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A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group

I want to eat this all day, every day.

It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them.  Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake.  My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.

I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people.  Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had.  And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed.  It’s literally the best.

healthier-strawberry-shortcake-for-a-big-group-nessa

But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements.  And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.

I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything.  And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love.  You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of.  Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner! [Read more…]

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Pakistani Kima

Full disclosure:  I have no idea if this recipe is truly Pakistani, nor do I know what “kima” is.

But I *do* know that it’s delicious, filling, healthy, and easy.  That’s a dinner grand slam in my books.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

My sister has been making this for her family for quite a while, and she made it for us while I was visiting my parents a couple years ago.  I fell in love with the incredible aroma and flavors of the spice combination.  It’s truly what makes this dish special.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

But it has a lot more going for it.  It’s chock-full of veggies, across the color spectrum (something that I’m usually desperately needing).  It’s also super satiating, with a one-two-three punch of the fat in the butter (don’t skimp on this), the lean ground beef, and the fiber-full vegetables.

It clocks in at around 320 calories per serving (if you make 6 servings out of the batch), which is great if you’re trying to keep your calories down but not feel hungry all the time.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

And best of all, this recipe is super easy to make, a one-pot standby.  It only takes about a half-hour total, and only requires you to do some vegetable chopping and throw everything into a pot.  I made two desserts while putting this together a couple weeks ago, because I didn’t have to spare any brainpower for it.  So I’m kind of in love. [Read more…]

Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)

I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.

This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other)

Delicious & easy Turkish red lentil soup, ready in half an hour

I also don’t like lentils usually.  That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer.  Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting.  When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself.  I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.

I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right.  For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go.  One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!

Healthy & easy red lentil soup

One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish.  So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve.  Efficiency FTW!
[Read more…]

Another Adventure!

So I figured it was about time I shared something that’s pretty exciting (to me at least).

It isn’t exactly a secret, but it isn’t exactly widely-known either.  A few months ago I started a travel blog!

It really came about because I realized that I have so much travel research, so many trial-and-error tips, beautiful pictures, and perfect itineraries to share, but didn’t have a way to do it.  Travel and food are two of my main passions in life—ones that thankfully often overlap 🙂

I’ve been trying to travel more and more over the last year.  Successfully, I might add…in 2016 I was blessed to visit Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Canada, Sweden, France, Italy, and Spain, in addition to a few great trips in the U.S.  My first half of 2017 is even more jam-packed (Norway, the California coast, Switzerland, Portugal, Jordan, Israel, and Turkey again!).

SO.  If you like seeing new places, hearing about different cultures, beautiful pictures, amazeballs-looking food, wacky travel mishap stories, and super practical tips on how to see the world on your own, I’d love for you to join me over at One Girl, Whole World as well.  Or, share with a friend or family member who loves to travel.

Have no fear—I’ll still be posting tons of great recipes here.  This is just a new adventure that I’m super excited about, and wanted to share with you guys as well.

See you on the flip side!

Chocolate, Cinnamon, & Almond Loaf Cake (gluten-free)

My dessert tastes don’t always quite jive with other people’s.  I don’t like things super sweet, I tend more toward fruity desserts rather than super chocolate, I will always choose dark chocolate over milk (and don’t even talk to me about white chocolate and its lies…).

Chocolate, Cinnamon, & Almond Loaf Cake | Finding Time for Cooking

I was blown away by the complexity of the flavors in this cake, yet how subtle they were.  I cut back on the sugar quite a bit from what the recipe called for, and for me that made it perfect—letting the chocolate have more of a bittersweet quality and the cinnamon shine through.  Also, whoever thought to put cinnamon in whipped cream is a genius and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before.  But I assure you I will forever moving forward…
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Chicken Tikka Masala

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It’s funny how quickly a new dish can become a go-to.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala | Finding Time for Cooking

Indian food has been a challenge for a long time…in restaurants, even when it’s mild it’s usually too spicy for me.  But I’ve also had several recipes I was dying to try.  The intense combination of spices, held together with creamy sauces, is just too much to resist.

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I finally pulled myself together over winter break and gave this a try.  Part of that was just making sure I had all the spices I needed.  And I was shocked at how easy this dish was to make, how satisfying, and how great the leftovers were.  So I made it a few days later.  And the week after that.

It’s now in my regular rotation, because the lunch leftovers are unbeatable.  Pair it with some of my delish and easy homemade naan, and you’ve got an exotic and yet comforting winner.  Don’t be scared by the ingredient list, because you make the paste once and it will last you through several batches. [Read more…]

Almond Magic Cake

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so obsessed with a recipe.  I pinned it years ago, and somehow forgot about it, though the idea was fascinating.  Then over winter break this year I stumbled back across it and knew I had to give it a try.

Almond Magic Cake | Finding Time for Cooking

I did make one major change to the recipe.  The original is for a vanilla cake, but my M.O. in life is, why make something vanilla when it can be almond instead??  I mean, seriously.  This cake is really easy to throw together, and yields the most amazing, creamy, custardy, flan-y cake.  I ended up making it again a few days later, in a gluten-free version (to be posted here later once I’ve perfected it).  Give this a try, you won’t be disappointed! [Read more…]

Easy Homemade Naan Bread

Once upon a time, I made homemade naan bread, and it turned out terrible.

This is not that naan bread.  This is awesome.

This has become my go-to homemade naan bread recipe

I have no idea what went wrong with the first recipe I tried, probably a year or more ago.  But it did put me off trying it again for quite a while.  However, when I decided to try my hand for the first time at Indian cooking with this chicken tikka masala over winter break this year, I knew that naan had to be in the cards for me again.

My go-to homemade naan recipe

This recipe comes together super easily and doesn’t require any special handling.  It’s not finicky at all.  Just proof your yeast, add the ingredients all at once and knead in the machine for a couple minutes, let it rise, and then roll out and fry up.  Very hands-off.

Homemade naan bread recipe...easy and yummy

I tend to use half white whole wheat and half regular flour.  To me, when I use all whole wheat it tends to be a bit too dense and loses a bit of that chewiness that makes naan so satisfying.  But you can use all of one, or mix it up however you want.

The other important thing is that you use ghee, not just regular butter.  You can buy ghee fairly easily these days (Trader Joe’s, Amazon, or a well-stocked grocery store), but if you can’t get it for whatever reason I’d recommend making a batch of your own and storing it.  The water in regular butter will keep it from frying up right.
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Snickerdoodle Zucchini Bread

This bread is the BOMB!

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite

Cinnamon-sugar is my kryptonite in general, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn to this recipe.  It’s all the best things about my snickerdoodle bread (which is amazing, but also will make a major dent in your calories for the day), combined with a bit of whole wheat flour and fiber from zucchini.  Make no mistake, this is definitely a breakfast dessert, but it’s now only a bit of splurge rather than a complete diet derail.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread...plenty of sweet, with a bit of healthy mixed in

The hardest thing is finding the cinnamon chips—if you see them, buy like 6 bags!  (Though this may be part of the scarcity problem…).  I think Hershey’s discontinued theirs, so I’ve been buying them on the Amazon black market, and will need to look elsewhere soon.  Cinnamon chips are seriously the best, and appropriate in all manner of delicious breakfast and dessert recipes.

Snickerdoodle zucchini bread

This was a hit at work.  And I had trouble keeping my hands off it.  I had a piece with my morning espresso, but went back several times throughout the day for another bite.  I probably had three pieces total, one bite at a time! [Read more…]

Best Healthy Recipes of 2016

I guess it’s that time again.  After all the holiday gluttony (and general comfort food craving this time of year), everyone is making resolutions and getting back to the gym and meal planning.

Honestly, I’m not.  I know myself well, and I have to have small, sustainable life choices vs. a diet or life change.  I try to eat healthy (except when I’m traveling) and work out every day (even when I’m traveling), and overall that works for me.  I let 15-20 pounds sneak up on me in late 2014, so I started tracking everything I eat and do in MyFitnessPal and finding healthy recipes I actually *liked*.  And by spring of 2015 I was back to normal and have been able to maintain.

So the good news is that I have a bunch of healthy recipes to re-visit from the last couple years, all now listed in one place for 2017 healthy living ease!

Don’t forget to look at all these great healthy recipes I posted at the beginning of 2015.  There are a ton of yummy make-ahead breakfast options, easy healthy dinners that also make satisfying lunches to pack for work, and (duh) healthy desserts.  Because I don’t believe eating healthy should be sad or boring or a chore.

Main Dishes:

beef-cabbage-stir-fry-pinterest

“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry

Sweet and savory and crunchy and super satisfying.  But mostly cabbage, which is both cheap and super healthy (yay colon health!).  This is crazy fast and makes good lunch leftovers as well. [Read more…]

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