Peanut Butter and Jelly Cracker Sandwich

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cracker Sandwich

 

 

 

“I received free samples of Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax and Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic from Dare Foods Incorporated mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Dare Foods Incorporated and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

 

Dare Foods is sponsoring a contest for the members of theRecipeRedux to spread the word about celiac disease awareness month. So I want to share some facts with you about this disease:

Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States

  • In average healthy people: 1 in 133
  • In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
  • Celiac disease affects at least 3 million Americans.
  • The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the US is four years; this type of delay dramatically increases an individual’s risk of developing autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, osteoporosis and even cancer.
  • The number of people with celiac disease in the U.S. is roughly equal to the number of people living in the state of Nevada.
  • The incidence of autoimmune diseases in the general US population is 3.5%. In a 1999 study, Ventura, et.al. found that those diagnosed with celiac disease between 2-4 years of age had a 10.5% chance of developing an autoimmune disorder. Additional findings are outlined in the table below:

(The above facts come from The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center)

Fortunately for those people who suffer from Celiac disease, which is caused by eating foods with gluten, there are now more gluten free products on the grocery shelves for them. Dare Foods has just put out a new line of gluten free crackers: Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic, and Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax, and they taste very good!

Up until a month ago I would have turned up my nose at gluten free (GF) bread and crackers. However, I recently learned that there is an important difference between GF bread and GF crackers. GF baking expert, Shauna James Ahern, explains on her blog GlutenFreeGirl, that baked goods which don’t require the development of gluten, like crackers, brownies, and quick breads, turn out very well as a GF product because “they don’t need the stretchy elastic qualities of gluten”, whereas loaf breads are more problematic because they require gluten development. This is why Benton gluten free crackers taste so good—they are naturally better without gluten. There are 2 flavors you can try: Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic, and Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax, and you’ll be pleased to know they are lower in sodium compared to other crackers.

Benton Crackers

The recipe I’m sharing is simple, but it like it, like it, yes I do! It’s a peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwich and I’m spreading the PB and jelly on the Gluten Free Original Cracker with Flax. This is a fun and healthy snack that your kids will also love! Peanut butter sandwiches are great, but the peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwich has an edge over the classic sandwich because you can dunk it in milk and it won’t get all soggy like bread sandwiches do, unless you keep it in the milk too long. You can make other variations of the cracker sandwich, too: peanut butter with apple, peanut butter and chocolate spread, peanut butter and banana, or peanut butter and tangerine. They are all fun, easy to make and delicious. Try them!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cracker Sandwich

Total Time: 7 minutes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cracker Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Benton Gluten Free Original with Flax
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • jelly of your choice, strawberry, apricot, blueberry or other
  • 1 jar chocolate spread of your choice
  • banana
  • apple
  • tangerine

Procedure:

  1. Spread peanut butter on as many crackers you want to eat.
  2. Cover the peanut butter with the topping of your choice, and top with a second cracker or eat it as an open-face sandwich.
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cracker Sandwich

 

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Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

 

Ina Friday falls on the first Friday of the month when a group of bloggers come together to blog about one of Ina Garten recipes and make the food from the original recipe. Another option we have is to create a new recipe, or modify one of her recipes after being inspired by it. I’m taking the second road and developing a similar recipe, but with a couple of twists.

 

It’s good to be back this week for Ina Friday because I’m excited about the salad I’m sharing with you today. From the title you already know it’s arugula, shrimp and watermelon salad, but what you don’t learn from the title is how good this salad tastes. It’s the definition of yum. What makes this salad interesting is the blending of peppery, sweet, salty, creamy and piquant.

I first saw this healthy vegetarian recipe on Ina’s website. Adding the shrimp was an idea I got from a restaurant in New York that served a watermelon salad with octopus. Unfortunately the name of the restaurant is gone from my mind, but the memory of the salad is still wafting around in my head. I recall the dish would have been better without some of the ingredients but what stood out was the octopus with the watermelon. The sweet and salty seawater flavor fused really well with the fruit and whatever green it was. I know more people, especially kids, would have reservations about eating octopus, and it’s not so easy to find either, so I decided to use shrimp instead. Cooking the shrimp in olive oil with garlic added another complimentary layer of flavor, too. Who would thought garlic together with watermelon, but it works!

And by the way, if you have never been to New York City, you must go, and take a suitcase full of money with you. The city is not cheap. There are fun things you can do for no money like riding the free ferry to Staten Island and back, walking in Central Park, walking on the Highline, or visiting and walking around Times Square. You probably get the picture by now—take some good walking shoes. You’ll need money for the attractions, great restaurants, sight seeing activities, boat rides, and theater. We saw the Book of Mormons. What an introduction to the theater for my 16 year-old son. Hilarious!

 

Disclaimer: the link below is an affiliate link and I may earn a commission if you click on it and make a purchase. I use affiliate links to offset the cost of running the blog.

Related Amazon Products: Farberware Millennium Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set

Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

    For the Salad:
  • ½ pount medium shrimp, raw
  • 2 ounces baby arugula leaves, rinsed under cold water
  • ½ pound seedless watermelon, 3/4-inch cube (without the rind)
  • 3 to 4 thin slices red onion, cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (1 figured in 1/8 teaspoon salt)
  • For the Shrimp:
  • ½ pound shrimp, medium size, washed and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese

Procedure:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil with 1 teaspoon minced garlic in a small skillet. When the garlic starts to turn white, stir and count 10 seconds and then add the shrimp. Stir it around well.
  2. When the shrimp are white on the bottom side flip them over, cover with a lid and remove the pan from the heat. Allow them to finish cooking with the steam for 3 minutes.
  3. Place the arugula, watermelon, red onion and ¼ cup feta cheese in large bowl. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the salad, followed by the 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly toss the salad.
  4. Add ½ the shrimp and the juice from the pan to the salad and toss lightly.
  5. Place the remaining shrimp on top of the salad and decorate with some of the red onion. Top with one tablespoon feta cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

**Cooking time for the shimp is about 2-1/2 minutes and there are 3 minutes unattended time while the shimp steam finishes in the pan.

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Weight Watchers Points Plus: 9 per serving and there are 2 servings.

Arugula Salad Nutrition Facts

Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad 2

Please visit the other member participating in Ina Friday to see what delicious food they’ve cooked up:

Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwich

 

 

 

Spring-Fling-Dairy-Free-Recipe-ContestLast week after making a luscious orange cream sauce with cashew milk called “Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries ‘n Cream,” I decided to present one more recipe for the Spring Fling dairy free recipe contest sponsored byby ®So Delicious.

You may remember that back in March I made some flourless cashew butter chocolate chip cookies that I was raving about. Well, I really wanted to try the Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert made from almond milk by ®So Delicious, in an ice-cream sandwich. This time I made cookies with almonds. They are they same delicious dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and vegan cookies, as the cashew butter cookies I made, but these are made with almonds. Until I started making flourless cookies I would never in my lifetime have imagined that flourless cookies could taste so good! But why not? Macaroons are good, and these are similar to macaroons—with egg, sugar and almonds. And by the way, if you have never tried a macaroon you must put that on your bucket list.

Another reason that these cookies are particularly good on these dairy-free cream sandwiches is that they are soft and chewy, perfect for biting into. From the time you sink your teeth into the cookie it’s a smooth ride down to the delicious frozen almond milk and then that pleasing thought comes to mind: ”Yeah, that’s what I wanted.”

If you’ve never had a dairy-free frozen dessert, or “ice-cream,” let me assure you that frozen almond milk, which I refer to as ice-cream, really hits the spot! I had some friends over when I made the ice-cream sandwiches and they couldn’t believe that they tasted so good; they asked for seconds. Later on, my son invited his friend to have one, and his eyes just about popped out when he found out it was dairy-free. “Cool,” he said.

Winter is over and spring is here! Forget the pies, hot puddings, cakes, porridges, buckles and cobblers and bring on the dairy-free almond milk ice-cream sandwiches. They are so delicious!

 

Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: (26) 2-1/2 inch cookies; 8 ice-cream sandwiches

Serving: 1 ice-cream sandwich

Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

    For the Cookies:
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups almonds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, flax seed oil, or avocado oil
  • ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • For the Ice-Cream:
  • 1 pint Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert made with almond milk, by ®So Delicious

Procedure:

    For the Cookies
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°
  2. Place 1-1/2 cup of almonds in the food processor with 1 teaspoon olive oil and process until the nuts are mealy like sand. Separate out ½ cup to save for later.
  3. Continue to process the remaining nuts until they are fully blended and creamy like peanut butter, but this will be firmer than store bought nut butter.
  4. In a mixing bowl place the sugar, salt and baking soda and stir well. Whisk in the egg and and then add the nut butter and stir until the nut butter and the egg are well incorporated. I use a large balloon whisk to mix.
  5. Stir in the reserved nut meal (ground nuts) and add the chocolate chips and mix until they are well incorporated.
  6. Use a small ice-cream scoop to measure out the cookies and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. (The ice-cream scoop should measure, or have a diameter of 1-inch from side to side.)
  7. Press the cookie dough balls with the palm of your hand until they have a 1-3/4 inch diameter.
  8. Bake for no longer than 10 minutes. They will be puffy when they come out of the oven and they will fall as they cool. Allow them to rest about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cookie rack to cool.
  9. To Make the Ice-Cream sandwich.
  10. Find a 1/4-cup measurer, or 1/3-cup measurer and line it with plastic. Fill the cup with ¼-cup So Delicious Vanilla non-dairy frozen dessert. Pat it down with a spoon so it forms a disc.
  11. Lift the plastic with the ice-cream out of the measuring cup and turn over onto the bottom side of a cookie. Remove the plastic and top with a second cookie, bottom side facing the ice-cream.

**Note - you will have extra cookies

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Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesday, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad – #SundaySupper

 Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad

Do you have Sunday meals with your family? Sunday dinner was an important meal at my parent’s house when I was growing up, and It is a very important meal at my Spanish in-laws house. Both sets of parents, mine and my husband’s, knew their kids had work, social obligations, sports activities, school committees, outside interests and a myriad of other things that come up during the week that can keep them from having regular week night dinners with the family, but Sunday supper was different.

Generally, Sunday is the day before people go back to their weekly activities of school and work and, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot going on. So there weren’t any good reasons why you couldn’t be at home with the family for a homemade family meal. And in our families there were chores, too. Someone was appointed to set the table, another to clear it, and another the do the dishes. This schedule rotated so you wouldn’t be stuck doing the unwanted task of washing the dishes. We didn’t care for the chores too much, but having dinner with the whole family left me with a lot of good memories.

Isabel Laessig, from Family Foodie, believes that the Sunday supper is a time and place to nurture the family members and she’s so passionate about it that she started a movement called the Sunday Supper Movement. She’s got other bloggers on the bandwagon with her and now the movement reaches 1.5 million followers with the recipes posted from the participating bloggers. You’ll find the recipes tweeted, and posted on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

This week the tasks for the bloggers was to come up with a recipe that used no more than 5 ingredients. I wanted to share this tomato, avocado and cucumber summer salad with you because it can be made in less than 15 minutes and it’s so delicious. I had a variation of it for the first time at Zeytin’s Deli, next to Bryant Park in NYC. It’s perfect for a hot summer day!

Do you think Sunday suppers are important? Leave a comment and tell me why. Don’t forget to take a look at the other 5-ingredient recipes listed below.

Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: about 3 cups

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad  #SundaySupper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1-1/2 tomato
  • 1-1/2 avocado
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste

Procedure:

  1. Wash all the vegetables.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut into ¾-inch cubes.
  3. Chop the tomatoes ¾-inch cubes.
  4. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and cut the meat into ¾-inch cubes.
  5. Pour the olive oil and lime juice over the vegetables, lightly salt and toss until all the vegetables are coated with the dressing.
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Points Plus Value 7: Points Plus value per serving 2; there are 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts Summer Salad

Don’t forget to take a look at the other 5-ingredient recipes listed below.

Appetizers, Salads and Starters

Side and Accompaniments

Main Dishes

Dessert and Beverages

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries ‘n Cream!

Berries 'n Cream

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love spring? It’s when we start to see green plants, bushes, and trees, colorful flowers of all types, birds singing, and children out playing. It’s also when we start to see spring foods coming into season. The clearest sign to me that the season has changed is when the early tasty strawberries and blueberries line the shelves at my neighborhood grocery store. It’s the time when I start switching from eating lots of apples and oranges to eating lots of berries.

Spring-Fling-Dairy-Free-Recipe-ContestThis month the So Delicious company is sponsoring a Spring Fling Dairy Free Recipe Contest. The recipe, as you can probably imagine must in some way say ‘spring’, and it must be dairy free, too. I could thing of nothing more that means spring to me than berries and cream. Though the recipe does not use real cream, the idea of cream goes back to this time of the year when cows are out grazing in the pasture, delivering offspring, and mother cows are lactating. The idea of cream is associated with spring, but not necessarily with dairy products.

Cashew milk is a wonderful alternative for those who like cream in coffee, tea, baked goods and desserts, but who for one reason or another avoid dairy products, be they religious and cultural reasons, health, conviction, or simply for the taste. Cashew milk is mild in flavor compared to almond or coconut milk. Like cashew milk, soy milk is also light in flavor but cashew milk tastes closer to real cream. For this recipe I made a variation of crème anglaise, a classic French sauce typically used for custards, ice-cream, crème brulee, or as a sauce served over cake. The cream is flavored with orange peel and vanilla bean and tastes luscious over fresh berries.

This dessert is very nutritious, too. My nephew in Spain was a very poor eater and his mother, who was very concerned about his health, always made sure that he ate a custard or flan to finish off a meal. He didn’t fight eating these desserts and his eating them ensured her that he was getting some nutrition. So go ahead and enjoy this nutritious dairy-free and gluten-free dessert. It’s good for you and nothin’ says spring better ‘n berries ‘n cream! 

Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries and Cream!

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: about 3-1/2 cups

Servings: makes 8 or 9 1/2-cup servings

Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries and Cream!

Nothin’ says spring better ‘n berries ‘n cream parfait is a variation of a tasty orange crème Anglaise. The light flavor of the cashew milk is the perfect substitute for dairy milk and cream because the flavor doesn’t interfere with the sauce as other nut and soy milks do.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups, plus 2 tablespoons cashew milk (So Delicious brand)
  • 5 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Peel of 1 orange, the white pithy underside removed and discarded
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 to 8 strips of orange peel 1-1/2-inchs long by ¼ inch wide
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 2 6-ounce containers of blueberries

Procedure:

    For the Cream:
  1. Begin to heat the cashew milk with the sugar and the vanilla bean. Stir often.
  2. Place the egg yolks and the cornstarch into a mixing bowl and stir with a whisk until they are well combined.
  3. When the temperature of the milk reaches 160° very slowly add it to the egg yolks. Add a couple of teaspoons at first, count 5 slow seconds, and then add a couple more teaspoons. Next, add a tablespoon at a time counting 5 seconds between each addition. Do this about 4 times. Next, add a quarter cup at a time, stirring well after each addition and 5 second wait. (The idea is to get the hot milk mixed with the eggs without cooking the eggs. You want a the consistency of a smooth sauce—not scrambled eggs.)
  4. Pour the egg and milk mixture back to the pot on the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 175° and the milk has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. To test if it is ready run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the sauce leave a path that does not close up or run, it is ready. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the cream to cool. It will thicken up more as it cools.
  5. Remove the orange peel and the vanilla bean from the pot. Make a lengthwise slit down the length of the bean. Use the edge of a paring knife to scrape out the bean paste. Add the paste to the custard sauce and whisk it in until it is well combined.
  6. Stir the cream every 5 minutes for the first 20 minutes, and then every 15 minutes until the cream is cool. This is to prevent the cream from forming a skin on top.
  7. For the Parfait:
  8. When the cream reaches room temperature you can start to layer the parfait.
  9. Wash the fruit and cut out the stems of the strawberries and discard them, and then slice the berries in half.
  10. Place a layer of strawberries in the serving glass, and then follow with a layer of cream sauce. Cover the sauce with a layer of blueberries, followed with a mixture of strawberries and blueberries. Cover with a tablespoon of sauce, or as much as is needed to make the parfait look attractive and show the fruit. Top with a mint leave and a twist of orange.
  11. Chill in the refrigerator 4 hours before serving.

**Notes: The dessert takes about 20 minutes to make, but the additional hour is cooling time. The sauce should be stirred from time to time to help it cool down quicker and to prevent a skin from developing on top.

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Berries 'n Cream 2 This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesday, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

 

 

I don’t know how the weather is where you are but it’s gorgeous here in Arizona. This is the time of year when the desert is most beautiful; the Spring flowers are out, the birds are singing, and people are out walking, biking, hiking and taking advantage of this stellar weather. It’s also the time of year when many families gather to celebrate for religious and cultural reasons, or simply a Spring fling to get away from the day to day routines. I’ve been wanting to post family style pesto salmon trout wrapped in filo dough for a long time. Some time back I posted a recipe for wild salmon with pesto wrapped in filo and each piece of fish is individually wrapped. In this recipe the whole fish is wrapped, and it’s a superb dish to serve on a special occasion, or anyday for family and friends.

Before I got my healthy eating habits I had no problem about using puff pastry for this dish. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against puff pastry now; in fact, I love it. But, the way my healthy eating habits works is that I make daily decisions about what foods I’ll eat and prepare for my family. Puff pastry is scrumptious but, there is another healthier choice that also tastes very good, and that’s to use filo dough brushed with extra virgin olive oil rather than using puff pastry. I prepare this dish for family and friends and everyone raves about it. It tastes sooo good, and it’s just the better choice when compared to salmon trout in puff pastry. Take a look at the graffic below to see a Nutrition Facts comparison (the fish and pesto are the same in both dishes, but 2 pieces of white bread are factored in for the salmon trout with filo recipe—it’s an equivalent for the filo dough—and 1 pound of puff pastry is factored in for the fish with puff pastry).

The results of the comparison are pretty revealing. Even though they are both rated with a nutrition grade of C+, the fish in puff pastry has two and a half times the saturated fat as the fish in filo, and it has almost twice as many calories.

Salmon-Comparison

 

Sometimes you don’t realize the difference a few changes can make until you see a side by side comparison. Dietary modifications are easy to make and the food can be equally delicious if not better. What’s more, you may even gain a healthier outlook knowing that you are taking care of your body. Go ahead and enjoy this guilt-free, delicious, and healthier recipe with family and friends!

**Edited -4-22-14 The title of the post should read family style pesto salmon trout wrapped in filo, as I made the recipe with steelhead trout which is somewhat like salmon but is part freshwater fish. I have kept the title the same but have edited the narrative.

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo

Ingredients:

    For the Pesto:
  • 2 cups basil, well packed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Other:
  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds Steelhead salmon, farmed or fresh
  • 1 box filo dough
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for brushing the filo)

Procedure:

    Prepare the Pan:
  1. Line a jelly roll pan, or a large pan with tin foil. It must be large enough for a cookie rack to fit inside of it.
  2. Make the Pesto:
  3. Process the garlic until it is minced, and then add the pine nuts and process 8 seconds. Add the salt and basil and process about 8 seconds. Slowly add the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place this in a small bowl covered with plastic and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  4. Prepare the Fish:
  5. Select a knife to cut the salmon trout away from the skin. A long slicer works best, or you can use a chef's knife. Wash the fish and pat it dry.
  6. Cut the fish filet away from the skin. To do this hold the knife in your right hand, and the hold the tail of the fish with your left hand (this is for right handers. Left handed people with reverse this and hold the knife in the left hand and the tail in the right). Slide the knife blade back and forth between the flesh and the skin, and keep the angle of the blade at a 30° angle. Once you have successfully sliced in about three inches you will be able to grab the skin and hold it firmly as you continue to slide the blade back and forth to remove the skin. Discard the skin, and lightly salt and pepper the filets.
  7. Arrange the fish on the countertop. Place the first filet on the countertop with the bright orange side facing up, with the tail on your left. The second filet goes on top of the first, bright orange sides facing together and the tail end will be on your right. Arrange them so there is an even thickness when the two sides are together. They will not completely overlap but they should distribbute to an even thickness. Trim the tail ends, as much or as little is needed, to have a center piece that feels like the weight is evenly distributed.
  8. Get out your filo dough and carefully unroll it. Lift up one full sheet and lay it on the counter. Lightly brush on some to cover. Repeat the with 3 more sheets of filo and 3 more time of oiling. When you have 4 sheets together on the counter place the bottom filet in the center of the oiled filo sheets. Cover with all the pesto sauce and then top with the second filet, making sure that the thick end of the top piece matches up with the thin end on the bottom piece.
  9. Get out a new sheet of filo and lay it on the counter so it is longer horizontally than vertically. Lightly brush it with oil. Top this with a second sheet of fill and lightly oil it. Next, fold it over from left to right. Lay this piece over the fish to cover it, and then trim the edges to remove the excess dough.
  10. **At this Point the last two pictures do not match up with the instructions. I hope they do not confuse you, but the idea is to get the package of fish flipped over and onto the cookie rack. The best way to do this is to use a long spatula and slide the salmon trout into the center of a flat cookie sheet (no edges). Once the fish is on the cookie sheet place the top side of the cookie rack face down on the fish and then, holding the cookie rack and the cookie sheet together flip them over 180°. The top side of the salmon trout package should now be face up on your cookie rack.
  11. Bake:
  12. Preheat the oven to 375°. Score the filo with 5 angled slits about 5 inches long each. Place the salmon in the oven and bake until the center of the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 165° and the filo is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

**You'll find fill dough in the frozen section of the supermarket. Buy it ahead of time and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. This is very important! Keep the the fill covered with a very lightly moistened cloth.

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Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving: 14. There are 6 servings.

Family Style Pesto Salmon Wrapped in Filo 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTotally Talented Tuesdays, and Full Plate Thursday

My Favorite Pork Shu Mai

Pork Shu Mai

 

 

Shu mai, siu mai, shumai, or shaumai. No matter how you say it or write it, shu mai is an outstanding Chinese dim sum appetizer that no one can seem to get enough of, at least not in my family. My boys could eat this dish every week and never tire of it. Whenever I ask what appetizers they think I should make for a special dinner, inevitably the coral response is shu mai. You might wonder what makes it so good. It’s all in the right blend of savory ingredients: pork, ginger, cilantro, and garlic. And there’s also the pasta that it’s all wrapped up in. Shu Mai is versatile but generally you’ll see it made of pork, chicken, or shrimp, or a mixture of any of these. Guests love it and ask for the recipe. You just can’t go wrong with it.

Part of the fun of making shumai is that it smells so good when it’s steamed, and it can be enjoyable making the dumplings, especially if you have small children who want to get in on the action. Before I was married my own family went through a phase of eating Chinese food. We ate a lot of spring rolls, Chinese rice, and stir-frys. About the same time I was working for Sharon Singstock, a caterer in Malibu, and one of her specialties was a Chinese theme spread consisting of a stir-fry, Chinese chicken salad, spring rolls, and shu mai. So I have done my fair share of rolling and stuffing. Now that I think about it, working with the caterer came first and her food spilled over in my family’s way of cooking.

One of my favorite books is The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, by Barbara Tropp; it’s still on my bookshelf today. Another book I enjoyed learning about Chinese food from is Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery. Both of their shu mai recipes are very good; mine is a little more kicked up with with the flavorings. If you’ve never tried your hand at Chinese cuisine maybe you should give it a try. The results taste sooo good!

 

Related Recipes: Won Ton Hamburger,  and Chinese Rice Revisited

 

Disclaimer: Please note that the books listed above are  Amazon links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. I use the books mentioned and I recommend them because they are useful.

Pork Shu Mai

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 40 dumplings

Pork Shu Mai

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine or sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 package won ton or gyoza wrappers (40 wrappers needed)
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, or Napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce, divided
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, divided

Procedure:

    Make the Dumplings:
  1. Put the first nine ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.
  2. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into a wrapper, bring up the sides of the wrapper up. Twist the sides of the wrapper clockwise. This will form clockwise pleats around the filling. Place all 5 fingers around the middle of the pouch and lightly push down so the bottom of the dumpling forms a flat base. As you push down some of the filling will ooze up through the center. This is expected and desired for the finished dumpling (1st picture of four). Keep the Shu Mai covered with a lightly damped tea towel or paper towel until your are ready to steam them.
  3. Prepare the Steamer: (**See Notes)
  4. Pour water into a 12-inch skillet until it reaches the level of about 3/4 inch. Place a steamer basket into the skillet and line with lettuce or cabbage leaves.
  5. Place the shu mai on top of the leaves spaced ½-inch away from one another. Do not allow them to touch or they will stick together (2nd, 3rd and 4th pictures of 4).
  6. Cover the pan and steam about 8 to 10 minutes until they are cooked through and then serve immediately with the sauce.
  7. Check the water level and add more if necessary, and repeat the steaming process until they are all cooked.
  8. For the Sauce:
  9. Get out two small dipping bowls, about ¾ cup in size.
  10. Put 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar in each bowl. Stir to mix.

**Notes:

1. To steam the shu mai you can use stacked bamboo steamer baskets if you have them. Placed them in a wok with an inch of inch water; otherwise, you can set up a stainless steel steamer basket in a 12-inch skillet with 1-inch of water in the bottom of the pan.

2. Instead of using lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves you can lightly oil a plate, place the dumplings on top of it and put it on top of the steamer basket in the skillet (non-traditional way).

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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus: 6, and there are 8 servings.

Nutrition-Facts-Shu-Mai

Pork Shu Mai 2

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Mock Mashed Potatoes

 

Mashed potatoes, move over. There’s a new kid in town and it’s not the popular paleo diet cauliflower mash. The new kid is roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes. There is a difference between these “mock” potatoes and those on the paleo diet. People on this diet enjoy mock mashed potatoes made from cauliflower as it’s low in carbohydrates and tastes yummy because they don’t seem to have a problem of loading on cream cheese, butter, parmesan cheese, or heavy cream to heighten the flavor, because these foods are acceptable, even good on this diet. You’ll find a couple of these recipes on Food Network, and I Breathe I’m Hungry. I’m sure that they taste very good, but if you’re like me you might prefer a dish that tastes extraordinary, but doesn’t have all the saturated fat. That’s where roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes comes in.

My recipe for the garlic and herb imitation mashed potatoes is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s also high in manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. The secret ingredient that adds the nutritional boost and lends creaminess to the dish isn’t the cauliflower in the dish—it’s millet, which is an ancient grain thought to have originated in Ethiopia. It was consumed by early civilizations and is still consumed today. The grain has not been genetically modified; it’s high in protein, fiber, and it’s easier to digest than other grains. It can be used in pilafs, cereals, and baking. Now it’s time to get back to the recipe.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Serve as a side dish with poultry, pork, or beef; or, use as a topping on one of you favorite vegetarian or vegan casseroles. Enjoy this healthy recipe! Maybe you’ll make it a part of your healthy eating habits. Have you ever tried millet? What did you make with it?

Resources:

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreeingredien2/p/milletsglutenfree.htm

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=53

 

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Procedure:

    For the Roasted Garlic:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Get a head of garlic and slice off the tips of each clove. Once you have slice off the tips, break the garlic head so the cloves separate from the garlic head.
  3. Get out a piece of foil about 12 inches long. Place the garlic in the center of the foil and drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil over the cloves. Make a pouch with the tin foil by bringing the lengthwise sides together and folding them over a couple of times and then do the same with both ends.
  4. Place the pouch in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. To see if it is ready squeeze one of the garlic pieces through the cut end. If should be soft and creamy.
  5. When the garlic is ready, squeeze the garlic out of the clove and remove any hard parts. You can freeze any leftover garlic that you don't plan on using.
  6. For the Millet:
  7. Pour 2-1/2 cups of water into a small pot and bring it to a boil. When it reaches a boil add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 cup millet. (It is not necessary to wash it like quinoa.) Cook on medium low heat about 20-25 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  8. For the Cauliflower:
  9. Break up the cauliflower into flowerets and place them in a pot with water just to cover. Cook in an inserted knife penetrates easily. Strain the water and discard it. *Note - a second option is to steam until tender.
  10. To Mash:
  11. Add the cooked cauliflower to the cooked millet along with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 10 to 12 cloves roasted garlic, 1 tablespoon olive, 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, and mash using a potato masher. You may also opt to use a hand held mixer to blend until they are well mixed, or place the cauliflower/millet mixture in a food processor to blend.

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes is gluten-free, and for a dairy-free version eliminate the 1 tablespoon butter and substitute with olive oil for vegan and dairy-free mash.

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 Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving: 5. There are 4 servings.

Nutrition Data Mock Mashed Potaotes

Mock Mashed Potatoes 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Totally Talented Tuesdays

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

 

 

 

This is Ina Friday which falls on the first Friday of the month when a group of bloggers come together to blog about one of Ina’s recipes and make the food from the original recipe. Another option we have is to create or modify one of her recipes after being inspired by it. I’m taking the second road and developing a healthier recipe based on one of Ina’s.

 

Do you ever go to a party and wish there were something to drink besides alcohol and sodas? It happens to me often. Oh, I do occasionally drink alcoholic beverages, usually on very special occasions. Taking care of myself, exercising and being careful with my diet are a priority to stay healthy.

Alcohol is on my list of foods and beverages “to avoid” for my healthy eating habits, and I have learned, or conditioned myself to drink plain water if thirsty. In Spain (hubbie’s home), there are more options for teetotalers. It’s easy to find a variety of non-alcoholic beverages on the menu, even non-alcoholic beer on tap. And here in Arizona, I really enjoy a bottle of German Clausthauler beer from time to time. It’s the best “non” that I’ve ever tasted.

This week the Ina Friday blog group members are making an appetizer or  beverage and I’ve been eyeballing the watermelon mojito from her Ina’s book Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? I know it’s a bit early for watermelon, but it’ll be hot soon enough and then you’ll have this drink in your arsenal of summer beverages. I’ve modified the original recipe to exclude the rum, and I’ve reduced the amount of sugar, making it a perfect healthy and refreshing drink on a spring or summer day, and I’ve kicked it up with extra mint and hot sauce (optional). When I was at the store I was tempted to buy cantalope melon, which would also taste great with mint, but I controlled myself in order not to stray too far off of Ina’s idea. If you like this drink you could try and do some experimenting on your own; try apple, kiwi, or honeydew melon. Hope you enjoy this healthy beverage recipe for kicked up non-alcoholic watermelon mojito.

 

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 6 ounce glasses

Kicked Up Non-Alcoholic Watermelon Mojito

This drink depends on the size of the leaves you use. I recommend starting with 1/4 cup and then adding more if necessary. It tastes best with a lot of mint, and if you want more kick to it try adding a few drops of hot sauce per glass.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed (1 pound)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mint fresh leaves, loosely packed (about 30 small to medium leaves)
  • Louisiana hot sauce (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Blend the ingredients Starting with about 15 leaves of mint.
  2. Add more mint to kick it up more, if you like more mint in it.
  3. Add about 4 drops of hot sauce per person (optional)
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Weight Watchers PointsPlus equals 6;
there are four servings and each serving is 1 point.

Nutrition Facts Watermelon Mojito

 

Watermelon Mojito

Please visit these other great bloggers: Alyce @ More Time at the Table, Anna @ Cheese with Noodles, Ansh @  Spice Roots,  Barbara @ Moveable Feasts, Bhavna @ Just a Girl From AAmchi Mumbai, Linda, @ Tumbleweed Contessa, Mary @ The Egg Farm, Minnie @ The Lady 8 Home, Patti @ Comfy Cuisine, Peggy@ Pantry Revisited, Rocky Mountain Woman @ Rocky Mountain Woman, Veronica @ My Catholic Kitchen

This recipe is also posted at Full Plate ThursdayThriving on Thursdays, and Foodie Friday

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

 

 

If you’re like me you probably hate seeing your bananas turn black and overripe before you get a chance to eat them. The first thing that most people think of making is banana bread, but sometimes you may not feel like it. Well, a scrumptious option is banana pancakes. Over the week-end I made some really nice fluffy pancakes from a recipe that I modified from KitchenTreaty.com. Her jacks are amazingly good but I wanted to make healthier pancakes. To do this I cut out the sugar—old bananas are high in sugar so no added sugar is necessary; I used olive oil instead of butter, more whole wheat flour than white, and non-fat Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk. Yogurt isn’t necessarily a better choice than the buttermilk that she uses, but I always have yogurt in the fridge, whereas I’d have to make a special trip to the store for buttermilk, and then I’d be forced to think of another recipe to use it in so it wouldn’t go to waste.

These pancakes are light and fluffy due to the amount of baking powder in the recipe. Generally speaking, having a lot of baking powder in the batter will make pancakes rise more, but it will also give a more unpleasant taste, but it this recipe it works because the strong banana flavor masks the taste of the baking powder.

There is a trick to making good pancakes and that is to under-mix the batter. This is entirely different from making cake batter where you mix the batter very well. Pancake batter is only mixed until the dry patches are incorporated, and I find it best to use a large balloon whisk because it does the job quicker and better than a spatula.

We all loved these healthier, mostly whole wheat banana pancakes and I’m betting that you will, too!

 

Amazon Related Products: Wolfgang Puck Indoor Electric Reversible Grill & Griddle, Best Manufacturers Balloon Whip 14-inch

Disclaimer: Please note that the Amazon links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. I use the products mentioned and I recommend them because they are useful.

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 to 13 pancakes

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk, 2%
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, non-fat
  • 2 small ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Procedure:

  1. Place the milk, yogurt, bananas, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract into a blender.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. If you have one, use a balloon whisk to mix the wet ingredients with with dry, and mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix!
  4. Let batter rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. Heat a non-stick griddle to high and when it comes to temperature lower the heat to medium-high.
  6. Fold a paper towel up about 3 times and use it to wipe about 2 teaspoons of olive oil onto the grill and spread it around.
  7. Pour the batter back into the blender; it's easier to pour from. You'll pour about 1/3 cup for each pancake. Another option is to use a ladle to pour the batter, or use a measuring cup to help you pour it on.
  8. Flip the pancakes when you see several bubbles form on the top of each pancake.
  9. Add a pat of butter to the top of each pancake as the second side cooks. This way the butter will melt and you won't have cold butter sitting on top when you're ready to top with the syrup.
  10. Cook until both sides are a medium golden color.
  11. Serve with sliced fruit, apple sauce, yogurt, and/or maple syrup.
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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Values: 8 per serving; 2 pancakes are one serving.

Nutrition Facts Banana Pancakes

 

Mostly Whole Wheat Banana Bread 2

This recipe is also posted at Hearth and SoulSimpleSupperTuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Totally Talented Tuesdays