Ever wanted to imitate those dishes you enjoyed while eating out for much cheaper at home? I do. I do this all the time, I taste something, then I go home, imitate it and try to make it healthier. This book comes from a fellow blogger, Stephanie Manley of copykat.com, who has had so much success in food imitation she has filled a second book of recipes. I’m a sucker for a great icon guide, this one indicates recipes for cocktail parties, vegetarian, make ahead (always great for dinner parties or freezer cooking), impress the guest (really who wouldn’t want to?), dinner for one (which happens around here a bit), and dinner for two (which happens a lot around here happily) just to name a few. There are so many tantalizing tidbits in there. The thing I love about this book for people like myself who are trying to eat healthier is, now that you have the recipe, it is so much easier to make substitutions. Want that cheesy goodness that comes from Logan’s Roadhouse loaded potato skins? Flip to page 32, substitute light sour cream, light cheddar and monterey jack cheese, and light butter. You are in tasty heaven and for less fat and calories than eating out in the first place. I love to do take out from home. It is always, cheaper, healthier, and often faster (consider driving time, ordering, etc). What about the Melting Pot’s Wisconsin Trio Fondue? Yeah, it’s in there…you know what to do. I do not have access to a lot of these restaurants, being Canadian, so a book like this adds extra excitement. Many a time my husband and I have been watching tv and seen commercials for places like Sonic, Panda Express, Red Lobster (we don’t have one on the island), and Cheesecake Factory (that is actually due to all our Big Bang Theory watching), they look so good but are nowhere near here. Happily they all have recipes in this book, I can’t wait to make some of those red lobster biscuits, healthy version of course. So many great restaurant recipes are represented in this book including my own addiction, a version of starbucks pumpkin spice latte which I get to share with you right now! Perfect timing too right?
CopyKat.com’s Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 tblsp grated nutmeg
- 3 cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tblsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tblsp canned pumpkin
Pumpkin Spice Latte Serving
- 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
- 2-3 tblsp pumpkin syrup
- 1/2 cup milk, warmed and frothed
- whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Make pumpkin syrup:
- Bring water, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain through a coffee filter. You want the seasoned water to be free of the spices.
- Pour the strained water back into the pan and add the sugar and pumpkin. Mix well.
- Simmer another 10 minutes. Makes approximately 1 pint of pumpkin spice syrup. Store in and airtight container in the fridge. Will stay fresh for up to a week.
Make the Latte:
- Brew a 4 ounce serving of espresso or strong coffee.
- Place 2-3 tblsp of pumpkin syrup in a coffee cup and add coffee.
- Gently pour the frothed milk over the coffee and gently stir.
- Top with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg if desired.
Want to make it a skinny pumpkin latte like I do? Substitute the sugar with stevia or splenda, choose skim milk or unsweetened almond milk, and skip the whipped cream. A skinny pumpkin spice latte serving (with unsweetened almond milk) comes in at 28 calories, 2 grams fat, 5.4 grams carbs, 1.2 grams fibre, and .9 gram protein. Nummy! I make this with organic canned pumpkin and stevia. Watch for sales throughout the year and enjoy!
I don’t often do Mexican food (or my interpretation of Mexican food). for some reason, Surly Dwarf just doesn’t trust it. Occasionally though I rebel and push for something Mexican around here. Usually, it’s tacos but lately I’ve been wanting these enchiladas I used to make when I was a teenager. I wanted to change them up though, I figured doing them like a lasagna would not only be easy but fun too. I was right. Instead of a meat filled enchilada I decided to make a simple bean filled one, great for those meatless nights. Total success, it was so good even Surly Dwarf went for seconds on this one. It may not make for the best picture but it is full of delicious.
- 5 corn tortilla (warmed according to directions)
- 398 ml fat free refried beans
- 1 tsp smoked applewood seasoning
- 1 tsp ground ancho chili (I freshly ground mine from a dried chili)
- 120 grams light tex mex cheese
- mole sauce of your choice (I used packaged stuff due to time constraints)
- Combine beans, applewood seasoning, chili, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Spoon a couple of tablespoons worth of sauce into a 9×9 glass pan.
- Cut a warmed tortilla in half, dip in the warm mole sauce. Once pliable but not over soaked place in the pan. Repeat to create the tortilla layer using two of the tortillas.
- Top the tortilla layer with the refried bean mixture and half the cheese.
- Layer the rest of the tortillas, pour the sauce remaining carefully on top, and then top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake for an extra 5 minutes.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes, slice into four slabs and serve.
Makes four servings. Each serving contains 275 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 38.8 grams carbs, 7.3 grams fibre (I know!), and 15.1 grams protein. So filling, so nummy, and far less fat than a Mexican restaurant would wallop you with. Enjoy!
“I love cheesy poofs, you love cheesy poofs, if we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be LAME.” the immortal words of Cartman.
Alright, so these aren’t quite the fabled South Park junk food but they are so very nummy. The beauty of these is that you can use any cheese you have on hand to make it suit your taste. My favourite version of these is a toss up between the smoked gouda or my goat cheese ones. The goat cheese is my healthiest version so I will go with that one today. The perfect snack for entertaining guests, as part of an afternoon tea platter, or just because you want them. Remember, you can’t share them with kitty…they are YOUR cheesy poofs.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or buttermilk
- 4 tbl butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces low fat goat cheese
- 1/8 tsp ground mace
- 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
- freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan combine the milk, water, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a smooth dough forms. Once it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute.
- Add one of the eggs, beat in until the dough is smooth again. Repeat with the second egg.
- Stir in the cheese, pepper, salt and mace until smooth.
- Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or in my case a freezer bag that I cut a corner off of). Pipe the dough into desired shape on the parchment covered pans. I go with little round cushions.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 40 cheesy poofs. Each poof contains 22 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 0 gram fibre, .6 gram protein. Why not have a few? Then pat yourself on the back for making a choux pastry. You top chef, you.
I am back and as requested I have made a recipe featuring root vegetables. I absolutely had to make a pie, what is hobbit life without pie? This pot pie doesn’t have much of a topper but as we have found in the past a topper is not needed to make a delicious pie. I had a lot of fun wandering around the produce section picking out root veggies to put in this. I have found that this recipe can work with whatever veggies appeal to you most. In the game this pot pie is made with rye flour, leeks, turnips, carrots, butter, and milk. I skipped the milk but it’s still creamy! There was a part of me that wanted to save posting this for Pi day, being a root pie and all.
Herb Savoury Crust
- 125g flour
- 100g rye flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbl poultry seasoning
- 1 tbl dry mustard powder
- 1/4 cup rice bran oil
- 4 tbl cold water
- 1 tbl butter
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add seasonings to the flour mixture and stir.
- Combine the water and oil in a measuring cup. Beat with a fork until emulsified.
- Drizzle over the flour mixture and add the butter. Combine until you get a good dough, do not overwork though. You may need to add water if this is too dry.
- Roll out and place in pie dish.
- 1 Purple Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed (which is not purple inside as I had hoped, boo)
- 2 Parsnips, peeled and cubed
- 1 Carrot, peeled and cubed
- 1 Celery Root, peeled and cubed
- 1 Leek, thoroughly rinsed, sliced white part only
- 1 Garlic clove
- 2 tbl Rice Bran Oil
- 1 Rosemary sprig, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbl flour
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a pot, add garlic, stir and quickly add veggies and seasonings. Stir again and add wine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Combine water and flour in a separate bowl until smooth. Add to vegetable mixture and stir. Cover again and cook for 20 minutes.
- Pour veggies into the prepared crust. Top with leftover dough cut into nice shapes.
Pie (the easy part)
- Preheat oven 350F.
- Assemble pie, brush topper pieces with egg white (optional)
- Bake pie for 30 minutes.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes, cut and enjoy!
Makes 8 servings. Each serving contains 226 calories, 9.4 grams fat, 30.5 grams carbs, 4.9 grams fibre, 4.7 grams protein. So filling, so creamy, so warming! I think this might be my go to savoury pie crust this season. It’s flaky and sturdy. Even stays together when you reheat leftover pie in the microwave. Yes, the hearts are there because February is heart health month and they are tasty! This crust puffs them up a bit like a biscuit. Nummy!
While not a hardcore hobbit recipe this is definitely one every hobbit should know. Oh it is so nummy! I’m a bit funny about cabbage sometimes, it’s one of those veggies that I keep forgetting I actually like. I will wrinkle my nose at it but then I remember all those dishes it plays a role in that I love…okonomiyaki, that tasty katsu dog at Japadog, cabbage rolls, moshu, the list goes on. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that colcannon would join that list of favourites once I sat down and had it. Fact is, it is just a creamy cloud of tasty on a plate. Let’s get to this healthier version of it!
- 2 medium potatoes, I used red and did not peel, I like the colour, cubed
- 1 cup green cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
- 2 tbl light butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly
- Place the potatoes, cabbage and some salt in a pot and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 15 minutes.
- Drain and return to the pot, add the milk, butter, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mash until desired texture achieved.
- Serve with green onion sprinkled on top.
Serves 2 generous portions. Each serving contains 275 calories, 6.4 grams fat, 47.9 grams carbs, 5.7 grams fibre, 9.8 grams protein. Great special occasion dish, although I’m thinking adding a bit of sliced ham to this would make an amazing main dish. Yum!
How about a tasty somewhat naughty festive treat? I was making cupcakes for a potluck that my yoga teacher training group decided to put on. I made these vegan friendly and oh my, they were tasty! The recipe below is the healthier way I would make them but I will include the recipe variation to make them vegan friendly too. They were originally going to be gluten free and vegan friendly but that challenge is going to be saved for another day. These were so tasty even my meatatarien husband has been enjoying them. For those who are curious I’m an omnomnomivore. Food is tasty.
- 2 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 12 tbl low fat cooking margarine
- 1 1/2 cup splenda
- 10 tbl egg substitute (like egg beaters)
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened original
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbl orange zest, grated fine
- Juice of 1 orange (usually about 2 ounces)
- 2 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a bowl cream together the margarine, egg, almond extract and splenda.
- In another bowl combine the baking powder and flour. (yes, sometimes I’m lazy and skip this step too…it’s o.k.)
- Slowly alternate between adding the flour and the almond milk while beating the creamed mixture on low. Continue until all combined.
- Spoon batter into cup pan and bake for 20 minutes. You can tell they are done when they spring back when you touch them and are golden.
- While the cupcakes bake, combine the zest and icing sugar in a bowl.
- Slowly add the orange juice to the sugar mixture while beating on low. Once it is all combined at the desired consistency (you do not have to use all of the juice) beat for 2 minutes on high. Chill the glaze for 1 hour.
- Glaze the cupcakes when they have cooled.
Makes 16 cupcakes, each cupcake with glaze contains approximately 176 calories, 2.4 grams fat, 39 grams carbs, .9 gram fiber, and 2.2 grams protein.
To make this vegan friendly I used powdered egg substitute ( a local brand from the health store), vegan butter (earth balance buttery spread), and brown sugar instead of splenda. The nutritional info for this version is much higher of course. To make the cupcakes you just add the extra step before you cream of adding the required amount of water to the powdered egg substitute and stir. Other than that it is straight forward and the baking time is the same.
To make up for not posting for so long I have made it a double hardcore hobbit recipe week. Am I forgiven? How about after you taste this soup? It is delicious! It is exactly what I needed after a busy day. I paired it with some light havarti stuffed buns. Omnomnom! In Lotro this soup is made using mushrooms, mixed herbs, and leek stock. Fantastic! The soup was nummy nutritious velvet in a bowl. With the large serving size it was incredibly filling, a great dinner course all on it’s own. What hobbit would protest a dinner with mushrooms as the star? Shall we?
- 5 cups Hardcore Hobbit Leek Stock
- 4-5 cups various mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake, portobello, and crimini)
- 2 tbl soy sauce
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 fl. ounce dry sherry
- Combine the ingredients in a crockpot. Do not worry if the mushrooms seem to over power the amount of stock, they will cook down and provide their own liquid.
- Cook for 8 hours on low (or stovetop simmer 30- 60 minutes)
- Using a handblender or blending in batches process the soup until it is blended. I went with a texture that was blended but not smooth. I liked the variations in colour and texture. That is personal taste, go with what you like! Season with extra salt or pepper as needed. Serve.
- Want a tasty variation? My husband topped his soup with fat free sour cream. He even made a ghost on top to celebrate the season. Isn’t it cute? I tasted his variation and it is indeed nummy!!
Makes 5 generous and filling servings. Each serving contains 205 calories, 5 grams fat, 35 grams carbs, 4.7 grams fibre, and 5.9 grams protein. A great fall day treat. Using local mushrooms makes the flavour of those mushrooms sing! When selecting your variety of mushrooms you might want to check out what is local to your particular shire and in season. Every hobbit deserves the best mushrooms they can find.
Posted in Lunch, Dinner, Crockpot Creations, Comfort Foods, The Hardcore Hobbit
Tagged mushroom, Soup, Potato, Onion, Garlic, vegetarian, leek