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;

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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 😀 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

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 😉 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 😛  

**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 😀

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 😀

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 😀

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 😀 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

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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

Coconut Strawberry Cake Cocktail!

Coconut Strawberry Cake Cocktail - sweetheatchefs.com

I only have 1 thing to say…

Let’s enjoy summer together shall we?

 

INGREDIENTS

1 oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka
1 oz. Malibu Caribbean Rum with Coconut Liqueur
2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice + 2 slices of lime
2 fresh strawberries; washed, trimmed and muddled + 1 whole for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a glass muddle the strawberries.
  2. Add lime juice and  1 thin slice of lime.
  3. Add 2 ice cubes.
  4. Add alcohol, stir and serve with strawberry and lime on rim of glass.

Coconut Strawberry Cake Cocktail - sweetheatchefs.com

This makes 1 glass at 125 Calories!

Week 2 Healthy Eating

Week 2

Ah the infamous week 2! It brought both pain, tears and laughter. Apparently I gave myself shin splints as I didn’t have the correct shoes to run in. Without an extra $60+ lying around I had to grin and bear it. Icing my leg after each run, resting with my foot up and later in the week I got smart and bought the old ICY HOT to rub on! Oh boy did I smell “old”. I ended up borrowing the money from my dad to get the shoes I need because the pain became unbearable. Quite frankly I didn’t deserve the pain I was in and due to the fact I was trying so hard to lose this weight, it seemed unfair, so I bit the bullet and asked my dad if he wanted to contribute to the Monica get fit fund! LOL

Right away I could tell the shoes helped. Until I had gotten them I had stopped running and just walked as fast as I could. I still had to ice when I got home, but as the days went by the pain became bearable again. I upped my workout this week to 2 times a day, equaling close to 2 miles each workout. You know you are dedicated when you push through the pain and “just do it” day in and day out. My kids looked at me and wondered why in the world I would put myself through the torment. I think one day they will get it, but they don’t see me as I see myself. I hope I have inspired them as interestingly I have inspired myself. I just want my kids to look up to me and see all that I am doing is to become a better version of me.

This week in food I made sure to measure-measure-measure. Remember last week I only lost 2#? I was NOT going to live through that again. Someone told me, and I know it’s true, that losing 1=2# a week is normal and the way you should lose weight. I am too impatient for that. I do all this work, I want results! HA! So this week as I said I was going to make sure I lost more than 2#. Although that same person told me to go find something that weighed 2# and pick it up to see just how heavy it really was. You know what? She was right, 2# is not light! I felt better after that.

sweetheatchefs.com

BBQ Chicken Wrap: (in photo above)

1 10″ large jalapeno cheddar tortilla

4.5 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced

1/4 cup baby spinach, washed

3 tsp. shredded mozzarella cheese

28 grams of asparagus, cooked but still firm

1.5 tbs your favorite barbecue sauce (I use Bullseye, be careful on the sugar content)

Add all ingredients to tortilla and roll up. I had a side of shelled edamame beans (super great source of protein) the BBQ Chicken Wrap comes in at 450 Calories and 11 grams of fat!

I again ate my Luna bars trying various flavors. so far the Chocolate Peppermint Stick and Chocolate Dipped Coconut are my favorite and I highly recommend them. I have even given them to my kids as a treat and they LOVE them! 

Music motivation this week:

P.O.D. – Here Comes the Boom

Since one of my weaknesses is sweets, I made a yummy version of banana bread that will set your heart a fluttering! Mocha Cappuccino Banana Bread Bites, only 92 calories!! Curbs that sweet tooth after just 1! Freeze them and take out as needed or store in an airtight container. 

mocha cappuccino banana bread bites - sweetheatchefs.com

When Monday rolled around, I was so excited to step on that scale…the result…4# that means I am down 6#!!!! WOO-HOO!!! I knew I could do this, what a confidence booster! I do not go to the gym, I do not take diet pills, I do eat REAL butter AND had chocolate and lost 4#, SUCCESS= ME!

2013-03-29 09.53.13

If I can do this, ANYONE, can do this! Did you have an amazing feat this week? Tell me about it in the comments I’d love to hear about it!

Photo taken from the Spark People Pinterest page

Photo taken from the Spark People Pinterest page

 

Missed week 1? Check it out here:

Mocha Cappuccino Banana Bread Bites

mocha cappuccino banana bread bites - sweetheatchefs.com

In keeping up with my low-fat and low-calorie diet, I still need 2 things: (1) SUGAR and (2) CHOCOLATE! There are a few things I won’t give up because, well, I LOVE FOOD and that won’t change! But the reality is you don’t have to give up foods you enjoy to lose weight. Moderation is key. When I say moderation, I mean moderation sometimes in small amounts. You are giving yourself the satisfaction to please your tummy, mind and soul without having to feel like you blew your day’s workout or the progress you’ve made in losing weight thus far. With all that in mind I came up with these banana bites with chocolate, fruit, & even sugar in combination with fiber and protein  seriously this is a WIN-WIN if I ever saw it!

mocha cappuccino banana bread bites - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS
3 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sweetened apple sauce (I use Tree Top pre-packaged for convenience in measuring each cup is 1/2 cup)
1.25 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
3 tbsp Jif Mocha Cappuccino Hazelnut Spread (YUM!)
Mini Chocolate Chips (optional to sprinkle on top and is not included int he nutritional value of this recipe)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a non-stick loaf pan, or muffin tin, or brownie pan ( I used brownie pan) with a non stick spray. IF your pans are non stick no need to do this.
2. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, bananas, apple sauce, Jif Mocha Cappuccino Hazelnut Spread, and vanilla. Beat with mixer until well combined.
4. Add flour mixture, then blend at low-speed until combined. Do not over mix.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serving Size: Makes 18 Mocha Cappuccino Banana Bread Bites at 1.75 oz each

 

mocha cappuccino banana bread bites - sweetheatchefs.com

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Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 18
Calories: 92.1
Total Fat: 2.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.9 mg
Sodium: 197.6 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.0 g

Week 1 Healthy Eating

Week 1

My posts for a while will be different from the usual recipe posts. I will include my recipes, but the post will also include my weight loss pictures (how more embarrassing can i get?), things I have seen during the week doing my exercises and any neat or interesting articles I may have come across. I have been doing this for going on 4 weeks now so as I post there is a time-lapse. It takes time to get all these things in order! LOL I hope you enjoy the new posts coming up 😀

A few things to know going forward:

  1. Please don’t judge my pictures, at least I am trying. I am putting myself out there in the hopes of inspiring!
  2. No rude comments will be tolerated and promptly deleted
  3. I am NOT a dietitian or a doctor
  4. I create my recipes in a database called Spark People, it helps me track what I eat, how much I exercise etc. If you have issues accessing the recipes there, I am going to be adding them on my blog, it is just a slow process.

The first recipe I will share I found and tweaked to my liking. These are my best friend right now. Keeping a low-fat low-calorie diet is hard, especially when you weigh everything, count each and every calorie and measure your food ingredient by ingredient. After all that is said and done you usually are done eating in no time, and then on to the next task at hand. For me that means 5 kids and a household to run plus chairing my Relay For Life event, AND exercise which I do 2 times a day. Having these Mini Egg Foo Young Bites in the fridge are a gift from Heaven when your belly is rumbling and you have no time to make and measure and weigh! They are 24 Calories, 1.4 Fat Grams, and 2 Fiber Grams, Not bad!!

Mini Egg Foo Young Bites

The sandwich in the picture at top is 1 piece of whole wheat bread, 1/4 of an avocado, 4 oz lean turkey meat, some baby spinach leaves, 2 slices tomato, and .25 oz of pepper jack cheese. the entire sammy full of protein and fiber is around 200 Calories. Perfect for a quick lunch on the go, and since the calories are low, you can add an apple or a few multi grain crackers with it.

Besides my go to Egg Foo Young Bites, my other new find this week to fill up my belly in the fly is the Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bars! Like candy bars? Like almond Joy? Replace it with this and you will be in LOVE! It is so yummy and fills you up like no candy bar will, WITH nutrition!

I started this week strong, but in the end this was one of the hardest things to “get into”. I struggled and did my couch to 5K app 4 days this week. I ended up losing 2 pounds, which I was not that thrilled with. I had a goal in mind of losing 10 pounds a month, and if I only lost 2 pounds now, didn’t see how I would manage in the coming weeks. I decided to have no excuses to get to where I wanted to be, so I took that 2 pounds and challenged it. Next week, it won’t be a 2 pound loss!

you are worth it