Monday, April 29, 2013

Curried Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils - gluten free, vegan


  • 1 c lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups broth, you could use *vegetable or chicken (*vegan)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced/shredded
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (remove ribs and seeds)
  • 2 t fresh grated ginger (I love the stuff already pre-ground in the tube or jar)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • salt to taste (I used 1 t)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Red pepper chili flakes optional for added spice
  • Optional: 2 small chicken breasts, baked and cubed (not vegan)


  1. In a large pot, bring lentils, broth, and sweet potatoes to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and lentils are barely done cooking. 
  2. Add in the tumeric, curry, salt, fire-roasted tomatoes, and ginger to the same pot and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute onions, garlic, and jalapenos for 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the sliced cabbage and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sauteed mixture to the large pot and stir in the coconut milk.  Top with fresh cilantro.
I went ahead and included some baked chicken in this dish for some added protein, but that is optional for sure.  I used 2 chicken smaller chicken breasts, (baked and cubed) and added them in with the coconut milk.  Without adding in extra heat, this is about a 1 star recipe and great for the not -too-spicy curry lovers.  For the adults, we added in a couple shakes of red pepper flakes for some extra kick.  Absolutely delicious both ways! Sometimes it's nice to keep it mild and let everyone add in the spice factor that they prefer.  This was a very healthy, hearty, and flavorful dish.  Really delicious!!! Photo credit and recipe inspiration goes to Pinch of Yum.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt - No flour, no sugar, vegan

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cans (15 oz ea.) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/4 c 
  • sea salt, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9x13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor or good blender (my Ninja rocked this without a problem), add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. Add in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Have you seen the darker semi-sweet chocolate chips from Costco? Yum!
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle and lightly press 1/4 c chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are starting to brown. 
  4. Cool for AT LEAST 20 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares. Makes 32 blondies which ring in at roughly 120 calories each.

You could actually modify this recipe a bunch of different ways using different nut butters or different sweeteners like agave or honey.  I just wrote the recipe exactly how I made it.  I took some to my hubby at work to share with his team as well as to my mother in law.  I had 3 emails/texts by the end of the day asking if I was going to post the recipe to the blog.  So, I guess that means it's blog-worthy! Ha!  I will admit, I was *pleasantly* surprised by the sweet flavor and texture.  Definitely a good substitute for a fully-loaded treat.  Repeater recipe for sure! Photo credit (first photo) and recipe inspiration from

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Soft and Chewy Banana Nut Butter Cookies: No sugar, gluten free, EASY!

  • 6 T all natural peanut butter
  • 2 T all natural almond butter
  • 1 small ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Mix all ingredients well.
  3. Drop onto cookie sheet and press down with hand or fork.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  5. Let cool and enjoy!
The sweetness in these cookies comes from the banana and honey – and that’s it. No added sugars whatsoever... so if you are looking for a sugar-high kind of cookie, I’m sorry but these aren’t them :( Instead they are rich, moist, and buttery, with a soft slight sweetness, and melt in your mouth delicious!

I made them twice and came up with a different consistencies due to the irregularity of banana size, but I didn't notice any difference in awesome taste!

Every day people should eat a portioned amount of healthy fats – and the sources can be olive oil, avocado, nut butters, or nuts and seeds. These are my “nut butter” dose of healthy fat as each cookie has just under a tablespoon amount of nut butter! I used a mixture of natural almond and natural peanut butter – I’m sure they would work out fine with cashew butter, or even sunflower butter.. or a combination of the lot!

Toddler approved!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crustless Quinoa Quiche

This crustless quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) quiche is wonderful for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It is equally enjoyable cold or hot.

It is super easy to throw together because you don't even have to make the crust - and trust me when I say you won't even miss it! The texture is fabulous and the flavors incredible, with none of the guilt of "normal" quiche (heavy cream to make the crust and a fat laden pie crust).

Nutritionally speaking, quinoa is a super food. It has an almost perfect ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Quinoa has been described as one of the best sources of protein you can get from a plant source. Quinoa is also considered to be a complex carbohydrate and provides the body with daily fiber, antioxidants and vitamins such as magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus and B2. Quinoa is also gluten free.

Quinoa can be used as a direct substitute for rice, potatoes, or even pasta. It has a slight nutty flavour and  a unique texture.

One of the reasons I love quiche is because it has the flexibility of a stir-fry.  You can empty out your veggie bin and get creative with your spices.  You can throw in whatever strikes your fancy!

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
  • 1/8 t sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping T fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets or asparagus spears (or both!)
  • Optional: 4-6 slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • butter or oil for cooking (I used butter)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a pie plate with butter or oil. 
  2. Rinse the quinoa, add to a saucepan and then cover with the water. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the water has been absorbed (15-20 min.) and the quinoa is cooked. 
  3. Whisk the eggs with the Greek yogurt until frothy. Add the spices, veggies, parmesan cheese, cooked quinoa, and mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into the greased quiche dish.
  4. Cook for approximately 45 minutes until golden.

I have played with this recipe a handful of times now and have enjoyed it each and every time!  I have tried it with asparagus, broccoli, red pepper, spinach, turkey bacon, onion, garlic... all kinds of different ways and with different spice combinations.  I love how this quinoa sets up and the texture is fabulous.  Emma requests to eat this for breakfast and even for dinner!  I am a seriously quiche lover and I love this healthier version!

Thai Quinoa Salad

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped or julienned
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • ½ cup cashew halves
  • Optional: 1 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (rotisserie chicken would make this fast and easy!)
  • For the peanut sauce: 
    • 1/2 c peanut butter
    • 1/2 c hoisin sauce (asian section of grocery store)
    • 1-2T fresh grated ginger (you can buy this pre-ground, easy!)
    • 1 t chili paste (asian section of grocery store)
    • 1/3 c hot water
  1. To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
  2. Make peanut sauce by whisking all peanut sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so I love adding it to the quinoa first.
  4. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Delicious topped with extra peanut sauce and even fresh lime.
Although there is a bit of veggie chopping with this recipe, it was relatively fast, easy, fresh, and delicious!  We will definitely make it again!  I added chicken to serve it as a main dish, although that is nutritionally not necessary.  I would leave the chicken out if I was serving it as a side dish.

This recipe was inspired by  Photo credits to ambitiouskitchen.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Black Bean Salad with Cumin Chicken


2  boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/4  teaspoon  cayenne pepper
2  tablespoons  olive oil
1/2  cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped and seeded
3  cups  canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2  cups  fresh or frozen corn kernals
1 1/4  cups cherry or grape tomato halves
2  scallions, thinly sliced
2  tablespoons  cilantro, courely chopped
2  teaspoons  red wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 fresh avocado, sliced
1/2 cup fresh salsa
corn tortillas (optional)


  1. Filet each chicken breast.  Combine cumin with cayenne and rub all over the chicken, season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat grill.  Cook on grill approximately 7-8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board.
  3. In a skillet add olive oil and the onion and jalapeƱo. Saute, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, and 3 tablespoons water and saute, stirring, 2-3 minutes, until just heated through. Remove from heat.
  5. Toss with the scallions, cilantro, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Slice the chicken and arrange on top of the beans.
  6. Option #1: after tossing the finished products together, stuff a corn tortilla and top with chopped romaine lettuce, plus your favorite fresh salsa and avocado slices for yummy tacos,  OR
  7. Option #2: same as above, but place all ingredients on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, top with avocado and salsa and enjoy a delicious salad!

Thai Fried Rice

3 cups jasmine rice, steamed
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper
1/2 large yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
3 egg whites, scrambled
1 whole egg, scrambled
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch portions
3 Thai chili peppers (optional)
4 tsp vegetable oil
4 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (or more to taste)
2 tsp fish sauce

Prepare rice ahead of time according to package instructions. I steamed ours. It's best if it's made slightly on the dry side.
Heat a wok on a high flame. Meanwhile, season chicken with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. When the wok is very hot, add 2 tsp oil. When the oil gets hot, add the chicken and cook on high a few minutes, tossing so that it browns all over. Remove chicken from wok and set aside, add the eggs and cook a minute or two until done. Set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the wok and add the onion, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic. Saute 1 minute, add the Thai chili pepper, and pineapple and stir in all the rice. Add soy sauce and fish sauce stir to mix all the ingredients. Keep stirring a few minutes, then add egg and chicken back to the wok. Adjust soy sauce if needed and stir well another 30 seconds. Serve with toasted coconut, and fresh cilantro.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lighter Version Chicken Enchiladas


  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2 c cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 c corn (off the cob is ideal, frozen is next best, canned is 3rd choice)
  • 1 c plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 packet of enchilada seasoning packet (or add more to taste)
  • 2 c shredded cheese, divided
  • 1 large can or 2 small cans of enchilada sauce (I like Old El Paso Mild)
  • 6-8 tortillas (soft taco size)
  • Optional toppings: non-fat plain yogurt, light sour cream, sliced avocado, guacamole, shredded lettuce, green onions, diced tomatoes, cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bake or boil chicken breasts. Shred.  This is so easy to do with a kitchen aid mixer.  Just quarter cooked chicken breasts while still warm and turn on med-high with the blade attachment for 30 seconds or so.  It shreds the chicken beautifully!
  3. Add in cooked rice, yogurt, black beans, corn, 1/2 of cheese, and enchilada seasoning. Mix well.
  4. Pour 1/3 of enchilada sauce in a 9x13 pan or enough to just cover the bottom.
  5. Stuff tortillas with filling and lay seam-side down in the pan.
  6. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce and remainder of cheese.
  7. Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.  Cooking time will increase a bit if you make ahead and refrigerate.
  8. Top with your favorite toppings!  Enjoy!
I generally quadruple this recipe for dinner club which also gives me a pan to freeze for later.  Always a hit with my family and easy to make if you're feeding a larger group not only for quantity, but because you can easily make it ahead of time. 

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers


  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 10 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed with liquid squeezed out
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • roasted red peppers (I used canned ones)
  • Combine all ingredients aside from peppers in a mixing bowl and combine with your hands. 
  • Form into about 8 patties.
  • Grill, top with roasted red peppers, and enjoy!
These were delicious! Even my toddler scarfed his down! The original recipe didn't recommend any condiments. We just used a bit of mayo. I think they would be even better with some chipotle mayo. We'll give that a whirl next time, because there will definitely be a next time!

Recipe from Green Lite Bites

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce and Cilantro Lime Quinoa

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ½ Teaspoon of Paprika
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 3/4
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  •  Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 1 Cup of Quinoa
  • A Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
  1. Combine all the dry seasonings in a small bowl. Mix them together and then season both sides of each chicken breast.
  2. Add the teaspoon of olive oil to a large pan or skillet. Heat the olive oil for a minute over medium/high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan. Cook for seven minutes on each side with the lid on. OR Grill it! I recommend the grilling!
  3. Add the chicken stock/broth, lime juice, quinoa, and cilantro to your rice cooker and cook, or follow instructions on quinoa package.
  4. Serve the sliced chicken breast on top of the quinoa. Top with avocado cream sauce.

To Make Avocado Cream Sauce:
  1. Place the flesh from an avocado along with two tablespoons of Greek yogurt in a food processor and puree until smooth.

I made just a few minor tweaks to the original recipe I found for this and it was delicious! The best part was how incredibly easy it was to make!

Original recipe from Sarcastic Cooking