Maybe it’s just me, but seems to take me forever to get back on track when I decide to throw all caution to the wind and eat whatever I desire. We had “dinner on the ground” at church the Sunday before Valentine’s Day and that was the beginning of my downward spiral. The following week I indulged a lot. Then I topped it off yesterday with a number one combo from Sonic. Time for a get real talk with myself.
I have started this week much better, but my goodness, it’s like starting over again! Healthy living is tough! Sometimes I wish I had never been raised on biscuits, gravy, country ham and fried salmon patties! Life would be so much easier now! It seems that what I have established so far is my downfall last week is due to church and mama, lol.
Flatbreads have quickly become one of my favorite meals while trying to eat healthier. A few of my favorites are Buffalo Chicken Flatbread, Shrimp Verde Flatbread (recipe on NJSD), and this Cucumber Caprese Flatbread. I found this recipe while visiting my mom and looking through her Diabetic Living magazines. I love the recipes in her magazines so much that she recently gave me a gift subscription.
These recipes are packed with flavor, and because I can eat the entire flatbread I do not feel deprived! I typically prefer to make homemade dressing. However, for 1/2 tablespoon of dressing I found that Newman’s Own Light Balsamic is very good. If you still prefer to make your own because of salt content I will include an amazing recipe below.
Cucumber Caprese Flatbread
- 1 light original oval flatbread (I used Flatout brand)
- ½ c. coarsely torn fresh arugula and/or baby spinach
- ¼ c. red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- ¼ c. English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 tbsp. thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tbsp. torn fresh basil
- ½ tbsp. bottled light balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
- 2 tbsp. roasted red pepper hummus
- 1 tbsp. crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425℉. Place the flatbread on a baking sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are crisp. Transfer to a wire rack; cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the arugula (and/or baby spinach), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil; toss with vinaigrette.
- Spread hummus on cooled flatbread. Spoon tomato mixture over hummus. Sprinkle with feta cheese and black pepper. Cut into wedges and serve.
- Weight Watchers Smart Points = 3 points
Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- ½ tsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. salt
- Whisk all ingredients together, pour over salad and toss.
- Weight Watchers Smart Points = 4
When Greg and I were young and first married and he would always bring home flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day. Then the kids came along, and they were the ones to get the treats. Some years later we started going out for a nice dinner, and that’s pretty much our Valentine’s Day tradition now.
Another tradition that I will keep this year is making my Valentines a sweet treat. These Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting are a delicious and easy treat. They start with a doctored up cake mix, and then I top them off with one of my favorite frosting recipes. Everyone always loves these and I may even treat myself to one!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 1 pkg. (18.25-oz.) red velvet cake mix
- 1 pkg. (3.4-oz.) vanilla instant pudding mix
- 1 c. sour cream, room temperature
- ½ c. water
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 3 lg. eggs
- 1 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cupcake paper liners in cupcake pan, set aside.
- Place cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Stop machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase speed of mixer to medium and beat for 2 more minutes until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips if you are using them. Spoon batter into pan ¾ full. (Batter will be thick. You'll have enough to make 22 to 24 cupcakes.)
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back with lightly pressed with finger. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool completely. Frost with completely cooled.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 sticks butter, room temperature
- 3-oz. white chocolate
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2½ to 3 c. powdered sugar
- Microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Do not overheat!! If it is almost melted with just a few solid pieces you can stir continuously for the pieces to melt.
- Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until fluffy and completely blended.
- Slowly beat in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick you can use heavy whipping cream, adding 1 tbsp. at a time, to reach spreading consistency.
- Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.
We all get comfortable with our normal, or I know I do. My normal was a handful of dinner meals that I made on a routine basis. They are easy, need no recipe, and I always know my family will enjoy them. Finding new, healthy recipes can sometimes be a challenge. Not because I have little kids to please, but because Greg is so hard to please.
I had never heard of this burger until I was researching recipes. With the ingredient list, I knew it would was something we would enjoy, and it did not disappoint! We ate our burgers in lettuce wraps, but a whole wheat bun or English muffin would be a nice addition. The turkey burgers themselves have a ton of flavor, the pickled vegetables add a fantastic component, then top that off with the mild heat of the sriracha sauce, and it is terrific! This burger will most definitely be part of my new normal!
Banh Mi Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 - 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- Pickled jalapenos
- Lettuce leaves or buns
- PICKLED VEGETABLES:
- ¼ c. sliced English cucumber
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 -2 radishes, grated
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- pinch granulated sugar
- SRIRACHA SAUCE
- ⅓ c. fat free plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. Sriracha
- In a large bowl, gently mix turkey, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cilantro, onions, and sesame oil. Cover bowl with plastic and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the cucumber, carrot, and cilantro in a bowl. Add the lime juice, salt and sugar and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make sauce whisk the yogurt and Sriracha in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Divide into 4 sections and gently pat out the burgers. This will be a little messy. Gently place the burgers in the heated skillet and cook about 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through.
- To assemble, place burger on lettuce leave or bun and top with Sriracha Sauce and a tablespoon or so or the pickled vegetables.
WW Freestyle Points = 1 point per serving
One of my favorite breakfasts has always been yogurt, fresh fruit, and homemade granola. I have made homemade granola for years, and some of my favorite recipes are on NJSD. It’s an easy and satisfying breakfast when you don’t have time to cook.
I recently came up with a 3 Point Granola that I can eat without sacrificing a day’s worth of points. It’s a two-tablespoon serving, but I prefer the taste of this homemade granola over anything I have found in the store.
If you aren’t looking for a lighter granola check out my two favorite recipes below.
3 Point Granola
- 2 c. old-fashioned oats
- 1 c. broken pecan halves
- 1 c. sliced almonds
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ c. honey
- ¼ c. Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300℉, Spray a large sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the oats, pecans, and almonds, set aside.
- In a saucepan mix the salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, olive oil, honey and peanut butter. Heat over medium heat until melted and combined. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat.
- Pour onto prepared pan, spreading to cover the pan. Cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Return to over and cook 10 more minutes. Remove for oven and stir. If the granola is nice and brown at this point, let stand outside oven to cool completely. If the granola has not browned nicely return to the oven, watching it very closely and bake a few more minutes.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Serving= 2 tbsp.
- tbsp. + 3 WW Freestyle Points
I went years without eating canned tuna. For the simple fact that I had eaten so much of it when I would diet that I could no longer stand it. Even now, I’m not so sure I could just pop open a can of tuna and eat it straight from the can as I have in the past.
However, when you put a spin on it with avocado, pickled onions, and green olives, I can totally enjoy some tuna. This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine and has quickly become a new favorite of mine.
Avocados are much higher in fat than most other fruits, but they are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C and contain a lot of fiber. They have been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and may be useful for weight loss. That’s a win-win in my book!
Tuna, Avocado, and Pickled Onion Open Faced Sandwich
- ¾ c. red onion, sliced thin
- ⅔ c. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c. water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 4 slices wheat bread
- 4 oz. chunk white albacore tuna in water, drained
- 2 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 8 bottled green olives, sliced
- 2 medium avocados, peeled and sliced
- Bring onion, vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain.
- Divide the avocado slices evenly among bread slices; mash with a fork. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Top evenly with tuna, onions, and olives. Sprinkle top with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.
- Each serving = 8 WW Freestyle Points.