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Today is Thursday, April 27, 2017

Granola bars


I attempted to make homemade granola bars this weekend, and low and behold they were a success! These bars are simple to make and contain wholesome ingredients that you can feel good about eating.

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 T almond butter
2 T coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
**Optional ingredients include coconut, chocolate chips, trail mix, raisins, dried fruit..

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats and sliced almonds on a cookie sheet and toast in oven for about 5 minutes until almonds are golden, but not burned.

Meanwhile, put a pan on the stove on a low setting. Combine honey, coconut butter, almond butter, vanilla extract and salt. Stir constantly until dissolved.

Next, move the oat and almond mixture into a large bowl. Combine with honey mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until very well combined. (This is where you can add your optional ingredients if you'd like). Let the mixture cool for a few minutes so it'll be easier to handle in the next stage.

Line an 8x8 pan with tin foil. Press the granola mixture into the pan (be sure to press very firmly so the mix stays together). Place in freezer for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Peel away the tin foil, and let the mix thaw out a bit before cutting. Then, cut into 12 bars. That's it, you've made homemade granola bars, enjoy!

Yield: 12 bars

Cals per bar: 146, Fat: 6g, Carbs: 21g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars 9g, Protein 4g (WW points:4)
Calorie count does not include optional additional ingredients**


Protein pancakes


What's comforting, delicious and healthy? Protein pancakes! I've tried many recipes before, but I think mine takes the [pan]cake!

1/2 C old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 C 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 C egg whites
+1 stevia to taste

Combine and blend all ingredients (I use my Cuisinart smoothie blender). Heat a pan and coat with non-stick spray. Pour all of the batter into the pan and allow to cook for a couple of minutes before flipping. Optional toppings are fresh fruit, nuts, nut butter or maple syrup. Happy eating!

Stats without toppings:
Cals: 282, Carbs: 32g, Fat: 3g, Protein: 30g, Sugar: 6g, Fiber: 4g


My favorite enchiladas


What comes to mind when you think of enchiladas? Mounds of cheese? Pooling grease? Comfort food? Have no fear, a healthier recipe is here! My enchiladas (adapted and modified from Vegetarian Times) are definitely crave worthy without being guilt ridden. Ingredients like sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and black beans create a creamy texture that will have you coming back for seconds! Here's what you'll need:

15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 ½ lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (3 cups)
15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
16-oz. jar prepared medium salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
15-oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
8.5-oz canned corn (no sugar added)
4 oz. goat cheese, divided
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

extra virgin olive oil, for brushing baking dish
16 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish, optional

1. To make Sauce: Bring all ingredients to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine, then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. To make Filling: Heat oil in separate saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chipotle chile, and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft. Mash mixture with potato masher until combined. Add black beans, corn and chicken and cook 5 minutes. Stir in half of the goat cheese and remove from heat.

3. To assemble Enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush 13- x 9-inch baking dish with oil. Spread 1/2 cup Sauce in bottom of dish. Fill tortillas with Filling. Roll, and pack close together seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining Sauce and goat cheese. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Garnish with lime wedges, avocado slices, and cilantro sprigs. Enjoy!


Turkey chile stew


September is here, and Fall is...no where in sight (in New Mexico, anyway). In hopes that a good hearty meal will bring about the new season, I've made a big pot of green chile and turkey stew. This is one of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes (with a twist). That's right, it's healthy and comforting. Bring on the changing leaves and chilly weather!

Here's what you'll need:
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 large uncooked onion(s), chopped
3 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1 pound(s) uncooked lean or extra lean ground turkey
2 medium uncooked carrot(s), thinly sliced into rounds
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1/3 C fresh chopped green chile (the original recipe called for 1 1/2 t red chile flakes)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 medium fresh tomato(es), chopped
1 cup(s) canned tomato sauce
1 cup(s) canned chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup(s) cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
cilantro or scallions to garnish

Place a large pot over over medium heat. Add oil and onion; sauté onion until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and carrots; cook until garlic is softened, about 1 minute. Add turkey; brown meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Stir to break up lumps.

Add chili powder, paprika, green chile (or red pepper flakes), cumin, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, beans and green pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; garnish with scallions or cilantro.



Green Mango Smoothie


Whether you are on the go or just looking for a healthy meal or snack, smoothies are a great option. By adding various whole foods like fruits, nuts, seeds, and extracts, you can enjoy a different smoothie everyday that will make your tastebuds very happy.

This was the smoothie that I made this morning for breakfast. Delicious!

1/2 C PASTEURIZED egg whites
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 C frozen mango chunks
1 oz avocado
a few drops of coconut extract
a few ice cubes

Blend and enjoy from your favorite glass.

Cals 192, Carbs 22g, Fat 8g, Protein 15g, Sodium 360g, Sugar 11g, Fiber 3g


Pizza's the word


Pizza.. good ol' pizza. Oh how I miss thee. Have no fear, pizza is making a comeback! By making your own pizza at home you can control the cheese and the toppings (aka the fat and the cals). Not to mention, it's really easy and fun to make! Here's what you'll need to make MY favorite pizza:

Premade pizza dough (Whole Foods makes a delicious multi-grain dough)
pizza sauce (recipe below)
goat cheese
part-skim ricotta
thinly sliced red onion
diced green chile
pineapple chunks
chicken or turkey meatballs (sliced)

Pizza sauce (credit due to Cat Cora, chef extraordinaire):
1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 1/4 T dry)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1/4 T dry)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/4 T dry)

Directions for the sauce:
Mix together the tomato paste, water, and olive oil. Mix well (I mixed mine in a Cuisinart smoothie blender). Add garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Mix well and let stand several hours to let flavors blend. No cooking necessary!

Directions for the pizza:
Let pizza dough rest outside of the fridge for about one hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray your working surface and your hands with non-stick spray to prevent a sticky mess. Pull, kneed, and stretch the dough until the desired crust thickness is achieved. Spread ~ 1/2 C pizza sauce on top of the dough, stopping about 1 inch from the outside edges. Add cheese as desired (~1/2 C part-skim ricotta and ~1/4 C ricotta). Add the rest of the toppings. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the crust has a golden hue and the inside isn't still doughy. Remove from oven, slice, and enjoy!


Open faced enchiladas


My best friend Denise is one damn fine cook, so this recipe is accredited to her. Enough said, here's the recipe for Denise's open faced enchiladas.

2 chicken breasts
4 Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle wedges
4 C low sodium chicken broth
A pinch of cumin and garlic powder
1 can diced green chile (or 3 fresh green chiles)
1 C salsa
1 C organic refried beans (low sodium, lard free of course)
4 small corn tortillas (look for the lowest in sodium)
1/2 red onion
1 t olive oil
4 T fat free plain Greek yogurt
4 lime wedges and cilantro to garnish

1. Start by poaching the chicken. Denise did this by placing the chicken breasts in a pot, covering them by an inch in low sodium chicken broth, seasoning the broth with cumin and garlic powder, then slowly letting the chicken cook over medium heat. Once cooked, pull the chicken apart using two forks. Combine the chicken with the salsa in a bowl, and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and saute for about two minutes. Add the refried beans until heated through. Set aside.

3. Combine the chile and cheese. Stir until combined, then set aside.

4. Now, to put it all together! Spray each tortilla with non stick cooking spray, and arrange in a cooking dish. Spoon on 1/4 of each mixture onto each tortilla. First, the bean mixture, then the chicken and salsa, and finally the cheese and chile.

5. Broil in the oven for about 5 minutes. Once heated through, add your garnishes. A dollop of Greek yogurt, a lime wedge and a sprinkle of cilantro ought to do ya!

Each enchilada is 374 cals, 42g carbs, 6g fat, 38g protein, 6g sugar, 983g sodium, 7g fiber (WW points: 9)


Blintzes for breakfast


What did you have for breakfast this morning? My guess is that more than a handful of you had oatmeal and egg whites. Well, so did I...in a blintz! I'm the type of person that can stick to a clean bland diet for about a day until I remember I don't have to! Luckily for you and me, healthy food can be delicious and crave worthy (hence the entire creation of SophiesSweeties)!! Heres' how:

1/4 C old-fashioned oatmeal (or my favorite, Coaches Oats)
3 egg whites
1/4 C almond milk
1/4 C blueberries
1/4 C low-fat ricotta
1-2 packets of sweetener (i.e. Truvia)

Blend oatmeal in blender (I have a Cuisinart smoothie blender) until it becomes a flour consistency. Then add the egg whites, almond milk, and sweetener. Blend again for about 15 seconds. Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the entire mix into the pan, add your blueberries, and let cook for about 5 minutes or until fully cooked. Flip (this takes talent), and let cook for about 30 more seconds. Place it on your plate, fill the middle with ricotta, and roll into a blintz. That's it folks, totally crave worthy!

The ENTIRE recipe is 283 cals, 33g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 6g sugar, 4g fiber, 325g sodium (WW points: 7)


Coconut squash soup


There's nothing like a rich coconut soup to warm you up during the frigid winter. This soup brings the heat from red curry paste, sweetness from squash and sweet potatoes, and an unforgettable creaminess from the [light] coconut milk. Put 'em together, and what do you get? Bippity boppity soup!

What you'll need:
1 large sweet potato
1 small butternut squash
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t. fresh ginger, chopped
2 t. olive oil
1 T red curry paste
1 T honey
1 T lime juice
3 C low sodium chicken broth
14 oz. can light coconut milk
Salt to taste
*Optional garnishes: toasted coconut, crushed peanuts,
scallions, lime wedges & cilantro

Start by heating the oven to 450 degrees. Peel and cube the sweet potato and squash. Coat with Pam or olive oil and roast in the oven for ~45 minutes.

In a soup pot over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add onion and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, ginger, shallot, and curry paste, and cook for about 1 minute longer.

To the soup pot, add the roasted sweet potato and squash, coconut milk, chicken broth, honey, and lime juice. Cover and let simmer on low heat.

Once the soup is cool, blend in batches to a pureed consistency. You can add more chicken broth if you prefer a thinner soup.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with one or all of the garnishes. I liked a little bit of each garnish in my soup. Yum!


Sunday breakfast, any day!


It's my birthday and I'll eat pancakes if I want to!

1/4 C rolled oatmeal
1/4 C egg substitute (or 2 egg whites)
1/4 C Greek yogurt
1/4 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. vanilla extract
1 T milk

To make your pancake, simply combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl to make your pancake batter. Make 3 dollops in a hot pan (I used my Scanpan. http://www.scanpancookware.com/ No oil, and yet no sticking! Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes per side.
To doll up the basic pancake you can add dried or fresh fruit (I like blueberries), carob chips sweetened with malt (if you haven’t tried these, you must!), dried coconut, nuts, seeds or anything else for that matter. The options are endless! If you have other favorite add-ins, let me know what they are! I’d like to try new combos too : )

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