Quick and Easy Patriotic Fruit & Pretzels

I had to throw together a quick dessert for a party recently.  I wanted it to be on the healthy side since I knew there would be lots of other sweets at the party.  So I went to where I usually get most of my ideas, Pinterest! I am a bit of a Pinterest addict and I am always so happy when I actually make something from the hundreds of ideas I’ve pinned.  My dessert is a variation of this one I found on Pinterest.  If I made it again, I would try to use strawberries or watermelon for a brighter red color, but the cherries were what looked best at the market so we went with that!

This is a super easy dish to make and it was wildly popular at the party!  You can’t beat fresh, Michigan cherries!  I just washed the fruit, arranged it on a tray with yogurt covered pretzels and it was ready to go!

Fruit and pretzels

So if you find yourself scrambling for an idea for a 4th of July party, give this a try!  Simple, easy, healthy and delicious!  A perfect combination!

Happy 4th of July!   I hope you enjoy some good food, family, fireworks and fun!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Turkey White Bean Chili

We are in the midst of another “Polar Vortex” here in Michigan and it looks like much of the country is experiencing some abnormally chilly temps, so I thought it would be nice to share one of our family’s favorite healthy recipe for chili. This Turkey White Bean Chile is guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out!   I clipped this recipe from a magazine a long time ago (not sure which one, so unfortunately, I can’t give credit to the source).  I have adapted it slightly adding a bit more water and whole organic tomatoes instead of canned.  I also use a little less onion than is called for in the original recipe, it depends on your preference for onions.   I usually double the recipe and save for leftovers or freeze for another meal.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!  So gather the family around the table and enjoy a hearty, healthy bowl of chili!

~Blessings,

Jen

Turkey chili

Total Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 main dish servings

Ingredients:

1 tbs. olive oil

1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)

1 med. onion chopped

4 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes in juice chopped (or about 4 whole organic tomatoes chopped)

1 can (15 to 19 oz.) white kidney beans (cannelloni), rinsed and drained

1.The recipe calls for cooking the chili in a 12 inch skillet, but I use a large stockpot so I can double the recipe.  Heat oil on medium-high until hot.  Add turkey and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until turkey loses pink color throughout, stirring to break it up with side of spoon  Add onion and cook 4 minutes.  Stir in chili powder and cumin; cook 1 minute.

2. Add tomatoes, with their juice, beans and 1/2 cup water (I usually add 1 cup or 2 cups of water if doubling.)  Heat to boiling on high.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Ladle chili into serving bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt or low fat sour cream.

Each serving: About 380 calories, 33 g of protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 13 g total fat (3 g saturated), 10 g fiber, 81 mg cholesterol, 875 mg sodium (I imagine sodium would be less if you used free tomatoes)

 

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

IMG_0142

I usually try to wash my hands with plain old soap and water to get rid of icky germs and try to avoid illness, but it is not always possible.  In an effort to try to avoid harsh chemicals, I decided to give this recipe for homemade hand sanitizer a go!  I’m not sure what magazine I clipped it out of, but the article references Kate Snow, a green-living expert and author.  It contains 4 simple ingredients, the aloe vera and witch hazel I found at a discount store and the essential oils at I picked up at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market.  It was a super easy project and took me less than 10 minutes to whip up a batch.

1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel

1 1/2 tsp witch hazel

15 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lavender essential oil

I mixed it up in a glass bowl and then used a small funnel to fill one three ounce container.  It took a little tapping on the counter but it went in pretty easily.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t  in love with the smell at first.  I think the tea tree oil has a strong scent, but the lavender balances it out.  However, I’m willing to put up with the smell in order to avoid harsh chemicals.  The smell of the oils did seem to dissipate after a few minutes.  When I tested it out, it felt a little sticky at first, but I kept rubbing for a few seconds and it evaporated on my hands.

How about you?  Do you have any natural recipes you love?   I’m always looking for more natural chemical-free ideas.  We would love to hear from you!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Sorry for the lapse in posts this week!  Jules and I have been busy visiting and helping with her new twin grandchildren!  It has been a while since we have posted a recipe.  I thought I would share this muffin recipe from skinnytaste.com with you.  The bananas make them super moist and of course the chocolate makes them extra special!  You can make this recipe as mini loaves or muffins.  I have always opted for the muffins, but the mini loaves would make great gifts!

photo (3)

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3  ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 oz mini chocolate chips
  • Smart Balance baking spray

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Mash bananas in a bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, bananas, apple sauce, vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

4. Add flour mixture, then blend at low speed until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Do not over mix.

5. Pour batter into muffin pan; bake on the center rack for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As muffins:
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1 muffin • Old WW Points: 3 • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 131.9 • Fat: 3.3 g • Carb: 27.2 g • Fiber: 2.7 g • Protein: 2.8 g • Sugar:14.6 g
Sodium: 148.6 mg

Enjoy!

~Blessings,

Jen

Low-Fat Potato Soup Recipe

These cold winter days have had me on the search for some healthy alternatives to classic “comfort food” recipes. I did a search for potato soup and found this recipe.  It was a hit with the whole family, which hardly ever happens!  It was rich, creamy and very filling!  I doubled the recipe and it was enough for two dinners for my family of four.

The first time I made it, I did not have fat-free evaporated milk, so I used whole. I was curious if it would taste the same using  fat free.  The second time I made it, I used 2%  evaporated milk, which did not affect the taste at all. It still got a thumbs up from the family.  Next time, I will go for the fat free version.  The calorie count is the same, but why not save fat grams where you can!

IMG_3877

 

Hubby chose to garnish his with soy bacon and broccoli. (I’m sure he would have preferred real ham or bacon but that was all we had on hand!)

IMG_3876

 

 

Low Fat Potato Soup Recipe

From: Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, onion, celery, broth and
  • pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18
  • minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk until smooth; stir into potato
  • mixture. Add the remaining milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for
  • 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese
  • until melted. Yield: 5 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 1 cup equals 178 calories, 2 g fat (0 saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 14 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat.
© Taste of Home 2014
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family!
Stay warm!
~Blessings,
Jen

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes

Hi all!  I wanted to share a new recipe and website with you. This healthy dessert blog has many yummy looking recipes! I have been following the blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, for a while and this is the first recipe I’ve attempted.  Oldest daughter actually texted me the recipe and asked me to make them.  She is in need of a quick on-the-go breakfast and this fit the bill!  The recipe was a hit with three out of four family members (youngest didn’t like it-she is going through a picky phase).  They were so moist and very filling and the chocolate made them seem extra special. I preferred them warm from the oven or heated in the microwave, Oldest daughter and Hubby liked them at any temperature! Here is the recipe and the link for the blog in case you want to check out more of her recipes.

IMG_3859

Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go

from: Chocolate Covered Katie

(makes 24-25 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (400g)
  • 2 1/2 cups over-ripe mashed banana (For all substitutions, see nutrition link below) measured after mashing (600g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 NuNaturals stevia packets (or omit and use 5 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice–such as pure maple syrup or agave–instead)
  • optional: 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 2/3 cups water (640g) (If using the liquid-sweetener option, scale water back by 1/3 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil (45g) (I really like coconut, but veg oil will also work. For lower-fat substitution notes, see nutrition link below.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, ground flax or wheat germ, raisins or other dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 F, and line 24-25 cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine and stir all wet ingredients (including banana). Mix wet into dry, then pour into the cupcake liners and bake 21 minutes. I also like to then broil for 1-2 minutes, but it’s optional.

Each cupcake has 88 calories and 2.9 grams of fat.  You can view more detailed nutritional information by visiting the link to the blog.

I did not have enough bananas for the whole 2 1/2 cups , so I used about 2 cups of bananas and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.  I also used pure maple syrup as the sweetener and broiled them for 2 minutes which gave them a nice crispy top.

Oldest daughter likes them for breakfast, I prefer one for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!

Here is to a happy, healthy week!

~Blessings,

Jen