Killer Key Lime Bites

Looking for a whimsical and light last minute summer dessert- perhaps for that big holiday right around the corner??? Try these individual Killer Key Lime Bites. There’s no worry about making a perfect pie crust because you use limes to hold the filling and you can whip up the key lime pie filling in a few fast steps.

I followed Ina Garten’s recipe for frozen key lime pie for the filling. Then, I substituted large, hollowed out limes to spoon the pie filling into rather than pie crust. You can make these treats ahead of time, pop them in the freezer and serve just as your guests are ready for dessert.

Ingredients
Filling:
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)

For the Topping:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Thin lime wedges
Crumbled graham crackers (crumble right before serving to keep them fresh)

The first step is buying the largest limes you can find. Cut each lime in half and use a juicer to squeeze all of the juice possible out of each half. After the lime is juiced the inside should be fairly empty. You can scoop out the remainder of the lime with a sharp pairing knife or a grapefruit sectioning spoon. The only secret to this step of preparation is a little patience.

Once the inside of the lime is scooped out, place each half in an empty egg container which holds the lime upright for filling. For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Spoon the filling up to the edge of the lime. Top with fresh whipped cream and a touch of lime zest and place your filled egg carton in the freezer. When you are ready to serve the Key Lime Bites, take them out of the freezer and sprinkle fresh graham cracker crumbs on top.

I found the best serving holders for this mini dessert were circular napkin rings. The lime sits perfectly on top. Place each napkin ring on a large elevated cake plate or decorative platter and add a little more zest around the edges to complete the display.

You can also add mini-appetizer spoons to each Key Lime Bite for easy serving and easy eating.

Low-Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

shake-2Every school morning I wake my daughter up at 6:20 am. And every morning she holds up an open palm begging for five more minutes of sleep. I tell her I’ll be back in five minutes after making my coffee and she whispers, “s m o o t h i e...” This is our morning ritual. I don’t make the smoothie every single morning because I love to make breakfast and this girl of mine will eat almost anything- eggs with fresh basil and sausage, breakfast tacos, a BLT, Brioche french toast, waffle bowls, pasta or leftovers from dinner the night before – pretty much anything – except fruit, yogurt and cereal. Who doesn’t like fruit? Delicious sweet berries, cool watermelon, crisp apples, tangy tangerines, tart cherries, citrusy pineapple, mango and oranges – the flavors and sweetness are endless for mixing into smoothies and making fruit parfaits and Acai bowls BUT not for my girl.

Fueling up this girl's body is no easy task. I love having this smoothie as a healthy protein source.

Fueling up this girl’s body is no easy task. I love making this smoothie as a healthy source of protein and nutrients.

So when I discovered this smoothie and adapted it a bit for her palate, I held my breath when her lips met the straw for the first time. Shockingly, she gave me the thumbs up and it has been a morning or pre-training staple ever since. I love this smoothie because it’s easy to make and a very nutritious alternative. The chia seeds add additional protein and minerals that have deemed it a popular superfood. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for STRENGTH. The protein powder adds to the rich flavor while providing the necessary building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. And this smoothie is filling which won’t leave your stomach grumbling 40 minutes later. I do add a touch of whipped cream and drizzle a bit of dark chocolate over the top but just enough to make it look extra appealing and special.

Whipping up this smoothie takes a few minutes and the loud, annoying blender sound is the wake-up call for everyone else in the house (no use going up and down the stairs three times!)

A little whipped cream...a little chocolate drizzle...

A little whipped cream…a little chocolate drizzle…

Ingredients:
2 cups crushed ice cubes
1 cup chocolate almond milk
1 scoop chocolate or peanut butter protein powder (I love ChocoRite brand which is sugar free, and gluten free with 24 grams of protein. I purchase it at my local Albertson’s but there are 12 flavors that can be purchased directly online)
2 Tb organic peanut butter or almond butter
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb chia seeds (see the benefits here of this tiny superfood)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Optional additions: whipped cream, chocolate syrup, mint leaf

Directions:
Place all ingredients except the whipped cream, chocolate syrup and mint leaf in the blender. Blend for about a minute or until smooth. Spoon into an 8 ounce glass and, if you choose, top with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a mint leaf.

Smoothie super fuel

Smoothie super fuel

slow cooker chicken curry

Delicious combination of flavors from hours of slow cooking

“It’s a delectable combination of flavors from hours of slow cooking”

Mid-week is here again and this is the perfect quick recipe for a crazy week and an unusually chilly day here in Southern California. The prep time is nothing (10 to 15 minutes) and it will be so relaxing to pull in from an afternoon of carpooling and smell the scent of this yumminess wafting through the house. My husband seems really doubtful about the “yum” factor of this meal as he’s not a big fan of curry (guess I missed that memo; it’s only been 21 years). However, the curry powder is far from overpowering and simply enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

The original recipe, which I stumbled upon, came from the luscious food blog The Lemon Bowl. I changed my version up just a bit but the sauce base is essentially the same and works well in lending creaminess to the dish while accommodating your own “food edits,” such as adding different veggies, substituting shrimp or tofu in place of the chicken or adding it alongside the chicken for extra protein, flavor and creativity.

Ingredients
1 package organic boneless, skinless chicken breast (equals about 1.5 to 1.7 pounds)
1 onion thinly sliced (my mandolin made this a tear-free one minute process)
1, 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 package pre-cut sweet potatoes (I cut the sweet potatoes into smaller pieces but they were already peeled which made my prep fast)
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, broken into small pieces
1 cup broccoli florets, broken into small pieces
1 can Dole crushed pineapple
3/4 cup light Coconut milk
3/4 cup Swanson’s chicken stock
1, 15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 Tb melted butter
2 Tb curry powder
1/2 tsp Red Curry Paste (if you like spice-optional)
1 cup of green peas, frozen
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Optional toppings: crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, parsley, toasted coconut or crispy chow mein sticks

A bowl of healthy and delicious comfort

A bowl of healthy and delicious comfort

Directions
1. In the bottom of your crock pot combine the coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato sauce, melted butter, curry powder, curry paste and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
2. Add the chicken breasts, onion, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower florets and broccoli florets.
3. Gently mix ingredients together so everything is fully coated with the sauce.
4. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
5. Once finished cooking, remove chicken breasts to cutting board and shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Return to curry mixture and stir.
6. Add peas and lemon juice and stir. Let sit for 5 to 10 more minutes.
7. Add the Dole crushed pineapple to a small sauce pan and warm over high for 5 minutes.
8. Add cooked white rice to the bottom of each individual serving bowl.
9. Add a small layer of the cooked pineapple (optional).
10. Spoon chicken curry mixture on top.
11. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, parsley, toasted coconut or crispy chow mein sticks.

*This flexible recipe can be made with tofu and veggies for a vegetarian option. If you’re not a fan of white rice, serve the curry mixture over quinoa, gluten free noodles or completely on its own if you are watching your carb intake.

veggie crustless quiche

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Spring has sprung and this delicious quiche recipe reminds me of a Spring Break road trip I took in college. While many of my college friends went home for Spring Break, a few of my girlfriends and I loaded up my Mitsubishi Eclipse (it was the bomb back then!), and took off on a culinary adventure.  After many Hardee’s hamburgers and  countless Wendy’s frosties (let’s face it, that is all that you can afford in college) we stumbled upon this great little café called Chelsea’s and The Village Tea Room in the Biltmore Village in Asheville, NC. At an early age, I had already acquired a love for quaint restaurants, good recipes and unique cookbooks, so before leaving, I purchased their cookbook. Luckily for me, I found this delicious, crustless quiche recipe hidden inside it’s pages and have been whipping up many versions of this wonderful quiche recipe for the past 20 years.
Asheville, NC is such a beautiful mountain town, especially in the  Spring and Fall. If you visit Asheville, plan to spend a day exploring the Biltmore Estate. This large estate was built between 1889 and 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt II and is the largest privately owned house in the United States.  Another Asheville secret is the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa which is one of the South’s best-loved resorts with spectacular views of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. This hotel has been completely renovated and has over 100 years of history tucked inside.

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Ingredients:
8 eggs, scrambled
2 Tb heavy cream
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Provolone cheese, grated
2 cups of quiche filling (examples below)

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add all other quiche ingredients and stir to combine.

Spray a rimmed pie dish or quiche pan with cooking spray. Pour quiche filling into your pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until set. Allow quiche to cool about 10 minutes before serving. This can be made the night before.

Quiche filling ideas:
Shrimp and dill
Mixed vegetables
Bacon, onion and feta
Veggie sausage and veggie
Broccoli and bacon
Artichoke, red pepper, olive and feta

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PicMonkey Collage

ancho chile dusted shrimp cobb salad

IMG_9062Ingredients

Marinade
1/4 tsp Ancho Chili Pepper (kick up the spice by adding 1/8 tsp more)
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 Tb Italian Parsley, chopped
3 Tb Olive Oil, divided
2 Tb Butter, melted and slightly cooled

Salad Ingredients
8 large, tail-on raw shrimp
5 pieces cooked bacon
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 avocado, diced
6-7 teardrop tomatoes, cut in half
1, 15 ounce can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
Crumbled Blue cheese
1 bunch of fresh Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Accompaniments
1 jar Trader Joe’s Corn & Chile Tomato-less Salsa
Tortilla chips
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Directions
Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a bowl, making sure melted butter isn’t too warm. Use 2 Tb Olive oil in the marinade and set 1 Tb Olive oil aside for your grill pan.

Add 1 Tb Olive oil to grill pan and heat over medium high. While oil is heating, add shrimp to whisked marinade in bowl. As soon as Olive oil in grill pan is hot, add shrimp. Grill for 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes total). Once shrimp are grilled through, remove from heat and add to a clean bowl while you assemble the rest of the salad.
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Layer from the bottom up using the chopped romaine. Add bacon, egg, avocado, tomatoes, garbanzo beans and Blue cheese. Drizzle with a dressing of your choice (I prefer a light vinaigrette) and top with four shrimp.

This recipe makes two large servings.