Friday, September 28, 2012

Pinterest: tried and tested

Instead of copying and pasting all the Pinterest recipes I've tried and liked I'm just going to post the links and a little blurby.

Balsamic Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms - these were a really tasty side and made a nice change from soggy, boring greens.

Greek Zucchini Fritters - we've had these multiple times already and get 13 fritters out of the recipe. Stuart prefers them with salsa instead of tzitziki sauce. They'd also probably make a pretty tasty garden burger.

Stuffed Bell Peppers - I use this recipe as the base for stuffed peppers. Changes I make are using cooked rice, adding more seasonings and maybe a little pesto to the meat mixture, I make a red sauce or use Ragu and I don't remove it from the pan to thicken it. I don't always add cheese, and sometimes will add some tobasco... do whatever you fancy but be sure to season it up.

Paula Deen's  Mushroom Burgers - we ate this twice in one week it was so tasty.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grape Salad

It has been a long while since I last wrote a post for this blog.  So long I can’t even remember what the last thing was I made up though I think it was the Honey Chicken Enchilada modified recipe.  Well here is another low cal treat.  The original recipe I got from my Aunt, not sure where she got it from.  It’s Grape Salad.  She’ll make up a batch for barbeques and it is so good.  Takes a lot of self restraint to not eat the entire batch she makes in one sitting.  It’s a big hit with everyone in the family.  So I thought I’d take a shot at modifying it.  The original recipe follows:

8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
Brown Sugar
2 lbs. Grapes

So the grapes my aunt uses are red grapes typically.  I imagine any type of seedless grape can be used.  I stumbled upon this taste while eating breakfast one morning.  My wife and I have gone on this kick of Greek yogurt and granola in the morning.  We were out of Greek yogurt so I walked down to the store and picked up some.  It was a different brand from our usual plain vanilla so I had a taste of it.  It reminded me of the “sauce” of the grape salad. 

Using Philadelphia cream cheese it is 800 calories for 8oz, and if using Daisy sour cream it 1440 calories for 8 oz. Grand total for the sauce without including the rest of the recipe is 2240 calories. 

Now the reason I didn’t include the rest of the recipe is because I didn’t change the rest of that.  Instead I used 32 oz of Zoi Greek yogurt vanilla flavored.  32 oz of this yogurt is 880 calories.  That’s about two times fewer calories in the recipe using the Greek yogurt in place of the cream cheese and the sour cream.  When I made it though it was a bit too saucy for our liking so next time I’ll use only 16oz of the Greek yogurt which would be about four times as fewer calories for the recipe.  So here it is the modified recipe:

16 oz Zoi vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt (or your favorite brand)
Brown sugar
Sugar (about 4 tbsp)
1 tsp Vanilla
Brown sugar
2 lbs Grapes

Take the yogurt and put it in a large bowl. 
Mix in the sugar (not the brown) and the vanilla into the yogurt. 

(These amounts will depend on your yogurt choice.  You want the mix to be a little sweet and you want to be able to taste the vanilla.) 

Add the grapes and make sure everything is well coated. 
Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans. 
Let chill for about an hour.

I usually don’t wait for the mix to chill.  I like the texture of the yogurt brand I use.  The mix is a little thinner than if using the cream cheese mixture but the flavor and texture is very similar. This recipe makes sure you’ll make it through all of your grapes before they go bad.  And it really is tasty.  I wish I had some right now…

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Grilled avocado with cheese and bacon

Original recipe from Morsels and Musings.

1 avocado
1 tablespoon of tobasco
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 rashers of bacon fried (streaky)
salt and pepper

Half and destone avocado
Stab avocado with a fork or cut criss crosses in it
Pour half a tablespoon of tobasco over each half of avocado
Pour lime juice over tobasco and avocado
Season with salt and pepper
Top with some cheese

Put avocado under broiler/grill for 2 minutes

Put rasher of bacon on top of grilled cheese, top with more cheese
Grill for 2 more minutes

Calories: 273

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Multi-Grain Bread

Here's a delish bread recipe, that incorporates some amazing ingredients. I'll go into more detail on some of them in later posts. This recipe is based on one I got from my big sis, but modified by yours truly to pack in even MORE goodness.

5 cups hard white wheat berries
1 cup oat groats
1/2 cup buckwheat
(Or just 6-8 cups flour. I use 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white)

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbsp SAF instant yeast
2 tbsp amaranth
2 tbsp quinoi
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp chia seed
2 tbsp millet
(amaranth through millet are optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil
(I use vegetable oil because I can't afford coconut)
1/3 cup raw honey

1 1/2 tbsp dough enhancer
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
(Dough enhancer and wheat gluten are SO IMPORTANT for chewy bread, especially if you're using wheat flour.)

Grind the wheat, oats, and buckwheat together to make a medium-coarse flour. Pour the water into your mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil, honey, and yeast. Mix in 3 cups of the flour you just made. Add remaining grains - the amaranth, quinoi, flax, chia, and millet. Mix well and let the mixture sponge for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Add your fresh flour, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms a soft dough that cleans the sides of your mixing bowl. Continue kneading dough for about 10 minutes to activate the gluten in the flour. (I always mix in my kitchenaid.) Divide dough into 3 equal portions and form into loaves. Grease 3 medium loaf pans with coconut oil. Place the loaves into the pans, and let raise to almost double. Bake at 350 for 27 minutes or until done. (I know 27 minutes is a weird number, but I find that 25 leaves it a little gooey and 30 minutes dries out the crust. Your oven may be different.)

You could certainly add different grains to this recipe. Spelt or kamut are good wheat substitutes for those who are gluten intolerant. You could also add some rye to your flour mixture to make a more tart bread. I have tried it with a little bulgar wheat added, and I really didn't like it. It changed the texture and flavor considerably, and not in a favorable way. Compared to the original recipe (which I will post later because it is also delish), you will find this bread to be a little less chewy and a little more moist, due to the oats in the flour. The buckwheat adds a little bit of a nutty flavor. The additional whole grains give a good multi-grain texture and add lots and lots of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and proteins that you can't get in wheat alone. This bread also freezes well, so if your family only eats a loaf at a time, you can freeze your other two loaves to keep them "fresh" until you're ready to eat them.

Definition of terms:
Let the mixture sponge: This means you just leave it alone. It will thicken and the yeast will activate and it turns the dough into something that looks like a big sponge. This makes it so you don't have to let the dough raise twice.
Cleans the sides of your mixing bowl: That means the dough no longer sticks to the sides.  Also, when the dough is still too wet, it will kind of pool in the bottom of the bowl. so when it is lifting from the sides AND from the bottom, you have enough flour. I don't add a full cup at a time at this stage, because that's how I always add too much flour.

3 things she left out:
Start the dough using your regular mixing blade. Switch it to your dough hook when it becomes too hard for your machine to keep mixing.
As part of "cleans the sides of your mixing bowl," you are also watching for the dough to make arms. It will look like there is a little marshmallow person in your bowl with these dough arms flopping around.
You know the gluten has activated (gluten makes the bread chewy) when you can take a little gob of the dough and stretch it out and it stretches thin instead of breaking.

Personal Notes:
I make this using wheat flour that is pre-ground from the store. The kind you buy in bags is red wheat. It is harder to digest, so if you eat a ton of it you'll get diarrhea. That's why I half it with white flour. You can buy the white wheat at Winco in the bins. I haven't done this yet, because I have a ton of red wheat to get through first. The white wheat definitely tastes better, and fresh ground tastes better than pre-ground.

I'll try to post pictures or video of the stages next time I make it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork, Tangy Grilled Pineapple, and Cilantro Lime Rice (Copycat Chipotle Recipe)

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Serves: 10 (Yields about 3 oz. each serving)
Weight Watchers Points+ Plus:Old WW Points: 3
Calories: 171  Fat: 7 g  Cholesterol: 67 mg  Sodium: 744 mg  Carbohydrates: 0 g  Fiber: 2 g  Protein:  25 g

One pork tenderloin, about 2.5 pounds
1 Tbsp Kosher or Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (either Hickory or Mesquite flavors are fine)


Prepare pork tenderloin by placing on a clean cutting board. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke holes all over the tenderloin. Rub salt over the tenderloin.

Place the tenderloin in a slow cooker/ CrockPot. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. (Mine always cooks in five hours, but CrockPots tend to vary in temperature.)

Remove pork from CrockPot, and allow to rest for five minutes. Using two forks, shred meat. Serve with a bit of your favorite BBQ sauce on top. Or add to your favorite buns for a yummy sandwich! (Adding BBQ sauce and/or buns may change "Points" values.)

Expect sexy results!

Tangy Grilled Pineapple

Serves: 8 (Yields about 1 spear per serving)
Weight Watchers Points+ Plus:Old WW Points: 1
Calories: 70  Fat: 2 g  Cholesterol: 0 mg  Sodium: 1 mg  Carbohydrates: 14 g  Fiber: 1 g  Protein:  .3 g

1 ripe pineapple, fresh (will make about 4 cups in volume)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey


Chop off leafy end of pineapple. Chop off bottom of pineapple. Standing pineapple up on a cutting board, slice off the outer skin of the pineapple, working from top to bottom. Slice pineapple in half, vertically. Slice each half into quarters, and then eighths. Slice out the hard core from each spear.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cinnamon, lime juice, olive oil, and honey. Place pineapple spears in bowl and toss to coat. Preheat grill on med-high. Place spears on grill, and allow to cook on each side for a few minutes. Using a brush, coat with remaining marinade every now and then. Turn once or twice more until cooked to your liking.

Expect sexy results!

Cilantro Lime Rice (Chipotle Copycat Recipe)

Serves: 16 (Yields about 1/2 cup each serving)
Weight Watchers Points+ Plus: Old WW Points: 1
Calories: 99  Fat: 0 g  Cholesterol: 0 mg  Sodium: 74 mg  Carbohydrates: 23 g  Fiber: 0 g  Protein:  2 g

2 cups, basmati rice, uncooked
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped


Pour water into pot, bring to a rolling boil. Add rice and let water return to boil. Cover tightly with a lid and reduce heat to low. Allow rice to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove rice from heat, but do NOT open the lid. It's going to be tempting to peek, but this is the part of the steaming process where the rice gets really fluffy! Set timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove lid. Fluff with fork. Add salt and lime juice and toss with fork to combine. Add in cilantro last and toss again.

Expect sexy results! 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Melinda's smoothie

7/8 cup water
1/8 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (yes, unsweetened)
1 cup berries (raspberry, strawberry, blueberries or blackberries)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp flax oil
1 serving vanilla whey protein
Sweeten with stevia as needed

Mix in blender.

Variation1: Add 1 cup of spinach.
Variation 2: Replace the flax with Chia seeds.

I've been making this smoothie for years.  I love it.  I got it from the Fat Flush plan.  It is a very nutritious and well balanced meal.  It is super easy to prepare. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Banana Bran Muffins

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
¾ cup low-fat or fat-free milk
1 egg, beaten
2 cups bran flake cereal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and cereal. Let wet ingredients set for 5 minutes, then mix again to mash the cereal. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fill 12 greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

I used half wheat flour, half white. I added a couple chopped strawberries in half of them, and frozen blueberries in the other half. These are SO GOOD! They’re really chewy and sweet without tons of sugar. MFP says they are 82 calories each with 4 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber. I would love to have a couple of these for breakfast!