01.17.2013

Edible Indulgences

Homemade, Healthy Popsicles 

Panzanella: The Perfect BBQ Side

Meal Plan 2

Weekend Breakfasts

Strawberry Basil Martini

3 Fish Tacos, 3 Salsas

Meal Plan for a Day

Super Beet Salad

Healthy Dining Out Tips

Skinny Maple Bacon Donuts

The Adult Cheeze-it

Bloody Mary Bar Under 160 Calories

4 Breakfasts Under 350 Calories

Pumpkin Pecan Crescent Rolls

Layers…and More Layers

Style Spotter + Shades of Grey

Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts

Two-Bite Apple Tarts

Skinny Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

The Perfect Fall Soup

Parmesan, Basil, Lemon Zest Crisps

Skinny Mac and Cheese

French Vanilla Iced Coffee

Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sweet Potato & Kale Pizza

Breakfast Sandwich 2

Breakfast Sandwich 1

Skinny Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Deliciously Green

The Hummingbird Cocktail

Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip

Bison Burger

Cheese + Fruit Potstickers

Peach + Feta Salad

Moscow Mules 

Salty Dogs

Carb-less Bruschetta 

Grilled Peaches 

Guilt Free Popsicles 

Pear + Prosciutto Appetizers

Mango + Black Bean Salsa

His & Hers Healthy Pizza

Summertime Kabobs

Brussel Sprouts

Spanish Paella

Cava Sangria

The Rice Cake: A Versatile Snacking Canvas

Super Skinny Ahi Salad

Halibut’s Healthy Helper

Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

Your Healthiest Fast Food Options:

Are you constantly on the go? Ever forget to pack enough food to sustain you? Or, do you ever feel like simply buying food rather than going through the effort of making it yourself? We’ve all been there, and the secret to indulging in the always available fast food is doing it mindfully. There are those obvious options that are CLEARLY not ideal in terms of health, but let’s not write it off completely. For those instances when you’re on the go and need a quick meal, we’ve put together a list of your best fast-food options.

Subway:subway-logo-eat-fresh-2

6″ turkey breast sandwich: comes in at only 280 calories and 3.5g of fat. Plus, you get to add all the veggies you want, boosting its nutritional value!

6″ turkey and black forest ham with spinach: 290 calories, 4g fat

6″ veggie delight: 230 calories, 4.5g fat

6″ oven roasted chicken OR roast beef: 320 calories, 5g fat

Flame Broiler:

photo credit: www.moneypages.com
photo credit: www.moneypages.com

A bowl of all white meat chicken and veggies, and brown rice: just 440 calories, less than 4g fat, and over 40g of protein! This is a popular dinner for us!

In N Out:

photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

Protein Style Hamburger (with onion): 240 calories, 17g of fat. Add cheese: add 90 calories and 8g of fat.

McDonalds: 

photo credit: logos.wiki.com
photo credit: logos.wiki.com

Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap or Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled): 250 calories, 8g fat

Fruit n Yogurt Parfait: 150 calories, 2g fat

Snack size fruit and walnuts: 210 calories, 8g fate

Fruit and maple oatmeal: 290 calories, 4g fat

NOTE: Don’t be fooled by McDonald’s wide selection of salads-some of their dressings are incredibly fattening! If you’re getting a salad, opt for the Newman’s Own Low fat Balsamic Vinagarette or Low Fat Italian Dressing.

Taco Bell:

photo credit: logomojo.com
photo credit: logomojo.com

Fresco Chicken Soft Taco: 150 calories, 3.5g of fat

Fresco Grilled Steak Taco: 160 calories, 4.5g fat

Jack in the box:

photo credit: en.wikipedia.org
photo credit: en.wikipedia.org

Grilled Chicken Strips with Teriyaki dipping sauce: 310 calories, 8g fat

Chicken Fajita Pita with whole grain pita (w/no salsa): 320 calories, 11g fat

Grilled Chicken salad: 250 calories, 9g fat-note, this is WITHOUT dressing! If you’re going to get a salad at Jack in the Box, add about 200 calories and 10-15g fat unless you get the low fat balsamic vinaigrette.

Starbucks (because who doesn’t go to Starbucks every once in a while?!)

Everything with Cheese Bagel: 290 calories, 2g fat

Multigrain bagel: 300 calories, 3g fat

photo credit: www.examiner.com
photo credit: www.examiner.com

Plain bagel: 280 calories, 1g fat

Chicken and hummus bistro box: 260 calories, 7g fat

Steel cut oatmeal: 150 calories, 2.5g fat

Turkey bacon and white cheddar breakfast sandwich: 320 calories, 7g fat

Parfait (peach/raspberry or strawberry/blueberry): 290 calories, 3.5 g fat

There are healthy alternatives at these common fast food restaurants, the key is to looking for them and being mindful when ordering. If you do this, then you can enjoy these quick, inexpensive meals without the guilt! Enjoy!

-Allison

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Sunday Morning French Toast:

Have you ever woken up on the weekends (well, okay, any morning…) and had the intense craving for a childhood favorite? For me those typically include pancakes, waffles, french toast, all those breakfast goodies that fall under the “indulgent” category. Well, I get these cravings frequently. Instead of denying myself of these breakfast delights, I have simply found alternative ways of making them that don’t take away from the taste AND are friendly to the waist line! Isn’t that the true balance?? Find below one of my favorites. I call it “Sunday Morning French Toast.” Pair this with some tea, coffee, or an espresso and you have a delightfully relaxing weekend (or any day of the week) breakfast!

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french toast #2

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I hope you find this just as delicious as the hubby and I do (on a very regular basis)!!

Enjoy & thanks for reading!

<3, Shannon

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Green Superfood #4:

PearsCan you guess what super food we are talking about this week? PEARS! I LOVE pears… so much so that I have given you two ways to incorporate them into an itsy bitsy indulgence life style! Why are they so good for you, besides their amazing taste? Well, first of all they are SUPER high in fiber which is great for preventing digestive problems (just think of all those unpleasant possibilities, no need for me to list them) and they can protect against cancerous colon growths, lower blood cholesterol, and ward against blood sugar spikes! Need another reason to eat pears?? I’ll give you two choices, that way you won’t have any excuses!

Option 1: Peel the pear, slice it in half, and then take one half and cut into slivered pieces. Take one tablespoon of Almond Butter (my personal favorite) and divide it across the pear slices. This is a simple 130 calorie snack!

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Option 2: A Pear Bellini… Okay, so you have to balance out the alcohol somehow! This is light and refreshing. I served it at a dinner party we had this past weekend. Take two pears, peel them, cut them into pieces, place in a blender/food processor to puree (it will look like baby food when it is done), divide it among 4-6 champagne flutes, and then top with a BRUT champagne or sparkling wine! Then, enjoy responsibly!

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{Did you see the Angel Food Cupcakes?? Those were amazing too!}

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Cheers to good friends!

Thanks for reading!

<3 Shannon

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Green Superfood #3:

Our next green superfood is a bit unconventional: it’s green tea! So it may not actually be the color green, but it’s in the name and it’s definitely a superfood! Green tea has so many fantastic benefits for you, but let’s go over just a few:

~Tea is fat burning! Green tea’s massive amounts of antioxidants increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, leading to increased fat burn. This can also boost exercise and muscle endurance!

~Tea can decrease the risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease, and other degenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for example). It can also lower cholesterol and help regulate heart rate.

~ Tea helps fight free radicals-these free radicals can damage DNA that can potentially cause cancer and other serious diseases.

~Along that note, tea can help ward off cancer with its powerful antioxidative and free radical fighting properties.

~The caffeine in tea can provide an energy boost as well as a boost to your metabolism, and its hydrating effects make you feel full. All this could lead to a slimmer, trimmer waistline!

There are just a few of the reasons green tea is a superfood (in addition to the fact that it tastes delicious). But let’s add some variety: when it’s cold, I’m all about the hot tea, and when it gets warm (like it is these days), I go for the refreshing iced tea:

This stuff is delicious-green tea lemonade….sweetened by stevia so there are no artificial sweeteners!
Hot tea enjoyed from my favorite mug Wendy gave me one Christmas

You can get the Steaz in a variety of flavors (though not all are calorie free) from Whole Foods! I will make one note though: drinking hot tea (40-90 degrees celsius) significantly increases release of antioxidants by 4-9.5 fold! That may be worth an extra couple minutes to wait for the water to get good and hot!

Also, green tea is not the only tea with these benefits-you can get similar benefits from black tea and oolong tea as well. For an extra health kick, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum!

-Allison

References:

Langely-Evans, S.C. 2000. Antioxidant potential of green and black tea determined using the ferric reducing power (FRAP) assay. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 51(3) 181-188.

Newcomber, L. 2012. 13 reasons tea is good for you. Time Magazine. healthland.time.com/2012/9/04/13-reasons-to-love-tea.

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St. Patty’s Day Drinks:

With St. Patrick’s Day just a few days away, I’m feeling green and festive. So to honor the holiday, this post is all about variations of St. Patty’s drinks that you can enjoy the whole weekend long!

The first is a sweet twist on the classic Bailey’s hot chocolate:

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It’s been a warm couple days so I made this an “iced hot chocolate” of sorts. I used our Keurig Coffee Maker to brew the hot chocolate (Green Mountain hot chocolate cups…the best hot chocolate I’ve had in a very long time!) Then, mix that hot chocolate with 1-2 oz of Bailey’s (depending on how you like your drinks).To add a little something extra, I pureed some cinnamon marshmallows and put it in the shaker. After shaking all that good stuff up, I topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. It was a delicious spring/summer twist to a traditionally Irish winter drink!

The next is my favorite-an original creation- The Emerald Irish: I’m a fan of Jameson Whiskey, and St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to drink it. This drink magically turns green when you combine: 2 oz Jameson, 1-1.5 oz Rose’s Lime Juice, and 1 oz. Blue Curacao. It sounds funky, but once they’re all combined and shaken, they create a lovely emerald green color with a delightfully tropical taste:

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Coat the rim with some green sugar sprinkles to be extra festive! Remember to adjust these ingredients to your taste!

Finally: The classic green beer. However, I’m kind of a beer rookie, and dark beers, like the traditional Guiness, is way too dark and coffee-tasting to me. So I decided to try an alternative, lighter Irish beer and decided on Harp Lager (on sale right now at Total Wine!)

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If you’re trying to keep with the festive approach, pour 2-3 drops of green food coloring into the beer and you’ve made green beer!

Hope you find a way to celebrate this fun holiday in a festive, tasty (and responsible!) way! May the luck of the Irish be with you!

-Allison

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Green Superfood #2:

Continuing with our green superfood series, I present you…the green smoothie! Now, let me clear something up. By smoothie, I do NOT mean juice. Blending and juicing are VERY different. I used to swear by juicing, claiming that I was getting all my essential vitamins and minerals via juicing. WRONG. This is a big misconception about juicing. Did you know that all that junk the juicer spits out (the “pulp”) is where 70-80% of the fiber and antioxidants are? That means that when you juice, you’re literally throwing away all that important stuff that is often hidden in the stems, seeds, etc. that the juicer disposes of! Yikes!

As opposed to juicing, which chops up or grinds your food, blending simply purees it into liquid form, meaning you are still drinking every single part of the fruit/vegetable…including those high fiber/antioxidant parts! In addition, blending incorporates air into your smoothie, making you feel fuller faster!

Don’t get me wrong, juicing is great when you want to get an extra boost, or when you want something tasty or flavorful in addition to a meal…but relying on these juices for your daily servings of veggies and/or meal replacement is not sufficient.

On that note, I made a green smoothie this morning that made me feel full and satisfied! The ingredients are:

1 cup spinach

1 cup kale

1 cup strawberries (halved)

1 half a pineapple spear

1 half a yellow peach

1 serving pomegranate-cranberry joint juice (liquid glucosamine- great for joint health and tastes yummy without a bunch of sugar! You can get this stuff at Costco).

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Crush the ice, then liquify and….
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Voila! You’ve got a not-so-appetizing-looking drink that tastes yummy and keeps you satisfied! Since kale and spinach can add a bitter, grassy taste to drinks, it’s important to incorporate fruits with dominant tastes, such as pineapple to overpower these potentially unpleasant tastes. However, this smoothie could be made with so many different options! And you could always utilize trial and error-have fun with it!

-Allison

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Super Chips:

It’s March, which means everything (or just some things) should be green in order to honor St. Patrick’s Day! Therefore, in honor of this green month, we are going green (though not necessarily environmentally speaking) and featuring a variety of ways to incorporate this color into your daily life this month. To start, we will be featuring one green superfood a week, and a different way of cooking/eating it. This week, we’re featuring KALE! To me, kale is the super-est superfood. It has loads of Vitamin C, fiber and flavenoids (contributing to anti-inflammatory effects). Not to mention they have been proven to reduce the risk of five of the most common cancers, as well as lower cholesterol. Is there any reason we shouldn’t be eating kale?

However, I’m one of those unfortunate people who craves chips and salty foods. Constantly. Clearly, Cheetos (even the baked kind) are not my best option. So when I heard of kale chips I figured it was worth a shot! So I came up with this recipe that is extremely easy and quick! Seriously, the worst cook in America could make this!

Ingredients:

At least 3 large curly kale leaves (this is the most common type of kale found in grocery stores)

2 garlic cloves

Olive oil

a pinch of salt

a pinch of pepper

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Start tearing the leaves of the kale off, making sure not to include any of the stem. The stems do not crisp in the oven, and they just add an unpleasant chewiness if not removed. Use A LOT-once they start cooking they will shrink like you wouldn’t believe. Put the leaves on a cookie sheet.

Dice the 2 garlic cloves and spread across the cookie sheet on top of the kale. This will infuse a delicious garlic-y flavor!

Drizzle olive oil on top of kale, as much as you desire (I try not to use too much…olive oil is great for you: lots of heart-healthy fats… but only in moderation!)

Sprinkle a pinch of salt over kale, as well as a bit of pepper.

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Broil in the over at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Turn them over halfway through (at 5 minutes).

Voila! That’s all it takes! Pull them out of the oven and you have a cancer-busting, immune-boosting snack/side for any meal…all while satisfying your cravings!

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I hope you feel extra super after making these! Stay tuned for more GREEN things!

-Allison

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Sweet & Spicy Salmon:

Getting creative with mid-week meals can be complicated. Chicken, salmon, and veggies can get rather bland after a while, especially when you are trying to stay healthy! The other night I really wanted a lighter meal, but didn’t want it to simply be grilled. So I looked in my refrigerator and found some ingredients I thought might taste good together. I combined sirracha (2 tablespoons), trader joe’s sweet chili sauce (1/2 cup), and some honey (just a little squeeze) to make a simple, quick, and delicious salmon marinade. I marinaded it for about an hour, in a zip-lock bag (in the refrigerator), and then grilled it on the stove top (about 5 minutes each side, or until the salmon is flakey). It was light, moist, and scrumptious! Not too spicy and not too sweet, the perfect balance! The best part? It was so simple and added just the right amount of variation to the typical mid-week menu! I combined it with some brown rice (3/4 cup to be exact), quinoa would be excellent as well, and green beans for a complete meal!

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If you try this out, leave a comment below and let me know how it went!

WINNER!!

The winner of our SpaFinder giveaway is navarro.ruby (this is the first part of the e-mail address submitted)!

(Each follower was given a number based on the order that they began following. The numbers were then placed into a random integer generator, which gave us the winning number.)

Please send us your mailing information so we can get you your gift certificate ASAP (so you can plan your indulgence)! E-mail us at shannonpulsifer@gmail.com

Thanks for reading,

<3 Shannon

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Thin Mint Cheesecake

It’s that time of year again-time to open up our wallets, bellies, and maybe even waistlines for those infamous, and oh so delicious girl scout cookies. My personal weakness? The classic Thin Mint. I was talking to my mom the other day after purchasing a few (5) boxes, and she suggested that we should concoct something utilizing these delicious dandies. It took about .15 seconds for my mind to jump to cheesecake (one of my favorite desserts…cheese in dessert form? It literally doesn’t get much better). So I decided to create my very first original dessert: The Thin Mint Cheesecake-Cheesecake with Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint crust. Is your mouth watering yet?

Start with a box of thin mints. One sleeve at a time, put the cookies into the food processor until they are super fine and soft.

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Next, in a small bowl combine the cookie crumbs with the melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch springform pan. Set aside.

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In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla. Add the eggs and yolk at once. Stir in milk.

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Pour the mixture into the pan and place the pan in a water bath. To do this, fill a shallow baking pan 1/3-1/2 way with water, and place the cheesecake pan in it. Put in oven, preheated to 375) degrees. Bake 45-50 minutes. It’s done when it no longer jiggles.

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When you take it out of the oven, cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan and cool for 30 more minutes. Cool for an hour, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (this is a necessary step! I got impatient and cut a piece for myself about 2 hours in and it had not set yet. Still delicious, but not quite firm enough!)

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Ingredients:

1 box of Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mints

2/3 cup butter, melted

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened)-I used reduced fat but you can use whatever you want!

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk for extra nutrition/taste!)

This was an experiment gone right that my whole family has enjoyed, and I hope you will too!

*****Interested in our giveaway!? To be eligible to win the SpaFinder gift certificate you must:

1. Be an “itsybitsyindulgences” follower (you can do this by clicking the “follow” button on our page)

2. Share itsybitsyindulgences.com on your Facebook page

For an extra entry:

1. Leave a comment on this or following blog posts!

Giveaway closes on 2.25.13 and the winner will be drawn at random

-Allison

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Oat Bars:

I recently went to my favorite coffee shop and shared an Oat Bar with my mom. Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to find a lighter, healthier version that I could indulge in on a daily basis as a mid-morning snack. As I perused pinterest, I came across this wonderful recipe that made soft, moist, and hunger satisfying oat bars. Not to mention low cal (90 calories per bar), so no guilt indulging in these little treats (AND! I know every ingredient that went into them…. as opposed to the oh-so delicious power bars that are out there).

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The ingredients included rolled oats, cranberries, 2 bananas, almonds, applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla. I smashed the bananas, chopped the walnuts, and combined the applesauce with the vanilla and cinnamon. Then I combined it all in my mixer and let it stand for about 10 minutes.

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After, I divided out the mixture, onto parchment lined cookie sheets, into 12 bars. Cooked them in the oven and let them cool for about 30 minutes. My husband LOVED these, as did I. I have been eating them with apples for a hearty mid morning snack. I think they would be delicious with chocolate chips in them too! I’ll save that for another day, another indulgence.

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~Shannon <3

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Frozen Yogurt Delight:

One of my fondest memories from childhood was going to the local frozen yogurt shop (mind you, there was only one…. this was before the big frozen yogurt boom), Goldmine, with my Nana and Papa. I would get a mini chocolate with hot fudge and sit and chat with them (chat as much as a 5 year old can). I can recall many times I went to this same shop with my mom for an after school treat in elementary school or with my girlfriends in high school after football games. I think that’s why I love frozen yogurt so much now… it’s sort of like comfort food for me! I don’t discriminate…. I’ll take it in any form with any topping! One of my favorite ways to get creative with frozen yogurt is by making a super simple frozen yogurt pie. It’s light, not going to break the healthy eating pattern, and will definitely satisfy any sweets craving you are having! My mom taught me how to make this (if you really need to be “taught” how to make this pie, it’s that simple) when I was in high school and I haven’t stopped since! You’ll want to start with a Quart (yes, you read that right) size of your favorite frozen yogurt flavor, from your favorite frozen yogurt shop (I chose chocolate malt, vanilla bean, and toffee for my flavors from my favorite Golden Spoon shop), and a reduced fat graham cracker crust (which you can find at any supermarket).

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To get started you will remove all of the contents from the yogurt container into the graham cracker crust

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Then, using a spatula, spread the yogurt around the crust evenly. Be gentle though, you don’t want to break the crust!

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Then, decorate it in any way your heart desires! I am clearly loving the Valentine’s day holiday decorations, so I made mine with pink, red, and white sprinkles, and cut up some strawberries!

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Cut yourself a serving based on how big of a piece your heart desires!

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Enjoy! I know I did!

Stay tuned for the next blog post… I’ll give you a hint.. it has to do with survivng Valentine’s day in the single and mingling world!

~Shannon <3

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Healthy Pizza-yes, you read that right!

There is no way around it. I love food! Even more though, I love when I can make typically unhealthy indulgences in a healthy way. I attribute it to portion control and ingredients. Tonight I made homemade pizza for the hubby and me. A typical pizza can run you any where from 250-400  calories a slice! Per slice??? I can’t stop at one slice of pizza, so I opt for a homemade, lighter option. Tonight I decided that I  wanted a simple margherita pizza. I bought all of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s. From start to finish it took about 40 minutes, which isn’t bad since I was making two different pizzas.

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I used chopped basil, sliced Roma tomatoes, 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce, and 1 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese (the Canadian bacon and mushrooms were for my hubby’s pizza).

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I then rolled out the dough (whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s), with my hands, onto the pizza pan (which I had previously sprayed with non-stick spray).

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Next, I added the sauce, cheese, tomatoes, and basil. I placed it in the oven, (preheated to 425 degrees) on the top rack for 13 minutes, then moved it to the bottom rack for another 10 minutes.

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After removing it from the oven, let it stand for about 5 minutes.

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Then cut it into 8 even slices for a delicious dinner! I calculated the calories for this pizza, and per slice the count was 168…. I allowed myself to indulge in 3 slices… for a total of 504 calories! So delicious and guilt free!

~ Shannon <3

Hump Day Delight:

Happy Hump Day! Congratulations for making it this far! We decided to have a mini midweek celebration, and what better way than with cupcakes?! You have to reward yourself for making it this far! It is so important to provide yourself a little positive reinforcement, no matter how small, to reward yourself for all your hard work and motivate you to get through the last two days. Doing something good for yourself (whatever that may be) is a great form of self care, which is SO important in keeping stress and anxiety at a minimum.

With this in mind, we decided to have a sister night and bake up a tasty treat. We hit up one of our favorite websites, SkinnyTaste, for a skinny, pink cupcake (hubby was out of town). These cupcakes were absolutely delicious, super moist, and low fat, since almost all the oil was replaced with applesauce (which makes them super moist)! We were definitely left wanting more, but we figured one was sufficient for an itsy bitsy indulgence.

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Hope you find a way to reward yourself, too! If so, we’d love to hear about it!

-Shannon and Allison

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A Deliciously Simple, healthy, and fresh pasta sauce!

-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1/2 chopped onion

-2 garlic cloves, chopped

-2 cans of 14.5 oz organic diced tomatoes (make sure the first ingredient in these and ALL tomato sauces is tomatoes, otherwise it’s all a bunch of fake stuff)

-2 tbsp parmesan cheese (I use Trader Joes Grated Parmesan Cheese- there are only 20 calories and 1g fat in one serving!) The parmesan cheese helps to thicken the sauce.

-1/2 tsp Parsely*

-1/2 tsp Oregano*

-1 tsp Basil*

-1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

*I used dried herbs since the cold weather has basically frozen/killed our collection of fresh herbs in my backyard, and this meal was last minute so I didn’t have time to run to the store. But hey, you roll with the punches, right?

I poured this on top of my gluten-free, brown rice pasta since I’m gluten free. It turned out perfectly since the sauce offered the necessary flavor, and cooking brown rice pasta a little longer makes it really soft and a little sticky, so it was the perfect texture for my dad. Talk about a last minute success!

Sprinkle with a bit more parmesan cheese and you've got yourself a healthy, delicious pasta dinner!
Sprinkle with a bit more parmesan cheese and you’ve got yourself a healthy, delicious pasta dinner!