Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Three Favorite Things All Rolled Into One

Pin It If you know me at all you would know that my three of favorite things are giraffes, nutrition, and dessert.  For those of you who don't know me, a quick look around my room would explain my giraffe obsession, my major in school would give away my passion for nutrition, and my collection of recipes would show you how much I love dessert. The reason I am sharing this with you all is because the recipe I am about to share with you rolls all three of these things into one delicious cake! 

The other day I was mindlessly browsing Pintrest when I came across a cake that looked like it was covered in giraffe spots.  It wasn't the creation of some artistic baker either.  The spots were baked right into the cake! SO COOL.  I knew I had to try their new technique out.

A few nights later I decided to test it out and let my residents be the official taste testers.  I promised one of my residents I would make him cake for snack, so it was a perfect time to try it out.  You are probably wondering where the nutrition part of it comes in now huh?  Pretty much anything I make in the kitchen I have to find a way to put a healthy spin on it. It is kind of a weird hobby I have and I enjoy the challenge.  To be honest, it really isn't that hard to lighten up a recipe with a few ingredient swaps or add ins once you learn what works.  Tonight's swaps and add ins included whole wheat flour, olive oil, honey, bananas, and zucchini.

For the recipe and technique on how to make the giraffe spots check out the recipe below! Enjoy and feel free to add your own special swaps and add ins. :)
3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
3/4 cup All-purpose flour (or more whole wheat I just ran out)
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1/3 cup Honey
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 medium Bananas. mashed
1 medium Zucchini, finely grated (no need to peel, about 1 cup)
3-4 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk together the eggs, honey, oil, and mashed bananas.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
5. To make a giraffe cake scoop some of the batter into a plastic bag and cut off the corner.  Use the bag like you are piping frosting and draw the outline of giraffe spots into the bottom of a greased, foil lined 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
6. Stir the cocoa powder and zucchini into the rest of the batter.
7. Carefully pour the rest of the batter on top of the giraffe spots you made in the bottom of the pan.
8. Gently smooth out the top of the batter.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
10. Let cool for 10 minutes.
11.  Place a cookie sheet over the bottom of the baking dish and quickly flip the cake over.
12. Peel away the aluminum foil and voila! You have a nutritious-n-delicious giraffe cake!
Makes 18-24 servings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nutrient Packed Banana Muffins

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It's one of those days where I have this crazy urge to bake anything and everything. I should be working on something productive, but instead I find myself in the kitchen baking away.  I don't think my residents would complain too much about that.  That's one of the best perks of my job.  I can bake and bake and bake and I have plenty of people to eat it all!  They make wonderful taste testers.

Today I decided to do a little experimenting with a muffin recipe.  One of my roommates has been craving banana bread, so I am dedicating these muffins to her. Her other obsession lately has been applesauce, which is another reason I am dedicating these muffins to her. The applesauce I added was used to replace all the butter in the banana muffin recipe I used for inspiration.

Funny story about the applesauce.  One night while she was reading the ingredients list on the applesauce container, she looked at me and said, "How do they get apples in there!? They'd have to really squish them."...................... I about died.  Gotta love her.  I hope I don't embarrass her too much by sharing this with all of you.  I just couldn't help myself shes too funny. :) 

Bananas and applesauce are not the only nutritious ingredients in these muffins either.  They also contain squash, raisins, and whole wheat flour.  I can't say I have ever made muffins with squash in them before, but you can't even taste it in there.  I've been learning a lot about squash through my internship this summer.  I am working on implementing Farm to School by designing a Harvest of the Month program for the district. In doing so, I have research and created educational posters for a TON of different vegetables.  Check out the winter squash poster I made for some fun facts!


1/2 cup Winter squash, mashed
2 medium Bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 large Eggs, whisked
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sweetener of choice (i.e. Stevia, spenda, etc.)*
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1-2 tsp Ground cinnamon
Dash Nutmeg
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)

*Honey might work as well, but you would have to reduce the amount of liquid somewhere

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mash the squash, bananas, and applesauce together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk in the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
5. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet.  Stir until just combined.  Do not over stir!
6. Fold in the raisins.
7. Scoop batter into a muffin pan.  (Note: I used muffin liners for easy clean up, but you can just grease the pan if you want)
8. Bake 15-20 minutes until done in the middle.
Makes 14 muffins.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'm Back!

Pin It It feels so good to be blogging again!  This past year has been a whole lot of busy.  It's not like I haven't been spending time in the kitchen, I just haven't had time to make anything fun, new, and worth sharing.  Sad I know.

Well just to give you all a little update on my life, this past week I moved from Winona, MN to Menomonie, WI.  In the fall, I will start working towards a masters degree in Human Nutritional Sciences at UW-Stout. I can't believe that just over a year ago I decided to change my major and come to Stout for grad school.  Where has the time gone!?  I feel like I was just moving into Winona and making new friends.  Now three short years later, I have graduated and moved on to the next step toward my dream job of becoming a dietitian.  It's so exciting!  Saying goodbye to all my friends in Winona on the other hand... was not so exciting.  :(  At least I know I am only an hour and a half away and some genius invented this wonderful thing called Snapchat. Haha!  I love being able to see them every day! 

Today I decided to make Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Muffins for the residents at my new job.  It was actually my night off, but I couldn't resist heading up to the kitchen to make them a healthy snack for the night.  Man oh man did they like the muffins!  One was practically eating the paper liner trying to get every last crumb off and another snuck an extra muffin into his room and was sitting there eating it in the dark with a spoon.  Too cute.  Needless to say these muffins are taste tester approved!  I am excited that they are enjoying my healthy snacks. :)  They are going to learn real fast that while Kara's around they will learn to eat healthy!  Muhaha. Just kidding... well not really. :P

 Sorry, not the best picture I know. I was in a rush the residents were hungry!
1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour
3/4 cup Brown sugar (seems like a lot of sugar, but it makes a lot of muffins)
2 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Salt
1 cup Orange juice
1 cup Unsweetened applesauce
2 Eggs, beaten
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Orange extract
2 cups Craisins
1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
2. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
3. Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
4. In a smaller bowl whisk the orange juice, applesauce, eggs, and extracts together.
5. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir until combined.
6. Fold in craisins.
7. Scoop the batter into 24 muffin liners.
8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done in the middle.
9. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!
Makes 24 muffins.
Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 125                        
Total Fat: 0.5 g
      Sat. Fat: 0.1 g                                    
Cholesterol: 15.4 mg
Sodium: 208 mg
Potassium: 62 mg
Total Carbs: 27.6 g
      Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
      Sugars: 14.4 g
Protein: 2.3 g
Vitamin A: 0.5 %
Vitamin C: 5.0 %
Calcium: 1.6 %
Iron: 2.8 %

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pesto Gluten Free "Crackers" or "Crutons"

Pin It The concept of roasting garbanzo beans is certainly not a new one.  There a hundreds of roasted garbanzo beans on the web to try, but I decided to make up my own today and the results were amazing!  The garbanzo beans ended up with a great big crunch and a nice subtle pesto flavor with parmesan, basil, parsley, garlic, and onion.  They reminded me of little crackers, but you could also use them as a gluten free substitution for croutons on a salad.  I gotta warn you though...these little guys are packed with fiber!  I recommend being careful with your serving size or you may find yourself a little... shall I say... gassy?  Be especially careful if your body is not used to all that fiber.  ;)

I am excited to try other variations of this recipe!  So many options! Enjoy.

1 can Garbanzo beans
Grated parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Olive oil spray
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Rinse and drain garbanzo beans.
3. Season the beans in a bowl and toss to evenly coat.  I don't really have measurements because I just kind of eyeballed it. 
4. Pour the beans onto a sheet pan and lightly spray with olive oil.
5. Bake for 20 minutes.
6. Stir the garbanzo beans around and bake for another 20 minutes. 
7. Make sure to occasionally check the beans towards the end to make sure they don't burn.
8.  Once they are pretty crisp, shut the oven off an leave them in there for another 10 minutes.
Makes 2-3 servings.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Refined Sugar Free Apple Pie Greek Yogurt

Pin It Quick post today I have lots of homework to get to... joy.  I could help myself this morning I just had to share this delicious breakfast with you!  This breakfast is super simple and easy to whip up in the morning.  Might I also mention that it is packed with protein making it a great start to your day? :P Enjoy.

Sorry for the sad looking picture... like I said this is a quick post!
1 medium Apple
Stevia/honey (I used a little stevia, but you could omit this as well)
1 container Plain nonfat greek yogurt
2 tsp Honey (optional if you like the taste of plain greek yogurt)
1. Chop the apple in to 1/2 inch chunks and put into a microwave safe dish.
2. Sprinkle cinnamon and stevia or honey over the apple and mix to evenly distribute.
3. Cover the dish with a plate or glass cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes stirring halfway through.
4. Meanwhile if you want your yogurt to be a little sweeter stir a little bit of honey in.
5. Once the apples are soft, mix them into the greek yogurt and VOILA!  Apple Pie Greek Yogurt!
Makes 1 serving.
Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 223
Total Fat: 0 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 100 mg
Potassium: 406 mg
Total Carbs: 31 g
     Dietary Fiber: 6 g
     Sugars: 35 g (All natural sugar!)
Protein: 18 g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 21%
Calcium: 23%
Iron: 4%

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's Almost Too Pretty to Eat!

Pin It Hi! I'm back! Miss me? I thought so. :P I can't believe we are already three weeks into the semester. It has gone so fast! Time can slow down any minute now... Well since I don't think time is actually going to slow down anytime soon, I better make this post quick. My to do list is growing long and longer by the minute, but I still wanted to take the time to share this super yummy recipe with you all.

This veggie dish requires minimal cooking skills and yet looks and smells like it came from a 5 star restaurant. I just can't get over how pretty this dish is! I will be the first to admit that sometimes my healthy recipes don't look so appealing...

Example #1: Southwestern Squash
Example #2: Guacamole Soup
Example #3: Eggplant Lasagna
But don't let the pictures fool you these are all delicious recipes!  They probably just aren't the best dishes to bring to a party. :P  No worries though because you don't have to go to your Superbowl party today empty handed!  The recipe I am sharing with you today is mouthwateringly beautiful.  Yes. That right.  I said mouthwateringly beautiful.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

Notice how this recipe is worth of more then one picture?  I told you it was pretty!  :)

1 large Sweet onion, cut into chunks
1/2 large Rutabaga (or 1 small one), peeled and cut into thin slices
1-2 Zucchinis
2 medium Roma tomatoes
1-2 tsp Minced garlic
Black pepper
Dried basil
Dried thyme
Olive oil cooking spray
2-3 tbsp Shredded parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Saute the onions in a small fry pan with a little olive oil until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, wash, chop, and prep veggies to be layered.
4. Spread the onions in the bottom of a round baking dish.
5. Using what ever pattern you want layer the veggies in a ring and fill in the middle.
6. Sprinkle the garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme over the top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes.
8. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for another 30 minutes or so.
9. Poke the rutabaga with a fork to check for doneness. If it still feels pretty firm, cover the dish with a glass cover or aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
10. Continue to check the veggies for doneness every 15 minutes until all the veggies are tender, but not mushy. I baked mine for about 1 hour and 45 minutes total.
11. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8 people.

Nutrition Facts:
*Remember this is a rough estimate based on 6 servings.
Calories: 64
Total Fat: 2.2 g
Sat. Fat: 0.7 g
Poly. Fat: 0.2 g
Mono. Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 2.8 mg
Sodium: 58.2 mg
Potassium: 294.3 mg
Total Carbs: 8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Sugars: 6.5 g
Protein: 2.4 g
Vitamin A: 8.2%
Vitamin C: 35.4%
Calcium: 6.6%
Iron: 2.7%

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 You have Been Good To Me

Pin It Now that 2013 is here I think 2012 deserves a little recognition for being such an eventful and adventurous year.  2012 definitely had it's ups and downs, but for the most part it was a great year.  Here's a look at a few (ok maybe more than a few) of my favorite memories:

I celebrated the new year with some amazing friends.  What a night!

Early on in the year, I changed my major. Again. This time I know I am on the right path. I still can't figure out why I wanted to do anything besides being a dietitian, but I know God had a plan in mind when he brought me to Winona. I have meet so many awesome friends here. What is even more awesome is how much closer to Jesus I have grown because of them all. God has blessed me in so many ways this year I can't even begin to list them all.  This is a picture I photoshopped for a video I made a friend a few years ago.  I thought it was very fitting for this. :P

I started a new chapter in my life titled "My Twenties." I feel so old saying that I am in my "20s". Yikes. Where has the time gone!? To celebrate a few roommates and I took a trip to Rochester to do a little shopping and go out to dinner.
I can't forget about my trip to cheer my sister on at state either!  Love that girl.
This past spring my family and I went to Puerto Vallarta for spring break.  This was by far the best vacation I have ever been on. 
Another "first" of 2012 was my adventure tandeming with my bestie.  We rode all around downtown and laughed at all the people who were staring at us.  What an adventure!
Having to say goodbye to some of the best roommates in the world at the end of the school year was one of the hardest parts of the year.  These girls have taught me so much and they have grown to become my "Winona Family".  Miss them all so much!

Summer 2012 was also a big change for me because it was my first summer living away from home completely on my own. I got a job at the hospital here working in the kitchen and took a few courses to get ready for graduate school. Organic chemistry is not a fun class to cram all into one month let me tell you. I did manage to still have some fun this summer with many trips to see my family. :)
Gorgeous Winona summer nights.  It was uber hot living without air conditioning in the third story of a house, but nights like this made it so worth it.
 Labor Day camping with my second family at "The Shed"
Car problems.  Yep this one is definitely not one of my favorite memories of 2012, but sure made for an adventurous year!  Even after several flat tires, a broken suspension spring, and more somehow my good ole grand prix is still kickin and ready for 2013.

FALL 2012

While saying goodbye to my old roommates was sad, saying hello to my new ones was exciting!  It's definitely been a change, but I love these girls just as much and am blessed to be living with them this year.

END of 2012

I got accepted into UW-Stout's graduate human nutritional sciences program!! I am sad to be leaving my home here in Winona and a little nervous to start all over again, but at the same time I am super excited to start all my nutrition courses. All my classrooms are kitchens! Love it!
My roommate and I were in the newspaper in an article about the big snowstorm we had!
To wrap up the year of 2012, I got to spend Christmas with my family in Winona for a change.  I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family.  I don't know what I would do without them!

I could go on and on with memories of 2012, but I should probably get to the food part of this post.  As a celebration of the new year I put a little spin on my classic garbanzo bean bars by adding a little sunbutter and a few bananas to change up the flavor a bit. 

(What a name huh?  I didn't know what else to call them!)
15 oz can Reduced sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed
2 small/medium Bananas (make sure they are really ripe!)
1/4 cup Sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup Old fashion oats
2 tbsp Honey
3 packets Stevia
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 tsp Baking powder
3/4 tsp Baking soda
A few dashes of salt
1/4-1/2 cup Dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Rinse the beans and add them to a food processor or high powered blender with the bananas and the sunflower seed kernels.
3. Puree the mixture until it just starts to come together and then add the oats.
4. Continue to process the mixture until smooth.
5. Add the honey, stevia, eggs, and vanilla and process again until just combined.
6. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and process for another 30 seconds.
7. At this point you can stir in the chocolate chips by hand.  I choose to use them as decorations on top instead, but I think next time I will mix them in instead. 
8. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until a toothpick can come out clean when poked in the middle.
10.  Let the bars completely cool off before serving. Enjoy!
Makes 24 bars.
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 1 bar
Calories: 60
Total Fat: 2g
     Sat. Fat: .5g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Sodium: 87 mg
Total Carbs: 9g
     Dietary Fiber: 1g
     Sugars: 4g
Protein: 2g
Vitamin A: 0.5%
Vitamin C: 1.5%
Iron: 2.0%
Calcium: 1.1%

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