Archive for December, 2012

Tomato Feta Dip

I volunteer in a program at my college that helps students with special needs. A few weeks ago, I was helping one of the instructors teach a nutrition class on dairy. She first began the class by stressing the importance of trying new foods, no matter how different they may seem- something I totally agree with. She then asked the class for different types of cheeses. Here, I mentioned sheep cheese. At this, she made a face and said “ewww” as if this was the weirdest thing she ever heard of. She then said that I had a “unique” taste of food and that sheep’s cheese was something that she wouldn’t ever try. Now, what I didn’t like was that a lot of the students mirrored her reaction, thinking that if the teacher thought it was disgusting, it must be. Following this, she said that her favorite type of cheese was feta and then turned to me to confirm that it came from cow. I had the great pleasure of telling her that feta comes from sheep 🙂

Moral of the story: Try and be open to new and “different” things! (Especially when people look up to you as a role model). Oh, and know where your food comes from 😉

After this little win, I was really in the mood for some feta/sheep cheese. As you can see, this dip was the result. I have no measurements for this recipe because it all depends on the size of your serving plate and taste preference.

Tomato Feta Dip

Tomato Feta Dip 

Ingredients:

olive oil

onion, chopped

garlic powder

thyme

basil

oregano

black pepper

tomatoes, diced

feta cheese, crumbled or shredded

Directions:

Pour olive oil in a dish or serving platter until the bottom is completely covered. Next, scatter small bits of onion on top. Sprinkle on a coat of garlic powder, followed by thyme, basil, oregano, and pepper to taste. Add a layer of tomatoes and then feta cheese. Again, sprinkle with garlic powder, thyme, basil, oregano, pepper, and a quick drizzle of olive oil. Serve with toasted bread, crackers, or (in my case) a spoon.

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Mashed Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese

I hope everybody enjoyed their holidays! I sure did. Next up is New Years! Although I am never tired of sweets, I figured it would be good to veer away from those for awhile. Instead, let’s go for something silky, which is the best way I can describe this dish. So silky, in fact, that it seems to slide down the throat without any effort. I’m definitely making this the next time I have a sore throat (which might be next week with all the yelling I do as the ball drops 🙂 )

Mashed Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Mashed Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese 

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash

1 tbsp olive oil

5 oz fresh spinach leaves

2 oz goat cheese

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and cover a shallow baking sheet with foil. (Note: use a pan with sides- the squash releases liquid while roasting and it’s so not fun cleaning up the mess). Cut the butternut squash once horizontally and once vertically, so it’s cut into quarters. Remove its seeds and “guts”. Place the quarters face-down and peel-side up on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. Heat oil in a pan and sauté spinach until it is withered. Set aside. After the squash is done, hollow out the insides (don’t burn your hands!) and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth. (Likewise, you can simply place the insides in a bowl and mash until smooth. Add in spinach and then mix in goat cheese until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC04227Me and my siblings (I’m the one in the middle!)

Coconut Macaroons

Meet my new obsession for this holiday season: coconut macaroons. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made these in the last few weeks. These babies have helped me avoid overdoing it on the overwhelming amount of holiday cookies my house seems to be accumulating. The best part? They’re made with all good-for-you ingredients. Therefore, I feel no regret constantly popping them in my mouth 🙂

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons: 

(Makes 30)

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2 egg whites

2 tbsp vanilla protein powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

optional: dark chocolate chips

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all the ingredients together and pinch into balls. Bake for 18 minutes. If desired, melt some chocolate chips and drizzle over the macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons

Happy Holidays!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Winter break has finally arrived! Yay! And so, as a mini celebration, I present a cookie recipe. What separates this from the traditional pb cookie? It’s basically edible play dough! My friend and I had so much fun molding our cookies into fun shapes and holiday outlines. I recommend making these with kids. Believe me, they’ll have a blast. My favorite part? Basic ingredients? Yummy? Quick to make? Actually fun to make? It’s hard to decide.

Before anybody says that I am going against my blog’s name, let me explain. Having 1 or 2 cookies now and then is nothing to stress about (especially if they are homemade and made with wholesome ingredients). In fact, eating something sweet now and again is a way to avoid a complete binge (in my case anyway). Second, these cookies contain ingredients that are good for you, thereby making this an edible choice as part of a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert!

Now, I’m not going to lie and say I invented the basis of this recipe (although I wish I had). Rather, I’ve just added my own little tweaks. The original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but I thought that was way too sweet. I actually omitted the whole cup and found that it still tasted good (my family can verify this). The peanut butter I used did contain some sugar however, so you might have to add a sweetener if yours does not. The only thing you need to be careful about is moving the cookies after they are done because they can be crumble on you. If you are making these to show other people, I recommend waiting awhile before moving them off the baking pan. I normally just leave the cookies in the pan so everyone can see and then just have them pick the cookies up from there. If you’re not in the mood to make fun shapes, I suggest making a round cookie. These hold up the best.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter (organic, if possible)

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or less or more)

pinch of stevia

optional: raw cacao powder and/or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Line a baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the peanut butter, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder together (if using) until a doughy mixture is formed. Using your hands, form the dough into any shapes you want. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Immediately after taking out of the oven, press the chocolate chips into the cookies (if using you want to make a specific detail). Let the cookies cool IN THE PAN for at least 15 minutes before removing. If you want to have two different colored doughs, either make another dough mixture, or divide the dough in half and add cocoa powder until the desired color is achieved.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

 Enjoy!

Broccoli Corn Bites

Remember that saying “Never judge a book by its cover?” Please apply to the following. If not, I am sorry to say that you are missing out. These little creations of mine may not win any beauty contests, but they are awesomely good. Perfect to plop into your mouth when you’re on the go too. The key here, however, is to use a nice sharp cheese (or a mixture of them).

I’m thinking of serving them as an appetizer for Christmas by arranging them in a triangular Christmas tree shape. Yes, I know, aren’t appetizers supposed to be appetizing? Lucky for me, my family (minus my brother sometimes) does not care how food looks, as long as it tastes good. Now if only my friends were the same way… Good thing it’s a family party!

 Broccoli Corn Bites
Broccoli Corn Bites
Ingredients:

3 cups steamed broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 cup (can add more) of shredded sharp-tasting cheese (I use provolone and mozzarella)

2 eggs

1 cup panko

1 tbsp mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne

few drops of hot sauce

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Mix all ingredients together and form into balls. Bake for 24 minutes, flipping after 12 minutes.