Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Rich All Right!

I have a couple of cans of low-fat sweetened condensed milk that need to be used or tossed.  Why I ever bought them is beyond me now, but today I went hunting for a recipe... and found something on called Peanut Butter Oat-meal Bars, that has both my favorite food groups - chocolate and peanut butter! 

I wanted something that is more of a dessert than a bar so I baked it in a 9 inch round pan for about 15 minutes longer than called for, and I also added vanilla to the milk and peanut butter mixture.  Here is my version.  I think I gained a pound just mixing the ingredients...

Chocolaty Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream 
  • 1 can (14 oz.) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into chunks 
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Mix sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and peanut butter then set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, soda, salt and butter. Mix well. (I like to use my hands for this to make sure the butter is evenly distributed throughout.  It should be mealy when completely mixed.)
  3. Pat 1/2 of mixture in lightly greased 9 inch baking dish.
  4. Drizzle with peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Top with remaining crumbs, and pat lightly.
  5. Bake about 35 minutes at 350°F. Watch carefully and take care not to overbake.
This is so rich, a couple of spoonfuls is about all I can eat at one sitting,  so that would be about 1/24th of the whole thing - approximately 3 Tbs.

Weight Watchers P+ = 7.
Calories 232; Protein = 4g; Carbohydrate 30g; Fat 12g; Fibre 2g

The Captain has been having his with a splash of Trader Joe's organic vanilla soymilk on it.  OMG!  Waaaay too good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elegant Egg Flower Soup

I love this soup.  It is easy to prepare and makes a lovely first course or a nice lunch soup.  I found the recipe in the December 2008 issue of Health Magazine.  It was reprinted from Quick and Easy Chinese: 70 Everyday Recipes by Nancie McDermott.  I like to chop up the spinach leaves a bit before putting them into the hot broth. 

Egg Flower Soup
Makes 2 servings

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3 Tbs thinly sliced scallions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups chicken broth to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in 2 cups spinach leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, allowing the spinach to wilt into the soup.
  3. Stir well until the chicken broth is swirling in circles.
  4. Slowly pour 2 beaten eggs into soup, and continue to stir gently for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions onto the soup, and serve hot.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 124; Protein 13g; Carbohydrate 4g; Fat 6g; Fibre 1g

Monday, March 28, 2011

Linguini with Tuna, Olives, and Bell Peppers

I cut a recipe from the newspaper a couple of years ago, and a similar one from a magazine... when I wanted to use tuna and olives in a topping for the Noodle Expert's home made linguini, I took some inspiration from both of these recipes and came up with this dish.  It was fabulous!

Of course you can use any pasta you like - rotini or penne would be nice, too.

Linguini with Tuna, Olives, and Bell Peppers
2 servings

  • 1 tsp canola/olive oil blend
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can 180g chunk tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
  • 10 pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs light parmesan cheese, shredded

  1. Bring a large pot of  water to boil.  Add fresh linguini and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes, or cook your pasta of choice as directed on the package. 
  2. While this occurs, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
  3. Add the tuna, olives, green onions, and lemon juice and zest and cook 1 minute more.  When the pasta is cooked, save 1/4 cup of its cooking liquid. 
  4. Drain the pasta well, and then add it and the 1/4 cup of cooking liquid to the tuna mixture, gently tossing. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Top with shredded parmesan and serve.
Weight Watchers P+ = 5.  This doesn't include the linguini.
Calories 173; Protein 23g; Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 7g; Fibre 2g

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sushi Roll in a Bowl

This has become one of our favorite meals.  I love sushi but don't want to bother with rolling the rice and fillings into sheets of nori.  This method avoids all of that work, but still gives you the fun of and flavors of eating sushi.  It is also very pretty and makes a striking presentation.

It is really very simple... you just make up the rice about an hour or so ahead of when you want to eat, and let it cool on the counter.  (Don't refrigerate - you won't like the texture it becomes.)  Then, when  you are ready to serve, divide it into bowls, add the toppings you want, and enjoy with chopsticks.

The distinctive flavor of the rice that you find in sushi rolls comes from vinegar and sugar.  I like to use a sushi vinegar but rice vinegar or even white vinegar would be fine too.

I found the master recipe in a Prevention Magazine - the issue was June 2009.  I altered it slightly to make 3 servings of rice... 1 for me, 2 for my husband.  Here is how it goes in my kitchen:

Japanese Seasoned Sushi Rice

  • 3/4 cup sushi rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs vinegar of choice
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  1. No matter what brand of sushi rice you are choosing, even if the package doesn't mention it, place the raw rice into a collander and rinse well under running water, stirring the rice around with your fingers.  Keep running water through the rice until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch.  (I have tried it without doing this and didn't like it at all. )
  2. Place the washed rice and the water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let is simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Turn off the burner and let it sit 5 more minutes.  The rice should have absorbed all the water.
  5. Remove the rice from the saucepan and place it into a bowl.
  6. Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, on medium heat, and stir continuously until the sugar disappears into the vinegar.
  7. Remove from heat and fold the mixutre gently into the warm rice.
  8. Leave the rice to cool at room temperature, for at least an hour.

For 1/3 of recipe as prepared by me.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 169; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 38g; Fat 0g; Fibre 0g

Our favorite toppings are cooked shrimp, avocado slices, green onions, long English cucumber slices, and grated carrot.  Sometimes I add a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  I like to have some wasabi paste on mine as well.

I  usually put some pickled ginger into the bowl, and serve soy sauce at the table.

Today my bowl contains:

  • 1 serving rice
  • 3 ounces shrimp
  • 2 green onions
  • 6 slices cucumber
  • 1/4 carrot, grated
  • 2 ounces avocado
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • wasabi paste
  • pickled ginger
  • 1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce

My bowl today.
Weight Watchers P+ = 9.   This doesn't include the wasabi paste or pickled ginger.
Calories 362; Protein 19g;  Carbohydrates 48g; Fat 11g; Fibre 5g

Friday, March 25, 2011

Satisfying Soba

I love buckwheat soba noodles.  They cook up very quickly - 6 or 7 minutes - and can be eaten hot or cold, in soups or salads, and are filling and tasty.  No brand loyalty for me here;  I buy whatever I find as they all seem similar in nutrients and calories.
This recipe came from Harvey Pasternak's 5 Factor Diet.  I made it pretty much as written with a couple of minor changes (which I indicate in parenthesis like this).  It is really good and we have had it several times. 

In Japan, soba noodles are served hot and cold, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you can't find them; substitute whole-wheat spaghettini or vermicelli.

Soba Noodle Bowl with Cucumber and Cabbage
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sesame or vegetable oil
  • 4 oz soba or udon noodles (3.10 ounces)
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, skinned and meat diced or shredded (6 oz. cooked)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (green onions)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded,  or 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coleslaw mix (cabbage, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower mix)
  • (A few Enoki mushrooms, cause I have some on hand)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, and oil until well blended.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the noodles, chicken meat, scallions, cucumber, and coleslaw mix (and mushrooms). Toss with soy dressing.
Weight Watchers P+ = 9.  (As I made it) Including the noodles, and very filling.
Calories 347; Protein 28g; Carbohydrate 39g; Fat 8g; Fibre 4g

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has Sprouted!

I love sprouts.  They are easy to grow, give you fresh organic produce in about 5 or 6 days, and are delicious and nutritious. 

Alfalfa sprouts are particularly easy, and fast.  The seeds can be purchased at any organic food market - and are quite inexpensive.

They contain a variety of valuable nutrients including calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc.  Alfalfa is the only plant that supplies the full range of vitamins, from A, B complex including B12, C, E, and K. 

All you need to grow them are:

  • a jar
  • an elastic band
  • a piece of fine mesh or an old nylon stocking

  1. Make sure the jar is clean.
  2. Put a couple of teaspoons of seeds into the jar and fill it with lukewarm water.
  3. Put the mesh over the top of the jar and secure it with the elastic band.
  4. Let the seeds sit on the counter form 2 to 6 hours, then drain.
  5. Rinse them twice a day for the next several days.
  6. When leaves have begun to form, they are ready to eat.
  7. Rinse the seed coverings away, drain and refrigerate uneaten sprouts in a sealed container.  You can keep them in the fridge for about 2 or 3 days.

Day 2, seeds are swollen

Day 3, seeds have germinated

Day 4, they are getting 'legs'

Day 5, leaves beginning to form and seed covers separating

Day 6, after rinsing and separating from most of the seed coverings.
The are now ready to eat.

And become garnish on a lunch salad

or on scrambled egg whites.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the Breeze

My favorite almond milk is by Blue Diamond and it comes in tetra packs... so convenient to use and store.  It is a smooth and creamy beverage made from real almonds.  It is free of gluten, lactose, and cholesterol and is a good source of calcium.

Almond Breeze comes in 6 different varieties - sweetened Vanilla, Original, and Chocolate, and unsweetened Vanilla, Original, and Chocolate.

We always buy the unsweetened kind - if it needs to be sweetened, I can always add honey or Splenda or sugar itself.  The Captain is particularly fond of the Chocolate and it is especially nice heated for an evening drink.

Almond Breeze can be used almost anywhere you would use cow's milk - it doesn't thicken instant puddings.

Unsweetened Vanilla per cup.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 40; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 2g; Fat 3.5g; Fibre 1g

Unsweetened Original per cup.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 40; Protein 1g; Fat 3g; Fibre 1g

Unsweetened Chocolate per cup.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 45; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 3g; Fat 3.5g; Fibre 1g

Featured Recipes using this staple:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Abundance of Mushrooms

I have a bag full of white and brown mushrooms in the fridge.  They need to be used up in the next few days.  I found a recipe for mushroom stroganoff on the web site that looks really good.  I have the ingredients and it looks like the perfect topping to the Noodle Expert's home made whole wheat linguini.

The original recipe called for a variety of mushrooms and also more oil than I wanted to use so I have rewritten the ingredients and instruction.

At the last minute, I decided to toss a few turkey meatballs into the sauce before I served it over the linguini.  Very nice!  The Noodle Expert was very pleased with the final product.

Mushroom Stroganoff
Makes 2 hearty servings

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 tsp each cornstarch, Dijon mustard and tomato paste
  1. In large skillet heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Sauté mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary for about 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add vegetable broth; bring to boil and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until reduced .
  4. Meanwhile mix sour cream, cornstarch, mustard and tomato paste until smooth.
  5. Add to mushroom mixture, stirring constantly.
  6. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Serve over cooked linguini.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.  This does not include the pasta or the meatballs.
Calories 153; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 16g; Fat 7g; Fibre 2g

This would work nicely with fettucine or tagliatelle, too. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baked Eggs with Mushrooms

I wanted to use up some fresh mushrooms for breakfast today and went looking for a recipe that called for eggs... I didn't want an omelet or a frittata and found this recipe on  There is a video too, and it looked very easy and fairly quick so I thought I would give it a try.

We really liked it.  I did halve the ingredients, to make 2 servings instead of 4 and I left out the fresh parsley, and the dried thyme and basil.

 Here is the recipe as I found it:

Baked Eggs with Mushrooms

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients :
  • 1 Tbs  vegetable oil                                             
  • 8 oz  sliced fresh Mushrooms                            
  • 1/3 cup  diced red pepper (optional)                      
  • 1 Tbs  minced fresh parsley (optional)                 
  • 1/4 tsp  each, salt and pepper                               
  • 1/2 tsp  dried thyme, tarragon or basil (optional)    
  • 4  large eggs                                                 
  • 1/3 cup  shredded cheddar cheese                         

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 ºF.
  2. In a medium skillet heat oil over medium – high heat, sauté mushrooms 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and moisture is released.
  3. Add red pepper, parsley, salt, pepper and herb if using; sauté 1 minute.
  4. Spoon evenly into 4 lightly greased (6 oz) ramekins. Crack one egg into each ramekin and sprinkle cheese evenly on top. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes (baked eggs are done when whites are set and puffy but yolks are just starting to set).
  5. Serve with toast to dip in the soft yolk.

Makes 4 servings

Tip: If using wide gratin dishes in place of ramekins make a well in the middle of the mushrooms and crack eggs into the well; increase cheese to ½ cup. For brunch bake herbed tomato halves in the oven with the eggs.


1. Substitute Swiss or havarti with jalapeno cheese for Cheddar.
2. Substitute diced cooked ham for red pepper.
3. Substitute ½ cup salsa or chili sauce for the red pepper, salt pepper and herbs.
4. French Style: For a softer texture eggs may be baked in a water bath. Place the filled ramekins in a roasting pan or baking pan (large enough so they are not touching each other). Place the pan on the oven shelf and pour in enough boiling water into the pan to reach 1/2 - 2/3 up the side of the ramekin. Bake as directed 12- 15 minutes.

Nutritional Information:

Per Serving Calories:152
Sodium: 263 mg
Protein: 9.4 g
Fat: 11.7 g
Carbohydrates: 2.6 g
Dietary Fibre: 0.9 g

Weight Watchers P+ = 4.  This does not include the toast.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shrimp Creole

I wanted to have shrimp for dinner today... and also use some of the lovely red and yellow peppers we have on hand.

I found a recipe on Gina's Skinny Recipes that looked like it would work.  I have used Gina's recipes in the past and so was pretty sure it would be good.  Of course I had to alter it a bit to fit my own ingredients.  I added more garlic,  peppers and celery, and changed the spices somewhat.  It was very tasty and we really enjoyed it over brown rice.  This is my version:

Shrimp Creole
Makes 2 hearty servings
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • dash of garlic powder
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp of all purpose flour mixed with 1 Tbsp water
  • 8 ounces of large cooked shrimp with tails removed 
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • salt to taste 
  1. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, red and yellow bell pepper, garlic and celery and saute until tender.
  2. Add tomatoes and tomato paste/water mixture, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and black pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Stir the flour/water mixture into the tomatoes and vegetables on the stove.
  5. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. 
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce; stir together.
  7. Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until shrimp is heated through, adjust salt if needed.
  8. Divide and ladle over brown rice, in a bowl.  Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.  This does not include the brown rice.
Calories 175; Protein 19g; Carbohydrate 18g; Fat 3g; Fibre 4g

By the time it was all ready, we were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture!  Will have to do that the next time we have this delicious dish.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Brown Soda Bread

I usually make a soda bread with raisins for Saint Patrick's Day.  This year I decided to see if I could find one that uses whole wheat flour instead of white.... and I did. 

I found several, actually, and most of them called for oats, which I didn't want in my bread.  So, I came up with my own.  I think the Irish actually call it soda cake, rather than bread.

Soda bread would traditionally be baked on a hot cast-iron griddle over an open peat fire. The griddled soda bread would be cooked into a round with an indentation marking the quarters; each quarter when broken off, hot and warm is called a farl.

Today, the bread is baked in the oven with consistent results; a light hand is still important though.

This is a fairly heavy bread and just cries out for butter and jam!

Irish Brown Soda Bread
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup skim milk with 1 Tbs lemon juice added (the lemon juice sours and thickens the milk)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the milk and stir to form a loose dough.
  3. Lightly dust the work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough gently until smooth.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten to roughly 2 inches thick. Using a sharp knife lightly slash the surface of the dough in the shape of a cross.
  5. Place the dough on a greased, baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins until well risen and a light brown color.
  6. Leave to cool.
  7. Cut into 8 wedges.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.  About right for a slice of whole wheat bread.
Calories 120; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 23g; Fat 1g; Fibre 2g

It really set off the corned beef and cabbage dinner that we prepared in the slow cooker.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Pasta Primavera

I wanted to have some of the Noodle Expert's home made whole wheat linguini for dinner tonight and I found a nice looking recipe in the Carb Lovers Diet book.  Other than the pasta it calls for (1/2 cup uncooked whole grain rotini), I followed it pretty much as written.

Chicken Pasta Primavera
  • 2 servings home made pasta
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 ounces cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced vertically
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, zucchini, oregano, salt, and pepper to pan; cook 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add chicken to mixture and cook till heated through.
  5. Plate pasta; place chicken mixture over it.
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
Makes 2 generous servings. 
Weight Watchers P+ =  6 . This does not include the pasta.
Calories 218; Protein 21g; Carbohydrate 12g; Fat 10g; Fibre 3

I was very happy that the Noodle Expert liked it too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Barley Breakfast Pudding

We have an abundance of fresh milk this week so I decided to make a pudding for breakfast, and use not only some of the milk, but some already-cooked barley, leftover from last night's dinner.

I couldn't find a recipe I liked so started searching for rice pudding recipes and found one I could adapt, on allrecipes. com.

This is what I came up with:

Barley Breakfast Pudding
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked barley
  • 2 cups fat free milk, divided
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon to serve
  1. Mix the barley and 1-1/2 cups of milk in a saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and salt.
  3. Simmer on stovetop for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg and 1/2 cup of milk together.
  5. At the 20 minute mark, drizzle the egg/milk mixture into the cooked barley, whisking as it pours.
  6. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. It will thicken more as it cools.
  8. Divide mixture into 2 bowls, sprinkle with cinnamon and a few raisins.
Weight Watchers P+ = 8, not including the raisins.  But so worth it!
Calories 315; Protein 15g; Carbohydrate 59g; Fat 3g; Fibre 5g

This would make a lovely dessert for 4 - You might want to add a bit more sugar if for a dessert course.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fabulous Farro

This winter I discovered farro.  It is a type of wheat grown primarily in Italy, and is very similar to wheatberries.  It is easy to prepare as you just drain off the excess water after it has cooked.  And, it cooks up fairly quickly in only 15 minutes.  It can be used in any recipe where you might want barley or even brown rice.  It is quite chewy and I like that.

I found the Natures's Earthly Choice orgranic farro at Costco. 

Serving size is 1/4 cup dry grains.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 170; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 35g; Fat 1g; Fibre 5

With the addition of some vegetables, some protein, and oil and vinegar, it becomes a hearty and delicious lunch.

Featured Recipes using this staple:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cinnamon and Raisin Baked Oatmeal

I was looking at a food blog called Chocolate-Covered Katie and came across some ideas for baked oatmeal, which Katie calls boatmeal, and I knew I had to try it.

I altered the ingredients slightly and here is what I came up with:

Cinnamon and Raisin Baked Oatmeal
Makes 2 servings
  • 1/2 cup Rogers' Porridge Oats
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine raw oats, spices, applesauce, and water.
Coat 2 small ramekins with non-stick spray and pour batter into them.

Bake for 20 minutes, or more until it’s firm.
Change setting on oven to “high broil” for 3 more minutes (for crusty effect).

Per serving. 
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 130; Protein 5g; Fat 2g; Fibre 5g.

They are very hot when they come out of the oven so I let them sit for a few minutes.  Then I popped them out of the ramekins and into bowls, and topped them with a bit of yogurt, half a banana, more cinnamon and 1 tsp honey.  Mmmmm.....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3 Bean Salad

I have been reading about the Carb Lovers Diet this weekend.  It's all about Resistant Starch and how foods that contain it are used to fill us up and keep us satisfied for longer periods of time.  The recipes look really good and use common ingredients so I have decided to try some of them.

The first one I am making is a dinner ... a 3 Bean Salad, along with a lean beef burger on a whole wheat roll.  I have most of the ingredients on hand, and wanted an easy meal that we can eat in front of the tv tonight.

The original salad recipe uses green bell peppers, but I only have yellow and red.  It also calls for white beans and so I used white kidney beans.

3 Bean Salad
For 2 servings:
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup white kidney beans
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced
I had fresh beans on hand, so I blanched some, then cut them into 1" lengths.
Then I mixed all the ingredients together.

Per 1 cup serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3. 
Calories 135; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 24g; Fat 1g; Fibre 8g

The book suggests that you dress the salad with 2 Tbsp of a low-fat Italian vinaigrette.  The bottle I had was almost empty so I added a tsp of canola/olive oil blend to it and shook it before I drizzled it over the salad ingredients.  I haven't had all my healthy oils yet today so this will help.

Normally I would eat a veggie burger instead of a beef burger.  Tonight I decided to follow the meal instructions and go with the beef.  I used frozen PC Blue Menu lean beef burgers. 

Weight Watchers P+ = 6.  Not bad for a tasty and filling hunk of meat!
Calories 210; Protein 21g; Carbohydrate 1g; Fat 14g; Fibre 0g

I divided the salad between two plates, cooked the burgers and served them with the recommended Romaine and tomatoes (and a cheese slice for him).   A lovely looking, casual dinner... crunchy and delicious.  Definitely a keeper!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I love salad!

I am a salad fanatic.  I eat a huge salad at noon, most days of the week.

This melee of pears, spinach, mushrooms, and feta cheese, topped with Maple Grove fat free lemon poppyseed dressing is perhaps the most delicious combination of flavors I have come up with yet.  Kind of bland looking, but wonderful!

I almost didn't buy those Bosc pears when I saw them at the market.  Now I am so happy that I did.

Fresh strawberries make a nice substituition for the pears... and of course, very pretty, too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Amazing Quinoa

I discovered quinoa about a year and a half ago.  It is tasty and very versatile.  I love it because it cooks fairly quickly, can be eaten hot or cold, and used in so many different ways... as a breakfast cereal, as a nutritious salad ingredient, or as a nest for spicy stews.

Quinoa has the unique trait of being a complete protein, which means it contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.

It is also gluten-free.  Actually it is not a grain at all, but a seed, and so is suitable for those following the paleo diet and lifestyle as well.

I have purchased bulk quinoa but I know that it needs to be rinsed before cooking, which is a nuisance.  Now I buy True Roots organic quinoa at Costco.  It does not have to be rinsed, and cooks up fairly quickly - 15 minutes on simmer, then left to rest and plump another 5 minutes, and it is ready to eat.

1/4 cup dry quinoa becomes a hearty serving after it has been cooked.

Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 170; Protein 5g; Carbohydrate 30g; Fat 3g; Fibre 4g

With the addition of yogurt, fruit and nuts, it is a nourishing and filling breakfast.

Or with peanut butter, vanilla soymilk and half a banana.


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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Muffin love

I recently came across this recipe on Jen Bradshaw's blog, For the Love of Food, on  I am not a huge fan of muffins - I consider them a snack and would rather spend my calories/points on other goodies.

But this recipe's ingredients really appealed to me from a nutrition standpoint, and I thought my husband would like them, so I went ahead and made them.... they are truly delicious!  I particularly like them broken up and used as a topping for yogurt and fruit.

Raspberry Muffins with a Hint of Lemon
Makes 12 muffins
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1 cup 1% milk with 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Spray the muffin tins.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
4. Put 1 cup milk in a small bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit 5 minutes.
5. Put the wet ingredients, including the milk/lemon juice combo in a medium
    bowl and mix together (including grated lemon rind).
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden
    spoon, only until mixed together.
7. Fold in the frozen (or fresh if you have them) raspberries.
8. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan.
9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the muffin tops are nicely browned.

Per serving of 1 muffin each.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.  Calories 122; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 24g; Fat 1g; Fibre 2g

I should note that I thought I would save myself some cleanup effort, and used paper liners in the muffin tin.  The muffins stuck to the paper - what a pain!  However, I put them into the fridge overnight, and after they have completely cooled, they don't stick.  I must remember that for another time, and another recipe.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Shrove Tuesday

We couldn't decide whether to have eggs with our dinner pancakes today, or strawberries and whipped cream... so we decided to have them both!

Breakfast cakes would be accompanied by eggs and fruit, and dinner cakes would have cream and fresh strawberries, so the hunt was on for a good, low fat recipe.

The Captain, aks The Noodle Expert, aka  The Pancake King, is otherwise engaged today, so it is up to me to make pancakes for both meals.

I found a basic, whole wheat recipe on - I have made some of Gina's recipes in the past so trusted that this one would be good, too.

Gina's recipe makes 4 servings and I only wanted 2 so I halved it, and I also left out the the sugar/honey she calls for, and used 1 packet of Splenda in its place.  I used fat free milk, too, rather than the 1% Gina uses.  The mixture is fairly wet, but after I let it sit for a couple of minutes, the baking powder worked its magic and it did thicken a bit.

We were both really happy with the results!

Whole Wheat Pancakes for 2
Makes 4 pancakes, 2 cakes per serving
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 3 Tbs egg whites
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • dash of cinnamon 
  1. Mix the dry ingedients together in a bowl or large measuring cup. 
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together, and then add to dry ingredients.
  3. Stir until combined and let sit for a couple of minutes till it thickens a bit.
  4. Coat non-stick pan with oil/spray, and heat.
  5. Put 1/4 cup of batter into pan, let cook a couple of minutes till it bubbles, then flip and cook the other side.

Each serving is 2 pancakes.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 165; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 25g; Fat 3g; Fibre 2g

For breakfast, I served them with syrup (sugar-free for me), an egg topped with real bacon bits, and half a navel orange.

At dinnertime I doubled the recipe, and served the cakes with fresh strawberries, topped with light Cool Whip and syrup....

 OMG!  Delicious.  Good thing Fat Tuesday only happens once a year.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The best homemade pasta

The Captain makes the best home made pasta I have ever had - so many of our friends and relatives bought pasta makers many years ago when they were popular, but NONE of them ever mastered the technique the way he has.

I purchased our machine, on the spur of the moment, from a tv infomercial.  It is a Ronco Popeil machine, and over the years we have replaced several pieces of it.... all under warranty, I should add.  The customer service has been great.

Recently, I asked The Captain, aka The Noodle Expert, to start using whole wheat flour in place of white flour in the blend.  We do not replace the Semolina flour though; that would make the  noodles much too soft and mushy.

Whole Wheat Pasta - Home Made
  • 1-3/4 cups Semolina flour
  • 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 large fresh eggs
He starts by assembling the machine and choosing the die for the desired noodle shape.  Today it will be linguini.

Then, he starts the machine and mixes the dry ingredients in the dough bin.

While that is spinning, he blends the oil and eggs in the measure cup that came with the machine, and adds water to a marked spot on the cup.

Then, while the pasta machine is mixing the dry ingredients, he drizzles the wet ingredients into a slot on the top of the machine.  He watches the mixture and adds more as it begins to bind together.

He has a keen eye and experience has taught him what the perfect blend should look like.  Sometimes he adds all the wet ingredients, and sometimes he doesn't.  It depends a lot on the humidity in the air.

The mixture should be mealy, and it doesn't really resemble dough at all.

Then he changes the setting on the machine from 'mix' to 'extrude',  and the dough is pressed into the die that shapes the noode... and voila!  We have linguini!  We always have a little discussion on how long the noodles should be.  I like them long; he likes them shorter.

I like to divide it into 4 separate batches.  We usually eat one the day it is fresh, and then I freeze the others.  When it is time to cook it, I drop the batch into boiling water (yes, right from frozen), in a large pot cause it foams up a bit.  I keep it at a rapid boil for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse with hot water.

I like the pasta to be the main focus of the meal so usually serve it with a tomato and vegetable sauce.  Fansastic!

When I plate it, I have 1/3 and he has 2/3.  I do weigh it to get accurate measurments.
So, my portion works out to 1/12th of the total recipe.

Weight Watchers P+ = 5. 
Calories 179;  Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 31g; Fat 4g; Fibre 3g

Disclaimer:  there is a small bit of waste from mixed ingredients that are left either in the mixing bin or in the die.  It is negligible and I have  not taken that, or the occasional unused wet ingredients, into consideration when calculating the nutritional information, and the Weight Watchers P+ values.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Okay, I eat oats

I am not a big fan of oats.  I know that might be considered blasphemous to some.

So many of my friends are oatmeal fiends and they eat it, in some form or another, every morning.

Now I know that there are many kinds of oats, and you can cook them in a variety of ways, or even eat them cold... but honestly, OATS?  Every morning?  Even with all the different delicious toppings I can think of, I am not going to eat oats EVERY morning.

And on the rare occasion I do eat oats, I know that I am going to need a mid-morning snack, cause oats just don't keep me full for more than a couple of hours at the very most.

I admit it.  I have been flirting with other grains these past few months.

I have learned to love quinoa, even cold, with yogurt and fruit.

I have been favoring farro, cooked al dente, with cinnamon and milk.

I have munched on millet, with yogurt and berries.

I have grooved on groats, with chocolate chips and almond butter.

And, I have just purchased a bit of organic amaranth seed, which I hear is wonderful, toasted and popped.

But just in case anyone thinks I don't like oats... I really do, and my favorite way to eat them is to bake them in scones.  This recipe came from the Boot Camp Buddies board on, and I have been making these for more than a few years now.  They freeze very well and make a great, tasty, portable snack.  Feel free to add more spices.

Oat Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Heat 1 cup fat free milk till scalded.
  3. Add 1-1/2 cups regular oats and let sit a few minutes.
  4. Spray large pie pan with non-stick spray.
  5. Add 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt to oats, along with 1 egg and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.
  6. In another container mix:
          2 tsp baking soda
          1 tsp baking powder
          1/2 tsp salt
          3 pkts Splenda (optional)
          1 tsp cinnamon
          1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cloves, all spice, nutmeg, ginger mix)
          1 cup oat bran

  7.  Stir 2 mixtures together and pour into the pie pan and put into preheated
  8.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until browned.
  9.  After removing from oven, let cool a few minutes and turn out onto a
       cooling rack.
 10. Let sit 5 minutes and then cut into 8 portions.

Weight Watchers P+ = 3.  Not bad for a filling and delicious serving.
Calories 122; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 22g; Fat 3g; Fibre 4g.

I like to have mine with yogurt and fruit, or slathered with Laughing Cow cheese. Mmm.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Yellow Cornmeal

I don't use cornmeal as much as some other grains.

But we do like cornbread occasionally, and I have a few pancake recipes that call for it, too.

Cornmeal is a healthy grain, and easy to store, as long as it is kept dry.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Canned Beans of All Kinds

I think beans must be the closest thing to a perfect food.  They are full of protein, carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals.  They are almost fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free.  They are filling and satisfying and come in large assortment of colors, sizes, and tastes.

I like to have canned beans of all kinds on hand.  I have soaked and cooked the dry varieties, but canned are just so handy and quick... and if you rinse them well, you can get rid of a great deal of the sodium added during the canning process.

This is called 6 Bean Blend

White Kidney Beans aka Cannellini

I like to make spicy, warm and hearty wintery dishes such as chilis and soups with red kidney beans, romano beans and fava beans.

I like to bake lentils into a savory vegetarian loaf and smother it with gravy. 

Black beans and peppers make a nice topping for baked sweet potatoes.

Any variety of beans pairs great with grains suchs as farro or whole wheat couscous, or brown rice or barley.  And beans make a wonderful volumizer for vegetable salads, too.

Most beans are about 210 calories per cup.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Canned Cooked Chicken Breast Meat

Canned cooked chicken breast meat is something that I always keep on hand.  I like the one that Costco sells under its own bright blue Kirkland label.  It comes in a 12 ounce (354g) can.

After opening the can, and draining off the liquid, there is just over 7.5 ounces of meat left.  Nice white chunks of tasty breast meat.

I use it in sandwiches, salads, soups and stews. It seems to work well in a variety of recipes that call for cut up chicken breasts.  When we are on the sailboat all summer, we don't have a freezer, so this canned chicken is a must-have in my little galley.

Udon noodles with fresh veggies, broth and canned chicken breast meat

Per 55g/1/4 cup serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 1.
Calories 60; Protein 13g; Carbohydrate 0g; Fat 1g; Fibre 0g

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