Get Well Salad

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get sick. Never, not ever. So we’re gonna call whatever I’m experiencing this weekend simply me “feeling under the weather”. That works for me. I will admit to sickness when I’m throwing up, hacking up a lung, or delirious with fever. I’m not any of those things today. Still, it’s really no fun feeling under the weather. I slept ’til 10, woke up, made breakfast, and went back to bed ’til 2. Probably sounds like the average weekend for high school students, but I’m generally up and at ’em at 8 on Sunday morning. Also, my nose is raw and red from wiping all the stuff that won’t stop pouring out of it. TMI maybe, but that’s what’s happening around here. And did I mention my head feels like it’s going to explode at any moment? Yuck.

For dinner, I decided the smartest thing would be to throw all of the healthiest, vitamin-rich, healing foods in my kitchen in a bowl. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll feel like superwoman in the morning!

Get Well Salad
Serves 1 under-the-weather person

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped thin
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 small granny smith apple, cored and sliced thin
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Dressing:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 very small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tsp raw local honey
1.5 T freshly squeezed orange juice

Make the dressing first by combining all ingredients. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and strain, discarding the ginger and garlic pulp. Combine all salad ingredients and toss with dressing. Serve immediately.


~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Coconut Curry with Seitan

I haven’t always been a fan of curry. Until recently, my thoughts on curry were “this is tolerable” at best and “I’ve gotta spit this out or barf” at worst. I don’t know what in heaven’s name possessed me to make my own batch of curry, but I think it was the combination of happening upon a recipe that called for a full can of coconut milk (which I’m completely obsessed with) and the fact that Elesha left curry powder at my house randomly (which I have conveniently forgotten to remind her of since May). Besides that, I’d never experimented with Indian food and thought it was time to expand my horizons.

I made this recipe for the first time about six months ago and fell in l-o-v-e. Coconut milk tends to do that to me. What really puts this curry over the top is the long list of vegetables and herbs; it’s a vitamin jackpot! Did I mention the cilantro? Lots of it. YES. Add garlic, basil, and ginger and it’s one giant blast of flavor after another!

So much freshness goin’ on.

Coconut Curry with Seitan
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil (or olive)
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 T finely minced ginger
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
1 lb seitan (or meat of choice), cut into strips
1 cup white wine
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 t salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 t curry powder
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

Note: If you’re a seitan newbie, you can follow this recipe for a very soft texture, or use my current favorite seitan recipe, which is kneaded to create a wonderful meaty texture (that’s the secret: kneading activates the gluten!). I plan on posting the updated seitan recipe in the future. Also, don’t hesitate to use another meat substitute, chicken, fish, or whatever type of meat suits your fancy. Whatever it is, it will be smothered in curry in the end and entirely unrecognizable!

Instructions:

1. Sautee garlic, ginger, onions, carrots, peppers, and bay leaf in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the white wine and coconut milk and cook for 5 more minutes. While this is cooking, get your seitan or meat ready. Cut into thin strips and grill in a separate pan until thoroughly cooked and browned.

3. Add the cilantro, basil, salt, cayenne, curry powder, and chives and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool. Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Return to pan and heat just until hot.

4. Add seitan or meat of choice to the curry and mix well. Serve immediately over rice or with other great Indian fare! Don’t forget to sprinkle extra cilantro on top. Extra cilantro, always. Another dash of cayenne wouldn’t hurt, either.

If you prefer, you can leave the curry chunky rather than blending it at the end. That’s actually how I made it the first time and served it over salmon and potatoes. I love it both ways! The blended version is thick and more traditional with a deep curry flavor, while the chunky version is rather thin and light and retains some of the individual vegetable flavors.

I suggest serving immediately after adding the seitan. I let it sit for a while so it would absorb some of the flavor, but after just a few minutes it had absorbed almost all of the curry! Look out, seitan is a sponge. Nevertheless, it was delicious!

Whether you’ve never tried Indian food or have loved it all your life, put this curry on your “to-make” list! You won’t regret it!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Veggies-for-Breakfast Muffins

I have officially pulled myself out of the Thanksgiving coma. It was nice to live in a fog of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for a few days, but my body was definitely missing its giant helpings of raw fruits and vegetables. And I don’t even want to think about dessert for a few weeks.

That being said, let’s make muffins!

I promise I’m not contradicting my anti-dessert claim, here. These are not “dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast” muffins. They are not double chocolate chunk muffins. They are not gooey gobs of sugar and fat that destroy the good name of “blueberry” muffins.

No, they are made of fruits and vegetables, like all good muffins should be! This is a tasty breakfast idea for those of you who are getting tired of oatmeal (a.k.a WEIRDOS). This recipe is from VegNews and I followed it to a T (that’s how great the ingredient list looked!).

Veggies for Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 giant muffins or 12 regular 🙂

Ingredients:

1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 apple, grated
1-3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small cup, add water and ground flaxseed, stirring with a fork. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until mixture thickens.

2. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla, and applesauce. Add in zucchini, carrot, and apple. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. To agave mixture, add flaxseed mixture and stir to combine. Mix dry ingredients to wet, and stir to combine.


3. Divide batter evenly into muffin tins and top with walnuts, if using. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. Spread butter or jam as desired, serve, and enjoy!

My husband gobbled all of these up before I even had a chance to eat a second one! I guess I’ll have to whip up another batch; after all, you can’t eat too many veggies, right?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Trick and Treat

My mother is a master of disguise.  Sure, she looks innocent enough, but underneath it all she is one of the most cunning women I know. 

From beans and sprouts in her homemade bread, chick peas in her smoothies, the extent to which she snuck healthy food into our favorite treats, my siblings and I will never know.  She was always devising new ways to get us to eat healthy things.  I guess I inherited something from her after all.  So in honor of the queen of nutrition camouflage herself, I give you…

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars with Orange Whipped Cream

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
  • 1.5 cups carrots
  • Dark chocolate chunks or chips

Mix all of your dry ingredients together.  Then blend the honey, agave nectar, butter, pumpkin puree, and carrots. (hold the chocolate chunks until the end)

Once it becomes a nice puree add it into your dry ingredients, then mix in the chocolate chunks.

Spread the batter into an oiled casserole dish or separate into muffin tins.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until baked through.

While your pumpkin bars are baking, you can make your orange whipped cream!

  • 1 can chilled coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (add a little more if it’s not sweet enough)
  • Carrots (add until you’ve achieved desired shade of orange)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  The carrots can give the cream a gritty texture, just keep blending until that goes away.

The cream won’t be quite as thick as whipped cream at first, but if you let it chill in the fridge it will thicken right up.

These pumpkin bars and orange whipped cream come together for a wonderful fall treat.  Perfect for Halloween or anytime! 

My mom will be so proud.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

Strawberry Scones

When I was 18 I worked at my aunt’s coffeeshop. I consider it one of my favorite jobs ever, which is saying something, seeing as how I’ve already had over 10 jobs in my 24 years.  The Moonstruck Cafe; I have such fond memories of that place.


It was just barely big enough for the counter and a few small tables, but it had plenty of faithful customers. Everything was decorated in suns and moons, and my aunt had stenciled hundreds of hand-painted gold stars over the midnight blue walls. Ecclectic paintings hung for sale by local artists and hometown bands would come in and play live music on Friday nights.

Whether it was The Talking Heads or Duke Ellington or an old 80’s mix playing overhead, the musical selections were unpredictable and yet somehow always just right. The atmosphere was laid back and everybody knew each other. It was fun to see the regulars pull up – Teacher Tim, Steve the Green Tea Guy – and have their drinks ready by the time they reached the counter. It was cozy. It was home.

But my favorite thing of all was the scones. Blueberry scones. Selling that last scone was the happiest moment of the week, because I knew that in less than an hour I would take a fresh batch from the oven and escape into a rich, warm, blueberry scone heaven. Yes, being the owner’s niece had its perks. Free coffee was great, but nothing compared to free scones.

Before I knew it, we had moved out of state and my coffeeshop days were over…and I haven’t had a scone that good since. With that realization, I made it my mission to recreate scone bliss, only this time a healthy version. A daunting task; scones are all cream, butter, sugar, and white flour. But I’ve done my best, combined multiple recipes, and present to you my best attempt at a very nutritious and delicious scone.

Warning: turn back now if you like crumbly (DRY) scones like the ones you find in most coffeeshops. These scones are moist. Not dense, moist – because there’s nothing I hate worse than a mouthful of dry crumbs. Oh, and for the record, these taste nothing like the blueberry scones from Moonstruck. Completely different flavors, but even more satisfying. Trust me, I tested these on a number of people who are not fans of typical health food. Even my brother, whose favorite food in all the world comes from Taco Bell, came back for seconds and told me repeatedly how good they were.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever berries are in your fridge. These can just as easily become blueberry scones, raspberry scones, or boysenberry scones! I just happened to have strawberries on hand, but you can bet my next batch will be blueberry.

One last thing: you’re going to be adding some vegetables. Beets and carrots, to be exact…because that’s just what we do around here. Don’t get me started about beets. Poor, underrated root! To be brief: Don’t want cancer? Eat your beets. 

Let the scone-making begin.

Skinnyfat Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 T Stevia (or sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener)
1/4 cup cold butter or substitute (I used Smart Balance)
1/4 cup oil (healthy variety; I used coconut)
3/4 cup milk (the thicker the better. I use 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup coconut cream. Creamier means richer, moister scones)
1/4 cup finely shredded beets
1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup fresh strawberries (or berries of choice)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. Combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and Stevia) in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the wet ingredients (butter, oil, milk, and cream, if using) to the dry ingredients. Cut in with a fork or pastry cutter until just combined.

Step 3: Shred the beets and carrots onto a paper towel. Press until most of the juice is gone and you have semi-dry vegetable shreds. You’ll go through a couple of paper towels.

Step 4: Add the berries, beets, and carrots and mix until just combined.

Step 5: Shape the dough into a round, very thick pizza shape on a cookie sheet (think deep dish pizza, only deeper!). It should be about 2 – 3 inches deep. Cut into 8 equal parts and separate the pieces about an inch apart so they have room to expand while cooking.

Step 6: Bake for 17 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. You can drizzle agave on top or add a glaze, which can be made by whisking together a bit of melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla. Serve with butter or jam, or devour them plain like I do. Scrumptious any way you look at it!

So grab a cup of hot coffee, that book you’ve been wanting to read, and savor a warm scone (or two). The best part? Now there’s no scone guilt, because – let’s face it – most scones are just a dense cake that managed to weasel it’s way into the breakfast food category. Enjoy the satisfaction of eating baked goods that are actually that: good for you. “Baked good-for-yous”, if you will. 🙂

~Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Bagels = Joy and antioxidants

Okay, so you know how in this post I said that pastelillos de guayaba (guava pastries) would be my next recipe attempt?  Well, I lied.  Don’t ask me why I have not yet gotten around to using the enormous stack of guava paste that I ordered in bulk from Amazon. 

In my defense, I did not realize how much guava paste I would be getting when I ordered it.  Now I will definitely get to making pastelillos de guayaba at some point, but now is not that time.  

By now you must know how much Becky and I love to add funky things to our recipes to make them more nutritious .  You can take a look at pretty much any of our recipes and see examples of this (“Greens with Ice Cream” Shake  and Chocolate Chip Blondies  are just a few).  I’ve applied this tactic with a vengeance to another food item I love, bagels

If bagels are one of the foods you’re scared to eat because they are unhealthy, fear no more.  I have rescued and remade your nutritionally void loop of unhealthy carbs into a fiberful treat for both you and your body to rejoice over. 

Here it is:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (yes)
  • 1.5 cups chopped kale (and yes, seriously)

Blend all ingredients except for yeast and flour in the blender.  Once the carrots and kale have blended in well, heat the mixture in the microwave until warm.  Then mix the flour, yeast, and liquid together in a mixing bowl.  Oil your hands and knead dough, then separate into 12 equal parts.  Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  While the dough rests, bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat your oven to 425.

Once you have let the dough rest, form each section into bagels.  I found the best way to do this is to roll each section into a hamburger bun shape and then use your finger to make the bagel hole.   Once the bagels are formed, boil each bagel for about a minute on each side.  This will make them puffy and nicely shaped. 

Once boiled take bagels out and put on an oiled cookie sheet.  At this point you can dip the bagels in seeds or nuts, if you want.  I didn’t, but if I had some whole flax seeds, I may have tried.  Bake at 425 for about 5-10 minutes, then flip them and bake them for 5-10 minutes more. 

For a healthier version of cream cheese, try using greek yogurt or neufchatel cheese.  I had one with neufchatel cheese and guava paste (hey, I had to start using it somehow) and then I had another with melted cheddar cheese.  Yes, I had to have two, they were just that good!  And tomorrow, I have a sneaky suspicion I will be having a egg and cheese bagel for breakfast.

Have another favorite type of bagel?  Try your own variations of bagels and let us know how they turn out!  We love to learn new tricks!  Don’t forget like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  And if you love us, help us spread the word! 

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

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