Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe: Best Nut Protein Bars Ever!

Recipe: Best Nut Protein Bars Ever!
I've been making these the past couple of weeks and they are so good... I even have cut the oats for less carbs or use gluten-free oats. Give them a try...get recipe

Food for thought: What is proper holiday cocktail fare for 2012?

I went to a cocktail party the other night and was intersted to see what everyone thought was proper holiday cocktail party fare...here in 2012.
I brought proscuitto-wrapped breadsticks (that I baked from frozen dough) plus some skewers of cherry tomatoes, mozzerella and basil. Simple, easy finger-food. Nothing outstanding but good (the plates were empty at the end of the night!).
Others brought:
Deviled eggs--yes, really (no one ate them)
Cream cheese pinwheels, again, I'm not kidding. Tons left at end of party.
Pink frosted lemon cupcakes (for a Christmas party?) She took most of them home.
Homemade pork dumplings (yum) Many left, but they were good.
Cheese and cracker (Townhouse, if I'm not mistaken) Picked over.
Baked brie (timeless) Gone.
Cheesecake (people love cheesecake!)
Just saying.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas en Italia: A truly simple hors d'oeurve recipe

This is one so pretty and easy!

Get some skewers (I got some bamboo ones from Target for under $2). Thread on a small fresh mozzerella ball (they sell them at most groceries) and then a cherry tomato and then another mozz ball.

Mix some pesto with good quality olive oil (about 2 tbsp. pesto in 1/4 cup of oil). Drizzle over your mozzerella and tomato skewers, then scatter some chopped basil on top.

Voila! A red, white and green hors d'oeurve...perfect for holiday cocktail parties!


Super Simple Hors D'oeurves

This is so easy and delish!

Get some long breadsticks (Stella D'oro is fine). Wrap each with some prosciutto and sprinkle with shredded parmesan (not grated, shredded). Then pop into a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes.


Happy holidays!

Friday, June 22, 2012

One of the highest chef incomes (and where first phone call was made)

This city has one of the highest chef incomes in the nation and also has the distinct honor of being the city where the first phone call was made...Boston. Not too surprising, but interesting!

Super Easy Fruit Sorbet

I love this recipe because it's really not a recipe, just an action or two. It's especially good in the summer when there are so many abundant fruits, but I make it in the winter with frozen fruits (dark cherries are my fave). Also, I don't like how sweet the prepared sorbets can be and this is just as sweet as I like it.

How to make:

Just take 2 cups of frozen or fresh fruit and put in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of juice (pineapple, pomegranate or oj work great) and blend until smooth. If you used frozen fruit, you're done! Enjoy.

If you used fresh, put in the freezer to 2 hours and then reblend and enjoy.

You can add a little agave syrup or sugar if you like it sweeter before you blend.

Great combos:

Frozen cherries and pineapple juice
Frozen peaches and cherry juice
Frozen blueberries and pomegranate juice
Frozen bananas and orange juice
Frozen raspberries and peach nectar
Frozen strawberries and oj

*You can pre-freeze fresh fruits and use them to make smoothies, too.


What city buys the most sunglasses in USA (you would never guess)

I love this fact as a former Northwestern resident who now lives in the sunny SW. I would never guess it because I know what the weather, but it's...SEATTLE! Who knew?

This city is ranked number 6 for culinary careers in the US and I would agree. The entire NW is full of delicious food!

What is the BEST city for culinary jobs in US?

According to to www.chefsblade.monster.com, the best city ranked for culinary careers in currently Denver. Interesting!

Need Leads?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Best Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

I love, love, love a good Greek salad! I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and would venture downtown to Greektown every chance I could get. Once I moved away, I realized not all Greek salads are alike and boy, do some screw up the dressing!

The dressing should be a simple lemony-vinaigrette (sans vinegar) type to let all the flavors shine through. Here is one I'm sure you'll love...and while not technically authentic Greek (due to the seasoning added), it's nearly perfect.

Perfectly Delicious Greek Salad Dressing

4 TBSP fresh lemon juice (if you like it super lemony, add another)

1/2 cup olive oil (EVOO)

1 TSP. Cavender's Greek Seasoning (I keep this stuff on hand for many, many uses http://www.greekseasoning.com/)

1/4 TSP. dried mint AND 1/4 TSP. dried oregano

Whisk or blend together and voila!


Super Simple Fruit Cobbler Recipe

I love this super simple fruit cobbler recipe. It's actually a composite of other recipes and my own and I hope you like it! I made it last night with canned tart organic cherries (drained). You can use any summer fruit or canned or frozen fruit. Just be sure to drain all canned fruit well and defrost frozen before using.

Karen's Super Simple Cobbler

1 c. self-rising flour*
3/4 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter (1/2 a stick + 1 tbsp). melted
1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. salt (or a couple pinches)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. washed fruit -- berries, peaches, cherries all work great

Put flour and sugar and salt in bowl and whisk together. Add milk and blend well. Add melted butter and blend until smooth.

Butter a baking dish (8" x 8"). Pour batter in dish. Top with fruit (just scatter it around. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on top.

Enjoy with whipped cream or ice cream.

*You can make your own self-rising flour: Take one cup of measured flour and remove 2 tbsp. Add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. of salt. Put all into a bowl and you're ready to go!

For the love of gluten...

If you're like me, you quickly discovered the deliciousness of gluten once you tried "gluten-free!"
YUK! Most of it is tasteless and I'm so glad I don't have a severe gluten allergy, but I do notice when I eat wheat bread I bloat...a lot!
So I tried this and that and I've found Rudy's gluten free breads. Now, these aren't new and you're probably wondering what rock I live under if I haven't tried them, but I was gun shy after so many bad experiences with other brands.
Rudy's tastes kind of like "bread light" and has nice texture when toasted. I love it in the morning and it even makes a nice French toast. All without the bloat.
Rudy's...so glad I tried it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Low (er) carb baking tips

My favorite lower carb baking tips:

1. Use almond meal instead of flour when baking sweet items.

2. Find a gluten-free flour mix for baking--use in place of flour or mix with almond meal and even ratios (works great with cookies!)

3. Cut down on the sugar--you can easily lose half the sugar in a recipe and not miss it. For example, if a cookie recipe calls for 1 c. white sugar and 3/4 brown sugar, I make it 1/2 c. white and 1/3 c. brown. I usually never miss the extra sweetness.

4. Use rice or other types of pasta when cooking. There are lots of no-flour pastas that taste great on the market.

5. Don't use flour to thicken sauces. Use arrowroot or gluten-free flour blends.

6. Make your own almond mean/flour by buying bulk almonds and grinding in a food processor until very fine--but be careful not to over grind or you'll end up with almond butter!

Yummy Crispy Kale Chips Recipe

How to make crunchy, salty kale chips in just minutes!

This recipe is super easy and will satisfy your need for crunch, oil and salt!

1 bag of washed kale
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Put the kale into a large bowl. Break up large pieces and remove stems, if needed.
Drizzle with the olive oil and toss well to coat each piece. Lay the kale out on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until kale is crisp, but not browned. Salt and sprinkle with cheese (if desired). Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Healthy "Weight Loss Soup" Minestrone

SEE VIDEO RECIPE AT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D39P39lLQCM
  • 1 can cannelini beans or white kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for serving*
  • 1 strip bacon or pancetta , cut into 1/4-inch pieces (see note)*
  • 4 medium celery ribs , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage , halved, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • cups water
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup  V8 juice
  • 1 TBSP. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Ground black pepper / salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese , for serving*
*Items marked with an asterisk are for the Not-so-weight-loss soup version
  • 1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrot, onions, and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 5 to 9 minutes. Stir in garlic, cabbage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes; continue to cook until cabbage starts to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  • 2. Add drained beans, water, broth and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully tender and liquid begins to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 3. Add V8 juice to pot; cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with chopped basil on top.

    *For "Not-so-weight-loss verions, brown bacon in Dutch oven, then add oil and vegetable (step 1). When soup is finished, serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan on top.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Easy, Cheesy (Nearly) No Carb Lasagna!

    Amazing (Almost) No-Carb Lasagna!

    *This makes enough for 2 individual portions or small pan. To make more, just increase ingredients.

    1 half yellow onion, diced

    3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

    1/2 lb. mild italian sausage

    1 can 28.oz crushed tomatoes

    1 cup ricotta

    fresh mozzerella

    3/4 c. shredded parmesan

    2 eggs

    1 tbsp. cream or mil

    salt and pepper

    1 tsp. dried oregano

    1 tsp. dried basil

    1/2 c. olive oil

    1/2 c red wine

    fresh basil

    First, heat olive oil in large, heavy saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes until soft.

    Add sausage broken into pieces and brown several minutes. Stir and break up sausage with spoon as it cooks.

    When sausage is browned, add red wine to deglaze pan. Add can of tomatoes and stir. Season with 1/2 tsp. oregano, basil and s/p. Cover and cook sauce another 30 minutes on medium heat.

    While sauce cooks, prepare your egg crepe "noodles:"

    Add two eggs, cream and s/p to a pourable mixing cup. Whisk until fluffy. Spray non-stick skillet with oil and heat.
    Pour a small amount (about 1/4 c.) of egg mixture to skillet and swirl to coat bottom of pan evenly. Cook 3-4 minutes, then loosen and flip. Cook another minute and remove from heat. Prepare more crepe noodles. Set them aside.

    When sauce has cooked at least 30 minutes, you are ready to assemble your lasagna. Mix ricotta with 1/4 tsp. oregano and salt and pepper.

    Put a little olive oil (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp) in the bottom or your lasagna pan (s). Add a little sauce--just enough to cover bottom of pan. Lay down your first egg crepe. (You may need to half or trim crepes to fit your pan.) Add more sauce, dollops of ricotta and thinly sliced mozzerella to cover layer.

    Continue to add crepe, sauce, cheese until finished. Top with shredded parmesan.

    Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until your lasagna is bubbling and top is lightly golden brown.

    IMPORTANT: Let sit for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

    Top with springs of fresh basil, if desired. Serve. You'll never miss the noodles with this rich and tasty dish!

    Get your kids to eat greens with this all-in-one smoothie!

    Best All-in-One Smoothie: Fruit, Fiber, Greens

    All-in-One Smoothie...Fiber, Greens, Fruit and tons of healthy nutrients (Dr. Oz approved!)


    These will make two 8 oz. smoothies.

    1 banana, peeled
    1 orange, peeled (two if small)
    1 c. frozen fruit (cherries work great)
    2 cans pineapple juice
    1/2 c. POM
    1 tsp. Benefiber
    1 scoop Red Drink Powder*
    1 scoop Green Drink Powder
    1 handful of kale or spinach, washed and stems removed

    Add all + 1/2 cup of ice to blender and blend very well. Serve and enjoy!
    *Drink powders are available at Trader Joe's.