Sunday, September 13, 2009

Necessity is the Mother of Invention...

...and in this troubled economy...necessity drives everything because there are no spare dollars for frivolous things.

Last week, my local Aldi (which if you don't have one near you, I'm just so sorry...and if you do...STOP SHOPPING AT OTHER STORES! LOL :D) had their grape tomatoes on sale for 99 cents a pound. I mean, who can resist those? Especially at 99 cents a pint. So, of course I bought 4 pints. Being the tomato purist that I am, I never, ever, ever place them in the refrigerator. Ever (and if you do that STOP NOW, you're destroying the tomato's flavor and texture. If you don't believe me, consult Alton Brown).

As the week passed, I used a few in salads, a few eaten by my 4 year old, but they sat on the counter. They were tempting, but not enough that I used all of them.

In my groggy haze this morning I realized my beloved tomatoes were going bad, and if I didn't do something fast, I would lose them all together. And you all know I'm adventurous (or maybe you remember, I haven't posted much lately!). With weather turning colder and my tomatoes slowly shriveling...I decided something MUST BE DONE.

I remembered that I had leftover red pepper strips from the night before - we had a birthday party for my son, and he requested red pepper on the veggie tray, I think he was the only one who ate them!!!

This recipe was born of that desire to not waste $3 worth of tomatoes.

Turned out very well...I think. As did my favorite taste tester, my husband.

Save-the-tomato Soup

3 pints grape tomatoes (as long as they aren't soft and moldy, they're fine for this!)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red pepper, sliced in strips
1/4 red onion, julienned
1/4 celery stalk (about 2" worth), julienned
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 chicken bullion cubes (can use beef or veggie too)
1/2 - 1 Cup freshly boiled water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut tomatoes in half and place in roasting pan. Remove skins from garlic cloves and add to tomatoes. Add red pepper, onion and celery to the pan. Pour olive oil over vegetables, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Place vegetables in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes - until vegetables are soft and just starting to brown A LITTLE (carefully, if you burn even will make it yucky). While the veggies are roasting, boil some water.

When the vegetables are done, pour into a blender or food processor (depending on the size of blender or food processor, you may need to do this in batches). Liquify the vegetables. Open blender/food processor and add the bullion cubes and 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cover blender/food processor with lid, liquify again. Add more water if necessary. You may add salt at this time too, if you feel the need.

Serve, and enjoy! Top with croutons, cheese, fishies, saltines....whatever you like in your tomato soup.

NOTE: When using a blender to blend hot liquids it is BEST to leave the center cap off the lid and cover with a towel. Secure the towel with your hand while the blender is running. If you do not do this, pressure from the steam can build up and cause harm or injury. So don't do that, it will ruin your dinner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip w/ Flax Seed say that 10 times fast. :D

I think I need to give some history on this recipe. The original name is "Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins" and is found in the recipe book created for a fundraiser for my daughter's gym (she's a gymnast :D). Anyway, one of my daughter's good friend's mother (follow that?) submitted this recipe for the book. Well, let me say from the first time I made them, they were gone so fast. I continued to make them. Constantly. At least once a week. You know, it's almost shameful to buy bananas so that they get overripe to make these. It became obsession like.

Some changes in our lives made it necessary to adjust the recipe, kick it up a bit, add nutrition while still maintaining the integrity of the recipe. I was afraid. I was petrified. Thinking how am I gonna make this tried and true recipe more healthy.

FIRST...the original recipe as presented by Helen Guzzo in the fundraiser cookbook:

Banana Chip Muffins

1 Egg
1/2 cup Vegetable oil (+1Tbs)
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Bananas, ripe/mashed
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 Tbs. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
3/4 Cup Miniature Chocolate Chips

In a mixing bowl, beat egg, oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in bananas. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well (I actually sift them together). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4's full. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are done (poke with a toothpick in the center and comes out MOSTLY clean). This makes about 24 regular sized muffins.

I dare you to try to wait until they cool before you eat one. I'm betting, like most, you can't. recipe with bumped up nutrition.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins with Flax

1 Egg
1/2 Cup Smart Balance Cooking Oil (+1Tbs)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Agave Syrup (a low glycemic sweetener found at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, lots of places nowadays)
3 Bananas, ripe/mashed
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Quick Cooking Oats (I like the texture better)
1/4 Cup Flax Seed Meal (if you grind your own, you have to start with about 1/3 cup of flax seed)
1 Tbs. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Cup Chocolate Chips (don't like miniatures! :D)

In a mixing bowl, beat egg, oil and sugar and agave syrup until smooth. Stir in bananas. In a separate bowl sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add oatmeal and flax seed meal and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups about 2/3 full (truth be told, I use liners, I don't grease the pan). Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are done (poke with a toothpick in the center and comes out MOSTLY clean). This batter tends to be more dense, so this makes about 18 regular sized muffins.

Again...I dare you not to eat them all in a day!

The added oatmeal and the flax add protein, fiber and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Boosting the nutrition in this muffin.

I hope you enjoy! I know we do. So much so, that I cannot add a picture, they just don't last long around here!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A oxymoron...and a reopening of a blog...

I enjoy the occasional baking challenge. And I thought, to relaunch my old blog, I'd start with that!

A few weekends ago, I had the absolute joy of spending and evening with two very good old friends and their husbands and families. I made dessert. The caveat was, that this dessert needed to be made with NO artificial sweeteners and NO refined sweeteners. What I was left with was Blue agave Syrup, Honey and stevia (and after further investigation, stevia was eliminated too! AAAH!)

I love to bake. I love to bake and make something that is delicious and healthy too. Yes. A healthy dessert. Isn't this an oxymoron? Well, I've discovered today that it does not necessarily have to be! This may not be as sweet as the normal american diet sugar-loaded sweet desserts go, BUT it was delicious, received many compliments (even from the kids!), and there was none left. I count that as success.


Berry Nectarine Fruit Crisp


2 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pint blueberries
2 medium nectarines, skins removed and diced
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbs Blue Agave Syrup

2 cups whole rolled oats (steel cut has a nice texture too)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 Cup Blue Agave Syrup
2 Tbs Honey

Mix fruits together, add lemon zest, lemon juice and blue agave syrup. Mix well. Set in fridge to "marinate" for at least two hours.

Combine whole rolled oats and flour. Mix in butter, blue agave and honey until well blended and resembles course crumbs.

Grease a 13 X 9" baking dish and pour fruit mixture into it. Assemble crumb mixture on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until bubbly and crumb mixture looks baked and golden). Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

AND DON'T forget the honey whipped cream! (oooh, 1 cup COLD whipping cream with 2 tbs honey and 1 tsp vanilla, whip until stiff peaks form!)

Okay, well, healthy might be a stretch....but as far as desserts's healthier than most!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pumpkin Squares

So, I haven't posted here in a long time. I am now "gluten free" and cannot have wheat, barley or rye.

I've posted a recipe on my other blog, that some folks who CAN eat gluten may want to make, it's just too delicious to pass up!

So, I'm posting it here, in the original form, so that it can be made by all of you.

Don't be fooled, however, the gluten free recipe is just as yummy!

Pumpkin Squares

1 package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter

Reserve 1 cup cake mix and set aside. Mix remaining cake mix with 1 egg and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 X 13" pan.


3 Cups Pumpkin Pie Mix (1 lb 14 oz can)
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Mix well and spread over pressed cake layer.


Reserved cake mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut cold butter into dry ingredients using a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor. Sprinkle liberally over pumpkin layer. Sprinkle walnuts over top.

Bake @ 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sour Cream Chicken with Mushrooms & Peas

Copying from my gluten free blog - this one is safe for all! :D

Sour Cream Chicken w/ Mushrooms and Peas

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1" chunks
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic

2 cups chicken broth (I used Imagine)
1 cup sour cream

Saute chicken pieces. Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to saute until chicken is done and mushrooms are soft. Add peas. Mix broth and sour cream together. Pour over chicken, mushrooms and peas. Cook on low heat until bubbly and thickened.

Serve over potatoes, rice, or noodles.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

And the winner is......

LOL! Sister in law Anne has gently reminded me that it's been a while since I posted on here.

I need to be honest. January 1, I went gluten-free. I've been having health issues for a long time and no doctor seems to know what was wrong. They gave me a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, but after reviewing info on Celiac and having so many symptoms line up...I decided to try the diet for a while to see how I feel. It's AMAZING how much better I feel in just a few days. We think we have a winner, Chuck.

Well, I will NOT abandon this place...but I will try not to over-non-gluten you! I opened another blog to chronicle my gluten free experiments.... .

I'm coming up with something to put up here....promise to have something in the next day or two.

THANKS ANNE....for reminding me!

:) THANKS for your patience.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

HOLIDAY APPETIZER: Artichoke Spinach Dip

This is a twist on a favorite. I love the spinach artichoke dips you get at restaurants or freezer section, BUT they always seem to be more spinach than artichoke. They also lack some of the taste I this is an adaptation of that recipe to make it to my taste.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 Can of Artichoke hearts (NOT MARINATED)
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 8 oz block of Low Fat Cream Cheese (Neufachatel)
1 cup lite mayonaise
1/2 cup shredded parmasean cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 scallions chopped
1 Tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
dash or two of black pepper

Drain and chop artichoke hearts, set aside.

Mix softened cream cheese and mayonaise together until well mixed and creamy. Add garlic, parmasan, scallions (reserve about 1/3 cup of the green tops, chopped for garnish), italian seasoning, salt & pepper. Mix well. Add reserved artichoke hearts and spinach. Mix well.

Pour into a 1 qt baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and reserved scallions on top. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until edges are just brown and it's all bubbly.

Serve with crustini, crackers, crudite, etc. MMMMMMMMMMMM.....