Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is It Time For Layers?

Fall is right around the corner and when the weather turns chilly, it's time to dress in layers. Well, this morning here in Indiana, it really felt like a Fall morning and has remained in the 70's with a clear blue sky all day....stunning.

I must have been in the mood for something along the "layering" line, because I started cruising around on the Internet looking for different gratin recipes. We are still harvesting gorgeous zucchini and squash from our garden and I wanted another way to use them.

Bingo! I came across this recipe and I just so happened to have all of the ingredients on hand.

How about a picture of the finished product?

No, that's not mine, that's the picture with the recipe post. I made mine in a non stick foil lined foil pan so I could lift out the finished dish and portion accordingly...see that missing portion in my gratin?

That's right, the "taste test" and did it pass with flying colors! Because I've posted the link right to the recipe, I am only going to tell you what I did different.

My very first suggestion...don't even bother if you don't have a mandoline because the time it will take you to slice the potatoes and squash into 1/16 inch slices will be a nightmare, at least for me it would. And they have to be thin for this to turn out right.

1. I did not use the olive oil. I wanted to give it a go without it and it doesn't need it in my opinion. Because I line my pans with non stick foil, there isn't any issue when portioning.

2. I felt it could have twice the squash that it called for, so as I am writing this, I have another in the oven with 2 medium zucchini and 2 medium yellow squash. I kept the red potatoes to the original 4 in the recipe.

3. I had half and half so I used it instead of the whole milk and in the second gratin, I increased the amount to 1/2 cup.

4. And last but not least, it takes longer to cook than the recipe states. I baked the first one for 45 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered. I have the second in for an hour.

While we are waiting, how about an assembly picture?

And how about a drum roll....

Perfection! And better yet, take a look at these numbers for such a decadent tasting meal:

301 calories, 11 fat gms, 37 carb gms, 12 protien gms and 7 Weight Watcher points. This is making it onto several client menus real soon!

And guess what we're having for dinner!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I've Got It Ironed Out

In my description of what this blog is about, it says that it would be "a little bit about everything", one of those being sharing a product that I really like. This is the BEST!

I know something about myself and that is I really like shortcuts. Not on everything, but especially things that I dislike doing. And for me, that's ironing.

My girlfriend, Sandy Hall, introduced me to the best product EVER.

Ironing in a spray bottle! Here is a picture of it so you can easily find it in a store near you.

We were at a conference together and we both had wrinkled clothing from being packed into our suitcases. Well, she whipped out the spray and away we went! I don't know how in the world this product has eluded me all these years.

I know you probably want proof, so I took some pics of one of our "wrinkle free" pillow cases straight out of the dryer. No, I don't iron them...oh, please. But for demonstration purposes here are the pics, before and after...

I layed it out on our sofa, gave it a spritz with the spray and then smoothed it out with my hands...that's all there is to it.

Are you impressed? I know I am and I will be very depressed if they ever take this product off the market.

If you're like me, you are NEVER standing right by the dryer as it turns off and everything is more or less wrinkle free and ready to fold or hang as is. This is the answer to your prayers!

And don't you love that it's in a 1950's looking bottle!

I actually know people who LIKE to iron. OK, this post is not for you. But for those of us that often pick out our outfits according to the apparent "wrinkle factor", welcome to a new "release" on life!

I think I hear my dryer buzzing...never mind...

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Time To Shake Things Up A Bit

I just have to show you what I have been enjoying this summer almost every morning for breakfast.

Sometimes I don't want to "eat" something, but I'm hungry and know it is a must to have breakfast. Enter the shake. Notice how the straw is standing straight up in that thick, creamy deliciousness!

We always have frozen blueberries on hand. In fact, we buy ten 10 pound flats every summer from a farm in northern Indiana. And for those of you that watched know the episode I'm referring to...these are picked by a huge machine, not little people. We bring the berries home and fill quart size Ziplocs and throw them in the freezer. My husband has a heaping cup full with yogurt and nuts EVERY morning.

So back to my shake. I use 1 banana, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of water. Put it all in a blender and let it rip. If you don't like cottage cheese, I PROMISE you, you will never know it's in there. It really gives the shake an incredibly creamy, rich, thick consistency. And if you don't like blueberries, use strawberries.
The nutritional numbers on this are great too. 266 calories, 4g fat, 17g protein, 46g carbs, 7g of fiber. And if you are a Weight Watcher, it comes out to 5 points.

And it's a BIG serving! That glass in the picture holds 16 ounces. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of flax seed meal or pistachio nuts for an extra boost.

So when you aren't sure what you want to eat, you might be craving a shake!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Best Reason To Search The Internet

The joy of reconnecting. There is really nothing quite like it and I highly recommend it. Last week I was thinking a lot about a gal that I knew in California. I had trained a horse for her and we became friends during that time. Her horse was a special project for me as he had a bit of a rough beginning and it was my mission to help both he and his owner have fun together. It took time and patience, but we succeeded. So my friend, Laura, is an artist. She painted two portraits for me of two very special horses that I had trained before I left for Colorado in 1981. Both paintings hang in my barn office here in Indiana today. And now 29 years later, I haven't seen or spoken to Laura...until yesterday.

A couple days ago, I decided to do a Google search on Laura. What did we do before the Internet? I typed in her name and a match came up that gave my high hopes that it was her. I sent "Mystery Laura", since I wasn't totally sure it was her, an E mail and WA LA! It WAS her! And we were both so giddy and excited that trying to contain it all in E mails was not working. Enter the wonderful world of SKYPE. I came home yesterday from cooking and was at my computer and she called. And right there on our computers like we were sitting in the room together, we talked for over an hour. It was pure JOY! We were both playing "remember when" and filling in each other's "blank spots" in our memories. Words can't express how glad I am that I followed my heart and now have reconnected with such a wonderful person.

Not only that, but what she does for a living is amazing! If you are a "stitcher", one that enjoys needlepoint, you probably already know her. She creates stitch patterns and she has followers on her blog from all over the WORLD! Yes, the WORLD! She is The Two Handed Stitcher and the artist and creator of Laura J. Perin Designs.

We all have friends that we say "I wonder where they are?" I am here to tell you, they are closer than you think. Now get on Google and type in their name, you just might make somebody's day. I know it made mine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's Wrap It Up

I love the idea of fast food, but not the fast food. I think you know what I am talking about. Anyway, I am usually arriving home after a cookday right around 1 PM or so. I have had my share of tasting nibbles while cooking, but not LUNCH. And I am hungry. One of my favorite quick and satisfying lunches is a wrap. They are easy to prepare in quantity and can be warmed right from frozen if you didn't think ahead to thaw one. My kind of easy.

Today I am going to share a recipe for a new wrap I came up with. I am always working on different combinations that I think will work well together and that's when it hit me. The Reuben Wrap. For those that love a Reuben sandwich, these should hit the spot. Granted, they don't have the wonderful grilled rye bread, but for a fraction of the calories of a regular Reuben, these will fill that craving very nicely.

The tortillas I use I just love. They are soft, yet have enough substance that they hold up with hearty fillings. They are 80 calories each and boast 12 grams of fiber. After making literally hundreds of wraps for clients over the last 6 years, I have only had one person not care for them. Whatever wrap you choose, you will need 12...or less if you have other ideas for extra filling, like topped on toast and warmed for an open face sandwich...

The Reuben is made of a few simple ingredients...corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and either mustard or Thousand Island dressing. I like it both ways, but decided to make this batch with mustard. I also use precut foil sheets to wrap them up in to freeze. And if you are going to cook your own corned beef, you will need to start with a piece at least 3 1/2 pounds in order to have enough for this recipe.

1 1/2 pounds cooked corned beef

1 quart Vslasic Old Fashioned Sauerkraut (or your favorite brand)

6 ounces shredded Swiss cheese (I used pre shredded)

Dijon mustard or Thousand Island dressing

The corned beef should be sliced thin then "crumbled" into small pieces. If you use deli meat, chop into small pieces.

Drain the sauerkraut really well.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, kraut and shredded cheese.

Place a tortilla on the foil (see picture above)and spread some mustard in the center area. Top with about 3/4 cup of the meat mixture and wrap up burrito style.I decided to make 8 wraps and saved the additional mix to use for open face sandwiches. I place 4 wraps each into a gallon ziplock to freeze.

To heat, I remove the foil, wrap in a paper towel and warm for 5 minutes on level 3 power on the microwave, which is the defrost setting on my microwave. If it isn't quite warm enough, I heat an additional minute or two on level 5. Every microwave is different, so experiment with the settings, keeping in mind it is better to cook at a lower power a little longer instead of increasing the power setting.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who is June Kneepkins?

Have you ever had a memory that comes to you on that occasion when the weather is just a certain way, or you hear that certain song? I have a lot of memory triggers and I love them. My family and a lot of my friends know exactly what it means when I say..."It's a June Kneepkins day"....

It was about thirty years ago while I was still living in California. I was in my early twenties and making my living as a horse trainer and riding instructor. I was working out of a beautiful barn in Los Altos Hills called Westwind. Most of my students were focused, goal oriented teenagers and a part of my string of riders that competed on the show circuit.

Then there was my "trail ride" group. I had about six to seven retired women that each had a horse that they needed some occasional help getting across a creek or not shying away from a barking dog. In these "lessons", I helped them with different issues while we rode on the trails, but most of the time, I listened to a lot of great stories about their families and I was the new ear for them to tell them to.

But there was one day in particular of all those rides that I remember like it was yesterday. I was going out on a ride with just two of the gals, Marge Schechter and June Kneepkins. June had a young Peruvian Paso filly, Fiesta was her name. I had been training Fiesta and now she was ready for June to ride on her own, with supervision. Fiesta was the cutest darn horse. Bright bay with black points and four little white stockings. The Pasos are known for their gliding gait, which is why June bought her because June's back was bad and she needed a smooth ride. So, the three of us saddled up and headed out on our ride...

Now here's the scene. It's a gorgeous morning. Crystal clear blue sky. I'm leading the way on my horse and June and Marge are behind me a little ways back. All of a sudden, June comes flying by me. Fiesta is in her "gliding gate" glory, June's short brown bobbed hair is swinging side to side, and not quite shouting, but loud, she exclaims "It's just a great day to be alive...." and leaves Marge and I in the dust. I can still feel the grin on my face at that moment she went by me and I thought to myself, "Yes it is!" And now each time I think of that moment, I can't help but smile.

Because I have shared this story with my family and some friends, they understand it when I say, "It's a June Kneepkins day"....because it's a great day to be alive!

What triggers your "June Kneepkins" moment?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feasting in "The Land Down Under"

Now that the "The Nutrition Police News" blog is up and running, I can get down to business. Those of you that have been reading the "NP News" from the beginning will remember that I took a trip to Australia this last November.

Upon my return, my intentions were to create a Squidoo page all about my trip in order to share it and I had to face the fact that I had other more important things to do than to try to conquer that endeavor. So instead, I am going to share my adventure in "snippets" over time. I think it will be more fun that way anyway.

The first part of my trip I stayed with my sister and her husband Juri. They are both violists in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide is located in South Australia, famous for, guess what... WINE! One of our first adventures was a day of wine tasting.
It was a gorgeous day and we decided to have lunch outside at the Peter Lehmann Winery in the Barossa Valley. We ordered what is called a platter which is an incredible assortment of cured meats, cheeses, chutneys, olives, bread...and of course, wine. We enjoyed a wonderful bottle of Eden Valley Riesling which was a perfect match for our meal. I know that I am planning on repeating this at home very soon!

The winery grounds were stunning, huge eucalyptus trees everywhere and beautiful flower beds all around the front of the quaint winery building. It all felt very "California" to me and it was wonderful.

I highly recommend trying some South Australian wines when you get a chance. I promise, you will not be disappointed!