Monday, June 29, 2015

Muffin Crab Cakes

I've taken the frying and fuss out of crab cakes by shaping and baking them in muffin tins. For the best taste, look for pasteurized crabmeat in the refrigerator case at your market's fish counter, a better choice than canned varieties. Make It a Meal: Try these cakes with some tangy tartar sauce and coleslaw.
Total Time: 40 minutes        6 servings     2 cakes each      

1           pound crabmeat
2          cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs, (see TIP)
1/2       red bell pepper, minced
3          scallions, sliced
1/4       cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2          large eggs
1          large egg white
10        dashes hot sauce, such as, Tabasco
1/2       teaspoon celery salt
1/4       teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6          lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Generously coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Mix crab, breadcrumbs, bell pepper, scallions, mayonnaise, eggs, egg white, hot sauce, celery salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake until crispy and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or serve cold.
Heart healthy

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Praline-Topped Apple Bread

Prep : 30 minutes Bake : 50 minutes Make 1 loaf (16 slices)

2           cups all-purpose flour 
2           teaspoons baking powder 
1/2        teaspoon baking soda 
1/2        teaspoon salt 
1           cup sugar
1           cup (8 ounces) sour cream 
2           eggs
3           teaspoons vanilla extract 
1-1/2    cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apples 
1-1/4    cups chopped pecans , toasted , divided 
1/2       cup packed brown sugar 

1 .   In a large bowl , mix the flour , baking powder , baking soda and salt . In another bowl , beat the sugar , sour cream , eggs and vanilla until well blended . Stir into flour mixture just until moistened . Fold in apples and 1 cup pecans .

2 .   Transfer to a greased 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan . Bake at 350* for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean . Cool in pan for 10 minutes . Remove to a wire rack to cool .

3 .   In a saucepan , bring butter and brown sugar to a boil . Cook and stir for 1 minute . Spoon over bread . Sprinkle with remaining pecans .

This heavenly loaf is perfect , if you have overnight  guests . 
Heart healthy

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Food for Thought : Herbs

Aromatic herbs and spices are substances or plants that have a very unique and pleasant smell. They are often used in cooking to create or complement existing food flavors.

Aromatic herbs are great in soups, rice and pasta dishes. Many refer to aromatics as a mixture of vegetables (such as onions) and herbs that are sautéed with a small amount of fat. If you are using just herbs or a mixture of vegetables and herbs, it is important to recognize that these wonderful flavor combinations are a great way to reduce the amount of fat and salt you use in your cooking.

Here are a few tips to help you cook with aromatics:
1 .   If you are using aromatic herbs and spices in soups, stocks and broths but removing them before serving, you do not have to worry too much about chopping. You can just half an onion or chop carrots into 3 or 4 pieces. You can use whole sprigs of thyme or rosemary. The leaves may come off, but you can usually easily remove them from your finished product with a skimmer or spoon.

2 .   If your aromatics will be used in the final product, you will most likely want to dice or chop them finely. The smaller you chop them, the more surface area they will have. The more surface area means that it will release more flavor.
3 .   For deeper flavor, sauté your vegetables and herbs in a little bit of olive oil first. You can also sweat your vegetables by cooking them in a tightly covered pot. The vegetables will soften without browning.
Words of Wisdom :

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.

This life, which had been the tomb of his virtue and of his honour, is but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Children are smarter than any of us. Know how I know that? I don't know one child with a full time job and children.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.
A proud grand-poppa                        G.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shortbread Cookies with Lime & Dried Cherries

Prep : 25 minutes+ chilling Bake: 10 minutes Makes about 5 dozen

1                     cup butter , softened 
1/4                  cup confectioners' sugar 
1                     tablespoon grated lime peel 
2                     teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2                  teaspoon almond extract 
2                     cups all-purpose flour 
1/4                  teaspoon baking powder 
1/8                  teaspoon salt 
1/2                  cup chopped dried cherries

1 . In a large bowl , cream butter and confectioners' sugar until blended . Beat in lime peel and extracts . In another bowl, mix the flour , baking powder and salt ; gradually beat into creamed mixture . Stir in cherries .

2 . Divide dough in half ; shape each into a 7-inch long roll . Wrap in plastic wrap ; refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm .

3. Unwrap and cut dough crosswise into 1/4-inch slices . Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets . Bake at 350* for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown . Remove from pans to wire rack to cool .

This fresh sweet-tart cookie also works with dried cranberries and orange zest . 
You can freeze the dough for up to a month . 

Heart healthy

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cinnamon-Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Makes   16  servings
                            Cake :
2                cups all-purpose flour

1/2            cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2            cup granulated sugar*
1/2            cup packed brown sugar*
1-1/4         teaspoons baking powder
1               teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2            teaspoon salt
1/2            teaspoon baking soda
3/4            cup fat-free milk
1/2            cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3            cup mashed banana
1/4            cup canola oil
1               teaspoon vanilla
3              ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4           cup fat-free half-and-half

1. Cake Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set pan aside. In large mixing bowl stir together flours, granulated and brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. 
2. Cake In medium bowl combine milk, eggs, banana, oil, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Beat with an  electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. 
3. Cake Bake about 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove 3. cake from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
4. Ganache In a small microwave-safe bowl combine chocolate and half-and-half. Microwave, uncovered, on 50% power (medium) for 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until completely smooth. Let stand to thicken slightly. Spoon evenly atop cooled cake. 
*Sugar Substitutes Choose Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking to substitute for the granulated sugar. Choose Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking to substitute for the brown sugar. Follow package  directions to use product amount equivalent to 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar.
Heart healthy

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

 A father and a dad are not the same:
One can be a dad and not a father,
Or one can be a father and not bother
To earn through love the more endearing name.
Some find fatherhood a bit too tame,
Leaving all the details to the mother,
Or dumping the sweet burden on another
Man with just a passing twinge of shame.
You have been our dad so many years
That you've become the landscape that is home,
The mountain that we look to from afar.
No matter where we go we're not alone,
For you remain within to still our fears
And be the word that tells us who we are.

We love you daddy:
Jonny , Sha , Jenny , Man  Carano

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Grilled Chili Burgers

Take your burgers to the next level with seasoned ground beef and pork burgers topped with a spicy chimichurri sauce and served on a pita. Bonus: The burgers will be on the table in just 30 minutes!

1             recipe Chimichurri Topping (see recipe below)
1             pound 95% or higher lean ground beef
8             ounces ground pork
1             tablespoon chili powder
1/2         teaspoon onion powder
1/4         teaspoon ground cumin
1/8         teaspoon salt
3            whole wheat pita bread  rounds, quartered and toasted
3/4         cup bottled roasted red sweet peppers, drained and cut into strips

1. Prepare Chimichurri Topping. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine beef,  pork, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, and salt. Mix well. Shape into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. 
2. For a charcoal grill, grill patties on the rack of an uncovered grill for 10 to 13 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer  inserted into side of each patty registers 160 degrees F, turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place patties on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.) 
3. two of the pita quarters. Top with roasted peppers and Chimichurri Topping. 

                    Chimichurri Topping:

1/2 cup finely snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely snipped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine finely snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley; finely snipped fresh cilantro
2. red wine vinegar; olive oil; garlic, minced; salt; ground black pepper; and cayenne pepper.
Heart healthy

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Food for Thought : Father's Day

 Father's Day is right around the corner , so it is time to think about the celebrating . Forget the dreaded tie and after-shave this year , look for gifts that helps  dad stay healthy.
You do not have give vitamins or sprouts to let him know you want him  to stay well , as there are many gifts that he will love  and show him how much you care. Here are a few tips  to help you find that perfect gift for any dad.

1 .  For the dad that likes to cook , get himsome healthy grilling options. A  cookbook with marinatade and rub  recipes , a grilling pan (perfect for grilling small items like shrimp and vegetables) or maybe a herb garden kit to help grow his own herbs.

2 .  For stressed out ,workaholic dad , try some stress relieving options such as a hammock , a travel set that includes luxury skincare products or a subscription/membership to a healthful meals delivery club that delivers ingredients to prepare a meal for one or two or a local CSA(community supported agriculture) . These all offer time saving and relaxation .

3 .  For the super dad that takes his exercise seriously , there are many options that span all price ranges . Exercise watches that track activity ans sleep are quite popular and canbe purchased for about $100.
There are so many options in the GPS watch category that track distance , heart rate and calories burned . These can range from $80 - $400 for popular models .
Words of Wisdom :
Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, 
too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.

A proud grand-poppa                   G.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fish Fillets with Lemon Parsley Topping

Serves 4
  4             (6 oz) lean white fish fillets (such as tilapia, snapper, or flounder), rinsed and patted dry paprika to taste
1/4           cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2           teaspoon  lemon zest
2              teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1/4           teaspoon dried dill weed
1             medium lemon, halved Instructions 

1 .     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, coat foil with cooking spray, arrange the fillets on foil, and sprinkle evenly with the paprika. Season lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. 

2 .    Bake 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque in center. While fish is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients, except lemon halves, in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Using a slotted spatula, remove the fish, place on four dinner plates, and squeeze lemon juice evenly over all. Top with the parsley mixture. 
Heart  healthy 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Some days it's just too hot to Bake......No-Bake Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bites

No-Bake Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bites I

Like your chocolate and peanut butter?? Then you will love this easy recipe and you don't have to sweat over it. It's summer but my family still wants their baked goodies. I found this recipe and a couple of other 'no bake' desserts that keep them happy.  I will post a couple more throughout the summer.
This dessert contains good healthy ingredients and not a lot of fat and sugar. Kid friendly.

Yield: 12-15 bites
Total Time: 20 minutes


1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
a pinch cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chocolate covered sunflower seeds
ground peanuts or almonds mixed with a few pinches of cocoa powder, to roll the balls in


Combine oats, almonds, flaxseed, cocoa, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir.
Melt peanut butter and allow it to cool slightly (I melted mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then stirred), then stir in honey and vanilla extract until it's combined. Once peanut butter has cooled a bit, pour it over the oat mixture and mix well with a spoon then bring together with your hands. Once mixture is sticking together, fold in chocolate chips and sunflower seeds.
Roll dough into golf-ball sized (or slightly smaller) balls, then roll in ground peanuts or ground almonds tossed with cocoa powder. These can be eaten at room temp but we really like them stored in the fridge! My grandsons with a sweet tooth inhale these.

I found the recipe on 'How Sweet it is'  -
There are lots of other great recipes for serious food lovers there.

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake Bars

These brownie ...cheesecake bars are deliciously good and healthy for both old and young kids... especially the Reno Rascals

Prep Time : --- 15 minutes ---Total 5 hours , including refrigerating) ---          Makes 16 bars 
1 ------------------package (13x9-inch pan) brownie mix 
4 ----------------- packages (8 ounce each) Philadelphia Cream cheese , softened 
1 ------------------cup sugar 
1 ------------------teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 ---------------cup Breakstone's or Knudsen Sour Cream (or sour cream of your choice).
3 ------------------eggs 
2 ------------------squares Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate , melted , cooled slightly 

1) Preheat oven to 350*F . Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil . Grease or spray with cooking spray . Prepare brownie batter as directed on package ; pour in prepared pan . Bake 15 minutes or until top of brownie is shiny and center is almost set . 

2) Meanwhile , beat cream cheese , sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer or medium speed until well blended . Add sour cream mixture ; mix well . Add egg 1 at a time , mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended . Pour over partially baked brownie batter in pan . 

TIP : (Filling will come almost to top of pan). 

3) Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set . Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake ; cool . Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight . Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving . Lift from pan using foil handles . Drizzle with chocolate ; let stand until chocolate is firm . Cut into 16 pieces .

Heart healthy

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Food for Thought : Hydration

Summer is here  and  many of  us  are  gearing up  for  spending days  and  evenings outdoors . Whether  you are  exercising , gardening  or playing  with your kids at  the  park , you are  going  to need extra hydration over the  next few  months . Water  is  the  most important nutrient in our  diet .

While  you can go several days  , even weeks  without  food , you could go but  just a  few  days  without water . Our bodies  are over  half  water . Water is needed  for proper  metabolism , supplying nutrients and  removing waste .
Here  are a few tips to help  you  stay  hydrated  this  summer .

1 .  Most people  do not  need  a sports drink  after  working  out , water  will replace  the fluids lost . If you need a strenuous  workout  and   need to replace  fluids  and  electrolytes, such  sodium  and  potassium , try  fresh  fruits , vegetables juices  or  soups .

2 .  Monitor fluid loss  by  checking  the  color  of  your  urine . It should  be  clear  or pale  yellow . Anything  cloudy  , dark  yellow  or  a strong odor indicates you  may not  be properly hydrated .

3 .  Make sure you begin  exercises  well  hydrated  . Drink plenty of  fluids the  day before  and  an hour  or  so before  and  during  your exercise.

4 .  Although  a  cold  beer  or  frozen margarita  may sound  refreshing  ,  you should  drink alcohol  cautiously  and in moderation . Alcohol  can not  only cause  some  dehydration , but  it may also mask  your  feeling  of being  dehydrated .

Words  of Wisdom : 

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.

You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back.

A proud grand-poppa                G.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grilled Fish with Crispy Garlic and Red Chiles


6 ......................18-inch-long banana leaves, rinsed (see TIP)
3 ......................tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 ......................scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
2 ......................2-pound whole red snappers
1/4 ...................cup sherry
1/4 ...................cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 ...................cup vegetable oil
8 ......................large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 ......................fresh long red chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 ...................cup cilantro leaves
                                      **Lime wedges, for serving**

1 .               Light a grill and line the grate with lightly oiled heavy-duty aluminum foil. Arrange the banana leaves in two stacks of 3 and sprinkle each with one-fourth of the ginger and scallion whites. Cut 3 gashes into the flesh on both sides of each fish, cutting to the bone. Set the fish on the banana leaves and scatter the remaining ginger and scallion whites on top. Sprinkle with the sherry and soy sauce. Fold the leaves over the fish and tie each packet in 3 places with kitchen string.
2.               Place the packets on the grate, close the grill and cook over high heat for 25 minutes, turning the packets once, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish registers 140°. Carefully transfer the packets to a platter and let rest for 2 minutes. Cut them open and peel back the banana leaves.
3.               Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and chiles and cook over low heat, stirring, until the garlic is crisp, 2 minutes. Spoon the oil, garlic and chiles over the fish; season with salt. Scatter the cilantro and scallion greens on top and serve with lime wedges.
Banana leaves are available in Latin and Asian markets.

Beer Chimay Red, a Belgian Trappist beer, has a fruity richness that balances the chiles here. For wine, try a lemony Semillon.

Heart healthy

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Food for Thought : Weight Loss

Most of   us  have  something  we  are  looking  forward  to  this summer . It may be  a wedding  , a class reunion  or  a family  vacation . No matter  the  event , we  all want  to look out  best .
Although you may have  known  this  was  coming for  quite  some  time , but  may  not  have   had  the  motivation  to get  started  on  your  weight loss  or  health goals . While  you  don't  have  time  to make  drastic changes ,  you can make  a few  changes   that can improve  how  you  look , feel  and  get yourself  started  on the  right  path.
However  , you should  avoid  the  temptation  to go on a crash diet or  follow  a fad  plan . These  can create  health problems ; specifically  they can create  heart problems  and  other  issues .
Here  are  a few  tips  to help you look  and  feel  your  best  for  the  upcoming  event  in a healthful  way .

1 . Drink plenty of  water :
Staying properly  hydrated not  only  keeps  your  metabolism  working  properly . it also  helps  the  appearance  of  your  skin  and  reduces  puffiness  and  swelling . Remove  sodas  , diet  soda  , fruit  drinks  from your  diet  and  replace  them with water .

2 .  Snack smart : 
Snacks  consisting  of  nuts  , seeds  , or  water-rich  fruits  and  vegetables  such as  watermelons  or  cucumbers . Avoid  snacks  with preservatives  and  artificial  sweeteners  , as  these  can  cause  bloating /

3 .  Eat small amounts :
Eat smaller potions  of  food  ever few  hours  instead  of  three larger  meals .  Although  high-fiber  foods  such as  beans  and  cruciferous  vegetables  are  great  for  your  overall  health , you may ant  to  avoid  them a day or  two  before  the  big  event  , to  reduce  bloating .

Words  of  Wisdom :
Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. 

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. 

If wisdom and diamonds grew on the same tree we could soon tell how much men loved wisdom. 

Life is one long experiment in learning. Who can be perfect all the time? Sometimes I feel half-wise, sometimes half-stupid. 
Mothers, teach your children this. Teach your children that Wisdom is everywhere. In pieces. Some of the Wisdom is in the trees, some of the Wisdom is with the animals. Some of the Wisdom is with the planets and the stars and the moons and the sun. Some of the Wisdom flows with the waters. Some of the Wisdom was with our ancestors. Some of the Wisdom is in our minds.

A proud grand-poppa                        G.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs

Don't let the size fool you--these two-bite burger bombs are packed with flavor!
For kids and Sunday TV sports fans to nosh on and rave about.


1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ package Flaky Layers refrigerated original or buttermilk biscuits
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef, cooked....or 16 frozen (thawed) cooked meatballs
1 block (8 oz) Cheddar cheese, cut into 16 cubes 16
16 slices bacon Long toothpicks or skewers Canola oil for frying
salt and pepper for ground taste

STEP1 of 4:
Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit in half; press with hands into circle about 3 inches in diameter.
In center of each biscuit round, place 2 tablespoons cooked ground beef (or 1 meatball) and 1 cube of cheese. Wrap dough to completely enclose beef and cheese; pinch seams to seal.
For the Fried Version: Wrap each stuffed “bomb” with 1 bacon slice; gently secure loose bacon with toothpick by inserting it through bacon and halfway into “bomb.” In 3-quart heavy saucepan or deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F. Fry stuffed “bombs” 4 to 5 minutes or until dough is golden brown on all sides. Place on paper towels to cool. Repeat with remaining "bombs".
Serve warm with ketchup and mustard, if desired.
For the Baked Version: Heat oven to 400°F. Place bacon on foil-lined cookie sheet with sides. Bake about 8 minutes to partially cook bacon. Wrap each stuffed “bomb” with 1 slice partially cooked bacon slice. Place bacon wrapped dough 2-inches apart on two foil-lined cookie sheets with dough seam side down. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

Totally enjoy and share