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!
When life gets crazy, make brownies. Life around here has definitely been crazy, you might have noticed the absence of posts. Well, to comfort myself I made a fudgy style of brownie and felt I should definitely share. Accept my chocolatey, tasty, less than guilty apology? Wait till you see the secret ingredient…don’t let it turn you off. My husband, the surly dwarf, didn’t even notice. Definitely try it.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup splenda, truvia or other sugar substitute
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup nutri flour (or unbleached flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 7 egg whites or 1 cup egg substitute
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened light coconut milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Spray 13″x9″ pan, preheat oven to 350F.
- Combine sugar, cocoa, flour, and baking powder.
- Add egg whites, pumpkin, coconut milk, and vanilla. Stir until moistened.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into 24 squares.
Makes 24 brownies. Each brownie contains 58 calories, .9 gram fat, 14.5 grams carbs, .7 gram fibre, 1.8 grams protein. Yeah, I know. I had to double check, I was so surprised. Definitely a go to brownie for those chocolate comfort cravings.
A friend of mine approached me to try to make a healthier version of this tasty dish. Most of all she wanted to avoid the use of pre-made dough which is full of preservatives. I had to admit, I had no idea what bubble pizza was. Apparently it’s when you take dough in a can and mix it with pizza ingredients to make a delicious kind of deep dish meets casserole experience. After playing around with it a bit I found a combination that not only worked but we have now added to our own list of favourite not so naughty dishes. The best part? Leftovers can be frozen and reheated. They taste just as good as the original baking. For you freezer cooks this is definitely one I would add to your menu. Alright, enough talking about the holy grail of pizza lets get down to the details!
- 1 tbl honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbl water
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup skim milk (I actually used unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 tbl light butter
- 10 oz extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar tomato sauce of your choice or homemade (16 oz)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 cup light mozzarella
- 1/2 cup light cheddar
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Pizza toppings of choice (optional, not included in nutritional info)
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish, preheat oven to 350F
- Combine the first ingredients in either a breadmaker according to your directions or knead together on a floured surface to create a dough. Proof twice.
- In a deep skillet brown the ground beef, break up any big bunches.
- Add garlic and onions. Continue to cook until onions are soft.
- Stir in tomato sauce and basil.
- Grab small (thumbsized) balls of the dough and add them to the sauce mixture.
- Stir the mixture very gently until all the dough balls are coated with sauce.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with the cheeses and another other pizza toppings you want to include. Bake for another 10 minutes (longer if you really load it up).
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 really large portions.
Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains 339 calories, 13.8 grams fat, 34.6 grams carbs, 4.2 grams fibre, 19.9 protein. So filling and so easy to make into a feast by adding a side salad. My surly dwarf was impressed with how full it made him feel after a long day of work. This might actually find a special place in our freezer to take care of those, aarrgh, let’s just have pizza kind of days. 2-3 minutes in the microwave is faster than delivery and so much cheaper.
What a lovely Scottish dish this one is, some of you might know this better as mince and tatties. In LOTRO you make this comforting food using leek stock, carrot, taters, herbs, and beef. Like the description says this is a simple and extremely satisfying meal. A traditional approach to this tends to be a bit of a…well…rustic presentation. I’m going to pretty it up a little but I feel it’s still rustic and so tasty. I played around a bit with my usual gravy recipe too, instead of flour I worked with potato starch. A very successful experiment, I have to say as a thickener, potato starch is pretty awesome and of course, gluten free for those who worry about that.
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 red potato
- 2 cups leek or beef stock
- 2 tbl potato starch
- 2 tbl light butter
- In a bowl combine beef, carrot, onion,worcestershire sauce, cloves, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Form into small, slider sized patties about 2-3 oz each.
- In a med-high heat pan sear each patty for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan melt the butter.
- Add the potato starch and stir to create a roux.
- Whisk continuously as you pour the stock slowly in.
- Allow the gravy to come to a boil for 2 minutes then lower the heat to a simmer. Season gravy to taste. Add the patties and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile wash and cube potatoes. Bring water to a boil in another pot. Add potatoes, cook until fork tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain, add a bit of stock and mash.
- Serve your mince patties, with a mountain of tatties (having a close encounters moment like I did is not required), and gravy. Enjoy!
Makes 6 patties, a whole bunch of potatoes, and more gravy than you actually need…I’m a gravy eating monster and I couldn’t finish it. Each patty contains 142 calories, 9.7 grams fat, .4 gram carbohydrate, 0 fibre, and 10.6 grams protein. Each 1/2 cup of potato contains 117 calories, .1 gram fat, 26.7 grams carbs, 4.1 grams fibre, and 2.9 grams protein. Each tbl of gravy contains 12.5 calories, .8 gram fat, 1.4 grams carb, 0 fibre, and .1 gram protein. *phew* That was a lot of math today. You know what would finish this dish even better? An english pea puree. That is another story though.
For those not in the know, Welsh rarebit is a tasty dish of a melted cheese sauce (usually cheddar and mustard) poured over toast and devoured with gusto. In LOTRO rarebit muffins are made with black barley flour, goat cheese, milk and an egg. All fabulous starting points as usual but this time I decided to use some extreme guidance from Nigella Lawson. Her recipe is simply delicious, I lightened it up, changed a few things around and it still came out delish…my husband, the Surly Dwarf, ate about 6 of them. I call that a win! Want to make some too and not feel the guilt? Let’s go!
- 275g flour (I used the nutrigrain flour, hurray whole grains!)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 100g rathtrevor cheese (this is a great local cheese made by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, if you can get it go for it! If not a nice sharp cheddar is good too)
- 1/4 cup melted light cooking margarine
- 150g 0% fat greek yogurt (use the kind with no gelatin)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbl worcestershire sauce (keep the bottle on hand for sprinkling)
- 1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mustard powder. I don’t always sift but for these I always do. They work out best this way, totally worth the effort. Here I will prove it, I actually sifted.See? Told ya.
- Add the cheese, reserving a couple tbl worth for topping later. Toss to coat the cheese.
- In a measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients.
- Add the yogurt mixture to the flour, stir until moistened. Don’t over stir, the lumps help make this airy when you bake it instead of dense.
- Scoop into a greased 12 muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven top with remaining cheese and a sprinkle of worcestershire sauce. Back in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Serve while warm but not piping hot. Cheese burns are lethal.
Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 142 calories, 5.3g fat, 17g carbs, 2.3g fibre, and 7.2g protein. Pretty great for a super tasty savoury muffin. I paired this with a salad topped with my garlic dressing for dinner. Good times. Enjoy!
I know, everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe. I keep getting asked how it is I make mine so healthy without sacrificing tasty classic flavour. It really is my go to cookie, I’ve made them quickly before we settle in to watch a movie, takes me less than 5 minutes. I never buy premade cookie dough, you can just freeze this stuff instead. I’ve been told by folks that they like this version far better than anything some puffy commercial icon provides. So, here is my healthy version of that good old classic cookie.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
- 1/2 cup sugar substitute (I like either truvia or splenda, both work nicely)
- 1/2 cup light butter or light cooking margarine
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 prepared serving vegan egg substitute (you can sub an egg but it changes the values, this substitute is fat free and only 15 calories for an egg, wow.)
- 1 cup nutri-flour (this is a blend of flour and ground wheat bran, great stuff much healthier than white flour and bakes better than whole wheat in these cookies)
- 4 tbl dark chocolate chips (I use 70% when I can find them but 50% works great too, if you can find mini chips, Do IT! the coverage is great for so little)
- Cream together sugar, margarine.
- Add salt, baking powder, extracts and egg substitute. Combine until light and fluffy.
- Fold in nutri-flour.
- Add chocolate chips.
- Measure out the dough using a tsp. You can either drop them on the sheet or roll the dough out in your palms and pat to form a small disk. Depends on the look you are going for.
- Bake 350F for 10 minutes.
Makes 24 cookies. Each cookie contains 52 calories, 2.8 grams fat, 7.6 grams carbs, .7 gram fibre, .8 gram protein.
I found myself inspired by a book I received for review. The book is ‘Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet’ by Erica Kerwien. What a thorough book this was! SCD is an option for those who are trying to work with delicate digestive situations such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, Celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis to name a few. I have spoken to so many people dealing with these conditions who find themselves restricted by their guidelines, all so that what they eat does not end their day. We eat to nourish and make ourselves happy (in far too many cases for me), can you imagine what it would be like if many of the foods you ate made you want to just curl up and wish the day or in many cases, week would end? So, when this book crossed my desk I was interested. Ofcourse, this book is not just for those looking to control a condition, it has a wealth of creative recipes and basics for anyone trying to eat sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free and she even offers dairy-free alternatives.
One of the recipes that caught my eye was a sweet cashew cream, basically a whipped cream alternative for folks. My recipe is not all that similar in the end but it was an inspiration. To check out the original recipe and the many other delicious healthy dishes I suggest you check out this book. Not being a gluten-free or grain-free follower myself I am happy to say that these recipes even appealed to my grain addicted self.
- 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (if you can’t find ground just get regular and do them up in a blender or coffee grinder, like I did)
- 1 cup fat free evaporated skim milk
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (or icing sugar)
- 2 tbl light butter or margarine (I used the stuff with plant sterols to add extra nutrition)
- Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Refrigerate overnight (it will thicken with time and cold), stir and only serve chilled.
Makes 24 servings (about 1 tablespoon in size). Each serving contains 30 calories, 1.2 grams fat, 4 grams carbs, .2 gram fibre, and 1 gram protein. A great nutty flavoured alternative to plain old whipped cream. Amazing with chocolate cake.