Kitchen Adventures

I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, I have been doing a lot of Fage recipes lately. No, these posts are not sponsored. I just really like the yogurt.

Anywho, let’s talk lunch, shall we?

Over the holiday break, I tried to focus on making healthier lunches for myself that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to make when I was back at work. (Nothing like working right next to your kitchen.)

I had read in a magazine about tuna and hummus wraps, but I didn’t have any hummus on hand. What I did have? The ingredients to make my own.

Here’s my recipe for Healthy Tuna & Spicy Fage Hummus Wraps. First, the hummus.

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Ingredients:
6 oz. Fage Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1-2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Hot sauce to taste

Combine the all above ingredients except paprika and hot sauce in a food processor until creamy. Then add spicier ingredients to taste.

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To make the wraps, combine about half a cup of the hummus with a can of drained tuna, 2-3 stalks of celery (chopped), and 1-2 cups of spinach chopped.

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Spread in a whole wheat wrap with wasabi mustard and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese.

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And enjoy!

So, we made it to the new year. Go us, right?

Like most people, I tend to use the start of the year or month to make new goals for myself. Nothing like a fresh start, ya know? And while I’m not looking to lose any significant amount of weight or anything, I am always interested in new ways to eat healthier.

The problem? I like foods that aren’t necessarily the most nutritious choices. Like, chocolate. And cookies. And chocolate. And ice cream. And chocolate.

So the mission was clear: find new, healthier (grumble…) ways to consume chocolate.

And lately, I’ve been really into recipes that involve my favorite healthy ingredient, Greek yogurt. (I put it in everything, remember?) So when I started seeing a lot of homemade Greek frozen yogurt recipes popping up on Pinterest, I knew what I had to do.

And thus, Chocolate Almond Frozen Yogurt was BORN.

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Well, actually, it’s more accurate to say it was tweaked. Because I definitely am not the first person to attempt this. But here’s my favorite way to make it:

Ingredients:
1-1 1/2 cups Fage Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (You could use any kind of Greek yogurt, but this is my favorite kind)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2-5 drops Clear Liquid Stevia
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 shakes cinnamon
1/2 banana, sliced (optional)

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Freeze for about 15 minutes, stirring mixture every 5 minutes.

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Top with banana slices. (Strawberry slices would also be excellent.)

And that’s it! It’s cold, creamy, and actually good for you. If you were less concerned with calories, I think it would also be fantastic with a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter blended in. Just saying.

What are some of your favorite healthy recipe tweaks?

So guess what. Turns out you guys really like Nutella. Who knew?

It was so cool for me yesterday to have three friends send me photos of how they had made my Nutella Hot Chocolate (and at least two others said they were going to make it the first chance they got):

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How fun is that? If anyone else tries it, I’d love to see. You can either post to Instagram and tag me (@justinelorelle) or post them to my Facebook page.

Come on, didn’t your parents teach you how to share?

Joey had to work late last night, which made last night as good a time as any to try out a new Single Girl Meal (SGM).

Well, maybe not a meal exactly (I ate a quesadilla), but definitely a Single Girl Dessert.

And that’s how Nutella Hot Chocolate was born.

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Per the SGM code, this treat had to be easy to make and require only ingredients you are likely to already have on hand.

Well, if a single girl doesn’t have a jar of Nutella on hand, she’s doing something wrong.

Here we go:

Nutella Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients:
1-2 tablespoons of Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut sauce…I guess)
1-1 1/2 cups almond milk (or regular milk…I guess)
Dash of cinnamon

1. Put Nutella in small sauce pan on medium heat. As soon as chocolate reaches a slightly melty texture, add milk.

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2. Stir continually until chocolate and milk are heated.

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3. Add a dash of cinnamon. Continue to stir until all ingredients are heated through.

4. Pour into mug. DRINK.

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Also goes well with two Oreos. OR SO I’VE READ.

So that’s it! As if you needed another reason to eat (or drink) Nutella, amiright?

Enjoy!

So remember yesterday when I was all “we’re totes not really affected by the storm, y’all!”?

Well. Spoke just an eense bit too soon.

After I wrote that post, I made my merry way to the nearby grocery store to pick up a few things. We’re not exactly out of food, but we needed a few staples: milk, chicken, eggs, veggies, etc.

The grocery store was open and with power, but apparently that had not always been the case. Every moderately refrigerated shelf had been cleared out. All the milk. All the meat. All the eggs. (There were veggies…one out of four ain’t bad?) It was a little spooky. (Especially if you’ve been watching as much Walking Dead as I have been lately.)

So I returned home largely empty-handed.

But dinner still had to be made. I found a few chicken sausages in the back of the freezer, I had veggies, but I wanted to add a bit more protein and fiber to stretch out what we had.

Then I remembered that I had two bags of freekeh that I’d gotten off the free table at work.

What is freekeh? According to the website, “Freekeh is a process which means “to rub”
in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and ‘Eureka!’ Freekeh was created.”

Why should you eat it? Because it’s packed with more protein, vitamins, and minerals than other grains. It is low GI, low carb, high in fiber (up to four times the fiber of brown rice) and rich in prebiotic properties. According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, freekeh is excellent for managing diabetes and may diminish the risk of colorectal cancer and diverticulitis.

So…basically it’s really good for you.

PLUS, it’s pretty darn tasty. You pretty much prepare freekeh the same way you would make quinoa or other grains (boil the water/broth, add grain, simmer for 20-25 minutes), and use it the same way you would rice or pasta. Here’s what I made:

Freekeh-ing Good Stir-Fry

1 bag Freekeh (I used the Rosemary Sage flavor, but just about any would do)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1-2 T olive oil
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 large white onion, chopped
4 apple chicken sausage, cut into coins
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
Garlic salt, paprika, cumin, and salt to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Cook freekeh according to package directions.

2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add bell peppers and onion. Saute for about 7-10 minutes. (Add more olive oil as necessary.)

3. Add chicken sausage and continue to cook for five more minutes.

4. Add fresh spinach and stir until it’s cooked down (about five minutes).

5. Spoon cooked freekeh into bowls. Add chicken-and-veggie mixture. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan if desired.

6. EAT.

Have you every cooked with freekeh? What did you think?

(And for the record, I am not getting paid to talk about freekeh. I was just pleasantly surprised with how good it was and wanted to share.)

So, as you have probably heard (unless you live under a rock), the East Coast is currently making the acquaintance of a little gal named Sandy.

Word to the wise: She’s a bit of a B. Don’t invite her to your parties.

But surviving a hurricane isn’t all bad. Today, pretty much every office in New York was closed. (And even if it wasn’t, the LIRR was shut down, so there was no commuting forthis little lady in the forecast.)

I was able to do a bit of work from home, but for the most part, I used the time to have an ironically Martha Stewart-themed day. Here’s everything I accomplished:

1. Cross-Stitch Family Project

A couple of week ago at the Martha Stewart’s American Made Workshop, I got a cross-stitch kit. Today, I used this tutorial to create this:

Adorbs, right? I’m in love with it.

2. Baked Peanut-Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I used this Martha recipe for the basics, but I subbed the chocolate chips for peanut butter chips (since Joey has that weird thing with chocolate) and added a teaspoon of cinnamon. It has to be said, there’s nothing like freshly baked cookies on a rainy day.

3. Painting Craft

I got this little wooden box at the Martha Stewart Tag Sale last week for like, 10 cents, and I decided to use it to hold all the business cards I get at meetings with potential partners. (Because buying a legit Rolodex just sounds sad.)

I painted the outside with Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint, and the inside with a pretty periwinkle paint I had leftover from another project. It’s still in process (the power went out briefly and it turns out it’s hard to paint in the dark), but here’s what it looks like thus far:

So…yeah. Like I said, domestic day.

For now, I’m just hoping the power stays on a while longer to help stave off the boredom.

Hope anyone else in the storm is staying safe!