Friday, August 9, 2013

Vegan Quinoa Stuffed Pears!

Finally!!! I have prepared a meal that is Pinterest inspired! It truly has been a while since I have recreated a dish that already exists! I am so glad that I decided to get back into the trend with this nutrient-packed, sweet, and rather filling dish :)

There she is! Beautiful, huh? The original version of this meal was created by, Marla Meridith who writes her own blog for families who are learning to incorporate more nutritious food selections in their diets. You can check out her recipe for this along with various others by clicking on this URL :

Let's run through the ingredients and see what this tasty meal has! In the left column I will list the ingredients Marla used in a regular font, then I will list the components I manipulated in a bold, italicized font like, this.

Ingredients by Marla: 
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) dry Quinoa, cook according to package directions
  • 4 Pears
  • Lemon Juice  (Fresh Lemon Slices-Squeezed on flesh of Pear)
  • pinch of fine Sea Salt
  • pinch of ground Cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted Coconut Oil (3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Oilve Oil)
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) chopped Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds) (I used closer to 1/2 cup Pecans) 
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (I like Grade B)
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) Dried Fruit (Blueberries, Cranberries, diced Apricots) (Solely used Cranberries) 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Coconut Flake
  • Coconut Cooking spray (Used Omeag-3 Enhanced Cooking Spray) 

  • Topping
  • Vegan Whipped Cream (Eliminated this entirely from the dish)

     So you will notice that this dish was originally prepared for breakfast or for a treat, however, I simply eliminated the whip cream and substituted the coconut oil and spray with olive oil. This change, in part, altered the dish's flavor by making it less sweet and a bit more savory instead....perfect for a mid-day meal! I also made a quick side salad for some extra antioxidants and calories :)  ( I eat a lot).

    Now here is what you need to do to make this meal at will only take 30 minutes!

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F with the rack in the middle. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • Cut pears in half. Flatten the bottom of the pears so they lay flat. Scoop out a pocket inside each half with a melon baller or grapefruit spoon. Wipe flesh with some lemon juice so the pears don't brown. Spray baking dish with cooking spray of your choice and lay pears in the dish, scoop side up.
  • Combine quinoa with 1 tablespoon oil and the rest of the ingredients. Stuff pears with quinoa mixture. Drizzle the remainder 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over the tops. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the pears are soft.

    Ta-Dahh!!! Yay for quick meals!:)
    Real quick, here are some awesome nutritional facts about the super-grain you just baked with, Quinoa!
    Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition which you can most commonly find in meat, very rarely do you ever fin them in plant foods!! In addition to its delicious nutty flavor, it is also loaded in iron and fiber and only costs you 11 calories per 1/2cup serving! Not to mention, a full stomach! Sounds good, huh? And what's even better, a bag of quinoa at a grocery store or supermarket only costs around $4.00 but holds up to 10 servings!! That is 10 cups of quinoa for only 4 bucks!!
    So log of your computer and hit the store NOW so you can make this for dinner tonight!

    Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    10 Minute Meal!

    Hello again, to all my fellow friends who read this blog :) I have made a few dishes since I last blogged that were mighty tasty, however, this is the most worthy of sharing with you all because it only takes 10 MINUTES TO MAKE!

    That's right, you read correctly. Soooooo, what does this mean?

    Answer: You can make a fine, light meal without any hassle!

    In a time crunch? Who isn't? Just take a deep breath, relax, and whatever you NOT give into the fast food joint that may or may not reside across the street from your house.

    After all, why get a Big Mac for around $4 when you can make this delicious meal for about $1.50-$2.00 per serving. Pierogie Salad: 1. Big Mac: 0.

    This past month I got a job at a health food store called, Earth Fare. It is similar to a Whole Foods but it is owned by a much smaller company, which enables us employees to promote healthy foods through fun activities and make deals that are great for the whole family :) Find one near you!!

    Anyway, I am bit of a "shopaholic" when it comes to healthy foods and this problem becomes most prominent after every shift I other words, I want to buy EVERYTHING in the store! MAJOR PROBLEM.

    However, I stumbled across this bag of Organic Pierogies and it brought back memories of when my Mom used to prepare some of Mrs.T's Pierogies. Yum! So I was more than excited to discover that they sold one of my childhood favorites, organic style ;) YAY.

    For those of you who have not tried pierogies, let me just ask!
    They are FANTASTIC! And not to mention low-cal and very filling! Just 240 calories per 1/2 cup! Almost like a dumpling, the pierogie consists of a pasta-like shell which encloses the magic combo: potatoes, onion, and cheddar.

    They are not whole grain, but let me tell you, if you incorporate as much fiber as I do in your daily diet....let's just say your bowels need a break, so this meal is PERFECT for such situations.

    After seasoning your perogies with your favorite herbs and a bit of extra virgin olive-oil (great addition of fatty acids), grab a generous handful of any kind of green, such as a Spring Mix:

    I added a sprinkle of sunflower seeds just for some extra flavor :)

    That is all! 10 Minutes are UP. Now go on and enjoy!

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    Light, Low-Cal, Fiesta in yo' mouth!

    I had a moment of epiphany......I am in love with FAJITA QUESADILLAS. Sadly, I did not make a fajita quesadilla, but trust me I got the next best thing!!! And, not to mention, it is very healthy as well, clocking in at around 260 calories! Wooohoo!

    The inspiration for this light meal/pre-workout snack, I dedicate to one of my best friends, Melissa, who introduced a group of us to this amazing local restaurant here in Columbus called, La Fogata. Let me just tell you, that was the most tasty birthday-dinner-place-thing EVER.

    This just goes to show that even people who strive to educate others about the importance of health and fitness, can splurge every once and a while to satisfy their cravings :)

    So, this does not look like your average quesadilla right? Your probably thinking right now, "Great, Cheyenne is telling me I am only worthy of one tortilla...I am going to starve, fabulous." STOP! I promise that is not my intention! If you feel like that extra tortilla then by all means PLEASE grab one and slap it on your own creation! I am simply trying to mimic the awesome fajita quesadilla I had at el restaraunte de La FogataOLE!

    Here, grab as many as you want!!

    Shall we start with the ingredients for our masterpiece? :) I think so!!!!!!!!

    Okay so the main component, the base, the play maker, the ingredient responsible for holding our piece together....I call it the Tortilla.

    Feast upon your eyes ladies and gents, because this is going to be your new best friend during your journey of making this low-cal, veggie filled quesadilla.

    As you can see, I am using a different type of tortilla then you maybe used to seeing in the big chain grocery stores like Kroger, Target, Walmart etc. This type of bread is called, Ezekiel 4:9, and unlike the typical tortillas we see in one of the stores above, it does NOT undergo the processing which means that it contains zero preservatives and additives. As a result, it is crucial for these bread products to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer (if you are planning on keeping it for long periods of time) until use to preserve its freshness. Not to mention, it tastes AMAZING!
    Melissa, introduced me to this bread through her blog and I was ecstatic to try it!

    To defrost this tortilla, I simply placed it on a skillet and after a flip or two, I began adding the rest of my ingredients!

    Yummy!!!!!!!!!! I added a sprinkle of two killer cheese selections: crumbled feta cheese with tomato basil, and lactose-free cheddar cheese (for those of you who might be sensitive to lactose found in dairy products). Also, you may see that I added a 50/50 spring and spinach mix for extra antioxidants, along with sauteed mushrooms and onions! Fun Fact: Mushrooms and Onions are two known foods that may help prevent women from Ovarian Cancer. So ladies, stalk up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And after 5 minutes of melting that wonderful cheese, plop your meal on a plate and add aside of salsa and wala! You have a wonderful light meal that is perfect to eat an hour or two before your evening workout! Hope you try it out for yourself, ENJOY!:)




    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Mediterranean Egg Plant Dish!

    Wow, where has the time gone? It feels as though I have not posted a recipe in FOREVER. I am so ashamed! Between school, track, and preparation for graduation I had absolutely no spare time to write about any of the meals I have made since the end of March. In my notebook of recipes I found notes on the last dish I made for this blog- it was on March 27th, I invited my cousin and friend over to try out this colorful, not to mention, antioxidant-packed dish. I call it, the Mediterranean Egg Plant Dish.

    One word: Nostima (delicious in Greek).

    Isn't she a beauty :) Alright that is weird. Sorry. Moving on...
    This dish is incredibly light and as I said before high in antioxidants and also, fiber!

    Let us move onto the ingredients to get a closer look at what super foods that are in here, shall we?

    * 1 large Egg Plant
    * 4 Roma Tomatoes
    * Feta Cheese (3/4 of a container)
    * Fresh Basil
    * Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
    * Dash of Sea-Salt
    * A gracious serving of Ground Black Pepper and Garlic Powder
    * Dill

    Man it feels good to write again about delicacies such as this one :)

    Anyway, back to the dish! Not only does eggplant contain a significant source of crucial Vitamins such as B vitamins, folate and vitamin C, it also holds a special antioxidant in its peel called: Nasunin. According to the August 10, 2005 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," Nasunin has antiangiogenic abilities. I know what you are thinking, what is antiangiogenic mean? Is that word even in English? 

    The term antiangiogenic stands for the halt of new growth of blood vessels and blood supply. This may seem more harmful than helpful, however, when it comes to the invasion of cancer cells, you will be glad you ate your helping of eggplant!!

    Another ingredient that is worth talking about is Feta cheese. Yummy :) Who doesn't love Feta? Are you one of those people that love Feta so much that you could just eat the whole container? Well  I am hear to tell you that you can eat Feta and not feel guilty for doing so! Just do not eat the whole container at one sitting, okay? :)

    Do you ever notice how Feta just crumbles as you touch it? It looks like a beautiful snowfall as it is sprinkled across the dish, wouldn't you agree?

    Perhaps, I am a bit I worried though? No way. You know why?

    Feta is one of the most least fattening cheese selections out there! Woohoo!

    There is a bit of science behind the structure of this cheese. Feta crumbles because of the lack of saturated fat in it; the cheese cannot stick together
    simply for this reason!

    Not only does Feta have a low source of fat in it, but it also provides a significant source of your daily needs of calcium and even protein. In addition, the acids found in the raw sheep milk that goes into this Mediterranean cheese, helps combat Listeria, a bacteria that causes food poisoning!  

    So now that you know more about some of the health benefits this dish includes, let us take a moment and discuss how YOU can prepare it at home!

    The instructions are so easy! The inspiration for this dish came from MAZA May recipe, "Grilled Eggplant with Tomato and Feta" and it had quite the popular demand on Pinterest; it had over 100,000 repins!

    Of course, I modified the dish so I could call it my very own!

    Here is what I did:

    I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and plugged in my family's own Panini grill contraption thing. I then painted on a thing coating of a mixture of garlic powder, dill, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil on each individual eggplant slice.

     Once those beautiful grill marks appeared I simply stacked them in a large cake pan, where I generously sprinkled the Feta, Roma tomato slices, and fresh basil leaves all across the dish :)

    After 15 minutes in the oven the dish was complete and ready to eat. For extra flavor I added marinara sauce and just a dash of Parmesan cheese to the top. And I added a small side of grilled asparagus as well just to add an extra veggie for the day :)


    Delicious and INCREDIBLY nutritious! Why go all the way to Greece (although that would be really cool) to enjoy a classic Mediterranean dish when you can make it at home!

    Hope you enjoy! Great to be back in the blogging world!

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    These are just some of Casey's favorite things :)

    How does one survive studying for an AP Biology test? You have come to the right place. A successful hard-core study sesh results from not only exercise, specifically running/lifting/aqua jogging, but most importantly from a nutrtious, wholesome meal.

                                                                          Like, WOW.

    One of my best friends asked me a couple weeks ago, and I quote, "Can you make a healthy grilled cheese sandwich, I can't get enough of that stuff."

    She clearly has an obession with these cholesterol clogging sandwiches, and as loyal friend I felt it was neccessary to satisfy her cravings, the healthy way.
    Like always, I searched on for a spark of inspiration, and I came across a link for Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. You would not BELIEVE how fast I hit the print button. I absolutely love Pesto and I thought it would add a nice touch to the simple Grilled Cheese Sandwich. So, I ran the proposal by Casey, she approved, and we got cooking! 
    The original recipe came from a couple whose blog's name is, Two Peas & Their Pod- Check it out!
    The only ingredients Casey and I manipulated was the bread (replaced french bread for whole wheat)and the seasonings added to the coating of the bread. And we also added a side of Edaname because, well, we love it!:D
    -4 slices of Whole Wheat Bread
    -1 tablespoon of melted butter
    -Splash of Curry, Dill, Rosemary, Minced Onion, and Powedered Garlic
    -4 teaspoons of basil pesto (2 teaspoons for each sandwich)
    -4 oz. of mozarella cheese (2 oz for each sandwich)

    There you have it folks, a simple easy dish that can be made either on a skillet or in a panini maker- just remember to coat the pan with a vegetable spray to avoid sticky messes!:)

    These are just some of Casey's favorite things :) Hope you enjoy!!

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    To be or not To be. Healthy Reeses Cups!!

    Ah how I love snow days :) It was almost a blessing from the skies that we got the day off, because it gave me the wonderful opportunity to cram in a little extra study time for my AP Biology test this  Friday! Perfect right?? Yes. But, that is not what ended up happening. Fail. Also, it is my soon-to-be roommate's birthday this Friday and with this test on the same day, I will have no time to make her something special the night prior to her celebratory day! WHAT SHOULD A FRIEND DO IN A TIME LIKE THIS?!?! DUH! My inner-chef was calling me, so I hopped on Pinterest and found this awesome recipe. Despite the early hour, I could not resist from driving up to Kroger (okay well, my dad drove- the roads were not quite clear at 9:00am) to get the one ingredient that I lacked for this, again, I repeat, awesome recipe.

                                      BEHOLD, THE ALMIGHTY (healthy) REESES CUP!!!!

    Yes, you read correctly ladies and gentlemen, HEALTHY Reeses Cups!

    How could you make such a delectable treat healthy?!?! The answer is quite simple. SUBSTITUTE THE INGREDIENTS!

    -Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
    -Pumpkin Puree (Canned)
    -Almond Butter (or any nut butter)

    The Result:

    Ultra-Yumminess :)

    The inspiration for this dish came from a brilliant blogger named Katie, who is known for her nutritious healthy desserts! Check out her blog, !:)

    These treats are SO easy to make too! First, melt 1/2 cup of choco chips in microwave (45 seconds should be sufficient). Next distribute this chocolate evenly throughout ten cupcake liners (thin layer) and pop in the freezer for 8-10 minutes. While they are in the freezer, mix 4 tablespoons of pumpkin with 3-4 tablespoons of almond butter, or any nut butter of your choice, and add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon! Take your little choco cups out of the freezer and pour in your pumpkin/nut butter mix (about 1 tablespoon for each cup). Next melt another 1/2 cup of choco chips in microwave and pour a thin coating on top of each cup. Once the pumpkin is no longer visible, pop them back into the freezer for 20 minutes.


    Next, just pop 'em out and place them on a plate...or directly into your mouth :) They are irresistible.

    For my friend Savannah, I added a bit of decoration:

    Okay so I am not exactly what you call an artist, but hey the taste is all that truly matters with these bad boys.

    Try them out for do not know what you are missing. Seriously!!




    Friday, February 22, 2013

    Tuna Melt or Bruschetta?

    Last night I made quite the treat for my family, I couldn't tell you what the name of this dish is because it obtains qualities of both a bold bruschetta, and a tasty tuna melt. I will let you decide:

    Oh my gosh this was so.....incredibly...DELICIOUS. I can sincerely say that it melted in my mouth. I will admit, it was not one of my healthiest creations due to the the three cheese french bread I used as the base, but trust me, it was absolutely worth the splurge :)

    Unfortunately, I ran out of tuna so only half of these delicacies had it, while the others resembled a typical bruschetta dish.

    BOTH creations were packed with an intense flavor, I can vouch for that one because I sampled one of each :) Carbo-Load? I think so.

    The inspiration for this dish, well, came from my own mother! She is the culprit of bringing home this wonderful french bread and a zesty Italian dipping oil to match.

    The inspiration for this recipe, however, came from two dishes that I found on Pinterest. The one containing tuna came from while the one without came from

    Of course, I tweaked just a few of the ingredients on both dishes in order to call it a creation of my own!

    Here is the list of ingredients I used for the tuna dish:
    *5-ounce can of White Albacore Tuna
    *1 1/2 tablespoons of Hellman's Olive Oil Mayonnaise
    *3 tablespoons of Shaved Aged Parmesan (1 tablespoon for each)
    *Dash of Sea Salt/Ground Black Pepper
    *1 tablespoon of Capers (chopped)
    *1 tablespoon of Fresh Basil (chopped)
    *3 Slices of French Bread (three cheese for an extra kick!)
    *A swipe of Zesty Italian Dipping Oil (on top of each bread)
    *Garlic Powder (as much as your heart desires)

    Simply stir mayo, garlic powder, and capers in with the tuna and place on top of baguette, which should have already have a thin coating of the olive oil on its surface. Then top it with shaved Parmesan cheese, basil, sea salt, and pepper. Make sure the pan is sprayed with just a squirt of Vegetable Cooking Spray and broil for 4-5 minutes.

    Fun Fact: Why use tuna? Not only does it have an incredible flavor but it contains a significant source of Omega-3 fatty acids which lowers the level of triglycerides in your blood (fats that clog your arteries!). In addition, it is a great source of protein and steers clear from ANY saturated fats.
    Lesson of the day- EAT MORE TUNA.

    In the original recipe, this dish called for home-made olive oil mayonnaise which sounded fantastic, however, I already had a jar of Hellman's in my refrigerator and with graduation approaching in the spring, I am trying to save every penny I can get my hands on for college!!! Can I get an Amen?!

    Also, the chef of this original masterpiece used a hard-boiled egg in her recipe and I did not, however, I did add an extra splash of flavor with that zesty dipping oil!

    The ingredients for the Bruschetta are quite simple:
    *3 thin slices of Fresh Swiss (one for each)
    *3 tomato slices (again, one for each)
    *1 tablespoon of Fresh Basil (chopped)
    *Generous swipe of Zesty Italian Dipping Oil (on each)
    *1 Tablespoon of Shaved Aged Parmesan 

    The only thing I substituted was Bocconcini (mozzarella) balls for Swiss cheese, because I had a large amount of fresh Swiss in my fridge from the Amish country!


    A special dinner for the family has been served :) Enjoy!



    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Wake Up to Breakfast!

    Rumor has it that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, well guess what? This could not be more true!!! Over the years, studies have shown that breakfast-eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast-skippers, that is, when the breakfasts' are healthy of course :) There is an endless number of benefits that a nutritious and well-balanced breakfast provides. For example, eating right when you wake up helps rev your metabolism, and can assist in regulating the quantity of food you consume throughout the rest of the day. Perhaps you have heard of ELMO.....Eat Less More Often? You do not need a pill for this folks, you can do this YOURSELF by doing your metabolism a HUGE favor by eating some calories in the morning! It doesn't have to be a huge meal, after all, something small is better than nothing at all. 

    I personally LOVE breakfast. I try to go to bed hungry every night, just so I can wake up and start my day with a delicious, energy-packed meal! Today, I woke up starving because of the long and strenuous day I had yesterday- track meets are quite tiring! I was lacking my typical spunky mood, partly because my stomach felt empty, so I knew that I was in need of something more than just my usual bowl of oatmeal and a banana. So, I decided to whip up this quick dish:

    It was FABULOUS and my hunger pains were instantly cured!:D

    All I did was toast a whole wheat sandwich thin (only 90 calories) which, might I add is only $1.99 for a pack of eight at Kroger, and spread just a dab (a teaspoon) of butter for flavor. Then I put an organic brown egg on the skillet for about 2 minutes, flipped it, and added a pinch of shredded mozzarella, minced onion, and curry powder to the top of the egg. I flipped it again in order for the egg to fully absorb the seasonings. After that side turned a nice golden brown, I flipped it over to the sandwich thin and added a tablespoon of Chi-Chi's mild salsa.

    Fun Fact: Not only is Chi-Chi's salsa inexpensive but it also does not contain any high-fructose corn syrup like some salsas' do!! Hint: The less ingredients condiments such as ketchup and/or salsa have, the better it is for you! Do you really want to eat something that has an ingredient listed that starts with Synthetic, or contains something like, Partially Hydrogenated Oils? Like, ew.
    Get real.

    In addition to my egg over-easy sandwich, I added a side of Oikos vanilla, non-fat Greek yogurt! As much as I love plain ol' vanilla, I like to add as much flavor to a dish as possible, which is why I stirred in 1/2 tablespoon of honey and a pinch of cinnamon! Finally, I topped it with a handful of fresh, juicy strawberries.

    So there you have it folks, a quick and easy breakfast that contains the perfect balance between carbohydrates and protein! What better way to start your day than with this nutrient packed dish?:)

    Egg Roll/Mozzarella Stick Combo!

    On the evening of Valentines Day, I decided to spend the night with the love of my Sounds kind of lame, huh? Well wait until you hear what I made.

    It was love at first sight.
    I prepared an egg roll/mozzarella stick appetizer and it was quite a hit at my house!
    The idea was, of course, Pinterest inspired. The recipe came from a and it gave specific instructions for homemade mozzarella sticks! Again, it was another spectacular recipe, however, I felt like it was my duty to make it even BETTER somehow. How does one make an already amazing dish better, you might ask? Step one: Ramp up its nutritional value content.

    Here is what the original recipe called for: (quite simple!)

    * 12 pieces string cheese
    * 12 egg roll wrappers
    * Oil for deep-fat frying
    * Marinara or spaghetti sauce

    I love it when the directions are easy to follow :) Unfortunately, I made it a bit more tedious but it is totally worth it, I promise!!

    First off I must clarify something immediately. I did not, nor will I ever, and I mean NEVER, fry anything and blog about it claiming that it is healthy. That would seriously be going against everything I believe in. Luckily, there is an alternative to this sinful way of cooking delicacies- BAKE IT. Yes my friends, it is as easy as throwing it in the oven for 10-12 minutes and calling it a day. And you save about 100-150 calories of pure FAT along the way as well :) Yay for ovens!:D

    The big thing I changed was the filling of the stick....cheese alone was not going to suffice!! I am an advocate for eating as many veggies as possible within a day's caloric intake, so I try to incorporate them in every meal I eat. This addition is what transformed the recipe from a simple mozzarella stick to a combination between that and an egg roll!

    Here is a list of the veggies I added:
    * Chopped Celery
    * Bean Sprouts
    * Mushrooms/Red Onion (Sauteed these before adding them into the roll)

    Also, I substituted string cheese sticks for thin slices of fresh mozzarella.....string cheese made me think of my lunchbox back in the elementary days of my life, and I deemed it necessary to upgrade to a more mature cheese selection :)

    Finally, once the the rolls were wrapped, I glazed them with Kikkoman's Teriyaki Garlic & Onion sauce. To secure the mozzarella stick taste, I heated up a spoonful of Classico's lovely marinara sauce for dipping :)

    The result:


    I was very pleased and so was the rest of my family! It was a very nice Valentines Day treat that did not include any of those nasty refined sugars that are found in most candy and chocolates! Not to mention it was very inexpensive to make....the egg rolls I used were only $2.50 at Kroger, and one package included 21 wrappers! The brand is called Nasoya, and I am particularly fond of their products because they do not include any genetically engineered ingredients, nor MSG! WOOOHOO! Yay for natural ingredients!

    The only suggestion I have for you fellow chefs out there who are eager to try out this dish is to leave the rolls/sticks in the oven for 15-17minutes as opposed to 10-12minutes, because that will give them a crispier texture. Also, remember to lightly grease the pan with vegetable cooking spray to avoid them sticking to the pan!

    That is all for now, hope you all had a very nice Valentines can try this out anytime, you do not need an excuse to make this special appetizer!:)


    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Sensational Stir-Fry!

    Sunday. What a wonderful day Sunday is :) It is the day of the week where I can just be. My routine is quite similar each Sunday; I relax at home, do homework at a leisurely pace, go for a short easy run, and, on an occasion, become one within myself through the ancient teachings of yoga :) It is the day of the week where peace overwhelms the atmosphere. I find it necessary and even enjoyable, to reflect on any accomplishments that were made during the week, even if it was something as minuscule as receiving an A on a quiz. You earned it, so why not celebrate your achievement? Everyone could use a little extra confidence, so take pride in any step you make towards success. And now with my latest addition to my Sunday routine, cooking nutritious Pinterst-inspired meals for my family, I have found my extra source of confidence.

    Life is GOOD :)

    Anyways, that is a sneak peak of my sporadic Buddha wisdom for all of you fellow readers out there....let us resume to the dish shall we?;)
    Two weeks ago, one of my dear friends Anna asked me what I was planning on making for my blog that Sunday, and I had told her about my idea of giving the sweet potato skin recipe a whirl. She kindly responded, "Oh yum!! But you know what would be really good? STIR-FRY." And just like that, inspiration was BORN.


    I am quite the fan of Chinese food, but I always feel gross after I consume a plate of sesame or orange chicken with a side of lo mein noodles- it is one of those dishes where it feels good while eating it, but causes severe stomach cramps afterwards. Yeah, we have all been there. Soooo, I was eager to come upon this light and zesty Stiry-Fry dish on Pinterest!:)

    Say, "Bye-Bye" to heavily doused oily veggies, and say hello to a light sensational flavor!

    The inspiration for this heavenly dish came from!

    This recipe is killer on its own, but in order to claim it as one of my own creations I had to add a bit of a twist to this already fabulous recipe!

    Here is what the recipe calls for:

        Sauce:                                                                      Stir-Fry
        -1/2 cup of orange juice                                -1 lb. chicken (cubed)
        - 2 tablespoons soy sauce                            -salt/pepper
        - 2 tablespoons rice vinegar                       -3 tablespoons corn starch
        -1 tablespoon oyster sauce                          -4 cups chopped veggies
        -1 tablespoon orange zest                            -olive oil
        -2 large garlic cloves                                     -1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
        -1 teaspoon minced ginger
        -optional sweetener: sugar, honey etc.

    I made just a few tweaks to the recipe to better its nutritional value and to save a couple bucks along the way too- woohoo!
    Instead of using both oyster and soy sauce, I raided my pantry and found teriyaki sauce which contains a significant source of soy sauce in it already! Conveniently, this bottle of teriyaki had 40% less sodium than its normal sauce- my heart will thank me for that one!:D I substituted the oyster and soy sauces for 3 tablespoons of teriyaki and it turned out great!

    In addition, I substituted whole wheat flour for corn starch to eliminate those harmful GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) found in corn products! Also, a little extra fiber never hurt anyone either ;)

    Finally, for my choice of veggies I threw in yellow squash, broccoli, mushroom, carrots (shaved 1 whole carrot), and bean sprouts.

    The result: DELICIOSO! 

    The directions are SO easy to follow. For the sauce, all you need to do is throw all of its ingredients into a blender and let them mix together for 10-15 seconds on a high speed.

    Once it has the consistency of a puree, pour into a large skillet over medium heat and let it begin to bubble. Next throw in seasoned chicken (which should be already massaged with a coat of that whole wheat flour) and all of your veggies/olive oil! Keep on skillet till your veggies have a nice crunch :)

    Once your Stir-Fry has reached perfection, pour it upon a bed of wild grain or brown rice. Your Chinese fix is complete :) Without all of that extra peanut oil and fried breading that makes your stomach feel grody!!!

    There you have it folks, a Sensational Stir-Fry dish can be made in no time in the comfort of your own home! 





    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Seaside Satisfaction!

    Do you ever wish you could live off of the coast of an island? Being a native of Ohio, I am deprived of this beautiful oceanic scenery- I mean we have Lake Erie but I would not necessarily call that a beach, or sanitary for that matter. YUCK!

    Since I do not have the luxury of stepping out to a beach in my back yard, why not bring a piece of the ocean home to me? "How do you do this exactly?" one might ask. The answer is quite simple, introduce a piece of the ocean to your home that you can get from any grocery store in ANY state, seafood! I apologize if I just killed your dreams of transforming the living room into a beach, but hey, my advice remains solely for dinner table adventures!

    I.....L-O-V-E seafood. I am not picky when it comes to selecting seafood, scallops, shrimp, tilapia, lobster, crab- I could go on for days, seriously. But one of my absolute favorites is salmon, because not only does it taste fabulous with any rice & veggie dish you can imagine, but it also contains a significant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which provide numerous beneficial perks for all over your body! For example, they can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthen arteries, prevent loss of eyesight, improves both memory and skin texture, and much much more!

    The thicker the cut of salmon, the BETTER it is for you. Yeah so, "Go Big or GO HOME."

    Here is the dish I prepared (another classic improv creation of my own):


                                                                  One word: YUM.

                                               I loved it so much I took another picture :)

    Notice I added a side of sauteed asparagus, red onion, and wild grain rice to compliment this meaty delight. And of course, I added my fair share of garlic powder, dill, pepper, minced onion, Parmesan cheese, rosemary, and Italian seasoning to the sides and salmon as well for an extra explosion of flavor! Just brush the salmon with 1/2-1 tablespoon of olive oil and add a dash (or a pile, whatever your taste buds can handle) of spices to the top before you throw it in the oven, which should be preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Quick Tip: If you let the salmon defrost entirely, the quicker it will cook in the oven. This should be common sense but it is tough to wait around while you are starving! So to avoid this altogether, let the salmon sit out on an open plate and cover with saran wrap, and allow it to sit out for about 2 hours before you begin splashing it with seasonings.

    There you have it, a Midwesterner's dream dish fresh from the Pacific Ocean :)

    Hope you enjoy!!!!

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Low Cal-High Fiber Sweet Potato Skins!

    Today is the day, aka, my first Pinterest recipe attempt!!

    I personally have an obsession over sweet potatoes. Not only are they low in calorie, but they also have a significant source of fiber and they provide, what I like to call, "healthy carbs."  But most importantly, they taste great! :) With this being said, I thought it would make perfect sense to kick start my Pinterest endeavors with a recipe that incorporated this oh so wondrous vegetable.

    The Challenge (Insert Drum Roll Here): Sweet Potato Skins!

    The inspiration for this dish came from Lindsay who writes her own food blog called, Pinch of Yum.
    Here is what her recipe called for:

    - 2 medium or large sweet potatoes
    - 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
    - 1 shallot (minced)
    - 1 bag of fresh spinach
    - 1/4 cup of light sour cream
    - 2 ounces of light cream cheese
    - 1 cup of chickpeas
    - 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
    - salt and pepper to taste

    Her recipe sounds great, and I am so glad I got to use it as a guide for my own creation! I tweaked just a couple of the ingredients:

    - I am not a huge fan of cream cheese or sour cream so I eliminated them from the recipe entirely. I was contemplating on using plain Greek yogurt as a substitute but decided against it once I sampled it with the rest of the ingredients.
    - Instead of chick peas I used Great Northern Beans because, well, I forgot to buy chick peas on my daily trip to Kroger, and I had these beans in my pantry!
    - In addition to the pinch of sea salt and pepper, I added garlic powder and just a dash of parmesan cheese to the top of the skins for an extra kick!

    The Result: DELICIOUS! A success!! Check it out!

    Want to try it for yourself? OF COURSE YOU DO! Here are the instructions that I followed from Lindsay with the addition of my tweaks:

    1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender. (The more thick the potato is the longer time it will need, mine took 70 minutes at 400 degrees!)
    2. Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While they are cooling, saute the diced/minced shallots (red onion works too) with the butter over medium heat until translucent. Add fresh spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes, until spinach has cooked down. Set aside.
    3. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a thin layer inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own. Mash the innards of the sweet potato with the Great Northern Beans (1/4- 1/2cup), and stir in the spinach, shallots, sea salt (just a pinch), pepper, and garlic powder.
    4. Coat potato skins with a drizzle of olive oil and bake for about five minutes to get a crispier outside (I did not add the oil and it turned out great, but it would definitely add even more flavor, not to mention a crunch!) Remove from oven and fill each skin with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the filling is heated through.

    This recipe definitely requires some time but it is so worth it. It is perfect for the family to enjoy on a Sunday evening :)

    Hope you give it a try, if not, you do not know what you're missing!

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    "P-Cubed" (Pantry Perfect Pasta!)

    I came home from practice today craving pasta, but I was not in the mood for some plain, ordinary spaghetti dish- I wanted to shake things up a bit. Unfortunately, my stock of fresh veggies in the refrigerator is low at the moment, so my resources were limited. Despite my extreme hunger, I was able to avert my focus away from my aching stomach and think, where else could I find veggies in my house? And just like that, I saw a light of hope cross my pathway, not like "The Light" you see when you are about to depart from the physical world, no, it was the light towards the savior of my hunger problems- the pantry!! 

    I ran over to it and frantically searched through the various cans of veggies. With my Dad being, well, a cheap fellow, we have quite the plethora of canned fruits and veggies in our pantry, because they were either marked down due to overshippment or because he had a coupon. Score 1 for Daddy Dearest!

    Here is what I found to incorporate into my spur of the moment pasta dish:

    Pantry Items:
    - Sliced Zucchini in a Tomato Puree
    - Beans (Regular Brown)
    - Diced Black Olives
    - Whole Wheat Noodles

    How did this mixture come out you ask?


    In Emeril Lagasse's words, "BAM!"

    To  complete my dish, I added my fair share of spices which included the following:
    - Minced Onion
    - Rosemary
    - Dill
    - Garlic Powder (My favorite)
    - Sea Salt
    - Parmesan Cheese

    No measurements, just another one of my own improv' dishes :)

    Being a health nut, I was concerned about using canned veggies as opposed to fresh because I thought that with them being stored in a can, that means they have been processed in order to remain edible for long periods of time, therefore, my dish would not be healthy! NOOO!!!!!!

    To my advantage, I was entirely wrong! YES! Score 1 for me! After consuming my creation in under 5 minutes, (the intense hunger got the best of me, now I sit here at the computer typing away while my stomach is in sheer agony) I thought I would research the assets of canned veggies.

    Here are a couple key benefits I found on,

    Not only are canned veggies easily accessible, not to mention cheap, they also preserve many of their nutrients during the canning and storing process and are able to maintain them throughout their existence in the can. In contrast to fresh veggies which loose a majority of their crucial nutrients during storage and shipping.

    In addition, canned veggies are a much safer choice in terms of avoiding microbial contamination, which can result in severe food poisoning if too much is consumed. 

    So there you have it folks, my Pantry Perfect Pasta was a success! There is a nutritious side to canned veggies after all, so stock up! What will you add to your own "P-Cubed" recipe?

    Check my next post this Sunday, January 27th, to see my first Pinterest food challenge attempt! Wish me luck!!!!



    Monday, January 21, 2013

    "Too Tired to Make Anything Special" Dinner!

    It is Monday evening and you had an incredibly stressful day at work, or maybe you had a super hard workout-regardless of the situation- you are too tired to make anything special.

    Let's face it, NO ONE has time to make a five-star gourmet meal every single night, it is not realistic!! But that doesn't mean you cannot make a healthy dish. Yes, for all of you "Hamburger Helper" fans, PUT THE BOX DOWN would be better off eating bark, seriously.

    Anyways, you are exhausted and hungry from the long day (Mondays truly are the worst). Well no worries my little busy bees, because I have just the solution for your cravings and will spike up your energy level once more before the night ends!

    I call Improv' Salad Ala Chicken.

    Okay, so I just made that name up in ten seconds but it sure sounded fancy, right? ;)

    Any who, it is incredibly easy to make and it only takes about ten minutes!!

    Here is a picture of my masterpiece:

    This meal is so simple yet is packed with a sensational flavor that will leave you licking the bowl when you are done!!

    Here are the ingredients I used:

    - 3 leaves of Red Romaine
    - 1 stock of Celery
    - 1/2 cup of Fresh Pineapple
    - 2 tablespoons of Croutons
    - 1/4 cup of Diced Red Pepper
    - 1 tablespoon of Avocado
    - 1/2 cup of Cherry Tomatoes
    - 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
    - 1 tablespoon of Grated Parmesan Cheese
    - 3 ounces of Natural Sauteed Chicken (you may season this however you please, I prefer to saute the chicken in strips because it cooks faster that way). I like to saute the chicken strips in water, because it is a healthier alternative to cooking spray or vegetable oil. Sprinkle some garlic, minced onion, pepper, and a dash of sea salt and walla! Bon Appetit! :)

    Pair this meal with 1 cup of Silk Dark Chocolate Pure Almond Milk for an extra boost of protein and calcium!

    There you have it folks! A quick-fix meal that you can make even when your energy levels are depleted. Nothing feels better than ending a long day with a satisfying meal. Also, chicken and avocado are known for their ability to put you in a good mood! Who doesn't want to feel happy? :)

    I encourage you to try this quick meal out for yourself, it is so delicious and quite filling!

    Tip of the Week: Eat slow so you can savor your meal for a longer amount of time.


    Hey World!

    Good afternoon fellow bloggers,

    My name is Cheyenne Buckingham and I am on a mission to inspire people of all ages to build healthier lifestyles. I feel that when someone says they are, "going to eat healthier," they immediately picture themselves doing the impossible-like eating celery 24/7 with 1 tablespoon of humus. HELLO. You practically burn calories as you eat is that supposed to keep you satisfied? Do you have taste buds?

    You are supposed to enjoy the food you eat, that is why God blessed us with the sense of taste. Picture yourself now, biting into a savory sandwich ,and I am not talking about a Subway Foot Long here people, I mean a homemade Panini with thick whole grain bread, brushed with a swipe of olive oil and spices like garlic, onion, and fresh dill. In the middle, resides the magic- a grilled chicken breast, that has been marinated in teriyaki and rosemary, topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella, and a great big handful of fresh spinach leaves. Now doesn't that sound appetizing? Say SAYONARA CELERY! Eating food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, so why not embrace it in a way that both your body and mind will benefit from.

    So put down those greasy potato chips and join me in my adventure to explore different kinds of healthy snacks/meals! Guess where I will be getting some of these ideas/recipes from? Pinterest! There are plenty of options for even the most picky eaters out there! Nevertheless, I will be adding some of my own creations along the way too :)

    Follow me on Pinterest- Cheyenne Buckingham XCchica95

    Cannot wait to start!