Drunken Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

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Sometimes I feel like I’m on a hidden camera show.

Like I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out and tell me I’m being Punk’d.

Or I’m waiting for a news article to come out about the water in Connecticut and how a chemical has been found that makes people loony.

But until this happens, I’m left speechless. And since I’m speechless, all I can really do is share with you a fantastic recipe.

And guess what?

It is NOT a baked good. Crazy right?

I made for you Drunken Pumpkin Chipotle Chili. Made with pumpkin ale, Chipotle peppers, tons of veggies and all the best flavors of fall. This is the perfect meal to make on a Sunday to eat through the week for a quick, healthy, easy AND delicious weeknight dinner.

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Apple, Cinnamon and Walnut Baked Oatmeal with Date Caramel Sauce {healthy, delicious and the perfect grab and go breakfast or guilt-free dessert}

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I think I’ve hit an all time low.

Those of you who know me well probably know I’ve dabbled in online dating for some time. Sure, I’ve had some successes with online dating in the past. The last two men I’ve met on a dating website have been two out of three of my longest and most-serious relationships. They’ve taught me a lot about who I am and what I’m looking for in a relationship partner.

Except for recently. My dates have been a complete nightmare.

For example, the last guy I went out on a date with professed his love for me on the first (and only) date.

And when I didn’t respond to his 34 back-to-back text messages comparing our love to Romeo and Juliet, he managed to use his police officer capabilities to find my address so he could come to my house to make sure I wasn’t dead.

I’m not kidding.

And last night I realized that I have subconsciously given up on online dating.

Because instead of reading my matches’ profiles and perusing their many photos with beer cans and cropped out ex-girlfriends, I’ve been looking at their job titles.

And not in the “I wonder if he makes good money” sort-of way.

More in the, “oh, he’s a Graphic Designer. I wonder if he could be a fit for the job I’m recruiting on” sort-of way.

I have officially started recruiting my matches.

I’m convinced I am moving one step closer towards being a cat lady. Or maybe work has taken over my life. Or maybe online dating is the new LinkedIn for recruiting?

Or maybe I’m just still trying to find that needle in a haystack.

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Yeah, we’ll just go with that for now.

So until I find that needle I’ll just keep making delicious recipes to share with the World.

I made for you Apple, Cinnamon and Walnut Baked Oatmeal with a Date Caramel Sauce. It’s incredibly easy to make and you can make a batch earlier in the week and have a slice for breakfast each morning. Or you can turn it into a healthy apple pie and have it for dessert.

Or you can have it for breakfast AND dessert.

And the best part? It’s guilt-free. And doesn’t come with stalking.

Top the oatmeal with a guilt-free caramel sauce, made from just 4 ingredients and NO sugar.

I think I just found my Romeo.

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No-Bake Banana Chia Pudding Pie {healthy, guilt-free and gluten-free}

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I have to be honest with you…

I think I may enjoy baking more than cooking.

I know, I know…I can’t believe I’m admitting to this because I love all things food.

But I CONSTANTLY crave baked goods, especially this time of the year when bikini weather is no more.

So who’s taking me on a vacation?

And since these cravings aren’t going anywhere, and I’m not gaining self-control anytime soon and am planning on bombarding you with TONS of unhealthy delicious fall recipes I’ve come up with, I decided to experiment with a healthy pie recipe.  And I succeeded.

I perfected a pie crust that’s healthy, dairy-free, gluten-free and is made without flour, butter, oils and added sugars. And a filling that’s good for you AND delicious at the same time.

Unfortunately, it was so delicious that I couldn’t just have one slice.

So I ate the whole thing.

Oops.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

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Roasted Strawberry and Kale Quinoa Burger topped with Arugula, Pickled Onions and Goat Cheese

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Sometimes I make things other than cookies. And muffins. And pancakes. And breads.

And sometimes I use ingredients other than bananas and chocolate.

And sometimes when I do make these other things they turn out to be pretty disastrous.

For example, I tried to re-create my favorite brussel sprout dish from one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Sampan, where they cook the brussel sprouts in a chili and fish sauce with puffed rice.

We’ll just say I was a little generous with the fish sauce.

So generous I couldn’t stop coughing for the remainder of the night.

And then my roommate started coughing.

And the apartment smelled like fish sauce for a good two days. Maybe three.

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But sometimes I get really creative and impress myself. And I did just that.

I made for you a roasted strawberry and kale quinoa burger, topped with arugula, balsamic vinegar, pickled red onions and goat cheese.

It’s like my goat cheese salad signed up for eHarmony, met and fell in love with Quinoa and decided to have a baby.

Yep, I just said that.

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Healthy Eggplant Parmesan over Quinoa {easy weeknight dinner that can easily be made vegan}

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Do you have a weeknight routine?

I sure do.

When I leave work I head straight to the gym. I’ll typically get there around 6:30 (after sitting in traffic for over an hour to go 12 miles) and by the time I get home it’s almost 9:00. By this time, the LAST thing I want to do is think about what to cook for dinner. Some nights I’ll eat a protein bar on the way home and make a smoothie after my shower and other times I’ll just have a smoothie from the smoothie bar at the gym (BTW if you live in Connecticut you need to check out the Edge Fitness Clubs- it’s like a playground for adults!) And other nights I’ll whip up a salad or something quick, easy and boring. But there are some nights I envision myself coming home to a cooked meal AKA wishing I had a butler or a Susie homemaker husband or boyfriend. But I don’t, so I decided to be my own butler and whip up something healthy, filling and that I could eat a few nights in a row.

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It’s guilt-free because I used this awesome vegan cheese from Whole Foods with barely any fat or carbs, I used organic and all natural tomato sauce, I made my own breadcrumbs using Ezekiel bread (if you haven’t had this bread yet you MUST check it out) and I served it over quinoa which is one of the most protein-rich foods and full of fiber. And the best part? All you have to do is pop it in the microwave when you get home for a minute and 30 seconds and dinner is served! This is a healthy yet filling dinner that’s delicious and won’t ruin your workout. This can easily be made vegan too by swapping out the eggs for flax eggs, or egg alternative of choice.

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Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Protein Muffins {healthy, guilt-free, gluten-free, and protein-packed}

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I’m back!

I know it has been a while since my last post but I’ve been having one of those quarter-life crisis moments. You know, the one where you have no clue where your life is going or what your purpose is but all you know is you’re craving an adventure and in need of some soul-searching and you’re having one of those Eat Pray Love or Into the Wild moments where you just want to leave everything  you know and travel the world and find yourself. Have you ever had one of those moments?

Well, needless to say, I definitely had one of those moments this week and I’m so glad I did. I feel like I can take on the World right now. I finally feel like there are so many great things coming my way and so much to look forward to and sometimes all you need is a little kick in the behind to help you get you there.

And while I was having one of those Into the Wild moments, I created a delicious mistake. Well, not really a mistake because it’s one of the best muffins I’ve ever had. But who would’ve thought that when you run out of coconut flour you can use protein powder and you get THE SAME end result, if not better?!

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These muffins are just like banana bread;  moist in the center, full of banana flavor and not to mention loaded with gooey dark chocolate. And because they’re made with all natural plant-based protein powder, these can be enjoyed before or after the gym for a guilt-free energy boost or just a snack throughout the day!  These also have to be some of the healthiest banana bread muffins you’ll ever have because there’s nothing bad in them! Unless you count the dark chocolate, but please, we all know a little chocolate full of antioxidants never hurt anyone! Please do yourself a favor and go makes these. NOW!

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Arugula Salad with Pan-Seared Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Strawberries

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Happy Monday!

I’m recovering from a weekend of amazing seafood, a healthy cookout, cold beers, freckles and oddly-shaped sunburn, a perfect beach day, dancing until I couldn’t feel my feet and late night snacking on pickles, salsa and chips, Ben and Jerry’s, hummus and carrots and a Wawa turkey hoagie. Oh and a horse and carriage smashing into the passenger side of my car and basically taking off the door and almost my friend’s toe.  Yes…that really happened.

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But after a 6 hour delay and thanks to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we finally were able to start the weekend off right at the Raw Bar at the Lobster House in Cape May, NJ. We ordered tons of oysters and crab, including the best crab soup you’ll ever have. Typically we stick with stone crab (pictured above) but we were still so hungry so I decided to order us steamed hot & spicy crab. I didn’t realize they’d come out looking like this, however:

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Kinda cute, eh?

Gia didn’t seem to think so.

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It was a perfect beach weekend with beautiful weather and it was really nice to catch up with Gia. We used to be roommates in Philadelphia and for the past five summers we’ve made it tradition to have several girls’ getaways down the shore.

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Saturday night we had a cookout and made awesome Quinoa veggie burgers with arugula, goat cheese and pickled onions (recipe to come soon), a kale salad and corn on the cob.

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I don’t think we had enough food for the two of us, do you?

But alas, the beach weekend is over and it’s back to reality for a few days which means back to clean eating. To me that means smoothies, lots of fruit and veggies and salads.  I decided to spice up my normal daily salad a bit and made for you an Aurugula Salad with Pan-Seared Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Strawberries. The nuttiness of the arugula paired with delicious fresh strawberries and warm goat cheese with easy homemade candied walnuts it’s more than enough to get you excited for your Monday lunch or dinner. Drizzle on top a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you’ve got yourself a delicious salad surely to get you through a Monday back to reality after an awesome weekend. And so easy to make, you can sear the goat cheese and candy the walnuts on a Sunday night and have to eat throughout the week.

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Monday Morning Green Vegan Detox Smoothie

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After a weekend of good food, good wine and lot’s of recipe experimenting (and tasting), I find the best way to start my week is with a little detox. No, I’m not talking about a crazy week-long juice cleanse, but just a healthy, refreshing breakfast smoothie, packed with vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. And the best part about it? It tastes SO good you’d never know it was so good for you!

What’s in this smoothie?

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Banana– one of the best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining healthy heart function and blood pressure.
PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter– the same taste of my ultimate favorite snack with 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter.
Chia Seeds– known for its richness in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. Don’t worry- you won’t grow green hair 🙂
Spinach– high in nutritional value and rich in antioxidants (high in vitamins, calcium and fiber)
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk– with only 30 calories per serving  and 50% more calcium than regular milk, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk is a healthy, non-dairy solution (and it’s gluten-free too!)

You can also add other fruits too, such as blueberries and strawberries, or even some protein powder to help you keep fuller, longer.

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Fudgy Black Bean Nutella and Salted Caramel Cookies {better-for-you cookies that can be easily made vegan and gluten-free}

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There are many things in life I don’t quite understand.

Like why in the world someone ever thought it’d be a good idea to have a five day workweek and a two day weekend in the US, and not the reverse.

Or why money can’t just grow on trees.

And why has no one invented a money tree?

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I also don’t understand why flying cars have yet to be invented. If flying cars were invented there would be less traffic. Less traffic would then result in less stress. Less stress would result in less accidents. And less stress eating.

I also don’t understand why companies don’t pay their employees to go on vacation. More vacations would equal happier employees which would result in less stress resulting in more productivity resulting in higher revenue resulting in a lower turnover rate. Right? But then maybe that would put recruiters out of business…and then I wouldn’t have a job and I wouldn’t be able to live all because Albert Einstein forgot to invent a money tree.

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Black bean brownies with salted caramel and toasted coconut {guilt-free and low-fat}

 

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I hate beans.

I think it stems back to when I was little. I remember going to a Mexican restaurant with my dad and (at the time) stepsister and stepmother. The next thing I remember is my stepsister throwing up refriend beans later that night all over the carpet in her bedroom. That image has since been engraved in my head… for the past 13 years. I have even convinced myself that every time I eat beans I’m going to throw them up too. That being said, I’m now about to contradict that statement because I have found a guilt-free brownie recipe that’s high in fiber, protein, antioxidants and is absolutely delicious! And– the catch? It’s made with black beans!

 

photo (36)The past month and a half I have been working my butt off…literally. I am going to Vegas this coming weekend and I’ve been trying really hard to watch what I eat and push myself harder than I ever have at the gym. And my hard work has finally paid off! I am down 10 pounds since March and am in the best shape of my life. The one thing that has been a struggle though is cutting out the sweets. I LOVE pancakes (as you know), baked breads, cupcakes, cookies, brownies. You name it, chances are I love it. But this past week I decided I needed some sugar back in my life. So I researched and researched and found healthier alternatives you can use in baking…for example…instead of butter, applesauce. Instead of flour, ground oats. Instead of cake batter, black beans. So I figured I may as well give it a shot! And I ended up creating a recipe that was so good, my roommate and I ate the whole batch in one day! You would never be able to tell they’re made with black beans because they’re so fudgey and chocolatey. And stick some caramel in there and sprinkle sea salt on top? DONE! That’s why you too need to make this recipe. NOW!

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