Saturday, August 28, 2010


I had the greatest dessert the other day.

Let's play telephone for a minute: I found it on, and she found it on and she found it in Taste of Home's "Healthy Meals". Ok, did everyone follow where the recipe came from?!

Wherever it originated, these gals make some seriously good eats!

I took one bite and fell in love. Jon had to take 2 bites, "just to make sure, honey" then he was hooked too.

This super simple fruit tart uses phyllo dough and fresh fruit to make a light, but rich dessert. Mix it up and use whatever seasonal fruit you can find. In fact, I just picked up some sweet Georgia peaches and I have some raspberries in the fridge....

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Phyllo Fruit Tart
Serves 8
About 180 cal per serving

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
8 sheets phyllo dough (14 x 9)
1 pkg. (8 oz) FF cream cheese
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip Free
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
4 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 oz white baking chocolate, melted

In a ramekin, melt butter in microwave. Add oil and stir to combine.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush with butter mixture. Repeat with remaining sheets.

Bake at 400 for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Beat well.

Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cooled phyllo.

Top with fruit.

Melt chocolate in microwave and drizzle over fruit.

Chill for 30 minutes to allow things to set up a bit. Cut into 8 pieces and serve.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dessert for Dinner

Why dessert for dinner?

Because I can!

Inspired by a few different dessert crepe recipes I recently read, I worked up one of my own to fit my dietary needs.

We had them for dinner tonight. Jon had a side of bacon, I had a few slices of turkey bacon. It was a complete and tasty meal.

For our filling tonight we used fresh raspberries as well as some thawed, sliced strawberries we picked earlier this summer. The strawberries were great because they made their own sweet juice as they thawed.

Oh! I bet cherry pie filling would be AMAZING in these. You know, a black forest cake kind of vibe....

Word of advice: You can use 1/2 cup wheat flour and 1/2 cup all purpose. I don't recommend using all wheat flour because it seems to produce a tougher crepe.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures friend. Cheers!

Dessert Crepes
Makes 13 large (1 per serving) or 26 small (2 per serving)
120 calories per serving

1 cup flour
3 TBS unsweetened baking cocoa
2 TBS powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup + 2 TBS Egg Beaters egg substitute
1 tsp extra virgin light olive oil or melted I can't believe it's not butter spread
fat free cool whip
Special Dark chocolate syrup
fresh seasonal berries

In a blender combine flour, cocoa, sugar, milk, Egg Beaters, and oil. Pulse until well combined.

Let sit in fridge for at least one hour to produce a light and airy crepe.

To cook crepes:

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour a small amount of batter the pan* rolling batter around the pan to make even and as thin as possible. After about a minute or two, carefully flip and cook for 30 seconds or so. Lay flat to cool.

* About 1/4 cup for large; 1/8 cup for small

To assemble:

For Large crepes fill the center with about 2 TBS of berries and 2 TBS cool whip. Wrap up like a burrito.Place seam side down on a plate. Drizzle with about 1 TBS syrup.

For small crepes, follow the same procedure reducing filling amounts to 1 TBS of berries and 1 TBS cool whip. Wrap up like a burrito. Place seam side down on a plate. Drizzle with about 1/2 TBS of syrup.

Serve chilled or room temperature.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Makes ya think...

“Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.”
-Paul Tillich

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wedding Soup!

I was EXTREMELY disturbed this morning to wake up to an outdoor temperature of 53 F. Really? In August? I am beyond not OK with this!

So, I made soup. If you read my last post I mentioned I would be using half of my Gyro Inspired Meatballs in place of chicken meatballs. The soup turned out wonderful! It was just what I needed to warm me up on this cold day.

Another great treat today? A very dear friend of mine came up from the Twin Cities to visit! Never underestimate the warming power of a hug from a friend. :)

Thank you to my Mom for the recipe for the soup! It's just as delicious as I remember.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Italian Wedding Soup
Serves 4-5

Meatballs *
1/2 lb ground beef (or chicken sausage or plain ground turkey or 1/4 lb beef & 1/4 lb pork sausage)
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 TBS dry bread crumbs
1 TBS Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder

6 cups chicken stock (store bought is fine)
2 cups thinly sliced fresh escarole or fresh spinach
1/2 cup orzo or ancini de pepe pasta, cooked
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 rib celery
1/2 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper

For the meatballs, in a medium bowl combine all meatball ingredients. Do not over mix, combine just until ingredients are evenly distributed and pull together. Shape into marble sized balls using a 1/2 tsp or the small size of a melon baller.

In a large saucepan, saute onion and celery until tender.

Add stock and bring to a simmer.

Stir in escarole/spinach**, carrot, and meatballs. Return stock to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stir often.

Add cooked pasta. Warm through and serve.

* I used half of the recipe of my Gyro Inspired Meatballs in place of these meatballs this time around.

** I prefer the fresh spinach for this soup. I also like to wait until I add the pasta to stir in the spinach.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meatball Madness

I've been trying to incorporate more veggies into my meals. I've posted my mac n cheese with cauliflower or broccoli. I like to add beans to my meat sauces. I even load up my egg white omelets with fresh veggies.

Last week Jon and I enjoyed "imitation spaghetti aka veggie spaghetti". You may be scratching your head on this one, let me explain:

Split a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place in a shallow glass dish. Add about 1/2 cup of water and steam in the microwave until tender. Separate the strands into a bowl. Lightly season with salt and pepper. In individual bowls, top each serving with browned ground turkey or ground beef and your favorite red sauce. Super easy, very yummy. Even my hubby enjoys this meal.

I love gyros. For those of you have never had a gyro, you are missing out big time! A gyro is a Greek sandwich made up of a heavily seasoned, rotisseried meat (usually lamb), lettuce, tomato, onion, and a cucumber-yogurt sauce called tzatziki sauce, all tucked into a grilled pita bread. I only indulge in them twice a year. Once at our local Tall Timber Days festival. And then again a few weeks later at the county fair. But, last week that all changed.

I was reading through my blog roll and came across this recipe:

Yep, I had to try it. The only catch? I don't dig zucchini. Pretty much at all. The baby zucchini are OK, and I have an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses shredded zucchini, but most of the time I won't even acknowledge it exists.

I thought on this recipe from the moment I read it. The inspiration was right there, I just couldn't quite piece together what I wanted. Then it hit me. Leftover spaghetti squash. So I gave it a whirl today. The result?

Make a double batch.

They turned out so great! I made a single batch and scaled my meatballs down to the size of marbles. Half of the meatballs were set aside and will be used in my Mom's Italian wedding soup recipe tomorrow. Two birds, one stone :)

I served our home-made "gyros" on fresh sourdough baguette that I had pulled some of the middle out of. I did this to make room for the meat so it wouldn't roll away.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Gyro Inspired Meatballs
Makes 90 marble sized
12 calories per

20 oz lean turkey, I used 93/7
2 TBS grated onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cooked spaghetti squash, chopped about the size of the Parmesan
2 egg whites
1/8 cup dry breadcrumbs
1-2 TBS fresh mint, chopped
3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1 TBS fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix until just pulled together and evenly distributed. If you overwork the meat, the meatballs with be tough.

Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Using a 1/2 tsp measure or the small size on a melon baller, form meat into marble sized balls.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Add meatballs. Cook over medium heat, turning frequently until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. You will need to do this in batches to prevent burning or overcrowding.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quick Veggie Soup

When I was learning how to cook, one of the things I started with was soup. They are pretty hard to mess up.

I have a really quick "recipe" that really isn't a recipe at all.

Basic run down of my soup components:

Today's soup was made up with fresh veggies and herbs from my garden. I chose not to add pasta, rice, or barley keeping this soup light and easy. I had about 1/4 cup of diced ham leftover from making egg white omelets for dinner earlier in the week so I tossed that into the pot.

Soup is not rocket science. Take what you like and add it to the pot. Easy peasy.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

Quick Veggie Soup
Serves 2
130 cal per

2 1/2-3 cups beef broth
1 small russet potato, diced
1 medium carrot(or 6 baby sized) diced
1 TBS onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8-10 green beans, cut into thirds or fourths
1/4 cup diced ham
5 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1-1 /2 tsp fresh baby basil, chopped or torn
1 medium tomato, diced
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

In a saucepan combine broth, potato, carrot, onion, garlic, diced ham and green beans. Bring to a simmer. Cook until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add mushrooms and herbs to soup. Simmer 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add tomato. Season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Farmer's Market

Sweet Farmer's Market!

This weekend is the Tall Timber Days Festival . It's a celebration of the logging industry. This year is the 29th year. There are food booths, local vendors, logging exhibitions, a street dance and so much more.

The two weekends prior to the festival are host to a classic car show and a softball tourney. These two weekends were part of Tall Timber Days when it was in its infancy. At the time, the festival was a three weekend event.

It just so happens that Saturday is also the regular farmer's market day. Because of the increased traffic from the festival, the market vendors brought out their absolute best produce and meats in abundance.

Jon and I had a ball wondering the booths, sampling veggies, meats, and breads. We were in complete awe at the size of some local veggies. The colors were fantastic. Multicolored carrots, red and green cabbages, rainbow Swiss chard, kohlrabi, wax beans, green beans, purple beans, lettuce, tomatoes, brown and red potatoes, onions, leeks, and more.

There were brightly colored blueberries.

There was honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies.

Three meat trucks offering sausages, pork, chicken, steaks, and jerky.

And of course, there breads and cakes.

After a stroll up and down the stands I came away with: fresh bacon, homemade honey-oat bread, and an armful of vine ripened tomatoes the size of my fist.

Guess what we are having for dinner tomorrow?! BLT's. I am super stoked.

If you've never had the pleasure of shopping a local farmers market, I really must insist you give it a try. :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!