Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Cashew macarons bursting with vanilla flavor and filled with vanilla bean buttercream. The cashew base allows the vanilla flavor to shine and become the star of the show!

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

I’m sorry. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m totally not. This is not a healthy recipe by any means, and I’m not even a little bit sorry. I haven’t posted a single dessert recipe in 2014, and that is kind of a problem. I mean, we’re only a month in, but let’s be honest, I’ve missed cookies. A lot.

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Can I tell you one of the best stories of my life? I made these to bring to a cookie swap. The problem with going to a cookie swap when everyone knows you have a food blog is that you feel like you have to be super impressive. Okay, maybe only feel that way, but I spent a lot of time figuring out the perfect thing to make. Macarons are always a good party trick. ;)

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

After a failed batch where the feet weirdly went off to one side (over whipped egg whites, and under mixed batter), I got it right, and showed up with these (and a nutella variety that I’ll be sharing with you sometime soon). Halfway through the party, my coach came up to me with a fellow runner who found her and said she “had to find the person who made the macarons”.

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Elena went on to tell me how perfect these macarons were, and she even said that she spent time in France eating macarons all the time, and that these were some of the best she’s ever tasted! I mentioned the macarons at Essence (I love them!) and she said mine were even BETTER! I couldn’t get over it. I promised her I’d share the recipe on here, but I spent most of January focusing on healthy dinners (ya know, tryin’ to give the people what they want ;) ), and I got a message from her on facebook asking about the recipe! Well I’m so proud to share them with you guys today because they were so dang popular!

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

The cashew base provides a more neutral flavor that let’s the vanilla just do its thang. I, personally, am a vanilla lover. Like, sometimes (often) more than chocolate. There are few things more perfect than bright, intense vanilla flavor, and that is what these babies are all about. Vanilla bean in the shell, vanilla bean in the frosting, vanilla bean all up in your business. I’m telling ya, if you want a cookie that will really impress everyone, this baby is for you. And I promise they’re not as hard as you think!

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 macarons

Serving Size: 1 macaron

Vanilla Bean Cashew Macarons

Cashew macarons bursting with vanilla flavor and filled with vanilla bean buttercream. The cashew base allows the vanilla flavor to shine and become the star of the show!

Ingredients

    For the shells:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cashew flour*
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For the filling:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In your food processor, combine powdered sugar, cashew flour, and vanilla bean seeds. Process until very fine. Sift mixture into a large bowl. You may need to reprocess any large chunks that can't make it through the sifter.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat egg whites using the whisk on medium speed until light and frothy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Be patient, it will take a few minutes.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to egg whites and gently fold together using a spatula. Once ingredients are combined, fold for just an other few turns of the wrist--this is where you need to be very careful! Under-mix and you will have pointy shells and weird feet; under-mix and you will have a soupy mess. You want the batter to just barely stream off the spatula when you remove it. I err on the side of caution and smooth out points later if they arise.
  5. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" round tip. Carefully pipe mixture into circles about 1 1/2" in size. If tops are pointy, you may run your finger under water and gently smooth them. Let them stand for 30 minutes until tops are glossy and smooth to the touch.
  6. Bake until just set, about 10-12 minutes.Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow to cool completely.
  7. To make the buttercream, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds and beat until well combined. Add vanilla extract and milk if necessary (if the texture seems good, leave out the milk) and beat for an other minute. If you prefer a thinner buttercream, add addition milk 1/2 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  8. Gently remove macarons from baking sheet and place a small spoonful of filling on half of the shells, then top with remaining halves. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

*If you cannot find cashew flour, you can make your own in the food processor or using a nut grinder, or you may sub almond flour. *Macarons are best the next day. Make 24 hours in advance if possible. *Adapted from Oh Sweet Day

http://arismenu.com/vanilla-bean-cashew-macarons/

 

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

A simple, healthy dinner with smooth & melty mozzarella, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a decadent balsamic glaze. Looks impressive, but it’s so easy anyone could make it!

Pssssst….Stick around for a sweet giveaway at the end of this post!

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

Can you believe it’s almost February? I always forget how quickly February comes after the holidays. I feel like I’ve just finished celebrating Christmas and New Years, and before I know it everyone is asking what the plan is for my birthday, and I have no idea because February feels sooooo faaaaarrrr awaaaayyy.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

It’s okay though because Target refuses to let you forget. I swear someone comes in at midnight on Christmas day and explodes sappy Valentine’s Day pink and chocolate all over the place.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

You know what I do miss? Valentine’s Day at school. Like, in elementary school. You know when you were forced to make them for the entire class, and the day was so fun because you’d have parties in all of your classes, and you went home feeling totally sick after eating nothing but chocolate for 7 straight hours? I miss that.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

Usually these days we keep things pretty low key, and make dinner at home because we are both kind of anti social and avoid crowds at all costs. Plus, I love making something healthier and fancy at home where I can control what goes into it and get exactly what I want.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken: Simple, healthy, delicious and elegant with melty mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and a sweet balsamic glaze

Like this chicken! It’s seriously so healthy, but so impressive and it beats the pants off your average steakhouse dish. With melty mozzarella cheese and roasted tomato coming out in every bite, and the ridiculously good balsamic glaze drizzled on top, this dish will win anyone over for any occasion.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 chicken breast

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

A simple, healthy dinner with smooth & melty mozzarella, sweet roasted tomatoes, and a decadent balsamic glaze. Looks impressive, but it's so easy anyone could make it!

Ingredients

  • 2 x 6 oz chicken breasts
  • 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped*
  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a small baking sheet with nonstick spray. Lay tomato slices in a single layer. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes start to bubble and brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to 375. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, then either butterfly the chicken or pound out until thin. Fill each chicken breast with cheese and tomatoes. If you butterflied the chicken, then fold the top over and secure with toothpicks. If you pounded it out, then roll the chicken around fillings length-wise and secure with toothpicks. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and bake until chicken is fully cooked and juices run clean, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make the balsamic glaze by pouring balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-medium high to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce approaches desired thickness (it will continue to thicken when removed from heat). This took me about 30 minutes for a very syrupy glaze. 20-30 minutes should be all you need.
  4. Once chicken is finished cooking, top with fresh basil and balsamic glaze. You want to time the glaze so that it is ready when the chicken is cooked so it doesn't harden while you wait. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

*To chop fresh basil, roll tightly then thinly slice just before serving. It wilts very quickly, so you want to save it until the last minute.

http://arismenu.com/caprese-stuffed-chicken/

So to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or just celebrate our love for jewelry ;) ), I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite food bloggers to give away a $500 Tiffany’s gift card giveaway! This giveaway is furnished by, well, US! As a special gift for you guys to say I LOVE YOU!

 

Giveaway details:
The giveaway will be open from Monday January 27th, 2014 until Sunday February 2nd, 2014 (@ 11:59pm EST). You must be 18 years old to enter and you must live in the USA. One winner will receive a $500 Tiffany’s gift card.

Please check out my fellow recipe blogging buddies that are also hosting! They all have amazing recipe, beautiful photos, and lots of greatness to share with you!

Sponsored by: The Marvelous Misadventures of a FoodieAri’s MenuThe Wanderlust KitchenCountry CleaverAround My Family TableCrazy for CrustMacaroni and CheesecakeHealthy Seasonal RecipesYankee Kitchen NinjaEat. Drink. Love.Peanut Butter and PeppersCookie Monster CookingThe Messy BakerFabtastic Eats

Weekend Ramblings

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1. Yesterday I checked out this new-to-me place called The Main Event in Tempe. Apparently they have a bunch of locations in Texas also? Anyway, they have bowling, arcade games, laser tag, and pretty much everything else you could think of. We went bowling and had a blast! The best part was that after your turn, a little face pops up with the number of pins you got, and they were ridiculous.

2. Today I’m going to a food truck festival! I can’t wait to eat all sorts of creative food truck deliciousness.

3. All my favorite tv shows ended, so I’ve started re-watching Desperate Housewives. Okay, so what you want, but I freaking LOVE that show. I love how every single episode is named after a song from a Stephen Sondheim musical (#musicaltheatrenerd alert…), I love the drama, and I really freaking love Lynette’s character. I just feel like I get her, and the only other character I remember feeling that strongly about is Princess Anna from Frozen.

4. Speaking about Frozen, I can’t get enough. I’ve seen it 3 times, and would pay money to see it again. I think it might be my favorite Disney movie. I cried a little inside when I realized the sheet music wasn’t available yet. At least not in choral arrangements. When it is, you better believe ALL my kids will be singing it.

5. So I guess every endurance junkie gets to a point where this happens.

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There was a big bang/crash/etc. I asked my husband what happened, to which he responded “You have too many f**king medals”. He’s so eloquent.

6. I have a really sweet giveaway coming your way tomorrow. It’s Valentine’s Day themed. I actually kind of think Valentine’s Day is stupid, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying all the sappy love crap. To be honest, I’d rather just treat it like any other day with a cute little quirky gift and funny card. I usually get Steve things that are dachshund and bicycle themed.

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7. I’m kinda in love with Vine right now. Last weekend I made 4 videos that are probably only funny to me, and these two.

8. I have kind of a crazy couple of weeks coming up. Next weekend we head out to Huntington Beach for the Surf City 1/2 Marathon which leads right into Birthday-week (okay, I basically celebrate the entire MONTH of February–I freaking LOVE birthdays!), and then the day after my birthday (which is February 6th in case you’re curious ;) ) we leave for NYC!! My brother got accepted into an international orchestra (out of tens of thousands of people!) and will be playing at CARNEGIE HALL!

9. That means I get to spend my birthday with this guy for the first time ever. So freaking stoked.

10. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with personal trainer and pain specialist Cecilia Ticktin. Full disclosure: she offered me three sessions to share about my experience. Anyway, she has a truly amazing and inspirational story, and I absolutely loved my sessions with her! Here’s a little bit about her:

Health and Human Performance Coach Cecelia Ticktin Uses Lessons Learned in Her Personal Rehabilitation Experience to Teach YOU to Alleviate Chronic Pain, Overcome Injury, Optimize Athletic Performance, and Lose Weight / Keep It Off For Good.

 Call (609) 658-5551 today and mention offer code ARISMENU for a $37 evaluation!

Visit The StudioRead Some Testimonials or Inquire About Out Corporate Fit Program

“I am exceptional at what I do because I stayed purposefully tuned in through 8 years of severe chronic pain caused by a devastating car accident and the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), so that I could have emotional access to experiences that allow me to genuinely identify with and appreciate many of the difficult experiences my clients bring to me. I learned everything the hard way so you don’t have to.” – Cecelia

 

And that’s all for this weekend folks. So tell me, what show do you watch reruns of over and over and over?

Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza {Recipe Redux}

Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy!

A simple, sweet and healthy take on pizza with an almond meal crust, ricotta cheese, chopped fruit and a sweet honey drizzle. This dessert is unique, elegant, and a great snack for a party or get together.

Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy! Have I ever told you guys my pizza problems? Okay, first of all, I really love pizza, but I can never photograph it. Seriously, half the time I make pizza, I never post about it because I just find it near impossible. So much so that when I found out the theme for The Recipe Redux was pizza, my first feeling was dread, no matter how much I love the stuff. Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy! First I tried to make a gluten-free crust, but no matter how delicious it tasted (and the flavor was SO spot-on!), the texture was awwwwwful. It would not stay together at all, and it ended up pulling apart in small pieces. Didn’t stop us from digging in, but definitely not something I would share with you guys. Total bummer, Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy! The good news is that this little gem has been floating around in my mind for months. Ever since I made these scones, and the first batch was too thin and crispy, I really wanted to recreate it as a dessert pizza crust. The better news? It was even more delicious than I imagined! Dangerously good, in fact. Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy! Not only delicious, but with simple, healthy ingredients, and no grains or refined sugars + the protein from the almond flour and cheese, this dessert pizza could even be eaten for breakfast! Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza: Simple, unique, healthy and incredibly easy! You can use any fruit/toppings you’d like. I used dried figs, but fresh figs would be great, or dates, or sliced apple or banana. Or if you wanted to be a little crazy, some chopped dark chocolate would also be amazing. Feel free to modify and make it your own!

Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice

Honey Almond Ricotta Dessert Pizza

A simple, sweet and healthy take on pizza with an almond meal crust, ricotta cheese, chopped fruit and a sweet honey drizzle. This dessert is unique, elegant, and a great snack for a party or get together.

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • For topping:
  • 2/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 figs, chopped*
  • honey for drizzling

Instructions

  1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 350. Line a medium baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch. Add almond milk and honey. Mix until combined.
  3. Split dough in half, and roll each half into a ball, then press each ball down to about 1/4? thick disk. Bake as if for 10-12 minutes until golden and set. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Spread ricotta over completely cooled crusts, then top with figs and drizzle with honey. Slice each "pizza" into 6 equal pieces. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Notes

*Feel free to sub fresh figs, dates, apples, bananas, or anything you'd like!

http://arismenu.com/honey-almond-ricotta-dessert-pizza/



BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: An easy, hands-off and healthy weeknight dinner that makes you feel like you're at a fancy restaurant

A healthy, simple, gluten-free weeknight meal that makes you feels elegant, but easily comes together with practically no working time!

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: An easy, hands-off and healthy weeknight dinner that makes you feel like you're at a fancy restaurant

You.Guys. I have fallen in deep, deep love. Like, I just made this a couple of weeks ago, but every time I look at these photos, I just want to eat it all over again. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert…whatever. I don’t care. I want it all the time. 24/7.

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: An easy, hands-off and healthy weeknight dinner that makes you feel like you're at a fancy restaurant

I don’t like to brag, but I do have to say, I roast a mean sweet potato. It seems easy enough, right? Just toss it in the oven for an hour? Well yes…and sweet potatoes are so delicious all on their own that they will still taste amazing, but if you want the most delicious sweet potatoes you will ever taste, then I’ll let ya in on my little secret. ;)

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: An easy, hands-off and healthy weeknight dinner that makes you feel like you're at a fancy restaurant

Have you ever had a baked potato at Outback? They skin is coated with big flakes of sea salt. I’m pretty sure they also coat it with butter before they bake it, but whatev… That little touch takes it to the next level, so every time I roast sweet potatoes, I brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt.. You will be amazed how much that little step amplifies these bad boys!

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: An easy, hands-off and healthy weeknight dinner that makes you feel like you're at a fancy restaurant

The only way to make a perfectly roasted sweet potato even better? Stuff it with some delicious bbq chicken, then top it with some freshly crumbled goat cheese and green onion, and you have a dinner that will leave you dreaming about it for weeks afterwards!

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 stuffed sweet potato

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

A healthy, simple, gluten-free weeknight meal that makes you feels elegant, but easily comes together with practically no working time!

Ingredients

  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • 6 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 3-4 tbsp bbq sauce (preferably all natural & low sugar)
  • 1 oz freshly crumbled goat cheese
  • thinly sliced green onion for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Use a fork to poke several holes into sweet potatoes. Brush each sweet potato with approx 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle to coat lightly with sea salt. Roast until fork tender (meaning a fork easily slides right into the sweet potato), about 45-60 minutes depending on size of your potatoes.
  2. Heat chicken and bbq sauce in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until warm, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Slice cooked sweet potatoes down the middle leaving about an inch uncut. Stuff each potato with half the bbq chicken, then top with goat cheese and onion. Serve immediately.

Notes

To reduce cooking time, heat sweet potatoes in the microwave for 2-3 minutes before cooking. This usually reduces my cooking time to about 40 minutes.

http://arismenu.com/bbq-chicken-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: The perfect healthy, dairy-free, paleo friendly, protein packed snack or party food

Healthier, dairy-free and paleo friendly deviled eggs with a flavorful guacamole kick. The perfect protein-packed snack or party food.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: The perfect healthy, dairy-free, paleo friendly, protein packed snack or party food

I used to think deviled eggs were really weird. It probably goes back to when I was convinced I hated mayo. Okay, I still don’t not a mayo lover, but I also am not one of those people who won’t eat anything that’s been on the same plate as mayo, either. I feel like that’s rare. Mayo neutralism. It seems to be one of those polarizing things like eggnog.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: The perfect healthy, dairy-free, paleo friendly, protein packed snack or party food

Now eggnog I do feel very strongly about. In a love way. But mayo? Meh…I guess I just don’t really care, which is probably why I don’t use it. And I definitely didn’t use it here, but I guess what my point was is that I thought I hated deviled eggs because I thought I hated mayo. Kind of how I now “hate” hollandaise sauce, but really only because I haven’t tried it, and I won’t try it because I know deep down that I will probably like it, and the last thing I need in the world is to like yet an other thing that is filled with unnecessary calories. My love of pizza and chocolate has that covered. Oh, and eggnog.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: The perfect healthy, dairy-free, paleo friendly, protein packed snack or party food

One day I went over to my friend Emily’s house, and there were green deviled eggs. Ummm can we talk about how I just realized that these are green eggs….like green eggs and ham. I am freaking Dr. Seuss over here, but I just realized it. I should have rhymed this entire post, but then it would have been like that awful rhyming episode of How I Met Your Mother. I love that show, but that episode was the worst.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: The perfect healthy, dairy-free, paleo friendly, protein packed snack or party food

Okay, I’m sorry. There were green eggs, and I don’t remember if she called them guacamole deviled eggs or if that’s just what they reminded me of, but it was love at first bite. So much love that I had to recreate them. The result is a fresh, flavorful and totally addicting deviled egg that is unlike any you’ve had before.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 lime, zest & juice
  • small handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper for topping

Instructions

  1. Split hard boiled eggs length wise and scoop the yolks out into a medium mixing bowl. Add avocado, lime (zest and juice), cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, red pepper, salt and pepper to egg yolks and beat until well combined (I used an immersion blender).
  2. Use a piping bag, extra small cookie scoop or spoon to transfer egg yolk mixture evenly between the egg whites (you may have some extra left over). Top each egg with a small pinch of cayenne pepper. Eggs are best served day of, but leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
http://arismenu.com/guacamole-deviled-eggs/

Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Scramble

Buffalo Chicken Scramble: A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes!

A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes to get your day started off right!

Buffalo Chicken Scramble: A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes!

I feel like people have a lot of opinions about eggs. There is so much information about whether you should eat the whole egg, just the white, not eat eggs at all…oyyyy. Me? I am a huge fan of eggs, and I believe they are a great, healthy way to get in protein. Breakfast, lunch or dinner–they’re a favorite for me any time!

Buffalo Chicken Scramble: A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes!

I guess I’m a little old school though. I throw away a lot of egg yolks. In fact, last weekend I was making breakfast for some friends, and they all sat there watching me wondering what the heck I was doing with the yolks. I guess I try to get the best of both worlds. There are plenty of vitamins and healthy fat (and delicious flavor!) in the yolks, but also a lot of calories, where as the whites pack in much more protein for much fewer calories, fat and cholesterol. I’m a big believer in “Eat one whole egg + a bunch of whites”.

Buffalo Chicken Scramble: A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes!

Scrambled eggs used to just be a vehicle for me to get to loads of cheddar cheese and tons of salsa. Back in the day, we used to spend pretty much every night at Denny’s (ummm, that’s embarrassing…), and I would always order an egg skillet and a big side of salsa. I hate when they give you those tiny sides that you can’t dip into! Anyway, I would eat a little bit, then pick around the cheese. It was super healthy.

Buffalo Chicken Scramble: A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes!

Instead of pounds of cheese, I decided to add one of my favorite flavors to this scramble–buffalo chicken! With spicy buffalo sauce, filling and protein-packed chicken and eggs + some crunchy veggies and bold crumbled blue cheese, it’s the perfect way to jazz up your breakfast, lunch or dinner in no time!

Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Scramble

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Scramble

A bold and spicy protein-packed breakfast that comes together in minutes to get your day started off right!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 8 egg whites
  • splash milk (I use almond, but skim or low fat is fine)
  • 6 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce (I always use this one)*
  • For topping:
  • chopped celery
  • chopped baby carrots
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • freshly crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and milk in a large bowl until well combined. Reduce heat to medium low and add eggs to pan. Cook until eggs are fully cooked, about 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cooked chicken and buffalo sauce. Stir until all ingredients are warmed, about an other 2 minutes.
  3. Plate and top with veggies and blue cheese. Best eaten day of, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Notes

*You may use more or less buffalo sauce depending on taste.

http://arismenu.com/buffalo-chicken-breakfast-scramble/

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili--a bold, flavorful and healthy dinner with no cook time outside of the crockpot!

Warm, comforting chili filled with chicken, sweet potatoes, beans and veggies with ZERO cook time outside of the crockpot. Throw everything in before you leave for work, and come home to a delicious and healthy dinner.

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili.jpg

I’m only 3 days back into work after my 2 week break, and please tell me I’m not the only one tired already? I mean good tired, productive tired, the kind of tired that makes you want to dive in, push through, and get to the good stuff; not the kind of tired that leaves you needing an other vacation. So what I mean to say is: I’m pooped, but it’s awesome.

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However, I cannot even begin to pretend I actually have the motivation or energy to come home and cook in the evening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way, yes? Whether you’re tired from work, kids, or just life in general, there is nothing better than coming home to a delicious dinner that you can smell the second you pull into the garage. That’s one of my favorite things in life.

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I very rarely make a crockpot recipe that includes any kind of cooking before hand. If I have to brown meat and sauté veggies, I feel like I might as well just actually make dinner, and who has time to cook before they go to work? I can barely get it together in the morning as it is! The only thing you have to do with this chili is get the sweet potatoes started in the microwave. This isn’t even mandatory, but it is recommended to ensure they get all the way done–I hate when my sweet potatoes aren’t soft enough!

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Okay, so I have a confession. When I made this chili, I was trying to be so smart, and make a HUGE batch so ensure tons of leftovers. Well, that was great until I overfilled my crockpot, and little chili juices started running over the sides. I’ve filled that baby to the brim before, but this batch did it in! I finally decided that I need a second (and third) crockpot in my life. Did you know people actually do that? Own multiple crockpots? I need to become one of those people.

sweetpotatochili-27

Packed with nutritious sweet potatoes, lean protein-packed chicken, and plenty of spice–this dish will rock your world, and make you completely forget that it’s “healthy”.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: approx 8 servings

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Warm, comforting chili filled with chicken, sweet potatoes, beans and veggies with ZERO cook time outside of the crockpot. Throw everything in before you leave for work, and come home to a delicious and healthy dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 x 15 oz can black beans, not drained
  • 1 x 15 oz can pinto beans, not drained
  • 2 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (or orange, or yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • generous pinch salt and pepper
  • Optional for topping:
  • nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • fresh cilantro
  • freshly grated cheese of choice

Instructions

  1. Pierce sweet potato several times with a fork. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes. This is optional, but recommended for sweet potatoes to reach desired tenderness. Chop into 1" chunks.
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker. Layer sweet potatoes on top, followed by beans, tomatoes, veggies, garlic chipotle peppers and seasonings. Cook for 6 hours on low.
  3. Before serving, remove chicken breasts and use forks or tongs to shred. Chicken should pull apart very easily. Return chicken to crockpot and stir chili to combine, then serve. Leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

http://arismenu.com/sweet-potato-chicken-chili/

Thai Chicken Tacos

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

The bold flavors of chicken pad Thai in a simple, easy, healthy and gluten-free weeknight meal that comes together in minutes.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Have I ever told you about the taco shop? I mean, I guess I should call it by it’s name now that taco shops are becoming a thing, and there’s a bunch of them popping up all over the place, but I still always call it the taco shop.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Anyway, they have tons of creative tacos and everything is served a la carte, so you can get a couple different tacos, all the same, tacos with Mexican street corn (OMG…), or even try out their many varieties of salsa. It is basically a dream come true for this Mexican-food-aholic.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

I actually can’t believe I have never posted tacos on here before. I mean, I guess it’s because I never actually make them. I make this all the time, and this needs to happen again because it was freaking awesome, but never just regular tacos, and ummm, that needs to change because I think this dinner took me all of 10 minutes, and it was awesome.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

In addition to Mexican food, I am also obsessed with Thai food. Okay, I’m actually obsessed with peanut sauce. I mean, there are many Thai dishes that I absolutely love, but it always comes back to that peanut sauce for me. Peanut butter + spicy + just slightly sweet? How can that be bad??

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Well, actually one time I made the mistake of using someone else’s pad Thai recipe that I found on the internet. It was loaded with soy sauce, and even using the lower salt soy sauce, the peanut sauce just tasted like a mouthful of salt. And I LOVE salt. One day in the middle of a long run I came back home to refill my water and ground some sea salt onto a plate and ate it. By itself. Perhaps I should add that to things I should be embarrassed to admit on the internet…

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Anyway, my peanut sauce does not taste like pure salt. It’s the spicy, peanutty, slightly sweet goodness I mentioned before. And for these tacos, all you do is throw some shredded chicken and chopped veggies onto some corn tortillas, drizzle your new favorite peanut sauce on top, and then if you want to get fancy (or if you just want the best possible flavor combo) squeeze on some lime, throw in some of my favorite food (cilantro), add some crushed peanuts, and a drizzle of sriracha. You’ll find yourself looking at a dinner that seems so complicated and wondering how you made it happen in just a few minutes. Then when you taste it, you’ll want to recreate it every night forever (and ever).

Thai Chicken Tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

Serving Size: 2 tacos

Thai Chicken Tacos

The bold flavors of chicken pad Thai in a simple, easy, healthy and gluten-free weeknight meal that comes together in minutes.

Ingredients

    For the peanut sauce:
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha + more for drizzling
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Water, as needed
  • For the tacos:
  • 8 small corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 (8 oz) chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • Handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed peanuts

Instructions

  1. To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, coconut aminos, lime juice, sriracha and honey with 2 tbsp water until well combined. Continue to add water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce has reached desired consistency.
  2. To assemble tacos add chicken, red pepper, scallions, cilantro and peanuts to each warmed tortilla. Top with peanut sauce and drizzle with sriracha if desired. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/thai-chicken-tacos/

Honey Sesame Granola

Honey Sesame Granola -- Sweet, crunchy, healthy and wholesome

Sweet, crunchy, healthy and delicious honey sesame granola–the BEST granola I have ever tasted with just a handful of wholesome ingredients.

Honey Sesame Granola -- Sweet, crunchy, healthy and wholesome

I wasn’t going to post this yet. I wanted to fill my January posts with tons of healthy savory dinners that are easy and delicious–you know New Year’s Resolution food. Not that this isn’t, or shouldn’t be, but I was just planning on sharing the backlog of dinners sitting in my Lightroom, but instead I’m sharing my very favorite granola. From a girl who loves granola.

Honey Sesame Granola -- Sweet, crunchy, healthy and wholesome

I actually made it the first time a few months ago, and Steve and I both agreed it was our favorite, so when we were discussing what to do for Christmas stocking stuffers, we very quickly decided this had to be in the mix. It’s a huge batch (like all of my granola recipes) and makes about 12 cups which is just enough to give to our big combined family, a couple or friends, and of course, the bike shop.

Honey Sesame Granola -- Sweet, crunchy, healthy and wholesome

Christmas morning rolled around, and as everyone peaked into their stockings and started snacking on their granola, and everyone started asking me what was in it, and trying to steal the granola out of each other’s stockings. It was crazy. People with all different taste types (like, they would never order the same thing at a restaurant) were raving about it, and they all kept asking for me! Then I guess the guys at the bike shop have been hounding Steve about the recipe, so he told me I needed to post it.

Honey Sesame Granola -- Sweet, crunchy, healthy and wholesome

It’s the honey sesame cashews and honey sesame almonds from Trader Joe’s that make it really special. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, I’m sure you could recreate those on your own. Other than that, it’s SO simple. Just a handful of wholesome ingredients and only 2 tablespoons of oil in the entire batch! Definitely a great way to start your day off on a delicious and healthy note!

Honey Sesame Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: approx 12 cups

Honey Sesame Granola

Sweet, crunchy, healthy and delicious honey sesame granola--the BEST granola I have ever tasted with just a handful of wholesome ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups rolled oats (use gf if necessary)
  • 1 lb honey sesame almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb honey sesame cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, and cinnamon.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the apple butter, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined, whisking constantly. Add the honey mixture into the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between your 2 prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake until granola is golden and starts to crisp up, about 1 hour, stirring gently every 20 minutes to avoid burning. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The granola will stay fresh for at least one month. I’ve never made a batch last any longer than that, but it’s still great a month in!

Notes

If you'd like a more predominant sesame flavor, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sesame seeds to dry mixture (do not use toasted sesame seeds). I found there to be plenty from the honey sesame nuts, but you are welcome to add more!

If you want the extra large clusters in your granola, make sure when you stir granola while cooking that you are very gentle and careful

http://arismenu.com/honey-sesame-granola/

14 Things I Should Be Embarrassed to Admit on the Internet

ukulele

It’s time for a fresh start, or something like that? Actually, I have to admit that no matter how much I tried to protest the whole resolution/goal/whatever-you-want-to-call-it thing, yesterday after my run, I couldn’t help it. I felt…inspired (so cheesy), so I sat down and wrote out some goals in my little note application. It kinda felt like cheating to do it on my iPhone, but whatever. At first I only wrote running/racing related goals (I only have 3…WHO AM I?), but then I figured I should probably write some for life/the blog, so I did it. I resolved. I goal set-ed. I whatever-ed.

Anyway, one thing I would like to do this year is write a little more about my life. I used to do that, and then stopped and pretty much only posted recipes. So maybe no one will read my life posts other than my mom (actually I’m pretty sure she stopped reading when I stopped posting endless pictures of the granddogs), but I don’t really mind. I entertain myself. So I figured I’d start 2014 by telling you 14 kind of embarrassing things I probably shouldn’t admit to the world, but I have absolutely no shame.

1.

mean green

I fall off my bike all the time. Like, pretty much every time I ride my rode bike. And I still cry like a toddler almost every time it happens. My poor husband is always so sweet about it too, and he never makes me feel like a baby. If I were him, I would judge myself.

2. I will go to great lengths to avoid doing dishes. I’m talking I used too small of a bowl, and it’s completely overflowing, but I just keep trying to mix it so that I don’t have to get an other dish dirty. Obviously, this makes even more of a mess, but I keep pretending I am actually saving myself time in the long run. I never claimed to be smart.

3. I let me dogs lick my face. It’s gross. I don’t know why I do it, but I just love them and it doesn’t bother me. I would not however let a human lick my face. Freak, party of 1.

4. I don’t get even a little bit excited about babies. People show me babies, and I feel like I’m supposed to be happy about it, or worse, want to hold them. I have absolutely no interest. I love kids, and as soon as they’re 2-3 years old, I’d much prefer hanging out with them than grown-ups, but I’ve just never been a baby person. If I ever do have my own, I’d like to skip that whole part of it.

5. A few weeks ago, Steve was complaining about people who shuffle their feet (meaning my entire family), and I was teasing him that in 50 years he’d be doing the same thing, which he of course denied. I couldn’t leave it at that, so I had Siri go ahead and set up a reminder to tease him about shuffling his feat in 50 years. I wanted to show you a screen shot, but my power butter hasn’t worked for months, and of course I haven’t been to Apple to get it fixed because I hate errands.

6. The other day, I washed the same load of laundry a total of 4 times because I kept forgetting to put it in the dryer. Come over and use my towels. They seriously don’t get any cleaner than that.

7. I’m sure I’ve told you this before, but I seriously listen to the most depressing music. I was playing the ukulele with my friend Tara the other day (she bought one too, and now we totally jam like pros), and every song I suggested she would respond with “Ugghhh I HATE that song!” I don’t understand it. I feel like most people would agree that I have one of the world’s bubbliest personalities, but I just love the slow sad stuff. My whole adolescence went to the tune of Tori Amos…

8.

ukulele

 

Since receiving my ukulele, I have sent no less than 30 snap chats of me playing, and I guarantee you I don’t actually play well in a single one. In fact, my boss begged me to learn a new song after the 5th rendition of Leaving on a Jet Plane…

9. My Christmas lights/tree/decorations are all still up. I really suck at things like that…

10. I made it to level 380something of Candy Crush. I can’t even believe I wasted that much of my life on that dumb game. Today after spending 10 minutes going through all my lives on the same level I’ve been on for weeks, I finally had enough and deleted it off my phone. 2014: The year I actually get shit done because my life is no longer consumed by getting 2 multicolored candies and being able to use them together.

11. On New Year’s eve I passed out on my friend Jason’s couch at about 10:50 pm. I slept there in front of everyone until 11:59 when I grumbled “Happy New Year” and sleep walked to the car. I’m a party animal.

12. I started watching The Big Bang Theory this week. I’m already on season 2. I can’t believe it took me so long to start watching it. It is just so funny, and entirely too easy to waste a few hours binge watching.

13.

puppies

I have approximately 5 zillion nicknames for Clementine. In fact, I think I only ever call her Clementine if she’s in trouble. Normally it’s “Lemon”, but it gets as weird as things like “Biscuit”. I don’t even know. People are weird at home. Or maybe I’m just weird at home…

14. I still don’t know how to change my tube on Mean Green. Well, on any bike for that matter. I rode 107 miles knowing that if I got a flat I’d have to beg some random cyclist to help me, or watch a YouTube video. I really need to learn, but have you ever tried learning a skill from your husband? Well, maybe your is better at teaching than mine, but I spend the entire time critiquing his teaching methods, and end up learning nothing. Clearly his fault, right?

YOUR TURN! What’s something you should be embarrassed to admit on the internet that you want to share with me and my approximately 6 readers? ;)

 

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

Super easy, fast and healthy gluten-free pretzel crusted chicken nuggets with a creamy nonfat Greek yogurt maple mustard dipping sauce. The perfect dinner to get your entire family eating healthy!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

Happy New Year! I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really into New Years as a whole, but I do like that everyone seems to be more focused on health in general, and after way too many Christmas cookies, I have to say I am ready to have some healthy food back in my life.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

I have to say, I probably lived off McDonald’s chicken nuggets (with ranch dressing of course) for a good portion of my life. In fact, the only time I would usually choose chicken was in the form of deep-fried nuggets.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

I went on a group ride a couple of months ago and someone was telling me about how they had made chicken coated in crushed pretzels, and I was immediately intrigued. I decided to give it a try using my go-to chicken nugget recipe. Yes, I have a go-to chicken  nugget recipe, and you should too. If you ask me, it should be this one. ;)

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

I have been a huge fan of Glutino’s pretzels since long before we started eating gluten-free (and no, this isn’t sponsored…pretty sure they have no idea I exist). They are so.much.better. than regular pretzels, and everyone I’ve offered them to at home agrees with me. They taste light and buttery, and have a perfect crunch that you can taste even when they’re baked onto this chicken.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets -- Super easy, fast and healthy dinner the whole family can enjoy. Using gluten-free pretzels and paired with a creamy maple mustard dipping sauce

I added a whole bunch of spices because we all know I like my food bold and flavorful, but they are more suggestions. Use whatever you like–add extra cayenne and make them spicy, or some rosemary and basil for an Italian feel. Dry herbs will work best, but have fun with it and come up with a flavor combo that you love most!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Super easy, fast and healthy gluten-free pretzel crusted chicken nuggets with a creamy nonfat Greek yogurt maple mustard dipping sauce. The perfect dinner to get your entire family eating healthy!

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping cups pretzels (I used Glutino), crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp Spike seasoning (opt. or replace with seasoning of choice)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1" cubes
  • 2 eggs (or 3 egg whites), lightly beaten
  • For the Maple Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • 1 heaping cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mustard (I used a sweet and spicy honey mustard)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Place wire rack inside of a large baking dish and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large shallow bowl, combine crushed pretzels, parmesan cheese, and seasonings. Place beaten egg whites in a separate shallow bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in egg whites, then coat completely in pretzel mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet (on the rack so that the bottoms will cook evenly).
  3. Bake until golden and chicken juices run clean, about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients for your dipping sauce. Chicken is best served immediately, but leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Notes

All spices may be changed/altered to suit your tastes, and whatever you already have at home.

http://arismenu.com/pretzel-crusted-chicken-nuggets/