2 tablespoons butter
4 Fennel bulbs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons anise liqueur
1/2 cup 35% cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the fennel and onions. Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Puree the soup on a blender until smooth.
4. Add the liqueur, cream and pepper. Do not bring to a boil or the cream may curdle.
Makes 4-6 servings
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
5 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup pearl barley
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1. Melt the butter in a stockpot and add the onions, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, let boil 1 minute and then lower heat and let simmer for 1 hour or until barley is tender.
3. Adjust seasonings.
Makes 6 servings.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place in a roasting pan and lightly brush the squash with some of the olive oil and sprinkle the brown sugar over them. Bake the squash in the oven at 350f until tender.
2. Add the rest of the olive oil to a soup pot and cook the onions and carrots for 10 minutes. Add the stock and spices and bring to a boil.
3. Scoop out the pulp of the cooked squash and add to the stock and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rum.
4. Puree in a blender; adjust the seasonings and serve.
Makes 4 – 6 servings
Flour tortillas or your favorite wraps.
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large garlic clove
2 tablespoons Greek natural yogurt
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Place chickpeas, garlic, yogurt, and lemon juice in a blender, mix on high speed until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1 Eggplant, sliced
2 zucchinis, cut into matchstick strips
1-2 large portabella mushroom caps, rinsed, dried, and sliced
1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Place the vegetables on a non stick cookie sheet, and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for approximately 45 minutes or until tender and roasted.
Warm the tortillas or wraps according to package directions, then spread with hummus, and fill with veggies, wrap and serve.
Weight Watchers Friendly Recipe
Points: 2 Per Serving
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour*
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups skim milk
2 cups splenda**
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
Directions: Beat everything together and put into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool and serve with fat free cool whip and your choice of toppings.
Serving Size: 1/12
Variation: Top with 2 T.Cool Whip Free and 1/2 cup Strawberries per piece, and it will be a total of 3 points per 1/12 serving.
* using all white flour does not change the points, it’s close, it does change the amount of fiber.
** using sugar instead of splenda adds 28 points to the entire recipe. That would make each serving 4.3 points. Or 5.3 per serving if you use the variation.
Weight Watcher’s Friendly Recipe
Points: 5 Per Serving
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups each: tomato sauce and enchilada sauce
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans and juice
12 corn tortillas
3 cups grated fat-free cheddar cheese (10 oz.)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
In a large, heavy skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, brown ground turkey and chopped onion over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce, enchilada sauce and beans with juice. Heat until simmering. Put a layer of meat sauce in a large casserole sprayed with nonstick spray. Add a single layer of 3 tortillas. Add another layer of meat sauce. Cover with 1/4 of the cheese and olives. Repeat three more layers of 3 tortillas, meat sauce, cheese and olives. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until hot.
Serving Size: 1/10.
Per serving: 266 cal. (22% from fat); 24.4 g protein; 6.5 g fat (0.78 g sat.); 26.5 g carbo.; 1,021 mg sodium; 33 mg chol.; 6.7 g fiber.
Exchanges: 2 1/2 lean meat, 11/2 bread.
2 cups of cooked and sliced turkey
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
2 red apples, cored and sliced
mixture of your favorite salad greens
3 Tblsp apple juice
3 Tblsp low-fat natural yogurt
1 tsp pure honey
1 tsp mustard
2 oz of toasted pine nuts for garnish
Directions: Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss together. In a separate bowl mix all the dressing ingredients together, except for pine nuts. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and top with toasted pine nuts.
Note: To toast pine nuts, place a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or non stick spray in a non stick frying pan, and toast for about 2 minutes.
Some call it a food group. It just means that much and tastes that good.
While it’s not the healthiest food in some ways there are many health benefits to eating chocolate too.
Dark chocolate is of course the best, as it has the most cocoa and therefore the flavonoids, which provide the benefits. The flavonoids have antioxidant properties, which have the potential to help prevent cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Natural cocoa powders are the best, and when you’re shopping for chocolate you can get the best benefit from chocolates with the highest cocoa content. In addition, milk chocolate has more fat and calories due to the milk content than darker chocolates do.
The benefits aren’t extreme and unfortunately not worth overindulging in chocolate. They do give a delightful bonus to one of life’s little pleasures. The occasional dark chocolate is about as good for you as the occasional glass of red wine, which also contains flavonoids.
A new potential benefit has been discovered by Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. They’ve found that chocolate can help with diarrhea by limiting the production of fluids. The flavonoids appear to bind to a protein called CFTR, and then inhibit them. This discovery is promising for its potential to be developed as a cheap treatment with few or no side effects. Only time will tell on that possibility, of course.
Some worry about the stearic acid found in chocolate. Stearic acid is a saturated fat, but some say it’s a neutral so far as risk to the heart while others say it has been shown to be a problem. As with many health topics it can be very hard to decide what to believe.
You can call chocolate addictive but it isn’t really, or at least there’s no evidence that it is. It’s just a delight to eat. It contains a variety of chemicals that can improve your mood but in very small quantities.
The absolute best way to indulge in chocolate is to use cocoa powder in recipes that have other healthy ingredients. You can substitute cocoa powder for baking chocolate in some recipes to decrease the fat content. To make many baked goods even better for you, use just egg whites rather than the entire egg and replace butter and oil with unsweetened applesauce.
To finish this article off, I’d like to include a favorite recipe for chocolate meringue. There’s a lot of sugar in this recipe, so it’s not 100% healthy but they’re quite decadent without a lot of calories.
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl at high speed until peaks start to foam. Slowly add sugar as you continue to beat. Keeping beating until stiff peaks form.
Mix in vanilla and cocoa powder while beating at a lower speed. Mix chocolate chips in by hand.
Cover a baking sheet in foil or parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of meringue about an inch apart.
Bake for one hour. Turn off oven and leave meringues in the cooling oven for at least two more hours to allow the meringues to completely dry. Store in an airtight container.
3 red bell peppers, washed and deseeded
1 yellow bell pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 cups of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon plain all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
Diced red and yellow bell pepper pieces to garnish
Plain yogurt or cr?e fraiche to garnish
Preheat the grill. Wash and cut the peppers in half and remove stalks, core and seeds. Arrange the peppers in a non stick baking tray (skin side up) and place under the hot grill. Grill for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until skins begin to char.
Transfer the peppers to a plastic or zip lock bag, seal and leave to cool. Once cool (about 15 minutes) peel skins and discard. Roughly chop the remaining pepper flesh and set aside.
Place the onion, crushed garlic and 2/3 of the vegetable stock in a pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until stock begins to reduce. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir to reduce lumping. Add the chopped peppers and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Let soup cool slightly and the transfer to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer soup back to pan and reheat gently, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in warm bowls and sprinkle a few chopped peppers and a little yogurt in the center of each bowl if desired.
2 Portobello mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 box frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
2 pocket-less whole wheat pitas (may also use whole wheat flat bread or pitas with pockets)
1/2 cup lite mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 tsp Italian-flavored salad dressing mix
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Olive oil cooking spray or Misto sprayer filled with olive oil
1) Wash mushrooms. Gently scrub dirt away using a vegetable brush. Slice stems off and discard.
2) Wash red pepper. Cut lengthwise into quarters. Discard stem, seeds and ribs.
3) Place mushrooms and pepper strips in a shallow baking pan that will fit into your broiler. Lightly coat with 1-2 sprays of olive oil spray. Sprinkle with
salad dressing mix. Cover with balsamic vinegar (may use more than 1/4 cup if
desired). Broil for approximately 10 minutes. (Check and rotate frequently to
Note: may also grill vegetables if desired – this may shorten cooking time.
4) While mushroom and peppers are broiling, add 1 tsp olive oil to a non-stick skillet. Saut?garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach. Continue to saut?spinach and garlic for about 5 minutes or until hot. Cover and set aside when done.
5) Remove mushrooms and peppers from broiler.
6) Spray each pocket-less pita with 1 spray of olive oil and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil for approximately 1-2 minutes or
until cheese melts. Remove from oven.
7) Assemble your sandwiches. First, cut each pita in half. Then, layer
spinach, red pepper and mushroom on one half. Finally, top with the other half
of the pita. Serve and enjoy!!