Recipe of the Month: PB Energy Bites

This is my favorite thing of all to make and eat. My boyfriend has me make a triple batch before his rugby tournaments almost every weekend and since I’m just so kind (aka since they are just so easy to make) I always oblige.


These are no-bake bites, so they are perfect for the hot summer days when you don’t want to turn the oven on. 

The ingredients (1 batch makes 15-18 small bites or 12 large bites):

  • 1 cup oats 
  • 1/4 cup honey (if you prefer less of a peanut butter taste, use 1/3 cup, but I prefer less sugar)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut (toasted if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Have a Tupperware container lined with wax paper or parchament paper ready for the bites to be placed in, because my method gets messy.

Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl until the oats are well blended. Take small sections of the mixture and roll into bite sized portions, then place the ball into the container.

Once all the bites are rolled, put them in the fridge for about an hour. I like to cheat and throw them in the freezer for 10 minutes so I can eat them right away!

These are great for on the go breakfast, a midday snack, or a pre-/during- workout boost. Enjoy!

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Recipe of the Month: Mexican Bell Peppers

I saw a picture of what looked like a DELICIOUS stuffed pepper, and decided I would try to make my own.

I used:

  • 3 big red peppers (or 6 small)
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cans corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice – I like Rotel … it’s a bit spicy!
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 1-1.5 lbs lean ground turkey
  • Spices – chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper

First I cooked the turkey in a big pan. At the same time I boiled my rice. When the turkey was done I added the corn (drained), onion, garlic, and beans (drained and rinsed). I let those stew for about 5 minutes before adding the rice, tomatoes, and spices. I just eyeballed my spices, so if you like your food bland, don’t add as much spice… Or if you like spicy, put more chili powder. It’s your food 🙂

I let the mixture cook for 10 minutes. In the meantime, I cut my peppers in half and gutted them. I microwaved them in a dish with water for a few minutes to soften them up.

Once done, I set the peppers in a glass baking dish and generously spooned the finished mixture from the pan into the shells. I topped them off with the Mexican cheese and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

They were perfect!! It was delicious. I ate the leftover mixture on bean chips with guacamole and salsa and it was also super good. This is a meal you definitely should try, as it’s pretty darn healthy!

Woe is Wheat

It has been a pain learning about my new wheat allergy. So many easy to grab foods contain wheat, and if they don’t contain wheat, I’ve discovered they likely contain nuts or something else I’m allergic to. And after agonizingly watching my family enjoy a cheesy pizza last Friday night without me, I was determined to do my research and find healthy snacks and meal recipes that…

  • A) aren’t super expensive
  • B) aren’t crazy complicated 
  • C) don’t taste like dirt, and 
  • D) actually keep me full!

…So that I don’t have to miss out on enjoying my food!

Here’s a list of foods and brands that I’ve purchased recently that have helped me transition to a diet that excludes all wheat, nuts and white potatoes.

  • SunButter and Quaker Oats Chocolate Rice Cakes (the big ones) have been my favorite breakfast. 2 cakes generously covered in the sun butter is delicious. Dare I say I actually enjoy the SunButter more than peanut butter because it’s not quite as dry….!?
  • Quaker Oats (flavored) Rice Cakes (the small crisps). I particularly like the cheddar and barbecue chip flavors. I love sour cream & onion, but the Quaker ones don’t quite get the job done for me.
  • Bean Chips are my new go to after work snack with some cheese and salsa. As the article image shows, I threw chili on them for dinner one night and it was so good! Yummm….
  • Chex Rice Cereal, raisins, and semi-sweet chocolate morsels make for one big stash of homemade trail mix that definitely gets the job done.
  • Kind Bars! This one flavor – chocolate quinoa and flax seed is absolutely AMAZING! I found boxes at Walmart for super cheap.

Of course I still enjoy my usual go-to’s like yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, and homemade smoothies, as well as normal dinner foods like grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli or other meats and veggies… But these few brands have proved worthy of my grocery cart and can remain in my kitchen for now.

Unfortunately, I’m still experimenting with different brands of Gluten free bread. So far all the ones I’ve tasted are very bland and it’s a whopping $6 for a half loaf of slices that are barely the size of my palm. Stay tuned.

I’ll be sure to add to this list as I continue to grocery shop and test my taste buds on my new wheat free life!

Recipe of the Month: Caprese Salad Lettuce Cups

This weekend I saw a recipe on Instagram to make caprese salad lettuce cups. I LOVE caprese salad so I decided to make it… As I prepped, I made a few changes to it to better suit my taste, but the original recipe can be found on @feelgoodfoodie’s Instagram (here).

In a bowl, I mixed 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (with maple syrup flavor), 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp crushed basil, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.

Then I added the good stuff. I diced up 2 small tomatoes, 1 whole avocado, and about 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese chunks.

I stirred it up until the dressing coated it all, and scooped it out onto big leaves of romaine lettuce. This made 3 (good sized) leaves. 

If you’re a cucumber lover (sadly I am not) then you’d enjoy @feelgoodfoodie ‘s original version on Instagram. But if you’re like me and choose to forego the cucumbers, this was still delicious!

  
 

Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

My mom comes from an Irish Catholic family, raised by two parents who were both first generation immigrants to the US straight  from Ireland. So we eat lots Shepherd’s Pie in the winter 😉

Usually, we would skin potatoes, mash them up, brown ground beef in a pan with corn, then fill a casserole dish and bake it in the oven for an hour.

Now, who has the time for that? So we’ve cut corners and adjusted the recipe… And now that I’m allergic to whit potatoes, I decided to make my own mini Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie while my family ate our regular Shepherd’s Pie.

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 small sweet potatoes (or 1 large)
  • ~1 cup ground beef
  • ~1/2-3/4 cup corn 

These proportions are all up to you! So if you love ground beef and not corn, adjust as you desire.

Here’s what I did:

The sweet potatoes I buy come pre-washed and wrapped individually to allow for steaming in the microwave in just 5-7 minutes. So I popped those in the microwave while I browned my ground beef in a sauce pan on the stove. I added some pepper here.

When the potatoes were done, I cut them in half and scooped out the insides into a bowl. I rinsed my corn and added that to the bowl. When my beef was cooked, I drained the pan and folded the beef into my bowl of corn and potatoes.

 
I emptied this into a small casserole dish and popped it into the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The results? Not bad! It smelled so delicious when I pulled it out of the oven. 

The taste was obviously sweet, but I actually like sweet potatoes, so this isn’t a big difference to me compared to regular Shepherd’s Pie. It’s not buttery and salty like the mashed potatoes we traditionally make are, because the sweet potatoes are soft and wet enough on their own after steaming in the microwave. So, in reality this recipe is slightly healthier in that regard because you’re eliminating butter and salt from the recipe completely.

  
So if you are allergic to white potatoes like me, or just want to try a new, healthier version of Shepherd’s Pie, try it out and let me know what you think!

Recipe of the Month – Froyo Berries

Not long ago I posted an article about foods that are season versus foods that are out of season. Since it’s summertime, most berries are currently in season and at their juiciest, ripest, and freshest. That being said, I have a great, simple recipe for you.

The best part of this recipe is that you can choose literally any berry you like. Blueberries are my favorite, but even raspberries or strawberries could work.

Once you pick your berries out, grab a tub of Greek yogurt and line a cookie sheet with wax paper. All you’re going to do is dip your berry in the Greek yogurt and place it on the wax paper. I like plain old Chobani or Oikos Greek yogurt since the tang pairs nicely with the sweet fruit.

For smaller berries, you can use a toothpick to dip them in the yogurt. Once your cookie sheet is full of berries, place it in the freezer until the yogurt hardens. Make sure to eat the berries shortly after you decide to take them out of the freezer, because the yogurt will melt fast. Enjoy this cool summer treat as a snack or dessert that you don’t need to feel guilty about indulging in!

Recipe of the Month! [Tuna]

Tuna Salad

There once was a time I couldn’t even stand the smell of tuna once the can was cracked, but those days are long gone. Now, I love tuna. Tuna melts, tuna salad, plain tuna, you name it.

I grew up eating whatever type of tuna my dad mixed up, which typically consisted of white tuna, celery and a whole bunch of mayonnaise.

Now that I’ve been to school, studied nutrition, and been focused on a healthier lifestyle, I can’t stomach mayonnaise on anything.

So I substitute his 2 tbsp of mayonnaise for 3 tbsp of Greek yogurt instead! It tastes, in my opinion, even better. Instead of making the tuna taste too sweet, it gives it a little tang which goes nicely with the celery.

Photo Jun 11, 1 55 56 PM

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt – I typically use plain Oikos or Chobani
  • 1 can of tuna – I typically go for white, dolphin safe tuna

*Note: I make the entire can at once and eat it over the course of a few days, as it lasts just fine in the refrigerator!

Looking for more nutrition facts on this recipe:

celeryoikos nutrition tuna

*For nutrition information, just look at the labels! Or, this website is super helpful in helping calculate calories and macros. [CalorieCount.com]

So all in all, this is a pretty light snack. Throw it on some whole wheat bread if you want with a slice of Swiss cheese for a more satisfying tuna melt. Or do it like I do – straight from the tupperware container with a little bit of pepper!

Photo Jun 11, 1 55 26 PM

Hope you like this substitution. It’s healthier and just as delicious. If you don’t like tuna, give it a try anyway to mix up your diet. Enjoy!