Make: Lightened-Up Mushroom, Arugula and Parmesan Crostini

crostini

Photo by Becca Boyd

I find that appetizers tend to fall in one of two camps. On the one side, there are the myriad mayonnaise- and cheese-loaded dips that taste delicious but leave you with the sinking suspicion that you just ate a day’s worth of calories. On the other side, you have to healthy choices like crudités with yogurt dip—definitely lower in calories but also lower in fun.

Like everything in life, I find the middle ground to be the happiest place. I want to be drawn to that appetizer table and itch to go back for seconds while knowing that not only will my mouth be pleased, but my body will benefit. This crostini is heavy on the veg but with the crisp, garlicky toast and the bit of sharp melted cheese, it feels indulgent. Bring this to your next soiree and you’ll steal the show.

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Make: The Low-Cal, Four-Ingredient Dessert You’ll Absolutely Love

Photo by Becca Boyd

Photo by Becca Boyd

Guys, I’m not going to lie: Baking can be hard. It’s like one big chemistry experiment that can go horribly awry if you mis-measure an ingredient by just thiiiis much. It’s why I get phone calls from my friends all the time, who ask me why their cookies got so thin, why their bread didn’t rise, why their cake was dry. And etc.

So today I’m going to introduce you to a dessert that you seriously couldn’t screw up if you tried. Here’s what it involves: melting chocolate, spreading it on a sheet, and topping it with whatever you want. Easy as pie (except this recipe is actually easy, whereas pie is not). What I’m talking about is bark, thin chocolate bites you can customize to your liking. And it’s totally diet-friendly, too: The thinner you spread it, the fewer calories you’ll take in. This is a treat that I can, with complete sincerity, describe as healthy.

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Skinnytaste Cookbook Available for Pre-order

skinnytasteI know a lot of Be Wellers love, love, love the healthy recipe blog Skinnytaste.com, so I wanted to let you know that the Skinnytaste Cookbook is officially available for pre-order. The book will include 150 recipes, including 125 brand-new ones and a handful of tried-and-true fan favorites, along with lovely photos to get your mouth watering.

The book will ship in late October, so if you’re one to really, really plan ahead this could even make for a perfect holiday gift. Look at me, always with the brilliant ideas.

Get you pre-order on (it’s cheapest at Amazon, for $21.77) here. And for more ideas on cookbooks to stock your arsenal, check out these four options from Philly chefs and health gurus.

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Make: Cream-less Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Croutons

Photo by Becca Boyd

Photo by Becca Boyd

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting a soup recipe on a day when temperatures are poised to reach nearly 80 degrees. Here’s why: I eat soup throughout the year—it’s easy to make in big batches, wonderfully freezable, and perfect for grab-and-go lunches—so I don’t let the thermometer determine my soup habits. If you’re a cold-weather soup eater only, save this recipe for Wednesday, when we’re back in the 50s.

This soup is one of my sneakiest recipes to date—sneaky because it tastes so creamy you’ll think it’s loaded with fat and calories, but in fact it’s just the opposite. The low-fat sour cream and buttermilk are the cream-makers here, and they work their magic for a fraction of the bad stuff.

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Make: 100-Calorie Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Photograph by Becca Boyd

I’ve read before that having something sweet with your healthy breakfast helps with cravings and weight loss. That’s why I’ve made a habit of eating a small handful of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips with my coffee, and I munch happily every morning knowing that science backs me up.

Now I’m on a mission to get you to embrace the dessert-for-breakfast concept. Hence: the chocolate chip breakfast cookie. It’s portable, pre-portioned and enough of a treat that you’ll find yourself looking forward to it (which is a boon for you breakfast skippers—yes, I’m judging). It’s perfect for early morning runners or those who like to hit snooze too many times; just freeze the cookies in bags of two and pull a bag out the night before to thaw.

This cookie is totally customizable, too, so if you want to swap the mix-ins, have at it. Just keep the ratios roughly the same.

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Make: Grilled Romaine Hearts and Flank Steak Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

Photograph by Becca Boyd

Photograph by Becca Boyd

I know some of you might disagree with me, but I personally believe that red meat has its place in a healthy diet if you enjoy it and it makes you feel well; it provides nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, and iron, not to mention a boatload of protein. If your budget allows, choose grass-fed, locally raised meat, as it’s better for the environment and your body.

This salad provides everything a good dinner should involve: variety in temperature, color, texture, and nutrients. A feast for your eyes as well as your mouth, it come together quickly for a perfect weeknight dinner.

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Make: Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwich with Hummus, Tomato and Poached Egg

egg sandwich

We eat a lot of organic eggs in my house—and not just for breakfast. Though fried and scrambled eggs go best with toast and fruit, a poached egg is a posh and impressive variation that goes well on almost anything: atop dressed micro-greens, pasta, even burgers. They require a bit of kitchen panache, but once you’ve got the technique down there’s no end to possible uses. Give it a try in this open-faced sandwich and feel free to sub in sliced avocado, bell pepper or cucumber.

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30-Minute Dinner: Orange Sesame Chicken with Whole-Wheat Noodles

Photo by Becca Boyd

Photo by Becca Boyd

I love one-bowl dinners on weeknights, especially ones that lack arbitrary, hard-to-find ingredients. This one is light and healthy, uses easy-to-find ingredients (in fact, I bet most of them are in your pantry and fridge right now), and is a surefire crowd-pleaser. Case in point: My two-year-old daughter devoured it—bonus!

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