My Favorite Healthy Snacks and Sweets

Last week I put a not-so-healthy recipe out here that was my Grandmother’s.  So I thought I would counter that with what I make when I want something sweet.

My favorite place to get healthy dessert and snack recipes is a blog called Chocolate Covered Katie.  I have mentioned her blog here before and highlighted a recipe.  I have since tried several more and here are my favorites.

Dark Chocolate Almond Candy Bars

This is made from CCK’s recipe for Hot Chocolate Butter.  I make up the chocolate butter (I usually double the recipe), add a good handful of roughly chopped, toasted almonds, spread it in a small pan and place it in the freezer.  When it has gotten solid, I cut it in pieces and then store it in a plastic bag in the freezer.  It is really delicious, and helps satisfy my chocolate cravings, without blowing my diet.

Quaker-Style Chewy Granola Bars
Photo by Chocolate Covered Katie

I also love CCK’s Quaker-Style Chewy Granola Bars.  I like to add mini-chocolate chips and fresh grated coconut.  Sometimes when I am really snack-hungry, I will take two of the granola bars and put a chocolate almond bar between them.  That way I have splurged without breaking the bank diet.

Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog also has many cookie recipes.  Two of my favorites are Chocolate Lace Cookies and Flourless Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies.

Another snack that I like to make is Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Shortbread Protein Bars.  These are found on a website that features coconut recipes because they are made with coconut oil.  This is a great snack for when it is going to be a while before the next meal.  With the protein powder in them, they will satisfy my hunger for several hours.

So these are a few of my favorites.  What are your favorite healthy desserts?

I hope you will try one or more of these recipes and let me know what you think.  When you do, you will realize you can have your cookies and eat them too.  Wishing you happy and healthy snacking!

Mamaw’s Coffee Cake

Hello everyone.  First, let me apologize for not posting for such a long time.  I have been rather lazy uninspired.  When I started this blog, I didn’t realize just how hard it is to come up with a topic three times a week.  Soooooo, I am going to shoot for once a week for a while, to see if I can get better about being consistent.  Then I will increase the postings as I improve.  Thank you to everyone for your patience.

That said, I also want to explain why this posting is not about healthy eating, as I am sure you realized by the title.  I have decided to start a little business making cakes, cookies and party trays for special occasions.  So, if you know anyone in the Atlanta area that needs that service, send me an email and I will be happy to contact you or them.

To get started, I pulled out several old family recipes and broke them down by cost.  Most of these are recipes I have not made in years, so I figured I might need to try them out again to make sure they still taste as good as I remember.  It is rather strange to be baking things I no longer eat, but I am sure I can find people that will be willing to help me in that area.

This recipe, for example, had to be adjusted.  The original recipe calls for two 4.5 ounce jars of baby food plums, apricots or dates.  Well, they don’t make those fruits as baby food any longer.  I found apricots mixed with other fruits like apples and pears, but not on their own, and I found no plums (or dates).  This makes me rather sad, as I can remember as a child loving it when my Mamaw made this cake and let me lick the plum jars.  Those were really delicious!  I have come up with a substitution that works, though, so I can use this recipe.  I rehydrated dried apricots, and ran them through the food processor.  I used a 6 oz. package of dried apricots and it made more than I needed.  After I made the cake, my mom said, “why don’t you blog about your cake?”  So, here it it.  My Mamaw’s Coffee Cake recipe:

Mamaw’s Coffee Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. (9 oz.) dried apricots, rehydrated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. rum flavoring

Streusel Topping:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • Scant 2 Tbsp. flour

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

To rehydrate the apricots:  Cut apricots in quarters and place in a bowl.  Pour very hot water over the apricots to cover, plus about an inch of water.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Put apricots and soak water in a food processor and process until smooth.  Measure out 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz.) for the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350º.  In large mixing bowl at low speed, beat the eggs and sugar until blended.  Add oil alternately with flour, mixing well after each addition.  Add apricots, vanilla and rum flavoring; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  In separate bowl, stir together topping ingredients.  Pour ½ batter into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.  Sprinkle with ½ topping mix.  Repeat with remaining batter and topping.  Bake at 350º for 1 hour 10 minutes.  Cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes.

While cake is cooling in pan, heat glaze ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Turn cake onto plate, with streusel topping facing up.  Pour glaze over hot cake.

Mamaw’s Coffee Cake

I hope you will let me know if you try this recipe and how you like it.  It is really delicious with a fresh cup of coffee.  I will be trying another version with fresh plums.  The plums on our tree are getting ripe, so I am going to make a plum sauce by cooking the plums and then running them through the food processor.  Later, I’ll try this cake with the plums.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What is your favorite old family recipe?

“Ranch” Turkey Burgers

I got to thinking about the ranch burgers I am always hearing about.  You know, mixing ranch salad dressing mix with your ground beef before making your burgers.  Since we eat a lot of turkey burgers, I decided the seasonings that go into my Homemade Ranch Dressing would be delicious in a turkey burger, and I was absolutely right!

“Ranch” Turkey Burgers

 

  • 1 1/4 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Chives
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients and form into 5 patties.  Grill or pan fry in a little more olive oil until patties reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

This recipe calls for 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey, because that is size package I had.  You could adjust the seasonings just slightly if you only have a 1 lb. package.

These were moist and delicious with a great ‘burger’ flavor.  I hope you enjoy them!

What is your favorite way to cook burgers?.

Crock Pot Pork Stew

I usually would be doing a gardening post today, but I made the a really delicious stew on Sunday and wanted to share it with you.  It was a perfect Mother’s Day meal because I could just fix it and forget it.  Then when it was time to eat, it was ready to serve.

Crock Pot Pork Stew

Crock Pot Pork Stew

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb. boneless Pork Tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5-6 medium Red Potatoes
  • 3 medium Carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 lb. Mushrooms
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • 2 tsp. dried Thyme
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose Flour (I used Brown Rice Flour to make it gluten free)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup Chicken or Turkey Stock
  • 2 cups Water, approximately

Cut all vegetables except celery into large chunks, all approximately the same size.  Chop celery.  Layer potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion in crock pot in that order. Sprinkle with the Thyme and some salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, brown pork in olive oil.  When brown, remove from pan and place on top of vegetables in crock pot, leaving oil in pan.  Add butter to pan and melt.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper.  Continue to whisk and cook on medium heat until flour begins to brown. Slowly add stock and then water, continuing to whisk while adding.  Once your gravy is smooth (you want it to be rather thin), pour it over your meat and vegetables in the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  In the last hour you may need to stir the stew, especially if you notice that some of your flour is sitting on top of the meat.  I noticed this, but it may be because I used the brown rice flour.

This was such a delicious dish that my mom said she is going to make it for the next covered dish meal at her church.  For me, that is quite a compliment!

What is your favorite dish to cook in the crock pot?

Ground Turkey Jamboree

This is my adaptation of my mom’s recipe for Meat Jamboree.  This one has less fat, no additives and no gluten.  I hope you enjoy it.

Ground Turkey Jamboree

Ground Turkey Jamboree

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground Turkey
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups Homemade Tomato Soup
  • 2 cups cooked Brown Rice
  • 3/4 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup cooked Green Beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown chopped onion in olive oil.  Add ground turkey and season with salt and pepper, cooking until turkey is no longer pink.  Stir in tomato soup.  In 2 qt. greased casserole, layer 1 cup of cooked rice, half of ground turkey mixture and 1/4 cup cheese.  Repeat with remaining rice, turkey mixture and another 1/4 cup cheese.  Arrange green beans on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove cover and continue baking for 10 minutes.

Note:  For additional flavor, cook rice in chicken or turkey stock, which makes a delicious side dish on its on.

I hope you enjoy this delicious casserole, the DH loved it!

What is your favorite casserole that your mom used to make?

Homemade Tomato Soup

My mother used to make a recipe for a ground beef casserole that she called Meat Jamboree.  I was a delicious combination of ground beef, canned tomato soup, egg noodles, green beans and cheese.  When I decided I wanted to work on it and make it healthier, I knew I did not want to use canned soup, so decided to make my own.  Here is my Tomato Soup recipe, and next week I’ll share my Ground Turkey Jamboree recipe.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Basil

Homemade Tomato Soup

  • 1 qt. Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 med. Onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk Celery, chopped
  • 1 med. Carrot, chpped
  • 1/4 lb. Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, saute onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms in olive oil, with salt and pepper, until soft.  Add garlic and saute for just a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add tomatoes and simmer covered for about 15 minutes then remove the lid and simmer uncovered 15-20 minutes.  I then used an immersion blender to blend the soup until it was smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could (very carefully) pour the soup into your food processor of VitaMix and blend until smooth.  If the soup is too thin, you can continue to cook uncovered for a short while to thicken it.  I used my home canned tomatoes, but this would also be delicious with fresh tomatoes from your garden (I would peel them and it might take a little longer to cook to the right thickness) or you could use store bought canned tomatoes (probably about 3 regular sized cans would work just fine).

About the time I finished making the soup, a friend of mine came over with some fresh basil from her garden.  I removed the amount of soup I needed for my Jamboree and then chopped the basil (about 2 tbsp.) and added it to my soup, cooking it about another ten minutes to incorporate the basil.  I just thought it was delicious before the basil!

This recipe made about enough soup for 2 people, but it could easily be doubled or tripled to serve more.

What is your favorite homemade soup?

A Happy Mess

When you are trying to make recipes your own, whether it is to make them healthier, or just to put your signature on them, they do not always turn out like you planned. Sometimes, though, they turn out to be a good thing crazy good!  Such is the case with the revamped cheese straws.  The DH and I were watching a cooking show I had recorded the other night (like he had a choice) and the cook was making cheese straws. So, DH decided he wanted me to make some cheese straws.  I told him I couldn’t have wheat (I have an intolerance for it) and he said, “so change the recipe so that you can eat it”.  The challenge was is on.  I have been reading about substituting chick peas, nut flours and other flours (like rice or oat) for wheat flour.  I know there are some other changes you have to make when you do, but I am still in the learning phase and don’t know all those things yet.  I have tried some other’s recipes with these substitutions, but have not tried making my own…before now.

Not Exactly Cheese Straws

I decided to use mostly chick peas in place of the flour, but also added a bit of pecan meal.  When I got the dough made, it was a little too soft, so I added a bit of brown rice flour.  They end result was not exactly cheese straws, they were more like cheese crisps.  They flattened out completely and were crispy and a bit chewy at the same time…and we (DH and I) absolutely could not stop eating them.  I made the first panful with the cookie press, like you would most other cheese straws, but when they flattened out, I decided to make the rest as crackers.  They are quite greasy and soooo tasty.  They are wheat free and gluten free, but nowhere near fat free.

Cheesy Cracker Crisps

Cheesy Cracker Crisps

  • 4 cups shredded extra sharp cheedar cheese
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pecan meal
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Put all ingredients except the brown rice flour in your food processor and process on high until it starts forming a dough (make take a couple of minutes), stopping halfway through to scrape the sides of the bowl.  Then add the brown rice flour and process just enough to get it mixed in well.  Form into 1″ balls, place on greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until slightly browned.  They will flatten out as they bake.

I think these would probably make a great little appetizer for a party.  Try them and let me know what you think.

What delightful mistakes have you made lately?

I will be sure to let you know when I get my wheat free cheese straws to come out actually looking like cheese straws 🙂