a few years ago, i started ordering shakeology. while i don't have a shake every day, it's convenient (and healthy!) to have on hand when i don't feel like cooking. i've made a variety of different combinations, ranging from strawberry banana with coconut flakes sprinkled on top to blueberry vanilla with a little peanut butter on top. however, my absolute favorite is this one: berries and chocolate! here's how i make mine:
in a nutribullet, mix 1 cup of mixed berries (i used raspberries, blueberries, and cherries), with almond milk, and a scoop of chocolate shakeology mix. i'm always careful not to over mix; i feel like it gets frothy at a certain point otherwise. once it's the right consistency, i poured it in a bowl and garnished with slied strawberries, granola, and some milk chocolate chips (FOR THAT SWEET TOOTH CRAVING!)
what's your favorite combo of flavors for shakeology?! favorite recipe?
caramel coated fudge brownies
if you know my sister, annie, you know she loves to bake. she's in the middle of her junior year of college studying nursing (in the honors' program!!), so one of her favorite things to do when she comes home for break is to bake goodies. this year, ryan and i are hosting our family at our apartment for the superbowl. i figured i would get ahead and bake a few days prior to the big game to save some stress later on. i called annie up and she agreed to help. we ended up with these delicious, decadent, ooey-gooey fudgey brownies, perfectly coated with a sweet caramel topping.
(for the brownies)
8 ounces dark chocolate
1 ounce milk chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(for the caramel topping)
1 cup regular sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees. then, line a baking dish with parchment paper
- make the brownies! melt the chocolate and butter over a double broiler. stir until smooth. when finished, let it cool for a bit.
- in a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, and salt.
- in another bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, whisk for about 30 seconds. pour the cooled melted chocolate mixture into the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds. (do not overmix!)
- sift the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and fold in together with a spatula.
- pour batter into baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- make the caramel sauce! put the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. stir until sugar has dissolved. bring the heat to high and bring to a boil without stirring. it will slowly turn into an amber color. when it turns to the color of caramel, remove from the heat and add in the heavy cream, then vanilla, then butter. put the saucepan over the heat again until all of the butter has melted. pour the caramel over the (cooled) brownies!
- cool + enjoy!
thanks for reading!
tequila lime shrimp
apparently we're having a mexican-inspired week here at our household. i'm okay with it.
the other night, we made tequila lime shrimp! here's how:
(prep: get the shrimp ready! make sure they get to room temperature and remove shells and de-vein. tails can be left on, but we took them off for this. season the shrimp with salt and pepper and let it sit on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.)
1. first, add butter and olive oil into a sauce pan. add chopped garlic and red onion. cook until soft. add the zest and juice from one lime and let cook on medium heat.
2. add ground cumin and chili powder to the sauce pan. let it cook for a few minutes on medium/low.
3. in another pan, add olive oil. when it's hot, put the shrimp in (on medium heat) and cook the shrimp for a few minutes on each side.
4. turn up the heat on the lime sauce. when hot, de-glaze the pan with a couple shots of tequila! allow 2-3 minutes for the alcohol to cook off. at this point, the shrimp should be finishing up!
5. pour the tequila lime sauce over the shrimp and get ready to serve! we poured it over couscous and added some feta (i love it!). enjoy it with a margarita and some guac!
CHILI LIME STREET TACOS
IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A SIMPLE WEEKNIGHT RECIPE, LOOK NO FURTHER.
BEFORE I BEGIN, I NEED TO GIVE MY HUSBAND, RYAN, PROPS FOR THE MAJORITY OF THIS MEAL. I'M LUCKY HE'S SUCH A GOOD COOK. THIS DISH WAS TOO TASTY NOT TO SHARE!
EARLIER in the day, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT WHAT TO HAVE FOR DINNER (AS MANY COUPLES DO...) AND IT SEEMED LIKE WE WERE STUCK IN A RUT. RYAN SUGGESTED DOING A TWIST ON SOMETHING WE'RE FAMILIAR WITH (TACOS) AND WE CAme UP WITH CHILI LIME STREET TACOS!
1. MARINATE CHICKEN THIGHS IN CHILI LIME SEASONING (SALT, CHILI POWDER, GARLIC POWDER), LIME ZEST, AND A FEW TABLESPOONS OF OLIVE OIL. LET IT SET FOR FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR (OR UNTIL the chicken is at ROOM TEMPERATURE).
2. SINCE THE WEATHER OUTSIDE WAS BEARABLE, RYAN WANTED TO UTILIZE THE CHARCOAL GRILL, WHICH ADDED A GREAT BLACKENED FLAVOR. COOK OVER MEDIUM/HIGH HEAT FOR 15-20 MINUTES. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CHARCOAL GRILL, A PROPANE GRILL WOULD DO JUST FINE! ONCE COOKED, LET THE CHICKEN REST WHILE PREPARING THE FIXINS (see next step!).
3. NOW FOR THE FUN PART: EVERYTHING THAT GOES ON TOP! WE USED SHORTCUT BROWN RICE/QUINOA WITH SOME LIME JUICE AND CILANTRO (90 SECOND MICROWAVABLE!!), PICO DE GALLO WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, AN AVOCADO CREMA (BASICALLY 1/2 GUAC + 1/2 SOUR CREAM), FETA CHEESE, AND LIME WEDGES.
4. SET IT UP SO IT'S INTERACTIVE SO GUESTS CAN PREPARE THEIR OWN TACOS! ENJOY!
TIP: WE ENJOYED A GLASS OF WINE FROM HEART & HANDS WINERY FROM THE FINGER LAKES OF NEW YORK, BUT A MARGARITA WOULD BE FANTASTIC AS WELL!
Chocolate Chip M&M Cookie Bars
THIS PAST THURSDAY WAS A SNOW DAY HERE IN NJ, SO WHAT BETTER WAY TO SPEND THE DAY THAN TO BAKE COOKIES (AND THEN GIVE THEM TO OTHER PEOPLE TO AVOID THE CALORIES!?) WHEN I CHECKED OUT WHAT WE HAD IN THE PANTRY (BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SHOT I WAS HEADING TO THE STORE), I SAW A BAG OF MINT HOLIDAY M&MS AND RANDOM HALF-FILLED BAGS OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND TRADER JOES CHOCOLATE CHUNKS. I FIGURED I COULD MAKE IT WORK WITH WHAT I HAD, SO I BAKED CHOCOLATE CHIP M&M COOKIE BARS!
IT'S SUPER EASY! I USED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR, A STICK OF BUTTER, VANILLA, LIGHT BROWN SUGAR, AN EGG, MINT M&MS, CHOCOLATE CHUNKS, AND NESTLE MILK CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
FIRST, MELT THE STICK OF BUTTER AND MIX IT WITH THE EGG, BROWN SUGAR, AND VANILLA.
THEN, ADD THE FLOUR, M&MS, AND CHIPS. MIX IT ALL UP UNTIL IT'S COMBINED!
THEN, I POPPED IT IN A SPRINGFORM PAN AND SPRINKLED ON A LITTLE EXTRA M&MS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
THEN, IT WENT INTO A 350* OVEN FOR ABOUT A HALF AN HOUR.
LET IT COOL, CUT IT, AND SERVE IT!
1 STICK OF BUTTER (MELTED)
1 CUP OF LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
1 TABLESPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
1 CUP ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1/2 TEASPOON SALT (OR TO TASTE)
1 CUP HOLIDAY MINT M&MS (OR YOUR FAVORITE KIND!)
3/4 CUP CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350*. GREASE SPRINGFORM PAN (OR SMALL BAKING DISH) OR USE PARCHMENT PAPER ON THE BOTTOM.
2. MELT BUTTER. LET IT SET FOR A LITTLE WHILE SO YOU DON'T SCRAMBLE THE EGGS!
3. WHISK THE butter WITH THE EGG, BROWN SUGAR, AND VANILLA UNTIL IT'S SMOOTH.
4. ADD THE FLOUR AND SALT.
5. COMBINE IN THE M&MS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
6. POUR BATTER INTO BAKING DISH, SPRINKLE ON EXTRA M&MS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS IF DESIRED!
7. BAKE FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES.
8. SET, COOL, CUT, AND ENJOY!
We all know the wintertime means comfort food, especially when we have Diners Drive In's and Dives on repeat. The cravings for all of that yummy food become an everyday thought. So, I did a little experimenting. On Sunday, I worked on two variations of all time favorites. The first recipe I tried was a vegetable lasagna, with zucchini as the "noodles" and cauliflower, mushrooms, and spinach as the "meat filling". It was pretty tasty. I also perfected my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe, which was my second time making it. It's good and it doesn't leave me feeling guilty about what I'm eating. Even Ryan says you can't tell it's not made of all cheese.
1. Get someone strong (or if you're brave...) to cut open a butternut squash. These things scare me.
2. Drizzle some olive oil and salt and pepper of both halves. Pop it in the oven for about an hour on 350 degrees. This will soften it!
3. Take out the butternut squash. In a skillet with a little olive oil, begin scooping out the insides of the squash. Mush it up as you go. (I used a fork!) It doesn't take long because it's already so soft from the oven.
4. Add spices: I went with salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and some Italian seasoning. By the time you are done adding the spices, it should be smooth with no large chunks of squash.
5. Add in the cheese to the skillet. I used about a cup of cheddar, but whatever floats your boat. Obviously, cheese is still added so it's not 100% guilt free, but think about all of the cheese you're saving and all of the vegetables you're adding!
6. Stir until it is all incorporated. Leave the skillet over low heat.
7. Cook up some macaroni noodles! I used whole wheat, but pick what you love!
8. Once the noodles are finished, mix the noodles and the squash mixture in a casserole dish. Pop it in the oven uncovered for about a half hour. (Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top for a little extra goodness.)
9. Let it cool and ENJOY!
Sunday Morning Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt is one of my favorite foods, but sometimes I need to change it up a little! So, this morning, I made myself a little parfait out of it!
Simply layer the follow ingredients:
a) Yogurt (I used Toasted Coconut Greek yogurt)
b) Flaxseed - lots of nutritional value!
On top, of course I had to add a little bit of whipped cream ;)
Experiment with different flavors of yogurt and fruits!
Enjoy :) Have a wonderful day!
Refreshing Blackberry Lemonade
Even though it's the winter months, there's never a wrong time for a refreshing drink!
After watching The Pioneer Woman religiously, I've learned a few things, one of which I used for this easy recipe!
In a sauce pan, simmer:
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
Bring the mixture to a light boil, mushing up the blackberries as you go. Once it boils, turn it down to medium low and let it sit for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour the mixture over a strainer to filter out the thick, clumpy parts.
Make a lemonade mixture in a pitcher. I used Crystal Light to make it easy, but whatever method you use to make lemonade works great!
Pour your blackberry strained mixture into the lemonade. Stir and add ice! Serve and enjoy!
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Good Morning and Happy Saturday!
I've always loved making smoothies and have done my fair share of experimenting with different flavors. No matter what, I always go back to the classic: Strawberry Banana. Here's how I make mine!
I use my dad's NutriBullet. I absolutely LOVE this and hopefully I'll get one of my own soon! (Wink, wink, Christmas gifts, anyone??!)
Start with about 3/4 cup of strawberries. I use frozen, but whatever works! Next, break apart a small banana and add the pieces.
Once your fruit is added, pour in your liquid.
I used about 1/2 cup of Almond Milk and 1/2 Regular Milk. I like Almond Milk, but sometimes the flavor takes over, which is why I calm it down with the regular milk.
Add a dash of vanilla extract and a sprinkle (or two!) of cinnamon. The more things I make, the more I realize how much I use vanilla and cinnamon - I love it!
Blend it all together until it's nice and smooth!
Add a little whipped cream on top to make it super tasty. Enjoy!
Thanks, PopSugar for the Chevron Straws!!
Sweet and Simple Yogurt
For as long as I can remember, yogurt has been one of my "go-to" snacks. I can eat it at any time of the day about a zillion times a day (if I could!)
But sometimes, we need to make plain old yogurt a little tastier.
Here's a trick:
Add a little fresh fruit and sprinkle of cinnamon on top!
Instantly, it tastes a bit more decadent and fun! For this one, I used blackberries and vanilla greek yogurt, but try different fruits with different flavors! One of my absolute favorites is strawberries and bananas - you can never go wrong!