Archive for September, 2012


Spanikopita Triangles

I love the flavors of Greek food.  And I LOVE spinach.  So, last year when I went to a Greek-themed get together Spanikopita (Greek spinach pie) seemed like the perfect dish to make.  Instead of sticking with the traditional preparations for this dish, I began brainstorming fun, cute ways to make and serve it easily at a party. I came up with making handheld pies.  A quick search on Google confirmed that I wasn’t the first person to come up with this idea (darn), but it was nice to find examples of what I was imagining before heading to the kitchen. This version, rather than being made in a 9 x 13 baking pan, is folded up into individual, appetizer-sized servings.  These little cheesy spinach “puffs” in no way fall under my Healthy eating lifestyle, but life is all about balance.  And that means sometimes straying from your everyday eating style and indulging.  And, when you do, these bite-sized spinach pies are a delicious way to do it!

These are great for parties and entertaining.  And, although they are time consuming to assemble, you can make a lot and store the rest in a Ziploc to be quickly baked for surprise guests or a last-minute get-together.

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Banana “Gelato”

I was recently reminded of this healthy and delicious dessert by my brother–thanks, Jordan!  It is amazing in its simplicity and how closely it resembles gelato in texture.  Yet, it is as healthy as eating whole bananas and therefore doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. It does taste like bananas (not a bad thing in my book), but if you prefer to disguise the flavor a bit, add your favorite extract or fruit to the bananas.

Bananas are a go-to food for me.  Not only do they taste great and go well with peanut butter, but they also offer a serious punch of energy and potassium which helps me recover from workouts faster and get back out there!

This “gelato” is delicious plain, but playing around with different add-ins keeps the dessert fresh and offers a little more room for those times when you truly want to indulge.  Banana gelato is on my list as a top pick when I get a dessert craving!

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Cannellini Bean “Pesto”

Healthy, flavorful sandwich spreads can double as a quick and easy appetizer or snack are a mainstay for me so I’m always on the lookout for different flavor combos to spice things up.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe for a pesto-flavored bean spread on the Om. Nom. Run. blog earlier this month and I’ve made it numerous times in just the past few weeks. It’s amazing how much it tastes like pesto without all the fat from the cheese and this recipe calls for a just a fraction of the oil normal pesto requires.

If there’s no kale in the fridge, I use whatever greens I have on hand or in my mini-garden. I’ve eaten it on toast, pita, with red pepper strips and even in a veggie wrap during a hike.  It takes just minutes to whip up and stores well in the fridge for a few days– if it lasts that long.  To spice up the presentation, top the dip with a few toasted pine nuts or a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of fresh basil.

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Black Bean & Veggie Stuffed Poblano Peppers over Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

Becoming a vegetarian forced me to be more creative in the kitchen because most of my go-to recipes were “meat-centric”.   I created this recipe a couple of years ago after smelling the roasting poblanos outside of the grocery store– goodness, that is a wonderful smell!  I love the smokiness of the roasted peppers. The filling is a mix of veggies I had on hand as well as black beans.  I added cottage cheese to bring cheesy creaminess to the recipe without adding much fat.  Along with the black beans and quinoa, the cottage cheese also ensures that this dish contains plenty of protein.

The peppers turned out wonderfully and, served atop cilantro-lime quinoa, the presentation is fancy enough for company or date night, while still being “unfussy”.  Make this a complete meal by serving it with a light soup, salad or even the cumin-lime roasted carrots from the last post.

These peppers were featured on

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Roasted Cumin-lime Carrots

This recipe, from the Family Style Food blog, is a great way to celebrate the fall harvest.

Roasting brings out the sweetness of the carrots while the cumin and paprika add depth to the flavors.  The acidity from the lime freshens the dish and helps blend all the other flavors together. I’ve served this as a substantial side dish with Mexican entrees, but it could also be paired with Middle Eastern or Moroccan food.  

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Obsessed, Ed. 4 “Chia Seeds”

Until this year, I was under the impression that chia seeds main benefit was their ability to grow funny hair on ceramic 80’s figures such as elephants…

…or Mr T.

I have since learned that my assumption couldn’t be further from the truth!

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Overnight, Chai Spiced Steel-Cut Oats

Flipping through a copy of Vegetarian Times, this recipe caught my eye because I am a huge fan of breakfast and I love the flavors of chai. I filed it away for a day when I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook breakfast, but would need some serious energy.

This uncooked version of steel-cut oats not only turned out to be exactly what I needed, but also only took a couple of minutes the day before to assemble.  I now make this every few weeks when I know I’m going to have an early morning.

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Oatmeal Trailmix Cookies

I love Denver.

But, when the weekend comes, I also love packing up and getting out of the city and gaining some elevation.  The close proximity to the mountains and nature is one of the main reasons I chose to move to Denver in the first place.  But, being active a few hours outside of civilization presents some challenges when it comes to fueling up. Not only do my treats need to travel well, but they need to have a little more fat and sugar than my normal diet to help me maintain my energy level.

And, preparing for my next hike gives me a good excuse to bake!

With the nuts, dried fruit and a bit of chocolate, these Oatmeal Trail mix Cookies fit the bill perfectly.  Although not low-fat, they are healthier than some cookies with lots of whole grains from rolled oats and whole wheat pastry flour and a protein kick from the nuts and almond meal.

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