Sometimes you just get a craving for something rich, decadent, and slightly bad-for-you. This is an amped-up healthier version of brownies that packs all the flavor and decadence you could want in a brownie. Plus there’s a peanut butter swirl!!

Obviously, my sweetie and I dug in before I got pictures – so good and very satisfying!

Peanut Butter Mocha Brownies (adapted from Healthy Food for Living)

Ingredients:

cooking spray (like canola oil)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened, good quality cocoa
dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 packet Starbuck Via/Nescafe instant coffee (or 1 teaspoon instant coffee)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 plus 1/8 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 plus 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or any flavored chips of your choice)
heaping tablespoon of organic peanut butter

Directions:

1. Take an 8×8 glass pan and spray with canola oil and then dust with whole wheat flour (this will allow the brownies to release from the pan super easily). Set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk very briskly by hand together applesauce, oil, and sugar until light and slightly airy.
3. Add following ingredients one-by-one and whisk each in thoroughly: cocoa, salt, baking powder, coffee, extract, eggs.
4. Next fold in flour until just combined. Then fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into baking pan.
5. Melt heaping tablespoon of peanut butter in microwave until runny. Pour artfully over the batter, then take a knife and drag through the batter to create swirl between brownies and peanut butter.
6. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 9 medium sized brownies.

Let cool and cut into 9 squares. ENJOY! So tasty!

I had some polenta in my fridge, so I decided to get creative in the kitchen and make some good for you comfort food! This is a delicious recipe; full of tasty, rich (but fresh) flavors! And good for you too, it’s almost guilt-free. ;) Polenta is naturally fat-free and a great substitue for pasta. I had found an amazing deal on the organic polenta (only $1.50 a log!) that I couldn’t pass up. So this is what I created…

Sweet Pepper Poletna Lasagna
1 log of polenta (I had sun-dried tomato flavor), sliced thin
Jar of your favorite red sauce
3/4 cup frozen mixed sweet peppers, diced
1 cup frozen broccoli pieces
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup of part-skim ricotta
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 grated Pecorino cheese, plus 1/8 for top
Pepper & Salt
Drizzle of Olive Oil

To Create Veggie Sauce Filling:
Put a small drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan over medium/low heat. Add the diced onion and peppers to the pan. Cook until the veggies start to become soft, now add the broccoli (about 5 minutes in). Once the onions look partially carmelized, add the minced garlic cloves and sautee. Once you can smell the garlic, add 3/4 of the jar of the the red sauce. Set aside.

To Create Ricotta Cheese Filling:
Combine the ricotta cheese, italian seasoning, pepper, and 1/4 cup Percorino cheese in a bowl until well mixed. Set aside

To Assemble Lasagna:
Coat the bottom of a 8×8 glass pan with remaining red sauce . Layer the sliced polenta in the sauce, then drop small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese around pan, cover with layer of veggie sauce. Repeat until the ingredients are used (should be about 3 layers). Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of lasagna.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, when sauce is bubbling and cheese is melty. Cut into 9 servings; serve and enjoy!

The best part is, each serving is only about 165 calories!! Serve with a big side salad or some tasty, fiber-filled fruit. YUM!


OH MY!
What could this mean??


I was craving trail mix like something fierce tonight! This is an amazing mix I created on the fly at the local health food store. Combine these ingredients and you will have a delicious special treat (all for under $12 by buying bulk items! Try to get a deal like that at any store with pre-maid processed mixes. And this makes 2  pounds of mix)!

Katie’s Organic Nut Mix

1/2 pound dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/4 pound raisins
1/4 pound silver almonds
1/4 walnuts
1/4 pound whole dried low-sugar pineapple, chopped up
1/4 pound cashew pieces
1/4 pound Dark Chocolate Sun Drops

Combine all these ingredients in a container and shake! And viola, you get a delicious, non-traditional trail mix!


There is a delicious bite in every palm full!

Looking for a quick and healthy dinner for two? My sweetie and I enjoy grilled cheese (mine with honey mustard and organic greens! Pesto is amazing on the sandwich as well, when you have it on hand) and a fresh pot of homemade soup.

This soup is quick and packed full of good stuff for you. I am a vegetarian (my sweetie is not) – so we find balance and meals you can add meat to. Shredded chicken I bet would be fabulous in this soup!

Simple Soup
4 cups veggie broth/stock
3/4 frozen organic peas
1/2 cup frozen organic sweet corn
1/2 green bell pepper
1 1/2 thinly sliced carrots
3/4 cup garbonzo beans
1.5 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon tarragon
salt and pepper

Throw carrots in the bottom of the pan with a spritz of oil. Let heat throughly and then add a 1/8 cup water to steam and cook the carrots throught Combine all the ingredients in the pots and let it simmer away for 20 minutes. It’s a hearty, stew-like soup (that totally scaled my mouth, because I was really hungry by the time dinner was on the table). It makes about 4 servings, and it is super-filling and filled with good, fresh stuff! Lots of leftovers for a rainy day (average per serving is 80-120 calories). Look at all the good stuff in there!

Holy YUM! If you’re like me, and think chocolate and nuts belong together, this is a recipe for you. Chocolate-peanut nut butter (sort of like it’s chocolate-hazelnut counterpart – but for much cheaper – and so tasty).

So I realize that this is not the best thing for you in the world but it’s delicious (and, like everything, ok in moderation)! :D

Peanutella

1 cup shelled salted peanuts
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

Roast the peanuts on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes – until they are slightly browned and very fragant (I roasted mine a touch too long, so just keep your eyes on them!).

Then get the peanuts in the food processor with a quick drizzle of oil, this will get the peanuts grinding. From there, they should turn into a peanut buttery paste (esentially you are making peanut butter with some pizazz!). It will evenutally turn in a creamy PB consistency (you can process it less for a crunchier peanutella).

Once the peanuts are ground, throw in the cocoa and powdered sugar, with a little bit of oil at a time until it is at the desired consistency. Put in a jar and store in the fridge! Then put it on everything. ;)

I think you could probably use about any type of nut you’d like. Almonds would be heavenly, and cashew would be to die for! It’s be great in smoothies, on toast, in overnight oats, on any breakfast food, and perfect on desserts.

I have made Overnight Oats in the past, but this morning – they were perfect! One of my favorite blogs to read is called Carrots ‘N’ Cake. She has so many GREAT ideas for healthy eating and living, and she (self-proclaimed) loves to eat (as do I)! Here’s a recipe I adore from her blog.

My Overnight Oats
(as adapted from Carrots ‘N’ Cake)

1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp milled flaxseed
1 heaping scoop o’ peanut butter
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

I combine the oats, milk, and flaxseed and let them soak over night. In the moring I through in the scoop of peanut butter and blueberries.

The possibilites are ENDLESS with these oats. You can use any kind of oat, any type of milk (soy, almond, cow, coconut), any topping (fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, nut butters, honey, granola, cereal, etc.) Every combination is delicious.

I had the above (not  the prettiest picture, but SO tasty) for breakfast this morning at 7:30 am with a Coconut Americano. And I am still full at 10am! I love feeding my body the good fuel – especially because I am hitting the gym later for a cycling workout.

You have not lived until you’ve tried Overnight Oats!

I cannot seem to get enough fruit and veggies lately. They are fresh and colorful, I’ve been eating cataloupe like candy lately. And that’s a good thing. A cup of cantaloupe is around 60-70 calories. It’s a yummy thing to fill up on, and it’s packed with vitamins! Since I’ve been incorportating more of these items into my diet (and less complex carbs) – I have felt more energetic, less “heavy” (more “light” – i.e., less weighed down), and seen healthier changes in other aspects of my life.

Incorportating these fruits and veggies have been relatively easy for me. It was just a matter of having them in my house. They are so easy to grab now that I have a variety of fruits and vegetables around my house. And every week I have something new and different (there is so much variety!). It makes packing a lunch a breeze, and the tastes are vibrant and fresh.

Just cutting up an apple for a side dish with dinner, grabbing a bagged salad for a fast pairing, throwing copped up peppers and corn into beans for zesty burritos, throwing sweet peas into a fresh potato soup, or roasting veggies to add to pasta. The possibilities are truly endless!

I have also been enjoying (and pushing myself to) drinking more water. It’s not always easy, sometimes I just want flavor. So I throw a slice of lemon, cucumber, or even melon. It’s refreshing, and I’ve noticed how much smoother my body functions when it’s well hydrated. I still enjoy my coffee and tea, but nothing hydrates the body like water. By making it a priority, I’ve made my health a priority.

Start your love affair with fruits and veggies (and water) today! I guarantee you’ll thank yourself for it (and your body will too)!

Tips for Eating More Fruits and Veggies, just click here.

Just by incorporating fruit and veggies in my diet, I am FEELing much better (more energetic, less sluggish). One of the things I have been dealing with inregard to emotional eating is carb withdrawl. I still get PLENTY of carbs, but the amount I was eating was a lot. I get these crazy cravings, but if I don’t have access to those sweet, sugary carbs all the time – I eat a more balanced diet. I pack a lunch with the tips below, to ensure that I reach for the healthy snack (and how to avoid those pesky office treats that pop up!).

Healthy Lunch Packing Tips!
1) Don’t always reach for the pre-packaged snacks and goodies – they are often overly processed and not-so-great for you.You can pack those tasty treats, but not for your whole lunch. (For example, in my lunch today – I totally packed a Quaker Chocolate Chip Chewy Bar).
2) Make sure you have lots of fruit and veggies on hand at home. It’s so easy to grab a banana, rinse an apples, snatch some baby carrots, and soon enough – you have half of your days snacks packed.
3) Brings some tea to work and store it in your desk. If the boredom “hunger” hits, make yourself a cup of green, oolong, or calming tea – it’s actually works and it’s good for you!
4) Pack a satisfying lunch – I ususally pack at PB&J – and I look forward to it everyday! Don’t pack a salad if you don’t want one – pack something filing and delicous.
5) Pack “mini”-meals. Eat when you are hungry and fill your stomach with fresh foods and tasty homemade goodies. Be aware when you are hungry vs. boredom.
6) Load up at the store on healthy “to go” snacks, like yogurt you can toss into your lunch. Make snacks at home to throw in as well – like I made individually wrapped scones for breakfast and made salt-and-vinegar chick peas for a snack as well.

Avoiding Office Treats:
1) If your willpower is low, navigate around so that you aren’t around the treats very long. Grab your coffee and go!
2) Think to yourself: “Do I really, really want this cookie, cake, treat?” OR could you save it for something later in the day, or that dessert at the fancy restaurant you are going to later that week? Chances are, that store bought cookie and CostCo muffin, probably isn’t the dessert you want to splurge on this week.
3) If it’s homemade cheese cake with huckleberry sauce – cut yourself a small piece and DIG IN! If it’s a worthwhile treat, something every now and then won’t kill you.
4) Be aware of your boredom eating habits, and emotional eating. Taking just nibble could turn into 3 cookies if you’re not careful.
5) Weigh your options and make a smart, healthy choice! It’s your body and think about the fuel you are putting into it. :)

Try incorporating some of these tips and see if helps you!! It certainly helped me. :D And always be sure to throw some exercise in there as well.

I have trying to get better at taking pictures – but I am not so good at it sometimes! This weekend has been filled with lots of things to do and lots of activity. My legs are tired, which means I need to do some yoga tomorrow to give them some stretches and a break. Yesterday we went on a 2 hour 20 minute walk around the area, and we had a sinful dinner: veggieburger with the works and fired! MMmmm! Sometimes you just need those greasy, yummy meals. This morning started with 5.25 miles on the elliptical at the gym – it was tough today – but I am glad I did it. Maybe the sodium from last night’s dinner made me sluggish?

I made a batch of my Buttermilk Blueberry Scones this weekend, and they are so tasty! Here is the day after pictures and recipe. I seriously think God wants me to open a bakery/cafe someday.

Buttermilk Blueberry Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus whole wheat flour to “knead” dough)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 4 tablespoons margarine, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then “cut” the margarine into the flour mixture (I usually take my hands and work the butter and dry ingredients together – it becomes mealy in a sense – don’t overwork it).
  2. Add milk and eggs into bowl, mix together slightly before mixing into dry ingredients. Dough should forms and then fold in blueberries. Be careful to not overwork the dough.
  3. Dump dough on to whole wheat floured cutting board, shape into a large triangle and cut into wedges and triangles. Place on ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Place in preheated 375 degree oven on ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.

These are delicious warm and served next day!! I love them alone, with clotted cream, lots of different things. They are tasty.


 

I hit the gym today and did 5.5 miles on the elliptical, which told me I burnt 750 calories. I was feeling weaker today and did not end up doing my small strength training portion of my workout. So to avoid injury and making myself run down – I called it quits after the 5.5 mile workout. I then stopped at the food store to get some really cheap marinade (special on Lawry’s marinades – only $1.00 a piece at Albertson’s!!). I also picked up some of the Sugar Free Flavor for my coffee – it’s not coconut, but it’s Sugar Free Hazelnut Flavor – and I think it was a great buy! It sweetens my coffee with just a bit, and after a 1/4 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk, it brings my morning cup of joe down from 100 calories to 30-40 calories a cup. Much more manageable!! So obviously, I made a cup after I got back from the gym.

I ate a very unique dinner tonight (for me). I took some extra firm tofu and crumbled it up, marinated it in some Lawry’s Hawaiian dressing with frozen peas and the leftover remains of the asparagus stir fry I had in the freezer. Super healthy and the tofu was actually great! It was filling, and tasty. I polished off a oatmeal chocolate chip soft cookie I made the other night. But I was craving some PEANUT BUTTER!

Oh yum yum! I am ALL about food that is better for you but tastes oh so decadent! I love peanut butter and cookies, especially oatmeal cookies. So here is my recipe for tasty (and better for you peanut butter cookies!)

Ingredients:


1 and 1/4 cup rolled oats
Less that 1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of all natural apple sauce
5 teaspoons of whole wheat flour
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a few chocolate chips

For this recipes I combine all the ingredients (EXCEPT the chocolate chips) and mixed them until they form a dough. I then measure a tablespoon scoop of the dough and place on a cookie sheet. Put one chocolate chips on each piece of dough. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Enjoy!

How could you not eat this!??! Make some right now :) And averaging about 80 calories a cookie – that’s a pretty sweet cookie.

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