Brownie Muffins

Brownie Muffins - sweetheatchefs.com

Here is your swapportunity to take advantage of my new recipe with only 3 ingredients!

I can’t believe it has been a month since my last post, I guess summer gets the best of us and before we know it…the dreaded BACK TO SCHOOL! Yay for me, boo for them ūüėÄ

Ok, back to my recipe, you are not going to want to ignore this one! I found this from Hungry Girl and I am always looking for new ways to swap high fats for good fats and so on. I recently tried those black bean brownies you see everywhere…ya that is SO not for me (or anyone else in the house!) THESE my friends….you are going to LOVE. You know that saying you won’t miss a thing when you are subbing an ingredient for another? Well it is so true here! I promise, you will never make these the “regular” way again! The best part is the calorie count for one of these is 143 calories and 3 grams of fat! You can’t beat that for a moist, fluffy, chocolaty brownie treat!¬†

Count down with me…3, 2, 1…here we go!

Brownie Muffins 3 - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Box Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1 Can Libby’s Pumpkin Puree (15 oz can)
  • 1 tbsp. Nestles Chocolate Chips, divided

DIRECTIONS -Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Mix together cake mix and pumpkin puree until well combined.
  2. Add about 2 tbsp. mix into muffin liners and top with a few mini chocolate chips.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool before devouring + enjoy!
  5. Press the STAPLES easy button ūüėÄ

Brownie Muffins 2 - sweetheatchefs.com

 

If you liked this recipe, you will love these:

 

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

WHEW DOGGIE! It is hot here in California, between June and July we get into the 100+ degree temperatures and I can’t fathom myself to make hot food for any one of my 3 daily meals. That is how this gem of a dish was born. I always have left over avocado, sweet peppers and cilantro lying around. (Remember I love Mexican food!) So I was dreaming of a cool summer dinner with little fuss and easy to make, to keep the summer fun going from the day. I am always down to stuff a pepper (that sounds so wrong, but so good at the same time!), and there are endless possibilities with these. My next version will include grated onion and crispy bacon!¬†

I decided to head to the Farmer’s Market this week and found some gorgeous fresh and organic vegetables, which included the pea shoots you see in this recipe as a garnish. If you haven’t tried these, please do yourself a favor and do so. I first had them from a restaurant that served them with fried calamari. It was all I could do to eat the calamari because these pea shoots were too delicious. Anyway, they are a must try if you can find them. They go great on top salad, in sandwiches, on top or raw food such as this or any other way you can think of!

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

My kids love meat (as do I), but recently I have been making meatless meals for myself and finding I still get filled up. I will never give up meat, it just isn’t in my bones, but every now and then not having to “worry” about what meat to use is a nice thing.

I had only 1 kid willing to try this meal, she said she liked them, but did she have another? NO! It’s ok though, sometimes food such as this are an acquired taste. Regardless, I was happy and cool while eating them with a nice refreshing vodka spritzer and my feet up listening to my spotify tunes! If you are ready to enjoy a quick, easy and healthy meal, read on:

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers 6

Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

2 avocado, mashed
2.5 Tbsp pesto
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a lime + zest + reserve some slices to drizzle over top
handful of organic cilantro, washed & stems removed
handful of organic pea shoots, washed
salt/pepper to taste
10-12 organic sweet peppers (depends on their size how many you will need), washed, de-stemmed and deseeded

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour contents into a ziplock baggie
  3. Snip off tip and fill peppers (use the reserved lime to drizzle over tops before eating)

If you loved this recipe, check out more from Sweet Heat Chefs below;

Strawberry Swirled Lemon Bars

Strawberry Swirled Lemon Bars - sweetheatchefs.com

I was feeling in a rut with the foods I had been eating since I have been eating primarily so much healthy stuff. This particular afternoon I was getting ready to head to a Relay meeting, and I felt that thing..you know…that baking itch? I decided to make lemon bars since they are fairly easy and quick to make. However, since strawberries are in season I always have 1-2 quarts of them in my fridge on hand. I got to thinking of strawberry lemonade, then figured why not in my lemon bars? I took a quick Facebook poll (sad I know!) to determine if I should or not, the response was just as I had hoped…STRAWBERRIES! And so…this recipe was born and summer has officially begun in my house here in California!

I am loving nothing more and feeling so honored to be able to share this recipe for the first time with My Imperfect Kitchen readers! Sara is an amazing blogger, friend and person. I hope everyone loves this recipe as much as my Relay committee members and family did. I even snuck 3 of them into my belly!

Strawberry Swirled Lemon Bars - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup coconut flour, sifted
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
4 eggs, beaten
1.5 cups white sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
¬Ĺ tsp baking soda
2 lemons, juiced and seeded (zest 1 lemon first and reserve)
4 strawberries pureed with a little coconut water to thin out
Powdered sugar for dusting top (optional)

Strawberry Swirled Lemon Bars - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  1. In a bowl, combine butter, flours and 1/2 c of sugar. Mix well.
  2. In a greased 9×13″ pan, press crust into the bottom until even.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the remaining sugar and flour, then whisk in the remaining ingredients, except¬†strawberries¬†(don’t forget the lemon zest).
  5. Pour the filling over the warm crust.
  6. In a blender or food processor puree the strawberries. Dollop 1 teaspoon at a time over the filling until it is all used up. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, drag the strawberry mixture through the lemon mixture. Be sure not to press all the way to the crust.
  7. Put back in oven and bake for another 25 minutes or until center is firm. They do firm more when cooled. Dust with powdered sugar (optional) Cut into squares once completely cool and enjoy!

If you like this recipe, check out more from Sweet Heat Chefs:

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

The very moment I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it was a keeper and in fact I went out and bought the ingredients that same day. I love casseroles, and the cheesy crunchy top that¬†reveals¬†itself after baking so nicely in the hot oven! MMMMMMM I am a cheese &¬†crispy¬†bits ¬†lover! I changed the recipe up some to suit my taste. ¬†To see the original click here. For my edited version…READ ON!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika, I like hungarian but any will do even the hot stuff
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I cooked in chicken stock instead of water to add more flavor)
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese

stuffed cabbage casserole

(Love this shot)

stuffed cabbage casserole 6

DIRECTIONS –¬†Preheat¬†oven to 350¬įF.

  1. Spray¬†a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. I used a 10×13″ pan and it was full!
  2. Cook rice and when it is finished set aside (use chicken stock instead of water for more flavor!)
  3. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat; add 1 tbs olive oil, and garlic. Cook until just fragrant (about 1 minute or less) Add salt, pepper, paprika thyme and finally ground turkey. Cook until browned.
  4. To the pan add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and chicken stock.
  5. Simmer until thickened, around 15 minutes give or take.
  6. While meat mixture is thickening, cut up cabbage and make sure to cut out the core, and chop coarsely.
  7. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, add the cabbage and cook over medium heat until the cabbage is wilted (I added a lid to help the process along). You want the cabbage about half-cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  8. Add your cooked rice to your meat mixture and stir to combine well.
  9. Take 1/2 of your wilted cabbage and place in your casserole dish, then 1/2 of your meat mixture and repeat until all is in pan. Mix together gently with large spoon.
  10. Add cheese to top and bake for 40 minutes uncovered.
  11. Let casserole sit for a few minutes before cutting, the cheese will stay in place better this way and you get nice even squares for everyone to enjoy, serve hot.
  12. This dish is freezer friendly if you have leftovers. (which I did) I stored in a Tupperware container, air tight.

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

stuffed cabbage casserole - sweetheatchefs.com

Fresh Vodka Spritzer Recipe:

1 oz Pinnacle Cake Vodka
1 oz Pinnacle Whip Cream Vodka
2 oz Seltzer Water
Juice of 1/2 lime
Basil & lime slice for garnish

Blend first 4 ingredients together and garnish with basil and lime slice. Light and refreshing!

 

If you liked this recipe, check out more from Sweet Heat Chefs and tell a friend!

 

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

With my new-found mission to a better healthier lifestyle, that rules out my love of frying and eating fried foods. After all , that is what got me where I was. Moderation is key, but having a good defense is the best offense! Meaning, I need a ton of good go to¬†recipes¬†that feel¬†indulgent¬†but aren’t. That way I can trick my body (and mind) into thinking I am eating things I shouldn’t be but am able to without regret and guilt. I initially founded this recipe with my daughter Jasmine as we were in final competition mode on the Rachael Ray vs. Guy Fieri cooking show. Our mission, was to cook the best chicken cutlet, which we did cuz we WON! Any who, that version was pan-fried and this one is low-calorie baked chicken tenders. Same great taste, without that pesky guilt I was talking about earlier ūüėÄ Click here for the original version of the¬†deliciousness!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 4

This version was obviously thought up since I am now eating healthier, but also was inspired by a secret ingredient swap. Some blogger pals got paired up and had to send the other one something that represented their state. I received this jar of golden deliciousness! Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard. As soon as I saw the jar I opened it, smelled it tasted it, smelled it tasted it and fell in ~love~

This jar came from Mishmawshandotherthings.

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 3

INGREDIENTS

8 chicken tenderloin breasts
1/4 cup golden deliciousness aka Raye’s Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard
2 cups pretzels, ground semi fine (salted or non salted per your preference) I use the matchstick kind and pulse them in the food processor until I get the consistency I like.
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS –¬† Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Using a sheet pan, line the bottom with foil, and top with a bakers wire cooling rack. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add mustard and chicken. Mix together so chicken is well coated. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor pulse the pretzels and Parmesan cheese until desired consistency. I like mine chunkier to be able to taste the pretzels. Add pepper to taste (and salt if using unsalted pretzels)
  4. Add the pretzel coating to a bowl and take 1 chicken strip at a time and coat with it.
  5. Place the pretzel crusted chicken tender on the baking rack and repeat until all chicken is coated. Be sure to discard leftover mustard and pretzel mixture as you can’t re-use it do to be contaminated with raw chicken.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the chicken strips. You can use non stick spray for this too.
  7. Bake chicken for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked through. You will want to turn chicken over 1/2 way through and drizzle with olive oil to crisp both sides.
  8. Serve with Honey Mustard Dipper Sauce and sliced scallions!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

 

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles - sweetheatchefs.com

This past weekend was a hot one! I found myself browsing recipes to try to find something that I could make to beat the heat. As usual I find many a recipe over at The Slow Roasted Italian. This was no exception, as I found just the recipe I needed. You can see their recipe here. I changed nothing about it, that is how good it is!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 pounds ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles - sweetheatchefs.com

DIRECTIONS

Combine strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. 
Divide half of the strawberry mixture in your popsicle molds and set it aside.
In a small bowl combine bananas, yogurt, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla and stir to combine.
Add banana mixture on top of the strawberry mixture in the popsicles molds, filling them about 2/3 full.
Pour remaining strawberry mixture on top.  Freeze 4-24 hours until completely frozen.
Don’t have a¬†Popsicle¬†mold? Use an ice-cube tray, younger kids love to eat them this way too. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top and insert toothpicks or popsicle sticks to keep in place while freezing. ENJOY your summer!
Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles - sweetheatchefs.com

Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Cake Bites

dark-chocolate-coconut-banana-cake-bites - sweetheatchefs.com
You look at this recipe and say..HEY I thought you were eating healthy? I know I know, B U T…my kids have the right to eat some nummy food and I have been depriving them of it¬†because, well honestly,¬†because¬†I CAN’T have it in the house I am too tempted. I¬†have¬†been eating healthy for 8 weeks now and I think I can handle eating one or two of these delicious cake bites. Tastes like banana bread with a lighter cake texture and a sharp dark chocolate to satisfy that chocolate craving too. Hope you enjoy as we have…remember MODERATION!
I won a giveaway from a friend who runs A Girls Gotta Nest, she recently had acquired Coconut Flour and then found out she couldn’t use it. Luckily I won it and have been using it since the day I¬†received¬†it from her. It is gluten-free and makes everything taste¬†just¬†a little better in flavor.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Cake Bites - sweetheatchefs.com
Ingredients
1 cup all purpose white flour, sifted
1 cup organic coconut flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, sifted
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tsp. wheat germ
2 eggs, room temp
1 cup plain yogurt ( you can sub in greek yogurt, you will have a stiffer dough)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
3 bananas, mashed
1 cup dark chocolate chips
toasted coconut for topping
 
DirectionsPreheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all dry ingredients together with whisk and set aside.
Beat eggs, add vanilla & yogurt and mix well. Add coconut oil and bananas and mix well again.
Add dry ingredients (except dark chocolate chips & toasted coconut) to wet in 3 batches. Stir until combined but do not over mix.
Fold in dark chocolate chips
Using a tablespoon, add 2 tbs to brownie pan (or a muffin tin) and top with toasted coconut, bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Cake Bites - sweetheatchefs.com
Like this recipe? You might like these other ones from Sweet Heat Chefs too!

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie - sweetheatchefs.com

 

I don’t know about you…but after a hard workout I come home and drink a TON of water. Sadly after birthing 4 kids, I can’t drink water while I workout or I’d never get through it without hitting the bathroom every 10 minutes (sadly I am NOT joking)!

The weather lately has been magnificent, in the 80’s warm and sunny! It has brought out the “smoothie” in me ūüėČ I haven’t ever tried smoothies as far as a meal replacement, I tend NOT to get full off them and feel like, well there was “x” amount of calories down the drain that didn’t stick to my ribs. So I usually just forego liquid food and end up eating food or munch a Luna bar instead.

I have though now, added this green smoothie to my post workout regimen. It is clean, refreshing and makes me feel re-hydrated after my runs. This drink is full of all kinds of yumminess fruits, veggies, and protein!

If you are a person who is ok with drinking a meal, (and no I don’t mean a bottle of wine…oh how I miss thee…) you can drink the entire content of this recipe and still be looking good in the end..REAR end ūüėõ ¬†

**Parent alert….even kids like it**¬†

Green Smoothie 3

INGREDIENTS

1 cup fresh baby spinach, washed and packed
2 medium strawberries WITH the tops left on, washed
1.5 tbsp flax seed
1 medium sized banana ( I slice mine into 8 pieces (1 banana) and keep in freezer to make a thicker smoothie and so I don’t have to add ice)
2 oz. Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, Plain (I freeze mine in an ice cube tray. Each cube is 2 oz., see pic below)
16 oz. Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Vanilla Unsweetened
1/3 cup fresh mango, sliced
2 tsp toasted unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp. honey or your favorite sweetener

Green Smoothie 5

 

 

Green Smoothie 4

DIRECTIONS

In a blender, add all ingredients except honey and coconut. 

Blend until well mixed and a gorgeous green color. 

Add honey (or whatever sweetener you are using) one of two ways:

1. I use honey and drizzled the glass before adding my smoothie, Starbucks style

Green Smoothie 6

2. After everything is blended add sweetener and blend again.

I then garnish the drink with a little toasted coconut that I keep in the cupboard in a mason jar for sassy little drinks like this ūüėÄ

Green Smoothie 7

 

Like this recipe? Then you might like these other low fat low cal recipes I made too!

 

Carbless & Gluten Free Turkey Burger

Carb-less Turkey Burger - sweetheatchefs

I definitely enjoy my carbs, but sometimes when eating healthy limiting carbs are a great way to lose weight. I can’t in any way shape or form eliminate foods I love to eat entirely. As I have said¬†before¬†everything in moderation. This burger not only tastes good, but is low in fat, calories and no carbs. Very figure friendly and you can enjoy your meal without the guilt ūüėÄ

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach, washed and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs green onion, washed and diced
  • 1 tsp¬†Worcestershire¬†sauce
  • 1 tsp powdered ranch mix
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz pepper jack cheese
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil for cooking

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients together except cheese.
  2. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts and create a ball.
  3. Add a piece of pepper jack inside and form meat mixture around it creating a burger patty. Continue with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Pan fry with 1 tsp coconut oil until cooked through. I served mine with 1/2 slice of pepper jack cheese on top and 2 slices of avocado. 

Calories for 1 burger + avocado = 105 calories and 5.5 grams of fat!

I store the other burgers in the freezer in an airtight container until ready to cook!

Week 3 Healthy Eating

Week 3

Week 3 brought out the BEAST in me ūüėÄ

I think this was one of the best feeling weeks yet. I can tell a difference in how some clothes fit, heck I even found a pair of capri jeans that fit and I don’t think I ever wore them to begin with! My shin splints are near gone and I can pick up the pace when I walk and I can alternate some running in. I feel great!

One of my staple foods this week was this Carb-less Turkey Burger! I am all for carbs, but when counting calories, you have to be careful where you use them. So for this burger I chose to eat it without, and it was¬†just¬†as good ūüėÄ Hidden inside is a small piece of pepper jack cheese waiting to be let out!

Carb-less Turkey Burger

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach, washed and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs green onion, washed and diced
  • 1 tsp¬†Worcestershire¬†sauce
  • 1 tsp powdered ranch mix
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz pepper jack cheese
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Carb-less Turkey Burger - sweetheatchefs

Mix all ingredients together except cheese. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts and create a ball. Add a piece of pepper jack inside and form meat mixture around it creating a burger patty. Continue with the rest of the mixture. Pan fry with 1 tsp coconut oil until cooked through. I served mine with 1/2 slice of pepper jack cheese on top and 2 slices of avocado. Calories for 1 burger + avocado = 105 calories and 5.5 grams of fat! I store the other burgers in the freezer in an airtight container until ready to cook!

For lunches I found a quick and easy soup. I don’t like store canned soup, but I broke down and tried a few and liked them. My favorite was the Creamy Tomato Basil by Progresso. High in fiber and only 100 calories per 8 oz. I just heat it up and add 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley and I have a full meal that fills up my belly! This soup has been a staple lunch all week!

Motivating music for the week:

Kelly Clarkson: Stronger

My workout¬†regimen¬†has changed from walking & running 1.8 miles to 2.5 miles twice a day. Some days I struggle to get it done, I have a 2 year old that I have to bring a long and pushing his weight (30 pounds) plus the car stroller (10 pounds) is hard. I think of it as resistance training! hahaha When my other kids get home I have them watch him so I can do my second run alone and it is so much better. But we can’t always have things nice and tidy like that so I do what I have to, to get my time in.

This week I was nervous to get on the scale, yes I knew I had lost weight because those pants I tried on fit, but I just lost 4 pounds last week and was unsure if I could loose more again. To my surprise…I lost 4 more pounds!!!! OMG! I stared at the scale, got off, and re-weighed myself! Yep, sure enough, 4 pounds! WOO-HOO! That brings my total to MINUS 10 pounds from this bod! I am super stoked.¬†

i can and i will

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Missed a week? 

You might also like these healthy recipes from Sweet Heat Chefs:

Mocha Cappuccino Banana Bread Bites

Coconut Strawberry Cake Cocktail

Zucchini Lasagna