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;

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

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!

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:

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Well here we are several years later and the weight I feverishly¬†fought¬†so hard to get rid of (and did get rid of) is back on this bod like white on rice! When I found out I was preggers in 2009, I swore I would still go to the gym….that did not happen. I always saw this woman at my gym super cute, tiny, and a baby belly bump. I thought well that will be me soon, but it wasn’t and it never was.

Now my son is 2 1/2 and I¬†have¬†yet to return to the gym, don’t you know how easy it is to get away with an infant, then a toddler? Not to mention my 4 other kids. So they gym was not in the cards for me and I guess in my own mind I gave up. Sad really. I worked so hard to get rid of years of weight that I had gained for no real reason. Then in the blink of an eye I am close to being back to “that” person again, I vowed I would never let that happen. Before my clothes don’t fit and before I lose any more self respect, I am back in the game folks!

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

I have signed up to be in a 5K run that is so popular around here I found my MOJO. I gave myself enough time to train and get in shape before hand, so as not to feel like a dweeb when that day comes. In honor of my new goal I have made¬†lasagna…I know¬†lasagna¬†is not low fat or low cals, but this one is ūüėÄ The very thought of taking away food one loves, is the very reason people don’t stick with eating healthy. Here you can have your good stuff and eat it too! No carb, no noodles, gluten free, low fat, low cal lasagna

~YOUR WELCOME~

By the way…VEGETARIAN? Lose the chicken ūüėÄ

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

1 cooked chicken breast, cooled and diced
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
3 medium Zucchini or Squash, sliced ( I used 2 green 1 yellow)
1 garlic clove, minced (I used the microplane)
2 cups of your favorite red pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
2/3 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  1. Over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, and 1/2 of the salt/pepper until golden.
  2. Add zucchini and remaining salt/pepper and saute until fork tender.
  3. Pull off stove and set aside.
  4. In a 9″ x 9″ glass¬†Pyrex¬†dish begin layering zucchini in rows until the bottom is covered.
  5. Next add a layer of sauce, then diced chicken, then mozzarella cheese and repeat until all zucchini is used. Leave enough mozzarella cheese for the top.
  6. Top with remaining mozzarella, parmesan, and bread crumbs.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serves 6

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

Zucchini Lasagne - sweetheatchefs.com

I decided to include the nutritional information for the dish. It will change slightly based on what type of red sauce you choose. I am not a dietitian or a Doctor, but this is one yummy dish! I used Calorie Count to find the nutritional information for the dish.

Zucchini Lasagne Nutritional Info