Friday, March 30, 2012

Yogurt & Honey Fruit Cups

I made this as a simple snack for the kids, and it was a big hit that had them begging for more.  A little extra prep goes a long way on this one.  It's nice, because you could pretty much use whatever fruit or yogurt you have on hand.  This would also be a yummy way to start the day.

Yogurt & Honey Fruit Cups (Taste of Home)
4-1/2 cups cut-up fresh fruit (pears, apples, bananas, grapes, etc.)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) mandarin orange, vanilla or lemon yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Divide fruit among six individual serving bowls. Combine the yogurt, honey, orange peel and extract; spoon over the fruit. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutritional Facts
3/4 cup equals 97 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 22 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1/2 starch.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding

Is is possible for pudding to be yummy AND dairy-free?  A resounding YES!  Sweet and silky-smooth.  I was surprised by how tasty this was, and so easy to make.  Rice and flax milk have been my favorites dairy alternatives so far.  I'm certainly not dairy-free (all you have to do is scroll down a bit and that will become obvious) but I have really cut back and I think my body is happier.  (I do take calcium and vitamin D supplements though- just had to add that for my mom. :)
Homemade Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding (
3 T Cornstarch
2 T water
1/3 cup honey (I may or may not have been a bit liberal with the honey. :)
1/3 cup cocoa
pinch of salt
2 cups plain sweet almond milk (I used vanilla flavored rice milk and it was perfect.  I'm sure you could use other dairy substitutes, even water if you don't have any.)
1 tsp vanilla
(I mixed in almonds and it was delicious!)

In a small cup, stir and dissolve cornstarch and water.  Set aside.
In saucepan combine cocoa and salt.  Whisk in milk, honey, and cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens.
Remove from heat and refrigerate.  (Or just eat it warm- am I the only one that rarely chills mine?  Warm pudding is just happy comfort to me.  "Some like it hot, some like it cold." :)
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Friday, March 16, 2012

"Biggest Loser" Turkey Breakfast Burrito

I'm not usually one to "follow the crowd"- at least I like to think I'm not, but somehow, someway my hubby and I got watching the last couple seasons of "The Biggest Loser".  (BTW I think this season has been pretty lame and it was time for Conda to go 8 weeks ago.  Just my "humble" opinion. :)  But a few weeks back, they put a plug in for Jennie-O turkey burger and made these breakfast burritos that looked really good to me.  They are super high in protein and I thought they ended up tasting really good.  I made it for dinner and the kids really liked it.  It made a nice big batch too.  So moral of the story... "sometimes hopin' on the bandwagon pays off?" :)

"Biggest Loser" Turkey Breakfast Burrito
Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: Under 30 minutes

1 ¼ lb. Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey breast
½ c. wheat bran, if desired (I used oat bran because it's what I had- it works well and it high in protein too.)
1 ½ c. canned black beans
½ c. unsweetened apple sauce
½ c. green bell peppers, diced
½ c. red bell peppers, diced
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp. chili powder
1¼ tsp. garlic powder
1¼ tsp. onion powder
1¼ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt, if desired
½ tsp. black pepper
*Optional Convenience Tip: Replace all spices with store-bought taco seasoning.
Mix all seasonings really well into turkey breast. Then put in the egg, egg white, apple sauce and the wheat bran, and stir very well. Let it sit for half an hour or overnight covered in the refrigerator, minimum 15 min. Spray the pan, add the ground turkey mix, brown it and break it up into pieces with a wooden spatula while in the pan. Add chopped bell peppers and sauté with meat for about 5 minutes, continuously breaking up the turkey into smaller pieces. Drain the beans, and then add to the pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Optional Add-Ons:
1 oz. shredded Llight cheddar cheese (45-60 cal)
fresh salsa
lime juice
hot sauce to taste

Spray pan with cooking spray and scramble 2 egg whites. (34 cal, 7g protein)
Serve with one of the following:
2 corn tortillas OR 1 large whole wheat tortilla (80 cal, 5g fiber)
1 whole grain toast (80 cal, 5g fiber)
Add ½ c. of fresh raspberries (32 cal, 4g fiber)
TOTAL for the entire dish: 296 cal, 14g fiber, 29g protein
(Burrito, Side of egg whites, Raspberries):

Nutrition per 1 serving of burrito filling: 150 cal, 20 cal from fat, 2g total fat, 0g sat fat, 55mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 13g total carb, 5g dietary fiber, 3g sugars
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Monday, March 12, 2012

100% Whole Wheat Bread (Mixer or No...)


I choose fresh homemade bread over a slice of cake hands down.  I guess I'm just that "home and hearth" kind of girl.  It's comfort food for me, and the loud humming of the mixer is music to my ears.  Mom used to crank out 10 delicious loaves at a time... nothing short of a miracle... not to be sacrilegious. :) Well- I've finally found it.  I know I have said it before, but this time, I really believe it.  The perfect whole wheat bread recipe.  I have now used this recipe 5 times it is has turned out perfectly every time.  It is really similar to my old recipe, but it uses less oil and honey, doesn't seem quite so tough on my mixer (It makes one less loaf than my other recipe.  I have only tried the 3-loaf version.) and it holds together perfectly.  It must just be the perfect combination!  So big thanks to my sister for overcoming her fear of yeast, conquering bread, and sharing the recipe!  I hardly ever buy bread now because this is working so well!
*Note: My sis didn't have a mixture when she shared this, so I'm including her tips in case you are in the same boat.  Yay- bread, with or without a mixer!  Sometimes, when I'm feeling angry, it is seriously therapeutic to take it out on the dough, so I do it by hand anyway. :)

Jessica's Tips:
This recipe has worked the best for my mixer-less needs, but it's actually a recipe for a bread mixer.  Here's what I do differently from this recipe:  

1.  I add a cup or two of cracked wheat, oats, or something grainy to give it more texture (thanks, Lydia, for the idea!)
2.  Since I don't have a mixer, I put all ingredients but the salt (and using only 5 C flour) in a bowl for 15-20 minutes, give or take, so the gluten can start working before I add the other flour.  I have been known to forget and it does overflow if you leave it too long . . .
3.  I haven't ever measured out how much flour I use.  I just keep adding it while I knead until it's the right texture.  I imagine if you use a mixer, you should follow her instructions more closely.

100% Whole Wheat Bread:
3-loaf version:
4 cups plus 2 T. warm water
1/3 c honey or sugar (either one seems to work, although I know Mom prefers honey :) As do I- I know sugars cheap, but I think honey has a better taste.
1/3 c oil
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T dough enhancer (this is a must--otherwise it's crumbly--our super Walmart sells a can for $3.99)
1 1/4 T salt
10 C whole wheat flour (or whatever mix you like between white & wheat)
(From Lyd: I have been using 8 cups whole wheat, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup buck wheat, 1/2 cup ten grain cereal, it has seemed to be a great combination.  I love throwing flax seeds, millet, or cracked wheat in there too, but the latter seems to be the best ratio so far.)

6-loaf version:
8+ cups warm water
2/3 c honey or sugar
2/3 c oil
3 T yeast
3 T dough enhancer
2 1/2 T salt
20 C whole wheat flour (or whatever mix you like between white & wheat)

Put into your mixer/bowl in this order: water, oil, honey or sugar, dough enhancer and 5 C flour.  Put yeast on top of flour.  Blend on low speed for 1 min, scrape edge of bowl, then while mixer goes at setting "one," let the dough rest for 5 minutes, absorbing liquids.

Now, continue to knead, a total of 6-7 minutes, adding the rest of flour plus the salt. . . . don't forget it . . . the bread will be horrible!! (I always set the salt right in front of the mixer so as not to forget, because I have forgotten!)

After kneading, just put the lid or some saran wrap over the bowl of dough and let it "rest," "loosen up" for 5 minutes.  Now it will be easier to work with.  Scrape out of the bowl into a well-floured surface and divide into equal portions, depending on the size of your loaf pans.  Mold into loaves and put in greased pans, let rise in warm 180 degree oven for about 30 minutes, then turn up oven to 350 and bake 30 minutes. 

(*Just a little side note: Once I form the loaves, I know it's silly, but I have a tradition where I always let the kids "spank that bottom," and they give it a good slap before putting it in the pan.  Not exactly "baking with love", but they seem to behave themselves most of the time and rise properly. :)  And can I just add how wonderful it is to pop them in and let them rise on warm in the oven.  It would seriously take ALL DAY if I didn't do that... believe me, I've tried.  This way, it takes mine about an hour and they're at the perfect point.)

When finished baking, take out of oven and set loaf pans on their sides on a cooling rack. Cover loosely with a light cotton towel.  This allows the bread to cool, but not lose all the moisture.  After about 8-10 minutes, take the loaves out of the pans and continue to cover  with a cloth until cooled and ready to slice or bag.  -Freezes well if double-bagged.

(A nifty tip that I wish I had read today because I couldn't get that darn thing out of the pan, and left the bottom half of one poor loaf behind.  I'll be more patient and follow these instructions next time.  I just can't wait to dig into that hot loaf!  My favorite thing in all the world.) 

Sorry I had so much to add- hope you can find the recipe between me and my sister's comments. :)  It's just so exciting to come across a good bread recipe, and it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut. :)

Happy Bread Making!!!
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oven-Roasted Cod Crusted with Herbs

When I cook cod, I hear Captain Hook's voice in my head whimpering, "I'm a Cod-fish..." and then as I cook it up, I chant "Hook is a cod-fish!  Hook is a is cod-fish!" in that teasing, sing-song way.  Oh the joys of growing up on Disney movies and good fish. :)  Despite the silly voices in my head, I always love a good fish dish; cod fish in particular, and Rachael Ray came through with this simple, flavor packed recipe.

Oven-Roasted Cod Crusted with Herbs (Rachael Ray)
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic
1 lemon, zested
Coarse salt
4 (6 to 8-ounce) cod fillets
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Pile parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and a little coarse salt on the cutting board. Finely chop the lemon-garlic mixture, then combine with plain bread crumbs.
Brush the top of each fillet with olive oil and dip in to the bread crumb herb mixture. Brush a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan then place fillet in the pan, crust side up. Roast fillets in oven until firm to the touch, about 12 to 15 minutes.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Lemon Yogurt Loaf Recipe

I kind of have a thing for sweet quick breads.  (Which is why I can only make them every so often. :)  It was fun to try one with yogurt- made it moist and tasty- I also love lemon zest in just about anything!  All in all- a happy loaf and a happy girl. :)

Lemon Yogurt Loaf (Taste of Home)
3/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons lemon yogurt, divided (I used vanilla, but added a couple drops of lemon extract)
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered (I didn't have apricots, so I used dried cranberries)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cups self-rising flour

In a blender, combine 3/4 cup yogurt and apricots; cover and process until smooth. In a bowl, cream the butter and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat in the eggs, lemon peel and yogurt mixture; mix well. Add flour just until combined. Spoon into a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan.
Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine the remaining yogurt and confectioners' sugar; drizzle over loaf. Yield: 1 loaf.
Editor's Note: As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brats in a Bun

It's my Dad's birthday, so it seems appropriate to post something "manly" that reminds me of he and my brothers.  I remember the boys heating up a "Polish-dog" or "brats" many a time.  When all the boys were home, Dad would get those really big economy packs, and I never believed they would get through them, but amazingly enough, they did.  Can you tell that this is something that I've never quite acquired a taste for?  Hot dogs and polish sausages rarely excite me.  Mr. Stumme and A.P. History ruined hot-dogs for me after the class reading "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair just before a school lunch of hot-dogs, so I felt I was being generous to give them a second chance.  I bought a package on sale and gave it my best shot, and.... not too bad.  I could almost join in with the big boys if it tasted like this... almost. :)
Happy Birthday Dad!

Brats in a Bun (by Lyd)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1-2 garlic cloves minced
1 T olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
2 T apple juice
1 package of brats
toasted buns

Pull out "George" or if you have a real grill, use it. :)  Throw on the brats (and no, I'm not recommending the naughty children, however tempting it may be, abstain.) Cook about 7-10 minutes until cooked through.  Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in oil until transparent.  Add vinegar and apple juice and simmer for a minute or two.  Toast your buns (not yours, the bread buns, silly!)  Slop it all together on a bun and eat it like a man.
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