Monday, April 30, 2012

Banana Pancakes

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It's funny that living twenty minutes away from DC, I hardly ever go downtown to sight see or explore. I've only been to a handful of museums and that was when I was in elementary school and we were forced to go on field trips. When I got older, I guess the luxury of having the city within driving distance made everything unappealing.  I'm embarrassed to say I can't even drive around the city without getting extremely lost. But that is all going to change this year.

Case in point, the other weekend Chris and I met up with his sister and her boyfriend to go to the Holocaust Museum in DC. If you've never been, I highly suggest you go. After our tour, we went to a nearby restaurant called The Founding Farmers. Just like the museums, we hardly ever take trips to DC to go to restaurants either. And there are so many excellent ones. The Founding Farmers has a farmhouse style menu and has such a great selection that I was shocked I had never been there before, let alone heard of it.

Along with museums, I'm going to be visiting a lot more restaurants in DC this year. With gems like this one hiding out, I think that's a must.

On the menu were a few different flavors of pancakes, such as carrot cake, blueberry and red velvet. Although those really sparked my interest, the bananas foster pancakes were the ones that really caught my eye. The following weekend I decided to make some banana pancakes of my own, and they were SO good. It's crazy how a little mashed up banana can alter something into a fun and tasty breakfast. I was also able to make these healthier by using Splenda and light coconut milk in place of the heavier ingredients, so that's always a plus. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar (I used the Splenda sugar blend)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk (I used light coconut milk)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Extra banana, sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • Powdered sugar, sprinkled on top (optional)

Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Add butter and turn the pan until melted. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot with banana garnishes and powdered sugar.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crustless Spinach and Feta Quiche

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This is a healthier take on Spanakopita. It's a lot simpler, too! Spanakopita requires cooking, cutting, spreading, and folding. This quiche requires mixing and baking. That's it. Can't get much simpler.

I wanted to make a carb-friendly version of Spanakopita, so I needed to figure out a way to make it hold its shape without using a crust or traditional phyllo dough. I added more eggs to help bind the ingredients together, and it worked like a charm. I thought it tasted exactly like the filling of one of my favorite Greek appetizers. I had this for dinner one night, but it was also great the next morning for breakfast. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 (12 oz.) package frozen spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup fat-free feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cook spinach according to package directions. Squeeze all of the liquid out and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, add cheese, onion, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Add spinach mixture.

Cook for 30-35 minutes or until set. 

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Happy Birthday to me!!! Birthdays are so fun, aren't they? It's just an excuse to celebrate yourself, and I find nothing wrong with that!

I actually made this red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for my friend's birthday a few weeks ago, but since tonight I have a wedding workshop at the church we're getting married at, tomorrow is my second dress fitting, and the wedding is in 6 weeks....I figured I should probably skip the cake this year!

I've never been a huge fan of Red Velvet Cake, but this cake actually made me change my mind. The use of cake flour really made the cake light and moist. I had never used it before, but I think it will be my new go-to whenever baking cakes or cupcakes. And cream cheese frosting is pretty much my favorite frosting ever, so layer that on top of anything and I'm bound to love it. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk , at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
For frosting:
  • 2 packages (8 oz. apiece) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
To make cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9" x 2" round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; grease.

Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into a bowl.

In stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter at low speed until creamy. Add sugar; blend on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each. Scrape bowl; add food coloring and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. In small bowl, stir together vinegar and baking soda. Stir into batter. Divide batter between prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges and turn layers out onto racks. Remove paper and flip cakes; cool completely. Freeze for 30 minutes.

To make frosting: In stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium-high until fluffy.

To assemble: Cut layers in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat twice. Add last layer, top side up. Ice cake thinly with 3/4 cup frosting to crumb-coat. Refrigerate 20 minutes; finish frosting.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas: Two Ways

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Today's post is for SRC and I was assigned India-Leigh's blog over at The Vegan Obsession. She has a lot of fun, healthy, vegan recipes so I really enjoyed scrolling through all her different posts. And then when I saw these roasted chickpeas, I knew I had found "the one."

Who ever would have thought that roasting chick peas would make a tasty and healthy snack? I definitely didn't, and when I first heard about it I immediately turned against the idea. But then I saw this on India-Leigh's blog and decided to give it a try. Now these are the rage in my house. I only wish they could keep for a few days (I recommend eating them right away or else they'll start to get mushy) because then I'd make cans and cans of them to have on hand!

India-Leigh used a variety of different flavors, so I decided to try out a couple of my own. Although both of the ones I made were outrageously tasty, I preferred the one with Lawry's seasoned salt (I'm a huge fan) and Chris liked the salt and vinegar tray. I don't blame him because they really did remind me of the famous chips, only without all the guilt. I've made these a few times since we first tried them and they're definitely a go-to snack when we are trying to keep a clean conscience. You can easily mix and match different seasonings to make all different flavors. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain garbanzo beans in a strainer and rinse with water. Allow all water to drain out.

Lay garbanzo beans on a paper towel and blot/roll around until dry. Discard the skins.

Drizzle olive oil over the beans and toss around to coat. Divide the beans evenly between two baking sheets. Add vinegar to one baking sheet of beans and toss around some more (remember which are which!).

Roast the beans for 30-40 minutes until they are golden brown and crunchy.

Remove from oven and immediately season the vinegar beans with salt.

Season the other baking sheet of beans with Lawry's seasoned salt.

Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from A Vegan Obsession

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu

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Chris and I both love Cuban sandwiches, so I knew this recipe would be a hit. It's really simple and only uses a few ingredients, so it's definitely easy enough to make on a weeknight after a long day of work. We ate this with a side of pickles to really accentuate the Cuban sandwich theme, and we both loved it. We even had some mustard on the side to dip this in, and although completely unnecessary, it tasted really good!

The only thing I would say about this is that you have to make sure you use freshly sliced ham and Swiss cheese. If you use the prepackaged stuff, it might not taste as good and the cheese might not get as gooey and melted as you want it. And trust me, you want gooey cheese for this recipe. Enjoy!

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 slices thin deli ham
  • 8 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Butterfly chicken breasts into thin cutlets. Spread so they are flat. Place each piece in between two pieces of parchment paper and use a meat cleaver to pound them down. They should be no more than 1/4" thick.

Place a slice of ham on top of the flattened chicken and top with cheese.

Roll up the chicken so that the ham and cheese are covered. Use toothpicks to secure. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add oil. Place chicken in the skillet and brown all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Once browned, place the cast iron skillet with the chicken directly in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pork Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps

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When I told Chris he had a choice between lettuce wraps and tilapia for dinner the other night, he was quick to say he preferred the lettuce wraps. I don't blame him since last time I made them they were so good. You should have seen the disappointment on his face when he came home from work and saw this in the skillet. He immediately asked what the "hamburger helper" looking meal sitting on the stove was, to which I replied, "Oh, you just wait."

As soon as we both started eating this, we couldn't stop. It was no diced up chicken accompanied by three different dipping sauces like last time, but it didn't matter. The flavors were there, the textures were there, and it was fun. I love fun dinners. So even though Chris seemed a little upset at first, by the time he was done he was thanking me for the meal. He also told me he appreciates me! Looks like this will be coming out of the recipe binder more often if I'm going to be getting this reaction. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp.oil 
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. dry white wine 
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. hot chili garlic sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 12 leaves iceberg lettuce (optional) 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pork, ginger, salt and pepper and stir-fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and red onion and stir-fry until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add white wine, soy sauce and chili sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add peppers and carrots and stir-fry until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer pork mixture to a large platter. Arrange cilantro, lettuce and green onions alongside pork and serve with extra chili sauce on the side, if you like.

Source: Adapted from Whole Foods

Monday, April 16, 2012

Banana Bread

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We always have a ton of bananas in our house. One of my bridesmaids actually joked to us that she was going to get us a banana club membership for our wedding gift. I wouldn't be totally against it! Chris has one every morning for breakfast, so they'd definitely go. I try to buy some every time I make a trip to the grocery store and more often than not, that leaves us with some fairly ripe bananas. Since I don't want them to go to waste, I like to find new recipes to make using them.

This banana bread is unbelievably moist and has an amazing crust. The crust was actually Chris' favorite part. I think the use of sour cream helped to make the bread the texture it was. I've used sour cream when baking in the past, and whatever I'm making always turns out very moist. And you otherwise wouldn't even know it was in there. I guess it's a new trick? Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large bananas mashed (about 1 cup)
  • Optional add ins - 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a large loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans. 

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add in eggs, sour cream, vanilla and mashed banana until fully combined.  With mixer on low add in dry ingredients in 3 batches until just combined.  Batter will be thick.  Pour it into your prepared pan(s) and bake for 55 - 60 minutes for a large loaf pan until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Source: Adapted from The Ginger Snap Girl

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce

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This shrimp dish was a cinch to make and was perfect for a busy night after work. Since we're getting closer to the wedding, my schedule is slowly filling up, my to-do list keeps growing and my work-outs are getting longer. That makes it hard for me to get a lot of additional things accomplished after work that don't include stamping envelopes or running six miles. I try my hardest, but sometimes I just need a break. So when dinner is a breeze, it makes my life a lot easier.

Shrimp is just about the easiest thing to cook since all you have to do is toss them around in a skillet for a few minutes until they are pink. That's it! The only other component to this meal is measuring out the sauce ingredients and bringing them to a boil. If you can turn on your stove top, this dinner is a done deal for you. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. hot garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 cups fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine the first seven ingredients (soy sauce through chili sauce) in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add this sauce mixture to a small saucepan set over medium heat and bring it to a gentle boil. Let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and stir, letting the mixture return to a simmer for about a minute, or until it has become glossy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Meanwhile, cook fresh green beans according to package directions or in a steamer basket. Set aside when done.

In a large skillet, heat oil until hot. Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Once cooked through, add the string beans. Pour the sauce mixture over top and toss to combine. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Source: Adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

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Thank you to Teri from The Freshman Cook for choosing me to receive a Versatile Blogger Award!
I'm honored to receive this :)

The award works like this:
  • Thank the person who awarded you by linking back to their post
  • Pass the award on to 15 other new or newly discovered blogs
  • List 7 interesting things about yourself

So, here are 7 things about myself that I hope you find interesting:
  1. I live 20 minutes from DC, but never find myself there
  2. I am honeymooning in Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora in June
  3. I love country music and prefer to run to a slow country song than a fast-paced song
  4. This year I ran my first 10-mile race in 86 minutes
  5. I have three brothers; the oldest one is 13 years older than me and the youngest is 13 months younger than me
  6. About 5 years ago, I won $800 on a penny slot machine
  7. I refuse to buy anything online at full price. I will search until I find a promo code and if I don't find one, I won't purchase it.
Here are the 15 blogs who I am passing this award on to: 

I will be contacting each of you to let you know about your award. The rules are that you pass it on to 15 of your favorite, new, versatile blogs, and mention and link back to the person who awarded the Versatile Blogger Award to you.

Thank you to Teri and congratulations to these other fabulous blogs!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

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Why is it that I always want to bake when I'm trying to eat healthy? Like not just one thing, but cookies, muffins, cakes, breads. Who does that? Well I do. And when these amazing cookies are staring you dead in the eye, you can't help but take a bite. And then another. And then before you know it, the entire thing is gone annnddd there goes your diet. But these are SO darn good. I had to give most of them away so I wouldn't be tempted to have another, but you better believe I will be making them again as soon as June 17th comes around!

For some reason when I think of chocolate chip cookies, I think of Christmas. During the holidays, I always have pounds and pounds of them sitting on my counter, but I never have or make them any other time. Why is that? I think I should be able to have a chocolate chip cookie any time of year! And this time I decided to one-up them and make a chocolate chocolate chip cookie. Double the fun! Seriously though, these are so stinkin' good. If chocolate is your vice, you've come to the right place. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 8 oz. mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mushrooms and Onions

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I'm a full believer that sometimes the simplest ingredients make the tastiest meals. I only sometimes make extravagant, full-blown meals and that's usually only for a special occasion or when we are having guests over. Most of the time, I take the long trek home from work, go for a run, and then finally get started on dinner. By that time, I don't have time to make extravagant, full-blown meals.

The main components of this dish are mushrooms and onions (as the title suggests...duh!), but somehow an amazing flavor develops in the cooking process. Garlic is one of my favorite things to cook with, so between that and the butter/olive oil, something magical happens! These are an extremely easy side dish and would work well with pretty much any entree. Or even on their own! Enjoy!


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz.) package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add butter to onions. Add garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften. Add parsley and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Friday, April 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Eggs

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There are multiple reasons why April has always been my favorite month.

1. It would always be the beginning or end of spring break while I was in school. This meant family vacations, outings with friends, no homework and (while in college) staying up super late and sleeping until noon.

2. It's my birthday month. That means lots of yummy meals, tasty desserts, seeing all my friends/family and presents. Gotta love presents.

3. The weather finally begins getting a little nicer so we can do more activities outside. As a kid this would be climbing trees, playing tag or riding my bike. These days this includes outdoor happy hours, going to Georgetown in DC (an outdoor shopping heaven) and eating dinner out on the deck.

My last reason, and probably my favorite reason, is because of Easter. And not just because of the Easter holiday as a whole, but because the best candy EVER is only sold during the Easter season. Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are absolutely, positively my favorite candy ever (well, aside from Ferrero Rocher). I'm obsessed with peanut butter and a sucker for chocolate, and the peanut butter to chocolate ratio in these Eggs is perfect. Don't get me wrong, I like the regular peanut butter cups that are sold year round, but there's something about these Eggs that are just so much better. Nothing beats them.

Well, nothing until I made these homemade peanut butter eggs. I seriously couldn't believe how much these tasted like the real thing! I quickly became obsessed with these because they remind me so much of my favorite candy treat. And now I can have them year round! I'm excited just thinking about it. Who knows, I might never go back. Enjoy and have a Happy Easter!

  • 1 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (or 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar a ¼ cup at a time, stirring until completely combined with the peanut butter mixture after each addition. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Using a medium cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out peanut butter mixture and shape into eggs. I found it easiest to roll the scoop into a ball, and then roll it into a short cylinder. I placed it on the baking sheet, and then used my fingers to shape the ends into an egg-like oval. Refrigerate to allow the peanut butter eggs to set, about 30 minutes.

Once the peanut butter eggs are set, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted. One at a time, dip a peanut butter egg into the chocolate and, using a fork, flip it over so it is completely covered. Remove it from the bowl, letting any excess chocolate drip off. Return it to the baking sheet, and repeat with all of the peanut butter eggs. Sprinkle with decorations, if desired. Return the chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like "stuff" in my food.

Pizza with pepperoni, cheese, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, olives and tomatoes.

Sandwiches with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, mustard, pickles and onions.

Scrambled eggs with ham, onions, peppers, cheese, pepper and tomatoes.

And salads with everything but the kitchen sink.

This summer, I'm already placing a bet on myself that this will become one of my go-to salads. It fits all the criteria that I like in a salad, so it's a pretty safe bet. See, I'll prove it:

1) As noted above, it contains everything but the kitchen sink. Chicken, tomatoes, onion, corn, beans, avocado. I mean, c'mon.

2) It's chopped. I love when salads are chopped. I get a little bit of everything in each bite, and the smaller pieces make it so much easier to eat. I hate having to cut my salad. Using a knife when trying to eat a salad is just blasphemy.

3) The dressing. It's creamy, it's light, and it has little kick. Oh, and it's easy.

So there you have it. My new favorite salad! Hope you all enjoy!


  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 5-6 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8 3/4 oz.) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Nutmeg Notebook

Monday, April 2, 2012

No-Bake Energy Bites

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I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler here in DC yesterday and all I can say is...I finished. 

Sure, I had been training. Running, lifting weights and doing different types of cardio six times per week. Waking up early to get my long runs in before the day started. Watching what I ate so it would be easier for me to build up my stamina. Taking care of my knees so they wouldn't start throbbing like usual. Needless to say, it definitely didn't make me any less sore or tired afterwards. The course was pretty easy, the weather was perfect, and I felt good during the race and immediately after, but no one warns you about how you'll feel the rest of the day. 

My body felt like it was hit by a bus.

I ran track for one season in high school and I was a sprinter. Nothing has changed since now and then. I hated long distance runs then, and I can't say I'm a fan of them now. Plus, this means I don't know how to pace myself. I felt like I sprinted the entire thing and since I'm also very competitive (bad combo) I didn't want people passing me and felt good about myself when I passed other runners. So I kept doing it. This is okay for the first 5 miles or so, but after a while it catches up to you. 

I'm proud to say I successfully completed the race (and with a pretty good time, might I add--86 minutes!), but I just don't get how people do these long distance races "for fun." I checked this one off of my bucket list and I'm proud of myself for sticking to it. I was was so hyped up after I finished and was telling everyone I was on my way to trying out my first half marathon, but it looks like 5-10k's are my calling and I'm okay with that.

Before the race, I knew I needed to eat something that would give me energy, but not drag me down. Since the race started at 7:30am, it needed to be something small that wouldn't just be sitting in my stomach the whole time. These little energy bites were the perfect addition to my banana since they are packed with nuts and peanut butter...the perfect components to give me a little boost before the race. They're also pretty tasty, which doesn't hurt. They'd be a great pick-me-up during the work day as well. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups lightly salted nuts (I used almonds, walnuts, cashews and sunflower seeds)
  • 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp. Splenda
  • 1-2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. natural almond butter
  • Coconut, shredded, for garnish (optional)
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish (optional)
  • Additional nuts, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Pour nuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until nuts turn into a coarse meal. Pour in cocoa powder, oil, milk and almond butter. Continue pulsing until a very thick mixture forms. Add additional oil and/or milk if it is not sticking together. Once you have a thick paste, scoop into small balls. Roll in shredded coconut, cocoa powder or chopped nuts. Store in an air tight container until ready to eat.

Source: SK Original