Monday, January 31, 2011

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

When I visited my family in December we ate at Zupas. I ordered the Wisconsin Cauliflower soup and fell in love! So much in love that when I got to pick were we went for a girls lunch with all the aunts & GMa (just a couple days later) I knew I had to have more soup! I also made others fall in love with this soup. So when my sister sent me the "knock-off recipe" I was excited to try it! I was also excited because this is a creamy soup so I was expecting it to be made with cream. It does have a lot of cheese in it but I used skim milk and no butter. So my soup wasn't quite the amazingness as Zupas, mostly because of the texture. I think I was too anxious to eat this soup that I didn't let my cauliflower cook long enough so my soup wasn't perfectly smooth. But if I don't compare it to Zupas it was still super delicious. Watch your portions due to the cheese but the rest is pretty great - don't use butter, cauliflower, onions, & skim milk for some healthy moves! I also used vegetable broth...that's what I had and I only eat small amounts of meat now. And vegetarians can make this soup as well.

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

2 Tbsp Margarine Or Butter (¼ Stick)
1 medium Onion, chopped
¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Milk
1 can (13 ¾ to 14 ½ ounces) Chicken Broth
1 head (2 ½ pounds) Cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese
In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 ½ cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 ½ cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.
Here's one for my fellow Longhorns, my sentiments exactly Mack.

"I felt like I had a hangover after the '09 national championship game. I'm not sure I've ever taken a loss so hard"
-Mack Brown

Friday, January 28, 2011

Meatballs with Peppers & Pineapple

(cooking on the stove, sauce hasn't thickened yet)

A friend posted on Facebook how much she loved this recipe and I finally got around to trying it. Its a recipe from The Pioneer Woman's cooking website (which I love!) I used ground turkey breast for my meatballs, whole wheat panko bread crumbs, and in place of sugar I used ~3 tablespoons of agave nectar (I don't use refined white sugar anymore). I also used a very small amount of oil to cook my meatballs. I wanted that crispy crust but you could bake them if you wanted to. I served it on sticky sushi rice & it paired like a charm. I LOVED LOVED this recipe!! And it was delicious a little spicy! It took a little longer than I thought to prepare but the end result was so worth it! YUM!!

Meatballs with Peppers & Pineapple (links to original recipe)
  • 1-¼ pound Ground Beef
  • ½ whole Onion, Diced Very Finely
  • 1 whole Egg
  • ½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs (or Regular Breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper, More To Taste
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • 2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Seeded And Diced Roughly
  • 1-½ cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks
  • 2 cups Beef Stock Or Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • ½ cups Sherry Or White Wine Vinegar
  • ⅓ cups Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • Salt To Taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste
  • Extra Beef Stock If Needed
Combine ground beef, diced onion, egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and crushed red pepper. Mix with hands until combined. Roll meat mixture into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze on the pan for 15 minutes to firm.
Mix together beef stock, soy sauce, sherry (or vinegar), sugar, and cornstarch.
Heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Roll meatballs in flour, then fry in two batches until nice and brown, about two minutes per batch. Remove meatballs and set aside on a separate plate.
Pour off oil from pan and return pan to medium high heat. When pan is hot, throw in the chopped green peppers and cook for one minute. Add pineapple to pan and cook for one minute, stirring gently. Pour in stock/soy sauce mixture, then add meatballs. Stir gently to combine and allow to cook and bubble for a few minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Add salt and crushed red peppers to taste. (Hint: this dish is yummy if it’s a little spicy.)
Serve over cooked brown or white rice.
"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world" -Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"When life becomes intolerably stressful the temptation is often to blame external influences. But it is often we who are responsible for holding ourselves back from getting the most out of life and realizing our full potential"

~Speaker at our work retreat (sorry I forgot his name)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Artichoke and Broccoli Pasta Salad

Another recipe I got from Whole Foods. Yum! Variation - I added some fresh squeezed juice from some mandarins I had. I also used black olives and goat cheese instead because that's what I had! You can also add more veggies & do less pasta if you want.
Artichoke and Broccoli Pasta Salad

Salt And Pepper To Taste
¾ pound Penne Pasta
2 tablespoon(s) Champagne Vinegar Or White Wine Vinegar
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 (12-ounce) Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts,drained and chopped
1 small Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 small Green Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cups Small Broccoli Florets
½ cup Sliced Pitted Kalamata Olives
½ cup Sliced Basil
½ cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Or 1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside to let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil while continuing to whisk constantly to make a dressing. Add pasta, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, broccoli, olives, basil, cheese, salt and pepper, toss gently to combine and serve.

Notes: Per serving: 300 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 40g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 10g protein

"Do one thing a day that scares you. You'll either step forward in growth or you'll step back in safety" - Abraham Maslow

Charity Never Faileth

"Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other. Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love"

~Marvin J Ashton

Monday, January 24, 2011


Is it weird to start adding quotes to my recipe blog? Hmm well too bad. For the past year I have been making a daily effort to become a better person. Not that I was a bad person to begin with but I feel like everyone has something they can work on & don't we all want to be the best us? My first "goal" was to become more positive. I was actually kind of surprised to learn that this is not some goal you can just achieve. Just when you think "I've done it, I've got it down" something tests you and you slip back to simple thoughts of human nature...or try to help a coworker feel better by complaining with them...or get frustrated at the car that cut you off. There are many small things in this world that I never even realized test your positivity or growth in general. So I broadened my "goal" to ACTIVELY trying to be a better person in some way each and every day. I use goal in quotes because I've always learned that goals need to be measurable. There is no way of measure or meeting this goal. It is a lifelong plan. I also use actively in all caps because I realize it is something that takes work, thought, and diligence. And by work I mean work! I have to recenter myself often and I have to empty my cup of whatever is weighing on me often....but it is being aware of this that is the process. Sooo with that being said - I love quotes. I write things that touch me in a notebook a dear friend gave me once. I read through favorite quotes often to recenter myself. I google quotes on certain topics when I find I need something in particular. Quotes can come from books, cards, songs, speakers, scriptures, words from a friend, something that pops into your head, anywhere! A dear friend...who is a fellow quote lover and soul builder... also gave me a book for my birthday called The Book of Awakening. Sometimes I love some of these passages and just feel like sharing. Sometimes I read a great quote that I just want to remember forever. Too many friends on Facebook for this, too many words for I thought - can I add quotes to my recipe blog? My answer....why not, it's my blog! I can do what I want!!

"Those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are" - Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chickpea and Lentil Stew

This is a recipe I got from Whole Foods. If you like Indian flavorings/spices, in specific garam masala, this is an easy & delicious dish to try. And as with many Indian dishes you can adjust the level of spicy to fit what you like! Or take out the chile pepper & sub with bell pepper if you want no spice at all. -- [side note: this recipe is for a crock pot but I just boiled/simmered on the stove until the lentils were cooked and it was good]

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 chile pepper, such as serrano or jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped, more to taste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 cup sesame seeds [didn't use]
2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chick peas) [recipe said to drain, I put the liquid in my stew]
1/2 cup dried red lentils [used green lentils, came out fine]
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree [tomato sauce is fine]
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup yogurt

Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions. Add peppers, garlic, garam masala and sesame seeds and cook until peppers begin to soften. Combine everything except the yogurt in the slow cooker and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add yogurt about 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition - Per serving: 250 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 680mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 9g sugar), 11g protein

Diet changes to help acne

Question from a reader:
As a teen and even up until a few years ago I had great skin. People would say it looked like porcelain...I never had so much as a blemish growing up. But now, NOW I am break out city. It's pretty much my entire forehead and t-zone. The forehead is the worst and along my chin/neck. It's horrible. I hate it and I've tried every acne product (aside from prescription strength). I've been researching diet modifications as a way to clear up my skin...and there's so much out many differing views. I've cut out soda and have started to limit dairy and increase fruits/veg (especially orange vegs). I've also increased my water intake. I'm sure a lot of it is hormonal (I'm going to get them checked at my annual), but any diet suggestions??
Off the top of my head the number one thing I ALWAYS hear is get rid of the processed foods. I looked into it some more and you're definitely on the right path. Cut out as much sugar and refined foods as possible. Increasing your orange veggies is good because Vit A is suppose to help. Basically nutrients that are antioxidants or anti-inflammatory so Vit A, C, E, zinc, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids. Also making sure you get your B Vitamins, esp Vit B5 (pantothenic acid). I also saw a lot of stuff that says probiotics help, so you can eat those in many products or as a supplement. So from a nutrition standpoint I would decrease as much "junk" as possible and increase the fruits & veggies as well as probably take a multivitamin just to be sure you're getting what you need. I did also see that aspartame could cause acne so I think that's a good thing to try to take out.

Another thing I found very interesting is that a soy sensitivity/allergy can cause acne. Soy (processed form) is in EVERYTHING now if you eat process foods or eat out often. Its also something that can kind of build up when you don't even realize its in the things you're eating.

Also, my friend uses coconut oil to moisturize her face! Sounds a little scary but she swears by it.

And then obviously some think the food/acne correlation is a myth but I approach things wanting to try a natural path first and think everything we put in our body is important. Plus making healthy changes won't hurt & will only help in other areas so its worth a shot!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kale Chips

I've been wanting to try these for quite some time now and have just forgotten or never gotten around to it. I burnt some of mine a little so next time I won't bake them quite so long [or maybe a lower temp]. The ones that weren't burnt were tasty & kinda fun to eat. Not sure how often I'll actually make this since I learned that I actually love the taste of raw kale. For those of you who haven't had it, it tasted like broccoli but in lettuce form!

Remove thick steam from kale. Tear kale leaves into smaller pieces. Sprinkle/mist with olive oil & sprinkle with salt and/or seasonings of choice. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for ~10 minutes.

PS - My views on food and how/what we should eat coming soon....I just know it'll take a little longer to write so I haven't written it yet. But many people ask...which is good seeing as how I am a dietitian and all :)

Creamy Polenta with Goat Cheese

Quite simple but OBSESSED with goat cheese so I had to try!

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
4 ounces goat cheese
Bring 4 ½ cups water to a boil.
Add cornmeal to the water in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and extra tablespoons of water as needed. [or use the instant polenta & it takes ~1 minute]
When polenta is done, stir in butter and goat cheese. Check seasonings, and add salt to taste.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


-I can't follow a recipe. I just can't. I try and try but have yet to follow a recipe exactly. Funny you may say for a girl who posts recipes on a blog huh? I try to tell you when I change stuff up if it makes it healthier or better but sometimes I just don't say anything and let you do your thing if you try something on here.

-On that note, I also make up lots of stuff. I look in my fridge and pantry and throw stuff together. Usually it turns up good, sometimes not that wonderful. And that stuff rarely makes it on the blog.

-I use Julio's Seasoning in a TON of the recipes I make and almost always when I make caramelized shallots/onions. That includes many of those on here and I've never mentioned it because I'm guessing most people don't own it. Sorry :/

-I just tried to turn down the volume on the music playing on my computer with my tv remote. Well I was confessing....

Veggie-Lentil Enchiladas

This recipe was shared (& highly recommended) by a co-worker of mine. I made it for dinner tonight and I have to agree it was pretty good. A great option for some vegetarian enchiladas with more substance!
Veggie-Lentil Enchiladas
1 ⅓ cups Water
½ cup Dry Lentils
¼ teaspoon(s) Salt
8 6-inch Flour Tortillas
2 Medium Carrots, Thinly Sliced
1 ½ teaspoon(s) Chili Powder
1 ½ teaspoon(s) Ground Cumin
1 Medium Zucchini, Quartered Lengthwise, Sliced
14 ½ ounce(s) Mexican-Stye Stewed Tomatoes
6 ounce(s) Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
Preheat oven to 350℉

In a medium saucepan combine water, lentils, and salt. Bring to boiling, and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Wrap tortillas in foil, heat in oven for 10 minutes or until warm. Spray 2 quart rectangular baking dish with non-stick coating.

In a large skillet stir fly carrots, chili powder, and cumin in hot oil for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini, stir fry for 2-3 more minutes or until tender crisp. Remove from heat. Stir in the lentils, half of the undrained stewed tomatoes and half of the cheese.

Spoon vegetable/lentil mixture onto the tortillas, divide evenly. Roll tortillas, place seem side down in the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil, bake for 8-12 minutes or until heated through and tortillas are crisp.

In a small saucepan heat the remaining undrained stewed tomatoes. Spoon over the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Make Ahead Muffin Melts by Pioneer Woman

I saw this recipe from Pioneer Woman (found here) & I thought it looked delicious! I tried it tonight for dinner with a few substitutions (& I halved the recipe)

-For 6 eggs I used all the egg whites & only 3 egg yokes
-I used Light Miracle Whip (that's what I have in my fridge, I don't like mayo)
-Instead of bacon I used some sauteed mushroom, green pepper, and green onion
-I used a mix of pepper jack/cheddar this I bought to use in another recipe I'm trying this week [this wasn't to make it "healthier" but just stating this fact because the touch of jalepeno flavor was delish!!]
-I used a whole wheat english muffin

And I have plenty left over for breakfast tomorrow! Yum!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lentil Chili

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 teaspoons salt-free chili powder

1 (16-ounce) package brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups lentils)

2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring 3/4 cup broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and pepper is tender. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add lentils, tomatoes and remaining 7 1/4 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until lentils are almost tender. Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Per serving : 120 calories (5 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 6g protein

Recipe from: Whole Foods


Yum, yum!! Love this recipe and I've been eating it all week! Not sick of it at all yet. I used green lentils and they worked just fine. Major note - it took MUCH longer than the recipe states to cook. Probably ~1 hr. I also used one of those 28oz cans of tomatoes and next time I make it I'll double the red pepper.

Homemade Yogurt - Posted by Valerie Barber

Homemade Yogurt

1/2 gallon whole milk
6-8 oz yogurt, to use as a starter {I love using Greek yogurt as it makes it a lot thicker!}
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 TBSP vanilla {optional}
1/3 cup sugar {optional}
fruit, as an addition once it's made {optional}

You'll also need a crock pot, heavy towel, candy thermometer and a cookie sheet.


First I'll summarize the basics steps involved, then I'll detail out the crock pot method and a short-cut crock pot method.

  1. Slowly bring milk up to 180 degrees. Add powdered milk and whisk to dissolve.
  2. Cool milk down to 110 degrees.
  3. Whisk in starter yogurt, sugar and vanilla, if you choose. {I personally like it better without!}
  4. "Incubate" yogurt in a well-insulated place for 8-10 hours. {An oven works great!}
  5. Transfer yogurt to smaller containers, if necessary. Refrigerate until set, about 12 hours.
  6. Enjoy by iteself or with added fruit!


Crock Pot Method: {Learned from A Year of Slow Cooking, with a few alterations}

Step 1: Plug in your crockpot and turn to low. Add an entire half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2.5 hours. When 2.5 hours is up, add the powdered milk and whisk to combine.

Step 2: Unplug your crockpot. Leave the lid on and let it sit for 3 hours.

Step 3: When 3 hours have passed, turn your oven on 170 degrees.

Step 4: Scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Add sugar and vanilla, if you'd like. Then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. Whisk to combine.


Step 5: Put the lid back on your crockpot. Remove the crock and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around it for insulation. Place it on a cookie sheet in the oven. Turn oven off.


Step 6: Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.


Step 7: In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened! Transfer it to the container{s} of your choice and refrigerate.

{The pic above is some yogurt I made using regular plain yogurt as a starter. It was very creamy, but a lot thinner than the yogurt I've made using Greek yogurt as a starter.- see pic farther below.}

When it comes time to try it out, you can add fresh fruit, jam or a bit of sugar. As I said before, I like to thin mine out a bit with juice and drink it! It's also great with granola. If you prefer, freeze it in 1 cup measurements to use in recipes.

Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. Save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.


Short-Cut Crock Pot Method {as improvised by me, with the help of these 2 articles on making homemade yogurt on the stove.}

Essentially, this method shaves about 5 hours off the time it takes to make yogurt using the crock pot method. It does require some "hands on" effort, but in my opinion, it's worth it. This is my preferred method!

Step 1: Plug in your crockpot and turn to low.

Step 2: Get out a large saucepan and place it on medium temp on the stove. Add an entire half gallon of milk. When the milk begins to feel warm, add the powdered milk and whisk to dissolve. Leaving the burner on medium, you want to slowly bring the milk up to 180 degrees. You don't have to babysit it constantly, just stir it every once in a while to make sure nothing is collecting on the bottom. Mine took 40 minutes and I stirred it about once every 10 minutes.

Step 3: Before the milk is heated to 180 degrees, turn your oven on 170 degrees. Also fill your sink part way with col water and ice.


Step 4: When milk has reached 180 degrees, remove the pot from the burner and place it in the cold water. Make sure water isn't high enough to go in the pot. Mine covered the bottom 2-3 inches of the pot and it worked great. Cool milk down to 110 degrees. Mine took about 6-7 minutes to drop temps.

Step 5: After it has cooled, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Add sugar and vanilla, if you'd like. Then dump the bowl contents into the crockpot. Whisk to combine.

Step 6: Put the lid on your crockpot. Remove the crock and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around it for insulation. Place it on a cookie sheet in the oven. Turn oven off.

Step 7: Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.


{The yogurt above was made with Greek yogurt. It's so much thicker! I did use a whisk to make it creamier as this batch turned out with a grainy texture initially. See below for more info on that.}

Step 8: In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened! Transfer it to the container{s} of your choice and refrigerate.