Move over, plain buttery popcorn!
Popcorn is mostly associated with movies and sporting events, but can be an enjoyable light snack at anytime in the day depending on the kind of popcorn you have and the kind of toppings you add. Next time you’re in the mood for popcorn, try it one of these ways:
Healthier Popcorn Brands:
Smart Balance Light Butter
Newman’s Own Organics Pop’s Corn, Light Butter
Quinn Popcorn Olive Oil & Herbs
Jolly Time Healthy Pop Butter
Black Jewell Kettle
Optional Popcorn Toppings:
Dark 85% Chocolate: Simply place two squares of chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave for under a minute. Use a spoon to break up chocolate and drizzle overtop popcorn. Add nuts as well, if desired.
Cinnamon: It works on just about everything, including popcorn. Sprinkle a light helping overtop for some cinnamon flavor.
Cool Ranch: Those dry packets of dressing have so much more use to them other than just for salads. Ranch fan? Use half a tablespoon of dry ranch dressing to sprinkle over your popcorn to create a tangy taste.
Buffalo Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon buffalo sauce in a microwavable bowl, combining well. Microwave slightly and immediately drizzle overtop popcorn.
Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil: Adding a slight amount of olive oil and sprinkling paprika adds a little bit of kick to your popcorn.
I like granola. I like that it’s convenient for those week days when your morning is rushed and you don’t want to wait in the long line at Starbucks for a muffin. I also like that it doesn’t take a chef in the kitchen to make a batch of it. Infact, you really don’t need to have any kitchen skills; it’s pretty foolproof. You just need a few ingredients and an oven.
Some like it plain.
Granola is just like most other recipes; you can tweak the ingredients to your liking or to what you already have in the pantry. I like to add a little flavor to mine by using dried up fruit. Both cherries, cranberries, bananas and apple chips do wonders for a batch of granola. If you’re not the fruit-kind, simply sprinkle some cinnamon ontop to add a little more.
Some like it with a little extra sweet flavor
Homemade Maple Granola
Easy to make granola that goes great with a side of yogurt or as a mid-day snack.
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup pecans, shopped
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ stick of unsalted butter
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- handful of dried cranberries
- handful of dried cherries, optional
- Heat oven to 300. Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
- Combine old-fashioned oats, pecans, almonds, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swoosh that pan around a bit, it helps the butter melt a little faster. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
- Pour butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients. Stir well until all dry ingredients are covered and layer thinly on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Make sure you stir granola around every 10-15 minutes.
- Add dried cranberries after removing granola from oven and letting cool off slightly. Package when granola is completely cooled off.
There’s something about buffalo chicken and sports events. Most of the time when I do a search for a new and delicious snack or appetizer to enjoy during some sort of tournament game, buffalo chicken is the top pick. We’ve done Buffalo Chicken Dip for years and it’s never disappointed, but it was time to try an alternative way of using buffalo chicken. Coincidentally enough while going through my inbox this weekend, I came across Two Peas and Their Pod’s weekly meal plan that I subscribe to and they had a buffalo chicken recipe I’ve never tried nor seen before. The ingredients were mostly staple items I already had in the fridge and it was a quick bake; always a favorite on the weekend!
You really can’t go wrong with Franks Hot Sauce and blue cheese dressing, so there’s really no way of messing this appetizer up. The original recipe suggested using Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, but my husband isn’t too keen on those and if I bought both a bag of those and a bag of regular corn tortilla chips, I may get myself in trouble later with the blue chips. That tends to happen if there’s shredded cheese, chips, and me in a room)
And because the NCAA National Championship game happens shortly after tonight’s games, I definitely get to make these again. No complaints about that here.
You can get the recipe here.
This past November we purchased our first home, a cute little capecod that needed some updating as well as additional square-feet added. Because we live in an area where there seem to be a lot of remodels, gut-jobs and new home builds currently happening, we know firsthand just how inconvenient the noise (and mess) can be sometimes.
So I thought up a peace offering; a bag of cookies just to say we’re sorry for our construction that has been happening and will happen for the next few months ahead. It’s also a nice little way of introducing yourself to your new neighbors as well. Plus, it helps that they turned out cute!
To make some of your own – Download here
I had been sick the duration of this past weekend. During what was the nicest weather weekend that we’ve had in months, at that. So while I sat in my dark, dreary bedroom; lonesome with my magazines and my HGTV, I also didn’t cook. Understandably, no one wanted my germs. I didn’t want my germs either but I didn’t get to vote on that one. So when I started to actually feel like I could leave my room without chancing the possibility of spreading my cold plague, I planned out the food menu for the week and happily headed to the grocery store.
Most people find peace on the ocean, in the library, or in the bathtub. I find peace in the grocery store. I’m a little strange like that. I was also a little cheery that I had planned to bake a Lasagna for dinner this evening. We haven’t had Lasagna in quite some time. The sin!
There’s a reason why Lasagna is a family favorite. Be it that it’s because anyone can make it or that it’s a quick recipe; Lasagnas are the kind of meal that you can prepare mid-day and foil up in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. That’s perfect for 99% of parents whose schedule revolves around their children’s’ schedules or work.
And while there are a lot of ways you can prepare and dress your Lasagna, the good ole Meaty Lasagna way never actually gets old.
Meaty Lasagna Casserole
- 1lb ground turkey
- package of Lasagna noodles
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 egg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, boil water. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package.
- Spray a large skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook ground turkey until brown, draining excess juices. Return to stove and add marinara jar, allowing to simmer.
- In a medium size bowl, add ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and parmesan cheese. Mix well and set aside.
- Add ½ cup meat sauce to the bottom of a 9x9 casserole pan. Layer lasagna noodles length-wise, letting them slightly overlap. Next add cheese mix followed by lasagna noodles. Top with meat-sauce. Repeat layers once more.
- Sprinkle additional mozzarella cheese onto, if desired. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.
Need to increase your energy? Leafy greens to the rescue! The quickest way to help get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables without eating a salad, or side of grapefruit is by drinking an 8-ounce (at least!) glass of green juice.
By digesting raw vegetables, you’re able to fully absorb all their nutrients verses getting bits and pieces broken down when vegetables are steamed, grilled or broiled. For starters, greens contain loads of calcium, potassium and iron; all important must-haves for a healthy body. But that’s not all – you can also get an abundance amount of vitamin B, C, E and K from them as well.
So what can you expect in a green juice? Most recipes call for a base: (Spinach. Kale. Chard. Collards) with additional ingredients to help build a flavor: (Banana. Pineapple. Apple. Celery. Carrots. Beets)
- 1 medium banana
- ½ cup pineapple
- ½ teaspoon chia seeds
- handful of baby spinach
- 1 cup coconut water
- Add all ingredients into a blender. Enjoy chilled.
When we think of pasta, we imagine a tomato sauce deliciously overlapping noodles. Spaghetti Carbonara is a little different, but the good kind of different.
The dish that originated out of Rome simply consists of egg, bacon, black pepper and cheese tangled between thin pasta noodles. Add in additional meat, vegetables to even greater the flavor.
Perfect for those with the intention of having a light dinner, or needing a quick meal to put together.
The healthier version of pasta!
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Whole grain spaghetti
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4oz deli-fresh ham, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
- Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water for spaghetti noodles. After water is brought to a boil, cook noodles according to package.
- While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs with 2 tablespoons cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium skillet, add oil and cook garlic for 1 minute over medium heat. Next, add red pepper flakes and ham and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- After draining noodles, add to egg mixture, stirring well with a large spoon to combine well. Add garlic and ham mixture and stir again, combining well.
- Divide among 4 plates. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top, along with another pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
Meals should almost always be about variety. We don’t eat the same dinners each night, right? And if we did, I assume we wouldn’t look forward to doing so. However, there can be exceptions! Take a quiche for example. When I make a quiche, it’s usually with the intention of eating it for breakfast every day for the next week because it’s nutritious and so good.
This particular quiche doesn’t ask for much of you, and even with the simple ingredients; it’s still packed with a lot of flavor. Best next thing? It takes a whopping 10 minutes max to put it together and after doing so, you get to sit back, relax and engulf the delicious smell as it bakes.
Baked Denver Omelette Quiche
A crowd pleasing crustless quiche packed with lots of flavor.
- 8 eggs
- ½ cup fat-free milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup chopped fully cooked ham, diced into small cubes
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ½ cup green pepper, chopped
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. Grease well a quiche pan, or 9x9 casserole pan. Set aside.
- 3. Whisk together ingredients in a large size bowl, adding to a greased pan after combined well.
- 4. Bake for 25 minutes.
Breakfast for dinner regularly happens at least once a week in our household. Throw protein pancakes in the mix and you’ve got yourself an even healthier (and muscle building) meal.
Oatmeal Blueberry Protein Pancakes
Love oatmeal and pancakes? Why not add them together with some blueberries.
- ½ cup uncooked rolled oats (Old fashioned oatmeal)
- 1/3 cup Egg whites
- 1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (23grm protein per scoop)
- 1 tablespoon Ground Flaxseed
- ¼ of a ripe Banana
- 1 tablespoon Greek Yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of good Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup frozen Blueberries
- 1. Throw everything except blueberries in the blender and blend until smooth.
- 2. Over medium heat, spray a skillet pan with cooking spray and pouring ¼ cup of the mixture into pan with a few blueberries on top.
- 3. When bottom is lightly brown flip and cook the other side.
- 4. Repeat with each pancake.
Day 1 of my clean-eating week began yesterday (Monday) and ended with this delicious crockpot meal. Because I started preparing the meal mid-afternoon, dinner wasn’t ready until 7:30pm-ish and by then the sunlight had come and gone. I don’t care much for photographing using artificial lights, I’m a natural light kind of gal; so I wasn’t able to assemble the chili for it’s closeup until today. It is, however, my dinner for the next two nights so I guess it counts just as well!
All chili is good in my book. However, my first initial thought was, “sweet potatoes, I’m not sure how that goes with chili but OK.” I’ve experimented with recipes where the potato has over-cooked in the crockpot and tasted like mush. And I’ve experimented with recipes where the potato has under-cooked and tasted like a bland hard piece of potato. So when the 8 hours were up, I was thrilled (it’s the small things) when I went for that first piece of sweet potato and it tasted great!
Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans
A clean-eating, crockpot favorite.
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1lb lean ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1. Cook ground turkey over medium-high, drain. Set aside.
- 2. Assemble onion, garlic, tomatoes, black beans and potatoes at the bottom of a crockpot.
- 3. Add ground turkey, seasonings and water in that particular order.
- 4. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.