Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seared Tuna Tacos

I combined a couple of recipe ideas for the following delicious combination! I used tuna, although I am sure this would be great with just about any firm fish, or even shrimp. Another great fish taco recipe can be found on page 124 in my book Eating Healthy Can Be Delicious and Easy.

Ready to eat!


Click on any photo to enlarge it












Ingredients


  • 8 - 10 oz. tuna steak
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun Blackening Seasoning - this can be purchased as a seasoning, or there is a recipe on page 31 in my book*
  • White corn tortillas
Toppings:
  • Wasabi mayonnaise - this can be purchased pre-made, or see directions below
  • Pico De Gallo - this can be purchased pre-made as a condiment, or there is a recipe on 42 in my book*
  • 4 oz. shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, thinly shredded
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Avocado, sliced - optional
  • Fresh lime wedges and cilantro for garnish, if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°. If tortillas are dry, lightly spritz each one with water to moisten. Wrap 6 to 8 tortillas in foil and place in oven to heat--10 to 15 minutes. I used to warm our tortillas in the microwave; however, I found that heating them in the oven makes them more pliable without falling apart, and they stay warm longer. This is more of a concern with whole-grain tortillas, as they tend to fall apart more easily than white flour tortillas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Great Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil

Some of you may have read one of my previous blog posts, titled Is Coconut Oil Good for You? I am still undecided about consuming coconut oil, as it is a solid oil (unless heated to at least 75°F). I had almost a full jar of coconut oil when I decided to quit using it for cooking. Since I do not like to waste anything, I searched for other uses, and found the following two great ideas. These are beauty uses, rather than food hints; however, I think there are a few readers out there who will be interested in this information. 

A couple of the ingredients I used

Body scrub for silky-soft skin

I am on my second batch of this, and I love it! I love it for the silky-soft feel it gives my skin, and light scent. The information I read for this scrub says that is also diminishes cellulite, although I cannot speak to that. 

Mix together:
1 cup sugar - I have this on hand because I feed hummingbirds in season
½ cup coconut oil
20 drops grapefruit essential oil

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pasta Carbonara without the pasta!

I substituted spaghetti squash for the pasta in this dish, and the result was delicious!






Ingredients

1 medium size spaghetti squash
1 large egg
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
about ½ cup chopped tomato - I used Roma tomatoes, although I suggest grape tomatoes, if you have them
4 oz. turkey bacon, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
splash white wine - I used less than ¼ teaspoon

Monday, October 17, 2016

Breakfast Smoothie

Low sugar breakfast smoothie!


Ingredients

Frozen banana - I froze the banana before peeling because I thought it might turn brown, if I peeled it first. The frozen banana was very difficult to peel, so I plan to try peeling it first next time.
½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or any flavor or variety
½ cup chilled coffee
¼ cup rolled oats
Spoonful of creamy natural peanut butter

Directions 

Place all ingredients in blender, and process until smooth. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ground Turkey and Acorn Squash Casserole

I was looking for a way to use half of a cooked acorn squash, so I searched the Internet for recipe ideas. After reading a few recipes, I combined the following ingredients for a superb and easy fall dinner. This recipe serves 2 to 4, depending what side(s) you serve with it. I suggest serving it with Pear Tossed Salad, a recipe I will share next.

Ready to bake

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ to ¾ lb. ground turkey
1 tablespoon onion, minced
¼ cup celery, chopped
½ jalapeƱo, chopped - optional
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ acorn squash, cooked and cubed
1 apple, cored and chopped - peel, if you prefer. I left some some skin on the apple
2 to 3 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon truvia brown sugar blend
2 to 4 tablespoons pecans or walnuts, chopped - I used pecans
1 tablespoon Smart Balance buttery spread, melted

Directions

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Whole-Wheat German Apple Cake

I do not recall where this recipe originated. I know I have prepared this before; cutting down the sugar (again), and adding in whole-wheat flour. I also added unsweetened applesauce to the batter this time.

Delicious!

Topping Ingredients

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans - I used pecans this time, although I have used walnuts before
1 to 2 tablespoons truvia brown sugar blend
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cake Ingredients

¾ cup olive oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups peeled, and finely chopped apples

Mixed topping ingredients

Directions

Coat a glass pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix together until large crumbs form. Set aside.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Whole-Wheat Zucchini Muffins

I made these muffins quite some time ago, and never finished logging the recipe. When I wanted to make them again today, I could not find the recipe. Fortunately, I found this blog post I had started in 2014, along with a picture of the finished product! 


2014 photo showing muffins made
following the first recipe below
2016 photo - no frosting this time!












If you are familiar with my cooking and baking methods, you know that I often use recipes as ideas, and create with ingredients I have on hand. Therefore, there are two recipe variations in this post. The first one, is the simpler version from 2014, and the second recipe goes with the 2016 muffin photo.


Ingredients - 12 muffins

1 cup shredded zucchini squash, squeezed dry - I always shred the squash first, and then place it in a colander to drain until needed
2 eggs
2016 photo, yellow squash slightly
visible if you click on the photo to enlarge it

⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup fat-free buttermilk, or milk
Dash lemon juice (omit, if using buttermilk)  
1 cup whole-wheat flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar substitute
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Monday, June 27, 2016

Meat Stuffed Peppers

There are many choices when it comes to making the filling for stuffed peppers. This one started with a recipe I had seen titled Spinach and Meat Stuffed Peppers. I had extra celery on hand and no spinach, so I made the recipe as follows:

Dig in!

Ingredients - 2 to 3 servings

1 cup low-sugar tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ medium onion, chopped
½ lb. combination ground turkey and ground sausage turkey - I used mostly ground turkey with a few tablespoons of ground turkey sausage
½ to ¾ cup celery, chopped
⅓ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped 
2 large bell peppers; red, orange, yellow, or green - this makes plenty of filling, so the larger the peppers, the better

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Broccoli-Apple Slaw

I do not recall where I got the idea or ingredients I started with for this salad. I had some notes jotted down on one of my recipe pages, and put this together last night. We loved the flavor combination!

Some of the ingredients I used

Ingredients


  • 3 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayo - I used Kraft mayo with olive oil; partial cracked pepper, and partial non-flavored.
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar substitute - I used Truvia
  • 1½ cups sliced fresh broccoli - Slice the stems, too; I did! Just cut off the tough outer skin before chopping.
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced toasted almonds or pine nuts - I used Meijer True Goodness almonds, which I sliced and toasted.
  • 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced - May substitute finely sliced/chopped red onion, if desired.
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries - I used Ocean Spray Craisins.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Whole-Wheat Apple Bread

The second time I made this bread, I was a bit shy on the apple quantity, so I added a bit of shredded carrots. The bread was just as delicious as the first time, and there was not any noticeable difference in flavor.

2nd preparation with carrots, too

Ingredients for 1 loaf or 18 muffins

  • 1 scant cup Truvia - the recipe I started with calls for almost 2 cups sugar, and I used 1 cup Truvia. Since the raisins and apples also provide some sweetening, I plan to reduce that amount slightly next time. 
  • ⅓ cup to 5 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce or apple juice - I store unsweetened applesauce the same way I do tomato paste and chipotle chilis after I open the containers. For applesauce, I mound it into muffin tins, freeze, and then pop them out and store in a sealed container in the freezer. I used one of the frozen mounds in this recipe, which are about ⅓ cup.
frozen applesauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups finely chopped or shredded apples - if you are short on apples, fill in with grated carrots.
  • ¾ cups raisins
  • ¾ cups chopped pecans - I used True Goodness raw pecans by Meijer.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shrimp Tacos

I made these tacos last night with ingredients we had on hand. The flavor combinations were excellent. Please share your ideas, too!

I used 2 shells per taco -
warmed in the oven covered with foil

Ingredients

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
I lb. shrimp, cleaned and shelled - I used about 20 large shrimp, so I cut each one in half or thirds
Corn tortillas

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients

Juice from ½ freshly squeezed lime
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Aioli Ingredients

½ to ⅔ cup mayo - I used Kraft olive oil mayo
1 chipotle chili pepper in adobe sauce (about 1 tablespoon), finely chopped - I got this from my freezer, as I always divide the can of peppers into tablespoon-size portions and freeze after opening.
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Crockpot Cashew Chicken


If you do an Internet search, you can easily find many recipes for Crockpot Cashew Chicken. The following recipe is pretty similar to most of the recipes out there, although I always substitute healthier ingredients, when I can. I did not have any cashews when I prepared this, so I substituted peanuts (I have previously prepared this with cashews). The result was still delicious!

ready to eat

Ingredients

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks - If you want a dish similar to stir-fry, you can cut the chicken into smaller pieces. I was going to be serving this with whole-grain pasta, so I wanted larger chunks.
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar - I have used rice wine vinegar in the past; this time I used Pompeian white wine vinegar.
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup - If you have read my book, you know that ketchup has a lot of sugar! Heinz is one of the few brands of reduced sugar ketchup available at my local grocery store.
1½ teaspoons brown sugar substitute - Meijer has a brown sugar substitute now, which is what I used. This is not shown in my photo because the original packaging was tossed when I opened it, and it is stored in one of my canisters.
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup cashew halves - or peanuts, if preferred

some of the ingredients I used

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Is Coconut Oil Good for you?

I succumbed to "fad" type information about coconut oil without checking the facts!

I had read and heard all the buzz about coconut oil being healthy, so I bought some several months ago. When I first opened the jar, I was surprised to see that it is hard, like lard. I had expected it to be like olive oil. Even though I thought that was odd, and this kind of bothered me, I did not listen to my intuition. Big mistake!

Still thinking that coconut oil was healthy, I started to incorporate it into my baked goods in place of butter - I even used coconut oil instead of safflower oil and light olive oil. I read information here and there about how to store the oil, and how to soften it when using, although I still did not dig into the actual "healthy" facts of the oil.

Then, I saw the results of adding coconut oil to our diets

My husband recently got the results back from his biometric screening at work. All of his results were within the healthy limits; however, his LDL cholesterol level had nearly doubled from last year! (I have not had a recent screening). He had not gained any weight, and we had not changed our diet much, so I was initially confused about why his LDL level had spiked.

As I was musing about this spike in LDL cholesterol, I took out my jar of coconut oil for a recipe. The obvious hardness of the oil hit me like a ton of bricks. Why had I ignored this, and not looked into coconut oil facts sooner? I was shocked I had not delved into the oil properties when I first started using it, and I immediately began to do some research.

Healthy Carrot Cake made with unfed sourdough starter

I was a bit worried as I was mixing up the batter for this recipe I had altered from King Arthur Flour. The consistency was initially different than I expected. I had no need to be worried - the end result was moist and delicious! 

Yum! Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the texture
The only thing I will do differently next time, is add raisins and decrease the sugar substitute to ⅓ cup. If you plan to serve the cake without frosting or whipped cream, then you may want to stay with ½ cup sweetener.   

Ingredients


  • ¾ cup safflower or light olive oil
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sugar substitute - I used ½ cup Truvia, and although this cake was delicious, I think ⅓ cup would have been plenty. Especially, since I am planning to add raisins next time!
  • ½ cup unfed sourdough starter
  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
 extract
  • ½ cup no-sugar added crushed pineapple, drained

  • 1 cup grated carrots

  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
 or walnuts - I used pecans.
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded - I used fresh shredded coconut I had in the freezer. You can see the process for shredding fresh coconut in my coconut blog post.
  • 2 tablespoons raisins, optional - although I did not use raisins this time, I think it would be an excellent addition to the recipe.
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda


Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Cabbage Soup Diet

Remember the Cabbage Soup Diet recipe from years ago? Losing weight is a popular topic this time of year, so I am sharing my version of the recipe. Since the vegetable combinations in the original recipe supposedly work together for maximum fat and weight loss, the main modification to the recipe is the broth flavor. I flavor the broth with seasonings, rather than dry onion soup mix. This quantity is smaller than the original version, as well.


Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ head cabbage, chopped 
1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped 
1 green pepper, chopped
½ jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped - leaves and all 
3 carrots, sliced 
½ lb. green beans or mushrooms, sliced - I used mushrooms for this batch.
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper 
Chili powder
14 ounce can Hunts fire roasted tomatoes - I always choose canned tomatoes with no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving.
2 to 3 cups vegetable liquid/broth - I had about 2 cups of vegetable broth from vegetables I boiled a couple of days earlier, so I added water to the the empty tomato can (about ¾ full) to swish around and then add to the soup with the liquid. I always save my vegetable water, and if I do not use it within a couple of days (in a recipe like Cabbage Rolls), I freeze it until needed.
2 low-sodium beef bouillon cubes
Fresh herbs, chopped - I did not have any fresh herbs, so I sprinkled in some dried basil and parsley.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baked [Hassleback] Apples

I saw this video for Hassleback Apple when a friend shared it on Facebook. I made a couple of minor changes to the ingredients, and I think it may just replace apple crisp when I am making something for just the two of us!


Ingredients

2 apples
3 tablespoons butter, divided - I used Smart Balance Buttery Blend
1 tablespoon brown sugar blend - I used Splenda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon pecans, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons sugar substitute - I used Truvia
small scoop of no-sugar added vanilla ice cream, optional

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Whole-grain Sourdough Biscuits

I found another great recipe using the unfed sourdough starter we all hate to discard! I started with a recipe posted by King Arthur Flour, and then I made a couple of minor modifications. 

The second time I made these biscuits, I decided ½ cup of butter was too much, so I decided to reduce the butter (Smart Balance Buttery Spread, actually) by 2 tablespoons. They were just as delicious as they had been the first time. You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see the textures. If you have difficulty getting one of the first two photos to enlarge by clicking on it, try one of the others, and then you can access all of them.
biscuit made with 6 T. butter

biscuit made with 8 T. butter










Ingredients

1 cup whole-grain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter  - I used Smart Balance buttery spread with olive oil
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed, cold from the refrigerator