Friday, July 30, 2010

Coconut Macadamia Buttermilk Protein Pancakes

Whew, that's a mouthful!  And you'll want mouthful after mouthful of these little guys.  They are delicious and a great way to get in that RDA (and more if you are in some sort of training program) of protein.

Here's how I did it today:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup egg whites
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup macadamia pieces, ground
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp low fat buttermilk

In your blender, chop macadamia nuts.  Add remaining ingredients (starting with 2 tbsp buttermilk) and blend until it forms a batter consistency.  Add additional buttermilk if batter is too thick.

Drop onto your heated skillet and cook like you would traditional pancake mix.  These have a nice little sweetness to them so not too much syrup is needed.  I love maple though, so I had to have some with mine.

For the hubs - with a little chicken breakfast sausage:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sesame Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Sauce

This is yet another fabulous recipe from Rachel at Me, Myself & Pie.  I only modified it slightly based on the ingredients on had on hand.

Wasabi Sauce:
1 tbsp green onion, chopped
2 tbsp tamari sauce
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp raw honey
2 tsp wasabi powder
1 tsp grated ginger

3 tuna steaks
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp black sesame seeds

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

In another bowl, combine sesame seeds.  Dredge tuna in seeds until coated.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in skillet.  Add tuna to pan and cook on each side to desired doneness.  Unfortunately, I was dealing with the kids and mine got a little overcooked.  I would've preferred some more pink inside.

Serve with sauce.  Note: if you have leftover sauce, I notice that the wasabi intensifies in the fridge - in a good way, of course.  Just a warning to those of you who don't like hot wasabi.  :)

This was a really delicious, healthy meal.  My husband and I both enjoyed it.  I served the tuna along with Lyndsey's zucchini and carrot fritters and salted new potatoes (fresh from the earth that same day - yum).

My kids would eat the tuna steaks, but aren't much into sesame seeds - or any crunchy coating other than fried, so they had a little pork tenderloin instead.  They enjoyed their meal as well.  Come to think of it, I bet the wasabi sauce would've been great over the pork too!

The following day I used the leftover tuna and put it over a bed of baby spinach for lunch.  Before eating I tossed it in some of the remaining wasabi sauce.  It was very, very good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Good Ole Basics - Healthified

"Going healthy" means giving up flavor, right?  I mean, nothing tastes good unless it's dripping in butter and fat (well, it's true, those things can make almost anything taste wonderful)!

Well, I have found that most of the little things I can do to make my meals just a bit healthier really don't taste much different than the original.  Tonight I wanted something traditional!  Despite the 90 degree temps in my kitchen, I NEEDED pasta, sauce, meatballs and garlic bread.  It had to be done.

Nothing fancy here, just some healthier choices of ingredients.

1 lb 95% ground sirloin
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat panko
1/4 cup fat free milk
2 shots hot sauce
garlic powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

1 large can San Marzano tomatoes, peeled
2 large cans NJ Fresh crushed tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
5 basil leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste

Garlic Bread:
1/2 loaf whole grain baguette
3 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, finely shredded
red pepper flakes, to taste

1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti

First thing I did was start the sauce.  I'm sure most of you have a better recipe than this, but I like this one for a basic marinara that I can transform later in the week into different dishes (and pizzas, of course).

Heat olive oil in the bottom of your sauce pot and saute the garlic.  Meanwhile, empty the whole tomatoes into a bowl and squish them into a pulp.  Yay, love this part after a rough day!  Toss the tomatoes (the canned crushed and your newly mutilated ones) and remaining ingredients into the pot, bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer.

To start on the meatballs, I just add all the ingredients in a bowl and work them into the meat so that everything is evenly distributed.  My meatballs are pretty "wet" when raw.  I feel that it makes them a little more moist given the low fat content of the ground sirloin.  Form into balls and drop into your simmering sauce.

While the sauce and meatballs simmer away, pass the garlic cloves through a press and into a small bowl.  Mix with olive oil and then brush generously onto the bread.  Sprinkle with the grated parm and a dash of red pepper flake.  Broil until slightly browned crispy on the edges - or to your liking.  By this point I am tearing off a corner and dipping into the sauce pot.  You know, someones got to taste test it!!

Then I just prepare my pasta and by the time that's done, the meatballs are cooked through and we're ready to eat.

Dig in!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lyndsey's Zucchini and Carrot Fritters

Once again, I tried my hand at one of Lyndsey's recipes.  You can view her original post on her blog, The Tiny Skillet.  You can also read more about some of the ingredients in Lyndsey's post as well.  Very informative!

I've been getting some wonderful zucchini and carrots from my CSA, so this recipe came at the perfect time.  And it introduced me to garbanzo flour - it really gives this such a great flavor.

I changed Lyndsey's recipe just a tad to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand.

1 large carrot
2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup garbanzo (chick pea) flour
1 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
pinch of asafetida (this is some odd smelling stuff)
salt & pepper to taste

Wash veggies and peel carrot.  Shred the carrot and zucchini and mix together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Sprinkle over shredded veggies.  Add more flour if your mixture seems a little too wet.

Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet.  Drop fritter mixture into pan and fry on both sides to desired doneness.  I experimented with different sizes.  The larger ones had more of a creamy texture inside, but both were equally devoured by me.  :)

The plate of goodies I sent over to my neighbor for her to try:

Mine look very different from Lyndsey's, but they were really delicious.  The great thing for me is that they do not taste one bit like vegetables.  Yay!  These are also great reheated.  Gotta love leftovers when it's time to pack lunches.

Kid review - my son liked them but since he knew they were made with veggies, he only ate what I put on his plate.  Miss "I Don't Like Anything" chewed for a minute and then spit it out (but there was an absence of gagging which is a good sign - baby steps).

I will be making these again.  And soon as I just picked up another bunch of carrots and zucchini fresh from the farm.  Que bright light from the heavens.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Garlic Dip ('s really hummus)

So I'll admit to getting a kick out of lying to my kids.  Well, when it comes to food and getting something in them that they normally wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole that is.  Especially with my daughter.  I swear that girl can tell when I use whole wheat flour vs. white.  Her "I don't like its" are outweighing her "likes" lately.  Sigh...

Anyway, I know this is not a fancy hummus recipe.  It's just your run of the mill, basic hummus.  BUT, I added some extra garlic, called it a dip, grabbed some crackers and let the kids have at it.  They both loved it!  haha - score one for mom!

Garlicy Hummus "Dip"

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
juice of one lemon
4 tbsp tahini
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
ground pepper to taste

Place beans in blender and puree.  Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini and salt.  Blend until smooth.   Transfer to a serving bowl and top with olive oil and ground pepper.  That's it.  So easy that I cannot believe I didn't do this before.  I was actually BUYING hummus!  At the STORE!  Gasp!  Sorry Trader Joe's, one less item in my cart from here on out (although I really love their 3 layer hummus so I'll have to make it an occasional purchase).

The kids were having so much fun that they decided to do a little impromptu photoshoot for Kashi 7 grain crackers - we LOVE them!

What have you been purchasing at the store that you realized was super easy to make at home?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My CSA Veggie Roast

So many veggies, so little time.  That is how I feel sometimes on Tuesdays when I come home with my huge CSA haul.  Last week I decided to just chop up a bunch of stuff and throw it in the oven to roast.

I had several potatoes, a large shallot, one very small onion, several cloves of garlic, yellow and red beets, carrots and radishes.  Chopped it all up, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.

It was a yummy side dish all week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Fun in the Lunchbox

My friend Lyndsey over at The Tiny Skillet posted about one of her bento boxes a while back.  It had the cutest little shaped hard boiled egg in it.  I had to know how she did it and she was nice enough to tell me about egg molds from Japan.  I had never heard of such a thing, but within 5 minutes I had four egg molds on order through ebay directly from Japan.  They showed up not one week later!

This was my first go at egg molding.  I thought the kids would enjoy these little cuties in their lunch boxes for camp.

The first step is to hard boil some eggs.  Let them cool a bit and peel them.  Place in the mold, close and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.  I did mine overnight.  In the morning, this is what we had:

And my favorite:

I did the bear too, but the egg cracked and he ended up looking like he had a cracked skull!  All in all though, this was really cute and easy to do.  I cannot believe I hadn't heard of these molds before.  I highly recommend molded eggs for a nice little pick-me-up at lunchtime (or, if it's one of those days, you might enjoy biting the cute face right off a cuddly little bunny).

Lyndsey recently started an entire blog dedicated to bento box meals.  She is a true bento artist - check out her new blog HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Walnut Pepper Spread on Grainy Bread

Another dish from our appy dinner night.  This one was also found in Rachel Ray magazine and modified only slightly.

2 cups walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup walnut oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp raw honey
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
Whole grain baguette

In a food processor, pulse walnuts, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, walnut oil, lemon juice, honey and red pepper flakes until combined and resembling a thick spread.

Add roasted red pepper and pulse to combine.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in parsley.

Meanwhile, slice baguette on the diagonal and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Heat in a 350 oven until edges are browned.

Serve as a spread for the toasted bread.  Delicious!!

This and the preceding recipe (Polenta Tomato Sliders) were a great pair of appetizers (and the only dishes I had to wash were the serving bowls and wine glasses - yay).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cute Little Appy - with Bacon!!

Who doesn't love bacon!  It's one of the things I've really been missing these days.  Bacon used to make an appearance at least every Sunday if not more often.  We've since switched to turkey bacon, but it doesn't get that greasy crispy goodness that makes bacon, well, bacon!  So here pair the artery clogging goodness with some healthier ingredients.  Because, of course, if you eat two healthy things with one unhealthy thing, the unhealthy gets cancelled out.  ;-)

I found this in a Rachel Ray magazine and modified it slightly.  This recipe is more appealing to the eye when done on the grill, but I chose to do this one on a very rainy day and used my grill pan.

Polenta Tomato Sliders

1 package ready-to-eat polenta, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
6 strips low sodium bacon, cooked to crispy (as if there was any other way)
2 tbsp good dijon mustard
1/4 lb. low fat cheddar, shredded
olive oil cooking spray

Lightly spray your grill pan and warm to medium.  Grill polenta slices until firm (or until they have grill marks which unfortunately mine never got).  Spray with cooking spray and flip.  Cook other side to desired doneness.

To assemble your sliders just top one slice of polenta with a smear of mustard, a slice of tomato, bacon strip (or 2) and cheddar cheese.  Top with another polenta slice.

That's it.  I thought they were very cute and pretty tasty.  Can't beat the ease of preparation either.  And boy, when you don't have bacon for a while, it tastes DARN good when you indulge!!

My husband and I enjoyed these for dinner one night with a little whole grain bread and a walnut pepper spread (recipe for that will be along shortly).  A glass of white wine and we were satisfied.

Anybody else do an all appy meal once in a while?  I find it right up there with the breakfast for dinner scenario.  Fun and yummy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

P90X - Day 60

Happy anniversary to me.  2/3rds of the way done with P90X!  Took my progress pics and measurements yesterday, and although I feel I look exactly like I did 30 days ago, I have lost 7.5 inches overall.  Not too shabby.  My favorite part though is that some of the exercises and yoga poses that were very difficult for me in the beginning are getting easier.  Yay!

I know my blogging has mostly centered around food lately, but I will still update on my progress with the Beachbody workout programs, among others.  After all, my delve back into physical fitness (after too long of a break) is what led me to start eating better in the first place.

So my "2/3rd of the way done" review of P90X is this.  I really like the program.  I would not though call it a weight loss program.  It is definitely strength and endurance training.  For someone who has never done much in the way of working out, etc., I would suggest starting out with a month or two (or three) of other programs before moving on to P90X just so that you get the full benefit of being able to actively participate in all of the workouts without too much stopping.  Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred is a great starting point.  It is still a strenuous workout yet it is only 20 minutes a day with three levels so that you can progress as you master the previous level.  Mostly, It will get you in the routine of working out everyday (P90X is a 6 day per week workout plan) and will build up your core muscles.  30 Day Shred is a great workout.  You will see results.  There is not much variation though, so I would assume most people plateau at about month two or three using just this DVD.  Perfect time to move on.

All in all, I am very happy with P90X.  I have one month to go and I feel that in 90 days I will have results that I wouldn't have had in that amount of time with another program or with my usual gym routine.  Also, with P90X I was able to cancel that pricey gym membership (actually, I cancelled it two months into my Jillian Michaels rotation)!

It seems odd, with all my recent food porn posts, to post my progress pictures directly into this entry.  If anyone is interested, the links below will take you to my much less than magazine quality photos.  There is still work to be done below the belt, but it certainly took me longer than 60 days to get where I started...

Day 1, 30 & 60 - front
Day 1, 30 & 60 - side
Day 1, 30 & 60 - Back

Garlic Shrimp Pizza with Roasted Pepper "Sauce"

I saw something similar to this in Rachel Ray's magazine and have always wanted to give it a try.  Never met a pizza I didn't like.  This one is a whole wheat crust pizza topped with garlic shrimp and a roasted pepper sauce (or pesto) in place of the usual marinara.  Delicious!

1 whole wheat dough
16oz jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
10 basil leaves
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lb shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb reduced fat mozzarella, shredded

Heat oven to 400.  Spread dough over pizza stone or baking sheet.  Meanwhile, pulse peppers, basil and 2 tbsp olive oil in food processor until it forms a sauce.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add minced garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and cook until done.

Top pizza dough with sauce, shrimp and shredded mozzarella.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Topping with chopped basil is optional.  Don't fret over extra sauce.  This can be thickend up with some walnuts for use as a spread, or you can keep it as is and use as a dip or topping for any other protein/pasta you like.

Cook to desired doneness.

Healthy Kid Tip: I made an extra pizza for the kids.  Just a standard marinara and cheese, but I added 2 tbsp of the pepper sauce in with the marinara.  They didn't have a clue!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Can I Expect From a CSA?

This was the question I was asking early this spring.  I had been hearing so much about fresh produce that you can purchase directly from local farms but wasn't really sure what I would be getting for my money.  After several days of research, I chose a vegan organic farm in upstate New York (less than one hour away) that had a pick up location in my area of New Jersey.  A lot of people have asked me what I get on a typical week so I thought I would share this week's "haul" and information about my particular CSA.

What do you get?  This week we received two heads of lettuce (romaine & red curly), three nice sized zucchini, a large summer squash, a dozen potatoes, one head of cabbage, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, basil, a huge cucumber, 10 baby beets, seven radishes, a big shallot, a giant bunch of broccoli raab and a small head of broccoli.  Previous weeks have included garlic, green onions, cauliflower, carrots (the best I've ever had), etc.  In future weeks were are expecting more squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, and larger broccoli, amongst other things.

What does it cost?  I pay $25 per week on a monthly basis.  This particular farm runs from May to October.  For the three large bags of veggies I picked up today, I would've spent way more than $25 at Whole Foods or ShopRite.  I do give away some of my items and I have had to throw some out in the early weeks because I didn't use them fast enough, but I still feel this is a very good deal.  Now that I am getting better at planning meals and pre-preparing some of the items (i.e. steaming, sauteing, freezing), I end up with very little waste.

Here are some pictures of the greeny goodness from this week.  Please excuse my kitchen - it is original to this house that was built in the 1950's (appliances excluded). Someday I will replace that faux marble counter top and backsplash...someday! :)

Oh, I should mention that since the items are harvested the morning of pick up, they do require a good washing before use.  Check out my dirty potatoes (my kids' absolute favorites)!  They also aren't as "pretty" as the produce displays at the supermarket, but let's not judge a book by it's cover.

My pick up location also offers various local items for sale on pick up day as well like honey, butter, maple syrup, free range eggs, fruits and bakery items.  Today I opted to pick up some NJ blueberries as I want to make muffins later tonight.  I enjoy supporting my local farmers and you really can't beat the quality and taste of fresh produce.

To find farmers markets and CSAs available in your location, check out Local Harvest's website.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kale Chips - who knew?!

My family and I decided to participate in a CSA this year (community supported agriculture).  I located a vegan, organic farm that had an open slot and a weekly pick up location near my home through Local Harvest.  Admittedly, I have never been a big fan of veggies.  In fact, I'm still not.  I struggle all the time to get in an adequate amount per day and I'm pretty sure I fall short.  I figured joining would open me (actually, my whole family) up to new and excited possibilities and recipes.

One of this week's exciting possibilities?  Drum roll please...Kale.  Oh.  Music dies abruptly.  It just doesn't look appetizing.  There is NO way my kids are eating this one!  So not being one to just throw food in the garbage (unless it's celery - blech), off I went to my bestest recipe-findin' bud, Google.  I found several recipes promising that I can turn this floppy green leaf into something that tastes like a potato chip.  Yeah right!  But, what do we have to lose.  The recipe was easy enough and I had all the ingredients in the house (kale, olive oil, salt).  Let's have at it!

First, wash the kale and spin dry really well.

Heat oven to 350.  Toss kale in just enough olive oil to coat the leaves but not soak them.  Spread the leaves on a baking sheet and put into the oven.  Cook about 10 minutes or until the leaves become bright green and crisp.  Since mine were just harvested, they are a darker green than the grocery store/bagged variety, and a little larger.

Once out of the oven, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.  The key here is to salt them AFTER baking, otherwise you get a mushy mess as the salt will draw moisture out of the kale during the baking process.  And that's it.  Kale chips.  Viola:

And guess what?  They taste like potato chips!!  Even the kids ate them.  Well, it cost me a buck a kid, but they ate them (I'm definitely not against bribes when it comes to getting healthy items into my kids).  Now if only someone would pay me to eat my veggies!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Carrot Cake (Wait, there's pineapple and coconut in there?)

Carrot cake is a little bit of wonderfulness in my opinion.  I mean, you gotta love a dessert that incorporates a veggie and convinces you it's "healthy" when it is, in fact, cake!  Your typical cream cheese iced carrot cake has more fat and calories than a Duncan Hines mix cake with frosting.  Have no fear though, I am happy to report that I found a healthy-er substitution that is still extremely moist and delicious, but has about 50 percent less fat and calories than most.  Plus, there's coconut in it so you can't go wrong.  Have I mentioned how I feel about coconut (more coconut love here)?  LOL

This recipe was adapted from one found in Eating Well magazine.

20 oz crushed pineapple
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
dash salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1/2 granulated and 1 evaporated cane juice)
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrot (about 4-6)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flake
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

8 oz low fat cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
toasted coconut flakes to top

Heat oven to 350.  Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Drain pineapple over a bowl, pressing on the solids to get as much liquid out as possible.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the juice.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.  Whisk eggs, sugars, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and pineapple juice in a large bowl.  Stir in the pineapple, carrots and coconut.


Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just blended.  Stir in the nuts and spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when touched.  Let cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.  Spread over cooled cake and top with toasted coconut flake.  Now sit back, put your feet up, play some soft music, dim the lights, inhale deeply, close your eyes and take a bite.  Ahhhh, yum!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coconut, coconut, coconut - and Shrimp

How much do I love coconut??  Well, I add it to my oatmeal, pancakes, brownies, cookies.  I cook with coconut oil and coconut butter.  I use a coconut scented shampoo, perfume oil and body scrub, and keep a coconut lip balm on my night stand.  When we go out for a drink, I just tell the bartender to give me anything involving coconut rum.  I'm sure there's more, but we'll stop here for now as I'm sure I painted the picture.  That being said, words can not express how thrilled I was to see this coconut shrimp and rice with spicy mango sauce dish on Rachel's wonderful and cleverly named blog, Me, Myself & Pie (also be sure to check out her "Better than Sex Cake" - I'll be trying that one out very soon).  Her photos alone will have you drooling at your desk - food porn at it's best!

I used Rachel's recipe pretty much exactly (see her blog for her step by step photos and instructions):

1 tsp canola oil
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
12 oz. mango nectar
1 habanero pepper
juice of 1/2 a lime
dash salt

1 lb. large to jumbo shrimp
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flake
1/2 cup panko (would've liked the whole wheat variety, but my store was out)
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
dash salt
8 tsp canola oil, divided
cooking spray

1 cup water
3/4 cup brown basmati rice
3/4 cup light coconut milk
dash salt
chopped cilantro to taste

For sauce heat 1 tsp oil in saucepan and saute onion, ginger and garlic for three minutes.  Add nectar and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Place in blender and process until smooth.  Stir in lime juice and salt.  Let cool (I liked this chilled).

For shrimp breading, place coconut in blender and pulse until finely chopped.  Add panko and pulse to combine.  Place cornstarch, egg whites and coconut panko in small dishes.  Dredge each shrimp in the cornstarch, then egg whites, then coconut.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tsp canola oil to coat.  Add 6-7 shrimp at a time.  Coat tops of shrimp with cooking spray.  Cook 2-3 minutes each side or to desired doneness.  Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp.  This is a teeny bit of a PIA and I had some trouble getting my breading to stick (probably because I used egg whites from a carton), but it is so worth it in the end, I promise!

For the rice, combine the water, rice, coconut milk and salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chopped cilantro.

Serve shrimp along side rice with a healthy amount of dipping sauce - this sauce is Da BOMB!!

So this dish is a little higher in cholesterol and carbs than I usually like, but we all need a day off, right?  With the omission of butter, egg yolk and cream, using unsweetened coconut and brown rice, and with my original intention of using whole wheat panko, I still felt this was "healthy cooking blog" worthy.  This was very, VERY much worth the little cheat!  Thank you Me, Myself & Pie!!  I hope you all give it a try.

Oh, and I followed this dinner up with a fabulous carrot cake (a somewhat healthier version).  I'll post that soon.  My husband and I enjoyed a really great dinner and dessert - I highly recommend.  >;-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mushroom & Shallot Pizza

Yup, we LOVE our pizzas around here.  So quick and easy.  You can turn almost anything into a pizza topping in my opinion!  This is one of my husband's favorites.

whole wheat pizza dough
low fat mozzarella, shredded
1 large tomato, sliced
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
ground pepper
red pepper flakes
basil leaves, optional

Heat oven to 400.  Not sure why I didn't use my pizza stone here, but oh well.  I coated the bottom of the baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil.  Spread dough to outer edges of pan.  Top dough with sliced tomato and mozz.

Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add shallot, onion & garlic and cook until translucent.  Add mushrooms.  Saute to desired doneness.

Spread mushroom mixture over pizza and top with salt, pepper & pepper flakes to taste.  Add some basil leaves if desired.  Cook until cheese is melted and bottom of crust starts to brown.  Serve with a nice green salad (or not)!

Yay Pizza!!  I'm always open to new topping suggestions.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Favorite Go-To Snack, Side Dish, Appy, etc.

My favorite, most versatile dish/condiment to make is oven burst tomatoes.  They are great with some crusty grain bread and fresh mozz, work well over pasta with a little grated parm, can be used as a topping for chicken and meat, oh the list goes on.  And, they are so simple!!  Sometimes simple really tastes the best.

1 pkg multi-color tomatoes (or just plain red)
crushed garlic
olive oil

Preheat broiler.  Halve the larger tomatoes and place all of them in a bowl.  Mix in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss until well coated.  So pretty!

Spread on a baking sheet, throw on a few basil leaves and place under broiler. Cook until they start to burst and get some browning.

I love using these for lunch.  Just top crusty bread (this pic is a big no-no for me these days, white french bread - eeek) with fresh mozz and top with tomatoes.  Yummy!!  Re-broiling turns this snack into a yummy french bread margarita pizza.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Mister Does Some Cookin'

So here's how lucky I am, my husband's occupation for the last 10+ years has been as a hair stylist.  Before that he was a masseuse and a chef!  Lucky, right?  Yeah, I hardly ever have time to get my hair done, can count on one hand how many massages I've gotten (ironically enough most during our first few months together, hmm...), and I cook nearly every night.  BUT, every once in a while, he pulls out a fabulous dinner, and for that, all is forgiven.  :)

Asian Salmon over Sea Beans with Balsamic Tomato Cucumber Salad

Amounts depend on your taste and how many people you are serving:
salmon fillets
whole grain mustard
garlic, minced
shallot, minced
1/2 lb sea beans
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
sea salt

Prepare marinade/sauce for the salmon and beans by combining mustard, tamari, honey, garlic and shallots (in an amount to your liking).  Pour 1/3rd over salmon and let sit for an hour.  Pour another 1/3rd over the rinsed sea beans.  Reserve remaining sauce for after cooking.

Heat cooking spray coated grill pan.  Sear salmon and cook to desired doneness.  The Mr. likes to leave a little pink in the middle (buy GOOD salmon if you chose this route).

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil.  Saute sea beans until bright green - pretty sure some white wine was thrown in as well as he puts it in pretty much everything.  These will snap, crackle and pop like crazy.

While salmon and beans are cooking, dress tomato and cucumber with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Throw it all together (perhaps add a little glass of wine and some crusty grain bread for sauce mopping) and you've got a lovely adult dinner that looks pretty impressive and comes together rather quickly!

Yummy!  I will admit, I find sea beans to be a bit salty.  Perhaps if they were more thoroughly rinsed I would enjoy them more.  Then again, I'm a super taster so salty and sweet really get exaggerated to my hyper-sensitive taste buds.  It is always fun to try something new though!