Quest bars

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Recently I posted a picture of my quest bar on IG and I got a few questions about, so I thought to share here as well.

Although I tend to stay away from these kinds of products, quest bars have been the exception. They have a decent list of ingredients making them my number one choice. Why have them?? I use them when I’m on the go and food may not be accessible. I never leave the house without one in my purse or bag. Hey, better than skipping a meal and ending up with junk food instead.

The other reason is because this helps me when I’m craving something sweet and don’t want to have an actual cheat or treat. I have a quest bar instead. And after discovering the wonders of cooking these little bars, I’m hooked!

Downfall, well they have a lot of fiber. I’ve known some people that can not tolerate them, giving serious stomach cramps. I try not to have more than two a week at most and not every week either.

What to do? I bake them at 350 for 5 minutes and then broil for 1 minute. The outside gets crispy while the inside of the bar melts and becomes moist.

There are many flavors but my favorite are cookies and cream (the best), apple pie, cinnamon bun and cookie dough.

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Boring? I Think Not!!

Dressing up bland foods is important in my house hold. Not everyone can eat the same type of food without getting bored, and that is the case here. What to do? Think of different ingredients to make the same recipe with. For example, the other day in a rush I bought some already made quinoa. If you’ve had it before you know quinoa is bland and has no taste. Instead of eating it plain I thought to throw in some veggies I had in my fridge and make it more appetizing. It worked! You can do this with brown rice as well and it’s another way of getting your veggies in. All I did was sautéed some Lacinto Kale and orange or yellow peppers in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add it to the pre-made quinoa.

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Another example is making a simple protein dish and making plenty of it to use for the week as different meals. I bought this bbq seasoning mix and used it to make chicken breasts. I cooked 9 chicken breasts in the crock pot for 4 hours on high using only this seasoning. When chicken was done, I took it out and shredded it. Placed it in a glass container, ready to be consumed throughout the week.

Take a look at a couple of meals I made with same shredded chicken.

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Taco Mix

Time is of the essence and sometimes we don’t have enough of it. When I’m short on time I still plan to cook my own foods but just make things easier so that I can quickly whip something up and not spend hours in the kitchen.

I love using spices and recently I found this little gem at Trader’s Joe, but I’m sure you can find something similar at any market. Just make sure to read ingredient list and only buy those with no artificial ingredients.

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What to do with it??? So many options. I have used it on ground beef (delicious), on ground turkey and even shredded chicken.

When making it, I don’t measure anything. I just throw a package of meat on the skillet and brown it with this seasoning, I slice and cut up any vegetables I have available and throw those in as well. Cook everything until meat is fully cooked and vegetables and nice and soft.

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Here I cooked the beef and used it for stuffing peppers.

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Here’s the mix with Kale, onions and peppers.

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The possibilities and endless…. :-)

Beet and Cauliflower Soup

From time to time I get beets from my local organic club. Trying to figure out what to do with them besides roasting them has been challenging for me. Here I found a recipe online and I gave it a shot. I love soups so it was a nice change in our menu.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (from 1 medium)-** I did not have onion so I omitted this step.
6 cups chopped cauliflower (from 1 small head)
3 cups chopped peeled red beets (3 medium)
Coarse salt
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill-** I used 2 tsp of dry dill.

Method

Heat water in a medium pot over medium-high heat, and add onion; saute until just translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, beets, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until beets and cauliflower are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in dill. Let soup cool 10 minutes, then puree in batches until smooth, adding a little water if necessary to thin.

Return soup to pot, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt, and garnish with dill sprigs before serving. Here I put a teaspoon of Greek yogurt to compliment.

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Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

Getting our dose of Omega 3s is important and that’s why I try to cook fish at least once a week. Here’s another good simple way from the I Can’t Cook Book.

Slice some lemon wedges and and arrange on baking sheet. Top with thyme sprigs, just like in the picture.

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Place the salmon on top and bake. @350 for 20-25 mins or until fish is fully cooked.

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Baked Chicken with Carrots and Tomatoes

A few months back I received this book as a gift and I totally recommend it. The Can’t Cook Book has simple yet delicious recipes that anyone can follow.

Here I took an idea from the book.

I placed skinless chicken thighs on baking sheet and sprinkled olive oil, paprika, pepper and onion powder. I added minced garlic, sliced carrots and tomatoes with some thyme sprigs.
Bake at 350 for 30 mins until chicken is fully cooked.

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Sweet Potato and Turkey

I found this great recipe for a fajitas that consisted of sweet potatoes and chicken. However, using the ingredients I already had this new dish of sweet potato and turkey came about…

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes- well scrubbed
4 tbs olive oil
2 peppers
1 medium onion
1 lb of turkey breast (or chicken) cut in 1/2 inch thick pieces
1/2 salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Method

- Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high until almost tender when pierced with a knife. Probably about 3-4 minutes. Cool and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch pieces.
- On a skillet, heat 2 tbs of oil and add peppers, onions and sweet potatoes until golden brown. Transfer mix to a bowl.
- Heat remaining oil and cook turkey and add all spices. Sauté until is browned. Return vegetables to skillet and add garlic and broth. Simmer until liquid is almost evaporated.

Serve as a dish on its own or use as filling for fajitas. Either way it was delicious and a complete meal. Enjoy!!!

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Banana Ice Cream

This is a great idea for that sweet tooth craving with totally eating processed treats.

-Blend frozen bananas in a high speed blender for a few seconds. Stop and push down the banana from the side of blender and blend again. Continue this until bananas are smooth ice cream consistency.

-Add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and blend one last time.

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- Next I melted a few pieces of dark chocolate in the microwave and added some water until I got the consistency I wanted to resemble chocolate syrup. I topped my ice cream with sliced almonds.

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Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Shrimp

Here’s another version of cooking zucchini noodles with shrimp.

Ingredients
Shrimp
Zuchinni- julienned
Cherry tomatoes
Pesto
Minced garlic
Goat cheese
Grass-fed butter (optional)

Method

Just toss all ingredients together in a skillet on medium-low heat. Stir everything together until noodles, cheese and butter have soften up and sauce has formed. Nothing was measured here. Be creative and it all depends on quantity you have available. I had 3 large zucchinis, 1 lb. of shrimp and half box of tomatoes. I added 2 tsps of pesto, 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1 tb of goat cheese and 1 tb of butter.

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Ground Beef “Pie”

Everything looks better in a pie dish, right?? Here are two ideas of making these ground beef “pies”.
It is all very simple…

If you choose ripe plantain, just boil the plantain until soft.
Cook the meat with any seasoning of your liking and layer it with the plantain. I like to start with the mash and end with meat but it can go either way.

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Top with cheese of your liking. I use feta or goat cheese and keep it light. Broil 10-15 for cheese to get soft and top layer to get crisp.

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The second option is to use sweet potato instead of plantain. It comes out just as delicious. Follow same steps as above…

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