Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fresh Fruits for the Fourth

So many of the traditional BBQ recipes are so heavy and filling, I try to serve some light & fresh side dishes to balance out the menu. This fruit salad from EatBetterAmerica will be just perfect!

Pineapple-Berry Salad with Honey-Mint Dressing

Honey and mint jazz up this quick-to-make berry and pineapple fruit salad with fresh tropical flavors!

Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:15 min
makes:4 servings (3/4 cup each)

3 tablespoons frozen (thawed) lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1. In 1-cup measuring cup, mix lemonade concentrate, honey and mint.

2. In large bowl, gently stir together remaining ingredients. Stir in lemonade mixture until fruits are coated. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 4

Nutritional Information:
1 Serving: Calories 110 (Calories from Fat 15); Total Fat 17g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 650mg; Total Carbohydrate 21g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 8g); Protein 14g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 70%; Calcium 0%; Iron 20% Exchanges: 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable Carbohydrate Choices: 2

And while you have the fruit & mint out, how about a lightened up Mojito?

Blueberry Mojito

4 lemon wedges
4 lime wedges
16 blueberries
20 mint leaves
Crushed ice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
8 ounces of your favorite rum (aged)
4 ounces cold water
1/4 Cup + 2 tsp of Truvia® natural sweetener spoonable*

* or 16 packets of Truvia® natural sweetener


In a cocktail shaker muddle the blueberries, mint leaves and lemon- lime wedges. Add the crushed ice, lemon and lime juice and Truvia® natural sweetener and shake well. Stain over cubed or crushed ice and garnish with lemon wedge and mint sprig.

Serves 4, 6 oz serving

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories 150; Total Fat, 0g; Saturated Fat, 0g; Trans Fat, 0g; Cholesterol, 0mg; Sodium, 0mg; Total Carbohydrate, 17g; Dietary Fiber, 0g; Sugars, 1g; Erythritol, 14g: Protein, 0g; Vitamin A, 0% DV; Vitamin C, 20% DV; Calcium, 0% DV; Iron, 0% DV.

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Revving up for the 4th

Do you all have any Independence Day plans yet? We intend to celebrate the 4th of July as we always do: at home, poolside, with family and friends. I've already begun planning and shopping for the menu so thought I'd share recipes with you as we go along.

I've been making this bean salad recipe since I first discovered it in a Vegetarian Times magazine, circa August 1996. It's been toted along to more potlucks and family gatherings than any other dish, is popular with meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

Stay tuned, I'll be posting at least one healthy holiday recipe per day as I firm up my Independence Day menu!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rainy Monday

It was a rainy Sunday here in the Sunshine State, typical summertime weather. I absolutely love when the afternoon thunderstorms roll in and we're forced to stay inside, reading, watching movies, or cooking! Today looks about the same but I don't have the luxury of lolling about the house, must head to work. *groan*

Knowing that it will likely be a busy day at the office, I went ahead and prepared today's meal in advance. All we'll have to do tonight is add a touch more pasta sauce and pop a plate into the microwave, add a nice green salad on the side and voila! Dinner is served!

I found this dish on Allrecipes; I just tweaked the ingredients a bit to make it healthier.

Cheryl's Spinach Cheesy Pasta Casserole

-------- ------------ --------------------------------
12 ounces pasta -- seashell-shaped
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach -- thawed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
26 ounces pasta sauce
8 ounces reduced-fat mozzarella cheese -- shredded
8 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.

Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, and cook the spinach 4 to 6 minutes, until tender.

Place the cooked pasta in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. Toss the pasta with the cooked spinach, egg mixture, and bread crumbs.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish, and cover with another 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Sprinkle with half of the Cheddar cheese and half of the mozzarella. Layer with remaining pasta mixture, and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.

Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serves 12

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 247 Calories; 8g Fat (30.5% calories from fat); 16g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 50mg Cholesterol; 379mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer BBQ!

I've been craving some good old fashioned barbeque but, alas, our grill down here is broken. I had to "make do" by using my crockpot for this amazing Slowcooker BBQ Chicken, a recipe I've made many times for my family. Since I'm watching my weight and cutting down on meat, I decided to make a veggie version using Quorn Naked Cutlets, 2 Tablespoons of Stubbs BBQ Sauce served on a light whole-wheat hamburger bun. Alongside Pasta Salad (see recipe below) and steamed broccoli, this dish fulfilled my BBQ craving without compromising my diet!

This whole meal only cost me 8 Points+!

Easy Pasta Salad
6 serving(s) (1 Box) Ronzoni Garden Delight Pasta
16 oz Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing
1 medium cucumber(s), diced
1 large tomato(es), diced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional


Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. Be careful NOT to overcook your pasta. When pasta is done (I suggest al dente), strain, and put in bowl. Let the pasta chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is slightly chilled. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, Italian dressing, and red pepper flakes. Toss thoroughly and serve, or chill until ready to serve.

Makes 6 Servings (3/4 cup), 6 Points+ Each


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rise and Shine!

Pinup nightgown

They say that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and I believe them. I never, ever skip breakfast and always make sure it's a substantial one. I've found that I need protein in the morning otherwise I have a terrible 10 o'clock slump that has me eying the donut tray at the office! Now, if you're assuming that I mean the traditional high-calorie bacon & egg meal, think again! There are many other protein-rich food sources that'll provide the nutrition and energy you need to start your day. One of my personal favorites is a Breakfast Wrap.

I start off with 1/2 a cup of Egg Beaters, scrambled with a slice of veggie cheese and a veggie sausage patty which I've broken into pieces, add some mushrooms, onion and a bit of fresh diced tomato.

I then roll all of that into a FlatOut Light flatbread and dig in! So filling and delicious and all of it for only 7 Weight Watchers Points+!

Around ten thirty I'll often have some fruit and bit more protein, an apple or banana dipped into PB2 works perfectly and only costs me 1 Points+!

Hope your day is off to a Beauty-Full Start,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Country Goodness

Beren and I took a little drive to the "country" this morning, visited a Farm Swap about 30 miles away. I was really excited about the prospect of fresh produce and eggs and wasn't disappointed!




We came home with some lovely food and a renewed determination to return to my mostly-vegetarian lifestyle. After seeing the adorable chickens & pigs, how could I come home and eat them? *shudder*



More Piglets


I can't wait to dig in!

Canned Goodies

Fresh Eggs

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot Dish: Meatless Monday

Looking for a way to honor Meatless Monday and use up some of the pasta I bought on sale last week, a quick search of Ronzoni's website led me to this tasty-looking dish. I plugged the ingredients into the Recipe Builder, allowing for 8 (3/4-cup) portions per recipe.

photo courtesy of Ronzoni

Rotini with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 baby eggplant, diced
1/3 cup prepared vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled ricotta or feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and sauté 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in stock and cook until eggplant is tender. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss cooked pasta with eggplant mixture and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and served topped with cheese.

Serves 8, approximately 6 Points+ Per Serving

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Now, That's Italian!

Vogue Italia Puts Three Plus-Size Models On June Cover

We Americans could learn a thing or two from the Italians!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hot Dish: Last Minute Chicken Fajitas

This is an older Weight Watchers recipe using the former POINTS system so if you follow that program, you may want to plug this into your Recipe Builder to determine Points Plus. I had fresh peppers on hand so I used them instead of frozen, also topped the finished fajitas with a little bit of fat-free sour cream...sloppy & spicy and oh-so-delicious!!

Last Minute Chicken Fajitas

Cooking Spray
1 pound skinless chicken breast tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon Fajita seasoning
1 (16-ounce) package frozen bell pepper stir-fry (such as Birds Eye)
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
Salsa (optional)

1. Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken and seasoning; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add bell-pepper stir fry; stir-fry 2 minutes or until chicken is done.

2. Warm tortilla according to package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Roll up. Top with salsa, if desired.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 2 fajitas)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hot Dish: Sausage & Peppers Pizza

This is an older recipe with the former POINTS but if you're on Weight Watchers you could easily convert it using the Recipe Builder. I used vegetarian sausage patties, a little less cheese and a few more peppers & onions atop a thin crust to cut down on the calories. It was delicious and very filling!

Photo courtesy of Weight Watchers

Sausage and Peppers Pizza

Cooking Spray
6 ounces 97% fat-free breakfast sausage
1 (8-oz) jar pizza sauce
2 (10-oz) packages Italian-cheese-flavored pizza crust (such as Boboli)
2 cups yellow, red, and green bell pepper strips (about 1-1/2 medium)
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Stir in pizza sauce.

Spread ¼ cup meat mixture over each crust; top each with ½ cup bell pepper strips sprinkle each with ¼ cup cheese. Bake immediately or allow to cool, then wrap tightly in foil and freeze.

To bake immediately, preheat oven to 425.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts. Yields: 8 servings (serving size, ½ pizza)

POINTS 5. Per serving: 228 calories, 27.6 Carbohydrates, 5.9g Fat, 0.5g Fiber, 13.3g Protein, 19mg Cholesterol, 643mg Sodium, 251mg Calcium. 1.9mg Iron.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hot Dish: "Meat"-Lovers Pasta!

There was a slight change of menu for last night since I didn't have all of the ingredients for the Thai-Style Shrimp (how did I run out of Better'n Peanut Butter?). That recipe will wait for another day but in the meantime I decided to use what I have on hand. I tweaked this Hungry Girl recipe, substituting some veggie Italian Sausage links that have been languishing in the back of my freezer. They are a bit higher in fat/calories than I like but they taste soooo good, totally worth it! Besides, do you know how much a traditional plate of spaghetti & meat sauce will "cost" you, nutrition wise? Yikes! I'll stick to my version, thank you very much.

"Meat"-Lovers Pasta

Meat Lovers Pasta

PointsPlus™ Value: 8
Servings: 1

1 serving(s) House Foods Tofu Shirataki noodle substitute (any shape)
1/2 cup(s) meatless soy crumbles
1/3 cup(s) shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) Prego Heart smart traditional Italian sauce
1 link(s) Morningstar Farms® Veggie Italian style sausage

Drain and rinse noodles; pat dry. Microwave for 1 minute, then pat dry again (the more water you soak up, the better the end result). Set noodles aside. Prepare sausage link on stovetop with nonstick spray and set aside. In skillet, heat Boca Ground Burger for approximately 3 minutes. Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces. Combine sausage, Boca meat, noodles, sauce and cheese, and mix well. Microwave entire dish for one additional minute.