Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap and Yummy Sweet Potato Pie

Thanksgiving, this year, was wonderful.

It was a decadent, joyous time with friends. And guess what, I didn't cook the main dishes. What a relief!! Instead this year, I roasted and stuffed a chicken.

I was skeptical, but a roasted chicken for a household of two is much better (and way easier) than a roasted turkey. I stuffed this bird with a apple-cornbread-whole wheat stuffing with added celery, onion, and chicken sausage, similar to the recipe I used last thanksgiving. Yummy.

In preparation for dinner at our friend's house for thanksgiving, we prepared a sweet potato pie with a homemade whole-wheat crust. This crust is very quick and easy.

All-purpose Pie Crust:


3 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 tbsp Stevia/Truvia
1/4 cup butter or Smart Balance
3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt
1/3 cup ice water


  1. Combine flour and sugar substitute into the bowl of an electric mixer. Cut butter or margarine into tablespoon pieces; add it, along with the greek yogurt, to the flour and sugar. Use the paddle beater to cut the butter and yogurt together with the flour.
  2. With the mixer on low speed , or while stirring the mixture with a fork, pour in the cold water. When the dough starts to clump, and before it turns into a ball, stop stirring.
  3. Lightly knead dough in the bowl until it forms a ball. Divide dough into two parts. Place into ziplock freezer bag. Flatten each part into a disk, and chill for about 30 minutes before rolling.

For the sweet potato pie filling, check out my blog post at a later date for the recipe to create a delicious treat to share (or keep to yourself) that looks like this. My husband did a fantastic job with the filling, this year, making the dish an extra treat for me ;)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mushroom-Sausage Bake with Blue Cheese Crumble

In preparation for a small brunch, I created this very quick and easy dish that combined some ingredients in my kitchen (and in my garden). This came out wonderful. I love the combination of mushrooms, thyme, and blue cheese. The sausage made this more substantial dish. I say if you have these ingredients on hand, go for it and maybe open some lovely Rosé for a quick brunch with friends.

Mushroom-Sausage Bake with Blue Cheese Crumble


8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped and rinsed
1.5 links spicy chicken sausage (my favorite brand is Aidell's), chopped
1 tbsp Spanish Thyme, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper (white pepper would also work well)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp egg white

1/2 cup toasted (preferrably day-old) bread, torn into pieces (I used some whole wheat crepes but any bready item on hand will do)
1 tbsp shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder


(1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a non-stick skillet, on medium heat, add chicken sausage. Sauté until browned.
(2) Next add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tenderized but not completely cooked through. Lower heat to simmer or "low" once the sauté reaches this point.
(3) Meanwhile, prepare crumble in a food processor. Add all the ingredients (no water or butter needed as the cheese will provide all of the binding texture). Pulse until small crumbles form.
(4) Prepare the baking pan, lightly spraying with canola oil (if needed).
(5) To the mushroom-sausage sauté, add the egg whites. Toss completely and immediately pour into the baking pan. Cover sauté with the blue cheese crumble.
(6) Bake for 15 minutes or until browned.

I hope you enjoy the tender mushroom melody with the sausage and blue cheese. Yum!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spicy Cajan Chicken Bites

With some thawed chicken and in preparation for a few guests, I decided to create something fast, tasty, and spicy. Oh spice, how I love thee !?! These nibbles are great to prepare right before guests arrive. You could serve them as is or with a dipping sauce, say a barbeque sauce mixed with a bit of ranch dressing. I particularly like KC's new Southern style BBQ sauce, which they just released and sent me a sampler of as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaster Program. But you know me, if I don't like something, I won't recommend it. 

Spicy Cajan Chicken Bites

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cajan seasoning
1/2 lb chicken breast
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp no salt added seasoning (Trader Joe's)

1) Clean and dice chicken breasts
2) Add cajan seasoning to a non-stick skillet and heat skillet to medium heat
3) Add chicken breast to pan, brown on both sides. Add seasoning and cayenne pepper.
4) When chicken is almost done, add apple cider vinegar to pan. Toss to coat. The vinegar will help keep the chicken moist and lock in the seasonings.
5) Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately with some  dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup KC Masterpiece Southern Style Barbeque Sauce

1/8 cup Lite Ranch Dressing
1 tbsp finely chopped chives

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sausage-stuffed jalapenos

Moving to the south has been a wonderful change. The seasonal ingredients like jalapenos growing in my backyard is phenomenal. We have also been taking advantage of a CSA box, Lee's Produce NC, for a weekly delivery of fresh ingredients straight from the farm. If you have the option for this in your area, I would highly recommend it. With a bushel of jalapenos to use, I came up with this recipe using pantry ingredients.

Sausage-stuffed jalapenos


1 smoked sausage link, finely-chopped
4-6 medium to large jalapenos
1/8 cup cottage cheese
1/8 cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp greek yogurt (strain if runny)
1/8 cup salsa
shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, or your favorite)
black pepper and salt, as needed


(1)         Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. Using a spoon, scrape out the insides of jalapenos and save in a medium-sized mixing bowl. (Note: if you don’t want these two spicy, these contents can be discarded.)
(2)         Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
(3)         Add to the mixing bowl the diced sausage, cottage cheese, sour cream, greek yogurt and salsa. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
(4)         Spoon the contents of the mixing bowl into each jalapeno half. Top with shredded cheese.
(5)         Bake jalapenos for 20 min in the oven or until slightly browned at the edges.
(6)         Remove stuffed jalapenos from oven and allow to cool 5 min before enjoying.

This recipe is fantastic if you need an appetizer for a party or a potluck. We just couldn't stop popping them in our mouths once this got out of oven. Enjoy the spicy goodness.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seasonal Summer Fruit Salad

In North Carolina, the sun is shining and flowers are abloom. It is beautiful. We recently started service with Lee's Produce to get fresh local fruits and vegetables delivered from farm to door. It is wonderful when the produce is delivered.

This week, the bounty included a juicy cantaloupe. I am not a huge cantaloupe fan but my husband is. Using some frozen blueberries from a delivery a few weeks ago, I decided to make something that I always love....Fruit Salad.


1/2 large cantaloupe
2 medium Red Delicious apples
juice of 1 lemon or 2-3 tbsp
2 tbsp rum
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup apricots (canned but no added sugar) or fresh


(1) Run water over frozen blueberries to thaw.
(2) Wash and dice all fruits.
(3) Toss remaining ingrediants together in a large bowl.
(4) Allow fruit salad to marinate for 2hrs to overnight.

Enjoy the summer harvest with friends, perhaps a glass of wine, and of course, a smile.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mummy's Banana Bread

My mom recently sent me a care package with delicious banana bread in it. I had to get the recipe to share with everyone because it is super yummy.

Banana Bread 
(2 large loaves or 3 small)   

3 ripe bananas (very ripe)
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
1 cup soy milk (or any milk)
¼ cup water (add/reduce if needed, depends on how soft and large bananas are)
1 large egg
3 tbl olive oil 
2 tbl baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbl cinnamon
½ tbl salt
2 pkts splenda
1 tbl brown sugar
¼ cranberries (the amount is optional- you can leave off or use substitute)
2 tbl Sunflower nuts - optional or any nuts 
¼ cup raw oats 

(1) Peel bananas and place directly into mixing bowl (KitchenAid).
(2) Use mixer to break up bananas- until mashed up.  
(3) Add egg and all wet ingredients and mix for 2 mins (leave back ½ of the water, then add slowly after all dry ingredients are added. 
(4) Add remaining ingredients and mix for 2 mins- add the remainder of water or a little more.
(5) Put into greased baking pans.  You may sprinkle a little more oats on top and use a folk lightly to press into dough. Bake for about 45 mins, 340 degree oven.  
(6) You may want to brush on some egg white and a little sugar (optional) about 3-5 min before taking out. Immediately place on rack to cool.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hot Cross Buns (Easter Sunday recap)

It has been a little while since I have blogged but I have been busy, both enjoying friends, learning about wine, and revisiting my tried and true recipes.

This past Easter was shared with a lovely group of friends, where they provided a delicious feast, and I provided my wholesome version of a sweet treat, Hot Cross Buns. I was asked, is this a dessert or a side? Well the answer is, it can be both, depending on how sweet you make it.

I love it this way, as a side dish, not too sweet but sweet enough.

Hot Cross Buns
adapted from


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cups warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 1 egg white + 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar or 4 splenda packets + 1 stevia packet
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 tbsp orange/grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons milk (almond, skim, or your favorite)


  1. Put warm milk, butter, 1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute), salt, egg, egg white, flour, and yeast in bread maker and start on dough program.
  2. When 5 minutes of kneading are left, add currants, orange/grapefruit zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Leave in machine till double.
  3. Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls. This step will help give that golden brown color on the crust.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
  7. To make crosses: mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush an X on each cooled bun.

I don't know (actually I do) why these are only made and eaten once a year. Such a shame. This recipe needs to be used much more often. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Braised Kale with Apples and Rosé

I recently had a few girlfriends over to catch up, watch a movie, and relax. It was an enjoyable evening. I only had a limited time to prepare a few sides for the movie-watching experience. With a lot of kale from a recent trip to the grocery and some delicious Rosé from Chatham Hill winery I decided on this pairing.

Braised Kale with Apples and Rosé

canola or olive oil spray
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 bunch of Kale, chopped
1/2 cup of Rosé wine
Seasoning blend (my favorite is from Trader Joe's)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and black pepper, to taste

(1) Spray a sauté pan with canola oil.
(2) Add red onion, apple, and bell pepper, if using, to pan and allow to brown slightly.
(3) Add the kale and the next three ingredients. Allow the kale to cook until completely wilted and slightly brown.
(4) Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Enjoy the braised kale with a glass of the Rosé. It has lovely strawberry flavor notes. This was so quick and easy. A great way to get your calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, and, of course, your daily wine.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ginger Banana Muffins

As a treat for my husband who loves a high-fiber cereal for breakfast, I decided to revisit a tried and true Kashi cereal recipe for Hearty Banana Muffins. I, of course, had to add my mom's crystalized ginger and some extra zing to put my twist on it.

Ginger Banana Muffins
adapted from Kashi cereal recipe


2 and 1/2 cups Kashi Go Lean Fiber cereal, crushed in food processor
1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 sugar crystals or 8 splenda packets with 2 truvia packets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered
2 tablespoon crystalized ginger
2-3 medium bananas mashed
1/2 cup nonfat or almond milk
1/2 cup egg whites
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

(1) Preheat oven to 400F. Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
(2) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
(3) Spoon batter evenly into lightly oiled muffin tins.
(4) Bake for 20 minutes or until a fork in the center comes out clean. Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

I personally like these with a glass of almond milk. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A wine complement: Bacon-wrapped Shrimp

For a recent wine tasting event, featuring red wines from Pinots to Sparkling ones, I prepared a quick and easy pairing. I was excited that it was a hit. Did I mention how easy it was. Check out this recipe and try it for your next gathering.

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp


Turkey Bacon (Jennie-O or Butterball)
Medium-sized Shrimp (frozen)
Red Pepper Flakes
No-salt added Season Blend (Trader Joe's)

(1) Spray a baking sheet with canola oil. Preheat oven to 350F.
(2) Cut turkey bacon into halves or thirds.
(3) Wrap shrimp with the turkey bacon, with the ends tucked underneath.
(4) Assemble wrapped shrimp on a tray.
(5) Dash red pepper flakes and seasoning blend to your liking.
(6) Bake for 20-30 min until you have reached your desired level of crispiness.

I loved this dish paired with a Pinot Noir. I also work with Chatham Hill winery and I know their Riesling would be awesome with this. Give it a try and let me know what you think ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Yummy Tex-Mex Slaw

For our monthly potluck, I recently put together a southwestern slaw that I adapted from I didn't realize it would be such a hit so even though I don't have a picture, I will post the recipe. If I were you, scale up how much you make because this one is hard to stop eating, the cabbage does shrink in size after the incubation, and you might want to leave some aside for yourself after serving it.

Spicy Tex-Mex Slaw
adapted from

  • Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, diced (seed only if you don't want it spicy)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (optional: I left it out)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar or 2 stevia (sugar alternatives)
  • 1 tablespoon pimento sauce (can be found in the caribbean food section)
  • 2 tablespoons dried garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • pepper to taste

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, corn, onion, red pepper, jalapenos, and cilantro. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, bbq sauce, sugar, garlic salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss to combine. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. I refrigerated overnight.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Turkey two-bean chili and gluten-free biscuits

One of my good friends, who has a gluten allergy, recently sent me a wonderful recipe for turkey chili with gluten-free cheesy biscuits. I don't have pictures to show but just imagine the delicious flavorful combination from these details. Try it and let us know what you think.

Guest post from B. Riley

Turkey two-bean chili

I created this recipe when HBH came to visit and announced that he doesn't eat beef. Here we go:

(1) Brown the following: 1lb ground turkey, 1lb hot italian poultry sausage, 1lb sweet italian poultry sausage, 2 c mushrooms.
(2) Once browned, add 2 tbsp tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes.
(3) Add herbs: 3 tbsp minced garlic, one large sweet onion, 2 tsp thyme, 2 tbsp chipotle powder, 2 tbsp chili powder.
Cook until onions are translucent. 
(4) Add cumin, 2 more tsp thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and stir.
(5) Add 3 cans stewed tomatoes, 1 can black beans (drained) 1 can white beans (drained), 1 can sweet corn (drained), 2 tsp thyme, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp chipotle powder. 
(6) Stir, cover, simmer for 30 minutes.

Makes at least 10 cups of chili or 40 servings. Freezes well, too.

I served that with 

Cheesy garlic biscuits


2 c gluten-free bisquick
1 c low fat sour cream
2 c low fat mild cheddar cheese
2 tsp (heaping) garlic powder


(1) Mix all ingredients until crumbly. Form into little balls and stuff down into a silicone mini-muffin pan. 
(2) Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Makes 24 biscuits.

Split, pour on the chili, top, and serve in cute little dishes. - or split and serve on little spoons for "bites". :-D
Note: As always, gluten free can be replaced with regular (especially with bisquick).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oatmeal Gingerbread

I have had an extended craving for gingerbread through the holiday season. I was dying to put together a recipe that married the crunchy texture of oatmeal with the wonderful spiciness of gingerbread.

I used a base recipe for a quick bread that is now my FAVORITE go-to recipe to make a sweet treat. The recipe is adapted from, providing both sugar and non-dairy modifications.

I don't encourage people to use my recipes but really if you have 20 minutes, you have to try this one!!!

Oatmeal Gingerbread


1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
3/4 cup sugar or 4 packets of Splenda + 2 packet Stevia
1/6 cup barley malt or molasses
1/2 package of instant  sugar free vanilla pudding mix (powder)
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
11/4 tbsp ground ginger
1 dash of ground cinnamon
1 dash of ground clove

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease one 9x5 inch baking pans or a mini-loaf pan.
(2) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, sugar substitutes, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
(3) In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, barley malt (or molasses), egg whites, and vanilla. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Do not over mix.
(4) Bake 1 hour in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out (mostly) clean.
(5) Remove the bread from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Note: since this is a pudding-based recipe, the bread will not fully set until after the 10 minutes of cooling time.

This is wholesome goodness, that I feel, not only can but rather should be enjoyed year round. I might have to bake it again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Toasted Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

The crab cake is a well celebrated appetizer (or entreé) in the southeast. I have made crab cakes with a recipe that was very easy and healthful. Having guests over recently, I came up with the idea of using a crab cake-like filling to stuff delicious white button mushrooms. It turned out to be a delicious and quick appetizer, especially since the filling can be made when you have time, then stuffed and baked shortly before guests arrive. Let me know what you think.

Toasted Crab-stuffed Mushrooms


- Large white button mushrooms
- Lump crabmeat, 1 small can
- Lite mayo, 1-2 tbsps
- Onions, finely chopped (best in food processor)
- Celery, finely chopped (best in food processor)
- Canola oil spray
- cayenne pepper, 1 tsp
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese (optional)


(1) Preheat a medium sauté pan and spay with canola oil.
(2) Mix the lumpcrab meat with mayo, onions, celery, cayenne, salt and pepper, according to your taste.
(3) Form the crab mixture into small patties.
(4) When the pan is very hot, place patties in pan, flipping over after browning.
(5) Allow crab patties to cool completely on a saucer after cooking.
(6) Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth.
(7) Using a spoon, scoop out the center of the button mushrooms, chopping these pieces for later. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
(8) Mix the chopped mushroom stems and centers with cooled crab patties, browned on both sides.
(9) Stuff the mushrooms with a tbsp (a spoonful) of the mixture. If desire, dust parmesan cheese over the tops of the mushrooms.
(10) Place the mushrooms in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes before guests arrive.

Enjoy the savory bites and enjoy the omega-3s....