Scintillating Scallops

seared scallops

When I was a kid, my mother would make flounder and white rice for me. Unfortunately, I was an extremely picky eater back then and I’d refuse to try other kinds of seafood.

Now that I’m older, my desire to experiment has grown exponentially and I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes: Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Sauce. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly; you can find the original recipe here.

 For the scallops, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of dry, large sea scallops

  • 1 Tbsp Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsps Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 medium shallot, diced

  • ¼ cup of herbs (I like chives, rosemary and parsley)

  • ¼ cup of your favorite liqueur (I like Kahlúa)

  • ¼ cup lime zest

  • Fresh ground black pepper

Quick tip: Chop your herbs and the shallot for the sauce before you start cooking the scallops.

Cooking directions (scallops):

  1. Rinse scallops in cold water then pat dry with paper towels

  2. Warm a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes

  3. Add oil and Smart Balance to the pan → to test if the mixture is hot enough, run your fingers under some cold water then splash it into the oil and Smart Balance. When it’s hot enough, the cold water will instantly boil off

  4. Pat scallops dry once more before placing them in the pan (spread them around the pan for best cooking results)

  5. Season each scallop with your choice of spices and place in the pan to sear

  6. Let each scallop cook for 2 to 4 minutes until nicely browned (you’ll know it’s ready when it’s mostly firm to the touch)

  7. Flip with tongs and repeat searing on the other side

  8. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate (turn the burner down to medium and let the pan cool for about 45 seconds before starting the sauce

Cooking directions (herb-butter sauce):

  1. Melt 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance in the pan

  2. Add shallots to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes

  3. Pour Kahlúa and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes or until it reduces by ½

  4. Mix in herbs and lime zest and reduce heat to low

  5. Add the other 2 Tbsps of Smart Balance to mixture and whisk briskly until it melts completely

  6. Return scallops to the pan and roll them in sauce until warmed through

  7. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

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Savory and Heart-Healthy Alfredo Sauce

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Every so often, I like to take a day off and unwind from the crazy journey we know as life. When I do, that’s typically when I see a sign that the passion I have for helping women learn to love their bodies and feed it right is what I need to be doing.

Yesterday, I was lounging around my apartment because we were having our umpteenth snow fall of the season and I tuned into Bethenny. One of her guests for the day was an AMAZING woman named Torrie who lost 148 pounds in 3 years. Torrie is amazing because she did it the right way: she healthified her favorite foods so she’d never have to deprive herself of anything.

I found this recipe a while back and it’s an incredible way I can keep one of my “guilty pleasure” – Alfredo sauce – in my culinary repertoire. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses Greek yogurt so I get a nice dose of protein and keep my immune system in tip top shape!

Ingredients:

  • 4oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup Silk soy milk
  • 2Tbsp Smart Balance
  • 2Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm a saucepan on medium heat
  2. Melt the Smart Balance
  3. Add your flour to create a paste
  4. Stir in garlic powder, black pepper, yogurt and milk
  5. Keep cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens
  6. Add Parmesan cheese and stil until melted
  7. Pour over your favorite bowl of pasta and enjoy!

Healthy and Indulgent Brownies

Finally, some no-guilt brownies :-)

Finally, some no-guilt brownies 🙂

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Greek yogurt is a fantastic substitute for other cooking fats like oils, lard, and so on.

I’ve been a chocoholic for as long as I can remember and I haven’t had brownies in a very long time because of the oil content. I decided to test how well Greek yogurt and I think I may have opened a portal to heaven!

I used the following ingredients for my brownies:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cups Vanilla Greek yogurt (I used low fat)
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup pecans

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, pecans),
  2. Blend all the wet ingredients – vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, chocolate chips (melt for 30s in a microwave safe bowl or in a small pot),
  3. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly (I did it a little too quickly and had one heck of a mess to clean up!),
  4. After you’ve combined the wet and dry ingredients, pour the batter into a pan (8x8x2 lined with parchment paper and slightly covered in olive oil to help keep the brownies from sticking),
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean,
  6. Let the brownies cool for about 15 minutes, and enjoy!

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes

I loved it when I would be in the kitchen with my Mom early on Sunday mornings to her make a big breakfast that could have two or three days-worth of leftovers. While I’m sure you can create pancake batter from scratch (which is something I think I might try someday 🙂 ), I like to use Log Cabin’s ready-to-mix dry batter. I prefer this brand because they use simple ingredients and never have more than 10 ingredients (including NO PRESERVATIVES!!) in their mixes.

As I mentioned in my post about French toast, we can use the carbohydrate content in our foods to our advantage given you want to educate yourself about the different kinds of carbohydrates and your willingness to experiment with them.

Here’s my basic pancake recipe I use regularly that is under 400 calories (which includes ¼ cup of syrup!) and keeps me full for about 3 hours.

Heart-Healthy Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Log Cabin pancake mix
  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon & 2 tsp of ginger
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Combine pancake mix, egg, oil, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl
  2. Warm medium sized pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray (to prevent the pancakes from sticking, let the cooking spray warm up with the pan until it turns clear)
  3. Spritz a small of water into the pan to make sure it’s evenly heated (the water droplets should boil instantly)
  4. Pour pancake mix and cook on medium heat

Greek Yogurt is a FANTASTIC substitute for fatty oils and butter!

chobani-conversion-chart_web_final1A few weeks ago, I was watching Dr. Oz and he was discussing how Greek yogurt is the best kind of yogurt you can include in your diet. It’s got a taste and texture that will take a while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll never want to eat any other kind of yogurt!

Towards the end of the show, Dr. Oz had a guest explain how she substituted oils and fats in her favorite foods to make it healthier and much more flavorful. She had recipes for some of my favorite indulgences like  chicken alfredo and brownies.

A special thank you to Allyson for the neat conversion chart!

I can’t wait to try this in some of my favorite recipes!

Honey is a Natural and POWERFUL anti-bacterial agent!

HoneyAbout a year ago, I started drinking tea on a regular basis and I used to put so many packets of artificial sweetener in my tea, it was ridiculous!! Every sip I took, I thought, “Oh! There’s a new cavity…”

My mom suggested I start putting honey in to replace the sugar in my tea and I was flabbergasted by what I noticed after doing that consistently. Not only did I drastically reduce the need for the sweeteners, I noticed that I wouldn’t sniffle as much. Honey.com confirmed my good results.

In addition to that, when I have honey in my tea regularly I don’t have that nasty stuff that builds up around my eyes as I’m sleeping.

One last thing I’ve noticed about honey is how moisturizing it is! When I have leftover oatmeal, I mix ¼ cup of honey with 4tsp of oats and spread it on my skin. I leave it on anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and as soon as I wash the mixture off, my redness is greatly reduced and my skin is incredibly soft!

Give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂

Tacos

two-grilled-tacos

As a kid, I remember being addicted to fast food joints like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. One of my favorite things from Taco Bell was their beef tacos. Now that I’m almost 30, I want to pass on healthier recipes to my friends and family.

This is my basic taco recipe, but you can make enchiladas, empanadas, etc. the same way!

Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Ground beef, chicken, shrimp, lobster, scallops or tofu
  • Tortillas (multi-grain or whole wheat)
  • Shredded cheese (I like Sargento’s Pepper Jack)
  • Green, red, yellow peppers (diced)
  • White, red, yellow onions (diced)

Directions:

  1. Brown your meat or meat substitute in a saute pan on medium heat (add adobo for seasoning)
  2. Warm up the tortillas in a 2nd saute pan → put water in the pan, place it on a low simmer and let the tortilla sit in the warm water.
  3. After the ground beef is done, saute the peppers and onions
  4. Plate up the tortillas, veggies, and ground beef and ENJOY!!!