Category Archives: Lighter Side of Eating

Delicious Fastnachts and a Sparkling Hot Toddy

If you’re craving something sweet with zero sugar and a lot of flavor, you’ve stopped at the right place. Sparkling ICE has shared a dazzling recipe for Fastnacht Day (AKA Fat Tuesday)– the annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The tradition is to eat the very best foods, and lots of it, before the Lenten fast.

Fastnachts (pronounced fost-nokts) are a type of German donuts, and I wanted to share a recipe for a version made with Sparking ICE – much lighter than the traditional potato-based recipe. They are easy to make, light and crispy, and delicious!

Keeping with the delightful apple theme, the Sparkling ICE Hot Toddy will keep you warm until spring arrives. Light a fire, whip up a couple of toddies and snuggle in. Cheers!

Fastnachts

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sparkling-ice-apple-donuts-300-dpiIngredients

The Donuts

  • 1 cup Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1½ cups Splenda Sugar Blend
  • ½ cup ground cinnamon

Directions

Part 1:  Making the donut dough

  • In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together, on medium high-speed for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Slowly pour in the milk and half of the Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE to the mixing bowl.
  • With the mixer on slow speed add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until just combined. The dough should look shaggy.
  • Slowly pour in the remaining amount of Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Part 2:  Dough storage

  1. Tear 2 pieces of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet.
  2. Line the first piece of parchment on a clean baking sheet and heavily dust with flour.
  3. Turn out the dough onto the floured parchment and press evenly till it’s about 3/4 inch thick.  (If the dough seems too sticky flour your hands before pressing.) 
  4. Lightly flour the top of the dough and place the second piece of parchment over the dough.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Part 3:  Frying donuts

  1. In a deep-frying pan, heat enough oil to come up 2 inches from the bottom to 375 degrees using a candy thermometer.
  2. Gently peel the top piece of parchment off the dough.
  3. Using a floured donut cutter, punch out dough and place in hot oil.
  4. Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or until light brown.  Adjust the heat if needed.  Scoop on paper towel lined baking tray.

Part 4:  Finishing donuts

  1. Combine cinnamon and Splenda in a large bowl.
  2. While the donuts are still warm, toss with cinnamon and Splenda mixture until evenly coated.
  3. Serve warm.

Sparkling Apple Hot Toddy

hot-toddy-2Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE
  • 1 ½ oz. whisky or apple brandy
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Cinnamon stick, allspice cloves, and apple slices for garnish

Preparation

  • Coat the bottom of a glass coffee cup with honey. Add whisky or brandy
  • Heat Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE in a small sauce pot
  • Pour hot Sparkling ICE into glass. Stir to combine ingredients
  • Garnish with cinnamon stick, allspice cloves, and apple slices

Flavors of spring with a Fizzy Rosemary Rhubarb Cocktail

Each season brings it’s own joys and now that Mother Nature has graciously allowed spring to bloom, it’s a delight to hear mowers whirring away and to breathe in the sweet smell of cut lawns. Blossoms are opening and fresh shoots of grass are making their way past dried leaves in the woods. Grills are uncovered on patios, and chairs have once again made their appearance on the front porch.

With the shining sun and warmer air, come lighter foods and cold cocktails. Today, we are featuring one enticing libation and  two delicious salads, one for the grill in celebration of spring.

Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon Photo: Penny De Los Santos/Saveur Magazine

Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon
Photo: Penny De Los Santos/Saveur Magazine

Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon by Saveur Magazine. This salad is quick to toss together, delicious and has room to add seasonal ingredients you may be craving. Grilling the romaine until charred and slightly wilted, gives it a rustic, smokey flavor that is sure to please. Serves 4-6

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Link to full recipe and method at bottom of post.

Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Salad

Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Salad

Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad by Dorie Greenspan, featured in D’Artagnan.com I adore a salad that is an entire meal on it’s own. This could easily be either lunch or dinner, with an ingredients list that has room to add or substitute ingredients in season or to taste. Ingredients for Vinaigrette; Dijon mustard, Sherry vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, hazelnut or walnut oil and freshly ground black pepper. Ingredients for Salad; Eggs, asparagus, Applewood smoked bacon, mesclun or other mixed salad greens and hazelnuts or walnuts. Full recipe and method at link below.

Fizzy Rosemary Rhubarb Cocktail

Fizzy Rosemary Rhubarb Cocktail

Fizzy Rosemary Rhubarb Cocktail by Organic AuthorityIn culinary use, fresh raw petioles (leaf stalks) are crisp with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant’s leaf stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. Learn more about planting, growing and harvesting here. Today, my only interest is mixing it in to a delicious boozy concoction. After working in the garden all day, use a few of the ingredients you have harvested for sipping a cold cocktail on the porch.

  • 6 stalks rhubarb, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • 1 ½ ounces gin, or tequila or rum
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Soda, to taste, lemon-lime soda for sweeter flavor or plain club soda.

Full recipe and method at link below.

Saveur’s Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon

Dorie Greenspan’s Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad

Organic Authority’s Fizzy Rosemary Rhubarb Cocktail

Lighten up with Great Salads that are good for the Bod

The holidays are full of love, laughter and great fellowship.  Spending time with friends, family and a ton of prep time in the kitchen, seems to leave very little will power when it comes to sampling every item as it heads to the table.

Spinach and Radish Sprout Salad with Strawberries and Feta Cheese

Spinach and Radish Sprout Salad with Strawberries and Feta Cheese

So, for the next few days after a big celebration and backyard barbecue, it’s time to lighten up, find the fruits and veggies and create something that is not only good to eat, but that is good for the bod as well.

Spinach and Radish Sprout Salad with Strawberries and Feta Cheese in a Mint Vinaigrette by My Humble Kitchen.  The salad looks and sounds incredible, add the Mint Vinaigrette and it becomes spectacular.  Full of flavor and great for the waistline.  Shopping list;  Fresh spinach leaves, radish sprouts, strawberries, feta cheese.  Vinaigrette shopping list; Fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, raw honey, celtic sea salt and a dash of pepper.  Full recipe and method

 

Smoked Salmon and Pear Salad

Smoked Salmon and Pear Salad

Smoked Salmon and Pear Salad by Small Girl Big Plate.  If you have read more than one post here on the site, you know how much we love and push “fresh”.  The local farmers markets and stands are loaded with seasonal bounty and filling our tables with Mother’s Nature’s favs for summer.  There are times however, we can crave a fruit or vegetable that isn’t quite in season yet and need to head to the local grocery.  When I spied this delightful salad at Small Girl Big Plate, I knew a trip to the grocery store was in order for the pears, and it is well worth it.  Shopping list; Smoked salmon, red onions, spinach, crisp pears.  For the Orange Lemon Dressing; Orange, lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, white vinegar and sugar.  Full recipe and method

Sweet Sensations wins “Best Right Bite” at Emerald Queen’s Taste of Tacoma

Taste of Tacoma

Taste of Tacoma

Taste of Tacoma kicked off today with a shot of fantastic weather, delicious cuisine and runs the entire weekend.  With 29 restaurants, 4 music stages, amusement rides, a comedy club and wine tasting, the whole family will enjoy spending the day at Point Defiance Park.

Hope Heart Right Bite

Hope Heart Right Bite

This year I had the pleasure of being asked to be one of the judges for Hope Heart Right Bites, the festivals healthy food options menu.  These bites are easily identifiable on the menu by the featured logo.

28 bites were sampled, some were hits, some were misses, all were missing the nutritional information, which made it a tad difficult to discern how healthy each bite   actually was.  Each bite was scored on the following categories;

  • Appearance
  • Aroma
  • Flavor
  • Preparation / Animation / Culinary Display ? Overall Organization / Service & Cleanliness
  • Nutrition

The winner this year with their delicious Humus Platter was Sweet Sensations.  The combination of flavors complimented each other very well, and the colors were gorgeous which brought the score for Culinary Display above all competitors.

If you are heading out to Emerald Queen Casino’s Taste of Tacoma this weekend,  you can find more information here   It runs all weekend, June 28 -30 at Point Defiance Park and admission is free.

 

Seasonable Cuisine Cooking Demo with Tacoma Food Co-op

Tacoma Food Co-op

Tacoma Food Co-op

TACOMA:  Tacoma Co-op’s first cooking class with Produce Director Rhys Hansen will highlight local farmers June bounty.  The demonstration’s focus will be three vegetarian recipes prepared by Hansen, which will take place at Tacoma’s Epworth LeSourd United Methodist Church, located at 710 South Anderson Street, Sunday June 30th 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend with a very minimal ticket price of $5 for members and $8 for non-members.  Please visit TacomaFoodCoop.com for additional information and registration.   You can also follow Tacoma Food Co-op on Facebook and Twitter

A food co-op is a consumer cooperative that applies a firm emphasis on community and community involvement. A co-op can say “this is your store” to its members and mean it because well, it is. It is a member owned retailer with an incredible amount of member involvement. Members pay dues, for the TFC the dues are a one time, $100. For this members have the ability to have a voice in the operation of the store by attending meetings and even running for positions on the board. Other co-ops have gone so far as to offer seniors (62 and over) free membership as well as those severely impacted by the economy.

Retailing groceries is a highly competitive business with moderate margins, which means there is very little wiggle room. Members are asked to volunteer their time to work in the store, which is key in controlling costs. The work is diverse and includes every aspect of keeping the doors open from manning cash registers, stocking shelves, cleaning, opening and closing and even landscaping. The members will be working side by side with each other and striving to attain the same goal which is of course the success of this enterprise.

Who can shop at the store? Everyone can shop at the Tacoma Food Co-op. You don’t have to be a member to shop at the store. Come shop, come be nourished, come enjoy the experience and the community. It is your co-op Tacoma…just for you!

Delicious Ideas for Dad

Father’s Day is around the corner and a friend of mine has asked for a few ideas for her Dad’s special day.  “Each year, she said with mild frustration, we do the same thing for him.  Grill steak, toss baked potatoes in the oven and my sister brings a pie.  Please help….”

To all the Dad's out there....Happy Father's Day

To all the Dad’s out there….Happy Father’s Day

We sat and talked about what her menu for Father’s Day and I found through conversation that her desire to change up her cuisine runs deeper than just that special day for dad. She is tired of preparing the same old recipes for her family each week and has fallen in to a bit of a food “routine”.  Two parents, each working a full time schedule, leaves little time for meal planning and she has finally decided enough is enough. We spent time tossing new ideas around and expanding on old ones.  Two heads in this case, were much better than one.

I will expand on this conversation and a fix for the week night meal routine ( or rut )  in another post, for now, let’s get to a few tasty recipes for dad.

Alida's Kitchen's Balsamic Blueberry Salad.  Delicious!

Alida’s Kitchen’s Balsamic Blueberry Salad. Delicious!

Salads ~  Salad does not need to be boring.  If you love munching on soft leafy greens, let your imagination run a bit wild.  Add a handful of cheese, blue, goat, feta or any kind of cheese you love. They are your taste buds, do what makes them happy.  If each member of your family has a different idea of what their ultimate salad should be, it may work best to set up a basic spinach and greens with a collection of ingredients to the side. Toss a few berries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries in a few separate bowls, a few crumbled cheeses, slivered almonds, pecans, and perhaps dried cranberries.  Sit down and talk to your family, ask them what they would like to see on the dinner table.  Once the ideas start bouncing around, great recipes begin bubbling and brewing and the possibilities are endless.  Yes, even for a salad.  Balsamic Blueberry Salad

A delicious Greek Salad by BBC Good Food

A delicious Greek Salad by BBC Good Food

Greek Salad by BBC Good Food.  Now that we have the ‘leafy green salad” taken care of, here is an addtional option.  A beautiful salad that is full of color, bursting with flavor and pairs well with grilled meat.  This is a fantastic  salad with a prep time of only 15 minutes and if you simply do not like an ingredient, take it out, if you wish to add another flavor, do it.  Twist, tweak….it’s your meal.  Shopping list; Large vine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, dried oregano, feta cheese and Greek extra virgin olive oil.  Full recipe and method here

Beef Tenderloin Steak with Blue Cheese and Peppercorn Butter by TraegerGrills

Beef Tenderloin Steak with Blue Cheese and Peppercorn Butter
by TraegerGrills

Smoked Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Blue Cheese and Peppercorn Butter by Traegergrills.com.   Throwing a steak on the grill is a quick and delicious way to prepare a meal, with little or no clean up.  Since Dad is usually the grill master, it’s time to turn the tables, pamper and treat him like a king.  One of the tastiest methods I have found for kicking flavor up a notch is working with a compound butter, and the most fantastic portion of that, is you can whip up any combination of flavors you wish ( see this past post for compound butters )  This particular recipes uses the following ingredients;  Butter, blue cheese, garlic, sherry, chives, peppercorn and salt.  Since compound butters are incredibly simple to prepare, two or more completely different flavors for your dad and guests to choose from is a wonderful option.  Full recipe and method for steak here

Stay tuned…we have more delicious ideas for Sunday’s menu.  In the mean-time, take a trip down memory lane and revisit last year’s post.  It may give you a great idea or two. Last Minute Menu Ideas for Dad

Ask the Anytime People; Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

Grant and Cathy Pritchard

Grant and Cathy Pritchard

Ask the Anytime People – Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

By Grant & Cathy Pritchard

Question: I love fast food, but I am trying to lose weight and improve my health. Is it okay to eat fast foods while on a diet program?

Answer: Yes, but as always, there are a few important points to keep in mind. We all know fast food isn’t necessarily the healthiest meal in town, but we also know that setting realistic goals is an important component of any successful weight loss program. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to completely deprive yourself of fast food, especially if it’s appropriate for your specific situation. In other words, if you’re crunched for time, fast food may be the only reasonable option. That said, if an occasional trip turns into four or five weekly trips, your weight loss efforts and health goals will likely suffer as a result. The key is to become a savvy shopper and watch out for calorie-laden foods with added sugars, sodium, and fat. Look for a Nutrition Facts pamphlet in local restaurants and educate yourself on their menus. If you make the effort, you’ll be able to find a sensible meal no matter where you go. Remember, balance, variety, and moderation are the words to live by when it comes to food. If you apply these principles regularly, you won’t have to sacrifice your health and wellness goals when eating out.

Question: I’ve heard some people say dieting just doesn’t work, and that you should focus on exercise if you want to lose weight. Is this true?

fruitAnswer: No, this is simply not true. If you’ve ever looked at food labels and compared them to the calorie counters on your exercise equipment, you’ll likely come to some startling conclusions. It is much easier to decrease your calorie intake by 300-500 calories per day than it is to expend that many more calories each day through exercise. Researchers have addressed this issue as well, and it is generally accepted that diet is the more important variable when it comes to weight loss. Exercise is still beneficial however, and actually plays a much more prominent role in weight maintenance. Here’s the bottom line… incorporate both healthy eating and exercise no matter where you are in the weight loss process.

Question: My wife thinks she’ll get big and bulky if she starts lifting weights with me. How do I convince her otherwise?

anytime-fitness-logoAnswer: This comes up all the time, and it’s one of the biggest myths out there. First of all, women simply don’t have the proper hormonal balance to put on large amounts of muscle tissue. Secondly, even if they did have the right physiology, it would take some serious training to do it. Getting bigger muscles requires high-volume workouts (lots of sets and repetitions) and a pretty high intensity level as well. Picking up a few weights here and there isn’t a recipe for building mass—it’s what you do and how you do it that really makes the difference. Remind your wife that weight training programs can always be tailored to specific goals, so if she doesn’t want to put on large amounts of muscle, that’s just fine. Generally speaking, a full-body circuit with higher repetition ranges a few days per week would work well if she’s just looking to tone up or maintain her current level of muscle tissue. If she wants to get an individualized program based on her goals, look for a qualified personal trainer in your area.

Exercise is still beneficial however, and actually plays a much more prominent role in weight maintenance. Here’s the bottom line… incorporate both healthy eating and exercise no matter where you are in the weight loss process.

About the authors: Grant & Cathy Pritchard are the club owners at Anytime Fitness in Buckley & Orting To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at grantp@anytimefitness.com

 

Backyard Grilling; The Magic of Summer

We are back today and sharing the love of the grill.  Summer time is just around the corner and that means months of barbecue weather and we are collecting recipes!

A cookout, barbecue, backyard party….whatever your best loved term for it is, is a fav of ours because of pre-prep time.  Most of the work is done the day before or the morning of, leaving the actual “party” time to mingle with your guests, friends, fam and neighbors.  Everyone shows up, puts their food on the table, the kids run off, play together and the fellowship begins.  That’s the magic of summer :)

Bulgogi Style Beef

Bulgogi Style Beef

There are a few sites we at Your Home, visit regularly to find and share the best recipes for you to try and today we have pulled out all the stops.  Chef Barry aka CB ( Barry “CB” Martin ), of Welcome to the Cookout has a site you will want to visit often.

You Can Grill Bulgogi Style Beef by Chef Barry, Welcome to the Cookout.  This is an exceptionally delicious post by Chef Barry.  The  combination of flavors are out of this world and the prep and cook time combined is 15 minutes.  Shopping List;  1 pound Beef, chicken, pork (whatever you want to grill ), soy sauce, brown sugar, dark sesame oil, garlic, yellow onions, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, fresh ginger and cumin or tumeric.  Read more here….  You can also Follow Chef Barry of Welcome to the Cookout every day on Facebook.

Alida's Kitchen's Balsamic Blueberry Salad.  Delicious!

Alida’s Kitchen’s Balsamic Blueberry Salad. Delicious!

Balsamic Blueberry Salad by Alida’s Kitchen.  Grilling outdoors means salads and there are so many to choose from, pasta, potato, fruit and / or  greens.  I have a weakness for fruit in my salad, either dried or fresh and this one caught my eye right away because of the gorgeous colors.  If you are anything like me, extra blueberries are required because many of them get eaten while preparing the food.   :)  Shopping List;  Baby spinach, arugula, blueberries, cucumber, scallions, feta cheese, fresh ground pepper and Balsamic vinagrette.  This entire site is delightful, if you don’t have time to browse Alida’s Kitchen right now, be sure and bookmark for later.   Full Recipe

Michael Chiarello's Mojito

Michael Chiarello’s Mojito

Mojitos by Michael Chiarello for Cooking Channel TV.  Rum.  Warm weather, sand, palm trees and rum.  Even in the backyard my thoughts turn to a deserted island, a single chair on a beach of white sand and the relaxing sound of waves crashing to the beach.  Summertime simply wouldn’t be complete without it.

A really good Mojito should bring drifts of island dreams to the imagination and this is a great Mojito, using both lemons and limes.    Take a trip to the tropics, with Michael Chiarello’s fantastic cocktail recipe.

 

 

 

The Sunshine Booster Smoothie

Sunshine Booster Smoothie  ~ Photo:  Jennifer Cass

Sunshine Booster Smoothie ~ Photo: Jennifer Cass

I saw this recipe on the well and good site and thought, “my readers must see this!”  The trifecta of inflammation-fighters in the Sunshine Booster Smoothie include pineapple, turmeric, and ginger.

Come April, we’ve never craved sunshine so much. And we’ve just found it in a glass. This spicy-sweet smoothie recipe is layered with dynamic flavors, playing between a Pina Colada and a turmeric-ginger juice. Here’s why we’ll be sipping it all month long:

The star ingredient, pineapple, is one of the top fruits used in juice cleanses for its detox benefits. That’s because it contains the enzyme bromelain, which aids in digestion and lowers inflammation. (Bromelain is also a great skin-care exfoliant—it’s used in this great mask—and has even been researched as an anti-cancer agent.)

Turmeric has become a trendy ingredient, and not just in your curry. More than 20 current studies on its anti-inflammatory benefits make it worth sipping. (It might lend you a helping hand with allergy symptoms, skin issues like psoriasis, and even shedding a few pounds, since excess weight is also inflammation.)

Ginger makes this smoothie sublime and lends a super-dose of anti-inflammatory properties and a circulation-boosting buzz just in time for the new active energy that spring ushers in. Coconut water adds electrolytes for an extra punch of hydration and a hint of sweetness. —Jennifer Kass

The Sunshine Booster Smoothie

Blend and enjoy!

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

Top with a squeeze of lime

Contributor Kari Gran has pulled this directly from The Wellness Wire.  Please visit the site for great tips and recipes for healthy living.

Financial Incentives for slimming down

weight lossLosing weight isn’t easy.  The decision to change your eating and exercise habits is difficult to make.  An even harder choice, is finding the best way to go about it.

HealthyWage is a company that can help you make that tough decision to implement a lifestyle change.  In 2012, HealthyWage contests assisted more than 1,300 locals shed 16,700 lbs.  The dangling carrot, monetary compensation.  And it works.

Making the decision to lose weight is the easy part of the equation.  The rest is sheer willpower and that’s where cash based incentives come in to play.  Since we all think on different levels and our motivational process aren’t always the same, there are several challenges to fit individual needs.  If a group effort with continual support, positive peer pressure and team building works for you, then The Matchup might be your best fit.  Sign up, join a 5 member team, lose the most weight collectively and split $10,000.  That’s a sweet carrot.

Employees that are healthier, cuts down on absenteeism and healthcare costs, both in the company and across the board.  If you are interested in joining a team at work, current participating companies in the Seattle / Tacoma area are Eddie Bauer, Tacoma Public School and The City of Tacoma.  If you would like to bring it to the attention of your employer, here is the link with more information.

If you are interested in any of the other challenges there are two options.  The BMI Challenge, which pays up to $1000 for a healthier weight after one year.  To qualify for the BMI Challenge, you have to start with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30.  This challenge is completely free to join.

The 10% Challenge costs $150 to be a part of, lose 10% of your weight and get paid $300.  That’s a great incentive, double your cash for meeting your weight loss goal.  HealthyWage is all about helping lose the weight.  There are management techniques and advice on their blog; healthywage.wordpress.com and they are currently working on a program to assist with maintenance following your weight loss success.

To find out more about this contest in the Seattle/Tacoma area, please visit Healthywage.com.  Not convinced yet?  Follow the link to their “press” page and read what Today, NBC News, Consumer Report, Weight Watchers, Time, CNN and many more have to say about their techniques and the success of the contestants.

 

 

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