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Posted on Mar 3, 2014 in Food, Recipes | 228 comments

Great Eggspectations (Giveaway!)

As you guys already know from last week’s egg-cellent post (ha!), I’ve got a small obsession with, well, eggs right now. But I’ve started to realize that it really extends to more than just eggs. It’s a current obsession with breakfast food in general. And just like the period I went through when I watched Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version) four times in a single weekend once in college (including one time when the credits finished rolling, the start menu came back up, and I just picked up the remote and pressed “Play” again), I’ve been bitten by the obsession bug baaaad. Like, breakfast for dinner every other night for the past couple of weeks-bad.

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It really is a bit of a weird food streak right now, actually, because aside from always wanting bacon (who doesn’t?) and the occasional pancake craving, I’ve never really been THAT into breakfast food. Sure, the novelty of brinner was fun every once in a while, but it’s never been like this. Maybe it’s just all of the years spent not eating breakfast finally catching up with me?

Either way, when an opportunity came along from AllWhites® egg whites egging me on (double ha!) to dive even deeper into my crazy cat lady obsession exploration of these foods, I couldn’t exactly say no!

Here’s a run-down of facts about AllWhites from the good people who make it:

AllWhites is a great source of lean protein, with five grams of lean protein and just 25 calories per serving. AllWhites is a fat-free, cholesterol-free and low-calorie alternative to shell eggs.

And for those of you who participate in the program, AllWhites is endorsed by Weight Watchers® and has 0 PointsPlus value per serving.

For recipe purposes, here are the recommended conversion amounts when substituting AllWhites for shell eggs:

- 3 tbsp of AllWhites = Approx. 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup of AllWhites = Approx. 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup of AllWhites = Approx. 4 large eggs

Now, as someone who most definitely appreciates a good runny yolk but recognizes that — especially when it comes to cooking — using multiple whole eggs can add up quickly on the caloric scale, I fully appreciate the convenience and calorie-cutting power of egg whites. Plus, as the self-proclaimed master of weirdo breakfast combinations (What? Pasta, guacamole, and leftover steak are a totally legit breakfast combo, right?) it helps to know that at least one of the ingredients that I might be using is actually breakfast appropriate. Plus, hello? I get that egg yolks have their own nutritional value, but at 70 calories per egg vs. 25 calories per serving of egg whites, who says you can’t have your low-fat cake and eat it too?

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Introducing the latest in what has now become a rather lengthy lineup of Gretchen’s Breakfast Food Creations: the smoked salmon crepe-uritto!

This delicious culinary confection combines so very many of my favorite things: crepes, smoked salmon, cream cheese, eating with my hands… it’s like a bagel and lox that you don’t have to feel guilty about! Or a breakfast burrito, only fancy. Delicious, filling, nutritious, and only 150 calories per crepe — WHAT! You could eat both servings and have a totally satisfying, full breakfast… or dinner… for only 300 calories. You are oh so very welcome.

Smoked Salmon Crepe-uritto
Makes 2 crepes

Ingredients:
For the crepe:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp AllWhites® egg whites or 1 whole egg
2 tbsp almond milk, milk, soy milk, whatevs.
Very small pat butter or nonstick spray

For the filling:
3 oz smoked salmon
2 tbsp whipped cream cheese
1 tsp green onion, finely chopped

Instructions:

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar (if using) in a bowl. Add egg whites and milk, and mix with a small whisk or fork.

2. Heat pan (preferably nonstick) to medium heat. Spray liberally with nonstick spray or melt butter in pan, then add half of the crepe batter. Swirl the batter quickly and evenly around the pan, then allow to cook for ~30 seconds (you have to work pretty fast!). Flip to the other side, cook for another 20 – 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Repeat for the second crepe.

3. Spread one tablespoon of cream cheese on each open crepe and add half of the smoked salmon and green onion. Roll up and enjoy!

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Nutritional info per crepe: 151 calories, 4.7 grams fat (healthy fat!), 13 grams carbs, 12.5 grams protein.

It’s the perfect grab-n-go breakfast if you still have to worry about that sort of thing (mwahaha), and it’s much better for you than an egg mcmuffin (and fancier, too!). I know crepes are kind of scary to think about making, but I promise, they are the easiest and quickest thing in the world! You could even add in some spinach or other greens into the wrap if you wanted to up the nutritional ante even further! Make it now, thank me later!

So not only do you now have this delicious new recipe in your arsenal, but you’re about to get your chance to win some monaaaay! AllWhites and BlogHer are generously offering you guys the opportunity to win a $100 Visa gift card (!!) as part of this campaign!

To enter, just comment on this blog answering the following question: How do you fuel the way to a healthier you?

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 3/3/2014-3/31/2014.
Be sure to visit the AllWhites® egg whites brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

This post was sponsored by AllWhites® egg whites and I received compensation for my content. But all words, photos, and opinions are my own!)

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Posted on Jan 28, 2014 in Food, Recipes, Reviews | 68 comments

Butternut Squash and Beer Mac & Cheese (Giveaway!)

*The winners for this giveaway have been announced! Please check this post to see if you won!*

‘Ello gov’nah! This morning I have a very, very special post for you, complete with giveaway! As some of you may already know, the illustrious, fantabulous Cassie from Back to Her Roots recently had her first (of many, I hope!) cookbook published: Cooking with Greek Yogurt.

Cooking with Greek Yogurt by Cassie Johnston

Not only is it impressive to get a cookbook published in the first place, but Cassie did almost EVERYTHING when it came to this book: the writing, the recipe creation, the photography, AND the design/layout/font selections/you name it. And as anyone who has visited her blog or has seen her design work in the past (including the cover of my own book!) knows, she has an amazing aesthetic and her personality shines through every page of this cookbook. The colors are vibrant, the photos are gorgeous, the tone of the writing is playful but easy to understand, and the recipes are pure gold. This is one damn beautiful cookbook, ladies and gents.

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I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of the book, and spent days poring over each recipe, trying to figure out where the heck I was supposed to start. Ultimately, I gave a few of her smoothie recipes and sauce combos (Sriracha spiced greek yogurt?! Why didn’t I think of that!) a spin before making the following recipe and knowing THIS was the one I had to share with all of you.

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Lo and behold, Beer & Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Right? RIGHT?! It was tastes just as awesome as it sounds, and with the amazing addition of hidden veggies AND the protein-packed Greek yog, it’s just about the healthiest mac and cheese I’ve ever had!

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I paired it with some chicken meatballs and it was soooo good. Creamy and cheesy without being heavy, and just a little bit tangy… mmm. Even Sean loved it, and I’ve never known him to willingly eat butternut squash anything in the entire time we’ve been dating! It complements the dish that well. So, without further adieu:

beer & butternut squash mac and cheese
From Cooking with Greek Yogurt by Cassie Johnston (reprinted with permission)

The inspiration for this fun twist on mac and cheese comes from my love of local beer. The cheese sauce combines Greek yogurt with wheat beer, butternut squash, and a mixture of two cheeses to get an incredibly unique dish.

INGREDIENTS:
1 (12 ounce) package whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cubed
3/4 cup wheat beer
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a 9 x 9-inch baking dish by spraying it liberally with cooking spray. Cook
elbow macaroni according to package directions, omitting fat and salt. Drain and set aside. In a large
saucepan, combine squash, beer, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and
simmer until squash is very tender, about 25 minutes. The mixture may begin to separate; this is fine.
Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, or a standard blender with the
steam vent removed, blend squash mixture together until very smooth and creamy. Pour mixture into a
large mixing bowl and stir in yogurt, Gruyère, Romano, and butter until cheeses are melted. Add in elbow
macaroni and stir until well coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs
evenly over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is browned and crunchy, and sauce is thickened.

Nutritional info per 1/8th serving: 245 calories, 13g fat, 17g carbs, 15g protein.

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I ended up making just a few adjustments based on what was available in my pantry (and because I have a REALLY hard time following recipes to the tee… I guess I’m just a kitchen rebel like that), but they were really small. I used two cloves of garlic instead of one (love my garlic!), didn’t have skim milk and didn’t think that vanilla almond milk would go very well haha, so I used 1/2 a cup of heavy cream + 1/2 a cup of water, and I ended up realizing after the fact that the box of pasta I used was larger than a normal 12 oz. package of macaroni elbows (’cause I got it from Costco). So there just wasn’t quite as much sauce per bite as there normally would have been, but really that worked out in the end because MOAR LEFTOVERS FOR ME BWAHAHA.

Either way, it turned out DELICIOUS, was incredibly easy, and VERY filling — the absolute definition of win-win-win! So I give major thanks to Cassie for giving me an awesome new recipe to add to my repertoire, and YOU are about to give major thanks to her too — because it’s GIVEAWAY TIIIIIME!

Yep, Cassie and her publisher are giving away two free copies of her cookbook! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post answering this question:

What’s your favorite way to use Greek yogurt?

I’ll announce the winners later this week. Good luck!

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Posted on Dec 12, 2013 in Recipes | 0 comments

Light ‘n’ Easy Almond Eggnog (Dairy Free!)

I know, I know. I’m pretty much the worst blogger ever now. But hey, blame it on my job or the sequel that I’m still pumping out or the fact that right now it’s holiday everything or… well, whatever you want to blame it on, really. And then rest assured that I am indeed alive, just not quite the blogging fiend that I was at this time last year, for the moment. I always bounce back to you wonderful folks though, and I’m sure that eventually I’ll be back in full blogging swing — just not right now, le sigh.

Which honestly is kind of a shame, because blogging about the holidays always just served to contribute additional warm fuzzies. I mean, you guys already know how much I EFFING LOVE CHRISTMAS, and getting to share that through pics of decorations and sweater-clad schnauzers and whatnot was always a lot of fun. Buuuut, as all of you well know, life priorities are constantly shifting, and blogging has never been, nor likely will it ever be, a full-time job for me, and thus is probably never going to be at the tippity top of my priority list. But that doesn’t mean I can’t miss it!

Aaanyway, back to the matter at hand. Though I may not be taking unrelenting photos of it all, I am indeed still whiling away in the kitchen every now and again. And since the holidays are one of my favorite times to try my hand at lightening up old recipes so that I can indulge in all the fun (with half the guilt), I’ve been doing a lot of holiday recipe experimentation lately! So thanks to my friends at Almond Breeze, who are constantly pushing me to be creative with my, er, creation of recipes, I now bring you a light and creamy (not to mention incredibly easy!) homemade eggnog recipe that won’t set my tummy a-rumblin’ because it is dairy-free! Huzzah!

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Light ‘n’ Easy Almond Eggnog
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used Almond Breeze Vanilla)
4 egg yolks (separate out the whites and keep them to make an egg white scramble or use in your royal icing or something!)
1 dash ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar (or sweetener of choice)

Instructions:

1. Combine almond milk, egg yolks, and sugar in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat, constantly stirring, until mixture begins steaming, about 5 minutes.
2. Add spices and extracts, combining gently and continuing to stir for an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Mixture should begin thickening slightly.
3. If you like a thicker ‘nog, allow to cool before consuming. You can do this quickly by immersing the pot in cold water, or by simply allowing it to come to room temperature naturally. Garnish with additional nutmeg and a cinnamon stick, if desired!

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Yup, easy as that! And I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet, which is that the grand total of calories for this decadent treat comes to… 100 calories! Ta-daaaaa! Plus the fact that it’s cream-free definitely helps those of us who are lactose-challenged (something for which my digestive track is eternally thankful!)

I hope you’re all having the most wonderful of holidays, and I certainly am going to try my best to get back into the swing of regular blogging (how many times have I said that now? Ha…!) in the New Year. After all, I’m certainly not immune to those New Year’s resolutions… and I’m sure I’ll need all the help I can get!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Oct 30, 2013 in Recipes | 11 comments

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Oh, Autumn. How I love thee so. With you comes crisp weather, apple-based desserts, and, perhaps my favorite thing of all, pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Seriously, you can’t walk three steps through the mall come Fall without bumping into something pumpkin-related. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin perfume (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it!). Of course, it’s not really like I’m complaining. I looooove pumpkin! Especially when it comes in the pie variety (something I’m very much looking forward to, come Thanksgiving).

Unfortunately, my impatient nature doesn’t really bode well for the whole “wait until Turkey Day” thing when it comes to pumpkin pie. But, then again, it’s not like I can just eat a slice of pumpkin pie every day. Or, well, I mean, I could, but I really shouldn’t. Enter: the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. There are TONS of pumpkin pie smoothie recipes out there! I’m sure that September and October bring nothing BUT pumpkin smoothie recipes to the healthy living blogosphere. But. Let me tell you something. All those other smoothies? They usually have a whoooooole lotta stuff in them. Stuff like frozen bananas and almond butter and QUINOA FLOUR. Things that, my friends, you simply would never find in a pumpkin pie.

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My solution? A true, simple, minimal-ingredient recipe that will give your tastebuds a treat without A) packing on the pie-induced pounds, and B) actually tastes like pumpkin pie. And hey, bonus! It’s vegan! #winning

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Makes 1 very large serving or 2 smaller ones — it’s quite filling so I definitely recommend sharing with a friend!)

Ingredients:

1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix — I use Libby’s)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice

Instructions:

As with all smoothies, the instructions are:

1. Put ingredients into a blender.
2. Blend.
3. Enjoy!

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almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 8 comments

Boozy Vegan* Hot Chocolate

*Well, I suppose that depending on your definition of vegan, this recipe is only vegan-ish. But we’ll get to that.

So. The government has shut down. And while Ron Swanson is probably having the best day of his life…

… a lot of people are very unsure as to what their future (and their future paychecks!) may hold. And hey, I get it! While most government contractors and federal employees have gone quite a while between shutdowns, let us remember that I used to work for the FAA. Which meant going through the emotional unquiet that is an impending, looming, potential FAA shutdown at least twice a year. I’m definitely grateful that my job now is unaffected by the shutdown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain of all my nearest and dearest.

So I’m trying to help in the only way I can: by giving you a recipe that makes it’s totally acceptable to start getting sauced first thing in the AM. Enter: Boozy hot chocolate. I mean, hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

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Besides, I suddenly found myself with a couple of flippin’ adorable custom whiskey airplane bottles, thanks to one Miss–oops, I mean MRS!–Army Pants and Flip Flops, whose wedding I attended last weekend. :D

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Boozy Vegan Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 large steaming mug

Ingredients:

2 cups Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk (I used original unsweetened)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp honey (this is where the whole maybe-it’s-not-really-vegan argument can begin — just replace with sweetener of choice if you don’t want to use honey)
3 tbsp whiskey (sorry kiddos, these tricks are for adults only)

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat almond milk on medium heat.
2. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. Stir until combined (the lumps in the cocoa will continue to break apart as the milk heats up.)
3. Add in whiskey, stir to combine, then pour into a mug. Top with whipped cream, if you have some available, and enjoy!

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This recipe is sure to put some warm-fuzzies in your belly, believe you me. I mean, I may or may not be a little bit buzzed while writing this post… though to be fair, I didn’t even use the entire airplane bottle in the recipe! 3 tbsp uses up about 3/4 of the bottle. But it didn’t really seem fair to just leave that little bit left in the bottle all by its lonesome, so…

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Just consider me having poured one out (into my mouth) for my government homies. Salud! You can also clearly make this a non-alcoholic (but still vegan-ish) hot chocolate simply by omitting the whiskey. If you do that, it might be fun to try adding in a tsp of various extracts — mint, almond, etc!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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