Hey all you FFF readers! My name is Samantha and write a little blog called Running and Cupcakes . Many of you have probably never heard of me, but I’m hoping tthat’s about to change! When Ali posted on Twitter that she was looking for guest writers, I jumped at the opportunity.
I will admit, I didn’t know what to write about at first. Yes, I run, and yes, I love to bake. But I wanted something festive, something summery, something…well…fun!
Given it’s summer, and it’s Fourth of July weekend, it finally came to me. I hope you enjoy!
Hot Summer Day BBQ – Healthy Style
I love to cook for people, there’s something about preparing a delicious meal for your friends to enjoy. I had one of my girlfriends over Saturday night, and since we both love to eat healthy, and since it was hot out, I prepped up a fantastic dinner prepared 100% on my grille!
First, I chopped a colorful variety of summer vegetables (I love LOVE love colorful meals!):
Quartered cherry tomatoes, red onions (even though they’re purple – does anyone else find that odd?), a yellow bell pepper, and a zucchini.
I sprayed a double layer of foil (one of these days I’m going to remember to buy heavy duty foil for grilling) with non-stick cooking spray, added my veggies, and spiced them up with season salt, garlic powder, and italian seasoning. I made a sweet potato foil pack as well, which I neglected to photograph.
Along with the veggie and sweet potato foil packs, I threw a couple Al Fresco Sun Dried Tomato Flavor and Roasted Garlic Flabor Chicken Sasuages on the grille. What I love about these sausages is that you do not sacrifice any flavor or texture compared to pork Italian sausage. I’m not a big fan of turkey sausage because the texture is just not the same. These sausages are also great in salads, pasta dishes, or as a sandwich. They’re delicious and versatile! And, as an added bonus, they’re all natural, minimally processed, and gluten free.
One of the most exciting things for me in this meal was the Whole Wheat Ciabatta bread. I had never seen whole wheat ciabatta before, so naturally I had to buy it. I sliced up a few pieces, spread a little bit of butter on them, and put those on the grilled just as everything else was about finished. It didn’t take long for the bread to take on a grilled crunch – yum!
This was such a simple, yet satisfying meal to prepare, and I didn’t have to heat up my house doing it.
Which is great, because I had already done that earlier in the day when I prepared some very festive cupcakes.
Red, White, and Blue Funfetti Cupcakes
Prepare one box of Funfetti cake as directed on package. I chose the lower fat version, by making with all egg whites rather than whole eggs.
Disclaimer: This is NOT my recipe, and I did not modify it in any way, shape, or form. I took it off of Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life (Recipe link). I struggled for two days trying to figure out how to incorporate strawberries into the inside of my cupcakes, not only because they’re red, but because strawberries are such a summertime fruit, then I found this recipe. It is perfect!
-1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced in 1/2
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Puree half of the strawberries in a food processor with the honey, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla until it is a smooth sauce. Add the remaining strawberries and pulse until chopped, but not liquefied.
To fill the cupcakes, cut about a 1” hole in the top, preserving the tops only. Fill with mixture, and replace the top.
Cream Cheese Frosting
For the frosting, I used a simple cream cheese frosting recipe.
- 2 ½ cups confectioner sugar
- 2 oz softened cream cheese (I use light cream cheese – you can’t tell the difference)
- 3 btsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/6 cup butter
Mix butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add sugar one cup at a time, blending well. Add milk and blend, adding more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
Because I was feeling super festive I quartered my remaining strawberries for the tops of the cupcakes. Once frosted top your cupcakes with a strawberry slice and surround with blueberries.
The finished product:
And there you have it – a healthy summer meal and an (almost) healthy dessert. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and you enjoy what I have shared with you!