Fun with Food Again

Happy Thursday!  I hope it’s been a great week for you. Things have been incredibly busy for Kyle and I lately, and it seems like we’re always trying to get organized. I can tell you one thing for certain – after being out of town for three weekends this month, we’re taking full advantage of weekends at home lately. Topping my to-do list: CLEAN! I’m ashamed of the state our house is in… but we made the decision on how to spend our time during the week and scrubbing a bathtub wasn’t ranking too highly. Meh, the pets can’t complain verbally. It’s all getting cleaned, one day, one room at a time.

As I’m done competing for the next year, you can bet I’m pretty obsessed with food (not that this ever really stopped, but I kept it suppressed most of the time). As I had mentioned before, I was dealing with some sleep issues during prep. They haven’t totally cleared up yet, and some mornings I’m wide awake an hour or so before my alarm. Online shopping needed to stop, so I started baking! It’s a slightly more productive use of time I think. This has started me thinking of some of the stuff I’ve made in the past, but not shared on here. So, you get a few “recipes” and some food fun. Because food should be fun AND useful!

Party Nuts

Be warned - this are really addictive!  But, they're also still good after you freeze them, so feel free to portion them out and freeze some for later.  Also great as a topping on yogurt / ice cream!

Be warned – this are really addictive! But, they’re also still good after you freeze them, so feel free to portion them out and freeze some for later. Also great as a topping on yogurt / ice cream!

I made these a few times over the holidays (yes, I’m aware that was seven months ago) as a snack to have on hand during family events and they were a big hit. They’re easy and you can alter the recipe to make them as spicy or sweet as you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (even this small amount adds a lot of heat – and I like spice)
  • 2 cups nuts (mixed, almonds, pecans, whatever you like)
  • 4 tsp water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, sprayed with cooking oil.
  • Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add water to make a paste-like mixture. Add nuts and toss them to coat.
  • Spread the nuts on the baking sheet in a flat layer and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them around 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn (because it really sucks when this happens). You can stir them around on the tray at the 5 minute mark to make sure they’re cooking evenly and staying coated. They’re done when the coating has hardened.  Enjoy!!

Greek Baked Chicken

Greek chicken

This one is so easy and tastes amazing.  You probably have most (if not all) the ingredients on hand already, too – added bonus!

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, or spray a glass casserole dish with cooking oil.
  • Combine the yogurt, oil, and spices in a large mixing bowl (leave cheese aside). Once combined, dip chicken breasts in the mixture and coat them. Lay them on the baking sheet (can add more sauce if desired).
  • Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. For the final 5 minutes, sprinkle chicken with parmesan cheese.
  • This would be amazing cooked on the BBQ, too.
  • This is great served on a salad, or with some long-grain rice and vegetables. Enjoy!

Cake Batter Blondies

I saw these online the week of my competition and had to try them. They're incredible and super easy - can't get much better than that for a dessert. Not even remotely healthy, which is fine with me!

I saw these online the week of my competition and had to try them. They’re incredible and super easy – can’t get much better than that for a dessert. Not even remotely healthy, which is fine with me!

I saw this on Sally’s Baking Addiction and had to try them, thanks so much!

Last, but not least, dessert! These are really really dangerous to have in the house – just so you’ve been warned ahead of time. The white chocolate chips make the batter become a fudge that never hardens. I suggest making these for an event so you don’t eat them all, or putting half into the freezer ASAP! Portion control, right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix, but I’m pretty sure any vanilla-based cake would work
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil because it was all I had and I wasn’t about to go to the store, it was fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (lesson learned – this is a LOT of sprinkles, go to the Bulk Barn)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cake pan / Pyrex dish with cooking spray
  • Combine the cake mix, oil, and egg in a large mixing bowl and stir together until blended. Add milk as needed (the less you need the better). Add the sprinkles and chips at the end and lightly stir them in. *Do not over-stir batter!
  • Pour mixture into cooking pan and bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes. Watch for the edges to turn brown, and then take them out. The middle will still be soft! Allow to cool, the blondies will “settle” and seem to deflate, especially in the middle – this is the best part. Enjoy, or freeze!

I’m excited to get back in the kitchen, trying new things and sharing more ideas with you.  Last weekend I made a batch of protein carrot cake bars which were great, and some white chocolate, cranberry bars which were good enough to get locked in the freezer… I need to recreate them and actually remember what went into them. This is the problem with baking at 4am – the attention to detail is on the low end!

Happy, healthy eating (with some dessert, too)!

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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