Healthier Hot Chocolate, from scratch

downloadIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp of really good cocoa powder (i like this one)
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of whipped cream or 1/3 cup of mini marshmallows on top (optional, each option are 2 pts+)

Directions:

Put milk and almond milk on the stove and heat until almost boiling. Mix in agave and powder ingredients with a whisk. Pour into a pretty mug and top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Make your own whipped cream or marshmallows for the most whole product!

Farmer’s markets, specialty stores, and other fun places will sell gourmet cocoa powders or vanilla extracts! These special touches make for an even more fun experience and product! Enjoy!

This is a healthier version of a homemade hot chocolate but it is still a “treat”. The agave will help prevent that sugar crash and the almond milk packs a nice protein punch! And of course, use a really good dark chocolate with antioxidants!

This recipe makes 1 cups of hot chocolate. Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 6 points

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Quinoa Lauren

photo-2Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of feta
  • 1 medium zucchini, steamed
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Start by bringing 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil without lid. Once vigorously boiling reduce heat to medium-low and put lid on for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. While quinoa is cooking, cut up your steamed zucchini (to steam, I use a steamer basket), tomatoes, and basil. Rinse garbanzo beans. Mix them all together along with the other ingredients and enjoy!!

This recipe makes about 6 cups of salad. Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 6 points for each salad!

One cup has 10 grams of protein!  Pair with a fruit salad or yogurt and a piece of dark chocolate for an awesome lunch!

Asparagus and Pesto Salad with Shrimp and Goat Cheese

downloadIngredients:

  • 1 bundle of asparagus (cut bottoms off of each spear)
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 5 ounce pack of spring mix lettuce
  • Buitoni pesto (will need 1/4 cup for 4 servings)
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese (will need 1/2 cup for 4 servings)
  • 24 Frozen Shrimp
  • Red Wine vinegar (will need 1/4 cup for 4 servings)
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder

Directions

First wisk 1/4 cup of pesto into 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar to make your dressing.

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Use steamer basket to steam the asparagus, with a sprinkle of garlic powder on them. In a separate pot, boil 24 shrimp per package directions. You can salt the water or boil them in broth for a little more flavor if you wish.

Pile the spring mix into 4 bowls (divide the 5 oz package into 4 bowls). Top with asparagus, shrimp, tomatoes, and goat cheese (1/8 cup per serving). Pour dressing over the salads, add salt and pepper (as much or as little as you like) and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 4 salads. Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 4 points for each salad!

Each salad has about 21g of protein, healthy fats, and veg! Serve with some fruit or a small yogurt for lunch or have this as an appetizer for dinner! I hope you try it and love it!

Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea

Tired of drinking only water? Try this really tasty drink that is only 1 point for an 8 ounce glass…

This blueberry-lemon iced tea is a favorite of mine, especially for the spring and summer months…

Ingredients:download

Directions:

Bring the water to boil in a large pot. Turn burner off and steep the tea bags (with the paper tags torn off) in the pot for 10 minutes. Add juice from 2 of the lemons to the pot along with the agave nectar. Slice the other 2 lemons and add the slices to the pot. Transfer everything to a large glass container or pitcher and add 2 ice cube trays (24 ice cubes) to the container. Chill and enjoy! (I keep the tea bags in there for a few hours and take them out either that evening or the next morning, depending when I prepare the tea)

**This tea provides antioxidants from the blueberries and Acai. The lemons are an excellent digestive agent. Enjoy!!

This recipe makes about 6, eight ounce glasses of iced tea! Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 1 point for 1 eight ounce glass

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This is the tea I like to use.

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How perfect is this lemon? Take a sniff of it when you first cut it open and remind yourself how blessed you are to exist on a planet that can produce such beautiful things!

Happy almost-spring Sunday!

Gnocchi with Sausage Sauce

For dinner tonight, I cooked up a simple dish that I really like, potato gnocchi topped with sausage meat tomato sauce!download-6

First, I cooked a pack of Ronzoni potato gnocchi in salted boiling water. You know they are done when they float. I strained them and set them aside until the sauce was ready.

*tip, if you put a tiny drop of oil in the cooking water, the pasta wont stick together once you strain it and let it sit for a few minutes while your sauce or whatever else is being finished.

Then, I “squeezed” the meat out of the casings of 3 sausage links (you can choose any kind you like, the leaner the better if you are following WW, I chose organic turkey sausage) to make ground sausage. I browned the meat in a pan and added it to one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce. I added my favorite seasonings (garlic and onion powder, pepper, salt, and Italian seasoning blend) I heated the sauce throughout and spooned it over 1 cup of cooked gnocchi. I always grate asiago cheese on top with my favorite microplane! Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 2-3 servings.

Weight watchers Points Plus: 5 points for 1 cup of gnocchi, 3 points for 3/4 cup of sauce; TOTAL: 8 points plus **Add a point or so for the cheese (optional)

The turkey sausage packs a punch of protein and the lycopene in the tomato sauce is rich in antioxidants!!

Only have a half cup of gnocchi with a huge salad on the side if you don’t have as many points left!

 

Hongo Soup

Ingredients:IMG_0270

  • 32 ounces of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups of pasta (dry)
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 8 ounces of button mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 packet of Sazon (by Goya)
  • Block of Parmesan or Asiago cheese to shred (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut the bottoms of the asparagus off and cut the stalks into thirds. Slice yellow squash into thin circles. Steam (put steamer basket over 1 inch of water in a pot, put veggies inside the basket, sprinkle with garlic powder, and cover with the pot lid) the asparagus, mushrooms, and squash, sprinkled with garlic powder for about 5 minutes. While waiting for the veggies to steam, put the remaining ingredients (except the cheese) into a large pot (wait until veggies are done to put the large pot on the stove). When veggies are done, add them to the large pot and cook soup until pasta is done (with lid on). Taste the broth to make sure there is enough salt and enjoy! I shred some Asiago cheese on top with a microplane! Delicious.

This soup is so healthy and it’s vegan if you hold the cheese at the end! The mushrooms in this soup provide an excellent source of potassium, even more than bananas, and have antioxidant qualities!! The asparagus is rich in folic acid, keeping your cells healthy!!

This recipe makes about 5 cups of soup! Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 3 points for 1 cup

**Hongo is spanish for “mushroom” and since this is an original recipe I thought I would give it an original name. The addition of the spanish seasoning gave me the inspiration for the name!