Thursday, September 13, 2012

For the love of pumpkin!

I am completely in love with fall!!! I love the smell in the air, the crisp leaves underfoot, the bright orange, yellow and red decorations & the piles of pumpkins spilling out of every shop front! I especially love pumpkin pie...topped off with a good dollop of fresh whipped cream...YUM! I am also a HUGE sucker for anything labeled "Pumpkin Smoothie"! Unfortunately most of the smoothies out there in the world have about ten billion calories and would totally thwart all of my weight loss efforts. Being bitten by the pumpkin bug earlier this week, I played with a few recipes and came up with one that is delicious and pretty darn nutritious! Happy fall!!!!

Pumpkin Smoothie
Serves 1

4-5 ice cubes
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
1/3 c. nonfat vanilla yogurt
1 whole ripe banana
Several shakes of pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. maple syrup (optional!)

Put everything in your blender and hit the on button. Once it's all blended, dip a spoon in and taste it to make sure you have enough spice going on. Add more spice if you need it. Pour it into your favorite smoothie glass and enjoy!

2-3 Points Plus Values (2 without maple syrup, 3 with)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hamburger Cornbread Casserole

My sweet friend Laura requested that I post something a bit more on the healthy side...and seeing as how she has a house full of cute kids to feed...I figured that this casserole would be fantastic! This casserole came about from a hankering for cornbread and a thawed out pound of ground beef as well as some random mushrooms that I used instead of beans to save the Weight Watchers points! I love that the casserole was perfect on a hot summer night but would also make a cold winter evening totally cozy! This is a great meal for a family or a house full of friends! 

Hamburger Cornbread Casserole

1 lb. ground beef, 95% fat free
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 portabella mushrooms, chopped
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste

1/2 c. flour (I used gluten free but all-purpose is great)
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 c. milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat an 11x7 in. baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until onions are just starting to get soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, chili powder and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Taste your filling and add salt & pepper if it needs it. Transfer to an the prepared casserole dish. 
  3. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon over filling; gently spread to cover the top. (You could add cheese to the topping if you want to be decadent!)
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 14-18 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Yield: 6 servings.
Note: You can really go crazy with the filling in this! You could add corn, celery, fresh chopped tomatoes, beans, zucchini, spinach (cooked & drained) or any number of other deliciousness! It's super versatile so use whatever you have in your fridge! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Apple Brown Betty

I've been sitting on my couch all morning staring at a giant pile of Granny Smith apples in my kitchen, periodically dreaming about the fabulous combination of cinnamon and apples that happens in a Brown Betty! Apples always make me think of fall...and I always miss my time in Maine when I think of fall. One perfectly crisp fall day I even went to an apple orchard and picked baskets and baskets of Empire apples. They were so sweet and crunchy that they made my taste buds sing and we cooked up some delicious treats from the glowing red baskets of apples! Fall in Maine is a dream...and I so miss the cold bite of fall air on my checks as the weather turns. As summer comes to an end I have found myself wishing that it were fall more and more! I lasted until about 11:30am until I fully gave in to my pinings for fall and whipped up some delicious individual dessert treats!

Individual Apple Brown Betty
Serves 8

1/2 c. butter, at room temp
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

8 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1/2 grated nutmeg (as in 1/2 of one of the whole nutmegs!)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 8 small ramekin with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl cream together butter, sugar and cinnamon. Stir in oatmeal. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl toss prepared apples, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice.
4. Spoon apples into prepared ramekins. Top each with oatmeal mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until apples are soft and topping is crunchy. Serve with whipped cream if you'd like but I just ate mine as is!

Here's to a little August!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gluten Free HEAVEN!!!!

Tonight I was DYING for chocolate!!!! Rich, dark, mouthwatering chocolate! The kind you can only get at that fancy restaurant that you only eat at when you've won the lottery! That was the kind of chocolate I was in need of! Luckily for cupboard was stocked with all kinds of goodness and, as a result, my tastebuds were blessed with the joy of this ridiculous dessert!!! Brace yourselves...the fat content is OFF THE CHARTS...but so is the flavor! Enjoy!!!!!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
1 1/4 c. heavy cream, divided
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. creme fraiche
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with 1/4 cup of the heavy whipping cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding. 
  5. Using an electric mixture, beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, creme fraiche and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Top the cake with whipped topping and your favorite berries! 
Serves 16 (8 PPV for my Weight Watchers fans)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Here Comes Summer: Turkey Kebabs

Summer is on its way my friends and good old MS (Martha Stewart) has once again hooked me up with an AMAZING recipe! The meat is seasoned with mint, garlic, red onions and feta cheese and then garnished with a simple tomato-mint-onion vinaigrette! Just imagine all of those flavors but with home grown tomatoes and fresh picked mint from the garden!

Turkey Kebabs in Lettuce Cups
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Every Day Food)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or less if you use an oil mister!)
1/2 small red onion, half thinly sliced and half grated
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. fresh mint, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 left whole
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
salt & pepper
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. red-wine vinegar
Butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed & trimmed

1. Set your grill pan on medium-high and get it heating. Lightly oil the grill pan. Soak the sliced onions in warm water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gently combine (use your hands!!!) grated onion, turkey, garlic, chopped mint, feta and 1/2 tsp each of slat & pepper. Divide mixture into 8 equal parts and make sausages shaped "kebabs". Spray girl pan once more with oil mist and put your kebabs on the "grill" until cooked through, 12 minutes, flipping once.
2. Drain sliced onions and toss with 1 tbsp. oil, whole mint, tomatoes and vinegar. Season with salt & pepper. Serve kebabs in lettuce leaves, topped with onion salad!

Serves 4
5 Points Plus Value (for my WW friends!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Gluten Free Purim

No...I'm not Jewish! But I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I am teaching seminary this year! Seminary (if you don't know) is an early morning class designed for high school students that helps them get to know the scriptures better and this year we're studying the Old Testament! We decided early on that we would celebrate all of the Jewish holidays and this week is Purim! Yippee for Esther being brave and BOOOOOOO on Haman!!! If you want to know the harrowing details you can check out the book of Esther in the Old Testament...but let's just say that she risked her life several times to save her people.

As with every celebration...I have to make food! Today was no exception! I found a recipe for a lovely Purim brunch coffeecake and adapted it to meet my gluten free needs! The results...PURE GENIUS!!!!! This cake is moist and hits all of the happy places on your tongue! Happy Purim everyone!

Gluten Free Blueberry Purim Coffeecake

2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. lemon zest, grated
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 c. gluten free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream

2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, washed and drained on paper towel
1/3 c. sugar
1 tbsp. gluten free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

Make batter:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9" springform pan.
  2. In a bowl beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  3. Add lemon zest and egg and beat for 2 minutes on a medium speed
  4. In another bowl mix the flour, xanthan gum, poppy seeds, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with sour cream. The batter will be thick! Spread over the bottom of the pan.
Make filling & assembly:
  1. In another bowl combine filling ingredients and spoon over the batter.
  2. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar on top once cooled.
  3. Serve warm or cold. Great with whipped cream.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Butternut Squash Dream

The soup...before the immersion blender

Tonight I had the missionaries over for dinner. Actually, let me start at about 8:30pm last night...I was standing on the overlook at the Golden Gate Bridge and my phone rings. It's the missionaries..."I wonder what they need," I thought. They were calling me to remind me that I had signed up to feed them the very next day! OH DANG! What in the world was I going to feed them? I scoured my kitchen and came up with a frozen ham bone, some frozen cubed butternut squash, onion, celery, carrots, a bunch of apples and some salad fixings. I had a plan. I'd make some soup, a salad, biscuits and an apple crisp.

The soup was going to be a hodge podge of vegetables and flavors that I figured would work together. After smelling the deliciousness simmering on the stove all day I tasted the fruits of my labor and almost fainted! My mouth was full of this rich, smoky and deep flavored broth. It was amazing! Here is the recipe for a spectacular, almost vegetarian soup!

Butternut Cauliflower Soup

1 large ham bone
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1.5 pounds chopped butternut squash
6 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
4 sprigs thyme
4 stalks flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
8-10 cups turkey or chicken stock
kitchen twine

1. In a large soup pot heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is opaque, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add squash, carrots, celery, and ham bone. Pour enough stock over to cover the ham bone. Tie up the thyme, parsley and bay leaf with the kitchen twine. Bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5-6 hours.
2. Remove herb bundle, ham bone and any meat bits from the broth. Add the mushrooms and cauliflower. Bring the soup back to a boil and cook until the mushrooms & cauliflower are soft.
3. Using and immersion blender, blend all of the vegetables until the soup is thick and smooth. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add some warm broth.
4. Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese grated on top and some biscuits hot from the oven. Your family will swoon!

Serves 8