Thrifty Thursdays: A Recipe

A couple days ago, one of my really good friends Allie came up for a visit from San Francisco. She’s gearing up for a semester in Thailand in August and this just might be one of the last times I see her before she leaves. We planned on hitting downtown Roseville for a few hours but when it came down to it, we really just went to Target and Sprouts to get stuff for dinner. I’m pretty sure I ruined Sprouts forever for Allie, but it was worth the trip.

We had Mahi Mahi tacos for dinner and they were delicious! Typically I’m not a huge fish fan, I usually just like salmon or if I do have tuna, I like it fried in tempura batter and rolled up all pretty for me in a delicious sushi roll. But they were really good! We had toppings like chopped up tomatoes, pineapple, jalapeno and bell pepper, sliced avocado, shredded cabbage and lemon. It was set up like a taco bar and we served ourselves.

After dinner was over, there were still a lot of toppings leftover so I decided to make a pineapple salsa out of it. And it turned out so surprisingly delicious and refreshing, I decided to share the recipe with you guys! I don’t have all the ingredients measured out as they were just what was left over, but the cool thing about salsa is that it’s pretty forgiving, so you don’t need exact measurements and you can add or extract what you want.

IMG_2313PINEAPPLE CILANTRO SALSA

  • Chopped pineapple
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped bell pepper
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped jalapeno
  • Sliced avocado
  • Squirt of lime for preservation

I just threw all the ingredients into the blender and hoped for the best! Mine turned out a little thick and chunky, which is perfect because that’s how I like my salsa. You can blend it more or less, depending on how you like your salsa. It’s a crisp and refreshing, and there’s some spice from the jalapeno and some sweet from the pineapple. Perfect for the summer!

I enjoyed it so much, I put it on my black bean tacos and used it as a dip for my chips the next day. Yeah, tacos are big around here.

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Still trying to grasp food photography, obviously. This was just a quickie I snapped while trying to fend the dog and baby off my food.

Do you have a favorite salsa recipe to share? Did you give this one a try? Post in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

My Healthy Life: Banana-Blueberry Chocolate Shake Recipe

Any time I hear the words “healthy shake,” I cringe just thinking about the existence of protein powder in the drink. Protein powder is fine if that’s what you’re into, but why do you have to mess up a perfectly delightful beverage with it! So, when I saw that Laura from A Beautiful Mess posted a new healthy chocolate shake recipe, I was a little hesitant.

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Photo from A Beautiful Mess

As it turns out, this chocolate shake had no sign of protein powder anywhere, and it was indeed – as described – healthy and delicious! I had a hankering for chocolate and knew that this was probably a better choice for me than the Girl Scout cookies I had been devouring for the last couple weeks.

I decided to add blueberries to mine, and since I was making it for someone else too (promise), I increased the portions.

  • 1 frozen, ripe banana 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (crunchy or smooth) 2 tablespoons peanut butter (it’s what I had)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 2/3 cup coconut milk (again, what I had)
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

I used my ghetto blender and for once – it didn’t threaten to blow up! I just blended for about two minutes until it was nice and smooth, and voila!

This banana blueberry chocolate shake was delicious. And healthy. And delicious.

This banana blueberry chocolate shake was delicious. And healthy. And delicious.

Since I used up the last of my peanut butter in recipe and I LOVE me some peanut butter, it’s the perfect time to make my own!

Do you have any recipes that are delicious and surprisingly healthy? Did you try this recipe? Share your link in the comments and on social media!

Recipe Remix: Caramel Oatmeal Chewies

A couple weekends ago, I went to my very first estate sale. While there, I scored five cookbooks for $1.00. The deal was really 20 books for a $1 but since I wasn’t about to walk into my house with 20 books, I stuck with five. One of the books was a Betty Crocker Cookbook from the 70′s. Inside, there was a recipe printout for Caramel Oatmeal Chewies.

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I had never made this recipe before, and I wanted to give it a try. I decided to switch up the ingredients a little to come up with a “clean-er” version, and I wanted to share the recipe with you.

  • 1 3/4 c Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked) (I used oats from Trader Joe’s, but any will do)
  • 1 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour (I didn’t have enough WW all-purpose flour, so I mixed in WW pastry flour)
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbl Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 c Pumpkin
  • 1 c Chopped Walnuts (The recipe called for pecans, but I only had walnuts so I used those)
  • 1 c Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Unsweetened caramel topping  (It called for a cup, but I just drizzled a little

Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 13×9 in. baking pan (I ended up using a much smaller one) with olive oil or coconut oil spray (veggie oil spray also works, of course). Combine oats, flour and baking soda. Mix well. Stir in pumpkin and honey. Mix until all blended. Reserve one cup of mixture and spread the rest in the baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light brown. Cool 10 minutes.

Top with chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix the caramel and 1 tbl flour until smooth. Drizzle that on top and then spread the remaining mixture. Bake an additional 18-22 minutes (I baked mine for 20 minutes). Let cool until it sets. Cut the bars before they get too cold.

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So, there it is. My very first recipe remix! They turned out really super delicious! I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I plan to do many more recipe remixes in the future. I’m going to start with that Betty Crocker cookbook. I used The Gracious Pantry to figure out how much to use for my substitutions/conversions, so if you also want to find out how to substitute healthy ingredients, check her out! If there is a recipe you want me to remix, let me know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter! You can check out my pictures of this deliciousness on Instagram and see more recipe remix inspiration on my Pinterest.

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

When I was pregnant, I went insane for Almond Joy and Mounds. It was crazy. I literally bought the Halloween bag of Almond Joy and kept them for myself. Luckily it was Halloween and I was super pregnant, so nobody dared question me. Then, when all the Halloween candy went on sale, I was in an Almond Joy/ Mounds wonderland.

When we went to the grocery store yesterday, I felt inclined to buy Mounds since I was starting my “bangin’ body challenge” today (more about that later), and I wanted to indulge one last time. While I was enjoying my moment of bliss, I was thinking of treats I could make with coconut. And here is what I found….

Image belongs to The Midnight Baker

Image belongs to The Midnight Baker

Coconut Banana Popsicles from The Midnight Baker

Image belongs to Sunflower Supper Club

Image belongs to Sunflower Supper Club

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream from Sunflower Supper Club

Image belongs to cooking ala mel

Image belongs to cooking ala mel

DIY Coconut Milk and Flour from cooking ala mel

Image belongs to The Daring Gourmet

Image belongs to The Daring Gourmet

Coconut Sunflower Seed Cookies from The Daring Gourmet

Image belongs to The Edible Earth

Image belongs to The Edible Earth

Coconut, Cranberry and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies from The Edible Earth

This is a clean eating blog so all of her recipes are clean

I love finding all of these things you can make with one main ingredient. In one post, I got recipes for cookies and coconut milk, and more than that, I found a new clean eating blog. This is my favorite part of The Weekly Treat, not just finding new recipes, but finding new blogs and people.

If you love baking or are just getting into it, check out our Weekly Treat group for some recipe inspiration. Share your lemon and blueberry treats in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #lemonblueberry You can find more of my lemon blueberry inspiration on Pinterest!

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

Usually when I do a weekly treat post, I have an ingredient in mind. But after the day I had today, I had no inspiration left in me. So I did what any normal person would do when they were at a loss, I went on Pinterest. And there I found the source of this week’s inspiration: lemon and blueberry.

Image belongs to The Mommy Games

Image belongs to The Mommy Games

Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins from the mommy games

Image belongs to Epicurean Mom

Image belongs to Epicurean Mom

Lemon blueberry cheesecake bars from Epicurean Mom

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Image belongs to fancyfoodfancy

Lemon frozen yogurt with blueberry swirl from fancyfoodfancy

Image belongs to Lemon Blueberry Pie Cupcakes

Image belongs to Lemon Blueberry Pie Cupcakes

Lemon Blueberry Pie Cupcakes from Beyond Frosting

blueberry lemon scones organic healthy clean green living recipe-5

Image belongs to Sincerely, Kinsey

Clean Lemon Blueberry Scones from Sincerely, Kinsey

If you love baking or are just getting into it, check out our Weekly Treat group for some recipe inspiration. Share your lemon and blueberry treats in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #lemonblueberry You can find more of my lemon blueberry inspiration on Pinterest!

 

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

So, this weekend we got some peaches for a tea that we had at the baby shower for Sam’s sister, Elena. I love to eat peaches and could probably eat them all day. Which is exactly what I plan on doing with these peaches. But, I didn’t want to be too greedy with the peaches and looked up some recipes that involve peaches, so I can share the love. This inspired the theme for this week at the weekly treat: PEACHES!!!

Peaches-and-Cream-GalettePeaches and Cream Galette, from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

Spiced-PeachesSpiced Peaches, by Savvy Eats, who adapted it from “Canning for a New Generation,” by Liana Krissoff

7626772028_0394662b2d_zPeach, tomato and mozzarella crostini, from Joy the Baker

peaches-n-cream-muffinsPeaches ‘n Cream muffins, from two peas and their pod

Peach-Coffee-Cake-wholeGluten-free peach coffee cake, by gluten-free goddess

I certainly hope you enjoyed gawking at these beauties like I did. I tried to include a savory dish and a healthy dish, for everyone to enjoy. There are more recipes on my Pinterest, and if you feel like sharing a recipe, join the weekly treat on Facebook!

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

I still remember my trip to Italy. I remember all the museums, Cathedrals, cafes and shopping. I remember the gondola rides, the wine, the alleys lined with all the beautiful architecture and clothes drying on clotheslines, swaying in the wind. I remember my dad and I lugging around our laundry, trying to find a laundry mat and I remember dancing atop one of our hotels. I remember searching all around for a gelato shop until we finally found one, and I remember Nutella.

Just like we get little cream cheese packets with bagels at any continental breakfast at any hotel in America, Italians get Nutella packets with every breakfast they are served. Now, I have bought numerous jars of Nutella since I made that trip over five years ago, and every time I do, I think of Italy. I think of my family that I visited there and I think of the way I felt when I saw the David. And I smile.

When I was organizing the pantry (for what feels like the millionth time) today, I was a little shocked and saddened that I didn’t have any Nutella. So to give me the kick in the hiney that I need to restock, I thought I would dedicate this week’s weekly treat to all things Nutella. And I learned that I can also incorporate peanut butter and pumpkin into my recipes, so I am a happy girl.

DSC_043322Homemade Nutella, from The Eccentric Cook

061Frenchy’s Best Nutella Buns recipe, by Le Chateau des Fleurs

IMG_00038Peanut Butter Nutella Cupcakes, by Your Cup of Cake

Nutella-Pumpkin-Bars-765x1024Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bars, by Lemons for Lulu

IMG_0292-757x1024Easy Nutella & Caramel Brownies, from little kitchen, big bites

Have any Nutella recipes? Did you make any of the above recipes and want to share your experience? Please join our group The Weekly Treat on Facebook.

Keep it clean: recipe remix

Yesterday, I had all the intentions of baking apple brownies. Then it got kind of crazy here and I ended up making nothing. Well, I did make grilled cheeses for dinner, but they were not the fancy ones that I saw on Pinterest. Just simple good ol’ grilled cheese. Today, I decided that I would make the brownies. Since I am trying to make my recipes as clean as possible, I did a little recipe remix.

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The original recipe is from Beyond Kimchee and this is what I did to change it up a little:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cup sugar 3/4 c Truvia, with a little maple syrup
2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups apples (about 2-3 apples), peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnut
2 cups (whole wheat) flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Aside from that, I followed the instructions and my apple brownies came out delightful! I thought they might taste kind of funky with the apple/pumpkin combination but the pumpkin taste wasn’t that potent.
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Finally…a use for all of those danged apples!

This week at the weekly treat

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I love fruit. All kinds of fruit. Except apples, which seem to be the gateway fruit for everyone else. Maybe I outdid myself on apples and peanut butter a while back, I’m not sure but I find them to be rather boring now. I did, however, buy a bag of apples so I could make some homemade apple sauce. Then when I got home and put away the groceries, I realized that I already had a huge jar of applesauce. So, what’s a girl to do but to go on Pinterest and find out what else I could do with these apples that nobody will eat.

Look what I found!

Apple-brownies-TApple brownies, from Beyond Kimchee

IMG_8868Apple puffs, from Apron and Sneakers

IMG_9082_edited-1Apple butter, by Grown from Scratch

IMG_7052Carmelized Apple and Cheddar Panini, from Lauren’s Kitchen

IMG_4428Apple banana bread, by Lauren’s Kitchen

I think I will make the apple and cheddar grilled cheese today and the apple brownies because those look delicious! When I bananas get a little riper, I can make the banana bread and if I have any apples left over, I’m doing the apple butter for my morning toast.

So, I can put those apples to good use!

If you love to share and try out new recipes, join the weekly treat on Facebook! A new theme is posted every week. This week’s theme was apples, obviously.

my surprisingly productive day

I have a ritual of making a list every morning when I get up. I write down what I want – no, what I need – to accomplish for the day and try my best to follow the list. But the same thing always happens. Cecilia barely takes any naps and needs my attention about every half hour.

So when she had a bad day yesterday, I woke up today knowing I wouldn’t get anything done. I planned for a day of lounging in our bed and watching movies all day.

I woke up at the normal time, but Cecilia wasn’t ready to get up yet, so I decided to go back to bed until she was ready. I would need all the sleep I could get. By the time she woke up, I had the formula ready and I was wide awake. I fed her and did some yoga before even leaving our room.

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Can you spot the swing in the background?

Then she was ready for another nap, and I made some breakfast. I officially started the Clean Eating diet today and have pledged to not drink any sodas for two weeks. If I can keep that up, I will start moving away from coffee. But not quite yet. So I decided to make my own homemade creamer, with a recipe I got from Acute Designs.

I didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk so I ended up making my own. Since I’m trying to limit my sugar intake, I traded the 1 cup of brown sugar for 2/3 cup of maple syrup and increased the flour from 2 tbsps to 4 tbsps. I know flour isn’t the greatest, but I used wheat flour, so it wasn’t too bad.

I organized and ordered prints of all my pictures and got my thank you cards done, both of which were on my spring cleaning list. Then I cleaned the house, which I haven’t been able to do in a while.

IMG_3278I have been wanting to try this quinoa + white bean burger recipe from how sweet it is and I finally had all the ingredients and the time to make it, so I did. And it came out lovely! To be more clear, I think this might be my new obsession. I also made some homemade fries, with the recipe I got from Sift, Stir & Savour.

IMG_3279After Cecilia woke up from her nap, we headed outside to work on the garden and I got most of our laundry done and applied for a couple of jobs.

Kind of insane the amount of stuff I got done so far today, all without a list. Maybe it’s better without one. I’m slowly learning that I no longer have a schedule of my own, I just follow Cecilia’s schedule. Because, after all, she’s the most important.