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Impress At Your Next Holiday Party With Cheap, Healthy Appetizers!

The holidays are fast approaching and with them come office parties, and evenings together with family and friends! As much fun as these parties are, they can become troublesome to your waistline – and your wallet! Creating fresh and delicious holiday appetizers that don’t break the bank can seem overwhelming, but we have you covered! These Cucumber Tuna Cups and Mexican Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers are sure to be a hit, and they won’t break the bank!

Cucumber Tuna Cups

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Preparing cucumbers in a specific way can result in a clever and delicious appetizer. Cut a cucumber into slices measuring 1½ inches thick. Use a spoon to hollow out each slice, creating a tiny bowl. Avoid inserting the spoon straight through the slice. Next, mix a simple tuna salad using canned tuna, mayonnaise, and a dash of salt and pepper. Add additional herbs and spices as desired. Fill each cucumber slice with a scoop of tuna for refreshing bite-sized goodies.

Spicy Version: Canned tuna, mayonnaise, hot sauce to taste.
California Version: Canned tuna, mashed avocado, bacon bits
Protein-Rich Version: Canned tuna, hummus.

Stuffed Mexican Mini Bell Peppers

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For a tasty appetizer that’s easy to both make and eat, buy a batch of mini bell peppers. These colorful vegetables are excellent for livening up any table spread. Cut each bell pepper in half and remove the flesh with a spoon. Set aside on a plate or tray. In a separate bowl, combine your preferred choice of cheese, cooked meat and rice, vegetables, and spices. Fill the hollowed bell pepper halves with the mixture. Top with a generous sprinkling of cheese and spices. Grill for 8-9 minutes or until the sides of each pepper are lightly blackened. The peppers should be soft to the touch.

Mexican Version: Taco meat, avocado chunks, quinoa or rice, salsa.
Mediterranean Version: Tofu, spinach, feta cheese, olives.
Hawaiian Version: Ham, cheddar cheese, pineapple.

For a full list of Cheap DIY Party Appetizers that will impress at your next party, check out the full article on Fix.com

An Enhanced Fruit Bowl

I am always trying to live my healthiest life, Like most, I struggle daily maintaining a healthy but hearty diet. I need meals that are quick and easy so I can grab or throw it together quickly.

This enhanced fruit bowl with cacao nips satisfies my chocolate craving and the coconut adds a hint of sweetness – making it my go-to snack.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy snack as much as I do!

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What you’ll need;

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup pineapple
  • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Cacao Nips
  • 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

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Prep time: 5 – 10 mins
Total Time:  5 – 10 mins
Serves: 1 -2 people
Average calories per bowl: 200 

Directions:

  1. Wash all produce thoroughly
  2. Cut produce to the desired size
  3. Sprinkle chia seeds, cacao nips, and unsweetened coconut flakes on top of your fruit
    *When I need a little extra sweetness I like to add a tbsp. of agave nectar or honey

Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth

Today marks the last day of National Diabetes Awareness Month, which means it its your last chance to drop by both Le Colonial and Brasserie Ruhlmann to indulge in our tasty, curated pix-fixe menu! A percentage of the proceeds from this menu will help us stop childhood obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, and improve eating habits for children locally.

Courtesy of Le Colonial, please enjoy this recipe for their exquisite pan seared cod with a ginger lime broth.

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Pan Seared Cod With Ginger Lime Broth (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

BROTH

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 pieces fresh ginger, each 2 inches long
  • 1 Thai chile, halved lengthwise

FISH

  • 3 pounds Cod fillet
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro stems
  • ½ cup finely minced lemongrass (about 2 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chiles
  • 2¼ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • Fleur de sel, for garnishDIRECTIONS:
  1. To make the broth, trim the lemongrass, leaving only the bottom 5 to 6 inches of the stalks, and peel away the outer layers, leaving only the tender stalks. Bruise the lemongrass by smashing it with a small pot or the dull side of a cleaver. In a medium saucepan over high heat down to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cod into 6 equal pieces and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro stems, lemongrass, olive oil, chiles, garlic, and salt and stir to form a paste. Spread evenly over the tops of the cod fillets.
  3. In a very hot pan, cook the fish until firm to the touch, about 4 minutes per inch of thickness. Just before serving, stir the lime juice and fish sauce to taste into the broth. Place each piece of fish in a bowl and pour ½ cup of the broth around the fish. Garnish with cilantro, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

ENJOY!

Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

Still thinking about what to contribute to tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast? We’ve got you covered with Le Colonial‘s Bittersweet Chocolate Cake. This is the perfect amount of sweet at the end of a filling, savory meal. Just make sure you leave some space! ‘Tis the season to indulge (a little) after all.
We’ve got a week left of National Diabetes Awareness Month- which means you still have time to drop by both Le Colonial and Brasserie Ruhlmann to check out our curated and healthy prix-fixe menu, perfect for when you’re tired of cooking and over of all of the Thanksgiving leftovers.
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Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 tablespoons stick butter or margarine
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (61%)
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar-free apricot preserves or apricot spreadable fruit
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups Equal Spoonful or Granulated*
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz of Frangelico liqueur * May substitute 36 packets Equal sweetener
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. For Torte, heat 6 tablespoons butter, 4 ounces dark chocolate, milk, preserves and coffee crystals in small saucepan, whisking frequently until chocolate is almost melted.
  2. Remove pan from heat; continue whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk in egg yolk and vanilla.
  4. Add Equal and Frangelico, whisking until smooth.
  5. Lightly grease bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment or waxed paper.
  6. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks in large bowl.
  7. Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites; fold in combined flour and salt.
  8. Pour cake batter into pan.
  9. Bake in preheated 350 F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  10. Carefully loosen side of cake from pan with small sharp knife, which will keep cake from cracking as it cools.
  11. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until chilled.
  12. Remove cake from pan and place on serving plate.
  13. Garnish top of cake with dollop of crème fraiche, fresh raspberries and fresh mint, if desired.
  14. Cut cake into wedges.

ENJOY!

Spiced Grain Salad

We continue to bring you healthy recipes from our collaboration with Brasserie Ruhlmann for National Diabetes Awareness Month. Today, check out how to make this spiced grain salad! Including the sauce, the couscous, the vegetables, all the way down to the vinaigrette!

And don’t forget- you can order this and more from a Diabetes friendly menu at both Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial through the end of the month!

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Spiced Grain Salad with roasted vegetables and a curried sherry vinaigrette.

Romasco Sauce

  • 16oz Piquillo pepper
  • 0.5oz Jalapeno chopped
  • 2oz Almonds chopped
  • 1oz Breadcrumbs
  • 1pc Garlic
  • 0.1oz Cumin
  • 0.1oz Cayenne
  • 2oz Sherry wine
  • 4oz Olive oil

Combine the peppers, jalapeno, almonds, crumbs; cumin, cayenne and sherry within a blender until smooth slowly drizzle in the oil until thickened. add salt and pepper

Spiced Couscous Salad

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 to 5 cardamom seeds
  • 2 strings of saffron
  • ½ cup chopped dried cranberry
  • 1 pound couscous
  • 2.5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled/diced or crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • pinch of diced / dried chili pepper
  • ½ of each bell pepper diced, red, yellow and green
  • 1 Spanish onion diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked faro wheat
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berry
  • 1/2 fennel bulb – diced
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 4 diced Portobello mushroom – roasted in a pan
  • ¼ cup parsley – chopped

To make the Spiced Couscous: Bring vegetable stock to a boil and reserve.

Heat the olive oil, add spices and cook till its aromatic, add the couscous and lightly toast, 2-3 minutes. Top with the boiling stock, stir once and cover with plastic wrap. Allow this to cook for 10-15 minutes. Once the couscous is cooked and all liquid absorbed, separate all the grains using a fork.

Heat up 2 tablespoon of olive oil, add ginger, chili, onions and garlic, and then add bell peppers, cook lightly, reserve.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, wheat berry, faro wheat, spiced couscous, bell pepper mixture, raw fennel, roasted Portobello, grated carrot, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Reserve hot.

Roasted Root Vegetables (equal parts)

  • Bell pepper
  • Baby carrots – peeled

Blanched vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Wax beans

Row vegetables

  • Snap peas
  • Avocado

To make the Roasted Root Vegetables: In a large bowl, toss each individual vegetables in olive oil, honey, crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; put each vegetable onto a sheet pan and roast at 500°f until tender and caramelized; repeat for all vegetables separately.

Curried Sherry Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons madras curry
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar

To make the Curried Sherry Vinaigrette:  In a medium sauce pot over low heat, toast the madras curry powder for 5-7 minutes until fragrant; add the honey and slightly caramelize. Combine with the olive oil and sherry vinaigrette. Cool and reserve.

To make the Spiced Couscous Salad:  Season the grain salad with a small amount of the curried sherry vinaigrette. In a salad bowl, spoon a small amount of the warm grain salad in the bottom. Warm a mixture of the roasted vegetables in the oven and place above the grain salad. Finish with a small amount of the curried sherry vinaigrette and sage and thyme from the roast vegetables.

ENJOY!

Panna Cotta

This delicious Panna Cotta recipe comes from our collaboration with Brasserie Ruhlmann for National Diabetes Awareness Month. Try making it for your friends and family this holiday season!

Don’t forget you still have time to enjoy our curated prix-fixe menus at both Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial until November 30th! Part of the proceeds will go towards raising awareness of how it is to live with diabetes and how to prevent the disease.

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Panna Cotta (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • Vermont Butter & Cheese
  • Crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 gelatin sheets
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat brings the milk, scraped vanilla bean and sugar to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the gelatin sheets, buttermilk and the heavy cream.
  3. Using a fine sieve strain mixture into a clean mixing bowl.
  4. Carefully fold in the crème fraiche into the milk and sugar mixture.
  5. Pour into six 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
TO SERVE:
Served cold, top the Panna Cotta with fresh seasonal fruit
ENJOY!

Roasted Organic Chicken

As part of our collaboration with Brasserie Ruhlmann for National Diabetes Awareness Month, please enjoy this roasted chicken recipe!  Also, remember that all month long, you can order a diabetes friendly menu at Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial NYC, curated by Lyfebulb.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole roaster chicken, 5 to 7 pounds, giblets removed, rinsed and dried well
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place the dried chicken in a large roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently slide a spoon between the breast meat and the skin to separate the two. Do this on each side. Then using about 1 or 2 teaspoons per side, put some of the mixture under the breast skin and rub it around.
  3. Use the remaining mixture to rub all over the rest of the bird. Tuck the wings under the bird so that the tips don’t burn and tie up the legs with some kitchen twine to cook more evenly
  4. Put the chicken in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees, roast for about 2 hours.
  5. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

November: National Diabetes Awareness Month

Happy November!

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Today marks the beginning of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

At Lyfebulb, our mission is to improve the quality of life of those living with chronic disease. We have a special focus on Diabetes, as our founder, Karin Hehenberger, has Type 1 Diabetes herself.

Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce insulin, and requires daily shots of insulin to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Type 2 Diabetes is the result of the body’s inefficient use of insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 29 million people in the United States have Diabetes, and 86 million have prediabetes. Lack of awareness about Diabetes combined with insufficient access to health services can lead to blindness, amputations, and kidney failure. Persons afflicted by both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes benefit from healthy diet and regular exercise.

Two tenets of The Lyfebulb Philosophy, which we announced yesterday, are to ‘eat well’ and ‘do good.’ With this in mind, we are thrilled to partner with two incredible restaurants – Brasserie Ruhlmann and Le Colonial in NYC – to bring you a special prix fixe menu in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The menus are a result of a collaboration between Lyfebulb and the chefs at the two restaurants to bring you healthy, Diabetes friendly options that limit sugar and carbs. While the menus are great for diabetics, everyone can benefit from a healthier diet.

Check out the menu below. A percentage of all proceeds will go to the Lyfebulb Foundation, which focuses on creating awareness about diabetes, providing education to children about eating healthy, and building a community of patient-to-patient mentorship.

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Lyfebulb Partners with Le Colonial NYC: Coconut Chicken Soup

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The Team at Lyfebulb is proud to partner with a Lyfebulb Favorite in NYC:  Le Colonial NYC in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month!

During the month of November, Le Colonial will feature a very special diabetes friendly three course prix-fixe menu, proceeds from which will benefit the Lyfebulb Foundation and support our mission to improve the lives of those living with chronic disease!

Make sure you stop by the 57th street location during the month of November to try it out – much more information to come.

As a teaser, here is the recipe of one of the sumptuous, and healthy, dishes that will be featured on the menu:

Coconut Chicken Soup or súp gà dừa

coconut-soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (24 fluid ounces) sodium ­free chicken stock
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces across the grain
  • ½ lb (8 ounces) fresh or canned straw mushrooms (drained)
  • One stalk lemongrass
  • 6 fresh bird’s eye chilies (more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • 2­ inch piece of fresh galangal, sliced thinly crosswise
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 limes
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (but have more ready)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1½ cups (12 fluid ounces) full fat coconut milk

Instructions

  • First, concentrate the stock. Put the chicken stock in a wide and shallow saucepan (to ensure fast evaporation), bring it to a boil, and reduce it over medium­ to high heat until the liquid measures half its original volume.
  • Halve (or quarter) the straw mushrooms into bite size pieces; set aside. Any meaty, mild ­flavored mushrooms will do.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalk into 1 ­inch pieces and smash them set aside.
  • Do to the chilies what you just did to the lemongrass; set aside.
  • Remove the stems and the tough veins that run through the middle from the kaffir lime leaves, and tear them up into small pieces. You can also bruise them a little. Set aside.
  • Juice 2 limes; set aside.
  • Put the coconut milk into a 4­ quart pot, followed by concentrated chicken stock, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass pieces, and galangal slices.
  • Bring the mixture slowly to between 160° and 180°F (slightly below a simmer), allowing the herbs to infuse the liquid for about a minute.
  • Keeping the temperature steady, add the mushrooms and the chicken to the liquid; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature. The liquid should never at any point come to a rapid boil. Don’t worry; at 160°­180°F, your chicken will be thoroughly cooked.
  • Stir gently to ensure that the chicken is evenly cooked. (If you want more liquid, add more plain water or unconcentrated broth.)
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, throw in the smashed chilies and remove the pot from heat immediately.
  • Add the juice of 2 limes and the fish sauce to the pot, stir, and taste. Add more lime juice and fish sauce, if necessary. The soup should be predominantly sour, followed by salty. The sweetness comes from natural sugar in the coconut milk.
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve your soup!

 

Halloween Treat: Healthful Hearty Snickers Bars

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Trick or treat! Hall-o-ween is right around the corner! I, like many, have an undying love for all things chocolate, but I am always searching for that “healthy alternative” that fits my lifestyle but also doesn’t compromise taste. Let’s get started, here’s what you will need:

• Cashews
• Coconut milk (substitutes; almond or rice milk)
• Medjool dates, pitted
• Shredded Coconut
• Local Honey
• Peanut Butter (substitutes; any nut butter or PB2)
• Nut of Choice (hazelnuts, peanuts or almonds)

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Prep time: 20 – 30 mins
Total Time: 4.5 – 5 hours
Serves: 6 – 20 people based on cut sizes
Average calories per bar: 80
 

For the base
• 1 1/2 cups cashews
• 1/2 cup shredded coconut
• 8 Medjool dates, pitted
• 3 tbsp local honey
1. In a food processor, process cashews into small pieces.
2. Add in coconut, dates, and local honey and process until a sticky dough forms.
3. Add parchment paper to your dish to prevent sticking.
4. Rolled the sticky dough into a ball to make for a more even layer.
5. Use your palm to flatten the ball and use a silicon spatula to evenly distribute the dough
6. Place in the freezer.

For the caramel
• 8 Medjool dates, pitted
• 1/4 cup peanut butter
• 2 tbsp coconut milk
• 1 tbsp local honey
1. In a food processor, process dated and honey.
2. Add in peanut butter and gradually add in coconut milk until a smooth caramel forms.
3. Remove dough from the freezer.
4. Spread the caramel over the base.
5. Place back in the freezer for easy layer of chocolate

Toppings
• 1/4 cup nut topping of choice ( I LOVE using hazelnuts for their added flavor but used shaved almonds for this recipe – I used whatever I have in my kitchen)
• 1 cup melted chocolate (I use dairy free, soy free chocolate chips, but feel free to use what is in your kitchen)
1. Remove tray from the freezer.
2. Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until completely melted.
3. Pour chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly with a silicon spatula
4. Place back in the freezer until hardened (I normally wait 3-4 hours).
5. Remove from the freezer, cut to desired size and enjoy!

Kale Chips

If you want a salty crunchy snack, but are attempting to maintain a low-carb diet, these are for you. It is extremely easy and tasty.

Pre-heat the oven to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine kale leaves with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like. The great thing about these chips (as is the case with all chips), is that you can experiment with different flavors. If you like garlic, add some garlic powder, if you like spice, add some cayenne pepper. Regardless, the kale is delicious even on its own.

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Once you have mixed the kale with your seasoning, spread it out on a baking tray and place it into the oven.

Let the kale bake for about twenty minutes and then turn your oven to broil to get it extra crispy. Voila! Extremely easy to make and delicious to eat – Kale Chips!

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Chicken Salad with Couscous

Ingredients:

 1 chicken breast

 1 yellow onion

 1 shallot

 1 package of baby kale

 ¼ package of Casablanca pearled tri-color couscous

 Olive Oil

 Balsamic Vinegar

 Soy Sauce

 Dijon Mustard

 Goya Abobo Seasoning

 Oregano

 Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper

This is a hearty salad that is a complete meal all wrapped in one. Begin by cutting the chicken breast into small pieces and marinate it in olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and Abobo seasoning. Prepare your salad dressing by combining a finely chopped shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, and Dijon mustard. Set the dressing aside.

Chop up the onion and begin to sauté in a skillet. Once the onion is soft, stir in the chicken and sauté everything together until the chicken is fully cooked. At the same time, prepare the couscous according to the package instructions.

Once the chicken with onion and the couscous are done, remove from heat and mix the baby kale with the homemade salad dressing.

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Combine the chicken with onion and couscous once both have had the chance to cool down slightly.

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Finally, serve the salad in a bowl and place a portion of your chicken mixture on top. The result is a well-balanced combination of vegetables, carbs, and protein. Hearty enough for a cold winter evening and easy enough to do after a long day at work!

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