Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Dinner

Mike likes simple food, so for Father's Day, I made him Tacos with Homemade Parmesan Shells and Homemade Vanilla Spice Ice Cream with Cherry Sauce.  

Both dishes benefitted from produce found at two different farmers markets: Chinese tricolor hot peppers in the Chunky Chinese Salsa that I mixed into the ground beef and fresh dark cherries.  It was more work than eating out but so good.  And, best of all, Mike loved his special dinner!

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 generous cup of fresh dark cherries, rinsed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup sugar or Splenda or 'Just Like Sugar'
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

  • Mix all ingredients except the Xanthan Gum in a saucepan, stirring thoroughly.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Before mixture begins to boil, sprinkle Xanthan Gum over mixture and whisk to blend in.
  • Continue to stir as mixture boils and thickens.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chunky Chinese Salsa

Chunky Chinese Salsa

Chinese Tricolor Hot Peppers

Black, Yellow, Red & Orange Grape Tomatoes

At the farmers market this morning, I stumbled across the most adorable peppers: Chinese Tricolor Hot Peppers.  Miniature and colorful... I was a goner; I had to buy them and use them in something.  That was when I spotted the grape tomatoes at the next table over... in an array of bright hues, and the idea for Chunky Chinese Salsa was born! 

This was my first time making salsa, and I didn't measure a thing.  So, this is going to be one of those rough recipes that requires you only to toss in whatever quantities seem good to you.


  • Grape tomatoes, chopped
  • Diced red onions
  • Diced green peppers
  • Chopped Chinese hot peppers (just a few; these are hot, and it doesn't take much.)
  • Minced garlic
  • Garlic & Pepper Seasoning to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Mix everything together and refrigerate.
  • The longer it sits, the hotter it gets!

Almond Cookies

These are not the prettiest cookies.  Think of them like the somewhat homely girl, standing in the corner, whose beauty suddenly shines through when you start talking to her.  One bite of these babies, and your taste buds will be very happy.  They are especially tasty warm from the oven accompanied by an iced coffee.

  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup sugar or Splenda or 'Just Like Sugar'
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spritz a baking sheet with buttery spray.
  • Whisk flour, sugar/Splenda, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.
  • Form into small balls and flatten slightly, sprinkling with additional sugar/Splenda if desired.  (These do not spread, so the shape before baking will be the shape after they're done.)
  • Bake for 8 minutes until set but not brown.
  • Let cool slightly on pan and remove to a wire rack.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Funny Little Nutty Muffins

These muffins are "nutty" because they are made exclusively with almond flour.  The almond flour makes them dense, leading to their compact, slightly funny-looking shape.  Accented with pumpkin pie spice, they have a pleasant taste, especially with butter, and they're nicely filling.  Take small bites to really savor the texture. This recipe is adapted from one by George Stella.
  • Non-stick buttery spray
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar or Splenda or 'Just Like Sugar' (found at the Whole Foods)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup club soda


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spritz the muffin tin with buttery spray.
  • In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together until thoroughly blended.
  • Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 with batter.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

My husband and I recently embarked on a low-carb lifestyle.  Considering that I have been following a healthy diet and fitness routine since 2002, I know how important it is to have as many options as possible on whatever plan you're following.  Being successful on a low-carb diet will not work if you only eat bun-less cheeseburgers.  Variety is key, so finding alternatives to carb-laden favorites is critical.  This recipe is adapted from one by George Stella.  It was my first time working with a deep fryer, which was kinda nifty. :)

  • 3 to 6 cups of canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup of Egg Beaters Southwestern style
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 2 1/3 cups of soy flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  • 12 individually-wrapped light mozzarella sticks (I used plain light mozzarella sticks and light mozza/cheddar blend sticks.)

  • In a bowl, whisk Egg Beaters and cream.
  • In another bowl, mix all the breading ingredients together.
  • Cut the mozzarella sticks in half, for 24 sticks total.
  • Dip the sticks in the egg mixture and then the breading, coating them as completely as possible.
  • Place the sticks on waxed paper on a baking sheet, using waxed paper between layers and topping with waxed paper.
  • Freeze for 2 hours.
  • Fill deep fryer with oil according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
  • Carefully fry sticks for about 2 minutes for each batch.  Be sure not to leave them in too long, or the cheese will ooze out.
  • Drain on paper towel and serve with a low-carb Marinara sauce.

Chopped Veggie Scrambled Eggs with Peppered Turkey Bacon

A lazy Sunday morning calls out for breakfast in bed, and what can be easier - or tastier - than scrambled eggs and bacon!

  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or other egg substitute)
  • A splash of cream
  • Assorted chopped veggies (I used a fab find from the Whole Foods deli: raw zucchini chopped salad, which includes zucchini, yellow peppers, red peppers, onions, celery seed, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, carrots, garlic, salt, cilantro, pepper and basil.  This made it hugely healthy and super simple.)
  • Shredded cheese to taste
  • 2 slices packaged pepper turkey bacon
  • Chopped green onions

  • Spritz two skillets with non-stick olive oil spray and warm over medium heat.
  • Whisk together Egg Beaters, cream and veggies.
  • Pour into skillet and let cook.
  • While the eggs are cooking, fry bacon in the other skillet.
  • When egg mixture starts to firm up, use a spatula to scramble the eggs.
  • Mix shredded cheese into eggs.
  • Plate with bacon and top eggs with chopped green onions.