In the last post, I talked about Cherry Bombe, an organization whose mission is to support women in food. This week I wanted to talk about another woman who has inspired me to make healthy food choices while still getting to eat some of the comfort foods I crave, Hungry Girl aka Lisa Lillien. I first learned about her from my cousin who is a dietitian and works with people who are looking for weight loss guidance. She told me about Hungry Girl’s daily emails which I signed up for immediately. These emails include all kinds of helpful tips for weight loss and management, new food products, recipes, and more healthful food swaps. I look forward to reading these emails every morning before I drag myself out of bed to get ready for work as I am not a morning person - just ask anyone I have lived with! A few of my favorite recipes from her site that I have tried and liked are the buff chick hot wing dip, lasagna cupcakes, mushroom risotto, raspberry kiss crunchettes, and salted caramel popcorn mix. The buffalo chicken dip is one of my favorite recipes from her website! I've made it for a few events, and people always like it and ask for the recipe. For the lasagna cupcakes, I used half the amount of spinach as I can only handle spinach in small quantities. And the crunchettes are best fresh from the oven.
My cousin bought me the Hungry Girl to the Max cookbook for Christmas a few years ago which contains a whopping 650 recipes, some of which are variations on a theme. I scoured this cookbook doing what I always do with a new one, marking recipes I want to try with sticky tags for easier referencing when I’m looking for something to cook. And being the organized person I am, I continue to add recipes to this book that I printed from her website after I place it in a sheet protector and put it in the corresponding chapter. I told you I was organized!
I later bought The Hungry Girl Diet book which actually helped me lose around 15 pounds. In the Diet book, she provides recipes, tips, and tricks to help you create a fulfilling and healthy meal plan. Some of the recipes I enjoyed from this book are: her fruit ‘n’ yogurt bowls with various combinations of toppings, pizza-bellas (a portobello mushroom used as a pizza "crust" and topped with pizza toppings), and chocolate-chip-stuffed strawberries. I have brought those strawberries to a few different family and friend gatherings, and they have always been a big hit!
After that, I bought her Hungry Girl Clean and Hungry cookbook which includes more whole and natural foods. One of my favorite recipes has been the lemon ricotta pancakes - delicious! Other favorites include: shamrock shake, parm-crusted chicken, cheesy cauliflower tater tots, and tropical fro yo pops. For the shamrock shake, she mentions in the recipe header that you really can’t taste the spinach in the shake which was surprisingly true! I even made this with my old blender which did just an okay job at blending. I need to try it with my refurbished Vitamix blender that I got for Christmas this year as it blends everything to the smoothest consistency. And being someone who does not like to “chew” their drinks, it’s been a great kitchen appliance upgrade.
Her newest addition to my cookbook shelves has been Hungry Girl Clean and Hungry Obsessed. I had a Mexican food cooking day a few Sundays ago where I made 4 (!) recipes in one day (all pictured above). I made the slow-cooker chicken burrito bonanza to put on homemade whole-wheat tortillas. I also cooked the Mexican street corn obsession and the crispy crunchy tortilla chips. The Mexican street corn was my favorite, and I definitely need to repeat this recipe soon! It tasted very similar to the Mexican corn on the cob that’s slathered with mayo and then rolled in chili powder and cotija cheese. When I made the corn, I left out the red onions as I usually only like them if they are cooked into a dish, and I used cotija cheese instead of feta cheese. I recommend tasting the mixture after everything is combined and spice it up to your preference. I added more chili powder, and I’m not someone who usually does spicy foods. When I brought the food to work for lunch, my coworkers were very interested in what I was eating, and I was quite proud to tell them where I found the recipes to make this all myself! The chicken burrito mix made a lot of servings. I’ve had it 5 times over 2 different weeks and still have 3 more servings left. A trick that I use to make packing lunches less of a chore is to make a big batch of something and then eat half of it that week and then freeze the rest of it to use a few weeks later. My freezer is usually full of a few different meals to pick from to add variety to my packed lunches as I’m not really a bring-your-own-sandwich kind of person.
And lastly, Hungry Girl just released Hungry Girl Magazine in January 2018...and of course, I bought that too! I haven’t made anything from it yet, but the Instant Pot garlic ‘n herb shredded chicken, many of the toasts with fun toppings, and the mug cakes and muffins will be the first on my list.
Fellow cooks out there, what are some of your favorite tips, tricks, recipes, or snacks for maintaining a healthy-ish diet?
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