Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini




“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Have you every noticed that there seems to be a day or a month for just about every thing? There’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, Secretary’s Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Day. There are also month long celebrations, too. October happens to be National Pasta Month, so along with the Recipe Redux I am ready to cook up some pasta.

Let’s face it, pasta has been getting a bad rap lately. With the craze of the Paleo diet that eliminates starch, the new CDC diet recommendations calling for more vegetables, and more people eating a gluten free diet, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that there is less space for carbs like pasta. Well, pasta is great! Why give up something that is so enjoyable to eat? Really. Whole grain pasta is a good source of tryptophan that helps convert to seritonin, which is key to fighting insomnia, depression, and irritability. And whole grains help a person to feel full longer.

My solution is to have the pasta and eat it too. Add some vegetables into the mix for a more balanced diet. In this way you still get the wonderful taste pasta, with all the of benefits of whole grains and vegetables.

This recipe for Spaghetti Puttanesca . . . → Read More: Spaghetti Puttanesca with Matchstick Zucchini


Blueberry Nut Butter Sandwich



Have you ever discovered something so obvious that you wonder, why didn’t I see that before? That’s the way I felt when I realized what I’d been missing all these years by not knowing how good a blueberry nut butter sandwich is. It was like a V8 moment. I wanted to slap my forehead and say, “What a dummy, I could have been enjoying a blueberry nut butter sandwich all these years.”

Yesterday I wanted a nut butter sandwich but without the jam or jelly, and then the idea came to me, why not try it with blueberries? I’d been eating peanut butter with bananas since I was a little girl, why hadn’t I tried it with berries? I spread almond butter on a piece of whole wheat bread, topped it with fresh blueberries and took a bite. What a surprise! Why would anyone ever come up with the idea of making jam to put on toast when this fresh fruit tastes so fresh and juicy?

You might be thinking, why put up a post for something so simple, I mean…, blueberry nut butter sandwich? Really?

Yes. Really.

If I didn’t write this post today you could go years, like me, without ever having it cross your mind to make a blueberry nut butter sandwich. That would be sad, and I would feel guilty for not having shared my find with you, even though you might think it is trite. But if you try it, I know . . . → Read More: Blueberry Nut Butter Sandwich

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 . . . → Read More: Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon Salad

Homemade Tofu Bacon



Are you a tofu lover, hater or are you altogether indifferent to it? Check all of the above for me. I find that it really depends on how the tofu is made. If I were to eat tofu straight out of the package I’d think it was dull and insipid, and pre-marinated tofu can be overpowering and too salty. The best option is to make your own marinade and then eat it plain as in this spicy marinated tofu, oven roasted, or grilled.

A couple of months back I posted a recipe for tempeh bacon, which I make all the time to use in sandwiches. Yesterday I had to cook some tofu before it spoiled and I got to thinking, why not make tofu bacon? Tofu bacon is a very healthy alternative to real bacon and it tastes good. OK bacon lovers it’s not bacon—that’s true. But it tastes pretty darn good and it’s a very good source of protein when you want to eat lunch but you don’t want to eat luncheon meats. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to get the marinade made, and once it’s fully saturated in the sauce, cooking time on the grill or in the frying pan is just 6 minutes.

Tofu is high in protein and calcium, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free (if using gluten-free Tamari) and low in fat and cholesterol. And as far as the taste being bland, well…there is a remedy for that—it’s called marinade. Like the song . . . → Read More: Homemade Tofu Bacon

Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



I couldn’t get enough of the flourless pecan sandies cookies that I made a couple of weeks ago so I’m back today with flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. This month the challenge of the Recipe ReDux blog group was to come up with a healthy and tasty stackable food, and if I had read a little more closely I might have posted a veggie burger, tuna burger, or vegetable stacks. Let’s just say it was a lucky mistake anyone could have made when I misread the instructions. I know my boys are pretty happy about the oversight.

I first got the idea for flourless cookies from Sue’s site at TheViewfromGreatIsland. I absolutely loved the pecan cookies that I was inspired to make after seeing Sue’s cookies. The pecan cookies turned out a little on the thin side so I wanted to change the texture for the cashew so it would have more volume. I added chopped cashews, chocolate chips and cashew meal (ground cashew nuts). The result is something like a macron with the added texture from the nuts and chips

During my research for flour less cookies I came across a couple of other good sites: BakingBites, and SallysBakingAddiction. Sally likes to under bake her cookies. She says 8-10 minutes. I chose to bake these a little longer 10 to 11 minutes. Cashews are a light colored nut and I like see some color on the cookies when they come out of the oven so . . . → Read More: Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce


I’m enjoying the company of my son Gabriel before he leaves for his military assignment. It’s really nice having him around now for now. You see that kids inherit or pick up a mish and mash of things from their parents; maybe the same eyes or unruly hair, or possibility a streak of stubbornness. One thing he absorbed from me is his interest in cooking. Even as a little boy he like to stand on a chair or sit on the counter and stir the pot of whatever happened to be cooking on the stove. Now as an adult he has his own book of recipes. As a child who grew up in the age of computers you would think that he would have an online cookbook to keep his recipes, but no, he has a moleskin book where he lovingly writes all his favorite recipes.

This week Gabriel is really into a Tzatziki recipe that he found on this blog with the memorable title, He’s already made it three times this week to put on his salads, and it was a hit with his friends at his going away party, too. So I was in the market this morning I saw some asparagus and thought, wouldn’t it be luscious to eat it asparagus with yogurt dill mustard sauce? Ha, his tastes sometimes rub off on me, too. My sauce has the same basic ingredients as her tzatziki, but it has more emphasis of lemon, leaves out . . . → Read More: Asparagus with Yogurt Dill Mustard Sauce

Homemade Yogurt Cheese – 3 flavors



“I received a gift card to offset the expense of my ingredients. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Today I’m sharing my recipe for homemade yogurt cheese with you. TheRecipeRedux and the California Milk Advisory Board are sponsoring a contest to celebrate the theme “dairy good”, and have asked the members of TheRecipeRedux (this includes me) to come up with a lightened version of a favorite recipe using real California milk and cheese products.

Homemade yogurt cheese is simple to make and it’s a great way to add flavor to fruit, veggie sticks, breakfast toast, sandwiches, bruschetta, and whatever else you can think of. Occasionally, my kids love getting bagels from the corner bagel shop. Thirteen bagels come in a bucket along 2 containers of flavored cream cheese—your choice of flavors. The prepared cream cheese spreads taste good, but they have too much added sugar, and the cream cheese spreads are loaded with more saturated fat than I want for myself and for my family. Homemade yogurt cheese is less sweet and has only about ¼ the saturated fat than cream cheese ounce per ounce; and it has less than half the calories. So to eat healthy you can make your own yogurt cheese using one of your favorite yogurt brands (mine are Brown Cow Farms and Straus Family . . . → Read More: Homemade Yogurt Cheese – 3 flavors

Homemade Chai Tea




Have you ever had homemade chai tea? It’s delicious and if you’ve never had it now’s the time to get out a pot and get it going. This month members of the Recipe ReDux group are blogging about a healthy beverage. I love chai! But I’ve been pretty lazy and have just been buying the prepackaged tea bag versions from Tazo or Trader’s Joe’s. They are both good but they are not as good as homemade chai tea.

I guess you could say that I really started liking it last summer while I was in Barcelona for a few days. A friend of ours from the city took us on a fantastic walking tour all over town. She talked to us about the architecture, politics, food and so on. Isn’t it great when you can see a place with a person who lives there? You get to learn little details that you’d never learn on your own. Anyway, it was a hot afternoon and when we were good and tired she took us to a small tea room. It was my first experience of going to a tea room and it was also my first time to drink homemade chai, and they were both great first time experiences. I will visit a tea room again, and as you can see, I am drinking chai again.

Being inquisitive, I asked the tea maker what she put in the tea and she said there are six ingredients: black . . . → Read More: Homemade Chai Tea

Gourmet Pizza with Ahh …mazing Cauliflower Pizza Crust


Today’s recipe is for a gourmet pizza with an ahh …mazing cauliflower pizza crust. A few weeks ago after I posted Coca—a Healthy Pizza, one of my Facebook friends sent me a this link for cauliflower crust pizza. I’d never even heard that you could do that, but I thought it might be worth looking into. It turns out that this vegetable crust isn’t such a big secret. It seems like everyone is making this crust and someone just forgot to tell me about it. That’s why I’m telling you about it, in case someone also forgot to tell you about it, too. But look at the list of bloggers and cooks who are in on the secret: TheLuckyPennyBlog, SavoryLotus, Hungry Girl, Detoxinista, Recipe Girl, Paula Deen, and many others.

Cauliflower pizza crust is also much faster to make than regular pizza crust. My Tex-Mex pie takes about 3 hours with a regular crust. With this vegetable crust I can get the whole thing done start to finish in just 1 hour and 15 minutes. Now that’s what call progress. And talk about healthy. This pizza earns 5 stars for My Healthy Eating Habits. This recipe is vegetarian/vegan, diary-free, grain-free, great for weight watchers, and other dieters, and the taste is excellent. And if you like meat you can have your pizza and eat it too. Just like traditional pizzas you can top top it with tomato sauce and pepperoni, ham, sausage, whatever you like, knowing you’re doing . . . → Read More: Gourmet Pizza with Ahh …mazing Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Whole Wheat Penne with Vodka Sauce


It’s hard to believe we’re already a week into February. This calls for whole wheat penne with vodka sauce. I don’t know—any excuse will do, right? It’s also Ina Friday and that’s the real reason I chose to make this recipe.

Ina Friday 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, that she got from Chef Joe Realmuto, of Nick and Toni’s restaurant in East Hampton. It’s called penne alla vecchia bettola, but I call it whole wheat penne with vodka sauce, a vegetarian meal. Find the original recipe in Ina’s book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.

Some of my friends have asked me to come up with dishes that taste like you’re cheating, but have less calories and fat. What did I do with this recipe to make it healthier? I cut out the cream, and reduced the Parmesan cheese by 75%, used fresh vegetables instead of canned, reduced the olive oil by 50 percent, and used whole grain pasta instead of white. You might be wondering it if a dish could still taste good after all the cuts—believe me it does. The freshly cooked vegetables add a lot of . . . → Read More: Whole Wheat Penne with Vodka Sauce