I have had a weird craving for carrot cake. And I can’t deny that a giant piece would totally hit the spot right now. Creamy icing. Sweet carrot and fruit flavors.
But I know I would feel pretty gross if I ate a slice of carrot cake. The sugar crash and high calories would be disadvantageous to the lifestyle I strive to maintain.
So I created something that honestly, I wasn’t sure would work. However after having a shake for breakfast and another in a thermos for an afternoon snack, I am already planning on making this again tomorrow!
And laugh if you want, but this is the first HMR shake I have added any fruits or veggies to. I know! I am shocked too! I won’t do it a ton because I like to chew my produce but I will definitely be playing around some more in the future!
Feel free to adjust the amount of syrups and cinnamon to your taste. This is definitely a sweet shake!
HMR Carrot Cake Shake
- 1 HMR Vanilla 800 packets (you can sub in your HMR vanilla shake of choice)
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small apple
- 5 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla bean syrup
- 3 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla cinnamon syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup of water
- 8 ice cubes
Blend carrot, apple and water together first to break down the produce. Add shake mix, syrups, and cinnamon. You may need additional water depending on how pulpy you want it. Add ice cubes.
I use a Vitamix which breaks everything down very nicely. Results may vary with blender choice as to the consistency.
It’s super cold and windy out and I KNOW I am going to want comfort food after running errands today. So I threw together a standby favorite that I will nosh on for most of the evening (for only 420 calories for the WHOLE stewpot!).
The secret is the spices. Amping up a broth-based soup with flavor makes it go a long way. And really you can throw any veggie-entree combo together with the right selection of spices to make your own cold-weather goodness.
My Creole favorite:
4 cups of chicken broth (two cans)
1 16oz bag (1 lb) frozen okra (I like the whole pods)
1 HMR Chicken Creole entree
Granulated garlic (I use about a tablespoon)
Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (I use about a half a tablespoon)
Louisiana Hot Sauce (I pour it in but I really like spice if you can’t tell?)
Throw it all in a pot and cook it low and slow until you just can’t stand how good it smells. For me that’s between twenty minutes and two hours.
Are you a broth soup fan? What’s your favorite HMR entree to make into a soup? Share your ideas because I could always use some more easy combinations!
The fabulous folks at HMR have a new entree! And after 300 days of being in the HMR box, I was super excited to sample a bite of this delicious new vegetarian entree!
The spice level is great – not to overpowering for those who don’t like spicy foods but with enough flavor development for those who do. I could see amping it up more with some crushed chili flakes or a chili salt if I was on Decision Free. Or perhaps adding some broth and making it a curry soup with a tablespoon of fat free sour cream!
Because I am now in Healthy Solutions, I decided to amp up the volume of the meal (and the cuteness) by utilizing a vegetable in my preparation.
Kabocha squash is an Asian varietal of winter squash. It’s green on the outside but orange like a pumpkin on the inside and has flavors reminiscent of pumpkin. It’s super easy to prepare too!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub the outside of the squash and then puncture it with a knife or fork multiple times to allow steam to escape. Then place it in a roasting dish with a half in to inch of water and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the squash is soft/tender when you apply pressure. Cooking times vary based on your oven but also the size of the squash.
I used a knife to carefully cut a “lid” out of the top and then scoped out the seeds (if the squash is fresh from the oven be careful to avoid escaping steam!). A perfect bowl! I sprinkled a little flake salt inside the bowl to season the squash a bit.
I microwaved the curry entree for the requisite minute and spooned it into the bowl. It was AWESOME and incredibly filling.
I kicked off my transition from HMR Decision Free to HMR Healthy Solutions on August 13th and have been busy crafting all sorts of new dishes incorporating veggies and fruits into my diet! Hoping to share many of them here, however I will also be back to posting at Uncovering Food with any recipes I create that don’t use HMR products. I am also starting a new tab off of the main page of Healthy Academic which will include Healthy Solutions friendly recipes from Uncovering Food to make it easier for anyone in need of something new to try but who don’t want to surf through recipes that are outside of the box!
Speaking of being outside of the box… If you are on Decision Free, you can filter to only get posts and recipes about Decision Free so you aren’t tempted with the produce posts by clicking on the tags to the right! I COMPLETELY understand the temptations that exist outside of the Decision Free bubble and hope that helps make life easier for you as I imagine it would have for me.
THIS was one of the first things I played with and it was SUPER filling and only added 40 additional calories (20 per portobello mushroom cap) to the Chicken Creole entree! The hot sauce soaks into the cap and the seasoning flavors the outside of the cap, contributing to the overall flavor of the dish.
- 1 HMR Chicken Creole entree
- 2 portobello mushroom caps – cleaned off and stems removed
- Cajun seasoning
- Hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on the inside and outside of two portobello caps and then pour some Louisiana hot sauce inside the cap. Divide up a Creole Chicken entree between them and sprinkled on more Cajun seasoning.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Holy moly folks! Starbucks has an iced coffee (unsweetened) that you can buy in stores! I went to my local Safeway last night and found a carafe of coffee in with the milks and juices after hearing about it from a friend. It was much cheaper than buying it at the cafe (although you could probably make your own cold brew at home for cheaper – I will try that someday). I had also picked up some sugar free chai syrup from DaVinci this last week, so an idea was brewing (haha get it? BREWING! okay sorry…) to try to make one of my favorite pre-HMR beverages.
A dirty chai is a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It is delicious and a total pick me up. But chai syrup and milk are both really high in calories, making this drink a TOTAL calorie bomb! Instead I made a super filling blended shake that was totally satisfying for only 170 calories!
Dirty Chai HMR Style
- 8 ounces cold brew coffee
- 8 pumps sugar free chai syrup (about 2 ounces)
- 1 HMR 800 Vanilla shake packet
- 8 to 10 ice cubes
Blend everything but the ice first then add the ice and blend to desired consistency. SO GOOD! And when it gets colder I will be attempting a hot version that won’t have as much volume without the ice but should still be a fabulous morning treat!
I am running now pretty consistently as I see half marathons approaching quickly on the calendar. Following my long runs I try to have some broth or something with sodium to replace lost salt from the run. However I am not usually really hungry. It means that some evenings I have a little extra food I need to consume to meet my minimum prescription!
This week I will begin to transition to Healthy Solutions. I have been on the HMR Decision Free diet for nine long months and haven’t stepped outside of it. I am down 117 pounds at the nine month mark and will be starting the school year soon, thus it was in my best interest as I get closer to my goal but needed to also manage the stress of the new school year, that I transition now. So I was feeling a little bit of awesome on Sunday when I had two shakes left in my Decision Free prescription and wanted to make something special.
This recipe isn’t really much of a new recipe at all. It uses other recipes to create a giant frosted cookie!
I used my basic muffin recipe but used a vanilla bean syrup instead of the chai and rum syrups. I also only made one-third of the recipe (one oatmeal, one 70 shake, 1/4 cup syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp baking powder) and then I poured it out onto a silpat mat on a cookie sheet (parchment paper on a cookie sheet would also work). Then I baked it for about 15 minutes until it was browned slightly on top.
I let the giant cookie cool before removing it from the cookie sheet. Meanwhile I made an HMR chocolate 70 into a pudding per packet description. I spread it out on top of the giant cookie like frosting and used a pizza cutter to slice the dessert pizza.
This is a very calorie dense dish for HMR – it’s about 430 calories! And depending on your prescription it may be more than 2 shakes (I know on my Healthy Solutions prescription is it four shakes!). So this is a rare special treat and I drank a lot of water with it. However it was super satisfying and a perfect way to top off an awesome day of running!
I know it isn’t always a good idea to celebrate with food. I usually find other ways to celebrate accomplishments like getting a new nail polish or watching a trashy tv show I like. How do you celebrate without food?
I have been working out every morning since I started teaching at summer debate institute. I figure it will help transition me into the school year while allowing me to beat the heat. And when I run in my local neighborhood, I end the run with a special treat! I get a trenta (aka really big!) unsweetened passion iced tea from Starbucks to enjoy on the walk back to my apartment. While I am there, I also pick up a tall (aka small) black coffee.
After drinking the iced tea, I have a perfect vessel to carry a homemade blended coffee beverage to work, which I make right after I shower and get dressed for the day!
Today’s shake was so delicious I had to share right away!
- 1 HMR Diet Chocolate Shake (I use the 800)
- 12 oz black coffee chilled (I throw my cup in the freezer while I shower and get ready)
- 2 oz Torani SF Almond Roca syrup
- 8 ice cubes (or the amount you want for desired texture)
Blend away and enjoy! A perfect sweet treat to jump start your day!
I have mentioned before that I love my HMR Core and On-Going classes. We share recipes and stories and I absolutely love the support we give each other. One of my classmates loves to play around with the HMR products and made an awesome meatloaf that she shared on her blog. I have also played with the chili and oatmeal to make burgers which I shared in December as well as submitted to the HMR Web site.
Over the summer I have been to a lot of cookouts and I wanted a way to enjoy BBQs while staying in the box on the Decision Free diet. So I took the meatloaf recipe and played around to create my own portable mini-meatloaf bites!
Mini Meatloaf Muffins
- 2 HMR Turkey Chili Entrees
- 2 HMR Oatmeals (I keep the fruit in the recipe for bites of sweet bbq sauce flavor)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s vegan version of the sauce)
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 4 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray (you will want a pan that has 24 muffin wells).
Mix chili and oatmeal. Microwave for one minute. Add in remaining ingredients. Divide into the 24 mini-muffin wells. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (my oven took 27 but my convection toaster oven only took 25). You want the muffins firm but not burnt. They will be moist in the middle so be careful removing them from tin.
I made a dipping sauce of 1 tbsp no-sugar ketchup, 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce. I also used mustard. Play around with your favorite sauces or try my classmate’s special sauce recipe included on her meatloaf blog post!
One half of this recipe is 12 mini-muffins and is one entree and one oatmeal for calculation purposes.
I love pizza. It was a major weakness pre-HMR because I could polish off a whole pizza without thinking. And while I miss pizza and am spending time during my HMR journey thinking about how I can approach this food in the future, I have been working to attempt the flavors while staying in the box.
I think I have done a pretty good job capturing the flavor profile (or I have been in the box too long!). I posted a picture above with the condiments I used but you can probably find different brands that are HMR friendly.
This entire dish revolves around the chicken pasta parm entree which already has the Italian theme going on. It has a tomato sauce with a cheesey taste, a carby component, and chicken. You can amp up the sauce with fresh or dried herbs if you want.
I add the cheese powder to amp up the cheese flavor. I add the bacon salt because it adds a mild smokey taste that reminds me of a pepperoni or bacon garnish. I also love heat and pile on the chili flakes on a real pizza so I add this and then add some drops of Sriracha which has a sweet and spicy taste that I think rounds out the pizza. If you hate spice then you can turn those down or leave them out but in addition to heat I also think these two additions help amp the tomato flavor.
I prepare the dish by microwaving the entree and then sprinkling the condiments on top. Then I get the layered flavor with each spoonful of the entree.
Did you enjoy pizza pre-HMR or some other favorite dish? Have you attempted to find that flavor profile and how did you do it?
Travel continues to guide my experimentation in the kitchen. I wanted a savory option that could be easily carried on planes, trains, and automobiles!
The 70 shakes have an egg protein in them that helps with the muffins but wouldn’t work well for a savory biscuit. I use the chicken soup but it took awhile to keep the end product from being very dense. The secret is stirring in the baking powder just enough so it’s mixed and activates but not to over stir and lose the bubbles that make it fluffy! I also use a 2-tbsp scoop to portion out the dough on the silpat which means less handling and fewer bubbles lost!
Savory Cheddar Muffins
- 2 HMR Oatmeal
- 2 HMR Chicken Soup
- 2 tbsp Molly Cheese
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix oatmeal and 1 cup of water. Microwave for two minutes. Stir and let stand for several minutes.
Add in soup, cheese powder and the remaining ¼ cup of water. Stir until combined.
Once dough is mixed, add baking powder. Carefully fold in without losing the air bubbles.
Gently scoop onto a baking pan covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the biscuit is cooked through. Cooking times will vary significantly based on how big you make each biscuit and your personal oven calibration.
This recipe makes six ½ shake servings of three baby biscuits for my prescription.
Don’t forget this is a low-density preparation of the soup and oatmeal. Make sure to drink lots of fluids while enjoying these!
After spending months of eating cold HMR Five Bean Casserole at debate tournaments, I was determined to find a new way to enjoy it. I have been playing with this recipe for almost two months trying to find a balance of flavors and while these pack a flavorful punch, I am sure there are still ways to play with it even more. This is the entree of the month at my clinic and I am traveling a fair amount in July, so I will continue to tweak it and will add modification suggestions if any turn out. I have also frozen two batches for upcoming trips, so I will also post how it travels.
I have made these to enjoy at parties and on road trips. They are great warm and cold!
Curried Mustard HMR Bean Cakes
- 1 HMR Five-Bean Casserole
- 1 HMR Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tsp dried minced onion
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with a silpat/silicone baking mat lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I use a small baking ring to form my cakes and I also lightly spray the inside of the ring with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients *except* the casserole in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 90 seconds. Add in casserole and mix well.
Spoon mixture into ring molds or make small mounds on your cooking sheet. If using ring mold, press down lightly to pack the mixture together before gently lifting the ring mold.
Bake for 25-35 minutes depending on your oven. You want the cake to be relatively firm. You do not need to flip over the cakes, however it is optional after 25 or 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the cake if you want it browned on both sides. The cakes pictured were not flipped over during the baking process.
This recipe made about 8 cakes. On my prescription it is a shake and an entree. Please remember this is a low-volume preparation for the shake, so drink lots of fluid to help with the volume/fullness!
Our health class this week was a party! No, it wasn’t just a fun class but an actual party. To be more specific, it was a condiment potluck where we all brought some of our favorite condiments to share with our classmates. I swapped some condiments as well as went out and bought some new ones — feeling totally inspired!
And just in time for a really hot weekend!
This shake uses rose water which adds floral notes and a level of complexity to the shake that I can’t explain but it really does elevate the meal. Play around with the amount you use as I tend to enjoy strong flavors but rose water, like the lavender extract, can be overpowering. So if you like more subtle flavors, start with half the rose water.
Vanilla Rose Peach Shake
1 HMR 800 Vanilla
2 ounces Torani SF Peach syrup
2 tbsp rose water
1 cup water
8 ice cubes
Blend liquids and shake mix together. Add ice and blend until smooth and fluffy.
As I have worked to increase my physical activity, I have found myself needing to fuel on-the-go. This combined with the travel demands of the job have left me playing with ways to increase the portability of the HMR shakes and cereals. This is one of my go-to recipes. It’s important to remember that these would be a low volume food — I make sure to have at least 8 ounces of water with each serving in order to help with the volume of the meal.
Spiced Rum Muffins
3 HMR Oatmeal packets
3 HMR 70 shakes – vanilla
1/4 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Chai syrup
1/2 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Butter Rum syrup
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 tsp baking power
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking spray quickly over mini muffin tins (I find the silicone mini muffin tins to be the easiest).
Begin by mixing the oatmeal, syrups and water in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat for two minutes. Stir and let cool for about five minutes. At this point the oatmeal will have cooked and soaked up much of the liquid but will still be warm. Add the shakes and baking powder by folding them in. The heat from the oatmeal will begin to activate the rising agents and over stirring will deflate the batter. You want those air bubbles being created in order to have fluffier muffins!
Gently spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven calibration – you want a nice brown color on top and a slight firmness to the muffin when you gently touch the top. After removing the pan from the oven, you will want to work to release the muffins from the pan relatively soon after baking or you risk the temperature issues between the heat of the pan and the cool air above causing the muffins to collapse. I like to use a butter knife if I have trouble just popping them out and then I put them on a rack to cool.
After muffins have cooled, I divide the muffins into 9 equal servings. Depending on which pan I use, I either get three or four mini-muffins per serving. I am on HMR Decision Free 3/2 with the 180 shakes, so 1/9 of this recipe counts as half of a shake for me (1/9 of the recipe is like a half an oatmeal or one 70 shake calorically). I then put the servings into snack bags and put them in either the fridge or freezer depending on when I plan on consuming them.
Walking through Whole Foods today I was hit by a delicious smell. Suddenly I wanted whatever that delicious smell was. However, now that I am on the HMR Decision Free diet, that wasn’t an option. So instead I decided to dissect the smells and see if I could make an “In the Box” option.
I have no idea what the actual dish I smelled was but the underlying scents were vinegar and mustard. Thus, this dish was born!
Warning: if you don’t like vinegar or mustard, this probably isn’t your cup of tea.
Mustard Chicken and Rice
HMR Savory Chicken Entree
1 tbsp German mustard (or your favorite spicy mustard that meets HMR guidelines)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp capers, drained
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp smoked salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp flake salt
Heat savory chicken in microwave.
Whisk all other ingredients together.
Plate entree with rice on the bottom of the bowl topped with the mushrooms and carrots and finally the chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and enjoy.
One of the women in my HMR classes have been making a version of this for months (you can find her version here) and I have been using her recipe as a base to create my own version. I make the sauce in single servings ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. You can toss an entree in the microwave and then add the sauce but if I have the time and patience, I like to throw the entree in a saucepan and cook it low and slow with the sauce for a deeper flavor.
I make this with the HMR Steak & Potatoes entree but I bet it would be good with a few others!
HMR Decision Free Thai Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp PB2
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp imitation coconut extract
Whisk together and let sit for the flavors to meld.
If you haven’t read my blog before, you may be unaware that I am always on the go. Which means I don’t always have the luxury to make shakes in the comfort of my kitchen.
That said, I love fancy coffees and giving up those special treats was difficult. Luckily, with the help of my travel milk frother, I have been coming up with some on-the-go specialties!
This one is the easiest and is a favorite staple in my current rotation. Order a medium black coffee in a large coffee cup (in Sbux speak that’s a grande in an venti cup!). That gives you room to add an HMR chocolate shake packet and optional sweetener (none for me). Then froth that baby up! The travel milk frother breaks down the shake powder and blends inside the coffee cup while adding a light froth on top. Enjoy!
This one is super easy and perfect when you want to change up the lasagna entree!
- 1 HMR Lasagna
- 1 to 3 tsp chili garlic sauce
Scrape the meat sauce off of the top of the lasagna and reserve. Cut the lasagna into 8 pieces.
Heat large nonstick sauté pan over high heatt. You may need cooking spray to prevent sticking. Add the eight pieces of lasagna to the pan, making sure you have lots of space around each piece. You will want to allow both sides to brown, turning each piece several times. It will add texture and depth to the pieces (and make the entree look bigger!).
While lasagna is browning, mix meat sauce with chili garlic sauce. Cover and microwave for 15-30 seconds until warm.
Enjoy each lasagna bite with a dollop of sauce on top!
My HMR Core class is full of awesome people who love to play in the kitchen. I look forward to our classes, but I also love the clinic time before when we have time to casually share how life is going, and even more exciting? What new creations people have made in the kitchen!
The following is inspired by my class and a couple of similar combinations that people have shared with me. I like to mix and match, so I didn’t combine the three components in the end, but you could just as easily toss it all in a bowl. This was perfect post-gym today and was my best take on this combination of flavors so I had to share!
Thai-Inspired Peanut Chicken
- HMR Savory Chicken Entree
- 1 tbsp PB2 original
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (use less if you want less heat!)
- 1/2 tsp (or more!) powdered ginger
- 1/2 tsp (or more!) powdered garlic
Heat a large frying pan on high heat. Spray lightly with canola cooking spray.
While pan is heating, it’s time to dissect the entree! Start by taking the chicken pieces out and chopping them into small pieces. Set aside. Then put the rice into the hot pan. Finally, take the gravy with the carrots and mushrooms and put in a small bowl.
The rice will take awhile to cook and due to the moisture levels in the rice, you will end up flipping it over like patties in order to get them brown and crispy. Don’t push down! You don’t want actual patties!
While the rice is cooking, add the remaining ingredients to the reserved gravy. Mash the carrot while mixing all of the sauce ingredients together to increase the creamy texture. I think it might be even better if you mix all of the other sauce ingredients in advance and store in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld and really develop.
When the rice is nearing finish (your desired crispiness – can take several minutes on each side and may require multiple flips), move rice to the outside of the pan to keep cooking. Add the chicken to the center (where the pan is the hottest) and allow chicken to brown, stirring occasionally. With the hot pan and the chicken already being cooked, this should only take a couple of minutes.
Finally, when the chicken has started to brown and the rice is ready, it’s time to plate and enjoy!
I made these for a Thanksgiving appetizer and will be repeating again for Christmas. The only real problem is that repurposing them out of the sauce made me realize how there are only FOUR raviolis! I had definitely had some portion-distortion going on pre-HMR.
This isn’t my recipe but I wanted to share my review. I definitely pressed down with the spatula to get as much of the outside browned as possible. I also doctored the sauce with various herbs like garlic.