Crock Pot Low-Fat Beef Stew

It’s summertime but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a tasty beef stew on those rainy days that are a natural part of our Pittsburgh summer weather.  If you are looking for a healthier option than usual, check out this recipe from skinnyms.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat, cubed in about 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour for coating the beef
  • 1 cup red wine, (optional non-alcoholic wine or vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red peppers
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, remove leaves from 4 sprigs
  • 2 cups beef broth, fat-free and low-sodium
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

Directions

Coat the beef with the flour, then sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.

In a saucepan over medium heat, brown the floured beef.  Once browned, pour in the wine.  Keep cooking until the sauce is slightly thickened and there is no more alcohol smell (typically about 5 minutes).  When this is done, you can transfer the beef and the sauce into the crock pot.

Start adding to the crock pot, with the sauce and beef, your minced garlic, onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, red pepper, thyme, bay leaves, broth, tomatoes, and the last ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper left.  Place the cover on top and cook on low heat for 8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours.

Serve with a thick, artisan bread to complete the meal, if you are so inclined.

Once done, enjoy!


Sources:  http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-low-fat-beef-stew-recipe/

Copycat Dunkaroo Dip

Looking for an exciting dessert to take to a party or make your friends and family?  This copycat Dunkaroo Dip is easy to make, extremely tasty, and fun.  If you are 90s kid, you will especially love this recipe since it brings back memories of one of the greatest lunch snacks.

Ingredients:

  • I box of Funfetti Cake mix
  • 2 cups of Plain Yogurt (you can substitute fat-free yogurt , Greek yogurt, or soy yogurt)
  • 1 cup lite Cool Whip
  • Your favorite flavor of Teddy Graham’s

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix your Funfetti cake mix, Cool Whip, and yogurt. Make sure to completely whip it up so there are no lumps in it.
  2. Place plastic wrap on top and refrigerate for about 4 hours to chill it.
  3. You can garnish with additional sprinkles if you are so inclined.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Indoor Herb Garden

Are you itching to get your garden started now that spring is here? We certainly are.  There is nothing better than using fresh herbs in all of your recipes.

When starting an indoor or porch garden, you must remember that these herbs need at least 4 hours of sunlight to grow properly.  They also like to be kept in similar temperatures that we do, between 60-70°F.

Each plant is different, so they need to be watered accordingly.  Most won’t need to be watered every day, so you can wait until the soil is slightly dry to water them again.  Plants like basil, mint, parsley, and chives however, like to grow in slightly moist soil.  But, remember this, one way to ruin a plant and cause its roots to rot, is to let it sit, oversaturated in water.  The best way to tell if a plant needs to be watered is to stick your finger about an inch down into the soil to see if it is dry.  If the soil is dry, it is in need of hydration.

Choosing the proper pots is also important when curating your indoor herb garden.  Clay pots are porous and tend to soak up the water your plants need so you will end up watering than more than necessary.  Try glazed or plastic pots for indoor plants that won’t dry out your plants.  The most important thing to make sure is that your pots have drainage holes.  You can use rubber, plastic, or metals plates underneath your pots to catch the excess water runoff.  Start with pots that are at least 6 inches around to give your herbs the room to grow.

For creative ways to house your herb garden, check out Brit & Co’s “20 Ways to Start and Indoor Garden” list for a lot of great, innovative, and space saving ideas.

Don’ts:

  • DO NOT use 1 planter for all of your plants.
    • They each need their own room to grow.
  • DO NOT just use any dirt you find outside.
    • Since these plants won’t be planted in the ground, they will be missing out on the natural nutrients the soil provides them.
    • Use potting soil that is rich in nutrients.
  • DO NOT over water your plants.
    • Give the plant some time to soak up that water and for its soil to dry out a bit.
    • If you see yellow leaves on your plants, which means you are overwatering.

And remember this, your plants will tell you when something is wrong with them.

Below are some of our recommendations for herbs to grow indoors all year long.

Basil

  • Needs as much sun as possible.
  • Keep the soil moist, but well-drained.
  • Benefits
    • Anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial which helps the body fight disease
    • Great anti-oxidant
    • Cancer fighter
    • Pain & fever reducer
    • Immune system booster
  • Favorite Use: in Caprese salads, with strawberries in water

Mint

  • Can thrive in minimal light, but it is best if you can get it a few hours of sunlight a day.
  • Benefits
    • Helps with digestion & weight loss
    • Nausea, fatigue, & headache relief
    • Helps with memory loss
    • Good for your skin since it is an anti-inflammatory & for relieving dryness on your scalp
  • Favorite Use: combined with fruit in water

Parsley

  • Parsley loves to be drenched in sunlight and having moist soil.
  • Benefits
    • Packed with every essential daily vitamin
    • Aids in bone health
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Immune booster
    • Aids digestion
    • Contains antioxidants that battle the effects of aging
  • Favorite Use: in Israeli Salad (check out our recipe)

Thyme

  • Grows best when is has 6 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Benefits
    • Natural insect repellant
    • Useful in antiseptics
    • Helps lower blood pressure
    • Has antibacterial properties
    • Immunity booster
    • Used to help lessen stomach issues
  • Favorite Use: as a substitute for dried parsley in soups

Rosemary

  • The best way to grow Rosemary indoors is to start with a plant from a nursery, not with seeds, and plant in fresh, dry soil.
  • Benefits
    • Has memory boosting capabilities
    • Pain reliever
    • Protector of your immune system
    • Detoxes your body
    • Anti-aging properties
    • Helps heal skin conditions because of its antiseptic properties
      • Acne
      • Eczema
      • Psoriasis
      • Dandruff
    • Promotes healthy hair and growth
  • Favorite Use: as a finishing touch with fish and chicken dishes

 


https://bonnieplants.com/library/how-to-grow-herbs-indoors/

http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2012/01/13­_herbs_worth_growing_indoors.html

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/a19745/winter-herb-garden/

 

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Are you a fan of hearty crock-pot meals during the cold winter months?  Slow cooked, flavor packed, and healthy, this stuffed peppers recipe from Damn Delicious will surely warm you up and fill your belly.  These peppers are stuffed with brown rice (or quinoa if you’d like to be healthier), ground beef or turkey, beans, corn, salsa, and a sprinkling of cheese.  I think I know what you’ll be making for dinner tonight!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (you can add more to fit your tastes)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Optional:  sour cream to top

Directions

  1. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with a nonstick cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef (or turkey), rice (or quinoa), 1 cup cheese, black beans, corn, salsa, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into each bell pepper.
  3. Place peppers into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat for 2-3 hours or until the peppers are tender and the meat is cooked through.
  4. When cooked, top with the remaining cheese, cover, and cook until the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Oatmeal Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes: A Healthy Alternative

By: Ashley Kirsch

Do you like blueberry pancakes? If so, I suggest trying Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe for oatmeal blueberry yogurt pancakes. This is a healthy alternative to the traditional pancake recipe. These oatmeal blueberry yogurt pancakes can be gluten free (if chosen) and are simple to make. They take a total of ten minutes to prepare. Five minutes are for prepping and five minutes for cooking.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 container (5.3 oz) blueberry or vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions

  1. Start by placing all of the ingredients, except the blueberries, into a blender. Then, blend until smooth. Set the batter aside to thicken for a few minutes.
  2. Next, lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium/low heat.
  3. Then, drop ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet and add a few blueberries on top. Cook until bubbles appear on top of the batter.
  4. Flip the pancakes and cook until they are golden brown on the underside.
  5. Finally, wipe the skillet clean and repeat with more cooking spray and the remaining batter.

Start off on the right foot this New Year by making subtle changes to your diet. Enjoy these healthy oatmeal blueberry yogurt pancakes, and let us know what you think!

Ashley Kirsch
Babb, Inc. Marketing Intern
Slippery Rock University Public Relations Student

Source: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/12/oatmeal-blueberry-yogurt-pancakes-gluten-free-high-protein/

10 Infused Water Recipes to Try

Infused water has recently become a huge trend. Many people prefer a drink with some flavor, which is why we often find ourselves grabbing a sugary flavored option. However, people are finding that by infusing their water with fruits, vegetables, and herbs, they are more willing to drink water.

Deciding what to infuse with your water can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task with so many different flavor options. You have to think about flavors and combinations that appeal to your taste buds and infusing water also takes some prep time. Have no fear though, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favorite flavor combos and with a little bit of effort for prep, you’ll be making some great water infusion flavor combinations in no time.

  1. Strawberry & Basil – Start by picking off the green leaves on the strawberries. Once that is done cut off the tops and slice the strawberries.  The basil can either be used as a whole leaf or as torn up pieces.  2-3 big strawberries and a handful of basil is all you will need. 
  2. Lemon & Mint/Basil/Rosemary/Lavender – You will only need 2-3 slices of a lemon for this recipe. If you only use 2 slices, they can be a little thicker.  We suggest halving each slice to really get that lemony flavor into the water.  Use about 5-6 big leaves of mint or Basil which can be used as whole leaves, torn up, or muddled and the rosemary and lavender can be used whole or muddled.  Muddling your herbs will bring out more of an intense flavor from these plants.
  3. Blueberry, Lemon, & Mint – Grab a handful of blueberries and 2 slices of lemon. Halve the lemon slices and you can either put the blueberries in whole or slice them up.  If you decide to slice them up, we suggest using less blueberries.  The mint can either be used whole, halved, or muddled and you can use 5-6 large leaves.
  4. Blackberry & Mint/Basil – Take a handful of blackberries and either 5-6 leaves of your mint or basil and place them in your bottle, pitcher, or infuser.
  5. Grapefruit & Mint/Rosemary – Grapefruit is a bit trickier. You can both take the rind off of the whole thing and slice it up like an orange or you can leave the rind on and still slice it up like an orange.  If using mint, it can used whole, halved, or muddled and rosemary would be best if muddled and 5 big leaves work best.
  6. Blackberry, Raspberry, & Basil – Take a handful or blackberries and raspberries and keep a handful basil whole and you will get a great berry flavored water with a twist.
  7. Cucumber, Lemon, & Mint – When slicing your cucumber, skin it first, use 3-4 cucumber slices and halve them for the best taste. Use 2 slices of lemon, halved, and a handful of mint leaves, whole, to complete the recipe.
  8. Blackberry, Lemon, & Lavender – Start off with a handful of blackberries and 2 slices of lemon, halved. Finish off with a few sprigs of lavender, how many is up to you depending on how lavender flavored you would like it.  If you want a stronger lavender taste, muddle the leaves.
  9. Cucumber & Basil – First, skin your cucumber. Then, slice off 4-5 pieces and halve them.  You can use a handful of basil leaves either whole, halved, or muddled, depending on your preferences.
  10. Lemon, Raspberry, & Rosemary – Use 2 slices of lemon, halved, a handful of raspberries, and a few springs of rosemary in your bottle, pitcher, or infuser. If you like a stronger rosemary flavor, muddle it before you put the raspberries and lemon in the container.