Monday, October 16, 2017

Is Jackfruit the New Super Fruit?

I had never heard of jackfruit until a friend shared some with me. The fruit can be eaten as is or prepared many ways. I presume that is how it got its name, and why it is called the jack of all fruits. My girlfriend brought me canned unripe jackfruit, which many people are substituting for meat or tofu in recipes. From what I have read, the fruit becomes sweeter, and takes on a different taste when it is left to grow to its ripe stage. The color is more yellow in the ripe jackfruit photos I saw.

Unripe canned jackfruit

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrots

This dish came about because I had fresh ingredients on hand that were nearing the end of their shelf life. Feel free to add or substitute whatever vegetables you prefer. I loved this flavor combination!


Ingredients


  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes or large chunks
  • carrots, peeled and cut into smaller pieces than the squash, as it takes longer to cook - I used about an equal amount of each vegetable 
  • ½ small onion, cut into chunks
  • ½ to 1 celery stalk, cut into thirds - I had just a little bit of celery that I needed to use, so I threw it in. It complimented the rest of the ingredients perfectly!
  • 1 habanero, cut on half with seeds and top removed
  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled with the top cut off
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - I used 2 tablespoons, which seemed like a bit much
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 5 to 8 leaves of fresh sage, snipped into pieces - I only used about 4 leaves for this batch, and will definitely use more next time
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Habanero Pepper Jam

I grew a habanero plant in a deck planter this summer which produced many peppers! I searched online for habanero jam recipes, because I had the idea in my mind of serving this with cream cheese and crackers. I started with the recipe I found on AllRecipes, and I made minimal adjustments to the recipe. Following are my results and suggestions.

Serving suggestion: whole-grain cracker topped with
neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese) and habanero jam

I made only a small batch of this jam for two reasons: I wanted to make sure it would turn out with the changes I made, and I wanted to make sure we liked it. We liked it so well, I will be making this again next week!

Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup cider vinegar
  • 1⅔ cups Truvia - If you want to use sugar, you will need about twice as much. See original recipe with sugar in the AllRecipes link above.
  • ½ to ¾ carrot, shredded - I used more than ½ of a medium size carrot
  • ¼ large red bell pepper, minced
  • 6 or 7 habaneros, minced and seeded - I started with 6 and then added another half while it was on the stove; I think I will just use 6 next time!
  • 3 oz. liquid pectin

Diced bell pepper, habanero, and shredded carrots

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Egg-Less Whole-Wheat Blueberry Muffins

So easy and deliciously moist! We ate these without butter or any topping.


Ingredients for 12 muffins


  • 1¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar blend - I used Splenda 
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ to 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen - I used 1 cup fresh blueberries, and I think ¾ cup would have been plenty
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1½ cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chicken Bruschetta Grill

Absolutely love this recipe! Healthy, fresh, delicious, easy...

Ingredients for 2


  • ¾ to 1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, more or less
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion, or sliced green onion, if preferred
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese, optional 
  • 2 slices thick sourdough bread

Chicken is visible in photo, if you click on it to enlarge

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cheesy Cabbage and Celery Bake

After baking

Ingredients


  • 4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups celery including tops, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or butter substitute - I used 1 tablespoon Smart Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain flour
  • 1¼ cups low fat milk
  • ½ cup beer, if desired - or, use additional ½ cup milk or other liquid (the beer gives it great flavor, though!)
  • 1 cup low fat finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, as desired
  • 3 to 4 fresh sage leaves, crumpled - optional
  • Bread crumbs, if desired - I cubed 2 slices of pumpernickel rye bread

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed rolls ready to fold over for the pan

This cabbage roll recipe can be found on page 116 in my book. You can prepare these with any lean ground meat. I usually use Jennie-O ground turkey when I make them.

I am sharing a few tips, which are not listed with the recipe:
  • Freeze the cabbage roll for a couple of hours beforehand. The leaves will easily slide off without tearing after the cabbage starts to freeze. The taste and texture is not any different after baking.
  • I always chop up a few extra cabbage leaves to stir in with the ground meat and rice. This is visible in the photo above, if you click on it to enlarge it. I like veggies, and add extra to recipes whenever I can!
  • Fresh herbs are more plentiful in Michigan during the summer; I used 3 fresh sage leaves instead of ground sage in this dish.
  • I always choose canned tomatoes with no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving. Once you start reading labels, it is surprising how many tomato products have a great deal of added sugar.
  • I stir in a couple of tablespoons of the sauce with the ground meat and rice before I wrap the rolls.

Ready for the oven

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions ~

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cucumber and Basil Gazpacho

Easy, delicious, and filling!

Cucumber and Basil Gazpacho - ready to eat!

Ingredients for 4 hearty or 6 light servings


  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled 
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed - I used 2 cloves, which I thought was a bit much (1 of my cloves was rather large, though)
  • 1 slice whole-grain bread, torn into pieces - I used ½ slice of my homemade whole-grain sourdough bread, which is sliced rather large 
  • ½ cup to 6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt - a tub of yogurt goes bad before I can use it all, so I purchase yogurt in individual serving size containers, and try to adapt recipes to fit that size. The individual size I used in this recipe was 5.3 oz.
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons salt 
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Whole-Grain Peanut Butter Cookies

Great tasting peanut butter cookies with whole grains and seeds!

Ingredients 

Grinding the flax seeds

  • ¼ cup Stevia
  • ¼ cup brown sugar blend
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Smart Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tablespoons ground or partially ground flax seeds - I buy whole seeds and then process them when I am ready to use
  • ½ cup whole-grain flour
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Cookies after baking

Directions


Monday, May 22, 2017

Cannellini Bean Salad

Easy, versatile, delicious, and healthy bean salad. Experiment with your own flavor combinations.



Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, minced - I prefer red onion; however, I often improvise when needed, and I used white onion when I prepared this
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled (if desired) and diced - I did not peel them
  • 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced - I used yellow and orange bell peppers
  • ½ hot pepper, chopped, if desired - I used about ⅓ of a Hungarian pepper, as the one I had was quite large
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Marinade

This was so delicious I forgot to take a photo after it was grilled! It has just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness.

Ingredients

½ to 1 lb. chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons butter, melted - I used Smart Balance buttery spread
2 tablespoons pure honey or other low-sugar liquid sweetener
1 teaspoon Tabasco
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

About ¾ lb. chicken in marinade before grilling


Monday, May 8, 2017

Sweet Potato Loaf Bread

Moist and delicious!



Ingredients

1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup olive oil
2 eggs
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup brown sugar blend
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Creamy Parsley Spread

I read that parsley promotes bone growth, so I have been thinking of ways to use fresh parsley ever since I had bunion surgery. The link to my surgery blog is near the bottom of this page in the sidebar, if you are interested in that. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A, folate, and iron!

I did not measure as I combined the following ingredients. Use a dollop or an entire package of cheese(s), depending on your needs, and then adjust the add-in flavors to suit the quantity used.


Ingredients

  • Low fat soft white cheese, such as cream cheese and/or goat cheese
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • Garlic, minced
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Fat-free milk or fat-free half and half, optional
  • Whole-grain crackers or bread - I used Triscuit Cracked Pepper 
  • Cucumber(s), washed and thinly sliced

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tumeric Cocoa

I learned about the benefits of tumeric when I was recovering from surgery. Working with the many tumeric cocoa recipe ideas I found online, I came up with the following combination, which I love. Along with the "recovery after surgery" benefit, tumeric has many additional health benefits, which you can read about on the WebMD site. If you are interested in the experience of bunion surgery, you can find that information in my surgery blog.

Delicious tumeric cocoa! 

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk - *to use fat-free milk instead, see recipe variation below
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cocoa

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nutty, Fudgey, Flourless Brownies

There are many flourless brownie recipes on the Internet, if you are looking to reduce carbs. This recipe also has a bit less sugar than most recipes I found.

Brownies ready to store

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup walnuts 
  • ½ cup Truvia
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, mashed banana, or combination - I had 1 small banana, which I mashed, and then I added enough yogurt to equal ½ cup.
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips - I used Hershey's dark chocolate chips. The sugar content is the same in both flavors, although the dark chocolate chips contain .5 grams more total fat per tablespoon. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cheesy Sweet Potato Tator Tots

Delicious side dish made with leftover mashed sweet potatoes.

Baked tots; ready to eat!

Ingredients


  • 2½ cups [leftover] mashed sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup finely shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain flour
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt, optional
  • ½ cup whole-grain panko bread crumbs, or finely shredded whole-grain bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Smart Balance butter

Monday, February 13, 2017

Healthy and Delicious Snack Combinations

Are you looking to add variety to your healthy snack ideas? Here are some delicious flavor combinations with no added fat or added sugar.

Apples, cheese, and peanuts

Some people think peanut butter on apple tastes like a caramel apple. I am not sure I would go that far, although the flavor combination is close, and it is flavorful. Cheese also goes well with apples, and with peanuts or peanut butter.

Below is a photo of my occasional morning snack:

  • ½ large apple
  • Less than 1 oz. low fat co-jack cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter or lightly salted peanuts

½ apple with low fat cheese and natural peanut butter

Be sure to choose healthy products - such as natural peanut butter or lightly salted peanuts, and low fat cheese. Also - the apple portion should be greater than the cheese and peanut portions.

Variation: apple, cheese, and almonds

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chicken-Apple Curry

Converted this recipe to the crockpot, and added a few extra ingredients. Delicious flavor combination!


Ingredients for 3 servings (or, 2 servings with a bit leftover)

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast 
  • ½ thinly sliced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped in chunks
  • ½ cup sauerkraut
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup. raisins
  • Cooked long-grain rice for serving, if desired

Monday, February 6, 2017

Grapes and Nonfat Greek Yogurt - as GOOD as pie!

This dessert is super easy and delicious!

Enjoy!

Ingredients


  • Black or red seedless grapes - I used less than 1 cup of red grapes for 2 people
  • Extra-virgin olive oil - I used about 2 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • ¾ - 1 cup red wine
  • Spice suggestions: ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and/or cloves - I used a couple of sprinkles of each
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt

Grapes ready for the oven


Directions

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Blueberry-Avocado Smoothie


This was my first smoothie with avocado in it. The avocado made it creamy without adding any of the avocado flavor. I imagine this may not always hold true, depending on the quantities in the combination. The quantities I used are listed below. There are many health benefits in this one smoothie: antioxidants, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, flavonoids, manganese, and more.

About ¾ of the batch

I often prepare foods based on what I have on hand, and I did not have any unsweetened almond milk or nonfat yogurt in the house, so I decided to give avocado a try. The following combination made 1 serving.

Apple-Cheese Bread Pudding

No sugar added - serve this dish for breakfast, dessert, or as a side dish!

After baking

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Smart Balance buttery spread
3 cups chopped apples
4 slices whole-grain bread, cubed
¾ cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2 eggs
1½ cups fat-free milk or fat-free half and half - I used about ½ cup half and half, and 1 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions


Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add apples; cook until softened and golden, stirring frequently—3 to 5 minutes. 


In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with apple mixture and ¼ cup cheese. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tex-Mex Salad

I threw this tasty and healthy salad together with ingredients I had that needed to be used. I am sharing the dressing recipe and ingredients I used, along with other ingredient suggestions. Let me know what ideas you have, too!


Ingredients - serves 4


  • ½ cup whole grain pasta
  • ¼ to ½ avocado, diced
  • ¾ cup corn - I used thawed frozen corn
  • ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Onion, thinly sliced - preferably red or green
  • Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ small or medium size jalapeƱo, chopped
  • Tomato, chopped - I used about ½ of a Roma tomato
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Additional ingredient suggestions: finely shredded low fat cheddar cheese, more bell peppers of any color, sliced black olives

Dressing ingredients

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sourdough Whole-Wheat English Muffins

I am still feeding and using my sourdough starter in the fridge, and this is the second time I have used the batter for this recipe. I am surprised that making English Muffins is so easy, and the method is nearly foolproof!


1st time - a few months ago
2nd time

Ingredients - makes 12 muffins

1 teaspoon Truvia
1 cup warm water (at least 110°F)
2 teaspoons yeast
½ cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3½ cups unbleached flour - I used all-purpose and whole-wheat mix
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter blend, at room temperature
1½ teaspoon salt

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Apple-Sweet Potato Tart

Delicious flavor combination! May also be prepared with pre-made or pre-packaged store bought crust or rolls; however, I suggest staying away from those items as they are usually made with refined grains and have a high fat content.

Super flavorful and tender!

Apple-Sweet Potato Tart Ingredients

  • Whole-wheat crescent crust - optional*, recipe following and on page 57 in my book
  • 2 small or one large sweet potato, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced - yellow onion would be perfect in this recipe; I only used red onion because I had a peeled one on hand
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1¾ teaspoons dried sage, divided 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup grated asiago cheese - I hand shredded fresh cheese (photo below), and suggest using a fine grater instead

Whole-Wheat Crescent Crust Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar blend, like Truvia
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or pumpkin puree - I used non-fat Greek yogurt this time
  • 1 tablespoon Smart Balance butter blend
  • ⅔ cup hot water (around 120°— microwave tap water 1 minute)