Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chunky Turkey and Stars from Scratch

It's the holidays!  What are you going to do with that big ol' mess of turkey carcass?  Throw it out? NO WAY!  You're going to make stock, and then you're going to make soup.  And I'm going to tell you how.

Stock/Bone Broth Hybrid
1 turkey carcass, bones, skin, etc.
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, grated
The tops and leaves off your whole celery stalk
1 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. basil
6-7 bay leaves
(optional-scallion leftovers)

  1. In a large crock pot, combine all stock ingredients.  Cover with water, and cook on high until veggies turn mushy, and there's a nice oil slick on top. 8-12 hours usually, but it can take longer.
  2. Strain out.  I take a large mixing bowl,  put my colander in it, and cover with a flour sack towel. I then use my handled measuring glass to scoop out the goods into the bowl.  I usually have to empty the towel and bottle the broth 2 or 3 times throughout the process.
  3. I also take the time here to pick out edible meat.  You'll find quite a bit is actually in there-usually 2-4 cups.  I set the meat aside, and throw the rest out or compost it.  
  4. I use prego jars to store the strained broth in.
  5. In small saucepan, combine everything but meat, and cook until stars are just underdone.
  6. Add in meat and cook until stars tender.

2 cups bone broth
2 oz. carrot
2 oz. celery
2 oz. turkey meat
1/4 cup Simply Balanced Stelline Pasta
Salt to taste

  1. If your bone broth is what I gave above, when you take it out of the fridge it's gonna be a bit gloopy.  Give it a good shake.
  2. Combine pasta, carrots, celery, and broth in small saucepan.  
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until pasta is tender.
  4. Add in meat and heat through.
  5. Remove from heat, and let cool a bit. Pasta will likely double in size.

Makes 2 servings at 150 calories a serving

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tazo Passion Tea Lemonade Sugar-Free Version

I loooove the Tazo Passion Tea Lemonade they serve at Starschmucks, but hate the calories. It's 100 calories for a Tall, and 190 for a Venti because the lemonade they use is so sugary. So, I've fiddled around and found a way to make a 10- calories version at home using something that should have been obvious all this time.

Sugar-free lemonade packets.

3 Tazo Passion tea tea bags, remove string but be careful not to bust the staple.
1 pitcher package of sugar-free lemonade mix, such as Crystal Light. I also use Target's Market Pantry generic rip off. But be careful, this is the big packet, not the single serving one.
  1. In your pitcher, combine the tea bags and lemonade powder.
  2. Fill with hot water. My tap water is so hot, I can use that, but you may have to boil up some on the stove.
  3. Pop in the fridge, and steep until desired strength is reached. I like mine really strong, so I never remove the tea bags.
  4. Serve once cold.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I was curious. I love pumpkin pie, but I am not fond of the crust, so for years I've been making a from scratch version of the Betty Crocker Impossible Pumpkin Pie.

But the recipe is easily halved and having a whole pie around when you're trying to lose weight is just bad juju. Maybe I could do it in individual servings?

It turns out I can! These cupcakes are touchable, but very obviously pie, and the consistency of it.

Cupcake Pie
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin or butternut squash
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 heaping tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, hard
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 eggs
1/4 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/4 heaping tsp. ginger
Dash nutmeg
Dash clove

1/2 stick salted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.powdered/confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp. so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
  1. Combine for the Cupcake Pie in a blender or beat in your medium mixing bowl until smooth.
  2. Pour into paper-lined cupcake/muffin pans.
  3. Bake at 350F for 40-50 min, until knife stuck in middle comes out clean.
  4. Cool for 15 minutes on counter, then 3+ hours in fridge.
  5. Combine frosting ingredients while beating, adding the sugar a bit at a time.
  6. Frost.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 6 "cupcakes" at 100 calories each unfrosted.
225 frosted.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Simple Winter Vegetable Kielbasa Skillet

Winter is almost officially here, but it's been snowy and gross for a month in the Southern Tier.  My CSA farm share is over, and I've started trying to clear out the fridge and prep things before they go off for storage.

It's also that time of year where I'm grading until I die, and I'm cold, cranky, and hungry.  So I thought I'd toss together a simple skillet to pick away at all day. I used up the last of my pretty purple faux kraut I made with red cabbage.  I'm going to have to do that again!

6 oz. turnips, diced small
6 oz. daikon radish (or red radishes, either work) diced small
2 oz. red onion, diced small
6.5 oz. Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa
1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Faux Kraut or Sauerkraut

  1. Combine turnips, radish, and onion in skillet with olive oil, just enough to brown with. If you want to kick up the flavor, try an infused oil.  I infuse mine with ghost peppers.
  2. Once it starts to tan up, add in kielbasa.
  3. Cook until tender and kielbasa has some char to it.
  4. At the very end, add in the kraut, and heat through.
Makes 2 servings, a heaping bowl, at 225 calories a serving

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lemon Olive Oil Muffin

Every semester I make a little goody back for my undergrad teaching assistants with junk food and muffins.  This week is the week, and it's rainy and I'm a little on the poor side.  Luckily I have a big jar of homemade lemon marmalade, which you can make using my Blood Orange Marmalade as a base.

These bright, moist muffins have lovely large chunks of candied lemon in them from the marmalade, and a light floral taste from the olive oil. And there's a sneaky addition that gets some veggies into it too!

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup, packed, grated parsnip
1/4 cup lemon marmalade
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, oil, soda, powder, lemon marmalade, and salt and mix it well.
  3. Add in parsnip.
  4. Add in flour and mix until just wet.  This is a slightly thicker batter. Don't worry. 
  5. Scoop into lined or greased muffin tins. 
  6. Bake 10 minutes, shuffle, and bake an additional 10, until golden.
Makes 16 muffins at about 170 calories a muffin.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cole Slaw Dressing

No picture for this one yet, but it's worth sharing.

I got this recipe from my Mom, who got it from Tanya, who got it from probably a Taste of Home magazine or something, so I can't give credit to the original source.  But, it's the best cole slaw dressing recipe I've ever found, and I've barely tweaked it to slightly cut calories.

The measurements below are for a medium bowl worth of shredded veggies. It calls of a 16 oz. bag of the slaw mix if you use it.

1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Drink, Unsweetened
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup Just Mayo
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Whisk together, toss with your slaw, and let it soak up all of that goodness for a few hours.

Made to directions it tastes like KFCs. But I've found changing up sugars, vinegars, and spices leads to some other goodies.  My current batch was made with rice vinegar and taste pretty much the same, but with that slight umami of rice vinegar.

You can, of course, use 2% milk and any brand of mayo you like, but made to specs this is vegan.

Zucchini Relish

I try to have as little food waste as possible, which leads to some creative foods in my house.  I made a zucchini lasagna the other day, and had nearly 4 oz. of zucchini butts left over, and the skin side I removed to make the noodles.

So, I snagged my smallest ball jar, one of the small jam ones, and threw together a relish. This is, of course, a raw relish so you will have to drain it.  It won't get very thick. Thick relishes have been cooked or have thickening agents added.

I recommend keeping it in the fridge for a week before using. There is enough salt that you can ferment it for a day or two as well, but I don't like the flavor of that with this particular batch.  It also seems to keep well for several months.

3.5 oz zucchini, diced small
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. ginger, ground
1/4 tsp. cloves, ground
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 jar apple cider vinegar
  1. Completely fill your small jar with zucchini scraps.  Leave the neck clear.
  2. Fill 1/3 of the way with apple cider vinegar.  I use Bragg's.
  3. Measure in everything else but the water.  Do not add water yet.
  4. Now that everything is in the jar, top off with cold tap water.  
  5. Cap, shake, and refrigerate for 2 days minimum.
  6. Good for about 2 months sealed.
The whole jar contains about 100 calories.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Daikon Tatsoi Miso Soup

I'm rebooting my diet right now, which means getting creative to satisfy my everlasting hunger. And that's one of the secrets my friends. I am always hungry. And I crave food when I'm sad, which does not help.

Winter is soup season, and my CSA came with a ton of radishes over the last few weeks, so I spiralized a daikon and stored it in a ziploc.  I've also been getting a lot of Asian greens, like tatsoi, baby bok choy, and mustard greens.  They don't have many uses in my book, but I am bound and determined to use them up.

And I can with the help of a favorite Asian ingredient-miso.

Now, miso is one of those things where you might try a few.  I prefer the lighter, often dessert, miso.  The darkest miso is too strong for me. You, however, should play until you find a favorite.

1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. light/golden miso paste
2 oz. tatsoi
3 oz. spiralized daikon radish
1-2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce

  1. In a small sauce pan combine water, tatsoi, and daikon and bring to boil before reducing to simmer. Good until tatsoi is fully wilted.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add miso and stir in.
  4. Add soy sauce to taste.
  5. Serve immediately.
Make one serving at 60 calories, or 2 at 30 each for soup bowl.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Salt & Pepper Daikon Radish Chips

I have 3 huge daikon radishes from my farm shares for the last two weeks, and I am a single woman who lives at home.  I decided to see what happens if you make dehydrator chips with them.

A little sweet, a little bitter, I will make these again.

1 daikon radish, unpeeled but with hairy bits removed, sliced as thin as you can get it
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Using your hands, combine salt, pepper, and radishes. You want about 1/2 as much on them as you think you would like on your final product, Remember, they will shrink. A lot. The average chip here is about the same side in diameter as the length from my thumb knuckle to the tip of my thumb. The radish, however, was about the size of my forearm at the halfway point.
  2. Lay out so they don't touch on your dehydrator trays.
  3. In my presto, this took about 12 hours, until the chips start to brown a bit. Don't pull them too early or they will remain squish. Radishes have a lot of water in them.
Radishes are 18 calories per 100 grams raw.  You can figure out your yield by weighing the raw radish.  My 5 inch radish made about 1 cup of chips.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Apple Parsnip Muffins

I bake when I'm upset, and I won't lie, this election did not turn out the way I would have liked it to.  I woke up to a message from a friend in England "I have a spare room." she says, and that's how I learned the election results.

I have a ton of parsnips in my farm share from the last few weeks, but I don't eat them very often.  I decided to put a spin on an Alton Brown recipe I saw on Good Eats once, but make my own using my own base.

Sweet, spicy, and nutty.  Delicious!

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 cup, packed, grated parsnip
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 granny smith, snacking apple, cored and diced small.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, oil, soda, powder, salt and spiced, and mix it well.
  3. Add in parsnip and apple.
  4. Add in flour and mix until just wet.  This is a slightly thicker batter. Don't worry. Remember, apples.
  5. Scoop into lined or greased muffin tins. 
  6. Bake 15 minutes, shuffle, and bake an additional 10, until golden.
Makes 16 muffins at 150 calories a muffin.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Easy Butternut Squash Pancakes

I am still making may way through the huge squash featured a week ago.  Which means it's time to start getting creative before it goes bad.  Today I'm making pancakes and then I'll make some of my soup and that should finish it off.

Squash is actually a great thing to keep around, even at your poorest.  It's not only yummy, delicious, and filling, but it can be used to stretch some recipes, like waffles and pancakes.  Adding 1/2 a cup of squash to my pancake recipe added about 4 pancakes worth of low-cal, delicious, breakfast food.

1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup so delicious coconut milk drink, unsweetened, plain
1/2 cup mashed butternut squash
1 egg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Combine everything in a blender and blend until creamy and lump free.
  2. Spray your medium skillet or griddle with your favorite low calorie/no calories cooking spray
  3. Cook as you would normal pancakes.  They may take a bit longer each side.
Makes 8-10 pancakes, 2 large servings of 170 calories each.

Serve with your favorite lite syrup.  Since this batter has no added sugar, I don't recommend eating them plain.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

De Nada Mac & Cheese

What does De Nada mean?

You'rrrrrre welcome.

I mean, if literally translates to "for nothing." As in, there's nothing to thank me for. But the figurative meaning is the same as "you're welcome" in English

I loveeeeee Mac & Cheese an a nasty day, but a big, heaping serving is usually, well, a mix of caloric and horrific.


But a couple substitutes can really cut the calories. In fact, substituting exactly as I have hear cuts almost 40 calories a serving from my non-subbed recipe and 80 from my mother's.  And it's still creamy, cheesy and delicious. You can also make it Gluten Free so as not to upset your favorite Celiac's (spell check really wants to make that "Celibacy's")tummy.

8 oz. Banza chickpea Rotini
1 Tbsp. salted butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (rice flour for gluten-free)
1 1/2 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/2 cup shredded 2% Mexican cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1 1/2 cup Part-skim, Low Moisture Shredded Mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook noodles according to packaging, drain, and pour into 8X8 square pan. The rotini seem to cook tender better than the shells do.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. While oven heats, in a small saucepan, melt butter.  
  4. Add flour and mix into rue-paste.
  5. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add Mexican cheese and whisk in.
  7. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth.
  8. Add in Parmesan cheese and whisk in.
  9. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth
  10. Add in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and whisk in.
  11. Add in final 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste, constantly whisking.
  13. Pour cheese sauce over.
  14. Fold in bare spots.
  15. Sprinkle with final cup off mozzarella.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes.
  17. Cool for 3 minutes and serve.
Makes 4 servings at 470 calories a serving.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Butternut-Sage Beer Bread with Parmesan

One of the staples of the poor teacher's diet is bread.  But not any bread. Small servings need to be filling and satisfying, so you don't get fat again.

Beer bread is one of my go-tos.  It lets you cut things like eggs and oils and keep calories a bit lower than some of its cousins.

This savory loaf is great with stew, chili, or just slathered in butter. The squash is another bit from my Bloodnick's Farm gift, but also one came in my CSA this week.  The sage is from my mother's yard. For some reason it grows like weeds back there.

I recommend letting this cool completely, and saving it for a day before digging in.

1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder (yes, Tablespoon)
12 oz. pumpkin ale (I used Shipyard's Pumpkinhead)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup mashed butternut squash (or acorn, or pumpkin-any winter squash will do)
1 Tbsp. garlic
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp. butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Use butter to thoroughly grease your bread loaf pan.
  3. Combined everything else, except the flour and oats. Stir until completely mixed in.
  4. Add flour and oat and cut in a bit.  Don't overdo it.  It should still mostly be dry.
  5. Add 1 bottle (12 oz.) of beer.  It should froth up.
  6. Stir just until you see no more dry.
  7. Scoop into pan and spread out.
  8. Bake 45-60 min, until top golden and passes toothpick test deeply. or internal temp is 210F.
12 slices is 145 calories a slice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Butternut Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

The Bloodnicks are amazing people, and on a week when I was feeling my pennies pinch, they gave me a butternut squash literally the size of my head. I roasted it, and mashed it, and filled 2 large yogurt containers with it. I've eaten a lot mashed, but not my farm share has given me another, and some acorn squashes, so I need to finish this one up.

Enter the cookies.  This is another variation on the pumpkin oatmeal cookies. These fluffy, soft, lightly sweet and nutty cookies are delish.

1.5 oz. pecans, crushed
1/2 heaping cup butternut squash, mashed
6 Tbsp. salted butter, soft
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat together egg, sugar, squash, and butter in a medium bowl.  It might look a bit curdled and that's fine.
  3. Add in pecans, oats, molasses, and cinnamon and beat until combined.
  4. Add in flour and beat until combined.
  5. Scoop out in rounded globs onto parchment covered cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 15-20 min. until browned on edges and no longer shiny.
Makes 14 cookies at 140 calories each.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

4 Bean and Bacon Chili

I've got some tomatoes about to go off, and too many peppers and onions, so I decided it was chilli time.  The weather has been perfect for it, and I wanted something on the spicy side.

That being said, I'd like to take a moment to remind you that I love ghost pepper wings.  So, I recommend starting with half of all the hot stuff. Also, I really prefer dry beans, but if you used canned, remove all salt from the recipe and add to taste.

12 oz. tomatoes, diced
4 oz. red pepper, diced
2 oz. onion, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup dry navy beans
1/4 cup dry kidney beans
1/4 cup dry chickpeas
1/2 cup dry lentils
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 Tbsp. sriracha
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
4 sliced of thick cut, smoked bacon
1 tsp baking soda

  1. In your pot, combine the beans, and just enough water to submerge about a 1/2 inch. I use my large saute pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until beans start to get tender.
  3. While your beans cook, fry up 4 pieces of bacon until almost crispy.
  4. Drain and cool bacon.
  5. Cut bacon into small pieces and set aside.
  6. Add in tomato, pepper, onion, minced garlic, bay leaves, paprika, black pepper, half the salt, half the sugar, and cayenne.
  7. Cook until reduced almost all of the way to chili texture.
  8. Add hot sauce, sriracha, half the sugar, and the bacon.
  9. Once the right consistency, taste test.  If it is bitter, add the baking soda 1/4 tsp. at a time, stirring in and tasting between until it's cut back.  Bitterness depends on tomatoes and peppers so it will vary.
  10. If wanted, stir in remainder of sugar and salt. 
Makes 6 bowls at 150 calories a bowl

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Onion Rosemary Flatbread

I needed a simple bread item for a thrown together party, and decided to just toss together some of the things I had in the house that I thought might taste good with vegetarian chilli.

I almost didn't want to take it.  I liked it that much.

1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup self-rising flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 oz. onion, sliced thin
Fresh rosemary

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine flour and yogurt.  Flour a surface and knead until the texture of pizza dough.
  3. Roll out. It doesn't have to be pretty.  Rough edges look cool. About 8x8 inch.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and rub around to coat like a pizza.
  5. Layer onions.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, a bit of salt, and black pepper to taste.
  7. Bake 10-15 minutes, until edges golden.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Chicken" Soup with Arugula and Chickpeas


Sorry about that.  It's cold season and I seem to have caught the plague from the student who refused to leave the classroom last week.  At least, he's the one I'm blaming.

I've got a freezer full of frozen stock/broth for just this reason.

Now, this soup is a vegetarian version, but I've included the subs.

4 cups vegetable broth OR chicken broth
11 oz. chickpeas, pre-cooked
1.5 oz. arugula, chopped up thin
2 quorn cutlets, diced OR 1 chicken breast, pre-cooked, diced
Salt to taste

  1. First, it's important you know that that is 11 oz. after cooking dried beans. I recommend a heaping 1/2 cup of dry beans to cook.  You don't have to get perfect, just close.
  2. In your medium soup pot, combine chickpeas, broth, and diced quorn.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in chopped arugula and wilt, about 1 minute.
  4. Add salt to taste.
Makes 6 servings at 100 calories a serving.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Summer Squash Chips

I crave the crunch of potato chips so bad some days. I've tried making all sorts of things into lower calorie chips, but it turns out plain old summer squash and zucchini work the best! And you can have a lot.  Like, summer squash is about 4 calories an ounce raw. So, it allows you to feel gluttonous without any of the horror the next day.

18 oz. squash
2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne
*You can, of course, try any flavor of spices and herbs. Just keep it light on the first batch. Dehydrating knocks up the flavor factor a lot!

  1. Using your mandolin, cut the squash into chips using the thinnest selection you can while still getting whole pieces.
  2. Toss gently in a medium bowl with spices and salt.
  3. Lay out single layer on your dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for about 8 hours. I have the grid type, so I don't line it.
  4. Cool and bag.
18 oz. squash makes 2 servings at 32 calories each.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Pumpkin" Spice Oatmeal Cookies

The leaves have an edge of yellow, and my driveway is littered with the first of the fall leaves.  Dunkin Donuts,a nd Starbucks are rolling out the pumpkin spice everything, which I can assure you having worked for Starschmucks via Barnes and Noble, has very little pumpkin in it  (but it does have pumpkin).

I have a few delicata squash in my CSA this week, and I just know I have to make them into dessert. But I also want to make oatmeal cookies.  So, I scoured Pintrest, combined a few recipes, and came up with these delightful spiced "pumpkin" cookies.

1/2 cup mashed, packed delicata, acorn, or butternut squash
6 Tbsp. salted butter, room temp.
3/4 cups. gently packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp. cloves, ground
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1/4 tsp. ginger,
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup, slightly rounded, quick oats
1/4 tsp. baking powder.
  1. How to prepare that squash?  Take one, small delicata, acorn, or butternut squash. I'm using delicata because that's what came in my CSA. Poke holes using a fork all over.  Lots of them.  Microwave 3 minutes, turn, and repeat until soft to touch.  Slice in half, remove seeds, and allow to cool.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, spices, and powder in medium mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in squash, and beat until combined, scraping down sides.
  4. Fold in oats.
  5. Finally, stir in flour.
  6. Scoop out balls of oatmeal dough on a cookie sheet covered in parchment.
  7. Bake 7 minutes, then lightly press down and turn tray.
  8. Bake 7 minutes more, until bottoms are lightly golden.
  9. Remove to cool on sheet. Store once completely cool.
Makes about 20 fluffy oatmeal cookies, small. 95 calories a cookie.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fermented Salsa

It's that time of year where tomatoes start to take over my life.  I can't help but remember the movie, and then cartoon of my childhood. "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes."

When I went to pick up my farm share last week, the Other Wendy, aka not my mom, had a sample of a fermented salsa she had made.  You might remember, we took a class on fermenting together last summer.

It was, of course, delicious, so I thought I'd wing it.

Like most ferments, this one isn't exact.  But it's simple enough you can do it.  Also, like most ferments, you have to be prepared to lose the goods. Occasionally, something else less friendly gets in there and ruins all of the fun.

The batch here is cilantro and bell pepper free, because I don't eat cilantro.  I am one of those unfortunates that tastes nothing but soap when it shows up to the party.

2 small onions, diced
6 jalapenos, diced
Several tomatoes, diced as you go (I use 4 big ones and then 4 smaller romas for this batch)
1-2 tsp. kosher salt.
A few sprigs of cilantro (optional-to taste)
1 small bell pepper (optional)
  1. Throw all of your diced goodies in a bowl together with the 1/2 the salt, and give a good stir.
  2. Taste.  You want it a little salty, but not overpoweringly so. Remember, you'll be eating with with salty chips.
  3. If it needs the rest of the salt, add in and stir again. If it's too much salt, rinse it a few times before bottling it. You'll get the hang of it sooner or later. Just drain it well.
  4. Fill into a wide-mouthed jar.
  5. Cut a slightly larger than the mouth, and I do mean ever so slightly, disc from a plastic food container.  I use a Greek yogurt lid.  You should be able to use it to press down on your salsa, and have it stay put.  Snip until it does.
  6. Press down so the salsa is completely under the liquid and put a lid on it.
  7. Every few hours, unscrew your lid and re-screw to release the gasses. 
  8. Every day, remove the lid. Use a clean spoon to scoop out anything that looks off. This is a good time to remove a bit to taste test.  You're looking for tang, but not a vinegary tang.  I usually rinse the plastic lid too, before re-submerging the salsa in it's own liquid.  Then re-cap.
  9. Keep on the counter, repeating, for up to a week, to taste. Not in direct sunlight. Sometimes it's perfect in 2 days, sometimes in 5. Each batch is a little different.
  10. You'll know it's close to done, because it will get bubbly, especially when you stir it. Fermenting releases gases, so make sure you're removing and cracking those lids!
  11. Drain off excess liquid, and refrigerate before serving, or can it proper.
My 2 small onion 1 bell pepper batch fills one ball jar, and one prego spaghetti jar.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Time Saving Wild Blackberry & Summer Squash Oatmeal

It's almost back to school time, so I'm getting my frozen prep done, and this is round one.  I've got a bad habit of not eating before I head off to teach 3 back-to-backs, and I'm going to see if these will help kill that habit and help me avoid the vending machine of doom.

Oatmeal is super simple to pre-prep.  In fact, you can split your batch in 3, and use different fruits with the squash suggested here, and the kids will never know of your insidious vegetable use.

I pull them out of the freezer and a quick zap results in a delicious, preservative-free breakfast that's a bit more nutritious than that packaged stuff (and comes in more flavors).

This batch is a result of a rather fruitful hike at Salt Springs, just across the NY border in Franklin Township, PA.

1 cup oats
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt.
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
10 oz. grated summer squash
2.5 cups wild blackberries
1/2 tsp. baking powder
  1. Combine everything but the baking powder in a medium, and mix well. You can substitute skim milk and vanilla extract if you prefer.
  2. Pop in the fridge for an hour or two to soak up all that yummy goodness.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Line your muffin tins with baking cups if you like, or just spray them down good. While the cups can be a bit of a pain to remove, they work a little better.
  5. Fill each muffin completely. 
  6. Bake for abut 20-30 minutes, until top is firm to touch.  Once again, this doesn't mean the bottom isn't gooey oatmeal. Just that the top has a bit more texture. This is why I prefer the wrappers to just the tin.
  7. Cool, and then freeze for storage. If you're using the tin, I suggest par-freezing it in the tin first for a few hours, then removing them to a better storage container, like a ziploc. 
  8. Remove from freezer to thaw the night before. Or, Zap them for one minute with the wrapper on, peel, and one minute with wrapper off.  Don't drain off the liquid. Stir it in!
Makes 18 individuals at 60 calories a piece! Recommend two for an adult, one for a child.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Rhubarb Streusel Bread

I was grabbing a few things from Wegmans when I saw glorious, large stalks of rhubarb.  At first, I was thinking of bars, but in the end the weather got a bit crisp and I thought quickbread.

This recipe results in a rhubarb streusel loaf with a hint of orange and spice. It's super yummy and a bit tart.  Great for a nearly-fall day. A bit of a pain in the arse though.

2 stalks rhubarb
2 Tbsp. marmalade
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
2 tsp. cinnamon
  1.  Rinse, and cut weedy ends, and broken, dried out bits off of the rhubarb, and then slice thin into coins.
  2. Combine all ingredients of the marinade, and allow to sit for 5-6 hours. Jazz up your marinade by playing with different marmalades and vanillas.  I used a homemade kumquat marmalade and vanilla bean paste (which can be purchased for $6/bottle or less at Home Goods or TJ Maxx if you're savvy). 
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Line and grease your bread pan. I use foil and coconut oil.  The spray kind because Alton brown said really, it's ok.
  5. Begin the bread recipe. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a medium bowl, and beat until creamed.
  6. Add eggs and beat high until fluffy.
  7. Add water and vinegar. Beat low until mixed. Will look slightly curdled-this is ok!
  8. In a small bowl, combine flower, powder, and soda. Whisk to combine the dry mix.
  9. Stir in dry mix into wet mix until just moist. This will be very thick at this point, like drop biscuits, because the remaining moisture is in the rhubarb and marinade.
  10. Fold in marinated rhubarb and its liquid and give a gentle stir. Should still be a thick batter, but will be more like a thick muffin mix than biscuits now.
  11. Remove set aside half the batter.
  12. Scoop main batter into bread pan and spread out.
  13. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients minus butter and combine with fork. Then add butter and stir in to make fine crumble.
  14. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the bread batter in the pan.
  15. Careful scoop and spread the reserved batter over the streusel mix.
  16. Top with remaining streusel and press it lightly into the bread batter with the palm of your hand.
  17. Bake 60+, depending on bread pan size, until passes toothpick test, but instead of a toothpick, I use a chopstick.  I know, it's not as pretty, but it gets down far enough to see if the middle is cooking. And yes, it is really closer to the hour plus mark. I actually recommend using a thermometer if you have one and aim for 190-200F.
  18. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to cool the rest of the way.
  19. Once completely cooled, toss in ziplock or wrap in foil and refrigerate.  Bread can be frozen for up to 3 months.
*Note: I found it very difficult to cook it through with the streusel layer, and next time I will drop the inner layer, make half the topping and only put it on top. I might also cut back on rhubarb for a faster baking time or make it as muffins rather than bread.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chickpea Butter

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but the pb has too many calories most days.  I've found ways to cut down on jelly calories, bread calories, but any reduced peanut butter is still super high in calories and fat.

I thought I'd give chickpeas a chance, and while it's not peanut butter, it is a "butter" I feel good about using.

I always recommend using dried beans, not canned.  They last longer, have more flavor, and less sodium.  But, if you use canned beans for this recipe, cut the salt and only add to taste.

8 oz. soaked, cooked, and rinsed chickpeas
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
3-4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2-1 Tbsp. sugar free vanilla syrup (Torani)
3-4 Tbsp. Lakanto*
  1. Combine chickpeas, half the oil, half the Lakanto, and half the water in your food processor and puree.
  2. Add in the rest of the oil when it starts to get too stiff, and then and only then the water.
  3. Add Lakanto and vanilla syrup beyond to taste.  I needed the full amount for me, but I like a sweeter peanut butter.
  4. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Extras can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes 15 servings of a heaping Tbsp. at 25 calories a serving.

Lakanto is the only fake sweetener I love.  But if you're not afraid of calories, you can sub it out 1 for 1 with brown or white sugar or even honey.  Same for the vanilla syrup.  I use these to cut calories and keep taste!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Elvis Yogurt Pops

I've been listening to Lizard People, a comedy podcast and catching up on the back logs, and this week I was listening to one on Elvis (which was seriously disturbing).  Anywhoo, it gave me a food craving for a banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich.

I know, it sounds gross.

It's delicious, and was his favorite sandwich.

But I'm feeling a little more bananas foster than breakfast, so I tossed together a few yogurt pops. Creamy, banana and yogurt pops really fulfill that need for ice cream and sweets, with quite a few less calories.

1 banana, brown
1/4 cup plain, fat free, Greek yogurt
1/2 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Drink
2 Tbsp. reduced fat Peanut Butter
1 tsp. sugar free caramel Torani syrup (optional)
  1. Blend everything together and pour into popsicle molds.
  2. Freeze for at least one day.
Makes 4 at 90 calories a pop.

Other nut butters substitute well.  I haven't tried it with the substitutes though.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lentil Potato Hash

Lentils are actually one of the most useful dried beans around.  They can be used to make soup, veggie burgers, and even peanut butter cookies. They can be cooked straight from dry, or soaked overnight.

My house is currently running low on meats because I'm trying to move away from buying so many processed meats, but I've been craving a good sausage hash.  So, I thought, why not give it a go with some of my pureed green lentils? I keep a few cups in the freezer for when I want to make cookies.

This is a great vegan dish, because if you don't tell them, they'll never know what you've done. They'll know it's not meat, but they won't be sure what it is besides delicious.  Play with spices to make it yours.  For example, I used my ghost pepper infused olive oil to spice it up and hickory salt.

1 cup cooked, semi-pureed lentils
10 oz. potato, diced
3 oz. onion, diced
1 oz. green pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt, black pepper, paprika, and dried parsley to taste.
Ketchup to taste (optional)
  1. Preheat your large saute pan on medium.
  2. Add oil, onion, bell pepper, and potatoes.  Give a good stir every now and then.
  3. When potatoes are nearly done, add in lentils and stir in.
  4. Cook until lentils are golden and potatoes are tender.  Add in spices when nearly done.
Makes 2 servings at 230 calories a serving.

How to puree lentils?  Cook in water until soft.  Then add to blender or food processor with a bit of the cooking water, until about 3/4ths smooth. It works better for cookies and meat subs if it's still a little chunky. Freeze in 1 cup servings for later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sweet & Spicy Eggplant Jerky

I'm about as fond of eggplant as I am of kale, so when I saw various recipes for eggplant bacon, I knew I had to try something along those lines. But I also knew I had to change them.  What I was seeing was not to my liking. I like bacon as bacon.

But maybe I could make a similar jerky-type.

Sweet & spicy with a crunch that turns into a chew. This would be an acceptable substitute for me if I wasn't going to fry bacon anyway. A great snack, and easy too adjust. Best part?

I finally found a way I'll eat eggplant.

11-12 oz. eggplant (the skinny kind)
2 Tbsp. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. low sodium soy
2 Tbsp. honey or maple
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. molasses
1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
A pinch of salt
  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock baggie and mush together.
  2. Cut the stem off of the eggplant, and halve it.
  3. Slice each half of the eggplant into bacon sized strips. I used a mandolin in between 1/8 and 1/6 inch. Toss the pieces that are just skin.
  4. Toss eggplant into marinade and flip around until everything is coated well.  Do this every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes. Keep out on counter.
  5. I have a Presto dehydrator, which is the round, stackable kind. I put one of my fruit roll inserts on the bottom tray to catch any sogginess.
  6. Once the eggplant is nice, slimy, flimsy, and darkened-up lay out on trays and dehydrate. Save liquid marinade in bowl and pop it into the fridge.
  7. When nearly done, baste with remaining liquid on one sides, and then finish off until dried.
Try flavored olive oils and other herbs and spices. I used clover honey, ghost pepper infused olive oil, and a pinch of hickory salt.

Keep refrigerated. They're shelf stable enough to pack in a lunch, but not in a pantry.

Makes about 30 pieces at around 5-15 calories a piece, depending on your products. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cheddar Kale Pesto

I keep getting kale in my farm share.  Unfortunately, I loatheeeeeee the stuff.  Like most people loathe Twilight.  So, every week I'm trying to find some redeeming quality in the stuff.  I hate it's flavor, I hate it's texture, I hate the stringy leafy bits and the feel of the leaves on my hands. Yeah, it runs deep.

In desperation I decided to invoke the Rinn of Rinn past-the poor sucker who got stuck making pesto at Java Joe's all the time. I finally found a way to not only eat it, but enjoy it.

By mixing it with loads of fatty deliciousness.

I almost burned the motor out on my blender, and realized it's time to invest in a real food processor, but it's delicious on zoodles.  I used 1 Tbsp. to 6 oz. of zucchini from the same farm share in this pic (140 calories). Just tossed them together and heated them on the stove until warm and creamy. 

The flower is edible too. Nasturtium from my edible flower garden.

1 to 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. kale, raw
4 oz. Vermont Sharp Cheddar
1/4 lbs. unsalted pumpkin seeds (almonds will work as well)
4 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  1. Wash kale, remove woody stems, and chop up.
  2. Grate cheese.
  3. A bit at a time, combine everything in your food processor or blender until smooth, adding oil as needed to keep things moving.
  4. Store in sterile glass.  I recommend the Ball jam-type containers.
This recipe freezes really well, and seems to keep in the fridge for several weeks.

A serving is 1 Tbsp. 
Makes approximately 28 servings at 126 calories each.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lemon Tea-Basil Granita

I just finished Gail Carriger's "Imprudence," which is the next installment in a steampunk-eaque Victorian England if England had Vampires, Wereeverythings, and people who could negate and steal their forms.  I adore this series.  I love brain candy, because as many of you know, my work reading is some heavy duty stuff. For those of you who don't know, Syntax, aka Theoretical Grammar, is not uncommon, and regular author's in my world include Pinker, Chomsky, and Dรถrnyei.

Anywhoo, back to the point.

In Carriger's world, a lemon-basil mix causes an allergic reaction of sorts in the paranormal, and it sounded quite tasty.  Especially since it is currently in the 90s F in the lovely state of NY, and I don't have central air. So, I thought, why not make a batch of granita?

I happen to keep a few lemons always on hand, because I hate the bottled lemon juice. It tastes...off. I'm also growing my own basil right now, so I have everything I need on hand.

Light, refreshing, juicy, and sweet with a  touch of savory. Completely refreshing.

10 large basil leaves
1 small lemon
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups water
Iced Tea of Choice

Before beginning, my current iced tea of choice is Republic of Tea's Hi Caf Green Ginseng Mint.  It's light, refreshing, and I just make it on the strong side. I love unsweetened ice tea, and there's usually at least 2 pitchers in the fridge just waiting. However, if you're steeping and cooling, I recommend over-steeping it.  I know. Sacrilege.  Just trust me. You want it strong or the sugar, lemon, and basil will completely overwhelm it.  Any tea, however will do.
  1. Combine basil, zest of the whole lemon, and juice of the whole lemon in your mini-chopper, processor or blender and combine well.
  2. Pour into 1 cup measuring.  Top off with iced tea. Cool.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. 
  4. Heat on medium, until fully dissolved.  Then do not stir again.
  5. Bring to a boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes. Do not stir.
  6. Remove from heat.  
  7. Add in cooled lemon, basil, tea to simple syrup.  Do not stir.
  8. Pour half into your 2 cup measuring cup with the spout bit, and pour into an ice cube tray.  Repeat with the second half.
  9. Freeze overnight.
  10. When ready, remove only what is needed from ice cube tray (4 cubes per serving), and crush with a fork.  Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings of 4 cubes at 130 calories a serving. The great thing about granita recipes is that they can also be used to make popsicles. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Carrot Muffins

I have a drawer full of carrots from my CSA, but I'm not a huge carrot eater, so I needed something to do with them.  I'm not fond of carrot cake so that was out.  My mother suggested I do my sweet potato bread but with carrots, so I gave it a go.

My sweet potato bread is based on my mother's zucchini bread, which is hands down the best.  Most likely because it's full of bad stuff. But since I'm not going to sit down and eat all the muffins, I'm doing it anyway.

These muffins are lightly sweet with a touch of cinnamon. Best of all?  The kids loved them.

2 cup grated carrot
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cup sugar
1 cup coconut oil OR canola
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4  tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine everything but the flour, and mix well.
  3. Add in flour all at once and fold in.  Give a couple of stirs, but don't overdue it.  Just until everything is wet through.
  4. Scoop into lined muffin pans.
  5. Bake 20+minutes, until toothpick comes out clean (as a loaf it will be closer to 60 min).
Makes 2 loaves or about 22 muffins.

About 375 calories a muffin.

To lower calories, cut back the sugar to 1 cup sugar 1 cup Lakanto.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Easy Pancakes

I'm not a huge pancake eater, but when I want them, I want to go big or go home.  This is my go-to base for perfect pancakes every time.

Of course, everything can be flipped out. I've noted my recommended flips. Milk & Sugar/Honey will add a significant amount of calories.

1 egg
1/2 cup self-rising flour OR all purpose + 3/4 tsp. baking powder + 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Drink OR 2%
2 Tbsp. Lakanto sweetener OR sugar OR honey
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste OR extract
Cooking spray (I use coconut oil)
Syrup of choice (I use Wegmans butter flavored lite)

  1. Heat your pan of choice on medium.  I use a small frying pan, non-stick.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sweetener, vanilla, and milk.  
  3. Whisk in flour until smooth.
  4. Spray pan with nonstick.
  5. Pour just under the size you want.
  6. Wait until the pancake gets super craggy, all the way through.
  7. Slide spatula carefully under, and flip.
  8. Cook until browned.
  9. Remove to plate and cover with towel.
  10. Repeat.
Makes 6 average-sized pancakes at 270 calories total.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Spiced Pear Sauce Bread with Dates

My father currently has a rather mangy looking heirloom pear tree in the back yard, but last year it was so full of fruit it broke the tree.  Unfortunately, the pears, like most true heirloom fruit, are disgusting. People forget pears and apples were not yummy and delicious-we bred them to be.  All you have to do is pop up to Indian Creek Farm in Ithaca and try one of their Victorian apples.  Blargh.

So I made it into sauce, which, while tasty, is awfully gritty, so I save it for baking.  I have a couple more things leftover in the freezer, and I'm trying to clear it all out for this year's CSA and local farm haul. The last time, I used it to make those Pomaceous Brownies, which were awesome and I'll make them again.  Today I'm trying an applesauce bread, but with some changes of course.

1 1/2 cups pear sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid state OR or canola
2 eggs
3 Tbsp So Delicious unsweetend coconut milk OR 2%
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
12 medjool dates, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and use butter or coconut oil to thoroughly grease your load pan.
  2. Combine in the bowl in order, beating thoroughly between each until you get to the dates and flour.
  3. Add dates, and fold in.
  4. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, folding in,
  5. Mix only until combined and everything wet.  No more.
  6. Scoop into load pan and bake 40 minutes, drop oven to 325F
  7. Bake until passes the toothpick test, about 15-20 more minutes.  If you have a thermometer, internal should read 205-210F in center.
  8. Let cool 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge and popping it out to cool the rest of the way on a rack.
12 slices at 250 calories each, or 16 muffins at 188 calories each.

To make pear sauce, if you don't have it, follow my Simple Stove Top Applesauce recipe and sub in pears instead. Or use unsweetened applesauce instead.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Garlic-Dill Beet Stem Refrigerator Pickles

Beets are edible from leaf to root, but the stems are stringy like celery and have a strong flavor.  I've found the best use for them is to pickle them for snacks.

The trick to a good refrigerator pickle is all in the choice of vinegar. For most, my go to is unseasoned rice vinegar.  You can use any though, just be prepared to experiment.  For example, white and apple cider generally need a larger amount of water.

The recipe here can be used to make any kind of fridge pickle. Just stick to the same ratio of vinegar, water, and salt.

Beet Stems
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Tbsp. Fresh Dill
Rice Vinegar
Ball Regular Mouth Pint Mason Jar
  1. Cut your beet stems so they fit in the jar, lower than the neck.
  2. Fill the jar, but leave enough room that you can insert 2 fingers.
  3. Remove the leafy bits of dill from the stems, and toss the dill stems. 
  4. Stuff the rest of the jar with dill and the garlic. Scoop the salt on top.
  5. Fill jar 1/3 way with vinegar.
  6. Fill rest of the way with water.
  7. Cap tightly, and shake to combine.
  8. Refrigerate for 24 hours.  The longer in, the stronger the flavor.
  9. Good for anywhere from 1-3 months depending on your water and salt content.  Check every now and then for freshness.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Savory Rosemary-Beet Quick Bread

My goal this week is to finally kill the last of 2015's farm share freezer veggies.  So, I decided to try another beet bread, but this time savory.

This earthy, dense loaf is one of my new favorite sides.  Toast it, slather it with butter and serve it with anything you like a darker bread with.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) salted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pureed beets
1 Tbsp. rosemary
Kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease your bread loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine beet puree, melted butter, and rosemary.
  3. Once thoroughly stirred in, add eggs and beat in.
  4. Add in powder and stir until combined.
  5. Finally stir in the flour and muffin-mix.  This means mix until everything is just combined, but no more.
  6. Use a spatula to get everything into your bread pan, and smooth it out.
  7. Sprinkle with a bit more rosemary, and about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
  8. Bake 40-minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool 30 minutes before turning out on rack to finish cooling.
Makes one loaf of about 10 slices at 135 calories a slice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Garlicky Bok Choi Stir Fry

CSA season is back in full gear and I have enough greens to feed a small army...but I live alone. Soooo I'm already on my way to sick of salad.  Time to tap into all of that time staring at Taiwanese vendors as they cooked.

This week I got a whole head of big boy bok choy, rather than the wee shanghai ones I usually buy for beef noodles and such.  So, I took off a few stalks to roast later, and chopped the rest up for my favorite go-to dish-Stir Fry.  With cauliflower "rice."

This is a dieting trick that may actually work on children, so if you haven't tried it yet, you really should. I use the frozen cauliflower-it seems to work best. The best part, this can be made to suit any dietary requirement.

12 oz. bok choy
12 oz. cauliflower florets, frozen
6 oz. shrimp, raw or precooked (precooked beef or chicken, or tempeh work just as nicely)
2 Tbsp. Hoison sauce
2 Tbsp. garlic
1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce, lite
  1. Chop your bok choy up.  You want it small enough that you could eat it in a salad.  Stalks too.
  2. Microwave cauliflower for 5-7 minutes, until it's soft, but not fully cooked.
  3. Adding a handful at a time, toss cauliflower into blender or food processor, and pulse until ricey.  Then dump and do the next handful.  You don't want to end up with a puree!
  4. Toss bok choy, cauliflower rice, Hoison, garlic, and 1 Tbsp. soy into your wok, and bring to medium heat.
  5. Stir often to combine, as the bok choy wilts.  Add soy and sriracha to taste.
  6. When leaves are almost fully wilted, add in meat or tempeh. Raw shrimp will take about 3-5 minutes to turn pink and curl.  Pre-cooked meats can be pulled from the heat as soon as they're heated through.
420 calories for full batch. 

Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side...or one really hungry lady who forgot to eat before heading to the office.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Skinny Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Mmmm....June is strawberry season.  Strawberry Fest was last weekend, and this week I got a pint of very ripe strawberries in my CSA bag.  I ate a few, but realized they would likely go bad before I could finish them off, so I decided to play with one of my recipes and see what happens.

But, I also need balance, because I went on a road trip this week and ate horridly, so I need a low-cal dessert.

No problem. This super moist cake fits the bill.

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 rounded cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk drink (or 2% milk)
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 pint strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Add a bit of melted butter to your round cake pan, and roll around until coated thoroughly.  Not all of the butter, just what you need.
  3. Sprinkle the pan with 1/2 of the brown sugar, evenly.
  4. Slice and layer strawberries.  I used just shy of a pint, but depending on your strawberry it might be more or less, so I recommend slicing as you go. You don't want to see the sugar through them, so a second scant layer might be necessary.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.
  7. Add wet into dry, and give it the ol' muffin mix.  Mix until just combined.
  8. I know, it's not a lot of batter. You'll want to use your spatula to scoop and smooth as you go to ensure full coverage.  It's OK if you can see the strawberries a bit.
  9. Bake 15-30 min, until golden.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Run a knife around the edge, and flip out onto serving plate.
  12. You can serve immediately, or allow to cool. I recommend ice cream or your whipped topping of preference.
Makes 8 slices at 140 calories a slice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Red Velvet Surprise Brownies

Surprise, don't tell anyone what one of the ingredients is, or they won't try them and that would be a mistake.  Or do, so you can sit at the table in front of small children and eat every. single. one without argument.


Yup, beets.

No, you can't tell.


I must have looked at at least two dozen recipes, none of which seemed to have much in common but the flippin' ingredients themselves.  So, I took the best of everyone, and made my own.  Like I generally do.

1 cup beet puree*
1/2 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 heaping cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with foil, and butter it up good.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together beet puree, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and butter until well-combined.
  4. Add in cocoa powder and beat until combined.
  5. Add in flour and beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips, scraping down sides.
  7. Pour into pan.
  8. Bake for about 30 min, until toothpick comes out clean. Baking time will vary depending on the water content of your puree.
  9. Cool and frost.
For Fudgie Frosting:
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
2 Tbsp. salted butter
2-3 Tbsp. so delicious coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  1. In a cereal bowl, combine melted butter, 2 Tbsp. milk, and vanilla.  
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and sugar.  
  3. Slowly stir in milk & butter mixture.  
  4. Add another Tbsp. of coconut milk if it gets too thick to stir.
  5. Frost & Refrigerate
*To puree beets, simply cut the ends off, poke them full of holes with a fork, and microwave on each side for 5 minutes at a time until soft to touch.  Generally 10-15 min.  Then dice them small. Toss a bit in a blender at a time, and use a bit of water as needed until a nice, thick puree forms, but doesn't make the blender stick.  Measure out, and freeze leftovers.

Makes 16 frosted brownies at 257 calories a piece.
Makes 16 un-frosted brownies at 208 calories a piece

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm obsessed with beans right now.  There are all of these recipes out there for different bean based cookies and brownies, and I recently bought a whole book just on beans.  I snagged this recipe from For the Family and made some wee changes.

This makes a nice, chewy peanut butter cookie, but it is less sweet than traditional cookies.  You can always add more sugar, but I like to keep the calories down.

1 cups dry lentils
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Lakanto
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  1. Cook lentils in water.  Drain well.
  2. Toss them in the blender and puree.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Measure out 1 1/2 cups puree. You will likely have leftover. Just freeze it for another day, or use the leftover to make a bean dip with olive oil and garlic.
  5. Throw 1 1/2 cups puree, and all other ingredients into a medium bowl and beat together on low.
  6. Drop batter on un-greased cookie sheet.  The cookies won't spread much, but you will smoosh them down later, so leave enough room and consider how big you want them.  I made 13.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes.  Then smoosh down to about 1/4-1/2 an inch thick with a  fork.
  8. Bake until lightly golden. About 15 minutes more, give or take.
13 good sized cookies at 150 calories a cookie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Papaya Cherry Popsicles

I love papaya, but locally it's hard to find the smaller ones, and I live all alone so I'm constantly trying to find ways to use it up before it goes bad without getting sick of it.

Last summer I learned that it makes an awesome popsicle base.  Probably my favorite. And it requires little to no sugar, depending on your flavor choice.

1/2 a large papaya, just the meat, about 2 cups in chunks
2 cups cherries
Honey or sweetener to taste
  1. Toss fruit into your blender and work your way up to a good liquefy.  Add a bit of water if you need to, but only if you need to! 
  2. Add sweetener to taste.  Remember, it will generally be a bit sweeter once it freezes, so do it a little less sweet than you like.  Just a smidge.  I used 1/4 cup of orange blossom honey in this batch because my cherries were sooooo bitter.
  3. Add a dash of salt if needed. Recommended for more bitter fruits.
  4. Pour into molds and freeze overnight.
Makes 6 large popsicles.  Calories vary by fruit used, but these ones were 80 a piece because of the honey.  Next time I'll use monk fruit. 

This is a base recipe, that can be tinkered with at will for other flavors.  I really like the 1:1 ratio for fruit. I basically keep a 32 oz. yogurt container in the freezer, fill it half way with papaya, and half way with fruit, and once it's full it hits the blender! Anything that doesn't fit in my mold goes into another container to be thawed for another batch later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam

I hate wasting food, but I just did not eat enough tomatoes this week, and they're starting to get soft.  So, I popped on line and read about 100 recipes for tomato jam.  None of them seemed perfect to me, mostly because of the additives, so I decided to wing it.

This recipe is a base recipe.  It's made in a way that you can start low on the spice, and decide which to include, and sub up or out. Cut down sugar, add in honey, etc.  You do need the sugar-it's what makes the jelly without pectin.

1 pound of tomatoes, I'm using Romas (it's ok if you go over a few oz.)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. molasses (you can cut this by using brown sugar)
2 Tbsp. apple vinegar cider, Bragg's
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Cut off the belly button of your tomatoes, and diced small.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine everything.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer until reduced at least half.  When it's ready, if you stir from the side, it should pull away from the pot a bit.
  5. Store in a sterilized glass jar for up to 2 months in the fridge.
Makes a bit over 1 cup.

Makes 20 servings of 1 Tbsp. at 10 calories a serving.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Coffee Jellies for Iced Coffee

I love boba, but not the tea.  I like the slushies with the fruity boba.  I was wanting something chewy like the boba, but for my coffee and I decided to try my hand at the jellies one finds in everything in Asia.

It's not exactly the same, but I liked it.

1 pkg. knox gelatin
3/4 Cup hot coffee, brewed strong
1 1/2 Tbsp. Honey or Lakanto
Bread loaf pan
  1. Combine hot coffee and sweetener in bread loaf pan. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Slowly sprinkle knox in, stirring continuously.
  3. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Fill bottom of sink with hot water.
  6. Rest pan in water for no more than 1 minute.
  7. Flip out coffee jelly onto cutting board.  If it won't come out, gently run a butter knife around the edge and soak again.  Try prying up the edge, and if it comes up it may slip out with some careful prodding.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, slice into small strips and then cubes.
  9. Refrigerate for 2 more hours.
  10. Use 1/4 of cubes per iced coffee.
Orrrrrr, serve 1/4 with 2 Tbsp. cool whip mixed in as a tasty treat!
Makes 4 servings at 32 calories a serving.

Spiced Squash Muffins

I'm craving pumpkin bread in the worst way lately-maybe because it isn't in season. However, I have a bunch of puree frozen. But, it's a mix of butternut, delicata, and acorn squash-not pumpkin.

Luckily, I know the secret to a good pumpkin pie is the spice, not the actual pumpkin.

I snagged Once Upon A Chef's recipe because it had amazing reviews. And, of course, as always, I tinkered with it for my own tastes. And, I want to be able to share and freeze some, so I'm going with muffins instead of loaves.

The big change I made was upping spice, and cutting sugar by adding in Lakanto, a monk fruit and erythritol sweetener which can be substituted with exact measurements and no tinkering. These tender, yummy muffins are sure to hit the spot.

1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Lakanto or Monk Fruit in the Raw
1 egg
6 Tbsp. salted butter
8 oz. squash puree
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda, and spices.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar.
  4. Add egg to butter and sugar and beat high until fluffy.
  5. Once fluffy, beat in puree. It's ok if it gets a bit grainy looking here.  Don't panic.
  6. On low speed, slowly add in flour until just combined.
  7. Depending on your puree, the flour amount may need to be upped.  Canned purees are pretty thick, and home purees can be a bit thinner.  When mixed, the batter should be shaggy, think shag carpet that hasn't been well taken care of for texture.  If it's still a bit soupy, add another 1/4 cup flour. and just quickly beat in, until right texture reached.
  8. Transfer batter into creased pan or muffin cups.
  9. Bake 30 min. until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 14 muffins, or one loaf. Adjust cooking time for loaf-will take longer.
125 calories a muffin

I do a dozen muffins and then put the rest in one of my ramekins for a big one.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fool Proof Cold Brew

Y'all know I had a fancier recipe last year with ice cubes and a simple syrup, but I have since perfected making my iced coffee cold brew in the easiest way possible.

1 cup coffee, light blend, ground
  1. 1/2 cup coffee in each jar. After the first batch, you can adjust coffee to your taste, but I said fool-proof. This is coffee to the first line on the Ball jar.
  2. Fill with filtered or tap water to bottom of neck, but don't fill neck.
  3. Put on plastic lid tightly.
  4. Shake for a minute.
  5. Put in fridge for 12 hours before serving.
  6. Pour through metal mesh coffee filter OR into Fresh Press, press, and pour.  I use the french press because I have a mini that is the perfect size.
  7. When you empty a jar, clean and make new batch.  Then you'll always have one batch ready and one brewing.
Recommend serving with reusable ice cubes or coffee ice cubes.

Flavored coffees don't always turn out as yummy as they are hot.  I recommend going with a plain coffee.  I use Archer Farms Kona.  You can add sugar free syrups or Coffee Mate, or a simple syrup for the non-calorie conscious for the flavoring afterward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Simple Spinach Quesadillas

When I'm nibbly but not truly hungry, I usually make quesadillas using my own tortillas.  They're filling and just heavy enough to shut my brain up, without loading on the calories. The trick is all in your cheese choice.  Using reduced fat or lower calorie shredded cheeses keeps you from overloading on the good stuff, while giving you enough of it to please you.

Added bonus, another way to use up those farm share greens!  Speaking of which, my CSA starts in 10 days, so prepare yourself for another edition of Farm Share Fixings!

1/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1 handful baby spinach leaves
1-2 tsp. minced garlic, to taste

  1. Place 2 tortillas on your griddle.  Oven off.
  2. Smear with garlic, and layer half the cheese on each.
  3. Arrange spinach leaves over.
  4. Sprinkle with other half of cheese.
  5. Top with the other 2 tortillas.
  6. Turn on the heat to medium-high and cook until cheese is melted enough you can safely flip.  Will be golden.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Serve alone, or with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.
Makes 2 servings, 150 calories each.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Apple Dessert Pizza

I've had a lot of dessert pizza's in my life, but I wanted to try something new this week, and I had a few apples laying around.  I kind of wanted apple pie, but I hate pie crust, so I decided to try my hand at a dessert pizza.

1 large apple, cored and sliced thin
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3-4 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold, cup up

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine crust ingredients.  Once a soft dough forms, turn out on a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until dough is easily handled.
  3. Spray pie pan with non-stick spray.  I use a coconut oil one.
  4. Pat out dough on floured surface until it will fit the pie pan.
  5. Bake 5 minutes.
  6. While pizza crust bakes first 5, combine all filling ingredients.  Bring to a low simmer, and cook until apples are soft and gooey.
  7. Remove pie crust when 5 minutes are up.
  8. Once apples are gooey, slather into crust, leaving edges clean, just like a pizza.
  9. In a medium bowl, combine topping sugar, flour, and cinnamon and whisk together.
  10. Using hands, cut butter into topping mixtures until a crumble forms.
  11. Spread crumble over apples.
  12. Bake until pizza crust is golden on bottom and sides. About 15 min.
  13. Allow to cool before serving.  There's a lot of molten sugar in there.
Make 8 slices, 280 calories a slice.