Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mixed Berry Granola Smoothie

It's about this time of year, when it starts to get hot and humid outside, that I get out my blender and use it pretty much daily through the summer. The only thing better than a smoothie for breakfast is when someone else makes it for you. This doesn't happen very often but it's still one of my greatest pleasures in life.
Then again, one of my favorite parts of making a smoothie myself is throwing all kinds of random stuff in!

For this particular smoothie I decided I wanted it to have a bit of a crunch. I usually achieve this by throwing a few almonds in but seeing as I had some coconut granola in the pantry, I decided to try that. Hint: it was one of the BEST ideas I've ever had! The granola added a great bit of flavor and crunch to the smoothie. I will definitely be adding it to future smoothies!
I have also gotten in the habit of throwing a few vitamins in the smoothie for extra health. They blend up just nice and you never even know they're there.

And I basically always put kale or spinach into my smoothies as it adds a lot of extra nutrients with no real added flavor. If you add enough spinach, though, it will turn your smoothie green and people will look at you funny when you drink it. But it will still be tast-eeeee!
Ingredients*:
1 cup of frozen mixed berries
handful of spinach
1/3 cup granola
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 ice cubes
1/2 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons vanilla Greek yogurt

*The amount of ALL of these ingredients can be adjusted to your liking. I may have had a few extra chunks of granola in mine. Maybe.
Directions:
Add all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. You may need to add a bit more almond milk or water to get it nice and smooth.
ENJOY!!

This smoothie makes for the perfect summer breakfast!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Simple Tortellini

If you've been around for a while then you know all about this crazy sport that I play called Roller Derby and how it takes up all the rest of my free time in life. We had our big home season opener this past Saturday and we have TWO tournaments coming up over the next two weekends. Naturally, I use this as an excuse to load in ALL the carbs. It's my tradition to eat a nice pasta dinner on the day leading up to a game. I also typically use this as an excuse to force my husband to cook while I "rest up for the game". However, this time I thought we'd switch things up a bit.

I seriously debated making ravioli from scratch but then when that seemed a bit too daunting, I decided to just buy some fancy tortellini and call it a day. 

I grabbed some other ingredients and got to work.
While the tortellini were cooking, I diced my shallot and lots of garlic to be sauteed before adding them to the sauce.
I had some mild italian sausage cooked and ready and chopped that up into small pieces while the noodles finished and the shallot and garlic sauteed.  It's mild because I'm a baby when it comes to spicy food. I just can't do it.
Once everything was cooked and sauteed, I added it all into on big pot, threw in some chopped parsley, and stirred. Voila! Carb heaven fit to fuel lotso derby. Or at least fit to make my belly very happy.
Ingredients:
1 large package of tortellini
3 Italian sausages
1 jar of your favorite tomato based pasta sauce (mine had extra garlic in it, of course)
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
optional: Parmesan cheese
Directions:
1) Cook your sausage in a medium skillet until they are no longer pink on the inside. Set aside to cool.
2) Cook your pasta. Mine needed to be boiled for 10 minutes.
3) While pasta is cooking, chop your shallot and garlic and saute it in a large pan until it begins to get slightly translucent. This should just take a few minutes. Remove pan from heat until you are ready to add the remaining ingredients.
4) Drain pasta and let cool for a few minutes while you dice the sausage.
5) Combine your pasta sauce, tortellini, and sausage in the pan with the shallot and garlic and heat over medium for just a few minutes. 
6) Once everything is thoroughly stirred and heat together, you're done! See that was pretty easy (although I still want to tackle making my own ravioli soon!).
7) Top with a bit more fresh parsley and parmesan cheese and nom it all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

British Flapjacks

About 6 months ago my husband signed us up for one of those health snack subscriptions where we get boxes of healthy little snacks every week. Every time it comes in the mail I find myself with fingers crossed hoping that one of the 4 snacks inside the box is British Flapjacks. The company that we order from has something like 7 different flapjack variations and they're all my favorite (although the honeycomb flapjacks are my favorite favorite).
And every time that I open the box and there are no flapjacks inside, I get very sad. So, I decided the hell with it; I'll try making my own flapjacks! It took some research and a few failed attempts to get it right but I'm VERY pleased with the final yumminess.
These treats are, according to google, a treat that originated in the UK. I also read quite a bit about how "healthy" they are but I must respectfully disagree with this seeing as they have a whole stick of butter in them. They're not the worst but I'm not sure I'd recommend these to someone trying to lose a few pounds. I digress.

These are very simple and the ingredient list is short and sweet.
Ingredients:
2 1/3 cup Quick cooking oats (instant oats can be used but they're not ideal)
1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup of golden syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
optional: 2 oz of bittersweet chocolate, melted

*Any kind of dried fruit or nut an easily be added to this if desired.
Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350°
1) Cut butter into small pieces so that it will melt a bit faster.
2) Combine butter, syrup, and brown sugar in medium saucepan and heat on medium.
3) Stir the mixture constantly until all of the ingredients are melted and mixed together.
4) Remove from heat and add the oats and salt. Stir until all of the oats are evenly covered in the syrup mixture.
5) Pour oats mixture into a greased 11 x 7 or 8 x 8 sized pan. I found that a slightly smaller sized pan than the average results in a better flapjack. Anything bigger will result in thinner, crispier flapjacks.
6) Bake for 18 minutes. When finished, the top of the oats should be golden brown while the edges will be a bit darker.
7) Cool for a few minutes and then cut your flapjacks to your desired size. The flapjacks will still be rather liquidy/ soft at this point but it's necessary to cut them while they're still hot. If you wait until after they cool down, it will be quite a bit more difficult.
8) Optional: once cooled and hardened a bit, drizzle chocolate over the tops of the flapjacks for a bit of added deliciousness.
9) ENJOY!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie

I have a confession to make: I drank THREE cokes yesterday. I just really love fizzy drinks but my general rule of thumb is to have no more than 1 or 2 a WEEK. I failed miserably yesterday. Oops! And I could definitely feel it yesterday when I was trying to do on skates sprints and my body just wasn't wanting to go. Being healthy is just SO hard sometimes. I digress.

Especially around this time of year though, I try to eat much healthier. I start craving veggies more and so much is in season that you can get an abundance of watermelon and zucchini for pretty cheap at the market.

I started making this Chicken Pot Pie recipe a few years ago and it's become a staple in my house. The nice thing about this lightened up recipe is that it has NO butter, very little flour (3 tablespoons as opposed to 2 cups), and it's fast and east to make!

Ingredients:
2 medium chicken breasts
1/2 cup cooking wine
2 1/2 cups of water
2 cubes of chicken bouillon
6 ounces of fat free evaporated milk
3 tablespoons of flour (use whole wheat flour to make it a bit healthier)
1 roll of phyllo dough
1 1/2 tablespoons of parsley
1 bag of frozen vegetables (you can also use fresh but if you're me, you're making this dish when you're feeling extra lazy)

Instructions:
Pre-Heat oven to 375° F
1) In a medium skillet, combine water, cooking wine, chicken bouillon, and chicken. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked (165° F).
2) Remove chicken from the skillet. Save 2/3 cup of the leftover broth for later. 
3) Once it has cooled down a bit, shred chicken and set aside. Don't forget my easy chicken shredding tip!
4) In your same skillet on low low heat, combine the saved broth, flour, and fat free evaporated milk. Cook on low until the sauce thickens which should only take a couple minutes.
5) Once the sauce is thick, add in the parsley, shredded chicken, and frozen veggies. Cook for an additional 3 or 4 minutes until everything is nicely combined.
6) In either 1 greased pie dish or several smaller greased ramekins, line the bottom of your dish(es) with about 4 layers of phyllo dough.
7) Pour mixture into pan(s) evenly and then top with an additional 3-4 layers of phyllo dough. Lightly spray the tops of the pies with cooking spray.
8) Bake pie(s) for 12 minutes or until the phyllo dough begins to turn golden brown.
9) Let cool and ENJOY!