Sunday, December 16, 2012

SIDES: Easy Oven-Roasted Corn

So it's raining outside, and grilling is not an option...is roasted corn on the cob out of the question? Not at all.  Simply place corn ears directly onto a center rack in your oven (preheated to 350 degrees) for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from oven, butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

DESSERT: Sweet Potato Souffle

I never thought I would say this, but I completely stole this recipe from Paula Deen...well technically, her next of kin.  I made a few changes; this recipe excludes bacon, and I used an avocado in place of cream cheese.  This souffle looks incredibly gourmet, but is easy enough for an amateur to master.

Serving Size: 1 Souffle in a Deep Dish, 2 Souffles in Pan Dishes

Ingredients:
  • Pie
    • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, baked and still slightly warm
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 3 large eggs, beaten
    • Sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon to taste
  • Topping
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed 
Instructions:
  • Pie
    • Peel potatoes and place them in a medium to large bowl
    • Add in butter, avocado, and eggs
    • Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer 
    • Add in sea salt, pepper, and cinnamon and mix again
  • Topping
    • Mix all ingredients together
    • Leave butter in small clumps - the mixture should be crumbly
  • Add the souffle mixture into a deep dish or pie dish and top with crumble mix
  • Bake the souffle at 375 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Let cool for at least 20-30 minutes (you can even refrigerate the souffle overnight as it actually tastes better the second day)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

SIDES: Lavender and Honey Infused Yogurt Topped with Toasted Honey Almonds

The lavender trend has taken my palette by storm; lavender infused teas, lavender honey, lavender macarons, and even lavender chocolate have all become some of my favorites.  The challenge for me has been to infuse lavender into my food without it tasting like a bag of potpourri.  I thought I would given infused yogurt a try.  


I looked around for some guidance on how to infuse my ready-made yogurt with lavender, but could only find recipes that required creating my own yogurt or required cream and serious straining.  This was a no-go for me for two reasons: 1) the time required to make yogurt, and 2) the Fat Conscious Foodie does not do cream. 

The infusion here is super-easy, almost too easy.  Follow these instructions and you will be on your way to a great lavender infused yogurt.  I tried this with a group of five for brunch and it was a hit.

Servings: 5

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • Food-grade, dried lavender buds
  • Plain and vanilla low-fat/non-fat yogurts
  • Honey (try a local honey if you can)
  • Raw Almonds
Instructions:
  • Boil 1/2 a cup of water
  • Fill a single serving tea infuser with dried lavender
  • Pour the water into a mug and insert the tea infuser into the mug, let the lavender steep for at least 3-4 minutes
  • Pour the water into a sauce pan, place on stove and let the water heat to a light boil
  • Add in 2-3 tablespoons of honey

  • Mix the water and honey until all of the honey dissolves
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl
  • Place the bowl into the refrigerator for at least an hour
  • Add yogurt to the mixture (I recommend a mix of vanilla and plain yogurt)
  • Toast roughly chopped almonds by placing them in a lightly oiled saucepan and heating on the stove over medium heat
  • When the almonds are hot and toasted, add a squirt of honey and swirl the almonds to ensure they are coated with the honey
  • Take the almonds off of the stove and allow them to cool in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes
  • Serve the yogurt with the almonds topping - enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

SIDES/SPLURGE: Easy, Chicken-filled, Puff Pastries

I had a ton of leftover chicken from dinner a few nights back; I didn't want to reheat it in its existing form, so I figured I would fill some pastry shells with a chicken and cheese blend.

Serving Size: 8-16

Ingredients:
  • Cooked and seasoned chicken, tofu, or ground beef
  • Shredded cheese blend
  • Salt and pepper to taste if your stuffing isn't already heavily seasoned
  • Puff pastry shells
  • Egg, beaten and in a bowl
  • Optional: steamed broccoli or spinach
Instructions:
  • Preheat your oven at 400 degrees
  • Thaw puff pastry sheet for 7-10 minutes (not longer as the shell will start to get sticky)
  • Mix chicken, cheese, and any vegetables you would like to use
  • Cut the pastry shell into 4 squares (or more if you'd like smaller pastries)
  • Glaze each side of the shell with the egg wash 
  • Stuff half of each shell, and seal each pastry with the empty half
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes (flip each pastry mid-way)
  • Enjoy! 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

DRINKS: Comforting Coco-Ginger Cardamom Tea

ginger, cardamom, tea, indianMasala Chai is wonderful, but for a change, try Ginger Cardamom Tea. You can make ginger tea very quickly by doing the following:

- Add one cup of water per cup of tea to a small pot per cup of tea
- Add two black tea bag per cup of tea
- Pour in a cup of coconut milk (or skim, soy, or almond milk) per cup of tea
- Add three to four small pieces of cut ginger (each piece should be approximately double the size of an m&m)
- Add 1 tsp of honey or agave per cup should be perfect
- Add 2-3 cardamom pods per cup if you like
- Boil the mixture for ten to fifteen minutes, strain, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DRINKS: 4 Steps to a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Philz, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle and Urth have all attempted to convince you that you can't make a great cup of coffee without a professional who spends 4+ minutes painstakingly dripping your coffee through some advanced filter...the truth is you can make amazing, fresh coffee at home without all the drama. 

Here's what you need: a coffee grinder (Cuisinart makes good ones), a great french press (see my Bodum stainless steel press here), and of course, some good whole bean coffee. I recommend a french press over a coffee maker for a few reasons: it's easier to clean and you don't have to remember to buy those pesky filters.  If you take my advice on buying a french press, go with a stainless steel version; glass ones can and do break.

On to the good stuff - follow these simple steps to get started brewing your own fresh coffee:
  • Grind your coffee beans
    • I prefer to blend enough for at least 3-4 days and store my grounds in a stainless steel airtight container - good gladware will suffice
  • Scoop a 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per cup into your french press
    • You can make it stronger or weaker by increasing or decreasing the amount of coffee you use

  • Pour boiling water into your press 
    • This is where an electric water kettle could be very useful
  • Let coffee brew for 2-3 minutes, press french press coffee handle down, and enjoy your perfectly brewed cup of joe!
    • Add your creamer and sugar and you're good to go


Sunday, September 16, 2012

DRINKS: The Real V8

vitamix, fruits and vegetables, V8
This is a great dinner replacement juice; it is suitable for the evening as it has a very low glycemic index. Simply blend a carrot, tomato, parsley, single celery stalk, orange, a whole lemon, wheatgrass, and chia seeds (optional). Add at least 3/4 cup of water or pomegranate juice to dilute this mixture a bit. You can also add pineapple to sweeten the drink. I blended this in my Vitamix as it blends the drink to sheer perfection, but you can blend it in a normal blender - just be sure to add a lot of water. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

DRINKS: Summer Peach Smoothie

You don't necessarily need a Vitamix for this one: just blend a peach, non-fat vanilla yogurt, and a few ice cubes for what I think is the best drink I have ever had. No joke.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DESSERT: Yogurt based, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Ice Cream


4 ingredient Yogurt ice cream, banana/chocolate/yogurt/peanut butter
 This is soo easy and soo yummy: simply blend 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a squirt or two of chocolate syrup, and two frozen bananas. I recommend using a Vitamix to make this: blend on high for 20-30 seconds, refreeze for about 20 minutes, and voila the most amazing, healthy ice cream you have ever had!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

HOTSPOTS: Local honey from Beekind at the SF Ferry Building

local honey, beekind, ferry building
In case you haven't heard, consuming local honey is thought to help allergy sufferers alleviate symptoms - local pollen in honey is thought to work in the same way that a vaccination prepares the body to deal with disease. Beekind has different regional honeys - so pick the one that is nearest to you.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

DINNER: Thai Yellow Curry Chicken/Tofu - modifying a bottle sauce and making it better

I am a huge fan of yellow curry chicken, in fact. it's probably the only thing I order at Thai restaurants.  I found yellow curry sauce at Trader Joe's, used it by itself once, and wasn't a fan; however, it's pretty fantastic with a bit of flare.

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • Thai Yellow Curry Sauce from Trader Joes
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed (or 1 large potato)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 lb chicken, cubed or chopped in 1" pieces (tofu works equally well)
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt 
  • 1.5 tbsp, pepper 
Instructions:
  • Pour 2-3 tbsp of canola oil in pan
  • Saute onions until translucent/golden
  • While you saute the onions, stick the diced potatoes in the microwave for 3-4 minutes
  • Quickly saute garlic and ginger 
  • Add in chicken or tofu (ensure you are at medium heat)
  • Immediately add in salt and pepper (add in a bit of cayenne pepper or parika if you like)
  • Pour in about 1/2 of the sauce and continue to let the chicken cook
  • Add in 4 tbsp of yogurt (non-fat works) and stir quickly to ensure the yogurt dissolves
  • Add in remaining sauce, basil, and potatoes
  • Remove mixture from heat 3-4 minutes later
  • Enjoy! Brown rice is a perfect side

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DRINKS: Vitamin C Heavy Hitter - C-suite Juice

Simply blend a whole orange with some watermelon, and you have a whole new twist on your standard cup of oj. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

DRINKS: Post Workout Shake - Peanut Butter Joy

This drink is an energy powerhouse: blend 1/2 cup of yogurt, a single banana, two tbsp of natural peanut butter, a single tbsp of ground flax seed, a dash of milk (or chocolate milk) and you're ready to go...enjoy!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

LUNCH/SIDES: The 200 Calorie Mushroom Garlic Pizza

This is a great and healthy 5 minute prep time recipe - layer a multigrain tortilla (love the Artisan line by mission) with pizza sauce (or pasta sauce), ground pepper, chopped garlic, basil, mushrooms, and finally skim cheese (I used a Mexican blend for mine). Bake for 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DRINKS: Strawberry Dream - Probiotic Shake

This probiotic shake takes all of two minutes to make, and is loads better than market flavored kefir or probiotic drinks. Simply blend 3-4 strawberries, plain kefir, and a few chunks of pineapple together and there you have an all natural, no added sugar probiotic shake. Feel free to use fresh or frozen fruit.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

BUILDING BLOCK: Easiest pesto spread ever

Simply blend basil leaves, low fat yogurt, salt and pepper, and walnuts together...voila a great spread for your sandwiches, topping for omelettes, or crumpet dressings.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

SIDES: Juicy, Low-fat, Sliders on Whole Wheat Buns

Who doesn't like sliders? It's all the fun of a burger, but in a cuter, gourmet package.  This recipe results in a super juicy, well seasoned, and most importantly low-fat slider.  The key component of this recipe is the Lipton's Onion Soup mix (unfortunately, it does have MSG in it - if you can find a replacement, use it).

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1/2 - 1 tbsp black pepper
  • Optional: 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • Whole wheat dinner rolls
  • Romaine lettuce 
  • Pepper jack cheese, cut into slices that fit the buns
  • Brown mustard
  • Ketchup (optional)
Instructions:
  • Mix ground beef with the packet of onion soup mix and black pepper (add jalapeno if desired)
  • Form into small (relatively flat) patties the size of your dinner rolls
  • Heat patties on a grill or broil in oven (or bake at 450) for 8-10 minutes (4-5 minutes on each side)
  • While the patties are cooking, stick buns on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 3-4 minutes
  • Split buns and layer the cheese, patty, and lettuce - spread ketchup and mustard as desired on the top bun
  • Optional: add onions, pickles, or hot peppers
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SIDES: Fiery, baked buffalo wings


I love, love, love buffalo chicken wings, but I don't often indulge in this fried beauties because, well, they're just plain bad for you.  I made these wings for a family Super Bowl party, and not only did they taste amazing, the wings itself were perfect in terms of texture.

Servings: 5-6

Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs chicken wings (ready-to-cook - tips removed)
  • 2 bottles Louisiana Wing Sauce
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt
Instructions:
  • Fill a large pot (or two) half way with water
  • Boil water, wings, and all spices (except sauce) for 15 minutes
  • Set oven on "roast" on 450 or on bake at 450 (preferably roast)
  • Strain boiled wings
  • Cover a large cookie sheet in foil
  • Pour one bottle of Lousiana Hot Sauce in a small to medium size bowl
  • Dunk wings in Lousiana Hot Sauce and place on the cookie sheet
  • Place wings in the oven - bake/roast for 10-12 minutes on one side
  • Take wings out and brush sauce on the top of the wings
  • Flip wings over and brush sauce on the other side of the wings
  • Return the wings to the oven for another 10-12 minutes
  • Remove from oven and enjoy with celery, carrot sticks, and some low-fat ranch dressing!

    SIDES: Warm, Spicy, Low-fat Spinach Dip

    I love warm spinach dips, but they're typically very fattening.  The problem is most dips use heavy cheese or sour cream, which really up the ante on the fat-factor.  I made this dip for a family Super Bowl party and it was a hit.

    Serving Size: 10-12

    Ingredients:
    • 1 package frozen, chopped spinach (typically 14-16 oz)
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp cayenne or red chili powder
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 4 oz low or non-fat cream cheese (1/2 a small tub)
    • 1 cup non-fat yogurt 
    • 1/2 cup shredded low or non-fat cheddar cheese 
    Instructions
    • Heat garlic and spinach in a medium deep pan over medium heat
    • Let water cook out of cpinach
    • Add in all spices and stir thoroughly
    • Add in yogurt - cook until the yogurt's water content dries out a bit (3-5 minutes)
    • Add in cream cheese and stir throughly
    • Let mixture heat for another 3-4 minutes
    • Add in shredded cheese and stir thoroughly as the cheese melts
    • Let cool 
    • Enjoy with pita chips or wheat thins!

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    BREAKFAST: Low Carb Hybrid Potato Latke/Pancake

    I wanted to create a relatively healthy version of a latke and potato pancake: thinner, fewer potatoes, not as much flour, and a whole lot less oil.  Given that I have never made a latke, trying to create a hybrid version of one was maybe a bit aggressive; lucky for me the recipe below worked like a charm.

    Servings: 2

    Ingredients:
    • 3-4 fingerling potatoes, chopped into narrow strips
    • 1/2 onion, chopped thinly (chop in a way where you utilize the strips you already get from an onion)
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2-3/4 cup whole wheat flour (try the whole wheat white flour at Trader Joe's)
    Instructions:
    • Beat eggs, add in pepper and salt
    • Mix onions and potatoes in a medium sized bowl, add in egg mixture and mix
    • Add in flour to the onion and potato mixture - start with a 1/4 cup at a time - mix
    • Heat 1 tbsp of oil on a stainless steel skillet
    • Spoon in 3/4 tbsp of the mixture (more depending on how large your want your latke/craque)
    • Immediately flatten on pan
    • Let each side cook for about 2 - 2.5 minutes on medium heat
    • Serve and enjoy! Don't forget to top with your favorite sauces or creams (my favorite is Cholula, but sour cream seems to be popular as well)