Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Guilt-Free Mini Apple Pies

Sometimes, there’s nothing more comforting than warm, gooey apple pie. I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of all the pies – apple, pumpkin – they’re all so warming and tasty! I’ve never made pie before at home, but in my new attempt to broaden my baking skills, I decided to give it a shot a few nights ago. When I found this recipe from Hungry Girl for individually sized, guilt-free apple pies – I knew I’d be trying it out. I couldn’t believe that each pie has only 110 calories, 0.5g fat, ~10g sugars, and 2g protein!

The recipe starts with 3 cups of peeled, cored, and diced Fuji Apples

So, of course, apples are low in calories and good for you, but what else makes Hungry Girl’s recipe so guilt-free? I think she has 3 main secrets:

  • Using egg roll wrappers instead of pastry crust. Now – to be fair, the egg roll wrappers don’t taste exactly like puff pastry when you bake the pies. But it’s close enough, and with 1 scoop of fat free vanilla ice-cream, you can’t tell the difference.
  • Using butter spray instead of actual butter (each spray has 5 calories)
  • Using only 2 Tbsp of added sugar – trust me, you don’t need more than that.

You can find the full ingredients list at Hungry Girl’s website here.

Now – for the directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: In a medium nonstick pot on the stove, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt with 1/2 cup cold water. Mix until ingredients dissolve. Add apples and stir. Bring to medium-high heat and, stirring frequently, cook until apples have softened, 7 – 10 minutes.

This is what the apples looked like when they first started cooking

And after 10 min they looked like this!

Step 3: Reduce heat to low and, stirring often, cook until thick and gooey, 1 – 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. I was amazed that it was so easy to make such gooey, yummy apple pie filling.

Step 4: Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil and/or spraying it with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Step 5: Place two egg roll wrappers flat on a dry surface. Set out a small dish of water. Dip your finger into the water, and run it along all of the wrapper edges. (Repeat as needed while preparing your pockets, as it will help seal them.) Starting 1/2 inch from the bottom, place about 1/3 cup pie filling along the bottom half of each wrapper, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the sides. Your open faced pie should look like this:

And now for the close-up:

Step 6: Fold the top half of each wrapper over the filling, so that the top edge meets the bottom and the filling is encased with a border on three sides. Dab each border with water, and fold each inward about 1/4 inch to lightly seal. Press firmly along the borders with the prongs of a fork to seal completely. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat this process with remaining wrappers and filling, for a total of six mini pies.

Step 7: Spray the top of each pocket with 3 sprays of butter. Bake in the oven until edges begin to brown, 15 – 18 minutes.

Once they come out of the oven, they look like this:

Step 8: Allow to cool for 5 minutes. I decided to take another picture while I was waiting for them to cool. Aren’t they cute?

Step 9: Top with additional cinnamon and cool whip free (or Dryer’s Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – which is what we used). With the cool whip free, your pie will have ~110 calories. With 1/4 cup of Dryer’s Slow Churned Vanilla, your pie will have ~160 calories.

And it tasted as good as it looked! This was absolutely delicious – the perfect guilt-free indulgence.

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Guilt-Free, Healthy 7 Layer Bean Dip

Can 7 Layer Dip actually be healthy? Absolutely! It’s usually filled with fat, calories, and not much nutrition – but with a few easy swaps you’ll get a dip that’s still FULL of flavor, but healthy enough to be a one dish meal. I was inspired by this recipe from Fannetastic Food, and made a few modifications to Anne’s recipe for dinner a few nights ago. My modified ingredients list is below, and you can find the original here. Thanks Anne for a great recipe! My husband totally loved this dish – and it’s great as a quick & easy weeknight meal, or as an appetizer for parties.

The secret swaps / ingredients that make this dish healthy are:

  • 1 15 oz can of Refried black beans, made with all-natural ingredients with no oil, sugar, etc. added (instead of the processed refried beans usually used)
  • 2 Mashed avocados (instead of avocado “dip”) Season them with 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt seasoned with Taco Seasoning, or you can also use fat-free sour cream (instead of full fat sour cream or mayo)
  • Fresh veggies! I used 1 bunch of green onions and 3-4 roma tomatoes, diced (per Anne’s suggestion) – but you can use diced red onions, diced red pepper, etc – the sky’s the limit.
  • 1/4 cup low fat Mexican Cheese blend
  • I served the dip with homemade, baked tortilla chips: made using corn tortillas, olive oil spray, and salt – and broiled in the oven at 350 degrees

Directions

  1. Warm up refried beans in a small pot over medium heat. Add in taco seasoning to taste. Once all combined, set aside to cool
  2. Peel, pit, mash avocados in a small bowl – add lemon juice, salt, pepper and stir to combine
  3. Combine yogurt and taco seasoning mix in another bowl
  4. Cut corn tortillas into eighths, spread on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray, season with salt, and broil at 350 degrees on low until the tortillas are crispy & golden brown.
  5. To assemble:
    • Spread refried beans on a large, shallow serving platter
    • Spread avocado mixture over bean dip
    • Spread yogurt mixture over bean dip
    • Sprinkle with green onions and tomatoes
    • Cover with grated low fat Mexican cheese
  6. Serve with the homemade corn chips!

Here’s the mashed avocado ready to go…

And the yogurt dip (Note – my husband didn’t like this as much as low fat sour cream, but I LOVED it – so try it out and see what you think)

Aren’t the veggies pretty?

The bean dip, all assembled and ready to eat

Served with my baked corn chips

Doesn’t this just make you want to dig in and devour the dip? And the best part is – you can enjoy it totally guilt-free.


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Guilt-free Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

As many of you know (and as you can probably tell from my recipes, I’m not really a baker. But this past weekend, while I was feeling a bit sluggish and gloomy – partly because of the weather, but mainly because I was sick – I decided to make some fun treats that would make me feel better. I was also inspired by a friend’s comment about making “healthier” desserts, so I started looking for more guilt-free versions of desserts we all love. And I came across a great recipe from Hungry Girl for guilt-free chocolate cupcakes, and decided to give it a shot.

Now, in general – I’m not a fan of processed ingredients, fake sugars, ingredients I can’t pronounce, etc. But I figured I’d follow Hungry Girl’s suggestions for this recipe and see how it turned out. Once in a while – a slightly processed but lower calorie dessert is probably not the worst thing in the world – especially if it comes in the form of a cupcake. That would be my only disclaimer in this recipe – that it’s not really an all-natural cupcake. But – disclaimers aside, it tasted AMAZING. Just like any other cupcake I’d get at a bakery! And it was really easy to make. AND the best part – each large cupcake is only ~120 calories! (More notes on how the low calorie-goodness is achieved later in the recipe).

First – The Ingredients

You can find the ingredients list here. Also – this recipe is being featured in a link party at Sweet as Sugar Cookies! Yay!

The Directions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a tall glass, combine cocoa mix with 2 oz. hot water. Stir until cocoa dissolves. Add 6 oz. cold water and stir well. Set aside.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, egg substitute, sweetener, and salt. Add the hot cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth.

The mixture might be slightly thinner than your normal cupcake batter – but don’t worry – it’s supposed to be that way.

Look at all that chocolatey goodness 🙂 Ok on to Step 3: Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute cake mixture among the cups.

Step 4: Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes (mine took about 18 min), until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

I loved how much the cupcakes rose – they looked so cute while they were cooling.

Step 5: To make the glaze, put marshmallow creme in a small dish. Add soymilk and mix well. I had to use a small whisk to get the glaze mixed properly because the marshmallow creme is really sticky.

Step 6: Once cupcakes have cooled completely, drizzle marshmallow glaze over them. Top each cupcake with 1/4 tsp. chocolate chips and 1 mini marshmallow. (Note – I used probably a 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp chocolate chips and no mini marshmallow)

How delicious do those cupcakes look?? And the best part is, each cupcake only has ~120 calories, 13g sugar, and 2g fat. My husband couldn’t even tell the difference between this cupcake and any other cupcake – and to tell you the truth, neither could I. This was an amazing guilt-free dessert.

Decorating the cupcakes was pretty fun too. And now the million dollar question: what makes Hungry Girl’s recipe so low in calories and guilt free? My guess is that – there are a few secrets:

  1. There’s no added oil in the recipe
  2. The added sweetness is mainly from the 25 calorie hot chocolate and the 1 Tbsp of sugar – which is only 45 calories (so a total of 70 calories in the ENTIRE recipe)
  3. The normal 1-2 eggs you add to prepared cake mix is replaced with egg substitute – which is mainly egg whites and …
  4. You don’t even use all the cake mix!

Pretty ingenious – I have to give Hungry Girl credit for making such a delicious and guilt-free cupcake – thanks Hungry Girl!

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the cupcakes – I was proud to have one of my first successes as a baker! Meanwhile, my husband devoured the cupcake below right after I took a picture of it. Yum!

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A Warming Winter Dinner: Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

It’s no secret that for the past week or so, the weather in the Bay Area has been pretty crappy. Gloomy, rainy, and really cold! (well, cold for the Bay Area, that is). So a few nights ago I decided to make a really hearty, warming recipe that I found on EatingWell.com – for Skillet Gnocchi. I had never made Gnocchi before so I thought it would be a fun experiment – and it turned out really well!

Tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water 🙂 It was surprisingly easy to make, and didn’t take very long at all. Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly – so my modified recipe is below. You can find the original here. To anyone who’s a “Gnocchi virgin” or hasn’t enjoyed Gnocchi in the past, I’d really encourage you to try this dish! My husband has never enjoyed Gnocchi before – but he loved it. The dish is also really balanced and healthy – tons of fiber and protein from the beans & veggies, balanced with carbs from the reasonable portion of Gnocchi.

The Ingredients

A couple of notes:

  • The original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of EVOO to fry the gnocchi before you add it to the dish. I just used EVOO cooking spray to pan fry the gnocchi and it worked perfectly! That was one main modification.
  • I also substituted frozen spinach for the chard in the original recipe – mainly to save time & prep work.
  • AND – I found whole wheat gnocchi at Trader Joe’s so I substituted that for the regular gnocchi.
  • I also added 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper and fresh basil to the dish to amp up the spice & flavor.

My ingredients list:

  • EVOO cooking spray
  • 1 tsp EVOO (to pan fry the onions)
  • 1 package whole wheat gnocchi
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings added
  • 1 15oz can white beans
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup part skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 tsp fresh basil
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, cool, set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large skillet, and add the onion – cook for a few minutes
  3. Add the garlic and water – cover and cook until the onion is soft (4-6 min)
  4. Meanwhile, using EVOO spray, pan fry the gnocchi in a separate skillet until lightly browned
  5. Add the spinach to the skillet with the onion in it, and cook until the spinach defrosts/starts to wilt
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, pepper, basil, crushed red pepper and salt to taste – bring to a simmer
  7. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
  8. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3-5 min.

Pictures – step by step:

Slicing the onions & pan-frying the gnocchi


How cute do those gnocchi pillows look? Once they were done cooking, I set them aside in a bowl

Meanwhile, the veggies were cooking

Don’t the colors look beautiful? When they were almost done cooking, I added in the gnocchi

And then, the best part – the cheese.

Look at all that melted, gooey cheese. With all the wonderful smells filling our house and the bubbling sauce & cheese in the dish, we couldn’t wait to dig in!

Amazingly satisfying, healthy and delicious. The perfect meal for a cold winter day.

I finished off my meal with a HUGE chunk of Fearless Chocolate – the Hibiscus & Ginger flavor to be exact. To try your own sample of Fearless Chocolate – enter my giveaway here.

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A Tale of Two Lasagnas

Food Bloggers visit other sites quite frequently to support, inspire, comment and learn. A couple months ago, I received a wonderful comment from Sanura of My Life Runs on Food complimenting the style and tone of my blog. I was thrilled to receive her comment, and clicked through to her blog to check it out. What I found was a beautifully written, healthy food blog that seemed really aligned with my philosophy on food. I decided to email her to request a guest post for my site – I thought she’d bring a wonderful and fresh perspective on food and health. After several emails were exchanged, we agreed to collaborate on writing about lasagna. Both of our versions are relatively healthy and they have plenty of vegetables and cheeses. My version is an “Old World” traditional recipe with the classic tomato sauce, and Sanura’s version is a “New World” traditional recipe sans the tomato sauce. To be historically accurate, both tomatoes and squash are ingredients from the “New World.” It’s the techniques and stories that separates our recipes, which makes them endearing and comforting to both of us.

Sanura’s “New World” Traditional Lasagna

The basic traditional lasagna dish we all know consists of pasta, plenty of cheese, and a rich Bolognese sauce. Occasionally, it’ll have a Basil Pesto sauce, too. The richness of the dish makes it the ultimate comfort food we all crave. The ingredients are basically the same, but every household’s technique for preparing the dish varies. The result is usually deliciously satisfying every time it’s served. Who would dare recreate another version with drastically different ingredients? One afternoon, I happened to catch a food show hosted by Tyler Florence. He’s a lucky guy, who travels around the world in search of the origin of classic dishes of popularity. Between Anjali Shah of The Picky Eater: A Healthy Food Blog’s recipe for lasagna, and watching Tyler Florence travel to Italy of which lasagna originates, both provided some inspiration. For a while, I was seriously thinking about breaking from the traditional holiday dishes to making a classic lasagna dish. When I mentioned the idea to the boyfriend, he begins telling me how to make the best lasagna, “It should have at least three types of cheeses…”

“Well, babe…” I thought. Tyler Florence had an Italian guest whose lasagna interpretation was not quite the same as our American classic. His version uses a freshly made basil pesto sauce, layered with freshly made sheets of pasta, blanched green beans and potatoes. Those ingredients on the show demonstrates the time of year the visit took place, in which everyone in the background were relaxing in short sleeves and shorts. My version uses a winter vegetable, acorn squash. I paired it with sauté mushrooms to add more texture. They’re plenty of differences between this freshly made Italian-Inspired and the American version. One, this recipe is not baked. Two, this dish is refreshingly light, but it’s still hearty. Lastly, it’s made sans tomato sauce. It’s a dish best serve at room temperature. With a nice Winter Salad, this Italian-inspired dish is also beautiful as an elegant meal to serve.

The Recipe: Roast Acorn Squash, Sauté Mushrooms, and Basil Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 Lasagna sheets, cooked and al dente according to the manufacturer’s directions, gently tossed with olive oil
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • Fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Basil Pesto Sauce (see recipe below)
  • Roast Acorn Squash (see recipe below)
  • SautĂ© Mushrooms (see recipe below)
  • Good quality olive oil

Directions

  1. Gently take one lasagna sheet and visualize it into three sections forming an “S” curve. That is the structure of this lasagna dish.
  2. Smear 4 tablespoons of Basil Pesto Sauce on a plate.
  3. Lay the first third of it on top of the Basil Pesto Sauce on the plate. The excess two-thirds lasagna pasta will hang over the plate’s edge. Gently smear a tablespoon of Basil Pesto Sauce on top of the first third section of the lasagna pasta. Spoon a couple tablespoons of Roast Acorn Squash on top of the Basil Pesto Sauce that was smeared on the first third section of the lasagna pasta. Sprinkle a little basil on top. Fold second third of the lasagna noodle over the Roast Acorn Squash.
  4. Spoon a tablespoon of the Basil Pesto Sauce on top of the second third section of the lasagna pasta. Lightly smear a couple tablespoons of the sauté mushrooms on top of the pesto sauce. Sprinkle a little basil on top. Fold the last third of the lasagna noodle over the mushrooms.
  5. Spoon more Basil Pesto on top of the lasagna. Garnish with basil leaves, fresh black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Repeat to serve more people or for seconds. Enjoy!

…

Roast Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 Acorn Squash; slice in half horizontally, discard seeds (or toast as a snack), sliced a half inch wide thick
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • A dash of crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A drizzle of red balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove; minced

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven at 400°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
  3. Toss all ingredients together. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Roast squash for at least one hour, or until it is soft.
  5. Remove from the oven. Let cool before handling. Either use your hands or a paring knife to remove and discard the skin. Roughly chop roast acorn flesh.
  6. Place aside for the lasagna.

…

Sauté Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 3 to 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion; thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove; minced
  • 1 lb. white button or baby bella mushrooms; cleaned and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup white wine
  • A dash of red balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Over a medium-high temperature, heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the red onions. Sauté until the onions are almost translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, salt and fresh black pepper, and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the mushrooms, wine and a dash of red balsamic vinegar.
  5. When the mushrooms are soft, remove from the pan.
  6. Set aside for the lasagna.

…

Basil Pesto Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Basil Pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup thick Greek yogurt
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until fully incorporated.
  2. Set aside for the lasagna.

About Sanura Weathers of MyLifeRunsOnFood.com

Since 2009, Sanura Weathers manages and creates sweet, savory, buttery, green and healthy food-related stories and recipes. With 15 years of combined experience in graphic design, social media, and project management, Sanura has a background of working with marketing, publishing, educational, non-profit, financial, and public relation organizations. Writing and managing MyLifeRunsOnFood.com is a project of passion inspiring people to prepare healthy, well-balanced meals using seasonal and fresh ingredients on a busy schedule. Read more about Sanura at MyLifeRunsOnFood.com/aboutme.

Anjali’s “Old World” Traditional Lasagna

One of my husband’s favorite meals is vegetarian lasagna, but we rarely ever ate it for two reasons:

1) It’s usually hard to find at most restaurants. Lasagna will often have a Bolognese sauce–which has meat in it!

2) Any veggie-friendly lasagna is often made with white pasta (no fiber), with egregious amounts of cheese (too much fat and calories), and barely any veggies (that’s just no fun).

So one day, soon after we had gotten married and before I had really learned how to cook, I decided to experiment and create a vegetarian lasagna that was both healthy and flavorful.

To try to recreate the lasagnas we’ve craved in the past, I decided to stick to more of the “traditional” route: using a tomato based sauce and traditional Italian cheeses, and baking it in the oven. I made healthy modifications without losing any of the flavor–e.g. using whole wheat lasagna noodles instead of white and adding more veggies to increase the nutritional value. I was really nervous as I served this meal, as I hadn’t really cooked before and I had no experience creating recipes from scratch. The good news is–it was a HUGE hit. And, I was able to stay true to my healthy mission–a double bonus! This meal has quickly become a favorite at dinner parties and potlucks, and is a great one-dish crowd-pleaser. After I created this dish, I started looking for alternative vegetarian lasagna dishes, and I came across My Life Runs On Food‘s approach to a creative and non-traditional lasagna. I love her take on modernizing and modifying the “old-world” lasagna, and I look forward to trying her dish!

The Recipe: The Healthy “Old-World” Traditional Lasagna

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 4 fresh, organic zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 bag of organic baby spinach
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • Garlic; minced
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • 1-28oz. can of crushed tomatoes (with Italian spices added–like basil, oregano, etc. if you can find that)
  • 1 jar ready-made spaghetti sauce (I like the tomato basil marinara from Trader Joe’s!)
  • Olive oil & cooking spray
  • Fat-free ricotta cheese
  • Low-fat shredded mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan or 4 cheese blend (I used this shredded 4 cheese blend from Trader Joe’s that has Parmesan, Asiagio, Mozzarella and Fontina)

Directions – Noodles

  1. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions (leave them al dente)–salt the water, if you like.
  2. Once they’re done, lay them flat on foil and set aside.

Directions – Vegetables

  1. Quarter all 4 zucchini and thinly slice.
  2. Thinly slice one of the red bell peppers (I cut the slices in half so they’re not so long).
  3. Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
  4. Heat about 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat (I might have used a little less–maybe 2-3 tsp), saute the garlic, zucchini, red pepper together.
  5. Add the whole bag of baby spinach at the end (when the zucchini/red pepper are almost done cooking).
  6. Sprinkle oregano and dried basil to taste on top, stir, and let it cook a couple more min.
  7. When the spinach is cooked, turn the heat down to low.

Directions – Sauce

  1. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic.
  2. Dice half a red onion (If it’s a small onion, dice the whole thing).
  3. Dice the other red bell pepper.
  4. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
  5. Saute the red onion, garlic, and red pepper for a few min (until the onion starts turning a little translucent).
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  7. Add dried oregano (I’m not sure how much I put–I basically sprinkled it over the top and stirred it in–maybe 2 tsp.).
  8. Once the sauce is heated through, turn the heat down on low.

Directions – Cheese

  1. Combine 1.5 cups of the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan (or 4 cheese mixture if you can find that at Trader Joe’s) in a bowl.

Assembly

  1. I used a casserole dish to assemble the lasagna in–and sprayed the bottom of the dish with cooking spray.
  2. Put a layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish (I did about half of the pre-made spaghetti sauce and half of the sauce I made myself–I did this for every layer except the top).
  3. Put a layer of the lasagna noodles.
  4. Put another layer of the sauce (1/2 pre-made, 1/2 self made).
  5. Put a layer of the veggies.
  6. Take the cheese mixture, and put little crumbles of the cheese mixture all over the veggie layer (don’t try to spread it out, the little crumbles seemed to work well).
  7. Put another layer of the lasagna noodles.
  8. Layer of sauce (if you have enough use the self made, otherwise add in the pre-made as needed).
  9. Layer of veggies.
  10. Cheese mixture crumbles.
  11. Layer of lasagna noodles.
  12. Layer of sauce (only self made).
  13. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top.
  14. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.
  15. Uncover and bake for 5 min. longer until the cheese has melted.

“The Picky Eater” sends a special thank you to Sanura Weathers of MyLifeRunsOnFood.com, for collaborating on this special feature post. Visit her food blog for additional flavorful recipes for healthy eating. Follow her on Twitter here, and check out her Facebook fan page here!

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Banana Bread Oatmeal!

This morning, I was really craving banana bread for some reason. It was really random – I don’t usually crave baked goods in the morning but I suppose today was just one of those days. And of course, I wasn’t going to make banana bread before I left for work – I had about 20 minutes for breakfast today! So, I decided to try to recreate the “essence” of banana bread using one of my morning breakfast staples: oatmeal.

I have to say, it turned out to be AMAZING. It totally tasted just like banana bread! And it was the perfect way to start off my morning.

The Ingredients

The ingredients here are pretty simple:

  • 1/2 cup Whole rolled oats (although I like to use the multi grain oats from Trader Joe’s because it has oats, barley, rye and wheat – and has a great nutty flavor!)
  • 1/2 banana sliced
  • 4-5 walnuts chopped
  • Unsweetened almond breeze (use up to 1 cup)
  • Organic soy milk (use up to 1/3 cup)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Stevia

Directions

Cook the oats according to package directions (I cooked mine in the microwave with 1 & 1/4 cup water). The thing I love about the multi-grain oats is that they cook just like regular oatmeal but have a nice variety of grains.

Top with bananas, walnuts, cinnamon and stevia and stir to combine

Pour the almond milk & soy milk over the oats until they have reached the consistency you want (for thicker oats, use less milk)

Stir to combine. Breakfast is served!


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Foodie Friday Giveaway: All Natural Protein Shakes from Svelte!

Woohoo – it’s Friday again! Which means two things: 1) Time to announce the winners of my DOUBLE giveaway and 2) Time to launch our new giveaway for this week! Fridays really are fun aren’t they? 🙂 For our last giveaway, we had two winners (one for each product). Congrats to Jeanette and Jen!

Jeanette won the Olive Oil Giveaway

And Jen won the Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread Giveaway

Congrats to both of you!! If you both could send me your mailing addresses, I’ll forward them on to the folks at Olivari and Rudi’s and you should receive your products soon. I’d also like to say THANK YOU to everyone who entered – this was one of our most popular giveaways yet! And now, on to the next giveaway: All Natural Protein Shakes from CalNaturale Svelte.

I was contacted by Svelte a few weeks ago, with the offer to try their products and partner on a giveaway. Initially I hesitated – mainly because protein shakes in general freak me out. They’re usually FILLED with sugar, random chemicals, ingredients that I can’t pronounce, and soy protein isolate which I try to avoid. But when I spoke to the folks at Svelte and read about their products, I was really impressed. They have based their products on a mission to create all natural, organic, nutritious drinks that are nourishing and healthy!

Their protein shakes are made with whole, organic soy beans / soy milk and don’t have any weird ingredients or chemicals in them. Each HUGE shake (16oz) has ~260 calories, 16g protein, 9g sugar and 8g fiber (from inulin). And the best part is, they taste GREAT. All of their flavors are really creamy, delicious, and slightly sweet (but not too sweet).

The drinks are really energizing and great as a snack after a workout or with breakfast in the morning. They have four flavors: Chocolate, French Vanilla, Cappuccino and Spiced Chai. The Cappuccino flavor tastes just like a Frappuccino but is way healthier for you.

For this giveaway, THREE lucky winners will receive Svelte’s products for free!

  • Winner #1: The GRAND PRIZE Winner will receive a 12 pack of Svelte’s drinks (a variety case, so 3 of each flavor)
  • Winners #2 & 3: The two runners up will receive a 4 pack of Svelte’s drinks (so one of each flavor)

Now the important part:

To Enter: You can enter in one of three ways –

  1. Subscribe to The Picky Eater via RSS or via email
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@pickyeaterblog)
  3. Like The Picky Eater on Facebook

Leave a comment letting me know which option above you chose! Note – if you already are a subscriber, follower, or like The Picky Eater on Facebook, just leave a comment indicating that – it will count as one entry :)

For Extra Entries:

  • + 1 Entry if you share this post on Facebook or Twitter
  • + 2 Entries if you invite 5 or more of your friends to like The Picky Eater on Facebook!

This giveaway will close on Thursday, February 10th at 11:59pm PST. I will be selecting the winner at random (via random.org) and will contact them via email. I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, February 11th when I launch my next giveaway! Be sure to enter today – these protein shakes are amazing!

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