Maple Orange Brussels Sprouts

It’s happening again… I’m going through one of those phases where I’m cooking up a storm.  I find myself adding tons of new ingredients to my cabinet and telling my friends YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS ONE!

I know they’re getting sick of it… but I only have their tastebuds in mind.  And, I’m sending them food porn.  You know those decadent yummy pictures of food that make you drool… yep, I’m loading them up.

Saturday night… this was the picture flying around from phone to phone.  What do you think?  Drool-worthy or what?

Yep, this picture got passes around a little bit.  The char on the brussels sprouts, those toasted almonds, and the idea of a maple/orange glaze.  I like to think I had (and have) you guys drooling from East to West!

Ok, it’s time to stop drooling and to start cooking.  This recipe is INCREDIBLY easy and only has FOUR main ingredients (minus the salt and pepper and oil.)  The maple orange is going to tantalize your tastebuds.  Consider this a warning… Enjoy!

Maple Orange Brussels Sprouts

From Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes – Winter 2013

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 navel orange

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. olive oil

4 1/2 cups trimmed Brussels Sprouts, halved

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Grate rind and squeeze juice from orange to measure 1/2 tsp. rind and 2 Tbsp. juice.

2.  Combine rind, juice, syrup, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

3.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add Brussels Sprouts.  Saute for 6 minutes, or until sprouts are tender.

 4.  Add pecans.  Saute 1 minute or until pecans are toasted.

5.  Remove pan from heat; stir in syrup mixture.

6.  Remove to a bowl and serve as a side dish to your favorite protein.

Per 3/4 cup serving:

CAL 146; FAT 7.5g; PROT 4.5g; CARB 18.8g; FIB 5g; CHOL 0mg; SOD 177mg; WW Points Plus 4

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Weight Watchers Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

Before we get into today’s recipe, can I show you something fabulous that I found this weekend???

Isn’t it gorgeous??? It’s for my bedroom and it’s an amazing gray canvas… pretty big in size, and it’s going to live over my bed.  I’m ecstatic!

Things have been a little eh lately, so I needed some retail therapy… but I never expected to stumble on something as wonderful as this!

Overall, I’ve been feeling the need to spruce up a bit.  Try new things with my hair, new clothing combinations… and I guess a little redecorating!   There’s something about mixing it up that I just love, and that applies to my salads as well.

I’m always looking for new salad dressings to try.  I hang on tightly to my old standbys – Cardini Light Caesar, Kraft Light Asian Sesame, and Marzetti’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette.

When I stumbled across this dressing, I HAD to make it immediately.

Butter lettuce is one of my weekly grocery staples, and this dressing tastes AMAZING on my favorite greens.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you seriously should soon.  It tastes like BUTTAH…

Weight Watchers Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

From Weight Watchers

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

6 Tbsp. skim milk

1/4 cup water

4 tsp. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk.

2.  Place in a dressing bottle, and refrigerate.

3.  Use 1 1/2 Tbsp. on your favorite salad.

Per 1 1/2 Tbsp. Serving:

CAL 48; CARB 4g; FAT 3g; PROT 1g; FIB 0g; SOD 128mg; WW Points Plus: 1

Note:  The dressing comes out a little thin and liquidy, but that makes it even better!  One of the reasons that we tend to overdress our salads is because the dressing doesn’t appear to coat all of the greens.  The good news about this dressing is that a little bit goes a long way.  You’ll love it.  LEAVE the water in the dressing… even if you’re tempted to take it out.  You won’t be sorry!

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Tea Time

After a very lazy weekend, Sunday arrived all too quickly and I had to set that dreaded alarm clock.  Are you the same way?  Does the idea of setting an alarm clock on the weekend make you wince?

Well, the good news is that I had a fun event to go to.  I am involved in an alumnae chapter here in the Denver area, and a group of ladies and I get together on a somewhat monthly basis at different venues throughout the city.  When I first moved to Denver, joining this group made it SO much easier to meet people and I’ve always had a fondness for it as a result.  I especially love seeing new faces at these events of people that are also trying to connect after moving cross-country.

I usually play cruise director when it comes to our monthly events, but for January, my friend Jillian offered to help coordinate the event and chose Boulder as our backdrop.  Things have been so hectic that it was nice to have someone else to do the planning for our group – – Thanks, Jill!

Not only did we have brunch planned at a lovely teahouse in Boulder, but there were also arrangements made for the group to tour Celestial Seasonings!  Having a busy Sunday planned, I opted out on the trip to Celestial Seasonings (which I had already toured), but met the ladies for lunch.

The Dushnabe Teahouse was actually a gift from Tajikistan, believe it or not.  Boulder established its sister city ties back in 1987, and artisans in Tajikistan went to work crafting this beautiful teahouse in its honor.

The exterior of the building is just as gorgeous as the interior, with hand crafted tiled panels surrounding the building.  Once you arrive inside, you are greeted by the Fountain of the Seven Beauties and exquisite tiled ceilings.  No detail was spared in the creation of this beautiful tea house.

Fountain of the Seven Beauties

The Ceiling

We had quite a large group and the restaurant was awesome to accommodate us so well.  We all started off with some tea.  I’m not a HUGE tea drinker, but I do enjoy the herbal infusions (i.e. Candy Cane Lane, Sleepytime Tea, etc.) so I picked a flavor that was called “7 Chakras.”

It had a blend of berries and flowers and tasted AMAZING!  The little teapot had a strainer with loose leaf herbs, which was also a first.  Our server brought out a timer to let us know when our tea had steeped long enough.  Delish!  I only wish I had drank more of it before it got cold!

The menu really had a large variety of international cuisine.  Everything from Polish to Indian to Thai, the menu had a ton to choose from.  I went with the Asian Chicken Salad.  It came with soy and sweet chili seared chicken, napa cabbage, greens, red pepper, carrot, and a soy vinaigrette.  Per the menu, it also is served with crispy wontons, but I asked them to leave them off this time.

It was REALLY flavorful and JUST what the doctor ordered.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good this salad was, and the dressing was really interesting as well.  It was mostly soy sauce, but in the best possible way.

After lunch and quite a lot of chatting, we got to enjoy a few tasty treats.  My friend Jillian surprised us all with teapot shaped cake pops in honor of the event.

Just a bite of cake and frosting was EXACTLY the right amount of dessert… and she may have even stuffed them with a little surprise chocolate chip cookie dough!  Yum-O!

BTW… Jillian blogs all of her fabulous creations over at Good Morning Sweetums.  Check her recipes out… they are amazing!

If that weren’t enough sweetness, one of the ladies has been living in Switzerland and just happened to be back in town in time for the event.  She treated us with Swiss chocolate… decadent, to say the least!  And, somehow, the chocolate just kept multipling within her bag… Eeks!

I stopped at two little mini squares, but wow… the Swiss REALLY know what they are doing over there.

Before heading out and splitting from the group, we took a quick picture outside of the teahouse.  To my friends who like to travel to Denver, make a note… we’ll be going to the Boulder teahouse when you come into town.  I love this place!

Are you a fan of tea?  Any favorite flavors?

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Boxes Everywhere and a {GIVEAWAY}

No.  I’m not moving, but I do seem to be collecting boxes.

There are so many companies out there right now that are running monthly subscription services, where you get a box each month with fun products in them.  Over the past few months, I’ve actually received THREE and have been meaning to tell you about them.

All three of the companies reached out to me to have me review their products, so I’m excited to share my thoughts!  AND… one of the three (my favorite) is offering you a chance to get your own box for free!!

PV Body

PV Body was one of the first companies I worked with who offered a subscription service.  Their concept was to provide high quality workout clothes from some of the top names in workout gear for a flat rate of $49.95 per month.  I actually met this company at Fitbloggin, and they were kind enough to send me a free box.

From their website, you take a very quick style quiz… sharing your sizes, fit preferences (cropped pants v. shorts, tanks v. long sleeves, etc), and how you workout (running v. yoga, etc.)

Their stylists pick out an outfit for you, and mail it to you in a shiny pink envelope.  Kind of fun!

Truth:  The first outfit I received didn’t even come close to fitting, but it was gorgeous high quality Nux clothing.  What you see above is my replacement outfit, which fit perfectly and I loved.

The top is a super comfortable t-shirt from 15 Love, and the pants are great leggings from American Apparel.  Because I had sizing challenges, they also sent me a super-cute water bottle.

My Review:  I was REALLY impressed with the products I received, and I love the idea of getting new workout clothes monthly.  You can even snooze your order, so you can skip a month if you feel you are receiving too much.

Important Note:  They are about to change their product offering beginning next month, switching from sending name-brand clothing to their own line called Ellie.  I haven’t seen this product yet, but PV Body assures that it has outstanding quality at affordable pricing.

To sign up for PV Body, click here on this link.  Doing so, you’ll actually receive a 20% discount for signing up through this review.

Klutch Club

Klutch Club boxes come filled to the brim with $50 worth of nutrition, beverage, supplement, skincare, and fitness products for just $16-$18 a month.  The boxes are built specific for men or women, with different products based upon the box you choose.

Klutch Club is perfect for folks that are health-conscious and interested in sampling products from new brands.

I ordered the “Best of” Box, and was excited for it to arrive.

Check out all that loot!  The box was packed with so many different things:  All natural energy drinks, soap samples, a dehydrated seaweed salad, vitamin supplements, teas, and so much more.

The only problem:  It was received by the pickiest human being on the planet (yours truly) who wasn’t going to eat any of it.  I was thrilled with the Yurbuds headphones (which I started using immediately), but the rest of the items… I wasn’t sure what to do with them.

So… I did what any blogger does, and I posted on Twitter that I had an awesome box of goodies to offer to someone who’d be interested in trying them.  Samantha at Never Say Never responded within seconds, and was the final recipient of my box (minus the headphones since they’d already been in my ears.)

My Review:  This is a great product if you are someone who likes to try new “all natural” products.  If you’re a little squeamish about trying this kind of stuff, skip it.

Nature Box

It is my extreme pleasure to introduce you to Nature Box!

This box was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE of the bunch, and the one that I’m offering as a giveaway today!  Nature Box sends you a VERY generous box of nutritionist-approved snacks to your door monthly for just $19.95 a month. AND… Use the coupon code SNACKHEALTHY and your first box is only $10 (Limited time only!)

Now that you know how it works, let’s take a peek inside the box they sent me…

A full-color card described each of the snacks in the box

There were FIVE full-sized snack bags!

My Nature Box contained:

  • Pistachio Power Clusters – My absolute FAVORITE of the bunch.  Crunchy with a combination of sweet and salty.  SO GOOD!

  • Dried Pears – I have been on a pear kick lately, so these had perfect timing.  They were full pear slices, and chewy deliciousness.  The only thing that was a little strange is that some of the pears still had the seeds in them… don’t worry though, it didn’t slow me down at all!
  • Lemon Pucker Pistachios – I LOVED these too!  They were slightly tart, lemony pistachios… which I’d never had.  I snacked on these at work and they were very filling and delish!
  • Masa Crisps – These vanished quickly.  It said you could eat these with hummus or on salad or in soup.  I wish I had done that… I just ate them alone, and to me they tasted like super-crunchy tortilla chips.

  • Wild Blueberry Flax Granola – I actually didn’t eat this one, but gave it to a co-worker who is very health conscious.  He said it was on the sweeter side, but that he still loved it.  It is described as being packed with antioxidant rich wild blueberries and flaxseeds.  I have no doubt it was delicious as well!
Needless to say, this box REALLY made my week!  BUT… that’s not all, the wonderful folks over at Naturebox have generously offered a free box to one of my fabulous readers!
Here’s your chance to get ONE MONTH of amazing, FREE healthy snacks to try.  To enter, use the Rafflecopter box that appears below.

And, you have another chance to win if you visit my friend Lauren’s blog, who is also running the same giveaway. 

 Note:  Nature Box, Klutch Club, and PV Body provided me with the products above for this review; however, the opinions expressed above are my own.

 

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AWP-DO