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!