Monday, May 31, 2010

Pecan Shortbread

This recipe uses almond flour, a gluten-free, low-carb flour (3 grams net carbs per 1/4 cup) that comes with the bonus of additional protein.  This was the first time I've used almond flour, and the results were delicious, although the texture was rougher than I expected.  This makes a very rich and satisfying shortbread.

  • 3/4 pound butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar or Splenda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups almond flour (sometimes referred to as "almond meal")
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2-ounce package chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spritz a tart pan with non-stick butter spray.
  • Cream butter and sugar/Splenda together.
  • Add extracts and mix again.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk almond flour and salt together.
  • Pour flour into butter blend and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Slowly mix in chopped pecans.
  • Spoon batter into tart pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the oven off and let pan sit in oven for another 20 minutes or so.
  • Let he shortbread cool slightly and then refrigerate until firm before cutting into wedges.

Note: Most recipes for pecan shortbread (using all-purpose flour) call for chilling the dough before baking it.  I bypassed that step because the almond flour seemed firm enough.  However, the shortbread was very fragile, even after the post-baking chill, and it crumbled easily.  So, you may want to chill it for 30 minutes or so before baking.  That's what I plan to do next time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Homemade Raspberry 'Soft Serve' Ice Cream

A super simple frozen concoction to enjoy on a mellow summer evening.  For this recipe, I used a Rival Electric Ice Cream Maker.  It does not require salt or ice, which is why this recipe is so easy.  The recipe is also very adaptable to whatever diet plan you may be following.  Doing low-carb? Make it entirely with heavy cream or a combination of cream and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  Following a low-fat regime? Use non-fat milk.  It's entirely up to you!


  • 3 cups of milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of sugar or Splenda
  • 1/4 cup Torani raspberry syrup, regular or sugar-free
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Dash of salt


  • Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Prepare with ice cream maker according to your machine's instructions.

Bleu Cheese Broccoli Slaw with Chicken & Pecans

This crisp and crunchy dish is a great addition to any summer BBQ menu, and it comes together in minutes!

  • 2 12-ounce bags of broccoli slaw
  • 2 8-ounce bags of fully cooked chicken breast strips, broken into small pieces
  • 3/4 of a 13-ounce jar of Litehouse Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing
  • 2 2.8-ounce packages of Real Bacon Recipe Pieces
  • 2 2-ounce packages of chopped pecans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped scallions

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly.
  • If time permits, make the dish the night before and let the flavors mingle in the refrigerator.
  • Serve topped with chopped scallions.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smoked Salmon Salad

This year, one day a month (from October to June) is devoted to a full eight hours of learning about a topic important to the Las Vegas community.  It's the central element of an intensive leadership program which also includes a class project and off-shoot events designed to expand the innovation of the leaders here in the Las Vegas Valley.  All that mental effort requires fuel, so each session day features breakfast, lunch and snacks. 

It's easy to mindlessly munch at these days; there's a lot of information to digest, and "heavy" issues are discussed.  However, instead of chomping thoughtlessly, I focus on high-quality eating and enjoying small tastes of the "good but bad" stuff.

My most recent session was held at the extraordinary new Aria resort & casino, and these dudes now to how make meeting-goers' mouths salivate!  I took advantage of the smoked salmon they offered at breakfast by skipping the bagel and cream cheese and creating this super simple, super tasty, and super healthy Smoked Salmon Salad.  Anytime you're at a business meeting or event, look at a food tables with a fresh eye and create your own fab feast!

  • Sliced smoked salmon
  • Sliced red tomatoes
  • Sliced red onions

  • Layer roughly equal portions of the salmon, tomatoes and onions on a plate.
  • Dice all with a fork and knife.
  • Toss gently until well blended.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vegas Vittles: Smashburger

In early April, my husband Mike and I met his brother Patrick at the newly opened Smashburger.  I had heard yum-o-licious things about it and wanted to test it with my own tastebuds.

Mike's BBQ, Bacon & Cheese Burger was a decadent delight... more than a mouthful.  The haystack onion strings were a nice touch.

The fried pickles were crisp and tasty, although Patrick was disappointed 'cause he prefers pickle spears.  I liked the tangy buttermilk ranch dressing that accompanied them.

I went with the Classic SmashChicken burger on a multi-grain bun, and I skipped the top bun. It was moist and juicy and nicely seasoned.

The veggie frites were very good: flash fried asparagus, carrot sticks and green beans.  They were a bit oily, so I sopped up some of the excess with a napkin.

The Chocolate Malt shake was superb!  With Haagen-Dazs, how can you go wrong?!?!  Good thing I didn't get one myself and only sampled Mike's.  I'd have guzzled mine down and ordered another in a heartbeat!

Me with my topless chicken burger.  hee, hee, hee

It was crazy busy in there.  The place has a fun vibe, and you can see we had a good time! :)

Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa

A simple, four-ingredient comfort food dish, made healthier with Quinoa in place of rice, turkey instead of beef and reduced-fat cheese.  The Quinoa was a new experience for Mike, and I wasn't sure he'd approve.  Thankfully, he liked it. :)  In the future, I will make the mixture thicker and sprinkle additional cheese on at the end of baking.  

  • Trio of large, multi-colored peppers
  • 1/2 cup cooked Trader Joe's Organic Red Quinoa (prepared according to package instructions)
  • 1 package of Trader Joe's "Just Sauce" Turkey Bolognese (prepared according to package instructions)
  • 1 8-ounce package of Weight Watchers Mexican Style shredded cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spritz a small baking pan with olive oil non-stick spray
  • Prepare peppers by cutting off the tops and scooping out the interior white flesh and seeds.  Rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • In a large bowl, mix cooked Quinoa, prepared bolognese sauce and cheese until fully blended.
  • Scoop Quinoa mixture into each pepper.
  • Spritz peppers in pan with olive oil non-stick spray.
  • Bake, with pepper tops on, for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, remove tops and then bake for another 10 minutes.