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

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Mini Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

I’ve been thinking about tarts a lot lately. Fruit tarts, savory tarts, chocolate tarts, ugly tarts, pretty tarts, any and all tarts. I came home with every intention of making tarts (three ways, mind you), but at the end of the night I had 25 mini empanadas staring me in the face and not a tart in sight.

I don’t know how that happened. I must’ve been baking on auto-pilot again.

Fear not, fellow tart-lovers, they’ll make their debut. For now, let’s enjoy what tastes like a bite of warm apple cinnamon cheesecake wrapped in a whole wheat blanket. As it turns out, empanadas don’t have to be fried or filled with greasy meat to taste utterly sinful. Waistlines, rejoice!

Mini Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

Dough Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 T stevia (or other dry sweetener)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter or alternative (I use Smart Balance Lite. You can also sub half oil of your choice. And please, PLEASE don’t ever use margarine!)
1/4 cup cold water

Apple Filling Ingredients:
3 – 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 – 2 T butter alternative
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 – 2 tsp agave (optional)

Cream Cheese Mixture Ingredients:
4 oz tofu cream cheese (or neufchatel cheese, non-vegan alternative)
1 – 2 tsp agave (depending on desired sweetness)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Step 1: Prepare your dough. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sweetener, then cut in the butter (or alternative) with a fork or pastry cutter. Sprinkle the water and cut in until the dough is crumbly. Knead the dough lightly for a minute, form into a ball, wrap, and put in the fridge to rest for about a half hour.

Step 2: While the dough chills, peel, core, and chop the apples. Chop small pieces for smooth filling or larger pieces for a chunkier filling.

Step 3: Heat a pan to medium low and add the apple filling ingredients (apples, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave). Cook down, stirring frequently, until the apples are completely soft, gooey, and about half their original size. While they’re cooking, preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine all cream cheese mixture ingredients (cream cheese, agave, and vanilla), beat until smooth, and set aside.

This is the beginning of the cooking process; as you can see, they're not gooey yet. The aroma was irresistible, and I was burning my fingers so bad picking out apple chunks that I eventually just got a fork to eat them straight from the pan to spare my scorched fingers. These apples are dessert all by themselves.

(Note: Brandy would be an excellent addition to the apples. I was momentarily tempted to tell my husband that I was taking up drinking so that I’ll always have alcohol on hand just in case a recipe calls for it, but I must have caught another waft of buttery vanilla and lost my train of thought. All this to say that if you happen to have Brandy in the cabinet, please add a splash or two.)

Step 4: Remove the dough from the fridge and roll onto a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out as many 4-inch rounds as you can (I used a large jar lid to do this; be creative if you don’t have the right tools!) and line them on a floured cookie sheet. Gather the leftover scraps of dough, knead together, and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used.


Step 5: Top the dough rounds with a spoonful of the apple filling and cream cheese mixture. Fold one side over and seal the empanada closed by crimping the edges with a fork.


Step 6: Brush the tops of the empanadas with a very light layer of non-dairy milk (optional) and add a few more sprinkles of cinnamon (if you’re a cinnamon freak like me). Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until slightly crispy around the edges. Let cool for five minutes and serve warm with a drizzle of coconut cream or a little scoop of non-dairy ice cream if you want to really indulge!

Warm, seasonal, and so darn cute! These little guys just took my cinnamon obsession to a whole new level. I’m beginning to think that in addition to calcium, manganese, and vitamins A and K, cinnamon may also contain a significant amount of crack. Autumn is the season of giving and generosity, so give yourself permission to be generous with cinnamon at all times. It’s critical to your health. 🙂

Here’s hoping autumn never ends!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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