Celebrating the delights of good healthy everyday food and special treats! Sharing recipes, information, and experiences.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rich and Creamy Carrot Soup

One month anniversary for my blog!  I'm so enjoying this-hope you are too!

I found when we moved to Maui that living here didn’t naturally generate those urges to make and eat hearty cool weather fare like soups, chili, stews and the like.  However, I think my blood must have thinned out in the 3 years we’ve been here full time, because I have no problem with those kinds of foods today!

Case in point-this hearty carrot soup.  I had carrots in last week’s produce box and even using some each day in my lunch salad, I still had quite a few left.  And, today is produce day again so last week’s carrots were begging to be used!

I thought about making dilled carrots for a dinner side dish but that didn’t really feel right with the rest of the meal.  So, what could I make with the carrots that I could use later?  Carrot cake?  Love it but, A. having a whole cake around is not on my healthy eating plan right now! And B. I didn’t have what I needed to even make it remotely lower in calories than the “normal recipe”.

So….Soup!  As usual for inspiration, I looked in the pantry and here is what I came up with.  It is really thick and rich, exotic tasting, even.  If you like a thinner soup, use more chicken broth. 

I was also happy to use up a couple of the limes off our new lime tree!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pizza Night

Mushroom, turkey sausage, spinach whole wheat pizza

I love having my whole wheat pizza dough ready to be pulled from the freezer for pizza night.  The only request from the hubby regarding toppings for tonight's pizza was for "mushrooms" so I started there-I had some buttons and shiitakes in the fridge.  Also there was some nice turkey Italian sausage in the freezer, so that came out and into the fridge last night with the dough ball.

Dough ball from the freezer

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Goodness in a Glass

Most of my friends, like me, try to eat healthy at least most of the time so when I have guests for dinner, I often turn to fruit to end the meal.  We can almost always get local strawberries so I definitely gravitate to those.  Beautiful clamshells full of fat, juicy blueberries get my attention at the warehouse store.  This week, my local grocery store had a great special on raspberries, and they weren’t already moldy and mushy so I grabbed them!  (Don’t you hate it when your berries go south as soon as you get them home?)

Here is a super simple, very versatile dessert.  Approximately 95 calories, 23 grams carbs, .7 grams fat, 4 grams protein as depicted

1 cup of raspberries, (or any berry or berry mixture)
2 TBSP non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
Drizzle of Agave nectar (or natural honey)
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Find a pretty glass or bowl and add the fruit.  Top with yogurt, Agave and cinnamon. 

A sprig of mint from the garden would have made a nice garnish!

You could also layer the ingredients and top with ice cream instead of yogurt.  Some crunchy granola would also go well, in layers or sprinkled on top.  A drizzle of melted dark chocolate would be very nice!  See, I told you-simple and versatile.  Enjoy!  Please tell me about any simple, healthy desserts you share with guests.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Night Fajitas

Do you have a "go to" recipe?  One that you know will never fail you, that you can pull together flawlessly when its the end of the work week, you're tired, cranky, or just not that into cooking that night?  My recipe for chicken fajitas fills that bill for me.  I've been making them for years and they always turn out great, good for just the 2 of us with leftovers (you know I love to cook once and eat twice, or more!) and much appreciated by company.

When we moved to Maui, I couldn't find the Mexican Seasoning I had been using forever.  I was not going to give up my "go to" meal and asked several of my mainland friends as well as my Mom to send me some of the seasoning.  No one could find it so I guess it's no longer made.  I experimented with some different taco, Mexican, and fajita seasonings and am currently using a brand name taco seasoning with 10 calories/TBSP. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Picture This: Picture Perfect Papaya

How lucky we are to be able to get fresh papaya all the time!
If you haven't tried fresh lime juice with papaya, give it a try, I think you'll like it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm a Believer Shake

I don't know if you are old enough to remember the Monkee's song "I'm a Believer" but I can't get the jingle out of my head after today's mid-morning shake. 

I'm always interested in shake ideas (Roni at Green Lite Bites shared one with Green Tea as a base, on my list to try) and an ingredient I see occasionally in shakes is raw spinach.  Now don't get me wrong, I love spinach, raw or cooked but my knee jerk response to it as an ingredient in a shake is "BLECH!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Punched Up Whole Grain Quinoa Salad

I follow one of the blogs on the Whole Foods website and came across a recipe that I thought, with a few tweaks would be right up our alley.  Here is the original recipe.

I used whole grain quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), fresh chicken instead of store bought rotisserie (but that is a great idea if you are pressed for time), added some goodies I thought would punch up the flavors (feta, rice vinegar, cumin, lime) and used red grapes instead of green for a brighter presentation.
I poached the chicken in a flavorful broth (cumin, lemongrass, ginger) and then used the broth to make the quinoa.  It’s a pretty adaptable recipe. You could use other spices, goat cheese instead of feta, orange slices or apple cubes instead of grapes...  Let me know if you try something that works well.

Punched Up Whole Grain Quinoa Salad
Serves 5 as main course; approximately 394 calories, 38 grams carbs, 15 grams fat, 31 grams protein per serving

1 pound boneless, skinless breast of chicken, sliced into thin strips 
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 stalk of lemongrass, sliced thinly
1 TBSP finely chopped ginger
4 tsp ground cumin, divided
Ground black pepper
1 cup whole grain quinoa
1 ½  cup red seedless grapes, halved
½ cup roasted almonds, chopped roughly
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 oz reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
Lime slices, whole grapes, whole almonds for garnish (optional)

Bring the broth, lemongrass, ginger, 2 tsp of cumin, and black pepper to a boil and add chicken.  Bring back to a boil and turn off heat.  Let chicken soak in broth for 15 minutes, remove chicken and strain and save broth.

Rinse quinoa first if so directed.  My whole grain quinoa doesn’t require rinsing.  Make quinoa per package directions, using the reserved broth as the liquid (add more chicken broth if needed).  

Move to serving bowl to cool.

When quinoa has cooled, add chicken, feta, grapes and almonds.  Whisk together olive oil, rice vinegar, and remaining 2 tsp cumin. Add dressing to quinoa mix and stir gently to combine.  Drizzle lime juice over salad and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve at room temperature or chilled, alone or over chopped greens (lettuce, chard, arugula…).  Tangy feta and lime, smoky cumin, sweet grapes, tender chicken, satisfying quinoa....all good and good for you!
I served this at room temperature alongside my Asian Chard Salad.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Birthday Inspired Spicy Fish Curry

Last week for my birthday dinner, I had a most excellent Spicy Thai Fish Curry at Spago, Wailea.  For our fish dish this week, I was inspired to try to recreate Spago’s amazing fish curry.  I don’t think the Chefs at Spago have anything to worry about, but my version was pretty good for home cookin’!  Yummy, tender fish.  Lemony-lime, gingery-coconutty, licoricey curry sauce with a little heat.  Crunchy veggies.  All that goodness over white basmati rice.  Are you getting hungry yet?  You could probably wok cook this but I just used a regular pan.  Served without the rice, this would be a tasty phase 1 South Beach meal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Quiche

A frequent complaint of phase l South Beachers is “I don’t have time to cook breakfast, so what can I have that is within guidelines that will get me out of the house on time?”  Usually, someone who has been following a South Beach based lifestyle for a while will offer some great breakfast ideas.  Crustless quiches are a favorite as they meet phase 1 guidelines and can be made ahead of time. 

Here is one of my favorite creations.  Makes 4 servings each with approximately ½ C veggie (measured after sautéing), 2 protein servings and some fat;  155 calories, 9 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 14 grams protein (made with egg substitute)

2 C chopped mushrooms
¾  C chopped roasted red peppers (from jar), squeezed of liquid
½  C chopped artichoke hearts (in water, not marinated), squeezed of liquid
½  C finely chopped green onions
6 eggs (or egg substitute equivalents)
1 ½  oz goat cheese
½  oz grated parmesan
Liberal sprinkling of herbes de Provence
Cooking spray

Saute veggies in EVOO and herbes de Provence until softened and warmed through.  Place in a round cake pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover with eggs and add goat cheese in small drops.  Top with parmesan.

Cook in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until set.  Store in fridge.
Serve warmed or cold.  

It's delicious and the beauty of these quiches is that you can use whatever veggies you like or have on hand.  Give it a try, even if you aren’t a South Beacher I think you’ll enjoy the flavors and convenience.

Suggestions for easy, healthy breakfasts?

Printable Recipe

Friday, September 17, 2010

PICTURE THIS: Special Birthday Dinner

Feast your eyes!  A wonderful "big eats" meal
Refreshing adult beverage in the 4 Seasons Bar before dinner

Tempura ahi tuna

Spicy Thai fish curry

Chocolate cake and coffee ice cream!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Microwave Popcorn

Do you know how easy it is to make popcorn in the microwave? I don’t mean the many varieties of prepackaged popcorn which can contain various oils and additives. I mean just plain ole’ corn popped in the microwave in a paper bag with just hot air. How easy is that?
I heard about this on the South Beach chat boards-gave it a try and now I’m hooked. I like that I can add just the right amount of salt and flavorings. And, it is very filling!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somewhat Southern Stuffed Collard Greens

I mentioned last week about my weekly produce delivery from Kula Fields.  This past week featured some big leafy things-and despite growing up in the South, I had no idea what they were!  Fortunately, there is always a list to refer to!  Viola! Collard Greens.

Ooooooooookay, now what?  My friend Jennifer suggested using the greens like cabbage and stuffing them.  Sounds good to me, I know I wouldn't enjoy them cooked to death with ham hocks and vinegar, served with black eyed peas, as I'd known them as a kid (known of them, not eaten them!).  Next, what's in the freezer and pantry for stuffing? Ground turkey breast-that will work; brown rice-good South Beach grain; ingredients for basic tomato sauce-good; red bell peppers-mmmm, love them; onion-good.  Well, looks like stuffed collard greens are on the menu!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baked Pesto Chicken

Aloha y'all!
Last week, I made Basil Walnut Pesto and stuck it in the freezer for a future use.  I pulled it out last night with a couple of chicken breasts and tonight used them both to make Kalyn's Easy Recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken.  If you haven't found Kalyn's Kitchen recipe website/blog, I heartily recommend it.  Kalyn was one of the first, if not the first, food bloggers I started following.  She mainly features South Beach, or South Beach adaptable recipes and really was a big part of my inspiration to start my own blog.

Tonight's chicken was easy, very tasty and quick-all good!  Here's the recipe, adapted very little from Kalyn's-enjoy...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Company's Coming Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I recently purchased a slow cooker after seeing tons of healthy slow cooker meals that I knew we’d enjoy. Plus, I like cooking once and eating twice-leftovers!

When the slow cooker showed up, my hubby surprised me by asking if I could do pot roast in it. He lived in California for a long time, but I guess you can’t take the mid-west out of him completely. Pot roast is a meal I haven’t cooked in a long time!  Our good friends were coming over with the wife’s mom for dinner, and tri-tip roasts were on sale so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do pot roast and mashed potatoes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

I’ve been making my own bread for about 3 years now (in a bread machine). While I’ve been on phase 2 of the South Beach diet, I’ve cut down on bread products and when I do have bread, it is either whole wheat sandwich thins or whole wheat bagel thins. For the hubby, though, I make this bread which, after faithfully, uncomplainingly trying many versions, is his favorite. This one seems just right: good for you, good texture, good taste, easy to slice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For the Freezer: Basil Walnut Pesto

I’ve mentioned my weekly produce delivery from Kula Fields in a previous posting. Last week I received some beautiful local basil-sigh, maybe one day I’ll grow my own. I love the basil with local tomatoes, goat cheese, and a squirt of balsamic reduction-a modified caprese salad. You probably know to trim the stems and store your basil in the fridge in a glass of water, covered loosely with a plastic bag. This weekend, the basil still looked fresh and green in the fridge but I knew I wasn’t going to be using it for a while, so I made some pesto. My normal recipe uses pine nuts, but I wanted to try pesto with walnuts instead.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Buffalo Burgers with Blue Cheese, Avocado and Scallions

Buffalo (Bison) is a lean red meat that is flavorful, not gamey, and makes delicious burgers. A great source for high quality grass fed Bison is Wild Idea Buffalo.   Their site has good nutritional information and an interesting review of the the history of Bison.

Buffalo can be a bit dry as it is so lean. Adding in a source of fat, preferably healthy fat like olive oil, avocado etc, will ensure good tasty, moist burgers. I just pulled out what I had in the fridge-some scallion, avocado and blue cheese-and whipped up some quick, mid-week burgers.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Crunchy Oven Baked Fish Sticks

Living on Maui means being blessed with easily accessible, good quality seafood.  Part of eating healthy for me involves eating fish at least once a week, trying for more like twice each week.  I'm always looking for good recipes for fish that aren't too labor intensive but are "big eats" from a flavor standpoint and "little eats" from a calorie perspective.  I also look for "little eats" with regard to sustainability, meaning not buying fish that are close to depleted.  A good source to find out what to buy and what to stay away from (both when purchasing for home cooking as well as what you order in a restaurant) is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blueberry Almond Shake

Aloha!  A real challenge for me on the South Beach diet is to get in enough fruit and dairy servings.  To address this I've been whipping up some yummy shakes almost every day using various fruits and dairy products, a common tactic many South Beachers use.

My "go to" shake is with banana, almond butter, yogurt, and soy milk (and a squeeze of sugar-free chocolate syrup on occasion!).  Another favorite is strawberries, cinnamon, soy milk and ice.  A friend on the South Beach message boards uses frozen peaches in her shakes.

Today, I made a shake, chock full of antioxidant powerhouse blueberries,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Asian Chard Salad with Mushrooms and Bell Pepper

How many of you are lucky enough to have a wonderful farmer’s market nearby? Or access to locally grown produce? After moving here to Maui from the SF Bay Area, one of the first things I had to adjust to was that a lot of the locally grown stuff, the good stuff, went to the Resorts/Restaurants on the island. I was spoiled in NoCal, good produce was everywhere, at every store, and on every corner it seemed.

There are farmer’s markets here to get great stuff if you can get up and out of the house early in the mornings. I am up early; getting out of the house early, not so much. Fortunately, a wonderfully smart businesswoman here started a business of providing home delivery of locally grown produce, as well as local artisan products (jam, bread…) and local fish.  Every Wednesday I get my “goodie box” delivered right to the front door. Her name is Roxanne Tiffin and you can read more about her company, Kula Fields.