December 30, 2014

Cocoa Espresso Waffles

Happy holidays!

I have wanted to make healthy waffles for years, but I haven't procured a waffle iron in all this time. Well, I must've been on Santa's nice list this Christmas because he delivered a waffle iron under my Christmas tree. Lucky me!

I've been experimenting with various types of waffles all week, trying to find the perfect crunch, chew, taste and nutrition. So far, these cocoa espresso waffles are the best. They are hearty, super filling, high in protein, and taste like dessert. Win-win.

I didn't have to have my usual second cup of coffee because the cocoa and espresso powders give these waffles that extra zing. And if you aren't a coffee drinker, see how you feel after eating these. Caffeine is a natural metabolism stimulant that helps promote weight loss. Some people are super sensitive to caffeine, however; so if you are, you can leave out the espresso powder.

Cocoa Espresso Waffles
Makes six standard size waffles

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 tablespoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup packed coconut sugar (can sub brown sugar)
2 teaspoons espresso powder (I used a Starbucks Italian Roast VIA packet)
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)
maple syrup, jam, or topping of choice (optional)

1. Heat up waffle iron. While it's heating, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add milk, sugar, espresso powder, and yogurt.
3. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold in to batter in thirds.
4. On the last third of the egg whites, also fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and use about 1/3 cup of batter per waffle. Heat until steam starts to dissipate and waffle is crisp. All waffle irons are different, so refer to your waffle iron's settings.


December 22, 2014

Maple & Sage Brown Butter Roasted Butternut Squash

Hello, hello!

Are you in need of a delicious holiday side dish this week? I have just the thing. And guess what? It's grain free, refined sugar free, and probably the best way I've ever had butternut squash prepared. How can you go wrong?

Behold: Maple & Sage Brown Butter Roasted Butternut Squash

Seasonal ingredients come together seamlessly and leave an explosion of holiday flavors in your mouth. (And brown butter makes everything better.)

Simply roast cubed butternut squash for ~30 minutes at 425F.

While it's roasting, brown two tablespoons of butter. Right before it's done, throw in some chopped fresh sage leaves. It should be golden brown, but not burnt. If you aren't sure how to brown butter, watch a tutorial. I'm telling you, it is ah-mazing. Life changing. Brown butter snickerdoodles, my friend. You need them.

After the butter has cooled a bit, add in maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon. I added some chopped walnuts too, but these are optional. Then toss the squash with the butter sauce once it's tender and just starting to brown. It should look like this when it's done...

Toss gently and promptly consume. You can warm it up later too.

Maple & Sage Brown Butter Roasted Butternut Squash
Adapted from Against All Grain

1 medium butternut squash (peeled and cubed, I used the prepacked Trader Joe's bag)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons salted butter
10 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss the butternut squash in olive oil and salt. Spread it evenly on a cookie sheet.
3. Roast the squash, tossing occasionally, until tender and slightly browned, about 30 minutes depending on the size of your pieces.
4. Heat the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, swirling it around the pan every couple of minutes. Once the butter foams up and starts browning, remove from heat. You want it to be a light amber color, but not burned. It will start to smell nutty when it's browning. Quickly dump into a cool bowl to stop the cooking process.
5. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon, then pour the butter sauce over the squash.

Happy Holidays!


December 7, 2014

Skinny Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal (GF, can be made vegan)

Good morning!

I have had the most exhausting week! And it's continuing... I got a second part time job and between that, my internship, and my other job I literally have not had a single day off in a week and am scheduled every single day this upcoming week.

Here's what happens when I don't get a break...

Granted, they look pretty similar and I did have to get dressed in the dark at 5:30am, but still. Too much work.

Anyway, enough complaining!! I have a fabulous healthy recipe for you today! And I was actually waiting on it to finish baking as I put on my mismatched shoes. Maybe I just got so excited for this baked oatmeal with a gooey peanut butter center that I just stopped paying attention to everything else.

How amazing does this look?! And it's around 400 calories. A perfect breakfast portion. Or dessert, but who's checking?

Spray a ramekin with cooking spray or grease with butter. Line the bottom with bananas...

Top the bananas with half the oatmeal mixture (quick cooking oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla). Line with bananas again and put 1 Tbsp peanut butter/nut butter in the center.

Top with the remaining oat mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F. The bananas help to give the oatmeal its sweetness since there is no added sweetener. So if you want to leave the bananas out, just add some maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.

Now I'm off to do some quick abs and HIIT sprints before I head to work!



Skinny Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Center Oatmeal
Adapted from Southern-In-Law

1/2 cup quick cooking oats*
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond milk**
2 Tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt***
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 banana
1 Tbsp peanut butter*****

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
2. Spray a ramekin with cooking spray or grease with butter. Slice a banana and line bottom with banana slices.
3. Top bananas with half the oat mixture.
4. Add another layer of bananas, but put a dollop of peanut butter in the center. Top with remaining oat mixture.
5. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

*You may use rolled or old fashioned oats, but will probably need to increase liquids and baking time.
**Use any milk of choice
***You can sub applesauce for the Greek yogurt to make this vegan. I tried both and found I liked the texture of the Greek yogurt oatmeal better. The applesauce made it a little thicker and drier.
****Use any nut butter of choice.

December 1, 2014

Croissant Breakfast Ring

The holidays are in full effect! Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is right around the corner. I plan to go out and purchase a tiny tree for my apartment later today.

I realize many people have family in for the holidays and it's certainly not always appealing to them to "healthify" any foods. I know my family isn't really into that. My mom still won't eat turkey burgers and my dad probably couldn't tell you what hummus is. Moving on to extended family... well, let's not even go there. :-)

So, I found this super duper easy crowd pleaser of a recipe. It's versatile in that you can healthify, de-healthify, make vegetarian, make carnivorous, et cetera... I made it for the boyfriend and he LOVED it. As I don't eat red meat, I would sub out the bacon for turkey bacon and I might even go veggie and do an egg white scramble in place of the eggs and bacon.

Plus, just look how lovely it is! I promise any guest or spouse will be impressed when you set this steaming, beautiful breakfast ring in front of them. It looks like a work of art that took mad skills. But really, it couldn't be easier.

This is such an easy way to make a delicious breakfast for several people. Just pop open a can of crescent rolls, unroll them, and line them into a star-like shape.

Set your oven on 375F while you prep the filling. I used 8 pieces of bacon and 5 scrambled eggs along with some shredded cheddar cheese. This is where you can get creative.

Once you line your filling along the ring and a bacon piece along the length of each arm of the star, just roll up the crescents and tuck the ends under.

So mine ended up being a layer of cheese, a layer of eggs, a piece of bacon per arm, and another layer of cheese atop the eggs. I rolled up the ends and I brushed it with an egg wash to give it that golden color. Then I baked the ring for about 15 minutes.

And there you go! Slice and serve. Add a little salsa on the side or some chipotle crema.


Croissant Breakfast Ring

1 can crescent rolls (I used Trader Joe's, but any kind will do)
1 cup shredded cheddar (or cheese of choice)
8 pieces bacon, cooked (turkey bacon or sausage works too!)
4-5 scrambled eggs (depending on the size of your eggs)
1 egg whisked for the egg wash

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pop open a can of crescent rolls and unroll each crescent. Line rolls into a star shape with the pointy ends being the star ends.
3. Fry up 8 pieces of bacon. Scramble 4-5 eggs. Let cool slightly.
4. Spread half the cheese along middle perimeter of star shape. Line each arm with a piece of bacon. If it's too long, just break it into pieces. Line middle with eggs. Top with the rest of the cheese.
5. Roll each arm up and tuck the end under. Brush the whisked egg over the surface of the dough.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until crescents are golden on top. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.

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