Buffalo Chicken Bowls

BuffChikBowl

Aside from vegetarians, who doesn’t love wings?

One of my favorite weaknesses appetizers is definitely buffalo chicken wings. But when you’re trying to stick to a somewhat structured and balanced diet, it’s near impossible to fit in that menu item. On Super Bowl Sunday my good friend Kara’s mom made one of those simply amazing, gooey, buffalo chicken dips that always leaves you craving more. I thought to myself, just how exactly do I make a healthy version of this so I can eat it whenever I want?

After much contemplation and a bit of inspiration, I settled on the Buffalo Chicken Bowl. Made with grilled chicken, Buffalo sauce, quinoa, and a broccoli slaw, this dish fills you up without bloating you out! You have to try this if you have a Buffalo chicken wing problem, seriously!

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Buffalo Chicken Bowls

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup, bottled buffalo sauce
  • 1 cups prepared quinoa
  • 2 cups pre-packaged slaw mixture (I used Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, pour in the buffalo sauce then add chicken. Mix to get the chicken all covered with buffalo sauce & let simmer. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the slaw mixture, red onion, mayo, sour cream, and blue cheese, salt, and pepper together. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
  3. Assemble your bowl! Place 1/4 cup quinoa at the bottom, top with 1/4 of the chicken mixture, and top with slaw. Serve & enjoy!
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DC Local Levo // Power Panel // Tuesday, February 19th

DC power panel

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!! Have you felt the love today?

I sure have! Seeing folks buzz around extra friendly is my favorite thing about this Holiday.  I enjoy watching the insane amount of orders coming out of Georgetown Cupcakes and the UPS guy at work have a push cart full of 1-800 Flower deliveries. Although much of this Holiday is commercialized (cards, candy, flowers, dinner reservations) it’s so exiting to see people go out of their way to celebrate LOVE.

It’s easy to celebrate the special people in our lives but sometimes hard to nurture our relationships with our careers. Have you been doing enough to foster professional success for yourself? Or perhaps you’d like to switch careers to a more fulfilling endeavor? We all have different stories but it’s hard to find time for “career therapy”. That’s why I joined the Levo League and that’s why I proudly lead the DC Local Levo along with another fabulous lady! Together & with the help of GW Women in Business we’re hosting an amazing event called “Power Panel” next Tuesday, February 19th at 7:30 PM. If you’re in the DC area, please join. You may RSVP here! This is your chance to hear from the best branded women & entrepreneurs in DC. As well as network with other young professional women & students. Details are as follows:

DC Local Levo // Power Panel Event! 

WHEN: Tuesday, February 19th: 7:30PM

WHERE: George Washington University, 103 Funger Hall, 2201 G Street NW

WHAT: DC Local Levo has put together an amazing panel of young women from various fields who will share their personal success stories, answer Q&A, share mentoring advice and network with us throughout the evening! We’ll also enjoy sweets & treats from Georgetown Cupcake as well as other special giveaways from our panel!

CONFIRMED Power Panelists:

Carly A. Heitlinger  – Blogger, The College Prepster & New Media Director, The Levo League

Cori Sue Morris – Co-Founder,  Bitches Who Brunch & Communications Specialist (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

Laura DiLibero – Owner & Creative Director, York Design Company

Elizabeth Kane – Founder, CharityChicksUS

Megan Griffith – Associate Director of Sales Development, Wedding Wire

Allison Sheren – Founder, Neighborsations

Laura Simmons – Corporate Sales Executive, Social Tables

BPB Shake

BPBShake

Welcome to Lent, everybody!  This fasting season comes at a perfect time for me and I hope it does for you too! Recently, I’ve been working through some personal & spiritual growth activities. One book I have been reading in particular (and highly recommend ) is Gabrielle Bernstein‘s May Cause Miracles. I am on the third week, which works through some reflection and re-programming of your brain around body image and food habits.

Gabrielle makes a point that we’re all here to serve the Universe and our relationships with substances (food, alcohol, drugs) can have profound impacts on our bodies, thoughts, beliefs, and how we show up in our lives. Treating our bodies right allows us to better serve. Well I have a confession to make about how I treat my body… I have two huge vices: chocolate & coffee.

I have gotten better about coffee over the past few months, opting for tea a couple times a week. However, chocolate has had me imprisoned. I have about 2-4 pieces of chocolate a day. I usually use it as a mental pick-me-up or a way to unwind. Does it actually serve those purposes? Nope, just plain old cravings & habit.

But where there is darkness comes light. This Lent, I have vowed to give it up! I am going completely cold turkey and will replace my daily dose more nutritious sweets. I experimented with a few smoothie & shake recipes that I’m excited to share. First up, is the Banana Peanut Butter (BPB) Shake. So simple and deceptively tasty!

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BPB Shake

Serves: 1

Prep time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 1 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk
  • Whipped cream to top

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth. 
  2. Pour into a glass, top with whipped cream, and serve!

What are you giving up for Lent? If you’re on a road to improve your body & mind, I’d love to hear from you!

Lighter Pot Pie

lighterpotpie

I’m definitely not a raw foods person. I think the only healthy items I can stand raw are fruits & maybe lettuce. I prefer carrots, celery, and pretty much everything else cooked. Add in some butter/milk/gravy, serve on top of meat, and I like them even better!

This could possibly be one of the reasons I have trouble keeping my weight down. But since I’m not one to deprive myself, I’m simply learning to manage better. As I try to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I often opt for extravagant salads or healthy casseroles & soups with a ton a fibrous foods packed in. This lighter pot pie was a smash hit last weekend and did not break my Weight Watcher points budget! I used a good portion of leeks & carrots to add fill and shied away from a heavy gravy by using chicken broth.

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Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Cooking Light

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 round pre-packaged, refrigerated pie dough
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 450ºF
  2. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven to medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Turn heat to medium-high and add in chicken. Cook for 5 minutes until browned. Add in carrots, potatoes, and leeks. Sauté for another 5 minutes until veggies start to soften. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper and mix until well incorporated. 
  3. Slowly add chicken broth to pan and bring to a boil. Let thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into a ceramic baking dish. Place pie dough on top of the mixture and seal down the sides.
  5. In a small bowl, beat together the milk and egg. Brush on top of dough.
  6. Cut small slits in dough to ventilate.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden.
  8. Cool slightly & serve.

 

Kitchen Sink Cookies

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When you cook & bake a lot your bound to have a pantry of extras. Oddities like Dried Apricots, Dutch Processes Cocoa, and Sasafrass might just be taking residence in your pantry. There are times when you know you need to clean out the clutter, but just can’t justify throwing out the expensive leftovers. Well, I might need that.

Well no need to fear, there are edible solutions where you don’t need to waste the remaining 10 dried cranberry pieces. I was very much inspired by the Jumble Cookies at Whole Foods. So just dig up 3 cups of what you like and do some edible pantry cleaning! For my recipe I used 1 cup milk chocolate chips, 1 cup walnut pieces, 1/2 cup of coconut, 1/2 cup buttscotch chips.

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Kitchen Sink Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Up to 3 cups of assorted mix-ins (pretzels, dried fruit, baking chips, nuts)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream butter, shortening, and sugars. Once incorporated, add in eggs one at a time and then vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Once mixed, slowly add into the wet mixture. Stir in mix-ins as desired.
  4. Use a ice cream scoop or tablespoon to place dough into small balls. Line on a greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes until golden.

Cheddar Cheese Ball

Are you ready for some football?

To be perfectly honest, I’m not. I despise the Ravens and don’t follow the 49ers close enough to care. However, I am ready for the pageantry, commercials, and Americana that is Super Bowl XLVII! Of course, the Americana side of this includes great snacks, appetizers, and game day food.

One of my family’s long withstanding traditions is this Cheddar Cheese Ball. Someone makes it for just about every event and it’s beloved by all. What’s great is it’s simplicity too, only 4 ingredients! Pair with your favorite type of crackers for a money-saving shareable spread.

cheeseball

Cheddar Cheese Ball

Prep time: 10 minutes hands-on, 30 minutes chilling time

Yields: 2 small rounds

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 5oz. jar Kraft Old English Cheese
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together using a hand mixer or a in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Form ingredients into 2 small rounds and cover in wax paper.
  3. Place in freezer for approx. 30 minutes for rounds to harden.
  4. Place walnuts in shallow dish or plate. Remove wax paper from cheese rounds and roll in walnuts.
  5. Serve with crackers or re-wrap in wax paper and keep refrigerated.

 

Southwest Scramble Tacos

burrito

 

 

All my life I have been the biggest fan of breakfast. So when nutritionists started saying eating breakfast is vital for a balanced diet, I was more than happy to oblige!

Last weekend, I had some extra homemade salsa laying around and decided to spice up breakfast a little. Now I am usually a breakfast traditionalist, I veer away from radical concepts of the first meal. But this interpretation isn’t too controversial and perfect if you have a few extra tortillas left around.

 

 

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Southwest Scramble Tacos

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese
  • 4 corn tortillas, prepared
  • Salsa, for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine red onion, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Stir together until incorporated. 
  2. Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and place on stovetop at medium heat. Once heated, add in red onion mixture and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Beats eggs, milk, and pepper until frothy.
  4. Once beaten, add in eggs and then cheddar to skillet. Using a spatula, continually stir the eggs until cooked & non-runny.
  5. Scoop 1/4 of the egg mixture into each corn tortilla, top with salsa and cilantro to garnish.

Make Your Kitchen Diet Friendly

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I’ve shared on Twitter, but it’s about time to share on my blog that my resolution for 2013 was to re-join Weight Watchers. For those unfamiliar with the program, you track your food intake by tabulating “points”. Points are a Weight Watchers’ proprietary calculation of a food’s nutritional value using fat, carbs, protein, and fiber. You are allotted a certain number of points per day & a “bank” of extras to use freely throughout the week. The bank allows for flexibility, so if you have a special event or happy hour coming up, you don’t have to miss out.

I had my third weigh-in this week and am proud to announce I am down 5.4 pounds. Yay!

Weight Watchers strongly encourages members to do two things: track you intake and plan. Now I’ve tried to track my meals in the past with limited success. Apps like MyFitness Pal and Livestrong have enormous databases filled with calorie counts on every food product out there. It wasn’t until I started looking at my food intake on a weekly basis that I had success.

“If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it.”

Boy, was that a quote that really resonated with me. I usually thought of that quote in the bad food sense. If I eliminate all the sugar, fat, carbs, starches, fries, burritos… then I’ll lose weight. But actually if you think about it in a positive manner, it’s much more empowering. If I ADD leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, juices, smoothies, lean meats, then I’ll lose weight. But how do you successfully add to your pantry & fridge without having to subtract?  Here’s my 4 tips for cleaning out your fridge:

  1. Keep your “trigger foods” away from sight. Placing higher calorie items in the back the fridge can help you choose better options. Also the physical effort it takes to reach for them will give your brain time to think of a wiser choice. 
  2. Pre-wash and cut your fruits and veggies. Set aside time each week to wash and slice your produce. This will help you have ready to eat healthy options for snacks and/or meal add-ins. If cutting is too much of a chore, buy the pre-cut produce. Although it may be a bit pricer, remember that it’s an investment in your health!
  3. Portion control your meals by creating single servings. Admittedly, I’m so bad with pasta. I always have about twice the recommended serving size. By portioning out servings and placing leftovers in single serving tupperware containers, you cut calories and have meals to re-heat for days! One box of pasta usually has 8 servings, meaning you have 7 more meals planned. How budget conscious of you!
  4. Citruses are your friend! Lemons, limes, and oranges can liven up water & soda and add flavor to poultry & fish.

{Photo from Home & Harmony}

Strawberry Margaritas with Lime Floaters

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Have you ever heard of floaters in mixed drinks?

Yes, they are in fact an extra “treat” on top of your already boozy drink. My boyfriend introduced them to me at one of my favorite places on earth Mad Mex. Now, these always did seem unnecessary to me considering Mad Mex served up a 32 ounce Margarita. But once I learned you could use a lime, floaters suddenly became a fashionable garnish! However by pre-soaking your shot in a lime, the act of taking it is much more pleasant. Try our Strawberry Margarita recipe & add in a lime floater if you fancy an extra kick.

strawberrymarg

Strawberry Margaritas

Yield: 1 drink

Cook time: 30 minutes (for strawberry syrup)

Prep time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Syrup (enough for 8-10 cocktails):

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the Margarita:

  • 2 oz. tequila (pref. Espolon) 
  • 1 oz. triple sec (pref. Cointreau)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. strawberry simple syrup
  • Salt, if desired

For the floater:

  • 1 squeezed lime half
  • 1 oz. tequila

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add in sugar and strawberries and reduce heat to medium. Stir mixture and let sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and cool completely. 
  2. To prep, halve the limes and squeeze juice into a measuring cup. Set lime halves aside.
  3. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and strawberry syrup. Shake up & pour into rocks or margarita glass.
  4. Fill squeezed lime half with 1 oz tequila and place as garnish. Cheers!

Maui Muffins

TropicalMuffin

I’ll gladly admit that I love pastries. I mean, who doesn’t?? I try to stay away from them for caloric purposes, but sometimes – you just need a sweet & carb-y escape. Now, I’m aware that muffins may not be the perfect low calorie breakfast. But when the craving comes, these Maui Muffins can help you get your fix without hurting your calorie count. They’re about 250 calories each and packed with bananas & pineapples!

TropicalMuffin2

Maui Muffins 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, sweetened
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp. flaked coconut, sweetened
  • 1 tbsp. macadamia nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place liners in muffin tin. 
  2. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine banana, milk, brown sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and egg and beat until smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir until just incorporated & moist.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon batter into muffin liners.
  5. In a small bowl, mix ingredients for muffin topping. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of topping on top of each muffin.
  6. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes, until golden and firm. Remove muffins from oven and pan. Cool on a wire rack.