Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Skinny Minny Recipe #3...Summer Kale Salad

I have been obsessed with both kale and brussel sprouts lately.  Not only are they yummy, but pretty darn good for you too.  Read about the health benefits of kale here.  This is a great salad to make for a picnic, a nice lunch, or for a pot luck.

Here's what you will need:
(Makes 4 Servings)

-1 Kale Bunch
-1/4 Cup of Dried Cranberries
-5 Tbsp of Sunflower Seeds
-1/4 Cup of Roughly Chopped Crystallized Ginger (can be found in the health food/bulk food aisle)

-1 1/2 Tbsp of Honey
-2 Tsp of Red Wine Vinegar
-2 1/2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper to taste

1.) Separate the kale leaves from the ribs with a knife.  Then finely chop the kale leaves (1/2" wide).  Wash the kale thoroughly with water.

2.) Dry kale with paper towels or in a salad spinner.

3.) Mix together the salt, pepper, honey and red wine vinegar with a whisk.  Then slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk vigorously to mix all the dressing ingredients well.

4.) Place the dried kale along with the dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and crystallized ginger into a large mixing bowl.

5.) Drizzle the dressing on top and mix well with salad tossers.

6.) Refrigerate the salad for at least one hour, but it is best to refrigerate overnight.

End result...

Calorie Count Divas: ~175-200

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anytime is a Good THYME for a Herb Garden

After spending money on fresh herbs and using dried, ground herbs, I decided to invest in a herb garden.
Fresh herbs can be fairly expensive and can range from $2-$3 a pack.  Dried and ground herbs do not have the essential herb oils and flavor fresh herbs have.

I decided to start my own herb garden!

Here's what I planted:

Some of my herbs
Here are a list of dishes and recipes we've made so far:
-Herb Baked Chicken
-Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
-Honey Mint Whiskey Smash Cocktail

Price Breakdown:
-Planter: $6
-Soil: $2
-Herb Plants: $4 each ($20 total)

TOTAL: $28 (savings of at least $10-$30 depending on how often you use your herbs)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Skinny Minny Recipe #2: Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

Here's a fast, easy and cheap meal you can put together in a jiffy.

You will need:
(For 2 Servings)

For the Salad:
-2 1/2-3 cups of salad mix of your choice (we usually choose the Spring Mix or Arugula)
-1/4 of a Red Onion (finely sliced)
-8-10 Walnut halves (roughly chopped)
-5 tbsp of Dried Cranberries
-4 tbsp of Goat Cheese Crumbles

For the Dressing:
-1 1/2 tbsp of honey
-Dash of Ground Pepper, Kosher Salt, and Garlic Powder
-4 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
-2-3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix the salad ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate smaller bowl, mix the honey, ground pepper, salt, garlic powder, and balsamic vinegar together. Use a metal whisk to mix the ingredients together.  When the ingredients are mixed together well, slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking briskly with your whisk.

Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss lightly with tongs or salad tossers.

Here's the salad with some baked chicken breasts. Yumm-o!

Calorie Counting Divas: ~250-275 Calories per Serving

Friday, April 6, 2012

Skinny Minny Recipe #1....Grand Marnier Macerated Fruit

So I am making a new series of posts called "Skinny Minny Recipes", which is a collection of low calorie, healthy, and flavorful recipes.  I have a bunch of recipes and pictures saved up, so I get to share a whole lot with you guys. Yipee!  After eating at a local "farm to market" style restaurant in Houston called Zelko Bistro, and after trying their version of Macerated Fruit dessert I decided to take a shot of my version.

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
-2 cups of fruit of your choice (I used apples, blackberries, strawberries, and grapes)
-2 springs of roughly chopped mint
-1 1/2 tbsp of honey
-3 portion packs of Stevia "Sugar"
-1/4 cup of Grand Marnier liquor

1.) Cut the apples into cubes, halve the strawberries, and leave the blackberries and grapes whole.

2.)  Place the fruit in a large mixing bowl and mix it with all the above ingredients.  I slightly "muddled" the black berries, just so I can extract some of that delicious juice =)

3.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours; I refrigerated it overnight.

4.)  Here is the final product.  Spoon the fruit into a nice ramekin or serving dish.  Then drizzle with any leftover Grand Marnier juice left on the bottom of the bowl.  Lightly sprinkle with regular white granulated sugar, so you get a nice crystallized crunch texture.  You can also sprinkle powder sugar on top.  This is a great alternative to eating boring fruit, and Grand Marnier will make anything taste a million times better =)

There can be many variations to this recipes, such as adding white/red wine, balsamic vinegar, basil, other fruits, cinnamon, etc.

Calorie Counting Divas: ~100-130 calories per serving

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All We Have Are Memories...Adoramapix Photo Book Review

After much research and reading tons of reviews, I decided to go with Adoramapix to create our wedding photo book.  They were reasonable in price, had great photo quality, and used REAL thick photo paper pages.

From my research, I noticed a lot of professional photographers use Adoramapix for their portfolios so I knew I was getting a high quality product.

Here's my You Tube Review of this product...

I choose a 12 x 12 photo book with 76 pages and we used the Kodak Luster Finish (which is the standard photo paper that comes with all photo books)  The photo paper used in the photo book were very thick and is about the thickness of a poster board just so you can get an idea.  The front cover had a nice light iridescent/metallic sheen, and with Adoramapix you can put a title on the spine of the book.  The Adorama photo book creation software is built-in to the Adoramapix website, so you don't have to download any software!  The software was easy to use and very user friendly.  I wanted to create as close to a professional photo book as I could, and I think I was pretty close in regards to the layout I choose for each page.  Also, all Adoramapix photo books lay flat and had no middle spine!  So each page was totally flushed with each other.  The lay flat pages were great for the panoramic spreads.

Here are some pics of the lay flat pages, binding, and cover...

Here are some pics of our layout, which took me over 10 hours to create =)

It took about 1 day for Adoramapix to assemble the album and ship it, and it took about 5 days to ship. 

Price Breakdown:

Price of Photo Book: $234.95 with 20% online discount code $187.96
Shipping: $5.95

Total: $193.91