Cranberry sauce


This was the first time I made fresh cranberries! They looked so beautiful in the pan and were so easy to make. My sister, Tess came up with the genius idea to sprinkle some orange rind into the sauce for an extra boost of flavor. I decided to use an ingredient called sucanat, that my reflexologist told me about.

Ingredients:as

  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 orangeunnamed

Steps:

1.) Start by adding the sucanat and water to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.) Add the cranberries, bring to a boil and add the grate the orange rind into the dish (to taste, less is better you can always add more!)

3.) Reduce heat to medium and cover, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

4.) Place in a dish and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until served.

Fruit Bruschetta with Goat Cheese


Today was the Grand Opening for Pure Barre Buffalo!! I thought this appetizer would be a fun way to celebrate! I only used a tiny smear of goat cheese, and a little bread in moderation is alright by me. I was actually surprised to learn that goat cheese is one of the healthier cheeses out there. I always thought it was one of the worst! This article talks about the health benefits of goat cheese in comparison to others. Such a sweet and savory appetizer!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango’s, finely diced
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 pineapple ring slices, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons red onion, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • olive oil for drizzle
  • 1 10 oz. bag of chopped baguette (try to find whole grain if you can)photo-18

Steps:

  1. Start by finely chopping the mango’s (peel first), strawberries, tomatoes (quartered), chopped basil, red onion and place into a bowl.
  2. Add the garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place the baguette pieces onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, place under the broiler until slightly browned (2-3 minutes).
  4. Evenly spread the softened goat cheese over the toasted baguette.
  5. Top each baguette with a the fruit mixture.blog2

Fall Vegetable Curry


I decided to start trying out some side dishes for Thanksgiving last night. This recipe was so simple with very few ingredients and was bursting with flavor!

Ingredients: photo1

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
  • 1/2 small onion finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cup fresh cauliflower (chop into smaller pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup organic low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. can of organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 cup boxed or jarred chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro paste or fresh cilantro to sprinkle
  • 2 cups fresh chopped spinach
  • Greek yogurt for topping
  • 1 pomegranate *Don’t mind my legwarmers, just came from Pure Barre 🙂

Steps:

  1. Start by peeling and dicing the sweet potatoes. Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet and turn heat to medium high, add the sweet potatoes. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, cauliflower, tumeric, cumin, cilantro paste (if using fresh just sprinkle it on top of your plate at the end) and curry powder, cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, salt and pepper and garbanzo beans.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Take a pomegranate and cut in half, take the one half and squeeze and mix some fresh juice into the dish. Take the other half and get all of the seeds out and sprinkle on top of the dish at the very end.
  6. Add the spinach right before serving, simply fold it into the dish so that it absorbs and wilts down.
  7. Add a dollop of green yogurt, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and fresh cilantro (if using).photo

Loaded Potato Bites


This was another appetizer that I brought to the 60th anniversary party. I never get a chance to cook unhealthy things, so I figured I was going to go all out and not care about calories/fat content for once. I definitely would not recommend sitting down and eat more than 3 of these, but its great for a party for everyone to have one or two, as I always say everything in moderation. I hope you enjoy these tasty little suckers!

Ingredients:

  • 4 red potatoes peeled and cut into 1″ chunks. boiled until tender and drained of water
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. bacon fat
  • 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese

Steps:

1.) While potatoes are boiling, fry up the bacon in a skillet. Cook the bacon well,  after it cools it should crispy!

2.)  Chop the bacon into small pieces and set aside.

3.) When the potatoes are cooked, drain all the water out. Begin mashing with a hand masher and add the sour cream, ricotta cheese, butter, salt, pepper and bacon fat. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then add the cheese and fold it in with a spatula.814

4.) Using a spoon or a small ice cream scoop, scoop the mashed potato mixture into balls and roll in the crumbled bacon. Place on a cookie sheet and Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, serve immediately. photo-2-1-300x225

Ricotta Stuffed Meatballs


It was my fiances grandparent’s 60th anniversary party last weekend, and we all brought appetizers. Mitch and I go to this local restaurant a lot called Rocco’s and they have the BEST meatballs! One of our favorite thing about them is the generous dollop of ricotta cheese that they put on the side. Mitch came up with the idea to put the ricotta cheese in the actual meatball. So after some Google searching I came up with this recipe. It was AMAZING, and a big hit at the party!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef, veal, pork mixture
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 cloves finely diced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil

Sauce: I made homemade sauce-will post that recipe on a later date!

Steps:

1. Start by adding the basil to the ricotta cheese. Then take the ricotta cheese and form little balls and place on a greased baking pan. Make about 20 and place in the freezer to chill for about an hour or so.photo

2.  In the meantime combine the meat, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, salt, oregano, garlic, parsley and pepper into a bowl and mix together with your hands.

3. Once the ricotta cheese has formed into a ball and is frozen, simply take the meat mixture and form the meatball around the cheese. Make sure the meatballs are all a consistent size.

photo (7)

4. Place the meatballs into the oven at 425 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.photo (8)

5. Serve with sauce, parmesan cheese and red hot chili pepper flakes!!

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Cucumber Salad


I am a big snacker, especially at work. The problem is finding healthy snacks that actually satisfy me. This is a super simple salad that I could eat all day long. The taste reminds me of the cucumber salad they serve with the lettuce wraps at Cheesecake Factory. I also really like the mini cucumbers, because you only have to cut once- I get them at Aldi’s.

Ingredients:

  • Package of mini cucumbers (six) sliced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dill (I used dry but fresh would be better)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oilImage

Steps:

  1. Slice all of the cucumbers and place in a bowl
  2. Add the vinegars, dill and e.v.o.o
  3. Let marinate in the fridge for one hour then pour out the remaining vinegar
  4. Refrigerate overnight for extra flavor

Here’s a link to some health benefits of apple cider vinegar

Lemon Vegetable Risotto


Thanks to my friend Elisa I was inspired to make Risotto last night for supper. I got this recipe from Cooking Light, I absolutely love their magazine! Next time I make this I would definitely do it on a weekend, it’s a lot of work. You have to constantly stir the risotto, and its about an hour of hands-on time, but it is so worth it! My boyfriend literally licked his plate. I also think this dish would be amazing with some lobster and scallops!!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
  • 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 (8-ounce) yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 3/4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Steps:

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add asparagus and peas; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add zucchini and squash to pan; cook for 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven (I used a large pot) over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook until liquid is absorbed (about 30 seconds), stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/4 cup broth. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Stir in vegetables; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1/4 cup broth and remaining ingredients.

Quinoa Salad


I am a HUGE fan of quinoa. It is such an adaptable ingredient. This salad is super simple and works as a great leftover!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • ¼ cup cooked black beans
  • ¼ cup red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 lime squeezed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. (*Cook with vegetable broth for extra flavor)
  2. Meanwhile combine the corn, (I use real corn on the cob but canned is fine) black beans, pepper and red onion in a bowl. Toss to combine
  3. Add the cooked quinoa into the mixture, and add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad


I could live on salads like this during the summertime. I love to drink the juice from it! I had this last night for dinner and it is the perfect amount of food- refreshing and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cucumbers (about 2 cucumbers), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. In a large serving bowl, toss together the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste.
  2. Let the salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Garden Fresh Salad


I have been eating this super simple salad my whole life. My father has a wonderful garden and he makes this salad a staple in his fridge during the summer months. It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and it is oh so delicious! The recipe I have below serves about 1-2 people but you can always increase the ingredients when serving a group.

Ingredients:

2 small green peppers
1 small cucumber cut into quarters
1 large tomato cut into quarters (make sure to put the juice from the tomatoes into the salad)
5 or so fresh basil leafs torn into smaller pieces
Half of a small red onion diced
3-4 teaspoons of olive oil
2-3 teaspoons of balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste

Steps:

1.) Wash all veggies and cut
2.) Put into a dish; add salt, pepper, basil and garlic powder
3.) Add olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
4.) Toss salad and let flavors combine for 15 minutes or so
5.) Chill if desired