Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cream of Squash Soup

I am still on a mission to not let my vegetables go to waste this summer and this morning after my bike ride I went out into the garden and picked three more yellow squash! I found this recipe online and only changed the heavy cream to low fat buttermilk to cut down the calories.

FYI: did you know that 1 cup of heavy cream has over 800 calories and 1 cup of low fat buttermilk has only 120? Big difference!

I am not really wild about this soup. It tastes tangy but that is most likely due to the buttermilk. I am guessing this recipe tastes much better with cream!

It is however, fresh tasting and a good way to use a lot of squash fast so I may make it again but next time I may add some herbs from the garden to give it more flavor and probably even use the cream. If anyone has any squash soup recipes they love, please share!

ps: This soup tasted better later in the day. The flavors really came out a lot more and I ended up eating three bowls so it must be good.

Cream of Squash Soup
Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash
1 medium onion, sliced
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream (or low fat buttermilk in my case)

1) Wash and trim squash. Slice, reserving 8 very thin slices for garnish. In a large saucepan, splash a bit of chicken broth and gently saute onion and lemon juice. Sprinkle with flour and cook slowly, stirring, until flour is absorbed.

2) Add chicken broth gradually, then sliced squash, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour. Puree soup in blender or food processor. Add nutmeg. To heat, stir in cream with a wire whisk and cook over low heat. Do not allow to boil. Garnish cream of squash soup with reserved squash slices.

Note: A serving of this soup is very low in calorie even though the amount of soup is quite large. This is probably a good soup to eat as a side rather than a meal or you'll be hungry later!

Calories: 86
Carbs: 10
Fat: 2.5
Protein: 6.3

Awesome Blue Cheese Dressing!

Being lactose intolerant has been really hard for me, especially because of my love of cheese. I was so sad to give up blue cheese in particular. I decided to make a nice salad for dinner tonight and really wanted a nice creamy dressing for John (I think he sometimes gets tired of always eating low fat dressings:) so I found some blue cheese dressing recipes online, subbed out some ingredients for healthy alternatives and YUM! I made a low calorie blue cheese dressing (and I DO mean low cal) that is better tasting than any dressing I have ever had! If you have sworn off creamy dressings because of their fat and calorie content, please try this recipe! There is still hope! The mayo I used is a low fat mayo by Hellman's. There are only 15 calories per tablespoon so that really drops the calories down. Break out the Lactaid! I am having this dressing tonight!

Heather's Totally Rad Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes about 1 cup (or 16 Tbsp.)

1/3 c. low fat mayo (Hellman's Low Fat)
1/3 c. low fat buttermilk
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup or 1 oz blue cheese

1) In a food processor, process mayo, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well blended.
2) Add blue cheese and pulse until blue cheese breaks into chunks.

Note: The dressing comes out quite thick so if you like a thinner dressing add a little more milk.

Per Tbsp:
Calories: 14
Carbs: 1
Fat: 1
Protein: 1

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zucchini Bread

The other day I was walking with my friend Marie, griping about my garden and how much zucchini I had to eat, and she suggested making zucchini bread. I have never made or eaten zucchini bread before but decided to give it a shot. I went online and found a million yummy recipes but I started to realize that this was not going to be as healthy as it sounded because of all the oil and sugar needed to make it so I decided to do some detective work and figure out what I could swap here and there to ensure the baking of this bread did not sabotage my morning of running! In this recipe I swapped unsweetened applesauce for oil, egg whites for whole eggs, Splenda for some of the sugar, wheat flour for a cup of regular and there you go! I calculated the calories and I was floored! A "normal" slice of zucchini bread with all the oil and sugar etc. is on average a whopping 215 calories and 10 grams of fat! My zucchini bread has only 60 calories and .12 grams of fat! No joke.

Because I've never had zucchini bread before this may taste nothing like what it should to others but it tastes good to me. Someone pass the Country Crock Light! :)

Won't Hurt the Waistline Zucchini Bread

Makes 24 slices (2 loaves)

3 C. organic grated zucchini
5 organic egg whites
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. Splenda
1 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1) Mix eggs, sugar, Splenda, and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add zucchini and mix well. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to the wet mixture slowly.

2) Pour into two loaf pans and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Note: I cut each loaf into 12 pieces. I have read online that the zucchini bread freezes well so I may do this with the second loaf.

Calories: 60
Fat: .12
Carbs: 12.5
Protein: 2
Fiber: 1

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yummy Veggie Surprise!

Today I went out into the garden and realized, "I have way too many veggies!" if there is such a thing. I've been in a pasta mood lately so I decided to make a veggie packed pasta. You can use whatever veggies you want but these are what I had on hand and needed to get rid of before it went bad. It's not my favorite pasta ever but it is certainly healthy and packed with a ton of nutrients. Check out the nutrition facts below!

Pasta with Vegetables
Serves 6

3 cups tri-colored pasta (I used organic bow tie)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup sliced colored sweet pepper
1 cup organic zucchini, cubed
1 cup organic yellow squash, cubed
2 tsp. organic Italian seasoning
1/2 cup organic fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 can organic chunky garden pasta sauce (I used Meijer Organic)

1) Cook pasta according to the package.
2) Heat chicken broth in a skillet. Add carrots first. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add peppers, zucchini, squash, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
3) Cook vegetables until tender (I like mine a little crunchy still).
4) Add the basil, seasoning, and pasta sauce to the pan and let heat through.
5) Toss pasta into sauce and serve.

Calories: 196
Fat: 2 g
Carbs: 37
Protein: 6.5 g

Monday, July 27, 2009

Raspberry Picking

John and I went raspberry picking on Saturday. We ended up with 13 pints filled to the brim with berries. They looked so good and fresh. They were pretty pricey but still much cheaper than buying them at the store.

We had the intention of making jam with them Saturday night but we were too tired and decided to put them in the fridge and can them the next day.

Well, yesterday we went to make the jam and about 75% of them were covered in mold! I was so sad! I don't know what happened or why they molded in less than 24 hours in the fridge.

We salvaged as many as we could and John made jam with them last night but we only got 8 8oz jars of jam out of all those pints!

We make our jam with half Splenda and half sugar and it turned out really tasty still but I'm a little worried that they might still spoil.

Any thoughts on why they molded so fast? Any tips on making jam at your house?

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

My mother gave me two peppers the other day and I had lots of mini peppers from Costco that I still needed to use so I decided to make vegetarian stuffed peppers. I have never made them before so I searched a few sites online to find a recipe that seemed simple and I altered it. It was inspired by "Cole's Kith" a fellow Google blogger. The recipe below is as I made it but you can always substitute things you like to make it more appealing to you. I know this picture at the right is not very appetizing. It's so hard to take pictures of food and make it look good, but you get the idea.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers and 10 mini peppers (Or just use 4 bell)
1-2 Tbsp. low sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. Basmati rice, cooked
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. fresh organic oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh organic basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (a little extra to sprinkle on top and melt at the end if

freshly ground black pepper

1) Remove the tops and seeds of the peppers.

2) Heat the chicken broth in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until they are tender.

3) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Then stuff peppers with filling and place in a pan (I used a bread pan so they didn't tip over).

4) Bake 30-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The hairy dogs in my kitchen

Well, here they are. My hairy dogs.

Welcome to my garden!

This is my organic garden. The only "fertilizers" we use are leftover fruits, vegetables, lawn clippings and coffee grounds that have been cooking up in our compost pile.

This is my third year tending to a garden, and as you can see, I'm running out of room! Next year John and I are going to expand it to at least twice it's size to make room for more fruits and vegetables.

It is fenced in because Griswold and Lola love nothing better than to sit in the garden all day and eat our harvest! Tomatoes are their ultimate favorite but Griswold also loves to gnaw on squash and zucchini! Although we appreciate their love for organic vegetables as much as we do, we really wanted to be able to eat some ourselves!

This year we are growing yellow squash, zucchini, celery*, beets, carrots*, different kinds of peppers, cucumbers, pole beans, lettuce, sweet corn, pumpkins*, tomatoes, cilantro, lavender, mint, rosemary, basil, chives and oregano. Last year in addition to most of the list above, we also tried our hand at strawberries, soy beans, raspberries, egg plant and onions. We decided not to grow these things again because we either had bad luck with them, space limitations, or simply the fact that we just didn't use them as much as we thought!

When fall comes, we dry our herbs and can our tomatoes. In addition, we also can many of the fruits we pick and make tasty jams with them as well!