Healthy Vegetable Soup Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas Mashed Potato Pancakes

November 26, 2013

Healthy Vegetable Soup

October 29, 2013

Mashed Potato Pancakes


Healthy Vegetable Soup

Healthy Vegetable Soup


I’ve always loved soup and this healthy vegetable soup recipe makes it guilt free. Not only are you adding a variety of brightly colored vegetables to your diet, it’s also a low-calorie alternative, thanks to the broth base. You’ll feel good about both eating this healthy vegetable soup and serving it to your family.

This recipe makes a large batch of soup, which reheats well. I love making this soup when I have a busy week ahead. It’s nice to know I have a healthy meal to heat up quickly for a week of lunches.


Healthy Vegetable Soup
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Healthy Vegetable Soup recipe you'll be proud to serve to your family.
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup uncooked carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups fat free chicken broth (or broth of your choice)
  • 1 head napa cabbage, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  1. Spray a large saucepan with olive oil cooking spray, and warm over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion, garlic and carrots until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, basil, oregano and salt to the onion mixture and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.


Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas


When my local grocery store stopped selling our favorite whole grain flour tortillas, I knew it was time to go homemade! These whole wheat flour tortillas are not only easy to make (even easier with the help of my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook), but also soft and delicious. These are so much better than the store bought ones, and as my husband says, cooking them makes the whole house smell so good.


I typically make these each week and we don’t have any problem finishing a batch of them for our favorite Mexican meals of quesadillas and burritos. If you have any left overs they refrigerate and freeze well in a zip top bag.


Although it isn’t required, I would recommend a tortilla press. They are inexpensive and it does make the process easier and the tortillas a more consistent size and shape.


Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
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These whole wheat flour tortillas are not only easy to make (even easier with the help of my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook), but also soft and delicious.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 11
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups hot water (add slowly, you may not need all of this water)
  1. In a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a dough hook (or a food processor), combine dry ingredients, mix to combine.
  2. Add olive oil and mix again.
  3. Add water slowly, while mixer running slowly (level 2), until you have a thick pie dough consistency.
  4. Cut into 11 even pieces and roll into balls.
  5. Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat. (I use a Le Creuset cast iron skillet)
  6. Let balls of dough sit on counter a few minutes, covered, while pan heats.
  7. Use a tortilla press to press each ball into an 8" tortilla (or roll out with a rolling pin).
  8. Cook in skillet until lightly brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
  9. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  10. Can be reheated in the microwave for 1 minute, between barely damp paper towels.
  11. When cooled store leftovers in a zip top back and refrigerate or freeze.


Mashed Potato Pancakes

Mashed Potato Pancakes


My grandmother would always make mashed potato pancakes with our left over mashed potatoes, when I was young. This versatile recipe can be prepared for breakfast the next morning (as a replacement for hash browns), as an appetizer, side dish or a snack. Around grandma’s house they were usually made for an after dinner snack and didn’t last very long that evening.


Mashed Potato Pancakes
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Mashed potato pancakes, made with left over mashed potatoes, just like grandma used to make. This versatile recipe can be prepared for breakfast the next morning (as a replacement for hash browns), as an appetizer, side dish or a snack.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat about ¼ inch olive oil in a frying pan to medium heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. This will be the consistency of thick pancake batter.
  3. Drop batter into hot oil and fry until golden brown. I prefer smaller pancakes and use about ¼ cup batter per pancake.
  4. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  5. Serve warm with sour cream and/or apple sauce.


2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Taste Around the World

Epcot Food & Wine Festival



The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is an annual tradition for my family. We usually attend at least one during the festival. This year we were able to attend opening day, September 27, 2013, and hope to visit again before the festival ends on November 11, 2013. We’ve found there is just too much to taste and classes/presentations to attend to try to accomplish it all in one day.


If you are in the Orlando area during this festival, I’m sure you would enjoy the experience. For a complete menu at each country with the prices, check out Festival Menu.



Food & Wine Festival Sign



Although the festival is known for tastings of food and beverages that represent each country’s cuisine and culture, there are also demonstrations at the festival center that are both educational and entertaining. Many famous chefs and TV personalities speak and have book signings. For a full listing of this year’s offerings, check out Demonstrations and Seminars. As many of these demonstrations sell out early, purchasing tickets early is not only recommended, but often necessary.



Salmon from Scotland

Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress & Malt Vinaigrette – Scotland Tasting



Tart from Scotland

Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scotch Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles & Sweet Cream – Scotland Tasting



Poke from Hawaii

Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad & Lotus Root Chips – Hawaii Tasting



Gyro from Greece

Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce – Greece Tasting



Spanakopita from Greece

Spanakopita – Greece Tasting



Food from Canada

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce – Canada Tasting



Food & Champagne in France

Moet Champagne, Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic & Parsley Snails in Brioche), Creme Brulle au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Creme Brulee topped with Caramelized Sugar) – France tasting



Eat to the Beat - Starship with Mickey Thomas



When you are done with your food tasting, or just need a little break, check out the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. At the America Gardens Theatre, a different band typically plays each Friday through Sunday throughout the festival. We were able to listen to Starship with Mickey Thomas, while we were there. For a full listing of the bands, check out Concert Schedule.



Scallops with Stir Fried Vegetables

Scallops (800x533)

For those nights when you want a more special meal while still staying on the healthy side, Scallops with Stir Fried Vegetables may be just the recipe you’re looking for. This scallop recipe gives you a bit of Japanese Steakhouse taste at home, and it’s also a dish that can be presented beautifully for a special dinner occasion.


Scallops with Stir Fried Vegetables
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An elegant scallops dish with a Japanese steakhouse flair.
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1½ pounds scallops
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half then thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces fresh shiitake mushroom, remove caps and slice, discard stems
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch scallions, sliced (for garnish)
  1. Dry scallops with a paper towel. This will allow for a nice sear on the scallops. Set aside.
  2. Cut onion in half, then slice each half into thin slices. Set aside.
  3. Remove mushroom stems and discard. Slice caps and set aside.
  4. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Set aside.
  5. Shred 1 cup carrots. Set aside.
  6. Slice scallions to use for garnish and set aside.
  7. Heat 2 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. This will be used for the vegetables.
  8. Add onions and stir fry until lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  9. Add mushroom caps to onions and cook an additional 2 minutes. The onions and mushrooms will be almost tender.
  10. Add ginger and garlic and cook about another 1 minute.
  11. Add carrots and bean sprouts and cook another 2 minutes. At this point all vegetables should be soft.
  12. Remove vegetables from heat and add the soy sauce and lemon juice.
  13. While vegetables are cooking, heat the other 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. This will be for the scallops.
  14. Cook scallops in a single layer until nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  15. Remove scallops to a plate to rest while vegetables cook.
  16. To plate: Divide vegetables even between 4 plates, add scallops on top of vegetables and garnish with scallions.


Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce

Bread Pudding (800x533)


Bread pudding is by far my husband’s favorite deserts. Each time I make this I definitely earn “brownie points” with him!

This version of bread pudding with amaretto sauce has become our household favorite. By adding the bananas and soaking the bread in the milk/egg mixture, the final result becomes a moist and delicious pudding. Additionally, by soaking the raisins they become a plump and juicy addition. I hope this becomes a favorite in your home, like it is in ours.


Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce
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This version of bread pudding with amaretto sauce has become our household favorite. By adding the bananas and soaking the bread in the milk/egg mixture, the final result becomes a moist and delicious pudding. Additionally, by soaking the raisins they become a plump and juicy addition. I hope this becomes a favorite in your home, like it is in ours.
Serves: 12
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup Amaretto
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup Amaretto
  1. Soak raisins for at least ½ an hour in ½ cup Amaretto (longer if time permits).
  2. Coat 13" x 9" baking dish with cooking spray or butter; set aside.
  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes.
  5. Combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Soak the bread cubes in the milk and egg mixture. Mix to ensure liquid is evenly absorbed.
  7. Add raising and Amaretto they were soaking in to the bread and stir to combine.
  8. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 30 - 45 minutes. Top will be golden brown and all liquid will be absorbed.
  9. For Amaretto sauce: Over low heat, melt butter and sugar together in small sauce pan, stirring consistently.
  10. When butter is completely melted and sugar has dissolved, add Amaretto.
  11. Pour over Bread Pudding and serve warm.


Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (800x491)

One of my favorite pub snacks are sweet potato fries. This savory snack or  side dish is the perfect accompaniment to a cool beer and a hardy sandwich. Why not reduce the guilt and enjoy this healthier, baked version at home? They are easy to make and so satisfying!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
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One of my favorite pub snacks, with a healthy twist. Enjoy!
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized)
  • 1 egg white
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.
  3. Peel potatoes, then cut into ½ inch thick strips. Place the potatoes in a large bowl.
  4. Pour lightly beaten egg white over potato strips and toss to coat well on all sides.
  5. Sprinkle spice mixture over potatoes and toss again to coat evenly.
  6. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  7. Lay potato strips on baking sheet in a single layer, without touching each other.
  8. Spray tops of potatoes with cooking spray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Whole Wheat Banana Bread2

This is not only my favorite banana bread recipe, but quick and easy to prepare. I always pull this out when I have a few very ripe bananas around the house. And, you can feel even better about fixing this bread for your family knowing that it’s a bit healthier with the added whole wheat flour.

After the loaf has cooled on a wire rack, I slice the whole loaf and place it in a zip-lock bag for storage. This makes it convenient for the family to grab a slice and the bread stays moist.

I hope you enjoy making this banana bread as much as I have.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread
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This is my favorite banana bread recipe. What can be better than the smell of homemade banana bread, with a healthy twist?
Recipe type: Breads
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash the ripe bananas with a fork and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the egg, oil, milk, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the bananas. Mix well.
  4. Add the flour to the banana mixture and mix until moistened.
  5. Pour into a 4" x 8" prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
  8. Cool completely before storing.


Homemade Brownie Mix


Homemade Brownie

There is no reason to buy expensive pre-made brownie mix when you can mix up your own. By making your own you can monitor the ingredients that you and your family eat, and save some money along the way.


1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), optional
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, slightly beaten


  1. Combine all dry ingredients (sugar, cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, chocolate chips, and nuts) in a bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Store ingredients in a heavy duty zip top bag, glass or plastic container.
  3. Print or write recipe on large mailing labels and attach to containers:
    1 batch Brownie Mix
    3/4 cup butter, softened
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large mixing bowl, mix butter and eggs. Add the Brownie Mix and mix until all ingredients are combined. Turn mixture into a lightly greased 9×122 inch pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool then cut into squares.

Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Casserole)

Serves 6


For Eggplant:
3 medium sized Eggplant
3/4 cup Olive Oil

For Meat Sauce (or Vegetarian Option):
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 1/2 pounds Ground Lamb or Beef (or 1 package frozen Boca Crumbles)
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 T. Tomato Paste
1 t. dried Oregano ( or 2 t. fresh Oregano)
1/4 t. ground Allspice
Pinch ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For Bechamel Sauce:
4 T. Butter
6 T. Flour
2 cups Milk
Pinch ground Nutmeg
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
1 t. Salt
White Pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Peel and slice eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil, and bake in a single layer for 10 minutes on each side. They will be golden browned. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. For meat sauce, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ground meat (or Frozen Boca Crumbles) to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes until the meat is browned or the Boca Crumbles have thawn out. Add the remaining meat sauce ingredients, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until moisture has evaporated. Set this mixture aside.
  4. For Bechamel sauce, melt butter under low heat in a medium saute pan, add flour and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes. This will be a white sauce, so don’t allow it to brown at this point. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue stiring until mixture is thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese. Set sauce aside.
  5. To assemble moussaka, place one layer of eggplant slices on bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping slices. Spread the eggplant with 1/3 of the meat sauce, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. Add two more layers of eggplant, meat sauce, and cheese. Cover the layers with the Bechamel sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake moussake for about 1 hour, or until mixture is bubbly and golden browned on top. Let sit for about 20 minutes after removing from oven, cut and serve.