Monday, September 30, 2013

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Meatless Monday: Zucchini Corn Fritters

Usually in August and September everyone is hiding.  They do not want to run into that neighbor that tries to unload all of their zucchini!  But that is not me this year.  My zucchini grew but only a modest amount and then actually died early.  I did plant them late since I started some from seed but those seedlings didn't survive a cold night in May. 

I am still getting a zucchini or two from my CSA share and I got lots of corn in my share so I froze some.  I've said it before, I am not a big corn on the cob fan so I use it other ways.  Zucchini-Corn fritters are a perfect way to use them up and I know both my boys love them.


1 large or 2 small zucchini
1/2 onion (I used red)
2 cloves garlic
2 ears of corn (mine were grilled)
1/2 cup of corn meal
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
olive oil
salt and pepper

The first thing you need to do is grate the zucchini and wrap it in some cheese cloth and squeeze the liquid out.  If you don't have cheese cloth, put it in a calendar and let drain. You can put a plate on it and a heavy jar or can on top of the plate to help press the liquid out.

While the zucchini is draining, sauté the onion and garlic for about 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the flour, corn meal, baking soda, about 1/2 tsp of salt and a few turns of fresh pepper.  Add the zucchini, corn, onion and garlic mix and one egg (its best if you scramble it in a little bowl before adding it to the flour mix.  Gently mix the ingredients.  Pour in the buttermilk.  I start with 1/2 cup and see what it is like.  This will be different each time you make it depending upon how much liquid is still left in the zucchini.  I like my fritters a little on the thinner side rather than chunky so I'm looking for a batter that is almost like pancake batter.  But if you like thinker fritters don't add all of the buttermilk.

I use a griddle and heat up some butter.  You can use oil.  I eat healthy and watch what I eat so that I can actually use real butter for this.  I like the way it tastes better but these are very good using oil.    I like to use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to slowly pour the batter on the griddle -- just the way you would make pancakes. 

These make a great side dish or a light lunch with a salad.  I like to eat them with apple sauce but today I used the rest of the buttermilk to make a buttermilk dressing that we drizzled over them.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apple Season! Muffins, sauce and butter!

It's fall.  The best time of the year!  Around here, it is apple season! I live between two orchards so we go apple picking a lot.  Usually I pick enough for the week since we can stop by every weekend to pick up more.  The last two trips however, I picked up a bit more so I can make a few recipes.  My youngest some requested apple muffins and apple sauce and I loved the idea of an apple butter where I can control the sugar.

These all came out delicious.  The only problem is I didn't make enough!  The apple sauce was so good my youngest had three servings.  I served it as a side with a pork roast for dinner.  My youngest was able to use it as a dip!  He's three and he dips all of his food into apple sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, you name it.

Here are the recipes for all three.

Apple Muffins

 1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C Oats
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Apple Pie spice or just cinnamon
1 C milk
1 egg
2 Tbs butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
2 apples
1/4 C walnuts (chopped)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and add the milk, vanilla and meted butter.  Add the liquid ingredients into the flour mix. 

Peel and core the apples.  I grated the apples since I was making it for my kids and they don't like chunks of fruit in muffins.  Chunks of chocolate are a different story.  Fold in the apples and walnuts. 

Pour into 24 regular sized muffin tins/stone bake for about 16-18 minutes (more or less depending if you are using tins or stones).

The apple sauce and apple butter recipes are from Put 'em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Cookbook by Sherri Brooks Vinton.

Apple Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
4 pounds apples (or 2 pounds apples and 2 pounds pears)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Pour water and lemon juice into a large nonreactive stockpot.  Roughly chop (no need to peel but you should cut out the core) the apples (and pears in using), adding them to the pot with lemon water as you work to prevent browning.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer, covered, until the fruit is tender, 10 to 20 minutes.

Pass mixture through food mill (or a mesh strainer) to remove skins.  Return the sauce to the pot and add the sugar and spices, (these are optional but I highly recommend using them).  Simmer, stirring, until the mixture is thickened- about 20 minutes.  

If stopping at sauce, remove from heat and cool.  Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months.

Apple Butter
If you are continuing to make apple butter simply continue simmering over a low heat for about another 40 minutes (may take a little more or a little less).  The mixture should be really thick and rich.  Be careful, this can burn easily so keep stirring.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vanilla Shakeology Spice Cookies

Ok, these are really very good.  They are a perfect morning or afternoon snack and could even be a quick breakfast on the go!  Simple to make and so healthy, there is really no excuse not to try them.  Don't have Shakeology?  I can help you with that, just email me and I can tell you how to get some.  I have samples of Shakeology too if you'd like try it.


1 Cup of Vanilla Shakeology
1 Cup of Oats
1 Cup of Almond Butter
1/3 Cup Honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon or apple pie spice mix
2 Tbs water or almond milk

Mix all of the ingredients.  It is best to use a mixer but if you stir by hand make sure it is well mixed.

Scoop out and make 12 or 24 balls and flatten into cookies on a cookie. Freeze.  When frozen you can place them in a freezer safe bag so that you can easily take one out. 

I bring one to work and pop it into the freezer at work.  When I am ready to have my snack I take it out of the freezer and by the time I am back to my desk it is defrosted enough to eat.  They taste yummy, have protein and really satisfy my sweet tooth.

I added a few dried cranberries on top or you could even add an almond or almond slice for some flair.

Note: These are best from the freezer so they hold their shape. 

I hope you try these.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Baked "Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches"

My son loves fried green tomatoes.  Who would have thought?  A few years ago, he was probably 6 years old that the time, we went to Dinosaur BBQ.  If you haven't been to a Dinosaur BBQ (I think they're only in New York State - it’s not a chain), I am sorry. It really is good BBQ!  I really only have the natural half BBQ chicken plate there because it is that good.  But my friends and family have enjoyed all other dishes as well.

Anyway, two years ago we went there and I ordered the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer.  They were excellent, I think.  They were crunchy and sweet, with a slightly spicy dipping sauce.  I say I think because my son ate almost all of them.  Now whenever we go there we must get them as an appetizer.  Even my three year old loves them (the dipping sauce too!). 

This year especially, I have a lot of green tomatoes.  So I thought a perfect Meatless Monday meal for tonight would be Fried Green Tomatoes!  But that is not a meal.  Hmmm, what to do.  I ran 11 miles yesterday so I am craving carbs so I decided to make these into a sandwich! I also decided to make these a little healthier by baking them.  Pretty good!  And can I say, much easier than frying. 




4 large green tomatoes

1 C all purpose flour

1 1/2 C Panko breadcrumbs

1 C buttermilk

Salt and Pepper

Creole seasoning (optional or use your favorite seasoning)

The Remoulade
1 Cup mayo
1/3 cup Dinosaur BBQ sauce
1 Tbs brown mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbs smoked paprika
2 tsp Dinosaur BBQ Devil's Duel Hot sauce
1 Tbs capers, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper 

I normally use cornmeal, even though I read that is not how you are “supposed” to make them.  I don’t care, I am a New Yorker and I like the way they taste.  However, since I am not frying them I looking to get the crunch some other way.  Panko breadcrumbs help add that crunch.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Get three plates.  The first plate is for the flour, the second for the buttermilk and the last for the panko.  Mix in about a teaspoon of salt and a few cracks of fresh pepper into the flour and gently mix.  Slice the tomatoes, not too thin and not too thick.  Coat the slices in the flour, then the buttermilk and then the breadcrumbs, making sure they are fully coated.

Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake them for about 9 minutes and then flip them and bake for another 8-9 minutes.

While tomatoes are baking, place mayonnaise in a mixing bowl then whisk in bar-b-que sauce and mustard until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and mix. 

I will admit that I did not make this sauce because I did not have all of the ingredients.  I used a ranch dressing that I had.  But this is Dinosaur BBQ’s original recipe so I thought I’d share.

I used whole wheat bread and toasted it and added some baby spinach.  I made a quick black bean and edamame salad to go with it and some potato salad for hubby and the kids.

I really enjoyed it but my son did not. He declared that it was not Dinosaur BBQ so he would not eat them.  Oh well, I think it would have helped if he let me toast his bread, but he did eat the edamame salad. I ate the left over tomatoes!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup: 6 Ingredients "Souper" Easy and Delicous

The weather is starting to get more Fall like in Upstate, NY.  This morning I put on a sweatshirt and headed out to the veggie garden to do some clean up and pick some of the last veggies.  I still have cucumbers growing and some peppers and just a few tomatoes.  I'm thinking I'll have to make fried green tomatoes tonight for my son but this afternoon I used the ripe tomatoes to make soup.

It really is super easy to make Tomato Basil Soup.  But to make it a little different I roasted the veggies first and I threw a pepper in as well which gave it a deeper, richer flavor. 

Tomatoes - about 5 or 6 depending upon the size
Bell Peppers - 1 medium or 2 small
1 small onion
1 glove garlic
2 Cups chicken stock (or use veggie to make vegetarian)
I don't count the following in ingredients because they are pantry staples
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

First you'll need to wash and cut your tomatoes in half and lay them on a cookie sheet.  Do the same with the pepper, discarding the seeds.  Peel and cut the onion and garlic and put those on the cookie sheet.  Your cookie sheet should be full but not over packed.  Drizzle with a little olive oil -- not much is needed, just a drizzle.
I already took some of the tomatoes off when I took the photo

I roasted the veggies at 325 for about 60 minutes.  I was making something else at the time that needed the 325 temp.  I've also slow roasted veggies at 300 for longer and I've sped things up when necessary and roasted at 400 for much less time. 

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree.  If you want a very creamy without chunks, run this through a food mill.  I like the texture of the small chunks of tomato and pepper so I didn't but either way is fine. 

At the veggie puree to a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 tsp of sugar, about 1/4 tsp of salt and a few turns of fresh pepper.  Stir and heat through.  Add about 4 minced leaves of basil (or more or less to taste) and stir.  This soup is perfect just the way it is but I actually had some milk that I wanted to use up so I added about 1/4 cup of 2% milk. 

I would imagine that this would pair beautifully with a grilled cheese sandwich  on a day like today but I had a whole wheat English muffin with some almond butter and a cucumber salad. 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Refreshing Cucumber Blueberry Smoothie

I still have lots of cucumbers growing in my garden.  I love cucumbers but I can’t seem to use them fast enough and we’ve even given some away to neighbors.  My kids and I like to make smoothies so these cucumber smoothies are perfect.  The cucumber makes them light and refreshing and the blueberries add just the right amount of sweetness.

This is such a simple recipe that you can have your kids make them or at least they can help you.  I found this on Martha Stewarts website but I modified it per my preferences.   Take 1 medium  (or 2 small) cucumber and peel and take out the seeds.  Kids can take out the seeds with a spoon.  Rough chop the cucumbers and put them in a blender with 3/4 cup of blueberries.  I like to use frozen blueberries but you can use fresh if that is what you have but you’ll need to add ice.  Add 3/4 cup of plain fat free yogurt and 1 cup of apple juice.  Martha Stewart recommends white grape juice but I never have it and I think apple juice rounds out the flavors.  Give the blender a whirl!  A delicious, refreshing and healthy treat!  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

End of Summer Cucumber-Yogurt Salad

You know it is the end of summer when you are making cucumber salad!

It is September 1st and I have lots and lots of cucumbers.  I guess it is a good thing that everyone in my house loves them. However, by this time I've had cucumbers in my salad, cucumbers with hummus, blueberry cucumber smoothies (next post) and this is the time I usually start making cucumber-yogurt salad.  It's yummy and I've eaten it for lunch or as a side with dinner and even as a snack.

You can have kids help make it or really, they can even make it for you, it is that easy to make. My son started to help but I had to chase him away when he started to eat all of the cucumbers.

There are many different versions of this salad but this one has enough flavor but is mild enough for the kids and is versatile enough to go with a variety of foods.

Cucumber-Yogurt Salad

4 cucumbers
1/2 Cup plain yogurt (low fat, fat free - regular or greek)
1 tablespoon dill
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
1 Tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
A few turns of fresh ground pepper

Peel cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds,  cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise again and then cut them again to make little quarters.

Place in a large mixing bowl and add the dill.  Fresh dill is best but of course my dill was done long before my cucumbers started to grow so I had to use dry.

I used a little less than a tablespoon of the dried dill.  Regardless of whether you use dry or fresh dill, you should add a little at a time and taste to make sure the amount is good for you.  Add the onion powder, salt, pepper and vinegar (I used white but red wine or rice vinegar also work nicely).  I use homemade plain lowfat yogurt because that is what I have at home.  You can use fat free if you prefer.  Greek yogurt is nice to use because it is thicker, but when buying Greek yogurt, read the ingredients.  Some are "greek style" and add thickeners and other ingredients instead of using the greek method.  Mix all the ingredients and put in the refrigerator until chilled.


This salad has about 45 calories as a side and about 90 calories as a light lunch or snack.  I'd eat this with a few pieces of turkey and avocado to complete my lunch.  It is refreshing and satisfying and will keep me on track with my fitness goals.

Hope you give it a try!