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!
This tasty jam can certainly be enjoyed in a variety of ways. This is an ingredient recipe in LOTRO. According to the game it is made with blackberries, water, and mixed spice. This then goes on to be the ingredient for so many other hardcore hobbit recipes. I can’t wait! I have been anxiously watching our blackberry bushes all summer. You won’t believe how busy the bees were! Now we have oodles of blackberries and the first thing that absolutely had to be made was this blackberry jam. I like the tartness of the berry so I did not add much sugar at all. If you like a sweeter jam you may want to add more than I did. With the success of this basic jam I am definitely going back to make more. I think the next will be a blackberry lavender jam and a blackberry passionfruit jam. Num! Definitely harvest season around here.
- 4 cups crushed blackberries
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice (I made my own by juicing a few fuji apples)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp light cooking margarine
- 1 pkg no sugar needed pectin (I call it insurance in case my apple juice doesn’t come through)
- 1 cup sweetener of choice (I used splenda but honey would be divine)
- 4 small canning jars
- Boil the jars, lids, and seals to sterilize and prep for the jam. Keep them hot until ready for filling.
- Strain 2 or 3 cups of the berries to remove the seeds. Blend the strained liquid with the remaining crushed berries in a pot.
- Add the apple juice, margarine, cinnamon, and cloves to the berries.
- Stir in the pectin until dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the sweetner of choice.
- Stir constantly while boiling for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
- One at a time remove jars from the hot liquid, ladle in the jam, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rim clean. Top with the sealing disk. Screw down the top. Repeat for the rest of the jars.
- Return the filled jars to the boiling water, make sure the jars are covered by atleast an inch of water. Boil for 10 minutes or longer if you are at higher altitudes.
- Remove the jars from the water without tilting them. Allow to sit upright and undisturbed for 24 hours.
Makes 4 250 ml jars. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with splenda is 7 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 2.1 carb, and .1 gram protein. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with honey is 22 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 5.7 carbs, and .1 gram protein. Contains all the num needed to last through winter for two hungry hobbits.
Posted in Breakfast, Comfort Foods, Craving Buster, Ingredient, Sidedish, Snack, The Hardcore Hobbit
Tagged apple, Blackberry, Cinnamon, clove, Honey
I have totally weirded you out but intrigued you at the same time, haven’t I? So there I was. The morning of my husband’s birthday. He was happily sleeping in and I knew I wanted to surprise him with a tasty but different breakfast in bed. When I looked in the fridge the cream cheese completely caught my eye. Do I think of making some sort of bagel with a custom flavoured cream cheese like a sane person would? No! Instead I begin pondering how a breakfast cheesecake would be done. In the morning, before coffee or tea, a cheesecake pancake is ofcourse the logical answer. Feeling a bit like a kid mixing up a possibly monstrous concoction to surprise the parents with, I get to work. Then, a miracle happened. I served it with a choice of strawberry jam or maple syrup…and it was delicious!!! Decadent yet light, and oh so filling. Cheesecake for breakfast…the world is now perfect. You are welcome, I await my nobel prize. Hehe.
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup splenda or sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbl coconut flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- Combine the cream cheese, splenda/sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and coconut flour in a bowl.
- In a seperate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture carefully.
- Spray a pan and heat over medium low. Spoon about 1/4 cup onto the pan. Allow to cook about 2 minutes on each side achieving a golden brown. If they are a bit dark, don’t worry! It’s cheese, it remains tasty…unless you’ve completely burnt them.
Makes 4 pancakes. Each pancake contains 86 calories, 5.3 grams fat, 5.3 grams carbs, 1 gram fibre, and 6.8 grams protein. Absolutely delicious served with fruit, jam and maple syrup. I think this may even be gluten free…double check that though with your resident gluten free person, I am not a gluten free expert.
In LOTRO “it may be possible to improve upon this pie, but you can’t think of how.” this pie takes blackberry pie filling and pie crust. The blackberry pie filling itself is blackberries and fresh cream. So, I had my basic ingredients outlined for me. So I thought about the types of things I love from pie. I love the creamyness and tartness of a key lime pie. I love the ultimate fruityness of a harvest pie that has whole chunks of berries and other fruit inside it. I love the ease of a cooled pie. To combine these things would be the perfect pie right? OH yes, it is indeed a great pie. It is creamy, it is fruity, it is easy! Perfection! I am also amused that all my fussing did not yield a perfect looking pie. Then I realized that my perfect pie is not a fussy looking thing, it is indeed a home cooked rustic wonder. Remember, rustic is pretty too! There are no mistakes, just rustic beauty. Anyways, enough chatter, on to this easy tasty pie!
- Pour the condensed milk into a bowl, add the cinnamon and stir thoroughly.
- Add the blackberries and carefully fold in so that they keep their shape. Crush one or two if you want the juice to marble into the milk. Do not over stir, if you want the slight marbling effect that I had. I gave it two stirs, that’s it!
- Pour into the prebaked pie shell and chill in the fridge for atleast 4 hours, best if left overnight.
Serves 8. Each serving contains 240 calories, 4 grams fat, 1.4 grams fibre, 44 grams carbs, and 6.2 grams protein. This is not your everyday pie, after all if you enjoyed perfection everyday would you truly appreciate it?
psst…want a closer peek?
These are sort of like bite sized coffee cakes. They have that oh so tasty swirl of brown sugar and cinnamon. Yes, I am totally in love with my little mini cupcake pan. Adorable food is the way to go. You feel like you are totally indulging because you can have three instead of just one. These are awesome with a lovely foamy latte or special tea. These are just so cute! I think I might include these in a tea tray outside this summer. Anyone care to come over for afternoon tea?
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 cup splenda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Combine the flour, splenda, baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the applesauce, egg whites, and milk.
- Add the flour mixture to the apple sauce mixture gradually. Stir until well mixed.
- Spoon 1 tsp of batter into each mini cup of your mini cupcake pan.
- In a ramekin combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Top each mini bite with a half tsp of the cinnamon mixture. Using a toothpick swirl the mixture into the bite.
- Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until golden.
Makes 36 bites. Each bite contains 26 calories, .1 gram of fat, 6.4 grams of carbs, .2 gram of fibre, and .9 gram of protein. So go ahead, have a few!
Sometimes, I have mere minutes to get a meal done and have it be healthy lately. Our gaming, work, house hunting, and work out schedules are getting crazy! This is a side dish that I love and I especially love how easy it is. If you can boil water you are 50 percent there. It’s inspired from a dish I had in this absolutely delicious Moroccan place I ran across. By no means is it authentic but I can’t resist how easy it is. I do all sorts of variations on this and it really is a meal saver.
- 1/2 cup dry couscous (multigrain is even better if you can get it)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 sachet of reduced salt chicken oxo
- 1/4 cup raisins
- ground pepper to taste
- Combine the ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup.
- Boil the water and add to the measuring cup mixture until you reach the 1 1/2 cup mark. Allow to sit for atleast 5 minutes. Fluff and serve!
See? Just two steps. Easy and delicious! I love serving this with a nice chicken breast with middle east spices and salad. This serves two generously. Each serving contains 213 calories, .8 gram of fat, 47.9 grams of carbs, 2.2 grams of fibre, and 6.1 grams of protein. Takes about 10 minutes, how can you lose?
Ooops a day late posting these. Got all caught up looking at bikes yesterday. The pedal kind. So excited about getting one finally. Especially with gas prices climbing more and more….and it isn’t even summer yet!! Time to find a better solution for those errands that are not within comfortable walking distance…which are a few. We are a bit out of the way here. Anyways! Hot cross buns. Those nummy treats that start coming out every spring. You see them there, taunting you, begging you to devour their souls….ummm….yeah. You get the idea.
- 1 1/4 cup skim milk
- 2 tbl dry yeast
- 2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbl unpacked brown sugar (you need this for that yeast to rise)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 6 tbl egg substitute (I use egg beaters)
- 2 tbl light cooking margarine
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raisins
- If you have a bread machine you can skip all this by using the dough cycle according to your manufacturers directions.
- Heat milk to lukewarm and pour over the yeast, carefully.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and spices. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk mixture. Stir and add the eggs and then the margarines. Fold in the raisins and cranberries.
- Once they are evenly mixed in cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise to double it’s size. This usually takes about 2 hours.
- Once risen, grab pieces of the dough and shape into 18 buns and place on a baking sheet. Allow to rise again slightly for about 30 minutes.
- Use scissors to snip the buns deeply in the form of a cross.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- If you would like to glaze them I suggest a 1/2 cup icing sugar (if you can find the no calorie stuff even better) and about 1 tbl of lemon juice. Drizzle over hot buns.
Makes 18 buns. Each bun contains 112 calories, .8 gram of fat, 1.7 grams of fibre, 4 grams of protein, and 23 grams of carbs. These are tasty still warm and are sacrilegiously tasty first thing in the morning.
If you haven’t encountered a beignet before, get somewhere french inspired stat! Or better yet make this and save your waistline. True, a beignet should be fried but well, I miss beignets and fried food doesn’t agree with my new foodie choices or at times…me. I made these tasty pastries for a changeling one shot we hosted this week and even amongst those who have not experienced the fried love that is beignet they were suitably devoured. That thing that really makes me love this version is the crispy shell you get from the sugar coating. Num! So, no need to fry to get that crispy bit of pastry happiness. Great, talking about the beignets has made me need some more of them. Omnomnom.
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbl splenda
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 fat free sour cream
- 1 tbl melted light margarine
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbl sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and splenda in a bowl.
- Add the applesauce, sour cream, margarine and vinegar. Knead briefly until the dough comes together. Don’t overdo it though or the dough will get sticky and hard to work with.
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or ramekin.
- Take a teaspoon of dough, roll into a ball shape. Dip in the sugar mixture to coat.
- Place on the baking sheet. You should get around 26 beignets. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden.
Makes 26 beignets. Each beignet is 40 calories, .3 grams of fat and .3 grams of fibre. Want higher fibre? Try a whole wheat flour blend! It tastes just as great!
When it comes to strudel pastry I totally cheat. My grandmother was always a very practical woman. When something can be bought to help that dessert be successful she had no qualms about doing so. Phyllo dough is one of these short cuts my grandmother supported. Why go through the trouble of making it when the ingredient is right there? Now you can concentrate on the more important things…like the filling. Oh wait, that isn’t hard either? Well…score! Seriously, whipping up a strudel like this as a weeknight dessert isn’t all that hard. That’s exactly what this one was.
- 2 pears, cored, sliced
- 4 sheets phyllo dough
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp splenda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 30 grams brie, sliced thinly
- butter flavoured cooking spray
- Lay your first sheet of phyllo dough on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Layer another sheet on top. Repeat until all sheets have been stacked.
- Lay the cheese slices on the strudel sheets horizontally, not quite center. I usually go for about an inch off center towards me.
- Layer the pear slices on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and splenda.
- Fold in the sides of the dough, then the bottom. Flip away from you to wrap. That moves the seam of your folding underneath the pastry.
- Spray the pastry. Cut four slits into the top and sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Cover with foil. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Serves 4 generously. Each serving contains 141 calories, 3.9 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of fibre. I love pears and brie so creamy and sweet, apples would work with this too. If you don’t want the brie each serving will contain 116 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of fibre. Nothing wrong with a simple fruit strudel, I just like to get a little fancy sometimes hehe.
No, they are not klingon. Oh tasty, tasty little nut filled crescents wrapped in a cream cheese dough. These are traditionally jewish, it wouldn’t be the first delectable food they have given us either. I tend to pronounce these rugalah, no idea how right that is but who cares once you have eaten your fill of these delicious delights. They look really impressive when you serve them but really they only take a few more steps than making those pilsbury crescent thingies. Definitely a win/win. My grandmother used to make a version of these for the holidays filled with hazelnuts or sometimes almonds. The filling is always changeable, it’s the crescent shape and the dough that are mainstays.
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
- 114 grams light cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup splenda or sugar
- 2 tbl light butter, softened
- 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 6 tbl dried cranberries
- Combine the flours in a bowl. In another bowl beat the ricotta, cream cheese, splenda, and butter at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture, stirring by hand, mix until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half and shape into a flat disk. Don’t play deadly disc with it…it’s too tasty. Wrap each with plastic wrap and freeze for about 20-30 minutes. It should be firm.
- Combine the brown sugar, pistachios, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Roll out your first disk into an 11 inch round. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon mixture over the dough. Top with half of the cranberries. Press the topping into the dough using the palm of your hand. Using a knife cut the dough into wedges like you would a cake or pie, diagonally. You want 16 wedges.
- Starting at the outer edge of each wedge, carefully roll the dough to form a crescent. How curved you want your crescent is completely up to you. My grandmother liked to pinch the ends to keep the filling inside. Open or closed both are tasty. Place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second disc.
- Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. They should be lightly golden. Good served warm or cooled completely.
Makes 32 Rugelakh. Each rugelakh contains 69 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, and .6 grams of fibre. This was calculated using splenda, add a bit more calories if you plan to use sugar.