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Have Fun with Your Food this Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!

 

Wishing you and your family a happy & healthy Halloween! As you celebrate today, don’t forget to have fun with your food. It’s amazing how much nutrition you can pack into your family when their food becomes artwork. And don’t worry, I have very limited artistic abilities, so if I can pull this off, you can too! All of these ‘food art’ ideas took less than five minutes to create and were a major hit. Please make sure to share your favorite ways of having fun with your food too 🙂 

 

Banana Ghost, Cheesy Pumpkin, and Peanut Butter & Apple Witch

Peanut butter & apple witch, cheesy pumpkin, and banana ghost

Peanut butter & apple witch, cheesy pumpkin, and banana ghost

High Protein Ghosts with Antioxidant Packed Pumpkins

Cottage cheese ghost with clementine pumpkin

Cottage cheese ghost with clementine pumpkin

Stuffed Pepper Jack-o-Latern

A carved jack-o-lantern bell pepper stuffed with scrambled eggs

A carved jack-o-lantern bell pepper stuffed with scrambled eggs

Peanut Butter Ghostly Graveyard

A peanut butter 'ghost' sandwich on whole grain bread

A peanut butter ‘ghost’ sandwich on whole grain bread

 

Yes, it’s a little but of work. But it’s also a lot of fun! And just look at the reaction it gets 🙂

He just loves to be surprised with food art!

He just loves to be surprised with food art!

Not only did he love it, but he ate it too!

Not only did he love it, but he ate it too!

 

What food art creations do you and your family love?

Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingIt’s that time of year again. In just a little over two weeks, Halloween will be here and with it comes the piles of candy and temptation. Then, just when you think you can finally say goodbye to the last Reese’s, Thanksgiving pops up. Yup, it’s that time of year that we all love celebrating, but dread the results that it has on our waistlines. So what can you do to avoid this inevitable weight gain? Well first, stop thinking it’s inevitable! You don’t have to gain weight over the holidays, but if you decide in advance that you will, well guess what – you definitely will!

 

I’ll tell you a secret- I love sweets! Yup, I have chocolate chips and cookies in the house right now. If it were up to me, these foods wouldn’t be in my house at all because I have no willpower. If I’m around candy for too long, I eat it. Sound familiar? I know there are some people who could care less about sweets and desserts (and I hate them just a little for it), but I think sugary treats really do tempt most of us. So what’s the solution? Definitely don’t ban yourself from them. That’s actually the WORST thing you can do. Why? Think about it this way – imagine I just told you that you could NEVER have ice cream again. Were you thinking about ice cream a minute ago? Probably not. But let me guess, now you feel like raiding your locally grocery store and stock piling every pint of Ben & Jerry’s you can get your hands on, right? Deprivation does that. So don’t deprive yourself or you will definitely go overboard and gain weight during the holidays.

 

So what can you do? Treat yourself! Yup- go ahead -indulge, but before you do, just give your favorite treats a little bit of a makeover. I’ll tell you a quick little story – one of my favorite holiday treats used to be a Cinnabon. This was before I learned how to read a food label and the horror that I experienced when I discovered what was really in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have eaten an occasional one since that sad, sad day of revelation, but it hasn’t tasted quite the same knowing the reality of how much sugar and fat it really contains.

 

As sad as that story I just told you is, it that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave an ooey-gooey warm cinnamon roll. I’d eat one everyday if I could. So that’s why this holiday season I decided to find a better way to enjoy my favorite treat. With a little research and experimenting, I came up with a version I think is on par with the mall food court version with a quarter of the calories. And the best part- no added sugars! What?! Yup- no added sugar- even in the icing! So this recipe is even perfect for those trying to lose weight or control blood sugar with diabetes. And it gets better- you can make it in minutes in the microwave! Yes! This is actually a mug cake recipe. If you don’t know what that is, you are missing out on a big, delicious trend (and don’t worry, I only discovered this trend like a week ago myself). To sum it up, you can make individual serving size cakes in a coffee mug – in the microwave! So amazing! I will definitely try to come up with more of these little cakes, but today, I share with you my very first mug cake recipe – Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to get excited about breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or any meal really- it’s healthy enough you can enjoy it anytime you want!)

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 Tbs rolled oats
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp Truvia

 

Filling

  • Medjool dates, 1, pitted (you can get these right in the produce section of any grocery store)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt

 

Icing

  • 2 Tbs fat free cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs low fat Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • ½ tsp Truvia
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

Spray a large mug (or two small mugs) with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Truvia. Add in mashed banana and yogurt to form dough. In a separate bowl, mash the date and add in cinnamon and salt (you can also do this in a food processor and add in a bit of water for a thinner textured filling if desired).

 

Place ½ of dough into the mug. Pour ¾ of date filling on top and then add remaining dough. Cover with the remaining filling. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout.

 

While mug cake is baking, mix together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia in a small bowl or food processor. Top cinnamon roll with icing when warm. Remaining icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

Makes 2 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

186 Calories 32 gm Carbs, 3 gm Fiber, 8gm Protein, 2 gm Fat

 

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

 

Disclosure: I work as a spokesperson for Truvia, however I have not been compensated to create this recipe or write this post. My opinions are entirely my own.

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Easy Cauliflower Pizza- Only 68 Calories Per Slice!

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Easy Cauliflower Pizza

 

Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? I just found out too! Considering my husband would live on pizza daily, I figured I’d use this month as a great opportunity to try out some new, but healthy, pizza recipes. I had seen cauliflower pizza recipes online and have been wanting to try them out. But to be honest, a lot of them seemed super complicated and time consuming. And, as I am sure you know, I just don’t have time for that – and I know you don’t either. So I did some experimenting and discovered (with the help of trial and error of various recipes I have found) to make a cauliflower pizza that was easy, but still tasted great. And guess what? I think I did it!

 

I just got back from the Food & Nutrition Conference in Nashville. While I was gone, apparently all Joey had wanted to eat was pizza (or ‘pee-pa’ as he likes to call it). I think this is mostly because ‘daddy’ secretly wanted to eat pizza all weekend haha, but that’s OK. I figure, if they both want to eat pizza all the time, I want to figure out a way they can do so, but do so in a healthier way. So that’s when I decided this would be my week to create a cauliflower pizza that they will actually eat.

 

One of the biggest issues I find when it’s ‘pizza night’ is typically the lack of vegetables. So making a pizza out of vegetables certainly solves that. I will tell you, this recipe very similar to a crispy, flatbread pizza. I wasn’t able to replicate a softer crust, but I’ll keep working on it. However, I measure success by it’s appeal to my family. Last night, Joey gobbled this up with no hesitation, which to me indicates it tastes pretty similar to the real thing. My husband is away on his own business trip now, so the verdict is still out on his impression. But, I did send him a picture of the pizza and he told me it looked great (I didn’t tell him the secret ingredient yet though!), so I’m hoping I get a thumbs up from him on this as well.

So give it a try and let me know what you think:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Minced garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like small grains of rice. Microwave in a large bowl for about five minutes to steam. Allow to cool and add in seasonings, eggs, and one half cheese.

 

  • Divide mixture into two servings and spread out evenly onto lightly greased baking sheets (or parchment paper).

 

  • Bake at 450 F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

 

  • Top with remaining cheese (add sauce if desired) and bake for 3-5 minutes until sauce melts. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

MAKES 16 SERVINGS

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving)

Calories: 68 Carbs: 2gm Fiber 1gm Protein 6gm Fat 4gm

 

After you try it, come back and tell me if you are a cauliflower pizza convert now too!

Yum

Cookie Dough That’s Actually GOOD For You!

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Your eyes are not deceiving you. You read that headline correctly. You can actually make a cookie dough that’s truly safe to eat raw AND offers health benefits! I know it sounds to good to be true, and I will be honest, it’s not 100% like the original. But it is delicious, super easy to make, and you can have it everyday if you really want. That in my book makes it a win!

Healthy Cookie Dough!

The best part about this recipe is the chickpea (or garbanzo bean) flour. This bean is packed full of soluble fiber and resistant starch. Soluble fiber has been found to help lower unhealthy LDL-cholesterol levels while resistant starch has been found to potentially offer many health benefits such as a providing you with a slight boost in metabolism. In addition, this starch may even heighten the immune system.

 

To make this all you need are the following ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour (you can also use almond flour depending on your taste preference)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon agave

2 Tbs maple syrup

1 Tbs stevia

¼ tsp salt

2-3 Tbs low fat milk (you may use almond or soy milk as well)

3 Tbs mini dark chocolate chips

 

Directions:

In a bowl or food processor (I used both when testing this and found the food processor to be much easier, but you can use a bowl as well if you don’t have access to one) mix together the flour, vanilla, agave, salt, syrup, and stevia to form a dough. Add in the milk as needed to moisten the mixture until you get the perfect cookie dough texture. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips and form into balls to eat and enjoy. You can eat right away or store in the fridge for up to one week (or freeze and enjoy for up to 2 months).

 

Makes 4 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Total Calories: 202 Total Carbs: 33 gm Fiber: 5 gm Protein: 7 gm Fat: 5 gm

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