Mixed Fruit & Cilantro Vodka Smoothie

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This mixed fruit & cilantro vodka smoothie is the perfect spring and summertime cocktail. Cold, refreshing and full of natural sweetness, it’s also one that won’t weigh you down!

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I had the hardest time figuring out what to call this.

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It’s not a margarita because it doesn’t have tequila. It’s not a mimosa since there’s no champagne. It’s a blended fruit cocktail with a heaping splash of vodka. Last time I checked, that’s not a very SEO/Google friendly title. So I googled “boozy smoothie” and was pleasantly surprised when I found a bunch of recipes for vodka smoothies. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks frozen fruit and vodka make a fantastic drink idea.

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Surprisingly, Martha did too. Which shocks me since this recipe is not refined, classy or elegant. It’s just a smoothie with vodka instead of milk. It doesn’t scream Martha. But then again, neither did prison and we all know she spent some time there. BADA-BING.

My disdain for M Stewart aside, this sweet and frozen cocktail is as good as it is easy. You simply put items into a blender, add vodka & juice and blend. It’s kind of embarrassing how easy it is. But, when a craving for margaritas hit and you’re sans tequila, you start thinking outside of the box. Since our bar currently has 6 bottles of vodka, I knew exactly what would be in my frothy, frozen concoction. However, I wanted it to be slightly more natural, so I used American Harvest, which is an organic, all-natural vodka made in the US.

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See, I get a lot of liquor sent to me for my job and I don’t actually drink liquor, so it just sits. I’m a wine girl, through and through. This explains why I never have any wine and have over 12 bottles of liquor sitting on the bar. Unopened. So, if anyone wants to come over for a vodka party, the door is always open.

Just be sure to bring some fruit so we can make some Martha smoothies.

Mixed Fruit & Cilantro Vodka Smoothie

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 3.
Prep time: <10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries* (I used one that was a mix of cherries, pomegranate arils, raspberries and blackberries)
  • 1 cup small ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cup low-sugar cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • About 1/3 – 3/4 cup fresh cilantro *
  • Additional sugar to taste
  • Frozen fruit & lemon wedges for garnish

*totally optional.

Directions:

  1. Place the frozen fruit, ice cubes, juice, vodka, Cointreau and about 1/3 cup cilantro into a blender. Pulse on low until mixture is blended and smoothie (about 30 – 40 seconds). Add ice cubes, more juice, added sugar or more/less cilantro based on your preferences.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 147.5
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 18.3 grams
Fiber: <1 gram
Protein: 1.3 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 2

Super Fluffy Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

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These fluffy cinnamon raisin rolls are the perfect Easter brunch recipe, especially paired with a big cup of coffee! Note, this aren’t low-fat, so they are meant to be enjoyed on special occasions! 

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You can’t have any holiday brunch without cinnamon rolls. You just can’t. Although we aren’t going home for Easter this year, I’m planning on hosting a very little informal brunch for E and I, complete with mimosas, bacon, eggs and these fluffy cinnamon raisin rolls.

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I had the craziest craving for cinnamon rolls last week, like insatiable. All I could think about for two hours were moist, ooey, gooey, cinnamon and icing laden rolls sticking to my fingers. My mouth was literally watering when I thought of taking that first sticky, sweet and moist and fluffy bite. The craving was so bad, I had to to make a big batch of my own. And boy am I glad I did.

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And so is E. He came home and inhaled two of them standing over the sink. He has this routine when he gets home from work. He sets down his backpack, goes into the kitchen and gobbles down whatever I have made that day. Sometimes it’s pasta, sometimes it’s a 2 layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Last week, it was cinnamon rolls, and they must have been good because I didn’t hear a peep for about 4 minutes while he ate them.

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And that makes me smile. I’ve been really killing it in the kitchen lately, and that about makes up for my insane writers block. I feel like I can’t write an actual sentence to save my life. I don’t know why, but it seems all of my creativity has gone from my writing to my food. I’m not complaining, I feel so inspired with all of my recipes, I just wish the same creativity poured out into my writing. But it happens. All I have to do is keep at it.

On the really good side, I just signed a book agent. So, holy crap. I feel like a real writer. Maybe this will inspire me to put the pen to the paper and write from my heart!

Super Fluffy Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Yields about 12 – 14 rolls. Roll recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.
Prep time: 10 – 20 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) I swear by Red Star Yeast
  • 1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins * (optional)
  • Dash of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • About 3/4 cup raisins

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Additional raisins for garnish

Directions: 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the yeast, sugars and water together. Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble. In a bowl, mix the butter, applesauce, light cream, vanilla and eggs together. Pour the mixture into the yeast mixture. Whisks the two flours together. Add the flour and raisins, 1/2 cup at a time, to the egg mixture. Attach a dough hook and mix until dough starts to come together and pulls apart from the bowl. This took about 5 1/2 cups of flour. Beat until mixture is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form into a bowl.
  2. Move the dough to a floured surface and knead a few more minutes until smooth. Grease a large bowl with oil and roll the dough in the bowl. Cover with a greased piece of saran wrap and place in a warm place to double in size, about 2 hours.
  3. While the dough rolls, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together.
  4. Once the dough has doubled, punch down slightly. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about a large rectangle (16 x 22 inches). Using a pastry brunch, brush the dough with the butter, leaving a small border around the edges dry. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the butter. Then top with sprinkled raisins. Starting at the top, carefully roll the rectangle up into a jelly roll. Slice the roll into 12 – 14 even size rolls.
  5. Grease two large 9 x 13 glass baking dishs with nonstick cooking spray. Place the rolls, cut side down, onto the sheets. Cover with greased saran wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 – 22 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and heavy cream together. Once rolls have cooled slightly drizzle with icing and sprinkle with raisins.

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Nutritional information per roll:

Calories: 420
Fat: 9.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 65 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 7.2 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 10

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookie Bars

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Looking for a healthier Easter dessert? Try these amazing whole wheat sugar cookie bars! Sweet & fluffy without all the fat and calories!

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I always wait until the last minute to do my taxes. My thinking on this is that if I wait long enough, the government will be like “oh wait, we screwed up, you actually don’t owe us the equivalent of four months of rent and your first born, our bad!” So far, that hasn’t happened yet. Which means I should probably send in my state tax forms right?

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I get it. I own a small business and work as a freelancer. I don’t pay taxes throughout the year so I should pay them now. But that doesn’t make that very large check any easier to write. The only thing getting me through tax time is wine, lots and lots of wine. Oh and a few of these fluffy whole wheat sugar cookie bars, too.

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I don’t mean to eat like a pubescent boy during tax time, but I’m really bad at handling stress. So in times of high anxiety, I turn to fermented grape nector and sugar-filled cookie bars. To help keep my weight in check (especially after the deep-fried heaven I ate this weekend), I did my best to lighten my favorite bars into something I could enjoy without a higher number on the scale. And I must say, I very much succeeded. These bars are so fluffy and so moist, and taste exactly like a sugar cookie.

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They are a bit more cakey than a regular sugar cookie, but I kind of like that. I had these for three days and they were almost more moist and delicious the third day than they were the first. Those are my kind of cookie bars. Plus, who doesn’t love rainbow sprinkles? They totally brighten up a very dreary tax day for me.

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookie Bars

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 16. Recipe adapted from I Heart Nap Time.
Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: About 22 – 24 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the bars: 

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white

For the frosting: 

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • About 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Rainbow sprinkles

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, egg and egg white. Beat until fluffy and combined. Fold in the greek yogurt and mix until fully combined. Add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Just be careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour the cookie batter into the prepared baking pan. Using a spatula, flatten the top of the batter so it’s smooth. Bake for about 22 – 24 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Once bars have cooled, spread the frosting over them and sprinkle heavily with rainbow sprinkles. Cut into about 16 bars and enjoy.

Nutritional information per bar: 

Calories: 276
Fat: 7.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 50 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 3.3 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

Chicken Curry Pizza

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This chicken curry flavor is packed with Southeast Asian flavors and will instantly be a new favorite pie in your house!

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Charleston vacation “hangovers” are the worst. Even if all of my work is done and I had an amazing time, I always wake up with an anxious pit in my stomach. Maybe it’s because I have another full week of work, or that I’m just anxious anyway, but it’s just so hard to explain. I also think some of it’s because I love Charleston so much and leaving it is always so hard.

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This weekend was especially amazing. We went on the boat, ate at a few of the restaurants I’ve been dying to check out, got to spend time with our adorable little niece. It was just all around amazing. We were only there for a few days, but we spent every second perfectly. Really, all I need is some sunshine, food, friends and family to be happy.

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You know what else makes me happy? Chicken curry. You know what makes me EVEN MORE happy? Chicken curry on pizza. It’s probably the best marriage of flavors in the entire world. I mean, who doesn’t love pizza? Bad people, that’s who. And chicken curry? Probably the best thing in the world. When the two mix it’s the BEST THING since sliced bread.

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I just can’t talk about how much I love this pizza. I totally blew all of my Weight Watchers points on 4 slices in 10 minutes and every point was worth it. Every cheesy, spicy, decadent bite was worth it. To me, though, pizza is always worth it. I don’t splurge a lot on food, but to me, pizza is always worth every extra calorie. Life is just too damn short not to eat your favorite foods once in a while.

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I really wish I had this perfect spicy chicken curry pizza right now. Because you know what sucks for breakfast? Smoothies. You know what rocks for breakfast? Curry pizza. Being an adult SUCKS.

Chicken Curry Pizza

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Serves about 8. Recipe adapted from Curry and Comfort.
Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cook time: About 22 minutes

Ingredients: 

 For the dough: 

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, 100 degrees F
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal

For the topping: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into pieces
  • 1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups part-skim cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix the chicken, greek yogurt, curry powder, paprika, sugar, cayenne pepper, ginger, salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for about 3 hours. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and saute for about 5 – 7 minutes, or until browned. Add in the tomato sauce and chopped tomato. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Mix in the coconut milk and stir to combine.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Dust the pizza pan with cornmeal.
  3. Mix the yeast, teaspoon of sugar and water in a large bowl. Let sit until 10 minutes, or until foamy. Add in the flours and oil. Mix until a soft dough forms, about 5 minutes. Place on a floured surface and knead until elastic and soft. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a circle in 1/4 inch thickness. Place the dough on the pizza pan.
  4. Top the pizza dough with the chicken & sauce, leaving about a 1 inch border along the edges (for the crust). Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper. Bake for about 16 – 18 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional information per slice:

Calories: 342.5
Fat: 11 grams
Carbohydrates: 39.5 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 20.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

Spicy Harissa Hummus

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This spicy harissa hummus will be a huge hit at any of your spring and summer potlucks, that is, if you can handle sharing it!

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I’ve been in talks with a good friend of mine about a possible trip to Morocco in the fall. Morocco to me is such an incredibly enticing country, filled with beautiful colors, mysterious people and unique smells, sounds and tastes. I love that there’s such a variety of geography too, from beautiful beaches to miles of dry dessert to stunning & dramatic snow capped mountains. It’s such a romantic place, too. A place not overrun with tourists or souvenir shops. I’m insanely excited for the possibility of seeing the country, but most especially, for trying the food.

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Moroccan food is incredible. It’s so full of spice, flavor and depth. It’s refined, without being pretentious, beautiful without being “fancy.” Like Thai food, most of the incredible flavor comes from the natural spices grown in the region. They don’t load their dishes with sauces, creams or salt because the red peppers, hot chiles and fresh herbs add more than enough kick. I’ve had some Moroccan food here in the states and that enough has more than convinced me to go there just to eat. Probably my newest Moroccan obsession is Harissa, a spicy red pepper sauce, made with cayenne, ancho chiles and chile de arbol. It’s commonly used to add flavor to couscous and chicken, but I added it to hummus.

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And holy sh*&.

Hummus on its own is delicious, but when you add a few spoonfuls of harissa, it just changes the game, completely. You get the perfect kick of spice with each bite while still having the creamy, smooth texture of traditional hummus. Topped with some high-quality olive oil and pine nuts, it’s downright addictive. I made it two days ago and just polished off the remainder of it yesterday. You can eat it with chips, put it on a sandwich, use it over chicken or beef. It’s versatile.

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But if you plan on using it for anything other than a dip, I’d suggest making double. I found myself eating it off my finger it’s that good.

Spicy Harissa Hummus

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 4.
Prep time: About 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 3/4 cup cooked chick peas*
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons spicy harissa sauce (I used Mina brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Cracked black pepper

For the toppings:

  • Olive oil
  • Pine nuts
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sliced red sweet peppers

*I used dry chick peas that I had boiled and let sit for 2 hours. You can sub in canned if you have them.
*I used about 3 tablespoons, but add more or less depending on taste

Directions: 

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the chick peas, vegetable broth, olive oil, lemon juice, harissa, garlic salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture is smooth and looks like a paste, about 3 – 4 minutes. If needed, add additional broth to thin it out and salt and pepper for taste.
  2. Pour the hummus into a bowl and garnish with olive oil, pine nuts, cilantro and sliced peppers. Add cracked pepper and serve with fresh vegetables or chips. I used my favorite Food Should Taste Good sweet potato tortilla chips!

Nutritional information per serving (about 3 tablespoons):

Calories: 186.5
Fat: 9.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams
Fiber: 1.45 grams
Protein: 5.25 grams
Weight Watchers points: 4

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