Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

What do you do when you have a whole lot of this on November 1st?

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If you have children, you can tell them you ate all of their candy. (These NEVER get old)

Or, you can throw them in sugar and make a dessert… I say, do both.

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Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Leftover candy of choice (I used Reeses, Kit Kat’s, chocolate chips and some sprinkles –> because everyone loves sprinkles 😉 )

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grab an 8×8 baking pan. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and grease with vegetable oil spray.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & kosher salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, & vanilla extract.  Once these ingredients are well blended, add the egg & mix until everything is combined.
  • Add the flour mixture very slowly and mix until barely combined.  Using a spatula or large spoon, continue mixing ingredients until completely mixed.  Here is where I folded in the chocolate chips.
  • Line the bottom of your pan with the Kit-Kat’s. (I used 12 of the packages that have 2 in them)
  • Spread the batter into baking pan.  Don’t worry if it seems like there’s not much batter…it all works out!
  • Chop your Reese’s (about a cup) and place them on top of the batter. Shake some sprinkles on for pretty color!
  • Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then pull the parchment paper out of the pan.
  • Cut Blondies into squares & enjoy!

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Now you have an excuse to do more than just tear open those wrappers and indulge this Halloween season.

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Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake {Valentine’s Day Style}

 

I am a sucker for pretty things that are the color pink. When I went to Target a few weeks ago, I spotted pink and red sprinkles, small vases with love quotes and sparkly valentines day cards and of course I just had to purchase them. Adam loves funfetti just as much as I do (soulmate!), so last week I made this cheesecake as his Birthday cake. I used my Valentine’s Day sprinkles in this recipe and it turned out better than we expected for being so “healthy”. This would be perfect to make for your significant other this weekend since bikini season is right around the corner… Um, hopefully.

 

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Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake  {Valentine’s Day Style}

Ingredients:

  • 2 sleeves of Low Fat Graham Cracker (Or use Gluten – Free), crushed in food processor or by hand
  • 3 Tbsp. Light Butter, Softened
  • 8 Oz. Neufchatel
  • 8 Oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Organic Sugar
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites (or from 2 Eggs)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 C. Valentine’s Day Sprinkles

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined.
  • Coat the inside of a 10″ spring form pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom.
  • Bake until browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, then beat in the greek yogurt on a lower setting.
  • Lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the whole egg, corn starch, flour and vanilla.
  • Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Add the sprinkles to the mixture last and fold in until distributed pretty evenly through the cheesecake mixture. Pour over the cooled crust.
  • Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge, then cool.

 

Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

The recipe I’m posting today brings back warm memories of my childhood. When we were younger, we would head up to Maryland from Florida to spend Christmas with my moms side of the family and every year I would help my Grandma make her infamous Sugar Cookies. We start eating these during Christmas Eve Brunch and continue eating them until they’re gone (Christmas Dinner). I think we usually make 2 batches? It makes A LOT of cookies but they are in high-demand with our family. The dough, which has to chill for a few hours before rolling out, is so yummy too and you know we sneak many a bites during the whole process.

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Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb margarine (4 sticks); softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 rolling-pin
  • 3 cans of frosting (We use Betty Crockers Vanilla <—we cheat!)
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  • Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt & baking soda together and then chill, covered for a few hours.
  • When you remove from fridge, leave it for an hour or so before you start to work with it.  The first batch always seems to be a challenge…so be patient as you roll it out.
  • Sprinkle flour on your surface before you start with the dough, and rub flour on the rolling-pin frequently.
  • Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters.
  • Lift gently and place on ungreased cooking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees.  (If not quite done another minute or two.)
  • Frost and sprinkle.

 

Caution:  they are addictive! The consensus is that they are best once the icing sets into the cookies and makes them very soft so I suggest making these a day (or two) in advance of when you will need them.

Mock Mashed Potatoes

 

My Grandma makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and certain birthday’s she peels, chops and boils about 15 pounds of potatoes to make her family happy. I know they are loaded with butter, milk & sour cream (duh, that’s why they taste so good!) and those items combined, are things I like to “avoid” during the week. I have seen a lot of recipes floating around for cauliflower mashed potatoes so decided to give it a whirl. I think they turned out pretty well and I even got my husband to eat half of the batch. Veggies for the win.

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Mock Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used vegan butter that was Soy Free)
  • A splash of Low Sodium Veg Broth

Directions

  • Boil a pot of water and steam the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes)
  • Drain cauliflower and add to blender (or food processor) with garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter
  • Mix until everything is smooth. Here is where I add a bit of broth to give it a creamy consistency instead of rice texture.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • After I placed the “mashed potatoes” in the serving bowl, I sprinkled more of the Smoked Paprika on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Spooky Pasta

Happy Halloween!!

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Isn’t my baby cousin the cutest!? She has multiple Halloween costumes today… such a princess already 🙂

Last night I made “Spooky Pasta” which used mainly healthy ingredients (minus the cheese!) and it was a big hit. It also includes Pumpkin and has a TON of protein… Good way to get your children to eat something different (or your husband).

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Spooky Pasta

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pasta (I used mung bean pasta which is Gluten Free and has 20 grams of protein per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup rice milk (or whatever milk you use)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  • Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the milk, broth, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Poor sauce over cooked pasta and serve on a plate.
  • Add 2 goat cheese circles for eyes. I had to use chocolate chips for the eyeball but an olive would work best!

Enjoy!

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Hope everyone has a fun Halloween! If you get a chance, watch this 2 minute video my brother sent me about giving children healthy candy.

Crockpot Chicken Pho

Ah, remember that time I made Pho, posted it on my Facebook page and promised to post the recipe very soon? Well, time got away from me but I’m still making good on that promise.

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For those of you who have never had Pho, it is a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock (chicken in this case) and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. It’s a kind of soup that cures your sickness and heals your soul. Is that too deep for 9am on a Tuesday?

Crock-pot Chicken Pho

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (two 32-ounce boxes)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 10 whole star anise ( I used 10 — But I would maybe use 9 next time)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 ounces rice noodles ( I used thin but I believe traditional is wide)
  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • Mung bean sprouts (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Thai chile or serrano, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  • Add chicken to bottom of crockpot (You can cook chicken before, but I put it in uncooked)
  • Combine broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours). (I did low FYI)
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove spices and discard.
  • Add noodles and bok choy to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks.
  • When the noodles are tender, stir in the shredded chicken.
  • Serve bowls of soup with bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro, sliced chile and lime wedges on the side so everyone can add their own toppings.

This is not one of those recipes that you make with items that are “just lying around”, but I promise it’s worth the effort!

Salty & Sweet

Have you ever eaten an entire container of fro-yo and then craved a bag of chips? No? Well….Yeah, me either… 😉 But if you are one of those salty & sweet lovers I think you’re going to love this treat. I made these to keep in our fridge as a “healthy dessert” last night… I’ll let you guess how long they lasted. I feel bad even calling this a recipe… It’s so easy, even my mom could make it!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pretzel Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 Organic banana
  • 4 squares of 72% dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
  • Handful of Organic Mini Pretzels

Directions

  • Slice Banana
  • Place slices of banana on to one mini pretzel

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  • Spread a dollop of peanut butter onto another mini pretzel and place on top

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  •  Melt dark chocolate for 1 minute
  • Dip half of the “pretzel sandwich” into the dark chocolate
  • Refrigerate for 5 minutes

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Enjoy!

 

Guest Post: Baked Chicken Parm with Zucchini Pasta

Happy Wednesday! I have a guest post for you today by the amazing Ali. She uses one of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare creative dishes so her boyfriend eats more of the green stuff… When i first met Adam, he ate ZERO veggies. Um, this isn’t going to work for me… Adam slowly but surely came around and eats his greens with almost every meal. But the one thing I’ve been having trouble getting him on board with, is zucchini pasta. Ali to the rescue!

A Healthy Bowl of Manly Pasta: Getting The Man in Your Life to Eat Zucchini Pasta

The first time we met, Alyssa told me she already owned a spiralizer. Of course, I then realized that we’d be instant friends. She had told me that she tried making some zucchini pasta dishes for her husband, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I took this as a challenge and offered to guest blog for her and create a recipe JUST for ‘Life a la Wife.’ Now, here we are.

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’m Ali, the blogger at Inspiralized, a website dedicated 100% to spiralizing. Spiralizing is the act of converting whole vegetables into noodles by using a spiralizer (an inexpensive plastic counter-top kitchen tool) By replacing regular wheat pasta with these veggie noodles, you’re sneaking in more vegetables into your diet while reducing your calorie and carb intake! Find out more about this cooking method by visiting my blog, Inspiralized.com.

Although I’m not married (not yet!), I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months and completely understand the constant struggle between cooking healthy and cooking for a man. Most men are not as calorie conscious as us ladies are and I get it…. If I had the metabolism of a dude, I’d be wolfing down triple-decker peanut butter and jellies like there’s no tomorrow!

Everyone (especially men) love pasta. Zucchini pasta is a healthier, low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. In order to get your man’s feet wet to the zucchini pasta movement, I present to you a dish that he’ll not only be impressed with, but will feel better after eating. In this healthier version of the classic Italian Chicken Parmesan, I skipped the frying of the breaded chicken in oil and baked it instead. I’ve also excluded butter and have used homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Next time you make one of my healthy Inspiralized dishes and mention “zucchini pasta” he won’t shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes – he’ll be excited for a big bowl of pasta! The couple that eats healthy together stays together, I say.

NOTE: Recreate this in a skinny version for yourself by skipping the breading of the chicken. Then, when adding the mozzarella to melt, use half the amount of cheese. After plating, top with 1-2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to get a bit more of that crunchy chicken parmesan feel. Almost half the calories and just as much deliciousness. Now you can eat alongside your manly man and not feel as guilty!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Pasta

Serving size: 1
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, Blade C
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce OR 1 cup of my tomato basil sauce (below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 long ball of mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato basil sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

Place your piece of bread into a food processor and pulse into breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and season with the oregano, garlic powder and then salt and pepper to taste.

Take out a baking dish or tray and pour the breadcrumbs onto the tray. Add in Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Start your sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Once oil heats, add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds and then add in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften and are translucent. Add in diced tomatoes, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a potato crusher, stir and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge your chicken in the beaten egg then dip in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture. Dip on both sides and pat breadcrumbs into any crevices on the chicken breast. Place on the baking tray and put into the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breast (thicker = longer).

Continue to simmer the tomato sauce until all the juice is absorbed. Once done, reserve half of the sauce and keep the rest in the skillet, but turn off the heat.

After the chicken is done, take out, pour on the half cup of tomato basil sauce, top with mozzarella slice and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown on top.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 5 minutes, turn the skillet back on, throw in the zucchini spaghetti, and toss to combine, cooking for 3 minutes or until zucchini softens and sauce is heated. Place the zucchini pasta down on a plate and set aside.

Top the pasta with the Chicken Parmesan and serve to your thankful and adoring husband! This dish is sure to please his tastebuds.

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Thanks Ali!! Adam has already asked me when I will be recreating this for him… Better get on it!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry IceBox Cake

It is HOT, HOT, HOT this week which means I am not turning on the stove… Crock-pot dinners and no-bake cakes for the win!

I like to make dessert on Sunday’s before getting back to the “real world” of clean eating on Monday. This past weekend I went the healthier route by using 3 easy ingredients.

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You can make your own whipped cream or use Cool Whip but I like the truwhip version since it’s all natural.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry IceBox Cake

Ingredients

1 box of Honey Graham Crackers

2 lbs of Strawberries, sliced

1 tub of TruWhip (Cool Whip or make your own whipping cream)

Dark Chocolate

Directions

  • Start out by placing a light layer of tru whip on the bottom of a 9×13 pan
  • Place 6 Graham Crackers on the light layer of tru whip
  • Add another layer of tru whip, covering the graham crackers
  • Place sliced strawberries on the layer of tru whip.
  • Repeat 4-5x, ending with strawberries
  • Chop some of your dark chocolate and add to top layer
  • Melt the remaining dark chocolate and drizzle on top (or not if you don’t like chocolate, obviously)
  • Refrigerate for 4-6 hours and serve cold

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Enjoy!

WIAW – Berry Cheesecake Parfait

Happy Friday! OK, well it’s my Friday — anyone else? I’m looking forward to the long weekend of hopefully catching some sun on this pale body of mine! Since it’s really Wednesday – It’s WIAW! Check out Jenn’s blog if you are weird like me and enjoy seeing what other people eat.

wiawphotobutton Breakfast: Eggs, Spinach & Watermelon

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Snack: Apple

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Lunch: Quinoa, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocados, Cashews and Mushrooms with Taco Seasoning & Salsa.

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Snack: Clif Z Bar

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Dinner: Shrimp Enchilada Bake

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Dessert: Berry Cheesecake Parfait

I whipped up these mini desserts in 5 minutes and thought they’d be the perfect treat for a July 4th celebration! I only did measurements for Adam and I so this would be best for a small crowd. (Easy to double/triple this recipe)

 

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 Berry Cheesecake Parfait (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets of graham crackers
  • 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup of Tru Whip (or cool whip)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions

  • Crumble 1 sheet of graham crackers – Divide into each glass as your “crust”
  • Mix cream cheese and sugar until combined
  • Fold in Tru Whip with cream cheese mixture
  • Layer 1/4 of mixture onto crumbled graham cracker “crust”
  • Add sliced strawberries & blueberries
  • Layer in remaining cream cheese mixture
  • Add more sliced strawberries & blueberries
  • Top off with extra Tru Whip (if desired)
  • Place remaining graham cracker strips into top of parfait

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Enjoy your 4th of July!