So I was wondering, after seeing someone else do it... how does one FRY goat cheese? Let me assure you, it's a cinch! I didn't bother to look up a recipe for a roasted red pepper balsamic vinaigrette; I just threw one together. I thought of doing a creamy dressing, but then decided that that would be too much dairy in one dish. The vinaigrette is nice! But I may try more of a lemon juice/olive oil and herb option next time.     
     Above are pictured very thinly sliced yellow onions, but I would have preferred green onions... You work with what you got, right? This salad would also have been AWESOME with some bits of bacon.
     You know, the fried goat cheese could be a really cool party appetizer with an interesting dipping sauce... Hmmm... Maybe I'll be inventing that soon!

     Frying tip: I chose not to use (and therefore waste) a lot of oil. When the oil was hot, I tipped the frying pan over so that the oil was about half an inch thick, and I fried two little balls of goat cheese at a time, turning them every 10 seconds or so to fry evenly. Worked fine.


     SPINACH SALAD WITH FRIED GOAT CHEESE 
        AND ROASTED RED PEPPER VINAIGRETTE

2 red bell peppers, roasted
1 large garlic clove, roasted
3-4 oz goat cheese
1 lemon
about 3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 egg
1/3 cup brown rice flour (or panko bread crumbs)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
2-3 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
2 green onions, minced
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)


Cut bell peppers in half and seed them. Brush with a small bit of olive oil and bake, along with your clove of garlic (still with its skin) at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the bell peppers' skins begin to rise and blister. Allow to cool and peel off skins.

While peppers are baking, grate the peel of the lemon and combine with parsley and goat cheese. Roll goat cheese into 1/2" to 1" balls and freeze for 20 minutes.

When bell peppers are removed from the oven, turn the oven off, but set walnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven on the leftover heat.

Place bell peppers, garlic, thyme, and balsamic vinegar in a food processor and process about 20 seconds... stream in olive oil until smooth.

Whisk egg in a small bowl, dip goat cheese into egg and dredge in rice flour. Fry at medium to medium high heat until light golden brown. If using panko, this will happen more quickly.

Arrange spinach, green onions and walnuts on a plate. Scatter fried goat cheese and drizzle with dressing.

Voila!
 
 
     I cannot hold my excitement! This is arguably my best diet creation yet! 
     Who doesn't like Nutella? But here's the skinny on it: it's full of sugar and palm oil. (For reading on the adverse effects of palm oil, go here: www.livestrong.com/article/122886-adverse-effects-palm-oil)
     There are several from-scratch recipes for this, but none that are healthier than Nutella and diet-friendly, so I adapted!
     This really doesn't require much more of an introduction, so ENJOY!

--- Jenny


DELICIOUS DIET CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD

2 cups roasted hazelnuts 
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/4 cup powdered xylitol (I powdered mine by processing it in a coffee grinder)
15 drops non-alcohol stevia
2 tablespoons unrefined sunflower seed oil
1 tablespooon coconut oil

In a food processor, liquefy hazelnuts. Yes, liquify them. To do that, process for 4-5 minutes. After they have passed the stage of "nut butter" and have liquified, add cocoa and zylitol a few tablespoons at a time while the processor is running. Add stevia and oils while the processor is running.

Voila!


 
 
Due to popular demand, I present you with my latest diet treat! I posted a picture of this on Facebook and everyone seemed to go crazy over it, so here we are! 

A word of warning: this recipe is still in its perfecting stages. While it is delicious as it is, I'm looking to amp it up this week, so stay tuned!

Baked Garlic Eggplant Fries with Avocado and Herb Dip

1 eggplant
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
sunflower seed oil, coconut oil or olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 green onions, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
ground red pepper

Peel skin from eggplant with a peeler or "skin" it with a knife. Slice ends off and cut in half lengthwise. 
Picture
Cut lengthwise again into 1" sections. Cut each section in to 1" slices.

Arrange slices on a large baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss slices to coat, then sprinkle garlic throughout.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then with a metal spatula, flip eggplant and bake another 15 minutes. Bake longer if needed.

Avocado & Herb Dip:

Peel and seed avocado. In a bowl, mash avocado well. Add yogurt, green onion and cilantro. Sprinkle red pepper on top, or mix into dip, if desired.

Bon Apetit!
 
 
     Goodness! It has been a month since I posted the last recipe! I really HAVE to stay creative with my better eating regimen. 

     Well, this one should keep me interested! This was amazingly easy to put together and it has such a simple yet textured taste. I ate six of them and called it lunch!

     As for the ingredients: the crackers are a gluten-free, store-bought cracker made with rice flour and pecans called Pecan Nut Thins. They have a really great crunch!
     The mozzarella came from my grocery store's deli section: a REAL mozzarella not found in the regular cheese section. It is water-packed and so soft, with a very simple and mild flavor.
     The prosciutto I bought came in strips about 2 inches wide by 6 or 7 inches long. I sliced each piece lengthwise and then cut each strip in half. So one strip turned into FOUR and I wrapped each piece around one cracker.

     Some would choose to drizzle a balsamic vinegar over the top, but for a party, this may end up a little messy. It also adds another flavor that you may find will 'compete' with the other simple ones in the dish. I opted for olive oil and a bit of cracked black pepper, and all the ingredients complemented each other!

     Make this a party staple, guys. It's a winner! It's also a great afternoon snack...


CAPRESE & PROSCIUTTO - ITALIAN AMUSE BOUCHE

box of Pecan Nut-Thins or other cracker (about 65 crackers) 
leaves of fresh basil
3-4 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 ounce package mozzarella, sliced into bite-size pieces
6 ounce package prosciutto 
olive oil
cracked black pepper to taste

Arrange crackers for assembling. 
Layer: basil leaf, slice of tomato, slice of mozzarella. 
Wrap with small slice (about 1 inch by 3-4 inches) of prosciutto. Drizzle with olive oil and grind cracked pepper over the top.
 
 
What a nice summertime treat! On Sundays, for some reason, we never really get around to making dinner. We pretty much just scrounge around in the fridge and graze. 
     Well, yesterday I ventured out into the garden, and to my great surprise, returned to the house with five huge cucumbers! I gave most of them away today, but I've had tzatziki on the brain since I started thinking about cucumbers so I had to save some for myself... I made this for the first time last year and loved it! I'm happy to share this healthy diet snack...
--- Jenny


COOL & TASTY TZATZIKI DIP

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cucumber, drained WELL
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
black pepper

Grate cucumber and allow to drain. The best way is to set the grated cucumber on cheesecloth or a sturdy paper towel and allow to drain over a bowl. You can steady the cheesecloth over the bowl with a big rubber band. 

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best serve after at least an hour of refrigeration, but if you can't wait, it's still delicious!
 
 
     Hooray! I have found a way to CHEAT on my diet without technically cheating!
     This whole "no sugar, no flour" thing has been aggravating sometimes. The only sweet thing I eat, usually, is some berries with plain yogurt. "Whoa, there. Calm down! Don't get crazy now!" you say.
     Yeah, I know. I was about to lose my ever-lovin' mind. Then, about a week ago, a friend shows me this recipe. Not sure who is the real author of this treat, but I am happy to pass it along for those of you struggling with gut or sugar issues.
     The sweeteners here are stevia and xylitol. Stevia you have probably heard of as it has been made popular in the last couple of years. It is actually a plant, and the extract can be made into a liquid or a powder. It is 100 times stronger than sugar, so it takes very little to sweeten, say, a glass of iced tea. Not only that, it has absolutely NO affect on your blood sugar.
     Xylitol, too, is a natural sugar found in many different foods, but in such little amounts that it cannot be harvested naturally from those foods. Instead, it is made from birch tree bark. The only side effects that may result from its use are diarrhea and gas. But I imagine you have to eat quite a bit, because I didn't experience any gut problems.
     Anywho, once you've assembled all your ingredients, this recipe takes no time at all to make! And they are soft, chewy, chocolaty deliciousness! Enjoy this one, folks!
----- Jenny


CHEWY CHOCOLATE I'M-ON-A-DIET COOKIES

2 large eggs
1 cup raw unsalted creamy almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
12 drops liquid stevia
1/2 cup xylitol
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup shredded dried (unsweetened) coconut, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat eggs in an electric mixer in a medium bowl. Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Do not mix until you have added the sifted dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Then combine with wet ingredients and blend with electric mixer until well mixed. Use a small scoop (I used a 2-teaspoon spoon) and drop dough onto paper. 

Bake for 10-14 minutes, and allow to cool. Best served hot out of the oven or cold out of the fridge!

 
 
     Here we go! While you can still count on me to post things on the See Our Latest page, I have dedicated space here to post great "diet" recipes, the first of which is Baked Eggplant Chips. As is the case with most of my inventions, I was disappointed to discover that this was not my invention. Shoot! Oh, well, they're pretty tasty anyway. They can be accompanied by a low-fat dip, maybe yogurt-based, and I think I'll try that next time. But this one includes a pesto of spinach, cilantro (great for detoxing) and cashew. I actually felt like I was cheating, this was so good!
     One suggestion, I used a regular eggplant, so some pieces were really big. For a more uniform size, I would suggest a Japanese eggplant, and you can even use this recipe for zucchini!

Baked Eggplant Chips

1-2 eggplants, preferably Japanese variety
olive oil
sea salt

Slice eggplant, with a mandoline or other slicer, into 1/4" thick slices. Brush lightly both sides of each slice with olive oil. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and place slices on sheet. Bake at 400 for about twenty minutes. About ten minutes in, flip slices over and continue to bake until browned.

Pesto (pictured above): 
2 cups fresh spinach 
1 cup fresh cilantro 
1/2 cup cashews 
1-2 cloves garlic 
olive oil

Process spinach, cilantro, cashews and garlic in a food processor. Stream olive oil until desired consistency.
 

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