili just sits well in my own mindset of healthy eating. It’s packed with tons of healthy proteins: chicken, white beans, spinach, and corn. I did top it with Parmesan cheese as Giada suggests, but it’s a small amount and won’t throw you in to the deep end of food regret.

So here it is, my version of Giada’s white bean & chicken chili:

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You can get Giada’s recipe here & try it for yourself! I know she puts in quite a variety of spices, but I saw it as a good investment since I’ll definitely be making this again before spring rolls around!

Adventures in banana bread

It’s Friday night and I had big plans. I was going to make banana bread and make it I did! Like anyone else who sets out on a banana bread adventure, it’s likely resulted from over-ripe bananas and you just can’t bring yourself to a.) eat mushy nanners or b.) throw them away.

I had never made banana bread before, so this was all new for me. I looked around on the interwebs and I found quite a few “easy” recipes, but I wanted a recipe that was also relatively healthy. Luckily, a few days ago, my roomie introduced me to this site called Hungry Girl where the chick makes nomtastic foods but with less calories. I had a look at her recipe and I decided that not only could I make it, but that it would probably be a good healthy alternative. Hungry Girl also compared her recipe to a standard banana bread recipe. Did you know that ‘regular’ nanner bread has 326 calories per slice and 12 grams of fat??? Gross.

But healthy banana bread has only 140 calories per slice (wait til you see the size of these slices!) and .5 grams of fat. Oh and the best part? It’s actually good! It’s definitely not as sweet as normal banana bread, but I liked it a lot and was happier knowing that I wasn’t consuming a quarter of my daily caloric intake!

Without further ado, my adventure in banana bread…

All the ingredients – luckily, my roomie had the random things like whole wheat flour and I only had to purchase a few items.

First, mix your dry ingredients in 1 bowl and your wet ingredients in another, then mix together. Stirring until just blended.

Spoon into your greased bread pan. I just dumped it in.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until done. Done = clean knife when you poke it.

Allow to cool slightly and then remove from pan. Allow to cool a bit longer before you slice it. Serves 8. Voila!

Can you believe the size of those slices? Only 140 calories each! NOM NOM NOM.

Want to make your own banana bread? Get Hungry Girl’s full recipe here.

Tuesday noms

As you might know by now, I’m no chef. Not even close. But on occasion, I do like to try and whip something up. This week, I broke down and decided I was actually going to try to make a wheat berry salad. After numerous points of inspiration from an old high school acquaintance’s blog, Adrienneats, I did it. I finally did it!

First thing you may notice is that a lot of her recipes have more than 5 ingredients. A big no-no in my kitchen. So I modified and made sure to include ingredients I knew I had as well as the few that I knew I loved. Since I was modifying, I figured measurements weren’t overly important since I would be keeping to basic. So what did I do?

I soaked my wheat berries over night and then cooked for an hour. YES, an hour! Then, I sauteed my onion, adding brussel sprouts, red cabbage (for color), and garlic as I went – pretty much equal parts, except the garlic of course. Then, I threw it all together. For dressing, I simply combined salt, pepper, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Finally, I topped it off with bleu cheese crumbles.

Man, oh man was it delicious!

I don’t really know calorie count on this recipe, but I imagine this can’t be too bad for you. That’s pretty much all fresh veg, wheat berry, and a near calorie-free dressing. The only thing I know isn’t the best for you is the cheese, but if used in moderation, you won’t be tipping the scales. Or you could even choose to leave it off.

For the official recipe, visit Adrienneats and get your healthy eating on.

Friday night noms

I’m not a chef. I’m not even really a decent cook and I hate cooking anything that has more than 5 ingredients. Tonight, I splurged and used 6 ingredients for this tasty roasted chicken & veg. I got the recipe out of my March issue of Real Simple.

So what exactly are you drooling over? That’s roasted red potatoes with broccoli and very thin pieces of chicken with red pepper and feta cheese rolled up inside. I had to brown the chicken in a frying pan before putting it in the oven to roast, but only a minor hassle, really.

I guess I could have really stuck to my 5 ingredient rule, but I’m a big fan of flat parsley. It just gives a really fresh taste to everything.

Happy belly, over and out.

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