Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nutty Pumpkin Bread is Gluten Free, but you'd never know it

Nutty Pumpkin Bread is Gluten Free, but you'd never know it

The theme for Recipe Redux this month is Creative Quick Breads, just in time for the holiday season. 

I love anything pumpkin and this time of year it is easy to find pumpkin soups, breads, coffee drinks, and ice cream. Yum! I love pumpkin bread, and wanted to create a gluten-free version for a potluck I’m attending where I know one of more of the guests are not eating gluten.

Using a store-bought gluten-free flour blend makes this recipe easier and faster to put together. I have had good success with the gluten-free flour mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is a combination of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and fava bean flour.

Nutty Pumpkin Bread, Gluten Free (but you wouldn’t know it)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 banana, mashed
White sugar substitute equivalent to 1/2 cup (I used 1/4 cup Truvia sugar blend)
Brown sugar substitute equivalent to 1/2 cup (I used 1/4 cup Truvia brown sugar blend)
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour mix)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray 9x5-inch bread pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine butter, coconut oil, banana, white and brown sugar substitutes; mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, xanthum gum, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring only until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack and then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes  12 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
242 calories, 12 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g protein, and 167 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of vitamin A.

Be sure to check out these other quick bread favorites.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy National Nut Day with Nutty Granola

Nutty Granola good any time of day

October 22nd (today) is National Nut Day. We all know that nuts are good for you but make an extra effort to eat one of more servings of nuts today. The theme for Recipe ReDux this month is to think nuts.  I love nuts in many foods, from cashew butter on my toast in the morning, to candied nuts on a green salad with pear slices, blue cheese and dried cranberries, to pecan-crusted fish or chicken breasts, to a nutty dessert, such as chopped nuts on top of a dish of vanilla greek-style yogurt. They are good anytime of day.
One of husband’s favorite snacks is a homemade granola I make mine using walnuts, pecans, and sliced almonds. He enjoys eating the granola plain, as a snack. I like it that way, too, but I also sprinkle it on yogurt, ice cream, or on top of pancake batter.

When I make granola, I use a special pan called a T-Fal ActiFry that has an arm that rotates around the bowl automatically keeping the granola mixture constantly moving inside. It only takes 10 minutes to cook, much faster than oven methods I have used in the past.

 The recipe below is my revised version of the granola recipe found in the recipe booklet that accompanied my ActiFry machine (Cherry-Pecan Granola). I make my version much nuttier. In my version, I add walnuts and sliced almonds in addition to the pecans called for and instead of 3/4 cup of nuts total, my recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups. I also substitute golden raisins for the dried cherries. I use a full teaspoon of cinnamon and omit the salt. You can also add ground ginger or nutmeg, if desired.

Nutty Granola
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup golden raisins

Combine nuts, rolled oats, cinnamon, maple syrup and oil in a large bowl; mix to combine. Transfer mixture to bowl of ActiFry and cook for 9 minutes. Add raisins and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to cookie sheet and allow to cool. Store in airtight container.
Makes 5 cups or ten 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition Information per (3/4-cup) Serving:

249 calories, 13 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g dietary fiber, 6 g protein, and  2 mg sodium. 

Don’t have an ActiFry, then bake granola (without raisins) on baking sheets lined with foil or parchment paper at 325 F. for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. Stir in raisins after removing from oven.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shrimp Cocktail with a Hummus Twist

Shrimp Cocktail with a Twist

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra Dipping Co. LLC, and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I received coupons for free product used in testing this recipe. I was not compensated for my time.

I was so excited to hear about Sabra’s #TwoSpoons Tailgating Recipe ReDux challenge. Sabra is the Official Dips Sponsor of the NFL and challenged Recipe Reduxers to reinvent a tailgate recipe using any flavor of Sabra hummus.

Well, I love shrimp cocktail. My husband loves shrimp cocktail. When I  offer shrimp cocktail at a party, it seems to be the most popular food item of the party. So I decided to do a twist on shrimp cocktail and substitute Sabra’s new Lemon Twist Hummus in place of cocktail sauce. Serve it in a fancy glass and it becomes a real hit with my family and friends.

Just two spoons of hummus a day will fulfill your bean recommendation for the whole week! What could be more delicious than that? Very few of us meet the dietary recommendation for beans. Hummus is an easy way to meet your weekly needs. And humus helps to boot your fiber intake, especially when paired with veggies or whole grains. For more information on Sabra, go to:

To make this recipe ahead of time, simply prepare the shrimp as directed and then refrigerate on ice. Bring the other ingredients and assemble on the spot once you arrive at your tailgate destination. The shrimp cocktails can be assembled in just a couple of minutes. And, you can use plastic stemware, if desired. 

I used Sabra's new Lemon Twist Hummus which pairs beautifully with the shrimp. It's a winning combination.

Shrimp Cocktail with a Twist
1 pound medium (31 to 35 count) uncooked shrimp
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 10-ounce container Sabra Lemon Twist Hummus
1 stalk celery, trimmed and cut into 4-inch sticks
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
6 martini, margarita, or other special glasses for presentation
6 lemon or lime wedges (optional, for garnish)

Devein shrimp and remove shells, leaving the tails intact. Melt butter in large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is no longer pink, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning once during cooking. Remove pan from heat. Transfer shrimp to medium bowl filled with ice water; set aside or refrigerate if assembling at a later time.
Place 3 tablespoons hummus in bottom of each glass. Hang shrimp over the edge of glass, allowing about 5 or 6 shrimp per serving. Garnish with celery, cilantro, and lemon wedge, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled if needed.

Sabra is the perfect option for your tailgating menu, whether it is the shrimp cocktail recipe featured here or any of the other delightful recipes by other Recipe Reduxers listed below.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Enjoy Fresh Peaches All Year 'Round with Peach Sorbet

Peach Sorbet Anytime of Year

Summer is over. Fall is here. In Delaware, homegrown peaches have been available all summer. Many are grown in my state while others are coming from the South. While the theme this month is on freezer meals, I'm going to focus on freezer desserts -- peach sorbet made from fresh peaches.

The recipe is very simple: fresh peaches, water and maple syrup or honey. That's it.

Here is the recipe:

Fresh Peach Sorbet
4 cups fresh peach cubes (1/2-inch cubes)
2 Tbsp water, divided
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey, divided

Place peach cubes on wax paper-lined baking sheet and place in freezer for at least 2 hours, or until frozen solid.

Frozen peach cubes

Place 2 cups of frozen cubes, 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in food processor. Pulse on and off repeatedly until peaches are completely mixed. Scrape sides with spatula periodically.

Peaches in food processor

Scoop into serving dishes or transfer to plastic container with lid. Repeat process with remaining peaches, water and syrup. Serve immediately or freeze up to 2 weeks.

Processed peaches in plastic container

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information per 1/2-cup serving (with maple syrup):
28 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.6 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, and 0 mg sodium.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Green and Gold Kiwifruit are Nutrition Superstars

I received free samples of green and gold kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am promoting kiwifruit. I was not compensated for my time.

I just received a package containing green and sungold kiwifruit from Zespri. This is actually the second care package they have sent me as the first one arrived while I was out of town on vacation in Alaska. My next door neighbor enjoyed them thoroughly.

If you've not seen or experienced SunGold kiwifruit, let me try to explain the differences between it and more commonly known green kiwifruit. The gold variety is a little larger, has smoother and hairless skin, its flesh is yellow, and it tastes slightly sweeter but with a tang. The SunGold variety is a cross between gold varieties that Zespri spent 10 years developing through natural crossbreeding methods.

Nutritionally, there are differences between the gold and green. A serving size is 2 medium kiwifruit. The chart below compares the two varieties.   You can see that the sungold has more naturally occurring sugar, potassium and vitamin C.

(based on 2 med fruit)
1 g
0 g
4 g
2 g
sugar (naturally occurring)
13 g
20 g
460 mg
520 mg
vitamin C (% DV)
vitamin E (% DV)

My kiwifruit came with a perfect little spoon/knife for cutting the kiwifruit in half, scooping out the fruit and enjoying.

You can find more information and recipes at

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to the Dinner Table with Roasted Pork and Veggies

Slow-cooked pork with vegetables is a family favorite

Recipe Redux’s theme for August is “Back to the Dinner Table.”  It could be a family favorite that has be “ReDuxed” or a current family favorite. For me it is pork roast with a lot of veggies. I didn't eat red meat when I was younger. But, then I moved to the Midwest (Nebraska) and had the best pork I've ever eaten in my life. It converted me. While I don't eat pork roasts often, I love them and this one is a family favorite.

This recipe uses the slow cooker. One pot. Once things are assembled, you can basically forget about it for several hours. The pork is cooked with carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a tomato-based broth. My family loves it.  It's sure to please your's too.

Slow Cooked Roast Pork with Veggies


Non-stick cooking spray
1 2-pound boneless sirloin tip pork roast
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 (14.5 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
3/4 cup no salt added vegetable broth
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch strips
1 large or 2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch strips
12 ounces baby red potatoes, cut in half or quarters (depending on size)
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes


Spray a large dutch oven with non-stick spray and heat on high heat. When pan is hot, add roast that has been patted dry with paper towels to pan and brown on all sides. Remove browned roast and set in bowl of slow cooker set on high. Return dutch oven to range top and heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, tomatoes, broth, pepper, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Coat all vegetables well with sauce. Pour mixture into slow cooker on top of the pork roast. Cook for 4 to 6 hours on high (or 6 to 8 hours on low), until pork and vegetables are fully cooked.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional Information (1 serving = 3 ounces cooked pork plus 1/8 vegetable mixture):
276 calories, 3.4 g total fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 5.7 g dietary fiber, 29.0 g protein, 167 mg sodium. One serving provides an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

Cost per Serving: $1.83
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole a Hearty Favorite

Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole is Sure to Please

I received beef product mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and am eligible to win prizes available associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I got excited when I heard the Beef Checkoff was offering a recipe contest.  One of the first recipe ideas that came to me was a Philly cheesesteak. I live in northern Delaware, only 40 minutes to South Philly. Cheesesteaks are big here and are many people's favorites. After reading the recipe contest rules, I decided I wanted to do something for breakfast. So, I developed a Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole that has the red and green bell peppers, onions and provolone cheese combined with an egg/milk/flour mixture. And it all fits into one skillet.

There is new research that shows that eating lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle can actually help lower your cholesterol levels. In the BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, study participants consuming lean beef every day as part of a heart-healthy diet saw a 10 percent decrease in their LDL “bad” cholesterol.

How do you identify “lean” cuts of beef? Look for “loin” or “round” in the name. I chose a boneless, trimmed “eye of the round” steak because it is one of the leanest cuts, with only 4.0 grams of total fat and 144 calories per 3-ounce cooked serving and it was less per pound than many of the other cuts in the meat case. For a colorful chart of lean cuts of beef, go to:

Lean beef has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-1/5-ounce cooked serving.  That means some cuts of beef are as lean as a 3-ounce skinless chicken thigh.

Beef is also loaded with nutrients. A 3-ounce cooked serving provides 48% Daily Value (DV) protein; 44% DV B-12, 40% DV selenium, 36% DV zinc, 26% DV niacin, 22% DV B-6, 19% DV phosphorus, 16% DV choline, 12% DV iron, and 10DV riboflavin.

Many people don’t get enough protein in the morning hours. They do okay at lunch and often get too much protein at their evening meal. The latest research says it is better to spread out your protein throughout the day, aiming for 20 to 30 grams at breakfast,  lunch and dinner.

This Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole recipe provides 23 grams of protein a serving for a breakfast meal. As I mentioned earlier, it uses only one skillet and prep is easy.  This recipe is kid-friendly, so you can get even your picky eaters to chow down on this breakfast meal. It’s sure to become a family favorite.

Start by freezing eye of the round beef steak, then cutting into thin slices.

Then, brown beef in skillet.

 Then saute sliced onions and bell pepper strips in skillet.

Combine flour, egg and skim milk in a small bowl. Then pour over beef and vegetables in pan. Top with provolone cheese. Bake.

Here is the complete recipe.

Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole
8 ounces lean “eye of the round” beef steak
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
3 large eggs
1/3 cup white wheat flour
1/3 cup skim milk
3 slices (2 ounces) thinly sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place beef in freezer for 30 to 60 minutes, until just firm. Using a sharp knife, cut into thin strips. Heat oil in large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add beef and stir until lightly browned. Remove beef from pan and set aside. Add bell pepper and onion to skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in small bowl. Add flour and milk and mix just until blended. Set aside.

Add beef back to skillet with peppers and onions. Pour egg mixture over all. Sprinkle with provolone cheese.  Place skillet in hot oven and bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, until set and cheese is lightly browned. Carefully remove skillet from oven (remember handle will be hot) and cut into fourths. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
277 calories, 14 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 186 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber, 23 g protein, and 371 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of protein, vitamins A, B-6, B-12, riboflavin, niacin, and calcium and a good serving of thiamin and folate.