Friday, April 26, 2013

New Segment: Copycat Recipes, #1- Loubieh (Easy Tomato Green Beans)

I have decided to add another new feature to my blog called copycat recipes. Often, when I try a great dish at a restaurant or while traveling, I make it my mission to re-create it at home. This section will feature some of my best copycat recipes and the stories behind them as well. First up- Loubieh, this is a traditional Lebanese sauté of green beans. I discovered this yummy dish by choosing it as one of the sides when we ordered take out one night from our FAV local Mediterranean restaurant, Gaby’s. I had never heard of this dish before, but I love green beans and tomato sauce, so the combo sounded like a winner and it was! I had to re-create it at home so we could have it more often, especially since my young daughter eats it all up too. The trick it to get larger green beans and to make sure you simmer them for a while to be nice and soft.


4 cups green beans (large, wide, flat types work best) fresh or frozen thawed
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
One 15 ounce canned tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook greens beans al dente (just before done) by boiling in a pot of water for 7-10 minutes or steam in a microwave dish with in a small amount of water for 5 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile add the teaspoon of olive oil, onions and garlic to a large pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat until lightly browned. Add the canned tomatoes, paprika, the cooked green beans, (salt and pepper if desired), cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Makes 5 cups 10 servings

'Serving size 1/2 cup Calories 45 Protein 2 g Carb 8 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 3 g Fat 0.5 g Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 70 mg (not including adding salt)



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Recipe ReDux Post # 12 Mini Oatmeal Raisin Bar Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

The recipe ReDux challenge for April is “The Cupcake Conundrum” and we were urged to create our own “ReDux-ed mini-cake version”.  But I was excited to see an exception that allowed all non-cupcake fans to come up with their own “favorite hand-held dessert” instead.  I chose the latter.  It’s not to say that I dislike cupcakes, but I think they are indeed a bit overdone lately and I am sooo into bar desserts these days, as well as my home made protein bars!  I think an up and coming trend in the dessert arena is ice cream sandwiches and a mini-version would be quite cool (no pun intended). So I took a recipe for no-bake oatmeal raisin bars that I have been working on, froze it and then added ice cream in between and voila- my trendy little dessert creation was complete! (And if you don’t want the ice cream, then I say make the bars anyway, they have all the yummy-ness of soft oatmeal cookies without the eggs, flour AND baking fuss!)  Also, check out all the other mini-cupcakes and desserts created by the talented ReDux blogger group.

1 cup oats (old fashioned, not quick)(*use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
½ cup creamy or crunchy unsalted natural almond butter (I used Trader Joes Raw Unsalted Crunchy)
¼ cup pure maple syrup  
4 tablespoons raisins
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
a dash of sea salt (optional, and recommended if you are using unsalted almond butter)
1 cup reduced fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
Wax or parchment paper


In a medium sized bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and almond butter and mix well.  Stir in the oats and raisins and mix some more. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan. (Lining the pan with a large rectangular piece of parchment paper, placing the mixture on one side and then folding the paper over to press down works nicely since the dough is so sticky.) Chill in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours, until very firm. Cut into 16 squares and sandwich 2 level tablespoons of ice cream/frozen yogurt in between 2 squares for a total of eight mini-sandwiches and serve immediately (if you cannot wait!) Otherwise for best results, wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil and freeze again for 30 minutes to an hour

Makes 8 servings

Serving size: 1/8th of recipe, 1 mini ice cream sandwich  Calories 200 Protein 5 g Carb 23 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 14 g Fat 10 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 15 mg

Serving size: 1/16th of recipe, 1 oatmeal raisin square by itself  Calories 80 Protein 3 g Carb 19 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4.5 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 0 mg

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easy Mediterranean Tostada

A quick and easy recipe- great for a light lunch or as a hearty snack. Kid friendly too!
1 pita
2 heaping tablespoons of hummus or baba ghanoush
2 tablespoons chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped olives (I used kalamata)
2 tablespoons crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
Oregano, basil, parsley (optional for garnish)
Toast the pita if desired.  Spread with hummus and then layer on the tomato, cucumber, olives and cheese.  Sprinkle with basil/oregano/parsley (if you would like some additional zest) and serve.

Makes one serving

Serving size: 1 whole tostada (entire recipe) Calories  320 Protein 11  g Carb 43  g Fiber 3 g Sugars 2 g Fat  12 g  Saturated fat 2  g Sodium 650 mg


Sunday, April 7, 2013

In The News: Eating A High Protein Breakfast Can Curb Late Night Snacking

Feeling like your snacking goes into overdrive at night?  Well, eating a high protein breakfast may help prevent that habit, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When participants consumed a 35 gram protein breakfast, it significantly reduced evening snacking in comparison to those who skipped breakfast, or consumed only a modest amount of protein at their morning meal. The study was small, with only 20 participants, but the results are encouraging with the authors noting "breakfast led to beneficial alterations in the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation. Only the HP {high protein} breakfast led to further alterations in these signals and reduced evening snacking."  35 grams may seem like a lot and the jury is still out on the exact amount of protein that should be consumed, but I think adding 15-20 grams is a good start.  (Note: for those with kidney problems, adding extra protein may not be appropriate and consulting a doctor first is advised).   Egg whites, nitrate-free turkey bacon, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and smoothies with protein powder are all great ways to add some protein to your morning.  Also, try my Garden Medley Frittata recipe or some home made protein bars to get those grams in!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Simple Roasted Asparagus

An easy and delicious Spring side dish!
One bunch of asparagus spears, 1.5 pounds (preferably thick), rinsed and dried (ends can be trimmed if desired)
½ tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add the asparagus to the pan, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss with hands to make sure they are evenly coated and spread them out on the pan.  Roast for 15-20 minutes (depending on how thick the spears are), turning them every 5-7 minutes.
Makes 4 servings
Serving size ¼ of recipe Calories 60 Protein 4 g Carb 7 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 4 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 75  mg


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