Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse

To balance out my last post, I decided it's time for a little Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse made with dark, creamy, and rich chocolate!
Yes, I said it! In a healthy diet there is room for CHOCOLATE! Can I get a HALLELUHAH!  Maybe not every single day, but there are healthy anti-oxidants in chocolate not to mention flavonoids that work to help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, boosts blood circulation, and helps build immunity! Just what we all could use as these cold winter months drag on.
Today I am sharing a delicious and really easy Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse recipe. This uses the brand new Philadelphia Cooking Creme and literally takes 15  minutes to make and there are only 5 ingredients! This is a no brainer!
That's it! And it is super delicious! I mean it! You have to make this right now! Run to the store if you  have to! Just look at how yummy this is! 

Just look at the main characters! They are so beautiful aren't they?
Okay, I'm being pretty dramatic, but seriously it is really really yummy! And super easy! Have I said all of this before? Okay... I will get on with sharing the recipe! Enjoy one delightful spoonful at a time...

If you want to watch me make it in under 7 minutes check out the Video

And if you don't believe me, check out the notes from the Peanut Gallery (aka my mom and dad)! 

Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse
12 ounces of Hershey Dark Chocolate
10 ounces of Philadelphia Original Cooking Cream
1/2 cup of baking splenda
1 tsp. of vanilla
8 ounces of Light Kraft Cool Whip

For Garnish:
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks

  1. Place the Hershey's dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes stirring the chocolate after one minute. Using a spatula swirl the chocolate until it is smooth and shiny.
  2. In a large bowl combine the melted chocolate, the Philadelphia Original Cooking Creme, splenda, and vanilla.
  3. Next gently fold in the Kraft Lite Cool Whip adding half of the container at a time.
  4. Then spoon the chocolate mousse in a piping bag and pipe into wine glasses, champagne flutes, or your favorite serving glasses.
  5. If desired, top with chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chunks and whipped cream as a garnish! Then spoon directly into your mouth!
Servings: 8

Nutritional Skinny:

318 calories / 19 g fat / 36 g carbohydrates / 2.8 g fiber / 5 g protein

Mental Health Tip: Diet or no diet, if you want chocolate the moral of the story is: Have It! Have just a piece of dark chocolate or make this mousse (I suggest the latter). Depriving yourself really doesn't work and usually back fires when your co-worker brings in donuts and you decide to eat all 12. We've all been there and let's not go there again, okay? We all deserve a little treat every once in a while. The key being 'every once in a while'. Chocolate is a healthy addition to your spectrum of food. Join me in this small indulgence... You don't even have to keep it a secret... Well, unless you don't want to share! ;)

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Tofu Drop Soup

    Okay, please don't freak out. I know there is a lot of green in this picture and the title hints at tofu. Please, don't walk away. 

    Are you still there? 

    Okay, let me explain myself. With winter, the holidays, busy schedules, and then Valentine's Day it is so easy to slip away from what is the healthiest for our bodies. I know for me these last few weeks have been tough to stay on track with eating fruits and vegetables. 

    Being the creator that I am, I decided to look up 'anti-inflammatory' foods. 

    No, this is not the kind of inflammation that stops us from being able to button our pants, I'm talking about inflammation on the cellular level. This inflammation of our cells can be deadly. It's what leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and possibly heart disease. 

    Not to go off on a tangent, the anti-inflammatory diet basically is one that involves lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed, salted, and high fat foods. Makes sense really no matter what.
    After a week of eating lunch meat, cheese, bacon, eggs, steak, and brats, I am ready for a change. Some of the foods that are promoted as anti-inflammatory include kale, soy protein, beans, blueberries, spinach, ginger, garlic, and fresh fishes, etc. You get the picture. 

    With that in mind I created this super healthy Tofu Drop Soup. It includes kale, tofu, bok choy, ginger, garlic, and basically all of the anti-inflammation foods I could find at the store here in Northwest Montana in the middle of winter. The Asian flair makes it almost taste like take out! It was delicious and keeps me warm during the winter storms that continue to rage out here in the Northwest corner of America.
    I eat it and I feel less crazed, more healthy, and my body says, "Thank you." 

    Note: If you can't find kale or bok choy, you can substitute cabbage, collard greens, or really any kind of greens. You get to decide!

    Tofu Drop Soup

    1 white onion; minced
    8 cloves garlic; minced
    1 tsp. olive oil
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    5 cups low sodium fat free chicken broth
    2-3 cups water (depending on how much kale and bok choy you have)
    1 head of bok choy; chopped
    1 large bunch of kale; chopped (about 3 cups)
    1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    1 tbsp. fresh ginger (I had to used dried because I couldn't find the fresh)
    1 tbsp. tumeric
    1 tbsp. curry powder
    1 tbsp. cumin
    14 ounces of firm tofu; drained and cubed 
    1 can chick peas
    1. We'll start by peeling and mincing the garlic and onion. Then add to 1 tsp. olive oil and peanut oil in a skillet and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onions become fragrant.
    2. Meanwhile cut your bok choy and kale into bit sized leaves and rinse to clean. Make sure to remove the stem from the kale, you don't want that thick hunk in your delicate soup.
    3. Place the sauteed onion and garlic mixture in your favorite huge crock pot and add the vegetable stock, bok choy, kale, soy sauce, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cumin and stir.
    4. Then drain the tofu and slize into chunks and add to the crock pot. Stir to combine and add water as needed to cover the vegetables. Set the crock pot to low and cook for 5-6 hours or set to high and cook for 3 hours. 
    5. In the last hour of cooking add the drained can of chick peas and stir them into the now cooked down greens! Isn't it smelling divine!
    6. Serve as a main meal with a big spoon and enjoy all the healthy flavors as they pour into your body and help your cells function at their peak!

    Servings: 12

    Nutritional Skinny:

    92 calories / 4 g fat / 14.3 g carbohydrates / 3.2 g fiber / 5.3 g protien

    Mental Health Benefit: Don't kid yourself. This soup is delicious, but it is also healthy. The two can coexist and they do every single day in my house. They can in yours too. This soup is loaded with low density high fiber vegetables that will keep you going all day and evening without feeling over loaded, bloated, and tired. This is the perfect lunch for a busy day at the office or a light dinner after a long day out in the cold. Between the crunch from the greens and the tender bite from the tofu and chick peas, this is a delight no matter what time of day!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Homemade Pasta... easy as can be!

    As promised, here is the recipe for delicious and easy home made pasta! Oh and Happy Valentine's Day! I am sending all the love I can fit into these noodles to each and every one of you!

    I cheated a little for this recipe. I'm sorry, but I did. We have a noodle machine that's been hiding in the cupboard forever. This seemed like the right occasion to unearth it. 

    I'll share the recipe that we used, but I will also tell you how to make the noodles almost as easy without my fancy machine (although, this was so easy! I cleaned the house while the noodles were being pushed out!) It was miraculous... a true dinner miracle.
    The recipe below serves anywhere from 3-4 people. You can double it if you want to freeze some of the uncooked noodles (for up to a month!) or if you are expecting more than 4 people for dinner!
    And these noodles paired so deliciously with the Bolognese, that I have to share that recipe again with you all so that you can recreate the meal that had me at "Hello"!

    Oh and don't miss how I screwed up my Whole Wheat Crusty Italian Bread so you don't have to!

    The noodles turned out nothing short of amazing! Try my recipe and I think you will be pleased!

    Home Made Pasta Noodles
    1 cup white flour 
    1 tsp. salt
    2 eggs
    1/8 cup water
    1 tbsp. olive oil

    For those with a fancy machine:
    1. Place the flour and salt in the machine. Mix the egg, water, and olive oil in a separate bowl. 
    2. Turn the machine on to 'mix' and slowly add the egg mixture as the paddles turn. Watch as the batter turns into a crumbly, slightly dry mixture. This is what you want. If it's too wet add a little more flour, you want the dough to be crumbly.
    3. Then turn the machine to 'noodle' and watch as the noodles shoot through the screen and make home made pasta. Cut the noodles off as they reach how long you want them. 
    4. Place them on a cookie sheet dusted with flour or directly into a large pot of boiling water. Add a little olive oil and salt to the boiling water as they cook. Boil them for about 3-4 minutes. Once cooked to the done-ness that you prefer strain them and I tossed them with some Italian seasonings for a little added kick!
    For those without a fancy machine: 

    1. (alternate directions) In a large bowl combine the flour, eggs, water, olive oil, and salt. Mix until combined and a stiff dough forms. Then roll out to about a 1/4 inch thick on a well floured surface. Then using a pizza cutter slice thin noodles out of the dough. 

    2.Boil a big pot of water with a pinch of salt and olive oil. Place the noodles immediately in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and serve with the Bolognese or any sauce you prefer. Although I recommend the Bolognese. Have I mentioned that yet?

    Servings: 4

    Nutritional Skinny:

    148 calories / 3.5 g fat / 23 g carbohydrates / 1 g fiber / 3.75 g protein

    Mental Health Benefit: These noodles were extremely easy to make (even if you don't have a fancy machine). Although it is Valentine's Day... do you think some one might buy it for you? Huh? That's a thought right? Okay, but onto the Mental health benefit. I compared my nutritional skinny of these home made noodles to the whole wheat noodles that are store bought and you know what I found? My recipe saves you over 30 calories and over 30 g of carbohydrates per serving! Plus if you want to punch up the protein and fiber why not sprinkle a tablespoon of flax into the flour? Go ahead it won't hurt a bit! Or just toss the cooked noodles with a little bit of flax and you have the same effect! Instant healthy and delicious!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Bolognese and Good Byes

    I believe today will be a good day. There's a couple of reasons for this feeling:

    1) The mountains are out here over the Flathead Valley, and

    2) I get to share my Bolognese recipe with you all!

    There is all sorts of possibilities awaiting all of us today and I hope that we all reach out and grab them by the horns and hang on tight.
    This recipe I am dedicating to my Grandfather. He passed away last week leaving me slightly less than stable. A leg got kicked out of my stool you could say. And it's dedicated to him because this is the meal I was sharing with loved ones the night he went to the great beyond.

    Sappiness aside. This Bolognese could make even a grown man cry. Has anyone picked up that I love making Italian dishes? I come by it honestly, my Grandpa often requesting lasagna, ravioli, and his all time favorite Fruiti Del Mar (maybe this recipe will be coming soon...)

    I know a way to some one's heart... their stomach and no one proved that better than my "John Wayne" styled Grandfather who would often respond "Me too." to my offerings of "I love you."

    Well this recipe would make him proud and will surely be delicious for your loved ones this Valentine's Day weekend. It is a great way to say "I love you" And "Does anyone want seconds?"

    And you are sure to hear, "Yes, Please!"

    And I'll bet you'll whisper to yourself as you pass more of this sauce and watch as it drips over the fresh homemade pasta "Me too."
    Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. Remember Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers, it's for love. Anyone, anywhere, any how can feel and express love for this is the essence of our best selves. The closest we get to our true selves is through loving and receiving love without conditions. In those moments when a lightning bolt hits straight through your flesh and transforms you into a Super Human. This is the power of love.

    And this Bolognese paired with the Homemade Spaghetti (coming soon) will make us all Super Human as well. And Whole Wheat Crusty Italian Bread works great with this, but please read my tips carefully okay?

    Let's get started shall we?

     Bolognese (Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks)
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1 cup grated carrots
    1 whole large white onion, diced
    1 pound ground turkey (or farm raised fresh ground beef will work)
    2 tbsp. dried oregano
    2 tbsp. dried basil
    1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
    7 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup dry red wine
    2 tbsp Worcestershire
    2 cans (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
    1 cup low fat milk
    Salt And Pepper, to taste
    Fresh Parmesan Cheese
    1. First we are going to prep the vegetables. We need to slice the ends off the carrots and shred them baby! Warning: You will get an arm work out here and be careful not to shred your fingers or knuckles, please.
    1a. Then dice the onion and mince the garlic. Set aside and now it's time to start cooking!
    2. Heat the largest stock pot you can find in the house with the olive oil. Add the grated carrots and white onion. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes. Then create a well in the carrot mixture and add the ground turkey. Slowly stir in the meat and cook until it's browned and incorporated into the carrot mixture. 
    3. Add the oregano and basil (if you have fresh please use that instead of the dry.. here in Montana fresh just isn't that readily available!)
    4. Then create another well (you are going to start getting really good at this) and add the tomato paste. Allow the paste to heat then begin to slowly incorporate and add the minced garlic as well. Stir to combine and heat everything through. Then create another well (I told you!) and add the red wine and stir. Yummy. Isn't it starting to smell like heaven?
    5. Then add the worchestershire and whole tomatoes and stir and mash the tomatoes starting to break them up into the sauce with a wooden spoon. 
    6. Then add the milk. Magic happens now when you let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, but I prefer an hour or two, the flavors mature and deepen after cooking on low for a few hours making this sauce a big spoonful of love!

    7. Serve over Homemade Spaghetti Noodles (coming soon) 
     and with Homemade Whole Wheat Crusty Italian Bread (also coming soon).
    Add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and this is what I call perfection! 

    Servings: 8 (approx 3/4 of a cup)

    Nutritional Skinny:

    155 calories / 4 g fat / 12.6 g carbohydrates / 2.4 g fiber / 13 g protein

    Mental Health Benefit:  This recipe is packed with protein and low in calories due to the lean ground turkey (or beef). It is a meal that will satisfy you and soothe you through these long winter months. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day spending time with those you love. Don't forget either, the most important person to give love to is YOU! Love yourself this Valentine's Day and treat yourself to this nutritious and delicious home made pot of love!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Sausage Stuffed Squash... Saweeeettttt!

    Oh, how I do love me some squash. I think you all may have already noticed this since I seem to keep sharing recipes with this most auspicious ingredient. I love pretty much any kind of squash, but this recipe we are using winter squash (because it's winter). I know, I'm really clever.

    Squash had me at the buttery creamy flavor, but I can't be me without also sharing that it doesn't suck that it's chock full of carotene, which is shown to help prevent cancers, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Not to mention that it also is packed with folic acid, fiber, and potassium. 
    Talking numbers (for all you number people out there) one cup of this squash as only 115 calories and is loaded with 9 grams of fiber and contains only .3 grams of fat! That's less than one gram folks!

    It's sort of like Brad Pitt taking you on a date to Paris and then handing you the winning lottery ticket! It's BRILLIANT!
    The darker the color the better... I think we did pretty good with this one right? You might want to know how we make this even more delicious and still keep it simple... Well we are going to add SAUSAGE! Yep, I said it. 

    And for those watching cholesterol, weight, and other things, keep in mind that they now  make really delicious turkey sausage that is totally amazing. No need for the fatty pork anymore! And I added my favorite secret Omega-3 power booster, Milled Flax seed! My squash was small so this made the perfect dinner for two!
    Sausage Stuffed Squash... It's not just a breakfast food anymore kids. We can have sausage for dinner too...

    Just follow these simple steps and you will have delicious before you know it! 

    Bon Apetite!

    Sausage Stuffed Squash
    1 medium sized squash
    2 tbsp; olive oil
    3 tbsp. minced garlic (reserve 2 tbsp. to cook with onion)
    1 tsp. rosemary
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. pepper
    1/2 white onion
    1/2 pound ground turkey sausage
    1 tsp. sage
    1/4 cup milled flax seed
    1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
    1. Slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
    2. Into the hollowed out 'bowl' pour a tsp. of olive oil on each half. Then sprinkle with minced garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute the onion with the two tbsp. garlic. Then add the sausage and sage. Cook until the meat is browned. Sprinkle with the milled flax seed and set aside. 

    4. Once the squash have baked for 50 minutes, test the tenderness of the flesh with a fork. They should feel like a cooked baked potato. If it does we are ready to go! Now pour half of the sausage into each of the squash 'bowls' and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Then serve immediately! I sprinkled a little fresh shredded lettuce on top for a little extra crunch that went great with the sweet juiciness of the sausage and squash!

    Servings: 2

    Nutritional Skinny:

    432 calories / 27 g fat / 20 g carbohydrates / 8.1 g fiber / 23.5 g protein
    Mental Health Tip: I've told you about the benefits of squash, but now I want to talk about the benefits of dinner time. It is the time when we get to relax, reconnect, and feel comforted. That's why I always set the table and make it look nice. Flowers don't hurt either. I mean really if Brad Pitt is handing me a winning lottery ticket, can't he bring flowers too? I don't see why not and really... I mean this seriously... we deserve flowers, peace, and a healthy meal every single day. Yes, we do and nothing says peace to me like a clean, set, table.

    Dinner is served! :)