Sunday, July 28, 2013

Good-For-You Chocolate Brownies

I had a craving for brownies the other night. I went through my fridge and cabinets to see if I had all of the ingredients. I didn't have eggs, but I did have egg whites! So, naturally, I looked online for a brownie recipe that I could substitute eggs with egg whites. I found this receipe, and these brownies are healthy and delicious!

Good-For-You Chocolate Brownies


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Stir together flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until well mixed.
  • Stir in applesauce, egg whites, canola oil, melted baking chocolate and vanilla just until well mixed; careful not to over stir. 
  • Add in chocolate chips and blend into mixture. 
  • Spread brownie mixture into prepared pan. 
  • Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Fresh Garden Tomato Salsa

This is the time of year my parents tomato plants get really happy and produce fruit like crazy. My dad comes out of the garden with a new bowl full of beautiful, ripe fresh garden tomatoes every day! In an effort to keep up with the seemingly never-ending supply of tomatoes, we made some fresh salsa today.

This is my mom's very own delicious salsa recipe... over the years she's gotten hundreds of compliments, and won a few awards for it as well. It's chunky, a little sweet, has just the right amount of heat, and is just soooooooooooo good. Grab some tortilla chips (and a margarita!) and dig in. :)

Fresh Garden Tomato Salsa

2-3 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup sliced jalapenos
2 tbsp. jalapeno juice
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro
3 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

Place jalapenos, jalapeno juice, onion, cilantro, and garlic into a food processor or small chopper. Chop/puree until ingredients are well combined.

In a large bowl, place chopped tomatoes. Add mixture from food processor, pepper, and salt to the large bowl; stir gently until all ingredients are well combined.

For best results, chill salsa overnight before serving.

Note: If a hotter salsa is desired, add more chopped jalapenos!!!

Serve with tortilla chips! Or on a taco, or with eggs, or on a burger, or use as a side with your favorite Mexican dish. Salsa is great to have around because it is so versatile .

Yum.... this stuff is addicting. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Last Sunday my mom and I hosted a beautiful bridal shower for my dear friend, L. A few months ago I had decided on a "champagne theme" for the shower; my mom (the super creative one) took my ideas and ran with them! Her favorite part about throwing showers at our house is putting together a delicious and gorgeous dessert table. She spent the last month baking and decorating cookies and cake pops, collecting sweets and treats... but the real star of the dessert table was the Pink Champagne Cupcakes!

Neither my mom or I had made Pink Champagne Cupcakes before, so we had to do our foodie research and find a recipe! This Pink Champagne Cupcake recipe is derived from a recipe from the book Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone. To bring out the champagne flavor more, my mom added champagne flavored LorAnn oil to the cake batter and icing (something the original recipe did not call for). We also used a sweet, pink Moscato champagne in the cake batter and icing instead of just regular champagne.

Nothing says "luxury" and "party" like these Pink Champagne Cupcakes... they are pretty, fluffy, light, sweet, and champagne-flavored! These cupcakes were the perfect centerpiece for my mom's beautiful dessert table and perfect dessert for my dear friend's bridal shower.

Pink Champagne Cupcakes
adapted from the book Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 dram (.125 oz) LorAnn Oil, champagne flavor
6 egg whites
A few drops of red food coloring
2 cups Pink Moscato Champagne

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners' (icing) sugar
1/2 cup Pink Moscato Champagne
1 dram (.125 oz) LorAnn Oil, champagne flavor
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
A few drops of red food coloring


Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake papers.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and LorAnn oil then beat in egg whites one at a time.

Mix in food coloring. Beat in flour mixture and Champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with flour to prevent curdling.

Pour batter into cupcake papers (filling about 3/4 full), reserving about 2/3 of the batter.

Bake 18 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Repeat 2 more times with the remaining batter; recipe yields 36 cupcakes.

For the frosting: 
In a mixing bowl, beat butter 1 minute.

Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, Champagne, LorAnn oil, milk, vanilla, and food coloring; beat until smooth and creamy.

Once cupcakes have cooled completely, top with frosting.

Note: We made a batch and a half of the frosting to be sure we had enough. If you are piping the frosting onto the cupcakes, I would definitely suggest the batch and a half of frosting. If you are frosting the cupcakes normally, one batch would be enough. :)

Another beautiful bridal shower, another beautiful dessert table!!! Everyone raved about the sweets and treats... especially the Pink Champagne Cupcakes!

So amazing..... great job Mom.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chickpea and Tuna Salad

I LOVE PB&J... but I have the sneaking suspicion that eating it every day, for the last 4 months (seriously), has caused me to put on a few extra "peanut butter" pounds. Although peanut butter is high in protein, it is also high in calories and fat... it really should be consumed in moderation. So I'm changing up my daily PB&J for a healthy sandwich alternative to see if I can get rid of these stubborn extra lbs.

I had seen a recipe somewhere for Chickpea and Tuna Salad. Mixing in beans with the tuna seemed like a healthy and interesting (and less smelly!) twist on the original version of tuna salad. I decided I would use my go-to tuna salad recipe and just mash in a can of chickpeas. Well, it worked! This salad/sandwich filling is packed full of fiber and protein, is low in calories and fat, and tastes delicious! It's hearty and filling to get you through those long work days. You could eat the salad alone, with crackers, or on whole grain bread! And the best part... it's quick and easy to make!

Chickpea and Tuna Salad

1 (15oz) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
1 (5 oz) can of light tuna, drained
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup dill pickles, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp. mayonnaise, reduced-fat
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
splash of dill pickle juice

Pour chickpeas into a medium size bowl. Add tuna.

Mash chickpeas and tuna with a potato masher or fork, until chickpeas are broken down and combined with the tuna.

Add celery, dill pickles, mayonnaise, pepper, and dill pickle juice. Stir until combined.


Store salad in refrigerator.


The chickpeas combine really well with the tuna, they give the salad more texture and heartiness without changing the flavor of the tuna too much. Plus, you get the added benefit of chickpeas... fiber! Fiber is important for digestive health and weight loss.

Add some slices of tomato to your Chickpea and Tuna Salad sandwich and you have a low fat, low calorie, nutritious lunch!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Grandma Edna's Potato Salad

Happy 4th of July! 

It's the 4th of July weekend... and you know what that means!?! Good 'ole Americana backyard BBQ's, cookouts, and parties with lots of food, drinks, and summertime fun! I am a BIG fan of this time of year... ;) My family has an annual 4th of July get-together; nothings better than the combination of good friends, good food, fun, and sun!

Our 4th of July menu always consists of the standard backyard BBQ food: hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, coleslaw and... Potato Salad! Over the years I have found that everyone makes their potato salad differently, no two potato salads taste the same. Some people use Yukon Gold potatoes... some Russet potatoes... some use Red potatoes. Some people use pickle relish, some don't... some use celery, some don't... some use eggs, some don't... some use bacon, some don't. Seriously, the many variations of potato salad is endless!!!

My grandma Edna gave my mom her potato salad recipe many many years ago, and my mom's been making it this way ever since. Well... I am quite biased and happen to think my grandma's Potato Salad is the greatest potato salad there is! It's super creamy, has great texture from the potatoes, is the perfect ratio of potato to egg, and tastes DELICIOUS. I can't get enough of the stuff... and neither can our guests... this potato salad is always the star of the BBQ!!

Grandma Edna's Potato Salad  

12-13 medium Russet potatoes, boiled
12 eggs, hard boiled
6-7 green onions, chopped
2 cups Best Foods mayonnaise
3/4 cup dill pickle juice
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Wash and place 12-13 medium potatoes in large pot of salted water, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (or until fork-soft).

While potatoes are boiling, hard-boil the eggs. Get our perfect hard-boiled egg recipe here. When eggs are done, peel and chop.

In a medium bowl, whisk together green onions, mayonnaise, dill pickle juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.

Once potatoes are cooked and soft, drain off the water and place potatoes into a 13x9 inch pan. Irregularly chop warm potatoes into smaller pieces with a spatula or knife.

Add chopped eggs to the chopped potatoes.

Pour mayonnaise mixture over the warm potatoes and eggs. Toss gently until mixed.

Chill in fridge overnight (allows potato salad to set and develop).

This recipe makes about 12-16 servings.

Serve with your favorite BBQ meal!!!

Nothing says the 4th of July, BBQ, and summer like a big bowl of Potato Salad. Hope you enjoy your holiday weekend!



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Fitness Challenge!!

So I've been putting together these Monthly Fitness Challenges since the beginning of the year. What I've learned from my own experience with the challenges is that unless you COMMIT 100% to the daily exercises, it's super easy to fall behind or even fall off the challenge altogether. Truthfully, May and June were not the greatest of months for my commitment level to the challenges. Between vacations, summer fun, work and life... it has been hard to find time to fit the daily exercises in every day!

But July is going to be different... so I'm calling this month's challenge #CommitToBeFitJuly. If you COMMIT to the daily exercises, do your cardio, and eat healthy, you will see RESULTS! This month is going to be hard... squat jumps, planks and burpees are all part of the daily exercise line-up. But "no pain, no gain", "there is no change without challenge", "what doesn't challenge you, doesn't change you" and... well, you get the idea. Join us, commit to the challenge, and reap the benefits of the all-over body toning for the July Fitness Challenge!

The great part about the monthly fitness challenges is that they are made up of strength training and core conditioning exercises... without any equipment! You can use you own body weight, in the comfort of your home!

For a printable #CommitToBeFitJuly calendar, click here.

To get updates and information on the challenge, make sure to go to our Facebook page and "Like" us:

Use the hashtag feature on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you would like to tag us in any of your personal adventures with the challenge! #CommitToBeFitJuly

Let's Do This!