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What I Ate Wednesday + Recipe

I love Wednesdays! 

I repeat that each week on ….well….Wednesday!  But its true.  This has become one of my favorite days to blog because I am so passionate about food and making healthy choices and sharing them with everyone that I just can’t help myself when it comes to Wednesdays. 

For today’s WIAW post I am actually going to show you yesterday’s eats because frankly ~ they were just wonderful. 

We had planned a college visit to East Stoudsburg University yesterday for my son who is frankly growing up to fast.  I can’t believe I am old enough to have a son who will be very shortly heading off to college!  Can I get a YIKES!

So I had off yesterday and the first thing that happened was that my mailman rung my doorbell and left a box on my doorstep.  He quickly shuffled off but not so fast because he still heard me squeal in delight when I realized it was my APS  prize pack that I recently won from FromFriesToFit.com.   I wasted no time in opening up that box and quickly making my way through all the goodies.  APS was generous enough to provide me with a whole box of Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder in French Vanilla plus a bunch of other goodies. 

We had a long day ahead of us and I knew exactly what I was going to do with the protein powder and soon as the box came. 

BLUEBERRY BANANA PROTEIN PANKCAKES

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I whipped up these buggers like it was going to be my last meal on earth.  Thankfully it wasn’t because I get to share the recipe with you today 🙂

I think my son scarfed down 4-5 pancakes and we were on our way to ESU.  I had packed some snacks for the ride up because I am pretty much always prepared with snacks that travel.  Riding up the Northeast Extension I opened up my travel lunch sack and pulled out a Chobani Bite in Dark Chocolate Coffee. 

chobani bite

We made our way after about hour and half of driving to the college and had a very nice visit.  The tour lasted approximately a little over an hour and we were back in the truck on the way home.  The visit at ESU was nice, but I think it still not on the top of his list.  We still have about 4 more college visits planned so hopefully he will be making a decision to narrow them down soon.

I was actually glad the we were out of there rather quickly because one of my co-workers is retiring this week after 30 years of service.  They asked me on Monday to accompany them to dinner to wish him well but I knew I had already made plans to visit ESU.  Fortunately I made it back in time and we headed out and made our way to Steak & Main in Northeast MD

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You might be familiar with this place if you watch Man v Food. 

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It was featured on an episode because of their Great Steak Challenge.   However 5.5lbs of meat plus baked potato and veggies just doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me, but to each his own. 

We sat down and ordered drinks.  I ordered the house Steak & Main IPA.  Is was dark and delicious.  Just what I needed after driving so many miles. 

I then noshed on Oysters on the half Shell with Mignonette dressing.  So good.  Oysters are one of my all time favorite foods. 

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We also ordered a plate to share of Fried Calamari that was served with Sirachi Chili Sauce and a Plum Sauce.  The calamari was light and crispy and perfectly fried. 

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My dinner consisted of the Pan Seared Scallops wrapped in Bacon with a Roasted Corn Cream Sauce served with a side of jullienned vegetables. 

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For dessert I ordered (but only ate half) the Peanut Butter Tower. 

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We thought long and hard about ordering this because also on the menu was something called Big Fat Piece of Chocolate Cake.  This name truly did it justice ~ I am not lying. 

The gentleman across from us ordered this desert as well and when we asked him what it was his reply was “his demise”  That piece of cake was like the size of my head ~ no lie!  Like it was a quarter of a 10″ round cake Served with a mound of whipped cream.  Not my style when it comes to desserts, but for a chocolate lover and dessert lover this would be the perfect ending to a perfect meal. 

I want to wish my co-worker Tom best wishes on his Retirement.  He will be missed and the office will surely not be the same.  Tom keeps tabs on almost everything that goes on, so now not only will we not know where our boss is, it will be very quiet on the work front.  Best Wishes Tom! 

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After this day of eats, I was truly stuffed to the brim.  Went directly home and fell asleep on the couch.  Needless to say I will be working my butt of over the next few days to make up for this indulgent dinner.  But I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I had a great day with family, friends and co-workers.

If you are interested in participating in What I Ate Wednesday head on over to Peas & Crayons and check out the deets. 

Everyone else is over there sharing in the party as well, so if you walk away and not know what your going to eat for dinner ~ shame on you. 

Now for the recipe for the:

Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet of french vanilla protein powder (I used the one from APS)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of fat free milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries

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Sift together both flours, protein powder, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Mash the banana and add the milk and the egg.  Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and lightly mix leaving some lumps.

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Spray a non-stick pan use about 1/4 cup of batter. 

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Cook on the one side until bubbles form in the batter and flip for an additional 1-2 minutes until cooked through.  You can tell you pancakes are fully cooked when the middle springs back when touched with your finger.  

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My yield was approx a dozen 3.5″ pancakes.  Yield will vary according to how much batter you use per pancake.

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What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW} #10

wednes·day /ˈwenzdā/Noun
The day of the week before Thursday and following Tuesday.

Wednesday is in the middle of the common Western five-day workweek that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday OR if you’re a blogger it’s the day of the week where you share your eats with the rest of the blogosphere.  Thanks Jenn! She’s our gracious host!

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Breakfast: Using up the fresh tortilla chips by making Lighter Chilaquiles all week {recipe}.  My chips are now gone, sadly.

Chilaquiles

Mid-Morning Snack: plantains cooked in Coconut Oil with Cinnamon Almond Butter

Plantains w/Cinnamon Almond Butter

Lunch: Made a double batch of these zucchini fritters over the weekend and can’t get enough; they’ve been on my plate for lunches and dinners all week {recipe}.

Zucchini Fritters

Afternoon Snack:  Daily Chobani Fix w/Blend Swag from Bob’s Red Mill

Chobani

Dinner:  Grilled Cheese w/fresh spinach and avocado.  My shredded cheese didn’t quite melt enough so I popped it in the microwave for a minute.  Ooooyie ~ Goooyie! Perfect! 

Grilled Cheese

Mmmmm…..and a Gingerberry GT Kombucha while sitting at the pool watching my son dive! 

BREAKING NEWS***  I’m so excited, after work tonight I’m heading to a friend’s house and she is gifting me a SCOBY.  This time tomorrow I will officially be home brewing my own Kombucha!  I’m so excited about this (like pissing my pants ~ excited!!!!)  Seriously.

GT Kombucha

Look for my blog posts over the next few weeks about how I did on my first batch!

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW} #9 + Squash Recipe Recap

Its Wednesday and time for another round up What I Ate Wednesday. As Jenn put’s it on her blog:
 
 
 
 WIAW is about………
Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!
 
Thanks to Jenn! Head over to her Peas & Crayons Blog and get involved with the party going on over there. It’s a blast and you are missing out if you LOVE food.
 

Farmers Market Shopping is in full swing, my creative juices are flowing and my weekly eats have definitely stepped up a notch!  Thank goodness, I thought I might be in a cooking slump there for a few weeks!

Breakfast: I had a slice of Whole Wheat Toast topped with 1 TBSP of this Sunflower Seed Butter from Trader Joe’s (another of my FPP gifts).

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Mid Morning Snack: Chobani Plain 0% Greek Yogurt Topped with local Jersey Honey.  Not sure if you follow Chobani or not, but if you don’t they have been releasing new flavors #WTFlavor for the past week or so…..go check it out.  So far: Key Lime and Apricot!  MuSt FiNd NoW!

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Lunch: Salad Again  with a Guiltless Egg Salad Sammy {recipe}~ but the fun part of this salad is… DO YOU SEE the cherry tomato on top, do you see it? It’s the 1st one from the garden. Summer has officially begun! This little cherry tomato is actually from the garden we planted at my work.

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 Afternoon Snack: SnaPea Crisps from Trader Joe’s

TJ's SnaPea Crisps

Dinner: Grilled Mesquite Chicken, Stuffed Baby Round Squashes {recipe} & Lemon Garlic Pasta

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What did you have to eat this week?

What I Ate Wednesday #8

My refrigerator has been empty for over a week now, so coming up with meals has been a little cumbersome.  My What I Ate Wednesday post is going to be a little lacking this week but I still appreciate linking up with Jenn over at Peas & Crayons so head over and check out what the others are up to with their Wednesday Eats.

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I’m closing out the Sensible Snacking theme for June with a few of my favorite NEW to me snacky items plus a few other fun things I’ve found to incorporate in my weekly meals like this Coco Libre Protein Almond Coconut Water. 

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It was thick and full of almond flavor.  It has 20 grams of protein and 22 added vitamins and minerals.  It was like adding a protein powder without the gritt.  It was smooth and creamy and light and OOOOOOO so good. This is a keeper!

Breakfast Smoothie:

Coco Libra Almond Coconut Water, 1 cup of fresh strawberries, 1/2 banana and some ice! 

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Lunch:

Salads have been my staple these past few weeks since I’ve hit the P90X workouts again.  It’s great to have a huge green salad with a bit of protein added on top.  It’s low in calories and fills me up for several hours.  Top it off with a serving or two of protein and I can check off a few of the servings of protein and vegetables that I need to hit for my daily P90X  targeted nutrition.   This one is a Nicose version with the added tuna and olives. 

For the dressing I’ve been using a homemade vinaigrette that is 1 part EVOO and 2 parts Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with some of my Blend swag from Wildtree.  In my swag bag I had the Tuscan Bread Dipper Herb Blend. 

I add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp of Wildtree Herb Blend and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper to a tiny little jam jar.  It makes the perfect portion of dressing for one salad and I can tuck it neatly into the side of my plastic container and it also doesn’t leak.  Perfect!  So if you are traveling and get a chance to grab some of those little jellies.  Even if you don’t eat the jelly, keep the jar!  🙂

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I’ve made two double batches of kale chips over the last week.  One Spicy Kale Chip batch and one Lemon Pepper Kale Chip batch.  It’s confirmed ~ I’m addicted!  Katie over at Blonde Ambition Blog turned me onto Parmesan, so that’s on my agenda for next week.  See ~ ADDICTED!

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips by: Its All About Me Fitness

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips
by: Its All About Me Fitness

Prunes.  Prunes have a bad wrap so much so that the manufacturers are now actually changing the term to pitted plums.  I love them though.  Prunes or plums, they make a great snack.  Since I’ve been rolling protein balls pretty much every week since I came across the chocolate peanut butter banana bites, I am looking forward to making some protein balls with this bag of prunes.  Only if I don’t devour the entire bag before I have time to whip up a batch of balls.  (hee hee)

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Dinner

This ones a tough one, I have had no picture worthy dinners to brag about this week so ~ I’m taking a hall pass.  Next week I promise.  A photo worthy dinner.

Snacks:

Just a few more of my random snack ideas to finish up with Sensible Snacking June. 

Sliced Carrots.  I’ve seen a bunch of people posting the cute cut up ones but honestly, for 2.49 for a bag of pre-cut carrots is a little ridiculous.  I made my own.  My bag of carrots cost me .99.  And they are just as cute.

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Of course my day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have a Chobani of some sort.  So dipping those carrots in a tub of 0% Plain!  So good.

My late night snacks of choice actually have been a bowl of cereal.  I haven’t really been eating a lot of cereal, but I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to two flavors of Attune Foods Cereals via free coupons (again as part of our Blend Swag).  These are the two I picked.  Uncle Sam Original and Raisin Bran.  I haven’t broken into the Original yet, but I was pleasantly surprised with the Raisin Bran.  At first I didn’t realize it was Wheat Berry Flakes.  When I poured my first bowl the flakes were so tiny and crunchy but it was REALLY good!  It didn’t get soggy like most bran cereals and I love that it is NON-GMO approved!  Attune Foods has totally won me over! Want to see what Uncle Sam Attune Foods Cereal line is all about check it out here.

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AND…………last but not least, I indulged a little over the weekend with a few glasses of my favorite Red!  Salud! 

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Ok ~ go! Tell me what you’ve eaten lately?

What I Ate Wednesday #7

It’s Wednesday Peeps! Happy Hump Day ~ Happy WIAW ~ Happy 1 More Day Closer to Friday Day! Happy Sensible Snacking Day, well you get what I’m talking about……….Thanks for hosting Jenn!

 

My day always starts with coffee and some sort of smoothie or green drink. Today I combined the two and opted for an Iced Coffee Protein Shake.

 

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Since I’m back on my P90X regime, meals are stricter than before, so for lunches I’ve been consistently packing some sort of salad. This was a small green salad and I also had my first Tomato & Basil Salad of the summer.  I combined the two for a nice light veggie packed lunch.

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My sensible snacking choices today were air popped popcorn drizzled with a little coconut oil. Yum! And a product I was introduced to at the Blend Retreat; The Good Bean. I picked up a pack of this Spicy Chili & Lime flavor at my local Whole Foods. A Chobani Coconut w/Toasted Almond and Chocolate Bits, and a Blue Print Cleanse Drink ~ Pineapple, Apple, Mint with added fresh mint.

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And then for dinner……….

I had the pleasure of meeting Casey who is also a local Philly blogger. She blogs over @Salted Plates. We met one night while perusing the #Blogsmarter Twitter Chat trying to learn to better our blogs! We’ve been chatting and keeping up with each other and our blogs ever since. Last Wednesday, we decided to meet face-to-face. Something that not all bloggers get to do while building friendships online. I was thrilled that we could make it happen.  We enjoyed a lovely evening at an event called Dining Under the Stars.

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Every Wednesday night during the summer months they  host what is called Dining Under The Stars where they close down the main street and all the restaurants in town drag out their tables and chairs and set up outside dining areas. The weather last week was PERFECT for dining alfresco and meeting new friends.

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We decided to check out the local Indian restaurant that I’ve been dying try. (Indian food is a little out of my family’s comfort zone so far ~ but I’m working on them, so I was excited that someone else would go with me).

We quickly ordered our drinks and an order of Garlic Naan w/ Raita Sauce.

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I ordered, for my main meal, the Punjabi Chana Masala.  It is a dish consisting of chick peas and onions in a spicy tomato broth. I should have asked for a little more spice in the dish, but my dinner had great flavor none the less. Both dishes were served with fragrant bowl basmati rice. Casey ordered some type of Paneer dish (I don’t recall exactly which one) but it look phenomenal as well, and I think she enjoyed her meal just as much. We chatted about our blogs, our families, our cooking and especially gardening and CSA’s. It was a great night and I hope we can meet up again soon and maybe add a few new local bloggers to the group.  If you are a Philadelphia area blogger and want to get together ~ let’s chat!

Hope this post inspires you to meet new friends, snack on good healthy eats, and try out a local new restaurant.

Happy WIAW!

What I Ate Wednesday #6 | Berry Salad Recipe

Wednesdays are weird for me ~ just plain and simple. Weeks half over means running out of time to get stuff done, and on the other hand, weeks half over means closer to the weekend. However, I am starting to look forward to Wednesdays because of What I Ate Wednesday Posts! I actually look forward to it being Wednesday now! And it’s all because of Jenn over at Peas & Crayons ~ so thanks Jenn ~ i {heart}WIAW!

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Its June which means Sensible Snacking Month so check out my healthy snacks along with a few other meals I’ve been munching on throughout the week.

Farmers market find of the week was Cantaloupe’s for 2 for $6. Talk about melons the size of your head! Geesh! These things were huge and sweet!

Fresh Cantaloupe

The day wouldn’t be complete without my daily dose of @Chobani! This lemon flavor is like heaven in a cup!

Lemon Chobani

I love when Wendy’s and Panera Bread start mid June advertising their Grilled Strawberry Chicken Salads ~ it reminds me of how good fruit is on my lunch time salad. It’s a nice change-up of flavors from the standard veggies. Plus I’ve been adding cayenne to everything so my salad is a little sweet and then the pepper gives it a little kick. I love it!

Fresh Berry Salad

Recipe: Mixed Berry Salad (P90X Approved)

  • 2 cups mixed baby lettuces and 3 large romaine leaves
  • 1 cup of berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry)
  • 1/4 cup or about 14 almonds
  • 1 artichoke heart, quartered
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced (omitted from this pic)
  • 2 TBSP low cal dressing of choice

Recipe: Spicy Herb Vinegrette

  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 dried herb blend
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

3 o’clock munchies kick in religiously so I’ve been snacking on either kale chips, Blue Diamond Almonds or string cheese. Both the kale chips and the string cheese fill me up until after my workout and so I can prep a dinner without snacking.

Sensible Snack Ideas

I love it when my man cooks me dinner ~ here he is prepping burgers for dinner. We had his man size burgers with a side of parsnip & thyme oven baked frites. Needless to say I couldn’t eat the whole thing (because it was the size of the my head too) so I just ate the meat and ditched the bun! Who needs those extra carbs anyway~ I sure don’t! The lettuce is from my garden ~ planted from seeds we picked up at the Philly Farm & Food Fest. Japanese Mixed Baby Lettuces ~ Everything tastes better when you grow it yourself. Right?

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I’m also back to counting calories using MyFitnessPal so late night snacks have been limited to either 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter or Frozen Yogurt Bites.

Frozen Yogurt Bites

Do you like to add fruit to a green salad to mix things up?

WIAW and Blend Retreat Part 2 ~ Food & Friends

So since it is WIAW I am going to combine my Recap #2 from Blend with What I Ate Wednesday and let you see all the yummy stuff I ate at my weekend Blend Retreat in Utah.

 

After we checked in to the hotel and took a bit of a breather, we headed back down to the White Pine Rotunda where they had a Green Mountain Coffee Bar and Justin’s Nut Butter spread set out for all to enjoy! This is the first time I have been able to try Justin’s Nut Butter and I fell in love with all the flavors ~ they were all so good.

I think my favorite was the honey!

We also found some Justin’s Nut Butter PB Cups in our swag bag, and it was the first time I’ve tried them too~ just sinful. So, So, Good! 🙂

Justin's Nut Butter

Justin’s Nut Butter

After some more introductions and a another jaunt through the sponsor room, we headed back to our room to clean up and head down to bar area where Silk was sponsoring our cocktail hour.

Silk and Lauren did a wonderful job creating unique cocktails using the Silk Soy Milk.

They offered three choices of cocktails called Silk Pajamas, Ginger Refresher or Strawberry Mint Slush.

Silk Pajamas

Silk Pajamas

The coffee flavored Silk Pajamas won it for me, but the ginger was a close second.

Appetizers consisted of spring rolls and black bean cakes with a variety of veggie crudités.

Blend Cocktail Hour Apps

Blend Cocktail Hour Apps

We chatted some more and Leslie & I got to meet Arlene & Becca.

Leslie, Becca & Arlene

Leslie, Becca & Arlene

These ladies were awesome. After we had our drinks in hand we then headed over to the Escala Ball room where they were ready with the dinner service.

But not before we finally got a chance to hear from our beautiful and inspiring hosts, Lindsay, Janetha and Katie!

They are always smiling and so energetic.

Photo Credit Lindsay/Travis

Photo Credit Lindsay/Travis

These three ladies & their families worked so hard for months to put this retreat together and they did such a wonderful job. All the way down to the finer details. So a BIG shout out to all three ~ THANK YOU SO MUCH for a wonderful life changing experience.

Dinner was exceptional.

I had roasted chicken, salad, saute purple & white finglerling potatoes & roasted vegetables w/garlic sauce, bulgur salad and carrot ginger soup.

Dinner @ Blend Retreat

Dinner @ Blend Retreat

For dessert it was a fruit tartlet.

Fruit Tartlet

Fruit Tartlet

Breakfast on Saturday was sponsored by Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow.

They did an awesome job setting everything up. Laughing Cow provided bagels with five cheese spread flavors. Lite, Garden Vegetable, Cinnamon Cream, Strawberry Plain.

Chobani & Muesli Fusion

Chobani & Muesli Fusion

There was tons of fruit, juices and coffee to pick from as well as several different types of oats provided by Museli Fusion. I ended up having half of an everything bagel topped with a mix of Laughing Cow Garden Veggie and Lite cream cheese, pineapple and melon slices with a cup of Museli Fusion Pure An-Ox Oats topped with Silk Soy Milk.

The breakfast was super filling and provided the energy I needed to recoup from the boot camp workout earlier in the morning.

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Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by Chobani.

The girls did a fabulous job with breakfast! 

Chobani Girls :)~

Chobani Girls :)~

The menu consisted of a walk up omelet station where the Hyatt’s Executive Chef prepared personalized omelets. The choices were endless.

Omlette Bar

Omlette Bar

My omlette consisted of eggs with dices zucchini, spinach, mushroom and smoked gouda cheese topped off with a yogurt cream made with, of course, Chobani 0% Plain.  I also got to enjoy for the first time a Chobani Almond Coco Loco Flip!  The coconut yogurt is amazing!

Chobani Breakfast

Chobani Breakfast

Chobani also set up a smoothie bar with two types of smoothies, Peanut Butter and Blood Orange as well as Perfect Pancakes made with Chobani. On top of those they had Chobani Oatmeal already prepared in jam sized mason jars (who can beat that~ these girls are awesome and know how to satisfy a foodie’s breakfast needs).

Chobani Flips

Chobani Flips

There were so many yogurt flavors that I had not tried yet, the choice was so hard ~ but I opted for the Flip and took a couple of Bites for the road. 

Chobani Bites

Chobani Bites

You can find the recipes for all of the menu items prepared @Blend Retreat with Chobani products and Mueslie Fusion products on their websites to recreate our experience at home. I know I will be doing that soon.

Lunches both days we were on our own, so on Saturday I headed back to Whole Foods. I had a small spicy tuna roll made with brown rice and a water (no picture because I was starving and it didn’t last long).

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Just enough to keep me tied over until dinner with the gals.

One last treat made with love by Momma-B!  She is one fantastic lady.  After a long Saturday of bootcamps, hikes, zumba and walking in Park City, she decided to whip up some of Momma-B’s famous Utah Scones.  She served them with honey butter and homemade jam!  O~M~G!  So good. 

Since Utah is known for their honey I was super stoked to be able to try them with her homemade scones!  I love being able to try local favorites!

Momma-B's Famous Utah Scones

Momma-B’s Famous Utah Scones

The meals were one of the major parts of this retreat for me. It is where I became friends with so many people. Bonding over a meal means so much to me and at Blend Retreat the food was so good and so healthy making new Blend friends just made it all the more special.

I just wanted to also say thank you to all of the Blend Retreat sponsors, without you Blend wouldn’t have been so successful and fun.  It was so great to have to opportunity to try so many products from so many great companys like Blue Diamond, GPPFitness, ProBar, Bob’s Red Mill, Blueprint, Core Power, Onnit, Attune Foods, SoyJoy, NatureMade, Zevia, Green Mountain Coffee, Simply Choices, Fitmixer, LaraBar, Heathly Bites, Vega, Plant Fusion and The Good Bean.

What I Ate Wednesday

I’m so glad to have wrapped up my last class for this semester.  The last week has really been a bit crazy. 

But aside from all the craziness ….here’s a quick look at what I’ve been nibbling on and if you are interested in finding out how you can take part or just grabbing some new ideas for healthy eats, head over to check out all the great links @Peas and Crayons …the WIAW party is hosted over there by Jenn!  {I love her photographs!}  Big thanks to her for hosting. 🙂

  I’ve been snacking on these wonderful english cucumbers I got as a 4-pack last week. It’s a whole lot of cucumber when you are the only one noshing on them, but they were so tasty. Here are sliced cukes with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Love the stuff with a little salt/pepper.

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Of course I have to have my daily helping of Chobani 0%….I tried these little cups with the fruit in them, but I still have to honestly say I am a lover of plain!

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Cookout with the coworkers so it was a burger and a huge salad.

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And of course, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, one of my favorite ethnic dishes ~ Enchiladas!   Actually made two giant batches because of my schedule this week and it has worked out perfectly!  Recipes coming soon……

Blackbean & Sweet Potato ~ IMG_1692

Roasted Chicken w/Black Olives ~ Yummo!IMG_1691

And last but not least my new fav~
Mango Tea from Trader Joe’s with fresh chopped mango and mint leaves!

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What have you been snacking on lately?

Sunday Food Prep ~ Pesto Edition

It’s food prep time again folks!

I have been slacking in the food prep department as of late, but I’m back on track this week for sure.  I know how important it is to do my food prep but on the weekends when I’m running around like a crazy person I most definitely struggle getting healthy meals on the table during the week.  Today is the first day in a several weeks that I’ve been able to sleep in and wake up knowing I’m doing some major food prepping; and I LOVE IT!

I’ve had a breakthrough this week as I’ve been ordering my herbs for the summer season and with that I realized I had a ton of pesto that I made last year that I needed to use up.  So this week is my Pesto Edition.  Lots of fun stuff using up some of the pesto that I’ve had stored in my freezer all winter long.

First lets start with the pesto since it’s the star ingredient in this weeks Food Prep series.

My Italian roots have made sure that I love Pesto and that I have it in my freezer at ALL TIMES!

                               Basil Pesto

English: Basil leaves (Ocimum basilicum).

English: Basil leaves (Ocimum basilicum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed to make smooth paste
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated

Put basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic clove and salt in a food processor or blender.  Pulse a few times until leaves are uniform in texture and chopped.  Turn on the food processor and stream the olive oil until a smooth paste forms and comes together. If you need additional olive oil add slowly until you get the right consistency.   Add cheese and pulse a few more times until fully incorporated.

From here since I usually put 2-3 tablespoons of pesto into a ziplock back and freeze.  Pesto freezes so well there really isn’t any reason not to use up the extra fresh basil anytime of year whether it’s from the summer bumper crop or if you purchase a large bunch mid winter.  I never, ever waste fresh basil.

Pesto has a strong flavor so a little goes a long way.  Here are some of the ways I like to use my fresh Basil Pesto in addition to the recipes in this post.

I like to add it to cooked pasta,  toss it with steamed red potatoes, to dress fresh steamed green beans, add it to olive oil and vinegar as an easy way to make pasta salad and lightly drizzle it over steamed or baked salmon.

I had some major inspiration attending the Philly Farm and Food Fest last week especially from one local vendor that does fresh, organic, non-gmo hummus.  The Lancaster Hummus Co.  offered up some really unusual flavors of hummus.  They had samples of every flavor they offer on their website including my favorites from the day Chipotle Black Bean, Pumpkin Butter & Lemon Kale.  They offer up 8 unique flavors, so if you don’t like making your own homemade hummus, The Lancaster Hummus Co is a great alternative to a quality hummus.

Since I love hummus and had taken some pesto out for a few other recipes this week, I opted to make a Pesto Hummus.

Pesto Hummus 

Pesto Hummus

Pesto Hummus

  • 2 cups chick peas, skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon Basil Pesto (see recipe above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of water

I cannot stress enough the method to smooth creamy hummus is to remove the skins.  It seems like a tedious task, but like everything else, the extra work pays off.  The texture of this hummus from removing the skins just cannot be compared to any other.

Pesto Hummus

Pesto Hummus

Add the beans, pesto and the salt to a food processor.

Start to process in the food processor adding the water until a smooth paste forms and the mixture loosens up.

Add the olive oil and continue to process until smooth and creamy; approximately 3 minutes.

This recipe for Creamy Pesto Dressing is what prompted the rest of my pesto creations this week.

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Creamy Pesto Dressing

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Basil Pesto (see recipe above)
  • salt to taste

I used my hand blender for this, but it can also be made using a food processor or blender.  Add all ingredients to blender and process until well blended.

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I plan on using this Creamy Pesto Dressing to dress chicken salad later in the week as well as for use as a salad dressing throughout the week.  It’s a great alternative to Caesar dressing and it’s a much lighter version since I replaced the sour cream with fat-free yogurt and used light may instead of the full fat version.  The taste does not sacrifice with the lighter substitutions.

Check back later in the week as I will be posting the recipes from the rest of the things on my menu.

Yogurt Haul

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to have received a case of my favorite greek yogurt from the girls at Chobani!  I was so excited to receive these little gems, that I’ve been adding yogurt to everything.  Not that I didn’t before, but well, this time is was just super fun knowing that it came directly from Chobani!

So THANKS CHOBANI for making my day!

 

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Chobani

Chobani

One of my favorite things so far has been this Guiltless Egg Salad.  Mayonnaise is just not my thing anymore.  I have been replacing thick greek yogurt in place of  mayonnaise for years now.  It adds just as much creaminess and flavor but with a whole lot less fat/calories.  What’s not to love about that!

Guiltless Egg Salad

  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs (3 whites, 1 yolk), grated or chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Plain Greek Chobani Yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh scallion
  • salt / pepper to taste

I like using a box grater to shred my eggs making the final product creamier and a lot less chunky.  I also use the egg whites from all three eggs and add one yolk both for color and creaminess.  I toss the other two because that is where most of the fat/cholesterol come from and frankly this recipe just doesn’t need them.  It’s very tasty without!

Use Box Grater for Eggs

Use Box Grater for Eggs

But if you don’t have a box grater, you can chop your eggs to a fine dice.

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Add the yogurt, dijon mustard and scallion.  Top off with the salt and pepper.

Mix thoroughly to make sure all ingredients are combined.

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I like to eat my egg salad spread on toast or bagel slices, but you could top off a garden salad with a scoop, eat it on crackers, or just scoop it up from the bowl with some fresh cut veggies.  It makes a mighty fine breakfast or lunch and will keep in the fridge for a day or two.  (But doesn’t last in my fridge ~ wink, wink!)

I also have been using my greek yogurt haul as a night time and afternoon snack!  It’s one of the best ways to beat a sugar craving!

Greek Yogurt Granola Bowl

Greek Yogurt Granola Bowl

Just add your favorite granola and a drizzle of honey and BAM! Perfect snack that will keep you full for hours!

I’ve also baked up this week Pineapple Banana Carrot Bread/Muffins using the Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt.  Recipe coming soon!

So friends, check back later this week, because I have a few more recipes that I’ve been working on using my CHO that I’d also like to share with you.

Tell me how you use your greek yogurt? I’d love to know!

 

 

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