Monday, December 30, 2013

Snowman Melts

These little guys are sure to be a fabulous New Year's Party Treat.
They are super easy, cute, and delicious! 

2 Oreo packages
1 package of Almond Bark
2 packages of Cream Cheese

Step 1: Melt the almond bark

Step 2: Grind the Oreos and cream cheese with a blender or mixer 

Step 3: Roll Oreo/cream cheese mixture in small balls
Step 4: Once the Almond Bark is melted, cover the balls with the white chocolate and place on parchment paper
Step 5: Paint snowman faces =] 
Step 6: Wrap them individually, cute poem optional!

The Gang's All Here!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nanaimo Bars


Servings: 16
Kcals per serving: 250 
Fat per serving: 15 g
Sodium per serving: 40 mg


Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 egg
1 1/4 cup graham wafers, processed into a crumb
1 cup unsweetened coconut

Middle Layer:
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing/confectioner's sugar, sifted

Top Layer:
4 oz dark chocolate or semi-sweet plus 2 tbsp butter
shredded coconut to garnish, optional


Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and grease with butter on all side.

Middle Layer:
In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk, vanilla with custard powder.  Stir until smooth.
Beat the butter into a large bowl until smooth and creamy.  Add the custard, coconut milk, and vanilla mixture.  Beat for a few minutes.
Gradually, add in the icing sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Set aside.

Bottom Layer: 
In a saucepan, whisk together the butter, sugar, and sifted cocoa powder.  Heat on medium to low and stir frequently until smooth.  Add the egg and stir well.  Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and graham wafer crumbs.  Stir well and mix with your hands.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan.  Press firmly and evenly.  Take the middle layer frosting and spread over the top of the bottom layer evenly.  Place in the freezer until firm, or 35-45 minutes.

Top Layer:
Melt the chocolate and butter.  Stir well until smooth and all clumps are gone.  Remove the pan from freezer and spread the chocolate over the top. Sprinkle coconut on top if desired.  Smooth out as much as possible and place in the freezer for roughly 1 hour, or until set.

Note: Middle layer gets very soft at room temperature.  It is best to keep in the fridge  until serving and cut when chilled.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Recipe for Motivation


         As a health educator, I believe one of my strongest talents is motivating others.  What I mean by that is I help others find their motivation.  Humans are creatures of habit, if we do something one way and like it, we are going to stick with it.   If health and fitness isn't part of your daily routine, then you're probably lacking motivation.  If you start eating healthy than two weeks from now you give up, it's your motivation that's hindering your success.
     While interning with a weight management center this summer, I had numerous clients eager to start on their lifestyle change.  The first meeting they were all more than willing to sign their life away to reach their personal health goals.  However, a week or two into the program, the "newness" and "freshness" begins to wear off and it can be challenging to stick with the new routine.  In order to be truly successful, you need someone to "feed" you inspiration.  Talk to someone about why you want to develop a healthier lifestyle. DO NOT TALK ABOUT NUMBERS ON A SCALE!  That is trivial and will leave you discourage.  Instead, talk about changing to decrease medication use, lower cholesterol/blood pressure, or perhaps just setting a good example for your kids.  Whatever it is, it needs to be personal, and you need to want it.  Your "feeder" person will remind you of why you want to change when you are discouraged.  They will help you reinforce your goals and make them real.  Even have them help you visualize yourself at your goal in your head. Think about how good it will feel when you reach it and how far along you already are. 
    It is great to think about your goals.  Make them real by writing them down and place them somewhere to constantly remind you of what you are working towards.  That will help keep you on track to progress until you succeed.  You also what to make sure you are reinforcing good behavior.  Positive feedback can be a positive weapon when used correctly.  Make note of your good efforts and accomplishments.  Set smaller goals with shorter timelines and reward yourself with a new bag, jewelry, or a pair of jeans when you reach them.  By reinforcing the things you are doing right, it will help instill good habits which will translate to more results! And remember, everyone has set-backs at some point. It is natural and normal when working towards your goals. Just remember it is only temporary and you are in control! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A healthy outside starts from the inside.

    Nearly everyone has the same goal of losing weight for the New Year, however, it's the holiday season and more than likely you are elbow high in a bowl of chips, candies, and holiday treats.  You are still feeling stuffed from Turkey Day but the carry-ins and parties are at a stead-fast rate with no end in site.  You are starting to realize your pants are getting slightly snug and you still have 3 weeks until the New Year.  This time of year can be extremely challenging to stay on a healthy path. Especially when your home constantly smells of freshly baked cookies and pies. The holidays come only once a year and while I have no problem indulging in some peanut butter fudge and key lime pie, remember that moderation is key. However, if you do end up eating an entire sheet cake and then feel guilty about it, forgive yourself.  It's over, offer yourself comfort, give yourself acceptance, and get back on track as soon as you can.  There is no need to beat yourself up for something that happened momentarily in the past.
    So instead of running from couch to kitchen treating your body like a waste basket, here are 20 non-food related activities that will ensure you can keep your smaller pants!

1. Go for a jog.  There is nothing greater than the smell of fresh air.
2. Read a book.
3. Write in a journal.  You could even start a weight loss journal!
4.  Volunteer for an organization.
5. Make up a workout on your own.  Share it with your friends or upload it on YouTube.
6. Go ice skating, after all, what is winter without some skates?
7. Learn how to sew, crotchet, or knit. Hello, Christmas presents for family and friends!
8. Look up DIY projects online.
9. Pick up a new hobby: photography, painting, scrap-booking. It's up to you!
10. Start writing a list of New Year resolutions.
11.  Go SHOPPING! After all, carrying all those bags is great exercise!
12. Sign up for workout classes
13. Rent movies
14. Build a fort out of pillows and blankets  (I suggest doing 13 and 14 together)
15. Take a nap
16. Make a list of things that motivate you
17. Take up an instrument
18. Take a mini-road trip
19. Wrap Christmas Presents
20. Reflect on the person you are/the person you want to be.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pumpkin Squash Ravioli

yields about 24 ravioli 
Servings: 4  
kcals per serving: 150 kcals
fat per serving: 1.5 g
sodium per serving: 150 mg 

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 2 pound butternut squash
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese or 2 tablespoons parmesan 
1 package store-bought whole-wheat pasta sheets (you can make your own if that's your fancy)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together pumpkin puree and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.
Drop teaspoons full of filling (puree and cheese) along the pasta sheet.  Fold the pasta over the filling. 
Press down on edges of pasta sheets with a fork to create a good seal. 
To cook, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water for 3-5 minutes, or until they float. Drain pasta.
Place pasta and cut up squash cubes in a large bowl. 
Top with your favorite butter or cream sauce.  Serve and enjoy!

*Some good sauces for pumpkin ravioli are hazelnut cream sauce, butter sauce, sage and browned butter. To make sage butter sauce, melt ½ cup unsalted butter, over low heat. Tear 6 sage leaves and put them in the pan when the butter begins to sizzle and brown. Fry for 20-30 seconds, remove from the heat and grate in ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins

Clearly, I am in a blueberry mood this week.  First pancakes and now muffins!
Lucky for me, blueberries are a super food full of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Servings: 12
Kcals per serving: 105
Fat per serving: 0.5 g
Sodium per serving: 270 mg

1 1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup all wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tray with paper liners.  Mix together wheat bran and skim milk, let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in bran mixture.  Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir into bran mixture until just blended.  Fold in blueberries.  Scoop into muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blueberry Pancakes

This is my kind of lazy Sunday morning brunch. These are so tasty you won't want to pile on the sugary syrup.  The blueberries leave the pancakes moist and sweet, and since they are whole-grain, they will fill you up AND last!

Pancakes: 10
kcals per pancake: 65
fat per pancake: 0.3 g
sodium per pancake: 400 mg

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 egg whites
1 cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup blueberries (save a few extra's to sprinkle on top)

Sift together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.
Beat egg, milk, salt in bowl.
Stir in flour until just moistened, add blueberries, and stir together.
Preheat skillet on medium heat, spray skillet with cooking spray.  Pour roughly 1/4 cup of batter into pan for each pancake. Cook until bubbly and flip.  Continue until golden brown.
Put a dollop of cool whip on top with a few blueberries.
Eat and enjoy!

Blueberry Overload!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow Day Hot Chocolate!

I have only had one snow day in college, and today is the day.  And let me tell ya, I am using it to my advantage! Netflix, movies, hot chocolate, the whole nine yards! I have a favorite low-calorie/low-fat hot chocolate recipe that I love on days like today and I am excited to share it with you. You can mix it up by adding some crushed peppermint and a dollop of marshmallow fluff.

Servings: 1
Kcals per serving: 70 kcals
Fat per serving: 0.5 g

WARNING! This has an intense chocolate flavor!
Heat 8 oz of water in a Keurig or boil 8 oz of water and place in a large microwavable mug.
Add 2 tablespoons of baking cocoa.
Add 5-10 chocolate chips and stir until mixed well.
Add 2 ounces of skim milk and place in microwave for roughly 45 seconds.
Remove, stir, and enjoy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Experience at a Food Allergy Camp! AND a recipe!

      On November 15, my three best friends and I loaded up my car and headed to a food allergy camp in Scottsville, KY. It had been years since any of us had been to camp and we were looking forward to staying up late, girl chats, and sharing bunk rooms!  Little did we know, we would learn more from that weekend than we had ever imagined.
Almost immediately upon arrival, we were notified the camp had eliminated the top 8 food allergens as well as the top 3 airborne allergens from the entire campus! (This included corn syrup which is in practically EVERYTHING ... including my diet soda! A whole weekend without diet soda. EEK!)  It also meant no creamer for the coffee, no bread or bread products, no ketchup, and numerous everyday staples. Regardless, we were happy to make it on-time (thanks to Kayla ;] ) and headed to the dorm to unpack for the weekend ahead. We were ready to have fun!
       Shortly after orientation, campers started to arrive and we were soon matched with our weekend "families". The camp did a fabulous job setting up coordinators with campers because my little girl was super awesome.  She was incredibly smart and very polite.  I knew we were going to have a blast together!  After some ice breaker games, everyone headed to the dining hall for dinner....and I was about to have an eye opening experience.
        My 9 year old camper was ecstatic as the buffet tables were being put in place.  I assumed she was hungry (she had a 6 hour drive to get to camp) and was just ready to eat.  It was then that her mom said that this camp and Disney World, which has ServSafe Chefs that specialize in food allergens, were the only places she was able to go through a buffet line/order a meal due to her allergies.  She was allergic to several foods and was unable to go to fast food restaurants or out to eat due to cross contamination and airborne reasons.
         I had just hit a brick wall.  I had NO idea that someone could have food allergies to the extent of this young girl, and she wasn't even the worse!  I was immediately thrown back to the Burger King french fries and McDonald's happy meal's I grew up with. I remembered going to birthday parties and eating cake and ice cream, ordering pizza and watching movies on the couch.  Nearly all celebrations as a child, (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, etc.) all centered around food and this girl was unable to experience that.  99.9% of the meals she consumed her mom prepared at home.  Her mom was telling me how challenging it was to prepare Thanksgiving due to the amount of different utensils and specialized foods she had to buy.  Her mom even had to watch for specific lotions because they often contained cocoa or tree nuts!  I stood there in disbelief as I heard their story.  And for the first time, I realized how challenging life can be for someone with food allergies.  And I suddenly became aware of all I take for granted daily.
        My friends and I learned a lot that weekend and we came home inspired and even more determined to become Registered Dietitians.  The weekend was certainly a period of personal growth and learning.  And we will be forever thankful for the opportunity. So, in honor of that weekend, I decided to post a recipe that is milk and egg free!

Servings: 12
Kcals per serving: 180
Fat per serving: 5.5 g
Sodium per serving: 110 mg

1.5 cups flour   (if you have a gluten allergy, use 1.75 cups GF flour mix with 1 tsp xanthan gum)
3 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until you get a smooth batter. Do not overbeat. Pour in a greased and floured pan or cupcake pan.  Bake in oven (35 minutes for cake and 20 minutes for cupcakes)

This was a common recipe used during the depression era when eggs and milk were rationed.  Not Betty Crocker?  No worries!   This is SUPER simple and nearly impossible mess up!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Oriental Chicken

Servings: 6
Calories: 215 kcals
Fat: 5.5 grams
Sodium: 700  mg

1 pound lean grilled chicken breast
1 cup peas (drained)
1 chopped red pepper
2 eggs
1.5-2 cups long grain brown rice
2.5 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place chicken in a crockpot roughly 6 hours before meal prep.  It becomes really tender and easy to pull apart.
Place chicken (cut in strips or tore apart), rice, red peppers, peas, soy sauce, sesame oil and water in a large skillet. Cook until boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover.
Simmer for 10 minutes, stir, and simmer again for 10 minutes.
In a smaller skillet, scramble 2 eggs and mix into large skillet.
Enjoy with egg rolls, crab rangoon, or another favorite side!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home-Made Apple Dumplings

I love fall and during this breezy season what is better than a warm home-made apple dumpling?

Servings: 16
Kcals per serving: 180 kcals
Fat per serving: 5 grams
Sodium per serving: 230 mg

2 large golden delcious apples, peeled and cored
2 (10 oz) cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough
.5 cup butter
.5 cup sweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can of Diet Mountain Dew or Diet Gingerale

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking dish.  Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate crescent roll dough into triangles.  Roll each apple wedge in a crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end.  Pinch to seal and place in baking dish.  Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in cinnamon, sugar, and applesauce.  Pour over the apple dumplings.  Pour Dt. Mt. Dew over the dumplings.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with Arctic Zero Vanilla Maple Ice Cream!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ghoul-tastic Sweets for Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, along with all the Halloween candy!  While I certainly understand it is tempting to "splurge" for the once a year festivities, I encourage everyone to remember the key word: moderation.  So try some of these recipes for a fun treat with friends or kids. They are guilt-free, delicious, and won't leave you with a belly-ache!

Servings: 6
Kcals per serving: 100 kcal
Fat per serving: 4.6 grams
Sodium per serving: 3 mg

1 cup shredded coconuts
3 bananas
12 chocolate chips
6 raisins
1.5 cup orange juice
6 popsicle sticks

Peel banana and cut in half width-wise. Insert popsicle stick in flat end of banana. *Be careful not to break banana in half. Continue with all six "ghost pops".  Place in freezer for 4 hours. Dip frozen banana into orange juice. Roll banana in coconut. Place two chocolate chips on banana for "eyes". Place 1 raisin for "mouth".  Enjoy this potassium-filled treat!

Dracula Teeth
Servings: 4
Kcals per serving: 200 kcals
Fat per serving: 6 grams
Sodium per serving: 5 mg

1 large apple
8 tablespoons peanut butter
20 candy corn pieces
Lemon juice
4 cups water

Stir lemon juice into water. Using an apple slicer, slice/core apple into 8 equal portions.  Place apple slices into lemon water.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with a towel.  Spread  1 tablespoon peanut butter on one side of each apple slice.  Push candy corn into peanut butter on apple slices.  Top with another slice of apple.

*Optional: Don't like candy corn? Substitute for mini marshmallows or sliced almonds!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Key-Lime Pie

My birthday was earlier this month and one of my all-time favorite treats is Red Lobster's Key-Lime Pie.  It's just so refreshing and tasty!! Honestly, I wouldn't mind eating it everyday.  After looking at the nutrition facts, I noticed it had 580 kcals per serving, 22 grams of fat, and 450 mg of sodium!  I made it my goal to recreate a healthier version that is just as tasty! Try it out and tell me what you think!

Servings: 12
Kcals per serving: 230 kcal
Fat per serving: 8 grams
Sodium per serving: 180 mg

1 graham cracker crust
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
5 eggbeaters
4 limes, juice and zest
4 kiwis, cut into thin slices

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk condensed milk, eggbeaters, juice, and 4 teaspoons zest until it forms a thick, cream-like mixture.  Pour over graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake until edges are firm but center slightly jiggles. (around 10-15 minutes)  Cool for 30 minutes. Decorate with kiwi slices and chill for 1 hour.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Meatless Monday Ideas

Today, I wanted to emphasis the trend "Meatless Monday's" and incorporate a few meatless recipes.  If you are not already familiar with Meatless Monday, it is an international campaign encouraging people to not eat meat on Monday as a way to improve their healthy and the health of the planet.  Studies have shown there are several benefits to going meatless once a week including preventing conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, limit water usage, and help reduce fossil fuel dependence.
Here are some great ideas you can try today!

Instant oatmeal with nuts and dried cranberries
Low-fat yogurt layered with crunchy cereal or granola and fruit
Almond butter spread on a bagel with banana slices

Veggie Sandwich. Slice tomato, pepper, onion, cucumber, and avocado in a whole grain pita
Large salad with dried cranberries, nuts, fruit or tofu
Veggie burger with mushroom, tomato, and lettuce on a whole-grain bun
Peanut butter and banana sandwich with carrots and celery
Chili made with beans and vegetables for an extra crunch with cornbread

Tofu and veggie stir-fry with brown rice
Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce plus vegetables (eggplant, mushroom, tomatoes, peppers, and onions)
Taco or burrito filled with beans and vegetables or tofu
Veggie pizza topped with tofu
Tomato soup and whole-grain crackers

dried fruit
trail mix
low-fat or fat-free yogurt
hummus and pita wedges
smoothie made with frozen berries and banana

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Recipes

I love peanut butter. I mean LOVE it. I could easily sit down with a spoon and eat half a jar. While I would never recommend that, yesterday I read an informative article about how peanut butter can reduce the risk of breast cancer. (the link to the article is located below) Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to create a few healthy food options that incorporated peanut butter.

Healthy Recipe Number 1:
Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chia Seed Bagel

1 bagel
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 banana sliced
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

Toast bagel, place 1 tablespoon peanut butter on each side of bagel, top with banana slices and sprinkle with chia seeds.

Healthy Recipe Number 2:
Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups raisin bran
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped Craisins
1/3 cup protein powder

Heat honey in a large pot. Add sugar and stir until bubbled. Add cinnamon. Continue stirring. Stir in peanut butter and protein powder. Remove from heat and stir in raisin bran and Craisins. Line pan with foil and press mixture firmly on foil. Place in fridge for 4-5 hours. Cut, serve, and enjoy!

Healthy Recipe Number 3:
Apple, Peanut Butter, and Granola Sandwich

1 apple, cored
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup low fat granola

Core apple and slice apple horizontally in several slices to create "bread". Spread two apple slices with 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Sprinkle with granola.

Link to article:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Simply Sylvia Creamy Mac-N-Cheese

Servings: 6
Kcals per serving: 185 kcal
Fat per serving: 0.5 g
Sodium per serving: 300 mg

2 cups whole wheat elbow pasta
2 cups reduced fat shredded cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh spinach (or Broccoli! Yum!)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook macaroni 8-10 minutes.
Place spinach at bottom of strainer.  Drain pasta over macaroni. (The hot water will wilt the spinach) Save roughly 1/4 cup of hot water in the pot. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Serve and enjoy.

**If using broccoli, steam the broccoli prior to mixing with water and yogurt.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

I would like to apologize in advance.  I have a feeling my blog will be bombarded with ALL THINGS PUMPKIN this next month... but what can I say?
I love Fall, the break in the weather, the trees changing colors, and one of my favorite melons (only second to watermelon) the GREAT PUMPKIN!

In this recipe I decided to be bold and try chocolate with pumpkin.  Interestingly enough, the flavors really flatter one another.  I was a little hesitant at first but it is definitely worth a try!

Servings: 10
Calories per serving: 150 kcal
Sodium per serving: 130 mg
Fat per serving: 4.5 g

30 Chocolate Wafers
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 egg whites
1/2 cup fat-free half and half
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a blender or food processor, mix cookies and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and applesauce.  Continue to mix until moist. Firmly press mixture in the bottom of a greased 9-inch pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.
Pour chocolate onto warm crust; spread.  Freeze until chocolate is firm. (5-10 minutes).  While freezing, whisk together pumpkin, egg, half and half, sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt.  Pour filling in crust.  Bake 45-55 minutes.  Cool 1 hour at room temperature.  Refrigerate 1 hour.
Cut, Serve, and Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pumpkin Quesadilla

Servings: 4 tortillas
Calories per serving: 550 kcal
Fat per serving: 20 grams
Sodium per serving: 1,000 mg

2 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 8 inch flour tortillas
4 ounces shredded cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of brown sugar

In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin and cumin; season to taste with nutmeg and cinnamon. Spread over 4 tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese and nuts. Top with remaining tortillas.   In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Cook quesadillas, one at a time, turning once and adding more oil between batches, until browned, 3 minutes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Simply Sylvia Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Servings: 20
Calories per serving: 80 kcal
Fat per serving: 3.5 g
Sodium per serving: 58 mg

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons stevia
2 tablespoons PB2 powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soft/slightly melted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 peanut butter cups, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (flour, stevia, PB2 powder, baking powder, salt) Stir well.
3. Combine butter, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract, eggs in a large bowl and stir.
4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Line a 12'' pizza pan with foil. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter on foil in an even layer.  Sprinkle peanut butter cups over batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Banana-PB2 Protein Shake

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my protein shakes.
For mornings when I'm on the run, it's easy to grab some ingredients, throw it in a blender, and head out the door.  Below is my favorite go-to recipe.

Servings: 1
Calories per serving: 180 kcal
Fat per serving: 0.8 g
Sodium per serving: 66 mg

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use lean 15)
1 banana
1 tablespoon PB2 powder
4 large ice cups
1/4 cup water

Place ingredients in blender. Mix. Enjoy!

*if you want a thicker shake, opt for less water and more ice!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Hard boiled eggs are an EGG-CELLENT source of protein (with roughly 7-8 grams per egg).  They are easy to transport, can be made a week in advance, and are delicious mixed in a fresh salad.

A week ago I was asked to post a summary on how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg. If you ask, you shall receive!
Now, I don't know about you but I HATE when I overcook my eggs and they have the grey layer between the white and the yolk.  Below is a step-by-step summary of how to make the perfect creamy yellow center everyone loves.

Hard Boiled Egg:
Step 1: Place eggs in a large saucepan.  Be sure to place them in a *single* layer.  Add 1-2 inches of cold water or just enough to cover entire egg.
*If not, the water will not be able to circulate through the egg layer as well and will leave you with that unattractive grey layer. boo!

Step 2:  Bring to boil.  Remove from heat and cover. Let eggs stand in hot water for roughly 12 minutes.  Drain immediately.

Step 3: Serve warm OR let cool in an ice bath and refrigerate.

helpful hint: for easier peeling, use eggs that are roughly a week old.  the cooked shell will literally fall off!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Tuna Salad & Tomatoes

Are you watching your carbs? This yummy recipe has 12 grams of carbs and 24 gram of protein!

Servings: 2
Calories per serving: 400
Fat per serving: 26 g
Sodium per serving: 600 mg

1 can light water-packed tuna, drained
5 tablespoons light mayo or miracle whip
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
Dash pepper
2 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup chow mein noodles

Combine the tuna, mayo, celery, green pepper, and pepper in a small bowl and place in fridge for 5-10 minute or until chilled.  
Cut tomatoes in six halves, do not cut all the way through.
Spoon chow mein noodles in tuna salad and place salad in the center of each tomato.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Baked Eggs in Avocado Halves

In honor of National Cholesterol Education Month, I wanted to post a great egg recipe. Unfortunately, eggs have a bad rep due to their cholesterol content. What people often forget is that eggs contain over 40 different proteins, vitamins and minerals, and increases LDL cholesterol (the healthy kind you want to have). Eggs are a staple ingredient in baking, quiches, omelets, and are great by themselves boiled or sunny side up. (I'll be posting how to make the perfect boiled egg at a later date.)  Here is a super simple recipe that is low sugar and fiber filled! Not to mention has nearly 40 mg of Omega-3's per serving!

Baked Eggs in Avocado Halves 

Servings: 2
Calories per serving: 370
Fat per serving: 29 grams
Sodium per serving: 450 mg

2 Avocados
4 Eggs
Pepper to taste
Chives to taste
4 Tablespoons Salsa

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice avocados in half and take out the pit.  Scoop out just enough avocado to ensure the egg will sit snugly. Place the avocado in a small baking dish.
Crack an egg and place in the scooped out avocado.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the egg whites have set.
Remove from oven, season with pepper, chives, and a tablespoon of your favorite salsa.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Greek Yogurt & Strawberry Short Cake

Servings: 1
Calories per serving: 195 kcal
Fat per serving: 5 grams
Sodium per serving: 220 mg

1 slice of angel food cake or pound cake
1 container of Greek Yoplait Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries

Combine ingredients in bowl and enjoy!

*Optional: Top off with Light Reddi-Wip or Light Chocolate Syrup

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Watermelon Donuts

Serving: 1 donut
Calories per serving: 100 kcal
Fat per serving: 2 g
Sodium per serving: 20 mg

Seedless watermelon
1 serving sour cream (see back of container)
pinch of sugar to taste
dash of vanilla to taste
9 almonds (slivered)

Cut out donut shapes from 1.5 inch thick slices of seedless watermelon.  Sweeten sour cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla to taste.  Frost half of the watermelon donut slices and sprinkle with almonds.  Add another layer of watermelon slices and top with sweetened sour cream.  Sprinkle toasted almonds over top and serve.

*Watermelon slices shaped like donuts.  A fun breakfast treat for kids! 

This recipes was found at! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Swirly Apples

Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 220 kcal
Fat per serving: 12 g
Sodium per serving: 10 mg

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup light-brown sugar
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium apples, skin peeled in a spiral

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Stir together unsweetened applesauce, butter, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Scoop out the core of each apple with a melon baller, being careful not to go through the bottom.  Discard cores.  Fill each apple with oat mixture.  Transfer apples to a 9-inch square non-reactive baking dish.  Add 1 cup water to the dish to cover bottoms of apples by about 1/2 inch.  Cover dish with aluminum foil.  Bake until apples are soft (40-45 minutes).  Serve warm. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oven-Baked Pumpkin

Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 110 kcal
Fat per serving: 2.5 g
Sodium per serving: 1.5 mg

1 medium sugar pumpkin (4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2 inch chunks
4 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Divide pumpkin, shallots, oil, and sage between two large rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

Roast until pumpkin is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, tossing once and rotating sheets halfway through. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

100 Calorie Snacks

Here is a great list of <100 calorie snacks. Use these snacks before, during, or after work/school as a way to stay energized throughout your day. 

1 cup sliced strawberries with 3 tablespoons cool whip
Medium Banana
28 frozen grapes
Pineapple slices
Medium Apple
Baked apple dusted with cinnamon and a little brown sugar
1 cup blueberries

Yoplait Light Yogurt
String Cheese Snacks
1/2 cup Fro-Yo
1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup cantaloupe

Starbucks Tall Skinny Latte
Chocolate Milk (1 cup skim milk with 1 tablespoon light chocolate syrup)
1 cup Whey Protein with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Small latte with skim milk
5 animal crackers with 1/2 cup skim milk

3 cups Air-Popped Popcorn
Quaker Instant Oatmeal
90 Calorie Granola Bar
2 egg whites with 1 slice whole wheat toast
Small Bag of Pretzels
1 Nutter Butter Granola Bar
Any 100 Calorie Snack Pack
1/2 cup Special K cereal
1 cup Cheerios

1 cup baby carrots with 2 tablespoons Hummus
1 tablespoon peanuts with 2 tablespoons Craisins
5 stalks celery with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 bell pepper with 1 tablespoon light ranch

1 hard-boiled egg
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
20 pistachios nuts
1 packet ready to eat tuna salad

5 Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses (Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants)
1 Light Snack Pack Pudding
14 chocolate covered almonds
2 graham crackers with a light layer of Nutella or peanut butter and a slice of banana
2 oz of Angel Food Cake

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Simply Sylvia Homemade Granola Bars

Early morning is my favorite part of the day.  It's when I workout, sip on a cup of coffee, and just reflect. Like everyone, I have mornings where I'm super rushed and know I'll have to take breakfast on the go. That's when I love this recipe.  It makes 12 healthy alternatives to grocery store breakfast bars and they taste yummy too! 

Servings: 12
Calories per serving: 200 kcal
Fat per serving: 1.3 g
Sodium per serving: 26 mg

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 egg whites 
*2 cups raisins or your choice 
1/4 cup light maple syrup
1/4 cup honey with 2 tablespoons water
**1/2 cup PB2
Cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a cooking pan with Pam. Mix together the PB2 and syrup until well blended.  Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, once mixed, stir together the wet and dry ingredients.  Spread evenly into a 9X12 baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool and cut into bars.  Wrap individual bars in plastic bags or place in an air-tight container.  Store in fridge. 

*Optional: sprinkle a light layer of PB2 or peanut butter on top of the bars with a smidge of the raisins or your choice ingredient

*Be creative! I like raisins because they give me the energy I need to power through the morning.  You can substitute for chocolate chips, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut, etc.  

**I use PB2 because it has 85% less fat and calories than traditional peanut butter.  It comes as powder and you just mix it with water to the desired consistency.  Not a fan of PB2? Substitute in for peanut butter. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jumbo-Sized Pumpkin Muffins

Servings: 12
Calories per serving: 300 kcal
Fat per serving: 12 g
Sodium per serving: 40 mg

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups whole-wheat flour
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 12 jumbo muffins tins with Pam cooking spray. 
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powders, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin puree, yogurt, egg whites, and sugar to combine. Add 1 cup walnuts and reserved dry ingredients.  Mix just until moistened (do not over mix)
Divide evenly and spoon batter into muffin tins; sprinkle tops with remaining walnuts and sugar.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes in pan.

*Note: You can use the same recipe and make 24 regular size muffins at 150 kcal, 6 g fat, and 20 mg of sodium. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Farm Fresh Lasagna

Servings: 6
Calories per serving: 145 kcal
Fat per serving: .5 g
Sodium per serving: 180 mg

4 cups corn flakes
2 cups minced watermelon
2 cups fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries
2 cups vanilla yogurt

Place 1/3 of the corn flakes in an even layer in the bottom of an 8x8 serving dish.  Mix together the watermelon, blueberries, and yogurt.  Spoon half over the corn flake layer evenly.  Sprinkle another layer of the corn flakes over the yogurt and then layer the remaining yogurt over that.  Sprinkle the remaining corn flakes evenly over the top.

*Love this recipe? It was found at  Check out the site for other great ways to use watermelon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Waldorf Salad

Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 115 kcal
Fat per serving: 10 g
Sodium per serving: 8.5 mg

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus leaves for garnish
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until lightly browned (4-6 minutes)
In a large bowl, combine celery, apple, grapes, vinegar, and oil.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Garnish with celery leaves optional.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Homemade Grape Sorbet

Servings: 12
Calories per serving: 35 kcal
Fat per serving: 0 g
Sodium per serving: 3 mg

1 1/2 pounds grapes
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup simple syrup (sugar and water syrup)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Prepare an ice bath; set aside.  Combine grapes and the water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid begins to bubble and grapes start releasing liquid. (4 minutes)  Reduce heat, simmer until juice is dark purple and grapes begin to break apart. (3 minutes)
Pass mixture through a food mill and through a fine sieve into a large bowl and set in the ice bath; stir frequently until completely cool.  Stir in simple syrup and lemon juice.
Transfer mixture to an ice-cream maker, and freeze.  Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chocolate Pear Tart


Servings: 8
Calories per serving: 250 kcal
Fat per serving: 12 g
Sodium per serving: 90 mg


1/4 cup Chobani non-fat yogurt
1/2 stick light, unsalted butter
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
3/4 cup stevia
5 egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3 firm, ripe pears
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons apple jelly


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush a 9 inch removable-bottom tart pan with Pam cooking spray, set aside.
In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar; process until very finely ground.  Add salt-free butter, egg whites, cocoa, vanilla, salt, and almond extract, if using; process until combined.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.
Peel, halve, and core pears; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices, rubbing them with lemon (to prevent discoloration).  Arrange slices on chocolate mixture, slightly overlapping, without pressing in.
Place pan on a baking sheet; bake until top is puffed and a toothpick inserted in center of chocolate mixture comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.
Briefly heat jelly in the microwave or on the stove until liquefied.  Gently brush pears with jelly, let set, at least 20 minutes  Remove tart from pan and serve.

Enjoy =]

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cherry Lime Tarts

For the crust:
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for muffin pan
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 3 limes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 9 cherries, halved and pitted


Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter six standard muffin cups. In a food processor, process butter, flour, sugar, and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yolks and vanilla and process until dough comes together when pressed (dough will be crumbly.)        
Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each into a ball and place in a muffin cup, pressing evenly into bottom and up sides. Place a paper cupcake liner into each muffin cup over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are dry, 15 minutes. Carefully remove liners and weights; bake until crusts are dry and barely golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, make filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, sugar, lime juice, and salt. Place 3 cherry halves into each crust and divide filling among each. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. With the tip of a knife or a small offset spatula, remove cups from pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Watermelon Salsa


1 cup diced watermelon (seeds removed)
¾ cup diced strawberries
¼ cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons diced seeded jalapeno chile
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to taste)


Gently stir together all ingredients in bowl. Let stand to blend flavors, about 1 hour. For a dynamite combination, serve salsa with Caribbean or jerk seasoned grilled items, or with pretzels.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Watermelon Sandwich

Carb Counting? Have a Gluten Intolerance? I have an idea for you!

8 slices seedless watermelon (4 x 6 x ½ inch thick)
2 cups homemade* or homemade style, bread and butter pickles (sandwich stackers)
(*A lot of farmers’ markets have vendors with these as well as gourmet supermarkets)
 2 cups chopped fresh basil leaf 16 ¼ inch thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese

Divide the bread and butter pickles in an even layer over 4 of the slices of watermelon. Sprinkle the basil leaf over the pickles. Places an even layer of cheese over the basil using four slices per sandwich. Place a remaining slice of watermelon atop each sandwich. Using two decorative picks each, secure the sandwiches together such that you can cut them diagonally into 2 pieces. Serve sandwiches with corn chips or over greens as “fork sandwiches.” 

Watermelon slices are a great alternative to bread,  are low in calories, and keep you hydrated! Next time you want a turkey club or ham sandwich try using watermelon instead!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Watermelon Slushies

Watermelon Slushies

Total Time: 10 Minutes
Number of Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 68
Fat Per Serving: .3 gm
Sodium Per Serving: 2 mg

6 Cups Chopped, Seedless Watermelon

Puree 6 cups chopped seedless watermelon in a blender until smooth, pour into a shallow airtight container and freeze overnight. Thaw slightly, mash with a fork and spoon into cups.  This is a great recipe for a Summer Picnic!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Watermelon, Arugula, and Pistachio Salad

Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 132 kcal
Fat per serving: 7.5 g
Sodium per serving: 77 mg

1 watermelon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup salted pistachios
5 oz baby arugula

1. Seed a one pound watermelon and cut into bite-size balls.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil in a large bowl.

2. Add melon, 1/2 cup salted pistachios, and 5 oz baby arugula. Toss gently and serve immediately.

Cantaloupe Custard

Total time:  2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories per serving:  155 kcal
Fat per serving: 11 g
Sodium per serving: 32 mg
1 Cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 teaspoons unflavored powered gelatin ( roughly 2 packets)
1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey

1. Puree cantaloupe in a blender until smooth.  There should be 2 cups of puree after discarding any solids.  Pour 1/3 cup juice into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk yogurt into remaining juice.

2. In a saucepan, bring cream, 2 tablespoons honey, and salt to a simmer over medium.  Whisk in gelatin mixture and cook until dissolved. (1 minute) Whisk cream mixture into yogurt mixture and divide into six glass bowls.  Refrigerate until set (about 2.5 hours or overnight)

3. To unmold custard, run a small knife around the outside edge of each bowl and invert onto a serving plate, gently shaking side to side to release.

*Sprinkle honey on top of custard and serve with fresh berries or orange juice 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grilled Corn with Seasoned Salt and Olive Oil

Total time:  20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories per serving:  75 kcal
Fat per serving:  5 g
Sodium per serving: 2 mg

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Seasoned Salt, to taste
12 medium size ears of corn, husked
Parmesan cheese (low sodium), for sprinkling

1. Puree cilantro, olive oil, and  lime juice in food processor

2. Heat grill to medium-high.  Lightly brush corn with cilantro mixture and season with seasoned salt.  Grill corn, turning occasionally, until nicely charred and bright in color, 10 to 12 minutes.  Brush corn again with remaining cilantro mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese. Serve warm and enjoy!