This week, I've been having a blast cooking new recipes at home. Here's what I made, with a link to the recipes. Let me know if you try them! Click the name of the dish to be directed to the recipe.

 The original recipe for this amazing dish is from Skinny Taste. I added 2 shredded carrots and 2 spoons full of flaxseed meal to beef up the fiber. Any time that I can sneak more veg into a meal, I go for it.  This is such a hearty, comforting, cheesy dish, you'd never believe it's healthy too! I steamed my peppers for about 15 minutes so they'd be more tender but if you like a crisp pepper, they are wonderful to simply stuff and bake. I served these peppers with Kashi 7 grain pilaf. YUM! If you're too busy to cook on weeknights, the peppers can be made ahead and either frozen or stuck in the fridge for a few days. Simply preheat the oven, add the cheese and bake.

Another delicious, savory recipe from Skinny Taste. I love a good crock pot meal, even in the summer. Who wants to slave away in the kitchen when you can have a crock pot do all of the work for you? The recipe suggests preparing the dish the night before and turning the crock pot on in the morning, which is brilliant! Come home from work and dinner is ready. I served the santa fe chicken with left over kashi pilaf from Thursday and it was delish. The santa fe chicken would also be excellent in tortillas or as a soup. Instead of regular canned tomatoes, I used canned fire roasted tomatoes (walmart brand), which added a really amazing, smoky flavor to the meal.

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

 I made up this recipe for chicken salad. basically it's just 1 diced apple, 2 finely chopped celery stalks, 2 chopped chicken breasts, a handful of golden raisins, a spoon of minced garlic, 1/4 cup honey, 1 shredded carrot, some low fat mayo (just enough to hold it together), a dash of chia seeds and a dash of flaxseed meal (both for fiber and omega fatty acids) Wrap it all in an iceberg lettuce leaf and serve with baby carrots, hummus and a peach. I usually add halved grapes to my chicken salad but Olivia devoured all of the grapes so I tossed in the golden raisins instead. This chicken salad was so yummy, I think I'm going to have to keep a bowl of it in the fridge at all times for easy weekday lunches.

On Sunday, I had some fresh squash and feta cheese in the fridge, which needed to be used. I whipped up this zucchini bake with feta and thyme. Since we're carnivores, I wanted to add some meat. The feta reminded me of a delicious Greek dish I make with feta, spinach and ground beef so I tossed in some ground turkey and sauteed mushrooms and turned this side dish into a one skillet meal. 

 Cauliflower is one of my step dad's favorite things in the world so I made these fritters for him for Father's Day and they were incredible. Who knew that vegetables could taste so sinful? Be careful they're addictive! The sausage on the sandwiches was Italian Turkey Sausage and it was very flavorful but lighter than regular sausage. Excellent!

Honeymoon Breakfast Sandwiches
 This is another one of my recipes and a favorite at our house. Pj and I honeymooned in St Augustine, Florida and stayed at a bed and breakfast in the historic district. One morning, we woke up very early and walked around the corner to all of the touristy shops. None of them were open yet since it was a weekday on October but the scent of baked goods caught our noses and drew us into The Bunnery. We enjoyed an amazing breakfast sandwich which consisted of eggs, feta and spinach on a toasted, buttery croissant. This is among our many honeymoon recipe recreations! I served these with frozen berries and oven roasted potatoes on a whole wheat, toasted bagel. p.s. look at that perfect egg! That was my first egg poaching attempt. Pj is "the egg man" (as well as the walrus) in our house but I thought I'd take a stab at it this time. Well done, me!!
 toasted bagels or croissants (or bagel thins if you're a really good girl)
blanched spinach- click here to learn how to blanch spinach
crumbed feta (fat free)
one egg, over-medium (poached is my favorite method. I -hate- egg lace (fried crispy bits) and less fat than fried)

  This week's chocolate indulgence

 By Wednesday, I finally gave in to my sugar craving but in a good way. I know that if I bake a batch of "healthy" cookies, they'll be gone within hours. Same with "light" pie, so I found a single serving recipe so I can have a little taste of something sweet without un-doing the whole week. Here's Hungry Girl's Mississippi Mud in a mug with only 5 grams of fat and just over 200 calories. It was so warm, melty and rich and took 3 minutes to make!

What's Melting Away
This week, I've lost 7 1/2 pounds. I'm not even sure how that's possible but I'm not complaining! I'm sure the weight loss will slow down after next week but I think the food change has really made a difference. I feel much more energetic (notice the frequent blog posts) and with all of that energy, I'm much happier. Also, now that I'm taking photos of what I eat, I'm noticing that pretty food makes me feel pretty whereas burgers and pizza make me feel like a pile of fried, ground beef. After a week of eating fresh, wholesome meals, I'm not even craving a french fry. I can't wait to try next week's delicious and beautiful foods!!
  This week, I've started hula dancing using a dvd at home when the kids nap. It's a great, low impact, full body workout and it's actually fun to do.