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 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.
“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.
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!
No hardcore hobbit today, but really, what hobbit would say no to pie? We had this tasty pie this weekend and I just had to share. For years I have been buying all sorts of coconut cream pies for my husband. It’s his favourite but I’ve never tried to make one because I just didn’t trust myself to get it right. Each store bought pie I got for him was a store bought disappointment. We just weren’t achieving an acceptable level of coconut flavour. So, it’s time I gave it a go. To us the best kind of coconut is toasted coconut. If making it on our own is the only way we can make this happen, then we are going to bring it! I did…and epic coconut flavour was achieved.
- 10 reduced fat oreo cookies, crushed (creamy center and all)
- 1/2 unpacked brown sugar
- 1/4 cup splenda
- 2 egg whites
- 370 ml can evaporated skim milk
- 1 tbl cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp coconut extract
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut
- Press the crushed oreos into a pie pan to from your crust.
- Mix together the cornstarch, splenda and brown sugar in a pot. Slowly add the egg whites, vanilla extract, coconut extract and milk while whisking to keep smooth.
- Heat the mixture on medium heat, whisking frequently, until it thickens.
- Stir in the toasted coconut, reserving some of it to sprinkle on top of the pie.
- Pour carefully over the crust. Top with remaining coconut and allow to cool.
- Best if left in the fridge overnight.
Serves 8. Each serving contains 147 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 30.4 grams carbs, .5 gram fibre, and 5.8 grams protein. I have figured out where they were hiding all the coconut flavour in all those store bought pies….it was in my cupboard all this time.
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!
Spring has sprung and with it comes waves of rhubarb hitting the farmer’s market. Something must be done!! Well, as it so happens I can use some of this rhubarb to earn a bit of rep in LOTRO. The medium master repast is another one of those reputation building recipes for cooks. This one is made with egg, pie crust, tasty frosting, rhubarb, and flour. For the tasty frosting I used it’s ingredients to make a nice custard to surround our delicious rhubarb. The egg of the recipe is gloriously featured as the brown sugar meringue topping. It smelled so delicious that upon entering the house my non rhubarb eating husband had to have one. Nom!
- Hardcore Hobbit Pie Crust
- 3 cup fresh rhubarb, chopped
- 4 tsp splenda or sugar (for sprinkling)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbl sugar or splenda (for custard)
- 2 tbl unpacked brown sugar
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 2 egg whites
- Make the HH pie crust and use to line 10 mini tart pans.
- Spoon the chopped rhubarb into the tarts so that they just fill each tart.
- Sprinkle the rhubarb tart with the sprinkling sugar and cornstarch.
- Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes. There should be some tenderness to the rhubarb.
- While it bakes, separate the eggs, keeping both parts in different bowls.
- Combine the yolks with the custard sugar until it changes colour to a light yellow. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk until smooth.
- When the tarts are removed from the oven spoon the custard over each tart. Careful not to overfill!
- Lower the temperature to 375F. Bake the tarts for another 15-20 minutes.
- While the tarts continue baking, add the brown sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Remove the tarts from the oven, spread the meringue over the tarts. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes to brown the meringue. Allow to cool.
A lot to do but what a tasty and impressive tart! Makes 10 tarts. The filling and meringue of each tart contains 33 calories, 1 gram of fat, .7 gram of fibre, 4.5 grams of carb, and2.3 grams of protein. Remember to add your pie shell to your total! I wanted to leave the option open for those who don’t want to make their own. Enjoy!
I hummed and ha’d about posting this one since there are already so many recipes of this out there. You know…it can’t hurt to have another one. So no picture this time sadly since I consumed this bad boy last night without snapping a single pic. I was so excited when I heard the shamrock shake was out again…I love mint…mmm…mint. I figured I deserved that tasty minty treat, so I looked up the nutritionals on it to see how hard of a hit I would be taking. Then I found out for an itty bitty small it would cost me 530 calories and 14 grams of fat. Big time frowny face over here. Might as well have a big mcnaughty for 10 more calories and 10 more grams of fat. Sheesh. Well, this was in need of a hungry hobbit makeover bigtime. So, I celebrated last night with an attempt that won me over…granted I had no taste comparison since I haven’t had a shamrock shake in years.
- 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 tsp mint extract
- green food colouring (optional, I don’t since food colouring like that weirds me out a bit)
- Combine and blend, blend, blend!!!
This makes one serving of sham shake goodness. Contains 175 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 27.7grams of carbs, 8.9 grams of protein, and no fibre. Although, I totally recommend adding a clear fibre supplement to this. Does nothing to hurt the taste but makes this even better for you. Now those values make me much happier. I will sip my sham of a shake and think no more of this other shake silliness.