Monday, August 13, 2012

New Website!

Hello Readers,

Please check out my new website, www.jessiemonds.com.  Here you will find easy to navigate recipes under the Food section, several healthy new recipes, information about yoga and fitness, blogs about travel, upcoming yoga workshops, food info, and anything else related to healthy food, yoga, dining, travel, music, and more.

Also, please take a moment to comment if you find something you like.  Thank you for your time!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Potion Smoothie


I am in the process of creating this blog into a website (yay!) and have not wanted to add any new recipes since they will all have to be transferred over to the new site soon. But! It's Valentine's Day, and I couldn't resist.

This smoothie is more decadent that the usual healthy drink I make for myself in the morning because it uses coconut milk for the liquid. Thick, rich, creamy coconut milk from a can, not the watery milk version from a carton.

Don't shake the can before opening. Instead allow the liquid to stay separate and scrape a few large dollops of the thick stuff off the top to use for the garnish on your drink. It looks like whipped cream but tastes like coconut heaven. A few sprinkles of shaved coconut add nice texture, too.


The drink is vibrant pink/red from raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. (Frozen fruit works best for smoothies.) Red berries have powerful antioxidants that help your skin glow so you will look amazing on your date tonight.

If you are staying home with Ben & Jerry then you can be beautiful just for you.

More info on the new website soon. Happy Valentine's Day!


Love Potion Smoothie
Serves 2

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen cherries
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2-1 cup water
4-6 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth and creamy. Add honey to sweeten, water to thin, or ice to thicken. Serve immediately with coconut cream and coconut flakes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oatmeal Butterscotch Blondies


These are my favorite thing to eat right now. Sweet, rich, chewy, chunky, crazy delicious blondies. The simple vanilla batter is overstuffed with walnuts, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips.

Obviously the add-ins can be altered and adjusted to suit your tastes, but the great thing about these bars is their ability to satisfy a lot of sweet desires.




The batter is so easy even a blonde could make it (ba damp ching). One bowl a whisk and a spatula are all you'll need to get the blondie batter made.

Place brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir and allow the mixture to sit for 2 minutes. The butter melts the sugar and this is what creates the papery thin coating on top of the bars.

Bake at 325 and make sure not to over bake your treats. As soon as the edges begin to lightly brown the blondies are done. Allow to cool completely before cutting.




Woops! Couldn't wait. Enjoy!


Oatmeal Butterscotch Blondies

1 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 and line 8" pan with aluminum foil. Spray with canola oil spray. Melt butter. Meanwhile add brown sugar, vanilla and salt to a large bowl. Pour melted butter over sugar, stir slightly and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Add egg and mix to blend. Add flour and use a spatula to stir until halfway incorporated. Add chips, nuts, and oats and stir until everything is combined. Batter will be thick.

Pour into prepared pan and spread batter to the edges. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the top has a sheen and edges are lightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into pieces with a sharp knife.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pollo alla Cacciatora


Chicken Cacciatore, chicken hunter-style, is a thick, rich, hearty braised chicken stew with the warm wintery flavors of stewed tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and woodsy herbs.

Many traditional recipes call to dredge skin-on chicken pieces in flour and fry until golden and crispy. In this lightened version we will remove the skin but keep the bones attached while simmering. This makes the chicken tender and adds flavor to the sauce.

Before serving, the meat will be removed from the bones and added back to the skimmed sauce. This dish has all the traditional appeal of chicken cacciatore without the fat or clunky bones.

Toss with pasta or serve over risotto, polenta, mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash or cauliflower puree for lower carbs. This will store well and improve over a day or two. Reheat gently so not to overcook the chicken.




Pollo alla Cacciatora

4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts or 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
1 yellow bell
1 red bell
2 cups sliced mushrooms, white button or baby portobello
6 cloves of garlic, about 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup marsala
herb bundle with 1 sprig rosemary, 4 sprigs of thyme, and 2 sprigs of oregano wrapped together with kitchen string
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes
additional basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley and optional parmesan cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 325. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Set aside.

Using a large dutch oven or ovensafe vessel, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Saute until softened, 7-8 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add marsala wine and cook until reduced slightly, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth crushed tomatoes, and herb bundle. Bring to simmer, add chicken, cover with a lid, and place in the oven.

For chicken breasts, cook 20-25 minutes, it's okay if chicken is a little underdone. For thighs, cook 45 minutes. The dark meat will need more time to cook and tenderize. Remove from oven and use tongs to remove chicken and from liquid to cool. Also remove herb bundle. Use a spoon to strain any accumulated oil from the top. At this point, if liquid needs to be thickened, place over medium heat to reduce slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

When chicken is cooled, remove it from the bone and shred it into bite-sized pieces, being careful to remove any fat or sinew from the thigh pieces. Add back to pot. Add additional fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley) to sauce. Serve with pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Raw Cocoa-Oat Truffles


I love healthy little bite sized ball snacks so when I passed this recipe near the entrance at Whole Foods, I picked up all the ingredients to make them.

Almond butter, oats, cacao powder, dates, maple syrup and spices are blended together in a food processor until sticky. They are then rolled into balls, and dusted in more cacao powder.

It's kind of shocking how decadently delicious these are. I tried one right away and thought it was okay, but after letting them sit in the fridge for a few hours all the flavors blended and they are fantastic. Seriously. Delicious.

When you bite into one, it is chewy, chocolatey, and rich. These look very similar to a regular truffle, but with only good-for-you ingredients. This is the way to eat.




Cocoa-Oat Truffles
Makes about 20 truffles

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup finely chopped pitted dates (fresh as possible. Too dry will yield dry truffles)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided (I use raw cacao powder. It's the bomb)
1/2 cup almond butter
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon (I was very liberal with the spices)
Pinch sea salt

Place oats in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates, 2 tablespoons cocoa, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and process until finely ground and sticking together.

Place remaining cocoa powder in a shallow bowl. Roll truffle mixture into balls about 2 teaspoons each, pressing firmly for mixture to stick together. Roll truffles in cocoa powder and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies


Dessert is my favorite thing to eat. So, two desserts in one is especially my favorite thing to eat. Half fudgy brownie, half creamy cheesecake, these addictive brownies have it all, and then some.

The final amount of brownie batter can be spooned on and swirled, or (like me) piped out about 1" apart into thick chocolatey ribbons and pulled through the perpendicular direction with a skewer to create the look in the photo above.

They are super rich so I like to cut them into 16 pieces, then cut each square into fourths, creating a parade of perfect mouth poppers. Honestly I probably end up eating more of them this way, but it doesn't feel like it so that's what counts.




Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies

6 Tbs butter, room temperature
4 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% is what I use), chopped
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped (or other nut, all optional)
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper to cover all sides.

Place a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon until combined. One at a time, add the eggs, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt until batter is combined. Remove 1/2 cup of batter and set aside. Stir in nuts and chocolate, if using and pour into prepared dish.

Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to process the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, egg, and vanilla and mix just until smooth and combined. Don't overmix. Pour on top of brownie layer. Spoon or pipe ribbons of reserved brownie batter over the top of cheesecake layer and use a large skewer to make minimal designs.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is no longer jiggly and looks set. Cool on wire rack then refrigerate until cold, a few hours. Cut into squares, or squares of squares, using a sharp knife, wiping blade between cuts. Store refrigerated. Best served cold.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Classic Caesar Salad


Not for the faint of heart, this robust dressing is filled with garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, a whole egg, olive oil, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

A raw egg is used to emulsify the oil to the other ingredients, making the salad dressing creamy. When dealing with raw eggs, first purchase a high quality egg, like fresh cage free organic ones. Dangers of raw egg come from the shell, so simmering the egg for 45 seconds in gently boiling water helps to remove any bacteria.

I love olive oil but feel the strong flavor overpowers the final dressing. I use half olive oil and half of a neutral oil like grapeseed. If you have light (not extra virgin) olive oil that can be used too.

Allow the dressing to sit for a few hours so the flavors can blend. Toss with romaine, croutons, and more parmesan cheese for a crazy good salad.




Classic Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg, coddled (simmered in boiling water for 45 seconds and removed with a slotted spoon to cool)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste, (more or less to taste)
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

chopped romaine hearts, croutons*, shaved parmesan, black pepper

Place coddled egg, garlic, anchovy, lemon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Slowly add a small stream of olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Once the olive oil is added, the other oil can be added in a faster stream, the emulsion should have already happened. Stir in parmesan cheese and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Refrigerate for a few hours for flavors to blend. Can hold in fridge up to 3 days.

To serve, toss with chopped romaine and croutons. Garnish with additional shaved parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

*Homemade croutons can easily be made by cutting french bread into cubes, tossing with oil, and cooking on a lined baking sheet in a 400 oven for 10-15 minutes. Or buy good quality croutons from the store.