Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ginger Orange Carrot Soup

Tis the season for soups; luckily there isn't a vegetable that doesn't love to be in a soup. During the holiday season I specifically look to find ways to save a few dollars on my meals to help offset all the money spent on presents, traveling and key dinner parties. Carrots are cheap, nutritious and loaded with flavor.

Hearty carrots and celery swirl with garlic and ginger while the orange zest adds just a hint of freshness. This Carrot Soup may sound humble, but it's rich, creamy and delicious enough to be the entry course for any elegant meal.

Keep warm, receive great nutrients for a beautiful body and fight cancer with this yummy Fat and Happy Ginger Orange Carrot Soup.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

All Natural Gunk Removing Goo Off

If you have ever used Goof Off, Goo Gone or any of those crazy gunk removing substances you can attest to the harsh smells, chemicalized ingredients and the warning labels:
  • extremely flammable
  • fatal if swallowed
  • eye and skin irritant
I don't know about you, but I don't want to don my safety goggles and solvent resistant gloves when I need a little sticky label removed. Nor do I want to use a 'potentially fatal' substance on a jar that I'm saving to put food into.

Mix a little coconut oil and baking soda and you get a superb, healthy substitute that leaves your bare hands soft and smelling great! You could even eat it (not that I'm suggesting you do.) Even the your pets will be safe when you need you use this on or in an area they can reach and lick.

This is another recipe that can be found posted all over the internet, not a Fat and Happy original, but it's too good not to share! It's a perfect stocking stuffer, hostess gift and great-friend present.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Cups: Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free!

It's that time of year where sugary treats become a staple in our diets. I set out to make a dessert that is delicious but also free from sugar, flour and dairy.

I'm a big proponent of dark chocolate for its healthy properties and I love to use maple syrup in place of sugar. The rest all just fell into place- using almonds to make a dairy-free, protein rich milk and a little coffee and Grand Marnier for a hint of flavor to create a deep, creamy chocolate pudding-like mousse. Really nice.

This is the time to use your cute ramekins or little glass containers. I used a number of different dishes for a more rustic effect. If you are OK with powder sugar, sift a little on top for a finished look. If you are eating dairy, top with a little whipped cream. Or creme brulee the top of each with a bit of sugar and a kitchen torch.

The other thing I really like about this dessert is that you can serve it hot, right from the oven or serve it chilled. The preference is yours. Perfect for a brunch and even better ending a cold night; either way this Fat and Happy treat is one you can eat and without the guilt.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Zucchini & White Bean Guacamole

Another healthy catering gig gave me the opportunity to create a new recipe.

I'm going to climb onto my soapbox for just a moment a remind you all that fats do not make you fat, not when they are healthy fats like avocado. Consumption of fat is needed for the body to work properly (they  raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries and help combat dry skin) so even if you are looking to loose a few pounds, fats should NOT be skipped. That doesn't mean you should go crazy and eat as much (healthy) fat as you want, everything in moderation.

This recipe takes advantage of a classic, guacamole, but it takes it to the next level by stuffing even more nutrients in it using beans and zucchini. Beans area great source of protein and fiber and while zucchini is a mostly water it does offer vitamin A and potassium. Protein, potassium and healthy fats all in one dip with flavor to boot. That is what it's all about, clean eating without giving anything up the flavor.

Whip up a batch and serve as a dip, use a spread on sandwiches or top your salad or taco with this delicious Fat and Happy creation.  You might find eating it with a spoon works too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fall Endive Cup: Butternut Squash and Apple Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

I received a call to cater a Women's Health event recently; how could I say no too an opportunity to whip up healthy delicious food for a group that would totally appreciate it?

This Fall-filled Endive Cup was the hit of the night! For the event I used endive cups (see the images at the bottom of this page); you can see I used kale leaves for these photos, butter lettuce would work really well too. Kale is NOT for everyone so go with what you like. You could even toss this with lettuce or spinach and serve as a side salad (would be perfect on your Thanksgiving table.)

Roasted butternut squash just pairs so well with fresh apple. The maple balsamic dressing screams warm fall flavors with a breeze of sweetness. Since maple syrup is derived from nature, it offers nutrients like iron, calcium and zinc with fewer calories than refined sugar which is void of any nutritional content. Maple syrup also has a low glycemic index making it ideal for those with diabetes.

Try these super yummy Fat and Happy squash and apple filled lettuce cups, it's a healthy way to enjoy the fall goods.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Salted Pistachio Bark

Are you looking for a  super simple dessert that will wow your guest? My Salted Pistachio Bark is a total crowd pleaser!

Hold on you say - what about all the sugar in chocolate? How is this good for me? Let's explore that and the importance of Dark Chocolate.

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidant which help free your body of radicals, which cause oxidative damage to the cells. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body's insulin efficiently. Because it's not loaded with extra sugar it boasts a low glycemic index, meaning it won't cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

If you are new to dark chocolate, it may come across as bitter to you. But keep in mind when you begin to ease back on your sugar intake, your sensitivity to sugar is heightened allowing you to appreciate it more. Yet another reason to reduce your sugar intake.

The percentage referred to with regard to dark chocolate is the amount of cocoa solids added. So the percentage is really the percent of actual chocolate.  A higher percentage means more chocolate, and less of the remaining ingredients, primarily sugar. The dark chocolate you choose should ideally be at 80% or above in order to receive all the requisite health benefits (including increased immune function, slowing aging, lowering of bad cholesterol and reduction of cancer risk among others.)

In this particular recipe I used a 60% dark chocolate because of the crowd I was feeding; if you are not used to such a high percentage, it can be bitter and even unpleasant for some. It's ok to ease into the an 80% dark chocolate.  Keep in mind this is not the kind of chocolate that should be mindlessly chomped on; quality chocolate should be slowly savored allowing it to melt in mouth while tantalizing your taste buds.

Treat yourself with this Fat and Happy (and healthy) Salted Pistachio Chocolate Bark: it's ooh so tasty and guilt free!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Final moving days, napkin hoarding has begin and simple Overnight Refrigerator Superfood Oatmeal recipes

Think back to college days when money was nonexistent and healthy food was something only found in textbooks.
We raided every cafeteria and fast food joint in town for napkins, plastic silverware and assorted condiment packages, know which ones had the best of each. Funny how we always had plenty of plastic red cups though.

We are now a day away from our actual move, everything is in boxes including all silverware and my cloth napkins. I'm tempted to relive those college days of hoarding silverware packs and napkins from restaurants; my strive to be green is tested but wins out as I rip the tape off the box marked kitchen #15 to retrieve a couple of forks and knives. And aside from Chinese mustard there isn't a food in a condiment package I eat.

But that leaves me to question what can I make that doesn't involve me unpacking a lot of pans and utensils? I want to have something that is pre-made that I can just grab and go. Something fresh and healthy but hearty to keep us strong for the move but isn't nasty take-out food.

Overnight refrigerator oatmeal isn't an original Fat and Happy creation, but I really do like the variations and flavors I've come up with. It lasts in the fridge for a few days and doesn't require perishable food. Just some oatmeal, a few nuts and some fixings like frozen berries and chia seeds. Drop it all in a jar, screw on the lid and let it do its thing. Grab one out of the fridge for an easy ready made meal or snack.

Both the Blue and Goji Berry Vanilla Oatmeal and Cranberry Pumpkin Oatmeal turned out stunning for me. You could make hundreds of versions by varying the ingredients of fruit, nuts, seeds, milk or coconut flakes; they all offer endless possibilities. This is an easy recipe to add super foods like goji berries, chia seeds, maca powder, cocao and more. Use frozen fruit because it offers extra juice as it defrosts.

These are great recipes whether you are moving or not. Imaging throwing one in your bag for after a work out or as breakfast on the go; you can eat them chilled or warm them slightly. They are pretty cheap on the pocketbook and if you're a clean eater you may not even need a napkin. You will, however, need a spoon; but you know where to get that.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Moving, a Minimalist Kitchen and Homemade Veggie Broth

We are two weeks out from closing on our new place and moving. Luckily our current place is under-contract allowing us to start the packing process. Two entirely full truckloads went to donation. It was time to let go of the heavy bag I've been carting around for the past 10 years; there hasn't been a spot to hang it in our last two homes and there isn't a spot in the new place either. It was also finally time to let go of the thousands of cards and letter from friends and family through the years, but not without an entire afternoon of skimming through each one. That day was bittersweet- such warm memories relived but sad to realize these special communications are nearly extinct due to social media and smart phones.

Stacks of boxes are beginning to demand attention as are all the final details like setting up new insurance and filling out an official change of address with the US Post Office (it is worth the $1 charge to do this online!) and getting new internet ready (our address is new and nobody wants to service this new location.) Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Through all of this, all I can think of is how long can I keep my kitchen intact?? For most it is the last to get packed and the first to get unpacked. But even with that plan in place, there is quite a bit of kitchen pre-packing needed because I have an unusual amount of kitchens trinkets.

I'm not a pack rat or a hoarder, but I do love collecting little kitchen dishes, interesting utensils, and old-world cooking vessels. Partially for photography sake ... mostly because I'm just drawn towards kitchen character.

Packing is underway, cooking classes are on hold and I've resolved to live in a minimalist kitchen for the next few weeks. This got me thinking about what really are the bare essential, key items one needs to outfit a kitchen? Do I really need to own a whisk, an old school manual hand beater (who even remembers these?), a hand electric beater, an immersion blender, three upright blenders and a stand mixer?

Operation 'Kitchen Pare Down' is underway. Today I begin to the painful process of deciding which utensils and pans make the cut, already knowing some of my favorite indulgent items won't make it.

There are a few obvious items already in the 'stay' pile: a chefs knife, a paring knife, measuring cups and spoons; for the remainder I've devised a system. I'm putting EVERYTHING from the kitchen into boxes. I'll remove the items I need to cook with over the next four weeks, everything left in the box at the end of the month isn't really needed. Probably.  Maybe.  I'll post the final list here and you can all weigh in.

In the mean time, moving also means cleaning out the freezer. I save all my kitchen scraps for broth and have amassed two large bags full so it was time to make homemade broth. Broth is simple, easy and delicious way to use up vegetables.
 Side note: I took a strainer and large pot out of the boxes to make this.

Below is my basic broth recipe, this is a super flexible guideline only, adjust with what you have available. Once you have this made, use it in soups and sauces and definitely cook all your grains in it. It's a great way to get extra flavor and nutrition without added calories or fat in your Fat and Happy dishes.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin, Couscous and Chorizo Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Peppers

Ever wonder who the first person was that decided to carve a pumpkin?  And who thought eating that hard gourd was even possible? Lucky for us that person (or persons) were inquisitive as we now reap the benefits.

Since pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween I thought we should carry that theme even further into the kitchen with these adorable, delicious stuffed, decorated peppers.

The couscous choice was merely one made based on our upcoming move (the more pantry items we eat, the less we have to pack and move.) Substitute in rice, quinoa or other grain of your choice. After baking, the slightly wilted pepper mixes with the pumpkin, the chorizo, the creamy goat cheese and the tart dried cranberries for a glorious spooky bite.

I've roasted a lot of pumpkins but only recently heard that you don't have to scoop out the insides before roasting, but rather leave the insides in tact and scoop out after roasting. This made me curious so I did a little experiment by roasting half of the pumpkin cleaned out and half not cleaned out. The results were pretty much the the same, a dreamy creamy roasted pumpkin; though I found I preferred cleaning out the pumpkin first, maybe just for nostalgia sake.

Say Boo at your next dinner with these super fun Fat and Happy stuffed pumpkins!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Squash and Pea Shoot Salad Bruschetta

Bruschetta is nothing more than a good piece of bread acting as a vessel for some yummy toppings. You almost can't go wrong with any combination you put together.

Today I pair the long awaited butternut squash with a light radish and pea shoot salad for a lovely Summer meets Fall version. Rounding out the flavors is the orange parsley dressing. It's light yet hearty, soft and crunchy all in one bite. Delicious.

This is definitely a 'use a fork and knife' brushetta over a simple 'pick it up and take a bite' one and that just adds to the dishs' depth and character.

Try this out as a plated appetizer or salad course at your next dinner party- you'll get some well deserved Fat and Happy kudos!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tropical Gingered Spaghetti Squash

It's not secret that the Fall season is synonymous with hearty squash and pumpkins, which I adore! They lend themselves to creamy soups, pies and hearty gratins. But there is a squash that doesn't act like the rest, one that doesn't belong if you will.

Are you familiar with the Spaghetti Squash? Upon roasting, a fork is dragged across the flesh releasing long strands resembling spaghetti. It's really a pretty cool to do this the first time. The flavor is distinctly, though mild, squash-esque while still reaping all the nutritional benefits of its more dense counterparts: high fiber, low in calories and great amounts of folic acid to help our body convert food into energy.

In this recipe I added ginger and turmeric for their inflammatory fighting properties and for a tropical taste that kicks in thanks to the coconut oil.

Roast the lesser known Spaghetti Squash and experience the fun of the making long strands. Then toss it all together in this healthy Fat and Happy Gingered Spaghetti Squash dish.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spicy Lentils with Curry Leaves

Today I was given a new Strange Ingredient and I couldn't be more excited to play with ... curry leaves. I've never worked with them before so I'm forging new ground here.

First step was to Google curry leaves. Fascinating to find out that they have nothing to do with the ground curry we all know and love. I certainly made the assumption there was a connection, but you know what happens when you assume....

My first whiff of the curry leaves was powerfully perplexing. Almost unsettling. I read that you might catch a faint hint of tangerine if lucky, but I'd say the aroma is more earthy, smoky and maybe even a more like burnt rubber. Appealing, I know.

At first bite of the lentils, I almost detected a sweet, brown sugar flavor which is definitely not on my ingredient list. Then the flavors bursted and I still can't quite define it; it's a totally funky flavor. The dish is hearty, yet light, spicy and delicious!

After serving a little dish for each of us, I set aside my cup and pulled the whole serving dish in front of me and polished off the remaining lentils. I was hooked.

There are mixed reviews on whether to eat or not eat the curry leaves; I've read they have medicinal properties and are good for the eyes. Either way, go find some curry leaves today then make this utterly flavorful and so delicious Fat and Happy Spicy Lentil dish!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crispy Chickpea Panzanella Salad

My hands down favorite salad is the the classic Italian Panzanella Bread Salad. Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and olives mingle with balsamic vinegar, then hearty bread croutons sop up the dressing and release all the flavor in one bite. I can eat my weight in this salad.

Since I decided to lay off gluten for a few weeks, this classic version is off my list. That opened the door for a new, modified recipe! The crunchy seasoned croutons are really my favorite part about this salad so it is important to find an equally yummy crunchy replacement. Crispy chickpeas did the trick. While keeping most of the salad intact, chickpeas done two ways rounded out both the flavor and texture.

The salad comes together in snap, but remember you need time to bake the legumes. Perfect for a light lunch or next to a grilled turkey, chicken or pork, this Fat and Happy Chickpea Panzanella Salad is a winner, gluten free or not!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Garlic Roasted Squash Grilled Cheese

It's that time of year when my backpack starts to get real heavy. Not from schoolbooks but from squash and pumpkins! Nothing says fall more then seeds roasting in the oven.

Roast a squash and you will have the base for a variety of meals from squash soup to ravioli. Today's recipe takes a classic grilled cheese and ups the ante by adding in garlic roasted squash. It's a perfect dish for left over squash or try it with pumpkin too.

Use any squash you prefer, I had butternut squash on hand. It's low in fat, filled with fiber and offers significant amounts of potassium  (important for bone health) and vitamin B6 (essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.)

Add a squash to your shopping  bag and lift from your legs, not your back for this gooey, delectable Fat and Happy sandwich.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pineapple Gazpacho

This lovely pineapple has been sitting on my counter for days. Staring me down. Saying "What'chu gonna do with me? I'm gettin' ripe over here!" You know it's time to get cooking when your ingredients start talking to you.

Grilled pineapple has got to be one of my top 10 favorite things to work with- it's simply delish by itself. Chopped up in grain salad with mustard vinaigrette is so good too. Or try a drenching of homemade caramel sauce, it just kills!

Been there, done that.  This time I yearned for something fresh. The late summer sun is beating through the windows and the air conditioning never seems to shut off. That's when it hit me- gazpacho!

Classically made with tomatoes, gazpacho is a chilled Spanish soup from fresh ingredients. Throw some fruit and vegetables in a blender and your done.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Spiced Candied Bacon on a Stick with Chocolate Drizzle

The end of summer is near and that means everyone is going to try to get in a final few barbecue parties before the first snow. Okay, maybe it really is too early to actually reference snow, but what I'm getting at is that you need look at these next few outdoor parties with reckless abandon. Go out with a bang. Throw caution to wind and get ready to WOW with bacon on a stick.

Bacon on a stick isn't exactly the healthiest thing I've ever made, but  everything in moderation is key. A little maple syrup, a thick slice of bacon and a dollop of chocolate - it's an appetizer and a dessert all rolled into one. It's a bacon bouquet. It's food art.

Fire up the oven or grill, warm the chocolate and tape your mouth shut so you don't accidentally eat all the bacon sticks before you get them to the party. These Chocolate Maple Bacon Sticks WILL be the hit of the party. We need more meats on sticks.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Healthy and Delicious Chocolate Fig Smoothie

I greet every day with a smoothie and my birthday day was no different. Though I did yearn for something that felt a little indulgent I didn't want to start my day down a path of destruction by 7am.

My special day smoothie would involve fresh figs, I knew that much for sure since a few figs found their way to me via a local CSA. Chocolate just seemed to be an interesting compliment to the figs.  Thanks to the raw cacao stocked in my pantry I got a great antioxidant boost without turning my healthy breakfast treat into a diner-like fattening shake. The almond milk and hemp seeds pack in a big boost of protein too.

This smoothie is so rich and delicious, you would never guess it's packed with so much nutrition and protein. Start any day with Fat and  Happy love in your glass, you just may have to admit you like healthy foods.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Polenta with Ginger Mushrooms

In talking with a friend recently, she mentioned how she could use some help for extending her healthy cooking knowledge and skills. Quinoa salad is great, but seven days a week will wear on anyone's palate.

I choose to work with polenta because it's so tasty, versatile and easy on the pocket book. Serve it creamy with any kind of ragu or warm, savory topping and it's a hit. Or pour it into a pan and let it setup up (think jello with structure) then cut it into shapes for a Gluten Free bruschetta, sandwich bottom, or even for a new take on a crouton.

This savory ginger mushroom topping is a pleasant surprise. The ginger gives such a light, zingy punch that you don't typically expect with sauteed shrooms; it really moves the polenta out of the traditional Italian mindset.

Start with this healthy and satisfying Fat and Happy polenta dish and then see how many creative versions you can come up with.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yummy Grilled Dessert Pizza

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Living the healthy life keeps me feeling energetic and youthful; but that doesn't mean I don't indulge in a treat once in awhile.
Someone suggested a dessert pizza at the end of a grilled pizza party the other night. It wasn't something I had planned but it only took me a about 30 seconds to start digging around for suitable toppings.

Almond butter spread across the pre-baked dough and then a layer of jelly made for a great sauce. A sprinkling of dark chocolate, coconut flakes and nuts became the topping. Finish the pie with a  couple of minutes on the grill to heat it all and crisp the bottom. Delicious and crowd pleasing!

Eat a mostly plant based diet and do get some exercise. And always remember that an occasional Fat and Happy treat keeps the dulls away.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

I'm craving warm, hearty dishes due to a mid-summer cold snap. Can a dish satisfy those cravings and deliver a big bowl of nutrients at the same time?

Enter risotto. This risotto is made in the typical way of slowly adding broth to the rice which allows the exterior starch on the rice to become creamy; I just substituted in brown rice for an extra delicious nutty, nutrient boost. Add in mushrooms, ginger, garlic and the whole dish is a big bowl of healthy comfort

Don't keep this one till Fall, it comes in handy all Fat and Happy year round.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Asparagus and Quinoa Stuffed Mini Peppers

Spring time is the best time to enjoy asparagus, but with cold weather and late planting seasons, quality batches of these delectable green stalks are still available into the summer. It's a versatile vegetable and you can't really go wrong no matter how you cook it whether wrapped in prosciutto or dripping with a runny yolk.

In this version, I lightly saute asparagus with mushrooms, ginger and garlic, sizzle the mixture with fresh orange juice and stuff it a pepper along with quinoa. It makes for a super lovely presentation and it tastes just as good as it looks.

Asparagus is a good source of folic acid (helping our bodies convert food into energy) and potassium (an electrolyte that helps to maintain normal blood pressure.) These super stalks help us against pain, aging and inflammation.

So now you have lunch, light dinner or side salad that acts as Fat and Happy powerful as it tastes. Enjoy today before asparagus season fades away until next year.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Asparagus, Cabbage and Couscous Salad with Orange Sriracha Vinaigrette

Tis the season of outdoor concerts and movies and evening picnics in the park. It's also the time of year those of us living in the cold climates gain the opportunity to eat more raw food.

This is a fairly simple salad of raw cabbage and asparagus but it gains a bit of heartiness and chewiness from the couscous. The real kick is tossing the whole mix with the Orange Sriracha Vinaigrette- it's a great combination together and brings the vegetables alive.

Napa cabbage is a friendlier cabbage than most, in my opinion. It's high in antioxidants, folates, Vitamins A, K and C and it gives a great crunch to any salad. Asparagus is rich in fiber, supports our immune system, helps our fight against inflammation, has anti cancer benefits and helps to regulate blood sugar. Power packed nutrition in one fun and tasty salad.

Pack the basket, head to your nearest park and pull out this Fat and Happy picnic loving salad. It will leave the crowd comfortably satisfied.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Watermelon Beverage Dispenser aka Cocktail Keg aka Jungle Juice Jug

Sometimes you see an idea that is so fun you just have to recreate it. And it's a bonus if this idea boarders on reliving your college jungle juice days.....ok it doesn't boarder on it, it dives right into a frat party head first.

The Watermelon Juice Dispenser is case in point. I didn't come up with this idea (you can do a search and see other variation on this) but with the help of eager friends we carved this one up and it became the hit of the party.

It's actually fairly simple. Cleaning out the watermelon and turning it into juice might be the most difficult, not to mention messy, part.

A quick hole at the bottom of the belly, screw in a faucet or whatever dispenser you are using, pour in your juice and voila. Cocktail Keg. Drink Dispenser.

Below you'll find the basics to create this nifty beverage dispenser and then I list three watermelon punch recipes you can play with. For extra fun, I carved a little face in my watermelon. Put some fun in your next party with a handmade Fat and Happy Cocktail Dispenser.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Grilled Tuna with Spicy Cucumber Relish and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Healthy summer dishes. They don't have to be difficult or time consuming to be flavorful.

In this recipe, the spicy cucumber relish is off-set by the sun dried tomato hummus. Both condiments are simple back drops to let the fresh tuna shine through.

The relish and hummus can be made a day ahead of time allowing you to get dinner on the table even faster. Enjoy the remaining cucumber salad and hummus between two slices of bread or as a dip for veggies.

Have a Fat and Happy summer dish that shines from the plate.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Turkey Blueberry Grain Burgers with Fig Jam and Brie

Tips and articles about healthy eating are everywhere- email, Facebook posts, magazines, newspapers and even posted on the elevator screen that riders stare at to avoid the uncomfortable 15 seconds of standing next to a stranger. A photographic memory is required to keep it all in, but every now and then one sticks. Today I share one such memorable tip.

We all know how quickly turkey meat becomes dry, especially ground turkey meat used in a burger. Mixing blueberries into the meat not only gives the burger a healthy antioxidant boost but it helps with a juicier result. Seriously. Tested and confirmed.

For this particular recipe I added quinoa and lentils, taking the health benefits one step further. The result is a blue-tinted fun and tasty burger. Fig jam and brie cheese step into the condiment spotlight to really takes this burger over the edge.

Even if you have no intention of making this exact turkey burger version, make note of this healthy tip. It's a great way to sneak nutrients into any Fat and Happy burger.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Grilled Corn with Ancho Chile Pepper Cashew Cream and Citron Salt: An Elote Experiment

Elote, the ever popular Mexican street fare that is seen both on a stick and served in a cup with a spoon. Is it the golden charred corn or the the scrumptious toppings that lures peckish patrons in?  Honestly, the corn just becomes a vessel for the creamy mayo, crumbled cheese and lime. But just thinking about the juicy corn nibbles rolling down my forearms makes me want to lick them now.

It's in my DNA to tweak recipes so you know already my version is going to have a twist or two. First enter twist one - their are sad people out there who can't (or don't) eat dairy. It's torture to watch your friends slobber over their dressed up corn while you push around your naked cob. Until now. With the help of raw cashew it's a snap to make a dairy free cream. It sounds daunting, I know. The idea of  'soaking cashews' sounded challenging, difficult and not all that yummy, quite honestly, when I first heard about it. But once I finally worked up some ambition to give this a try, I've learned cashew cream is pretty simple. The hardest part is to remember to soak them before you need them. Add in chili pepper, garlic and some fixings and the results are sorta magical.

Twist number two- a package of Citron Salt landed in my mailbox as a strange ingredient. What if lemon replaced the typical lime in the Elote? The pale yellow nodules created  perfect harmony with the corn and pepper cashew cream, not to mention adding a real nice little crunch too.

A Fat and Happy Elote experiment gone right. Oh, did I mention how much healthier my version is?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grilled Rhubarb with Cherry Maple Syrup

In the North-Midwestern regions, rhubarb is often the first of the Spring plants to be ready for harvest. Not everyone is a fan of the the tart, flowery delicacy, but those who are long for this time of year. Sure, you could get some frozen rhubarb throughout the year, but it's not the same. Those crisp pink stalks speak of home spun rituals and a simpler, country life.

Since I live in the hectic, fast lane of the city it was time to take the rhubarb out of the strawberry pie and let it shine on its own. A quick trip on the grill, a simple basting of natures sugar and kiss of savory to top it off- done.

This is a lovely, elegant dessert as is. But a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt couldn't hurt. If you have a chance to latch onto some fresh rhubarb, do! Then head out to the grill to try this simple Fat and Happy sweet and savory rhubarb dessert. It's a wow dish no matter what region you are currently calling home.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Seared Tomato over Dandelion Greens with Coconut Milk Drizzle

How do you show off the best of fresh summer vegetables without getting sick of the same old standbys? Simple dishes that have a twist are not hard to do, it just means thinking slightly outside of our typical comfort zone.

In this dish, fresh summer tomatoes are seared until golden brown, then coconut milk is poured into the pan to slightly caramelize. This seared coconut milk, along with a hint of thyme and a really good salt, tops the dish off as a warm coconut milk dressing.

Dandelion greens are used as the base here. If you aren't familiar with these bitter greens, dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium... the list goes on.
Could you forage for these babies in your own lawn? Sure, assuming you have a lawn and it's pesticide free. Word on the street is that the young leaves (4-5") are more mild. Once they've grown to a large size you a may find sauteing or blanching them helps to cut the bitterness. Remember to look for hitchhikers on your leaves before you toss them into your dishes.

Add a Fat and Happy twist to your summer veggies with this rich and delicious Seared Tomato dish.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Basil Bison Flank Steak with Grilled Ramps

It's grilling time! When I smell that sweet smoke flavor lofting through the air, I'm like a cartoon character that gets picked up by the nose and floats over to the grill.

It's easy to lean on the same old standbys when grilling so I like to encourage some creativity. It doesn't have to be fancy or hard, it can be as simple as changing the type of meat you typically choose. For instance, have you tried Bison? It offers great flavor with fewer calories and more protein and iron than traditional beef, pork or salmon.

Taking advantage of left over Basil Dressing from the other night, I had a quick marinade on my hands (saving a little for a final post drizzle.) The ever classic, but short lived ramps rounded out the grilled meal. Ramps are a cross between an onion and a garlic and they are only in season for a very short time in the Spring. Hesitation is not a viable option. A few things you should know about ramps thought- they can be quite smelly as left overs and even worse if you put them down the garbage disposal so just plan to eat them all the night you cook them and be sure your significant other eats them too.

Try something new when grilling this month, you might add a new dish to your Fat and Happy repertoire.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding with Nuts and Berries

If you haven't heard, chia seeds aren't just for pets anymore.

Rich in Omega-3's, fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin, and zinc, and the seeds help to regulate blood sugar....basically it's the superfood of super foods. Chia seeds are similar to tapioca ball, just smaller. They don't really have a flavor, except for maybe leaning on the nutty side, so I like to think of them as a vessel to carry other flavors while delivery a super healthy and filling punch.

So the question then is what to do with these power-packed seeds? How about a real simple, healthy treat that can be breakfast or a snack?

For this recipe I made my own coconut milk. You can use store bought, but you might be shocked at how easy it is to make (5 minutes), not to mention it's cheaper and free of the extra sugar and preservative that can be found in a store brand versions.

Pets aside, put some chia seeds into your diet for a Fat and Happy nutritional boost.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flax Seed Crusted Sweet Potato Cake with Basil Dressed Kale Salad

Sometimes you accidentally create a dish so delicious, you gobble the whole thing down and then for days and weeks after you keep thinking about. Recreation was a must.

Using left over grain and a left over roasted sweet potato, I mushed them together and formed patties. A little crunchy crust comes from flax seeds. Where this really goes over the edge is the basil dressing and kale salad, completely flavor explosion against the warm sweet potato patties.

Use the left over grains you have in the house or follow my recipe brown rice, quinoa, lentil recipe. While you can substitute grains, definitely keep the sweet potato over a white.

Accidents happen for a reason....for a tasty Fat and Happy reason.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yummy Mexican Mushroom Pizza

I'll admit on on a bit of a roll with vegetarian recipes as of late, focusing most of my food intake on a plant based diet. This is healthier way of life, easier on the digestion system and it makes me feel better.

In these tasty little pizzas, the mushrooms give the illusion of meat while the black beans kick in for a healthy dollop of protein to keep you full and satisfied. The tomatillo salsa seals the whole deal with a taste of freshness. Crispy corn tortillas substitute in for dough making the whole thing a delightful treat.

Because not everyone is vegetarian, it's important that I create recipes that are layer-able - meaning you could easily add a layer of meat on without detracting from the original flavors. Add a little ground beef, chicken or chorizo when sauteing the onions for a meatier pizza.

Try these super yummy Mexican Mushroom Pizza's today; they will leave you Fat and Happy without feeling like you need a nap because you just OD'd on a heavy, greasy, cheese-laden pie.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Easy Spring Rolls with Hoisin Almond Sauce

Bookmark this one as another recipe for Meatless Mondays. It's simple, fresh  and versatile, a perfect way to ease into the Spring season.

The glass noodles are a great option for anyone gluten free and the radish is good for digestion. I use crushed walnuts instead of peanuts and almond butter instead of peanut butter to give the rolls a healthier boost.

The spring rolls don't have to be vegetarian; add in chicken, shrimp or other protein as desired. I also like to add in a little chopped chili pepper for spice. Or try adding arugula to get your greens in. See what I mean about the versatility?

If you have been hesitant to try making spring rolls in the past, I'm here to tell you it's not hard. Plus, you can still eat your mistakes if they fall apart! That is Fat and Happy cooking right there.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Visit to Peru and Peruvian Causa Recipe

Peru exceeded my expectations. From a top notch city to hidden Incan ruins in the cloud forest to poverty huts in Puerto Maldanado to "occasional" electricity in the Amazon jungle, our 10 day trip melted our fast paced, stressed lifestyle away.

Nestled on small cliffs at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Lima proved to be fun city with gorgeous views. Do make time to visit two of our favorite places: Huaca Pucllana for dinner and La Emolienteria for wheel barrel chairs and infused Pisco. Make to time walk along the rocky beach and watch the surfers ride the waves.

Cusco is a large, friendly mountain city surrounded by Incan ruins. We experienced our first semi-pro soccer match here, complete with armed gaurds and home cooked food for sale. Don't miss Mueso de Pisco for taste-shattering infused Pisco drinks and The Chocolate Museum where you will make chocolate starting with roasting the cocoa beans. Visit Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse, Marcelo Batata and Nuna Raymi for super yummy typical Peruvian fare you can trust. And for that one morning when you just need a more usual breakfast to soak up all the Pisco drinks, Jack's is the place. Life in Cusco is similar yet different. Boys and girls wear school uniforms, attend separate schools and the day is broken into 3 time frames: morning school is reserved for the smartest kids, the afternoon slot held for the 'average' students while the evening slot is attended by the less fortunate families who needed their children to work during the day.

Machupicchu is spectacular. Stunning really. Wondering through this hidden city,...feeling the life that once was... is a moving experience. Excavation is still underway to uncover even more, but the amount of visitors will soon be heavily regulated so plan ahead. Remember to stamp your passport!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cauliflower Steak with Sundried and Kale Polenta and Garlic Mushrooms

Meatless Mondays: those two words can either sound daunting our refreshing. Kinda like the two words that make up Cauliflower Steak.

Interested Vegetarians are going to perk up. Red meat lovers might frown, at first.

So let's just get this out there- I'm not claiming that the cauliflower will taste exactly like a hunk of beef. But it can give the illusion of a steak, especially when the texture is just right. If you really wanted to try to get a bit more 'steak' flavor, definitely use the grill and try adding a little BBQ seasoning along with the mustard.

The creamy polenta and garlic mushrooms are dreamy while the crunchy, salty, fried capers top off the plate.

Enjoy your next Meatless Monday, courtesy of  Fat and Happy.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easy Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Bites

Eating healthy deserves a treat beyond an organic carrot. And it doesn't mean creamy, yummy desserts and snacks have to go by the way side.

This isn't necessarily new, but still worth a second look. A simple banana slice topped with nut butter and a little dollop of chocolate. If you are feeling really sassy, try topping with a little salt or cocoa nibs.

Eating these right away offers a decadent, creamy and satisfying bite. Store in the freezer if you enjoy frozen bananas.

Treat yourself to something healthy with these Fat and Happy Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana Bites.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cashew Cream Soup: Avocado and Pepper

Recently I've found that singeling cashews out of the nut mixture can is not the only way to enjoy them. It's true. Raw cashes are now synonymous with sweet, fluffy dessert toppings as well as savory creams.

You may also be asking why? The simple fact is that not everyone eats, or can tolerate, dairy. And why live a life of creamless soups and desserts when you don't have to?

You may also be intrigued by this, but have concerns with how daunting the process is going to be. Turns out, the process is really quite simple. I'll admit, I was initially hesitant and it took a bit before I finally soaked my first cashew. But I haven't looked back since. Soaking cashews involve covering them with water overnight and then rinsing them before blending with water. That's it! Vary the texture through amounts of water and length of blending. Add a bit of sweetener and vanilla for dessert or leave plain to use in place of classic milk and cream.

Below I've given you the makings for two base soups: a Creamy Avocado Soup and a Creamy Pepper Soup. You can also combine them to make a Creamy Avocado Pepper Soup. Also listed are numerous additions that can be added to either, ultimately giving you ability to make hundreds of soups. Perhaps they should be called Creamy Transformer Soups?

Bite the bullet and test out the cashew phenomenon with either of these ultra simple, Fat and Happy Cashew Cream Soups. It will be the beginning of a new relationship.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chai Tea Latte - Infused Oatmeal

Turning healthy is often confused with tasteless, unsatisfying dishes.

Flavor packed smoothies have been my breakfast of choice recently, but there are days when good old fashion stick to your ribs oatmeal is a must.

I'm also a fan of simple tea, but I still turn to a chai tea latte when I'm looking for something warmer and filling. Being dairy free doesn't mean giving up the latte, it just means it's time to get creative.

And getting really creative means building layers of unexpected flavor. Steeping almond milk with chai tea and cooking it in oatmeal is the quintessential warm, hearty, mind-blowingly healthy breakfast and it couldn't be easier.

Fat and happy is turning healthier, but not flavorless.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Quinoa, Mushroom and Grape Stuffed Pepper

Last week I posted this Warm Squash and Kale Superfood Salad recipe that involved making a brown rice, quinoa, lentil mix; I use this mix as a base to a lot of recipes. The amount left over from that salad recipe will leave you with extra mix to work with; this recipe is great way to use up that left over grain mixture. Of course, you can make a new batch or just use one grain instead of all three; it's versatile so do what works best for you.

What's different about this recipe from other stuffed peppers is adding grapes just before baking them. Roasted grapes turn slightly sweetened, like a raisin, without being hard and dry. It's a burst of unexpected flavor. Make the stuffing ahead of time, and then just stuff and bake when ready. 

Left overs are not a problem when you get creative and these Mushroom and Grape Stuffed Peppers are healthy and delicious.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Warm Squash, Quinoa and Kale Super Foods Salad with Lemon Goji Berry Dressing

I can't get enough of this salad; I've made a variation of it for three different gatherings in the last week and the reviews are glowing.

Warm comfort foods are a must of you live in a cold climate, but often those foods are covered in artery clogging, fat-laden meats, creams and cheeses. And they can be so overcooked that they leave you feeling full and lifeless.

Finding myself in the midst of a detox during the above noted gatherings and one them them landing on Meatless Mondays lead me on a quest to create a healthy comfort dish that was warm, filling and tantalizing to the taste buds.

The warmth of the squash and quinoa slightly soften the kale while the lemon goji berry dressing keeps the whole salad lively and fresh. And the salad is so versatile you can add and subtract other veggies based on your seasonal veggies and what you have on hand.

Stay warm, filled and fueled with this Fat and Happy Warm Squash, Quinoa and Kale Super Foods Salad with Lemon Goji Berry Dressing.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Smoked Salmon and Mango on Avocado Mousse Appetizer

 A couple of new tasting spoons found their way into my shopping cart the other day so I was looking for something to fill them with.

Wanting a touch of protein in my one-bite appetizer, I turned to smoked salmon for a nice light texture. Mango is an easy pairing with salmon and a great winter fruit. Avocado mousse offered just the right backdrop for both.  Place a bit of each in a spoon, add a sprinkling of chopped green onion or sesame seeds over the top and watch your guest hover over your tray as you present these delightful amuse bouches.

The truth is that anything can made small and placed into little spoons, you just need to be creative with it. These easy Fat and Happy Smoked Salmon on Avocado Mousse Appetizers are a great place to start.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Star Wars R2D2 Birthday Cake

I'm co-habitating with a geek. He tries to hide it from time to time, but he is a little boy at heart.

Week-long, themed birthday celebrations are the norm in our house and this year was no different. Not sure why it took me so many years to actually do 'Geek Week' for my love, but it was a smashing success. From Zombie Insurance to Light Saber Popsicles, each day brought a new present and more fun and they all led up to the grand finale: a homemade R2D2 Replica Birthday Cake.

Creating this Star Wars cake takes time and some patience but it's completely worth it. Bake the cakes ahead of time and freeze them so you can focus on the most important part - decorating. This isn't the time to test out new cake recipes; save yourself a lot of hassle and go with tried and true.

The cake is comprised of six layers: 1 chocolate stout bunt cake, 3 layers of buttermilk white cake, 1 layer of Rice Krispies and 1 layer of Chex Mix Krispies along with two extra pans of rice krispies for the arms and legs, four batches of buttercream frosting and four recipes of homemade fondant. The fondant keeps everything so moist and delicious- this cake lasts days of noshing. It's a big, giant, heavy, delectable cake.

Wow your birthday guy/girl with this R2D2 cake, then deliberate for hours whether you should actually cut into the cake, eventually enjoy a piece out of the back side, then let him take it to work and blow everyone away. The kudos will have you flying high for a week.  

Young or old, pocket protector or not, all fans of Star Wars deserve a Fat and Happy R2D2 Cake at some point. The only real questions is how to out-do this next year??

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lemon Pea Salad Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cream

I'm in charge of appetizers for an afternoon birthday party for a good friend of mine.

It's the dead of winter but a heavy app doesn't sound appealing (especially when chicken is the main entree.) I wanted to make something interesting without being too fussy. Elegant by not stuffy. Classic over molecular.

Pasta salad was running through my thoughts... but individual appetizers tend to be easier for guest to pick up and enjoy in standing party situations so portability is key.

Taking the pasta out of the salad and using it as a mini bowl did the trick. Jumbo shells, cooked just al dente, filled with a zippy lemon pea salad is a clever way to serve pasta salad as an appetizer.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Polenta Amaranth Cake with Mascarpone, Whipped Cream and Blueberry Sauce

This Gluten Free dessert rounded out a special dinner party, below are a few of the excerpts from this course:

"OMG! This is so good, we didn't wait for you to come back and sit down, we all ate ours already."
"With these flavors, this could be a served as a breakfast dish.?"
"This was gluten free?"
"I licked the dish."

Using polenta and amaranth as the base for the GF cake gives this buttery cake an intriguing nubby-ness texture. The vanilla whipping cream and the mascarpone begin to slowly melt from the heat of the warm cake and the blueberries. Just thinking about it makes me want more.

The polenta amaranth cake comes together in minutes as does making homemade whipping cream. The Blueberry Compote mixture takes the longest to put together at 20 minutes, but this can be made ahead of time and simply rewarmed before serving.

Part of the allure of this dish is the way I served it - in little glass jars. (Glass yogurt jars I emptied out in an Argentinian airport bathroom and smuggled into my luggage!) Besides being ridiculously cute, it helps to keep in the warmth of the cake and contain the melting creams. If you don't happen to have cute jars, this looks great on a plate too- see the photo below. Do serve these in small portions, too much richness can ruin the entire effect.

End your next dinner party with this spectacular Fat and Happy Polenta Amaranth Cake with Mascarpone and Blueberry Compote; beware that your guest may not wait for you to return from the kitchen before they dig in. And that is a good thing.


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