Monday, April 17, 2017

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

I decided to serve barbecued pork sandwiches on our Memorial family gathering.

Along with a salad full of healthy greens, a fruit plate, fresh corn-on-the-cob, some chips, and my favorite chocolate chip cheesecake with fresh sliced strawberries for dessert.  Well, maybe a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream as well. The menu turned out to be a nice combination. I had everything planned ahead, the pork roasts were in the slow cooker covered in my favorite brand of BBQ sauce and it was a nice feeling not to be rushed.

Oddly... I found my husband going through the spice cupboard. This is a man who you usually find after the food is prepared or doing dishes, not to often  in a spice cupboard.  He had brought home a new recipe he wanted to try for our pork sandwiches. A fellow co-worker had made this and my husband copied the recipe. Luckily we had everything he needed and he made a really nice BBQ sauce. The recipe is originally from the Food Network Magazine, the only thing we decided to do differently, was to not strain the onions at the end.

I had prepared the pork roast as in my blog and recipe,  Just Like Pulled Pork. At the point of shredding the pork and adding more sauce, instead of adding my usual favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's, we used my husband's homemade sauce.  Delicious, and a huge hit with the family. Everybody even poured more over their meat while building their sandwich.

Another nice addition some like on this sandwich is shredded cabbage.

So here is another option for this recipe. Use a bottled sauce in the slow cooker and again after shredding the pork, or use a bottled sauce in the slow cooker and prepare a fresh sauce to add after shredding the meat. And don't forget to serve some on the side!

This sauce is gluten free (check labels on ingredients) and can be used on any type of barbecued meat.

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce        Makes about 1 quart
2 tbsp. vegetable oil                                         1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped onion                                        3 tbsp. molasses
2 cloves garlic, smashed                                    3 tbsp. yellow mustard
3 cups ketchup                                                 1/2 tsp. ground celery seed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar                                Kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar                      1 to 2 tsp. liquid smoke            
1/4 cup steak sauce ( we used A.1.)

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is golden, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, 1 cup water, the vinegar, mustard, celery seed and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the liquid smoke. Strain the sauce, pressing on the solids to extract any liquid. Again, we omitted this last step.

BBQ season its here and now. It's such fun trying new recipes!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

My daughter is home for the summer and full of great treat ideas. These can be made gluten free or regular.

Simply choose a cookie dough and a cake mix flavor. (Both gluten free if needed)
We are going to bake a frozen ball of cookie dough right in the middle of our cupcakes. Mmmmmmmm!

No one will ever know until they bite into a cupcake!

Make cookie dough (any flavor) and form into small balls. Freeze. I used chocolate chip.
Mix up a cake, any flavor. I used german chocolate. (gluten free if needed). Here is a wonderful gluten free/vegan recipe, Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes. Spoon cake batter into muffin tins about 1/2 full. Place one frozen dough ball in the middle of each cupcake.
Cover with more cake batter until about 3/4 full.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-22 minutes.  Cupcake will bounce back when lightly touched.
Let cool completely before frosting.

Have fun decorating your cupcakes. 

When you take a bite of cupcake you will be happily surprised to get a taste of a chewy, nougat like treat inside.

I added extra chocolate chips to my cookie dough so the insides are very rich and chocolatey.
Have fun experimenting with different cookie and cake combinations!!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Grandma's Zucchini Bread & Muffins...A Great Reason To Plant A Garden!

I guess when something is great, don't change it. Right? And my grandma had a great love for making people her zucchini bread... especially for my dad.

The only thing I did different, was not peel the zucchini. I like the color the peeling adds to the bread.  Okay, I did add one more thing to my grandma's recipe....added chopped apples. Delicious addition for sure, but it's optional. Maybe try it in half the recipe and see what you like. We decided to make our bread into muffins, because they are easy to freeze or pack as a snack. Either way I am happy to share this wonderful recipe, and hope you find it to be a tasty treat.

If you count weight watcher points, each muffin has 7 points.

This recipe can be made gluten free by simply replacing the all-purpose flour with a gluten free baking mix like Bob's Red Mill or Pamala's Gluten Free Baking Mix. Remember with Bob's Red Mill or a homemade mix you will need to add Xanthan Gum to the recipe, 2 1/4 tsp.

Grandma's Zucchini Bread & Muffins        Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins
Preheat oven to 350
Prepare loaf pans with cooking spray and line bottom of pans with wax paper,  prepare muffin tins with cooking spray.
3 eggs (egg substitute if necessary)
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 apple (optional, but delicious) peeled and chopped
3 cups flour (gluten free mix if necessary plus 2 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum, if not Pamela's brand)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a small bowl add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and walnuts. Mix
In a large mixing bowl add eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Mix well.
Add zucchini and apples(optional).  Mix.
Add flour mixture and stir until mixed. Don't over mix.
Pour into prepared loaf pans or muffin tins.
Bake loaves for 55 minutes and muffins 25 minutes. Check 5 minutes early in case of oven variations.
Cool loaves on rack 10 minutes before removing from pans, and I let muffins sit a minute or so before removing from tins, as this helps them hold their shape.
Let cool completely on wire racks.
Then enjoy and share this recipe with many, it would make my grandma happy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just Like Pulled Pork - Easy Barbecued Pork Roast. (Gluten free option too)

Have you ever thought you came up with something new in the food world, just to find out everybody's already tried it?

Well that happened to me when I thought I came up with this great idea for pork roast. No one in our family really liked pork roast, including myself. So we never ate it.....I never cooked it. But after having pulled pork in Hawaii, a few years ago I absolutely fell in love with it. I had never tasted anything so good. I will admit, they have a magical way of cooking it, but it also got me curious.

So I bought some really nice cuts of pork roast and started experimenting.  I tried sauces, rubs, herbs, but nothing came even close to what I had eaten in Hawaii.

One day I had some left-overs in the fridge that nobody seemed to want, and I was seriously considering giving them to our dog, Charlie.

My teen-age son hadn't had lunch yet and I got this idea.....what if I added some bbq sauce to the left over pork and tried to make it look like it had been shredded and served him a hot bbq sandwich? I gave it a try, and he loved it. He even said, "I didn't know we had any of this stuff, I just had this over at a friends house too."  And then a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, why couldn't I add the bbq sauce to the roast while it was in the slow cooker?

Apparently everybody already does this.....jokes on me. Oh well. Huge success, so I decided to share my new revolution with you anyway. And the best part is a lot of bbq sauces are made gluten free now.

The only thing you will need along with a pork roast is some bbq sauce. I purchase my pork roast  from Costco, Premium Pork Sirloin Tip Roast, 98% fat free. I like the way they are packaged, and I always cook two at a time. Left overs are never a problem, in fact there are usually not enough left overs. Yes,'s that popular with my family.

 Since I cook two at a time I use a larger slow cooker. For one roast the smaller size is perfect.

Rinse and pat dry the pork roast and place in cooker.  Pour a fair amount of bbq sauce over the roast.
My favorite bbq sauce is, Sweet Baby Ray's. Exact measurements aren't that important, just get a nice covering on the roast.

Cover and cook on low for about 9 hours. Check to make sure it's all cooked inside. 
The finished product will look like this.

At this point I remove the roast from the slow cooker and place in a large dish and cover with foil. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Or until you are ready to pull apart.
While you're at it, this would be a good time to remove any meat that you don't want extra bbq sauce on, for example if you are following weight watchers. Remove some of the meat from the inside not the outside edges where the sauce is and each ounce of meat will still be 1 point. If you then want to add some extra sauce to your serving, then you can easily add a measured amount. Two tablespoons of this bbq sauce is 2 points. The roast is delicious with or without the extra sauce.  But it's nice to enjoy what everyone else is eating. 

Grab a knife and start slicing and pulling apart the meat starting at one end, and just slowly work to the other end.  On the edges I cut that area up into small pieces, but the rest will shred nicely.

I like to add even more bbq sauce to moisten and flavor all the meat. Keep tossing and stirring until the meat is evenly covered. Taste as you mix.....yummy!

I use a large serving fork to mix the sauce with the meat, it seems to work well.

Cover with foil to keep warm. I actually keep the prepared bbq pork in the oven on warm until ready to eat.  Toast up some buns, these make a great sandwich. Perfect for a crowd.

These work great on gluten free breads and rolls as well, The Best Gluten Free Sandwich Rolls

Lunch the next day is easy with these left overs!  Just reheat in the microwave and you've got a tasty and hearty sandwich. My husband likes them with shredded cabbage or coleslaw. Try my grandma's recipe.

If you want to make your own barbecue sauce check out this recipe,  Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce  it's delicious too.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Asparagus…A Tasty Mood Lifting Vegetable!

I have heard that  foods can actually be mood lifting, and that asparagus of all things, is one of the best.  Ok, I am slightly sensitive to this food at a moderate level, which means I can rotate it in if I don't find it to cause any problems. So I sat down and started taking some notes.

I tried two new ways to eat asparagus. One is in scrambled eggs, duck eggs for me. (I am highly allergic to chicken eggs) And the other way, is one I came up with on my own. I was roasting some brussels sprouts the other night and had some left over asparagus, so I just added them to the pan. WOW! They were so good I ate them all before I ate the brussels sprouts, they were like tasty little crunchy straws.

With my eggs and asparagus I decided to add a little ham and a touch of cheese. Ok…yes! I am cheating a little! But sometimes I just crave a flavor or am curious about a food…like now.

First I cut up 1 oz of  ham and a nice handful of asparagus tops. I sauteed them in a small amount of Smart Balance Light.

Then I added my scrambled duck egg mixture of 1 whole egg, 2 whites and a couple Tbls soy milk.

When eggs are done top with 1/2 serving of Weight Watchers Mexican Style Blend Reduced Fat Cheese.   If you are very careful about rotating foods you are sensitive to, sometimes you can get away with this once or twice a week. I don't suggest rotating allergic or sensitive foods until you have followed a strict diet of elimination for a full year first. And remember, some foods you will find can never be rotated. Believe me, you will know which ones when you try. For yeast free diets, no cheese.

Ok, back to this dish…because it's ready to devour!

This was so amazing I got up early to make it for my husband before he left for a meeting. He also loved it. The asparagus really blends nicely with the egg. I hope you give it a is sure to make you smile!

Weight watcher points with ham and cheese, this dish has 5 points. Ducks eggs are an extra point due to their larger size.

The other way I mentioned preparing asparagus was with my roasted brussels sprouts.
Here they are seasoned and cooking.

I usually just rinse the brussels sprouts and remove loose outer leaves, and dry them off on a towel. For the asparagus after rinsing and drying I broke them in half using the top half. The goats got the bottom half  : )

I roast my brussels sprouts on the pure convection setting at 400. If you do not have a convection oven set to 425.

Place fresh vegetables in a large bowl add toss with 1 Tbl olive oil. When they are well coated shake some sea salt over them or McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak and toss again.

Place vegetables on a large baking sheet prepared with Pam, even though there is oil on the vegetables I still coat the baking sheet with Pam.

Bake for about 20 min, maybe check after 15, for preferred doneness. Also turn them over and roll them around a bit for even browning. The more browning on the vegetables the better in my opinion. Depending on your taste, you might like the asparagus at this point.

 As I mentioned I like them really brown, so I continue to bake everything for 5 min or more.

These are so good you won't even need butter! But if you do Brummel & Brown is an excellent low fat alternative. I have found occasional use of this product, and Smart Balance does not bother me even though I am very allergic to all dairy.

Even if you do not like brussels sprouts, try them roasted. I actually find them very offensive prepared any other way. Roasting some how makes them less bitter.

Weight watcher points will only count the oil you add. I find 1Tbl of oil goes a long way. For each Tbl of Olive Oil you add 4 points plus, and by tossing the vegetables in a large dish you can get enough coating on the vegetables with that small amount. Divide that by 4 servings and you have 1 point for each.

Brummel & Brown has 1 point plus for each Tbl. so if you add a teaspoon on top of your serving vegetables and let it melt over all, you have just 1/3 of a point. I really like Brummel & Brown because of it's great flavor and it actually does melt!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Perfect Salads - Dressing Up An Every Day Salad With The Fresh Fruits Of The Season

I love to add fresh fruits to my greens.
I try to eat a giant salad of greens and raw vegetables for one meal a day. I like to add a large variety of raw vegetables to my salads. I combine about 7 or more different raw vegetables including romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green pepper, mushrooms, cabbage and purple onion.

I also add garbanzo beans, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. During the winter months I enjoy grapes and oranges on my salads, but in the summer my salad rises to a whole new level with fresh berries, cherries and kiwi. The variety of flavors and textures are fantastic, sweet, crunchy, chewy.... and this is so great for our bodies.

Instead of unhealthy croutons, I crunch up Trader Joe's Lentil Chips, Sea Salt & Black Pepper flavor.  These chips are full of flavor and baked with only 3 grams of fat per serving.

I make a giant salad once or twice a week and store the whole thing in a recycled lettuce or spinach container or fill mason jars, as you can see in my Food Tips. This keeps my salad as fresh as the day I made it. I don't add the beans, sunflower seeds or fruit until ready to serve.

Meat eaters can add cut up leftover chicken and turkey with some cheese as another addition to a salad.

And finally in this salad I've added sweet peppers cut in rings, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and a yummy quinoa & brown rice mix from Seeds of Change. Love this one! 

There are so many options it's fun to experiment, and the salads are gorgeous as well as nutritious!

So, come on!    Eat those greens!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Saturday Market Muffins

I'm so excited about this new muffin! I have been really looking forward to making them.  I call them Saturday Market Muffins, because they are full of a variety of healthy ingredients.

Cut these muffins open and you can see all the yummy carrots, apples, nuts and raisins. But what you can't see is the oat bran and flaxseed they are full of as well.

No added fat in this recipe. Your teeth will sink into a tender muffin just bursting with flavor.
Weight watcher points are 4 for each muffin.

Saturday Market Muffins
Prepare muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat your oven to 350.          Recipe will make about 20 muffins.
1 1/2 cups flour (gluten free if needed) I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp xanthan gum if gluten free flour was used
1 1/2 cups peeled and grated carrots
1 medium peeled and grated apple
1 medium peeled and chopped apple
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup milk (or milk substitute)
2 eggs (or egg substitutes)
1 tsp vanilla

In a large mixing bowl add flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum (if needed).  Mix well.
In a small bowl add milk, (or milk substitute) eggs, (or egg substitute) and vanilla. Mix well.
Add grated and chopped carrots and apples, raisins, and nuts to dry ingredients. Stir together. This will  be very thick.
Add liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir. Be careful not to over mix.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.  Enjoy.  They get better as the day goes on, so save some for later!