Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

I’m going to Connecticut this weekend for an early Thanksgiving meal with my dad’s side of the family. I told them I’d bring dessert so I whipped up some yummy buttery sugar cookies. No, they’re not healthy. But I’ve made them less bad-for-you with a little help from my friends. Want to meet them?

Mr. Arthur

Suga suga

Mrs. Balance

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temp (I zapped my sticks for 30 seconds to soften them up quickly)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour

What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat
  3. If you want to be a pro, measure out flour sift the flour into a bowl and set aside (I’d rather have one less bowl to clean than be a pro so I skipped this part)
  4. Cream butter and sugar together with an electronic mixer
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Add the flour slowly
  7. Roll 3/4 tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten before placing on the cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes (took me 9) until the edges turn a slight golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack (if you have one! I’m not that sophisticated yet so I used the rack in my toaster oven!)

Cream of butter and sugar ❤

aerial view of the sugar babies. The cookies got bigger as I went!

I know I didn't need another picture of them but I like this view

Poor (but creative!) student's cooling rack 🙂

Nom nom nom. Of course I tried them. Really yummy. I think I’m experiencing a sugar coma now, though. I mayyyyy have had a ton of dough–luckily there’s no salmonella risk in this recipe!

Happy Friday!


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Hey all,

Second day blogging in a row–woot! I have a ton of things to do but I think I may be more energized and focused after some writing, so here I am!

After graduating from Muhlenberg College this past spring, I moved to Burlington to live with the boy and start my MSW program. Since moving in, sprucing up and decorating the apartment has taken up a big chunk of my time. This summer I completely revamped an old dresser I bought for $50 at a thrift store and I painted every room in the apartment except for the kitchen (I’m waiting on new shelving before I do that). Recently we’ve added some more furniture, rugs, and some decorations. Here’s where we’re at!

The bedroom

Paintings I did. Inspired by Georgia OKeefe

More bed room, featuring the dresser I refurbished

Living Room. P.S. my mom got that chair for free!

Since we don’t have side tables or a coffee table, I made a tray that matches the decor in the living room which we can place in the center of the couch and put food, drinks, and anything else on. I purchased an unfinished wooden tray from a craft store, painted it a beige color and then hot glued blue patterned paper onto the bottom. I sealed the wood and paper with polyurethane so that it would be water resistant (it’s not water proof but stains can be cleaned off with a sponge). Here’s the finished product!

Above my desk in the office (featuring adaptable vision boards)

Shelves I made out of snowboards in the office

The bathroom isn’t too exciting but you can see pictures of it here.

As I mentioned, I’m waiting on some new cabinets for the kitchen. In January my landlord is having wooden cabinets put in. This will be a welcome change from the dirty, dented, metal cabinets from the 70s that we have now! After that I’m going to paint the kitchen blue! I’ll document it all 🙂

And noooooooow lettuce-less salad!

During a break in class earlier this week, I was craving salad. I mentioned it to one of my friends in the program and she said “go with it!”–my thoughts exactly! I enjoyed a small garden salad with italian dressing both days of class this week (monday and tuesday) and then I made myself a lettuce-less salad for dinner last night and had the same for lunch today! I got the idea for lettuce-less salad from Julie at pbfingers.com. When I saw the lettuce-less salads she was making I really thought she was onto something. Lettuce is FINE with me but it’s kind of boring…and I don’t want to waste money on boring things! So I whipped this concoction up last night.

In the mix: black beans, broccoli slaw, julienned zucchini, chopped cucumber, chopped green pepper, and adzuki, pea and lentil seeds + italian dressing.

Got this for less than 2 bucks! Good deal for 7 grams of protein in a one cup, 89 calorie serving!

I’m on a salad binge and I’m lovin’ it! 😉

What’s your favorite salad concoction?

Talk to y’all soon!

So I wasn’t really into the Jillian Michaels brownies I made 😦 . Quite sad, I was hoping for a good healthy brownie! Other people who have tried this have liked it, though. Both blogger, Pretend Cook, and one of the teenage foster girls I work with really liked them so maybe my taste buds are just on strike.

Sad, they look so good. What a tease!

For dinner I made Garlic-Chile Flank Steak, originally from Eating Well Magazine. It was REALLY good and I didn’t over cook it (this is a big deal for me with steak)!

Steak and veggies

Tender + Juicy = Eat Me!

Did you notice the lack of potatoes to go with my steak and the massive amounts of green on my plate? I hope so! I’m working on eating the right portions so I’ve decided to do two things for every plate of dinner I eat:

  1. At least half of it will be filled with veggies
  2. The other half will be home to the animal protein and grain.
  3. Each serving of meat I eat will be no larger than a deck of cards (which is the recommended portion size)

These rules are pretty easy to follow and they really do help me get the amount of each type of nutrient I’m supposed to have. Some grains and protein and lots and lots of veggies! I’m lucky I’ve always been a vegetable lover!

Questions for You:

Do you like veggies? If so, what’s your favorite veggie dish and how do you make it? If you don’t like veggies, how do you find ways to sneak them into your diet?

You May be Interested in:

Making Sense of Portion Sizes – MealsMatter.org

The WebMD Portion Size Plate

How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

10 Ways to Control Portions – About.com

Hummus adds creamy garlic flavor (and protein!) to breaded chicken cutlets.

I tried this recipe from Sabra.com last night. It was such a quick and easy recipe that turned out to be awesome! It’s even boyfriend approved 😉 He was wondering what my “special sauce” was. Who knew hummus could disguise itself so deliciously well! Try this out on a day you’re not feeling too up to a complicated meal–you can whip this one up quickly and easily. Even better, stuff them the night before work so all you have to do is throw them in the pan when you get back. Almost a pre-made meal!

What you need:

  • ½ cup Sabra hummus (choose your favorite variety)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5-6 ounces each, tenderloins removed)
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, egg whites only
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs, Panko are the best
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup olive oil

What you do:

  1. Place trimmed chicken breast in a large, Ziploc, plastic bag. Pound with a meat pounder or a rolling pin until ¼ inch thick. Repeat with all chicken breasts, each breast should be about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide.
  2. Lay the chicken breasts smooth side down on work surface and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly about 2 tablespoons hummus on the chicken breasts leaving about ½ inch border all around. Roll each chicken breast and wrap each rolled breast in a sheet of aluminum foil (or plastic wrap works also). Twist the ends like a candy wrapper and chill in the refrigerator about 45 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 400° degrees. Using 3 pie plates (or shallow dishes) pour the flour in one, lightly whisk the egg whites and water in the other and place the breadcrumbs in the other. Unwrap the chicken breasts and using tongs, roll in the flour (shake off excess), then submerge in the egg whites (let the excess drip off) and then finally place in the breadcrumbs, use your fingers to press the breadcrumbs so that they stick.
  4. Heat 1/4-cup olive oil in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering, about 4 minutes. Place the rolled chicken breasts in the oil, seam side down. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes on all sides. Put the chicken breasts (seam side down) in a baking dish and cook about 15 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, slice on a bias into 4 or 5 pieces. I like to serve this dish with a side of vegetables, such as sautéed Spinach-see below, or a side of rice for a more filling meal.

Made a really good dessert last night that took literally 30 seconds to make.

All you need is store-bought chocolate peanut butter (or make your own) and strawberries. Scoop some peanut butter into a bowl, zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds, dip your strawb, place in mouth, melt.

Skinny indulgence in a jar

Good nutrition, check! Wholesome ingredients, check! (Double Click to check it out for yourself!)

Easy peasy dipping "sauce"

So good, how could this have protein and antioxidants in it?

*Suitable for Phase 2 of South Beach Diet

Question:

What’s your go-to quick dessert?

I made this tonight (with my new All-Clad saute pan!!! I looove it) and it’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. Very filling, flavorful, and full of protein and veggies! Those of you who don’t like it hot might want to omit the red pepper flakes and chili sauce but beware, it probably won’t taste as good!

Stir crazy: in progress

Tasty Thai: Success!

What You Need:

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Chicken stock
¼ cup Low sodium soy or tamari sauce
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Fish sauce
3 tablespoons Sweetener (I used sucanat)
3 tablespoons Peanut Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, halved and sliced into strips
1-1 ½ lbs Chicken, cubed
5 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ cup Chili sauce
2 Bell Peppers
1 cup Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Sprouts (Any kind but soy sprouts have tons of protein)
3 Plum tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 ½ cups Fresh basil leaves (Thai is best but I used Genovese)
Ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 Lime (or lemon)

What You Do:

  1. Prepare quinoa (Rinse quinoa to remove bitter coating, boil the chicken stock, pour in quinoa, simmer until moisture is absorbed)
  2. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sweetener. Set aside.
  3. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add onions and chicken.
  4. When onions are fragrant, add garlic and chili sauce and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add bell peppers, mushrooms, sprouts, tomatoes, and basil and stir-fry until soft.
  6. Turn heat down to medium and add ground pepper and red pepper flakes. Squeeze lime directly over ingredients in pan.
  7. Serve stir fry over a bed of quinoa and a few spoonfuls of sauce from the pan. Enjoy!

Question for the Foodies:

What’s your favorite grain?

Mine is quinoa. I love the texture and the fact that it’s protein packed. Mix it with veggies and you have an easy, well-rounded dinner! I just bought hard red wheat berries today so I’ll be trying those in a recipe for the first time soon. Stay tuned!

May Be of Interest:

Quinoa, my Favorite Grain!

Dan is really good at throwing together a meal off the top of his head. He isn’t really into recipes and what he makes is usually so amazing it boggles my mind that he could have winged it! What he makes is usually pretty simple to create and fast too. Wish I could cook like him!

When I came back from my walk down to Lake Champlain this morning, he was making something that looked so yummy and delicious, I had to let you all know about it.

The Egg and Cheese Pack on the Protein

Our kitchen is so small, poor Dan had to deal with me watching his every move. I wanted to know exactly how to make it!

And I did!

What You Need (for each sandwich):

  • 1 Whole grain Arnold’s sandwich thin
  • 1 egg
  • Salsa
  • Reduced fat sour cream
  • Reduced fat cheese of your choice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

What You Do:

  1. Sprinkle some cheese on one half of the sandwich thin and place on a griddle (or pan) on medium heat/350 degrees until the cheese melts. Place the sandwich thin on a serving plate.
  2. Make an egg sunny side up.
  3. Spread a spoonful of sour cream on the other half of the sandwich thin and place the egg on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread a spoonful of salsa on top of the cheese.
  5. Unite the two halves and enjoy!

Welcome!

For some reason this picture temporarily cannot be viewed
I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at AlixandraWest@gmail.com. You can also anonymously ask me questions at http://www.formspring.me/HealthyBalance1 I would love to hear from you!

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