Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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I love broccili cheddar soup but I always try to refrain from ordering it when I’m out because we all know how calorie-packed it can be. But.. everyone knows that cheese makes everything taste better, right?! Don’t worry because I came up with a “skinny” or guilt-free version of broccoli cheddar soup that is actually good for you! Always remember that you can always eat the foods you love because there is always a way to make it healthier. This soup really hit the spot  on this cold chilly night and I know it will for you too!

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion; chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cups broccoli; chopped
3 cups cauliflower; chopped
1 carrot; shredded
2 cups 2% milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 cups shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups chicken broth

Steps:
1. In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil, chopped onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until browned. Add in broccoli, cauliflower, shredded carrot and milk. Let sit for 7-10 minutes or until broccoli and cauliflower is soft.

2. With an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy. Stir in mustard, cheese, corn starch (for thickening), and chicken broth. Blend once more with the blender and then simmer soup for 25 minutes. Top with more shredded cheese and enjoy!

***I highly recommend getting an immersion blender. I absolutely love mine and it is so convenient and easy to use when cooking. You can find them almost anywhere such as Macy’s, Target, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
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Pesto, Mozzarella, & Spinach Grilled Cheese

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When I made this yummy lunch grilled cheese for lunch, it made me think about when I was in college and lived in my sorority house for 3 years with 32 girls and as you can imagine how picky girls can be when it comes to food. We had a chef that cooked for us Monday-Friday and luckily I am not much of a picky eater..but there were numerous lunches and dinners that consisted of turkey sandwiches, grilled cheeses, quesadillas, and salads that I made myself if I didn’t want to eat what was being served. Grilled cheeses just seemed like the ultimate go-to sandwich in college, and still is for anybody!

Yield: 1

Ingredients:
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp pesto (my recipe can be found  here)
2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
10 fresh spinach leaves
1 tsp olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

Steps:
1. Heat a grill on medium heat. Spread 1/2 of a tablespoon of pesto on each slice of bread.
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2. Sprinkle all of mozzarella cheese on one side of the bread (so it doesn’t fall off when you flip it).
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3. Place spinach leaves on top and it’s time to grill! Spray grill with non-stick cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Place piece of bread on top and press with a spatula (to get grill marks and to make cheese melt). Let cook for 2 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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*I love tomatoes and I think it pairs perfectly with the pesto, you can even dunk your sandwich in tomato sauce as well!

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Tomato, Mozzarella, Avocado, & Spinach Caprese Salad

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If you couldn’t already tell, I love re-creating and adding an extra twist on original recipes. I was craving a tomato caprese salad for lunch today and I just picked up some beautiful looking avocados at the grocery store so I was craving that as well. However, I did forget fresh basil at the store (Oppps!) but I had fresh spinach so it worked out perfectly! Don’t be afraid to try new things and add your own spin to your favorite dish because it may come out better then you ever expected.

Yield: 1

Ingredients:
1 Half of a medium sized heirloom tomato; cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese; cut in 1/4 inch slices
12 fresh spinach leaves
3 slices of an avocado; cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 tsp dried basil
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of pepper
1/2 Tbsp basalmic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Steps:
1. You can layer your salad any way you would like! I recommend layering it with a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese, avocado, and 4 spinach leavess..then repeat. Sprinkle salad with salt, pepper, and dried basil. Lastly, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Amazing and healthy!

Tip***When slicing the avocado: cut avocado in half (longwise), remove pit, then with a spoon remove avocado from shell. Carefully with a sharp knife, place avocado on cutting board and slice with knife (lengthwise).

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

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I haven’t been to the grocery store in almost 2 weeks so I was running a little low on breakfast options this morning when I opened my refrigerator..One of my favorite fruits to eat almost every day are blueberries, so of course I had a pack of them, and only 1 egg so the first thing I thought was pancakes! I used whole wheat flour but if you prefer white flour you could use that instead. If you’re like me and like breakfast for dinner, this works out perfectly!

Yield: 2-4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup almond milk
1 egg; beaten
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp baking oil; such as vegetable oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Maple syrup (optional)

Steps:
1. Heat a large frying pan or griddle on medium heat (I prefer using a large pan/griddle so it becomes easier to flip!).

2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, honey, brown sugar, baking powder, almond milk, egg, salt, cinnamon, and oil. Whisk until well combined and until batter becomes smooth. With a spatula, fold in only a half a cup of berries. Pour batter onto lightly greased pan/griddle. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbly. Flip pancakes, and continue cooking for another minutes of two. Top with honey and/or syrup and sprinkle with remaining berries. That’s it…Delicious and nutritious!

Peanut Butter & Honey Energy Bites

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If you like oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookie dough, you will love these! Plus, they are healthy for you and packed with protein. My go-to snack during the mid-day if I need some energy before I workout or if I have a sweet tooth is usually granola bars but I think I found my new snack. These no-bake bites only take minutes to make!

Yield: 4 (my recipe only makes 10 bite size balls so you might want to double the recipe)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup roasted cinnamon almonds; crushed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax seeds

Steps:
1. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. With a mini ice-cream scooper,scoop dough and roll into golf ball shapes. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes until they are firm. They are great for a grab and go snack if your on the run at work!