Monday, August 29, 2016

Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread

Guess what?  It's almost football season!  Tailgating!  Parties!  Food!

If you are like me, and love the noshiness that comes with football season, then this recipe is for you.  It takes spinach and artichoke dip and turns it into a much healthier, but just as tasty, flatbread.

I used goat cheese (because in my opinion, goat cheese makes everything better), but this wold be just as delicious with some parmesan!

Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread
Serves 1 

1 single serve pizza crust (I used the Flatout Artisan Crust)
1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
5 canned artichokes, drained and pulled apart
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375.  Bake crust for 2 minutes.  Brush olive oil over the crust.  Then distribute the artichokes, spinach, goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes evenly over crust.

Bake an additional five minutes and serve!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Coconut Mocha Smoothie

Remember Mounds bars?  I wasn't into Almond Joy because frankly, I didn't feel like a nut.  But chocolate and coconut was my jam.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a coffee junkie.  Give me all the coffee, all the time.  I have cut down in recent years, but if I can find a way to sneak coffee into just about anything,  I will.

This smoothie was born of my love for those three things, in addition to my lack of food shopping.  See, when I was getting ready for the next morning, I realized I had just about run out of unsweetened almond milk.  And it was late enough that the store wasn't happening.

Perusing my pantry, I found a can of coconut milk.  I didn't want to use the whole thing in my smoothie (well, I did, but realized that would make the smoothie a calorie bomb), so I figured I would have to improvise.  I thought about water but figured that would dilute flavor.

And then my eyes fell on my K-cups.  Why not?  Coconut, chocolate and coffee?  Sold.

I used vanilla protein powder for this (Quest is my favorite!) but only because I didn't have chocolate (FYI - totally trying it with chocolate and soon as Amazon delivers it!)  The cocoa definitely added enough of a chocolate kick though!

Coconut Mocha Smoothie
Serves 1 - 4 Smartpoints

2 tbsp. full fat coconut milk 
10 oz cold coffee 
1/4 cup unsweetened almond cashew milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Blend all (except coconut flakes) until creamy.  Top with coconut flakes and enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Friday Fantastic Four: Good Reads!

Let's talk books, shall we?

Now that I'm finished with grad school (YAY!), I finally have time to read for fun!  Not something that happened a lot in the past year.

I can't say that I have a particular favorite type of book?  Honestly, it mostly depends on my mood.  But I thought I'd share a few of my faves from the past few months!  Mostly fiction with a nonfiction thrown in.  I will also throw in links if anyone is interested!

Rich and Pretty: A Novel
I literally finished this one in 2 days on my cruise.  The premise is pretty simple - 2 longtime friends - who don't seem to have a whole lot in common - in the city, and how their relationship changes throughout the years.  The writing style itself is witty, a real easy yet fascinating read.  I totally got invested in this friendship!

This one was a gift from friends and I fell in love.  A lonely guy whose job it is to keep an eye on the company email for anyone not using it appropriately.  And, of course, 2 girls who are allllll about the personal emails.  It was one I couldn't put down because I couldn't wait to see what happened.  All the characters are really likable and it's a quick moving story!

Beauty Queens
Picture it.  A plane full of teen beauty pageant contestants crashes.  A pageant sponsored by the biggest corporation in America.  What are the stranded teen beauty queens to do?  A satirical look at media and its power, this one also has some terrific characters and is hilarious.

And I Don't Want to Live This Life
You may have heard the tragic story of punk rock star Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.  This book is written by Nancy's mother, and details her troubled childhood, her psychological problems, and the pain of raising an extremely troubled daughter that would go on to have her murder splashed all over the papers.  A really gripping and intense story.

What books are you loving?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chickpea Avocado Salad

Let's be honest.  If it's a day that ends in y, I'm having avocado.  Usually on toast, but I'm open to suggestions! 

In an effort to do the "Meatless Monday" thing, I did some experimenting.  Knew the avocado was a go, but also needed a protein.  Thus, the chickpeas.  The sundried tomatoes that studded the mixture were the perfect tart and chew accompaniment!

You could definitely eat this on its own, but I folded it up in a wrap and added some snap peas and strawberries for a couple of 0 Smartpoint sides!

Chickpea and Avocado Salad
Serves 1 - 4 Smartpoints

1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 small avocado (42 grams)
1 Tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil) 
Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mash the chickpeas to the desired consistency (I left mine a little chunky for some added texture).  Add in avocado, tomatoes, lime juice and salt and pepper and mix until combined.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hellos and Hacks

First of all, by way of hello - let's just be honest and say I have not been good at this all summer.  This is the first summer in, pretty much forever, that I worked 12 months as I've moved into a new position at my school.  I'm super grateful, but it definitely took some getting used to!  As such, the blog posts have been few and far between, however, as the new school year starts, I'm looking to change that!

My plan is, starting next week, to post Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I'm going to do my BEST to keep to that schedule!

Also, in the way of social media, I have a few new accounts!

Twitter: @kellyskitchen3
Instagram: @kellyskitchen512

Now, hacks. I'm a big fan of the hack - my personal boards on Pinterest are basically organizing, cooking, and life hacks.  And throughout this blogging life, I've come up with a few that I'm quite fond of and that have really helped me out in the kitchen!

1.  Frozen Bananas
Obviously, I'm not new to this - but that is the secret to a super thick smoothie.  Because let's face it, when I want a smoothie, I want it to resemble a milkshake, only healthier!  Subbing the frozen bananas for ice give any smoothie an incredibly creamy texture.  I keep a bag in my freezer of frozen banana halves at all times!

2.  Chopped Salad Bags
Any salad in a bag is a great hack, but these mixed chopped salad bags I've started seeing have been a lifesaver.  Terrific for stir frys or to add to scrambles or omelettes.  I'm a big fan of anything where the hard part (chopping) is done for me.

This Asian Mix was a perfect addition to my cauliflower fried rice!  And what's great is that most of these bags have the dressing / seeds / nuts packaged separately, so you can keep it to 0 Smartpoints very easily!

3.  Instant Oatmeal Waffles

I'm a big fan of the Kodiak Cake Mixes, that's pretty much my weekend breakfast.  One day, before a longer run, I felt I needed an added boost, so I did a little experimenting.  I mixed a 1/3 cup of Kodiak Cakes mix and 1 packet of instant oatmeal together, added water, and threw it in the waffle iron.  The result was a super tasty, thick, and hearty waffle that powered me right through that run!

You can use any instant oats you want (I can't wait to throw some pumpkin in there in the fall!), but these have been my favorite so far!

I've had the Oatfit Cinnamon Roll and the Maple and Brown Sugar and both are great.  Added bonus - only 3 Smartpoints for the packet!  So that big, hearty waffle only ended up being 6 Smartpoints!

Lastly, just had to give a shoutout to my latest favorite - this Bento Box!  I tend to get bored pretty easily with lunches at work, and this seems to be just the ticket out of the rut.  Little compartments for veggies / fruit, a protein, and a starch or snack, plus a covered bowl for dips / yogurt, etc.  Looking forward to trying to some different combinations!

What are some of your favorite hacks???

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Romano Vegetable Flatbread

Because who doesn't love a good flatbread?

This one was super easy to make, and can easily be turned into a pizza by multiplying up those toppings.

The romano adds a nice, salty contrast to the creaminess of the ricotta, and the veggies make it very filling!

For this, I did an individual flatbread, and used the DELISH Flatout flatbread - the trick is to prebake it for a couple minutes so it's nice a crispy, even with the toppings!

Romano Vegetable Flatbread
1 serving, 8 Smartpoints

1 flatbread (I used the Flatout that was worth 2 Smartpoints)
1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp. olive oil 
14 grams Romano cheese
1/3 cup zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup arugula or spinach
Pinch of Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Prebake flatbread for 2 minutes.

Saute veggies (except greens) until cooked through, but maintaining a bite (mine were about 5 minutes).

Spread olive oil on crust, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Add ricotta and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread veggies evenly on top, and then top with Romano cheese.

Bake at 375 for 5 minutes (or until cheese is melty!).