Crock Pot Spicy Thai Curry Soup

Pin It PIN IT!

Want to know how many recipes I have just waiting in my queue? I’ll give you a hint, it reminds with smive. I’ve been utterly CRAZED with work lately and barely have enough time to eat better yet cook, style and photograph something. I will say I have a few weeks of calm before a crazy travel schedule, so I’m hoping my eating and blogging habits get more regular.

Creamy thai curry soup

In the interium, let’s talk soup. I know, it’s almost April, why would you want to talk about soup? Well, funny story – it still feels like winter where I live. Although we’re expecting highs of close to 65 this week, the mornings are still shrill and I can’t leave my house without a scarf, jacket and boots.

creamy coconut thai soup2

So soup is happening more regularly than I’d like it to in the beginning of spring, but I’m not complaining. Especially because most of my soups look like this creamy crock pot spicy thai curry. As you know, I spent a bit of time in Thailand last year and I’m still so incredibly inspired by the flavors of the country. The spices, the focus on fresh, seasonal produce and the creamy coconut sauces.

1619664_10152086063688576_433587453_n

I’m planning a return trip next year (for the lantern festival) and I’m already salivating at the thought.

Best spicy thai curry

Even though this soup is so incredibly delicious, the best part about it is it can be made in a crock pot/slow cooker. That means all you have to do is toss ingredients in, stir every now and then, and wait until the aroma fills your house and you’re transported to the fresh markets Southeast Asia.

1977304_10152060122428576_1783685892_n

If we’re being honest, the smell alone was enough to inspire me to book another trip. Whoever said smells are one of the biggest triggers for nostalgia and memories was SPOT on. I should send them soup to thank them.

Crock Pot Spicy Thai Curry Soup

Spicy creamy thai curry

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 8. Slight adapted and inspired by Foodie Crush.
Prep time: >10 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours
Total time: About 5 hours & 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons thai red curry paste
  • 2 cans (14 ounces) light coconut milk (I used Goya)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure clove honey
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (boneless-skinless), sliced
  • 3 sweet peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • Chives for garnish
  • About 3 cups Thai jasmine rice

*For added heat, add a few teaspoons of sriracha or additional thai curry paste.

Directions: 

  1. Mix everything (until the cilantro) into the basin of a crock pot/slow cooker. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well so the sauce/base of the soup is evenly distributed.
  2. Cover and cook on low for about 4 1/2 – 5 hours, or until chicken is tender.
  3. Serve soup with jasmine rice, cilantro, chives and bean sprouts.

Nutritional information per serving (about 1/2 cup of rice and 1/2 cup soup):

Calories: 488
Fat: 13.65 grams
Carbohydrates: 31.25 grams
Protein: 57.61 grams
Fiber: 14.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 11

Chunky M&M Quinoa Dessert Dip

Pin It PIN IT!

Ready for another installment of recipes I’ve been hoarding for no good reason at all? Okay, fantastic. Because there’s just not any better day than a Friday to share this incredible chunky m&m quinoa dessert dip.

chunky quinoa chocolate dip

I’m fully aware that the name is less than desirable, but i can’t actually think of a better title for this recipe. It’s chunky (in a good way, not like the way my thighs look right now), full of m&ms and, shockingly enough, has quinoa!

chunky mm dip

I’ve been a huge fan of chunky desert dips for a while, but could never find a way to really make them healthy. Or you know, worthy of posting. Sure, i’ve made the cookie dough dips for work, but those aren’t exactly something I’d advise eating more than a spoonful of.

PB

While this stuff? You can have 1/4 cup without any guilt. You may go into a quick little sugar coma or pass out due to a peanut butter overload, but you could still do it. I paired this sweet, decadent little dip with my favorite Food Should Taste Good chocolate tortilla chips and it was DIVINE. The sweet, salty mix from the chips and the dip was truly phenomenal.

creamy chunky mm dip

However, the best thing about this snack is you can pair it with anything. Cookies, bread, cake, a spoon, your mouth, a straw. It’s up to you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you with how addictive it is, because you’ll definitely have trouble sticking to the serving size.

Chunky M&M Quinoa Dip

best ever quinoa chunky dip

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 8-10.
Prep time: About 8 minutes
Chill time: About an hour
Total time: 1 hour and 8 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup candy coated chocolate

Directions: 

  1. In a large stand mixer fitted with a whisk beater, place the butter, cream cheese and peanut butter. Beat on high until mixture is thick and creamy.
  2. Stir in the powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, quinoa and whole wheat flour. Mix to combine.
  3. Remove from the stand mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and m&ms.
  4. Cover with saran wrap and chill for at least an hour. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Nutritional information per serving (about 2 tablespoons):

Calories:  290
Fat: 12 grams
Carbohydrates: 30 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 5.1 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 7

Almond, pumpkin seed & peanut butter granola bars

Pin It PIN IT!

After St. Patrick’s Day, these quinoa and almond granola bars are exactly what we all need to be eating. To be honest, I didn’t really veer off diet much yesterday. No green beer was consumed, I only partook in one square of chocolate and we had a really healthy, low-fat salad for dinner.

Easy healthy granola bars

Does this mean I’m getting old? As I walked past a few Irish pubs on my way home from work yesterday, I was actually GLAD I wasn’t out. I was glad that in 20 minutes I would be in yoga pants with a big glass of wine snuggling with my dog (who I sadly dyed green 6 years ago for St. Pats).

10354556_972951672715012_378403982_n

I think that makes me old. But I’d much rather be old than sit in a crowded bar drinking green dyed Miller Lite while some guy who is 0.5% irish tries to pinch me because I’m not wearing green. Yes, that has happened and yes I promptly walked away from him. If that happened today, I most likely would have thrown that cheap beer in his face, but alas.

Quinoa granola bars

Now that I think about it, there aren’t really many holidays where I’d rather be stuffed in a bar with a bunch of strangers than at home with my loved ones. Maybe I am getting old, but I’m a firm believer in going to bed at 10, wearing yoga pants as much of the day as possible and drinking good craft beer. I’m a huge fan of long brunches, Snapped marathons, comfortable shoes and big cozy blankets.

Easy pumpkin seed and almond granola bars

And If that’s being old, well shoot, I don’t mind it one bit. Bring on the walkers, canes and early bird dinners, baby!

Almond, pumpkin seed & peanut butter granola bars

Granola bars with almond

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Yields about 14.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used creamy Jif)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Add the oats and pumpkin seeds, spread evenly over the parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.
  2. Once toasted, remove from the pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the quinoa, flaxseeds, almonds and chia seeds.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the butter, peanut butter, syrup and honey together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Press the mixture into the foil. Place in the fridge and chill for about 2-3 hours. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Nutritional information per bar:

Calories: 192
Fat: 8 grams
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Fiber: 3.25 grams
Protein: 5.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5

Chocolate Whiskey Bread Pudding

Pin It PIN IT!

Can we briefly talk about how much I fail at holidays? Most of my food blogging friends have been posting St. Patrick’s Day recipes since the end of February and here I am, the day before, with an St. Paddy’s themed dessert. Oops? However, I’m a firm believer in better late than never so I’m going to pretend like I’m not an epic failure and move on.

whiskey bread pudding

And what better thing to move on to than chocolate and whiskey? I must admit, I was never a huge fan of bread pudding as a kid because we didn’t really eat much of it. My mom made such a wide assortment of other delicious desserts that there was never really a need to branch into the puddings. However, I will say, the first bread pudding I ever had completely changed my perspective.

Whiskey bread pudding2

It was an eggnog rum and chocolate chip bread pudding that was serving during a holiday party. As a 17 year old, I wanted anything with any sort of alcohol in it so I completely devoured like 3 pieces. Of course, I didn’t realize that the alcohol actually bakes out of it and I was just eating 15,000 calories, but it was that bread pudding that converted me into a BP lover.

melted chocolate sauce

Sadly, my husband doesn’t share my love for it, but I will say he ate two pieces of this without batting an eyelash. Most likely because this pudding was covered in a chocolate whisky sauce, but it’s still a win. I think the best way to get him to eat things he normally doesn’t like is to slather it in chocolate and whiskey.

Now there’s an idea!

Chocolate Whiskey Bread Pudding

  pudding5

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 10 -12. Slightly adapted from My Recipes.
Prep time: 30+ minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 7 cups chopped whole wheat french bread, slightly stale
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup light cream
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey/maple flavored whiskey (I used Jim Beam)
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh whipped cream for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with tongs. Remove from heat and pour into a grease 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Bring the milk, light cream and whiskey to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate chips. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, the brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Continue to whisk until thick and smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture over the bread, tossing the cubes so they are all evenly coated. Cover with foil and let sit for about 30 minutes. Add a few pokes into the foil to allow steaming.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Let sit until slightly cooled.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl for about 60 seconds, stopping to stir at 30 seconds.
  6. Serve the bread pudding with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of melted chocolate.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 400
Fat: 15
Carbohydrates:  48
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Protein: 11 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 10

Maple Cutting Board Giveaway

Pin It PIN IT!

You know what I haven’t done in a long time? A giveaway. Which is both sad and depressing since giving away free things to the people I adore is what makes me happy. This reason is precisely way I’m hosting the world’s best giveaway today!

unnamed

My awesome friends at McClure Tables are so graciously offering to give one of my very lucky readers their own handcrafted maple cutting board! Started by  Todd and Judy McClure as a gaming and shuffleboard company, they’ve since branched into amazing cutting boards (like this one that you can win!), beautiful butcher blocks, island tables and more. I’ve spent many an hour oogling the gorgeous products on their site.

boards

Be sure to check out their other products when you get a chance! Now, to enter to win your own maple cutting board, fill out the prompts below. The giveaway ends on March 21st and midnight!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLAIMER: McClure Tables graciously provided me with a butcher block for review and are sponsoring this giveaway. As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Layered Brussel Sprout & Turkey Mac n Cheese

Pin It PIN IT!

Today brings you another recipe found in the depths of my Iphoto. Guys, this layered brussel sprout & turkey mac n cheese was made this in the fall. Like, last fall. In 2014. And I TOTALY FORGOT TO SHARE IT.

Super cheesy turkey mac n cheese

Can I blame something other than my pure stupidity? Crazy travel schedule? Out of town guests? New job? Okay, great. I’d much rather do that than admit I made an amazing comfort food classic that I  just totally spaced on sharing.

Cheesy sprout mac n cheese

However, my mentality is very “better late than never” and with the 8 inches of snow we got yesterday, this dish is still perfectly & very seasonally appropriate. Honestly, I don’t mind the snow. I got a work from home snowday yesterday and it’s really beautiful to look at. I’m sure I’m in the minority here with the rest of DC-MD-VA, but I definitely don’t mind the beautiful, fluffy white stuff. BUT, that doesn’t mean, mother nature, that you can snow anymore this season. I like you now, but I can promise I will not like you if you try to pull this winter stuff in April or something. Crazier things have happened, but I have a zero-tolerance policy for temperatures below 60 degrees in springtime. If I wanted snow in April, I’d much back to northern Indiana. 

Cheesy sprout and turkey mac

Now, I should probably get to sharing this recipe since I held off so long on it, right? The main star of the show are the brussel sprouts, obviously, which came in my Farmbox Direct delivery.

Farmbox direct

If you guys haven’t heard of it, check out Farmbox Direct asap! You get a box of organic, fresh, seasonal veggies delivered right to your door! I love grocery shopping, but you can’t always get some of the best produce where I live. Which is why Farmbox is a dream come true. They provided me with a box to play with in the fall and I was so hooked, I’ve been getting them ever since! Plus, when you get brussel sprouts to your door every few weeks, that’s more of a reason to indulge in this mac n’ cheese more frequently. Huzzah!

Brussel Sprout & Turkey Mac n’ Cheese

Amazing cabot mac n cheese

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves 6 – 8. Adapted from Betty Crocker.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: About 45 minutes
Total time: 65 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles

For the roasted sprouts:

  • 4 cups brussel sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • Salt and pepper

For the turkey layer:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Cabot extra sharp white cheddar
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove stems from brussel sprouts. In a large baking dish, toss the sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast, whole, for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until slightly crispy and browned. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. While still warm, chop into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a dash of salt and the pasta. Cook until al-dente, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, crumbling with a spatula, until golden brown, at least 7 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat and place in another bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the meat juices and add the shallot and garlic cloves. Heat until just fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove and mix with beef.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once fully melted, whisk in the flour. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the milk and light cream. Continue stirring until mixture thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon). Remove from heat and immediately stir in mozzarella and white cheddar (it’ll melt quickly). Mix in the pasta noodles and evenly coat with cheese sauce.
  6. Spoon about 1/3 of the macaroni noodles into the bottom of the casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the chopped brussel sprouts and half of the ground turkey mixture. Layer with another 1/3 cup of macaroni mixture, another 1/3 of brussel sprouts and remaining turkey. Top turkey with the rest of the macaroni, the rest of the brussel sprouts, the breadcrumbs and the parmesan.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, uncovered, or until golden and cheesy.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 406
Fat: 13.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Protein: 27.75
Weight Watchers Points: 9

Sesame, Soy & Honey Glazed Chicken Wings

Pin It PIN IT!

Remember my last post where I talked about how I watched the movie Chef and instantly felt inspired to cook? Well, these incredible sesame, soy & honey glazed chicken wings also came from that giant bout of inspiration. In fact, I made 4 recipes that day in the span of just 3 hours.

soy glazed chicken wings

It was pure magic, my friends. Sadly such bouts of productivity have since disappeared, but I’m hoping for another big day so I can get back on track with my blog, my job and all of my freelance obligations.

Soy cilantro chicken wings

There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything I need done. Actually, scratch that, there isn’t enough DAYLIGHT in the day for me to get everything done. If I could just get home from work and have amazing light until 11pm, that would be awesome. Sadly, enough in the middle of summer we only have light until 7.

sticky soy glazed wings

I think in order to get my life in order, I should just move to Iceland. During the summer, they have daylight until 2 – 3 am. It’s utterly insane yet completely amazing. I remember walking to dinner at 8pm and it was sunnier than it was at 3pm.

Amazing soy glazed chicken wings

I think I could probably change the world if I had that much daylight. Until then, I’ll dream of my new life in Reykjavik while still trapped in Washington, DC.

Sesame & Soy Glazed Chicken Wings

Incredible soy glazed chicken wings

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 5 – 6. Adapted and inspired by Six Sisters Stuff and Damn Delicious.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds frozen chicken wings
  • 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sweet ginger garlic spice mix (I used this brand)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 chives, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Grease the basin of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Toss the wings into the crock pot.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, shallot, sriracha, sweet garlic spice mix and one chopped green onion. Pour 3/4 of the sauce over the wings.
  4. Whisk the corn starch with 1/2 tablespoon water. Mix with remaining sauce to thicken.
  5. Cook on low for about 4 – 5 hours, or until the wings are fork tender.
  6. Once done, remove from crock pot and place in a bowl. Top with remaining sauce, chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Nutritional information per serving (about 4 wings):

Calories: 513
Fat: 26 grams
Carbohydrates: 35 grams
Fiber: 1.2 grams
Protein: 32 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 13

Creamy Sausage Pesto Pasta

Pin It PIN IT!

I’m not even going to apologize for my absence. Or go into this long diatribe about why I was gone. I was in New Zealand on the trip of a freakin’ lifetime and couldn’t tear myself away from the incredible views and epic adventures that were bestowed upon me every single day. For a snippet of my adventures, here’s my Instagram handle!

Pesto pasta

But I’ll be honest, I missed you guys A TON. Even though it may seem like I let this blog get dusty in the attic without much thought while I’m away, I actually think about it every single day. As fun as my life can be, I miss my daily posts. I miss cooking, to be frank. I miss editing photos and staging dishes like this creamy sausage pesto pasta.

pasta ingredients

I can’t promise a two week hiatus won’t happen again, so I won’t try to. Instead, i’ll just jump into this dish that completely blew my mind. Actually, the creation of it came the day I returned from a week-long work trip to Miami.

Sausage Pesto Pasta

My husband was gone at a Super Bowl event and I was home alone. Since I already missed the eclectic and vibrant city scene of Miami, I decided to watch Chef. (PS: If you haven’t seen it, watch it now). While most are inspired by the cubanos in that movie, I was inspired by the pasta dish he made at the very beginning for Scarlett Johansson’s character.

sausage pasta 5

When he was making it, he had this incredible passion in his eyes. And the moment she took her first bite and had this look of, well, ecstasy was inspiration enough for me to make my own version of it.

fresh ingredients

Not only is this one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had, I also haven’t had that much fun in the kitchen in a long time. I was dancing, singing and smiling. For some people, that comes daily. For me? I sort of lost it. But it’s finally coming back!

Creamy Sausage Pesto Pasta

  creamy pesto pasta

Serves about 6.
Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes
Total time: About 35 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if possible)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Dashes of salt and pepper

For the sausage/vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 orange sweet peppers (the smaller peppers), chopped
  • 1 red sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups crumbled turkey sausage (I love these Jimmy Dean crumbles)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound linguine or fettuccine pasta
  • Fresh basil as garnish

Directions: 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and add a dash of salt. Add the noodles and cook, on medium high heat, until al-dente, about 7 – 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. To make the pesto, add everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup for this recipe and save the rest for later.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and heat until slightly translucent, about 2- 4 minutes. Mix in the chopped peppers and cook until softened, another 3 minutes. Mix in the sausage and cook, over medium heat, until golden brown. Mix in the pesto, pasta and cherry tomatoes.
  4. Heat another 2 – 3 minutes until everything is heated through. Serve with a dusting of fresh parmesan and basil leaves.

Nutritional information per serving (about 1/2 cup):

Calories: 560.5
Fat: 22.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 60 grams
Fiber: 7.1 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 

Surf N’ Turf (Steak with Shrimp)

Pin It PIN IT!

If you want to win me over for life, serve me surf n’ turn. There’s nothing I love more than a big juicy steak topped with shrimp. Well, maybe that and a big glass of Côtes du Rhône wine. And maybe a slice of cake.

Surf N' Turf

I mean if I’m being completely honest, the way to my heart is through food that will probably stop it.

Surf N Turf2

Which is completely hilarious and oh so ironic since my blog is technically supposed to be only healthy, good for you foods. But, as I’ve been saying for the past 2 years, I’m going through a slight crisis, er, rebrand, and I’m going to focus less on only healthy dishes and more food that I love to eat.

Which will be primarily healthy, low fat, low carb and high in fiber, but it’ll also include dishes like this that aren’t something you could eat everyday. Unless you’re a 1950’s mobster or on the Atkins diet. In that case, eat up my friends.

Surf N Turf Valentines Day

I’m still playing with new branding ideas and coming up with new website designs, so you probably won’t see a fresh new “me” until later this year. But in the meantime, you can expect to see more meals like this one grazing this little blog.

And is there really any better time to share an easy DIY surf n’ turf than the week of Valentine’s Day? Thanks to the amazing folks at Certified Angus Beef Brand for providing me with a box of amazing steak in all sorts of cuts, like rib-eye, flank and, my favorite, filet mignon. If your husband, wife or partner is a carnivore like myself, this is the meal to make them and these are the steaks to use.

steak8

Not only that, this is the perfect meal to make yourself if you find yourself alone on VDAY because you won’t have to share and can drink the entire bottle of wine yourself.  Plus, nothing cures a broken heart like a big ol’ steak. At least that’s what helps me.

Surf N’ Turf (Steak with Shrimp)

Steak and Shrimp

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves 2.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the steak:

  • 2 (5 -6 ounce) filet mignons
  • Liberal dashes salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter*

For the shrimp:

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley
  • Fresh parmesan

*For more flavor, use a compound butter. Here’s an easy recipe for one on SheKnows.

Directions:

  1. For the steak. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Increase the heat to hight. (You want the pan very hot. Turn on the vent in your house to avoid smoke).
  2. Rub the steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Then rub the butter all over the steaks and add additional salt and pepper.
  3. Add to the pan and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the entire pan from the skillet and then place in the oven. Bake for an additional 6 – 7 minutes for medium rare. Let rest about 10 – 15 minutes before slicing.
  5. While the steak is baking, prepare the shrimp. Coat the shrimp liberally with seasoning.
  6. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, or about 3 – 5 minutes.
  7. Top the steaks with additional compound butter and shrimp. Serve with a dash of fresh parmesan and herbs.

Nutritional information per serving (steak with 5 – 7 shrimps):

Calories: 700
Fat: 36 grams
Carbohydrates: 1 gram
Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 60 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 15

Fudgy Double Chocolate Brownies

Pin It PIN IT!

Double chocolate brownies

Valentine’s Day is less than 2 weeks away! For me, this means one thing: chocolate. Well, I guess love and that sh*& too, but in the sake of being honest, I’m mostly looking forward to the chocolate.

fudgy brownies

Dessert isn’t something I eat frequently, primarily because I’m always on a diet. In fact, I tried to think of the last time I wasn’t on a diet and the date 1998 rang a bell. Which makes sense because that’s the year I turned 13. I’ve been on a perpetual diet since then.

Best brownies ever

However, I will also say I use the word diet very laxly. Like, my diets sometimes include bottles of wine for dinner, frosted donuts for lunch and two slices of cold pizza for breakfast. My diets also often include cheese, carbs, cheese, salt and more cheese.  This could also be why my 13 year diet hasn’t prove all that fruitfull. I will say that in that time period I have lost (and subsequently gained) 30 pounds.

brownies8

And even on past Valentine’s Days where I was sitting pretty 30 pounds lighter, I was so worried about everything I ate. I was so anxious about every little calories. And now, weighing much more than I’d prefer, I will say my relationship with food has never been healthier. I indulge when I want and celebrate every morsel. That’s why I don’t feel bad about eating (or posting) these rich and fudgy brownies. Sure they’re not healthy, but Valentine’s Day isn’t about healthy. It’s about being with the ones you love, and if the one you love is made with butter, cocoa powder and slathered in chocolate frosting, who am I to say you can’t enjoy every second (or taste) of it?

Fudgy Double Chocolate Brownies

chocolate dessert

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 24.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 baking sheet with parchment paper and then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar, vanilla, butter and unsweetened applesauce together until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flours, cocoa powder and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until fully combined. Using a spoon, carefully fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for about 38 – 42 minutes, or until browned and crackly on top.
  5. Let cool completely then remove from the pan.
  6. To make the frosting, beat the butter, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla in another mixing bowl. Spread the frosting over the top of the brownies and garnish with additional chocolate chips.

Nutritional information per brownie:

Calories: 350
Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 50 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 3.8 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 9

Garlic and Butter Mussels over Butternut Squash Bisque

Pin It PIN IT!

One thing I loved about my job as a freelancer was that I constantly challenged myself in the kitchen. Because the site I wrote for relied heavily on social media networks like Pinterest for traffic, we were constantly having to come up with extremely unique and innovative recipes. Now that I’ve quit the world of freelancing and am just cooking for pleasure, food and my blog, I’ve sort of hit a creative wall block when it comes to inspiring ideas.

Mussels

Instead of scouring cookbooks, Pinterest, Food Gawker and G+ for ideas, I find myself reverting back to classics that don’t need a laundry list of ingredients or a whole lot of time. That might make me sound lazy, but when you’re working close to 50 hours a week for a very exhausting, creative job, a classic is all you can handle.

butternut-squash-500x333

That or frozen pizza, which is what I ate yesterday, shamefully.

mussles with bisque

However, I will say I’m trying a lot harder to inspire myself to step outside of my comfort zone in the kitchen. As part of my goals, resolutions or inspirations, I’m trying to make blogging something I do for the love of it and something I do far more regularly than I used to. I’m happy it’s not something I rely on for a source of income, but I also want it to be something I’m proud of again, something that reflects who I am as a person, a cook and a foodie.

Mussels with soup

This recipe for garlic glams with butternut squash bisque isn’t new, in fact, I made it months ago for my Gluten-Free cookbook. Sadly it never made the cut (we already had too many mussel recipes) and I completely forget it existed. Can you believe that?This soup is the creamiest, smoothest and most amazing bisque I’ve ever had. Paired with buttery and garlic mussels, it’s like a dream team when it comes to flavor. In fact, I’m going to remake it this week for a fun little date night in. Too bad my husband doesn’t like seafood, more for me, I suppose!

Garlic and Butter Mussels over Butternut Squash Bisque

soups3

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 4. Soup adapted from All Recipes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the mussels:

  • 3 pounds fresh mussels
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Fresh sea salt

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped leeks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow carrots
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
  • Cracked black pepper and salt

Directions: 

  1. To make the soup, heat the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic and onions. Stirring constantly, heat the vegetables until soft and fragrant, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the carrots and squash. Heat another 3 – 5 minutes, or until they just start to soften.
  2. Pour the chicken broth, salt and pepper over the vegetables. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, or vegetables are extremely tender. Remove from heat and pour into blender in batches until smooth and creamy. Whisk in heavy cream.
  3. To make the mussels, rinse them under cold water and scrub lightly to remove dirt and excess film from outside of the shells. Remove the mussel beards (or those loose hairs on the shells) and discard.
  4. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add the green onions, garlic and leeks. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add the mussels and toss with some tongs. Add in the white wine and the broth. Cover and let steam for about 10 minutes, or until the mussels start to open up. *While the mussels are steaming, it’s important to stir them around so the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom and the mussels are on contact with the heat.
  6. To serve, ladle the soup into four large bowls. Top with a hefty spoonful of mussels and drizzle with remaining melted butter (from the mussels. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Nutritional information per serving: 

Calories: 276.5
Fat: 22.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 26.25 grams
Fiber: 2.8 grams
Protein: 32 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 11

Banana Nut Zucchini Muffins

Pin It PIN IT!

I don’t typically say recipes are “the best” because I think it’s a little narcissistic to say so. I mean, who I am to judge a recipe as best? I’m no Ina Garten or Amanda Hesser. With that being said, though, I will say this, these are the best muffins I’ve ever had.

fluffy muffins

I know, totally contradictory. But I don’t have any other words to define these incredibly fluffy, moist and amazingly flavorful muffins. The mix of banana nut with fresh zucchini makes for an unbeatably healthy and delicious breakfast.

fluffy banana nut muffins

If you want to know how good these are, I’ve made them three times since perfecting the recipe last weekend. Some may call that obsessive, ridiculous or crazy, but once you’ve had a bite of these, you’ll get it.

almonds

I have to also admit that my binge-muffin making comes off the tail of quite a few recipe fails in the baking department. In the past 2 weeks alone, I’ve had more fails that successes so having a muffin actually turn out is pretty amazing. I don’t know why nothing i make with yeast is doing what it’s supposed to, but I’m not going to harp on that. Instead I’m going to take my wins and celebrate them, how every small they may be.

fluffy muffins2

However, I will say, these fails keep me humble and they keep me challenged. I mean, how would you ever learn anything about baking if recipes worked out every single time?

Zucchini Banana Muffins

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make these for the 15th time because they are just. that. good.

Banana Nut Zucchini Muffins

Healthy banana zucchini muffins

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 16. Adapted from Taste of Home.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 22 – 28 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line one large muffin pan or two smaller ones with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder together. Make a well in the center.
  3. In another bowl, beat the sugar, honey, egg, bananas, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract together until smooth. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir, by hand, until fully incorporated.
  4. Carefully mix in the zucchini and chopped almonds.
  5. Fill each muffin liner 3/4 the way full with batter.
  6. Bake for about 18 – 22 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Nutritional information per muffin: 

Calories: 169
Fat: 5.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 27 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 2.6 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 4

Simple Homemade Lasagna

Pin It PIN IT!

Today we’re going back to the basics with a simple homemade lasagna recipe. As much as I love the funky recipes like these melon and tofu spring rolls or this beef stew and french onion soup hybrid, I also love classics. When it really comes down to it, the food I most crave are the comfort food classics I grew up eating.

lasagna2

Like lasagna. I’m such an addict when it comes to Italian food though. I could eat pasta with some sort of sauce, olive oil, crispy italian bread and proscuitto every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. I’ve been all over the world and some of the most memorable meals I can remember come from my trip to Italy with my family in 2010.

lasagna 2

That trip was so special for a multitude of reasons, but it really changed the way I think of food and eating all together. I saw how much the Italians savored every bite, how meal time was a time to catch up with friends and family. Food wasn’t just something to eat to pass the time to get your nutrients, it was romantic and sensual. I came home with an entire new appreciation for eating, serving and cooking.

parsley

I like to say I held onto that feeling, but when I was busting out recipe after recipe for the past 3 years of my life, I kind of lost it. I turned from cooking with love to cooking for money and income. Even though I’ve been out of that world for 3 months now, it’s still taking me time to find that happiness I once had in the kitchen.

meat lasagna

I will say, though, it’s coming back in spurts and certain foods really ignite that Italian mentality when I’m cooking, like this simple homemade lasagna. It’s not a complicated dish or an expensive one, but it’s one that just brings back so many amazing memories of growing up with my mom in the kitchen. It’s one that you can’t just shovel down in front of the tv. Every bite should be savored and tasted.

I realize how crazy, corny and “Eat Pray Love” that sounds, but it’s true. This was the first meal in a long time that my husband and I just ate, together, with a bottle of wine and no background noise. And if a dish can turn us away from our TV rut, it deserves at least a blog post, don’t you think?

Simple Homemade Lasagna

DSC_2817

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 12. Inspired by All Recipes.
Prep time: About 45 minutes – 1 hour
Cook time: 40 – 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 16 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 92/8)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots **
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 4 1/2 cups homemade marinara sauce (I used this recipe) *
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Dash of sugar
  • Dash of salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (16 ounce jar) (or precisely one pound of low-fat ricotta)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (I used brown ones)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

*Sub in store bought if you don’t have time to make it from scratch.

** Use onions if you’d prefer.

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and add a dash of salt. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al-dente, about 8 – 10 minutes. Place in a colander and rinse in cold water, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add the ground beef to a large skillet and cook, over medium-high heat, until golden brown. Drain excess fat (reserving one tablespoon) and place in a large bowl. In the same skillet with the fat, add the shallots, garlic cloves and chopped mushrooms. Cook on medium low until fully caramelized and vegetables are softened. Return the beef to the skillet and pour in the sauce, chopped fresh herbs (parsley and basil), dried seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and dash of sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until thickened.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, eggs and parmesan cheese. Stir until thick and mixed.
  5. To layer the lasagna, scoop about 1/2 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of the pan and spread with a spatula. Top with 3 – 4 lasagna noodles. Top with 1/2 cup of cheese mixture, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of sauce and another 3 – 4 noodles. Repeat until the cheese and noodles have been used. Top remaining noodles with sauce.
  6. Cover the remaining sauce with slices of fresh mozzarella and a dash of pepper.
  7. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
  8. Serve immediately with a dash of fresh parsley.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 490
Fat: 16.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 40 grams
Fiber: 5.5 grams
Protein: 25 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 10

Red Wine Braised Pork Chops with Mushrooms

Pin It PIN IT!

These red wine braised pork chops with mushrooms is an easy, low calorie and a fun dinner option that adds some variety to your weeknight dinners. No more boring chicken breasts!

Red wine pork chops

It’s January 14th and I’ve still yet to put together a list of goals, or resolutions, or promises for the year. For many people, the idea of resolutions is stupid because as humans, we’re bound to screw up. And as humans, one screw up can completely derail us form our healthy motives to begin with. Trust me, I know this from personal experience. That’s why, as much as I love setting up goals in a new year, I’m always hesitate because i know i’m going to screw it up.

ingredients

However, that’s also why i’m not necessarily working on “goals” or “resolutions” this year, and instead more of a promise. Instead of telling myself that I have to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to promise myself that I’m going to find happiness in my body and focus more on health versus weight.

Red Wine Pork Chops2

But i’m still jotting down ideas. I’m hoping to have that published sometime this week, but knowing the way my life is going at the moment, it might not come out until March.

I will tease though, one of them includes a more healthy work/life balance. After joining my new job in November, I’ve been in a mad dash. The world I’m in now is so vastly different than the world I was in for 3 years, so even after 3 months, I’m still struggling to keep up. But I need to find a way to accomplish all of my work while still having time to blog, cook and work out. The last thing I want to see happen is this blog fall apart because I’m unable to balance.

red wine

I can’t say it’ll be perfect and I’ll blog everyday, but I can say I’ll try. And I think that’s just as important.

Red Wine Braised Pork Chop with Mushrooms

inside pork chop

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves 4. Adapted from First Home Love Life.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 15 minutes
Total time: 25 – 30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless pork chops (I used Omaha Steaks!)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sage leaf, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 ounces chopped shiitake or oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large an over medium high heat.
  2. Mix the flour, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic salt and pepper together in a shallow mixing bowl.
  3. Liberally dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture, making sure to evenly coat all the sides.
  4. Add pork chops to the hot oil. Cook until browned on all sides, about 4 – 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in the mushrooms, onions and garlic cloves. Toss them into the pan with the pork so they’re evenly touching the pan.
  5. Add in red wine and chicken broth. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  6. To serve, garnish each pork chop with an assortment of onions and mushrooms, and top with fresh parsley.

Nutritional information per serving (1 pork chop):

Calories: 381.75
Fat: 16.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 14.25 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 32.25 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 9

Whole Wheat Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Pin It PIN IT!

Since Wednesday’s topic was a little heavy, we’re going to take it light today to celebrate Friday! I do, though, have to say thank you to everyone who read, commented and emailed me about my anxiety post. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy sharing, but I’m so at peace knowing my post help others bring their struggles to the limelight.

berry coffee cake

But enough about anxiety, let’s talk about something that’ll never make you feel worried, sad or nervous; COFFEE CAKE! But not just any kind of coffee cake, one made with tart, plump raspberries, cream cheese filling and tons of buttery crumbles.

Whole wheat coffee cake

I know everyone and their mom is on some sort of “diet” for New Years, and I can completely understand that. I too am trying to cut back on calorie consumption so I can get dressed in the mornings without having a Julie Powell meltdown. However, I also just love food and it’s hard for me to replace my morning breakfast with a smoothie that tastes like a salad.

As much as I like salad, I don’t love it for breakfast.

Cream cheese coffee cake

That’s where this fluffy, sweet, tart, tangy and delicious coffee cake comes from. The beautiful berries give it a pop of color (and myriad of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), and the whole wheat flour makes it a bit healthier than the kinds made with all purpose.

  Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Cake

And since each piece has less than 6 grams of fat, you can feel content and guilt-free enjoying it for breakfast. Because really, that’s my goal in life. To eat cake for breakfast and not immediately feel bad about it. And if I can share that with my closest friends, that’s just the icing on the breakfast cake.

Whole Wheat Raspberry & Strawberry Cream  Coffee Cake

Moist and fluffy raspberry c offee cake

CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 16.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 – 45 minutes
Total time: 50 – 55 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the cake:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plain, 2% Greek yogurt (not nonfat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard size 8 x 8 glass or nonstick baking dish with parchment paper and dust lightly with flour. Set aside.
  2. Place the raspberries in a bowl and gently smash with the back of a spoon to create a bit of a paste.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flours and sugar together. Add in the applesauce and stir to combine. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles wet sand. Save 3/4 cup for the top.
  4. To the rest of the mixture, mix in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, stir well to combine.
  5. In another bowl, beat the sugar, cream cheese and egg together until combined and smooth (no lumps).
  6. Pour the  cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Carefully pour the cream cheese over the batter and then top the cream cheese with the smashed raspberries. To evenly distribute, carefully swirl the raspberries over the cream cheese topping.
  7. Top the raspberry filling with the remaining crumb mixture.
  8. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove and serve.

Nutritional information per slice:

Calories: 179.5
Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 27.7 grams
Fiber: 2.2 grams
Protein: 5.6 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5

My Life With Anxiety

Pin It PIN IT!

I wish I could just sit here and share a new recipe with you. I wish I could talk about low fat coffee cake, crunchy apple bars and gooey caramel. But I can’t today. I have to talk about me and something I haven’t been 100% honest with you guys about.

4dd22ba94fc8fd5a8f8deda66abe898a

(Image via Pinterest)

I’m not dying. I’m not getting a divorce. I’m not pregnant nor was I. As the title precludes, today we’re going to talk about something deeply personal and hard. For the past year, I’ve been facing some really hard mental demons of my own. Instead of hiding from my diagnosis anymore I’m going to sit down and talk about it frankly with you guys. I’ve been living with severe anxiety for the past year and a half, and I think I’m ready to talk about it.

7a9a220569cc94f2bcc3e166cdf9d128

People have so many misconceptions about anxiety. For one, everyone thinks they have it. My neighbor, my family members, every friend I confide in. They all believe they’re suffering from the same anxiety I face. And while I agree that everyone does face anxiety once or twice in their life, that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface at the amounts I face daily, hourly, every minute. So many people laugh when I tell them about it, saying “oh I have that too” or “exercise totally helps me” or “oh stop, everything’s fine.” My favorite though is “oh I’m sort of anxious about this and that, can I have a few of your xanaxs?”

Yes, people actually ask that. And people constantly belittle my disease saying it’s something I can just get over. Don’t you think I’d just get over it if I could? Don’t you think I would trade ANYTHING to not get physically sick when panic attacks hit or I break into a hysteria that leaves me broken? If I could just “get over it” I would have a long time ago.

b1b38d5c1a6e3b85955bea26e926cae1

I’m not here though to bad mouth people who say those things, instead, I’m going to enlighten them and hopefully open the doors for people who are going through the same thing. See mental illness, despite it being 2015, is still something that carries a bit of a stigma. Anytime a major celebrity dies from depression or suicide, this conversation comes up again and again. “Why can’t they just seek help? Why didn’t anyone try to help them?” And there are even people who don’t think depression, anxiety or any mental ailment is a real struggle, they think it’s something a few pills and some therapy can help. Well, that works for some and it doesn’t for others. No wonder so many people hide their problems and deal with their struggles behind closed doors, so many people are so quick to judge them for having these kinds of problems. In a world where we broadcast our lives on social media and are constantly trying to portray our lives as perfect, it’s hard to sit there and go “I’m not perfect, and here’s why.”

e60fad1cdeaae05767ef169e5b310f5d

Trust me, writing this post isn’t easy for me. I struggle with so many inner demons, one of them being jealousy and inadequacy. I’m terrified of admitting that things aren’t shiny and glamorous, especially when it seems all of my friends and colleagues lead these post-card perfect lives. But I’m going to because I know I’m not the only person hiding behind the curtains, staring over at the neighbors greener lawn.

I’ve been struggling with some form of anxiety my entire life. As a kid, I was also a big worrier. My parents never saw that as a point of concern, they just noticed that I seemed to worry about everything, things 8 year olds shouldn’t worry about, like bills and college funds. As I grew up, some of that worrying faded and soon I was faced with the normal anxieties of a teenager. In college my anxiety deepened. It started to manifest itself inside of me and it scared me. Instead of talking to a therapist or confiding in my friends, I drank. I drank nonstop so I could stop feeling this constantly pull inside me that was weighing me down. Untreated anxiety can turn into many things, and my first two years of college it turned into depression. A depression I self medicated, which made things worse. A depression that finally forced me to open my eyes about my problems and find a solution.

fdcbd39594803c603df9c9a92e15948c

When I transferred schools, most of my depression went away, because I started talking to my family about it. Minus one very traumatic event my junior year, my anxiety had mostly dissipated. I still had it, well after graduation, our move to DC, my first job and break into freelancing. But it was manageable. The moment it became unmanageable was the day after the fire.

The fire left me completely broken. It changed everything about my life. I couldn’t leave my apartment without having a panic attack. I couldn’t walk down the street without having a fear that I’d come home to a burnt down house. Anytime I heard a fire truck, I literally had to take deep breaths to prevent myself from breaking down in public. Every single day was a personal nightmare for me, wondering what horrible thing could happen next.

b89cdcca5f00e4d9b4990e9c98333d8a

I wish I could sit here and say that moving to a safe new place and having a great year made all of my anxiety go away. I wish I could. But I can’t. My anxiety today is as severe as it was the day after the fire. I wake up every morning with a nervous pit in my stomach. From the moment I’m awake, my mind starts processing negative thoughts. I have frequent panic attacks where I feel like I can’t breathe or control myself. When I’m traveling, my thoughts are “my plane is going to crash” or “i’m going to get mugged.” People without anxiety can combat these thoughts easily by deducting odds and understanding chances. I can’t do that. My mind functions in a black and white way. It’s either this or that. I’ll either die in a fiery plane crash or I won’t. I’m constantly thinking of worst case scenarios.

b997a00c44d93d145906159269b24b5e

There was a moment last year where my anxiety completely took over while on a trip for work and I was so worked up, I couldn’t sleep, despite an early flight the next morning. I was so panicked, not even a call with my husband could calm me down and I ended up keeping him up most of the night as well.

That was a breaking point for me, I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore and neither could my husband. As soon as I got home, I talked with my primary care doctor about medicines that could help me deal with my anxiety. She prescribed me two kinds of medicine, one for daily anxiety and one for extreme situations. And I’m happy to report that after 8 months of taking the daily pill, I feel like I finally have some of my daily anxiety managed. But it’s not gone. I’m not someone who wants to spend their life mediciated, so I’ve recently started talking with a therapist. It’s scary at first, but incredible once you completely open yourself up to them. I was reserved, but now I look forward to our meetings every week. She doesn’t judge me or make me feel like I’m crazy for the thoughts. Instead she and I find ways I can handle it without the need for panic attacks or higher dosage medication.

I know my anxiety will never go away and that’s something I just have to find a way to live with. But I do know that I can finally manage it in a way that doesn’t leave me dependent on medicine. It’s been a very hard road and very windy one, but I’m here and I’m so grateful to have the support of the people around me. And I’m grateful to you guys for listening and letting me post this. To anyone who is facing crippling anxiety or any mental illness, don’t be scared anymore. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Don’t be a slave to your demons, conquer them.

63b19da6bf67f1d862f20aabf29ea48c

If I can, you can. And that’s a promise.

Next Page   >>