Friday, May 20, 2016

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Cookies



This recipe is simple to prepare and your body will be happy being fed such a healthy cookie! Can be enjoyed for breakfast, snack or even dessert. They are packed with protein and fiber and made without sugar or eggs.


Ingredients:

1 cup quick cook steel cut oats (Trader Joe's brand)
¼ cup ground flax seed
¼ cup Tera's whey (vanilla flavor)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas
½ cup fruit juice sweetened dried cranberies

To make:

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a bowl mix together oats, flax seed, whey, chia seeds, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl mash bananas. Add the mashed bananas to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in dried cranberries. Using a ¼ size measuring cup, scoop batter onto a parchment or a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sweet Potato Feta and Arugula Quiche


I made this quiche last week and had to make it again. It's that good. The crust is simple to make and chock-full of healthy fats from the flax and chia seeds. A piece of this for breakfast will keep your stomach happy and full till it's time for lunch. This recipe is gluten free and vegetarian.

Sweet Potato Feta and Arugula Quiche

Ingredients for the crust:

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon oat flour
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg

Ingredients for the filling:

1 small white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 3 heaping cups)
2 cups packed arugula
5 eggs
⅓ cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon pesto, store-bought or homemade
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Generous grinds of pepper

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together oat flour, flax, chia seeds, and parmesan cheese. Create a little well in the flour mixture and add the egg and olive oil. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes. Form dough into a round disk and place between two sheets of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough. Carefully remove the sheets of wax paper and place dough into a greased 9-inch pie dish. Press dough into the dish and up the sides. Pierce dough several times with a fork and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until your filling is ready.

In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, add butter and oil. Once it’s nice and hot, add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Give it a quick stir and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, pepper and red chili flakes. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Add arugula, gently stir and remove pan from heat.

Crack eggs into a bowl. Reserve one of the yolks. Add pesto to the bowl of eggs and whisk for about a minute. Using a pastry brush, spread the reserved egg yolk all over the inside of the crust. Layer half of the sauteed veggie mixture, half of the feta cheese and half of the pesto egg mixture. Follow the same steps with the remaining ingredients. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Friday, May 6, 2016

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough


For the days when you really need something sweet and want to stay on track with your healthy eating habits. This PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough will do the trick. It's protein packed, full of healthy fats, gluten free, and made without refined sugars. 

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients:
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Tera's Whey)
1 tablespoon Pb2 powder
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
Salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

To make:
 In a small bowl, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and salt. Using a fork, mix to incorporate all ingredients until a dough consistency forms. Add chocolate chips and stir into dough. Transfer to a bowl and top with a sprinkle of salt.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Banana Mug Cake

Cake for breakfast... Mug cake that is! This mug cake recipe is simple to whip up and you can feel good about starting your day off with a healthy and protein rich treat breakfast. I shared this recipe on my Instagram but wanted to share it here as well.

Ingredients:

1 banana, half mashed and reserve the other half to slice for topping
2 tablespoons soy milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
1 egg
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons whey powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ packet of stevia (I use NuNaturals)
Tiny pinch of salt




To make:


 In a bowl, mash half of the banana. Add almond butter, olive oil, soy milk, and almond extract. Mix well to combine. Add in coconut flour, whey powder, baking powder, stevia, and salt. Mix to incorporate batter. Pour into a large greased mug and cook for 2 minutes in the microwave. Top with whatever suits your mood. I topped mine with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, sliced banana, 1 chopped date, drizzle of honey, and hemp seeds.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Curried Garbanzo Beans

Last week was the first time in my 28 years of life that I did my taxes all by myself. It may sound silly but I’m extremely proud of myself. Instead of calling my mom to ask her what something I didn’t understand meant I trusted in google. One of my goals for this new year was to push myself more each day. I’ve relied so much on my mom throughout my life. Not financially in my adult years but for pretty much everything else. I guess that’s what moms are for though. Ever since I was 19 I have felt mentally stuck at that age. The thought of being 28 is almost strange. It’s not old but I’m older and want to feel like a real adult.
This past summer I took a trip to Europe with a friend. I did most of the planning and organizing (which I enjoy very much) of hotels, transportation, etc. My mom was present in the planning process as she was a travel agent, has been all over the world, and now was living vicariously through this new trip I was embarking on. It was helpful to have her information and advice. I knew that once I was over there she wouldn’t be there to help me along the way. I had to figure it out for myself. I did, as stressful as it was sometimes. It brought me out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for that experience.
With my tax refund I’ve decided to take that money and plan a trip to Italy this fall. All of the family from my dad’s side live there. We’ve never met in person but thanks to Facebook we have been able to connect and keep in touch. I’m so excited to finally meet all of them. I feel like it’s a part of my life that isn’t fully complete. The warmth and welcoming from all of them when we started writing to each other was incredible. I look forward to catching up on a lifetime with them. I also look forward to pushing myself again as I explore Italy. My brother and I will be traveling around by ourselves for the first leg of the trip before we link up with family.
I’ve been fortunate to find inexpensive flights but travel is expensive and I need to budget and save as much as possible these next 9 months. Which now brings me to food, the main focus of this blog. In the past, I’m guilty of spending lots and lots of money on food. I would look at my account balance and be shocked by how much I would spend. It’s one of the easiest things to frivolously blow cash on. Before my last trip I budgeted like never before. It felt good seeing more money in the bank and I was still eating well even though it was rice, beans, and veggies most nights. It got me in the habit of going to the store and only eating what I made at home. Occasionally I would go out and eat with friends but It was nowhere near the amount I used to go out. My work schedule has also been helpful as I do a meal prep at the beginning of each week. I usually make a breakfast bread or granola and for lunches either soup, salads, or veggie patties. These meals are cost-effective and I don’t spend money on those two meals during my work week.
Below is a recipe for Curried Garbanzo Beans. I made it earlier in the week but had to make it again because of how good it was. It can be eaten by itself but I like to stretch it out by serving it with brown basmati rice, over a bed of spinach, or even added to brothy  soups. It’s protein and fiber rich which will keep your tummies happy and satisfied.



Curried Garbanzo Beans

Ingredients:

1 Tbs canola oil
½ white onion, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
½ cup frozen petite peas
1 Tbs + 1 tsp garam masala, ground
1 Tbs tikka masala, ground
3 generous dashes of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes to taste
2 Tbs coconut cream
½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
1 Tbs tomato paste

To make:

Over medium-high heat, add oil to a medium-size frying pan. Once it’s hot add your onions. Add a pinch or two of salt and let brown slightly for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garam masala, tikka masala, paprika, red chili flakes, and salt and pepper. Mix spices to evenly coat onions. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in peas (they don’t have to be thawed) and garbanzo beans. Again, stir to combine all ingredients. Lastly, add in coconut cream, veggie stock and tomato paste. Once everything as been stirred to combine, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Amsterdam



Of every country we visited on our trip, Amsterdam had by far the best food. The five extra pounds I came home with (not in my suitcase) were probably due to all the amazing eats. I can’t say we had a bad meal here. During our last few nights in Sweden, Ash and I searched photos of delicious looking food through Instagram and Yelp. De Foodhallen was at the top of our list. This is a must when visiting Amsterdam. It’s a quick tram ride away from the museum quarter making it a great place to relax and grab a bite or two after a museum-filled morning. They also have a cool art collective next door as well as other shops with neat finds.
In addition to Amsterdam having the best food, it was the most fun to visit. There was such a diverse mix of cultures. Much different from what we experienced in Sweden. The architecture is charming and beautiful. My heart lit up as we took a taxi from the train station to our Airbnb. Looking out the window as this magnificent city moved past evoked a feeling of such excitement. I knew that we would have the most amazing time here.

Where we stayed:

Booking an Airbnb for Amsterdam was rather difficult. There was not much availability and the prices were as steep as the stairs. I was worried that the one I booked was too far out from the city center but it ended up being absolutely perfect! It was about a 20-25 minute walk from the main areas we wanted to see, such as the Anne Frank Huis, Red Light District, etc. After spending our days in the heart of the city, with its thousands of summer tourists, it was nice to come back to our quiet neighborhood. We enjoyed relaxing evenings, more eating and watching boats pass along the canal. We lucked out as the time of our stay was during Sail Amsterdam. It’s a maritime celebration that happens once every five years. Tall ships from all over the world travel to this festival. Click here to check out this Airbnb listing.


 What we ate:

Oriental city - Huge selection of Chinese food. We ordered an assortment of dim sum. Everything was delicious but the sesame prawn toast is where it’s at. If you order one thing, get the sesame prawn toast!


Boca’s  - Cute little spot that has the most amazing mini sandwiches. Get a few or several to sample and share. We tried the bitterbal, hamburger with foie gras, gamba croquettes, and gouda with whole grain mustard. This place also had good seasonal beer on tap.


De Foodhallen - This place is a foodie’s paradise. We found it through Instagram and couldn’t wait to try everything.
  • Bulls and Dogs serves gourmet hotdogs. We tried the Luxurious dog - A pork sausage with wild mushrooms, truffle sauce and hazelnuts. 
  • The Rough Kitchen has an amazing pulled pork sandwich.
  • De Ballen Bar offers a sample of one of each bitterballen. They are like mini croquettes.

  • Petite G√Ęteau specializes in mini tarts. We got several to share because we couldn’t just decide on a couple. Some of their flavors include chocolate hazelnut, salted caramel, panna cotta (our favorite), caramel apple, and chocolate.

The Happy Pig
- Best waffle I’ve ever eaten. Seriously the best! We also tried the the pancakes here but nothing could come close to the waffle.


The Pancake Bakery - This is a famous spot in Amsterdam. They offer savory as well as sweet pancakes. I would forgo the savory. Their poffertjes with butter and powdered sugar are a must. These tiny little pancakes are delicious drizzled with stroop (traditional dutch syrup). We also tried The Dutch, a pancake topped with stroopwaffle chunks, cinnamon ice cream, chocolate flakes and whipped cream.

Cheese - Lots of cheese shops sample their offerings so make sure you pop into a shop or two. Gouda is their specialty.

Ivy & Bros - The best iced coffee I have ever had. It comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enough said.

Home Cooking - There were so many places we wanted to eat but we did need to watch our budget as well. The great thing about renting an Airbnb is having a kitchen to use. We stopped at a nearby grocery store and stocked up on breakfast and snack essentials the first day we arrived. I couldn't believe how inexpensive groceries were. We filled up an entire basket and spent about $20. Each morning I cooked us breakfast consisting of a scramble with a side of yogurt, muesli, and fruit. Some bread too, of course! 


What we did:


Anne Frank House - I would highly suggest taking a tour through the Anne Frank House. It’s best to purchase tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in a mile-long line. All the tickets were sold out during the time of our stay, so we ended up purchasing a walking tour including admission through a company called Get Your Guide. After a 1 hour guided walking tour of the city, it ended at the Anne Frank House where we got in without having to wait in line. It’s pretty mind blowing walking though all the rooms in the house. If you haven’t read her Diary, I suggest reading it before you go. You will have a much stronger connection and understanding when you tour the house.


The Rijksmuseum - If I had my way, I would have gone to a lot more museums but time did not allow. We decided on one and that was the Rijks. I wish I could have spent the whole day here. They have paintings from famous artists such as Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. It was a really cool experience. The museum quarter is beautiful.



Canal Cruise - We did this one afternoon after stuffing our faces at The Pancake Bakery. It was about an hour long ride and took you along the canals.


Red Light District - Definitely worth walking through. I always thought it was just one little area but it’s actually spread out. Some of the alleyways are so narrow you have to walk in a single-file line. I also thought the girls were behind closed doors but they have their doors open, standing in the doorway making eye contact. It was quite awkward.

Smoking Pot in Amsterdam - There are many coffee shops in Amsterdam but The Bulldog was the first ever pot shop. We stopped in at one of their locations, The Bulldog Energy, after meeting and talking with this sweet English guy we met sitting along the canal. We noticed him smoking a joint and asked where he got it. We had actually already been inside the shop, you know, just to check it out. But we got nervous and left. Neither one of us smoked much back home and even though it’s completely legal in Amsterdam, it felt so strange. Once we got over the initial nervousness and fear we had the best time. What’s nice is they offer different strengths so we were able to get a mild strain. You have to smoke in Amsterdam! It was so cool being able to sit along the canal and light up a joint.  It’s so normal there which is really refreshing. Not all coffee shops are the same. We tried a muffin from one place which was really good. Another day my friend got a brownie from a place in the Red Light District and it was terrible and stale.



Amsterdam, you were truly a delight. I can't wait till the day I return but for now I can look back on the great memories I made in your city.