Freshly Sliced Pineapple

I’m here to share a fun new gadget I recently discovered. It makes cutting pineapples easy and it’s called a pineapple corer.

I know…I’m probably late to the party, but hear me out. Despite my growing passion for cooking, I am a self-admited utensil snob. I consider most shiny new gadgets to be nothing both clutter. My first preference is to always get my hands dirty and prepare food the old fashion way, relying on only a few vital utensils. You may think I’m crazy, but I’m not even a fan of the dishwasher!  No pain no gain, right?

My brother and Allie recently got me a bunch of stuff from William-Sonoma. One of the items in the gift set was an avocado cuber. The thought was great, but I’ve been cubing avocados with a basic knife for years and could not find the space in my kitchen or mental will to accept this gift. Call me stubborn, but I had to return it. While on line at the register, I saw a pineapple corer and decided to give it a shot since my existing pineapple cutting experience far from pleasant. The results were great. The process was mess-free and allowed me to cut full slices (rather than small cubes using my old method).

Directions:

  1. cut off the top of a pineapple
  2. place pineapple in a bowl
  3. press corer into the pineapple and turn clockwise while applying firm pressure
  4. turn until you reach the bottom. you will feel the resistance
  5. unscrew the corer by turning router clockwise and pulling with a little pressure

 


Greek Yogurt Parfait

Taking a break in the tutorial action with another healthy recipe. Yogurt parfaits. This post probably serves as more of a reminder than an actual instructional step-by-step on how to prepare a parfait. Parfaits are healthy and versatile. You can show off your creativity by mixing up presentation, order of ingredients or type of serving glass. Shot glass, martini glass, wine glass…the options are limitless.

When I think of parfaits, I get a very vivid image…

I picture being seated for breakfast at an upscale Hotel restaurant in a major city. It’s buffet style so I go up and help myself (after placing my O.J. and coffee order with the overly friendly waiter) . I’m usually pretty turned off by hot breakfast food, especially at buffets (scrambled eggs and bacon just don’t do it for me) so I keep going and skip right to the pastry plate. Chocolate croissants…bingo. I also help myself to some thinly sliced fruit…cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple.

As the buffet line winds down, I come across a  snazzy set of martini glasses filled with a colorfully coordinated set of fresh ingredients. It looks like a work of art. I begin to (internally) question what these beautiful concoctions are doing sharing a stage with the ubiquitously piles of eggs and bacon that I just passed. As I stand there and ponder, I get abruptly cut in line by a sweaty hotel guest dressed in running garb (headband and all). He reaches right for the parfait, snagging it without even the slightest thought or appreciation. He skipped the eggs, bacon…and croissant.

I guess he’s eating healthy today.

Recipe

Serving Size (1 parfait)

Estimated time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

*green highlight denotes ingredients you will likely need to buy fresh while black text includes ingredients you should either have stocked in your pantry or ingredients that have a lengthy shelf life.

Directions:

  1. Layer yogurt, berries and granola into a cup (your choice of order) and serve.

Belgian Waffle

Sunday morning is one of my favorite times of the week. No running around, no time constraints, no alarms, no deadlines. It’s one of the few times I get to sit down and really slow things down.

Saturdays are great, too, but I don’t like to cook on Saturday mornings. I’m more focused on going to the gym and grabbing a quick bite. I like to be lazy on Saturdays and do whatever I want without feeling guilty.

By the time Sunday rolls around, my battery is recharged and I’m more willing to get creative. This past Sunday, I decided to replicate what is slowly becoming one of my favorite work breakfasts (when traveling or meeting with clients). Belgian waffles. Mess free, light and refreshing. How can you resist fresh fruit and powdered sugar? I like to think of these tasty treats as somewhat healthy and a nice way to start the day.

This belgian waffle recipe was adapted from Emeril’s version on the Food Network.

Recipe

Serving Size (6-8 waffles)

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (recipe calls for cake flour but you can sub for all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups milk
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • fresh fruit, chopped
  • powdered sugar

*green highlight denotes ingredients you will likely need to buy fresh while black text includes ingredients you should either have stocked in your pantry or ingredients that have a lengthy shelf life.

What You’ll Need:

  • waffle maker
  • hand mixer
  • mixing bowls

Directions:

  1. melt butter in the microwave and let cool
  2. sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl – thees are your dry ingredients
  3. whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined and sugar is dissolved
  4. add vanilla, butter and milk into the egg yolk/sugar mixture and stir until combined – these are your wet ingredients
  5. combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until combined. don’t over mix
  6. in a separate bowl, whisk (or blend on high-speed) the egg whites for about a minute until you get soft peaks
  7. using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into waffle batter. here’s a good video on folding
  8. transfer batter into a measuring cup or something that can easily pour
  9. make waffles in waffle machine, following directions (should take 2-3 minutes per waffle)
  10. serve immediately. garnish with fresh fruit and powdered sugar. serve with maple syrup on the side

Berry Blitz

Smoothies are a great way of changing up the norm without having to invest in an expensive piece of equipment like a juicer. Chances are you have a blender; whether you use it or not is another story.

I generally make fruit shakes / smoothies after a weeknight work-out or on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  It literally takes 5 minutes and that’s including clean-up (see Tips section below).

You want to talk about healthy, one glass of this refreshing concoction will get you that much closer to fulfilling your daily nutritional goals.

Recipe

Serving Size (1-2 people)

Estimated time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz skim milk
  • 1/4 cup mixed berries (I use frozen)
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 2 spoons low fat greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry jam
  • 1 scoop whey protein (optional)

Appliances:

  • blender (I have a KitchenAid Artisan)

Directions:

  1. freeze glasses 5-10 minutes ahead of time
  2. blend all ingredients together (liquefy) and serve in frosted glasses

Tips:

  • I used to be intimidated by the clean-up associated with a blender. taking off the blade, cleaning around it carefully, etc. however, I quickly learned (thanks YouTube) that the easiest way to clean a blender is to immediately rinse it, and then run it half-full with soap water. you will of course want to do a more thorough wash less frequently, but this is a great way to get by without having to dread the post-smoothie clean-up.

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