Skinnytaste: “One and Done”

Have you seen the new Skinnytaste “One and Done” cookbook? Gina just released it and I’m already obsessed with it!

“One and Done” is all about one pot meals using five different cooking techniques or equipment like a Saute Pan, Dutch Oven, Baking Sheet, Instant Pot, or Air Fryer, and there are modifications for each recipe if you don’t have that specific piece of equipment.

You know how much I love my Cuisinart Toaster Oven with air-frying capabilities, so I was ALL IN on starting with those recipes!

First up, we tried the Gnocchi with Sausage and Garlicky Broccoli Rabe. We substituted the traditional gnocchi for Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi and rather than saute them, we air-fried them at 400 degrees for eight minutes, shaking them up and turning them over halfway through the cooking. This was the DELICIOUS end result:

Second we made a healthy version of Mr. Big’s favorite, Popcorn Shrimp! I paired them with air-fried Alexia Rosemary fries – which was perfect, and less than half the calories or WW Points of the deep-fried versions so, no guilt!

Next up: I’m going to explore some flavors I’m not familiar with: Korean sauces and spices, miso paste, and maybe even turmeric! Gina’s recipes are user-friendly, and give me the confidence to try home cooking things I’d normally only order out in a restaurant. Stay tuned!

What about you? What’s your favorite Skinnytaste recipe? Some of my Skinnytaste favorites, my “oldies but goodies” are:

Avocado Toast with Lemon & Kale 

Slow-Cooked Sweet Barbacoa Pork 

 Waffled Crab Cakes

 

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My New Obsession: Ricotta Toast!

Guys, I’m officially obsessed with ricotta toast. OBSESSED.

Before now I always thought of ricotta as the Italian cottage cheese that goes in lasagna. Not exactly true…

Organic Valley says ricotta is “a creamy white, mild, fresh cheese with a soft texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Traditional Italian cheese-makers originally produced Ricotta from whey left behind in the making of Mozzarella and Provolone (Ricotta translates to “re-cooked”).

Turns out ricotta is used in a lot of baked pasta dishes, but also goes into sweet treats like cannoli and cheesecake, too!

But back to the toasts…

I love the creaminess of the cheese mixed with the crunch of a good piece of whole grain bread. It’s good for any meal of the day, but I really think of it as a breakfast food so I top it with fresh fruit, herbs, eggs, roasted veggies, you name it! It’s also a great vehicle for leftovers – chicken breast, sautéed peppers and onions, you name it! I even used broccoli rabe on one:

I also used leftover roasted butternut squash with Cajun spices and added half a chicken sausage, too:

My favorite is a good piece of whole grain bread toast, topped with lowfat ricotta seasoned with kosher salt and coarse black pepper and some shiitake mushrooms, sautéed with fresh rosemary, like this:

If I’m feeling peckish, I might even add an egg:

The sweet versions are also delicious options! I made one with peaches and fresh basil:

I also made one with a delicious, juicy Honey Crisp apple (though I think it needed a little Mike’s Hot Honey to finish it up):

 

This is my favorite winter appetizer for dinner parties: Crostini with Creamy Ricotta and Chorizo, and here are 9 Ricotta Toast recipes I can’t wait to try next!

What about you? What’s your favorite ricotta toast?

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#WhatIWantToTellYou

Have you seen the #WhatIWantToTellYou hashtag on Instagram this week? Someone had this beautiful idea to create a campaign about what you’d tell your younger self. Kind of like our own version of #itgetsbetter. My friend Jane (@themuchomama) shared her story and it’s spread like wildfire.

I’ve loved seeing everyone’s childhood photos show up in my IG feed. There is a lot of Peter Pan collars, blunt bangs, and 80s hair happening! But it didn’t quite strike a chord with me because my 5 year old self was learning how to do the monkey bars and read books – and she was having a damn good time of it. No, when I think back to the version of myself who needs this message, she’s 25, not 5. 

In full disclosure, I’ve always had to be attune to my mental health and wellness – it’s something I’ve struggled with and thrived despite since second grade. #truestory 

But the age where I just straight struggled was my 20’s. I didn’t trust who I was, didn’t know who I wanted to be, and I didn’t feel deserving or worth success, positive relationships, or even my own time and effort. 

Full disclosure #2: My parents and Big’s parents, and really the whole world can see this, and I thought about not posting it because it’s gritty and real and not the most flattering portrayal of who I was. 

But then I realized, it’s a true testament to who I am now despite all that. 

Lexi, you’re a mess. You’re not messy in the creative, quirky way you aspire to, you’re just a mess. 

Fear and failure to launch is getting the best parts of you professionally. 

Fickle friendships are getting your attention, because they’re easier than letting anyone truly know you. 

Men who are not worthy, and most definitely not treating you with dignity or respect, let alone love, are debasing and devaluing you, because it’s easier to let them because you don’t think someone good would ever love someone your size. 

You eat and drink for comfort, to quell anxiety, to reward yourself, for your amusement, but rarely for fuel. You shame eat in a cyclical fashion: binge, shame, binge, shame, repeat. 

You are wasting your life. There’s no good way to sugarcoat it, so why bother? 

So that’s where you are. But it doesn’t have to be where you stay. 

You have a goodness in you, an inquisitive mind, and a real ability to contribute to the world around you. You need to trust your gut more, and be unapologetically unafraid to take chances – on people and on what you want from your life.

Your gift of gab is going to come in handy – turns out people will actually pay you to do it. #forrealz

There is a world full of other weirdos with big hearts, and you’re going to find some of them where you least expect it, like on a bike or a rower or the internet. And you’ll keep and re-find others, like the one from luau.

There is a man who’s going to change everything. Everything you thought you wanted, and so much more than you ever envisioned in a partner. He’s worldly yet dorky, wicked smart but also funny, and most of all, he’s kind. He’ll support you and push you and inspire you to be so much more than you even thought was possible. 

And girl… wait until you see the body underneath all that shame eating! It is STRONG, vibrant, and it walks SO FAST now! It still loves French fries, but also loves mushrooms, kale and yes, even carrots! #whoknew

You’re going to travel and taste the world, love, you’re going to be a good auntie, a loyal friend, a leader, a #GirlBoss and most of all, you’re going to stop battling the idea of who you should be, and embrace the woman you’ve always been. xoxo 

PS: Blondes really do have more fun.

Fennel Apple Slaw Recipe!

My girl friends from NYC came to visit last weekend, and we were intent on getting in all the Fall things! We danced at a party in a barn, we had dinner al fresco around a campfire, and we went apple picking at an orchard outside New Paltz, NY.

We bee-lined for the Honey Crisp apples, but Mr. Big also wanted Empires, so we got some of those. Then the Jona Golds looked good, so we got some of those, and before I knew it, we filled all filled our bags and now I’ve got dozens of fresh apples to eat!

Fresh apples are great, apples with nut butter are great, apples in breakfast hash are great, but this Fennel Apple Slaw might be the best way I’ve prepped apples all week! It’s lemon-y, sweet, and then you get the crunch of the fennel and celery – perfection!

I used my OXO mandoline to thinly slice:
-1 fennel bulb
-1.5 Honeycrisp apples
-3 stalks of celery

I tossed it all together with:
-Zest of 1 lemon
-Juice of 1 lemon
-2 Tbsp of olive oil
-2 Tbsp of honey 
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
-Kosher salt and coarse-ground pepper

I combined the ingredients, covered it with saran wrap and let it “get happy” in the fridge for an hour, mixing halfway through. When it was time to serve it, I sprinkled the topped with chopped fennel fronds and some more fresh chives for color.

This is SO delicious! What do you think – would you try it?

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