Friday, April 26, 2013

Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Prosciutto

I'm part of a supper club here in San Diego that gets together once a month. It's pretty much just a group of girls that all went to college together, that decided it would be fun to get together once a month and make new dishes to share with each other. For last weeks supper club, we decided to make extra indulgent dishes, like grown up macaroni and cheese, and cheddar and chive biscuits (just to name a few). So naturally, I decided to make my family's green bean recipe, spruced up a bit.

My family started making this recipe years ago for holiday meals at my grandma's house. In fact, I don't even remember when they started making it. The green beans are so simple and so delicious. My husband, who doesn't even like green beans, likes these. I mean, they're sauteed in garlic and butter and topped with pork, who wouldn't like them?

I changed the recipe up a bit, to add my own little touch. Normally, my parents add bacon bits to the sauteed green beans. I thought crispy prosciutto sounded better. I also used freshly chopped garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Served with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta, these green beans won't disappoint.

In this particular recipe I use frozen green beans. You could definitely use fresh green beans, however you will need to add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan while the green beans are steaming (to prevent burning).

Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 cups frozen organic green beans
4 pieces of prosciutto, diced
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large sautee pan on medium low heat, add olive oil and chopped proscuitto. Cook until proscuitto is crispy, moving proscuitto bits around pan so they don't burn. Remove prosciutto bits from pan and set aside.

Return pan to heat and add butter and frozen green beans. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic granules. Cover with a lid and allow to steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and mix green beans around. Cover with lid and repeat until green beans are cooked through, but al dente.

Once green beans are al dente, add minced garlic and sautee for another minute or two, or until the garlic is fragrant. Transfer to serving dish and top with crispy prosciutto and parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Caramelized Apple Upside Down Cake - Paleo Friendly!

I came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago when my friend Megan, who is currently doing the Paleo Diet, came over for dinner. I wanted to make a dessert that she could enjoy too, since she couldn't take part in the crusty bread that was served with the entree. I had some apples on the kitchen table and decided I wanted to attempt an apple upside-down cake. I adapted Mangia's Honey Almond Cake and the result was delicious! At the very last minute I decided it needed some sort of topping or sauce, so I threw this almond butter creation on top. Even I liked this dessert, and I'm not into Paleo desserts.

This cake was moist and slightly sweet. The caramel sauce on top put it through the roof (in a good way). If you're not huge on sweets, I'd recommend skipping the sauce. But man, the sauce...It was the best part, in my opinion. This is coming from a girl who can eat a jar of maple almond butter in one sitting, however.

Looking at these photos is making me want to make this cake again. Sadly, I'm trying to stay away from dessert after over-eating this entire weekend.


1 large apple, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
dash of cinnamon

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg yolk (room temp)
4 egg whites (room temp)

Caramel Sauce:

2 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan and set aside. In a sautee pan on medium-low heat, add apples, coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Sautee apples until sauce starts to thicken and apples start to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add apples to cake pan and evenly distribute along the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, mix together one egg yolk, honey, oil, and vanilla. Add almond flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix well. In a separate bowl whisk egg whites until they begin to form stiff peaks. Fold whipped egg whites gently into batter, until just mixed, and pour over apples in cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean once inserted.

While cake is cooling, add all ingredients for caramel sauce into a small pot on medium heat. Whisk until all the ingredients form a thick caramel sauce.

Once cake has cooled, gently flip cake over onto a serving plate. Serve hot or cold, with caramel sauce on top.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Best Brown Butter Banana Bread

Last week I decided to treat my husband to a special breakfast loaf, instead of my usual low-sguar, low-fat, gluten-free loaf. He loves banana bread, so I thought I'd kick it up a notch and use brown butter in the loaf.


This bread was so delicious, I honestly felt kind of guilty eating it for breakfast. My sweet-toothed husband absolutely loved it. It was moist, sweet, and had this decadent nutty flavor from the brown butter. It tasted like a cupcake almost. I just love banana bread.

You can easily swap out the whole wheat flour for an all-purpose gluten free flour if you want it to be gluten free. I just felt like spoiling my husband with a deliciously fluffy gluten-filled loaf of banana bread.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 ripe, mashed bananas (about 1 cup)
3 eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour (or gf all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heat-proof glass add brown sugar and maple syrup, and set aside. In a small pot, heat the butter on medium-low heat, swirling every once in a while, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the butter starts to brown and turn an amber color. Carefully transfer butter into heat-proof glass with sugar, mix, and allow to cool.

Once butter and sugar has cooled, add eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas. In a seperate bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Incorporate wet ingredients into dry until just mixed. Pour into a 9 x 5 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes (watch closely, as mine went from not quite done to almost overcooked in a matter of minutes).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

I have a thing for soups. They're filling, and delicious, and (sometimes) low calorie.


I was craving chicken tortilla soup, but we didn't have any chicken at home and I wasn't about to go to the store for some. So I came up with this veggie-filled tortilla soup recipe. Of course, you can always add shredded chicken, pumping up the protein and adding even more flavor.

I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth (sorry vegetarians!) because I am not a fan of vegetable broth. It tastes too much like celery, which I hate. This recipe, however, calls for vegetable broth so that it stays true to the recipe name. I also crisped up some tortilla strips in the oven and added them to the soup, not just for garnish, but also to give the soup some depth and more substance. Topped with cheesy, gooey goodness, and some avocado slices...ugh...there are few things better than a good bowl of soup. I think only a person with a savory-tooth would say that. Brett said it's the best soup I've ever made. I guess you can be the judge!

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 box organic vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped white mushrooms
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup canned corn
1 15oz can black beans
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
juice of two limes
1/4 cup gf red enchilada sauce
6 gf corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and pepper taste

shredded cheese
chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips, as long as you like, and spray them with cooking spray. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake them about 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet and sprinkle with salt; set aside.

In a pot add oil, chopped zucchini, onion, mushrooms and sauté on medium low heat for about four minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add cherry tomatoes and continue to sauté until tomatoes start to wilt and let out their juices. Add minced garlic and cook about 30 more seconds. Carefully pour broth into pot and add cayenne, cumin, lime juice, black beans, enchilada sauce and corn. Allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Ladle into bowls with tortilla strips and top with cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coconut Sweet Potato Bread (GF)

A couple of weeks ago my boss made this delicious coconut loaf and offered me a slice. I'm not a very big fan of coconut, but I decided, why NOT?!

This loaf was surprisingly hardly coconut-y at all, besides the shredded coconut that was hidden in each bite.

It was so good that the next week I decided that I needed to make it for myself, only healthier. I decided to use gluten free flour and coconut milk, and that I would sneak in some sweet potato. However, when I looked into the calories and fat in coconut milk, I opted for coconut milk lite.

Since I am not a huge fan of the texture of shredded coconut, I decided to chop up the coconut shreds so they would be less noticeable.

If you're not a fan of coconut, this bread is definitely for you. It has a mild coconut flavor, but tastes like vanilla and cinnamon as well. I opted for an optional honey coconut glaze for those who REALLY want the coconut flavor. This bread was like a delicious light dessert. In fact, I'm sure you could heat it up and toss a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and you wouldn't even know it was meant for breakfast.

I made a second loaf with organic whole wheat flour and it turned out just as tasty, so you could use either flour.


2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Trader Joes')
1 cup shredded coconut, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup pureed baked sweet potato
1 cup canned coconut milk (I used a light version)
1/8 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Glaze: (OPTIONAL)
1/8 cup melted coconut oil
1/8 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together flour, coconut, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and set aside. In another bowl beat together sugar, eggs, sweet potato puree, coconut milk, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just mixed.

Pour into a well-greased 9 x 5 loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Top with coconut glaze or enjoy as is.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese (GF)

Last week I was really craving macaroni and cheese. My issue with macaroni and cheese is that it's usually a billion calories per serving.

So I was thinking of a way I could possibly make it healthier. I've tried the skim milk macaroni and cheese, but it was not the same. I've tried adding greek yogurt to make up for the cream, but the tanginess was just not right.

I've seen some recipes that call for adding cauliflower florets in with the pasta noodles, but I wasn't sure how Brett would feel about the texture. Then it hit me, what if I pureed the cauliflower and added it to the cheese sauce?!

The result was actually really delicious. The pureed cauliflower gave the macaroni a creamy texture without the fat and calories of real cream. The macaroni was gooey and cheesy on the inside, with a crispy, cheese crust on top.

I used a bit of half and half in the cauliflower puree, because let's be honest, macaroni and cheese wouldn't be the same without it. I also made it gluten-free by using brown rice pasta noodles, and topped it off with hickory smoked bacon.

I'll admit, these aren't the best photos. They honestly do not do it justice. But Brett got off work late, and by the time the macaroni was out of the oven it was dark out, so I had to take them in our poorly lit kitchen.

If you're wanting to cut calories or sneak some veggies into a meal while still digging your face into some comfort food, I highly recommend this recipe. This macaroni and cheese is around 400 calories a serving!

Ingredients: serves 4

2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onions
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup half and half (or milk of choice)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups dry brown rice pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used a light version)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a small pot add cauliflower and 1 cup water, and steam cauliflower until tender. Drain and add cauliflower to blender. Meanwhile, sautee onions and olive oil on low heat. Once onions become translucent add minced garlic and sautee for one more minute.

Add onions and garlic to blender with cauliflower as well as half and half. Puree cauliflower mixture adding water as needed until mixture is smooth, then pour back into a pot on low heat. Mix the two cups of cheese together in a bowl and add half of the cheeses, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth.

Boil pasta as directed and drain once pasta is al dente, about 6-9 minutes. Add pasta to cheese mixture, mixing well, and pour into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top and bake on 400 degrees until cheese starts to bubble and turn golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve with crispy chopped bacon for an extra kick.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Oatmeal (GF)

Last week I discovered protein oatmeal, well, egg white oatmeal. It's oatmeal that you slowly cook egg whites into. Sounds gross? It's not. A lot of ice cream recipes require that you slowly cook eggs into the cream, making for a creamier, more custard-like result.

This is the same idea. By slowly cooking the egg whites in the oatmeal, it creates this creamy, delicious dish with tons of added protein.

This oatmeal seriously kept me full for hours.

I decided to add some organic canned pumpkin to the oatmeal and almond butter for a little something extra.

I realize it's Spring and I really shouldn't be eating pumpkin, but I love the tastes and smells of Fall year-round.

I made a big batch of this oatmeal, three servings, and stored it in mason jars the fridge for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. I also threw in some chia seeds. Brett thinks chia seeds look like fish eggs.

These oats are dairy free, gluten free, and are sweetened with maple syrup.

Ingredients: (makes two servings)

1 cup gf oats
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk + extra for topping
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites (room temp)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

In a small bowl whisk the egg whites and set aside.

In a small pot on low heat, add the water, 1/2 cup of the almond milk, and oats and allow to simmer. As the oats start to absorb the liquid, add the rest of the almond milk and allow to simmer until it starts to turn creamy.

Add in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, almond butter, and maple syrup, mixing well. Remove from heat and allow to cool until warm to the touch.

Take the bowl of egg whites and add in a tablespoon of the oat mixture, whisking quickly. Add in two more tablespoons of oats, one at a time, whisking in between until the egg mixture is the same temperature as the oats. Add the egg mixture to the oats in the pot and mix well. Turn the heat back up to a low simmer and stir for about three minutes to make sure the eggs are cooked through (keep the heat on low and make sure to stir well, you don't want the eggs to scramble). The oats will become very creamy. Serve with extra almond milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup on top.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Guilt Free Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes

Pancakes. I love pancakes.

On a Sunday morning (because Brett never has Saturday's off), after church, a stack of pancakes and a cup of coffee. And bacon on the side, for my meat loving husband.

I wanted to make pancakes that would be fluffy, but filling, because I feel like I'm always hungry an hour after eating pancakes.

So I came up with this gluten free pancake recipe. They were fluffy, but dense, and super flavorful. I used oat flour and coconut flour and added some yogurt. I feel like yogurt always helps to fluff up recipes and keep them moist at the same time. It also adds a tanginess that I feel is similar to buttermilk.

Topped with butter and organic pure maple syrup...or peanut butter and bananas (like I did). These pancakes are only about 40 calories PER PANCAKE. Without the butter and syrup, of course. Guilt-free, in my opinion.

Anybody grow up watching The Hugga Bunch movie? The super creepy, kids movie that involved puppets from Hugga Bunch Land that came through the mirror? The scene in the beginning with the girl putting peanut butter and bacon on a pancake stack started my peanut butter on pancakes obsession. Do it, you won't regret it.

Ingredients: (makes 10-12 small pancakes)

2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt (you can use 1/3 cup almond milk if you want dairy free)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons honey or agave
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon gf oat flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
coconut oil for griddle

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until there are no lumps. You can add a tablespoon of milk if your mixture is too thick.

On a griddle or non-stick skillet add coconut oil and pour pancake batter 1/3 cup at a time. Wait for small bubbles on top to form, pop, and close back up slowly, then flip and cook for another two to three minutes on the other side.

Serve with warm maple syrup and any toppings you wish.

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