May 31, 2011

List of Food Blogs in English

I check my blog stats EVERY day. I think it's interesting seeing where my readers are from, how many page views, what posts are being read, and on the rare occasion I see a referring URL I just have to click on. Mostly when I see something that isn't familiar.

I saw the above^ link this morning in my "Referring URLs" page in the stats for my blog. I clicked on it and couldn't believe what I saw. 80 pages of food blogs in English. The number one spot going to the highest recommended food blog on page one.

Now I don't know how you recommend a blog or the workings of this website but I can tell you that no matter where I fall on this list it just makes me giddy to see my name on the list. Page 54, Number 5302.

I'd like to give a few of my Page 54 foodies a shout out...

5303. Tried and Tested Recipes - I want to one of Rico's Chocolate Decorated Cupcakes.
5304. a hint of honey - Back to the work week. Why not take a Veggie and Cheese Bagel Sandwich packed in your lunch?
5305. Or Until Golden Brown - Ravioli for dessert? Intrigued? I sure was.
5310. My Retro Kitchen - How about entering for a GIVEAWAY!!! That was a lucky find. We all love winning free stuff.
5311. Rina's Recipes - I'd like to try a new cuisine. How about some Curried Long and Kidney Beans - Srilankan Style?
5316. Rae's Kitchen - Light Deviled Eggs sound like a great option for a get together.
5317. Busy Vegan - Here is a salad I would love to stick my fork into: Romaine Strawberry Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Surprising Croutons.
5318. Recipes From A Normal Mum - I'm sure I fit this bill. Trying to juggle everything at once. The kid, house, errands, etc. Not enough hours in the day.
5319. the 50 best punch recipes - What happens when you get to the 50th punch recipe? Hopefully more punch recipes and a blog name change. Til we reach 50 why not sip on this June Punch.
5320. Snellville Recipes - A cookie recipe I'm sure we all recognize, Toll House Cookies.
5321. Food Makes Me Happy - I know what I want for dinner and that would be, Spaghetti with Rosemary Marinated Pork Slices and Toasted Pine Nuts.
5325. Rochelle's Vintage and Frugal Recipes - We share the same first name. It's rare. Her blog is a rare gem. So are these Jeweled Picnic Bars.
5327. Cupcake Muffin - Cleaning out the cookbook closet and you could win the GIVEAWAY!!!
5332. Cookbooks and Apps 4EveryKitchen - If you have a fancy phone these apps would be a great resource.
5335. Anglo-Indian Recipes - An idea on what to do with green bananas, Green Banana Cutlets.
5337. What's Cooking At My House - I know I would love some of this Down Home Taco Casserole.
5340. Chow Bella - Recipe title says it all, Quick Southeast Asian Grilled Chicken Salad.
5343. The Savvy Kitchen - A great picnic recipe is the Cucumber and Dill Salad.
5346. Munaty Cooking - Since I am trying to follow the Flat Belly Diet this Hummus with Tahini would be a great snack to have.
5349. Sweet Beginnings - Jalapenos. Check. Bacon. Check. Bacon and Cream Cheese Jalapeno Bites.
5350. My Little Kitchen Laboratory - How about something to cool you down with the rising temperatures? How about some Espresso Gelato?
5351. Cooking With Marina Mustafa - I can only imagine how delicious this chicken tastes. Gulai Ayam.
5352. Cooking With Love - I would love this Chinese Chicken Salad.
5354. Confectionery Queen - Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting sounds like the perfect compliment to the Red Velvet Cupcakes.
5356. McNeil Family Recipe Book - Creamy Chicken Taquitos, yes please!
5357. Thermominx - Don't know what a Thermomix is? You will after you check out this blog.
5358. Kate's Cure for the Common Cuisine - I know the temperature is in the high 90s here in Houston but this Turkey Chili Taco Soup sounds like a bowl of comfort.
5361. Haute Health Recipes - Eating healthy 80% of the time is made easier with a recipe like this Spring Salad.
5363. Karen's Recipes - Penzy's Peanut Butter Bars = Yum!
5374. Zodelicious - Dessert anyone?
5376. From Our Tummies To Yours - Anything with Cool and Summer in the same recipe title makes me giddy.
5378. Food For Scot - If it's good enough for Scot then I'm sure these Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars will be good enough for me.
5384. Mrs Harding Cooks - Mrs. Harding I'd love to have those Tomato Feta Tartlets. Yummy!
5385. Nithu's Kitchen
5386. QlinArt - Caramelized Bananas as a topping for pancakes!!!
5387. Oh! You Cook! - Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto Canapes look like a perfect light lunch to enjoy sitting outside in the shade on a hot day.
5388. Haystacks and Champagne - Mahi-Mahi recipe I'd love to try.
5391. Our Cooking Cafe - Movie night wouldn't be complete unless there is Caramel Corn.

Did anybody else know about this list? Do you know who graces the same page you do? If not, why not check it out and say hello to your fellow food bloggers.

May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Mr. Sideline Chef in Iraq
I'd like to thank all of our service men and women for their sacrifices. Sending a big air hug to you all! Hope you all have a happy, healthy, and safe MEMORIAL DAY!!!

May 29, 2011

Classic Pancakes

I thought I had found a winner with the Alton Brown recipe for pancakes until I decided to try a recipe from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, Good Things for Kids: 63 Fun and Easy Recipes the Whole Family Will Love.

Sure enough, the whole family loved these Classic Pancakes. They were so incredibly light and fluffy. This is going to become my tried and true go to recipe for when itty bitty, Mr. Sideline Chef, or myself want pancakes for breakfast or as itty bitty requested some for snack today.

The best thing about pancakes is how versatile they are. You can throw in whatever mix-ins you fancy. Chocolate chips, granola, fruit, nuts? Get creative. No matter how you eat 'em you won't be disappointed.

Classic Pancakes
Good Things for Kids: 63 Fun and Easy Recipes the Whole Family Will Love
Makes 10 Pancakes

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the griddle
And Action:

If using an electric griddle heat to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, eggs, and the oil. Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Make sure not to over mix the batter.

Grease the griddle or skillet. Set skillet on medium. Once hot, pour 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Add your mix-ins if desired. Flip when small holes appear, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Cook second side until golden.

May 28, 2011


Mr. Sideline Chef bought me a KitchenAid Stand Mixer for our first Christmas together along with a bunch of other kitchen items such as a toaster oven, ove-glove, and little odds and ends. That was over four years ago. In the box for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer was a spiral bound notebook with the instructions and recipes.

I never looked through the notebook until just this morning. 1) I already knew how to use the mixer thanks to my mama and 2) Before starting this blog I didn't do much cooking out of cookbooks. Instead I would use recipes I found off the Internet.

Having no new recipes lined up to make I decided to sit down and go through my stack of cookbooks. First on top was my KitchenAid instructions and recipes notebook. After flipping through the recipes I bookmarked the Popovers recipe since I had all of the ingredients on hand and they looked so darn delicious. I have never had a popover before. I was excited to try something new.

The smell of these babies baking in the oven is pure torture. Once out of the oven my first attempt at making them looked just like the picture in the book. Now if they tasted as good as they look it will be a complete success.

Hot out of the oven, broke open, steam rising, and enjoyed simply plain. Amazing! I had to coax itty bitty with a, "It tastes like a pancake," to get him to even try a bite. One bite was all it took for him and I to sit down and eat half the batch together. These would be delicious with butter, jam, peanut butter, or any other filling and are equally as delicious in a simple state too.

Why not start your Memorial Day weekend off right with a batch of these with breakfast? Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe weekend. Let's not forget why we celebrate Memorial Day in the first place. I'd like to thank ALL of our military men and women. Thank you for your sacrifice.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer: Instructions and Recipes
Makes 8 Popovers

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
And Action:

Place all the ingredients in mixer bowl. With wire whisk turn speed to 4 and beat 15 seconds. Stop and scrape sides of bowl down. Turn speed to 4 and beat 15 seconds more.

Fill 8 heavily greased and floured custard cups half full with batter. Place cups on cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in cold oven and set heat at 450 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 20-25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cut slit into side of each popover. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 103
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrates: 13 g
Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 59 mg
Sodium: 115 mg

Marking #4 off  "Stir the Pot". 8 down, 16 to go.

May 27, 2011

Blueberry Breakfast Sandwich

Looking for a quick and simple breakfast to put together in the amount of time it will take to toast your bread? Yes? Than look no further!

This Blueberry Breakfast Sandwich makes for a filling and satisfying meal.

Blueberry bread gets topped with a honeyed yogurt mixed with pumpkin seeds and then topped with sliced banana. Seriously yummy!

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 slices toasted whole grain bread with blueberries - The only blueberry bread option I could find were blueberry bagels. The nutritional information below reflects using the whole grain bread.
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
And Action:

Combine the yogurt, pumpkin seeds, and honey. Spread evenly over the toast. Top 1 slice with the banana and place the other slice, spread side down on top. Cut in half before serving. (I served my sandwich open-faced instead and placed 1/4 banana slices on each bagel half.)

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Pumpkin Seeds
Calories: 360
Protein: 17 g
Carbohydrates: 73 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 340 mg
Fiber: 8 g

May 26, 2011

Curried Apple and Pear Soup

Making soup for lunches for the week has become the norm in our household every Monday. I know when the temperatures start to climb most people tend to not want a hot comforting bowl of soup. I am not one of those people. I can eat soup no matter the weather. In fact, my taste buds aren't the only thing backwards. I grow my hair out in the Summer and chop it off in the Winter. Bassackwards. I know.

I decided to try out another recipe from the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook. Curried Apple and Pear Soup. This is a great vegetarian dish. The soup has a delicate heat but could be kicked up by using a hot curry powder instead. I wish I would have had some instead of the mild curry powder but the flavor was still amazing and my taste buds couldn't agree more.

The veggies (mirepoix) were sauteed in some olive oil until they became caramelized and then seasoned with the curry powder, ground cumin, and salt. Apples and pears were then simmered in vegetable broth and water until tender. Then into the food processor until smooth. Topped with Greek style yogurt and toasted almonds. The almonds provided a crunch to a velvety soup.

Makes 4 Servings (Serving size = 1 1/2 cup)

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp mild or hot curry powder - I used mild curry powder but think hot would have been better.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
And Action:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender and the onion is lightly golden and caramelized.

Add the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Cook and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the pears and apples and stir to coat. Add the broth and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the fruit is very tender.

Transfer the soup to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot and warm through.

Ladle into 4 bowls and top each with 2 tbsp of the yogurt and 2 tbsp of the almonds.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Almonds
Calories: 226
Protein: 6g
Carbohydrates: 23 g
Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 411 mg
Fiber: 5 g

May 24, 2011

Sesame Crackers

I can easily sit down and eat an entire box of crackers in one sitting. They're habit forming. I've never thought to make my own crackers until I started FOLLOWING one of my favorite blogs, All Day I Dream About Food. Carolyn makes it look so easy to make crackers. I wanted to sit down and eat an entire batch of those.

After an impulse buy at the grocery store and too spicy Italian seafood salad I needed something to tame the heat. Crackers. I needed crackers.

In the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook there was a recipe for Sesame Crackers with a word of encouragement that homemade crackers are much easier to prepare than most people would think and make an impressive statement.

While I had no one to impress since Mr. Sideline Chef had to go out on the road for work I still had that Italian seafood salad that needed to get ate up.

Sure enough homemade crackers are super simple to make. I just need to make sure and roll the dough out thinner next time. My crackers were very crisp on the outside but didn't have that crisp bite through to the middle. No worries though. They were still incredibly tasty and went perfectly with the Italian seafood salad.

Not only does the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook confirm the ease of making homemade crackers but so do I. Reason enough to give them a try yourself.
Makes 8 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
And Action:

Combine the flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, canola oil, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll half of the dough into a 10" square on a lightly floured surface. Rough edges are okay. Cut the dough in half to form two pieces of 10"x5" each. Cut each piece into eight 1 1/4" inch strips forming sixteen strips total. Repeat with remaining dough.

Transfer to a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Cool on a rack.

Store the cooled crackers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Sesame seeds
Calories: 287
Protein: 6 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Fat: 20 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 355 mg
Fiber: 0.5 g

Peanut Butter and Yogurt Smoothie

Mr. Sideline Chef has started running again. He's a natural born runner. He can go many months without lacing up his running shoes and after two days he's back to running long distances.

After his run Saturday morning he informed me that he needed new running shoes. Needing to go to the mall was a great excuse for me to pick up a couple of new t-shirts and let him get some new shoes. Compromise. He walked away with a pair of Reebok ZigNanos and I got three t-shirts from Forever 21.

I'm a little jealous of the color scheme since they are black and yellow. Go Steelers! Now I have running shoe envy.

While at the grocery store yesterday he requested a peanut butter smoothie of sorts for after his run for breakfast. In the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook there was the perfect recipe for just that, a Peanut Butter and Yogurt Smoothie. While he went on his run before work I prepared his lunch (pork loin chop, white rice, and broccoli with a No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie) and then got to preparing his smoothie.

Smoothies are a great breakfast choice. They are quick and easy to prepare. So much flavor all mixed into one tall glass.

The addition of peanut butter in this smoothie makes for one hearty breakfast drink and keeps you full for hours. Next time I think I will up the fiber count by also throwing in some flaxseed or wheat germ. As written, this is one terrific smoothie. Yummy!

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt - I used Greek style yogurt.
  • 2 tbsp creamy natural unsalted peanut butter - I used what we had on hand. Mr. Sideline Chef's favorite, Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter.
  • 1/4 very ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 ice cubes - Nothing wrong with more than that.
And Action:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Peanut Butter
Calories: 410
Protein: 19 g
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 16 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Sodium: 289 mg
Fiber: 3 g

May 23, 2011

Element Bars Giveaway Winner

It's Monday. Just stating the facts. Sorry to anyone who takes this as a slap in the face. How about a happy Monday morning announcement?

I'd like to thank everyone who entered for a chance to win a 12 pack of Element Bars.

There's one lucky winner and that person is:


Courtney you have until Wednesday morning (5:00 a.m. CT) to get back to me with your mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. Thank you.
I wish everyone a wonderful Monday and a great start to the week ahead.

May 21, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Two years ago while traveling to Ohio for our annual Christmas vacation Mr. Sideline Chef had pulled into a gas station somewhere in Kentucky. On the side of the road I had seen a sight that was foreign to me. An Amish couple was selling canned goods and other items such as aprons and rugs. They also had their horse and buggy.
I couldn't wait to get out of the truck and see what they had for sale. I bundled myself and itty bitty up and walked to the corner. As we approached, itty bitty who was 18 months old at the time got a glimpse of the horse and was so excited. We stood admiring the horse for a couple of minutes. The couple smiled and approached us with a bag of no bake cookies for itty bitty.

We made it over to their stand and after looking at all of the various items for sale I ended up picking up a jar of apple butter for Mr. Sideline Chef's grandma. I tried to pay them for the cookies as well but they simply wouldn't take it. It was such a generous act of kindness. I don't believe it was just because of the Christmas spirit but because their hearts were that warm and full of love.

Itty bitty nibbled on the cookies over the next day and a half and loved every last bite of them. I tried a bite and decided it wasn't a cookie I liked. Mr. Sideline Chef liked them though. It's just me. I don't get giddy over cookies.

6 months ago I had won a giveaway for Nordic Ware's The Great Cookie Book and it just arrived in the mail yesterday. Better late than never. Although I had forgot about it since I figured the lady had forgotten about the giveaway and mailing it. Imagine my surprise when I received a package and had no clue what it was.

I came across a recipe for No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, had all of the ingredients, and knew that I needed to make these. Not only for itty bitty and Mr. Sideline Chef but to see if I liked no bake cookies.

Sure enough, I do! Easy to make, easy clean up, and even tastier to eat. What's not to love? The peanut butter and chocolate in these cookies is a classic combination. A sure win!
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 24 Cookies

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 cups sugar - I used splenda since that is what I had on hand.
  • 1/2 cup milk - I used skim milk.
  • 4 baking chocolate squares - I used unsweetened baking chocolate squares.
  • 3 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter - Homemade! Yummy! 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
And Action:

In a large saucepan add the first 4 ingredients and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and drop by tablespoonfuls on waxed paper.

Cool until set.

Linking this recipe to:

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a 12 pack of Element Bars! Giveaway ends Monday, May 23, 2011 @ 5:00 a.m. when the winner will be announced.

May 20, 2011

Dr. Suess For Adults

Brought to you by another forwarded email.

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 12 pack of Element Bars! 

May 19, 2011


Making Pesto was originally the reason why I wanted a food processor. I got one for Christmas and have used it for everything but pesto.

Homemade Pesto is on a whole other level than store bought. Fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil. So simple and loads of flavor. After making this Pesto I've been bit by the gardening bug and want to grow basil now and lots of it in order to make large batches of it to freeze.

For a "Meatless Monday" I tossed the Pesto with whole grain penne and a side of Crispy Carrot Fries. Mr. Sideline Chef requested the leftover pasta for his lunch tomorrow for a cold pasta salad.

Once you make your own Pesto you won't go back to store bought.

Makes 24 Servings (Serving size = 2 tbsp)

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 6 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
And Action:

Toast the pine nuts in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir often for 3-4 minutes.

Combine the pine nuts, basil, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube to blend into a rough paste.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 71
Protein: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 123 mg
Fiber: 1 g

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 12 pack of Element Bars!

May 18, 2011

Cookie Crisps

Cookies don't excite me. I said it. Brownies, most definitely make me giddy. I've never been a cookie kinda gal. Not sure why. I do like them. Really. Just not in a lusting way. Although when I do get my first bite of a fresh out of the oven cookie I lose self control and can eat my weight in them.

These Cookie Crisps are unlike any cookie I've ever baked. Out of the oven they were what I expected, a cookie that left me wanting more. Another bite. These Cookie Crisps were not like any cookie I've ever had before because these left me full after only two of them.

The best way to describe these Cookie Crisps are a gingersnap made healthy. Whole wheat flour and flaxseed are the base of the cookie. Flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acid, similar to that those found in fish. Flaxseed has been shown to play a role in fighting heart disease by lowering cholesterol.

Mr. Sideline Chef, itty bitty, and myself just loved these cookies. Being able to eat cookies when on a "diet" is a great perk. These cookies excite me. I'll be looking forward to making them again. Maybe crushing them and adding to a bowl of vanilla ice cream with some peanut butter and chocolate sauce. Yummy!
Makes 10 Servings (Serving size = 3 cookies)

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp trans-free margarine, softened
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
And Action:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the margarine, oil, brown sugar, honey, and egg with a hand mixer. Add the reserved dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Drop by rounded tablespoons on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 200
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrates: 31 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Sodium: 170 mg
Fiber: 3 g

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 12 pack of Element Bars!

May 17, 2011

Pumpkin Bisque

Forget the fact that Houston temps have hit the mid 90s. I wanted soup. In fact, I heated a bowl of chicken noodle soup up before bed just because I was craving it since our Winter and Spring doesn't last long here. Cold or rainy days aren't in sight. Thankfully, Mr. Sideline Chef prefers to keep the house at artic temperatures and that makes for the perfect climate to have soup.

I've been thinking about this Pumpkin Bisque recipe since I got my hands on my Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook. Why? It's not like there is a photo to entice me to make it but because of the word bisque. Whenever I see a bisque I immediately think back to my single girl days and how I'd run to this uppity restaurant and order their cheese bread with lobster bisque. Creamy. Perfection. Weekly indulgence.

This bisque packs almost half a day's worth of fiber into one serving. We all know fiber is key when following a Flat Belly Diet. No cream or butter in this bisque yet the texture is creamy and rich. Make a batch and enjoy the leftovers for lunches for the week. Don't forget the drizzle of balsamic vinegar for an elegant touch.
Makes 4 Servings (Serving size = 2 cups)

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 4 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
And Action:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, potato, garlic, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the broth, pumpkin, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the potato is very tender.

Transfer the soup to a food processor fitted with a metal blade (in batches, if necessary). Process until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot. If necessary, add water to thin to desired consistency. Reheat if needed.

Ladle into 4 bowls and top each with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds. Drizzle lightly with the balsamic vinegar.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Pumpkin seeds
Calories: 210
Protein: 6 g
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fat: 5 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 451 mg
Fiber: 10 g

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a 12 pack of Element Bars!

May 11, 2011

Irresistible Brownies

I can't explain it. Sometimes I feel like I HAVE to have chocolate. Last night was one of those nights. No, I'm not on "evil". (Mr. Sideline Chef's cutesy name for Mother Nature's visit.) I'm sure the craving for brownies came about after scanning through my Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook and realizing that it was the ONLY recipe in the cookbook that I had all of the ingredients on hand to make. It was meant to happen. These brownies wanted to be made.

Brownies don't make an appearance in our house often for one reason and one reason only... I have NO willpower when a pan of hot-out-of-the-oven brownies are made. I will eat the entire pan without shame. I knowingly make brownies with the understanding that I will be throwing all of my sweat sessions and "diet" plans out the window. I self sabotage willingly. Shamelessly.

"These are diet brownies so I can feel less guilty about eating the entire pan," I tell Mr. Sideline Chef.

"Will you at least save me these two brownies?" He says pointing to the last two brownies in the last row before I went back for them.

Sure enough, this morning the evidence of the empty brownie pan sits on the counter with only the crumbs and knife left and my jeans a little bit tighter in the waist. Worth every bite.

Makes 8 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8"x8" or 9"x9" baking pan  with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the brown sugar, oil, egg and egg white, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. The batter will be stiff.

Spread the batter in a thin layer in the baking pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until the edges are firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. Place pan on a rack to cool. Cut into 8 bars.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Walnuts
Calories: 305
Protein: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 31 g
Fat: 22 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 26 mg
Sodium: 73 mg
Fiber: 2 g

Be sure to check out my giveaway for a 12 pack of Element Bars!

May 10, 2011

Mango Surprise Smoothie

Avocado blends into this Mango Surprise Smoothie to a silky smooth finish. Mango juice is also loaded with cancer fighting beta-carotene. This is a delicious, refreshing and filling smoothie or perfect snack size when turned into popsicles.
Flowers itty bitty picked out for me for Mother's Day!

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  •  1/4 cup mango cubes
  •  1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado - I cubed the avocado.
  • 1/2 cup mango juice
  • 1/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 ice cubes
And Action:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with sliced mango or strawberry, if desired. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
MUFA: Avocado
Calories: 268
Protein: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 53 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 84 mg
Fiber: 4 g

Be sure to check out my giveaway for a 12 pack of Element Bars.

    May 09, 2011

    Element Bars Giveaway

    It's Mr. Sideline Chef and my 4 year anniversary today! I surprised him with a Mossberg 500 handguard with 3 arm rails for his shotgun and that upped my good girlfriend points. Not only did I have a surprise for him but I have one for y'all as well.

    If you like having a say in what goes into your food then I have a company you're going to want to check out, Element Bars! They offer custom made energy bars with NO artificial sweeteners, NO processed starches, and NO new fancy food technology.

    You get to choose your base: chewy, oaty, crispy, or datey and then add your mix ins. How cool is that? You can even take a quiz and have a bar recommended for you or you can explore their creations. The sky's the limit when it comes to creating your own personalized energy bars.

    Element Bars - Custom Energy Bars is allowing me to offer one lucky FOLLOWER of my blog to receive a free 12 pack of Energy Bars. All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is... Visit Element Bars and create your perfect energy bar and tell me all about your flavor combination.

    For more chances to win... each one is worth an extra entry... leave me a separate comment for each.
    • Link my giveaway into your blog and leave me the link in your comment.
    • Become a FOLLOWER of my blog or already have been a FOLLOWER.
    • LIKE Element Bars on Facebook.
    The giveaway winner will be announced on May 23, 2011 at 5:00 a.m. Central Time. I will be picking a winner randomly. Please make sure I have a way of contacting you! I will get in touch with the winner to get a mailing address and then passing it along to the company. Best of luck!

    May 08, 2011

    Chicken Piccata

    Mr. Sideline Chef, itty bitty, and I lived in a motel in Washington for over a year while Mr. Sideline Chef was working there. Itty bitty was 4 months old at the time and still being a relatively new mama I resorted to take out meals quite often. Anything quick, easy, and no fuss for me to clean up. The motel room we had did have a kitchen in it. It was small and not very fun to cook in. Plus, I was not at all on a health kick and eating out was such an easy answer.

    One evening Mr. Sideline Chef decided to check out a local bar. He came home telling me that it wasn't just "bar food" it was "Italian-style bar food". He wanted to take me there. For starters, we were living in a motel with a baby. Who was going to watch itty bitty? Funny thing is, the motel we were living in is the same one we met at while I was an employee there. When we had returned to live there a year after I quit to be with him a good friend of mine was working there. She had agreed to watch itty bitty for us so we could have our first date night since he had been born.

    After we put him to sleep she had arrived and we walked down a block to the bar. It was a very casual and laid back kind of atmosphere. Mr. Sideline Chef and I gravitate toward those kind of places. We put in our drink orders and then ordered some food. By date night, a couple of weeks had passed and Mr. Sideline Chef had made good friends with the owner, his wife, and the busty bartender, go figure, a boob man. The owner took our order but instead offered to make me something special that wasn't on the menu. A surprise! I loved it. I was game for trying anything.

    When he came out of the kitchen and set my meal in front of me I was blown away at what I was eating at a bar. Chicken Piccata on a bed of spaghetti noodles and a side of teriyaki fried spinach. Mind blowingly good. After that night and my first taste of the Chicken Piccata, Mr. Sideline Chef would get sent back a couple of times a week over the course of the year. Addicting!

    We've been back here in Texas about a year and a half and I often crave that meal. I had never thought twice to make it myself until flipping through the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook and then a craving so overwhelming took over me when I saw the picture of their Chicken Piccata. Would it be as good as the "original"?

    Just as good, if not better! Quick and easy to prepare and for minimal calories it has some serious flavor play going on. Oh the capers! My first time having capers was at that bar and I fell in love with their salty vinegar brined taste. To help keep the sodium count under control make sure to choose the brine-packed capers.

    The next time a craving hits for that Chicken Piccata I'm reaching for this recipe!

    Chicken Piccata
    Makes 4 Servings

    Stars of the Show:
    • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken tenders
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley - I used dried parsley since that is what I had on hand.
    • 2 tsp capers, minced - Skipped the mincing. Just didn't read the ingredients list properly.
    • ground black pepper
    And Action:

    Lay the chicken tenders on a work surface. With a rolling pin covered in plastic wrap, flatten to 1/4" thickness. Dredge the cutlets lightly in the flour.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the skillet and heat until sizzling. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cooked through.

    Add the lemon juice, parsley, and capers. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Season to taste with the black pepper. Serve the chicken with the pan juices. Over a bed of whole wheat noodles would be delicious.

    Nutritional Information:
    MUFA: Olive oil
    Calories: 235
    Protein: 21 g
    Carbohydrates: 4 g
    Fat: 15 g
    Saturated Fat: 2 g
    Cholesterol: 49 mg
    Sodium: 108 mg
    Fiber: 0 g


    May 07, 2011

    Pesto Caesar Salad

    When I think of caesar salad Red Lobster comes to mind. Their salad has a perfect crunch and is incredibly well chilled. It makes for a perfect starter to the meal. I don't order caesar salads elsewhere when we dine out. It's just not the same.

    You can imagine how giddy I was when I saw a recipe for this Pesto Caesar Salad in the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook. I have never attempted to make a caesar salad at home from scratch before. This recipe with the pesto takes the flavor profile over the top. Crisp romaine lettuce with hard boiled eggs whites and crunchy parmesan cheese tortillas pieces are tossed in the pesto casear dressing. A truly crave worthy salad. Yummy!

    The Pesto Caesar Salad makes a great lunch and could easily be made into a more substantial dinner when paired with a protein of choice. If you are making it to take for lunch just be sure to keep the lettuce, tortilla strips, and dressing separate until you are ready to eat.

    This salad is a great recipe to have on hand to switch up the usual lunch rotation. This takes a standard caesar salad and takes it to new heights with added flavor without the extra calories and fat. A sure winner!

    Makes 4 Servings

    Stars of the Show:
    • 1 10" flour tortilla
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tsp grated romano cheese
    • 2 hard boiled eggs
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tbsp pesto
    • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste or Thai fish sauce - I used fish sauce since I couldn't find anchovy paste at the store.
    • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
    • ground black pepper
    And Action:

    Preheat the broiler.

    Brush the tortilla with a small amount of the oil. Sprinkle with the cheese. Place on a sheet of foil. Broil 6" from the heat source for about 1 minute or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cut into small pieces. I cut mine into quarters and ate them like crackers instead. Set aside.

    Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise. Remove the yolks and discard one yolk. Save it for another recipe. Coarsely chop the whites. Set aside.

    Use a fork to mash the yolk in a large bowl. Add the remaining oil, lemon juice, pesto, and anchovy paste or fish sauce. Whisk until smooth. Add the romaine and egg whites. Toss to coat. Season with the ground black pepper.

    Scatter the tortilla pieces over the salad before serving.

    Nutritional Information Per Serving:
    MUFA: Olive oil
    Calories: 260
    Protein: 7 g
    Carbohydrates: 13 g
    Fat: 21 g
    Saturated Fat: 4 g
    Cholesterol: 109 mg
    Sodium: 225 mg
    Fiber: 3 g

    I will be marking #22 off my "Stir The Pot" page. 7 down, 17 to go.

    May 06, 2011

    Mom's Turkey Breakfast Sausage

    Pork sausage on a "diet" warrants a slap on the hand. The sodium content is high. Mr. Sideline Chef likes having pork sausage with his breakfast. In fact, breakfast tacos with sausage, eggs, hash browns, and cheese was the norm. I on the other hand am not so much a fan of the bloat but really enjoy the flavor.

    The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook offers a fantastic substitute for pork sausage. Turkey sausage. This recipe is a great way to keep your sodium content in check. It's a great alternative that made me feel like this was something healthier to feed my family and start their days off on the right foot. While the turkey sausage is a little bit dry it was packed with lots of flavor. The sage really stood out and hints of maple shined through.

    I think these sausages would be perfect for breakfast sandwiches, a side dish, or any other recipe that calls for sausage. These sausages are great for making ahead and reheating in the microwave during the week for a quick breakfast.

    Makes 8 Servings (Serving size = 2 patties)
    Stars of the Show:
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground sage
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 1/4 lb extra lean ground turkey
    • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
    And Action:

    Combine the maple syrup, pepper, sage, salt, and onion powder in a large bowl and mix with a fork until smooth.

    Add the turkey and mix gently until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Roll into small balls about 1" each. I used a tablespoon cookie scooper and ended up with 16 balls.

    Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (This heat was too high. I ended up burning my first few. Medium heat was just right.) Place half of the balls in the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, flattening with a spatula when flipped, (I formed the patties in my hand before adding them to the skillet.) until cooked through. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and repeat with the remaining patties.

    Nutritional Information Per Serving:
    Calories: 100
    Protein: 18 g
    Carbohydrates: 4 g
    Fat: 2 g
    Saturated Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 30 mg
    Sodium: 190 mg
    Fiber: 0 g

    May 05, 2011

    Maple Walnut Oatmeal

    Oatmeal can be so BLAH. I'm always looking for new ways to make breakfast, the most important meal of the day, a little more exciting. Oatmeal makes it's round on the rotation quite often. Many mornings I am in too much of a rush to really do anything special to my bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal simmered in water. BLAH.

    This morning was not a BLAH kind of breakfast. I simmered my oatmeal in milk and maple syrup with some dried apples and then topped it with toasted walnuts. Creamy, sweet, and crunchy. Perfection. This is the most incredible bowl of oatmeal I have made in a long time.

    Another winner from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook. This recipe is a definite keeper.

    Makes 4 Servings (Serving size = 3/4 cup)
    Stars of the Show:
    • 2 cups 1% milk - I used skim milk.
    • 1 cup oatmeal
    • 1/2 cup chopped dried pears or apples - I used dried apples.
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
    And Action:

    In a medium pot combine the milk, oats, pears or apples, maple syrup, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the oats are tender. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

    Nutritional Information Per Serving:
    MUFA: Walnuts
    Calories: 321
    Protein: 10 g
    Carbohydrates: 45 g
    Fat: 12 g
    Saturated Fat: 2 g
    Cholesterol: 6 mg
    Sodium: 481 mg
    Fiber: 4 g

    May 04, 2011

    Cuernitos (Little Horns)

    I came across this recipe on MyRecipes and couldn't wait to try making them after realizing I had all of the ingredients on hand. To be honest, I thought they were going to turn out like a churro. There was no description to go along with the recipe. I have never even heard of these before now. I also did not know that Cuernitos were referred to as "little horns" until after making them, searching for other Cuernito blogs, and then smacking myself in the forward when I realized that yes! these do resemble little horns.

    This is such a simple recipe. You'll end up with a cinnamon sugared dessert (sorta like a crunchy cinnamon roll without the glaze) that would go perfectly with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. I even thought these would be perfect fresh from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    Itty bitty devoured two of these once they were cooled down enough and made a mess of the cinnamon sugar topping. From the mouth of itty bitty, "Nommy!"

    MyRecipes and Southern Living, April 2002
    Makes 1 Dozen

    Stars of the Show:
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
    And Action:

    Stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl of a electric stand mixer. Add yeast and next 3 ingredients; beat at low speed with mixer,using dough hook attachment, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 more minute. Cover dough with wax paper, and let stand 30 minutes.

    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion to a length of 10 inches, forming a 6-inch base and 2-inch top. Roll up each portion, starting at 6-inch end. Gently shape each portion into a crescent, and place on lightly greased baking sheets.

    Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over dough. Cover and let stand in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, 15 minutes.

    Bake at 375º for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks.

    May 03, 2011

    Simple Muffins

    Another recipe from, The Baby Food Bible, that I couldn't wait to try were the Simple Muffins. Itty bitty likes muffins but sometimes he is picky when it comes to fruit or toppings. A simple straight forward muffin sounded perfect for his preferences.

    While muffins are generally a breakfast item in our household I felt that these would make for a perfect before nap time snack. Just like the Breakfast Biscuits, these muffins are made with tiny hands, tiny mouths, and tiny appetites in mind. That is what makes these so perfect for snack time.

    The no frills approach worked. He loved the muffins. They have the right amount of sweetness to them and were incredibly fluffy. For as simple as they are, they are surprisingly tasty.

    Next time I will use this recipe as the base and add in blueberries or chopped peeled peaches and see if he will change his tune toward a fruited muffin.

    Simple Muffins
    Makes 6 muffins

    Stars of the Show:
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • ½ cup milk
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp canola oil or melted butter - I used canola oil.
    And Action:

    Preheat oven the to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin pan. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Mix well. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the milk, egg, and oil. Stir just until combined, Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

    May 02, 2011

    "Instant" Pancake Mix

    Packaged pancake mixes have been my go to for years. One look at my email address would confirm my love of pancakes and a brand my mama used in a pinch when we were growing up. (That has been my email address for about 14 years!)

    Itty bitty LOVES pancakes. He flips, pun intended, every time he sees an IHOP commerical or sees a blog with a photo of pancakes. The latter happened this morning after we had already ate breakfast. My solution... breakfast for dinner!

    These are hands down the best pancakes I have ever made. I don't know how I will ever be able to bring myself to buy a packaged pancake mix again and I hope that I don't resort to going that route ever again. These are the fluffiest pancakes I have ever tasted.

    Maybe it has something to do with separating the egg white and yolk. The egg white gets whisked into the buttermilk and the yolk gets whisked into the melted butter and then both are combined and then poured over the dry ingredients. Chemistry? Maybe. I have no idea if this is the real reason the pancake fluffs the way it does but I've never had a pancake fluff the way these do.

    Make a stack of these light as day pancakes for breakfast or switch it up and have them for dinner. Day or night, they won't disappoint.

    Food Network's Alton Brown
    Makes 12 pancakes (1/4 cup batter for each pancake)
    Stars of the Show:
    • 6 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 eggs, separated
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    And Action:

    Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. You can also make the "pancake mix" ahead of time by combining the dry ingredients in an airtight container and storing for up to 3 months.

    Heat a skillet over medium.

    Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

    Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

    Make sure the skillet is nice and hot. You can check to see if it is hot enough by dropping a couple of water drops into the skillet and if they "dance" across the skillet it is ready.

    Lightly butter the skillet. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

    Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the skillet. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the skillet-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

    Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel.
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