Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Collard Greens and Thyme

Although I cook nearly every day, I only use my oven about once a week. Most of our meals are either made on the stovetop, griddle, or aren’t cooked at all. See, the hubs and I are thrifty, and if I’m going to use enough electricity (a.k.a money) to heat my oven for an hour it’s gotta be totally worth it.

Some things that are totally worth it:

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup.

Chocolate Chip Blondies.

Homemade Focaccia Bread.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Toast.

And now this.

Potatoes all by their lonesome are one of the tastiest veggies out there, but the addition of sweet potatoes, red onions, greens, fresh herbs, and a kick of spicy serrano take this dish to a whole new level. It really irks me is when people give potatoes a bad rep; a potato is not equal to a french fry in nutritional value! Potatoes are actually a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, fiber, and also contain phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. That should shut the potato-haters up!

And don’t even get me started on collard greens…good grief. After king kale, they’re the most nutrient-dense leafy green out there. Just a cup of these bad boys provide you with – wait for it – a whopping 1,045% of your daily value of Vitamin K and 308% of your daily value of Vitamin A. Collard greens actually contain over 80 nutrients! 80!!! I enjoy them in salads and green juice often, but this is the most flavorful way I’ve ever eaten them.

In fact, I’ve been roasting up this recipe at least once a week since I found it. It’s so simple to put together, delicious, nutritious, and filling…yep, all the makings of a great meal! Oh, PLUS – you get to use fresh thyme, which is an added flavor bonus to any meal. Just a winner of a recipe any way you look at it.

Roasted Potatoes with Collards and Thyme
Recipe adapted from My New Roots (one of my top five favorite blogs!)

4 medium red potatoes, diced into 1/2” pieces (leave the skin on) 
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces 
2 medium red onions, sliced
1/2 bunch of collard greens, stems removed and chopped into small pieces
2 – 3 T olive oil
1-2 tsp minced serrano pepper (optional if you’re not a fan of spicy food)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oven to 400 F.

2. Place diced potato, sweet potato and shallot in a mixing bowl, breaking up the shallot rings just a bit. Toss with oil, sea salt and a couple pinches of ground black pepper. The potatoes should be glistening and evenly coated.

3. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper for easy clean up) and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, tossing once after about 15 minutes.

4. When the potatoes have about 5 minutes left, heat a little butter or olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and serrano, if using, and let it cook until fragrant, but not browned, 1-2 minutes.

5. By this time your potatoes should be done. Remove from the oven and add to pan with oil, garlic, and serrano, giving it a quick stir. Throw the collard greens on top, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally until greens begins to wilt but are still bright green. Add thyme and let cook 1 minute more. Feel free to add other fresh herbs if you’ve got them. Serve and enjoy!

Vitamin K never tasted soooo good.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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Amaretto Strawberry Pudding

Make that Amaretto Strawberry Coconut Pudding.

Don’t you love simple and fast recipes?  These days, where it seems like I need to schedule time to breathe, they are precisely what I need.  This recipe is simple, fast, healthy, and delicious.

What you need:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (I suggest you buy a few cans, put them in the fridge unopened, and forget about them for while.  When you decide to use them, the liquid will be separated from the cream.  All you have to do is drain and you are left with the thick, rich, drool-worthy coconut cream)
  • 1 package firm silken tofu (I use organic Mori-Nu)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • Strawberries (you decide the amount, I used about a cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • Shredded coconut (I don’t consider this optional, but it’s to put on top so you decide)
  • Food processor

Step 1:  Blend all the ingredients in your food processor.

Step 2: Put in a pretty glass.

Step 4: Top with coconut.

Step 3: Take pretty pictures.

Step 4: Put it all away.

Step 5: Oh, who am I kidding?  EAT IT!

On another note, I have to say a special thank you to my dearest and darling-est (it’s a word now) friend, Becky, for keeping Skinnyfat Girls alive while I have been MIA.  I especially love her post for Skinnyfat’s birthday, as she summarizes perfectly our health journey this past year. 

Have a happy week!

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Toast

This is a post about toast. A toast post.

I realize that you probably think toast is boring. Dry. Crumb-y. Crummy? Heck, I thought the same thing. But this toast is a delicacy! It puts regular old garlic bread to shame. To shame! This is a recipe you’re gonna want to make with every Italian meal you eat from this point forward. And it’s almost too simple to even be called a recipe. It’s more like a suggestion. An inspired idea that I highly recommend. Whatever. Just trust me and make it!

Part of the incredibleness of this toast may be the bread itself. I can’t vouche for other bread, but I’m guessing that your favorite crusty french bread will do just fine if you’re not up for bread baking. But I really hope you are up for it, because there’s nothing more satisfying than slicing into a piping hot loaf of homemade whole wheat bread.

Maybe it’s the comfort of knowing that it contains only five simple ingredients, none of which are additives, preservatives, or processed ingredients. But I think the biggest reason I love baking my own bread is because of what I call ‘the Little House on the Prairie factor’. I like to pretend I’m Ma kneading bread dough in a log cabin with a hot pot of stew over the fire while the girls play with their corn husk dolls.

You do that, too, right? I figured.

I’m fairly certain that everything in the world tastes better when covered in smashed up roasted garlic. Maybe even mustard greens (*shudder*). Still, I think I’ll let you test that one out. I’m sticking with bread for now. Oh, ALSO – if you’re feeling extra experimental, roast some halved cherry tomatoes along with your garlic and pile them on top of the finished product. Let me know how that goes, because I’m almost as obsessed with roasted tomatoes as I am with roasted garlic.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Toast

Basic Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water
1 T yeast
1 T olive oil
1 T honey or agave
2 t salt
5 – 5.5 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat)

For the toast you will need:
1 head roasted garlic (or more, 1 head will cover 2 pieces of toast)
Butter or alternative
Olive oil, for drizzling
Parmesan, for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt, optional

Instructions:
1. Dissove yeast and honey in warm water in a large bowl; allow yeast to proof (or foam) for about 10 minutes.

2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes. Then, stir in the remaining 2 cups flour to form a stiff dough.

3. Knead until smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes (this is when you can pretend to be Ma).

4. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.

5. Shape dough into a large loaf and place in an oiled bread pan. Let rise for about a half hour in a warm place – preferably a place your puppy can’t get to! Thankfully, I caught this sneaky girl sniffing before she had a chance to get a taste.

6. Cut diagonal gashes on top of loaf and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. You can roast the garlic at this time too.

7. To roast the garlic, cut the top off of the head so the raw end of each clove is exposed. Cover the exposed ends in olive oil and wrap the entire head in aluminum foil. Roast for about 45 minutes until completely soft. I like to roast several heads at a time because it disappears quickly!

8. After the garlic has cooled, squeeze all of the soft cloves into a container and mash with a potato masher or a fork until it forms a slightly chunky spread, or longer if you want it to be completely smooth.

9. After the bread has cooled for about 15 – 20 minutes, cut into slices. Turn a frying pan or a griddle on high heat and lightly butter each side of the slice of bread. Grill until each side is crisp and golden.

10. Spread the smashed garlic onto the toast and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan, pepper, and salt, if desired. Eat slowly and savor every delicious bite.

This recipe came about by chance (or fate) last Sunday after I had baked bread and roasted some garlic for tomato sauce.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Sunday cooking I got the munchies and put the toast together on a whim…and was completely blown away. My life will never be the same.

I tend to exaggerate at times. This is not one of those times. You’re looking at life-changing toast.

Roasted, toasted, posted. BOOM.

Oh, one last thing! I can’t feature a picture of my girl puppy without also featuring one of my boy puppy. That would be favoritism. What kind of mother do you think I am?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

A Skinnyfat Birthday!

That’s right, our blog is officially one year old! The time has flown, and it seems like just yesterday we wrote our very first post. But in that short time, we have changed so much. And I mean so, so much.

Fortunately, we still celebrate birthdays with cake. That’s one of those things that should never change.

When we created Skinnyfat, we had an entirely different mindset about food than we do today. Not just food, but life. Elesha and I have both grown so much, it’s almost as if we’re completely new women. It’s been a wonderful experience to share.

Just one year ago, eating was about restriction. It was about always being on a diet. It was about feeling guilty when we ate “bad” food. This blog was basically created because we saw ourselves as “too fat” and we thought we needed some type of food journal, a way to be accountable and “keep us in check”.

But this blog became so much more. The challenge of experimenting with new, healthy recipes created a deep appreciation and respect for simple, whole ingredients and the amazing health benefits that come along with them. Now, food is freedom! Healthy, life-giving whole foods are no longer something we eat because we have to or because we want to lost weight, but because they nourish our bodies, are delicious, and bring us true joy. No bad feelings are associated with food, and certainly no guilt, even when indulging. We have never felt so alive.

So even though Skinnyfat Girls was created in what I now consider a rather negative context, we are both grateful for what it evolved into and the positive effect it has had on our lives. Beyond that, it has positively impacted the lives of our families, friends, coworkers, and many of you faithful readers who have shared our health journey along the way. Thank you all for a wonderful year, and we’re excited for another one full of more great recipes!

If you’re celebrating a birthday soon, give whole wheat cake a try. It feels great to indulge without all the processed junk. Try subbing out ingredients in your favorite cake recipe: whole wheat flour for white, stevia, agave, and other natural sweeteners for sugar, coconut oil for butter, and so on. I “frosted” this cake with neufchatel cheese, firm silken tofu, banana, strawberries, and stevia all thrown into the food processor until smooth. Light and delicious!

And if you’re intimidated by layers, well, don’t be! It’s easy as pie! Though, I’m not sure the person who coined that phrase ever tried to make a good pie. Good pie is no piece of cake. Aaaaand we’re back to cake. If any of you would like this particular cake recipe, let me know and I will search for it. See, this birthday post was intended to include the recipe until I lost it. Fail.

I promise to be back next time with a brand new recipe for all of you. Until that time, eat cake and celebrate life! 🙂

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Strawberry Avocado Salad

I made you a salad…and by you, I mean me.

And if it’s alright with you, I’m just going to tell you how to make this salad without all the fuss of an actual recipe with measurements. Cool? Cool. Because really, who measures out vegetables for their salad? I can get on board with measuring salad dressing ingredients, but I guarantee you I’m gonna put as much avocado in my salad as I want, regardless of what a recipe calls for. Yeah, probably double what the recipe calls for, because double avocado means I’m double happy, and when I’m double happy, good things happen. Like layer cake. But I’m getting ahead of myself. You’re just gonna have to hold your horses for that one.

So, about this salad: it’s so good. Good enough to fill a giant bowl all for yourself and call it a meal. Good enough to fill an even more giant bowl and bring to a party…but then you’d probably have to share it. That’s not ideal.

Start with a generous pile of arugula. Layer with cucumbers, sliced in thin half moons. Add lots of strawberry slices and as much chopped avocado as your heart desires. Top with chopped pecans and blue cheese (or not, vegans!). For dressing, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of agave. You can even crank some freshly ground pepper on there. I sure did. Now dig in! Bask in strawberry avocado bliss.

I should add that I’m showing a rather impressive amount of self control here by not ending this post with a picture of one or both of my puppies. I love them so much…possibly even more than I love this salad. Possibly.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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