Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup with Maple Bacon

Modified from RealSimple.com

Ingredients:

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Prick the potatoes with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and roast until tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Halve the potatoes and add to the saucepan. Add 6 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup in the saucepan using a handheld immersion blender. Add water, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency.

Black Bean and Quinoa Nachos

IMG_4124

Modified from Shape
Serves 6.

Calories   Carbs   Fat   Protein   Sodium   Sugar
268           36        11     7             576          2

Ingredients:

  • 6-ounce bags baked pita chips
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons quinoa, cooked per package directions
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon diced canned green chillies
  • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted and diced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chips in a single layer on two large ovenproof platters and top each with equal amounts beans, quinoa, cheese, tomatoes, green chillies, and onion.
2. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts, alternating positions in the oven midway through. Garnish each with equal amounts cilantro and avocado; serve immediately.

Enlightened Egg Salad Pita

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Modified from Shape.com
Serves 4.

Calories   Carbs   Fat   Protein   Sodium   Sugar
374          51        11     21          587         3

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons So Delicious Greek Coconut Milk Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 4 whole-wheat pitas
  • 4 lightly packed cups baby greens
  • large English cucumber, thinly sliced

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water by 1 inch, and bring to a boil over high. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 11 minutes. transfer eggs to a large bowl of ice water and let cool for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder, and salt in a medium bowl; season with pepper. Stir in the onion, celery, and chives.
3. Peel the eggs. Coarsely chop whites and yolks and combine with yogurt mixture in the bowl. (Mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)
4. Stuff each pita with a quarter of the greens and the cucumber slices. Spoon a quarter of the egg salad into each and serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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Modified from Shape.com
Serves 6.

Calories   Carbs   Fat   Protein   Sodium   Sugar
409          78        3      13           392         10

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags frozen butternut squash
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound small elbow macaroni or mini shells
  • 2 tablespoons Daiya Cheddar
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan, add butternut squash, garlic, thyme, almond milk, and stock. Cook until squash is fork-tender. Remove thyme sprig. Place mixture in a food processor or blender, and puree until velvety smooth.
2. Meanwhile, cook macaroni until al dente (semifirm). Drain and rinse with cool water. Spread out macaroni on a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Pour squash puree over noodles. Cover with foil, place in oven, and bake for approximately 45 minutes. While casserole bakes, combine all ingredients for breadcrumb topping.
3. Remove pan from oven and evenly spread breadcrumb topping and Gruyere over top. Transfer to broiler and broil for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Homemade Cheez-Its

This post is dedicated to my dear friend @Harmonyjoyyy. A friend in real life and in the twitterverse, she is one of those people I love following because she gets you through the “each minute feels like an hour” days. One of the things I’ve come to know about @Harmonyjoyyy is the girl. loves. cheez-its. =) Since giving up all snacks involving cheese, I had kinda forgot about them until I watched her pledge her allegiance and undying love. Maybe I was missing something here.

As I do each time I feel my allergy is making me miss out on awesomeness, I started googling homemade recipes until I found one with a decent picture. Success!

These crackers were everything I thought I was missing and more. They were salty and cheesy with just the right amount of crunch. Since this past weekend was @Harmonyjoyyy’s birthday and she was the inspiration, I made her some too! (with real cheese and butter =) H and L got a stash for being my taste testers, and all the crackers were gone within a day. Talk about addicting.
Yields about 7 dozen crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. bag Dayia Cheddar Style Shreds
  • 3 TB Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, softened
  • 1 TB shortening, softened
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt, plus some for sprinkling ( I cut the salt in half from the original recipe because Earth Balance is salted… I think)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TB cold water

The first thing I noticed about the recipe was that it called for grated cheese. I’ve yet to find Dayia in block form in my area so I put a whole bag of shreds in a food processor and pulsed until the cheese was very fine.
Next combine the cheese, softened butter and shortening, and salt in a standing mixer until completely integrated. Mix in the flour, and then slowly add the water. The dough will be dry so you want to add enough water for it to come together, but you don’t want it to be too wet. Separate the dough into 2 discs, cover and refrigerate for roughly 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Roll out dough on a silicone mat (or parchment paper) to 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or whatever you have really, cut the dough into uniform squares. I tried to make mine about an inch like you would get out of the box. Size isn’t as important as much as the uniform part is! Otherwise some crackers will cook faster than others (learned the hard way!) In the center of each square poke a small hole using a toothpick. Sprinkle any additional salt.

Transfer the squares to a greased baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until the edges are the slightest brown. I poked the center of a few crackers to make sure they weren’t too puffy. Some of the puff will harden as the crackers cool.
Yum!
Here’s a swiss-gruyere version.
And a sharp cheddar!

Watermelon Banana Smoothie

40 days of yoga.

For years I’ve wanted to participate in this program at Baron Baptiste, but I’ve always had some half marathon or triathlon or other crazy athletic adventure that got in the way. No way could I spend 40 days doing yoga… I have to run, swim, bike, jump, lift, etc., etc., excuse, excuse. Then this fall as I went to sign up for my next race I realized that every half in my area was sold out.

Took another look at the 40 days program. “Well it’s kind of expensive” I told myself. “Yea but so are tri’s and half’s and now you’re not doing that.” Valid point other half of my brain. What sealed the deal for me was that my favorite teacher was leading the 40 days. I often go through the motions when I go to yoga, listening, but not really retaining much. But when this one teacher speaks… I actually hear her. What she’s saying makes sense and I can apply her words of wisdom to my life. Revolutionary for someone who goes to yoga mainly cause it kicks my butt.

Part of 40 days along with the daily yoga and meditation, comes a 3 day fruit fast/cleanse half way though. As a runner I fundamentally opposed this at first. “But I NEED my carbs!” I thought. “True, but you’re not running right now… you’re doing yoga” said the other half. Also, I can do anything for 3 days. It’s just 3 days. Right?
Adapted from Kimberly Snyder.
Serves 3.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped watermelon
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • handful of raspberries

Place the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until completely combined.

I substituted coconut water because milk of any kind isn’t allowed in the cleanse. But I’ve made this before with almond milk and it rocked!

Sonoma Chicken Salad on Focaccia

Swim team season has started for me once again. After work a few days a week, and one day over the weekend I help coach some of Arlington’s finest swimmers at the Boys & Girls Club. The start of swim team is exciting. It marks the return of old friends you haven’t seen all summer, the return of smelling like chlorine all the time, and the return of outdoor adventures with the head coach Mr. D!

A couple Sunday’s ago Mr. D invited a bunch of us to go on a hike up Tully Mountain. The description of the day was “Meet at 10am. Pack a lunch. Home by dinner.” He’s a man of few words, but that’s what makes his trips exciting. You never know what’s going to happen haha.

Since it had been kinda cool out, I decided to go with a chicken salad sandwich figuring it would be pretty safe. Of course after I bought all the ingredients and made it, the temp skyrocketed to the mid-80s. Cautiously I threw in a few ice packs and that seemed to do the job =). I loved the flavor of the rotisserie chicken and the crunch of the pecans and celery. Sometimes I find chicken salad a little boring, but definitely not this one!
Modified from Whole Foods.
Serves 6.

Ingredients:
Dressing:

Salad:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • Loaf Focaccia
  • 5 oz. bag baby arugula
Pull all of the usable meat of the rotisserie chicken. Every time I do this I hate the process, but flavor of the chicken is totally worth it. Add chicken, pecan pieces, grapes, and celery in a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl, mix together mayo, yogurt, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper. Using yogurt in chicken salad is an idea I borrowed from my Grandmaman to cut down on fat and sodium. She goes all in with the yogurt but I still wanted a little bit of the mayo taste. Pour dressing into chicken and stir until well mixed.
Slice focaccia and put together with chicken salad and arugula.
View from the top of the mountain!