Cheese plate lunches and candle lit dinners

Hello and Happy Thursday!

I am oddly energized this morning even though I didn’t do my planned morning workout. I opted to move my cardio to this afternoon in an effort to get an early jump on the workday…plus Phil and I are going to dinner right around the corner from my gym this evening, so this way I can pop right over and take my time working out.

I have getting my daily morning workouts in (alternating between cardio and yoga) but feel like I am always cutting them short so I can scoot out the door and get off to work…I guess anything is better than nothing; however, with a pending plate of practically perfect, palate pleasing pasta from Porcini, I am grateful to be able to put in a little extra this afternoon.

By the way, can you tell I am excited for dinner!?!?! But honestly, with a weekend of cheese plates and mushroom risotto dinners, who can blame a girl?!cheese

As mentioned on Tuesday, the macaroons were just the tip of the culinary iceberg that was our mountain weekend. After today I will have just one more fabulous food post to share…perhaps for Foodie Friday…from our perhaps inappropriately nicknamed ‘fat kid weekend.’ We did both hit the gym and go for a long walk Saturday mind you, but this was still a deliciously decadent weekend. dinner

I have been toying this new thing where I try not to feel guilty about truly indulging. In the past when I said indulging, I meant eating a brownie made from black beans and egg whites, but listening to lectures by the inspiring Geneen Roth, I have decided nothing is off the table. Sure, I am not going to up and eat meat (that juicy steak is Phil’s, the Swordfish is mine) but the goal is to stop demonizing certain foods. If I want to eat creamy risotto for dinner after having a cheese plate for lunch every once and awhile, the world isn’t going to come crashing down….hopefully 😉

Enjoy the little things in life…like cheese plate lunches and candle lit dinners


Mountain Recap

Although a day late because I was under the weather yesterday, I wanted to share a quick recap of our mountain weekend! We went on a long walk as soon as we arrived and I kept thinking “I should take some photos! No, don’t be silly, you can take some tomorrow, just enjoy the walk!” and I totally should have listened to my initial instincts because it rained Sunday and the weather was foggy/overcast so I didn’t get the amazing images I had envisioned…sigh! But the walk was lovely and the weather Saturday was just warm enough to enjoy a fire under the slightly cloud covered stars!fire

I will have more food posts from our amazing meals but I wanted to share these tasty treats first! I have had a hankering for coconut lately so I decided to try my hand at coconut macaroons! These bite size bombs are addictive and indulgent, so beware! macaroonCoconut Macaroons: Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes

  • 14oz coconut flakes
  • 120z condensed milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4oz chocolate

I will admit I am not 100% pleased with them but that didn’t stop me from eating SeVeRaL throughout the weekend! Combine the first two ingredients in a bowl with the vanilla extract and mix until will blended. Beat egg whites separately until it forms stiff peaks and then fold into coconut mixture. Spoon onto baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Set in the fridge to cool, melt the chocolate, dip the cooled macaroons into the melted chocolate and return to the fridge to set.

These suckers took no time at all to whip up and they disappeared just as fast!



Seasonal Soup

Happy Hump Day! Nothing spells rainy day comfort food like butternut squash soup! This season is about embracing all that fall has to offer, and today’s homemade butternut squash soup with spicy tofu and rosemary toasted walnuts is no exception!


I wish I was better at taking pictures during the cooking process (I’m working on it) because I had a lot of fun coming up with this concoction!

I used butter (2tablespoons), onions(half-minced), shallots(one minced), garlic(3 cloves minced), carrots (1 cup shredded), ginger (1 tablespoon grated), white wine (1 cup), stock (5-6 cups), butternut squash(1 1/2 med-large squash peeled, cubed, lightly roasted), seasonings (1tbsp cumin, 1/2 tbsp coriander, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp cinnamon), salt, pepper, and 1% milk (3 cups) for the soup.

Starting with the butter, onion, shallot and garlic until they cooked down a little, then adding the carrots, followed by the white wine and seasonings. After the base was well combined, I added the stock and shortly after the squash. I let this simmer on the stove for an hour before blending the mixture in batches until smooth. I then added it to the 3 cups of warm milk on the stove top, let that simmer for about 30 more minutes, and canned the silky soup into 16oz mason jars.

For the tofu, I dried and cubed a block of extra firm tofu, seasoned it similarly (adding a bit of cayenne, chili powder and paprika), and baked @ 400 for 25-30 minutes. I tossed raw walnuts in some salt, cayenne, ginger, rosemary and olive oil to toast for about 10 minutes @350 after I finished the tofu.

The combo of textures as well as sweet, spicy and savory flavors makes for a delightfully decadent dish! I love playing with textures and flavor compliments and this soup is fun filled as well as nutritionally fortified!

Snag a spoon and sink into some sensational seasonal soup…enjoy!

Fish for All

ImageHappy Friday Folks! One of my favorite things in the world is a taco! As I am not a meat eater I usually resort to vegetarian ground round but have recently been on a fish taco kick! These fish tacos, two ways, are healthy, delicious and sure to please!

I fried/breaded half and I sauteed the remaining fish both in coconut oil since it tolerates high heat, has lots of health benefits and less calories than a lot of other oils! The breaded tilapia (cod, halibut, mahi mahi, or any white fish will do) was done with whole wheat flour, panko crumbs, a ton of seasoning (chili powder, cayenne, garlic, cumin, paprika…) and egg (two whites one yolk). I used about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil for the 6 large pieces of fish frying at med/high heat for 3 minutes a side! The other fish was seasoned similarly but done in only a tablespoon of coconut oil at the same temp for about 5 minutes total!

I was admittedly a little lazy and bought my guacamole and salsa from Whole Foods but they were still super fresh and delicious! I also made sure to have both butter lettuce and whole wheat tortillas on hand to act as vessel for the fish of choice!

Since I just had to try both I used the butter lettuce cups for the breaded fish and the wrap for the sauteed fish! Not to toot my own horn of anything but they both were incredibly delicious! The coconut oil helped impart a little extra flavor to the lightly spicy fish and the best part was no post greasy meal gross feeling!

Its a flavorful friday friends! Why not indulge in a little fish fry…and maybe a refreshing margarita as a wonderful weekend kick off!


Better Butter

Meet Butter Lettuce!
butterBoston and Bibb lettuce fall under the butter-head family and these lovely leaves are known for being very delicate but versatile!

When I first started snagging this stuff at the farmers market I was pretty peeved to watch the wonderful leaves wilt in less than 48 hours…WTF?!?! Well, my fridge was too cold and I hadn’t carefully packed the produce in an airtight container. ANYWAY, once I figured out how to properly care of it, I was able to use my butter lettuce for delicious salads and so much more.

With its subtle flavor and lovely shape, I’ve found butter lettuce to be perfect for wraps or cups, replacing carbohydrate heavy breads and tortillas. Lower in calories and carbs, replacing breads with butter lettuce can help keep you satisfied without weighing you down.

cupsI love bread! As you can see I have still included some whole wheat baguette slices with my meal, and think whole wheat options in moderation are fantastic for you! However, when breads are used as a vehicle for our yummy meals, we sometimes forget just how much we’re consuming and WAY overdo it – bummer for the belly!

Forget just knocking out some extra calories, butter lettuce is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Potassium and has anti-inflammatory properties…not bad huh?

Bypass breads for butter lettuce and enjoy!!

Herbaceous Cod

With my herb garden in full bloom, seriously…those suckers are going to start strangling each other they’re growing so large, I am using every excuse possible to use them!

With about thirty minutes, some cod, squash, zucchini, orzo and herbs, me and my special someone set to work at making this sensationally seasoned sea fare.

Tarragon, parsley, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil were the seasoning team – using the fresh herbs both before and after cooking to boost the flavor!

Bake the cod and veggies at 400 for 10 minutes and then pull the veggies. Crank the oven to broil and allow the fish to cook for a few more minutes (be careful because this might burn the herbs a little).

The quinoa pretty much makes itself and you toss the veggies in, cover the plate in your creation and top with fish!

Use fresh herbs and everything goes from great to sensational…enjoy!

Blissful Burger

Who says non-meat eaters can’t enjoy a delicious, sloppy burger every now and again!?!?! This spicy black bean burger with roasted onions, peppers and corn/black bean salsa is delicious and contains no meat nor dairy!

I admit nothing in this post is homemade (unless you count roasting the peppers and onions; which, for the record, I do). Though I pride myself on making most things from scratch, sometimes life can get in the way of your best intentions!

When life’s craziness doesn’t allow for home cooking, morningstar farms, desert pepper and some easy techniques take over and my meals can still be healthy and satisfying! Not all frozen or packaged food is made equal and by choosing organic, natural options – with fewer ingredients you can actually pronounce – you can still feed your body what it needs!

After roasting half a bell pepper and a quarter of an onion (10 minutes @ 400) I slide my burger and whole wheat bun in to heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Once everything is nice and hot I heap some corn and black bean salsa on the bun, layer on the burger and veggies, top with the rest of the bun and BOOM burger bliss!

In a pinch, grab health frozen options….ENJOY!

Blissful Breakfast

Happy Friday!

Looking for a blissful beginning to your day without breaking the caloric bank? Give these lemon oat pancakes with peanut butter and honey a try! Filling, nutritious, and easy to make, these tasty cakes are a perfect pairing with a little OJ to start your day!

You’ll Need: 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, 1/2 c. old fashioned oats, 1/2. tbsp baking powder, 1tbsp. honey, 1tbsp. apple sauce, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 egg whites, 1.2 c. buttermilk, zest from about 1/4 lemon (for a hint of lemon use less and a more intense lemony flavor add more).

p1Combine your dry ingredients (lemon zest too), combine your wet ingredients and then pour wet into dry. Try to wisk as little as possible – just enough that everything is well mixed. Turn your burner to medium heat, grease your pan and measure out your batter (about a 1/4 c. a cake). Flip your cakes when you start to see little bubbles and cook evenly on both sides.


The recipe makes about 10-12 cakes depending on the size and viscosity of your batter but either way you’re looking at under 75 calories a cake. I personally like to let them cool and have one each morning smeared in peanut butter and drizzled with honey on my way to work but you can eat them warm as well.

p3Hot or cold, these cakes are a blissfully delicious breakfast or even late night treat. If you’re looking to add some more protein you can throw a scoop of vanilla protein powder in with the wet ingredients instead of vanilla extract, you can forgo the lemon zest, you can add a little cocoa powder to your peanut butter, go classic with some maple syrup…the possibilities are deliciously and nutritiously endless!

Give yourself a blissful start…enjoy!!

Super Slaw


As a kid, I hated coleslaw! The look, smell and general idea of it made sick to my stomach! Looking back, the mayo laden, questionably safe to eat from sitting in the sun for hours examples I had as a kid might make anyone sick!

Recently, I have taken slaw off my list of least favorite foods and I can’t get enough! Traditional coleslaw is plain limiting compared to the potential versatility of this shredded side. If you’re like me and never been a huge coleslaw fan, give this recipe a try and see if you come over to the slaw side!

There is a little bit of everything in this sweet and spicy slaw but the best part is how delicious, nutritious and low in calories it is! Traditionally a side, this slaw is versatile enough to be eaten as a main dish and still provide you with all the protein, vitamins and minerals needed from a complete meal.

You’ll need 3c. shredded cabbage, 1c. shredded carrots and 1c. shredded broccoli stems. You’ll also need an apple cored and chopped, a chopped bell pepper, 1tbsp. fresh ginger, 1 can strained black beans, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1tbsp. soy sauce, lime juice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Toss it all together, throw it in your fridge and you’re all set!

Alone or as a side with your favorite protein, give it a try and see if you’ll become a slaw lover too!

For a great way to get more veggies, eat slaw…enjoy!

Pocket Perfect

pitaAs the weather gets nicer, I try to spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. To that end, I also  try to take my lunch outside and soak up some of those afternoon rays. With both in mind, I present you with the perfect pocket!

Hot or cold, a roasted vegetable stuffed whole wheat pita pocket is perfect for outdoor dining with minimal prep work. If the portability wasn’t appealing enough, the power packed in this pocket from all the yummy vegetables and feta cheese should do the trick!

With under 350 calories this vitamin and mineral loaded lunch will keep you satisfied and energized through your afternoon.

roastedRoast off your favorite veggies (today’s favorites: portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, sweet onions, cherry tomatoes and asparagus) @ 400. The asparagus, cherry tomatoes and portobellos will take less time than the onions and peppers(10-15 minutes vs 20-25 depending on size), so if you can, put them on different pans. Lightly coat the veggies in extra virgin olive oil, salt/pepper and a little balsamic vinegar. One everything has roasted and cooled, slice the larger items, add some fresh herbs and reduced fat feta cheese.

When lunch rolls around, either heat veggies or stuff your pita cold for a filling, fortified meal you can take anywhere….just be careful of on the go overstuffing, haha!

Grab a perfect pocket….enjoy!