Goodness, it’s been a loooooooong week. I’m very thankful that it is over, except I thought yesterday was Friday almost all day. Ugh. The. Worst.
But, the good thing about yesterday is that I was featured in Women’s Running magazine for my “expertise” in running back-to-back races! I haven’t picked up my own copy yet (I’m hoping Target is still carrying Women’s Running), but one of my Rock ‘n’ Blog colleagues posted this! Bucket list item – check!
This past weekend we celebrated September and October birthdays with my extended family. While we pretty much always have a meal to enjoy together, we also tend to fill up on tons of appetizers before our meal – and always have LOTS of leftovers. I decided to add to the appetizer selection by making two “healthier” snacks to share. I use the term healthier lightly because while I did substitute some ingredients to lower the calories and sugar and up the protein, I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as “healthy”. But, I’m a BIG believer in everything in moderation, so these certainly suit the bill.
First one up, Creamy Cheesy Bean Dip. I made this for MacKenna’s birthday party and I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s sort of a variation of my mom’s classic, Molly’s Super Dip (also known as Texas Trash), but made in the crockpot instead. If you don’t have taco seasoning, chili powder and cumin can be easily substituted.
1 cup Chobani plain Greek yogurt
16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese
1 15-ounce can refried beans
1 cup salsa
2 heaping cups of Mexican-style cheese
1 packet taco seasoning
Combine all the ingredients (except for the tortilla chips) in a crockpot. Cook on high for 2 hours or until hot.
I love using Greek yogurt as a substitute for not-so-healthy ingredients like sour cream and oil. I was on a role with the bean dip, so I decided, what the heck! I had some Greek yogurt left so why not make one of my favorite pumpkin treats using Greek yogurt in place of the oil. I also decided to use A LOT less sugar than usual (from 3 cups down to 1 cup) and substituted Nektar Naturals for the sugar/brown sugar.
Nektar Naturals is a not-so-messy honey. It is actually honey crystals – so the sweetness and flavor of honey without having to spray a measuring cup or spoon before dumping the honey in. It’s completely comparable to sugar or honey as well (meaning 1 tablespoon is equal to 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar). It tastes really good as well – I prefer the taste of honey over sugar anyway, so this was a no-brainer.
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
6 ounces pumpkin beer (I used O’Fallon Pumpkin Ale this time around)
1/2 cup Chobani plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup Nektar Naturals (or sugar)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (it’s CHEAP at ALDI!)
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray two bread pans with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, beer, eggs, yogurt, butter, and Nektar Naturals. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX! Mix until just combined. Equally pour batter into both bread pans and smooth the top (it just makes it look prettier).
Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
Both things seemed to be a big hit. We did end up having some leftover (like I said, we had A LOT of food), but my mom has come over to our house for lunch a few times this week and has snuck a piece of bread. I know my uncle said it wasn’t as good as he was expecting, but keep in mind, with a lot less sugar, this is more of a savory bread than a sweet bread. Matt and I have also made it as French toast and it is absolutely delicious! Take one to your football tailgate this weekend… you’re welcome!
**Disclosure: I was sent Nektar Naturals in exchange for a blog post. As always, all opinions are my own.**