Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baked Zucchini with Lemon and Chives

This has been formulating in my head for a few days now… for some reason I have been craving zucchini and have been trying to come up with a way to cook it that The Captain will enjoy.

He thinks he doesn’t care for zucchini, but I think what he really doesn’t like is soft and MUSHY zucchini so I decided to bake it with a bit of lemon and olive oil… it should be a bit crisper and he does love lemon.. and he also really likes chives.

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Baked Zucchini with Lemon and Chives
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2  lemon cut crosswise
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Wash and dry the zucchini. Slice it lengthwise and scoop out some of the seeds and place the pieces, cut side up, on a baking sheet.
  3. Slice the lemon as thin as you can and arrange half of the slices over each piece of zucchini .
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the lemon slices, 1 tsp per zuke half.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake in oven for 18 to 20 minutes – don’t let the lemon slices burn.
  7. Remove and sprinkle with bits of chives to serve.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 2.
Calories 62; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 4g; Fat 5g; Fibre 2g.

This is one of those recipes where the only food item that really needs to be counted is the olive oil, which has a P+ value of 1, so you could count this dish as 1 if you prefer.

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Scoop out the centre of the zuke with a small spoon.

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Cover each half with lemon slices then drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper before baking.

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Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives to serve.

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The Captain was somewhat skeptical when I served this to him, but he said he really liked it and would happily have it again.  Success!

What is your favorite way to prepare zucchini?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Coconut Flour Coffee Cake for The Captain's Birthday

When this Coconut Flour Coffee Cake recipe appeared in my Facebook feed this morning I knew it would be just the thing for The Captain’s birthday cake.  July 28th is The Captain's birthday and probably the only day of the year he lets me spoil him all day long.

July 28 Birthday cake 003

He told me not to bother baking a cake for him, and that he would be happy with some ice cream after our day’s outing… so I was really happy when I saw the ingredients in this lovely grain free and dairy free cake…. definitely something I could also sample, and share with him to celebrate his special day.

I knew he would love the texture ‘cause it is a heavy cake, very similar to pound cake and he does love that… and he certainly is a fan of coconut, and also ‘carmelly’  crumbly toppings.

The recipe calls for one one ingredient I didn’t have… coconut palm sugar… but after reading through the ingredient list I was pretty sure I could get away with using a dark brown sugar in its place… and it did work… very nicely.  Next time, though, I will solidify the coconut oil somewhat before mixing with the sugar because I think it will produce a drier, more crumbly topping.  I also may bake it for about 5 minutes less.

My Weight Watchers friends will surely balk at trying this recipe due to the N.I. and high P+ value per piece… but, hey, it’s CAKE after all.  And a delicious one at that.  And don't forget you don't HAVE to eat ice cream... bet a nice banana and/or berry 'soft serve' would be really good with this cake.

If grain free and dairy free suits you, do give it a try.  The recipe and instructions can be found here at this link… and some really nice pictures, too.  I calculated the N.I. myself.

I divided the cake into 8 slices… you could cut it into squares if you prefer. And of course you could make them smaller.

Per piece.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 234; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 18g;  Fat 17g; Fibre 4g.

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Folding the coconut flour, egg yolk, honey, vanilla mixture into the beaten egg whites.

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Ready to put into the oven.

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And cooling on the counter after baking.

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Topped with ice cream and a candle, of course…

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Happy Birthday, Dear Captain.  Happy Birthday to You. ♪♪

Are you a coconut fan?  

Have you ever baked a grain free cake?

What is your favorite birthday cake?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Strawberry Salad with Roasted Garlic

Here is one of those truly fabulous ideas that I wish I had thought of myself… and after you read this you may well wonder why you didn’t think of it too.

But thankfully, Kristina did, and wrote a blog post about it that appeared in my inbox one day last week… and I kept it there, to remind me to get the ingredients to make it, SOONER rather than later.

The only other time I have ever eaten roasted garlic was on a friend’s boat… she served it with camembert and crackers as an appie before dinner.  I remember that I really liked it but have just never had an occasion to try it myself.

Kristina’s Raspberry and Roasted Garlic Big Salad was just the motivation I needed.
Well, I went hunting for fresh raspberries yesterday in my favorite local markets… the berries growing here are not quite ready to pick yet… but they were just so darned expensive that I didn’t buy any.  But I did spy some lovely strawberries and thought they might do just as well.

So today, after The Captain washed our balcony deck and watered the flowers and tomatoes and herbs and strawberries, we decided we should have lunch out in the sunshine and I knew this salad would be perfect. A sunny and beautiful day deserves a sunny and beautiful lunch!

I referred to Kristina’s post on how to roast the garlic and then did that right away so it would be cooled before lunchtime rolled.  You cannot imagine how great it smells as it is cooking. MMMmmmm.  I am sure everyone walking past my open windows enjoyed it as well.

And of course I made enought for both of us… if you love garlic as much as we do, you won’t have to ask why!

I didn’t make it up EXACTLY like Kristina did, so will give you my ingredients and the recipe for the little dressing I made too, but you will have to check her original post to get the low-down on roasting the garlic…  it was truly fabulous! 

We both really enjoyed it and I will be making it again, certainly… but I think next time I will use a whole head of garlic for each salad. It is THAT good!  I might even add some slices of baked chicken breast and serve it for dinner.  It is absolutely company-worthy too.

Of course my Weight Watchers friends may gasp at the N.I., but just use fewer cashews and you can lower the fat content easily...

Thanks to Kristina for the great idea – and of course  her lovely photos always add to the temptation to make up her recipes, too.

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Strawberry Salad with Roasted Garlic
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 head garlic, roasted and cooled
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens, washed and dried
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  1. Tear the salad greens into bite size pieces and divide between 2 serving bowls or plates.
  2. Add half of the cucumbers, strawberries, and cashews to each bowl.
  3. Gently squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of their papery coverings and place half of them into each bowl.
  4. Toss the salads and then spoon the dressing over the top before serving.
Strawberry Dressing
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 medium strawberry
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • drizzle of lemon juice
  • dash of salt
  1. Mix all ingredients and then spoon half over each salad.
Per serving, salad and dressing.
Weight Watchers P+ = 9.
Calories 326; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 24g; Fat 24g; Fibre 4g.

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Raw head of garlic, sprinkled with EVOO, salt and pepper…

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and roasted…. cooling on the counter.

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Mine and his… waiting to be dressed with….

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this little mixture.

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The final product, ready to enjoy.

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A sunny day and a sunny salad… I need some new unbreakable dishes for al fresco lunches.

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Yup, it’s all for you!

What d’ya think?  Are you a garlic fan?

Have you ever roasted garlic?

Any other ideas as to how to enjoy it, other than on crackers?  Maybe roasted chicken?

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Coconut and Flax Protein Pancake

I have been experimenting a bit with pancake recipes again lately.  Eggs and omelets just don’t cut it every day for breakfast…

I do like the flavor that coconut flour brings to my morning cakes, but today I wanted something a little different so I added a bit of vanilla whey protein powder and ground flax to the mix.  They turned out really well… nice texture and great taste. 

The cake fluffs up quite nicelly, too… no need for baking powder this time.

I served it with a bit of sugar free syrup and some fresh strawberries… if I had thawed frozen berries, I wouldn’t bother with the syrup at all.  You could also top these with your favorite nut butter or a bit of honey or maple syrup too.

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Coconut and Flax Protein Pancake
Makes 1 serving
  • 1 Tbs milled flax seed
  • 1 Tbs coconut flour
  • 1 Tbs vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (2 egg whites)
  • splash of water
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Mix together the flax seed, coconut flour, protein powder and egg whites in a bowl.
  2. Add a splash of water and cinnamon and mix again.
  3. Pour into a heated non-stick pan and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Flip and cook the second side for about another 2 minutes.
  5. Remove to plate and serve.
Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 142; Protein 15g; Carbohydrate 8g; Fat 5g; Fibre 5g.

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Flipped and cooking the second side.

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Plated and ready to enjoy.

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There you have it!  Gluten free, grain free, low in carbs and high in protein.  Just right up my alley.  I know my WW buddies will appreciate the N.I. in these especially, and forgive me for the sugar free syrup!

Do you like coconut flour pancakes?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Love Affair with Curry Continues...

I am such a big fan of curries… veggies, meats, sauces… and I even like my devilled eggs with a good dash of curry powder.

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The spice turmeric has been given a lot of press recently and some studies show that it can reduce inflammation, fight infection and some cancers, and help with digestive problems.  Turmeric is a main ingredient in most Western curry powders. 

And apparently, according to some nutritionists, you should eat it along with black pepper to gain the most benefits.

I am thrilled to know that it is good for me, cause I just plain old LOVE it...  Love the taste, love the smell, and the heat from eating it!

Here are 5 of my favorite curry recipes…   I should tell you that I no longer use canola oil in my cooking, so if you happen to see that in any of my recipes, please note that I am now using either coconut oil or olive oil in its place.

June 1 Curried Veggies 001


June 14 Butter Chicken 001

I make this a lot… and now just use a couple of heaping spoonfuls of curry powder instead of the brand name paste.  It’s really just as good!

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There are several other curry recipes on the blog… just seach CURRY and you will find them.

Recently I asked some other foodies to share their favorite recipes  that have turmeric in the ingredients, too, and here is a few that I got in response.  Be sure to check them out… I will be trying some of them for sure!

From Laura at Sprint 2 the Table:

From Ariana at Ari’s Menu:

From Debbie at Live From La Quinta:

From Jennifer at The Fit Fork:

Are you a curry fan?  Care to point me to your favorite recipe?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Acorn Squash Bowls with Eggs

I am always trying to come up with new ways to have eggs for breakfast!  I had a  lovely little orange acorn squash in my veggie basket on the counter and decided to make Acorn Squash Bowls with Eggs… a fun change.

They turned out so well, I just had to share!  If you don’t have ham or don’t eat it, don’t let that deter you… just crack your eggs directly into the squash ‘bowls’.  A few herbs or crumbled bacon pieces would add some lovely flavor, too.

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Acorn Squash Bowls for Eggs
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 2 thin slices of deli ham
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the squash and then cut it in half crosswise.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and then cut a bit off the outside of each squash half so they will sit securely on a plate.
  4. Microwave the squash till soft, about 6 minutes.
  5. Place the pieces of squash, cut side up, on a baking sheet.
  6. Place a thin slice of deli ham in each ‘bowl’ and then crack an egg on top.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes for a slightly soft yolk.  Alter the amount of cooking time (a couple of minutes more or less) based on the firmness of yolk you prefer.
  8. Remove to serving plates and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 165; Protein 12g; Carbohydrate 17g; Fat 6g; Fibre 5g.

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Wash and cut the squash, then scoop out the seeds.

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Place a slice of deli ham and an egg into each ‘bowl’.

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I like a soft yolk so baked them for 25 minutes… adjust to your personal taste.

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The sweet squash really complements the flavors of the ham and eggs.

Are you a squash fan too?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crazy About Eggs

I eat eggs every day.

Some days, more than once.

My breakfast almost always has eggs or egg whites in it… whether it is a pancake of some kind, one of my grain free ‘cereals’, bacon and egg muffins, or I am just making omelets or scrambles. I often use powdered egg whites in my protein smoothies.

And my lunch or snack may contain hardboiled or baked eggs, or egg white ‘bites’, too.

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Eggs are a really good source of tryptophan, an amino acid and a precursor of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are closely related to sleep, mood, and feelings of pleasure.

They are also loaded with choline which Health Canada recognizes as an essential nutrient thought to play a role in brain function and prenatal brain development.

At one time eggs were blamed for high cholesterol levels in our blood, but we now know this is not true.  Cutting eggs from your diet doesn’t lower your cholesterol levels.

And the Harvard School of Public Health says that eggs contain nutrient that may actually lower your risk of heart disease.

Eat your eggs.

And don’t throw out the yolks… which is what I used to do when I was brainwashed by the ‘no fat’ craze of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.  Now we know that fat is not the enemy and the yolk is where most of the vitamins are found.

Check out this post I wrote a while back that shows the nutrients in eggs and in egg whites.

Some of my favorite recipes that feature eggs…

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Nov 18 Eggs N Oats 006

Mar 29,11soup 002

April 15th Baked Pancakes 011

Are you an egg fan? 

What’s your favorite way to eat them?  I am always on the lookout for new ideas.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Best Cookies EVER! Gina's Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple of weeks ago Gina posted this recipe for her Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies…. I had to make them right away!

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I knew they would be pretty high in calories and in fat grams, so I used only 2Tbs of crumbled bacon and made 10 cookies instead of the 8 that Gina made in order to spread the calorieso out… but my goodness they are the BEST cookies EVER.  I looooooved them.

They are grain free and made with almond meal so they are right up my low carb alley!

The bacon is not obvious in them at all.  Don't be put off if you are not a bacon fan.

 I gave these cookies to The Captain and he liked them but still never has guessed that there is bacon in them.

But what he did like and what I LOVE about them, is that the bacon adds just a bit of saltness to the mixture and really really enhances the dark chocolate flavor.

Honestly!  You MUST try them… go to Gina’s blog NOW and get the recipe.  You can find it on the Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies post.

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Into the oven we go…

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Be sure to let them cool completely cause they love to fall apart.. yeah, betcha can’t wait that long!

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I did calculate the N.I. as I made them and it turns out not too bad, even from a Weight Watcher's eve view!

Per cookie.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4
Calories 124; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate  6g; Fat 11g; Fibre 1g.

What d’ya think?  Would you try them?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Grain Free Low Carb Biscuits

Sometimes I get a little tired of eggs for breakfast and do a bit of experimenting with almond meal or coconut flour or milled flax seeds... I have been working on grain free substitutes for toast and rolls recently.

These lovely biscuits came after a few several previous experiments in my microwave, the results of which The Captain likes to call pucks.  Tasty but not the right texture at all... more like cake.

I finally got a brain wave and realized that I could likely just bake my batter in the regular oven like a conventional baking powder biscuit… and they are pretty darned good.

They freeze well, too.  I do keep the leftovers in the fridge, though, and just mike each for a few seconds when I want them to taste and look like fresh-baked and still warm.

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They are really nice served sliced in half vertically and then each half topped with ham and an egg.  If I put a slice of processed cheese on The Captain’s he is really happy… just like a fast food biscuit sammy.  Just as messy and crumbly, too!
Grain Free Low Carb Biscuits
Makes 6 biscuits
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1-1/2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Whisk egg whites till frothy in small bowl.
  3. Combine coconut flour, almond meal, coconut oil, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir egg whites into dry ingredients.  The batter will become thicker as you stir it so do be patient!
  5. Spoon the batter into 6 prepared or silicone muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 13 or 14 minutes till golden.
Per biscuit.
Weight Watchers P+ = 4.
Calories 144; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 7g; Fat 11g; Fibre 4g.

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Pardon my well-used baking sheet!

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Don’t they look just like baking powder biscuits?

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I also used a couple to make Strawberry Shortcake with freshly sliced berries and coconut milk whipped ‘cream’.  Mmmmm…

And, I enjoyed one with a big slather of almond butter on it... Awesome good.

Are you a biscuit fan?  Warm with butter or honey?