Cauliflower and Hummus Pita Pockets

Cauliflower and Hummus Pita Pockets

The crispy cauliflower gets cooked in the same amount of time it takes to make everything else you need which means the whole meal will take you just a little over half an hour. It’s mostly plant food and it’s delicious. You should eat it. Soft pita bread filled with creamy hummus, crunchy cabbage and crispy roasted cauliflower. All the good things. So give it a shot!

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The Easiest Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl Recipe for Thanksgiving

Hello Lovely,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I think I mentioned before that Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in The Bahamas (just another excuse to eat and have sales). I hope you guys are enjoying some well-deserved rest with family and friends. I've been trying to organise a Friendsgiving with my friends since last year, but something always comes up. It's hard staying in touch with such busy schedules but it's days like this when we're reminded of the importance of appreciating one another. So, this year, I want to say that I am grateful for my family. We've grown this year and I can't tell you how happy this has made me. There have been A LOT of changes this year but all of them have been for the best and throughout all of it, my family has been an amazing support system. I'm looking forward to spending my first Christmas with them in two years (but they already know I'm making plans to travel for my birthday).

So, if you're reading this at the dinner table with your family (first of all, put your phone away), but secondly, thank you for keeping Life By Olivia a part of your holidays. If dinner isn't quite done, then I've caught you just in time! I made this pie about a week ago and completely forgot to share the recipe with you all. This came after I was beginning to lose confidence in my baking skills. A few failed attempts at pumpkin cannoli’s left me both devastated and broke (groceries are not cheap here)! In my fear of getting it right (AKA not burning it this time), I made one error: I didn't pre-bake the crust. It tasted so raw because I didn't pre-bake it that it actually took away some of the sweetness of the pie. So PRE-BAKE THE CRUST! That's the only thing I strongly suggest! (Well that and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup when you serve this). This dessert is low-cal and low sugar (not like anyone is REALLY counting calories this time of year) because I have a diabetic step-dad and my mum doesn't like things too sweet.

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So, before your guests start ordering take out, whip out your baking gear and let's get started!

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Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl


Ingredients (makes 1 8" pie)

  • 1/3 cup Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place pie crust in 8-inch glass pie plate as directed on package for one-crust filled pie. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
  3. Beat remaining ingredients on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.
  4. Spoon cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion for marbled design. 
  5. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

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Top with some whipped cream, or ice cream before serving and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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For more pumpkin inspired recipes, check these out:

For more Thanksgiving inspired recipes, check these out:

Bruschetta-Style Thin Spaghetti

Hello Lovely,

Making healthy choices for lunch can be difficult. It's not always easy to get up early enough to make something and let's face it, we don't always make the best choices when lunch time rolls around. If you're trying to eat healthier this year, this recipe is so easy and takes so little time, you'll almost feel guilty about it. You'll have a healthy and fancy lunch and all it took was the ability to boil spaghetti.

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Bruschetta-Style Thin Spaghetti

Ingredients:

12 oz Ronzoni® Healthy Harvest® Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti

2 Tbsps olive oil

4 Tbsps minced garlic

3 cups fresh tomato, chopped

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

 fresh oregano, to taste

 fresh basil leaves, if desired

 shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

 salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions:

1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2.  Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with olive oil.  Saute until golden.  Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and herbs.  Heat until warmed (about 2 minutes).

3.  Combine cooked pasta and tomato mixture and heat until warm (approximately 2 to 3 minutes).

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole makes the most delicious side dish or meatless main dish! Full of flavor with cauliflower, sautéed mushrooms & leeks, and an easy cheesy sauce that won’t pack on the calories. This is incredible! 

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Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

Hello Lovely,

We're so excited for Valentine's Day! And even if you don't have anyone to share the day with, that doesn't mean you shouldn't treat yourself! This recipes takes less than an hour from start to finish! If you love chocolate, you'll love this! I found them to be a little bitter, so you may want to add 1/2 cup of sugar to the 1 cup this recipe requires. This recipe was adapted from Best Recipes Ever!

Fat trimmer: This dark moist cake does not call for the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter of a typical quick cake. Simply using water and applesauce will save you so many calories without sacrificing flavour!

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk (I used Lactaid Fat Free Milk)
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1/4 cup (60 mL) applesauce
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla

1 tbsp raspberry agave

Preparation

In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Press brown sugar through sieve; combine with dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, water, applesauce, raspberry agave and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Trust me, you won't even need a hand mixer. Scrape into greased 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 35 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool. Dust with icing sugar (if using). Cut into squares.

Servings: 12 or more (depending on how big or small you cut your pieces)

Skinny Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie lightens up! Adapted from Cooking Light, my version keeps the tang and graham goodness of the traditional dessert but with a lot less calories and fat.

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce premium white chocolate, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice or fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • whipped topping for garnish

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare crust, combine crumbs, sugar, salt, and chocolate in a bowl, stirring well to combine. Add butter and oil; toss with a fork until moist. Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until beginning to brown; cool completely on a wire rack.

3. To prepare filling, place yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through milk) in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until set. Cool pie completely on a wire rack. Cover loosely, and chill at least 2 hours, but overnight may be best. Serve with whipped topping.

Nutritional Information

·          Amount per serving

·          Calories 280 ·          Fat 8.9 g ·          Satfat 3.6 g ·          Monofat 3.4 g ·          Polyfat 1.3 g ·          Protein 6.6 g

·          Carbohydrate 43.2 g ·          Fiber 0.4 g ·          Cholesterol 84 mg ·          Iron 0.6 mg ·          Sodium 147 mg

·          Calcium 144 mg

Skinny Cake Batter Smoothie

How funny is it that the day after I wrote a post on how to be productive when you don’t feel like it, I’m about to tell you that I’m taking the whole day to do nothing? After the week I had, I think I deserve one day to do just do nothing. It took me hours to get that post out and not because of writer’s block, because of interruptions.

Work has been hectic this week because one of my co-workers was on vacation. It’s amazing how much harder everything is when you’re short one person (and when everyone else decides to abandon ship and leave you all by yourself for the last two hours of the day). I actually ended up working overtime (something I don’t get paid for) because there just were not enough hours in the work day. So I think I’ve earned a rest day!

I won’t do absolutely nothing today. I plan on finally unpacking (can you guys believe I still haven’t unpacked from my birthday trip?) and playing the Sims while I look for a good movie to watch considering there is no Law and Order or any kind marathon on today.

So given my devil-may-care feelings toward the day, I decided to indulge in some comfort food. But of course because I’m too lazy to chew, today’s comfort food comes in smoothie format. I know I’ve been making a lot of smoothies lately, but they’re quick, easy and satisfying. I don’t have to fuss over a hot oven in an already hot climate, and for the most part, smoothies can be rather nutritious. Including this one! Well maybe not nutritious but at least not fattening!

You know how awesome cake batters can be, but technically we’re not supposed to eat them because of salmonella and what not? Well now you can have a thick, creamy smoothie that tastes just like a Pillsbury French Vanilla Cake Batter without the guilt of calories and germs.

Cake Batter Smoothie

Ingredients

·         1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (or milk of choice)

·         1 cup Lowfat/Nonfat Yogurt

·         1/4 cup Oat Flour (I didn’t have any so I used regular flour)

·         4 packets Truvia (or sweetener of choice; I used regular sugar)

·         1/8 tsp Salt

·         1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

·         1/4 tsp Almond Flavor

·         All Natural Whipped Cream, for topping

·         1 tbs Rainbow Sprinkles, for topping

 

Instructions

1.      Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree for 30 seconds (add some ice if you want it super thick and frosty)

2.      Pour into a serving glass, top with the whipped cream and sprinkles, and enjoy!

I call this the never-ending smoothie. It took so long to finish, there were times when I thought I was done and it looked like the jar kept refilling. This smoothie will leave you satisfied for hours and is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dessert!

Vermont Maple Smoothie

I’ve always thought of myself as a smoothie queen or at least one in training. So when I got my own copy (photocopy to be exact) of ‘The Smoothie Bible’, I was over the moon! I couldn’t help but brag to my friends and immediately made a list of all of the fruits I would need to purchase to get started. As you all know, I did a detox two week ago. It was semi-successful. Let me just say this: These are not detox recipes! Hallelujah! Don’t get me wrong, they were surprisingly tasty and very filling, but defending your decision to drink something that looks like green vomit, every day and looking at enticing food like pancakes and conch fritters can be a little depressing.

So this morning I opened the book to a random page and landed on this recipe: The Vermont Maple Smoothie. It falls under the Breakfast Blends category in the book (which is only second to my favourite, the drinkable desserts section). This smoothie probably offers very little health benefits, but you know what? It tastes good. And sometimes in life, you've gotta treat yourself. Especially, if you didn't get what you wanted yesterday on Valentine’s Day. This may be a little too sweet for some people to have first thing in the morning so I suggest you pair it with something dry (not necessarily bitter, but not sweet). I drank mine with a side of grits for a semi-healthy balance. I'm still sipping and will probably finish the rest during church today (if I don’t fall asleep to finish recovering from that concert last night)!

Vermont Maple Smoothie

(If only making for 1 serving, divide measurements by four)

Ingredients:

  • 3 containers ( ½ cup each or 1 ½ cups) unsweetened applesauce (I used Motts Cinnamon flavoured

  • 1 cup vanilla frozen yoghurt (I used plain non-fat probiotic yoghurt. I think it’s healthier for breakfast).

  • 1 cup milk (I used soy but you don’t have to)

  • 2 ice cubs

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (If you used cinnamon flavoured applesauce you can skip this)

  • Ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

  • Combine applesauce, yoghurt, milk, ice, maple syrup and cinnamon in blender; blend until smooth.

  • Pour into four glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately.


I hope you guys try this at home. Remember you can make any substitutions necessary to fit your diet. You can make a completely vegan version of this, if you want. The possibilities are endless! Stay tuned for more recipes!

XoX,

Olivia

Wild Berry Salad

Who am I? When did I become the kind of person that makes salads? This is so foreign to me! I mean I am not hating on the salad eaters, but do you ever feel like when a girl is eating a salad, secretly she’s imaging that it’s a slice of pizza, or a thick juicy burger? I get that are actually people out there who genuinely enjoy eating salads (hi weirdo’s) but I am just not that girl!

 

It’s day four of my detox and I think I’m doing well. I’m still on the fence about whether detoxes really work. I’ve noticed more bumps springing to the surface of my face and that is not good at all! It’s the opposite of what I expected. Maybe I’m doing this detox wrong. I’m following Little Spice Jar’s guide and she laid it out like this:

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Oatmeal

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Eggs

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

·         Pancakes (ahem, maybe just 1)

·         Insert Smoothie Here

·         Hash browns + light breakfast quiche

·         Glowing Skin Smoothie

I drank my Very Berry Spinach Avocado Smoothie yesterday and I actually licked the jar. It was really that good!

Update: I just rubbed my chin and I don’t feel the bumps I felt before. Maybe they just shifted to my cheek. Hmm, I’ll keep up with this and see what happens.

Wild Berry Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls spinach

  • ¼ cup blueberries

  • ¼ cup strawberries

  • ¼ cup diced apples

  • 1 fish fillet sliced in semi-thick strips

  • Sesame seeds (optional)

  • Salt and black pepper for taste (optional)

Directions:

Prepare ingredients on your cutting board. Toss ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over salad if you choose to use it. Top with Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing and serve!


I hope you like this recipe. Stay on the healthy track and you’ll be ready for Valentine’s Day in no time!


XoX,

Olivia

Asian-Inspired CousCous Nugggets

One of my best friends in the entire world, Amanda is back home today! I haven't seen her in two years so I was super excited to see her! It was on the drive home when I realised that I needed something for us to eat for lunch. I had this recipe saved on my Pinterest for months and finally decided to try it today since I would have some help in making the balls. As you all know, I'm trying (and failing) to be vegan, because of my lactose intolerance. Luckily for me, Amanda isn't the strictest dieter and loves eating healthy food like me, but doesn't care to follow everything by the book.Apart from all of the sexual puns Amanda and I made today, I really suck at making any food item ball-shaped. To be honest, we only made about 7 before quitting. So why did I call it a nugget? Turns out Amanda sucks at making balls just as much as I do. The good news about this recipe is that you can save it to try again another day. 

I made a lot of substitutions to the original recipe because I thought cous cous would be healthier and easier to mould and I'm horribly allergic to anything spicy, so I couldn't use any chilli. But these nuggets were so good! We both thought they tasted like chicken nuggets. But don't worry about there not being any meat in these. These couscous nuggets are so fragrant, and the crunchy crumb coating and light salad served under it which more than made up for the missing chicken. 

ASIAN-INSPIRED COUSCOUS NUGGETS

Ingredietns:

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups couscous

  • 1/4 cup diced mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons minced green onions

  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 cup panko

  • 2 tablespoons Hot Mango Chutney

  • Egg wash

  • Canola oil for frying

  • Sesame seeds

  • Soy sauce

Directions:

  • Cook couscous according to directions on container. I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of couscous.

  • When the couscous was done cooking, I stirred in the vegetable broth, mushrooms and green onions. Feel free to add any additional seasoning. I used a fresh herb mix.

  • Allow the cous cous to cool. Lightly flour your hands, then scoop one tablespoon amount into your hands. Press the couscous into the shape of a ball (ours came out as nuggets). Coat with the flour as you mould. Once you have a solid shape, dip in your egg wash, then roll in the panko.

  • With the canola oil in a frying pan on medium heat, fry your nuggets lightly on both sides until golden brown, then remove from heat.

  • I served mine on a bed of lettuce.

  • Top with sesame seeds and soy sauce. Top each ball/nugget with your hot mango chutney, and serve.

Enjoy this Asian-inspired recipe for lunch or dinner. And I hope your balls come out better than mine!

XoX

Olivia