Category Archives: Eat, Drink, Be Merry!

Embrace Fall, y’all!

You don’t have to love Fall and the chilly temps to love this super easy apple tart recipe. It takes only a handful of ingredients, takes very little time to make, and is super versatile. Is this tart a breakfast item? Sure! Dessert? You bet! Tasty snack with a cup of coffee? Ok! I love foods that are flexible like that!

Beyond the simplicity of this recipe comes the presentation. It is one that always wows when I make it and one that most people assume is more challenging than it is to make. So if you are someone who needs a quick dessert or item to take to a potluck and want to appear to be a fancy baker, this apple tart needs to become your go to.

Ingredients:
-1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, cut in half
-2 whole apples, cored, cut in half, and sliced incredibly thin
-1 cup of brown sugar
-Juice of 1/2 a lemon
-Dash of salt
-Powdered Sugar
-Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 425. Allow the puff pastry dough to thaw enough where it does not break during the unfolding process. Cut in half. Place apple slices in a bowl with lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt, and toss until apples are coated completely. Arrange the apple slices in a straight line down the middle of the pastry, overlapping. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Drizzle with caramel sauce and powdered sugar if desired, or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

***You can cut the dough into thirds if you would like thinner tarts without as much pastry on the edges.

Tag me on Instagram (@sparklefitnessbabe) if you make this and let me know what you think!

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The finished product: absolutely delicious.

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Boats and Meatballs.

Confession: I may or may not have been watching Stepbrothers for the millionth time as I wrote this article and considered naming it Boats and Hoes for obvious reasons. Who else loves that part in the movie? Hopefully not just me!

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting this past few months with recipes and the concept of going vegan, but it hasn’t stuck yet. It all started a few months ago when I accidentally caught a documentary about the treatment of chickens. After that I decided not omit chickens as a protein source and haven’t had any since. I haven’t given up steak or burgers yet, though I am hoping at some point I get there, too. Baby steps…..your girl is a carnivore, remember?????

I have found some great substitutes for meat that I have been enjoying quite a bit, one of those being the meatless meatballs you can find in the grocery section of Aldi. Last week I had them with spaghetti squash pasta, and this week I decided to make a meatball zucchini boat. We all know how much I love a zucchini boat…they are so versatile and a great way to use veggies as a base!

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This recipe was super simple and delicious so I had to share!

Katie’s Meatball Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:
-Meatballs (you can use the meatless meatballs I used or make your own, it doesn’t matter!)
-Zucchini
-Mozzarella Cheese
-Sauce
-Fresh Parsley

I’m not including an amount because it depends how many you want to make or eat in a serving!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then hollow out inside of zucchini. I recommend saving the innards to make zucchini brownies or muffins!

Step 3: Place zucchini in a dish drizzled with olive oil and Italian Seasoning (You can omit this step if you prefer). Bake for 15 minutes until zucchini is mostly tender. Remove from oven, changing settings in oven from BAKE to BROIL.

Step 4: Mix meatballs if making your own or prepare them if purchased store bought. Once fully cooked, place meatballs in hollowed out zucchini boats.

Step 5: Pour sauce or purchased marinara around the meatballs. You can also mix with meatballs before filling boats if you prefer.

Step 6: Top with mozzarella cheese and broil for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve!

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Tots, tots, tots tots tots, tots!

Everybodyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Ok, no one else likes replacing “Shots” in LMFAO’s hit with “tots” other than me? That’s ok….no shame here!

When I shared my meal prep for the week on my Instagram (follow me HERE ), my inbox blew up with questions asking for the recipe for my Broccoli Tots. Ask and you shall receive!

These tots are something I have been making for ages, and they are so incredibly simple….not to mention they are made up of only FOUR ingredients!

Katie’s Broccoli Tots
Ingredients:
-3 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped fine
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1 egg

To make:

Place chopped broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a piece of Saran Wrap. Poke a few holes in wrap to allow steam to pass through. Microwave for about four minutes.

Remove broccoli from microwave and squeeze out excess water (be careful here….broccoli will be hot). Add the remaining ingredients, then form small tot like shapes, placing on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

A few tips:

**You do not have to squeeze the excess water out. Do this only if you prefer a crispier texture.

**I recommend using a Silpat in place of parchment paper or just plain cooking spray.

**You can use any cheese you like. These are very good with mozzarella as well.

ENJOY!!!!!

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Enjoy these muffin tops!

Happy New Year, guys! I hope you had a great end to 2018 and that 2019 is off to a killer start for you!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am happy to be at this point in my calendar. The last month of the year always have me hiding in my turtle shell and reverting to a someone introverted human being. Luckily, that only lasts the time frame between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I’ve been working on lots of behind the scenes projects, mostly my book which will publish sooner than later. I can’t wait to share with you guys! That has kept me busy while I was under the radar.

Many of you have shared how much you love when I share recipes, so I am going to do my best to share even more with you this year, starting with this healthy and delicious muffin recipe! It is one I love making when I am entertaining guests or family because they are so good and no one knows they are healthy (shhhh….don’t tell them).

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Look at that beautiful muffin top. 

Katie’s Healthy Banana Muffins

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 bananas (the riper the better)
-1 tbl vanilla
-1 tbl coconut oil (melted)
-1 egg
-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
-1 tbl almond or soy milk
-1/4 cup honey (pure)
-1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is the brand I use)

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. Blend all other ingredients together (you can even mix them all in a blender to make it easy). Blend the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in the chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees!

If you are one of my clients following one of my meal plans, one muffin equates to 1 yellow, 1/4 purple, and 1 tsp. Sometimes I use blueberries in place of the chocolate chips and that changes the purple count to 1.

Enjoy!

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Oh, fudge!

Because I’m all about that pumpkin life, here is the recipe for the super easy four ingredient pumpkin fudge I’ve been snacking on the past few weeks!

PUMPKIN FUDGE

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup almond butter (creamy)
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1/2 cup coconut oil
-1/4 cup maple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a pan and stir over medium heat. Once completely mixed, pour into silicone trays or a glass dish lined with parchment paper. Freeze for at least two hours before serving.

How easy is that?

Enjoy!

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Mexican for the gluten intolerant!

I always hate going back to back with recipes on the blog, but sometimes you just have to…especially when your inbox is blowing up asking for the recipe for one of the items on your weekly meal plan!

That recipe: Zucchini Enchiladas!

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I am a big zucchini lover and constantly trying recipes that involve it. One of my recent favorites, zucchini ravioli, can be found here . That recipe has become one that I have made over and over and surprisingly, I don’t miss the pasta portion of it!

This recipe is one that, similar to the ravioli, is an great option for those who struggle with gluten intolerance like I do or who need to get more veggies into their diet. Again, I don’t miss the tortilla that I would’ve used in a typical enchilada recipe, so if you are skeptical, just give it a shot!

Katie’s Zucchini Enchiladas
Ingredients:
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 tbl EVOO
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp ground cumin
-2 tsp chili powder
-3 cups shredded chicken or beef
-1 1/3 cup red enchilada sauce
-4 large zucchini, sliced with mandolin or vegetable peeler
-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
-Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt for topping
-Fresh cilantro to garnish

Using vegetable peeler or mandolin, cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and slice zucchini into thin strips. Heat oil in a large skillet, adding onion and salt. Once golden brown, add cumin, garlic, chili pepper, chicken/cooked beef, and 1 cup enchilada sauce. Stir until well combined.

Using four zucchini strips, lay them on a plate or cutting board, slightly overlapping. Add about 2 tbl of the protein mixture, then roll up and place in baking dish. Repeat until you have used all of your zucchini and mixture. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Serve topped with sour cream or greek yogurt and cilantro.

It’s that easy!

**I sometimes prefer the green enchilada sauce when making this recipe, as you will see in this picture.

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Meatballs for everyone!

And when I say everyone, even those of you who don’t eat meat!!!!

Yesssssss that means these meatballs are meatless, and while that may sound strange, trust me, they are DELICIOUS!!!! Now I need to say this…I don’t typically seek out meatless recipes. I am a hardcore carnivore, and I love meat with every meal. However, I saw a friend post about these eggplant meatballs, and I had to try them, especially since I follow a “veggies most” mentality.

I know what you are thinking….eggplant meatballs, gross! Just try them….because I was prepared to hate them, and I freaking love the things.

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Look at this plate of deliciousness!

Eggplant Meatballs
Ingredients:

-3 cups fresh eggplant, dice into small pieces (you can leave the skin on the eggplant)
-1/4 cup fresh basil
-2 Tbl EVOO
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1 tsp salt and pepper
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-1 tbl garlic powder
-1 egg

How to make:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, cook EVOO, eggplant, salt and pepper over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften the eggplant. After eggplant is softened, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to food processor and pulse with the basil until eggplant is in smaller pieces. Combine eggplant with parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic powder, and egg. Stir until well combined. Roll mixture into balls and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes until “meatballs” are golden brown and firm to the touch. Serve over zoodles or pasta with marinara or your homemade sauce!

If you are struggling with veggies, try these. If you love eggplant, try these. Just try them!

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Super easy to prep for the week!

 

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Apples: The Versatile Fruit

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year….pretty much because I’m a basic bitch that just wants all things pumpkin, flannel, and ugg. The past few years I haven’t fully embraced the wonders of the season as I have wanted to, so this year I created a fall bucket list to make sure I did all the things I have missed out on the past few years. Here’s my fall to do list!

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Naturally, I took care of that pumpkin donut right away….I had to!

Once that pesky donut has been crossed off the list, I decided I wanted to tackle the apple farm next. I’m fortunate to live in a part of Ohio where I have a ton of great apple orchards nearby, which made my decision of where to go somewhat challenging. Finally I decided on Rittman Orchards, a local orchard that many of my friends recommended. I was not disappointed.

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We couldn’t have picked a better day weather wise to pick apples!

Rittman is a great local farm that I strongly recommend to those in the Cleveland/Akron area. While we went to get apples, they also have a great market and pumpkins to pick as well. From a price perspective, apple picking was very reasonably priced. We were given a bag that cost $19 to fill it up with the apples available that day .The day we went we were able to pick Red Delicious, Melrose, and Jonagold apples, and trust me….we got our money’s worth. Check out how many apples came home to our house that day! And your eyes aren’t deceiving you….they were huge apples!

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So what did I make with all these apples??? I made lots of stuff, including two of my favorite recipes that I want to share with you today: Easy crockpot apple butter AND apple dumplings.

If you are a fan of apple butter (who isn’t), you have to try this recipe. It is super simple and turns out so, so, so good!

Katie’s Apple Butter

Ingredients:
-6 lbs apples (I use a mixture of apples…my favorites are pink ladys, honey crisp, and Melrose apples, but you can use any kind)
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1 tbl cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tbl vanilla extract

How to make:

Core and peel all apples, cutting into slices and placing in a crockpot. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar, then toss apples with the mixture. Cook on low in your crockpot for about 10 hours. After the 10 hours is up, stir in vanilla and smash up any larger apple pieces that still are visible. Cook on low for an additional 2 hours. Allow the apples to cool, then puree in either a food processor or with an immersion blender. Store in airtight containers in either your fridge or freezer! This could double as a great gift or housewarming present, too!

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The finished product: Beautiful apple butter

When it comes to apple dumplings, I have two recipes I go between. The first is one that is much more sugary and calorie filled; the other not nearly as heavy with sugar. Since I have been trying to limit my sugar intake to just my donuts, I opted to make the healthy-ish version this go round. Again, this is a simple recipe that everyone always loves and is a great fall dessert.

Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

For the apples:
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen section at your grocery store) . If you prefer, you could make your own dough instead of purchasing it.
-6-8 medium sized apples (go for tart)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-6-8 tbl unsalted butter

For the syrup:
-2 cups water
-1 cup granulated sugar
-3 tbl unsalted butter
-1/4 tsp cinnamon

How to make:

Preheat oven to 425 and spray cooking dish with nonstick spray. Core and peel apples (this is a great time to buy an apple corer if you don’t have one). Set aside. Prepare the syrup by bringing 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, 3 tbl butter, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and allow to simmer until it becomes thicker and more syrup-like. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Cut your pastry sheets into squares (I can get four squares per sheet with the store bought kind). I set one square aside for later, so I typically make 7 at a time. Place one apple on a square, filling the core with the sugar mixture and a bit of butter. You have butter freedom here….use as much as you want or as little as you want. Bring pastry points up over apple to wrap it, tucking the ends into the core cavity. Moisten with a little water to seal, then place in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining apples.
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Pour the syrup over the apples once all have been wrapped. You can pour excess around the dumplings as well. I get next level with mine and use a cookie cutter and some extra dough to cut out a small leaf to top the dumplings, and I like an extra sprinkle of the cinnamon sugar mixture here, too. You can do something similar if you choose, or just go without. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Serve with the syrup warm and if you want to get crazy, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Crostinis….because they sound fancy, right?

And who doesn’t like being a little fancy??????

With the holidays approaching rapidly, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite quick appetizers that you can serve at your holiday gatherings. I’f you’re like me and swamped during the holiday season, the quicker and easier the app the better, especially if you are entertaining and making a variety of foods to serve.

I recently made this appetizer for a luncheon I was going to with some friends and had to share the recipe with you all. To be honest, I was also going through a peach kick and kept buying them in excess, and this is perfect with peaches. However, with the winter months around the corner, we all know (especially those of you in Ohio) that produce can be a little iffy when the cold weather hits, so don’t be afraid to change up the fruit you use here. I’ve made this same recipe with strawberries, blackberries, and even blueberries.

                                                          Katie’s Peach Crostini

Ingredients:
– 10 oz goat cheese
-2 oz whipped cream cheese
-1 french baguette, sliced
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-2 Tbl EVOO
-2 peaches, sliced
-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Begin by laying the baguette slices on a baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil. Do not overlap slices or stack. Bake for about 7 minutes at 375 degrees or until lightly browned. In a saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer over medium heat. Allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the balsamic has a thicker syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat, and set aside, allowing to thicken slightly more.

For the whipped goat cheese, place goat cheese in food processor with the cream cheese, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until combined and mixture is smooth.

To assemble, place a spoonful of whipped goat cheese on each baguette slice, then top with one peach slice and some fresh basil. Drizzle some of the balsamic syrup over and serve.

***A few tips…….

-If your local grocery store doesn’t have baguettes on their floor, ask for them. I purchase mine from Giant Eagle, and I have learned they typically keep them frozen in the back. You also want to make sure they are the mini baguettes and not full size (unlike you want super big appetizers).

-Chop your basil into strips. I feel this not only looks better for presentation purposes but ensures you get some basil in each bite of the crostini.

-Do not use canned peaches. The excess juice in the fruit itself can make this soggy.

Enjoy!

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These sliders are a real peach.

Sliders…..they are the best, aren’t they???!!!!

Tiny little sandwiches that can help you stay on track by not overeating…..or tiny little sandwiches that you feel you need to eat ten of to eat an entire regular sized sandwich. Such a versatile food, right?

For my Labor Day picnic I wanted to do something a little different than the usual cookout foods and thought about sliders. After some trolling around on Pinterest I came across this recipe that sounded delicious and selected it to be the slider recipe on the menu!

Spicy Peach Chicken Sliders

Ingredients:
-1 large yellow onion (sliced thin)
-1 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
-1 cup peaches, sliced (you can use fresh or frozen)
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-3/4 cup bbq sauce
-1 tbl chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (mince peppers
-1 tbl adobo sauce (I just use some of the remainder from the chipotle pepper can)
-1 tsp salt
-Slider buns
-Coleslaw

How to make:

In a slowcooker, place sliced onions and peaches, then top with chicken. Whisk together vinegar, bbq sauce, chipotle peppers, salt, and adobo sauce, then pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low for about 6 hours . Use a fork or your Kitchenaid mixer (paddle attachment) to shred chicken. Serve on sliders topped with coleslaw (you can make your own or purchase). The coleslaw is a great accompaniment to the spice of the chicken!

Enjoy!

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