Saturday, January 31, 2009

Miniature Cake Winner

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the miniature cake is known as "mom2boys" in the blogger world. She has been contacted and has accepted her giveaway.

Thank you all for participating. It was so much fun reading your comments.
Stick around, there are more giveaways coming to both An Herbal Bedfellow and Thyme for Herbs soon.

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

5-Minute Tomato & Bean Soup

You're trying to stay healthy. You're too busy to make a long involved lunch. I know, I've been there. I AM there.
Here's one solution when you're eating at home.
Keep these few items in your pantry at all times and lunch is a snap. It's especially great for these cold, winter days.

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onion
1 ca ( 16 oz.) low-sodium navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. water
1 1/2 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. low-sodium chicken bouillon granules
2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
(I sometimes substitute prepared chicken broth for the granules and water.)

1. Place all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce and simmer 5 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, stir in oil.

Make this soup the night before going to work, or if you function well in the morning and prefer to make it then,you canjust pour it right in a thermos. If you plan on reheating in a microwave, be sure to allow to cool before you place it in a microwavable container. Off you go. Have a good day!

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stir Fried Catfish with Cucumber Rice

We learned to love catfish when traveling through the South. I admit that I especially like it deep-fried, but of course, that's not a healthy way to go. Once I discovered this recipe, we were happy campers. (I have to confess, that we do cave in to the deep fried once a year or so on our travels.)

1 seedless cucumber
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. uncooked rice
1/2 t. white pepper
1 1/4 c. water
2 t. canola oil
1 lb. catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 t. pureed ginger (use prepared to save time)
1 t. minced garlic (use prepared to save time)
1/4 t. sesame oil
2 pkgs. ( 6 oz. each) snow peas
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. white wine OR water (the wine adds a lot more flavor)

1. On medium side of grater, grate cucumber into colander over bowl and let set to drain.

2. In medium saucepan with lid, stir together cucumber, green onions, rice, white pepper, and water. Bring to boil over medium heat to low. Continue cooking until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add catfish, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Stir fry until catfish is just cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Add snow peas and bell pepper. Cover pan and cook 4 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir cornstarch into wine or water to dissolve. Pour cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Divide rice and catfish among four plates.

YIELD: 4 servings
Calories-338, Total fat-12 g., Sat. fat-2 g., Cholesterol-53 mg., Sodium-70 g.

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Have you had your quota of pasta this week? Here's a healthy alternative. Spaghetti squash is one of the many winter squashes. Once baked, you can pull the flesh out with a fork and it resembles spaghetti, although it does still taste like squash.

Serve this dish for a fast, easy meal. Add a large salad with low-fat dressing, and your meal is complete.

Spaghetti Sauce Primavera

1 medium whole spaghetti squash ( about 3 pounds)
1 can ( 28 oz.) low-sodium diced tomatoes
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. grated carrot
1/4 c. diced red bell pepper
1/2 c. frozen green peas
1 t. Italian seasoning OR oregano
1 t. crushed garlic (fresh or prepared)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Pierce spaghetti squash to center in several places. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 20 minutes.. (If microwave lacks turntable, turn squash three times during cooking.)
Remove from microwave and slice in half lengthwise. When cool enough to handle, scrape out seeds. Set aside.

2. In 2 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, peas, oregano, garlic, and vinegar. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.

3. To serve, shred spaghetti squash with fork into four past bowls, about 1 c. per bowl. Top with 1 c. sauce. Garnish each serving with cheese.

YIELD: 4 servings.
Calories- 179, Total Fat - 3 g., Cholesterol - 4 mg, Sodium - 240 mg

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival -- Miniature Cake

This week is the beginning of the winter edition of Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. If you've never taken part, you should visit Bloggy Giveaways

Today I am giving away, a polymer strawberry cake made by me to 1/12 scale. Great for your shadow box, dollhouse, or just a food collectibles shelf.
Here's all you have to do to win:

1. Leave a comment about why you'd like this miniature cake.

2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner or become a Google Follower (see sidebar.) Then leave a second comment telling me you have subscribed or that you are already a subscriber.

3. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com.
Names will be randomly chosen, but if I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will then choose my favorite answer.

This contest ends on Friday, January 30, 2009 at noon EST.

Click here for more giveaways on Bloggy Giveaways Carnival.

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tomato-Basil Couscous Salad

I have this great recipe for a couscous salad. It was written for 1 serving so I double everything as I will do here. You might want to alter a few of the ingredients to suit your taste.

1/14 c. cooked couscous, according to package directions
2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 c. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 scallions, chopped
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh basil
Lettuce greens of your choice

Combine the couscous, tomatoes, chickpeas, scallions, oil, lemon juice, and basil in a bowl.
Toss, and serve on a bed of lettuce.
YIELD: 2 servings. 43 calories each, 1 g. fat, o g. sat. fat., o cholesterol, o sodium, 7 carbohydrate

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sirloin Steak with Herbed Wine Sauce

We haven't been told what the Inauguration Dinner will consist of,it's a State Secret, but this would be my choice for the Obamas. It's fast, easy, and still looks and tastes like it came from a five-star restaurant. Besides all of that, it's low in fat. Just remember the rule of thumb when using wine to cook with -- if it's not good enough to drink, then don't use it in your recipe. There's no need to spend a lot of money, generally a $10.00 bottle is fine.

Sirloin Steak with Herbed Wine Sauce

Vegetable cooking spray
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 T. chopped green onions
3/4 c. Burgundy or other dry red wine
3/4 water
2 T. tomato paste
1 t. dried whole tarragon
3/4 t. beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. chopped fresh parsley
1 (1- pound) lean boneless beef sirloin steak (3/4 inch thick)

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium high heat until hot.

Add sliced mushrooms and green onion, and saute' until tender.

Add wine, water, tomato paste, tarragon, and bouillon granules. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium.
Cook 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in parsley; keep warm.

Trim fat from steak. Coat broiler pan with cooking spray. Broil 4-6 inches from heating element for 6-8 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

Cut steak into four equal portions. Spoon 1/4 cup of sauce over each serving of steak.

Yield: 4 servings (215 calories and 8.6 grams of fat per serving)

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sweet Red Pepper Soup

Right now, in this cold wave that never seems to end, I can't get enough of soup. I'm seeking out foods that will warm my bones. This soup adds an alternative to some of my standbys, and also is pretty enough to serve guests at a nice dinner party.

3 1/2 c. chopped onion
2 t. olive oil
9 large sweet red bell peppers ( 4 1/2 pounds) seeded and chopped
3 ( 10 1/2 oz.) cans no-salt-added chicken broth, undiluted
1 T. sherry wine vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Fresh chives (opt.)

Saute' onion in olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot until tender. Add sweet bell red pepper and broth; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Transfer pepper mixture in batches to blender or food processor; cover, and process until smooth.

Return pureed mixture to Dutch oven or soup pot.

Add sherry wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Cook over medium low heat until thoroughly heated.

Serve soup in individual bowls and garish with chives.

Yield: 8 cups (84 calories per 1 cup serving)

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crab-Broccoli Macaroni

I've found that this salad goes well for a fancy luncheon with your friends or to take away to a potluck. It's even good on a picnic, served cold.

1 (8 oz.) package medium shell macaroni, uncooked
Vegetable cooking spray
1/3 c. chopped green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. unsalted margarine or butter
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. Chablis or other dry white wine
1/4 c. skim milk
3/4 t. dried whole basil
1/2 t. dried whole dillweed
1 small sweet yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli, coarsely chopped
1/2 (1 lb.) package frozen imitation crabmeat, thawed, rinsed, and drained ( I like to use the packaged ready-to-use imitation crabmeat, also known as surimi )
Fresh basil sprigs (opt.)

Cook macaroni according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, set aside

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onions and garlic, and saute' until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet, and set aside.

Melt margarine in skillet. Add flour; cook over medium heat stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Gradually stir in wine; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; gradually stir in milk, basil, and dillweed.

Add onion mixture, pepper, broccoli, and crabmeat to sauce. Simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Combine pasta and broccoli mixture; toss gently. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings ( 218 calories per 1- cup serving)

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blue Hawaii Bagels

Here's another great snack for parties or just when you get the munchies. There's no herbs in this recipe but boy is it good! I think Elvis would have approved.

Blue Hawaii Bagels

6 frozen blueberry bagels, thawed
1 large banana
1 (8 oz.) package of Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) carton blueberry low-fat yogurt
1 (8 oz.) can sweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 t. coconut extract
2 T. unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 T. finely chopped blanched almonds, toasted

Cut each bagel into 4 slices, using a serrated knife; cut each slice in half. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Set bagels aside.

Place banana in a container of an electric blender or food processor, cover, and process until smooth.

Beat cheese at medium speed in an electric mixer until fluffy; add pureed banana and yogurt, beating until smooth.
Stir in pineapple and extract; cover and chill thoroughly.

Top dip mixture with toasted coconut and almonds just before serving.

Yield: 48 servings

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, January 15, 2009

East Meets West Wontons

If you're like me, you enjoy planning your parties well in advance. I think about the menu, take an inventory of the pantry, make a list of what I have to buy, and then I'm comfortable with going ahead with the party.
The Super Bowl is only a few weeks away, ending the football season with a grand finish. For a lot of you that is an exciting time. In our household it's the Daytona 500 for the kick off of the racing season. Whatever your plans are, you'll want heart healthy, low fat snacks. My next few posts will concentrate on ideas to make you the hostess with the mostest (Or - host with the most)

Try these East-West Wonton Skins. They're low in fat, low in cholesterol, low in sodium.

2 dozen frozen wonton skins, thawed
1/4 c. plus 2 t. water
1 T. plus 1 t. vegetable oil
2 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder

Cut each wonton skin into 3 lengthwise strips; lay strips on cutting board. Cut a slit down the center of each strip using a sharp knife, cutting to within 1/2 inch of ends. Invert one end of strip through center slit. Gently straighten the strip, rolling twist to center of strip. Repeat with remaining strips.

Place on ungreased 15x10x1 inch jellyroll pans. Combine water and remaining ingredients; stir well. Brush oil mixture evenly over wonton strips. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from jellyroll pans and let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 6 dozen (5 calories each)

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories