Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries


Hello lovely,

We've survived January! How are those diets looking? You know everyone (including myself) starts off doing so well; meal prepping, buying vegetables and seasonings, even vowing to make things from scratch. But by mid-January, we fall off and start stopping to McDonald's a little too frequently. Then the processed pre-made foods find their way back into our freezers and soon we start making excuses for why it's acceptable. One morning I had no time or energy to cook both breakfast and lunch, so I resolved to have a veggie burger and fries for lunch. I’m not fond of the school cafeteria fries but that's how much I did not want to be bothered. Then I stopped and asked myself, “What am I doing? I'm down 9 lbs, do I really want to erase all my hard work?” I decided. The veggie burger can stay but instead of carb-ridden, starchy potato fries, I'll opt for something healthier: These Garlic Parmesan Baked Fries!

Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries 1.jpg

When I say these took no time at all to make, I mean it. The hardest part was cutting up the carrots. I didn’t even have to peel them. After that it was just a matter of tossing it in some EVOO and some seasonings then baking it for a few minutes. These were crispy and the perfect addition to my bunless veggie burger! I wish I remembered to make the sauce, but there’s always next time, right? Trust me. You’ll want these fries again and again. A thumbs up to Tasty for the recipe!

Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries

Ingredients

for 2 servings

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese(25 g)

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped (10 g)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200˚C).

  2. Slice the top and bottom off of carrots then slice them in half, slice each half into thirds lengthwise.

  3. In a large bowl, mix ingredients with carrot sticks.

  4. Spread on a baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).

  6. Mix together ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl.

  7. Serve warm carrots with dipping sauce. Topped with Parmesan and parsley.

  8. Enjoy!

Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries 2.jpg

Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

Hello Lovely,

I’ve been putting this recipe off for months! I was supposed to do this from August, but here we are in November. I don’t know what happened or why this lost it’s appeal for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it uses so much bread that made me keep putting it off because I’ve cut bread out of my diet since going Keto. And the last bread pudding recipe I tried from Joanna’s cookbook was a little underwhelming, so I think all of that is what contributed to me not trying this recipe for so long.

One day I decided to stop putting it off and just do it! I ran to the store for some French bread and the test of the ingredients were already in the fridge. The recipe originally calls for Boursin cheese, but that's not practical for me to obtain so I had to find a substitute. I had crumbled Gorgonzola in the fridge, so I used that. I had just gotten new ramekins on sale from JoAnn’s so I was excited to use those. The recipe gives 50-55 minutes cooking time and trust me, that’s a little modest. It took me an hour just to get it in the oven before the 15 minute baking time. Egg bread puddings are a lot of work, because you need the bread to absorb most of the egg moisture and I also had to cook the bacon first (the recipe also originally called for sausage but I had more bacon than sausage and went with that).

Bread Pudding.jpg

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but what came out of that oven was a gift from heaven! This is by far THE best breakfast recipe from the Magnolia Cookbook. I know I had given that title to the Eggs Benedict Casserole, but this was just SOOOOOOO good! Mum loved it, and so did bae (I’m still waiting on my dish back). There’s nothing Keto about this, but it packs a punch in flavour and it’s satisfyingly fulling!

Bread Pudding 5.jpg

Baked Egg Bread Pudding with Spinach Cheese & Bacon

  • Prep: 15 minutes

  • Cook: 50 - 55 minutes

  • Cool: None

Ingredients

  • Butter, for ramekins

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 6 large eggs

  • 4 ounces French bread (torn into bite sized pieces about 4 cups)

  • 4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 ounces baby spinach

  • 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

  • 2 teaspoons minced chives

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bread Pudding 7.jpg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter four 10-ounce ramekins and set them on a rimmed baking sheet for ease of handling.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and 2 of the eggs. Add the bread and stir to coat. Let stand until needed, stirring occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  4. Stir the shallot into the skillet and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until lightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir into the bread mixture.

  6. Add the cheese, chives 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and reserved bacon to the bread mixture and mix well. It's fine if some of the cheese is in marble-sized pieces.

  7. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the ramekins from the and crack an egg on top of each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue baking until the egg whites are set, 20-25 minutes more. Serve at once.

Bread Pudding 4.jpg

If you want to buy the book to try more of these recipes for yourself, check out this link below. If you do try this recipe, let me know in the comment section below and share your photos with me on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag, #LifeByOlivia.

Mint Leaf Doughnuts with Matcha Icing

Hello Lovely,

Ever since starting the keto diet in May, I haven't even touched a doughnut! I loooooove doughnuts but I couldn't buy them any more. And with the past few months being as hectic as they were, I definitely didn't have time to make any. So when I saw a recipe for Mint Leaf Cake in my new cook book, Cakes by Melissa: Life is What You Bake It, I couldn't resist trying it in doughnut form! I have a mint plant that has miraculously survived this gruesome weather so I was really excited to finally use it for something other than a mojito.

Just like Melissa, I'm not one for peppermint (unless I have an upset stomach) but I do love fresh mint! Although the original recipe didn't call for matcha icing, I just decided it would be a good fit; probably because they're both green. This recipe is enough to make 12 mini doughnuts (baked) and 6 muffins. I did make a few adjustments to the recipe though. For the doughnuts, there was no way I was putting 2 cups of sugar in it and topping it icing; that's waaaaaaay too much sugar. So I used 1 instead. I also felt the matcha frosting wasn't sweet enough by itself (matcha leaves a strong after taste) so I added 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and that did the trick, but the sugar didn't dissolve as well as I needed it to. I didn't use all of the mint leaves required because I thought it was excessive since the scent was so strong while mixing, but after baking, I couldn't taste the mint at all, so that may have been a mistake. So I'm still listing the full recipe as is, and you guys can make any adjustments you need.
 

Mint Leaf Doughnuts Matcha Frosting.jpg

Mint Leaf Doughnuts with Matcha Icing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cups whole milk

Matcha Icing

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 drop green food colouring

Instructions

  1. Have all your ingredients at room temperature. With a hand mixer or food processor, combine the sugar and mint leaves and process until the leaves are completely incorporated.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your doughnut pan with non-stick spray.
  3. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the sugar-mint mixture to the butter and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl midway through.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it's mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle feels springy when you gently press your finger against it ( approx. 15-20 or 20-25 minutes). Let the doughnuts cool completely before icing.
Mint Leaf Doughnuts Matcha Frosting 1.jpg

Matcha Icing: 1. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on high speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and whip just to incorporate.

2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioner's sugar and matcha powder 1 cup at a time, until completely incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl between additions.

3. Add the salt and the food colouring and whip on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Mint Leaf Doughnuts Matcha Frosting 2.jpg

I really hope you guys try this recipe. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Share your thoughts in the comment section below! And if you do try it, don't forget to tag #LifeByOlivia when you share it!

 

Baked Eggs and Potatoes

Hello Lovely,

Who would have ever thought you could have mashed potatoes for breakfast? I haven't had mashed potatoes since high school. I ate them a lot after getting my braces tightened so I've grown to despise mashed potatoes. I'm not kidding. I HATE mashed potatoes! But after seeing this recipe on PureWow, I felt totally inspired to try it. I'm always looking for something new to try for breakfast so I figured this would be just the right recipe.

DSC_0009 (1).jpg

It was super quick and easy (one of those set it and forget it kind of recipes) and it was actually delicious! It's a filling breakfast, loaded with nutrition! You have got to try it!

DSC_0004 (2).jpg

Baked Eggs and Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4 servings
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use lightly greased individual baking dishes).

2. In a medium bowl, add the bacon to the potatoes and mix to combine.

3. Scoop 4 even portions of mashed potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush each potato mound with melted butter.

4. Use a spoon to create a well in the center of each potato mound, then crack an egg into each one. Top each egg with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper.

5. Bake until the potatoes are golden brown and the eggs are set but still slightly jiggly in the center, 12 to 15 minutes.

6. Serve immediately while warm. 

DSC_0008 (3).jpg

Nutrition:

  • 539 calories
  • 36g fat
  • 37g carbs
  • 18g protein
  • 2g sugars

Mixed Berry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hello Lovely,

I hate chocolate. There I said it. Don't hate me! I'm sorry. I've never enjoyed the taste of chocolate. I can tolerate chocolate cake and I love chocolate milk (it doesn't love me back though) but chocolate chips, candy.....I HATE IT! So why make this recipe you ask? Because there are people in my life who do enjoy chocolate and I wanted to do something nice for them. I wish I had taken a photo of my friend literally picking at the crumbs in the pan. If he didn't have to give it back to me, I'm sure he would've actually licked it. I'm sure that's a compliment 😊 

DSC_0258.JPG

I found this recipe on Baker by Nature. It's listed under breakfast. I think it would be a bit much as a breakfast item because we're very traditional here on what to eat for breakfast (grits, souse, eggs, cereal, pancakes, those sort of things). I would recommend this as a dessert that you don't have to feel guilty about! I personally swapped out the coconut oil and Greek yogurt for applesauce because it's what I had on hand.  I also used mixed berries instead of just raspberries because it's much cheaper in the store to buy a tub of berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) than to buy just strawberries or raspberries. I'm going to include the original recipe for you to follow along. Feel free to make whatever changes you want. I guarantee this dish will be a crowd pleaser wherever you take it.

DSC_0281.JPG

Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used full-fat, but reduced fat should work)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 VERY ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (will yield about 1 and 1/4 cups of mashed banana)
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, do not thaw first)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the sugar, oil, Greek yogurt, eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips (if using).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and serve.
DSC_0277.JPG

Notes

Banana bread will keep, stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in saran wrap, for 3 days.

DSC_0262.JPG

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 180

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Lemon, Lavender and Earl Grey Mini Cakes

Hello Lovely,

I feel like it's been forever since I made a dessert. I really don't remember the last time I baked dessert so I feel that this recipe is long overdue. For the past few weeks I have been consumed by photo shoots, investing in my food photography and planning my European summer trip, so this dessert has really helped me to unwind and actually enjoy Spring. Let's face it, April is over and Summer is soon here! So I've definitely got to take some time to stop and smell the roses (literally)!

I was planning on serving these cakes at a Spring gathering with some friends over the Easter holiday, but the gathering was cancelled. I was disappointed that the cake cracked; I didn't realise it was finished until about 5 minutes too late so it dried out. I was left feeling completely uninspired when I looked at my cakes. To this day I still regret not levelling them so they could be the same height and have flat tops (See what stress does to you). I stared at these cakes for an hour trying to figure out how to make them pretty. The coconut glaze-icing didn't turn out well and I definitely did not have the energy to whip up buttercream frosting.  I eventually decided to use some store-bought Betty Crocker Whipped Strawberry frosting I had but even though didn't know what to do.

After a few more moments of head scratching and failed icing, I decided to make a "rose" shape on top of each cake. But I still wasn't satisfied. So I took a walk outside and found some flowers that I thought really complimented the mini cakes. After that I felt like I was at high tea! The flowers really brought out the best in the cakes and hid the imperfections that were bothering me. I made a little bouquet and rest it in a jar in the middle of the cakes and let creativity take care of the rest.

What I love about the cakes is that no flavour is too strong or overpowering. It's not too sweet, and doesn't even taste dry. You should definitely try this recipe the next time you have friends or family over or if it’s your turn to donate some sweets. The best part is you can cut these cakes in half to make more. The recipe yields 14 when baked in a 9” shallow pan and a small circle cutter is used to cut each out.

Lemon, Lavender and Earl Grey Mini Cakes

Ingredients

·        2 cups flour

·        ½ cup earl grey tea, strong brew with ½ teaspoon lavender

·        ½ cup sour cream

·        ½ cup nonfat milk

·        ½ cup sugar

·        ½ cup plain applesauce

·        1 egg

·        1 teaspoon baking soda

·        1 teaspoon baking powder

·        1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

1.      Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9” baking pan and set aside.

2.      Brew a cup of Earl Grey Tea and steep for 5 minutes. I used Harney & Sons.

3.      Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and soda together. Add the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

4.      Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 18 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

5.      Allow to cool completely. Then using a small circle cake cutter, cut out the mini cakes. Decorate with icing of your choice and enjoy.

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes


Hello Lovely,

Breakfast is one of those meals we commonly miss amongst the grab and go routine of the morning rush.  Not only is the most important meal of the day, but also one that we should make as healthy and interesting as possible, as it’s the first connection with food.  Brighten up your plate and palette with this stuffed tomato recipe that incorporates the protein and Vitamin D of eggs with the high zinc and prosphate properties of Spinach.  These fun little baked tomatoes fit neatly in your hand and can be finished in 3 easy bites.

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 -6 whole tomatoes
  • 1 leaf of Kale, thinly chopped
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 scallion, minced (for garnish)
  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

 

Spicy Cajun Sauce

  • 6 tblsp. Sour Cream
  • 2 Dashes of Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp Cayenne seasoning
  • 1 Lime wedge, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease the medium sized glass baking pan with olive oil.

  2. Remove the tops of the tomatoes and use a spoon to carefully remove the inner flesh of each tomato without cutting through the bottom.  Discard of the juice and seeds.  Tops can be discarded also or cooked with the tomatoes.

  3. Grease the outside of each tomato with olive oil (will help with cooking) and sprinkle salt over all the tomatoes to help with flavoring.

  4. Add 1 tablespoon of almond/coconut milk at the bottom of each tomato and fill with  kale, cheddar cheese, freshly cracked egg, salt, black pepper and italian seasoning (in that order).  Ensure that the egg fits neatly into the tomato, otherwise the egg white will spill over the sides.

  5. Place stuffed tomatoes in greased pan , with an index finger distance between each. Being careful not to allow the contents to spill over or out.

  6. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes or until the eggs are done to your desire.

  7. To create sauce, mix all ingredients together.  Place aside for later usage

  8. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and place on a serving dish.  Top with spicy sauce, serve & enjoy!

 

This recipe is great for a weekend brunch or a change from the usual meal. Extra garnishes can include thinly sliced green onions or Parmesan cheese

Note: Tomatoes can be stuffed ahead of time and kept in an airtight container or covered with Saran Wrap.  The egg can be added shortly before baking.