Sunday, January 29, 2012

Low Fat Valentine Cookies

These cookies are made with half the butter of most sugar cookies and instead of granulated sugar use coconut palm sugar to prevent a spike in blood sugar levels. The frosting is spread thin and I used the juice from defrosted dark sweet cherries that gave the glaze a little pink color and topped with a few sprinkles and a dusting of confectioners sugar. So, treat yourself to one of these low fat Valentine cookies without feeling too guilty!


5 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar or granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted for work surface

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and almond extract, mixing well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture into butter and sugar until dough forms. The dough may seem a little crumbly at first; but it will come together. Wrap dough in plastic and shape into a disk. Chill for two hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle work surface and rolling pin with confectioners sugar. Turn out one half of dough onto it. Roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters dipped in confectioners sugar to make cutouts. Gather scraps and re-roll until all the dough is used. While the first batch are baking is a good time to repeat the rolling and cutting process with the second half of the dough.

Place cookies 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack after 1 minute to cool.

I used two sizes of hearts and the red plastic one worked just as well as the metal one.

Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon juice from defrosted dark sweet cherries
Pink sprinkles for decorating, if desired


In a small bowl, mix together confectioners sugar, almond extract, and milk. In a small resealable bag put 2 tablespoons of white glaze and set aside. Add cherry juice to the sugar mixture and if you want to make a darker pink add another teaspoon of juice. When cookies are fully cooled, frost and decorate as desired. Makes about 30 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutters used. Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Light Banana Snack Cake

In the afternoon, I always like to have a double espresso with a sweet snack. So, I had 2 real ripe bananas that I thought would make a light banana cake. This cake has fat free yogurt in it with very little sugar because the bananas are pretty sweet and I added cinnamon to bring out the flavor of the cake. The frosting is a light vanilla that doesn't over power the cake. What a nice afternoon treat!

Ingredients for cake:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup organic expeller pressed canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with organic cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine, yogurt, bananas, oil, vanilla, and egg; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moist.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Ingredients for light vanilla frosting:

1 cup organic powder sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened
2 or 3 tablespoons organic skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, combine sugar, softened butter, 2 tablespoons skim milk and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed to blend until smooth. If mixture is to thick to spread had another tablespoon milk. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Easy Oven Beef Stew

This is an easy meal with healthy vegetables and lean meat that is all cooked in one pot with no sauteing onions or browning meat. Just cut up the vegetables and meat and throw it all in a pot. It makes a tasty wintertime stew that warms your insides, as you are going back for seconds. Serves 6


1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless top sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut 1-inch pieces
1 pound small red potatoes, cut in half
2 medium yellow onions, cut into chucks
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup minute tapioca (this will thicken the stew)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) diced Italian tomatoes with juice


Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven, stir beef broth, tapioca, salt, pepper, basil, garlic and tomatoes until combined.

Add beef, celery, carrots, onions and potatoes folding and stirring to make sure everything is coated.

Cover and put in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender. Enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Cookie Recipe Featured On My


Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies
This cookie recipe was my very first post in April 2011 on my blog and I submitted it to community recipe data base contest. Then I received an email from Ashley Kappel, Associate Editor/Producer of congratulating me that I was chosen for a December feature.
You can find my recipe and photo featured at this gallery and I would like to share it with you, here is the link:

As a small reward for being featured, I received a Southern Living Cookbook which I will be finding new ideas for my posts!

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tortellini, Zucchini and Italian Chicken Sausage Medley

Here is a quick, flavorful, one dish meal that can be prepared on a weekday that will get you out of the kitchen in no time. It has protein, veggies and fiber all in one bowl and it is very tasty!
Serves 4.


13 oz. cooked tri-color tortellini (use package directions)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 oz. Italian style chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds (used Aidells brand)
3 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


In a medium pot, cook tortellini according to package directions.

In a large skillet, saute sausage in oil for 4 minutes on medium heat. Add onion saute about 3 minutes, then add zucchini and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, cook for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and Italian seasoning. With a slotted spoon add tortellini to zucchini mixture. Gently stir ingredients together and cook until zucchini is tender, about another 2 minutes. Serve in bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sweet Potato Soup

This is an easy to prepare healthy soup that can be a first course or you can make it the main entree with a side salad and crusty bread. This soup has both sweet and savory taste to it that rounds out a nice warm flavor for these cold winter days that we are having. Sweet potatoes are complex carbs that have a high nutritional value and fiber content.


1 large sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium apple, chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon agave nectar


In a large pot, saute the onion in oil, add potato, carrot, apple and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender. Add the agave and stir over low heat. Serve with chopped apple or over brown rice or with blue corn chips. Enjoy!

Servings: 2

Banana Almond Bread

Happy New Year! I thought I would start out the new year with a sugar- and- oil-free banana bread recipe to kick start a healthy year.
I used very ripe bananas for the sugar and substituted unsweetened applesauce for the oil. I added almonds that are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and protein to give it a little crunch.
I also added ground flaxseed which is high in Omega-3 fatty Acids which can boost heart health and lower triglycerides. I spiced up the banana bread with lots of cinnamon that gives the bread a sweet flavor and cinnamon can lower your cholesterol and improve your blood glucose levels.
I wish everyone joy and happiness in 2012!


3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup water
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice


Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Butter a glass loaf pan (5.25 x 9 x 2.75 in) and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix mashed bananas, applesauce and water. In a medium bowl, mix flour, flaxseed, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, almonds, and spices. Add the flour mixture into the banana mixture bowl and blend well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling. Enjoy!