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I posted a recipe a little while ago for my 7-Ingredient Turkeyloaf that I randomly threw together one day. This turkeyloaf is WAY better. I don't quite remember how I originally found this recipe, but I eventually pinned it on Pinterest. French Onion Meatloaf is what the original recipe was for, but I obviously had to healthify that a whole bunch:

  • No oil
  • Ground turkey breast instead of ground beef (see the other turkeyloaf post for why ground turkey BREAST, specifically)
  • Liquid egg whites for the real thing, but that's personal preference I suppose
  • Used low-moisture part-skim mozzarella instead of gruyere...I already had it on hand, hahaha


I don't always enjoy leftovers, especially when they don't taste as good as when you first made/ate it. A little time in the microwave to warm these up, though, and it was just as good as the first time! This was a great meal that fed me leftovers for a week!


 
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Holding up some delicious desserts!
Not everyone owns real popsicle molds, and if they do, they don't necessarily have a lot of them....so when I decided to have friends over for dinner and saw this pin on Pinterest for some strawberry shortcake popsicles, I was so excited! No molds necessary, just a bunch of Dixie cups and popsicle sticks. :D

The original recipe is fairly simple and straight forward, but for the sake of my health, I substituted a few of the ingredients. For example, I thus far haven't found any box of Nilla wafers that I'm willing to eat, so I used fat-free graham crackers instead. Also, the recipe called for whole milk yogurt...what?! WHOLE MILK yogurt?! Who does that anymore anyways? So I definitely replaced that with greek yogurt (in my case, Fage 0% (fat-free) plain). I considered using stevia instead of the honey, but I ended up going with agave instead because I didn't want to change the consistency of the pops. BUT, if someone out there decides to use a granular stevia instead, let me know how it turns out! (^_^)


 
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I could barely wait to eat them!
There's nothing like peanut butter and chocolate and banana all mixed together! It might be one of my all time favorite flavor mixes. XD I also happen to love desserts, and thus this cookie was born with a little pinspiration from this pin that links to the original recipe on Watching What I Eat.

I made my own tweaks to the recipe, including cutting out the carob/chocolate chips and replacing it with cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are little bits of chocolate that are 100% cacao, meaning no sugar or milk have been cut in. They retain all the benefits that people talk about chocolate having, but it's less fattening because it hasn't been altered from it's original 100% cacao state.

The original also called for added chopped nuts, but I left that out in favor of using crunchy peanut butter. I know nuts are a healthy source of good fats, but calories are calories sometimes, and my needed nutrients at the moment didn't include needing that much fat, healthy or otherwise. I've been eating too much avocado, tee hee. Sacrifices, sacrifices.

I also used chocolate protein powder instead of the suggested vanilla because, come on, chocolate goes with peanut butter and banana WAY better than vanilla ever will, hahaha, but I'm biased. I'm a chocolate lover to the max. (^_~) I also doubled the amount of protein powder for the recipe so that it would be a more worthwhile snack.



 
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That doesn't look too bad, right?
Okay, so not really in a tree, more like in a bowl. Today I give you a cold avocado and crab soup. Sound weird? I know, it really really does. I get it. I thought it, too. Honestly, I was kind of skeptical about the results, but the truth is that it actually turned out pretty dang well.

I created a Pinterest pin to share the original recipe, but I didn't actually find it on Pinterest. I had some avocado to finish off, and wanted to find something interesting to do with it. I feel like this hit that "interesting" mark. The original recipe also called for some ingredients that I just did NOT have...like creme fraiche. I know what creme fraiche is; it's kind of like sour cream but richer and creamier and more expensive (i.e. not something I ever have in my home). I used greek yogurt instead as an easy switch.

Has anyone out there ever heard of chervil? Because I've never heard of this herb before seeing this recipe. SO that means it got replaced with parsley, hahaha. While cooks everywhere say that fresh herbs are better, I just don't have them around. I don't have the green thumb to grow them and don't use them fast enough to warrant buying them, so I normally end up using dried herbs instead. If that bothers you, you can use the fresh stuff. :P

Instead of lemon zest, I used lime zest, and why not? I needed the lime juice anyway, so easier to use lime zest than let it go to waste. It tasted fine, I promise. And I also added spinach to the soup. Why? More nutrients and it added a slightly brighter green color. Anywho, this makes for a great summer soup, but I live in Hawaii, so it's fine year round, tee hee. Enjoy!


 
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From the Pilsbury homepage
Kind of dramatic post title, I know, but here I am thinking about carbs again...they taste so good, and they're so hard to get away from, especially when you love bread and baked goods. Out in the grocery store and newspaper ads, that means that after a childhood full of the stuff, when I see Pillsbury products go on sale my first instinct is, "Oh cool! That would be so easy to make into (fill in the blank with your own ideas)!" Which is normally promptly followed by, "Wait, crap...no, bad self! Can't have Pillsbury! SO bad for you!" It's so troubling having to fight myself (-_-") arg.

When I'm at the store, even if I'm pretty sure I'm not going to buy it, I'll still look at the nutritional information on the back/side to prove to myself that I'm making the right decision in not buying it, hahaha. Actually, though, Calorie Count has created a pretty comprehensive list of all the Pillsbury products and their corresponding nutritional information; they've even gone so far as to give a Nutrition Grade to most of the items! While a C might be a passing grade in school, it's definitely not a pass for my health, much less many of the other items that they ranked as D's. Have a look for yourself, click on the Pillsbury products that you've bought or eaten and see if you're happy with the results. First of all, pay attention to the serving size, and THEN look at the information below it. For example, ONE Grands Flaky Biscuit is almost 200 calories by itself!! *SHOCK* That, and the accompanying 9g of fat and the 24g of carbs (5g come from sugar), whoa! There's barely any fiber, a small amount of protein, and in comparison to the "bad" carb and calorie numbers, it's nutritionally just not worth it. Think of it in terms of something else, like a car; you wouldn't pay $40k for a car that has a great body kit, a nice paint job, and a super luxurious and comfortable interior, but doesn't have tires or is missing the windows and/or the engine, right? It's normally just not worth it.


 
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The oh-so-famous CPK Spinach Artichoke DIp
Let's be real, I don't personally know anyone who doesn't like spinach artichoke dip with a heaping side of tortilla chips or bread. I completely understand the sentiments because I used to order that stuff from California Pizza Kitchen almost every time I went there. Hell, when I realized Costco sold Spinach Artichoke and Parmesan Dip in a container, I bought a container, bought some chips, warmed the dip up in the microwave, and tried to recreate my CPK experience at home. I definitely don't do that anymore  (see my Dining Out: CPK post), and the truth is that I don't have to! There's a healthier option people!!

Sure there are lots of copycat recipes out there that recreate the original spinach artichoke dip, but there aren't a whole lot of healthy options out there. I found a "skinny" spinach artichoke dip recipe on Pinterest, but it still called for mayonnaise and a lot of cheese. So what does that mean? Let's make it healthier! My version is in the pictures below. I think it looks pretty similar if you ask me...and I don't have to feel nearly as bad eating it either!!


 
I already wrote about some of the health benefits of avocados and posted a recipe for dark chocolate avocado pudding (see my previous post), but I couldn't help myself from making something else and posting about it immediately. I found a recipe on Food52 months ago for an avocado lassi, and I finally got to try it out today!

A lassi is a yogurt based drink from India, and it can be either savory or sweet flavored. I've only ever really seen two or so flavors of lassi when I eat at Indian restaurants, the most common being the most well-known mango lassi, though I've also tried a rose water lassi which had a much subtler taste. Since my first lassi, I've loved the way they tasted! I've even tried my hand at making my own mango lassi during the last mango season, but that can come another day. The traditional version of a lassi, however, is apparently more savory and is made with roasted cumin and spices as opposed to the more well-known sweet and fruity types.

I don't know where an avocado lassi falls on the savory vs. sweet scale, but I do know that it tastes good! So go ahead and make some for yourself!

 
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Avocados are definitely NOT in season right now (middle of January :P) in most of America, but I still have lots of avocado ready for use. "How?" you ask? By freezing it! It was one of the first Pinterest pins I actually tried out. Basically, it involved pitting, peeling, and mashing the avocado up with lemon juice, and then freezing it. And what that really means is that now that avocados are expensive and out of season, I still get to use them! Woot woot!

I took a bag out of the freezer yesterday to thaw with the intentions of making healthier brownies, but I ended up making a few other things instead. If you're confused by me saying brownies, just know that avocados make a good replacement for butter in lots of baking recipes! It's just as creamy but a million times better for you.


 
Pesto is always so flavorful! It's such a great kind of sauce to use for all kinds of things from pastas, salad, sandwiches, and the list goes on. The downside is that it normally contains a lot of oil, a lot of unnecessary oil! It's usually olive oil, which isn't the worst considering what else they could use in the world of oils, but it's not the best for you either, so overdoing and having so much oil it separates is a bit extra.

The original do-it-yourself recipe I found for pesto came from the recipe booklet that came along with my Magic Bullet. I thought, "Sweet! If I make my own, it'll be so much cheaper!!" I was a tad mistaken, given the cost of pine nuts...ridiculous cost for such a small amount of such a little nut...grr. Anyway, even though pine nuts definitely add great flavor and can really make the pesto, after my unfortunate expensive buy of a very tiny container of them, I decided I could use something else or just leave it out. Trust me when I say it still tastes just fine. 

 
I'm always price comparing the things I need/want for my kitchen experiments. In fact, I have a whole memo on my iPhone to help me remember how much certain things cost (regular price) at certain stores or at online sites. That being said, I had just started thinking last week about how much I really needed to have spinach and about how much I miss having it in my fridge, but that buying those bags from Safeway were just not efficient because I always go through them way faster than I ever think I will OR I don't go through them fast enough and they just rot. Either way, it's kind of an inefficient way to buy spinach for myself. And then I went to Costco...
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I normally don't buy fresh veggies or fruits from Costco for two reasons: 1) how the HELL would I get through all of it?! I don't really throw dinner parties or anything like that, and when I do, there aren't that many people, and it normally ends up being a potluck, meaning there's plenty of food to go around without me making a ginormous portion of my dish; and 2) my previous experience buying fruits in bulk from Costco only proved to me that they aren't as flavorful as the smaller regular grocery store portions.

That's when I saw this HUGE 2.5 lb bag of baby spinach (I wanna say it's almost 2 ft. tall). (O_O) I didn't know what to do! I really wanted spinach, I knew I wouldn't run out of this one nearly as fast, but I was afraid of the spinach wilting/dying/rotting before I could use it all (I have a bad track record with that...). And then I noticed the bag was resealable and that I have more time to cook recently, and I was sold. Picked it up, brought it home, and realized that it actually tastes just fine!! (^_^) Good buy, yay!

Since I now have this huge bag, I'm pretty much trying to use it as much as I possibly can. Translation: I throw it in everything. Thankfully, it's a very versatile green that goes well with so many different dishes! I've also taken this chance to look up new spinach recipes to try out. Today's feature is a frozen dessert!