Monday, October 28, 2013

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers- Beef Free!!

Happy Crockpot Monday everyone!! It finally feels like fall outside and not winter. The fact that it snowed last week was just depressing, anyone else ready for it to be 80 degrees out again?! Well the fall weather was inspiring my cooking so I hope you're ready for some delicious crockpot stuffed peppers!!

You will need:
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 16 oz. jar Organic Salsa, I used mild salsa
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper, any color works
  • 1/4 cup cut up broccoli  
  • 1/8 cup corn kernels
  • 1/8 cup chopped carrot 
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa, can substitute rice
  • 3/4 pound extra lean ground turkey breast 
  • 4 medium bell peppers, any color works

Spray a skillet with nonstick cook spray and pour the tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Heat the skillet up to a medium heat and then add in the onion, diced bell pepper, carrot, broccoli, and corn kernels. Sauté until the vegetables are tender and remove promptly. Set aside.

I cooked my Quinoa ahead of time. Follow the instructions listed on the bag or box. White spindles should form on the outside of the quiona when it is ready.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Place hollowed out bell peppers in crockpot.

Add 1/4 cup of quinoa to each bell pepper.

Next, take the ground turkey and fill each pepper with ground turkey, there may be some left over.

Top the peppers with with the sautéed vegetables.

In the spaces between the peppers in the crockpot put any remaining quinoa and ground turkey. 

Then, pour the chicken broth on the bottom of the crockpot.

Finally, pour the salsa over each of the peppers. Pour any remaining salsa on the bottom crockpot. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. The peppers will be tender when prodded with a fork when they are done. 

Careful they are extremely hot when they come out of the crockpot!! Allow the peppers to cool for a few minutes before serving and enjoying. For leftovers keep in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Enjoy and have a wonderful week everyone!!

Nutrition per serving (Serves 4):
Calories: 246
Carbs: 23
Fat: 5 grams
Protein: 30 grams
Sodium: 235mg
Sugar: 6 grams

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and nothing says Thanksgiving like Pumpkin Pie!! The time around Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. It gives me a chance to indulge in delicious pumpkin goodies and have it be socially acceptable, because apparently eating pumpkin anything in the middle of summer is 'weird.' (People need to live a little!) 

Indulging myself in some pumpkiney goodness is exactly what I did this afternoon. I have never been a big fan of pie. Personally I don't like the crust so I created pumpkin pie without the crust and without the guilt! This delicious pumpkin pie yogurt is only 92 calories!! It only takes 5 ingredients and less than two minutes to mix it all together to enjoy a delicious pumpkin treat, a win-win situation in my books. 

You will need: 

  • 1 container Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 tablespoon agave nectar (can substitute honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/16 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small container mix thoroughly mix together all ingredients and enjoy!! I prefer to mix together all the ingredients and put the yogurt in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and let the pumpkin chill. Super easy right? Now you can have the deliciousness of pumpkin pie but without the guilt and the added calories!!

Calories: 92
Carbs: 12
Fat: 0 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Sodium: 51mg
Sugar: 9 grams

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Ingredient Blueberry Banana Pancakes

I told you guys I really love pancakes!! Last week I posted my recipe for a single serving of pancakes, but today I have another pancake recipe for all of you!! 

I have seen various recipes for flourless pancakes floating around Pintrest and frankly some of them look rather unappetizing. I decided to test out one recipe I had seen for flourless pancakes and thus here we are. I will state up front these will not be the most attractive looking pancakes that you have ever seen, but they are delicious and loaded with potassium- great for a post workout breakfast!

You will need:

  • 1 large banana
  • 1 egg
  • blueberries
Spray a skillet with nonstick cook spray and heat it up to a medium heat.

In a bowl mash up the banana. I found it easiest to cut the banana into chunks and then use a fork to mash up the chunks.

After the banana is mashed up add in one egg and mix completely. 

Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the heated up skillet. Add 5 blueberries to the pancake. 

I warned you my first one
wasn't pretty!
Cook each side until it is browned. Just so you know, when you go to flip these pancakes they will not be the easiest to flip. My first pancake broke apart but after the first pancake I got the hang of it and the other two pancakes actually resembled pancakes.

Repeat each step with the remaining batter and feel free to experiment with different fruits or even chocolate chips. 

Instead of adding syrup to my pancakes I switched it up a little and smeared on PB2 peanut butter, an added protein boost! 

I will definitely be enjoying these pancakes more often, and I won't even feel bad about eating them!! Enjoy and have a great weekend!!

66 Calorie Chocolate Explosion Cookies

A cold, wet Saturday morning is the perfect excuse for some baking. One of my high school friends was having a few friends from back home at her apartment to celebrate her birthday so I knew it was yet another reason to test out another recipe I'd cooked up. 

I must confess I love to bake, and I love to bake sinfully bad treats, but I won't eat them. Ironic I know considering I'm a health food blogger, but we all have our pitfalls right? I wanted to create a recipe that was secretly healthy for my friends, yet was still totally delicious so they'd never suspect it was healthy. Thus Chocolate Explosion Cookies were born. I tested them out on one of my roommates and she said they tasted like Oreos, and boy was she surprised to learn that these babies weren't even bad for her! 

You will need:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil (can substitute vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon PLUS 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup chocolate chips- you can exclude this but it does make the cookies extra rich!!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper, lining the cookie sheet makes it easier to get the cookies off once cooled.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend together. 

Add in the chocolate chips, if you're including them, while mixing the batter together so they will be fully combined in the batter.

For a stiffer dough that is easier to scoop onto a baking sheet, and the cookies won't fall apart as easily, place dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You don't have to place the dough in the refrigerator. 

If you don't want to put the dough in the fridge scoop 1 tablespoon of dough onto the lined cookie sheet. You should get between 15 and 17 one tablespoon sized cookies. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 11 minutes. The cookies will not looked fully cooked when you pull them out but they are, so take them out (no one likes burnt cookies!!).

Allow the cookies to cool for 20 minutes before picking them up or they might crumble. 

Store in an airtight container to keep the cookies fresh.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories: 66
Carbs: 7 grams
Fat: 5 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 60 mg
Sugar: 4 grams

Friday, October 25, 2013

PB2 and Apple Snack Wrap

I love to tinker in the kitchen and invent new snacks, especially snacks for my post workout. Luckily this snack turned out to be delicious so of course I have to share!!

I heated up one La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber Tortilla in a skillet over medium heat, browning both sides. 

Once both sides were browned I removed the wrap from the skillet, turned off the burner and smeared two tablespoons of PB2 Peanut Butter on the wrap. 

Next I piled on 3/4 cup of apple chunks, I used a Honeycrisp apple. 

Finally I sprinkled cinnamon, about 1.25 teaspoons, on top of the apple chunks and warmed the entire wrap up in the microwave for 25 seconds, just enough to get the apple chunks slightly warm. 

It was the perfect combination of protein, fiber, and sweetness for my post workout snack!!

Slender Pumpkin Muffins

'Tis the season for pumpkin everything!! What better way to get in the fall spirit and the mood for Halloween than to make pumpkin muffins? Want to know the best part!?! These sinfully delicious muffins only contain 143 calories a muffin and are gluten free, grain free, and low in sugar. You don't even have to feel guilty about indulging in one of these bad boys!! 

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup Organic Agave Nectar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Almond Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • OPTIONAL 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a twelve tin muffin pan with muffin liners.

In a mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, eggs, and agave nectar. Make sure they are completely mixed together. 

In a separate mixing bowl mix together almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and baking soda. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients are totally combined.

Next, pour the liquid pumpkin batter into the dry ingredients. You can mix together all the ingredients with a spoon and a little muscle or you can use a mixer to blend the ingredients together. 

Once all the ingredients are combined you can add in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. If you do add chocolate chips in fold them into the batter so you don't over mix the batter. 

Take the batter and fill muffins tins 1/2 to 3/4 full. 

After filling the muffins tins bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Check to see if the muffins are done. Insert a toothpick and it should come out clean. If it does the muffins are done, if it doesn't bake the muffins for another three minutes and check again. 

Allow the muffins to cool for an hour before storing in the refrigerator or the freezer. For optimal freshness do keep the muffins in the fridge, they will keep for about a week in the fridge or for six months in the freezer. 
Nutrition per serving (1 muffin):
Calories: 143, 152 with chocolate chips
Carbs: 11 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 98 mg
Sugar: 6 grams, 7 grams with chocolate chips

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pancakes For One!!

Cooking for one can be a real pain sometimes. All too often recipes make four servings or more and then the leftovers go bad before I have a chance to eat it all up. I decided it was time to end that trend and start coming up with recipes that suited for one person for one meal. 

I had a hankering for breakfast last night for dinner and I really wanted pancakes. Most pancake recipes make 10 or more pancakes, and that's way too many pancakes for me. After toying with several recipes a single serving of pancakes was born!! It's not my most healthy recipe, eventually I will revamp it to make it healthier, but every once in awhile you have to cut yourself some slack and just enjoy some pancakes!! This recipes makes two GIANT pancakes or three regular sized pancakes, either way it is just enough for one person.

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil, safflower oil works too
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup skim milk (other kinds of milk including almond milk as well)
  • 1 egg
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of ground cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: chocolate chips to put in batter as pancake is cooking
Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. One way to tell if the pan is heated up is to sprinkle a drop of water into pan- if it sizzles then the pan is ready.

In a mixing bowl combine the whole wheat flower, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (if you're including it). Mix all ingredients together.

Next add in the canola oil, vanilla extract, egg, and milk. Whisk together all ingredients until a batter forms. The batter might be slightly lumpy, it's ok. Do not over mix the batter.

In your preheated frying pan pour 1/2 of the batter for giant pancakes, or 1/3 of batter for medium sized pancakes. Add in chocolate chips now if you so choose. 

Bubbles should form on the pancake and along the edges when it is ready to be flipped. Cook each side until it is golden, about two minutes per side, but continually check so pancakes don't get over cooked. 

When the pancake is done cooking place it on a plate and repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.

You can enjoy the pancakes hot or allow them to cool, refrigerate and enjoy at a later time. Either way they are delicious and the perfect amount for a single serving!! YUM!!!

Calories: 254
Fat: 9.5 grams
Cholesterol: 164 mg
Potassium: 163 mg
Fiber: 4.7 grams
Sugars: 3.6 grams
Protein: 12.4 grams

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Healthy Crockpot Chicken Parmesan!!

It is another glorious crockpot day at my apartment!! One of my favorite foods used to be chicken parmesan but I stopped eating it long ago because it is high in calories and some recipes contain an entire day's amount of sodium (2,000 mg). I haven't had chicken parmesan in probably two or three years, but that was about to change. 

This week I decided I wanted to revamp and reinvent chicken parmesan in the crockpot and make it healthy. My spin on traditional chicken parmesan will be different than what you are used to but I promise it tastes just as good and you don't have to feel guilty about eating it!! 

You will need:
  • 3 chicken breasts (you can use 4)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs, regular or Italian style whichever you prefer
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups organic marinara sauce

Take the tablespoon of olive oil and spread it at the bottom of the crockpot.

Next, pour 1/2 of the organic marinara sauce on the bottom of the crockpot, saving the other half to pour on top of the chicken once it is placed in the crockpot.

In a small mixing bowl combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, mixing them completely together. 

In a separate bowl beat the egg. Take the chicken breasts and dip them one at a time into the egg and then into the bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture, coating both sides with egg and then bread crumbs. 

Once the chicken breasts have been covered with bread crumbs place all breasts in the crockpot. After all the chicken breasts are in the crockpot cover the chicken breasts with the remaining organic marinara sauce. 

Finally, cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

Once the chicken has been cooked turn the crockpot off and carefully remove the lid as it will be hot. The chicken should fall apart because it is so tender.

I shredded the chicken breasts up because it creates more servings of chicken parmesan that way (I got four servings of chicken parmesan this way). I had a single serving of chicken parmesan over one cup of spaghetti squash instead of noodles for an added nutritional bonus. Click here to find out how to cook spaghetti squash. 

Serve with a side of vegetables and you have a complete meal!! I hope you adore my savory and healthy version of chicken parmesan. Have a great week and happy crockpoting!!

If you make them tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife and go like my new page on Facebook!

Nutrition (per serving):
Calories: 298
Fiber: 6 grams
Sodium: 794 mg (this may seem like a lot but it is drastically less than any other recipes I have seen)
Potassium: 124 mg
Protein: 20 grams

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Sunday Special!!

This past weekend has been crazy!! It was jammed packed from start to finish and while it was exhausting I got a lot accomplished. Sunday I was beat from studying all weekend for exams this week and from baking a ton on Saturday (Be sure to check out the blueberry chia seed muffin recipe I posted!), but I wanted to do something special for lunch. I invented my own Sunday special of sorts for lunch. While it was nothing overly fancy it was a welcomed change for lunch.

I decided to cook salmon, if you want to keep the salmon fairly plain click here for directions on how to bake it. I also cooked up a cup of green beans, which I sprinkled with pinch of garlic salt and added a few slivered almonds to spice things up. Click here for directions on how to cook green beans.

I wanted to make sure my plate was colorful and consisted of more than a vegetable and protein. I cut up six medium sized strawberries and served them along with the salmon and green beans. Strawberries contain natural sugars so they help satisfy the sweet tooth, but in a way that is guilt free!!

Finally as a treat, and an added source of protein, I had a banana flaxseed cracker. I added a little PB2 on top as a bonus. I just posted my recipe for banana flaxseed crackers so be sure to check it out. They are super easy to make and they only contain two ingredients!!

While my Sunday special was nothing overly fancy it was nice to have something different for lunch. My plate was bursting with color, which is always a good thing, and I got to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal. Here's to a great week ahead and to studying hard for math exams!!!