New Favorite · Skinny

Salmon Ball Appetizer…Skinny Treat!

Salmon is a favorite and flavorful, skinny recipes are even better. Easy, tasty and skinny. Can’t beat that!

SALMON BALL APPETIZER

2 cups canned salmon, drained, flaked, and skin/bones removed
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon finely shopping onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • Combine the salmon, cream cheese, onion, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and liquid smoke. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours until firm. Form into a ball.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the almonds and parsley. Roll the salmon ball into the almond/parsley mixture. Refrigerate an hour until chilled.
  • Serve with vegetables (or crackers).

Recipe adapted from The South Beach Diet Cookbook

New Favorite

Italian Pie…Buon appetito!

Italian Pie is a family favorite for my good buddy, Jan.  She suggested I give it a whirl. I can certainly see why it’s a favorite.  The crisp crust paired with the hearty meat layer and the yummy cheese layer result in a wonderful, easy meal for your family. Pair with a nice salad, French bread and you’re set!

Next time, I plan to serve it with a side of marina sauce for those that may enjoy a little extra tomato flavor with their pie.  Buon appetito! 

ITALIAN PIE

1 refrigerated pie crust

  • Bake a pie crust (I used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust). Pierce unbaked crust with fork and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.  While the pie crust is baking, brown the meat layer:

Meat Layer

1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper

  • Cook ground chuck, onion, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings until cooked through.  Drain.

Cheese Layer:

1 cup small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
garlic salt & pepper
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Combine all cheese layer ingredients together

Assembly:

  • Pour cooked meat layer into baked crust.
  • Top with cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle top of Italian pie with 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle with dried parsley.
  • Place aluminum foil around the crust edge to protect from over baking.

  • Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

New Favorite

Pignoli…almond and pine nut decadence!

Italian Tony’s Market in the Denver area makes wonderful Pignoli.  Pignoli cookies are an Italian American confection, similar to a macaroon and topped with pine nuts. This week I was in search of a recipe I could make them at home. There were many wonderful recipes but this recipe was my final choice.  They were fantastic!

PIGNOLI COOKIES

12 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups pine nuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  • Mix almond paste and granulated sugar in food processor until smooth.
  • Add confectioner’s sugar and 2 egg whites; process until smooth.
  • Whisk remaining 2 egg whites in small bowl.
  • Place pine nuts on shallow plate. With lightly floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat balls in egg whites, shaking off excess, then roll in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick to dough.
  • Arrange balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly to form a 1 1/2 inch round.

  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes (watch carefully because each oven and baking pan is different) until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Allrecipes.com:  Pignoli Cookies 1

Family Favorites · New Favorite · New Traditions · Rheumatoid Arthritis · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Vegetables…always!

Fresh Vegetables have grown on me over time.  As a kid I would rather leave them, than take them.  My Mother grew wonderful fresh vegetables and they were typically used fresh or boiled and served with butter or creamed.

Over the past few years I have grown to love roasted vegetables.  The flavor of the vegetable is enhanced and enriched with the roasting process.  This time, I roasted broccoli, red peppers, eggplant and onions.  No recipe, per se’, just a process I use with the fresh vegetables I have on hand.  Always delicious, always healthy, always easy.

ROASTED VEGETABLES

1 eggplant (peeled and diced) and sprinkled with salt
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 – 2 cups broccoli pieces
Olive Oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Seasoning of choice (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Prepare the vegetables and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil , salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and browned. Turn the vegetables halfway through the baking process.
New Favorite

Cranberry Bars…perfect for your Valentine!

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are daughter Sarah’s favorite holiday treat. When she was a teenager I bought her a pan of Cranberry Bliss Bars for her November birthday and she was ‘WOW’d’. Before Christmas this year she was very depressed that Starbucks/Denver had sold out of Cranberry Bliss Bars and, being pregnant, she had cravings that we needed to fill.

 

Sarah found this recipe on Pinterest and we made them for the holidays. They were delicious and very close to what we experience at Starbuck’s.  Perhaps this will become a new Valentine’s tradition in our house and in yours.   XOXOXOXOX

CRANBERRY BARS

BLONDIE LAYER:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

FROSTING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
  • Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips:

*If you’d like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.

Recipe from:  http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/11/14/cranberry-bliss-bars/

Family Favorites · My Roots

Peanut Blossoms…a Valentine’s kiss!

Peanut Blossoms have been a family favorite since I was a child.  I loved them, my children love them and the tradition continues.  What beats the combination of peanut butter and chocolate!  It seems fitting to make a batch of peanut blossoms for your sweetheart with the famous Hershey KISSES as Valentine’s Day approaches.

I was curious about the origin of Hershey’s Kisses.  Per Wikipedia, Hershey’s Kisses milk chocolates were introduced in 1907. The candy got its name because the machine made kiss sounds as the chocolate kiss is created.

These cookies are good anytime of year.  What is sweeter than a Valentine’s ‘kiss’!

PEANUT BLOSSOMS 

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
chocolate stars or chocolate kisses

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl (except chocolate) and mix on low speed until well blended. Shape in round balls and roll in sugar.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Remove cookies and press in chocolate star or kiss in each cookie while cookies are still hot.

Yield: 4 dozen

Czech Heritage · Family Favorites · My Roots

Roasted Pork Loin … Savory Deliciousness!

Roast Pork was a staple on the farm, most often served with mashed potatoes, gravy and our beloved sauerkraut.  I don’t make it as often any more, but thoroughly enjoyed roasting this beautiful pork loin, prepared with olive oil and Bohemian Forest Rub from our local spice shop, Savory Seasonings.

SAVORY ROAST PORK LOIN

4-5 pound pork loin
olive oil
garlic salt
Bohemian Forest Rub (Savory Seasonings) or rub or choice

Pork Loin ready for the oven

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Rub Pork Loin with Seasoning.
  • Roast pork, uncovered, for 3 hours or until internal temperature is at 180 degrees.
  • Let roast sit for 10-20 minutes before slicing.
Gluten Free · Rheumatoid Arthritis

First Awareness Day for Rheumatoid Disease February 2 … food for thought!

February 2 is Ground Hog Day and, this year, the first Awareness Day for Rheumatoid Disease.  I love the comparison of the Ground Hog seeing his shadow to first diagnosis of the disease and trying to predict how the course of the disease will run for each individual.  I am so happy to see this debilitating disease finally getting increased national awareness.

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People often think of Rheumatoid Disease as ‘just arthritis’.  Rheumatoid Disease is an autoimmune disorder that attacks joint and organ tissue.  It manifests itself differently in each patient, young and old.

The Summer of 2008 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  My early symptoms included annoying nodules on my elbows and crippling hand pain. The nodules had been a problem for years and my Dermatologist treated them with cortisone injections (interestingly if she injected in one arm, they just jumped over to the other arm).

It wasn’t until I made an appointment with my Physician Assistant and related the hand pain and nodules, that the diagnosis process began.  She took a biopsy of one nodule and ran a panel of blood tests.  All results pointed to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and I was quickly referred to a Rheumatologist.

The first two years of treatment involved injections (Enbrel) and Celebrex and when a flare-up occurred, steroids came into play.  During this time, I also started seeing an Accupuncturist who treated my immune system and I began practicing yoga. Additional doses of Fish Oil, B12 and Vitamin D were added to my daily regimen.  I also began to realize the correlation between gluten and inflammation.

Flare-ups typically occurred during periods of high stress.  Solution…less stress.  In late 2010 I had the opportunity to retire early from my corporate management position.  Amazingly, once I knew I was leaving, the stress began to dissipate.  I discontinued taking Enbrel and Celebrex and my RA has been in remission for two years.

I’m lucky and grateful that, for today, I have my health.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is considered a genetic disease yet the only possible connection in our family is to a third cousin.  However, shortly after I was diagnosed, my niece, seven years my junior, was also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease.

Raise your awareness and voice on February 2 for Rheumatoid Disease.  I know I will.

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http://rawarrior.com/first-awareness-day-for-rheumatoid-arthritis-established-by-rheumatoid-patient-foundation/#.UQAhXkxhGd0.facebook

http://rheum4us.org/

http://www.arthritis.org/