September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin. Protein. Pancakes.

Or, my three favorite P words.

So many pumpkin recipes, so little time! I just stocked my kitchen full of some Trader Joe's pumpkin items, including their organic pumpkin puree. Which I used to make these fabulous pancakes.

I'll be honest, I didn't even eat these for breakfast. I ate them for lunch! But that's okay because they powered me through my weight training and sprints with healthy carbs and over 30g of protein.

Did I mention I also went to Bath & Body Works and bought a variety of fall scents? So even if I'm not whipping up pumpkin baked goods, my house still smells like Pumpkin Cupcakes. :-)

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

1/2 c oats (old fashioned or quick)
1/2-1 scoop Cinnabun protein powder (I use Trutein but if you have vanilla, just add in a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup cottage cheese (or you can sub Greek yogurt)
2-3 Tbsp almond milk (or milk of choice)

Throw everything into your blender and blend until smooth. Add milk in a Tbsp at a time until your batter reaches a desired consistency. This will depend on how much protein powder you add.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil. Drop 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook on one side until edges start to dry and the underneath is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for an additional 2 minutes until golden brown.

Drizzle with real maple syrup or whatever topping you prefer.



September 28, 2014

Turkey & Veggie Chili

One of my go-to recipes is chili. It's such a hardy, versatile meal. Plus you just throw everything together in a big pot. Relatively little energy goes into this dish, and sometimes that's really all I can manage to whip up... something I can just dump into a pot.

Using lean turkey and a bunch of veggies yields a pretty darn healthy meal too. Sometimes I make a typical chili with tomato sauce and beans, but I like to try to get in as many veggies as I can. So I guess this recipe takes a little more work than dumping in cans of beans and tomatoes. You technically have to chop up some veggies, but I mean come on. It's still easy.

And I love it for leftovers too. I have a big ole' pot of chili to eat the rest of the week. I'm always ravenous at lunch, and this hearty meal definitely quells the rumble in my belly come lunchtime. And I feel like a cowboy. Because everyone knows cowboys love chili. And I am Texan. So by default, I'm a cowgirl. Like the wild west font I used below? :-)

You can really alter it to fit your taste. Don't like zucchinis? Leave'em out. Want more veggies? Chop'em up and throw'em in. But the basic ingredients are the turkey, canned Rotel or diced tomatoes, onion, chicken/veggie broth, and seasoning. Everything else is pretty customizable.

Here's how I make it.

Turkey & Veggie Chili

1 pkg ground turkey
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilis
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper (I used a red one)
1-2 zucchinis
1 can corn, drained (or you can use frozen)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained
2 tsp brown sugar (gives it a nice rich flavor)
1/2-1 packet taco seasoning* (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
Optional garnishes: avocado, cheese, onions, sour cream

*May substitute the following homemade taco seasoning: 2T chili powder, 1T cumin, 2t salt, 2t pepper, 2t cornstarch, 1t paprika, 1t garlic powder, 1/2t onion powder, 1/2t oregano, 1/4-1/2t cayenne or red pepper flakes

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil or cooking spray in a skillet over medium heat and cook turkey until evenly brown and set aside (or cook the turkey in your large pot just before the onions, for a one pot recipe!).

While they turkey is cooking, add a teaspoon of oil or cooking spray to a large pot and cook onions until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir zucchini and peppers into the pot and cook 2-3 minutes. Once turkey is cooked add it to the pot, followed by the broth or water, tomatoes, black beans, zucchinis, bell peppers, corn, and seasoning. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 30 minutes.

Chili will thicken as it cools. Top with garnish of choice, serve warm and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers. Portion it in containers for quick grab-n-go lunches!

Adapted from Lindsay Ann Bakes



September 23, 2014

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake


Fall is my favorite season! Even though I live in mild San Diego, I like to pretend the seasons change. Probably the best thing about fall life is the fact that pumpkin is in abundance! Thank you, sweet lord, for pumpkin!

In honor of the first day of fall, I'm posting this delicious chocolate pumpkin spice cake recipe. Lemme tell ya... you'll eat half. Or more.

And this, my friends, is why pumpkins are harvested in the fall. If we ate pumpkin in the summer, no bikinis for anyone. ;-)

I used cake flour in this recipe and I think it made a big difference on the texture. Even with the dense pumpkin, the cake was delicate and light.

The batter has cocoa powder, but also bittersweet chocolate chips. See the melty chip above? I also drizzled the cake with a cream cheese frosting. Oh. M. Gee.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Ingredients for Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 cups cake flour (you can buy this in most major grocery stores)
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli because it's my favorite chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour (or spray) a bundt pan.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl, add in brown sugar and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time and then pumpkin puree. Beat until well combined.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing on low speed. Fold in chopped chocolate.

Spoon into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Let cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto rack to cool completely.

Ingredients for Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp half and half (more for a thinner glaze, less for a thicker frosting)

Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in butter and mix until incorporated. Slowly add in powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is achieved.

I put mine in a frosting squeeze tube and drizzled it over, but you could spread it all over if you'd like.


September 17, 2014

Parmesan Zucchini & Corn Side Dish

The end of summer offers a seemingly endless supply of zucchini and corn. I like to take advantage and experiment with all kinds of zucchini dishes. This one in particular was delectable. Zucchini paired with delicate sweet corn and savory Parmesan creates a unique and tasty side dish.

It takes about 10 minutes; can't beat that! Just chop up the zucchini, add in fresh or frozen corn with some spices, sprinkle in the Parmesan, and voila!

Enjoy this light yet flavorful cheesy veggie combination!

Parmesan Zucchini & Corn
Adapted from Damn Delicious

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium to large zucchinis, diced
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, fresh, or canned
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, or more, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic to the skillet, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.

Add zucchini, corn, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan.

September 12, 2014

Easy Cheesy Breakfast Casserole


Getting up at 5:40am means I don't want to worry about making breakfast. Heck, I don't even want to eat it at that time. Something about shoveling food down before the sun rises is just not appetizing. BUT I know how busy my internship days will be and if I don't eat before I leave, I'll starve to death before my 1pm lunch. Therefore, a breakfast casserole I can bake ahead of time and pop in the microwave is perfect!

The eggs, turkey sausage, and hashbrowns keep me fueled all morning and I get a dose of healthy veggies with bell peppers, onions, and garlic. It's a complete meal all baked up in one dish. That tastes pretty darn yummy if I do say so myself.

As you can see, this recipe makes a pretty large amount, so it's great for families or for a meal prep day to last you through the week.

Easy Cheesy Breakfast Casserole with Turkey Sausage, Hashbrowns, and Eggs

1 lb turkey sausage (I used spicy. You can use regular sausage if you prefer.)
1/2 medium white onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, cored and diced
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 (20 ounce) bag frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups shredded cheese (I used smoked Gouda, but you can use cheddar, colby, or any other cheese you like)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the sausage to a medium saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, crumbling the sausage with a spoon as it cooks. Remove sausage and place in large bowl.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the saute pan, and saute for 5 minutes until cooked. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. Pour the vegetable mixture into the mixing bowl with the sausage.

Add the hash browns and 1 1/2 cups cheese to the mixing bowl with the sausage and veggies. Stir to combine. Let cool 10-15 minutes so the eggs down scramble when you add them.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and black pepper until combined. Then add them to the hashbrown/veggie/sausage mixture, and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes and the top of the potatoes begin to slightly brown.

Remove and let the casserole rest for 5 minutes.


September 7, 2014

Zucchini Crust Pepperoni Pizza

My boyfriend is the sweetest guy. He's so patient with my dietary "requirements" and I can't say enough for how supportive he's been while I go back to school. So sometimes I like to surprise him and make him his favorite food.

He loves pizza. I mean LOVES. Initially he was skeptical of my zucchini crust option, but now it's a request! It's filling and has the classic flavor of pizza without a heavy dough to weigh you down. You won't even notice the missing flour! Especially if you like thin crust pizzas.

This is the crust right before I popped it in the oven. It makes about a 10" pizza, good to share, or 2 individual pizzas.

Here's what is looks like after 15 minutes of bake time.

Zucchini Pizza Crust
Makes 1 large or 2 individual pizzas

3-4 cups grated and minced fresh zucchini (I used 2 medium zucchinis)
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, plus 1 cup for topping
5 T almond meal
1 tsp. dried Thyme (may use Italian seasonings for traditional pizza)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
1 package pepperoni
Optional: any other toppings you desire

Preheat the grill or oven to 450F/230C. Put pizza stone in oven to heat up.

Grate zucchini, using a food processor or the large side of a cheese grater, then chop the grated zucchini with the regular chopping blades of the processor. Place the chopped zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for about 4 minutes. Remove zucchini and dump into a cheese cloth. BE CAREFUL, it's really hot! Let zucchini drain until it's cool enough to handle.

When zucchini is cool, wring out as much water as you can and place the zucchini in a bowl. Add the grated cheese, almond meal, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt, and beaten egg and stir until the ingredients are combined. Hands work well for this!

Spray parchment paper with nonstick spray and divide the crust mixture into two balls or one large ball. Use your fingers to press out the crust mixture into two circles, being careful not to make the edges too thin (or they will burn). Keeping crust on the parchment, carefully place on hot stone in oven. Bake about 12-15 minutes until crust is firm and starting to brown. Remove from oven. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice. Bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Also check out my BBQ Chicken Zucchini Crust Pizza and my Cauliflower Crust Pizza!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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