Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting

 Posted by on February 2, 2014
Feb 022014
 

Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting and Dip

Original vs. Substitute Sam

It’s unlikely you’d describe something as decadent, sweet, and creamy in the same sentence as healthy, high protein, and low calorie, but I promise Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting and Dip is unlike anything you’ll ever have. Normally I’d highlight a few of the benefits, but the nutrition chart speaks for itself!

Nutrition Facts


Ideation

Office potluckPot-lucks and parties can wreak havoc on a diet so I always try to minimize the damage by bringing something I can eat without feeling too guilty.  For me, this year’s office pot-luck party was no exception and when my turn to volunteer a dish came around the sign up sheet looked something like this:

    1. Chili cheese dip
    2. Bacon wrapped honey glazed lil’smokies
    3. BBQ meatballs
    4. Triple cheese and artichoke dip
    5. Buffalo chicken dip

With less than a week until the pot-luck and a busy week of vacation prep my window for experimentation was limited, but it was my first office party I wanted to make a good impression. My initial thought was to use a proven recipe that was easy to make like Healthy Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Dip. However, the last thing I wanted  to do was be ‘that guy’ who tries to 1-up someone’s contribution.

That’s no way to go about making a good impression.

But, you know what is? 

Discovering a sweet and fluffy ‘treat’ loaded with protein that’s  low in calories and sugar and works as a dip or frosting! 


Recipe

1) In a tupperware (in case you don’t eat it all in one sitting), combine Greek yogurt and half a packet of pudding mix until the mixture becomes fluffy. Experiment with the different flavors available and let me know what your favorites are!
2) Slice up your favorite fruit for dipping or top your favorite dessert and enjoy!

Apples n Dip


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Cold Press Coffee

 Posted by on January 25, 2014
Jan 252014
 

Cold press coffee

Original vs. Substitute Sam

coffee beansCoffee has been the subject of many health studies, the majority of which point to a positive impact on health. Coffee contains caffeine and has unmistakable aromas that invoke a strange aura of “I’m getting things done-ness” in people. 

In fact, coffee is the 2nd most consumed beverage in the world behind water, but I have a few gripes with traditionally brewed coffee that led me to start using cold press.

time=moneyFirst, I value my time and time spent waiting in traffic, in line, or for the water to boil is a complete waste. 

Second, is money. Besides my time value of money, at roughly $6 cup of coffee is not cheap. Compounded daily, we can literally piss away $2,190 a year for its effects!

The final and perhaps biggest reason is because I have heart burn issues and cold press coffee reduces the acidity levels in coffee by nearly 70%. Even if you have unlimited amounts of time, money, and no issues with heartburn, there are other reasons you’ll LOVE Cold Press Coffee!

      • Cold press coffee retains more antioxidants and flavor 
      • Studies indicate coffee may boost fat loss
      • Caffeine improves performance in both physical and mental activities

Ideation

The first time I tried coffee was as a junior in college, the same year I lived in an apartment complex with 5 best friends and a group of girls who committed to spending more time partying than studying for an entire year.

Sounds awesome right?

Well it was easily the funnest year of my life so far, but I’ll spare you the details and use a meme instead because:

1) Memes let the imagination fill in the gaps.

2) It’s the internet. Right around the time I’m trying to teach my kids about the importance of being responsible this post will show up.

Here’s to a ‘Nectar of the Gods’, COFFEE!


Recipe

1) In a glass or plastic non-reactive container stir cold water and coffee grounds together in a 4:1 ratio and let sit for least 12 hours. I purchased a french press just for cold press coffee because it makes the next step much easier.
  • 4 C water
  • 1 C ground coffee beans (course grind works best)
2) If you don’t have a french press, strain the coffee using either a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
3) Freeze leftovers into ice cube trays or in mason jars up to 2 weeks in the fridge to conveniently enjoy cold press coffee in a few different pre-workout shakes!

*Note: Add flavor to the initial mix for a fun way to experiment (e.g. extracts, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)



Fun Facts

I love cooking food that’s healthy and delicious, but I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s way more fun to hear ideas for recipes and improvements from YOU! 

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Homemade Cinnaburst Popcorn

 Posted by on January 18, 2014
Jan 182014
 

cinnamon popcorn

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Popped with healthy coconut oil, Homemade Cinnaburst Popcorn has a light coconut flavor with the perfect blend of sweet and spice sprinkled on. Instead of gut-rotting, butter drenched, sugar-laden calorie bombs try Homemade Cinnaburst Popcorn!

      • 70% less fat, replacing saturated and trans fat with MCTs
      • 70% less carbs, mostly from sugars
      • 600 fewer calories per serving


Ideation

garrett's caramel cornCaramel and cinnamon are two aromas that immediately trigger cravings, the type of craving where ‘only a few’ never happens. As a result, I end up feeling like shit mentally and physically so I’ve found it best to avoid the sweets all together… when possible.

I say when possible because sometimes clients think a 3.5 gallon drum of caramel popcorn from Garrett’s Popcorn is the perfect office gift.

The gesture was nice, but I really dislike having treats within reach at all times because:

      1. It’s Monday and this drum will be taunting me the entire week
      2. I work on a computer most of the day, can you say hello mindless eating
      3. I have a sneaking suspicion this gift cost more than I make in a day

BUT, being a glass-half-full kind of guy I decided to use this ‘opportunity’ to strengthen my will-power (an extremely important muscle to workout) and after Thursday the drum was 1/2 gone and I hadn’t touched any of it.

Trying to recover from Thursday night’s flag football contest, I slept in Friday morning, didn’t workout, and forgot my Berry Smart-Start Smoothie on the counter-top. So when I rolled into work I grabbed a cup and tried a few kernels…BAM!

hooked like crack

I was hooked like Tyrone Biggums; 5 cups and a work day later, I’m headed home already starving for dinner (yay for plummeting blood sugar levels).

Later that night, I was watching my new favorite show The Newsroom when another craving for popcorn struck. However, this craving was much more useful, sparking a flashback to my college days of pulling epic Netflix marathons with gigantic bowls of homemade popcorn topped with Chalula and Frank’s RedHot… when it hit me.

I’m so stupid!

Instead of using Frank’s RedHot or Chalula sauce, why didn’t I just make a sweeter topping?!

So I did…


Recipe

1) In a small bowl or spice jar, mix nutmeg, cinnamon, and truvia
2) Put stove-top on med-high and put coconut oil and 3 kernels in and a small pot and cover. Heat until the kernels have popped, remove pot and count to 30 seconds
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
3) Place remaining kernels in the pot, shake lightly to spread the kernels evenly across the surface area of the pot, cover, and return it to the heat. Once the popping starts, shake the pot back and forth until the popping slows down (roughly 45 seconds)
4) Here’s an excellent demonstration of the process

*Note: Use a colander or cover that lets the steam out prevent moisture from making the popcorn soggy

5) Immediately transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with seasonings. Share with friends, it makes about 10 C popped!

whole plate


Fun Facts

I love cooking food that’s healthy and delicious, but I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s way more fun to hear ideas for recipes and improvements from YOU! 

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Baked Seafood Alfredo

 Posted by on December 16, 2013
Dec 162013
 

Spaghetti squash casserole

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Warm and cheesy, Baked Seafood Alfredo brings all the flavor of Olive Garden, but skips the guilt, gut ache, and calories. What makes Baked Seafood Alfredo so amazing is that it’s packed full of healthy ingredients; Skinny Spaghetti Squash, chopped spinach, and an alfredo sauce made with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese! 

      • Replaces 50g of fat per serving, most of which is saturated
      • Provides healthy pro-biotics for your digestive tract
      • Improves the protein to calorie ratio from 1:20 to 1:10

Seafood Alfredo Casserole Nutrition Facts


Ideation

can’t get enough of the farmer’s market in the Twin Cities. They challenge my creativity to use local and fresh ingredients and they are  cheap. My prize from this trip was a GIGANTIC spaghetti squash for $2, which costs $1.99 a POUND at the store, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as I was starting to fall out of habit with my posts.

farmers market minneapolisI’ve found my approach to cooking as an artistic endevour does not lend well to strict documentation and adherence to recipes. So, I’ve decided to try a more proactive approach, creating the recipe and measuring the ingredients BEFORE I make it.

Frankly, I don’t think I would’ve done this recipe without my new post process because its a combination of rather lengthy recipes (Vittles and Bits – Spaghetti Squash Casserole and Host The Toast – Spinach Artichoke Alfredo) that I tried to simplify and healthify!

Here’s to the hope I’m not violating copyright laws (sorry LiveBetterAmerica.com) and a happy/healthy holiday season!


Recipe

1) Preheat oven to 450 F and spread Skinny Spaghetti Squash noodles into a 13×9 pan with a spatula (leftover noodles work well too)
2) In a bowl mix Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, garlic, chives, spaghetti seasoning, and salt and layer on top of the spaghetti squash with a spatula
3) In a separate bowl, combine chopped artichoke hearts, chopped spinach, and chopped crab meat and spread evenly over the casserole
  • 1 14 oz can chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1 1/2 C chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 C chopped imitation crab meat (or shrimp)
4) Sprinkle shredded cheese over the entire casserole

pre-baked casserole

5) Move rack to middle/bottom position in the oven and bake at 450 F until cheese begins to bubble and casserole is warm throughout (15-20 mins)
6) Remove from oven and let cool 5 mins then cut and enjoy!
Spaghetti squash casserole

Fun Facts

I love cooking food that’s healthy and delicious, but I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s way more fun to hear ideas for recipes and improvements from YOU! 

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Zucchini Protein Pancakes

 Posted by on October 27, 2013
Oct 272013
 

Zucchini Protein Pancakes

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Traditional pancakes recipes consist of saturated fat from butter and dairy and refined carbs from white flour and layers of syrup. An absolutely mouthwatering experience no doubt, but the calories, insulin crash, and high carb content are too much for me. Zucchini Protein Pancakes have hints of sweet zucchini and buttery coconut combine to make a warm and fluffy pancake packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein to keep your insulin and hunger under control.

      • Greek yogurt and protein powder provide quality protein sources
      • Coconut oil and flaxseed meal provide MCTand Omega 3 fats
      • Substituting flour with flaxseed meal and protein trimmed the carbs and calories

nutrition facts


Ideation

I feel really bad for people who view social events and ‘family gatherings’ as nothing more than a societal obligation to feign interest in each other.  Family and friends are supposed to be the people you’re most free to discuss what’s important and interesting to you. Regardless of whom I’m talking with, the topic of health will usually arise and one of two things happen:

Outcome A) Healthy living is not a priority and I’m now synonymous with “rigidity, boring, and hippie”

Outcome B) Healthy living is a priority and there’s an immediate feeling of “DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS?”

best friends!

Looking back I realize how big of a mistake that was. By fearing the awkwardness of Outcome A I was preventing Outcome B from ever happening, so I began embracing my passion rather than running from it. As with most everything we’re afraid of in life, the result was far more harmless than I could have ever imagined.

Huge zucchini

In fact, it was AMAZING!

I started the blog, met tons of new friends, and found out I’ve got an awesome family who are truly interested in a healthy lifestyle! 

Perhaps one of my biggest supporters is my cousin Megan. Not only is she always telling her friends and co-workers about the blog, but she’s honest!

Thanks to a zucchini on steroids and an idea from Megan, I’ve found my new favorite pancake recipe… 


Recipe

1) Preheat skillet or griddle on medium-low

 

2) Whisk dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl
3) In a separate small mixing bowl whisk wet ingredients
4) Mix dry and wet ingredients, stirring until just combined and the mix is not powdery
5) Fold in grated zucchini (finely grated is better)
  • 1 C (450g) grated zucchini
6) Lightly oil skillet using either coconut oil or butter and scoop 1/4 C of batter into pan (gently spread the pancake to thin it out and increase cooking speed)

 

7) Watch for bubbling and browning edges. Gently test for doneness with a spatula, seeing if the pancake releases (some took 5 minutes per side) and flip with a spatula (sorry Meg, didn’t know I had to explicitly state that)
8) Enjoy!
zucchini pancakes

Fun Facts

I love cooking food that’s healthy and delicious, but I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s way more fun to hear ideas for recipes and improvements from YOU! 

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