Category: BLOG POSTS

Starbucks Passion Iced Tea Lemonade Dupe – Calorie Free

I love Starbucks Passion Iced Tea Lemonade – like LOOOOOVE it!  It is refreshing, delicious and I love the pink color.  So when I found a pack of the Starbucks Passion Iced Tea in the tea aisle of my supermarket I snatched it up.  My first inclination was to  simply make the tea and add some of my Monin Calorie Free Sweetener and enjoy another one of my fave Starbucks drinks, their Passion Iced Tea.  There were other plans for this delicious tea though and I must share.

The combination is so simple, yet so delicious and as the title reads, it is calorie free. 🙂  So drumroll….the secret is Crystal Light Lemonade.  Not only does this make this drink almost calorie free, it makes it crazy good and taste just like the Starbucks Passion Iced Tea Lemonade.

I can’t say enough about this crazy delicious drink, except that you must try it.  So delicious, so easy and almost calorie free.  Need I say more?  Try it!

Date Sweetened Chocolate Chip Cookies

Date Sweetened Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Stay with me here…I was not a believer – at all.  When it comes to chocolate chip cookies  I am a purist.  Butter, sugar (the good stuff – think C&H), brown sugar and all-purpose white flour is the direction my cookies go.  So, the unhealthy kind is where my head is at.  While I still adore chocolate chip cookies, especially my tried and true all-time favorite recipe that you must try (click here), these Date Sweetened Chocolate Chip Cookies are an awesome and healthier alternative.

Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili

I have mentioned several times that I love one pot meals and one of my favorite one pot meals is Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili.  It is amazing!  I actually can’t believe that it has taken me so long to blog about this dynamite dish since it is my all time favorite chili recipe.  I have made this for football parties, for lunch on a rainy day and when I need a weeknight meal on a busy evening.     The other plus to this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and the longer it sits the better this chili gets.

So let’s talk about the ingredients.  I love that the main protein in this chili is turkey, you could use ground beef, however I absolutely love the clean, lean taste of turkey.   The addition of white beans is another clean flavor that really makes this chili recipe different from other chili recipes.  Then there are the spices, from chili powder to red pepper and many flavors in between there is some serious flavor going on.   One of the last ingredients I was very surprised to see is the addition of corn meal that acts as a binder to thicken the chili up.  I think this is a genius addition since corn naturally complements chili so well.

I hope I have sold you on making this chili.  It is delicious, healthy and the perfect chili to serve your friends and family.

Ingredients
4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons Emeril’s Southwest Essence, recipe follows
1 2/3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro’tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (original), undrained
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, undrained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
Tortillas (optional)

Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Directions

In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and jalapeno until soft and beginning to caramelize, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey, Southwest Essence, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is browned and cooked through, 6 minutes. Add the cornmeal and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, canned chiles, and cilantro stems and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cannellini beans. Add the heavy cream and cilantro leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer.

Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with cheese and cilantro.

 

 

 

Gaga for Goji Berries & Their Many Health Benefits

I have gone completely gaga for goji berries & their many health benefits!  These dried gems are my new  favorite snack to munch on and to include in my favorite recipes.  From granola, yogurt and salads, these versatile berries offer a plethora of health benefits in a tiny, delicious bite.

So, what makes goji berries so great?  Not only are they loaded with anti-oxidants, these little treats have helped me feel more calm, energetic and find myself sleeping better.  After turning 40 I have tried to  incorporate superfoods in my diet more and more and goji berries are one of those superfoods.

I purchase my goji berries dried from the bulk food section at Whole Foods.  I find that they are the most cost effective way to purchase them, although in a pinch you can also find them on Amazon.

I can’ wait to share an absolutely delicious, healthy fudge recipe that incorporates goji berries as well as a few other superfoods.  Stay tuned…

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Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever slaved over a meal to only have your family either not eat it or simply give you that indifferent look while they force it down?  If you haven’t you’re lucky, however unfortunately I have had this scenario happen to me more than once.  So, I can’t begin to explain my shock when I made this Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese that my crew loved.  In fact they claimed this was the best bolognese I have ever made.   Uh, ok…noted, I will never slave over my more complex bolognese sauces in the future.

So let me explain how this easy recipe came to be.  I became discombobulated and dizzy on Monday.  I thought I was just experiencing a bad headache, however when I continued to feel like I was on a moving boat on Wednesday I decided to go to the doctor.  I can’t tell you how relieved to find out I had vertigo.  All I can say is I was sooooooo relieved to be diagnosed with a medical condition and know that this was not all in my head.

Since I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for some fresh ingredients (and because my family had not had a home cooked meal in days) I decided to throw together a spaghetti bolognese.  Ingredients are simple pantry staples with the exception of some basil, garlic and parmesan I had on hand.  There is no lengthy simmering of sauce and because I used 93% lean ground turkey the meal was low fat as well.

So here is my recipe for Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese.  I hope you enjoy

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese
(serves 4-6 people depending on how hungry your crew is)

Ingredients
1-2 T. olive oil
1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
1 – 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 garlic cloves minced (I use 4 and it is super garlicky so you may want to start with 1 to be safe)
1 beef flavoring packet from Top Ramen (remove beef flavor packet and either discard the noodles or save noodles for later)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
basil to chiffonade
parmesan
1 lb. spaghetti*, cooked according to package directions (reserve about a cup of the cooking water)
*I use gluten free, but use whatever you have on hand

cooking bolognese sauce
cooking bolognese sauce

Directions
Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Brown ground turkey (after it cooked, because the meat is so lean I do not drain the fat out, but you certainly could if you’d like).

Add tomato sauce, garlic, beef flavoring packet, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer on medium low heat about 10 minutes and taste with salt and pepper.   If sauce reduces too much or is too thick to your liking, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Place in pasta bowls or plates and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese.

spaghetti bolognese closeup