Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Countdown is On

The moving to Denver official countdown is on.  Day -5 until the 12 hour epic road-trip begins.  It is a bittersweet excitement for me.  I am glad to be going back to Colorado, it is my home, but I have made some wonderful friends here in Phoenix and will miss them terribly.  You know who you are.  Know that when it is 115° in Phoenix and your melting, I may be putting on a hoodie because my arms are getting chilly, you are welcome to join me.
“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. “
                                        ~ G. Randolf

Lemon Sugar Cookies

 I have to admit, sugar cookies could possibly be my favorite food.  If only I could live on cookies alone and still fit into my skinny jeans.  I know, dream on.  The thing I love about sugar cookies is they are so versatile.  Using cookie cutters you can cut them into cute shapes and decorate them with  colored frosting for any occasion.  You can also add different flavors to them to change it up a bit.  For example this recipe for lemon sugar cookies is delightful.  It is a sweet blended sugar cookie with fresh lemon juice and zest giving it a tangy lemon twist.  Plus this cookie has a wonderful crisp edge with a soft, chewy center.  A wonderful desert for a summer get together, BBQ’s or school events.  So, go ahead make a batch and see what you think.  I am pretty sure they will be a hit, no matter what occasion you are making them for.

Yield:  3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 large lemons (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approximately the juice of 1 fresh lemon) 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar in small bowl for rolling cookies 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.

4. Next add lemon zest, egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Mix until combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

 5. Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and then roll in sugar . Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets,  about 1 1/2 inches apart.

6.  Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges.

 7. Let cookies sit on the baking sheets for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



 Allow cookies to completely cool and enjoy.  Make sure to store cookies in an airtight container, so they keep their softness.

Adapted from: Two Peas and their Pod

Blueberry Chobani Muffin For One


With all the rage of Greek yogurt right now,  it’s no wonder I came a across a muffin recipe including this delicious stuff.  This recipe makes enough for just one muffin,  so there’s no risk of having a dozen muffins sitting around tempting you to eat, “just one more.”  Another perk of this recipe, using chia seeds adds healthy Omega-3 oils and being that they are a complete protein, when added to the  nutritional benefit of Greek yogurt, you have a low fat, high protein muffin.  Awesome!  It is finally okay to eat muffins again.   You should know this is a dense protein rich muffin and is filling enough to use as a meal.   I actually had this muffin with a banana for breakfast and felt satisfied for hours.  Try it out, get creative using different types of Greek yogurt and make your own special muffin.

Yield: 1 muffin

  • 4 Tbsp Chobani Blueberry nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp liquid egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp of stevia
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Combine all ingredients in small mixing bowl.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  (Batter will be very thick).
  3. Place cupcake liner into muffin pan.  Pour batter into cupcake liner.
  4. Place tin into preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick poked into center of muffin comes out clean.
  5. Allow muffin to cool for 5 minutes.  Eat warm out of the oven or save for later 

Adapted from:  RFFMBT

Never Feeling Stuck

As you may know or not know my husband and I have been living in the desert, Phoenix, for the past 5 years.  We moved here from Colorado where we both grew up.  My husband and I felt like we needed a change, sick of winter and being cold.  But, the funny thing is the moment we left we began to realize how much Colorado felt like home.  Sometimes it takes leaving something, to gain a new perspective on it.  Well, after 5 years we are making the move back.  What we have realized is life is short and there is no better time to following your heart than now.  So, I found this quote appropriate for where we are at; taking hold of your dreams and making them reality.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  
Live the life you’ve imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A view of the San Juan Mountain range in Colorado.  After hiking Mount Handies 14, 053 ft.

Zucchini Tots

Well, I just bought my first mini muffin pan.  So, immediately I came home and was on a mad search for what to make in my new found pan.  All sorts of muffin and cupcake recipes appeared, but I thought hey, why does a muffin pan only have to be for muffins?  So, I began another search that lead me to this fabulous recipe.  Zucchini + mini muffin pan = Fabulous.  Plus, how easy these were to make with such simple and basic ingredients, I was sold.  I used these as a side dish when making hamburgers, but they would also be a great fit for breakfast or that Sunday brunch. 

Yields:  12 mini tots

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

2.  Grate zucchini into a clean dish towel.  Then by wringing towel, remove all excess water out of the zucchini.  This helps to keep your tots from turning into mush.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and season with desired amount of salt and pepper.

4.  Fill each muffin section to the top w/zucchini mixture.  Making sure to push down on mixture so it’s nice and compact, so they keep to their tot form when taking them out of the tin.

5.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until tops start to golden.  After baking, run a plastic knife around the edge of each tot to make removing them much easier.

My only advice to you after making these is to make sure your sharing them with someone else, otherwise;  it could be very easy to eat them all yourself.  Although I guess it would still be better than eating an entire super-sized serving of McDonald’s french fries.  Hope you enjoy.
Adapted from: The Two Bite Club

Veggie Toast

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  We are in the thick of the intense horrible summer heat here in Phoenix.  Temperatures hitting 110° are becoming an everyday occurrence.  So, in an attempt to come up with something cool to eat for dinner where baking wouldn’t be involved, here is my creation.  This veggie toast is a mixture of fresh vegetables, cheeses and delicious bread.   The fun thing about this recipe is you can add almost any vegetable to the mixture and it would be wonderful.   So, here is a starting place for a recipe and get creative, adding your own veggies and twists.  I would love to hear back from you if you came up with a great addition to this recipe.  I did serve this with a bowl of tomato soup, to make it more filling.  It was a perfect combination for that simple summer dinner.  Enjoy.

Yield:  2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices fresh multi grain bread
  • 4 thin asparagus spears
  • low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 tomato thinly sliced
  • 1 radish thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shelled edamame (I used                           pre-shelled organic frozen ones)
  • 1 small avocado thinly sliced
  • shaved Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup baby arugula
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1.  Lightly toast multi grain bread and set aside to
completely cool.

2.  Cut asparagus tips off about 2 inches from the top.  Cook asparagus tips in boiling water for 1 minute and then place in an bowl of ice water  for exactly 2 minutes.  Remove from ice water and place on paper towel to dry.
3.  Spread desired amount of ricotta cheese onto each piece of toasted bread.
4.  Place 2 tomato slices, 3 slices of radish, 1 tablespoon edemame and 1 slice of avocado onto each piece of bread.  Sprinkle each piece with a generous grinding of pepper.

5.  Slice asparagus tips lengthwise and place onto bread, dividing evenly.  Place desired amount of shaved Parmesan onto each slice and top w/half of arugula.

6.  Lastly, drizzle small amount of balsamic vinegar onto each serving. 

Almost Guiltless Zucchini Bread

When thinking about what I wanted to make for my blog today, I was craving something in the bread group.  I decided on zucchini bread, after all it’s combining bread with vegetables.  It has to be better for you than say, sugar cookies, right?  Does that mean carrot cake may also be good for you?  Hmmm…I’ll have to ponder that one.  After looking through a few recipes I came up with a hybrid that I think works well, when wanting to make this classic recipe less fattening.  So, I used whole wheat flour, some egg whites, more spices and a bit less nuts in attempts to make this a bit healthier.  Also, this bread has to be one of the easiest recipes, literally you combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ones in another, then mix them together and cook in loaf pans.  Super easy and super good.  Hope everyone enjoys this one.  I know I did, 2 pieces later.  Oops!  I think when I said “healthier”, I didn’t mean MORE!  Oh, well.

Yields: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup egg whites or egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (approx 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (approx 3 small/med sized zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350° and spray 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.

Spoon flour into measuring cup, leveling with a knife.  Place flour into medium mixing bowl.  Next add baking powder,  cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.  Mix well with spatula and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine egg whites, canola oil, lemon zest, vanilla, egg and sugar.  Mix well.  Then add zucchini and stir mixture until combined. 
Add flour mixture into egg mixture and mix until JUST combined, then lightly stir in walnuts.
Divide combined batter between the 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean.  Keeping bread in pans, allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

 *If using larger loaf pans, make sure to cut down on your baking time, so as not to dry out your bread.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

Who doesn’t love lasagna, but all the fat that goes with it, not so much.  Well, I found a little gem in this recipe.  I tweaked it a little bit from it’s original state, but none the less, delicious.  For a little background, my husband and I go back in forth about if you really feel satisfied eating a vegetarian diet.  I’ll tell you what, after making this dinner, sans hamburger, he thought it might be possible. While cleaning up after dinner, I told him I would eat the leftovers for dinner the next night since he was going to be out at a business dinner, and he said if that were the case he would just have to, “eat the leftovers for breakfast.”  So, to all my meat lover friends, coming from a cook with a carnivore husband, vegetarian lasagna is a good thing.  It is also now considered a breakfast food.  Plus, they look so cute.  It’s a great dish for dinner parties and each roll is about a serving size. 

Ingredients:

  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 26 oz marinara sauce (I like Victoria all natural marinara sauce)
  • 1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook lasagna noodles as directed by box. 

Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in medium bowl.  Mix well.   Place 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce in bottom of 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of parchment paper on counter and lay lasagna noodles out individually.  Pat noodles dry with paper towel.  Take 1/3 cup spinach/ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle using fingertips.  Make sure the spinach mixture is pressed all the way to the edge of the noodles.  Carefully roll each noodle and place seam side down into the baking dish.  Repeat this with each remaining noodle. 
Place small amount of marinara over the noodle rolls and top each one with a sprinkle of the mozzarella cheese.  Place foil over dish and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

To serve, ladle small amount of leftover marina on serving plate and place lasagna roll on top. 

adapted from:  skinnytaste.com

Never Feeling Stuck

I love this quote.  To me, it states there is never a reason to feel “stuck”, in a job, a relationship or even in your life.  Making decisions from your heart can only get you to where you want.  Changing your mind doesn’t mean you were wrong, it was a good decision at that moment, but now maybe it no longer serves you.  So, simply make a new decision.  Who knows, it could change your life into what you have always wanted it to be.  Think how exciting it could be, it makes my skin tingle.

               It’s Never too late to change your 
                      mind if it is meant to be.

                                              ~Jackie Mulgrew~