Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had an absolutely wonderful weekend! Mine was great as on Saturday I got to style the new LOFT Fall collection and take some pictures that I’ll reveal soon. The new merchandise is amazing with so many bold, rich colors and prints. I have a feeling that the gorgeous Bordeaux shade is going to be my favorite for the season. Then yesterday I got to attend the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma with my fam! It was a fantastic race with even better company, and we ended the perfect Sunday by going to one of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma, where we went for my birthday last year.

Since I’ve been gone a lot recently, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking at home. But the other night I knew that I wanted something fresh and easy while using up some of the produce I had in the refrigerator that was on its last leg. I decided to create an easy, healthy delicious meal.

Healthy Summer Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Sweet White Onions
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 3 Yellow Squash
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 C. Tomato Basil Sauce/Marinara
  • 1 T. Dried Basil
  • 1 T. Thyme

Directions:

  1. Finely chop onion (should have about 2 cups worth chopped) and mince garlic
  2. In a large pot, combine olive oil, garlic and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Chop zucchini, yellow squash and carrots in chunks and add to pot. Let the veggies cook down for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste and add herbs, stirring until well combined.
  5. Add tomato sauce to coat all ingredients, allowing it to heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a delicious recipe and so incredibly easy. It tastes delicious on its own but I served mine over quick-cooking brown rice to create a complete meal. It would also be great with quinoa or even just a fresh, crusty bread. This would be also be the perfect, easy dish to make for unexpected company as it tastes much more complicated than it actually is to make!

Questions:

-What dishes do you make when your veggies are on their last leg?

-Do you like ratatouille?

Do You Know the Muffin (Wo)man?

Hi lovelies, I hope that you have had a wonderful weekend. I’m sorry for my absence last week- work was extremely busy and then I was down for the count with a horrible migraine. Luckily, I’m back up and running and happy to be back connecting with all of you!

I realized this weekend that there is something that I haven’t shared with you yet- my love of muffins. You all know that I love a carby breakfast, but what I never order but always want to, is a good muffin. My love started as a kid in Sacramento as many Sundays after church, my family would stop at this little cafe Muffins Etc. This place served up at least 20 different muffins, my favorite of which was the Cappuccino Chocolate Chip muffin. This was, without a doubt, the most delicious muffin I’ve ever had. It had the perfect amount of coffee flavor and was generously studded with chocolate chips. But then one day they were gone, and muffins weren’t trendy anymore. A sad for all.

Luckily, there were still those dense, enormous chocolate muffins with chocolate chips at school functions. But as I grew up and started watching what I ate, muffins were cut out. Then, as bakeries began to stock them again, they became extra large and containing as many calories as 2 meals! Scary! So what’s a muffin-loving girl who wants to avoid a muffin top to do? Why make her own! For my recent book club brunch, we were supposed to bring something healthy and delicious. I knew that muffins were on the docket, so I turned to some of my favorite blogs seeking out a healthy recipe.

Looking through (and pinning) so many recipes, I finally decided to make Skinny Taste’s Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins. Hailed by her husband as the best muffins he had ever had, I knew I picked a winner. These muffins are delicious and generously studded with blueberries (sense a theme here? I like my mix-ins aplenty!) Plus they are so easy to make and full of ingredients that most of you will have at home. They’re low in sugar, made with heart healthy oats and whole wheat flour, and each muffin is only 126 calories! Now that’s my kind of muffin. Make these and everyone will be a fan. Oh, and they make the perfect morning breakfast especially when slathered with almond butter.

Questions:

-Do you like muffins? What’s your favorite kind?

-What foods do you like that aren’t trendy?

-Have any other healthy muffin recipes? Link me!

Mounds for Breakfast

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend! I listened to my body this weekend and gave it exactly what it needed– lots and lots of sleep. Unfortunately, I’m still fighting this bug but am hoping that it will be out of my system soon! In addition to all of the healthy food I was eating, I had a serious sweet tooth on Saturday. My usual daily dark chocolate square wasn’t cutting it, and it was clear that I wasn’t leaving the house to pick up frozen yogurt, so instead I decided to whip something up at home.

While everyone loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, one of my favorite combos is chocolate and coconut. (Sense a theme here? Obviously chocolate is a necessary component in any food combo.) But I still wanted to create something healthy that would have some staying power. And with those thoughts in mind, the best breakfast EVER was created.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 23 minutes

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar Free Vanilla Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 T. Reduced-Fat Coconut Flakes
  • 2 T. Chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Mix above ingredients
  2. Pour or scoop into sprayed ramekin
  3. Bake in 380 Degree oven for 20 minutes
  4. Broil on high for 3-4 minutes until top is golden
  5. Enjoy!

This is the perfect weekend breakfast but if you have a little time in the mornings this would be the fabulous decadent-tasting breakfast on a weekday! Anything to make Monday a little sweeter, right?

Questions:

-What’s your favorite flavor combination?

-Tell me about your favorite decadent breakfast

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Hi lovelies! Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe it’s already April and am so excited about some events happening this month! Another Art Uncorked event, Easter (I’m cooking the whole dinner by myself!) and my Grandma’s big birthday surprise, just to name a few! I have a feeling it is going to be a great month and the perfect start to Spring.

But as eager as I am for Spring to arrive, the Bay Area cannot seem to make up its mind in terms of weather. So although I’ve been ditching my tights on occasion, I’m still favoring warm, hot meals. As I was browsing Pinterest, I knew I found a winning recipe when I found Whole Living’s Almond Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes. I immediately set off to start making the soup and it wasn’t until I started cooking that I realized I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. However, I wasn’t about to let that deter me so I started substituting and combining foods that sounded good that I had on hand. I’ve found that the more comfortable I become in the kitchen, the less I feel the need to adhere to recipes. It’s always a bit of a gamble, but hey, that’s what makes cooking (and life!) more fun. And it’s even better when it results in a great outcome like this soup did- it was met with rave reviews and comments to please make it again soon!

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

*Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free

Ingredients:

  • 2 Zucchini
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 package butternut squash cubes (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 Russet Potato
  • 1/2 Yellow onion (3/4 cup chopped)
  • 8-10 oz. cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 4 C. chicken stock
  • 2 T. ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 large handfuls baby spinach

Directions

  1. Chop all vegetables into 1-inch cubes, peeling the potatoes before chopping.
  2. Dice 1/2 yellow onion and mince garlic.
  3. Combine the chicken broth, onion, garlic, sweet potato and potato in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add carrots, zucchini and butternut squash and simmer about 15 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk almond butter and peanut butter together with 1/2 cup of soup broth and add to soup along with the cooked chicken.
  6. Add 3 cups baby spinach and ginger and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a lime wedge.

This soup is made with fresh, wholesome ingredients and packed with vegetables. It’s so simple and comes together in a flash– I used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken breast, thawed it and heated in a separate pan and added it to the soup. However, this recipe can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock and leaving out the chicken. It already is full of protein from the nut butter!

Questions:

-What’s your attitude in the kitchen? Do you stick to recipes or play around?

-Tell me (or link!) to one of your favorite recipes that you’ve created!