Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy. Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy."

Okay, some of you may not know that song, but around our house, whenever I made any kind of salad with fruit, we go about singing this silly song. It is from the Wiggles, ever seen it? It is the cutest kid's show ever with four grown men from England singing the catchiest (oddly unannoying songs). They teach kids about so many different topics through song...anyway...back to the subject at hand. My friend Jill Wren made this salad years ago and I've been in love with it ever since. I made it just the other day and took it to church for a social event...EVERYONE wanted the recipe. This recipe is in my cookbook, but I have a slightly sweeter variation for anyone who wants it a tad sweeter and I'll include that, too. The coolest thing about this salad is that when I bring it home from an event, if there is any left over, (which is a big "if"...I doubled the recipe and only had scanty amounts to bring home) my kids devour it!!! The other cool thing about this recipe is that you can go light on all of it and it is still DELICIOUS!!! The last cool thing about can disguise wheat in it and get those you love eating whole grains. Truth be told, I have a friend of mine who declares openly that she "hates" whole wheat. She ate this salad and LOVED it, only to find out later that there was wheat in it. Anyway...I guess it is about time for the recipe.

Brown-Sugar Crusted Grape Salad **V**

21⁄2 lbs. grapes

6 oz. sour cream

6 oz. cream cheese

2 T wheat berry puree (to find out how to make this, click here: Ways to Use your Wheat

3⁄4 tsp vanilla

1/3 C sugar

1/3 C brown sugar

1⁄4 C chopped pecans (optional)

Blend sour cream, cream cheese, vanilla, wheat berry puree and sugar together. Coat grapes with mixture. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over grape mixture. Refrigerate until brown sugar is crusty. Serves 8-10.

Sweeter Variation: Mix the brown sugar in with the white sugar and then sprinkle extra brown sugar on top with the nuts, if using them.

Lighter Variation: I used nonfat Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream to reduce calories AND add tons of protein to the salad! I also used light cream can't tell at all and it is DELICIOUS! I can't tell you how many people asked for this recipe!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011 there anything better than hot French bread?

I LOVE French Bread. I love it so much that I used to eat it slice by slice with no butter, honey or garlic. I love whole wheat. I love it so much that I try to make everything I can from it. I've never found a way to combine my love of whole wheat with my love of French bread...until now. I have to admit to my "insiders" the recipe in my book isn't even close to as good as this one. Sorry about that, but I hadn't found the magic combination until just the other day. This one will be in my next cookbook, so don't worry. For now, just scribble this in next to your other French bread recipe in your cookbook and use this one instead. It is wonderful and only 106 calories per slice if you cut it into 16 pieces...not too bad for a delicious slice of French bread. Here is the recipe...

Deliciously Light and Crispy French Bread

1 1/4 C lukewarm water

1 T sugar

1 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mix above ingredients lightly until yeast is dissolved and let sit for about 5-8 minutes.

1 tsp. salt

1 T oil

1/2 tsp gluten

1/2 tsp dough enhancer

3-3 1/2 C freshly and finely ground whole wheat flour

2 T cornmeal

1 egg white mixed with 1 T water

Add salt, oil, gluten, dough enhancer and 2 C of the flour to the yeast mixture. Add flour 1/4 C at a time until dough is just barely not sticky (don't ever over-add flour!!!) Knead for 5-8 minutes. Let rise for 10 minutes and stir down. Repeat this process 5 times. Grease a cookie sheet and use 2 T cornmeal to dust the entire cookie sheet. Roll dough into large rectangle. Roll from the long-side. When finished pinch edges together and lightly moisten fingers with water and pinch again along the seam to seal it. Place seam-side down on cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Slice with sharp knife 4-5 "1/4 in." deep slashes diagonally across the bread. Lightly brush on egg white/water mixture. Let rise about 30-40 minutes. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Brush on more egg white and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. You can even brush on more egg white after five minutes of baking and then put it in for another five to get it extra crispy!!!

Insiders Note: I just made the bran muffins (raisin-bran muffins) today and realized they need a little more flour than the recipe called for. This may have to do with the time of year and the damp weather vs. desert heat of the summer. Anyway, you may need to add up to 1/2 - 3/4 C more whole wheat flour. When the muffins spring back and are rounded on top...they are finished and you have added enough flour.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I never thought, in a million years I would fall in love with...

A dish towel...

I know, I know, this is a weird post, but I would be remiss not to post about this fabulous dish towel and why I love it so very much. These are flour-sack towels and they come in a pack of five. You can get them at Walmart, Target, and most other stores around. They are about five dollars and worth every penny and more! Okay, so, for my list of reasons why I will ALWAYS have my kitchen stocked with these dish towels:

1. My number one reason for loving these towels is that they cover all FIVE loaves of my bread at once! I don't have to dirty two different towels each time I want to make bread!

2. They are super-absorbent, meaning they don't repel water like some dish towels do, and they aren't heavy like other super-absorbent ones.

3. Supposedly, they don't have lint, so you can dry DVDs and CDs with them.

So, there you have it, the reasons I love flour-sack towels!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here it is...Just because I luv ya'!!!

Okay, this is one of my all-time favorite recipes and it is in my cookbook, but I've decided to share it, anyway. Insiders: these are on page 26 of the cookbook. This was a recipe inspired by my friend Elizabeth, who made the best crepes and whose recipe I adapted into whole wheat for this recipe. These are my whole-wheat crepes...didn't think you could make whole-wheat crepes??? Think again. These are so light and delicious, people won't even know they are whole wheat.

I personally love crepes because they are one of the most "desserty" breakfast foods out there, besides donuts and pastries. You can eat them with fresh berries and whipped cream and still feel like you are eating a healthy breakfast. And...they don't leave you feeling heavy and greasy like donuts!!! So, want the recipe? I thought so! Here you go:


1 C milk

1⁄2 C + 3 T sifted whole wheat flour

2 eggs 1 T vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour into tupperware and cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Heat a skillet on the oven at high heat. Remove skillet and grease with nonstick cooking spray. Remove batter from the refrigerator and mix thoroughly. Pour 1⁄4 C of cold batter on the pan (it is still off the burner) and move pan in circles to coat the pan in a thin layer of batter. Cook for one minute and then flip and cook for another 1⁄2 minute. Makes 6-8 crepes.

Just a side-note: Those eggs are actually loaded with fiber and vitamins, too. That is the Sausage/Egg casserole found in my cookbook!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Luck of the Irish!!!

On this fantastic Saint Patrick's Day, I've managed to dust off a recipe from my childhood that I loved! We nicknamed the salad "green stuff," because we didn't know what else to call it and Watergate Salad, was just too hard for us to use to refer to this yummy green salad. My mom used to make this and, we LOVED it! I believe she got the recipe from my grandmother, and I bet her kids loved it, too!!!

Well, I was trying to find some "green" recipes for today, besides my green waffles (which my oldest two loved and my oldest son wouldn't try because of the uncommon tint) and came across this recipe. Lo and behold...I've managed to locate a green salad my kids will actually enjoy!!! Oh, lucky day! Well, I guess there isn't much NOT to like, with whipped cream, marshmallows and pudding...hmmm...what am I doing? Is there any nutritional value in this salad at all? Well, there are crushed pineapples, and if you choose, chopped pecans, guessed it 1/4 C of pureed wheat berries. So, this dessert-tasting salad is laced with B vitamins and fiber! So, it isn't my "typical" green salad, but for this green-loving works for me!!!

Green Stuff

8 oz. whipped topping (thawed in the refrigerator, so it isn't frozen)
1 pkg. pistachio pudding
1 C mini marshmallows
1/4 C wheat berry puree (cooled) (check out "Ways to Use Your Wheat" on this blog for detailed instructions on how to make the puree)
1 C crushed pineapple (drained)
1/2 - 1 C crushed pecans (optional, I just sprinkled them on top for my non-nut-loving family)

Mix all the ingredients and chill until ready to serve. TaDa!!! A nice green salad for your Saint Patty's Day festivities!!!

I'll repost the crepe recipe in a couple of days. I want that one to be front and center when I post it and, seeing as how this is St. Patrick's Day, my green recipe had to be front and center for now. Don't worry, if you were eyeing the crepes, thinking you just must make those and just didn't get around to copying it, it will be coming back soon!!!

Insiders: Sugar-Crusted Grape Salad on page 37 of your cookbook is also a perfect "green" salad to help celebrate this festive day. Just be sure to use green grapes! Oh, and if you decide you want this a little sweeter...I've accidentally added the brown sugar when I combined the white sugar, vanilla, cheese and sour cream and then sprinkled brown sugar on top and it was divine! I'll post a picture of this salad very soon with some other options to make it lighter and healthier!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Dieter's Dream...a Low-Calorie Delicious Cookie

Can it be so? Most cookies that are low-calorie are either made with nasty sugar-free ingredients or don't have any real flavor. They most DEFINITELY don't have chocolate chips and "rich" is never a word used to describe them. Well, I am currently trying to shed just a few pounds for a race for which I am training. (I just think it would be nice to run with a few less pounds to tote across the finish line). Well, I'm not great at this "dieting" thing, but I have found a few tricks that help a TON. First of all, obviously, eating whole grains helps because of the fiber load. I've also started using the most fabulous weight-loss website: It is absolutely incredible and everyone I know doing it is losing significant weight or is now maintaining their weight with it because they have already reached their goals. The third thing I've found that helps is finding a recipe that allows me to feel like I'm getting my "sweets, treats and eats" fix. I love finding recipes that make me feel like I'm really treating myself, but without all the guilt. I've finally come up with the perfect "treat" for a dieter who LOVES chocolate and just can't begin to imagine parting with it. It took MANY tries to get this right and I owe some of the credit to my sister for finally getting the flour amount right. it all whole wheat, no, but once you see the calorie count, you'll see why I'm okay with allowing just a smidgin of white flour into my life...just this once.

Moist and Chewy Fudge Brownie Cookies

1 Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix

2 eggs

1/4 C oil

1/4 C applesauce

1 C whole wheat flour (doesn't have to be sifted)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients, stirring in chocolate chips last. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to let the batter thicken. Bake by rounded teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes 350. Makes about 60 cookies (1 inc. balls) using a small scoop.

I ALWAYS use Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix because each brownie box has different amounts of ingredients and they all turn out differently. So, for consistency, I always use Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix. Oh..a GREAT variation, thanks to my sister, is to add mint chocolate chips...mmmmmm. Eat them warm and they are divine. for the calorie count that makes this delicious, chewy morsel one of the best dieting treats ever. If you can get sixty cookies out of this batch (using the small scoop or 1 in. balls, this will work), the calorie count is.....

56 CALORIES PER COOKIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

now you know my secret...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Could we have a round of green smoothies, please?

Okay, I promised my smoothie recipe, right? Well, I'm going to make good on my promise now. Sorry for the delay. This smoothie is seriously something my kids actually ASK me for!!! It couldn't be healthier and is so stinkin' delicious that we ALL love it!!! You would never know that you are getting five vegetables and four different fruits. Oh...and of those five vegetables, at least two of them are veggies you probably NEVER eat with exceptionally fantastic nutritive qualities. With the anti-oxidants and toxin-removing capabilities found in this drink, I feel like a fabulous mom watching my kids guzzle it up through their straws. Okay, enough talk, here is the recipe. One little caveat, you will need a good blender to blend it completely...chunks are never appreciated by small children...or adults for that matter.

My Most Favorite Green, Green, Green Smoothie Recipe

4-6 baby carrots (or big ones peeled and cut the size of baby carrots)
3-5 leaves of kale (leafy plant found in the produce section of the grocery store)
2-4 leaves of collard greens (found in the same place as the kale)
3 big handfuls of spinach leaves (the best place for these is at is super cheap there!)
1 C milk
approximately 1-3 C of water

Put the milk, water, carrots, kale, collard greens and spinach in the blender and blend until COMPLETELY'll have a nice green mixture. Then add the following:

1 apple (sliced)
1 ripe banana (I actually like to freeze any bananas that are super ripe and throw them in frozen)
about 1 C frozen blueberies
about 1 C frozen strawberries

Mix well to get rid of all texture inconsistencies.

For my kids, I'll admit, I add a little bit of sugar, but what's a tiny bit of sugar compared to all that goodness??? My husband and I drink it straight and it is fabulous!

Stay tuned: I made wonderful brownie cookies and yes, they use a brownie mix with white flour, but they also have whole wheat flour and they are so yummy! The best part, besides the chewy, brownie taste, is that they only have 68 calories!!!!!!! I also have a banana cookie recipe to give out and a bunch of others. Keep checking...they are coming!

To learn more about green smoothies...go to

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Orange Honey Chicken

This is a recipe in my cookbook, but I decided to post it anyway, because we had it tonight. My kids LOVED it. Although it requires a bit of preparation (the breadcrumbs) it is worth it. The orange, honey and surprisingly, chicken broth, blend into a sweet, tangy sauce to baste the chicken with. The chicken is super moist, because it is continually drenched in the honey sauce. This is a big hit with my family and, as usual, it is coated in whole grains...gotta love those grains!!!

Orange Honey Chicken

1 C dry whole wheat bread crumbs

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground pepper

3⁄4 C orange juice

6-8 chicken breasts

1 tsp chicken bouillon

1⁄2 C water

1⁄4 C butter

1⁄2 C +2 T honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients. Put orange juice in a bowl and coat each piece of chicken in orange juice and then in bread crumb mixture. Put chicken in greased 13X9 pan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat water. Mix chicken bouillon, water, butter and honey until thoroughly combined. Spoon over each chicken breast. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until chicken is done, spooning honey mixture over chicken every 5-10 minutes.

For added flavor, mix 11⁄2 T grated orange rind in with whole wheat bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

For Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs...I used the Delicious Honey Whole Wheat bread I had made earlier in the day. I sliced about 5 pieces of bread, dried them out at 200 degrees in the oven (on a cookie sheet) for several hours until they were crunchy, then I blended them in my blender until they were fine.

I'm going to give out my family's "all-time favorite" green smoothie recipe. My kids LOVE it, my husband loves it, I love it...and it has five vegetables in it...and four fruits! The blend of flavors is so satisfying...sweet, but not too sweet and no trace of the veggie taste that would send my kids running like chickens with their heads cut off. I'll give it out later this week.