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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Berry Cream Cheese Crepes

I was in the mood for something a little different this morning.  I made healthy whole wheat crepes with a fat free cream cheese filling mixed with fresh berries.  They are very easy to make if you have a non-stick skillet.  This recipe yields 4 servings at approximately 250 calories each.  Adding 2 Tablespoons of plain greek yogurt as a garnish would add an additional 15 calories to each serving.

Whole Wheat Crepes

3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole wheat flour

Berry Cream Cheese Filling for Crepes

1 - 8 ounce package Fat Free Cream Cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons preferred sweetener or honey to taste
1 cup fresh mixed berries (I used blackberries and raspberries)
Fresh berries for topping and garnish
Plain greek yogurt or fat free sour cream can be used as a garnish

To Prepare the crepes:

Beat the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, salt and vanilla until they are combined, about 1 minute.  Next add the whole wheat flour and mix well.

Next, I poured the flour mixture into the blender and put it on the medium setting for about a minute.

Place the crepe mixture in the refrigerator and chill for about an hour.

To Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling

Measure 1 cup of fresh washed berries.

Place softened cream cheese, preferred sweetener (or sugar) and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and stir.  Add the fresh berries to the cream cheese mixture.

Stir gently until combined.

Refrigerate until ready to begin preparing crepes.

Add 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil to a non stick skillet and heat to a low medium temperature.  Place 1/4 cup of the whole wheat crepe mixture in the skillet and tilt pan until batter is evenly spread.  I used a 10 inch skillet.  Heat for 1-2 minutes and flip over when crepe is a golden brown.  Repeat to the other side.  Note, it is not necessary to add the olive oil each time, only add additional oil as needed.

To prepare, spoon the cream cheese mixture and spread in a straight line in the center of the crepe.  Top with additional fresh clean berries.

Roll up from one side.  As a healthy garnish instead of whipped cream, I added some plain greek yogurt.  Fat free sour cream is another option.  Serve immediately.

This recipe yielded 7 crepes and approximately 4 servings containing 250 calories each.  Two tablespoons of plain greek yogurt would add an additional 15 calories if used as a garnish.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Healthy Vegetable and Bean Chili


I love a hearty vegetarian chili with beans and lots of healthy peppers.  I played around until I came up with the right mixture of vegetables, spices, and flavor.  This recipe yields 12 servings of chili at approximately 204 calories/serving.

Healthy Vegetable and Bean Chili Recipe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 chopped yellow bell pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 chopped orange bell pepper
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped jalapeno pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 (16 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes (with celery, green pepper, onions)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

First I chopped the green and red bell peppers.

Next I chopped the yellow and orange bell peppers.

Chop the jalapeno pepper into small pieces. Careful when handling the pepper. Remember to wear gloves. Even hand washing will not remove the potentially irritating juices from your skin. Remove the seeds and veins from the pepper before chopping.

I used my Kitchen Aid mini chopper to chop the yellow onions.

Add the pepper and onion mixture to the crockpot along with the fresh garlic.

Rinse and drain the black, kidney and pinto beans before adding to the crockpot.

Measure out the spices to add to the chili mixture in the crockpot.

Add the beans, stewed tomatoes, and spices to the pepper and onion mixture in the crockpot.

Stir to combine.  Cover and cook on the low setting for 8-10 hours or on the high setting for 6 hours.  Stir while cooking occasionally to break up the tomatoes.

This recipe yields about 12 servings at approximately 204 calories.  I added some fat free cheddar (1/8 cup) and fat free sour cream (2 TBS.) as a garnish which adds another 45 calories to each serving.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Walk down Main Street in my Hometown

I love my frequent visits to Port Washington, NY (on Long Island) to visit my family.  I enjoy taking walks on Main Street down to the town dock.  The weather is always milder than Buffalo, NY.  During my visit last week the temperatures had been in the high 60's and the low 70's. 

My first stop is usually the Dunkin Donuts on Main Street across from the train station for a large coffee and to say hello to my friends.  They remember how I like my coffee even though I only visit several times a year.

This is the train station in Port Washington on Main Street.  Sometimes I travel to Long Island by taking the Amtrak from Buffalo to Penn Station.  Then I can just take the LIRR to the Port Washington Station.

One of the things I love the most about my hometown is how easy it is to walk around and how most everything is within walking distance.  There are many interesting shops and restaurants to eat at along the way. 

There are fashionable and trendy clothing stores.  The stores are different and have changed since I have lived here.  It is a lot of fun to window shop.

This is a table at a mexican restaurant which is nearby the train station on Main Street. 

A beautiful tree is in bloom at the town tock when I visited.  My parents have the same type of tree in their yard and I know the beautiful blooms do not last very long.

I pass Louie's which you might remember as the restaurant "Surf and Turf" in a scene from the movie "Meet the Parents" with Ben Stiller and Teri Polo.  The auto chase scene had also been filmed in Port Washington.

It is nice to eat outside during the summer here and have a nice view of Manhasset Bay and the town dock.

I walk a bit further down Main Street and pass what is now a nightclub where my husband and I had met 25 years earlier.  This year we will celebrate our 24th year wedding anniversary.  The nightclub at the time we met had been called "Nicole's".  It has since changed ownership and is now operating under a new name.

I love my hometown and I look forward to my visits. I say goodbye until we meet again.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I came up with a healthy recipe for  Cranberry Orange Muffins using whole wheat flour and oat bran hot cereal.  I added freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh cranberries to the batter to give it the fresh fruit flavor. Each muffin has approximately 136 calories.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup preferred sweetener (or sugar)
1 egg
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
orange zest of 1 orange
1 and 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat bran hot cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic)
1/4 teasoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  First I cut 2 oranges in half and I used a small juicer to extract the fresh orange juice.

In a small bowl add vegetable oil, applesauce, honey, egg, preferred sweetener (or sugar), sour cream, vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest.  Mix until combined.

Gently fold in the fresh cranberries and stir to combine.

In a large bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, hot oat bran cereal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Next add the oil, sour cream and cranberry mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until it is
mixed and thoroughly combined.

Add paper liners to a muffin tin and fill with the muffin batter until about 2/3 full.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  A toothpick inserted in the center should could out clean.

This recipe yields about 18 muffins.  Each muffin has approximately 136 calories.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

I had some leftover unsweetened coconut and crushed pineapple and decided to make a yogurt smoothie.  This smoothie has approximately 270 calories and 22 grams of protein (Approx. 14 grams in the greek yogurt and 8 grams in the lowfat milk).  This is a healthy and nutritious snack.

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

1 cup lowfat milk
2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup crushed or chunk pineapple (I used Libby's Skinny Fruits)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into a tall glass and serve.  This smoothie has approximately 270 calories.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Exploring the local sights with my family

I love when the warmer spring weather arrives and we can take walks in our area to explore the sights.  Today we took a drive to historic North Tonawanda to walk around the downtown area.  This city is known as "The Lumber City".  It was at one time the largest port on the Great Lakes during the height of the Erie canal.  During our walk we passed by the historic Riviera Theatre on Webster Street.

There is a large mural on the rear side of the building.  My son and I had recently attended a Zoso concert (The Led Zeppelin tribute band) here.

There are a lot of interesting antique shops which we passed by during our walk through the downtown area.  Our kids got a kick out of many of the window displays.

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant.  I enjoyed a southwestern grilled chicken salad.  The food was very good.

Before resuming our walk outside we relaxed and enjoyed snacks and drinks.

I love our day trips during the spring and summer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

I came up with a healthy recipe for peanut butter muffins.  They taste great served with jelly or jam or as is.  Each muffin has approximately 122 calories.  I used a brown sugar substitute called Xylitol (Ideal Brown) to sweeten the muffins.  If regular brown sugar is used, the calorie count per muffin increases to 135.  This product is lower in calories than conventional brown sugar.  It has 202 calories per cup in comparison to brown sugar which contains 830 calories/cup .  In this recipe I used 1/3 cup Ideal Brown which contains about 70 calories.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Muffins

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup ideal brown (or brown sugar if preferred)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat bran hot cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil, applesauce, egg, vanilla, ideal brown, peanut butter, lowfat milk, and sour cream.  Gently mix until well blended.

In a large bowl mix together whole wheat flour, hot oat bran cereal, baking powder and salt.

Add the egg and oil mixture to the whole wheat flour mixture.  Stir until mixed well.

Add muffin liners to a muffin tin and add the batter until about 2/3 full. Place in a preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes to 25 minutes or until done.

I enjoyed these muffins with sugar free seedless strawberry jam as a special treat. This recipe yields about 15 muffins at approximately 122 calories each.