Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best EVER Bagel Sandwich

Wow! I'm so hungry! All the time! It seems almost impossible except for the fact that it is actually happening. I am actually this hungry. 

Most recently, I've been craving bagel sandwiches something fierce. It's like I'm possessed. I've been playing with the recipe about every day for the past week and I think I've finally found the pot of gold. 

This is the Bagel Sandwich we've all been waiting for. The kind of Best EVER Bagel Sandwich that tastes like someone else made for you. Which of course isn't true, it was actually you whipping this up, but somehow it does taste like you had nothing to do with it. Funny, right?

I wanted to factor in pieces of all the whole grains, proteins, and vegetables that I'm supposed to be ingesting to help my unborn baby grow strong. It's so overwhelming that sometimes I just want to go to the Dairy Queen drive through and get the biggest M & M Blizzard they make (and sometimes I do...).
However, in an effort to keep things extra nutritious, this Best Ever Bagel Sandwich is loaded with protein, creamy hummus, and loaded with fresh and crunchy vegetables. It has the best of all worlds... hot, creamy, crunchy, and of coarse that delicious crunch of a toasted bagel finished with soft doughy inside of that same bagel that feels like my grandmothers hugs.


This Best EVER Bagel Sandwich is a must try and only has 5 INGREDIENTS! That's it to make it feel like my grandma's hug and like someone else made it. And in case you never met my grandma... she had the best hugs to give.

Have a great lunch or brunch over the weekend!
On with the recipe!

Best EVER Bagel Sandwich 

1 Large Egg
1 Whole Wheat Bagel (Preferably loaded with fiber and flax if you can find it)
1/4 Cup Classic Garlic Hummus (find recipe here or you can use store bought too)
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced English Cucumber
1/4 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach
1. Heat a small skillet and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Cook the egg over easy, over medium, hard. However you prefer your eggs cook it that way. Then turn off the heat.
2. Meanwhile, slice bagel and toast lightly.
3. Spread both sides with hummus, then top the bottom with the thinly sliced cucumber and half of the spinach leaves. Top with the cooked egg and the remaining spinach leaves.
4. Close with the top of the bagel and slice in half. Then devour like it came from the best bagel sandwich shop you know of and your grandma is sitting across from you asking about your day at school.

Serving: 1

Nutritional Skinny:

370 calories / 10 g fat / 47 g carbohydrates / 10.3 g fiber / 23 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: This sandwich is not only easy and satisfying, but backed with iron rich spinach, protein dense eggs, and tons of fiber brought to you by the hummus and the whole grain bagel. The perfect way to spend your lunch to give you the power to make it the rest of the afternoon until dinner!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Love Day

It's Valentine's Day, which for me means another day for endless goopy-woopy love and a great excuse to have chocolates and flowers in the house.

The best kind of chocolates (in my humble opinion) are little Dove's. I grew up with these always on hand. My mother always said she would never live in a house with out chocolates or whip cream. I have the best mom ever, don't I?!?

Seriously? Chocolate and whip cream, I know exactly why I chose her as my mom!
For Valentine's Day this year, I ran out of time. Big surprise. So, this year Doves Dark Chocolates are my treat.

They're sweet, perfectly sized.
And when you peel them open, please be careful.

Because there is always a thoughtful note tucked inside, almost like the notes some other kids got from their parents in their lunches. 

Today, my special note says, "Take advantage of every free moment you have." And isn't that the truth!
So, I do and I slowly and peacefully eat my dark chocolate dove, spending time loving me and sharing that love with all of you.
If you do have a few extra minutes and energy, please do make these delicious "Love You Sugar Cookies". They are extra delicious and make everyone feel really special, if your into that sort of thing, which I totally am.
Because could there be a better recipe for love than Sugar Cookies, Dipped in Sugared Frosting, and sprinkled with sugar? Nothing, that's what.

Hope you all have a love-filled and chocolate-dazed Valentine's Day. 

From my heart to yours!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Game Day Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

It's Super Bowl Sunday! Let the good times and great food reign!

That usually means lots of salty fair such as nachos, buffalo wings, cheese fries, chili. You name it.

Well, because I'm a chick and I'm really into dessert. I decided to whip up something sweet to bring to the Super Bowl party this year. My inspiration came from the idea of a cold chocolate dipped banana. 
Who doesn't love that on a hot summer day. Except that it's not hot outside and cupcakes just sounded like fun. 
So I mashed some bananas, threw in some chocolate chips and used that delicious Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence (that's now available in stores!) and made the most amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with  Creamy Chocolate Frosting.

I reduced the sugar, cut out the oil, and added some nutritious mashed bananas and the end result is a moist and sweet, melt in your mouth, cupcake that is half the fat and calories of something store bought.

Not to mention, it's my honey's nephew's birthday today so cupcakes seemed like a fun birthday treat too.
So no matter what the cause for celebration, these cupcakes are easy to whip up in a hurry with ingredieints you most likely have on hand and are the perfect sweet ending to a salt occasion!

May the best team win!

Cheers and on with the recipe!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Idea inspired by 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson

1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Baking Splenda
1/2 Cup Apple Sauce (Unsweetened)
2 Eggs
1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 2 Large Ripe Bananas)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Creamy Chocolate Frosting:

8 Ounces Philadelphia Milk Chocolate Indulgence
1/2 Cup Sugar Free Vanilla Frosting
1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips; Minced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 cupcake wells with paper liners and coat with baking spray.
 2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, Splenda, apple sauce, and eggs until smooth. Add banana and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture, beating until combined.
4. Scoop batter into prepared cupcake liners and bake 22-28 minutes or until edges are brown and spring back when touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, beat together the milk chocolate indulgence and vanilla frosting until smooth. Spread evenly and liberally over each cooled cupcake. Top with minced chocolate chips. I also used some colored sprinkles to add some festive fun to the cupcakes. Feel free to be creative!
Servings: 12

Nutritional Skinny:
147 calories / 14 g fat / 15 g carbohydrates / 2 g fiber / 3 g protein
Mental Health Benefit: These have the health benefits of bananas, not to mention that not using oil saves us about 100 calories a piece! It's really a no-brainer and the chocolate I believe strongly helps us deal with the most difficult of situations. Even our team loosing the super bowl. So go ahead and whip these up, share with friends, and enjoy the sweet treat of banana's and chocolate!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Butternut Squash Curry with Coconut Milk

Last time we spoke, I said I was feeling better. My cold only lasted one day. 

Well, I was wrong. The Mack Truck hit a few days later when I lost my voice and was left cowering before my bed dreading sleep because it hurt so much to breath let alone try to sleep while breathing. 

During my 'no voice' phase I had an appointment with my Midwife. I asked her, "I've never been this sick with a cold before in my life (croak)? Is my immune system compromised due to my pregnancy?" 

She responded all nonchalant, "Yeah, that can happen."

Yet, another pregnancy side effect. This information forced me back to the drawing board to find another recipe that would sooth, heal, and provide a spicy delicious flavor for my stuffy, yet disturbingly quiet face.

That's how I came up with this Butternut Squash Curry with Coconut Milk. I added tofu and edamame for some great soy protein and some curry and red pepper flakes for some heat. 

The results were a heavenly mixture of creamy texture teasing my tongue and finishing with a sharp smack to the behind from the heat! Just what the doctor ordered. Me being the 'doctor' in this case. 
My honey even really enjoyed it. And I really enjoyed watching him eat tofu without complaining or making comments.
And served with brown rice this was a complete meal stuffed full of flavor and nutrients. Check the Mental Health Benefits below for more information about all the nutrition we are getting from this easy and healthy meal!

Of course if you are avoiding carbohydrates for the sake of blood sugar or diet, this is equally delicious enjoyed as a soup sans the brown rice!

Now on with the recipe and a healed body! Wishing you the best of health!

Butternut Squash Curry with Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 Cloves Garlic; Minced
1 Large White Onion; Minced
3 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger; Peeled and minced
4 Cups Low Sodium Fat Free Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
5 Cups Butternut Squash; Peeled and cubed
19 Ounces Medium Firm Tofu
1 tsp. Roasted Red Chili Paste
2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Cayanne Pepper
2 tsp. Green Curry Paste
I (13.6 Oz) Can Lite Coconut Milk 

1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if desired)
10 Ounces Frozen Edamame (shelled)

Chopped Peanuts (for garnish if desired)
Cut Fresh Chive (for garnish if desired)
1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Then add the garlic, white onion, and ginger. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until onion begins to soften.
2. Transfer to a 10 quart crock pot and add the chicken broth, sesame oil, cubed butternut squash, tofu, red chili paste, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, green curry paste, lite coconut milk, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Set crock pot to high and cook for 3-4 hours.
3. After 3-4 hours have passed, test the squash with a fork, it should be easily pierced and tender. Place half of the mixture in the blender (about 4-5 cups or as much as your blender will hold) and blend until smooth. Return to the crock pot and add the frozen edamame. Stir to combine and allow to cook for one more hour.

4. Meanwhile, cook the brown rice according to package directions. 

5. To serve; ladle a large serving of the curry into a bowl and top with a scoop of brown rice. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and fresh chives if desired. A delicious, soothing, spicy bowl of yummy Thai flavors awaits!

Servings: 8

Nutritional Skinny (curry only - no rice):

180.2 calories / 9.3 g fat / 18.2 g carbohydrates / 3.2 g fiber / 11.1 g protein

If served with a serving of rice add:

150 calories / 1 g fat / 32 g carbohydrates / 1 g fiber / 3 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Tofu is a great source of lean protein and takes on any flavor that you marinade it in or cook it with making it a sponge for virtually any recipe. It has also been shown to lower bad cholesterol, alleviate the symptoms of menopause (for women), and even reduce the risk of cancer. This is due to the lean protein and rich Vitamin C and calcium that is contained within it's creamy texture. Paired with the edamame, yet another great source of lean soy protein, and butternut squash in this recipe; you can't beat the health benefits of this meal. The protein from the soy products meets the anti-oxidant dense and fiber and protein packed butternut squash to pack a powerful punch here. Don't miss the opportunity to dive in head first and never look back. Even if you've never cooked with tofu, this is a great first recipe!