Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spicy Ginger Pork Meatballs

If you've been following along with these posts, (however many, or few, of you!) you probably have some questions about me. I imagine they're along the lines of:

Does this girl know the oven can be used for things other than baked goods? Will she ever eat anything other than breakfast? Oh, and is she aware of her strange obsession with peanut butter?

To all three questions: YES! Baking will always be my first love, and I'm really working on the peanut butter thing. Plus, I just really love breakfast.

Typically, I'm the baker and and Kristen is the chef. But don't let the sweet tooth fool you -- when I want to, I can cook up some mouth-watering meals to precede my delicious desserts.

That's where these spicy (but not too kickin') meatballs come in. I had some leftover ground pork from a soup I was making and had no idea what to do with it. Some quick googling led me to this pork meatball recipe from Cooking Light.

I adapted the recipe, replaced eggs with egg whites, and added some much needed heat

You can pair them with noodles like in the original recipe. Or, you can be like me and just eat a pile of them on their own, because they're just that good!

-- Cara

1/4 c dry breadcrumbs
1/4 c chopped white onion
1/3 c chopped cilantro 
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 red pepper flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground pork

1/4 c egg whites


1. Gently combine all ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
3. Cover the mixture and let it chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
4. The mixture should divide into about 25 small balls. Place them in a single layer on sprayed baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees, until browned.

Nutrition: 1 meatball = 56 calories
Carbs: 1g Fat: 4g Protein: 4g

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla

There are literally no words for how good this quesadilla is. Please, just admire it.

Then again, if there's "buffalo chicken" in front of something, there's a 101% chance I'll like it. Franks buffalo sauce is by far my favorite. Not just because it has 0 calories and in my mind that means " pour it on everything," I think it tastes the best too.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Black and White Rice Cakes

Think snacking on rice cakes is extremely lame and only for hungry people? It's not!

Especially with all the amazing flavors out there, like the caramel ones I eat, rice cakes get a bad rap for being boring. Oh, and how about the fact that they're SLATHERED IN PEANUT BUTTER. Do I have your attention now?

I'm a firm believer that behind all crave-worthy junk food, there is a healthy way to re-imagine it. You just have to get creative! 

Before I decide to be more aware of how I was eating, one of my favorite desserts were black and white cookies. Random, I know.

And not those little, tiny ones from the grocery store that taste like the plastic containers they're sold in. I mean the real deal, pastry shop, size of my whole hand black and white cookies.

Even though I didn't have them very often, they aren't something I should have been eating with reckless abandon, and especially in one sitting! It never occurred to me that I was basically pouring a box of sugar down my throat and upwards of 500 calories for one, albeit ginormous, cookie! (And let's not forget the 22g of fat and 39g of sugar...)

That's why I was so excited when I created my own healthy version! They satisfy that sweet craving I usually get after dinner without taking me for a ride on the sugar roller coaster. Even better, it's TWO "cookies" for only 275 calories. This healthy substitute also slashes the sugar by more than half with only 14g and has 10g less fat. And with this dessert, you're getting healthy fats from the peanut butter. Because we always need more reasons to eat peanut butter.  

The best part is that this is a snack or dessert you can customize any way you like! I used Is This Heaven or Is This Caramell for the "black" side and Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter for the "white," but any chocolate and regular peanut butters can simulate the colors.

Next time: Dark Chocolate Dreams and White Chocolate Wonderful!

2 caramel rice cakes
1 Tbs chocolate peanut butter
1 Tbs regular peanut butter

Nutrition: 1 serving = 275 calories
Carbs: 36g Fat: 12.5g Protein: 5g

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Skinny Sesame Chicken & Quinoa

It's not a secret that I'm obsessed with Chinese food. Being able to make Chinese food that not only tastes delicious, but is also good for you is one of the reasons we started this blog in the first place. Eating healthy does not mean you have to give up your favorite foods! You just have to make some changes to make it better for you. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cashew & Coconut Oatmeal

Lot of people like to have breakfast for dinner. Me? I like to have dessert for breakfast.

And boy, this oatmeal delivers. It's like a magic cookie bar in my bowl. It doesn't hurt that I added a gratuitous scoop of homemade coconut cashew  butter to finish it off (try out my recipe here!) It just felt like the right thing to do, you know?

Let's rewind for a second...It's kind of ridiculous how much I love oatmeal. Stovetop, baked, overnight in a jar, or old faithful -- nuked in the microwave.

After lurking for months on Instagram and Pinterest, I realized the true potential oatmeal has. I always thought of it as the bowl of apples and cinnamon goop that came out of a package I found in the back of my cabinet. It was a last resort when we were out of Pop Tarts, cereal, and anything else edible in the house.

But I was wrong. So, gloriously wrong. There is a never-ending list of combinations that can bring me tears of joy.

Today's breakfast was one of those times. Just look at it. Seriously...LOOK AT IT. The chocolate. The cashew butter. The coconut. Stop me anytime. Let's just get into it, shall we?

1/2c quick cooking oatmeal
1/2c unsweetened almond milk
1/4c egg whites
1 tbs stevia
1 tbs cashew butter
1 tbs unsweetened coconut
1/2 tbs chocolate chips

1. Combine oats, milk, egg whites and stevia. Microwave for two minutes. Stir after one minute to keep egg whites from cooking together.
2. Stir in cashew butter, chocolate chips and coconut.

Nutrition 1 serving = 360 calories
Carbs: 39g  Fat: 17g  Protein: 15g

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Treasure Chest Red Velvet Cookies

I've been seeing recipes for "two ingredient" red velvet cookies all over the internet. I kept thinking, "Well, that's literally too good to be true."

Update: It's not! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Healthy Red Velvet Pancakes

Right now we're in the middle of yet another blizzard. Valentine's Day is tomorrow, we're buried underneath eight inches of snow and there's a 100% that I'm not moving from underneath these blankets for at least the next 48 hours.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Skinny Red Velvet Cake Pops

I'm always looking for an excuse to bake. Birthdays, holidays, Arbor Day...I really don't care. Just point me towards the oven and I'm on it.

The problem is when I'm done, I'm left with an entire cake, three dozen cookies, or a truckload of cake pops. I'll happily try to to polish off the pan on my own.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Skinny Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

I've always been casually ambivalent towards Valentine's Day. I'm not too sentimental (Read: I'm not sentimental. Like, at all.) I'm not that into jewelry and I'm pretty positive I'm allergic to flowers. But I'll be damned if I'm not gonna accept some delicious chocolate just because Hallmark is telling someone to give it to me. Who am I to get in the way of that tradition?

But lately, there's only reason I get remotely excited when February 1st rolls. In the last few years the rest of the universe has accepted what I've known to be true for quite a while: Red velvet is one of the best things that's ever happened to food. Maybe even to the world in general.

People who call red velvet "just a regular cake with food coloring" are just so wrong. Maybe it's the rich, opulent color that draws me to a red velvet cookie. It could be the simplicity and subtlety of mild cocoa flavor bundled up in dense, moist cupcake. Or, it could be because I love to eat cream cheese frosting by the spoonful (so much so that I created a healthy version -- try it here!). Who's really keeping score anyway?

Now, I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to realize that beauty red velvet could be repurposed into a beverage. To everyone who has kept red velvet hot chocolate from me until this moment: we're fighting.

When I finally realized all that my life was missing, I promptly cooked up a recipe. Mainly almond milk and cocoa, there's nothing in the way of keeping this treat a healthy one. It's so low in calories that, if you're like me, you may want to hit it with a shot (or two) of whipped cream while you're at it.

What I experienced when I took my first steamy sip can only be described one way -- it was a hug in a mug. That's coming from this self-professed pragmatist who's not even that fond of hugging. But no, it was so warm and rich and velvety that when I reached the bottom, I was actually sad. 

So it may be socially acceptable to red velvet-ify everything in sight only during Valentine's season, but there's not a chance I'm giving up this now nightly tradition any time soon.

-- Cara

1 C Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbs stevia
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
5  drops red food coloring

1. Combine milk, cocoa powder, stevia and food coloring in a pot. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil and then remove from heat.
2. Stir in vanilla. Pour and enjoy!

Nutrition: 1 cup (without whipped cream) = 43 calories
Carbs: 5g Fat: 4g Protein: 1g

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Wrap

I love oatmeal. If you ask any of my co-workers they will confirm this obsession due to the fact that they have to watch me eat it every single morning. However, when I woke up one morning to the wonderful text telling me I had a two-hour delay, I decided to push my red velvet oatmeal (recipe to come later!) to the side and make something equally delicious.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Coconut Cashew Butter

Confession time. Growing up, I never really liked peanut butter that much. I hated the sticky feeling when it gets stuck to the roof of your mouth. I liked my PB&Js to be more J than PB. . . by a lot.

When I first when to college and had to go through hours of agonizing ice breakers, my "fact" about myself is that I didn't like peanut butter. Some people would actually gasp, "What?!" Other people just stared, mouths agape, confused.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Butternut Squash, Sausage & Spinach Pasta

Kristen was the one who discovered Skinnytaste and introduced me to her blog. I'm forever grateful that she did, because I pretty much worship Gina. Like, I want to be her and cook delicious meals in my kitchen and hang out with famous chefs all day. Color me extremely envious.

Naturally, her blog is one of the first places we go to when we're looking for some meal inspiration!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting

I cannot keep this stuff in the house. I'm serious. When I make it I need to use it immediately and give any extras away. It could be to friends, family, a random stranger on the street -- just get it away from me. Because I will eat an entire tub of it and feel no remorse. It's that addictive.

The only thing that can (almost) justify eating this by the spoonful is that it's way better for you than regular frosting. Duncan Hines cream cheese frosting has 140 calories for 2 Tbs. The same dollop of this recipe is only 83. . . That means you could have twice the nice for the same amount of calories! Can't beat that. Oh, and the fact that one serving of this has seven carbs. From a can? 23! Yikes.

This recipe makes the frosting just sweet enough. I used to like cream cheese frosting so sweet it'd make my teeth ache, but then you lose the tartness that makes the frosting so good.

I've used this recipe on everything cupcakes to cookies to pancakes -- it's especially good with red velvet (obviously!) and pumpkin.

Basically, I'll find an excuse to put this stuff on anything. The problem is that it's so easy to throw together that if I had absolutely no will power, I would!

-- Cara

8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
3 Tbs powdered sugar
2 Tbs stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together all four ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer until everything is incorporated.

Makes 8 servings

1 serving: 2 Tbs 83 calories
Carbs: 7 Fat: 6 Protein: 2

Banana Boat Breakfast Bowl

When I was little, one of my favorite things EVER were baked banana boats. If you've never had a baked banana boat, I apologize for your childhood.

We'd make them when we went camping by slitting a banana longways and stuffing it with chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers, and then wrapping it up in aluminum foil and baking it over the fire. They're the first and last thing I ever enjoyed about camping.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coconut Snowballs

So yesterday I may have said how much I loathe the snow. Well, I take it back, because even though we had about eight inches dumped on us, I had a snow day! So instead of going to work, naturally I had to make "snowballs."

Bacon, Egg and Avocado "Pizza"

This recipe is super easy and way healthier than a regular bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or breakfast pizza. Once I had all the ingredients out, it took be about five minutes to make and assemble it. It's perfect for those mornings when you hit "snooze" on your alarm five times and don't have time for something "gourmet."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Sorbet

For real, I hate winter. Once the first snow has come and gone in New England, the fun is gone. The only thing left is bone-chilling, soul-crushing cold. And snow. So. Much. Snow. 

Thanks, Polar Vortex.

Monday, February 3, 2014

All About Us!


I'm not very good at remembering things. Chances are I've forgotten someone's name 5 minutes after we've been introduced. You're lucky if I wish you happy belated birthday. If you think I'll ever memorize your phone number, you're funny. I can barely remember my own.

Chickpea Blondies

Here's what we hope is the first of many of our nom-able recipes inspired by things that we love to eat, now turned into versions that are equal parts healthy and delicious. Don't forget to read the About Us to get to know us better!

It wouldn't be right to start this blog with anything other than dessert. A dessert with chocolate, obviously.  These blondies were inspired by the Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondies with Sea Salt from the Ambitious Kitchen and have a sneaky "skinny" ingredient that won't make you feel guilty for eating half the batch before putting it in the oven. There's also nothing ambitious about this recipe...They're almost too easy. Like "throw every ingredient into a food processor and bake" easy.