Super Easy Elvis Cookies

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone! I hate to be a Debbie downer, but I am not even remotely thinking about the super bowl today. After spending the day at the golf tournament yesterday, today has been focused on catching up with cleaning, cooking, meal prep, and testing a few recipes! With Valentine’s Day coming up, I wanted to get a good dessert post up just incase you are planning to cook or bake for your special someone!

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Side note…. I love Valentines Day! I know it’s cheesy and there were probably times in my life where I wasn’t that excited about it, but there is something about spending a day talking about love, flowers, and chocolate that I can’t resist! I mean the day consists of things that I love — my hub, yummy chocolate or desserts, good food, the color red, and flowers! I’m sorry if you are someone who dreads this holiday… maybe just skip to the recipe?

I’m not sure what the hub and I are doing this year, but most likely I will be in charge of the dessert. Desserts are some of my favorite things to cook and experiment with. As much as Jeff likes a decadent dish, I always try to put a little healthy spin on it! The cookies I’m going to share with you today are super simple, easy and quick to make, and absolutely delicious! I love peanut butter, banana, and chocolate combinations, hens the name of the cookie! There is no added fat in these cookies; the peanut butter and egg provides plenty! I also don’t use any dairy and chose whole wheat flour as my base!

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Give these lovely little delights a try, and I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with lots of love! Oh.. and enjoy the game tonight.

Super Easy Elvis Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 brown bananas, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine your mashed banana with brown sugar, cinnamon, pinch of salt vanilla, peanut butter, and egg. Stir until sugar is well incorporated and peanut butter is smooth throughout the mixture.

Add the whole wheat flour and oats. Mix well until there aren’t any lumps. Fold in the dark chocolate chips. On a greased baking sheet, spoon out about 1 Tbsp of the cookie mixture about 1 1/2 inches apart. The cookies will not spread much! Bake at 375 degreed for about 10 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

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Spinach Tortellini Salad, The perfect holiday salad!

It’s Christmas…. almost at least! It took me a while to get into the holiday swing this year, but now I am definitely ready! During this time of year there are always plenty of parties and social outings where bringing a covered dish is common. This salad is one of my favorites for this time of year, mainly because it is red and green and tastes delicious! I use a lot of store-bought pieces, but overall this salad is fresh, fun, and light in comparison to a lot of other traditional holiday dishes!

For this salad, I have commonly purchased my ingredients from Trader Joe’s because I have a slight obsession with their cheese tortellini and light champagne vinaigrette. You can get these ingredients from just about any food store, so I’ll give you the general quantities for each ingredient that I typically use.

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Side not, yes my kitchen is vey messy! I apologize in advance, but with the holidays also comes lots of mess in the Quinn household! I tried to clean it up a little, but 24 hours later it was right back to where I had started.

I really hope you give this yummy salad a try! Let me know what you think, and happy holidays!

Spinach Tortellini Salad

Ingredients: (serves 8-10)

  • 1 heaping cup dry cheese tortellini; is using fresh cheese tortellini you can use about 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 cups (or about 3/4 bag) of fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese (can sub goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces
  • dressing to taste (I tend to use Trader Joe’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette)
  • black pepper to taste

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(PS that is my super cute golden retriever, Eddie! He loves to supervise me in the kitchen!)

Directions:

Cook your tortellini as directed, strain and let cool. I usually add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together. In a large bowl, add your fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, cheese, and cooled pasta. Wait until 5-10 minutes before serving to add your dressing and toss. I tend to finish with a little sprinkle of black pepper. Enjoy!

 


Food for thought…

You know, sometimes I wonder if we have created our own problems with obesity, morbid obesity, the increase in Type 2 diabetes, and the high prevalence of eating disorders that torment so many teens to the point of depression.

As a practicing dietitian, I sometimes find myself slipping into the commonality of talking about “healthy eating”, what is “good or bad”, and sometimes I catch myself just soon enough to say to myself, what are you about to do? I myself have fallen into the routine of buying low-fat products or sugar-free items at points in my life, and I will slowly but surely reel myself back in to what I know is true and wholesome for my body. All of these products that are marketed for “dieting” or “cutting back on X” start to drive even those of us who are well trained in nutrition and dietetics insane with doubt or questioning of our own beliefs. When will it all stop?

As our society continues to promote the next best weight loss product, promote a new line of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free (I mean what is it made of at that point?) products, emphasize cleansing to “start fresh and pure” (which promotes restrictive behaviors by the way), or poke at severe weight gain or weight loss through reality TV, we just keep getting worse and worse. As a country we become heavier; we become more sluggish; we become more fixated on weight; and we become less fixated on the simple joys and pleasure of life… one of those being food.

I’m waiting for a day that I don’t know will every really come, but I encourage anyone who struggles with body image, weight maintenance, would like to lose weight, or is just not happy with who they see in the mirror to dig a little deeper and realize that the first thing they need to do is go back to the beginning. Start with the basics. Enjoy the sweetness of a piece of fruit, the saltiness and richness of homemade pizza with whole milk cheese, the crispness of a salad, and enjoy something that they really like at least once a week. Maybe that’s a serving of full fat ice cream, maybe that’s a slice of pizza, maybe its a burger with all the toppings, it doesn’t really matter. I want you to go for a walk or a run, go for a swim, go hiking and take in the beauty of whats around you, not fixate on the amount of calories you burned on your Fitbit.

I hope that maybe this post sparked something in someone or effected someone in a positive way. Again, as a Registered Dietitian, I ask that whenever you have questions regarding these topics such as weight, you go to someone like myself who is truly there to resurface your best self and help you find balance and happiness, not steer you in the direction of more self-hate, discouragement, or frustration.

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂


Easter Dessert Made Simple, Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts

Happy Easter everyone! It seems as though over the years Easter has obtained quite the reputation for chocolate, Easter baskets filled with candy, decadent pastries and desserts, and Easter egg hunts with jelly bean and candy-filled eggs. Well… even though I did cave and buy a bad of Reese’s peanut butter eggs (primarily because my husband asked where the Easter candy was in our house), I still wanted to make an Easter brunch dessert that was chocolatey and satisfying but lighter and more tummy friendly!

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Pastries and desserts often contain a lot of butter and a lot of sugar, which is perfectly fine in moderation, but typically we are not deciding between the candy, the chocolate, the danish, or the Easter bread… we are usually trying a little of all 4. For my dessert, fat it minimal, but flavor is still fully there! I use a base of over-ripe bananas to add moisture and sweetness. Whole wheat flour provides a little more density and fiber to this cake, but if cooked right will not dry it out whatsoever. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the chocolate! A few chocolate chips were added for those who desire chocolate to consider a dessert a dessert. Walnuts were also added for a little crunch!

This cake looked so delicious last night, that I couldn’t even wait until today to try it out! I hope you enjoy my Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts, and have a happy Easter!

Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts:

Ingredients:

  • 2 over-ripe bananas, mashed until fairly smooth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine your mashed bananas with the brown sugar, egg, almond milk, and canola oil until the sugar is well incorporated and there aren’t any lumps. Add all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) and mix until well combined. Add your chocolate chips and walnuts by lightly folding them into the batter so they are well distributed.

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Lightly spray your bunt pan (or another type of cake pan; baking time may differ though), and add in your batter evenly. Bake for ~35 minutes or until the top of your cake is fairly firm and lightly brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before flipping over onto a serving platter. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Basic Blueberry Waffles

Happy Sunday! I can’t even explain how nice it is to not be traveling at all this month! I’ve truly learned to appreciate my weekends and take full advantage of my days off.

What’s on this mornings menu? My Basic Blueberry Waffles! After 48 hours of intense leg exercise (7 miler Friday plus 2 hours of hiking yesterday) my legs are completely shot and my body is hungry for fuel….. And by fuel I mean carbs. I know, I know, protein is important for muscle repair, but with my appetite in full gear I need a little something extra special this morning (yes I got plenty of protein in last night!).


My Basic Blueberry Waffles are simple, sweet, and perfect for this chilly Arizona morning…. Yes IT’S COLD! Heat up your waffle maker and kick your appetite into high gear! I know you are going to want to try these!

Ingredients: makes 1 large waffle

  • 1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 over-ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Honey to taste
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries

  

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl except the honey and blueberries. Allow your waffle to cook until golden brown (don’t forget to add a little cooking spray to prevent sticking!). Heat your blueberries in the microwave until soft and warm, about 30 seconds. There should be a little juice in the bottom of your blueberry bowl! Once your waffle has finished, pour your blueberries over the top, add a drizzle of honey to sweeten it up, and finish with a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

These waffles are perfect to curb a sweet tooth, but not so sweet that you’ll be regretting your Sunday morning decision. Enjoy and have a fantastic Sunday!