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Another quick (and healthy) lunch recipe!

Whole wheat pitas made a great, convenient and healthy alternative for individual pizza crusts.  Topping them with tomato sauce, a little cheese and a ton of veggies has lately been one of my favorite ways to make a quick, healthy lunch!

Veggie Pita Pizzas
1 whole wheat pita
2 Tbsp tomato sauce (use what you have — spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, or tomato paste thinned with water all work)
1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella
1 Tbsp parmesan
1 cup or more mixed veggies of choice — My favorites include red/orange/yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, thinly sliced onion, baby spinach, garlic, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chopped fresh herbs…

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Spread pita with tomato sauce.

2.  Sprinkle with half the mozzarella

3. Top with veggies, and then remaining mozzarella and the parmesan

My veggies on this pizza were: yellow bell peppers, onions, chopped fresh parsley and lots of baby spinach.

4.  Bake at 450 for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.

My pita pizza with a side of grapes:

Yum yum! Really hit the spot after my workout.

Happy Friday, everyone!

I don’t know what makes them so good, but the tomatoes we used to eat off the vine in North Carolina were the best I’ve ever had.  Tomatoes that have caused me to become incredibly spoiled when it comes to tomatoes.  Tomatoes that make me crave bright red, juicy, sweet farmers market tomatoes and reject the unfortunate hard, orange, flavorless tomatoes I so often find in the grocery store.

On my last trip to North Carolina, a stop on my drive across the country last summer, I visited with a couple of my mom’s friends.  Carol, who I have always regarded to be an excellent cook, offered us a slice of her Tomato Pie.  After tasting, I quickly asked for the recipe.  This was one I had to make myself!

This recipe does include an ingredient that Paula Deen has made so infamously characteristic of Southern cooking–mayonnaise (luckily there is no butter).  Carol actually sent me three different recipes for Tomato Pie, and they all included between 1/2 and 3/4 cup mayonnaise.

Let me just say one thing about mayo. Contrary to what many people believe, mayo is actually a good fat. Look at the label below–1 Tbsp contains 10 g fat, only 1.5 g of which is saturated fat (from egg yolks and whole eggs).  Just from that information,  you can tell that the other 8.5 grams (the majority) are unsaturated, which is good.  The label also goes on to clarify that 6 g are polyunsaturated and 2.5 g are monounsaturated.  THAT SAID, 10 g is still A LOT of fat (especially for 1 Tbsp!), and fat is high in calories. So, while I have nothing against mayo being used sparingly, if you are watching calories go easy on the portion size.

I compromised by combining 1/3 cup of mayo with 1/4 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt–not only one of my favorite mayo substitutes, but one of my favorite ingredients, ever!  Reducing mayo to 1/3 cup will result in each serving (1/6 pie) having less than 1 Tbsp mayo.

My other modifications were using a whole grain crust and low fat cheese.  I really wanted the vegetables to be the star of this show, without a ton of extra fat.  The result: My own modified version of a great Southern dish!

Savory Tomato Pie — My modified version
1 9-inch pie crust (Please use something whole grain! I used a spelt crust, as usual)
1 cup (divided) mixed part-skim mozzarella and low fat cheddar
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mayonnaise (or Vegannaise)
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Bake the pie crust.  I took mine out a couple minutes earlier than the package called for.  After baking the crust, change oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

2. Thinly slice the tomatoes and onions

3.  Sprinkle half the cheese in the bottom of the pie crust.  Scatter onions on top of cheese.  Arrange tomatoes on top of onions.

4.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt, remaining cheese, chives, basil and oregano.

5.  Spread mixture over tomatoes.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly and topping begins to brown, 35 to 45 minutes.

I enjoyed mine with a green salad.

Makes 6 servings.

What old favorite recipes have you modified for better nutrition?

A quick lunch recipe

Whole Wheat Couscous with Shrimp and Feta
1/2 cup (dry) whole wheat couscous
1/4 pound shrimp
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Cook couscous according to package directions.

2.  Cook shrimp.  Saute raw shrimp in olive oil over medium-high until pink.  Cooked, frozen shrimp can be used as a quick convenient option – simply toss these into the pot with the cooking couscous to thaw.

3.  In a large bowl, toss together cooked couscous, shrimp, olive oil, parsley and feta. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Serves 2

Zucchini bread – one of my favorite baked goods, using one of my favorite vegetables! I can’t believe I never got around to making zucchini bread during the summer.  Luckily, I was still able to find zucchini at my farmers’ market this week. I’ll consider it an homage to summer coming to an end, a delicious bread into which is baked some of the last zucchini of the season.

My recipe is adapted from the Joy of Baking’s Zucchini Bread Recipe, which can be found here.

I made a few changes, one being the addition of Bob’s Red Mill High Fiber Hot Cereal, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite ingredients for adding fiber to things.  Because of the extra weight added by the bran-y cereal, I added a bit more baking powder. I also decreased the sugar a bit, and omitted the dried coconut because, frankly, it didn’t seem necessary.  I liked the idea of shredding fresh apple into the batter (it added a nice touch of Fall, too) – I have not tested this, but I would be willing to bet that applesauce could be substituted if one did not have fresh apples.

The result was DELICIOUS! Nice and moist, great flavor and texture.

I leave you with a recipe, and this gem of a quote from the Joy of Baking:

The 1970s was a time when any baked good that contained a vegetable & used oil instead of butter was considered healthy. – Joyofbaking.com

Zucchini Apple Bread with Walnuts

1 cup all purpose flour (<~ Would have used whole wheat pastry flour if I’d had it, alas I didn’t)
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill High Fiber Hot Cereal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini (medium grater holes) – between 1 and 2 zucchini
1/2 cup shredded apples (medium grater holes) – about 1 small apple
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, cereal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Using a whisk (or an electric mixer), beat together the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth and light yellow – about 2 minutes

Mix the shredded zucchini and apples into the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  Fold in the walnut pieces, if using.

Pour into a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan until it is cool enough to handle; then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling to room temperature.

Happy breakfasting!

A girl and her cereal

I am no stranger to Bob’s products.  His cornmeal, oat bran, polenta and whole grain pancake mix have all been regulars in my pantry for the past few years. I had yet to try his Whole Grain High Fiber Hot Cereal, though — even though I had been intending to since Rachel at Coconut Crumbs blogged about it back in March.

As luck would have it, a recent trip to Whole Foods found me face to face with it’s fiber-y goodness.

Now, when Bob says high fiber, he means high fiber.

To break it down: 
1/3 cup (dry) = 8 grams gut-healthy insoluble fiber plus 2 grams heart-healthy soluble fiber = TEN grams of fiber
. Whew!

I opened it up and gave it a try.  Man, look at all that fiber…

Cooked like the package said:  1/3 cup cereal plus 3/4 cup water.  I stirred in some almond milk, and topped with dried cranberries and walnuts.

Similar to oatmeal, but with a smoother consistency.  I do enjoy me a hot cereal.  The walnuts added a nice crunch.

The best part about this cereal?  I was still full long after my stomach would usually be rumbling for lunch.

As I ate my cereal, I started to think.  The bag presented a very enticing muffin recipe, which I intend to try.  This would be a great addition to other recipes, too, I thought.


The next day, I tested Bob’s out in pancake batter. 1/3 cup Bob’s plus 2/3 cup whole grain pancake mix. Excellent.

(Oh, and served with leftover pomegranate syrup from Pomegranate Poached Pears! Yum.)

The next day:  Zucchini Apple Bread with Walnuts!  Also excellent! Recipe can be found Here.

I think I’ve found a winner.  Then again, Bob has never done me wrong! :P


What are your favorite filling breakfasts?

What tricks do you have to boost nutrition in your recipes?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Bob’s Red Mill,  nor am I advertising or officially reviewing their products.  I am simply a fan who wanted to share!

Poached pears bring in some of the best qualities of fall foods.  While simmering on the stove, they fill your house with smells of cinnamon and spice. While eating, they warm you up inside.

I had some pears that, frankly, were a little disappointing. Just a little mushy to be satisfying eaten raw. Luckily, poaching these pears took away any negative qualities – they were a perfect texture after being cooked!

In the past I have poached pears in orange juice with lots of spices, which is always a tasty combination.  This time, I decided to add another element of Fall by poaching in pomegranate juice and just a hint of vanilla and spices. The result was wonderful, and tasted delicious over a bit of frozen yogurt.


Pomegranate Poached Pears

Start with 4 pears, peeled.  They look a bit “prettier” left whole, with the stem in tact. Personally I prefer them quartered with the cores removed, though – easier to eat! (That’s the most important part, right?)

Poaching liquid & Syrup
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 whole cloves

Combine the poaching liquid/syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Add pears, reduce heat, and simmer lightly (covered) for 20 minutes.

Remove pears with a slotted spoon to a dish.  Return poaching liquid to stove and turn the heat up slightly.  Simmer the liquid until it had reduced to about 1 cup of syrup.

Serve poached pears with a bit of frozen yogurt, topped with the pomegranate syrup.  Pictured is Nonfat Plain Frozen Yogurt – a new favorite from Trader Joe’s!


What are you favorite fruit deserts?

What are you favorite deserts during the Fall?


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