St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

March 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes

It doesn’t get much greener than this!! 

What makes this smoothie so healthful and energizing is the not-so-secret-anymore spirulina!! Have you heard about this multi-vitamin?!  All it takes is one teaspoonful a day to boost immunity, increase energy and support cardiovascular, eye and brain health.

I teach for three consecutive class periods in the early morning, which means I must be on and ready to go. This smoothie not only tastes better than coffee, it’s a healthy, natural alternative to caffeine. It leaves me satisfied and energized for that first essential half of the day!

IMG_0837

Try this combination and you won’t even realize you’re drinking healthfully ~ it’s just too delicious!

Coconut Almond Green Smoothie

  • 1 tsp Spirulina
  • 2 tbs raw almond butter
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 frozen banana OR 1 avocado (if you don’t want all the sugar)
  • 2 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup filtered water

Mix all of the above in a Vitamix or blender, and enjoy!!!!

#EatCleanforEducators

#GradingGirl

 

Cala Lillies

Here is a recipe I traditionally make for Easter gatherings. My cousin affectionatey nicknamed them “deformed twinkies,” and that is exactly the color and consistency of the cake portion. They are called Cala Lillies, however, because of the similar (easy to hold) shape to the flower. Every time I bring a platter of these light and airy gems, they disappear within minutes of landing on the serving table. Check these out for a different spring treat.

Cala Lillies

CAKE PORTION:

~ 3 eggs

~ ¾ Cup sugar

~ 1 Cup flour

~ 1 tsp. baking powder

~ 1 tsp. vanilla

FILLING:

1 carton of whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the eggs until they are frothy (this is one of the most important parts – mix on a high speed for a few minutes)! Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Beat the entire mixture on low for two minutes.

Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased baking sheet – only six on one sheet at a time; also, place only one sheet in the oven at a time. This will allow you just enough time to “pinch” the ends together when the little ‘lillies’ come out of the oven. (Any more than six, and the dough will cool too much to form the shape properly.)

Place in the oven for five minutes. Immediately take them off of tray with a spatula and pinch the ends together so that they look like cala lillies.

Place whipped cream inside of them.  By the way, sprinkle a sparkle of sugar and a dash of vanilla into your whipped cream right before it reaches its perfect consistency . . . great way to add extra taste to the cream.   May also garnish with one thin piece of pineapple in the middle of the whipped cream to emulate the yellow spadix in the middle of the flower.

 

 

BEST Slow-Cooked Turkey Lasagna

January 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes, School's Out

A slow-cooked meal is a gift from your early self to your later self.  This one makes the house smell extra scrumptious.

I made this for the first time this Christmas season.  I discovered it in my latest issue of “Muscle and Fitness Hers” (Jan/Feb issue) so you know it’s healthful!!  My family members tried something new this year.  Rather than exchange material gifts (except for the young ones, of course), we took turns preparing special dinners for each other.  Here is what I decided to make . . . it is a definite repeater.  It is, in fact, the best lasagna I’ve made – and it’s healthful, on top of it!!

Slow-Cooked Turkey Lasagna

~ 6 – 8 whole wheat or whole grain lasagna noodles

~ 12 oz 99% fat free ground turkey

~ 1/4 cup red cooking wine

~ 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese

~ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

~ 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

~ 6 oz low-fat part skim mozzarella cheese

~ 6 oz can tomato paste

~ 29 – 32 oz tomato sauce

~ 1 cup chopped white onion

~ 2 tsp minced garlic cloves

~ 2 tbsp dried parsley (divided)

~ Mrs. Dash to taste (or whatever spices you have on hand!!)

~ 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook ground turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is browned.

2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, Mrs. Dash and 1 tbsp of parsley to meat mixture.

3. Simmer for a few minutes on low.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cooking wine and set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine all cheeses with remaining parsley and nutmeg.

5. Spoon one layer of turkey mixture across bottom of slow cooker.

6. Add one layer of dry lasagna noodles (you will need to break them to fit in slow cooker)

7. Add a layer of cheese followed by a layer of cooked turkey.

8.  Repeat steps 5 – 7.

9. Top lasagna with a pinch of parsley, cheese, and 1 – 2 tbsp of red cooking wine.

10.  Cook on low in slow cooker for 7 – 8 hours.

Easy, Eat Clean One-Pot Chicken

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes, School's Out

My mom created this recipe recently trying hard to please yours truly during one of our visits, knowing my affinity for delicious, eat clean food.  I brought a batch to work today and received some oohs and ahhs.  My lovely desk partner is going to make her husband cook this for her!  It’s amazingly good for such a simple little dish.  Make this ahead on Sunday and enjoy healthful leftovers throughout the work week.

One-Pot Chicken

(got veggies?  I list specifics here but go ahead and throw in whatever you have in your fridge.  Any should be delish!)

4 chicken breasts

2 red, orange, and/or yellow peppers

6 sweet potatoes (do not peel – clean and scrape off bruises)

1 – 1 1/2 zucchini – sliced (do not peel)

1 large yellow onion – sliced completely into thin wedges

1 cup carrots – peeled, sliced into rounds

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup grape tomatoes – sliced in half (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Dust the chicken breasts with pepper, oregano, basil and parsley.  Place the chicken in an 11 X 7 glass casserole dish.  Place the sliced vegetables (exeept the tomatoes) around the breasts in a single layer.  Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the chicken and veggies.  Sprinkle the entire dish with one more dash of the basil, oregano, and parsley.  (or Italian Seasoning).  Place in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes, depending on how hard/soft you like your vegetables.  If you are using tomatoes, throw them in during the last 10 minutes.  Mangez!!

GG’s Dark Coco PB Power Smoothie

April 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes

I blend smoothies almost every morning; and, on Saturday morning before working out I really experiment (such as last weekend when I combined avocado and frozen blueberries to make a refreshing green gem.)  I never tire of smoothies – maybe it’s because I used to enjoy a shake literally every day for lunch in high school (my pre eat-clean days!) or maybe it’s because smoothies conveniently provide essential vitamins and supplements in one scrumptious slurp.

Well, here’s my latest invention.  If you like chocolate and peanut butter, you will LOVE this.  This truly tastes like a sinful shake – but it’s super good for you!!!! 

Grading Girl’s Dark Coco PB Power Smoothie

~ 2/3 cup plain, nonfat kefir (I recently discovered the probiotics benefit of this “champagne of dairy”)

~ 1 tablespoon oat bran

~ 1 tablespoon chia seeds (I feel like SuperGirl after eating these.  Check out how good they are for you here.)

~ 1 tablespoon wheat germ

~ 2 tablespoons Maranatha’s Dark Chocolate Almond Spread (If you go to Whole Foods for only one item, this should be it!!)

~ 1 frozen banana

~ 1 scoop chocolate protein powder

~ a few ice cubes

Blend the above in a blender and BOOM!  You have a chocolate/peanut butter “shake” to blast your day off in high gear.

 **Want an even stronger peanut butter taste?  Add 1 tablespoon of almond butter.

AND/OR

**Want an even stronger chocolate taste?  Add a dash of espresso powder.

 

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage – DELIZIOSO DISH!

April 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes

I’ve been making this dish since I found it in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food a few years ago.  I make it often for special people in my life!  I’ve cleaned it up by replacing the heavy cream in the sauce with fat free half & half – it tastes just as scrumptious.  Buon appetito!!!!

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

– 16 oz rigatoni (whole grain or wheat)

-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 medium red onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup vodka (optional)
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup fat free half & half
-10 ounces baby spinach
-12 ounces chicken sausage, halved lengthwise & sliced 1/4 inch thick (I use apple chicken sausage)
-6 ounces fontina cheese (4 ounces cut into 1/2 inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated)
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Add spinach, cooking just until wilted. Drain and return contents to pot.
2. While water is coming to a boil, heat oil is a separate skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion, cooking until translucent (approximately 3 minutes). Stir in garlic. Remove skillet from heat, stir in vodka, and return to heat, cooking until almost evaporated (about 1 minute).
3. Stir in tomatoes and oregano, cooking for 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes are falling apart. Add half & half and cook until warmed through (5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and the cubed cheese to the large pot with the pasta. Toss with a large spoon to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into baking dishes (I use one 9 x 13 and one 8-inch square). Top with remaining shredded cheese and parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees until browned and crisp (20-30 minutes).

**To freeze–prepare dish (except the extra cheese on top) and let it cool. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. To bake, do not thaw. Remove from freezer, take off plastic wrap, cover with foil, and bake at 400F for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours. Remove foil, top with additional cheese, and bake for 20-30 more minutes.  It truly tastes just as delicious from frozen!!


Homemade Red Velvet Cake

February 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Ooey, Rich and Gooey, Recipes, School's Out

My mother was way ahead of the times.  She started baking red velvet cake when I was a little girl years ago.  At family parties, it commanded many ooos and ahs, and disappeared instantaneously.  As we grew, she stopped making as many desserts as she used to and red velvet cake became a distant taste.  Red velvet, in the meantime, has made quite a name for itself these days. Sprinkles in Beverly Hills started it all with their amazing, infamous Red Velvet Cupcakes!      Well, since my brother and I inhaled many a cupcake from Sprinkles and other cupcake cuties, we asked her to resurrect the recipe this past Christmas so that we could taste and discover just how well our mother’s recipe held up against today’s contenders.  The verdict?  Hands down – my mother’s is more moist and light.  Trust me, my bro and I are both critical and if our own mother’s food was not as flavorful than the famous facsimiles, we would stand and say. If you are at all able in the kitchen, this is worth the labor  . . . especially during the Christmas or Valentine season.  I will still frequent Sprinkles and cherish every bite; but, this is one recipe that illustrates there’s no food like homemade.

Red Velvet Cake

CAKE:
(2 round 8 ” cakes)
~ 4 1/2 oz bottles of red food coloring
~ 1/2 cup shortening, softened and creamed
~ 2 tbs. cocoa (sweetened)
~ 1 1/2 cup sugar
~ 2 eggs
~ 1 cup buttermilk
~ 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted 3 times
~ 1 tsp. vanilla
~ 1 tbs. vinegar
~ 1 tsp. baking soda
~ 1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven at 350°.  Mix the food coloring with the cocoa, creamed shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs.  Blend in the buttermilk, the sifted cake flour, and the salt.  Once this is blended well, add the vanilla.  Next, add the vinegar and baking soda.  Bake in two well greased and floured 8″ round cake pans for 30-35 minutes.


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
(makes 3 cups)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further. The frosting is ready to use, or for flavor additions.

Once the cakes are cool, frost the top of one and place the second one on top of that.  Now, frost away on the rest of the cake!  The more frosting the better!!!!

World’s Fastest Disappearing Dessert

Need a fast crowd pleaser??  Even the kitchen illiterate can master this one . . .

With 38 of us (including T.A.’s) in the English department, there’s always food in the office.  We celebrate birthdays and “half” birthdays (for those born in the summer) by taking turns bringing in a small spread usually consisting of cake and/or snacks or lunch.  A dear, close colleague is retiring this year and we requested to host each other’s birthdays since we won’t be able to again.  🙁  Her birthday is approaching and below is the cake she requested.  Every time I make this, this is gone by Period 3 of an 8-period day!!!

To satisfy 38 hungry intellectuals, I’ll be making this along with Crème de Menthe Brownies

and Chicken Sausage Pasta with Vodka Creme Sauce (ask me for this recipe!).

Notice a theme?!

Warning:  This is not an Eat Clean recipe!!!!!

Amoretto Cake


Cake:

  • 1 Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Amoretto
  • 1/2 cup Oil (I use Vegetable or Corn)
  • 4 eggs

Glaze:

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tbs. Orange Juice
  • 2 tbs. Amoretto

Mix the cake ingredients and place in a greased bundt pan.  Bake according to the cake mix directions.  While cake is baking, mix the glaze ingredients and set aside. Once the cake has cooled, pour on the glaze.  Voilà

This cake is so moist that some like it without the glaze as well.

. . . thank you to my dear Aunt Adelle for the recipe long ago.

I Scream, You Scream, We ALL Scream for Ice Cream

July 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Ooey, Rich and Gooey, Recipes

Blue Moon Ice Cream

I recently stayed overnight at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI and enjoyed a sweet treat I haven’t tasted since, well, since the last time I was in Lake Geneva about 6 years ago . . . Blue Moon ice cream!!!  Apparently, it’s only available in upper areas of the Midwest – Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  As I sat savoring the indulgence, I attempted to identify just what is Blue Moon ice cream.  Coupled with its refreshing sky blue hue, it has a hard-to-describe taste all its own.  After happily testing my analysis over and over and over again, I decided it definitely had a hint of lemon with a touch of raspberry.  When I returned home, I frantically searched online and discovered the “original” recipe is a secret but there are two recipes out there that come close.  I dug out my ice cream maker, tried the one I’ve listed below and – sure enough – it is VERY close!!!   Oh . . . and I was right about the lemon and raspberry!!

Blue Moon ice cream = blue tongues! Fun!

This is definitely a repeater in my house.  The blue color is a refreshing pretty touch!  For next year’s 4th of July party, I’ll serve this in tall clear ice cream dishes with fresh raspberries and homemade whipped cream on top.  Voilà – a deliciously indulgent red, white and blue treat!! 🙂

Blue Moon Ice Cream

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla oil (I used extract)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon blue food coloring
3 teaspoons vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon raspberry flavored oil or 1 cup frozen raspberries, pureed (I pureed fresh raspberries)
1 teaspoon lemon flavored oil or lemon extract (I used fresh lemon juice)

Directions:
-1/2 Cup of milk scalded in pan.
-add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt. stir till dissolved
-add 1/2 cup of half and half.
-add 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream.
-add vanilla, raspberry, lemon flavoring.
-add blue food coloring.
-chill in fridge till very cold.
-put in ice cream machine for about 20 minutes and devour!

Marvelous Mint Chocolate Brownies!

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Ooey, Rich and Gooey, Recipes, School's Out

Who doesn’t love brownies?!  I’m kind of famous for these at work.  If I don’t make them at least twice a year, I lose tenure!  🙂  My dear friend, Mary, gave this recipe to me years ago back when we were next-door neighbors.  I’ve been making them ever since.  WARNING:  These are ooey, rich and gooey – addiction is imminent.

I apologize to my clean-eating followers.  This is NOT an eat-clean dessert.  Hey, we have to splurge once in a blue moon! 

Mint Chocolate Brownies!!!
These are richly delicious!!!  Make them for Christmas & St. Patrick's Day!

These are richly delicious!!! Make them for Christmas & St. Patrick’s Day!

Ingredients ~

* Brownie Mix

* 1 ½ stick butter (I use unsalted)

* 3 Tbs. Crème-de-Menthe

* 2 Cups Powdered Sugar

* 1 Cup Chocolate Chips (or Mint Chocolate Chips)

* 1 package Andies thin mint candy

Brownies:
Bake and cool your favorite brownie mix according to package instructions. (13 x 9 pan) I like Duncan Hines

Cool completely before spreading the crème-de-menthe layer.   DO NOT CUT.Crème-de-menthe layer:
Beat ½ cup room temperature butter. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 Tbs. green crème-de-menthe liquor. Spread over brownies.  Let this set before spreading the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate glaze:
Stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or mint chocolate chips for more mintness!) and 6 tbs. butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. COOL. Pour over crème-de-menthe layer and spread evenly.

Before glaze sets, sprinkle with coarsely chopped Andies candy. Enjoy!!

Good Dessert, Bad Dessert

November 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes, School's Out

I made this last night for tonight’s dessert.  It is actually good for you while tasting indulgently yummy!  I can’t take the credit for this concoction.  I stumbled upon the recipe in the November/December 2009 issue of Clean Eating – GG’s favorite cooking magazine, by the way!!!  It took me all of five minutes to mix all the ingredients in my blender.  This is my “good dessert” for the evening:

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse

Serves 10 (I cut this recipe in half.)

This luscious dessert contains 35% of daily rec for manganese and 15% for fiber!

This luscious dessert contains 35% of daily rec for manganese and 15% for fiber!

  • 2 15 oz. cans 100% pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1-lb pkg silken tofu, drained well
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used sugar-free)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 3/4 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (I eliminated this ingredient)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt (I used my very fave 0% Fage!)
  • 1 oz dark chocolate, cut into thin shards

In the bowl of a food processor (I used my blender), combine pumpkin and tofu.  Process until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Process until combined, about 30 seconds more.

Transfer mousse to a resealable container, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Drain any water that has accumulated from mousse.  Give it a quick stir and scoop 1/2 cup mousse into each of 10 small glasses or ramekins.  Top each serving with 2 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp chocolate.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  (for those extra sweet tooths, fat free Cool Whip works well too)

This tastes like a very gooingly good pumpkin pie without the crust and more of the scrumptious filling!!

Now, my daughter’s palate does not yet appreciate consistently clean eating as I’ve grown to love; her younger metabolism can afford more cheats.  Soooo . . . being the wanting-to-please everyone cook that I strive to be, I’m making this “bad dessert” tonight as well:

Thank you to my very kitchen-capable bro who introduced me to this easy sweet treat!

Pizzookies!

Pizookie

Serves 4

Place the cookie dough as one sheet in an 8 X 8 pan.  Bake according to package directions.

Immediately warm out of the oven, divide the cookie into four parts.  Place each warm “cookie” in a large bowl.  Scoop the ice cream on top and serve immediately!  Hmmmmmm . . . . .

Cookies that Won’t Turn You Into a Pumpkin

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Eat Clean Recipes, Recipes, School's Out

This is one of my favorite desserts of the fall and winter seasons. Pumpkin is so good for you! Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, but it’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E along with lots of minerals including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Wooo . . . that’s alot of punch to this bright orange veggie.  My mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember; she, however, makes the delectable original version.  Here’s my slightly “doctored,” eat clean version that tastes just as sinful.  I’ve included the original as well.

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Mmm, one of my faves of the season!
Mmm, one of my faves of the season!
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (original 2 1/2 cups flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (2012 update:  my bro used pumpkin butter which made the cookie denser)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites (original 1 egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla in another bowl. Beat until light and creamy. Mix dry ingredients until well blended with the pumpkin mixture.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Smooth tops of cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cool on wire racks.

**Drizzle with your favorite homemade vanilla frosting recipe.

( I combine skim milk (about ½ cup), butter (about 2 tbs), powdered sugar (about 2 cups), and vanilla (about a teaspoon). I don’t have specific amounts. I blend these to taste.   2012 update:  My bro just made these for us; he used maple syrup instead of butter for the frosting.  Pumpkin & maple syrup combine to form one fine fall indulgence!

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