Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friend for Bella....

I'm thinking about getting my girl Bella a friend.  I work everyday and when I leave in the morning she always looks so sad.  Most days she spends sleeping on our bed trying to get as close to our pillows as she can without getting in trouble.  She could use a friend.   My daughter came home from school for Thanksgiving and along with her came the stray cat she adopted.  Lily was so sweet and lovely, the whole house fell in love. Would a cat be a good friend for Bella?   I really don't know. Although I enjoyed Lily, I'm thinking more about a rescue dog or a puppy.  Bella has more than enough love in her heart and with dogs being pack animals the more the merrier right!  I will have to sleep on this one.  I know there are a lot of you who have more than one dog.   Please let me know how your dog adapted to his or her new friend.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup.......

This was so delicious and so easy.  I topped my bowl off with sliced avocado and low fat Greek yogurt.  Adapted from Allrecipes.com

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small can diced green chilies
3 cans black beans (15 oz each), drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced zesty tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup roasted corn ( I get mine at TJ's)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

1. In a large pot heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chilies and salt, cook until the onion has softened. About 3 to 4 minutes.

2. In a food processor puree the beans and tomatoes. Add the puree, pumpkin and broth to the pot.

3. Simmer uncovered until thick, add third can of black beans and corn, stirring often while scraping the bottom, about 30 minutes or until desired thickness. Add chopped cilantro and serve.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cranberry Nut Bars...

If there is one thing I enjoy this time of year its my fireplace.  I have the kettle on and as soon as my tea is brewed I am going to sit down in front of the fire and enjoy my tea and these delicious cranberry bars.  Here's the recipe adapted from Food.com

2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 cups cranberries chopped (fresh or frozen)
Orange rind from one orange


Beat together eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla.

Add flour and baking powder and mix well.

Fold in nuts, orange rind and cranberries.

Pour into greased 9 x 12 cake pan.

Bake@ 350 degrees 40-45 minutes .

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cranberry Vodka....

Before I buy my fresh bag of cranberries this year I needed to use up the two cups of frozen cranberries left over from last year.  I have wanted to make cranberry vodka for a long time.  It is ridiculously easy and fun to make.   Martinis are also all the rage and I thought I could use it at Christmas time.  Here is the recipe.
  1. One 750 ml. vodka ( good quality)
  2. 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  3. Rind from 1 large orange
  4. 1 cup super fine sugar
Throw all of the ingredients in a large jar with a lid.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Let sit for at least a week. When the week is up strain the vodka through a sieve and pour it back into the original bottle.  I am going to keep mine in the fridge until Christmas.  
Before the week was up  I decided to opened the jar and squish some of the cranberries against the side of the jar with a large wooden spoon.  Squishing the cranberries really deepen the color of the vodka.  Enjoy!     

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Waiting Game......

Just last weekend I was out and about enjoying the historic working Grist Mill in Sudbury MA. The skies were clear and blue and the temperatures were in the low 70's. There wasn't a hint in the air of what was going to be bearing down on the Northeast Region in only a week.
We have been preparing for a hurricane that is looming towards us here in the Northeast.  A monster storm that is more than a 1000 miles wide.  We will most likely have major power outages. There is not much to do other than sit and wait.  I will be bringing in lots of wood from the wood pile while it is still dry and safe to do so.  We have a line of pine trees that border our back hill and huge oaks that surround our house on three sides.  We are hoping all the trees stay in the ground where they belong. 
Good luck to all the people in New Jersey and New York who will be taking a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Harvest Time at the Cranberry Bog...

How exciting it was to watch the cranberry harvest in full swing this afternoon.  Some of you might remember that I live just a few minutes away from a gorgeous cranberry bog.  Here in Massachusetts our cranberries are usually harvested around this time of year.  The most common way to harvest cranberries is to water harvest them. The cranberry beds are flooded and the cranberry is beaten off the vine using a specialized harvester. The floating cranberries are then corralled and loaded onto trucks for delivery to where ever they go to be processed.  Wet harvested cranberries are used only for processed cranberry products like sauce and juice. Dry harvested fruit is combed from the vines using a mechanized picking machine.  There is no water  involved during this process. The dry cranberries are loaded into huge bins, washed and then packaged.

Here they are with a section of the corralled cranberries.  As you can see from my photos, I was fortunate enough to watch the wet harvest this afternoon.  I seem to always miss the dry harvest.

 Look at the size of the truck they just loaded.  That's a lot of cranberry sauce, wouldn't you say.

Take a look at how beautiful they are floating in their beds.  I had all I could do not to jump in and help.  The workers made it look so easy and fun.    I will be patient and wait to purchase my dry harvest bag of cranberries across the street at Great Brook Farm.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Maple Salmon with Cider Glazed Onions

Another easy salmon recipe. The hardest part was waiting for it to finish cooking on the grill.
Slice a red onion and saute for five minutes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add one cup apple cider to the onions and cook until the cider has evaporated. While the onions are cooking, salt and pepper you salmon fillets and pour one tablespoon of maple syrup over each fillet. Wrap the fillets in a double layer of aluminum foil and grill for ten minutes.  When ready to serve, top the salmon with the cider glazed onions.

I served the maple salmon with a fall inspired brown rice.  Dried cranberries, chopped broccoli and slivered toasted almonds were added into the pot of cooked brown rice.  Delicious!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Time...

I enjoy a good micro-brewed seasonal beer.  Now that fall has arrived you can find all kinds of specialty beer on the shelves.  There have been some good ones over the years, but this pumpkin beer is one of the best I have had.  I first dipped the glass in soda water and then sugared the rim with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Delicious!
Somewhere out there in party land there is a recipe that adds a shot of vanilla vodka to the beer.  I'm not that adventurous.  The warmth of the cinnamon and sweetness of the sugar were enough to hold my attention.
I chose to purchase a New England regional beer from the Shipyard Brewery out of Portland Maine, but I'm sure there are loads of local breweries near you that have a delicious pumpkin beer available.  Pumpkin beer is a flavorful way to welcome in fall.  Cheers!   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tradition....Apple Picking With Kerry

Apple picking is my all time favorite fall activity and who better to share this annual event with than  the lovely Kerry.  Kerry is my son Steven's girlfriend. We've been enjoying each others company as well as the gorgeous apple orchards for four years now.  As usual we had a blast.
This year was a bumper crop for apples and the bushel we picked were really some of the best yet.  I decided to make crock pot apple butter.  I used my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer, and made short work of roughly 6 pounds of apples.  It couldn't have been easier.  The crock pot does all the work and the aroma of it simmering all day made the whole house smell wonderful.

What a glorious pile of beauties.  I used a mixture of my favorite varieties for the apple butter.  Honey crisp, Gala, Cortland,  Macintosh, Granny Smith and Red Delicious.  You can use whatever varieties you prefer.  All are welcome.  Here's the recipe

6 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups apple cider
1 1/2 half cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt


Place apples in slow cooker.   Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the apples and pack them down well.
Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours. Remove star anise after 1 1/2 hours.
Reduce heat to low. Uncover and give it a stir.  Put cover back on and cook for 8 hours or until thick and dark brown, stirring occasionally..
Uncover and cook for the last hour on low.
If a smoother apple butter is desired, you may puree it in a blender or food mill. I used my immersion blender.
Place in sterile jars with lids and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Makes 5 half pints.

Try it! Even if you are not into canning you can freeze it in small containers.  It was mouth watering delicious.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Low Fat Blue Cheese Dressing....

Summer is winding down and the tomatoes are ripening on the vines faster than you can pick them. There is a bowl of heirloom cherry tomatoes on my kitchen counter just waiting to be eaten. The heirlooms seemed to be screaming for a blue cheese dressing.  Here is my low fat version of  blue cheese dressing that I think you will love.  
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese(crumbled up)
  • 6 oz. fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and spoon over your favorite salad.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Got a Breath Mint....

I have always known that garlic is good for your health, but never knew how to boost its healing power.  To get the most health benefits from garlic, let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. Letting garlic sit awhile helps to release an enzyme that provides powerful nutrients for the body. Raw garlic can be used to kill bacteria, but cooked garlic has a higher potency which is more suitable for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ideally, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes.  The active component in garlic is a sulfur compound called allicin.   Allicin is the chemical produced when garlic is bruised, chopped or chewed. Allicin is quite strong as an antibiotic.  It is also a powerful agent that helps to prevent germs from reproducing in our bodies. It's said that 1 milligram of allicin has the potency of 15 standard units of penicillin.  So, from now I will chop and wait 15.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lemon Thyme Yogurt Cake....

Here is another Ina recipe.  I did change a few things.  I used non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of whole milk and where the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, I used 1/4 cup canola and 1/4 cup coconut oil.  Because I have so much lemon thyme and I just love the flavor, I added a few teaspoons into the batter and the glaze.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

 As usual I'm impatient.  You can see I didn't let the glaze dry.  I should have waited at least 10 more minutes.  Still delicious!  You can't beat an Ina recipe.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Sauce...and Mussels

This is not my family's traditional recipe for sauce. That will be for another time later in the fall when your body starts to crave something more substantial.  This is more of a light summer sauce.  Perfect for a summer meal with pasta or in this case mussels.  It's a marinara that is deliciously sweet from the long simmering mild Vidalia onions.   Here's the recipe enjoy!
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  1. In a large skillet add olive oil, onions and garlic.  cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent.  4-5 minutes.
  2. Run the tomatoes through a food mill or blender.  Add to onion mixture.
  3. Add puree, bay leaf, basil, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over low medium heat.  Turn heat to low and simmer 2 hours stirring frequently.
  4. Turn of heat and adjust seasoning  
Now for the recipe for the Mussels Marinara.  In a large skillet or pot add 1 cup of the marinara,  1/2 cup white wine, 2 cloves garlic minced, handful of chopped parsley and 2 springs of lemon thyme.  Throw 2 pounds of mussels in , cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until all the shells open.  Discard any of the mussels that failed to open.
I especially love this recipe made with the home made marinara.  You just can't beat the flavor. After I was finished eating the mussels I just couldn't leave all that delicious sauce in the bottom of the pot. So I grilled a few slices of French bread to soak it all up.  Mmmm yummy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Pesto......

This is beyond easy.  After squeezing the salmon filet with lemon juice, I spread my homemade pesto all over the top.  Wrapped the whole thing in a double layer of aluminum foil threw it on the grill and grilled it for 10 minutes.  This moist grilled salmon shared the plate with a  mixed green salad tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette.  Delicious!

I enjoy trying to cook tasty healthy meals for my family and you can't get more healthy than salmon. This piece gave us three decent sized portions packed with omega-3 fatty acids. 
I'm feeling healthier already!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Serving Up Summer.....

I took a bite out of summer tonight and it was in the shape of this delicious vegetable salad. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cooking blogs The Spice Garden.   Susan has no fear in the kitchen and makes a myriad of amazing dishes. Here is the recipe.

3 ears of fresh corn
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, washed and tipped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow tomato, sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
Making the Salad:
  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the corn for about 7 minutes. Remove the corn and drop it into a  big bowl of ice water.
  2. Drop the prepped green beans into the same boiling water and cook for about 7 minutes – until tender crisp. Drop the beans into the ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. Cut the corn kernels from the corncobs and run the knife down the cobs to bring out the sweet juices. Place the corn and juices in a salad bowl.
  4. Drain the beans and let them dry on some paper towels. Slice in half on the diagonal and add to the corn.
  5. Smash the garlic cloves and add them to the beans and corn.
  6. Toss 3 tbsp. of the olive oil into the mix and set the bowl aside to let the garlic spread its essence.
  7. Prepare the onions and tomatoes.
  8. Just before serving, toss the red wine vinegar, tomatoes, and onions into the salad.
  9. Sprinkle on kosher salt and drizzle the rest of the olive oil.
  10. Serve with a nice crusty bread and red wine.
I did make a few additions.  I used half a pound of butter beans along with the green beans, a sliced orange pepper and added two medium read potatoes. I really liked the creaminess of the potato along with the crispness of the other vegetables.  Visit Susan's blog, you will love her recipes.  Thank you Susan,  the salad was a huge hit. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Preserving Basil Like Nana........

My Italian grandmother taught my mother ( her daughter-in law) to preserve sweet basil with salt and olive oil.   Each summer my mother would make her one and only jar for the year.  The jar would sit in the back of the refrigerator where upon every Wednesday a leaf or two would be taken out very gently with the very tip of a fork, so as not to disturb the salt and layering.   Next, the basil leaves  would be placed into the pot of simmering sauce on the stove.  

I made my first jar of the summer today and I would be thrilled to share this simple way of preserving your own sweet basil.  You will need the following, a clean small jar, kosher salt, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
  1. Strip all the leaves off the basil stalk,  put them in the salad spinner bowl and rinse well.  Spin  until they are dry. 
  2. Pour a good amount of kosher salt in the bottom of the jar.   
  3. Cover the first layer of salt with the basil leaves. Pack each layer of basil down well.  Then continue with the salt, basil layering. 
  4. When you get to the very top of the jar,  cover with your last layer of  salt
  5. Pour the extra virgin olive oil over the whole thing using a spoon to press down all the basil leaves. Make sure all the basil is covered by the olive oil.   Store in the fridge.  
 Sometimes the basil leaves might turn dark green.  Not to worry, the basil is still safe to use and still very tasty in the sauce.  You can also use a little bit of the salt that clings to the leaves as the seasoning in your sauce. 

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Victoria Sponge...

    There is something about the name of this English cake that fascinates me.   It could be that I have had a slight fascination with anything British since the late Princess Diana.  Anyway, it makes me very happy to bake and eat something so quintessentially British. The cake is delicious and fit for a queen.

    Inspired once again by Dom @ Belleau Kitchen the cake was a breeze to make. Butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla were the simple ingredients for the sponge.   I used my home made strawberry jam from last year.  Actually it was more like strawberry syrup, so I re-boiled it, added instant pectin and threw it in the fridge to get cold.  Sliced up fresh strawberries and then whipped up some cream.  Dom might notice that I put the top layer of the cake on up side down.  By the time I noticed my mistake it was too late.  So pardon the lopsidedness of the top layer.
    Pop on over to Dom's blog for the recipe.  You'll be very happy you did.  Thanks again Dom, I loved everything about this cake.

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Bruschetta With Home Made Ricotta.....

    This Italian girl just fell in love with her first batch of home made ricotta cheese. It was easy, it was quick, it was fun and it was delicious.  From start to finish it took only 15 minutes. 

    • 9 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2-1/2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
      Here is the process:
    Heat the milk and buttermilk in a heavy pot to a temperature of about 185 degrees. Add in the salt and vinegar, stir and remove from the heat. Let sit until curds have formed, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
    Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Using a skimmer, carefully lift the curds out of the pot and into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Repeat until no more curds remain. Discard the remaining whey.
    Drain the curds for 5 minutes, then transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge until you are ready to use. The ricotta is best the day you make it, but will still be good for 2 to 3 days.

    To show off my fresh ricotta, I grilled up some French bread,  threw a small dollop of the ricotta cheese on  top and followed that with basil, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

    So good......

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Mint Simple Syrup.....

    There are always huge bunches of mint at the farm stand.  After I  made my tabbouleh the other day I had  a substantial amount of mint left over.  I decided to make a mint simple syrup to have on hand in the fridge in case I wanted to make a fancy drink or a funky ice tea.  Here is the recipe.
    • 1 cup sugar 
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves


    1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer add sugar and mint, and simmer 2 minutes longer or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool completely (about 30 min.). Pour through a  wire mesh strainer into a glass jar. Throw away mint. Cover the jar with lid, and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Ina's Tabbouleh.....

    Home made tabbouleh has a much brighter flavor than the ready made container you buy from the market.  The fresh parsley, mint and lemon juice impart that certain something that only fresh ingredients can give you.  This recipe is perfect as is, but I like to add a few things of my own (yellow peppers and feta) to Ina's Garten's recipe.


    • 1 cup bulgur wheat
    • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
    • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
    • 1 cup chopped  Italian parsley (1 bunch)
    • 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
    • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


    Place the bulgur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

    Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 1 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. This is were I add one diced yellow pepper and 1/2 cup imported Feta Cheese. Season to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

    Pop over to  Bee Haven Acres  for an awesome giveaway.

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Peas In A Pod....Risotto

    This is the very first time in my entire life that I have purchased fresh peas. In fact I am not a big fan of peas in general.  I pick them out of chicken pie, pass by as quickly as I can when I see them at the grocery store and have never ever cooked them for my family.  I don't even know if my kids like them.  So why did I feel compelled to buy them today at the farm.   I have no idea other than I loved the wicker basket they were being displayed in.. 
    The first ten minutes of shelling my peas was kind of fun.  I thought, hmmm this is really relaxing, sitting on the deck with the sun shinning brightly,  my mocha ice coffee ready to quench my thirst and trusty Bella sleeping peacefully  at my feet.  When all of a sudden OUCH!!!  The you've got to be kidding me, this is taking way too long BUG  bit me big time.  Soon my relaxing afternoon on the deck just became a necessary boring chore,  but I dug in with both hands, killed the bug and finished the job.   Finding a recipe to highlight my tedious afternoon chore was a lot more enjoyable.
    The risotto I made was inspired by Dom at Belleau Kitchen.  He made his version last week and it looked delicious. My version is a little different than Dom's.  Here's the recipe.

      This is just your basic risotto recipe.
    • 1 tablespoon butter 
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 
    • 2 cups Arborio rice
    • 1 cup dry white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)
    • 5 cups chicken broth 
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    • 2 1/2 cups fresh shelled peas, blanched for 2 minutes
    • 1/4 cup pancetta, cooked until crisp


    1.  Fry up the pancetta  over medium heat until crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Heat the butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and butter. Pour in the wine, then stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 cup of the broth and cook until absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until the rice is cooked al dente, about 40 minutes. Stir in the pancetta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Fold in the 2 cups of the peas. Garnish with chopped flat leaf Italian parsley. Serve immediately.
    Fresh shelled peas have opened up my narrow taste buds to a brand new vegetable taste sensation.   The pea risotto was creamy and the tender peas, well they were sweet and delicious. Well worth the effort.     

    For a chance to win a great give away please visit Bev at  Bee Haven Acres.  You won't be disappointed.

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Cheesy Buns.....Yum

    My good friend Marian served up these delicious buns the other night to accompany her chicken and vegetable soup.  They were so delicious that we gobbled up the warm cheesy buns in no time at all.   Marian was kind enough to share the recipe and I whipped them up tonight for supper.  Here is the recipe.  They are super easy and soooo delicious.

    Cheesy Buns

    1 1/4 cup Bisquick
    1/2 cup Cheese ( I used a mixed cheddar blend)
    1/2 cup Water
    shake in a little garlic and pepper
    or garlic and herb perfect pinch

    drop by heaping tablespoon ( 8 to 10 biscuits)
    bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes

    melt 1/2 stick butter and add the following
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    italian seasoning
    micro for 20 secs
    brush on hot biscuits

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Low Fat Lemon Blueberry Muffins...

    Eating healthy is a battle that one day I intend to win.  Some small changes, more movement in the exercise department and these blueberry muffins should lead me in the right direction. 
    Recipe adapted from the cookbook  Eat More of What You Love by Marlene Koch.

    Dry Ingredients:
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp of salt
    1 tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 1/4  cup fresh blueberries

    Wet ingredients:
    1 egg
    1/2 cup 1% milk
    3 tbsp. melted butter 
    1 6 oz. container low fat lemon Greek yogurt
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    Juice from 1 large lemon
    1 tbsp. grated lemon zest

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
    2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Stir in blueberries and mix well.
    3. Whisk together the egg, yogurt,  melted butter,vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest in a mixing bowl.
    4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon into 12 muffin. cups
    5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
    6. Test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean, the muffins are done. Remove and cool on the rack.
    7. These are best served warm from the oven.

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    White Bean and Turkey Chili...

     Not very pretty I know.  Beige meat  usually isn't.  But don't let the bland color fool you.  This low fat turkey chili is delicious.  Here's the recipe from Allrecipes.com.  Enjoy!


    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
    • 2 (4 ounce) cans canned green chile peppers, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • ground cayenne pepper to taste
    • 3 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
    • 5 cups chicken broth ( 4 cups is plenty)
    • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese ( I use 1 cup lite Jack cheese)


    1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic and ground turkey and saute for 10 minutes, or until turkey is well browned. Add the chile peppers, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper to taste and saute 5 more minutes.
    2. Add two cans of the beans and the chicken broth to the pot. Take the third can of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor. Add this to the pot along with the cheese. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Simple Pleasures......

    Fresh berries and fruit are in abundance at all the grocery stores. Just look at the size of these sweet blackberries and the gorgeous green color of my juicy kiwi.. This was my snack when I came home from work today.  So simple so delicious.  I love this time of year.

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo.....

    I'm celebrating Cinco de Mayo with south of the border dishes this week. Black bean and corn salad from Allrecipes.com is muy delicioso.


    • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
    • 8 green onions, chopped
    • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
    • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
    • 1 (4 ounce) jar pimentos
    • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
    • 1 clove minced fresh garlic 
    • salt and pepper to taste


    1. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, green onions, jalapeno peppers, bell pepper, avocado, pimentos, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and Italian dressing.  Toss, and chill until serving.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Giada Knock Off

    This dessert was an unexpected success.  I was watching Giada one day and she made this delicious strawberry parfait.  Her recipe called for a cup of heavy cream, whipped,  mashed up strawberries with sugar and vanilla meringue cookies.  I loved the look of Giada's dessert, but knew whipped cream was not going to be an ingredients in my reduced calorie version.
    Here is my recipe.
    • 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries ( I didn't add sugar to mine)
    • 6 oz. non fat vanilla bean yogurt (Trader Joe's) you can see the vanilla beans in it!
    • 1 tsp.Mascarpone cheese
    • 2 fat free vanilla meringue cookies
     Mix the Mascarpone into the vanilla bean yogurt, crumble one meringue cookie into the yogurt as well. Spoon half of the strawberries in a glass, top with yogurt , more strawberries  and so on.  Crumble the last cookie on top.  Soooo good!

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Chimichurri Sauce.....

    I first had this garlicky fresh sauce at an Argentinian  Restaurant.  Although this piquant sauce is usually spooned over grilled steak or chicken, at my house we celebrate it's versatility and eat it with everything.  Today we had it as a snack with grilled French bread.  Here is my version.

    Chimichurri Sauce
    • 1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 tbsp. fresh oregano
    • 1/2 extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • pinch of red pepper flakes
    I am always amazed how a few humble ingredients can become such a tasty treat.  You will love the bright freshness in this sauce!

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...