Popsicles!

I love popsicles. One of my favorite Chicago summer staples is the popsicle carts. Nothing is better than laying on the beach and then suddenly… the popsicle bell! A refreshing fruit popsicle in the hot sun is just divine!

I have begun dabbling in my own popsicle making! The combinations are endless and they are super low calorie.

popsicles

IKEA- $2!
I also purchased additional holders from Target for $3.

Strawberry Kiwi Popsicles

IMG_3784

Tangy and Tart!

1 c frozen strawberries 1 ripe kiwi Vanilla Almond Milk (pour to thin out mixture)

1 c frozen strawberries
1 ripe kiwi
Vanilla Almond Milk (pour to thin out mixture)

Add ingredients to blender and set to puree

Add ingredients to blender and set to puree

the leftovers made for a tasty smoothie!

the leftovers made for a tasty smoothie!

*You can use coconut milk or  coconut water instead of almond milk

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She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.- ZF

I have fallen into a Sunday routine. I do not say this as a complaint. My Sunday routine used to consist of work, it no longer does, so any routine that does not involve grading is welcomed. My students have earned a baked good each week and thus my Sunday is now dictated by their rewards. I still have a huge batch of oreo cheesecake bites to prepare but thankfully I have until Thursday.

I did promise my seniors a treat. When I asked them what they wanted I heard a range of desserts, most very boring. Some wanted chocolate, some wanted pie, some wanted vanilla cupcakes. My compromise was funfetti cake pops. I have read about making the pops and have wanted to try them so I figure, why not now?! It was very simple.

Funfetti Cake Pops (minus the actual stick)

Green Monster Cake Pops

Ingredients

1 box of cake mix (3 eggs, 1/3 cup of oil as directed on the box)

1 can of funfetti icing

1 bag of melting chocolte (you can find this at michaels)

food coloring (if you want to dye the cake)

Directions:

Make cake as directed. I decided to dye my cake. I used the tye dye method, however when you make the balls of the tye dying goes away, so don’t waste your time. I recommend just doing a solid color.Bake for 30 minutes. Let the cake cool and crumble.

crumble cake

Put cake crumbles in mixer and add can of icing. Mix until the icing and cake have congealed. Roll batter into balls and place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Place balls in freezer. After 2 hours, begin to prep the chocolate. Follow chocolate directions and melt. Place ball on fork and dip into chocolate. If you want sprinkles, roll chocolate into sprinkles and carefully place back onto cookie sheet. Place back into freezer for about an hour and serve!

Chickpea Whole Grain Cous Cous Salad

I also made something that I  I would actually eat. I have been craving a light summer salad that I can bring to work. We have a ton of grains in the house and figured I might as well use them! On a whim I created this delicious salad and highly recommend it!

Tomatoes, spinach, cous cous, chickpeas with a citrus dressing

Ingredients:

2 small tomatoes

half a can of chickpeas (rinsed)

1/2 c of whole wheat cous cous

1 1/2 c of spinach

1 lemon

1 tangerine

1 tsp of paprika

salt (as you like)

1 tsp of red peper flakes

avocado ( I am going to add it when it ripens 😦 )

 

Directions:

Cook cous cous as directed. Dice tomatoes and remove insides. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add chickpeas and tomatoes to cous cous. Microwave spinach for 30 seconds (make sure it wilts). Add spinach to mixture. Stir in spices. Zest orange peel and add to mixture. Squeeze remainder of tangerine and half of lemon into mixture. Stir and serve!

Leave the door open..

Over the past few years I have kept Passover. This year will be no different, with the exception of some new recipes. Although Passover doesn’t start until Friday I have kick started my cooking because  I wont be around on Friday. Also, this is the first year I will be working while keeping Passover which is going to bring on some challenges. I have gathered an assortment of new recipes which include matzo granola, eggplant parm and some Israeli salads. As I create I will post.

In the meantime though I started with the unhealthiest Passover favorite, matzo crunch. The difference this year is that Stephen and I are trying to be GMO free. Luckily I hit the jackpot today when I found organic matzo at the local deli. I was also able to secure organic butter, organic chocolate, and organic brown sugar. To find the original recipe visit the link connected at the top of the post!

Organic Matzo

Organic Matzo, 0% fat

Like I said in the last post, we are trying to really take care of our bodies. Yesterday we picked up our two person farm delivery and it was delightful! We also stopped by another co-op that is close by to get some other goods. Burt was a doll and carried the oranges and veggie broth in his backpack.

$25 dollars for a box for two.

$25 dollars for a box for two.

Burt taking a break with his backpack

Burt taking a break with his backpack

For Chocolate covered matzo combine butter and brown sugar and boil. Then spread all over 4 pieces of matzo and bake at 325 for 15 minutes. In the meantime shave chocolate. When matzo is warm and out of the oven, sprinkle chocolate and spread with spatula. Break pieces into pieces and place in freezer for 20 minutes to set.

2 1/2 oz of shaves unsweetened organic chocolate

buttery heaven: when the two flavors combine it tastes like butterscotch

3 pointsplus for one piece

Mind and Body

I am a somewhat stressed out person, actually, that’s an understatement, I am pretty much always stressed. My propensity to be the best  at everything I do (once cited as a reason why Stephen loves me) often leads me to a place of stress and anxiety. I have really tried to make sure I am taking care of myself mentally and physically, but within the last month my normal routine just wasn’t cutting it. After some reflection and speaking with my people (therapist, friends, Stephen and acupuncturist) I have made some major changes and I am already feeling the amazing effects.

1. Thanks to Stephen’s self control, I am not consuming processed sugar. With the exception of one bite sized reeses, I haven’t had any in two weeks…. and I feel great.

2. I started going to yoga rather than working out at the gym. I love how it pushes you to concentrate on your breath and body. I am still struggling to decide whether I want to drop (or suspend)  my gym membership and go full force to the studio. I think it would be fine while its warm out but I am nervous about winter.

3. It is spring which means WAY longer walks with Burtie Boo. Last Saturday Stephen and I walked 10 miles with little dumb dumb.

4. I take a new assortment of chinese herbs and they help provide me with more energy, which means I have cut down my coffee consumption.

5. I just bought a raw green blend for my mornings. Stephen and I just did shots of the nasty drink and I must say… it works.

6. My acupuncturist suggested I walk with my palms facing upwards because it pushes your chest to open and allow ease of breath. Simple yet effective, I highly recommend it.

7. We are now only eating organic fruit, with the exception of items like bananas and pineapple (thick outer layer). We signed up to receive organic pick up from local farms at New Leaf Grocer. Its not a big increase in price for us and I feel a lot better about the environmental and health impacts.

8. hugs, giving and getting more of them from Stephen 🙂

Also, I havent posted any recipes in a while but I must share the latest delicious and simple meal Stephen and I had. I didn’t take any pictures… but trust me, its good.

Red Lentil Curry (1 serving) served with Brown Rice

Ingredients:

1/4 c red lentils

1 c organic low sodium veg broth

1 tsp curry powder

dash of red pepper flakes

half of a yellow onion (chopped)

1 tsp oil

1 tsp of fresh grated ginger

1 clove of minces garlic

1 cup organic spinach

Directions:

Heat oil and onions in a pan (one that can be covered). Heat for about 2 minutes and add spices. Let cook for about 1 minute then add lentils and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes add spinach, stir so it can wilt. Serve with brown rice. VERY SIMPLE, but very flavorful and filling!

must. use. basil

We have this giant Basil growing in the garden and haven’t really used it. Yesterday we had a picnic on the beach and wanted something delicious to pack. What better way to use the basil then Caprese sandwiches with homemade pesto!

wanted: love and use

Homemade Caprese Sandwich

Ingredients for Pesto: 1/2 tsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped basil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 and 1/3 tbsp pine nuts

Sandwich: beef steak tomato, fresh mozzarella, ciabatta or baguette ( we used a salt twist bread), sun dried tomatoes (not in oil), arugula

Directions:

Place all pesto ingredients in food processor. Chop until blended and smooth. Once pesto is made spread on bread. Top pesto with ingredients and viola! Easy peesy delicious sandwich.

easy and delicious

tag team back again.. whoop there it is.

Yes friends, the thyme cooking continues! This week Stephen and I tag teamed dinners and ended up with super flavorful dishes!

Tuesday: Orange Scented Couscous with Vegetables

Couscous

Wednesday: Caribbean Jerk Seitan with Mango Salsa and New Potato Salad

Salsa: Mango, Jalapeno, Onion/ New Potatoes: Potatoes, Green Onion

Seitan seasoned in jerk

Boil potatoes but serve cold.

Finished product!

Well done Stephen!

For complete instructions email and I can send you the link. Weight Watchers is weird about sharing but its easy to email from the site.

Stephen completed the last meal because I was busy cooking  chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for his birthday. I think they were a success at this dinner ( so they say). I definitely recommend this recipe.

Baking

Thyme, Thyme, Thyme

The thyme cooking continues! This past Friday I prepared a balsamic and thyme chicken dish for Stephen and Stephanie. It did not look super nice so I did not take any pictures. However, they both said it was fantastic. Last evening we BBQed at Morgan and Derek’s new apartment. I used thyme on the vegetable marinade and it was delicious! I simply combined some rosemary, thyme and balsamic, coated the veggies and viola!

Tonight we did tag team cooking and made a delicious meal. This is not completely vegetarian, however I did not participate in the consumption of fish. Although I am vegetarian and am creeped out by animal product, I do cook some meats for Stephen once in a while. I do have parameters for the products purchased and luckily so does Stephen. The salmon he buys is caught in the wild, not farmed. We also would like to boast about the affordable price of this fish. You can get a wild salmon filet from Whole Foods for approx. $3.50. If you are going to eat fish or meat, please do so responsibly 🙂

The menu for tonight included: Dijon Crusted Salmon, Honey Dijon Potatoes and Lemon Herb Broccoli with Shallots. Each meal included thyme… of course! If you would like the exact measurements for any recipe shoot me a message and Ill email them to you.

Wild Salmon Filet

I have been working on SLR skills 🙂

seared for a few minutes before baking and adding coating

Mix bread crumbs, 1 tbsp of butter and Parsley in one bowl. Mix 1 tbsp of mustard and thyme in another. Coat Salmon with mustard then coat with crumb mixture. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cut shallots and broccoli and bowl. When softened add lemon zest, thyme, butter, salt, and pepper.

Mix 2 tbsp of honey dijon, thyme, paprika, pepper, and salt together in a bowl. Toss potatoes into bowl and coat. Bake for 15 minutes, turn, then 15 additional minutes.

Finished filet!

crispy and delicious

squeeze some lemon for extra flavor

Portobello Zucchini Sandwiches: Thyme (1)

Tonight I tried a new recipe that requires the use of thyme. The actual recipe was rather vague and I had to make up a bit of it on my own. Despite the gaps in the recipe it was pretty tasty. So heres to thyme, the ingredient of the week! Also, this is about 6 WW points.

Ingredients

minus shallots

Serves 2:

baget, 1 zuchinni (thinly sliced), 1 mushroom cap (sliced), 2 oz. goat cheese, 1tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, cracked pepper, salt, 1 medium shallot (sliced), 2 tsp of thyme, 1 beef steak tomato

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. Slice zucchini and mushrooms. Place zucchini in a baking dish and place the mushrooms in a separate dish. Make sure to spray the mushroom baking dish before placing in.

Once zucchini is in the baking dish, brush olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, place both baking dishes in the oven. The mushrooms will cook faster. Keep an eye on both dishes and turn veggies so both sides cook evenly.

you don't need much to moisten the zucchini

While veggies are cooking prep the red wine vinegar marinade. Put red wine vinegar in small bowl. Then, slice shallots and place them in bowl. Add some salt and pepper and set aside.

Take veggies out when they begin to brown. Place mushrooms in red wine vinegar mix. Stir mushrooms and then cover.

if there is a lot of extra water, drain some from bowl

set aside until ready to build the sandwich

After veggies are out of the oven, place the bread into the broiler for less than a minute (make sure it doesn’t burn). You want the bread to be lightly toasted. Slice tomato into thin slices. After bread is finished, begin to build! Spread goat cheese on one side of bread and sprinkle with thyme.

you can spread quite a bit of cheese, don't be cheap!

Start with the zucchini, then place mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes.

Put top of bread on and your sandwich is complete!

not the prettiest sandwich, but sure tastes good

Making your morning better part (2): Apple- Cinnamon Pancakes

Straight up: this is a weight watchers recipe. With that being said, it is AMAZING. When you eat these delightful pancakes it is if you are sneaking dessert for breakfast. But no worries here, these healthy treats can be consumed at any time of the day! Also another huge perk, they are super easy to make. Try them with cool whip, syrup, or sugar free caramel!

Note: these can easily be made vegan. Sub the egg whites for egg replacer powder. Also, sub milk for soy. This will prob change the texture so I would not add the full amount.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients: 1 1/4 c of flour, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 c of apple

Wet Ingredients: 1 c of low fat buttermilk, 1/2 c applesauce (cinnamon flavor), 1 tbsp  veg oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 large egg lightly beaten ( I subbed 1/4 c of egg whites)

Directions   

Place griddle on burner and place on low heat. Spray with cooking spray. Prep apples by dicing into small pieces. These apple are going in the batter, make sure they are small. Set apples aside, you won’t need them for a while.

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

dry ingredients

In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients together. Stir throughly.

Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients. Stir until blended. Once the mixtures are combined, add the apples.

mix the apples evenly into the batter

 Spoon batter on griddle. This recipe should make about 10 pancakes. If you are into weight watchers that means each pancake is 3 points.

wait until griddle is heated evenly

flip when pancake begins to bubble

 Remove pancakes when both sides are a light brown and serve! We added a little bit of walnuts this time for extra flavor. You can fancy these up in many ways, be creative!

fancy flap jacks

vegetarian pot pie… that is GOOD for you!

I used to HATE pot pie. Once I tried chicken pot pie and was horribly disappointed. Note: I was probably 10, but none the less it scared my memory. About a year or so ago I discovered a vegetarian pot pie recipe that was great! However, since then I have changed the recipe in a number of ways to make it healthier. Tonight I finally accomplished a super healthy version of the pie that totaled only 4 weight watchers points ( for 1/6 of the pie). I am satisfied with the changes and feel I can call this recipe my own :).

Annie’s Veggie Pot Pie

Ingredients:

2 medium carrots (peeled and cubed)

1 small russet potato (peeled and cubed)

1 cup of frozen peas

1/2 yellow onion (diced)

12 oz. button mushroom (stemmed and sliced)

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 c non fat milk

1 c mushroom broth (i.e. mushroom gravy– try and find the lowest fat content possible)

1 tbsp white vinegar

less than 1/4 cup of egg whites

1/4 c of flour

organic phyllo dough (4 sheets)

Directions:

Heat oven to 400, place wrack in middle and prep all veggies. Place butter in 3 or 4 quart dutch oven on medium heat and wait for butter to foam. Once butter is foaming add carrots and onions to pot.

Cook onions for 2 minutes and then place mushrooms and potatoes in the pot. Cook until mushrooms have shrunk, approx. 6 minutes.

Cook until mushrooms have shrunk and onions are translucent

Once mixture is set add the flour. Make to mix flour completely so that you do not taste it. The flour should absorb some of the water emitted from the mushrooms.

stir constantly

Once you have added flour and the mixture is completely mixed add the milk and broth. Stir occasionally and bring to a simmer. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until mixture had begun to thicken.

After mixture has begun to thicken remove it from the heat and add the vinegar and peas. Stir once or twice and transfer to pie pan. Place phyllo dough over pan and glaze with egg whites.

Once the pie has been covered place it in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before enjoying!

phyllo dough is a healthier option to pie crust

dig in!