Category Archives: Cooking & Eating

Confession: We somehow all lucked out with men who like to (or at least will) cook on a regular basis. Don’t even get us started on how wonderful this is… We all still love experimenting in the kitchen, though, especially when it’s not out of necessity.

Easy & Cheap Homemade Granola Bars

 

The perfect healthy snack! This is a quick & easy granola bar recipe with endless possibilities. Try it over some greek yogurt, so good. Some other variations of the bar I want to try: freeze-dried strawberries, raspberries & walnuts, and peanut butter chips & dried banana. So many variations!

So here’s what you need:

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup wheat germ (I had some flax seed around that I ground up and it worked beautifully)

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup honey

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used EVOO)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Or almond, lemon, ect)

3/4 cup cranberries (I used orange flavored cranberries, you could use cherries or any dried fruit you like)

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup shaved coconut 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper (For a crunchier granola bar that can be used as crumbled granola as well use a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil – oil the foil first!) In a large bowl mix: oats, brown sugar, wheat germ (or flax seed), cinnamon, flour, & salt. Make a hole in the center & pour in honey, egg, oil, & extract. Mix well with your hands and lastly add in the dried fruits & nuts of your choosing. Spread onto pan evenly & bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut the bars before they have cooled completely or else it will be a crumbly mess. Enjoy! 

-Sasha

Yummy!

Yummy!

 

 

 

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Mango and avocado salsa

Spring is just around the corner and summer is near! In honor of the beautiful Georgia weather, I decided to make one of my favorite summer salsas this weekend.  This recipe is so good it’s definitely worth sharing! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

Ingredients:

3 avocados (thinly sliced)

1 Red bell pepper (diced)

1 mango (diced)

1/3 cup red onion (diced)

1 clove garlic (mined)

3 tablespoons cilantro (or to taste)

Juice of half a lime

Sea salt (to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Olive oil
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    1. Heat a pan over med-high heat and drizzle some olive oil in the pan. Place the sliced avocado on the pan and cook a couple minutes on each side until slightly charred. Take the avocado off the heat and let them cool. Cooking the avocado gives this dish a delicious buttery texture that is soo good!

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    1. Mix the next five ingredients together in a mixing bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lime on top.

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    1. Roughly chop the cooled avocado into pieces and easily stir into the mango mixture.

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    1. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with enough olive oil to bind.

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Enjoy with chips or on top of grilled chicken or fish!

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by | March 17, 2013 · 3:52 pm

Sasha’s Detox Smoothie

Sasha is trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle and recently did her first ever detox juice cleanse for three days. She’s such a rock star — the only detox diets I’ve done have lasted about 12 hours…until I’m mean and hungry for dinner. Go Sasha!

Juicer

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Ingredients

Combine in a blender (or really fancy juicer as pictured) and mix on high:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup spinach

1 cucumber (Tons of benefits, including hydration & loaded with B vitamins)

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, peeled

1 Bosc pear (or apple if you prefer)

1 lemon

½ cup fresh parsley (which is great for cleansing your blood!)

& whatever other fruits or veggies you have lying around. Strawberries or a kiwi are more great additions

solids on the left, healthy yummy juices on the right

Pulp on the left, healthy yummy juice on the right

The detox consisted of consuming this juice her meals for three days. After it, Sasha felt like a new (and clean!) woman!

Insta-Juice!

Insta-Juice!

-Update from Sasha:

Great enthusiasm from Brooke! But those three days were not that fun. I had such a major headache from the caffeine withdrawals and my skin broke out from all the “toxins” exiting through my pores. But hey I stuck it out! It was a good way to kick-start my healthier lifestyle and I think essential for myself in getting started, but I would much rather practice healthy eating habits every day & maybe the occasional 24 hour detox. I don’t see how people do these juice diets for 14 days. More power to them! Nonetheless this is a great juice/smoothie recipe and is loaded with good stuff for you! & yummy 🙂

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Lasagna Rolls

Ok, so I know that being healthy is always a number one priority, but I am good at splurging when it comes to food! Tonight, I splurged but in a semi healthy way with this lasagna roll up recipe. I saw a version of this on pinterest and on the back of the lasagna box but never read either recipe, only looked at pictures, haha!

What I used:

Whole wheat lasagna noodles (only cook as many noodles as you will use)

Small curd cottage cheese (instead of ricotta, it’s just a preference over ricotta) (used about a half a cup or less)

Fresh mozzarella (chopped) (used half for inside mixture and the other half for the toping)

A good block of parmesan cheese (grated)

Fresh spinach (I used an entire container)

Tomatoes (on the vine)

Fresh garlic (4 or 5 big cloves)

    1. Chop tomatoes and garlic and place on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil, basil and oregano. Roast in the oven at 350 for about 20 to 30 minutes. (I wished I had some fresh herbs but all I had was dried)

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1. Wilt spinach with one clove of garlic and a little water and mix with mozzarella, parmesan and cottage cheese.  I mushed everything together and let the cheese melt some from the hot wilted spinach. (Season with salt and pepper to taste)

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2. Spread spinach mixture onto noodles and carefully roll up and repeat

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3. Place in casserole dish

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4. Puree roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and pour onto lasagna rolls

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5. Add the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan and bake uncovered for about 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

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I served with some crusty bread and a healthy green salad! It was pretty good! I never measure anything so just eye it, it will work out!

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by | March 6, 2013 · 7:53 pm

Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

I’m generally a healthy person, but I loathe multi-vitamins. For starters, they make me feel nauseous. Secondly,  half of them don’t fully dissolve before moving through your system. (Check by placing your vitamin in a half-cup of vinegar for 45 minutes. If it’s not dissolved there, it won’t dissolve in your belly.) And third, a diverse, healthy diet provides all the vitamins you need. (Trust me, I did research on the entire multivitamin ingredient list.) So instead of taking a huge, nasty pill, I make a vitamin smoothie every morning that gives me the same “good stuff” that I would get from a vitamin and provides me with a healthy, quick, eat-on-the-go breakfast. (Bonus: it’s one of the few breakfast meals that actually keeps me full until noon.)

This morning's blended vitamin smoothie

This morning’s blended vitamin smoothie

This is my recipe, which inevitably varies towards the end of the week when I run out of one thing or another.

Combine in a blender, and blast on high:

1 cup  pomegranate juice (vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, antioxidants)

1 cup  baby spinach leaves (vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a slough of other good compounds)

1 cup frozen blueberries (antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin C)

1/2 to 1 cup plain greek yogurt (20 grams of protein)

1  banana (potassium and mellow, creamy flavor to compliment the tartness of the berries and pomegranate)

1 Tbsp flax seeds (omega-3 fatty acids, lignan, fiber)

If I’m feeling sweet, I’ll add about a tbsp of honey or agave nectar.

1/4 to 1/2 cup water (just enough to make the blender go)

Pour into your favorite water bottle, and out the door you go.

When available, use organic ingredients. Why organic? First, craw out from under that rock. Then, educate yourself. Even if you can’t eat all organic, there are some foods (and other items) that are more importantly organic than others.

Confession: At lunch today, my husband asked why my nose was bleeding. It turned out that it wasn’t bleeding. I had been wearing a splash of smoothie on it all morning. Watch out for that!

In addition to this daily smoothie, the list of staples at my house includes other foods that round out all the recommended daily supplements on the back of that multi-vitamin label: salmon (Alaskan wild caught!), lots of leafy greens, a variety of fruits, bell peppers, avocados, tofu and other soy products, eggs, brown rice, nuts, dark chocolate, and quinoa (Laura provided a great quinoa recipe a few weeks ago).

Sasha and Laura, what smoothie recipes have you tried recently? I know you’ve done it b/c I’ve seen your green concoctions on Instagram!

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Quinoa Fried “Rice”

When it comes to cooking, I usually play it safe and go with the normal grilled chicken and veggies or one of my staples like lasagna but every now and then I like to cook outside the box and try something new. It’s hard for me to follow through on a recipe in its entirety so I usually end up reading three or four and choose my favorite elements from each to create something unique. That is exactly how I came up with my latest dish, Quinoa fried “rice.” It actually turned out really good and I am quite satisfied with it.
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Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk (I used canned)
½ chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
Egg whites
Chopped mushrooms, broccoli and frozen peas
Soy sauce to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons)
A couple dashes of fish sauce
I would have maybe used some fresh cilantro and some ginger but I didn’t have any

1. In a sauce pan mix water, coconut milk and quinoa together, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
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2. Chop onions and garlic and sauté in a pan with oil for about 3 minutes.
3. Add broccoli, mushrooms, soy and fish sauce and cook for about 10 minutes more. Put veggie mixture aside.
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4. Scramble some egg whites in the pan (I used about 1/3 a cup or so)
5. Add quinoa, cooked veggies and frozen peas the scramble and let cook until peas are cooked throughout. ( I actually made a hole in the quinoa and added some more egg whites and mixed it in until it was fully cooked, it was a great binder and a next time that is how ill do it from the start)
6. Add salt and pepper to taste and add your fresh herbs in now.
Overall it was really good. Next time ill add fresh cilantro and maybe pineapple and some shrimp, yum! It’s a must try. You got to love quinoa, its super healthy and full of protein. Now I’ve got healthy lunch on the go all week. If you try it out let me know how it works and let me know any good variations you used! Happy cooking, and eating.
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Saturday Morning 2.23.13

Wynn’s birthday was yesterday, so I made a yummy birthday brunch for us. And, I discovered a new easy recipe in the process.

The menu: Maui grown coffee (from my recent trip), campari tomatoes and tangerine slices with a balsamic reduction, French vanilla custard, and fresh strawberries

Confession: The French vanilla custard started out as spinach quiche. The plan changed when I grabbed the French vanilla half and half instead of the regular stuff on accident.

New (EASY!) recipe: Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9″ glass pie pan. Whisk together seven eggs, one cup cake flour, and one cup French vanilla creamer (I used Organic Valley French Vanilla Half and Half). Pour in pie plate, bake for 35-40 minutes, slice, and serve warm or at room temp. Voila! Temporary crisis averted, and new great recipe created in the process.

Laura spent her morning curled up with a homemade latte and her favorite magazine, Southern Living (it’s the favorite of all of us!) She loves making lattes and tea because she LOVES her fantastic collection of adorable, vintage tea cups (courtesy of TJ Maxx — another favorite of ours, we love a good deal).

Jeanne spent her morning relaxing in front of the fire at her wonderful lake house on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina. (OK, so it wasn’t all relaxing — there was a water leak, a security alarm issue, and all the chaos that comes with those things. At least she can laugh about it.)

Relaxing by the fire and watching Argo

Relaxing by the fire and watching Argo

Sasha was the only one of us who had a productive morning. After a healthy breakfast of egg whites and berries, she set to painting her bathrooms. I’ve also done a lot of painting lately, and we’re here to tell you — there is NO other way than to use a high quality paint + primer combination. A second coat is hardly needed.

Valspar Signature paint plus primer (Bonus: low VOC too!)

Valspar Signature paint plus primer (Bonus: low VOC too!)

We hope your Saturday morning was filled with smiles, love, and fun!

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by | February 23, 2013 · 9:30 pm