Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 15, 2015

Protein Truffles

The challenge- make something for Valentine’s Day that both my sweetheart and me would indulge in for Valentine’s Day. After much interest research I found two recipes. One on epicurious.com and one on jesselanewellness.com. Recipe links posted below.

5-minute truffle recipe

  • 1/2 cup natural almond butter (or nut/seed butter of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or honey, agave nectar or pure maple syrup)
  • 2/3 cup packed protein powder (I used chocolate IsaLean by Isagenix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond milk if necessary
  • Suggested coatings: unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder, matcha powder, finely chopped almonds, toasted sesame seeds.

1. Mix the nut or seed butter, honey, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Add the protein powder, stirring until completely combined (mixture will be firm).

2. Protein powders vary in terms of their dryness. Hence if the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more protein powder, or some ground oats or flaxseed meal, until the mixture comes together as a dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add some milk (I used almond milk) or water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together as a dough.

3. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hands and shape into 1-inch balls.

4. If desired, place one or more of the suggested coatings in small shallow dishes. Roll each ball in the coating, gently pressing to adhere. Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

I was able to make about 12, 1″ balls. They come in at approximately 145 calories per serving. They’re super dense and filling. We rolled ours in organic unsweetened flake coconut.IMG_9796

Chocolate Almond Protein Truffles (I found these to be more like a no-bake cookie)

  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used vanilla IsaLean by Isagenix)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (to roll truffles in)
  1. In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients, protein powder, cacao, & cinnamon
  2. In another bowl mix together almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Place the mixture in the fridge to stiffen for 30 minutes.
  4. Form the mixture into 12 truffles and roll them in the finely chopped almonds. Place in the freezer to set for at least an hour.
  5. The protein truffles are best enjoyed straight out of the freezer because they tend to melt as the warm up.

These came in a little higher at 185 calories (probably due to the coconut oil). Again, super dense and totally worth making. Please make sure to keep both of these in the fridge!

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Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 4, 2015

Easy Peasy Chicken Stock

So, this is more of a method than a recipe. You really can adjust the “recipe” depending upon what you have on hand. Have parsley? Throw it in. Have celery? Throw it in.. you get the point.

Whenever I make a roast chicken I am religious about saving the carcass. I fix all the ingredients right away in the slow cooker, and put the slow cooker insert & lid in the fridge. That way it’s ready to go in the morning and I don’t need to fuss!

INGREDIENTSstock1

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 2 carrots, roughly cut into 3-4 pieces each (no need to peel)
  • 2 ribs celery, same as above
  • 1 large onion, washed, peel on, cut in half or in quarters
  • one bunch parsley
  • salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS

In your slow cooker, place the chicken carcass, and all the other ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper and cover with cold water until all ingredients are covered (don’t worry if a bit of the breast bone sticks out). Cook on low 10-12 hours. stockWhen done, strain over cheese cloth or a fine strainer into a pot (use for chicken soup) or into mason jars for freezing (these keep very well in the freezer- and it’s great to have stock on hand whenever you need).

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 4, 2015

Perfect Roast Chicken

To some, roast chicken is, “old people food”.. I never really got that. I can only imagine that they’ve never had a properly delicious roasted chicken.

A good roast chicken is a thing of beauty. Moist, delicious, and something you can make many meals out of. I’ve paraded many  roast chicken in front of company, Christmas dinner.. well, you get the point.

There are some VERY important rules when roasting chicken. FullSizeRender

1.  Bring your chicken to room temperature. This allows it to cook evenly.

2.  Roast your chicken on high heat. REALLY high. I’m going to ask you to cook at a temperature you may have never cooked- that would be 500 degrees!

3. You want to cook your chicken (or, for that matter any meat) to its proper temperature. Don’t hack into the chicken to see if it is cooked. All that will accomplish is you’ll dry out the bird. I suggest you invest in this amazing meat thermometer. It has a probe that you place in the thickest part of the meat, and the thermometer sits on your counter, eliminating the need to keep opening the oven and releasing the heat. This is the exact one I have on Amazon.com (note- I don’t make any commission off of this if you purchase it). I’ve had it for over 5 years and it always gives me consistent results.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roasting chicken- preferably all natural, no antibiotics, etc. (5-7 pounds)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of sage, 8 leaves rolled and sliced and reserved.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt & fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your own to 500 degrees. Gently pat dry the chicken, inside and out with paper towel (take a look inside and remove the giblets & neck- either reserve for a future use, or discard). Pour a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan, smear about and then place the chicken in the roasting pan.

chickenFullSizeRender

In a small bowl, mix garlic, reserved sliced sage leaves, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Mix well.  With your finger, carefully separate the skin from the chicken breast to create a pocket on both sides of the breast bone, taking care not to rip the skin. Once teaspoon at a time, “stuff” the garlic-sage mixture into the space between the skin and the chicken breast. There will be some sage-garlic mixture remaining. Rub the remaining mixture on the outside of the bird, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the oven and roast at 500 degrees until the internal temperature of the chicken is 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer figure 10 minutes per pound of chicken (so 1 hour for a 6 pound bird).

Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes on a cutting board prior to carving, or your run the risk of allowing all the juice to run out and the chicken to become dry. chickendone

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. And remember, do NOT throw out the chicken carcass.. I’ll be posting an easy-peasy method to make chicken stock in your slow cooker! You’ll never have to buy stock again 🙂

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 1, 2015

Super Bowl (or anytime) chili

Here’s an adaptation of Rachael Ray’s feed-a-neighbor turkey chili. I made a few changes as I omitted the corn and pumped up some of the vegetables.. see below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, 97% or 99% lean (I used 99%)
  • salt & coarse black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons/palmfuls of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons/palmfuls of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon/palmful of ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño or spicy pepper of your choice, chopped finely
  • 2 medium zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken or turkey stockchili

Heat a deep pot or dutch oven (I’m partial to a good enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pot. Add ground turkey and brown and crumble until the turkey turns white. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and coriander, and stir to mix into the turkey. Add onions, peppers, garlic, zucchini and jalapeño (or other spicy pepper) and cook 8-10 minutes to soften. Add the tomatoes, beans and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Check for salt & pepper- re-season if necessary.

I make mine a day ahead, and let it chill out overnight in the fridge to let the flavors really develop.

Approximately 8 servings at 355 calories per serving.

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 29, 2015

Moroccan Salmon

Unfortunately, I do NOT live close to a Trader Joe’s. OK.. well.. depending upon your definition of close.. I suppose I do- being that it’s 20 minutes away. But that’s sometimes annoying when going to the market. Yes, I know, first world problems. BUT I just want to add that the Trader Joe’s parking lot is a legitimate circle of hell. No joke.

Anyway- I bring up Trader Joe’s cause they have really great frozen fish at excellent prices (like everything else in the store- excellent prices). Their wild caught salmon is GREAT- because.. well.. it’s wild caught. I like that it’s frozen ’cause then you don’t have to like bug out and be all stressed like, “hey OMG I bought this salmon so now I MUST go home and cook this salmon”.. or you can just say.. “you know, I think I want salmon tonight and oh, hey- i have some in my freezer”. (Does it say something about me that this is what I get stressed out about?)

So.. back to the salmon. There is something about fish that intimidates people. I don’t know why. But also, I feel like people tend to cook it all the same way.. sauté in olive oil, salt & pepper.. squeeze lemon. YAWN!

Here’s an awesome, spiced-up Moroccan salmon. You can do this with steaks or filets (I used a filet). Obviously if using steaks, you’re going to need to adjust you’re cooking time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 filets of salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oilmoroccan salmon

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, then pat into the flesh of the salmon. In a heavy-bottomed skilled (preferably cast iron, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Place salmon skin side DOWN into the pan and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Flip the salmon with a spatula and cook flesh-side down 3-5 minutes (depending upon thickness).

Serve with roasted vegetables (I served with brussel sprouts) and brown rice 🙂 Yummy deliciousness!

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 29, 2015

Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

I cooked a batch of Whole Living’s Red Lentil & Sweet Potato stew during the blizzard… I did tweak the recipe, but here it is in its original format.  I’ll go ahead & give you the ingredients since I’ve made some changes… as well as some new directions.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TBSP of Olive Oil (or coconut oil)… i use olive oil as I’m Italian (heh heh)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or, to taste)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • sea salt & ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger (TIP- a knob of ginger is way larger than what you need- store your ginger in the freezer and then use a microplane to grate in what you need)
  • 2 peeled and diced sweet potatoes (don’t dice too small as they’ll get too soft and disappear on you)
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers chopped-or any combo there-of, just not green
  • 1 1/2 cups of red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock (I make my own chicken broth- I promise, it’s SUPER easy. I ALWAYS have it in my freezer and the next time I do it- I’ll take photos and blog it.. promise).

    Excuse the poor serving bowl- this was my afternoon snack!

    Excuse the poor serving bowl- this was my afternoon snack!

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat (and I mean medium, you do NOT want any of this stuff browning) and throw in your onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. While you’re doing this, measure all of your spices in a small bowl. Once the onions are translucent, throw in the garlic, ginger and spices. Cook another 30 seconds. Throw the peppers & sweet potatoes into the pot, cook another 5 minutes, then add red lentils and stir to coat lentils in the spice.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender.

I plugged this into MyFitnessPal and came up with 214 calories at 6 servings in a pot. This stew is packed with 12 grams protein, and 126% of your vitamin A and 290% of your vitamin C for the day!

I know the photo is a little lack luster, but this is actually my mid-afternoon snack 🙂

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 28, 2015

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Sausage, Onions & Kale

Here’s the first recipe! You’ll need

  • 1 package 5-6 natural & organic chicken sausages any flavors (READ the ingredient list- you don’t know what it is, don’t buy it)
  • 1 medium or 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped – it really doesn’t matter
  • 1 package of pre-washed chopped Kale (if you can’t find this- then just get a large bunch of kale- I like to chop the tops and then remove the thick stem from the bottom)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (split equally in half)

pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the spaghetti squash by slicing them in half long way and scooping out the seeds. Once prepped, place face UP on a cookie sheet and drizzle 1/2 tablespoon across both halves of squash, and then dust with salt & pepper. Flip squash face DOWN and place on cookie sheet and into oven at 400 degrees until fork tender- 35-40 minutes. photo 1-3This can be done in advance- either day before, afternoon, etc. Some people microwave their squash- I don’t do this as I like the flavor that roasting brings to the squash. Plus I sorta find it creepy to use the microwave as a cooking tool.

Once your spaghetti squash is cool to the touch, pull the inside flesh with a fork into a bowl. What you’ll notice (if you’ve never cooked these before) that the squash creates spaghetti-like ribbons. Pull all the squash into a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile-

In a large, heavy skillet (my favorite is a cast iron) sauté your sausage in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil until browned (keep in mind a lot of these sausages are already pre-cooked). Once brown, remove from pan and set aside. Throw in your onions and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Make sure your heat is on medium to medium-low. You don’t want to burn the onions, you want to sauté them and get them nice and caramelized. This takes about 10 minutes.

Once caramelized, add your kale on top. It’s going to seem like so much kale, but I promise it cooks down. Just keep smoothing it down with your spoon or tongs, and sprinkle with a little salt. If you have a lot of kale, you may need to add half, let it cook down, and then add a little more. Add in the vegetable stock and keep stirring.

photo 2-3While you’re waiting for your kale to cook down, slice your sausages. I like to get about 8 slices per sausage, but slice it to your preference.

Start mixing the sausage in, add a little salt & pepper.. keep tasting. If you have any fresh parsley this is an awesome addition. It should take about 10 minutes for the kale to cook down.

You can serve this with some quality carbs- brown rice or quinoa. OR add another vegetable like I did- roasted asparagus (coat with olive oil throw on a cookie sheet with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes).

photo 3

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 28, 2015

Cooking Clean

I’ve undertaken a lifestyle change this past November 2014. Aside from fueling myself with unbelievable nutrition and participating in nutritional cleanses, I’ve also made it a point to eat clean, whole foods. What does that mean? Well, mainly no creepy ingredients, nothing processed if I can help it (and it’s pretty easy to help it), and eating as close to the original source as possible.

I have so many friends and acquaintances that say they “can’t cook”. It amazes me that people are so afraid of something so completely integral to our health and well being. I can’t imagine how hard it is to live a healthy lifestyle by eating out or ordering take out day in, and day out. How do you account for what it is you’re eating? How do you know what ingredients are in your food?

Now, I’m not saying to never eat out. Heck, I’m a major foodie.. and if you said “Hey D- I got a reservation at Per Se.” I would legit be like, “when is it for and can we go now!”

With that being said, I would say the number 1 reason (read excuse) people say they can’t cook is that they don’t have a good enough kitchen to cook in. So, to dispel this myth- I’m going to unveil to you- my kitchen.FullSizeRender

So- what do you think? Huge right? I know- it’s pathetic. I literally have no counter space. I lay a cutting board over one side of my sink to increase my space. But guess what- I make some major magic happen in that little 2ft area.. so if I can do it- So can you!

Stay tuned for some clean eating recipes.. and definitely let me know what you think!

 

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | January 27, 2015

THREE YEARS

Wow- it doesn’t seem like 3 years. How could it be three years since I’ve last paid attention to this blog? Yikes! So much has happened in three years… some good, some bad. But what’s I’ve learned over the past 3 years is that the bad happens for a reason and it always leads to good.. someway.

I decided to start blogging again as I’ve begun a new, healthy living life style. So many of my friends are asking me for recipes and tips. So I thought, what better way to get information out there than to go back to my blog?

So- stay tuned for clean-eating, whole-food recipes, nutrition tips, and exercise info!

 

Posted by: dinainsuburbia | February 6, 2012

Monday, Monday

Mondays are always a little hectic over here.  Time to get back to school, back on schedule, etc etc.  I’ll admit that we are not “schedule” people, and I will further admit that I am not sure this lack-of-schedule even really “works” for us.  Chalk it up to my husband and I being slightly too lazy to get ON a schedule and maybe being a little bit selfish because we really like to fly by the seat of our pants.

Yes, this repeatedly bites us in the rear end:  missed naps, late night dance parties with kids that don’t want to sleep, early AM rush-arounds getting outfits picked and lunches made.  But, for the most part we cope with minimal yelling and gnashing of teeth (MOSTLY).

As I sit here and watch my son slug down a sippy cup of chocolate milk while worshiping at the alter of the MIckey Mouse Clubhouse, I think about how absolutely FLEETING this all is.  My husband and i just celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary (with dating, we’ve been together 11 years).  Now, I know there are people in my social circle that have been together the same or longer, but it seems to have gone by SO FAST, and yet went I contemplate the past 11 years, so much has happened.

But now I am THAT mom- the ever-present PTA presence, probably much to the chagrin of school staff.  This past weekend I found myself buying our oldest “specialty” outfits from Target for each holiday (hot damn they had the CUTEST St. Patrick’s Day Hello Kitty T-Shirt).  Just 11 years ago, I had no idea that parented required the purchase of t-shirts for each holiday, major & minor.  

Well, time to get going- there are menus to plan for the week!  Any good ideas?  So sick of the same old.

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