Blueberry Frozen Yogurt – 4 Smart Points

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Last summer, some of my friends made some blueberry ice cream that was just amazing. It was made with whole milk and fresh blueberries, sweetened with honey, and was absolutely fabulous. This summer, I decided to try it, but ended up making frozen yogurt instead. I’m lactose intolerant, so I can only do a very small amount of ice cream before I end up regretting my decision. Starting with yogurt and making frozen yogurt seemed like a great alternative. And it was. I started with fat free Greek yogurt. It provided a delicious and creamy base for the dessert, but without the fat. I used plain yogurt since I wanted to add a bit of honey for flavor, and the vanilla was easy enough to add as well. I used my frozen yogurt and sorbet maker from Cuisinart, but you can use any ice cream maker you have. Alternatively, just stick the mixture in the freezer and you’ll end up with a very tasty dessert just as easily as you would have with an ice cream maker.

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Blueberry Breakfast Parfait – 10 Smart Points

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait

One of my favorite breakfasts is a parfait. I don’t always layer it nicely in a pretty glass bowl, but I love to combine fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. It’s quick and easy, always delicious and packed with nutrients. I like to have low fat yogurt on hand and a whole grain, low sugar granola as well so I can toss it together. It helps provide me with a great breakfast with minimal effort, so I get a great breakfast even when I’m too lazy to do much for breakfast. With this one, I sprinkled in my favorite granola, as well as some chia seeds and ground flaxseed. This gives me lots of fiber to start the day out with too. The protein and fiber help me to last longer and I don’t get the munchies as bad (my munchies are typically cravings for chips, candy, and other things like that). One way that I changed this parfait a little was to mash some fresh blueberries with a mini potato masher so that I had a layer (or two) or fruit sauce. It’s a great way to sweeten the low fat plain yogurt without adding any extra sugar to it.
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Strawberry Blender Muffins – 5 Smart Points

Strawberry Muffins

Fresh strawberry muffins are one of my favorites. About a year ago, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe for fresh strawberry muffins that I fell in love with. They were so tender, delicious and moist. The fresh strawberries made them really tasty. My only problem with them was the fact that they were a little involved to make. The way to get them to turn out perfectly involved sifting dry ingredients, creaming butter and sugar, and so on. I’m someone who likes to toss baking recipes together all in one bowl, mix and be done. So I went on the search for a simple and delicious replacement for my favorite strawberry muffins. I found these blender muffins that were just perfect. Originally, they had bananas in the recipe, so I tried it without first and just added the strawberries. They’re OK that way, but the bananas add the extra moistness that they really needed to be tasty. Everything, except the fresh strawberries, gets tossed in the blender (or food processor), pureed and then fold in the strawberries. They’re ready to go in just a few minutes, and bake in a few more minutes. Fresh out of the oven they are just amazing. I’m really enjoying my new strawberry muffin recipe, especially since if I use gluten free oats, they’re gluten free, and have no need for me to adjust flours. They’re easy, tender, moist and really delicious. They’re perfect for breakfast or snack – whether they’re fresh and warm or leftover.

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Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie – 9 Smart Points

Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie

One of the best things about June, in my opinion, is that there is so much produce that comes into season. It’s perfect for all sorts of delicious, seasonal and healthy food. Smoothies are something that I really enjoy. They’re a quick and easy breakfast or snack. Since I’m usually the only one to eat the smoothie, I’ll make up the whole recipe, then leave the other half of the smoothie in the fridge for a snack later on in the day, or breakfast for the next day. One thing I noticed with this wonderful strawberry banana smoothie is that it’s important to make sure you let the blender blend for quite a while. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to start with the oats, pulse them into a flour and then add the rest of the ingredients. The first time I tried it, I just tossed everything in together (like I always do for smoothies). But between the oats and the frozen strawberries, it wasn’t as delicious and creamy as I was expecting. The next time, I blended the oats first then added everything else and it worked much better. Give this one a try – with sweet and juicy strawberries, protein packed yogurt and heart healthy oats, you can’t go wrong. [Read more…]

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Fresh Blueberry Muffins – 6 Smart Points

Blueberry Muffin

In addition to some projects we were working on last weekend, my in-laws also brought us some really delicious, fresh, ripe blueberries. I love blueberries. Growing up, my grandparents lived on the coast of Washington. Grandma had the most amazing blueberry patch ever. It was about 6 feet by 10 feet and completely encased in a large chicken wire cage, to keep the birds out. The only downside was the bugs, because we could go in there and have as many blueberries as we could eat. Each summer, I try to get some fresh blueberries so that I can freeze them to add to sauces, muffins and all sorts of other things the rest of the year. A few blueberries have to be saved to be eaten fresh, and a few have to be used in a special recipe. This years special recipe was fresh blueberry muffins.

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Peach Dumplings – 5 Smart Points

Peach Dumplings

I’ll admit I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest. As someone who not only write recipes and meal plans for a living, but also sews, quilts and knits, I can spend hours looking at projects and ideas. When I saw a recipe for peach dumplings, I just had to try it. I ended up combining several recipes, since I wanted to use fresh peaches, not canned peaches. I love how easy these were to make and they were so delicious! They’re a cute little dessert that goes so well with ice cream (at least for the family and friends). But they go just as well with a dab of fat free cool whip or a little non fat Greek yogurt. If you’re looking for a little twist, these can also be made with wonton wrappers, and be just as cute and delicious. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, since they may not take as long to bake. If using wonton wrappers, you should also brush them with a beaten egg white so they turn that beautiful golden brown. But no matter what you use for the wrapper, these are definitely keepers for my family, they’re so simple and elegant but incredibly delicious. [Read more…]

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Mint Lemonade Slushy – 0 Smart Points

Mint Lemonade Slushy

With the first whiff of Spring this year, I was already beginning to crave cool summer drinks and treats. One of my favorites is this Mint Lemonade Slushy recipe. I fist had one of these drinks on a trip to Israel, where it’s referred to as “limonana”. Under the hot desert sun, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more refreshingly delicious drink! The original recipe uses sugar as a sweetener, but to cut out those calories and Points, I just replaced the sugar with organic stevia. Honestly, I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners of any kind, and I try to avoid them when I can. But there are some times where I just HAVE to have one of these Mint Lemonade Slushies, and I don’t want to blow a ton of my precious Smart Points to have one. So I use the Stevia, and this recipe ends up costing me 0 Points. Yay! When I make it for my kids, I sweeten it with honey instead of the Stevia, and they LOVE it. It’s not hard to see why….it is SO FLIPPING’ GOOD. It’s truly there perfect poolside drink. And if you want add some extra excitement and turn this into an adult beverage, feel free to blend it with some vodka or gin…just be sure to factor in those points. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Shortcake – 8 Smart Points

Strawberry Shortcakes

Everyone needs to have dessert on a regular basis. Or at the very least, everyone needs a treat on a regular basis. In my experience, if you don’t splurge and indulge your craving, you’ll end up out of control one day. I like to have a variety of dessert recipes on hand so when I see the ingredients, or get the craving, I can put something together and have a treat. For me, the trick is to make sure there are individual servings of the dessert, so I don’t go overboard with the piece of cake or brownie that I cut. Strawberry shortcake is perfect for that. When I bake with wheat flour, I really like to use a very light whole wheat flour. It looks, tastes and feels like regular all-purpose flour, but it packs a lot more nutrients into each serving. These shortcakes came out perfect – tender and light. When you top them with whipped topping and sweet strawberries, you can’t go wrong. Since the strawberries are zero points, that’s where I splurge and add a few more to satisfy my sweet tooth. If you don’t like fat free whip topping, go with a creamy fat free Greek yogurt, and flavor it with a little vanilla. Whichever topping you use, these are definitely a family favorite! [Read more…]

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Arugula Chicken Salad – 6 Smart Points

Arugula Chicken Salad

I’m always looking for new and delicious dressing recipes. I love to have salads, and one of the ways I like to keep my salads fresh and interesting is by changing up my dressings. I typically make my own dressing, since I can alter it however I want, and make enough for just a couple of salads. I wanted to try a tangy mustard dressing, and this one fits the bill. I like the tangy Dijon mustard and cider vinegar that is rounded out with the delicious shallots. I tried it with arugula, chicken breast and strawberries. It’s a delicious combination that is light and refreshing. The strawberries add enough sweet to complement the dressing perfectly, the arugula is light and fresh and the chicken adds the savory protein to help get you through to the next meal. It’s a simple and delicious salad that’s great for a quick lunch during the week. [Read more…]

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Tossed Salad with Pears – 4 Smart Points

Tossed Salad with Pears

I am someone who isn’t a big fan of blue cheese. I can handle it if there isn’t too much of it and it isn’t too strong. But I thought I’d give this salad a try, and figured I could always pick the cheese out if I needed to. Turns out, I didn’t need to. I was surprised that the strong and sharp flavor of the blue cheese worked so well with the balsamic vinaigrette and the sweet pears. It turned out to be a delicious salad. While the recipe calls for fresh pears, canned pears (canned in juice, then drained), could be chopped and added just as easily. Dress the salad and sprinkle on the blue cheese just before serving, or the cheese can overpower the flavor of the dressing and the pears. The tender and mild baby lettuce leaves were perfect to balance out the rest of the flavors. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t care for blue cheese, or can’t have it, you can leave it out, or substitute a feta (or similar cheese) for it. [Read more…]

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Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit – 7 Smart Points

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit

I enjoy breakfast cereals, but I like to have my breakfast cereals a little “spruced up”. I like my oatmeal to have plenty of fruit added for sweetness and for flavor. I love to add rhubarb sauce to my oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, strawberries or anything I happen to have on hand. I decided to switch up my breakfast cereals a little bit by making some quinoa. I like quinoa but I usually make it with chicken broth. I made it with milk this time and then sweetened it with a little bit of honey. Add fresh fruit on top and you have a delicious breakfast that is packed with protein, fiber and flavor. I added blueberries, bananas, apples and a few almonds to mine, but you can use any fruit you have on hand. If you like quinoa, make up a couple of cups and then put it in the fridge. Just heat it and add your toppings for a quick breakfast. If you’re not a huge fan of quinoa, but like the change from the typical oatmeal, mix the quinoa and rice to make a risotto. It lightens the flavor of the quinoa, but you still get a delicious change from the typical breakfast cereals.
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Green Olive and Apricot Chicken Recipe – 7 Smart Points

Green Olive and Apricot Chicken

Heaven on a dish, this delightfully easy chicken recipe packs a tremendous flavor punch. The sweet and salty flavors of the olives and apricots are a dream, and the bit of caramelization from the chicken just makes this meal melt in your mouth. If you aren’t a fan of apricots, this dish would work well with dried prunes or figs too. And I love how simple it is to prepare! I literally had it in my fridge within 5 minutes, then I just let it sit overnight, so by the time the next evening rolled around, I simply had to toss it in the oven and forget about it. Serve with your favorite salad or steamed veggies, and serve atop some warm, while wheat couscous if you have a few extra Points to spare.

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