Bacon-Wilted Greens with Warm Goat Cheese

Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef and well-loved authority on Southern cooking. Her new book Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back. I’ve enjoyed cooking from it very much.

Bacon-Wilted Greens from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

In this beautifully photographed book, Virginia shares “lighter” versions of her favorite Southern recipes. Whole foods ingredients-and vegetables in particular-are featured prominently, and balance and moderation (yay!) are discussed throughout. Nutritional information is provided for all of the recipes.

I chose to make Virginia’s Bacon-Wilted Greens because 1. I am always looking for new ways to serve greens 2. I was intrigued by the baked apple with goat cheese garnish. I really loved this dish and will definitely be making it again! I used local Savoy spinach instead of the kale Virginia calls for: next time I’ll give the kale a try because the spinach cooked down quite a bit and made fewer servings than the recipe in the book states.

Bacon-Wilted Greens from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Carrie Vitt is one of the sweetest people I know and she’s got a great new cookbook out called The Grain-Free Family Table: 125 Delicious Recipes for Fresh, Healthy Eating Every Day. Carrie has experienced huge improvements in various health issues via diet change: she follows a grain-free diet and the focus of this book is grain-free recipes.

grain-free stuffed peppers from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

While I don’t eat a grain-free diet, I really like this cookbook because it’s packed with protein-filled recipes as well as recipes that feature fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, grain alternatives, natural fats, and wholesome sweets. Moreover, the food photos, shot by Carrie, are beautiful, and my recipe for sauerkraut is on page 258!

I have made these stuffed peppers a few times now and my family enjoys them a lot. For the record, I have not been too keen on adopting the “cauliflower in lieu of rice” trend but I did “rice” the cauliflower for this recipe and I am glad I gave it a try (it’s really easy to do and it increases the veggie quotient of this dish). That said, feel free to substitute cooked rice for the cauliflower rice if you like, and if you don’t need the recipe to be grain free. (Note that this is not a Paleo cookbook, but Carrie gives suggestions for how to make each recipe Paleo/dairy free if that’s something you need.)

grain-free stuffed peppers from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Blood Orange, Papaya, and Dark Cherry Smoothie

We went to the Dominican Republic back in December and boy am I missing it right now. The beach was so, so beautiful and the weather was perfect. And the fruit! The mangoes, papayas, etc. were really delicious. I drank their juices and ate plates of them every day.

Ever since I got home, I have been buying papaya at the market because I enjoy it so much. While I love a few slices with my breakfast, I’ve also discovered it’s great in smoothies. One of my new favorites is this one with fresh squeezed blood orange juice, papaya chunks, and frozen dark sweet cherries.

Blood Orange, Papaya, and Cherry Smoothie from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

I made this smoothie last week hoping to share it with you on Valentine’s Day. But there’s really no reason to relegate this dark red beauty of a smoothie to a holiday! It’s a wonderful winter treat you can enjoy any time.

Blood Orange, Papaya, and Cherry Smoothie from @winnieab//www.healthygreenkitchen.com

You don’t have to use blood orange juice; You can absolutely use the juice of any type of oranges. Don’t use bottled orange juice if you can help it, though…it won’t be nearly as good if you do. I’ve also made a version of this without the frozen cherries and I like that one, too, but the cherries add great flavor and a powerful punch of nutrients so I strongly recommend them.

Feel free to change up this smoothie by adding some more fruit such as banana and/or pineapple, greens, yogurt, protein powder, etc.

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Chocolate Marshmallows

chocolate marshmallows | healthy green kitchen @winnieab

Chocolate Marshmallows | Healthy Green Kitchen

I competed in my second powerlifting meet this past Sunday. My goals for this one were to get more experience lifting in front of judges, and to qualify for USA Powerlifting (USAPL) Nationals in October. My lifts went pretty much as I planned and I accomplished my goals. I also got a pretty gold medal (full disclosure: I was the only one in my weight class) so I am very pleased!

One thing I am learning about meets is they are very draining for me, both mentally and physically. I tried really hard to stay super calm in the weeks before this one, trusting that my training, nutrition, and rest have all been very solid, but the day of the meet was still pretty nerve-wracking and exhausting. When it was over, all I wanted to do was get home and curl up on my couch with some hot chocolate embellished with these chocolate marshmallows. So I did just that, and I’ll be taking it easy the rest of the week, as well.

Chocolate Marshmallows | Healthy Green Kitchen

I’ve long wanted to try sweetening marshmallows with honey so when I saw this chocolate version in Brittany Angell’s new book Every Last Crumb, I knew I had to make them. I love how they turned out, and how they melt in hot drinks. I’ve enjoyed them in warm honey sweetened milk and coffee in addition to hot chocolate.

chocolate marshmallow fluff on whisk

marshmallows in pan

This chocolate marshmallow recipe is just one of more than 150 Paleo-inspired recipes found in Every Last Crumb. If you follow a Paleo-ish diet or have food sensitivities, I think you will love this book (though I don’t eat Paleo nor do I have food sensitivities and I am really enjoying it!). Every Last Crumb features grain-free recipes for numerous specialty breads such as bagels, croissants, and naan. But the book isn’t just about bread; Brittany shares lots of creative ideas for savory foods and treats, too.

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Holiday Treats eBook + Smoked Salmon Omelet

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since I last posted…I’ve been busy working on my new eBook! It’s called Holiday Treats and it was really fun to write.

pecan squares 2_text

I made a sales page for the book here (and I have a sales page for ALL my eBooks here). For the month of December I am running a 1/2 off special on all of them including Holiday Treats. Use the discount code treatyourself during the checkout process and you can buy any or all of the eBooks for just 99 cents each. If you have any trouble at all with the discount code or the downloads, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to straighten it out for you.

omelet 2_

Since the last two weeks in my kitchen have been all about making and sampling sweet treats, I have been taking care to make sure I am otherwise eating a balanced, calorie-appropriate, nutritious diet (I talk more about my “dessert philosophy” in the intro of Holiday Treats).

One meal I’ve enjoyed a few times recently is this Smoked Salmon Omelet, the recipe for which appears in my print book One Simple Change.

eggs_

It’s quick to whip up, filling, and delicious. When I know I am going to “have to” eat some carbohydrate-rich cookies (I know…poor me…testing recipes really stinks…NOT), this is a perfect lunch. I’ve photographed the omelet atop a bed of baby arugula- the hot omelet cooked the greens just a bit, which I love!

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