Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bruschetta with Tomato-Basil Topping

In July we went camping at George Wyth State Park.  It was our second time there and has become one of our favorite places.  It has a wonderful trail system with paved paths perfect for walking, running, biking, or whatever your favorite outside sport is.  Anyways, we were there with out camping club, the Rolling Rovers.  We had a wonderful time visiting with each other throughout the weekend.  On Saturday nights we have a potluck dinner together and this particular weekend we had an Italian theme.  I made Italian Potatoes and Bruschetta with Tomato-Basil topping.  True confession - I ate four of them before I plated them up for our dinner!  Soooo good.  Here is the recipe:


1 thick French baguette cut on the diagonal into 30 - 1/2 inch pieces
8 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil

Preheat oven to broil.  Lay slices of bread on a baking sheet.  Watching carefully, broil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until crisp.  (Bread will toast very quickly.)  Remove from oven.  Rub with garlic; lightly brush with olive oil.  NOTE:  Toasts can be made a day ahead.

Tomato-Basil Topping

3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup yellow pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp loosely packed basil, cut into thin strips

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Top toasts with a heaping tablespoon of mixture.  (Can be assembled 1 hour ahead of time.)

NOTE: Topping can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Apple Bread (healthier version)

I was given a bunch of apples from my boss at work last week.  The apples were NOT pretty - big green spotty apples.  But the way they looked didn't matter.  I knew from past experience that these were great baking apples.  So my task at hand was to find a new apple bread recipe that wouldn't be so bad for us.  In my Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Annual Recipes 2010, I found just what I was looking for.  But of course, I had to tweek it a little bit!  The end result was delicious.  Not too sweet, but very tasty.

Apple Bread (healthier version)

2 cups all-purpose flour (original recipe called for 3 cups white - I substituted 1 of the cups for wheat)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar (original recipe called for 1-1/2 cups sugar - I substituted 1/2 cup for brown sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts would be good too)

Topping (the recipe called for this topping but I opted to NOT use it - instead I put the nuts in my bread)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/3 cup cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in apples and nuts.  Transfer to two 8-in x 4-in loaf pans coated with cooking spray.

If using the topping, combine the flour, sugar and nuts; cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

My Baking Screw-up

Have you ever wondered what sweet bread would be like without the "sweet"?  I can't say that I ever wondered, but I thought I'd share my goof-up.  I had made my first batch and it turned out beautifully.  The picture above was from that first batch.  I had more apples so I made a second batch.  Well, it did not do as well.  Before I ever put it in the oven, I knew it didn't look right but I put it in the oven anyways.  I took it out later and what a disappointment!  Here is the comparison:
In case you can't tell, the one on the right looked bad and because I felt compelled to find out if it could be salvaged - I tasted it.  YUCK!  I went over the recipe in my mind trying to figure out what I left out and suddenly I realized it was the sugar.  Well, those two loaves went into the trash.  What a waste!  But live and learn!

The moral to the story....don't forget the sugar!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Update on Jim - 8/22/10

Great news!  Jim had his PET/CT scan this past Monday and blood work on Friday before he saw Dr. Nabi.  Everything came back all clear!!!  Dr. Nabi was very pleased. 

Jim had gotten to know so many people in the oncology office that he was greeted over and over again.  People commenting on his hair and how great he looked.  He is definitely stronger then he has ever been.  He and I get up before work each day and work out for 30-35 minutes.  Because of the exposure he got at the St. Luke's Wellness Center he does things he never did before - such as bands and free weights.  His energy appears limitless!  Thanks for your prayers!

Next visit is December 17th.  No scans, only blood work and a doctor visit.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Broccoli Brown Rice Pilaf

My sister-in-law Vicki gave me the following recipe in 2007.  I've made it many times since then.  I love cooked broccoli and the mixture with the rice makes this an acceptable vegetable dish in my book!  You can't go wrong with this recipe.

Broccoli Brown Rice Pilaf

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2-1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary or 2 tsp dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/8 tsp pepper

In large nonstick skilled coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute rice until lightly browned.  Add the broth, rosemary, and garlic; bring to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until rice is almost tender.  Stir in the broccoli, almonds, sunflower kernels, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook 3-5 minutes longer or until rice is tender and broccoli is crisp-tender.  Fluff with fork.  YIELD:  6 servings

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sausage Egg Bake

I've been making egg casseroles for years.  I've tried more recipes then I can count.  But this recipe has brought my searching to the end - everyone loves it!  I really like the way everything is layered.  Hashbrowns are placed on the bottom.  Then half the cheese sprinkled over the potatoes.  The meats and veggies are then placed on top of the cheese.  Other veggies or even mushrooms could be added at this point also.  Eggs are poured over everything with another sprinkle of cheese on top.  Very easy and very tasty!

Sausage Egg Bake

1 lb pork sausage
1/2 lb bacon
3 cups frozen hashbrowns
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
12 eggs
2 cups milk

Cook and drain sausage and bacon.  Place hashbrowns on bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.  Sprinkle on half of the cheese.  Add sausage, crushed bacon, chopped green pepper, and onion.  Beat eggs and milk.  Pour over casserole.  Sprinkle remainder of cheese over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Hashbrowns are on the bottom with cheese, sausage, bacon, 
green peppers and onion sprinkled on top.

The egg and milk mixture is poured over the casserole.

The remainder of the cheese is sprinkled on top.  It is now ready to bake!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Update on Jim - 8/15/10

For those of you that are following my blog for purposes of keeping up with Jim's health status here is what is coming up:
Monday, 8/16/10 - Pet/CT Scan
Friday, 8/20/10 - 3 month follow-up appt with Dr Nabi (with results of Monday's scans)

I plan on posting the results as quickly as possible but because we are going to be pretty busy this weekend it may not be till next Sunday night.  Please pray for good results!!!

You would be interested in knowing that Jim is doing absolutely wonderful.  He exercises 4-5 times a week and is stronger then he has ever been before!  He feels great and we have every reason to believe that Dr Nabi is going to say he is in tip-top shape!

Zucchini Bread (healthier version)

One of the guys at work brought in a bunch of very large zucchinis to share with everyone.  Looking at it I knew that this would not make just one loaf - but many!  I did not peel the zucchini, I just cut it up into chunks, cut the seeds out and then put it through the food processor to shred it up.  I got 6 cups of shredded zucchini out of it. Since the recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini (to make 2 loaves) I ended up with 6 loaves of bread!!!

The recipe I used was from my newest Healthy Cooking magazine (Aug/Sep 2010) - it was called Makeover Zucchini Bread.  The recipe reduced the oil to only 1/3 cup and replaced it with applesauce.  I made a couple of my own substitutions - instead of 1-1/2 cups of sugar I changed it to 1 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  I also changed the 3 cups of white flour to 2 cups of white and 1 cup of whole wheat. The nutritional info is based on the original recipe.  I don't think my changes will make any significant difference to it.

Zucchini Bread (healthier version)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, applesauce, eggs, oil and vanilla until well blended.  Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended.  Stir in zucchini and walnuts.

Transfer to two 8-in X 4-in loaf pans coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Yield:  2 loaves (12 slices each)

Nutritional info: 1 slice equals 168 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 165 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. 
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch 1 fat