Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Box of Cake Mix Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets
1/2 c MM minis
1/2 c oatmeal
1/2 c oil
1/2 – 3/4 c mashed fruit
1 cake mix
Form into consistently sized balls and put on the cookies sheet.
Bake around 10 minutes (depends on the size of the cookies)
Move to a cooling rack.

Play around to confirm the measurements.

Note: using fruit instead of eggs works except with brownie mix.  Turns out people usually replace the oil with the fruit so I need to experiment with less oil too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Two Peas & Their Pod: Two Ingredient Grilled Salmon with Mango Peach Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Mango Peach Salsa

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
You only need 2 ingredients to make this healthy and delicious Grilled Salmon with Mango Peach Salsa recipe! You can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes!


4 (4 ounce) center cut salmon fillets
2 (14 ounce) containers of Sabra Mango Peach Salsa
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place the salmon fillets in a disposable foil pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the salsa over the salmon fillets. You want the fillets to be smothered in the salsa.
2. Place the pan on a grill over medium-high heat. Grill until the salmon flakes easily and is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
3. Carefully remove salmon fillets from the pan and serve.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Recipe Secrets: McDonalds Apple Muffins

Yield: 24 Muffins

21 oz can Apple pie filling
3 Eggs
2 tsp Apple pie spice
18 oz box Yellow cake mix

Beat all together with electric mixer on medium-speed. 
Divide batter equally between 24 paper-lined cupcake wells. 
Bake at 350-F for 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. 
Cool before peeling off paper liners.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Alex's Curry Quinoa Brocoli

We got a pressure cooker. I made curry quinoa brocoli with it today.  It turned out excellent.  1 cup quinoa, 1 head brocoli, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry power, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbs olive oil, 1.5 cups water.  Cook at high pressure for 1 minute then set aside for ten before opening.  Serves two.  Takes like 15 minutes overall.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Two Ingredient Pancakes - or Three or Four...

This is an easy yet special breakfast to make...

1 egg
1 banana

Mash the banana while still in the skin - then plop in a bowl and mash it with a masher or fork.  Add the egg and mash together.

Heat pan - spray PAM in the pan.

Scoop up about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and cook.  The color of the batter will whiten out and you'll be able to tell when to flip over.

I tried this X three.

1.  adding a few chocolate chips while in the pan - they melted and messed up the pan when I flipped them.
2.  plain
3.  adding a few chopped pecans - worked great when pancake was flipped.

I'm taking longer to type about it than it took to cook!

I served with some strawberries and yogurt just to fill out the plate.

Very tasty.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

HG's Rockin' Chocin' Banana Shake

This is the text version of Hungry Girl.
To see the accompanying visuals and links, go to:

Hungry Girl Today: 5.21.13


HG's Rockin' Chocin' Banana Shake

Na-Na Na-Na Yum-Yum!
So you're trying to eat smart and make better food choices. Good for you! You deserve a reward. How does a no-guilt milkshake sound? This creamy banana swap is exactly what you need...

1 tsp. sugar-free French vanilla powdered creamer
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda or Truvia)
1/2 cup light vanilla soymilk
2 tsp. Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Vanilla Instant pudding mix
1/4 cup fat-free vanilla ice cream
1/2 medium banana, sliced into coins and frozen
2 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup crushed ice or 5 - 8 ice cubes
2 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-wip

In a tall glass, combine creamer with sweetener. Add 1 tbsp. hot water, and stir to dissolve. Add soymilk and pudding mix, and stir until mostly dissolved.

Transfer mixture to a blender. Add ice cream, frozen banana coins, chocolate chips, and ice, and blend at high speed until smooth.

Pour, top with Reddi-wip, and enjoy!


Serving Size: entire recipe (about 12 oz.)
Calories: 206
Fat: 4.5g
Sodium: 240mg
Carbs: 38g
Fiber: 2.5g
Sugars: 22g
Protein: 5.5g

PointsPlus® value 6*


Carl's Jr. Banana Chocolate Chip
Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shake

Shakes. Why Did It Have to Be Shakes?
When milkshake season comes around, a person can feel a bit like Indiana Jones left in a pit of snakes. Safety is nowhere. Especially scary are the mega shakes served up at fast-food eateries everywhere, each with 500 to 1,000 calories and dozens of fat grams! Temptation is all around, and that snake pit takes the shape of a drive-thru. Plus, these burger joints always seem to have some sort of super-tempting seasonal flavor up their sleeves. This year, it's banana chocolate chip. Yup. One of the most delicious fruit flavors paired with chocolatey goodness. Well, here's where we find the rope to pull ourselves out of danger: Making over banana shakes in a guilt-free way is TOTALLY simple! By blending frozen banana coins with a few low-calorie vanilla ingredients, you get a creamy and amazing base. Add mini chocolate chips and a couple of other key components to round out this mouthwatering shake-over. Our recipe is here to save the day... one sip at a time!

Serving Size: 1 shake
Calories: 770
Fat: 39g
Sodium: 270mg
Carbs: 92g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 77g
Protein: 15g

PointsPlus® value 21*

For links in this email, please go to:

Kale/Strawberry/Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Kale salad with strawberries, avocado, almonds, feta, and a light lemon poppy seed dressing.


For the salad:
4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup feta cheese
For the Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Put the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands until the leaves are darker in color and tender.
2. Add the strawberries, avocado, almonds, and feta cheese. Toss gently.
3. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper. Shake until mixed well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve.
Note-Trader Joe's sells kale in bags-already chopped. It's the best!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Advice: Everyday is an Investment


I recently wrote a letter to DS talking about the importance of scheduling regular time to do the things that he did not consider to be his job.  I included: cleaning, paperwork, getting caught up, planning ahead and keeping in touch.

In life we all have to do things that we do not consider to be part of our job/life.  But these regular maintenance things have to be done, so might as well plan for them, do them, and do them well so when (for example) you do your taxes you have the needed information, or when (for example) ten years have passed you have good memories. And not (for example) wishing you had gotten together with people more often but that you didn't because you didn't make time to make good, new memories.

The words in Seth's blog "Investing in the wrong place for a week or month won't kill you. But spending ten years..." support what I was writing.

It's easy to let events run one's life - and in some situations and times it will work out okay.  But it you neglect maintaining your life then it becomes a habit to do that and it becomes very hard to get ahead.

Balsamic and Tomato Bruschetta

Balsamic & Tomato Bruschetta

1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 baguette, sliced
1 garlic clove
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, minced
garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in a bowl. Toss.

Cut the baguette into 4 pieces. Slice in half lengthwise and place
on baking sheet. Toast in a 400 degrees F oven for about 10
minutes; turn once. Remove when crusty on both sides.

Rub bread with the garlic clove. Spoon the tomato mixture over the
bread and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Servings: 8

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cake Mix Singles

I'm experimenting with this - but it seems that 2 parts cake mix and 1 part yogurt mixed together until smooth - microwaved for 1 minute results in a nice portion of soft cake that is good to have with some ice cream or whipped cream.

I bought some diet brownie mix that had this on the box - but my experiment is with using regular mixes.  The portions are so small that I don't think a diet version is needed to do this...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Vegetarian Bacon

brussels sprouts with lemon and veg bacon
Enjoy the added richness of “bacon” flavoring without the guilt of high sodium, fat, and cholesterol.

Makes 8 servings

  • 3 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved vertically 
  • 1 cup vegetarian bacon (about 8 slices), such as Yves Veggie Canadian Bacon or Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon, chopped or make your own!
  • 4 green onions, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth 
  • salt, to taste 
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Add Brussels sprouts to a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain immediately and plunge into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. When they are cold, drain well.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet, wok, or stir-fry pan over high heat. Add vegetarian bacon and green onions and steam-fry until green onions are soft, adding very small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. 
  3. Add sprouts and broth and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and black pepper and drizzle with lemon juice. Toss and serve immediately.

Per serving (1/8 of recipe): 88 calories; 1 g fat; 0.2 g saturated fat; 9.7% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 10.2 g protein; 13.2 g carbohydrates; 5.3 g sugar; 4.6 g fiber; 194 mg sodium; 76 mg calcium; 2.6 mg iron; 104.9 mg vitamin C; 818 mcg beta carotene; 0.8 mg vitamin E

Source: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cindy's Butternut-Kale Lasagna

Gruyere-spiked Bechamel drapes over the noodles and squash to give Butternut-Kale Lasagna velvety richness. Hearty, earthy kale perfectly balances the sweet kale, and crunchy, toasted pecans crown the top of this luscious lasagna.

Yield: Serves 4
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 (12-ounce) package prechopped fresh butternut squash 
  • 3 cups prechopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup) 
  • 2 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup water and squash in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; pierce plastic wrap 2 to 3 times. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes or until tender; drain. Combine squash and kale in a large bowl. Wipe dish dry.
  3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture and remaining 2 1/4 cups milk to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 ounce Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese melts.
  4. Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup milk mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture and 2/3 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with remaining noodles and remaining milk mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining Gruyère and pecans over top. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 420
Fat: 16.3g
Saturated fat: 5.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 7.3g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
Protein: 20.4g
Carbohydrate: 51.4g
Fiber: 4.5g
Cholesterol: 29mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 556mg
Calcium: 557mg


Cindy made this for Alex's 25th birthday celebration.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cindy's Cherry Cheesecake

1 package graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, melted
8 oz package cream cheese
1 pint whipping cream ( I usually only use about 3/4 of this)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Crush the graham crackers (I usually put them in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin).  Pour them into a bowl, add the sugar and melted butter.  Mix them together, pour them into a pie plate or 8" square pan.  Pat them into place and bake at 350 for 7 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Put cream cheese in mixer bowl.  Wait 1/2 hour to let cream cheese soften.  Turn mixer on low and mix cream cheese adding whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond as you run mixer.  Mix until thick.  Spread over graham cracker crust.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving open cherries and spread them over the cream cheese mixture.

Made for Alex's 25th BIrthday.  Cindy/Alex/Maria

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Trader Joe's: Almond Croissants

Easy to make - delicious and impressive looking!

Just need to put on oiled or paper the evening before you serve so they can defrost and rise.  Then bake in 350 over for 20 minutes.  Yum!

Friday, March 8, 2013


Easy, Simple, but Plain Looking

Gnocchi with potatoes is what people usually think of - the kind where each pillow is rolled with a fork.  This one is very quick, the fork design would melt out so it takes half the time of potato gnocchi.

1 lb ricotta cream
2 eggs
1 c grated cheese
1 c cooked spinach or chard chopped well and drained with garlic
salt and pepper
start with about 2 c all-purpose flour - add if more needed

In a bowl mix both cheese with spinach, salt and pepper.  Add eggs and mix well.  Slowly mix in flour until you can turn a slightly sticky dough on a board and gently knead to form a smooth dough.  

Roll in a snake and cut in consistent lengths so about 3/4 inch by 3/4 inch.  

Can freeze* at this stage or cook about 3.5 minutes in boiling salted water.  

*  To freeze put in single layer on a plate in the freezer.  After frozen scoop up and put into a plastic bag. This way the pieces do not stick together and it will be easier to portion our what you want to use.

We made brown butter and sage sauce for the gnocci - but pesto or tomato sauce would be wonderful too.


Base for all Risotto
1 c chopped onion, scallion or leeks
2 c aborio rice
1 c white wine
butter, hot broth grated cheese

Saute onions in 3 T butter until soft.  Add rice and cook about three minutes.  Add wine.  

When wine is absorbed slowly add broth a ladle at a time stirring constantly.  

Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  

When the rice if fully cooked add options.  

Finish with up to 8 T butter and more than 3 T grated cheese.

Vegetable broth - roasted eggplant and tomato
Chicken broth - fontina and tomato
Mushroom broth - mushrooms
Add meat or really any other vegetables you have on hand!

Allow about an hour of stirring time to prepare this dish!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pretty Quick (Chicken) Curry

2 servings - rice

2 diced carrots
1 diced potato
1 diced onion
1 diced chicken breast

1 can coconut milk
6 T curry
1/2 c chicken broth
1.5 c left over 'hot and healthy soup"  Curried chickpeas, wilted spinach, brocoli, lentils in broth, pumpkin seeds

Heat until it's all done!

In little bowls so it can be added as desired
Coconut flakes
Sliced almonds
Apricot jam
Sliced banana
Diced apple


Delicious meal in about 30 - 40 minutes.

Next time try without coconut milk add more broth and get dried apricots for a little bowl so it can be added too!  I've done without chicken - that's good too - add more vegetables!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Soup

June's Sweet Potato Soup

Dice an onion
Dice 3 stocks of celery
Heat pan and put a little olive oil in.
Cook the onion and celery until it starts to turn brown.

Scrape the skin off and dice one sweet potato (the orange kind - about 7 inches long)
Add to the pan, stir.

Add about 2 T vegetable stock concentrate and about 4 cups of water.

Cover and simmer until soft.

Use potato masher to break up the potato.

Serve.  Delicious.  It's a sweet warm wonderful soup and I recommend it!

We had it with the last of the salad fixings - greens, tomato, celery, carrot - sprinkled with celery seed before adding the dressing.

Add a glass of red wine - a wonderful meal on this cold, cold day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh My Brie and Fig Preserve Stuffed French Toast

Last night we had purchased some challah bread so I tried to copy a delicious stuffed French bread that we had had at S&S Deli.  The photo I took doesn't do it justice so next time, here is what I did:

Brie and Fig Preserve Stuffed French Toast

Cut the bread in 1 to 1/25 inch slices.
Put in mixture of 5 eggs and about 1/4 c milk to soak.
Turned over and put two think slices of brie and about 1 T of the preserves on one side, then topped it with another piece (egg side in).  Then I returned it to the egg mixture to soak some more.

Preheat oven to 300. 

When the four sandwiches were done, I put a little butter in the pan and put the sandwiches in the pan to brown (turning them to try to seal the cheese in with egg but that didn't really work).  

Put the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Served with unnecessary butter and syrup.  Delightful to have as a first meal of the day (around 2:30p).  If I was having company I would add some sausages and fruit.  We were so late with eating I thought it would be best to just eat!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup

2 T butter
1/2 yellow onion sliced
1 container of sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper
2 handfuls string beans cut into 1/2 pieces
1 cherry tomato cut into 3 pieces
1/2 carrot sliced thinly into coins

Stir while cooking on stove top

2 handfuls of wheat flour sprinkled on top
left over cream (about 2 T) sprinkled on top and stirred
about 1/4 milk stirred in

1 1/2 T vegetable broth mix
about 2 c water
stir and cover

(I should have added the cream and milk last as I was afraid to let it simmer for long.)

Very pretty and tasty.  More like a mushroom stew really than soup.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Earthquake Cake

Once at home we relaxed a bit - then Alex and I made Earthquake Cake....

Ready for Oven
EARTHQUAKE CAKE  (From Lib-quilter Mary in Panama)

1+ c. chopped pecans and.or walnuts
1+ c. coconut
1 chocolate cake mix (or make your own from scratch)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 stick butter (1/4 pound)
1 box powdered sugar (approx 4 cups)

Spray PAM in a 9x13"  inch pan. Sprinkle nuts, then coconut on bottom of pan. Mix cake mix according to directions (see note below) and pour over nuts and coconut.


Melt butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar to the butter/cream cheese mixture. Stir to blend. Drop this mixture in blobs on top of cake mix by spoonfuls. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done.

Note: Most often, I add 1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (preferably organic chocolate from the chocolate farm next door to us) to a packaged cake mix. And then I often sprinkle chocolate nibs on top. Nibs are the crushed (but not ground) roasted cacao beans.

It was delicious and cuts up very pretty slices with the nuts and baked in frosting peeking thru the dark cake batter.  

We had to add about 20 minutes to the baking time.  

We had with milk and enjoyed the experience of making it and eating it!

Added later:  The cake is even better after being refrigerated!

Made for the evening before Alex left Boston for San Diego.