“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I ran across the best little recipe on Pinterest the other day!

Since I’ve been on this little health kick I am noticing recipes that I would normally skim right on past.  I have been missing out.

I’m thrilled that this little jewel caught my eye.

It’s always good to get a little burst of energy in the morning as you are headed out the door or on your way out to exercise. A lot of those times it would be one of those blah fiber type bars. They’ve always tasted ok but they were usually dry and tough and seemed old even if they were not.

Well, no more! My now go-to burst of energy is homemade. Not only are they not dry, they taste great!

Energy Bites

(adapted from Lil’ Luna)

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup milled flaxseed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all dry ingredients together then add in the wet ingredients.

Place in fridge for 30 minutes, then roll into 1 inch balls.

Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

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“In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” ~ Winston Churchill

I guess I’m going to have to eat a little crow.

I was for sure there was no way that I could find (or if I did, enjoy) any lighter (i.e. diet) meals to cook at home.

I’m a southern cook – I like butter and lots of bread. Both preferably fried.

But no need to fret because this leopard has not changed its spots. I have just expanded my horizons a bit and I’m so glad I did because I really needed to start working on this baby weight but cooking is my joy and I was afraid I would be bound to lettuce and grilled chicken forever.

Here is one of my new finds.

Greek Stuffed Chicken with Mango Sauce

(adapted from The Chew)

Chicken

  • 10 oz feta cheese
  • 1 cup packed spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (the kind in the jar)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Greek seasoning
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Mango Sauce

  • 1 large or 2 small mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper with ribs and seeds removed, minced

Preheat oven to 375º.

In a medium bowl, mix feta, spinach, parsley, garlic, olive oil and pepper.

Divide mixture between the 4 chicken breasts. Fold over, season with greek seasoning.

Place in greased pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Serve over chicken.

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“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand.” ~ Mother Teresa

When I’m trying to eat healthier, one of the things I try and keep on hand are ingredients for smoothies. Frozen fruit, yogurt, juice, protein powder etc.

They are tasty, filling and if you make them right – good for you.

I usually have the typical one with strawberries, blueberries and bananas but I wanted to switch it up a bit.

The following recipe did just that and it did not disappoint.

Citrus Banana Oat Smoothie

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup prepared quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Pour everything in blender and blend until smooth.

Makes 2 servings. Around 260 calories per serving.

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“There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.” ~ Douglas Wilson

Since I am now a SAHM – I must admit, there is a decent amount of TV watching going on.

I’ll even go a little farther – I’m back to being hooked on Days of Our Lives – yep, there I said it. Don’t judge.

But I’m not much interested in talk shows except for one – The Chew! It’s fabulous and perfect for a foodie like me – it’s funny, entertaining and has great recipes and food tips.

(Kathie Lee and Hoda are a daily must too!)

I’m giving away all my secrets.

Oh, well.

Anyway, this is the first recipe from The Chew that I have tried and it will not be my last! So good yet totally do-able.

Spaghetti Bolognese

(adapted from The Chew)

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Carrot (chopped)
  • 6 slices Smoked Bacon (chopped)
  • 8 ounces Ground Pork
  • 8 ounces Ground Beef
  • 6 Garlic Cloves (crushed with garlic press or fork)
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 28 ounce can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds Spaghetti
  • Salt
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Saute onion, carrot and bacon in olive oil until soft. Add pork and beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add crushed garlic, cook until fragrant (30 seconds – 1 minute).

Deglaze with vermouth, then add in wine and chicken broth. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

30 minutes before serving, add in milk and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with al dente spaghetti noodles, reserving some pasta water to thin if necessary. Top with Parmesan cheese.

This dish plays a trick on your eyes – Spaghetti Bolognese is a very traditional Italian meal just like regular spaghetti. It also looks like traditional spaghetti but it doesn’t taste like traditional spaghetti. If you will notice this does not have the familiar ingredients like basil and oregano but do not let you turn you off – it’s a fabulous Italian dinner!

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“You know what the secret to weight loss is? Don’t eat much.” ~ Simon Cowell

Okay, I’ve been on this healthier, lower carb, gotta loose some baby weight diet for the past few days.

I’ve never liked it, never been good at it and pretty much know I will never stick to it for long but sometimes it just has to be done.

This time around though, I’ve tried to be creative with my “chicken”. Think outside the box a little. So last night, instead of a typical grilled chicken salad – I decided to step it up with Taziki’s Friday Pasta Salad. (with whole grain pasta, of course)

It was fabulous – it did not feel like diet food at all, which is good because I would just as soon eat nothing than eat blah food.

The recipe below is for the full recipe of the dressing which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and is great to throw on any salad. The remaining ingredients can be adjusted to how many you are serving. Of course you could always half the dressing too.

Taziki’s Friday Pasta

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion or shallot, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 3 chicken breasts, seasoned with Greek seasoning and pan fried, chopped
  • 1 lb of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • Handful of chopped basil

For the dressing, put first 6 ingredients through mustard in bowl, mix. Then slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered for at least 30 minutes.

Combine chopped chicken and cooked pasta and coat with dressing (amount determined by how much you made)

Mix greens and place a serving size on each plate. Top with pasta/chicken mixture. Then sprinkle tomatoes, feta and basil.

You may want to add a little dressing to your greens as well. Just a personal preference and how healthy you want to be. 😉

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“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” ~ Mark Twain

I was never much of a Jambalaya fan.

That’s because the only Jambalaya I ever had was the mix kind in a box that had a fake tasting pasty red sauce.

But like anything – homemade is always better.

And now I’m a fan. 🙂

Worked perfectly for my Mardi Gras themed dinner a couple nights ago.

Jambalaya

(adapted from Plain Chicken)

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 0 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on desired heat) – I used 1 and it was pretty warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • cooked white rice

Season shrimp with cajun seasoning and saute in olive oil in large skillet for 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside.

Brown sausage in same pan then add tomatoes, onion, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add shrimp back in and simmer for additional 10 minutes.

Serve over rice with crusty bread or garlic cheddar biscuits.

Finish the dinner off with Mini-King Cakes.

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“New Orleans is like the bad-kid island in ‘Pinocchio.'” ~ Jonah Hill

Happy Fat Tuesday!!

I have never experienced Mardi Gras but it is definitely on my bucket list.  I will probably start off a little easy by trying out the Mobile Mardi Gras then one day hit up the big shebang in New Orleans.

So, since I’m not there I thought I would have a little Mardi Gras (minus the beads) celebration here at home with Jambalaya and mini King Cakes.

Mini-King Cakes

(adapted from the Chew)

Cakes

  • 1 refrigerated pizza dough
  • 4 tablespoons Butter (melted; plus more for brushing)
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon Lemon zest
  • 1/3 teaspoon Salt

Frosting

  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp milk (may need more to get right consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • yellow, green and purple colored sugar

Preheat oven to 350º and grease an 8-10 inch cake pan.

Combine sugars, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt by smashing together with fingers.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture.

Roll dough lengthwise to form a log and cut into 1½ inch pieces and place cut side down on to prepared cake pan. Brush cakes with melted butter.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown but not crispy.

While cooking, mix together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.

When cakes are cooled slightly, flip onto an inverted plate, frost and sprinkle with colored sugar.

These would be great anytime of the year – just change up the color of the sugar to match the season or occasion.

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