Monday, September 22, 2014

Twice Baked Stuffed Butternut Squash with Sausage

This makes a delicious low carb Fall dish that is so simple to put together.  Use turkey sausage if you want to reduce the fat and calories.

You'll Need
  • 1 medium size butternut squash
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut butternut squash length wise and remove seeds.  Place onto baking dish cut side up and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 40 minutes or until flesh is fork tender.  
  2. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet.  Add in mushrooms, onions and garlic and saute until tender.  
  3. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool until it can be handled.  Gently remove flesh from the squash leaving about 1/4 inch around the skin of the squash.  Roughly chop up the squash and gently mix in with the sausage mixture.  Add in Parmesan cheese and begin stuffing the squash.  Mound the filling in the squash shells (you may have some mixture left over, would make a good stuffed mushroom filling)!  Place back into oven and bake about 15 minutes or until cheese melts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homemade Pie Crust with Bacon Fat

I save my leftover bacon grease in a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  I mostly use it to grease a skillet when making french toast or eggs.  I decided to try adding a bit to my pie dough in place of shortening and it came out delicious and perfectly flaky!  

Makes a double crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbl sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 tbl solid bacon fat
  • 12 tbl butter, cut into cubes
  •  5 - 6 tbl ice water
Place the flour in a food processor or large bowl and mix in the sugar and salt.  Add in the butter and bacon fat and pulse food processor or use a pastry cutter until dough resembles course sand.  Slowly add in water 1 tablespoon at a time and work dough until it comes together (may still be slightly crumbly).  Divide dough evenly into 2 pieces and form into a ball.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes or until ready to use. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pumpkin Sugar Toast

This recipe is so simple that it really should even be called a recipe!  Sprinkle this delicious sugar on toast, muffins, apples and seasonal breads.  You could even mix it into cream cheese for pumpkin sugar cream cheese!

You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Mix well so the pumpkin pie spice is completely mixed into the sugar.  Sprinkle onto buttered toast or whatever you desire!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These are so good they don't really need an introduction...


You'll Need:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 oz. can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cream cheese frosting (beat 1 pkg softened cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 stick butter- room temp, 1 cup confectioner's sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine oil, pumpkin, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix just until completely blended.
  4. Place rounded tablespoons on a cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart.
  5. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes until beginning to brown slightly.
  6. Transfer cookies to a rack and allow them to cool completely.
  7. Cover flat side of one cookie with frosting and top with another cookie.
Happy almost fall!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Simple Grilled Parmesean Zucchini

Zucchini is abundant in my garden right now.  Here's an easy recipe to enjoy fresh Summer zucchini.  Serve as a side dish or even an appetizer!

You'll Need:
  • 1 medium to large zucchini
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (depending on how big your zucchini is)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Slice zucchini in 1/4 inch discs and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place onto preheated grill, oil side down.  Drizzle other side with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on that side as well.  Grill for about 2 minutes until grill marks have formed, flip.  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese over each zucchini and allow to melt.  Remove from grill and serve.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fish Taco Salad Bowls

These fish "tacos" are light and delicious without added carbs from the tortillas.  Coconut gives the fish extra sweetness and makes for a tropical flavor!  Add any toppings you like to the salad to create your own taco bowl!  I topped mine with a roasted tomatillo salsa...I didn't even need added dressing :)

 For the fish:
  • 1 lb firm white fish (I used cod)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs with 2 tbl water, beaten
Salad toppings:
  • black beans and corn
  • tomatoes
  • jalepenos
  • shredded mexican cheese
  • salsa
  • limes
  • sour cream
  1. In a shallow dish mix all ingredients for the fish (besides the fish and olive oil) until combined.  Place the flour and eggs in 2 separate shallow dishes.  
  2. Cut the fish into about 2 inch chunks and coat them in flour, then egg and finally the panko mixture.  Set aside on a plate.  
  3. In a large skillet heat a thin layer of olive oil in a pan on med - high heat.  This isn't a deep fry so all you'll need is a layer deep enough to just cover the base of the pan.  Place the fish into the pan and begin to fry.  After 1 side of the fish has gotten golden brown (about 3 minutes) flip over and fry the other side for about another 3 minutes.  If you have a very thick piece of fish turn down the heat and allow to cook about another 2 minutes or until fish is flaky.  Remove fish and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Arrange your salad:
Place any type of salad greens onto a plate and top with your favorite taco toppings.  Use a salsa and lime juice in place of dressing and top with your crispy fish!


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Natural Mosquito Repellent

Gone are the days of using pure deet to ward off bugs.  The toxicity of deet has been shown to be toxic to the central nervous system and is toxic to brain cells.  Here is a natural way to ward off bugs that you can feel good about spraying on your kids.

(photo source)
You'll Need

  • Mixture of essential oils (use just 1 or a combination of your favorites): cedar wood, catnip, tea tree, geranium, citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, eucalyptus, mint
  • Witch Hazel
  • Distilled water
  • 8 oz spray bottle
Fill spray bottle half way with distilled water.  Fill remainder with witch hazel then add in your essential oils.  Add a total of 30 - 50 drops to achieve desired scent.  Spray as needed.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Zucchini Noodle Salad with Basil & Mint

This is a refreshing cold salad that is perfect for summer cookouts.  The zucchini noodles mimics pasta so you'll feel like your eating a pasta salad!  I also added shirataki tofu noodles to add extra volume to the dish.  You can find them in your refrigerated produce section of your supermarket or here.

You'll Need:
  • 1 large zucchini or 2 small
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes (if desired)
If you don't have one of those noodle spiral tools to make your zucchini noodles simply use a mandolin with a french fry slicer inserted and set to slice at about 1/8 in or as thin as you can set it.  Begin slicing your zucchini length wise to get long spaghetti type noodles.  Place into a bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften and absorb the flavors.  Serve with feta or shaved Parmesan cheese!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Greek Yogurt French Toast

This recipe came about one day because I was out of milk.  I decided to try adding a scoop of Greek yogurt instead and to my surprise it made the french toast even more delicious!  It made it extra thick and custardy and because of the addition of Greek yogurt it has an extra boost of filling protein!

You'll Need:
  • 4 slices bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Whisk the eggs and yogurt together, it may take a minute to get the yogurt incorporated into the eggs but keep whisking until there are no lumps.  Add in the cinnamon and vanilla.  Soak each peice of bread and place onto a buttered skillet.  Grill on each side until browned.  Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar and seasonal berries!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Easy Creamed Corn

Corn is so abundant this time of year but to be honest I get tired of eating plain old corn on the cob (as much as I love it)!  Creamed corn is so silky and delicious and nothing beats homemade.  This version is lightened up using reduced fat milk but if your feeling indulgent go ahead and use the cream!  This recipe is also perfect for using up leftover ears of corn :)


  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 tbl butter, melted
  • 2 cups 2% milk (or whatever you have on hand, although 2% gives it just enough creaminess)
  • 1 1/2 tbl cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbl real bacon bits (not the hard, imitation kind)
Melt butter in a medium size saucepan and add in onions and bacon bits.   Cook until onions are translucent and bacon begins to crisp, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, remove kernels from the corn into a bowl and scrape down the cob to release the milk and remaining pulp.  Add the milk, cornstarch and corn to the pan and mix well.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly then reduce heat to a simmer until slightly thick.  Season with salt and pepper.