My Blog List

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fruit Pizza

I wanted to make a healthy after dinner dessert for Christmas dinner at our home.  This is a great way to serve healthy fruits.  The difficult part was coming up with a tasty crust.  This crust is a mixture of whole wheat flour, olive oil, and buttery spread.  It tasted very similar to a graham cracker crust which was a surprise to me.  I used 1/2 cup Filippo Berio Olive oil (for Sauteing and Grilling) which did not overwhelm the taste of the crust.

Fruit Pizza

1/2 cup olive oil (I used Filippo Berio olive oil for sauteing & grilling)
2 teaspoons Promise light spread
1/2 cup sweetener of choice (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces fat free cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sweetener of choice (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fruit topping can be a variety of fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, mango and pineapple, etc.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust, in a large bowl mix together olive oil, promise light spread, sweetener of choice (or sugar), vanilla and egg until blended.  And flour and baking powder to the oil and egg mixture and combine.  The texture will be crumbly, similar to a graham cracker texture. 

Spread mixture on a pizza pan or cooking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes and then cool.

Mix together cream cheese, sweetener of choice (or sugar), and vanilla.  Spread over the cooled crust using a pastry bag or similar method as the cream cheese mixture will be very sticky.

Arrange fresh fruit over the top of the pizza.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy! This recipe yields approximately 12 servings.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Honey

I wanted to try making a healthier cranberry sauce using less sugar and sweetened naturally with honey.   This recipe has become an annual tradition and I am serving this sauce with our Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Honey

1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sweetener of choice (or sugar)
12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
Juice of 1 fresh orange
1 Macintosh apple chopped fine
orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine water, honey, and sweetener of choice (or sugar) over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, orange juice, chopped apple, cinnamon and nutmeg and return to a boil.

Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cover and cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not A Typical Fall Day in Buffalo

What a difference the warmer weather makes as I prepare for the transition from fall to winter in western NY.  I have been recovering from surgery this fall and have been unable to participate in my favorite aerobics classes at the gym.

The milder fall weather has been a dream come true for me. Although I could ride the stationary bike at the gym, it is just not the same as a long walk outside.

I looked up at the bright sky and had to remind myself, that yes, it really is the middle of November.

I was suprised by how peaceful it was during my stroll.  Although I passed a few random joggers, I couldn't help but wonder why the streets were so quiet.

I guess it just didn't register that in about a week it would be Thanksgiving Day, because the temperatures didn't feel like it outside.

It wasn't until I made it out to the supermarket later in the day that I understood why.

Most everyone else in the Buffalo area must have been shopping at Wegmans in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

25th Year College Reunion

The week finally arrived to attend my 25th year college reunion.  My family and I packed up the car and made the 7 hour drive to Plattsburgh from Buffalo, NY.  When I arrived I was anxious to explore the downtown area to see how it has changed.

I stopped for a bite at a local Mexican restaurant and sampled the chicken fajitas.

My son, a pizza lover, sampled the local fare.  This restaurant was not here the year I graduated.  I discovered they opened a year later in 1988 after speaking with the owners.

It took awhile to settle in that wow, it really has been 25 years since I left this place.

My favorite part was the opportunity to mix and mingle at the coordinated events planned for the alumni.

It was wonderful to be able to reconnect with friends I haven't seen for so many years. I am glad I made the effort to attend.

My family and I enjoyed seeing the sights.  The weather was beautiful and summer was the perfect time for a visit.

We enjoyed an outdoor concert in the park, there were many activities going on downtown.

A visit with my friend from Dunkin Donuts while we waited for the fireworks display.

An awesome show of lights not to be missed, I love my college town.

A wave goodbye to our college mascot.  I look forward to making the trip back again for my 30th reunion!

Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lighter Broccoli Cheese Soup

I love broccoli cheese soup.  I was trying to come up with a lower fat recipe my family could enjoy. I experimented and after a couple of tries was pleased with the outcome.  I added a blend of 3 different cheeses to this recipe.  I added 1 cup each of Jarlsberg Light Swiss cheese, non fat cheddar, and ultra sharp regular cheddar.  It helped to add 1 cup of regular cheese for a smoother texture.  Using all non fat or light cheeses made it too difficult for the cheeses to melt and combine well for the soup.  This recipe yields 9 servings at approximately 250 calories per serving.

Lighter Broccoli Cheese Soup 

1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 whole wheat pastry flour (or regular flour)
4 cups lowfat milk
2 cups fat free half and half
1 cup chicken broth
sprinkle cayenne pepper
sprinkle nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fat free cheddar
1 cup light swiss cheese (I used Jarlsberg light)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups chopped broccoli

Saute chopped onions and carrots in 2 Tablespoons olive oil until tender, about 4 minutes.

Add the 1/4 flour to the sauteed vegetables and stir to combine.  Add milk, half and half, chicken broth, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cheeses.  Stir gently until cheese is melted.

I placed the mixture in the blender once the cheeses melted and before adding the brocolli to make the mixture smoother on the medium setting for about 2 minutes.  Chop the broccoli into small bite sized pieces.

Add the chopped broccoli to the soup mixture and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

This recipe yields about 9 servings at 250 calories per serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I hit a milestone - 100 blog entries this year!

I just realized this past week when I posted my "Healthier Chicken Pot Pie" recipe I had reached a milestone of 100 blog entries since August of 2011.  Wow, I can't even imagine how many hours have gone into this labor of love.  I hope there has been some interest in my posts and others have enjoyed or perhaps even tried some of the recipes.  I started this blog in August, 2011.  At the time I wasn't sure of the direction I  wanted to take this blog.  So this has basically been a work in progress.

I have shared some of the trials and tribulations I have gone through in maintaining a healthy weight.  For me emotions have definitely played a role in my weight fluctuations over the years.  I struggled with seasonal depression shortly after I moved to the Buffalo area.  I have discovered what works best for me is to stay very physically active and this helps me cope.  My friends at the Buffalo Athletic Club are wonderful and I love the exercise classes offered.  Lately I am taking a break from my favorite Zumba classes as I have suffered an injury to my toe.  I am hoping I will be able to enjoy them again very soon.  I am relieved it is spring and I am able to take long walks outside which I love.  I have been spending time at the gym lifting weights and calisthenics for strength training.

It helps me to share my experiences and I hope this helps others with some of the same struggles.  As a busy Mom I can certainly understand the difficulties of finding the time and energy to exercise.  Thanks for reading and I hope the year ahead brings you joy and fulfillment.

Berry Granola Muffins

I made some blueberry muffins using whole wheat flour and Bear Naked Fit Berry Granola containing freeze dried strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.  This yielded a sweet and tasty healthy muffin.  This granola is low in fat and sugar.  It contains 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of fiber in a 1/4 cup serving.  I added 3/4 cup of this granola to the recipe.  I was expecting the muffin to have a crunch from adding the granola, but suprisingly it did not.  This recipe yields about 24 muffins at 112 calories each.

Berry Granola Muffins

1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup Unprocessed Miller's Wheat Bran (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sweetener of choice (or sugar)
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 vegetable oil
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup Bear Naked Fit Triple Berry Crunch Granola
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix milk with the wheat bran and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl mix together honey, sweetener of choice (or sugar), eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, applesauce, and sour cream.  Stir until combined.

In another bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture, wheat bran and combine.  Gently fold in berries and granola and stir until mixed.

Add muffin liners to a muffin tin and fill until about 2/3 full.

Place in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until done.

This is the Granola I used to prepare these muffins.  I found it in the Health Food and Organic section of my local supermarket.

This recipe yields about 24 muffins at 104 calories each.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie

I decided to try my hand at a healthier chicken pot pie.  The tough part was coming up with a tasty crust.  I used a mixture of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour which has a lighter consistency than the whole wheat flour.  The label on the pastry flour said it could be used as an alternative to conventional white flour.  I didn't want to use only butter in the crust, so I tried a blend of 1 Tablespoon butter with 3 Tablespoons olive oil.  I've heard it can be difficult to use olive oil as a substitute for butter in cookies, pastry and/or cake recipes.  I didn't notice an overwhelming taste of olive oil in this mixture or that it overwhelmed the taste of the crust.  With the whole wheat flour crust this pie is healthy and filling.  As prepared each slice of this chicken pot pie has approximately 360 calories.

Crust for Chicken Pot Pie

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Bob's Red Mill from Soft white wheat)
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons Olive oil (I used Felipo Berrio Virgin olive oil for Sauteing & Grilling)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup Lowfat Buttermilk

In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter and olive oil until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add the Buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Place dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly about 4 or 5 times.  Set aside.

Chicken Pot Pie

3/4 cup diced potatoes
3/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup diced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free Half and Half
1 Tablespoon White wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sprinkle of pepper
2 cups Chopped cooked chicken

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Saute onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms in olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Add pastry flour to sauteed vegetables stirring well and cook about one minute.  Combine chicken broth and half and half.  Gradually stir into the vegetable mixture.  Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

I cooked the chicken on my George Foreman grill which is a great time saver.

Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Pour into a one quart casserole dish.  Roll dough and place over chicken mixture.  Cut slits in pastry to allow steam to escape.  I sprayed the crust with Olivio Buttery spray halfway through cooking to keep the crust tender.  Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is cooked through and bubbly.

This recipe yields about 6 servings at 360 calories each.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pear and Oat Bran Walnut Muffins

I came up with a recipe for pear walnut muffins using oat bran, whole wheat flour, and fresh pears. I added Organic Pear Juice with no added sugars for some additional flavor.  The result is a light muffin with a mild pear flavor.  As prepared each muffin contains approximately 98 calories.  If light brown sugar had been used instead of the Xylitol (Ideal Brown), the calorie count per muffin would be about 108.

Pear and Oat Bran Walnut Muffins

3/4 cup unsweetened Pear Juice
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup Ideal Brown sweetener (or light brown sugar if preferred)
1 cup Oat Bran Hot Cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pears (I used 1 Red Anjou Pear)

My local supermarket sells R.W. Knudsen brand Organic Unsweetened Pear Juice.  I found it in the Health Food Section. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl mix together pear juice, egg, honey, sour cream, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla, and ideal brown sweetener until smooth.

In a seperate large bowl mix together Hot Oat Bran Cereal, Whole Wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and chopped walnuts.

Add sour cream and egg mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine.  Gently fold in chopped and peeled pears.

Add muffin liners to a muffin tin.  Add muffin batter until each is about 2/3 full.

 Place in preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

This recipe yields about 24 muffins containing approximately 98 calories per muffin.  Enjoy!