Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Taco Tuesday: Tiny Tummy's Taco Seasoning

The key to the success of any taco meat is in its seasoning, and let me tell you, I've created a winner. Here's Tiny Tummy's Tantalizing Taco Seasoning to spruce up any meaty taco mix (or tofu, chickpea, veggie, etc. hash for all you vegetarians out there!

1 T chili powder
3/4 t garlic powder
3/4 t onion powder
1/2 t red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy, less if you like it mild)
1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 t cumin
optional: 1/2 t cayenne pepper (to really kick up the heat!)

Combine all the spices and season away!
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Handy Mandy!

Ever since I first used a mandolin, it was love at first slice. Something about thinly sliced veggies is so much more appealing than chunks! But, I must warn you, as handy as our mandolin friends may be, they are very dangerous if not used properly. The blade on those suckers is SHARP! I don't know if it's a curse in my family, but my mother, my father and I have all sliced our finger pretty badly using a mandolin, so I thought I would share some kitchen safety with the blogosphere. You know that piece that comes with the mandolin that secures your food for you while you slice away? Don't ignore it. You WILL cut your hand! I know the chefs make it look incredibly easy to just slice away shamelessly without injuring yourself, but it is way too easy for your hand to slip when slicing- especially if you're cutting something slippery like an onion! So while I LOVE using the mandolin to get my veggies as thinly sliced as possible, it is important to use it properly to avoid slicing your finger along with whatever you're cutting! Pin It

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sharing is Caring

This one may seem obvious, but when dining out, sharing is caring! If you're going out with a friend or even a date (maybe not on the first date, but later on down the line), suggest sharing! Portion sizes are often way big enough for two people, so why not share a dish? This way, you don't have to deal with the temptation of eating the whole dish, and if you're worried about your dish coming prepared in an unhealthy way, you only have to deal with eating half of it! And why not save a few bucks?? You can even split a salad and an entree! Pin It

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Real Cheese Please

While I really like the fat-free cheese slices, I realize that they are not for everyone. I'm by no means a cheese snob (if anything I don't particularly like most cheeses), but for those of you who are, it can be hard to indulge in cheese while trying to stay healthy, as these calories add up fast! Fortunately, our friends at Sargento came to the rescue! Their new ultra thin slices range from 40-45 calories each and are made from real, full-fat cheese! Say hello to portion control! And personally, it adds just the right amount of cheesy flavor to a sandwich without overpowering it (unless you're going for a grilled cheese that is...) The only downside is each slice has much less protein than the fat free slices do, since they are about 1/3 of the size. They also have more fat (duh!), but if you can afford a little fat then go for it. So far, I've only tried the Colby Jack, but they're all real cheese, so how bad can they be?! They were great on a sandwich, and I'm sure they would be great inside stuffed chicken or melted over vegetables! Pin It

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beat the Buffet

I won't lie. All you can eat restaurants are among my favorite restaurants, and when I choose to over indulge in a meal, chances are, it will be at a buffet. As we know, my eyes are MUCH bigger than my stomach. I could keep eating and eating and eating if I really wanted to, and at a buffet, it's hard to know when to stop! Here are a few tips to help you survive the buffet, should you choose to venture into the wild!

1. Smaller plates are your friends: If you choose a smaller plate, you have less room to load on tons and tons of food. This way, you have less room to pile on the craziness.

2. The five minute rule: Give yourself five minutes in between plates to assess if you are truly still hungry. If after those five minutes, you still really want another plate, then allow yourself. Additionally, assess if you are actually hungry or just want to eat more. If you aren't truly hungry, avoid the temptation!

3. Water is your friend! Try to have a full glass of water with every plate you take. Water will help to make you feel fuller faster, so you are less likely to overindulge.

4. Don't face the buffet: If you're not looking at it, you will be less likely to focus on what to eat next. Instead, choose the seat facing away from the buffet so you have a chance to take in a little more of the atmosphere!

5. DBD GFG: If you feel full before your friends finish, don't keep eating just to keep up. And, if you're the type that is tempted to continue, use one of my old favorite tips: DBD GFG (don't be dumb, go for gum!)- pop a piece of gum in your mouth so you still keep the flavor going!

As a general rule of thumb, everything in moderation. Buffets are bound to have some unhealthy choices, but if you are really craving those french fries, have one or two, but skip the fried chicken then. The beauty of the buffet is you can take as much or as little of anything as you please, so you are the boss. Don't let the food control you! ;)

P.S. Want to know my secret indulgence? All you can eat sushi! I simply can't resist. I'm even going to share a photo of the most recent platter my family and I devoured at our last sushi outing. Hey, every tiny tummy is allowed to indulge once in a while! Pin It

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bread Breakdown (All access guide to the best Diet Breads)

As promised in a previous post, Tiny Tummy is here to help you survive the bread aisle! With so many different breads in the supermarket, it's hard to decide which to buy- and with so many different labels (light, wheat, rye, whole wheat, whole grain, sprouted grain, etc.), it's enough to send your head spinning, but like I said- Tiny Tummy to the rescue!

For starters, your #1 rule when it comes to bread is fiber, fiber, fiber! Make your carbs count with high fiber picks to keep you fuller longer. Protein is important too, but chances are, whatever you are putting in your bread will provide the bulk of your protein, so focus on the fiber! I am providing a list of my favorite picks for breads (in no particular order)- including everything from regular sliced bread to pitas to crackers (even though these aren't necessarily 'bread'), all of which have links to their nutritional stats!

Sliced Breads
  • Nature's Own (Another bread I have yet to try since I can't seem to locate it anywhere!)
  • Sara Lee Light Bread (I can't seem to find it anywhere, but the Whole Wheat with Honey sounds delicious!)
  • Healthy Life Bread (I haven't seen this one in the stores yet either, but the stats are pretty good for light bread!)
  • Fiber One Bread
  • Arnold's Healthful Breads (They also come in a new light variety which I recently spotted on the shelves, but they haven't updated their website with the new products!)
  • Trader Joe's Breads- (Many of them are great picks! The Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread is among my faves, as well as their light-style whole wheat bread, but all their high-fiber breads are great choices!)
  • Carb Krunchers Bread (Another one to order online- love the cinnamon raisin one to make french toast with!)
  • Weight Watcher's Breads (I like the Whole Wheat Bread best)
  • Julian Bakery Breads (most likely, you'll have to order this bread online, and it's not cheap, but the stats are great!)

Sandwich Bread Alternatives (Tortillas, Flatbreads, Buns, etc.)

Bagels and Breakfast Picks

Hopefully that list didn't send you into a carb-coma! Perhaps if I'm feelin' frisky one day I'll compile a chart with all of the nutrition stats because I know it's a lot to take in at once, but for now that's all I've got- Tata from this Tiny Tummy!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A 'Whole' Lotta Mumbo Jumbo decoded

Recently, America has been on a 'whole wheat' and 'whole grain' kick. For whatever reason, people automatically assume that if something is labeled within either of these two categories, it is healthy; however, this just simply isn't the case. Italian restaurants have begun to serve 'whole wheat' pizzas and pastas, thinking they are doing their customers a service in providing a 'healthy' option, and while whole wheat pasta is healthier than regular white pasta, and whole wheat pizza crust a superior choice to regular pizza crust, they are still not healthy, and people often choose these options thinking they aren't breaking their diet, when in reality, these dishes are diet disasters. Often, the amount of pasta they are serving you is still way more than a normal serving size, and it doesn't help if you're getting whole wheat pasta that's loaded with tons of oil, butter, or cream sauce (even if it's a 'primavera'-type dish with lots of vegetables- just cause it comes with vegetables doesn't make it healthy either!) This is a big part of the reason I hate Italian restaurants- giant portions of extremely unhealthy foods with extremely heavy and unhealthy sauces- and I've found they are the least willing to comply with dietary needs (you say no oil, they pack on the butter... you ask for steamed vegetables, they coat them in oil first or sauté them, etc.), bottom line, make your own Italian food at home and save yourself the wasted calories and money! :D But enough of my ranting, and onto more whole-y misconceptions!

Additionally, not all whole wheat breads are created equal. Again, while any whole wheat or whole grain bread is bound to be a better choice than plain ole' white bread, you really need to read the labels- look for a bread that is high in fiber and preferably high in protein as well, so that your sandwich will keep you full for as long as possible. One of these days, I will have to compile a list of my favorite high-fiber breads (and there are quite a few of them!), but as a general rule for now, stick to a bread that has at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.

To make a long story short, whole wheat does not equal healthy- read the labels to be certain! Pin It

Grilled Calamari

Fried Calamari is one of the most popular appetizers in Italian and American restaurants, so when people think of calamari, they often immediately associate it with the fried battered coating this dish comes with; however, calamari on its own is actually quite healthy- it doesn't have to be fried! The texture of calamari makes it delicious without the coating so why bother frying it when you can grill it? Something about the texture of calamari with the flavor of the grill is an awesome pairing, and a great alternative to the fried mess that is served at Italian restaurants. Instead of breading, try coating it in your favorite spice blend. Try it- you won't be sorry! Pin It

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pizza Possibilites

Living in New York, pizza is everywhere, so it's fairly impossible to avoid the craving; however, I have come up with a number of ways to make my own guilt-free pizza that keeps me out of the disastrous pizza parlors of the NYC streets. Here are a few of my personal favorite pizza picks to make your own guilt-free pizzas at home!

1. Cheese Please: To start, it's very easy to find a fat-free or reduced fat mozzarella cheese. Some even come shredded for you already. A new personal fav for me is from Trader Joe's, though if you don't have one near you, any brand will suffice.

2. Sauce 'er up: While I make my own tomato sauce, most store bought tomato sauces are fairly low in calories. Try to pick one that is also lower in sugar and sodium, as many of these store bought picks have added sugar, and tomatoes are sweet enough on their own!

3. Trust your Crust: The crust on most pizzas can be an evil source of empty carby calories. If you're making your own pizza, why waste those calories when you can use other choices for crust? Some of my favorite options are English Muffins (like the ones by Fiber One), a high fiber tortilla, such as the kind by La Tortilla Factory (can you say thin crust?!), or if you're feelin' frisky, go for a veggie crust! Zucchini or Eggplant boats make great crusts! Or, if you're really feelin' frisky, bake your own crust from cauliflower. I know it sounds weird, but it comes out amazing! Just puree some cooked cauliflower in a blender (with whatever spices you may want) and spread on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for a good hour until it starts to get crispy. You might want to add some egg (or egg whites) and cheese to the crust to make it more solid.

4. Tip Top Toppings: Feel free to load on the veggies! Some onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, etc. all make great additions to your pizza! Or add some leftover chicken breast or turkey pepperoni slices if you're a meaty pizza lover! Pin It

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fry Me a River

French fries used to be my #1 guilty pleasure- I mean common, who doesn't love french fries? While the typical spuds are diet disasters, as they are soaked in grease and fried to oily oblivion, all fries don't have to be. In fact, fries don't even have to be made from potatoes! Here are my top 3 tips for making your own healthy, flavorful fries.

1. Bake, don't fry! Yes, I know. The name lends itself to frying, but a baking your fries with a little non-stick spray gets the job done. Or, you can even coat them in a little oil before baking- your choice!

2. Seasoned fries are happy fries- Well, coming from me at least- the queen of seasoning. But seriously, a little garlic and onion powder goes a long way- or you can stick to the conventional salt if you so please. Or, if you're feelin' frisky, make something exotic like Indian spiced fries (use a blend of cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, etc.- whatever you please)

3. Spuds are not your buds- Be unconventional! Try making fries from different vegetables! My personal favorite are squash fries, but you can also use carrots, jicama, turnips (another good one!), broccoli stems, etc. Don't be afraid to experiment! Pin It

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pasta Del Mar

The whole pasta and seafood thing is clearly nothing new coming from me; however, with my newfound love for Walden Farms Garlic and Herb pasta sauce, the sauce that I prepared my pasta with came out so good that I saved the leftover to eat over rice or spelt the next time I make it! And, this was one of those throw-together dinners so you know it has to be super simple as always!

You will need:

Seasoning mixture for the seafood:

1 t smoked paprika (or perhaps a little more)
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
A good 6-8 twists of the Dean Jacobs Chiptole Spice Seasoning Mill
1/4 t red pepper flakes (or more if you like things HOT like I do)

2 oz of Atkins Pasta cooked (or any quantity/pasta you may desire)

4- 5 oz. shrimp and scallops (or more or less depending upon how much you choose to buy/prepare)- you can use the frozen medley, but I actually used fresh seafood this time around
A mix of whatever veggies you'd like- I used 1/4 of a tomato (I had it leftover from breakfast), some sauteed onions and mushrooms, chopped spinach, and frozen peas)-
3-5 T of Walden Farms Garlic and Herb Pasta Sauce (depending upon how much pasta, seafood, and veggies you use and how saucey you like your pasta dishes)
optional: some dehydrated onion and garlic flakes (you know I can't help myself!)

To prepare:
Combine you spice mixture, rinse seafood, and coat those suckers in the spice blend while you cut the rest of your veggies and cook your pasta. Once your pasta is cooked, rinse and drain, but toss it back into your pot on the stove. Bring your pot back onto a low heat and add seafood, sauce, and then veggies). Cook until everything is well heated and your seafood is cooked through (unless you're using a frozen precooked seafood medley of course!) You should really taste the smoked paprika- it's a delicious compliment to our new friend from Walden Farms!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

New Walden Farms Product Tested

So, as promised, I said I would review each new Walden Farms product as I try them. Recently, I went out on a whim and decided to order the Garlic and Herb pasta sauce in the hopes it would taste like the garlic and oil my dad used to make me when I was younger, and guess what- I liked it even better! I was never a huge fan of olive oil, but I loved the garlic, and this sauce, while not extremely flavorful, gives me just the right amount of garlicy herbyness I need- especially since I add my own spices, onions, mushrooms, and garlic to my pasta anyway. The sauce doesn't taste artificial like some of the other Walden Farms products which was another major plus. And it's a 0 cal pasta option when I'm not in the mood for tomato sauce. I also mixed it into a seafood pasta dish the other day (recipe soon to come!) and the broth came out incredible. Therefore verdict: Walden Farms Garlic and Herb Pasta sauce is a keeper! Pin It

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Squash that Craving

Sweet Potatoes used to be a staple side dish in my house (with some butter and brown sugar of course!), but we all know that potatoes of all varieties are among the veggies that are off limits on a low carb diet; however, butternut squash is not, and if I didn't tell you otherwise, you would swear this butternut squash casserole was actually made with sweet potatoes (if you get a sweet butternut squash, that is!)- Make this for thanksgiving and I promise people won't know the difference- my entire extended family loved it, and they generally scoff at our strange foods! The recipe is super simple and delicious, and only has 3 ingredients! The amounts of each will completely depend on your taste buds and the size of the squash you get- all you need is 1 large butternut squash (or more if you want to make a larger casserole, Walden Farms pancake syrup, and cinnamon- it's that easy! Just roast the squash in the oven at about 450 degrees until softened (about an hour), then puree in a food processor with as much cinnamon and syrup as you'd like! Now, I could eat it just like this, but if you're feelin' frisky, feel free to transfer it to a pan and bake it in the oven again to get a crispy crusty layer on top, like a true sweet potato casserole. (you can even add some mini marshmallows- I won't tell!) The best part is the average size Butternut Squash has around 500 calories, so your entire casserole is about that amount (unless you used more than 1 obviously!)- If that seems like a lot, you can add some pumpkin to the mix- it's not quite as sweet, so you might need more syrup to balance out the tangy flavor of the pumpkin, but it will make for a creamy consistency!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Skinny (or Tiny, I should say) on Frozen Treats

You can thank Time Warner Cable for the absence of post last night- I couldn't get my internet working!

Anyway, since it's been once of the hottest summers on record (thank you global warming!), I can't help but crave something cold just about every second of the day, and while ice cream is delicious, we all know we can't reach for a giant scoop of ice cream every time we're hot. Where I live, there is a froyo joint within just about every block of me, but I know that's not the case for most people, and while relaxing at home, we all crave the occasional frozen treat. So, I've decided to give a few quick tips for buying store-bought frozen treats because the calories and sugar can add up pretty fast on those suckers.

First of all, know your portion size. If you're the type of person who isn't satisfied with just a single scoop of ice cream, save yourself from the disaster and don't buy the pint. There are plenty of companies that sell single portion cups if it's just a scoop of ice cream you want. My personal fav of these is by Skinny Cow which are all around 150-170 calories per cup, and even have a few grams of fiber! Weight Watchers and Edy's also makes some single-serve yummy ice cream cups that are less than 200 calories per cup.

If you're more of a bar person, you're in luck! There are TONS of low-cal options in the frozen dessert section that are delicious. If you're watching your sugar intake, stick to the sugar free fudgesicles or popsicles, which usually clock in under 70 calories (you can find them as low as 25 calories sometimes!) Popsicle has a whole line of sugar free fudgesicles, popsicles, creamsicles, etc.- though I will warn you, they are sweetened with Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium which are no-no's in my book. The company also makes a ton of other popsicles (sweetened with sugar) that are low-cal- in tons of fun flavors, such as Root Beer, Banana, and even Cotton Candy! If you're willing to spend a little more, Weight Watchers makes a TON of yummy frozen treats. I've tried a good majority of them, and my personal favs are the Giant Cookies and Cream Bar (Chocolate and Vanilla are both delish!), Giant Latte Bar (like a giant frozen cappuccino, English Toffee Crunch Bar, and the Ice Cream Candy Bars (Think frozen Snickers!). All of the Weight Watchers treats are less than 150 calories and have a few grams of protein, so at least they are slightly satisfying.

I'm sure you remember Fla-Vor-Ices. While theses are basically straight sugar, they will satisfy your sweet tooth for just 25 calories a piece, and they are super easy to buy, throw in the freezer, and eat on the go. I always personally loved the pink ones, since they didn't turn your mouth the color of the ice!

Just a disclaimer, these suggestions are not meant to be filling but rather to satisfy the need for something cold and sweet. 

If it's an ice cream cone you're craving, our friends at Weight Watchers win again. The chocolate, vanilla, and caramel ice cream cones are all beyond delicious- and they even offer 2 sizes to satisfy any appetite. Skinny Cow and Blue Bunny also offer a few yummy cone options.

Lastly, single serve frozen yogurt bars have recently become all the rage. The nice thing about these is since some of them are made from real yogurt, they actually have a little protein. Blue Bunny has hopped on board with the fro-yo bar trend, as well as Jala Bars and companies such as Adonia have even started to sell frozen greek yogurt bars!

Feelin' Frisky? Make your own frozen treats! Just buy some popsicle molds, add your favorite drink or yogurt (or mix of the two), and freeze away! I used to make iced tea pops, coffee pops, greek yogurt pops, etc. all the time, but since I started working at a Fro Yo shop, I eat so much of that stuff that I don't need the pops. Don't have popsicle molds? Use an ice cube tray and add toothpicks for a handle for bite sized mini treats!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Saltless Sauces

Generally, my blog is dedicated to low calorie, low carb, and low sugar recipes, but ever since my grandfather was diagnosed with a heart problem that has placed him on a low-sodium diet, I am always on the hunt for low-sodium products, and recently I came across this entire line of sauces that have no sodium- and they are even refined sugar-free!

Mr. Spice's Salt-Free Sauces all sound incredibly delicious, and use all natural ingredients and no salt! They make everything from a Hot Sauce (a man after my heart), to a Honey Mustard, to some funkier options such as the Indian Curry and Thai Peanut varieties! As usual, with unique products such as these, they are not easy to find nor are they cheap, so I will be on the hunt at all the local health food stores for them! If anyone knows where I can get my hands on these, let me know because I would love to buy them before my grandpa's birthday, so I can try them out in a birthday dish for him!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Go Go Gobi Matar

Hope your taste buds are prepared for a serious kick of flavor because this curry recipe is PACKED with flavor! Indian Food has been among my favorite cuisines since I was little, but I really hadn't experimented with cooking Indian dishes until a year ago. The nice thing about Indian Food is it's highly reliant on spices which makes it flavor-packed without adding excessive calories (unless, of course, you go for the cream-based sauces!) Anyway, one of my favorite Indian dishes has always been  a cauliflower and pea curry, so I decided to experiment with some different spices and make my own version of Gobi Matar (Pea and Cauliflower curry)- and I was even feelin' frisky, so I decided to add some spinach and mushrooms too! Another nice thing about these recipes is you can also make as much or as little as you'd like with whatever veggies you'd like. If you use a lot of veggies, just double the spices to account for the higher volume of veggies!

Gobi Matar:

1 small head of cauliflower chopped and parboiled
1/2 cup of peas
6-8 mushrooms (or more if you'd like)
1 cup chopped spinach (or more or less)
1 small tomato chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced
2 t fresh ginger minced

1 t mustard seed
1 t cumin seed

Spice Mix:
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 tumeric
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder

(optional: a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor)

To start, get your spice mix together so it is ready to dump in when you need it. To start the cooking process, spray the bottom of your pot generously with nonstick cooking spray and let the oil get hot (I use coconut oil spray which is exceptionally yummy with Indian food!). Add the mustard and cumin seeds and let cook until they begin to crackle, but be careful that they don't burn. Then, add your ginger and garlic and let cook for a few minutes. Next, add your spice blend, mushrooms, and cauliflower along with a little bit of water- you will need to periodically add water just to keep your pot from burning. Add the chopped tomatoes and let simmer until the cauliflower has softened. Then, add your peas and allow them to soften. Finally, add the spinach and cook just long enough for the spinach to cook through- you don't want to leave it for too long because it will get bitter.

Note: I am not specifying cooking times because it will depend on your stove as well as how much of each veggie you decide to use! Pin It

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pick(le) me a Winner!

Since the day I could chew I've been a pickle fanatic. Something about the crunch, the sourness, the burst of flavor... it all works so well together! Anyway, as a frequent pickle popper, the supermarket pickles just don't cut it for me anymore. Ever since I had fresh pickles from a local farmer's market about three years ago, I am no longer satisfied with the limp, salty pickles that are sold in the grocery aisle, and yet I had never tried making my own, until now!

To be honest, I don't know the first thing about pickling, so I figured we would start out easy- baby steps. Confession: I cheated a little, but in the spirit of saving time and money, this is a great tip for anyone who loves fresh pickles as much as me- save your brine! What I did was I went to my local farmer's market, bought a nice pint of Horserashish pickles (seriously, SO good), finished the container (in less than a week, again, not gonna lie), went out and bought some kirby cucumbers, and popped them in the brine with a little extra horseradish (what can I say, I like things SPICY!)

I'm planning on leaving them for about a week to see if anything happens, and I will obviously keep you updated on the results. And hey, why limit yourself to just cucumbers? Any veggie tastes good pickled in my opinion- especially in a horseradish brine!

Have you ever tried making your own pickles before? Do you have a killer brine recipe? Pin It

Friday, July 13, 2012

10 Ways to Use Hot Sauce

If I haven't already made it extremely clear, I may just be in love with hot sauce. It's probably my favorite condiment these days- I use it on just about everything. In my opinion, there isn't much that doesn't go with hot sauce, but I thought I would give a little tribute to my favorite spicy sauce by naming 10 different uses for it- including ways to use it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

1. Kick up your omelette!
Sick of boring egg whites? Try dipping your eggs in hot sauce for an extra burst of flavor- I guarantee you won't be complaining about egg whites being bland and boring with some hot sauce on them!

2. Spicy Eggs Benedict!
Replace the mayo that is generally used in eggs benedict with hotsauce- or, better yet, combine it with some Walden Farms mayo to make a spicy mayo filling for your eggs!

3. Spicy Tuna Wrap!
Again, ditch the mayo and mix some canned tuna with a little hot sauce and mustard (sounds gross, tastes great!)- Or, again, mix it with the Walden Farms mayo for a spicy mayo tuna!

4. Dip those Veggies!
Sick of plain old steamed veggies? You won't be calling them plain with a kick of hot sauce as your dipper! It's great on just about any veggie!

5. Marinate Away!
Marinate your chicken or pork in hot sauce before it hits the grill for an extra burst of flavor- and if you're feelin' frisky, you can even dip in it once it's been grilled also!

6. Kickin' Shrimp!
Who needs fried Kung Pao shrimp when you can BBQ shrimp dipped in hot sauce? Not this tiny tummy!

7. Spicy Stir Fry!
Who says spices are the only way to kick up your stir fry? Add a little hot sauce for some added moisture and flavor!

8. Flavor Your Starch!
Not a fan of the taste of brown rice or quinoa? Think it's too boring on its own? Add a splash of hot sauce for a burst of flavor!

9. Spicy Jelly!
Okay, now this may sound like a weird one, but prepare a meat marinade using fruit preserves (or jelly, jam, etc) and hot sauce- the mix of sweet and spicy is delish!

10. Spicy Hummus!
While hummus is great on its own, if you're craving a little kick, add some hot sauce to any store bought or homemade hummus! You won't be sorry!

Feelin' Frisky? Here's a Bonus Tip, and one I've yet to try! Before coating homemade onion rings in whatever coating you use, add some hot sauce to your batter! Pin It

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Muffins that won't result in a muffin top!

I was so caught up in Free Slurpee Day yesterday, that I didn't even get a chance to acknowledge the fact that I celebrated national blueberry muffin day- but not with just any blueberry muffin! Normally, muffins are chocked full of sugar, carbs, calories... all the bad stuff- and just because they are fruit flavored, doesn't make them healthy. In fact, some blueberry muffins can have as many as 400 calories- all of which are empty carb- calories, so you're not even full after finishing the entire muffin! Luckily, I know a company that makes DELICIOUS blueberry muffins that are only (are you ready for this?!) 40 calories each! And they are sweetened with erythritol, have 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, and only 2g of net carbs. With those stats, you could eat 5 (though I'm generally satisfied with just 1 or 2!)

ThinSlim Foods makes an incredible line of naturally sweetened, muffins, squares, and brownies- all of which are beyond delicious! I eat at least one of their products every day! My personal faves are probably the chocolate muffins, the blueberry muffins, and the brownies, but I thoroughly enjoy the cinnamon and banana squares too! Each of their products has between 40 and 45 calories, so it's a guilt-free indulgence, and any health-conscious dieter's dream come true! I will say that I much prefer them microwaved for about 30 seconds, as they take on a fluffier texture- the brownies literally melt in your mouth! Just a disclaimer- don't expect a GIANT muffin or brownie- each treat is 2oz, but it certainly satisfies the sweet tooth, and like I said, they are guilt-free, so if you can't stop at 1, it isn't a total sin to eat 2 at a time! The only downer is that as usual, they are very expensive, and have to be ordered online, but I promise, it is money well spent. And rumor has it the company is working on crafting a low-carb, low-cal pizza. Needless to say, Tiny Tummy is very excited to try!  Pin It

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Slurpee Day!- Resist the Sugar-y Temptation

For anyone who doesn't know, today is 7-11, and every year on 7-11, 7-11 gives away free Slurpees! Growing up, after a long bike ride or tennis match with my dad, we would always treat ourselves to Slurpees, but recently, since my dad has been trying to reduce his sugar intake, and I've stopped drinking sugary drinks altogether, Slurpees seem to be a thing of our past. But fear not! You can still enjoy a slushie today in honor of 7-11 in the comforts of your own home!

Making your own slurpee is so easy. Just freeze your favorite drink into an ice cube tray and put them into your blender until almost fully blended! You can make a coffee flavored slushie by using coffee iced cubes, an iced tea slushie with frozen tea cubes, or a traditional soda slushie using Zevia or any other soda of your choice. Pin It

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taco Bell Tuesday's

When I was little, I used to look forward to Tuesday nights because I would go to Taekwondo classes and then get Taco Bell (or McDonalds depending on my mood) for dinner. It was the only time I ever ate fast food, but I loved it. And I always got the same thing- a Chalupa, and, my personal favorite, the Mexican Pizza. Needless to say, Taco Bell and Taekwondo Tuesday's are long gone, but every once in a while, I will get a strange craving for a Mexican Pizza, and just recently, I decided to try to make my own (with some much healthier ingredients, obviously!)

You will need:

2 La Tortilla Factory small tortillas
2 T Oasis Black Bean Dip
1/4 Cup of Boca (or Morningstar Farm's meatless crumbles)
2 T Salsa or Pico De Gallo of your Choice
1 oz shredded cheese (Mexican blend, Mozzarella, whatever you prefer)
2 T diced tomatoes
2 T chopped scallions

To make:
Bake the tortillas in the oven until they become crispy, but be careful not to over cook them! Once crispy, spread the black bean dip, crumbles, and salsa over one tortilla and top with the other. Then, sprinkle the cheese on top and put back into the oven until the cheese melts. Finally, add the diced tomatoes and scallions and enjoy! Pin It

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kiss that Sweet Tea GoodBai

I would say about two months ago I came across this drink online that boasted delicious flavors, only 10 calories a bottle (5 per serving), and no artificial sweeteners. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong!

Bai's new drinks are beyond delicious and you would never know they aren't chocked full of sugar. They even come in exotic flavors such as Dragon fruit (a personal fav), Pomegranate, and Peach! They are; however, extremely difficult to find and ridiculously expensive :\, but what else is new when it comes to drinks that don't have artificial sweeteners? I found them in a local health food store, and once I tasted them and decided they were absolutely delicious, ordered a case on Amazon, but if anyone finds them cheap in the stores, do share! Pin It

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Newest Freekeh Nature

Get it? Like freak-of-nature? ... Bad joke. Anyway, about two months ago I came across an article about a Mediterranean grain called Freekeh which packs a ton of fiber and protein and may just be the new quinoa. Personally, I've actually never particularly liked quinoa, but this nutritional powerhouse is said to be low GI, low carb, high protein, high fiber, etc., so naturally, I had to try it. Unfortunately, this stuff is beyond hard to find. I've looked in all of the health food stores I shop in with no luck, but yesterday, low and behold, I was shopping in a tiny Mediterranean marketplace and came across this box!

I literally had to do a double take! Obviously, I bought it, and had to cook with it ASAP, so in addition to our steamed lobsters tonight, we had a side of freekeh.

It's fairly easy to cook- just cover in water and let it simmer away (about 30-45 minutes), though one thing I will say, which I wasn't expecting, is it BLOWS up! I made 2 servings for 3 people and we had almost half of it leftover! I also wasn't expecting it to have the consistency it did, but it was somewhat of a cross between quinoa and oatmeal. I could almost see it being prepared with some cinnamon and honey or maple syrup and fruit for breakfast. I prepared it with some olives, garlic and onions and mushrooms- pretty basic, thinking it would have it's own flavor, but it really didn't. I would definitely suggest adding something to flavor it, as I will do next time.  Pin It

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New Nugget Finds (for kids and adults alike!)

Confession: no matter how old I am, I will always love frozen chicken nuggets. I don't know why, but it's a guilty pleasure of mine. When shopping for my usual chicken-less patties by Health is Wealth the other day, I came across these babies, and boy was I excited to try them.

Not only are they frozen chicken nuggets, but they are buffalo flavored- my favorite! (Basically anything spicy has my name written all over it.) I ate them for dinner tonight with some Walden Farms BBQ sauce and seriously, I felt like a kid again eating my dino-nuggets! They almost have a buffalo chicken pizza-esque flavor to them, and they are totally veg-friendly! And with only 130 calories and an impressive 13g of protein per 3 nuggets, they are a serious find! And since national fried chicken day was yesterday, I can officially feel like I've observed the holiday ;) Pin It

Friday, July 6, 2012

Seafood Spaella (Spelt Paella)

Traditionally, paella is made with a spanish style rice which has little to no nutritional value, along with a mix of veggies and protein of some sort- seafood paella was always my favorite, and when I entered the low-carb world, I thought paella was something I would never eat again; however, once I decided to reincorporate grains into my diet, paella became less of a no-go, especially since I could make it with whatever grain I wanted. Really, what makes paella true paella is the Saffron, and after a trip to a taping of The Martha Stewart show a few months ago (she taped a paella special), we left with a nice size jar of Saffron. I tell you all of this because after my mom broke the jar of Saffron, it reminded me I wanted to try making paella with it, and I finally got around to testing out a recipe (which came out delicious!)- Just a warning, this recipe takes a bit of prep-work, and if you don't have all of these ingredients on hand, feel free to sub whatever veggies or protein you want- this is just what I had/used!

You will need:
1 serving Spelt
3-4oz mixed seafood of your choice (I'll admit, I used a frozen blend from Trader Joes which contained scallops, shrimp, and calamari)
3 T peas
4 T chopped tomatoes
1-2 t chopped olives
3 T chopped jalepenos/banana peppers
3 T chopped onions and mushrooms
1/4 t saffron threads (really even less than this)
Seasoning of your choice for the seafood (I used a mix of chili powder, paprika (I would have used smoked paprika if my dad wasn't eating the dinner, but he doesn't like smoked paprika), onion powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and a touch of cayenne pepper)

First, soak the spelt overnight or as far in advance as you think of it. Thaw your seafood if frozen and season it accordingly and allow to sit in the seasoning for a few hours to really absorb the flavors.

When you're ready to cook, drain the spelt and rinse, and then cover it in water and let it simmer for about 35 minutes at which point you will add 1/2 of the saffron. Let that cook for another 10 minutes, or until the spelt is almost cooked all the way through. Then add the seafood and the rest of the saffron (and whatever liquid formed from the marinade) and cook for another 10 minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. Let simmer for another couple of minutes until the veggies are cooked to your liking. If you like your peas cooked thoroughly, add them before the other vegetables.

Just a disclaimer, I made this recipe for 3, so I tried to scale the recipe above for a single serving, though the numbers might be slightly off. Each serving should have less than 250 calories if you follow the serving size listed on the packaging, though it really depends on the spelt, veggies, and seafood that you use. Pin It

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Soakin' some Spelt

I never really understood the need to soak a grain before cooking until I recently started experimenting, and let me be the first to say, I totally get it now. Something about removing some of the starch and allowing the grain to absorb the moisture prior to cooking it makes for a fluffy, nutty, and delicious grain once fully cooked- as was apparent in my spelt the other night. For anyone who hasn't had spelt before, it is similar to brown rice in that it has a nutty taste, but the consistency is a bit crunchier and almost pops in your mouth as you eat it. I don't know what it is about it, but it is delicious! And it packs way more fiber and protein than brown rice with slightly fewer calories! (The exact nutritional information depends on the brand you buy). I bought a bag in my local health food store, but I'm sure you could find it in some regular supermarkets or order it online. Seriously, it's worth trying in place of brown rice as a side dish, or even make a wheatberry-esque salad out of it. Just be sure to soak it overnight! It seriously makes all the difference! Just a little teaser, I used this spelt to make a delicious seafood paella- recipe soon to come! Pin It

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Patriotic Pulled Pork

No, this recipe is not for red, white, and blue pork, but it is a lightened up version of an American classic in honor of July 4th, and it couldn't be easier to make- Yep, it's pulled pork!

All you'll need is:
1 Package of Pork Tenderloin
A combination of whatever veggies you might like in your crockpot
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Tin Foil or a bunch of potatoes to prop your pork up on
A Crockpot

To prepare your pork simply insert balls of tin foil or lots of potatoes into the bottom of your crockpot to prop it up, place your pork and veggies on top, and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the pork is easily shreddable using 2 forks. Traditionally, pulled pork is made with pork shoulder, a much fattier cut of meat, which is why this is a much healthier version, since pork tenderloin is a much leaner cut of meat. Once the pork is done cooking, transfer it into a bowl and shred away and then add as much BBQ sauce as you desire! Or you can pour the BBQ sauce over the pork initially and let the pork cook in the sauce for the 7-8 hours, but it is a little healthier to add the sauce after so you can add less.

Yep, it's that easy! And totally delicious! (And FYI the pictured pork is prior to adding sauce!) Pin It

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chickified Bad-ass Burgers

Something about a juicy burger with BBQ sauce, grilled onions and mushrooms, and some fresh lettuce and tomato is simply irresistible, but a lot of people try to stay away from red meat. Luckily, ground chicken (or turkey or pork) is also available for the makin' and with the right ingredients, can be just a juicy as ground beef. I made these chicken burgers for my family last weekend and let's just say everyone agreed they were juicy and delicious, and nobody tasted my secret ingredient!

Most hamburger patties are made with breadcrumbs, to add texture, but I've found a secret ingredient that adds just as much texture as breadcrumbs without the unnecessary carbs, and it's virtually tasteless, so it let's your meat, spices, and sauce do all the talking- cauliflower! Yep, pureed/mashed cauliflower, when added to ground meat, not only bulks up your burger, but adds a nice fluffy texture! And, once you season them up with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika... whatever you choose, you've got a flavorful, bad-ass burger! And another secret ingredient- instead of the usual Worcestershire Sauce, try Walden Farms Barbecue sauce- it will definitely keep your meat from drying out! Pin It

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oh Kay, New Puffs!

As you know, I am in LOVE with Kay's Naturals Snacks. They are all protein-packed, and I don't feel guilty indulging in a bag of chips, knowing the single-portioned bags will actually satisfy my hunger. I've already shared some of my favorites of their products, but I just tried a new one and I felt it was only fair that I shared with the blogosphere because they were quite delicious!

These new Mac & Cheese Puffs are like mini Cheese Doodles, but with only 120 calories, 4g of fiber, and a whopping 12g of protein per serving! And the fact that they are little balls as opposed to giant puffs makes it easier to eat the serving slowly. Needless to say, I have every intention of ordering a few of these in my next Kay's shipment, but I'm still exploding with the crazy amount of chips I ordered from Amazon!

P.S. Rumor has it Kay's is also now making a plain pretzel stick variety! I can't wait to get my hands on a bag of these and grind them into breadcrumbs to coat chicken breasts!

Has anyone else tried Kay's snacks? Which are your favorites? Pin It

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spicy Cheesy Veggie Bowl

Super quick and simple recipe alert! The other night I was in a huge rush, but I really needed a snack, so I knew I just needed to throw together a quick meal with what I had in the fridge. Fortunately, I had some steamed veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts) leftover from the night before, so I tossed them in a bowl with a little shredded fat free mozzarella cheese, sprinkled some of my favorite spices on it (onion flakes, dehydrated minced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder), and some Franks Hot Sauce and I was good to go! Talk about a really quick, satisfying, healthy and delicious snack (or side dish for a dinner). Really, any veggies would work, so clean out those refrigerators- I'm talking carrots, mushrooms, peppers- get creative!

Feelin' Frisky? Add some some chicken breast or tofu, or any other meat of choice, and maybe even some brown rice or any other grain of choice to this and make a true meal out of it! It's quick, easy, spicy, and delicious!  Pin It