Sunday, August 15, 2010

Veggie Egg Rolls

Tonight we (as in, all 3 of us: Me, hubby, 19 year old son) made egg rolls together. It was a first time for us making them instead of ordering them from take-out. I have fish allergies so I rarely eat anything from Chinese take-out, for fear that even the meatless dishes are often flavored with fish sauce. So it has been YEARS...seriously, YEARS, as in more than a decade, since I've had an egg roll. Isn't that tragic? OK, so it's not exactly tragic, but it is just a teeny tiny bit sad.

Here's the recipe we made up:


1 package of pre-shredded cole slaw cabbage (that way you've already got a little bit of carrot in there, and you don't even have to pull down the grater! Woo!)
3-4 green onions, sliced very thin, including a good portion of the greens.
1 can of water chestnuts, drained, and chopped up finely.
1 clove on finely minced garlic
2 T. canola oil
2 T. sesame oil

Mix the cabbage with the green onions, water chestnuts, and the garlic, then sautee in a medium-high pan in both oils until the cabbage is softening up, or about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk together:

1 T. corn starch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon tahini
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
a few shakes of red pepper flakes

Mix this into the cabbage mixture and sautee for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a bit.

Now get to rolling:

We just bought a package of egg rolls wraps from Nasoya.

We filled and rolled according to instructions, and this made 12 egg rolls for us.

Then we fried them in the Fry Daddy set at 350 degrees for about 2-3 minutes. They floated up when they were perfect.

I served these with some dijon mustard that I made HOT by adding wasabi until it burned when I sniffed it! Hahaha!

I also made a sweet mustard (kinda like duck sauce...really just wanted the yin to the yan going on with the hot mustard.)
I did this by mixing a little dijon mustard with apricot preserves.

Dinner was a HIT! Everyone left the table saying we should do this again very soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Healthier Baked Oatmeal Recipe

I run across baked oatmeal recipes over and over again on the web, but most of them contain tons of butter and sugar. Since I am trying to keep my hubby's cholesterol healthy, and my waistline happy, I came up with my own version of this yummy treat, and it's a hit in our home!

Michele's Healthy Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats
1/8 cup brown Splenda
1/4 cup regular Splenda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

Stir above ingredients together.

1 cup almond milk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ripe mashed banana

Stir above ingredients together.

Stir in:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or your choice of nuts, or not)

At this point you may also stir in a little unsweetened, flaked coconut, dried fruits, etc...whatever you like.

Then spread out flat into an 8x8 pan (like a brownie pan) - that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (I used non-stick canola spray)

Then bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes, then cut into squares. You can then put it in the fridge for the morning if you want. May be eaten cold or heated up in the oven. (It's even better the next day this way!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Healthy Cornbread! Mmmmm!


* 1 cup cornmeal
* 1 cup unbleached flour (can use whole grain also)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 cup 2% or skim milk
* 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
* 1/8 cup honey
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or canned or thawed) -optional-


1. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in bowl.
2. In a second bowl beat together egg (or egg whites), milk, honey, and olive oil. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
3. Stir in corn kernels, if using, and fill into prepared tin (either a 8 inch cake or pie pan, or 12 muffin tins).
4. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
5. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

P.S. about the granola!

I almost forgot to tell you about an amazing perk of making this yuumalicious granola...
When you mix it all together with your clean hands, you're left with that raw mixture of oats, sugar, honey, and oil stuck all over, so I actually rub my hands together, using it like a scrub, then rinse under warm water and end up with the softest hands!

It's a win-win situation! ♥

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Homemade Granola

Don't know if you've noticed but the price for a decent granola is ridiculous, especially considering how cheaply it can be made at home. Here's my recipe, but this is incredibly versatile, so tweak it all you want until you find your perfect granola!


2 cups rolled oats (don't use quick cooking or instant as they are not as good for you and the glycemic index is raised when they're processed this way)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon oil (I use canola or vegetable)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup loosely packed Splenda brown sugar mixture (you can use real brown sugar, but firmly pack the cup if you do)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds (or slivered or even chopped)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can used waxed paper, too.)

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.
In a smaller bowl, combine oil, honey, brown sugar, and extracts.
Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use your clean hands to combine them. You'll need to gather up the mixture a few times, making a fist each time to make sure all the oats are coated and you've got a little bit of clumping going on.

Spread it out evenly, leaving a few clumps here and there, onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and using a metal spatula, lift and flip all of the granola.
Now sprinkle the almonds over the top and return to oven, and bake another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Then remove from pan and into an airtight container. After it's cooled, you can toss with dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, etc... if you want.

This will keep about a week in the airtight container, but it always gets eaten before that in my house.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meatless Mondays!

In an effort to save money on my food budget, we've jumped onto the "Meatless Monday" bandwagon! Tonight I made one of my favorites from the low-fat early 90's! I practically lived on beans and rice (which may explain why my first husband and I divorced) while I was a devout follower of Dr. Gabe Mirkin.

Here's the recipe I used...and yum, it makes me wish I didn't eat low carb 90% of the time! Oy!


* 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 3+ if you're already married)
* 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
* 1 1/2 cups low sodium, low fat vegetable broth
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 3 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained


1. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the spices and black beans.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Brussel Sprouts...revamped!

OK...I'm probably in the minority because I LOVE baby brussel sprouts, but here's a recipe I use often, and even my husband likes them this way!

In a large frying pan, cook 5-6 slices of bacon*** until crispy.
Remove cooked bacon and drain on paper toweling.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Slice one small onion into super thin rings and toss it into the bacon grease leftover in the pan.
Cook and stir until it's soft, then dump in well-drained, cooked baby brussel sprouts.
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of water, 1 TBLS. dijon mustard, and 2 TBLS. apple cider vinegar...pour it over the brussel sprouts, stir...toss in bacon.
Let sautee a bit until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serve. YUM!

***You can replace regular bacon with turkey or veggie bacon (my favorite is Morningstar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips) and trust me, I learned from my fabulous cook of a sister that the best way to make this taste so delish that even carnivores will love it, is to put a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, lay in the veggie bacon strips, then sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook, flipping once, until crispy. Then you can use the remaining EVOO in place of the bacon grease to continue with the original recipe.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Simple & Quick Sausage & White Bean Saute

Sauté sliced sausage (your favorite kind, even vegetarian is great), coarsely mash cooked white beans (canned and drained are fine) with a little extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, add to cooked sausage and toss to heat beans throughout. Top with freshly chopped parsley.

Simple, quick, no-brainer supper.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Zucchini as 'pasta' -- It's amazingly tasty!

Once I began monitoring the amount of carbohydrates I consumed, I realized that pasta was on our menu way too often. I'm not saying carbs are bad for everyone, but both of my parents and both grandmothers had/have type 2 diabetes, so I have to be super careful not to follow in their paths.

This has led me to so many delicious low carb recipes, but I especially like this one since it's so incredibly versatile.

1. Wash and cut ends off of 1 medium to large zucchini per person.

2. Julienne into very thin strips using a mandolin slicer, or by hand (but it takes forever this way.)

3. Once it's all in thin strips, toss with salt and pepper, and about 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

4. Then saute quickly in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for only about 1-2 minutes. You just want to soften them slightly.

That's it! Now just top it with whatever you normally would if you'd boiled spaghetti noodles:

Marinara sauce (with meat or without)
Alfredo sauce
Or one of my favorite ways, which is to toss the cooked "pasta" with a mixture of sauteed onions, finely minced garlic, parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley. Yum!

You're only limited by your imagination.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Fridays!

I'm one of those people who believe in the "healthy mind/healthy body" connection, so I don't eat a lot of refined sugars, etc...

BUT, everyone needs to have a little fun now and then, right? So I implemented "Free Fridays" at our home! WooHoo!

Each Friday I choose something decadent to make, and I allow myself to eat a serving (or two) of it. Today was so far beyond bordered on debauchery!

I present to you...

Coconut Cupcakes!

Here's the recipe I used:

From The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten


* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
* 3 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

* 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chickpea Burgers! Yum!

CHICKPEA BURGERS (Makes about 4-6, depending on size)


* 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
* 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
* 2 tablespoons tahini
* 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
* 2 cloves minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 tablespoons flax meal
* 1 cup rolled oats
* 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1. Heat oil in cast iron skillet (or non-stick skillet.)
2. Put all ingredients except olive oil in a medium bowl and mix together.
3. Then transfer to a *food processor and pulse until incorporated, but still somewhat chunky (or not if you want a smoother texture.)
4. Shape into palm-sized patties.
5. Fry in extra virgin olive oil until golden on both sides and heated throughout.

* If you don't have a food processor, you can pulse the oats in a blender ahead of time, and mash the chickpeas with a potato masher a bit first, then mix everything together and mash to desired texture with potato masher.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My favorite "go-to" recipe for chicken!

Whenever I'm running behind schedule and haven't made any decisions about dinner, I fall back on my tried & true, yummy Cream Cheese Pan Chicken.
Every always seem to love it, and it's made with ingredients most people keep on hand. I serve it to my hubby and son, but it's good enough to serve to company, too.

Without further ado, the recipe:

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves (about 1 pound)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I use Bertolli)

3/4 cup chicken broth (I use Progresso Reduced Sodium)

4 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Coat chicken with salt, pepper, and flour. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, cook 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet. Cover chicken to keep it warm.

Add broth to skillet; stir to scrape up browned bits from bottom. Add cream cheese; cook 2-3 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally with wire whisk.

Return chicken to skillet; turn over to coat both sides of chicken with sauce. Cook 2 minutes or until chicken if heated through again. Sprinkle with fresh parsley (or your favorite fresh herb.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What I Do To Relax

Thumbs Up for Joseph's Pita Bread!

Having kept off 40+ extra pounds for quite a while now, (would love to shed those stubbornly clinging last 13) I have certain products which have become staples in my kitchen, and Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Pita Bread is at the top of my list.

One pita has only 60 calories and 4 net carbs. My favorite way to use them lately is for pita pizza! These yummy creations are now quite a hit in our home.

Here are some of the combo's we've come up with besides the traditional tomato sauce/cheese/pepperoni:

Crisply cooked bacon & pineapple, with gouda cheese

Bar-b-q sauce, chicken, and monterey jack cheese

Tomato & broccoli with feta cheese

Spinach, peppers, and feta

Asparagus, red onion, muenster cheese

Peppers, onions, black olives and Colby

Chicken, onions, and pepper jack cheese

The possibilities are endless, and these pita's make a delicious base for a personal pizza.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

OMG it smells good in my house!

A couple of years ago I began a subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine. I'm telling you in all honesty that every recipe I've tried from them is A-MA-ZING!

Today I made a recipe from this month's issue, called "Ultimate Banana Bread" -- and it calls for 6 very ripe bananas (yes, for one loaf!) Of course, when I buy bananas just for eating, I like them slightly under-ripe, but they're almost always all either ripe already, or they ripen so quickly I only get 1 or 2 that I like. Since this recipe called for "very ripe" to "almost black" bananas, all of the bananas in the store were green and hard as rocks, and despite placing them in a brown paper sack to ripen more quickly, these decided to take their time and have been on my kitchen table, in a closed bag, all week and finally were speckled enough today to use for the recipe. Murphy's Law...

This recipe is a little more complicated than your basic banana bread, but OH SO WORTH IT! By using 5 bananas from which you've removed most of the excess liquid, then reducing that liquid down to draw out the intense flavor, you get a loaf bursting with banana flavor but not sludgy and overly wet. This bread has a delectable moist crumb, and by slicing and shingling the 6th banana over the top, then sprinkling with sugar, you get a buttery, caramelized crunchy top which contrasts so deliciously!

Here's the recipe:
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Adjust over rack to middle and preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 8.5 by 4.5 loaf pan with non-stick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Place 5 peeled bananas in a microwave safe bowl covered with plastic wrap, vent by slicing with paring knife several times. Heat on high about 5 minutes until the bananas are soft and have released liquid. Transfer bananas to a fine mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes - (you should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid).

Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1-1/2 inch wide space down the center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 - 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Greek yogurt for half the price!

I love the thick, custard-like texture of Greek yogurt but hate the high price. Being the frugalista I am, I decided to make my own.

I line a fine, metal strainer with several thicknesses of paper toweling, fit the strainer into a pot that it can set in with plenty of clearance underneath to catch the strained liquid, then dump in a large container of plain yogurt (you can use any fat level you choose.)
Cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight. In the morning you'll have a thick, creamy yogurt perfect for Greek recipes or my favorite way, with cinnamon and a little honey. Don't throw away that's whey, pure protein. It will keep in your fridge for about 2 weeks. You can use it in smoothies for an extra protein boost, replace the liquid in homemade biscuits, or even pour it over your dog's food.

Best of all, you end up with double the amount of thick, delicious yogurt for half the price!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heavenly Hash

I was running late tonight and drawing a complete blank on what to make for dinner. The digital temperature readout at the bank this afternoon said "102" degrees F. Yep...that's the south for ya. If it weren't for the ocean breeze I'd be packing up and heading north.

I normally wouldn't think of sweet potato on a sweltering June day, but they'd looked so good at the produce stand that I'd grabbed 2 ENORMOUS ones.
After all the "yumm's" and "mmmm's" I heard at dinner tonight, I was glad I did.

Here's what I did with them.

In a medium sized skillet, I cooked 6 pieces of bacon (you can use veggie, turkey, or real) chopped up into bits, until they were crispy.

Remove the bacon and set aside, if you did not use real bacon, you can add a little extra virgin olive oil now, then toss in your chopped sweet potatoes and about a half cup of chopped vidalia onion, 1 clove of finely minced garlic, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Fry it up, stirring every now and then, until the potatoes are soft and have a little bit of browning on them. When they're finished, stir the bacon bits back in, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh snipped chives or parsley (more for color than anything else) and serve.

This is filling, so I just served it with a light salad tossed with homemade vinaigrette.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yummy & Healthy! Mini Spinach Quiches!

I love keeping an arsenal of delicious, yet fanny-friendly recipes that are tried & true. and so good that my family doesn't have to look at me sympathetically while noshing on pizza...they enjoy it right along with me never even knowing it's healthy!

These mini spinach cheese quiches fit the bill perfectly. Only 58.5 calories per quiche and 1.7 carbs, you can't go wrong. 3 of them are a perfect lunch, or serve them as a side for dinner.

Go make these!


* Spinach, frozen, 2 ten ounce packages
* Cheddar Cheese, 1 cup, shredded
* Egg substitute, like Egg Beaters, 3/4 cup
* Bell Peppers, 1/2 cup, chopped
* Onions, 1/4 cup, chopped
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste (I like lots!)
* Kosher salt to taste

1. Microwave the spinach for 2 1/2 minutes on high. Drain the excess liquid.

2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups. Spray the cups with cooking spray. I've done this without the liners, too -- just spray the muffin tin well with spray -- I use olive oil non-stick spray.

3. Combine the egg substitute, cheese, peppers, onions, spinach, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Number of Servings: 12

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The results of blog-browsing!

I went searching for something delicious to indulge in for my "Free Friday" last week, and came across this heavenly looking temptation at the Gerber Days blog:

"Free Friday" is the one day a week I let myself indulge in the yummalicious stuff I avoid the rest of the week. It really helps me stay on track with my healthy eating when I know that I have this one day without rules. I enjoy browsing recipes and choosing what I will treat myself to, and then shopping for the ingredients...and more often than not, I end up with a delicious new recipe to add to my collection.

If you think you may want to try a routine similar to "Free Friday" let me warn you in advance, from my own experience, DO NOT chow down on everything in sight. Just choose one or two items that will be your indulgences for that day, otherwise you'll end up with a food hangover, or worse.

So back to the muffins! I knew instantly these would find their way into my tummy!
My son is out of college for the summer and had the day off from work as well, so we went and picked out the ingredients, making sure to get everything super fresh, then we came home and went to baking!

I cannot begin to describe how fabulous these smelled while they were in the oven...I'm just glad the neighbors weren't beating down my door for handouts!
They were moist, bursting with flavors, and beautiful to look at. This recipe is now filed among my favorites and will for sure be used often, especially for those trips to see friends and pot lucks. These would bring a smile to the grumpiest of grumps!

For the recipe, please visit Gerber Days blog, here: