Skinny Chocolate Berry Cherry Smoothie!

skinny chocolate berry cherry shake

Hey!

I was reading In Style magazine this week, February 2015 issue with Jennifer Aniston on the cover. She seems lovely.

In the story on her, there was one of those tiny little sidebar corners of the page that was titled The Diet and had a brief description of the protein shake it said Jen drinks every morning.

It reads that the ingredients include: sugar-free chocolate almond milk, frozen cherries, half a banana, blueberries, raw walnuts and chocolate Stevia drops.

Alright. I got excited. I didn’t know what amounts these ingredients were in, but I’ve made a lot of smoothies and was willing to guesstimate, I was eager to try it.

Whelp, I got it mostly wrong, but mine was super healthy and delicious. It gave me a natural high and filled me up for hours on about 275 calories!

It turns out that if I had just Googled it, her actual shake ingredients are on their website, but they include almonds, not walnuts, and they are sprouted almonds.

Oh for God’s sakes, now raw almonds aren’t good enough? Why sprouted? I bet they cost more. Sheesh.

Sometimes these health guru things can just get exhausting, amirite?

Jen’s shake includes some chocolate vegan protein powder and something called maca powder from Peru (?) and some trace mineral drops from a lake or something, all which sound expensive.

From what I can tell, the trace mineral drops are mostly magnesium, which you can easily get from food, but I may end up trying it. I’m a sucker like that.

Truth be told, I may be a tich skeptical about health supplements. I’ve spent a bloody fortune on things that did nothing and some hurt me.

Once I went to a masseuse here in L.A. who sold me some fancy dirt pills.

I am so not kidding. I made my husband take them, too, I totally got him on board. The pamphlets on this stuff were life changing.

These were going to save our lives!

We both got mysterious burning gut infections that took a while to get rid of. Then we figured out it was um, surprise, the dirt pills.

I mainly believe in eating real food, whole food, and it doesn’t all have to be everything organic.

If you don’t eat the peel, doesn’t need to be organic, boom.

I had pasta this week twice, the real kind man, and a piece of pizza yesterday. And I’ve lost weight this week.

Balance is what I’m striving for. Life goal.

I am so not no carb and all vegan, but I did make my version of Jen’s shake yesterday and I’m pretty sure it helped saved my life.

Here’s mine…

Ingredients:

1.) One cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk, I bought Blue Diamond brand at Whole Foods.

2.) One half of a small to medium banana, preferably frozen.

3.) One half cup frozen sweet pitted cherries.

4.) One half cup frozen blueberries, I like the little wild organic frozen ones at Trader Joe’s.

5.) Four raw walnut halves.

6.) About a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips sweetened with Stevia.

I used maybe 30 mini chips, I just eyeballed it- 60 chips is only 55 calories.

I got this really wrong, because Jen’s shake has liquid drops and I used chips, ha ha.

The brand of Stevia chips I buy is at Whole Foods and it’s called Lily’s.

7.)  A teaspoon of vanilla extract.

8.) One to two packets of Truvia sweetener. (Optional, I like it sweet.)

Directions: Just put all the ingredients in a blender, liquid first then solids, and blend, baby blend!

Calories: About 275.

Hope you enjoy and cheers to our health.

XO-

~ Heidi

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Three Cheese Caper Sauce

whole roasted cauliflower with three cheese caper sauce

When I found out you could roast a whole cauliflower in the oven until it turned buttery golden brown, I couldn’t wait to try it.

This recipe involves a few steps, but it’s easier than it looks.

Total time start to finish is about an hour, but 45 plus minutes of that it’s just in a pot or in the oven.

whole roasted cauliflower

Totally worth it.

Ingredients: For the roasted cauliflower (Serves 4-6)

1.) One head fresh cauliflower.

2.) 2 cups cups chicken broth, I used low sodium. You could use veggie broth or just water.

3.) Six cups water, I use a Brita filter.

4.) Four tablespoons real butter, I use salted.

5.) Two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.

6.) The juice of one lemon or 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus a bit more for squeezing over the top.

7.) One tablespoon of jarred capers, drained.

8.) Three tablespoons garlic salt, plus more for later seasoning.

9.) Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over the top before baking, about 1-2 tablespoons.

10.) One tablespoon sugar.

Ingredients for Three Cheese Caper Sauce:

1.) Two tablespoons butter.

2.) One tablespoon flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour, regular flour is fine.

3.) One fourth cup chicken broth (I used low sodium.)

4.) Four tablespoons half n’ half.

5.) One fourth cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2% cheddar.)

6.) One ounce soft goat cheese.

7.) Two tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

8.) Two or more teaspoons of jarred capers, drained.

Salt and pepper and/or garlic salt and a pinch of dried or fresh chopped parsley, optional.

Directions:

You start by washing a whole cauliflower head and cutting off the stem/green parts on the bottom with a sharp knife.

You can carefully peel off any green “leaves” if they’re still hugging it, but you want it to stay in one piece.

In a very large pot, I put two cups of low sodium organic chicken broth and 6 cups of filtered water.

Add two tablespoons of the butter, two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, the juice of one lemon (or about 3 tablespoons), three tablespoons garlic salt, the sugar and one tablespoon of jarred capers, drained.

Bring to a boil and add the cauliflower, head down (or flowery side down).

Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft enough to insert a small sharp knife into the center without too much resistance. You don’t want it so soft that it will get mushy or fall apart.

While it simmers, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Carefully remove the cauliflower with two large spoons or serving forks and drain it, I put it in a metal pasta strainer/colander over a plate.

Lightly spray the inside of an oven safe baking dish with olive oil or other cooking spray.

Once drained, move the cauliflower head up (flower side up) this time to the baking dish.

You just pour all of that leftover liquid from the pot out, so most of those calories are gone with it. It’s more like a flavor bath.

Next, melt two tablespoons of salted butter in a small dish, I just melted it in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of capers and drizzle or rub this over the top of the cauliflower.

Follow that with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some garlic salt over the top and bake at 450 uncovered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, check to see if the top has browned. If not, crank the heat to 500 degrees for 5-8 more minutes until it’s browned to your liking.

Note: A lot of the butter and oil cooks off in this part, too, so the cauliflower still comes out very light and not greasy at all- it’s mostly for flavor and browning.

Remove from the oven, move to a serving plate and allow to cool a bit while you make the savory cheese sauce.

Three Cheese Caper Sauce Directions:

In a non stick skillet, melt two tablespoons butter, than add one tablespoon flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour) and lightly stir/whisk in to wet and lightly brown.

Add the four tablespoons half n’ half, one fourth cup chicken broth (I used low sodium), one fourth cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2% cheddar), one ounce soft mild goat cheese and two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.

(Fancy parm or good ol’ shaky parm works, either way.)

Stir quickly or whisk ingredients together over medium heat until just melted together and creamy.

Add two more teaspoons drained capers, a few shakes of garlic salt and some fresh pepper, and a bit of fresh or dried parsley (optional.)

If you like spicy, hot sauce and/or cayenne pepper is always an option!

Pour or drizzle the hot cheese sauce around the cauliflower on the plate, add more salt and pepper or garlic salt if desired, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Note: This is my own recipe, but it’s adapted from a recipe from Domenica restaurant in New Orleans, near where I went to high school and where my Mama still lives.

Here’s the original Dominica version- theirs is made with white wine and a whipped goat cheese.

Yummy!

Hope you enjoy.

XOXO-

~ Heidi

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Each Moment is a Place You’ve Never Been

each moment is a place you've never been

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Broccoli Pesto Quesadilla!

broccoli pesto quesadilla

Yum, pesto and melty cheese. What could be better?

I made home made pesto sauce this week and it’s so easy to do, I just mix it up in a blender and boom. Here’s my recipe for scrumptious skinny pesto sauce.

You can also just use a good jarred or refrigerated ready made brand from your grocery store and I often do.

broccoli pesto quesadilla fillings

My to die for quesadilla combines the pesto inside a whole wheat, crispy tortilla with steamed and chopped organic baby broccoli, melty mozzarella, tangy sun dried tomatoes and soft, creamy goat cheese.

Heaven. And it takes only 10 minutes to make.

Ingredients: (Per quesadilla)

1.) One regular full sized tortilla, I like the organic whole wheat olive oil tortillas from Trader Joe’s. (Not sponsored.)

2.) About 2-4 ounces of broccoli, I used fresh organic baby broccoli.

3.) One half cup shredded cheese that melts well, I used organic mozzarella, 160 calories.

You could also use jack cheese, pepper jack, provolone, etc.

4.) One ounce soft mild goat cheese.

I like the goat cheese medallions from Trader Joe’s, they’re once ounce each, so it makes it easy.

5.) About two tablespoons of prepared pesto sauce.

6.) One half teaspoon of butter or olive oil, for browning/crisping the tortilla.

I used butter. It’s the little things…

7.) A tablespoon or less chopped sundried tomatoes.

I have a strong opinion on these. The ones I bought at Whole Foods last week were so tough and dry, I could barely chew them.

I threw them out and bought the ones at Trader Joe’s that come in a white plastic bag, not the ones in oil.

(Sundried tomatoes packed in oil would be great, but I would drain them well, so they don’t make it too greasy.)

Optional: Chicken or veggie broth to steam the broccoli in, water works, too.

Directions:

Steam the broccoli as you like it. I lightly steam it in a non stick skillet with the lid on, with a few splashes of low sodium chicken broth.

I take it off the heat when I can easily stick a fork in the broccoli, but while it’s still bright green.

Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Now put the salted butter or olive oil (cooking spray also works) in a large non stick skillet over medium heat.

I pre-melt the shredded mozzarella cheese on one half of one side of the tortilla, on a plate in the microwave for about 25-40 seconds.

Spread the melted butter or heated oil lightly around the pan and then lay the tortilla, melted cheese side up in it.

I keep checking the underside of the tortilla with a spatula until it lightly crisps and browns a bit, then remove it on to a plate.

Chop up your steamed broccoli and sundried tomatoes.

Sprinkle the warm broccoli over the melted cheese on the tortilla, then drop chunks of the goat cheese on top and sprinkle on the tomatoes.

The goat cheese will soften in the warmth of the other ingredients.

I warm the pesto sauce in the microwave in a small dish for 20 seconds if it’s been refrigerated and spoon that on last.

Salt and pepper to taste, I just used a little pepper, because it was already seasoned enough.

Use a sharp knife to cut it into halves or thirds and eat.

Divine!

Calories: Mine was about 600 calories. It’s nice to have a vegetarian meal once in a while (except the small bit of chicken broth.)

Enjoy.

xo-

~ Heidi

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The Orchid Goddess

white orchid

I don’t have a green thumb.

I’ve accidentally killed most of the plants I’ve ever owned.

But I have the most beautiful orchid I’ve ever seen in my life in my living room and I’ve magically kept her alive and flourishing for months.

She’s so perfect, people don’t even think she’s real.

I can barely believe she’s real, but I know. I’ve touched her.

She shimmers, do you see it in her petals?

I found her in Trader Joe’s amidst dozens of other orchids in little pots. I think she cost around $14.00.

She was the best one, though.

I can tell you exactly how to keep an orchid like her alive and flourishing and it’s so easy and simple, it’s ridiculous.

Three ice cubes, once a week.

That’s all the water she needs. It sounds like it would freeze her, but no, she loves it.

You put them right in the pot on top of the soil, on her roots is fine, crowding the ice cubes in if you have to.

Make sure you leave a little dish underneath in case any moisture runs off.

Three regular sized ice cubes, exactly once a week. I do it on Monday or Tuesday. They melt slowly and that’s how she likes it.

You can easily over-water an orchid and they perish.

She’s a delicate flower, but tough as well and proud. She outlived the Christmas tree who displaced her from the window.

Pfft.

She didn’t complain out loud about it, but I think she was offended when she lost her front of the living room spot.

She likes indirect sunlight, not too much.

I lightly touch her or give her a kiss and thank her for being so lovely and visiting us.

She doesn’t ask much, but…

Everything responds to love.

Xo-

~ Heidi

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Chipotle Pot Roast

chipotle pot roast

Hey, this is my new way to make yummy, savory pot roast that requires almost no work and has only five ingredients!

This is a perfect filling for soft or crunchy tacos or burritos as well. In tacos, it’s enough to feed a lot of people, I’d say at least 6-8 servings.

This has to be slow cooked about 5-6 hours, so you start early in the day or make it the day before, but the prep is seriously less than five minutes.

I wanted to try something different from traditional drip beef and I had the idea of using chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.

One warning, it is spicy, but my recipe magically brought most of the intense spice to the top with the oil (aka the fat), which just poured right off.

It left behind lean, easily shredded, medium-spicy tender beef.

If you don’t like a kick, this is not for you, but my husband and I loved it. I had this luscious burrito for lunch today.

chipotle beef burrito

Ingredients:

1.) Boneless chuck roast, 2.5 to 4 pounds. I used one that was just under 3 pounds.

2.) One small can or 7 ounces chipotle pepper in adobe sauce.

I used a brand called Embasa from the Mexican food section in my regular grocery store.

3.) Peeled garlic cloves, I used a lot- 10-12. You can use less, 4-5 would be fine.

4.) Beef broth, about 14.5 ounces or about 1 and 3/4 cups.

5.) Two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.

Optional: Plus salt, unless you want to wait until it’s cooked to salt to taste.

I added one teaspoon of Lawry’s garlic salt to the mix, which is a little less salty than regular salt.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. You can also make this in a crock pot if you have one, I don’t, yet.

I just used an oven safe regular metal pot with a lid. Dump the can of peppers out on a plate, keeping the sauce from the can with them.

Chop them up and toss them with the adobe sauce into the pot.

Peel the garlic or buy it already peeled and toss that in.

Measure and add the beef broth or use a small 14.5 ounce can of it, just pour it in.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt or salt if ya like and stir the mix together in the pot.

Add the chuck roast and push it down so that it’s mostly in the liquid.

Cover the pot and stick it in the oven for at least 4-5 hours before checking it.

Important: When you check it, be careful- it will be of course very hot and the top of the liquid will be oily and very spicy, like chile oil.

At about 5 hours, take out the pot and check the roast by using two forks to try to pull the top of the meat apart. If it doesn’t shred easily, it’s not done.

Put it back in the oven at 30 minutes at a time until it shreds easily. Mine took 6 hours and it was three pounds.

(I’m told the crock pot method takes longer, like 9 hours.)

Now, you can carefully pour off the top of the liquid where the oil is, I drained at least 3/4ths of the liquid off, which removed the vast majority of the fat.

Most roasts will have some small fatty areas that you will find easily as you shred the meat, I just discard that and it’s very lean.

Calories: Different calorie count websites gave me from about 180 to 280 calories for 3 ounces of lean cooked pot roast, but it’s mostly all protein.

Serve with side dishes, low fat sour cream or plain non fat or low fat Greek yogurt is great to cut the spice. (I like Fage.)

Last night, we had it with baby broccoli lightly steamed in a few splashes of the beef broth, beef and broccoli is good together.

My big burrito above was only about 600 calories and that included some 2% cheddar cheese and guacamole.

Yummy!

Hope you enjoy.

XOXO-

~ Heidi

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No Matter How Far You Have Gone Down the Wrong Road

wrong road quote

Yes. Yes, this.

XO-

~ Heidi

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