Monday, November 11, 2013

Accidental Butternut Squash "Bread Pudding"

A few weeks ago I was in the grocery store and it seemed like a really good idea to buy two huge butternut squash.  I guess I had plans of roasting it to make soup or something of the like.  Instead, these poor things sat on my counter day after day.  Finally, I decided to roast them both, but the problem was then I just had a huge container of roasted butternut squash.  I started to get some eye rolls when I would pull it out for a side dish, so I figured it was time to put it to use in another way.

My original intention was to make muffins, but two rusty muffin tins and no muffin liners later, I was faced with making a bread.  The recipe that follows is what happened.  Due to the fact that I (a.) didn't follow a recipe and made this up and (b.) used a loaf pan instead of making muffins, this didn't turn out how I expected.  Honestly, sometimes that is the best thing that can happen!  I ended up with this delicious bread that is SUPER moist and almost has the consistency of bread pudding.  You could eat it with a spoon if you want!  If you are looking for a more traditional type of bread, try cutting back on the squash, eliminate the applesauce, and maybe add a few more eggs.  You'll have to experiment!

Hopefully you all will like this as much as I do…what a great surprise!

Accidental Butternut Squash "Bread Pudding"


1.5 cups of cooked butternut squash
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
2 cups coconut flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1 T baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T black strap molasses
1 cup raw coconut crystals
1 T lemon zest
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix squash, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, molasses, and lemon zest.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut crystals, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.  Gently fold in raisins.  Place mixture in muffin tins, or in a greased bread pan. 

If you are making muffins, bake for 30-35 minutes.  The bread will need to bake for 60-65 minutes.  Because this bread is so moist, a toothpick will probably not come out clean, but the raw eggs will be cooked after this amount of time.  


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

This is a super-fast meal that is perfect for busy weeknights.  I served the burgers over a bed of arugula, but you could also use burger puns, pita bread, or tortillas.  Top the burgers with a generous amount of the tzatziki sauce!

Greek Chicken Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce


1lb ground chicken
1/2 red pepper diced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs 
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp coriander 
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dill
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
salt, pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Mix all ingredients together and form into 4 burgers.  Press the burgers with a spatula so that they aren't too thick.  Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium.  Cook the burgers approximately 3 minutes per side until crisp.  Transfer the burgers onto a baking pan and cook for another 10 minutes in the oven.  


In a medium bowl combine the following:

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
1 8 oz container of plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
salt, pepper 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spiked Pumpkin Soup

Now that it is officially October, I figured it was time to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon!  Most pumpkin recipes fall under the dessert category, but I was looking for something a little different.  In my recipe binder I came across this soup recipe from a past issue of Cooking Light and adapted it.  This soup is simple to make and it will give your tastebuds a chance to savor those fall flavors that you have been craving!  Happy Cooking!

Spiked Pumpkin Soup
Serves 9


2 T coconut oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp peeled, minced ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup bourbon (optional)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 29oz can of pure pumpkin
1 14 oz container of low sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk (can sub almond, soy, etc)
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
9 T plain Greek yogurt
3 T chopped parsley 


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Coat the pan with 2 T of coconut oil.  Add ginger, cumin, and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in cider, bourbon, syrup, pumpkin, and broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  

Place half of the pumpkin mixture in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl.  Repeat the process with the remaining pumpkin mixture.  Return mixture to the pan.  Stir in milk, flour, salt, pepper, and cook until heated (do not boil); stir frequently.  Serve with Greek yogurt and parsley.  Serving size=1 cup soup

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chicken, Brie, and Apple Quesadillas

This recipe is adapted from one in the October 2010 issue of Cooking Light. I like how this recipe uses apples in an unexpected way, and it can be modified to fit your own tastes. I used Brie cheese like the original recipe calls for, but a cheddar cheese would be great as well. If you aren't fond of the peppery taste of arugula, try spinach. All in all, this is a great recipe to welcome the tastes of fall.

Chicken, Brie, and Apple Quesadillas


1 lb of chicken tenders

2 T olive oil

2 T Dijon mustard

1/4 cup + 2 tsp apple cider (divided) (or 100% apple juice)

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

6 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, divided

1 honey crisp apple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1/2 pound), divided

4 cups arugula, divided

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided


Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper and add to the pan. After a few minutes of cooking add 1/4 cup of apple juice or cider, cover to steam. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Let cool and then cut up into 1/2 inch cubes.

Combine mustard and cider in a small bowl; stir well.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with about 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard mixture. Place 1 tortilla, mustard side up, in pan. Arrange one-third of cheese slices over half of tortilla; cook 1 minute or until cheese begins to melt. Top the cheese with 2-3 T of the cooked chicken. Arrange one-third of apple slices over the chicken and then top with 1 cup arugula. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fold tortilla in half; press gently with a spatula. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 3 tortillas, cheese, apple slices, 2 cups arugula, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

The other day I was looking for some recipes to use some leftover avocados.  I wanted to do something different than guacamole, or adding it to a sandwich.  In the past I have seen recipes that use avocados to add moisture to brownies and cakes, so I figured that I would try a dessert.  This pudding recipe is adapted from one that I found in Self magazine.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and tastes sinful!  Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Pudding


2 avocados
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 T pure maple syrup
4 1/2 T unsweetened coco powder
4 T unsweetened almond milk


Combine the above ingredients into a blender, adding more milk if needed to achieve desired consistency.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Top with raspberries or blackberries before serving.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Against All Grain's Banana Bread

Last week I got the copy of the cookbook by Danielle Walker called Against All Grain.  The cookbook focuses on recipes that are Paleo, so grain free, gluten free, and dairy free.  The reason that I was so intrigued by Danielle's book was because she and I share a very similar health story.  Through diet, Danielle was able to get her UC symptoms under control.  I am not advocating a Paleo diet for everyone, but going grain free can help a lot of people with digestive disorders.  The first recipe that I decided to make was the banana bread.  My family loves banana bread, so I figured that this would be a good one to start with.  I was amazed that a bread that has absolutely no flour or sugar could turn out this good!  Next time I will make two loaves, since my husband and son ate most of the first loaf in less than a day!  So, whether you typically eat grain free, or you just want to try something new, give this recipe a try!

Against All Grain's Banana Bread


2 T coconut oil, melted (plus some extra for greasing the pan)
4 large eggs
3 T honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup blanched almond flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 large very ripe bananas
* Optional add ins: chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, or raisins


Preheat oven to 350F.  

Grease the sides and bottom of a loaf pan with coconut oil.

Place 2T of coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla, and vinegar into a mixer and beat on high for 30 seconds.  (You can use a stick blender or hand mixers as well).

Combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a bowl, then add them to the wet ingredients, beating on high until combined.  

Place the coconut milk and bananas in a separate bowl and mash until it resembles baby food.

Add the banana mixture to the batter and beat on medium until thoroughly combined.  

Mix in optional add ins if desired.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool for about 15 minutes.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So Many Possibilities!

Are you looking for a way to add some new flavors your sandwich at lunch?  Maybe you need a way to add some flavor to your grilled chicken or fish.  I have had a recipe for a roasted eggplant and red pepper sauce for years and just stumbled across another one in a flyer at the grocery store.  The following recipe is a cross between the two.  This sauce works great as a sandwich spread, a topping for grilled meats, or as a dip.  Best of all, it is so simple to make!!  Enjoy!!

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce


1 head of garlic
1 medium eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes (leave the skin on)
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T olive oil
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T tomato paste 
2 T lemon juice


Preheat oven to 425.  In a bowl combine eggplant, onion, peppers, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread vegetables onto a baking sheet and roast for 45-55 minutes, or until they are soft and browned.  While vegetables are roasting, cut 1/4 inch off of the pointed top of the garlic head.  Place in a small baking dish, cut side up.  Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil.  Roast for about 45 minutes until the cloves are soft and brown.  Cool vegetables slightly and then place in a food processor.  Add 3-4 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic!), tomato paste, and lemon juice. Pulse to blend ingredients together.  Serve as a spread, a dip, or on top of grilled chicken or fish.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Paleo Style Blueberry Lemon Bars

This is a recipe that I adapted from a blog by Dinah Houston. This is a great recipe if you are looking for something sweet, but still want to eat clean. These bars are dairy, grain, and refined sugar free.

Blueberry Lemon Bars


1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp sea salt
8 T coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP honey
3 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 T chopped mint
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup of blueberries


Preheat oven to 350

Coat a baking dish or a glass pie pan with coconut oil.  Combine the almond meal, salt, 2 T coconut oil, honey, 2 tsp of vanilla, and cinnamon.  Press this mixture into the pan.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool. 

Squeeze about 3-4 lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice and set it aside.
In a saucepan combine the eggs, honey, mint, lemon zest, and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Stir all of these ingredients over medium low heat.  ***You must stir this egg mixture constantly, or the result will be scrambled eggs!***  After this mixture heats for about 2 minutes, add 6 T coconut oil (one at a time).  Keep stirring until the coconut oil is combined.  Next, slowly add the 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  Continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken.  This will take at least 5 minutes.  If you aren't sure if the mixture has thickened...keep stirring!  You will notice!  Stir in the mint and remove from heat. 

Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled almond crust and spread it evenly.  Finally, take the 1 cup of blueberries and push them down into the lemon layer.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight). 

Cut into bars and time you will probably want to double this recipe! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grilled Peaches with Honey Cream

It's peach season!! Many of us crave a sweet dessert after dinner, but who wants to spend time in the kitchen in front of a hot stove?  This is a delicious recipe from Cooking Light for grilled peaches.  Try this during your next cookout.  It will satisfy your sweet tooth without expanding your waistline...that is something we are all looking for, especially in the summer!

Grilled Peaches with Honey Cream


2 T butter, melted
2 T honey, divided
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Dash of Kosher salt
4 medium peaches, pitted and halved
Cooking spray
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 T half and half
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries  


Combine melted butter, 1 T honey, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add peaches and toss to coat.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Arrange peaches on grill pan; grill 2 minutes per side or until grill marks appear.  

Combine yogurt, half and half, remaining T of honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Stir with a whisk.  Top peaches with cream and raspberries.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Coconut Crusted Halibut with Mango Cilantro Sauce

This recipe was adapted from one that used the same technique to make chicken fingers.  I changed a few of the ingredients and came up with this wonderful fish dish.  It is so full of flavor!  The mango and cilantro sauce could be used as a salad dressing as well, so if you have extra don't throw it away!

Coconut Crusted Halibut with Mango Cilantro Sauce



1/4 cup of coconut oil (about 3 large T of solid oil)
1lb wild caught halibut
1/2 cup unbleached flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
1/2 tsp paprika
salt, pepper


1/2 cup mango chunks
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  

Place the flour in one bowl with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Place the eggs in another bowl, and coconut in the third bowl.  Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Coat the fish first in flour, then dip into the egg.  Finally, coat the fish in the coconut.  

Place the fish in the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side.  Fish should flake evenly with a fork when it is finished.  

Place all of the ingredients for the sauce into a blender and mix until combined.  Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with some sautéed vegetables. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Roasted Asparagus, Broccoli, and Shrimp

I guess I really must be on an asparagus kick!  It just seems to be one of those vegetables that we always have.  This recipe is based on one that a friend found on Pinterest.  I tweaked a few of the ingredients and voila, the result was as my husband would say "restaurant quality"!  Because the veggies and shrimp are roasted together, this whole meal takes only 20-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus, Broccoli, and Shrimp


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (try to buy wild shrimp)
1 lb of asparagus, chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 large head of broccoli chopped
1 lemon juiced, save skin to zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup+ 2 T olive oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 T pine nuts, lightly toasted (optional) 


Preheat oven to 425.

Place chopped asparagus and broccoli into a large bowl.  Pour 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 lemon juice, coriander, cayenne, and salt and pepper over veggies.  Toss to coat.  Spread on a baking sheet and place into the oven for 10 minutes.  

While the vegetables cook, coat the shrimp with the remaining 2T olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, turmeric, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Remove vegetables from oven and add shrimp, stirring gently.  Place everything back into the oven for 10 minutes.  

Serve with toasted pine nuts over rice if desired.  Top with fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Asparagus and Roasted Fennel Soup

Asparagus is abundant right now, and this is a great way to use it if you need a change from simply sautéing or grilling it.  The soup is rich and creamy, without the addition of heavy cream, and it could be a perfect summer dinner or first course.

Creamy Asparagus and Roasted Fennel Soup
from the Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia


2 small fennel bulbs (1.5 lbs)
1/4 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1.5 lbs asparagus
6-7 cups of low fat chicken broth
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp dried dill


Preheat oven to 400F.  Trim fennel stalks flush with bulbs and discard.  Halve bulbs through root ends and discard cores.  Cut bulbs into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Thinly slice onion and garlic.  In a large roasting pan toss together fennel, onion, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.  Roast mixture in the middle of the oven for about 20-30 minutes.  

Optional Step:  Diagonally cut off asparagus tips and reserve.  Trim stalks and cut into 1 inch long pieces.  In a steamer, set over boiling water, steam tips, until crisp, about 2 minutes.  Rinse tips under cold water to stop cooking, drain.  Reserve for a garnish.  If you omit this step, use the entire stalk for the recipe.  

In a 5 qt pot bring fennel mixture, remaining asparagus stalks, broth, and rice to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.  Stir in milk and dill.  Let mixture cool slightly and then puree in a blender or food processor.  Reheat soup over low heat, and season with salt and pepper.  

Garnish soup with asparagus tips (optional), serves 4.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morning Magic

Mornings are typically hectic times for busy families.  Many people struggle with eating a good breakfast on the go.  I was looking around on Pinterest the other day and came across a great blog/website called The Yummy Life.  Monica, the creator has some fantastic recipes using oatmeal.  I was intrigued by what she refers to as "refrigerator oatmeal" and decided to give it a try.  This breakfast is made the night before, so in the morning there is nothing to prepare.  I must say, I am now addicted to this oatmeal.  It is especially good in the summer months because you eat it cold!  The flavor possibilities are endless, so be creative! With a few simple ingredients you can wake up to a nutritious breakfast that will keep you going all morning!  

Monica's Refrigerator Oatmeal 


1 cup mason jar with a tight lid, or other 1 cup container

1/3 cup old fashioned oats (not the quick kind)

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk (can use almond, soy, rice...)

1 tsp chia seeds (these give the oatmeal a great texture and add lots of nutrition!)

fruit of your choice (blueberries, bananas, strawberries, peaches, etc.)

1/2 to 1tsp sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, a few drops of stevia)


Add oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, and sweetener to the mason jar and shake well.  Unscrew the lid and add your fruit of choice.  Cover and shake well again.  Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning!  You can store the mixture for 2 days in the fridge.  A one cup mason jar will make 1 serving.  This is so perfect for a busy morning...grab a spoon and go!  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Capellini with Salmon and Lemon Vodka Sauce

This recipe was given to me by friends of my parents.  If you are in the mood for a pasta dish, but don't want that "heavy" feeling, this is for you!  The recipe is easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner, but is delicious enough to serve for a dinner party.  I usually add vegetables to this dish as well.  Experiment with sautéed spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms...the possibilities are endless!  If you prefer you could also sub out the pasta for a different grain like quinoa, cous cous, or rice.

Capellini with Salmon and Lemon Vodka Sauce


1 medium onion, chopped

1 tb olive oil

3 cups of chicken broth (I use Organic, low sodium)

1 cup cream (I usually do half and half or milk)

1/3 cup vodka

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

1 1/2 tsp of lemon zest

2 tb lemon juice

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 cups flaked broiled salmon (sub 2 cans of drained canned salmon if short on time)

Capellini pasta


Cook onion in large saucepan until softened, but not browned (about 5-6 min).  Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt.  Boil over medium heat until reduced, about 50 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chives, lemon zest, juice, and pepper.  Add cooked (or canned) salmon and cook over low heat until warm.  Serve over cooked capellini.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hummingbird Muffins

I recently got the recipe for Hummingbird cake from my mom's friend.  I am not sure where it got its name, but nonetheless, it is delicious.  I decided to tweak this recipe a little to make it healthier and in turn I came up with this muffin.  My 2 year old loves them, and I figured that if I had his stamp of approval they must be good.  By eliminating a lot of the sugar and the oil, this is a recipe that you can feel confident serving your family for breakfast or a snack.  Best of all, you can mix everything together in 1 bowl!!  Enjoy!!

Hummingbird Muffins


1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained 

3 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups unbleached flour

2 large bananas, sliced

1/2 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)

****Optional**** 3/4 cup pecans 


Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with paper liners to prevent sticking.  Combine all ingredients and mix with a hand mixer.  Scoop batter into muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Summer Style Cous Cous

Last week I was looking for something light for dinner.  It was hot outside, I wasn't that hungry, and I really didn't feel like cooking at all.  After scoping out the kitchen, I decided to make something that could be eaten warm or cold and would only involve the stove top for a short period of time.  I made this cous cous dish as a main course, but it would be perfect as a side dish as well.  I added salmon for protein, but it could also be made with chicken, tuna, or no meat at all.

Summer Style Cous Cous


1 box of plain cous cous

1 ripe mango

1 avocado

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1/2 lime, juiced

1 splash of orange juice

2 cans boneless, skinless salmon, drained (you could sub tuna, chicken, or shrimp too)

2 T pine nuts

salt, pepper to taste


Cook cous cous according to package directions (it should take about 10 minutes).  Fluff cous cous with a fork and add mango, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, salt and pepper.  Fold in salmon and top with extra cilantro and pine nuts.  Serve warm or chill in the fridge for 1 hour.  This is so easy and so good!!!  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A "Taste" of Summer

Since we have had a "taste" of summer temperatures the last few days, I have been looking for some lighter options for dinner.  The heat really zaps my appetite, so I don't want to eat anything heavy, and I definitely don't want to use the oven!  The other week I talked about how I love quinoa because it is so versatile.  This recipe is perfect for those warm summer sure to make enough so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day!

Summer Quinoa Salad


1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1-1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar

2 T olive oil

1 15 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup steamed carrots, chopped

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup steamed peas

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 T lemon juice

2 cans albacore tuna, drained

2 T feta cheese

pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, to taste


Boil 1 1/4 cup water and add quinoa.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes, covered.  Meanwhile, steam vegetables, and chop needed ingredients.   When quinoa is finished cooking, add chick peas, tomatoes, carrots, peas, pine nuts, tuna, lemon juice, feta, and mint.  Season with pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes if desired.  Stir to combine and refrigerate for 1 hour.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Is Spring Finally Here?!

Now that it is finally getting warmer (yay!), I start to really crave fruit.  I came up with this recipe years back when we were going to a pool party.  I wanted to serve fresh fruit with a fruit dip, but the dip that is sold in the stores is not exactly healthy.  This dip can be used on fresh fruit, animal crackers, on top of oatmeal, or simply eaten alone.  Your kids will like it too!

Summer Fruit Dip


1 container of Farmer's Cheese (this is dry curd cottage cheese) if you can't find it, use part skim ricotta

3 heaping tb of plain Greek yogurt 

4 tb crushed pineapple

1 tb orange juice

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or any berry of your choice)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1 tsp ground ginger


Mix everything together in a food processor, or use a hand blender.  Serve with fruit, cookies, top your oatmeal...get creative!  Store in the refrigerator and serve cold.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

My New Obsession

A few months ago I discovered quinoa.  It's something that has been around forever, but I just never knew how easy it was to make, and more importantly how good it tastes!  At some point my family will probably need to stage an intervention because I can't seem to get enough of this versatile, lovely grain.  The recipe below is something that I threw together the other night based on ingredients that I had on hand.  That is another thing that I love about quinoa, you can use whatever vegetables and spices that you have in order to give this dish the flavor that you desire.  This particular recipe has a lot of Italian essence to it, but by changing up the spices and the vegetables you could easily have a dish with Mexican flare.  Get creative and enjoy!!  

Mixed Vegetable Quinoa Bake

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium)
1//2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (I use Pomi)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
parmesan cheese
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt, pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least two minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The quinoa should begin to dry out and pop a bit. Add the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, carrots, and fennel to cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and asparagus and cook 3 more minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and place it in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with panko breadcrumbs.  Bake 30 minutes, top with cheese, and bake 10 minutes more or until melted and just beginning to brown.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Better Late Than Never

For as long as I can remember my family celebrates the New Year by eating pork and sauerkraut.  We typically eat this only once a year and I really look forward to it.  This year however, the universe had different plans and decided to bless my household with the noro-virus on New Years Eve.  My traditional pork and kraut were replaced with saltines and ginger ale!  A few days ago, I decided to make this meal and it was as good as ever.  Hopefully you will enjoy it too!

Pork and Sauerkraut


4 pork chops, trimmed (1-2 lbs)

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 bag of sauerkraut

2 tb spicy brown mustard

1 bottle of beer (I use Yeungling)

1 tsp of caraway seeds

1 tsp black pepper


Place all ingredients in the crock pot on low heat.  Cook for 6-8 hours.  I serve this over mashed potatoes.  Couldn't be easier!!  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another Great Soup

Soups are a great way to add vegetables to your diet.  Making soup at home produces the best flavor while limiting sodium and other preservatives. This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Anita.  It is simple to make and tastes great.  I bet even kids will like it!  

Hearty Vegilicious Puree

Too many vegetable soups have little or no protein. I developed this recipe with the goal of combining ingredients that would be an excellent source of protein, carbohydrate and fat all in one bowl. The result is a colorful, tasty, full-bodied puree perfect for dinner on a cold winter night. Include a loaf of crusty Italian bread and watch it disappear!

Large Yellow Squash
1/2 Red Pepper
1/3 Sweet Onion
Granny Smith Apple cored
Medium Zucchini
2 Large Carrots
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Can Great Northern Beans or Cannelini Beans
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Plain Greek Yogurt
Minced Fresh Parsley


Cut first six ingredients into chunks, place in medium pot with 2 cups chicken broth. Cook gently until carrots are soft. Cool. Puree in batches and return to pot. Drain and rinse beans, adding them to blender with remaining chicken broth and puree. Add pureed beans to pot and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat mixture until hot. Ladel into bowls, drizzle with olive oil. Add 2 teaspoons of greek yogurt and chopped parsley. Serves 4.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Raisin Quick Bread

A few weeks ago my dad made this recipe and sent it along to me.  The original recipe, from Midwest Living, called for fresh or dried cranberries.  I didn't have any on hand, so I used raisins.  Any dried fruit would do, so pick your favorite and go for it!   Both the original and my translation were great.  I even tested them on some picky toddlers at this morning's play group and they ate it all up!  That is always a good sign!

Raisin Quick Bread


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine (I used Smart Balance) 
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 beaten egg
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
2/3 cup orange juice
3/4 cup raisins

Optional (I did not use this) **1 cup coarsely chopped nuts**


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the egg, applesauce, orange peel, and juice to the bowl, stirring until just combined.  Fold in raisins (or dried fruit of your choice).  

Pour mixture into the loaf pan and bake at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for at least 10 minutes.  This bread is best when eaten the day after baking, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

For All of My Gluten Free Friends

It seems now more than ever people are looking for gluten free options for their diets.   When I was suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, I tried a grain free diet for a while and discovered these cookies along the way.  You can typically find almond flour in a store like Whole Foods or Wegmans, or even order it online.  In a pinch, I have even ground up almonds in the food processor, however this makes for a coarser flour.  Enjoy!

Flour-less Almond Cookies


2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
splash of orange juice 


**Tip** When working with honey, spray the inside of the measuring cup with cooking spray so that they honey doesn't stick.  

Preheat oven to 325 

Mix all ingredients and drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Press cookies down flat with a buttered fork.  Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Greek Style Turkey Meatloaf

My husband is convinced that he hates ground turkey and ground chicken, however, when I make something with it, it's always a hit!  So, the key to using these lean meats is to use a lot of seasonings so that the recipes are full of flavor and not bland.  Last week, I had a 1lb of lean ground turkey to use and as I perused my kitchen, I found some ingredients to inspire this recipe.  This is so easy and is a great weeknight meal when time is anything but on your side!

Greek Style Turkey Meatloaf
(with cucumber yogurt sauce)


1lb of lean ground turkey (you could also use ground chicken or ground beef)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup of pureed spinach (**see note below**)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tb wheat germ
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tb chopped kalamata olives
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
(*You could also add sun dried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers*)

**I like to have pureed spinach on hand at all times.  You can easily blend a bag of baby spinach and some water in your blender or food processor.  Freeze the mixture into an ice cube tray.  When a recipe calls for spinach, or you just want to add some extra nutrients, pop out a few cubes, defrost, and add it to your recipe!  

1/2 cucumber, peeled, and chopped
1 8oz carton of plain, Greek yogurt
2 tb lemon juice
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray

Mix above ingredients into a bowl to combine, do not over mix.  Place mixture into loaf pan and bake for 1 hr.  The internal temperature should read 180 degrees.  Let loaf stand for 10 minutes and then slice.  Serve with cucumber yogurt sauce.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Mexican Dish for the New Year

Now that the holidays are behind us, I figured that it was time to get back into the kitchen and make something that didn't include turkey, ham, or mashed potatoes!  My brother in law Sean passed along this fantastic recipe, that is filled with flavor!  It also makes enough to freeze left-overs for a second (or even a third) meal.  Enjoy!

Sean’s “El Gringo Loco” Crockpot Barbacoa Recipe


3lb Brisket Cut of Beef (or rump roast)
2 Cups of beef broth (unsalted)
¼ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
5 Cloves of Garlic
2-3 Canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (use less or more depending on how spicy you prefer)
½ Red Onion, diced
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Ground Pepper
½ tbsp. Mexican Oregano
1 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 handful of fresh chopped Cilantro
Juice of 2 Limes
Vegetable Oil


Cut excess fat from the beef and cut meat into 8-10 ounce pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat frying pan with Med-High with vegetable oil and place meat to brown for approximately 2-3mins/side. Remove from heat and place browned meat into crockpot. Finely chop the chipotle peppers and garlic and add to the crockpot along with the remaining ingredients and stir once. Heat contents on Low heat for 8-10 hours. Remove beef and place on cutting board and using two forks pull the meat apart until it has a shredded consistency. Siphon off excessive fat from remaining liquid and place the liquid into a  blender. Carefully blend liquid then return liquid to the crockpot along with the shredded beef and continue heating for 1 hour.
Serve on heated corn tortillas along with fresh pico de gallo (tomato, onion, lime juice and cilantro) and guacamole (avocado, lime juice and salt and pepper).