Friday, May 27, 2011

Sweet and Savoury Turkey Meatballs with Mango Chutney

I've made no secret over the last few months about the weight loss journey I've been on - especially because I am having so much success this time around.

It can mostly be attributed, I think, to my new found passion for creating recipes that are lighter but lose nothing in the flavour or texture department.

But I've also retrained myself to eat less and more slowly by using smaller plates and taking the time to make the plate look beautiful.

I'm not sure why this is, but the more beautiful a dish looks, the more satisfying it becomes. And the more satisfying it is, the less you have to eat.

Sweet and Savoury Meatballs with Mango Chutney
For printable recipe click HERE



    Ingredients
    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1 small diced onion
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 diced celery stalk
    • 1/4 cup craisins
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp Patak's mild curry paste
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 cup mango chutney
    • 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a shallow casserole dish with cooking spray
    2. Mix all of the ingredients except the chutney and broth together in a large bowl and form into small meatballs. Place meatballs in prepared casserole dish.
    3. Mix the broth and chutney together and pour over the meatballs. 
    4. Cover and bake at 350 for 50 minutes, removing from oven twice during the cooking process to turn the meatballs over.
    5. After the meatballs have baked 50 minutes, remove the lid, turn meatballs one last time, and bake for another ten minutes. 
    6. Serve with rice or as appetizers.
    Absolutely delicious!

     

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    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    The Real Women of Philadelphia - I'm in the News!

    This contest is getting more and more exciting!

    Not only have I had an opportunity to conjure up amazing things in front of the camera using Philadelphia Cream Cheese, one of our local papers has run a story about the contest and a reporter is coming from Shaw Cable next week to film me cooking in my kitchen!

    Note to self: When you make resolutions to step out of your comfort zone, make sure to be prepared for what the universe might be dishing up!

    So here's a bit of an update for those of you who have been following along.

    On the diet and exercise front things couldn't be going better - despite the fact that I posted a blog about food addictions the other day and nearly gave my mother Aurora a heart attack - I talked her down by explaining it was an old blog - to which she said, "Well you better let people know that or they will think you gave up."

    Have I mentioned I love having my mother as my biggest fan?

    The reality is that I just reached the 25 pound mark on my weight loss journey and am still going on strong.

    I'm also thinking about what other kinds of adventures I can get myself mixed up in - food or otherwise -  feeling like the sky is the limit in life when you finally get willing to take a bite out of things and take some chances.

    Here's a link to the article if anyone would like to give it a read: In the News!

    Healthy Mediterranean Style Couscous and Baked Fish

    As you can see, I've changed my blog banner and background to reflect summer.

    While I love the photograph in my winter banner, it was time to lighten things up - and what better way to do that than to dine outdoors?

    The photo was taken a few summers ago in my backyard for an impromptu dinner party featuring ribs and potato salad - I know YUMM!

    And I'm super excited with the warm weather approaching to introduce all kinds of creative and original ideas for outdoor entertaining and activities to help inspire you to get the most out of what summer has to offer.

    But for today, holidays are still about a month away, and though I would love to spend all morning in my pyjamas, reality dictates that there is work to do and I still have a job.

    If you're anything like me, coming home at the end of a hard day means you want something delicious to share with your family for dinner, but also something light and healthy because every day doesn't have to be about butter.

    If this is the case and you are trying to lighten things up on weekday nights, then have I got a great dinner idea!

    Healthy Mediterranean Style Couscous and Baked Fish
     For Printable Recipe Click here
     
















     Ingredients

    Couscous
    • 1 cup couscous
    • 2/3 cup low sodium beef or chicken broth
    • 1 cup chopped spinach
    • 1 diced tomato
    • 1 sliced green onion
    • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
    • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    Fish
    • any kind of white fish like sole, cod, tilapia, haddock etc
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp dried tarragon
    • salt, pepper, and garlic powder 
    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 425
    2. Cover a baking sheet with foil and then spoon on the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and tarragon. 
    3. Place fish onto baking sheet and then using a brush, cover fish on both sides with olive oil mixture.
    4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and bake at 425 until fish reaches your desired doneness. The thinner the piece of fish the less time it will take to bake. Rule of thumb - it should take about 10-15 minutes.
    5. While the fish is cooking, bring the broth and spinach to a boil. Add the couscous and stir well. Remove from heat and cover five minutes. 
    6. Stir the rest of the ingredients into the couscous. Cover and let sit until the fish is ready.

      Tuesday, May 24, 2011

      What Are Your Food Addictions?

      Yesterday after work my husband called and asked me to meet him at our local grocery store.

      Um, whatever.

      Keep your sexy date night at the club people.

      The Man I Married and I like to get it on in aisle five right next to the peanuts and Doritos.



      Except for one thing...

      The two of us foraging around a grocery store on a payday weekend is akin to setting a pack of wild dingoes loose in a barnyard full of chickens.




      In other words, not your best idea.

      Although I managed to pick up a few healthy items; the t-bone steak, Kettle Crunch potato chips and Tiramisu cheesecake that somehow made their way into my cart taunted me the entire way home.

      I am an all or nothing kind of gal.

      If I'm eating in a healthy manner, it's easy for me to keep it up providing I don't stray from the chosen path.

      'Give me your lentils, your Wasa Crisp, and the mighty chick pea and, verily, I shall eat.'

      But set my foot off the path of high fibre, and my mind begins to wander.

      Especially after that first slice of cheesecake.

      Or in my case; tiramisu.

      But I'm proud to report that I succesfully hid the two bags of Kettle Crunch chips in order to protect my husband's cholesterol.

      What a wife!

      Then I enjoyed a grilled t-bone with a lovely side salad, a glass of red wine and even allowed myself a small piece of tiramisu because "everything in moderation" seems the sensible way to live.

      Right?

      Right.

      I put on my flannel pyjamas and furry socks, made a pot of peppermint green tea, lit some candles, and settled into the couch for a round of tv watching, relaxation, and self care where I caught the end of Throw Down with Bobby Flay.

      Then I put on a DVD called Angel Falls starring Heather Locklear.


      The candles were twinkling, my movie was playing, and the fragrance of peppermint and lavendar swirled up from the tea cup and candles by my side.



      The moment was pure Zen.

      In fact, the only thing missing was a voice over singing 'Celebrate the moments of your life...'

      And all I could think about as I watched Heather Locklear frolic about on screen - besides the fact that she really shouldn't have had her lips done - was:

      I wanted the damn chips.

      And the longer I sat and obsessed about them, the worse the craving became.

      So I rationalized.

      What harm could one small bowl of chips do?

      ***

      I crept ever so quietly to the cabinet - careful not to make any sudden noises that might alert the family as to my whereabouts - and set the super sized bag of balsamic vineagar and sea salt chips free.

      Then I read the nutritional info on the back.

      Twelve chips had 172 calories and 9 g of fat.

      Chump change people.

      I could afford to eat twelve chips, get over my craving, and return to the movie.

      So that's what I did.

      Carefully counted out 12 chips, and then folded the bag and placed it quietly back into the China cabinet.

      *Cue the dramatic silence followed by two claps of thunder*

      The next thing I know, I'm like an alcoholic who's been given a sip of scotch on Christmas eve.

      And by the end of the evening, I was hiding empty bags.

      ***

      Do you ever wonder why all the good stuff is so easy to give up?

      If you told me tomorrow I could never eat another carrot, indulge in a serving of low fat cottage cheese, grapefuit, or celery, in the immoratal words of Miss Gloria Gaynor - I would survive.

      But take away my chips, sugar, butter, or T Bone steaks and I would be a mess.

      Why do you think that is?

      In men, love, and food - why are the things that are the worst for us always the hardest to give up?

      And what are your food addictions?

      Enquiring minds want to know!

      Sunday, May 22, 2011

      Crostini di Polenta with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

      Hey everyone!

      I know, it's been awhile since I posted something - but bear with me, I've only got a few more weeks of crazy until my life begins to slow down. I have summer plans for doing a lot of writing, cooking, and creating in the kitchen and in my garden - along with all kinds of summertime adventures that I will certainly be sharing with you here!

      Speaking of adventures, though, we are on the last stretches of the Real Women of Philadelphia contest with only two more rounds to go.

      Even though I'm already, and most gratefully, a finalist, I have kept the promise I made to myself in the beginning to submit at least one original recipe and video a week and to continue onward with my health and weight loss efforts.

      Although I've been on a bit of a plateau the last two week, my fat burning furnace seems to be revving back up and I've lost another 3 pounds this week! I've also come up with a delicious and easy recipe for polenta that is all about the flavours of summer and hope you enjoy my contribution to the side dish round!

      Have a beautiful, happy, and restful Sunday everyone!

      Crostini di Polenta
      For printable recipe click HERE



















       Ingredients
      • 2 cup(s) of low sodium chicken broth
      • 1/2 of a 250 gram container Philadelphia Cream Cheese Herb and Garlic Blend (light or regular)
      • 1 cup(s) of cornmeal
      • 1/4 cup(s) of Kraft shredded parmesan cheese
      • 1 dash salt and pepper to taste
      • 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 1 diced shallot
      • 1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
      • 1/4 tsp. of each: dried thyme, oregano, basil
      • 1 small bay leaf
      • 1 cup(s) of canned diced tomatoes
      • 1/4 cup(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, regular or light
      • 1/4 cup(s) of fresh basil
      Directions
      1. Bring chicken broth and herb and garlic cream cheese to a boil in a medium saucepan stirring well to incorporate.
      2. Add cornmeal, reduce heat to low, and continue stirring until polenta mixture moves away from sides of pan (about 3-5 minutes). Add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir well.
      3. Lay two 16 inch strips of plastic wrap onto a flat surface overlapping slightly so that they measure about 8-10 inches across. Spoon the hot polenta mixture onto the plastic wrap and then wrap and roll, shaping the polenta into # a long, even roll. Place roll on flat surface and put in freezer for 20 minutes.
      4. While the polenta is chilling, heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat and saute the shallots just until they begin to caremelize. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add red wine vinegar.
      5. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and bay leaf and bring to a boiling simmer. Turn down to medium low and continue to simmer 20 minutes.
      6. Add 1/4 cup cream cheese to the sauce and stir well to incorporate. Add chopped fresh basil to the sauce right before serving.
      7. After the polenta has chilled 20 minutes, remove from freezer, unwrap and cut into 1/4 inch discs.
      8. Heat another tsp extra virgin olive oil over medium high and fry polenta discs about 2-3 minutes per side just until golden brown.
      9. Serve topped with the basil cream sauce



      ***

      Author:

      Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

      Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

      Facebook Twitter YouTube

      Thursday, May 19, 2011

      Crispy Salmon Hash or Patties

      Yesterday was a doozy.

      I don't know what it is about May and early June, but these are the two months that seem to be the busiest for me. And when life gets busy, it can be difficult to resist stopping on the way home from work for an unhealthy indulgence, and zone out in front of the TV.

      While I'm all for a good zone out, the fact that I'm wearing jeans I haven't been able to get into for the last seven years reminds me that devoting a little time after work to creating a healthy meal and getting some exercise is well worth the sacrifice - and so I dutifully stopped at the farmer's market instead of Luigi's on my way home.

      But what to have?

      Here's where being chief cook and bottle washer in a family comes in handy - we get to decide what everyone's going to be eating. And with me in high stress mode, I was craving the Three C's: carbs, cream, and crisp.

      Meals that traditionally pack this kind of comforting effect: Crispy fried chicken with creamy mashed potatoes, beer battered deep fried halibut with tartar sauce, or golden fried perogies with creamy mushroom sauce - all foods that held an appeal, but how could I take my craving and turn it into something healthy?

      Never underestimate the restorative powers of wandering around your farmer's market or produce section as part of the daily routine. While I wandered and spotted certain ingredients: a little fresh dill here, a few potatoes there, really good quality canned salmon, an idea began to formulate...

      What if I made some kind of a crispy, golden salmon and potato hash and served it with apple sauce?

      Suddenly dinner was looking promising.

      I went home, peeled and quartered my potatoes and set them to boil - asking my husband to turn them off and drain them when they were tender. Then I strapped on my runners and set out into the early spring evening for a 30 minute run.

      I returned home refreshed, cooked up this easy dinner, and was ready for a guilt free  zone out by 7:00 pm.

      Better still, my husband and I both loved this meal and will absolutely be making it again.

      I hope you enjoy!

      Crispy Salmon Hash
      For printable recipe click HERE

      Ingredients
      • 4 russet potatoes
      • 2 cloves garlic
      • 1/3 cup Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
      • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
      • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
      • 1 Tbsp fresh dill
      • 2 green onions
      • 1 tin sockeye salmon, drained
      • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
      • salt and pepper to taste
      Directions
      1. Peel, cube, and boil the potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic in salted water until tender (app 8-10 minutes)
      2. Drain and mash the potatoes and garlic. Add cream cheese, mayo, mustard, onions, and dill. Stir well until creamy and well incorporated. 
      3. Drain salmon and remove skin and bones. Add to potato mixture and stir well.
      4. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high. Add potato mixture to pan and, using a spatula, flatten like a pancake. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 3 minutes until bottom begins to get golden and crispy. Break salmon mixture up and re-flatten. Continue to repeat this process for about 10- 15 minutes until hash is golden and crispy all the way through. 
      5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with apple sauce.
      Note: You can also form the salmon into patties and fry in the non stick pan until crispy and golden on both sides.

      Author:

      Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

      Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

      Facebook Twitter YouTube


      Wednesday, May 18, 2011

      Quick, Easy, and Healthy Curried Chicken

      I have to tell you, it sure feels great to be back on track.

      And now with spring officially in the air, I am even more motivated - which meant a nice long run today after work and a quick and creative dinner of roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, and black olives and a creamy and delicious curried chicken.



















      I have always loved curried chicken and have traditionally made it with coconut milk - but on this renewed mission to keep things lighter, those were calories I didn't need. So I began to think to myself - what ingredients could I subsitute that would still lend a compatible flavour and creamy texture?

      This got me thinking about non-fat yogurt.

      What would it be like as the base for my cream sauce?

      And so I gave it a try and was very pleased with the results! I will probably experiment with yogurt in other applications because I was thrilled with the consistency and flavour the Greek yogurt brought to my sauce.

      The addition of low fat mayonnaise adds an undercurrent of sweet lemony zing so that you really don't miss the richness of coconut milk.

      But I also want to talk about the vegetables because - were they ever good!

      I could have honestly just eaten a plate full of these.

      All you do is spread 1/2 head chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Add one whole large diced tomato, 1/2 cup of sliced black olives. Drizzle about 1/2 - 1 whole Tbsp extra virgin olive oil over all and mix well, and sprinkle with a mixture of garlic powder, salt, and pepper (about 1 tsp). Bake in a 450 oven for 25-35 minutes.

      So good!

      I hope everyone reading this is well, and happy, and excited about spring.

      Until next time everyone, Happy Cooking!

      Quick, Easy and Healthy Curried Chicken
      For printable recipe click HERE
















      Ingredients
      • 2 boneless. skinless chicken breasts cur into small cubes
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/4 tsp pepper
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
      • 1 cup frozen peas
      • 2 tbsp Patak's curry paste (-or less- add 1 tsp and taste, keep adding until you get the flavour you like)
      • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek Yogurt
      • 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
      Directions
      1. Saute the cubed chicken breasts over medium high heat in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
      2. When chicken is cooked and golden add chicken stock and curry paste, stir well, and bring to a boil. Add frozen peas, turn heat to med, and let simmer app five minutes letting soup reduce slightly.
      3. Add yogurt and mayonnaise, stir well and serve over basmati rice.


      ***

      Author:

      Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

      Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

      Facebook Twitter YouTube



      Sunday, May 15, 2011

      Twice Baked Lobster and Truffle Baby Potatoes

      Hello everyone - have I got a treat for you today!

      It's been appetizer week at the Real Women of Philadelphia and we've all been cooking up a storm!

      But because I've made it as a finalist in the entree category, this week was extra special, causing me to want to create an appetizer to fit the occasion and, oh boy!

      Have I done it this time!!

      These delightfully decadent little bites of cream cheese heaven can be dressed up or down and I've provided both a rich man and poor man version of the same dish.

      If you would like to watch the video just scroll to the bottom, or check out the printable recipe HERE

      Twice Baked Lobster and Truffle Baby Potatoes

      Ingredients

          * 15 baby potatoes
          * 1/2 brick (125 grams) Philadelphia Cream Cheese light or regular at room temperature
          * 1/4 cup(s) of mayonnaise
          * 1/4 cup(s) of milk
          * 1/2 tsp. of white truffle oil
          * 1/4 tsp. of black pepper
          * 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh chives
          * 2 whole lobster tails
          * 1 tbsp. of butter
          * 1/8 cup(s) of extra virgin olive oil
          * 1/2 tsp. of kosher or sea salt
          * 1 cup(s) of shredded gruyere cheese
          * 1/4 cup(s) of caviar for garnish (optional)

      Directions
      1. Preheat oven to 350.
      2. Wash potatoes and boil whole for 12-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked through, soft, and tender (check in on the potatoes periodically during your cooking process).
      3. Using a sharp knife, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop potatoes out of the inside of each half to another bowl.
      4. Mash potatoes well. Add softened cream cheese, and mayonnaise and whip using an electric mixer. Add milk and continue to whip until potatoes are smooth without lumps. Blend in the truffle oil.
      5. Remove lobster from shell. Chop lobster meat into bite size pieces and saute over medium high heat in butter. Add 1/4 tsp salt. Add butter and lobster mixture to the potatoes. Stir well and then add the chives.
      6. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Brush the bottoms and sides of the potato skins with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining kosher salt.
      7. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins and place on the prepared baking sheet. Top the potatoes evenly with the Gruyere cheese and bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden.
      8. Garnish with chives or fresh parsley and a small dollop of caviar on each if you wish.
      9. For the "Poor Man" version: Use the herb and garlic flavour of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Instead of lobster substitute 4 slices of bacon that have been cooked and crumbled. Instead of white truffle oil substitute 1 tsp creamy horseradish. Instead of gruyere cheese: Substitute extra old cheddar. Use the same method as detailed above substituting ingredients as they appear in the original recipe.

      Wednesday, May 11, 2011

      I am an Entree Finalist!!

      Just thought I'd post a note to readers who don't already know, I'm a FINALIST in the Real Women of Philadelphia contest!!!

      This means I get an all expenses paid ticket to Toronto to compete for a $20,000.00 prize and an opportunity to act as a host for six months!!!

      I won for my Creamy Pistachio and Mango Chutney Pork Tenderloin

















      If this has taught me anything it's that life is full of opportunities. If the first doesn't pan out, or the second, or the third - don't quit. You never know when it's going to be your time to shine :-)

      Happy days everyone!!

      Tuesday, May 10, 2011

      Sweet and Savoury Asian Tuna Casserole

      Last night I put together a dish pretty much by accident using pantry ingredients and my over active imagination and it turned out so delicious - and I mean DELICIOUS - I had to share it for posterity.

      I wasn't feeling well and craved one of those old fashioned casserole type dishes our mothers used to make with mushroom soup and maybe a can of tuna - but my slightly addled brain kept saying "Make it Asian style"

      Even though this recipe sounds a little unusual, my husband had two full plates of the stuff and I had to fight myself all night from going back for more! I actually went to bed early in order to do so because the pull was so strong!

      I hope you enjoy...

      Sweet and Savoury Asian Tuna Casserole
      For printable recipe click HERE
















       Ingredients
      • 1 diced onion
      • 1/2 diced red pepper
      • 1 diced celery stalk
      • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 1/2 tsp hot Asian chili sauce
      • 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
      • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
      • 1 cup frozen peas or frozen mixed vegetables 
      • 1 tin sliced water chestnuts
      • 1 tin mandarin oranges
      • 1 tin drained tuna
      • 1 tin reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
      • 1 Tbsp sweet chili oil
      • 1/8-1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder (to taste)
      • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
      • 1/2 package broad egg noodles, whole what or regular, cooked to al dente
      Directions
      1. Saute the red pepper, onion, and celery in a pan coated in a non stick spray over medium high heat until soft. Add minced garlic at the end and saute for about 30 seconds until fragrant. 
      2. Add the chicken stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, hot chili sauce, frozen peas, tuna, and water chestnuts. Stir well and bring to a simmering boil. Simmer five minutes. 
      3. Add the mushroom soup, mandarin oranges, sweet chili oil, and Chinese five spice powder. Start with 1/8 tsp and taste to adjust. The mandarin oranges might break up in the heat, this is okay.
      4. Toss the cooked egg noodles into the pan and sprinkle in the toasted almonds last. 
      5. Serve family style!

        Author:

        Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

        Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

        Facebook Twitter YouTube

        Monday, May 9, 2011

        Five Favourite Recent Recipes

        Since I've been so busy of late I thought I'd share a re-cap of five favourite recipes I've cooked, created, or posted over the last few months - starting with a Giada recipe for Beef Roast with Spicy Parsely Tomato Sauce. 



















        Once you try this incredible recipe for roast beef, I promise you will never go back to regular gravy again!

        I also really loved my Malt Shop Diner meal and can't say enough about the addition of homemade buns to these zesty little sliders!

















        Creamed Chicken in Toast Cups was the first of my Cherry Hill blogs (watch for another installment coming very soon)

        This is such a delicious, old fashioned, comforting meal I had to include it!


















        I also had to include my original recipe for lentil soup with maple and turkey bacon.

















        This incredibly healthy and flavourful dish is one I will make time and time again over the years. If you're looking for a hearty and rustic healthy dinner idea, this is your ticket!

        To round out the five, I couldn't post a recent favourites list without this incredible recipe for almond crusted turkey cutlets.



















        So that rounds out five recent favourites.

         Wonderful dishes that were all incredibly good. I hope you enjoy them!

        Watch for more "Top Five" blogs from me in the future, new Real Women of Philadelphia recipes and videos as the contest goes on, and a brand new Cherry Hill blog later this week.

        Be well everyone!

        Friday, May 6, 2011

        Crispy Creamy Philly Apple Turnovers

        Hi everyone!

        It's dessert week in the Real Women of Philadelphia contest and I couldn't be more excited because I've put together something that turned out delicious!

        This is a big deal for me because desserts have never been my forte - I'm so happy, however, with how these have turned out.

        Crispy Creamy Philly Apple Turnovers
        For printable recipe, click here



        Have a great weekend!

        Wednesday, May 4, 2011

        The Birthday Present I Gave Myself

        In exactly four days I will be celebrating my 45th birthday.

        And while I was feeling decidedly "whoo hoo" about it already, this morning in an effort to turn right when I would normally go left, I solidified my new found knowing that nothing in life is ever too late.

        How do I know this?

        Because I woke up this morning feeling a little out of sorts.

        Last week's business trip had me exercising less and eating more and here, at the 20 pound juncture in my weight loss journey, is where I have fallen off the wagon many times before.

        Sitting on my couch drinking coffee and knowing I didn't have to go into the office until this afternoon had me at odds with myself - I mean, what business did I have thinking I could enter a national cooking competition and do well at it?

        Normally this would be a cue to open the chip bag and surrender.

        But this little voice inside me - the one I have been nurturing and learning to pay better attention to - said "You need to go for a long run."

        Bear in mind, mine is the body that nine weeks ago was out of breath walking to the top of the street.

        The little voice, however, made sense.

        It was a beautiful spring morning. I have the most thoughtful and dedicated running partner.






















        And fresh air has always had a way of clearing out the cobwebs for me.

        So instead of letting myself slide back into old patterns, on this day, four days before my 45th birthday, I chose to run.

        Here's where it gets good:

        Somehow over the last nine weeks my body has managed to recover itself to the extent that I just got back from the 7 km run I used to do 15 years ago when TH was still in elementary school.

        A run that I honestly believed was something I would never, ever be able to do again.

        Life is limitless with possibility and with each moment we have the power to make choices that either help or hinder our growth and our progress.

        I am once again reminded that opportunity awaits me. I simply have to continue opening the door.

        Towanda.

        Tuesday, May 3, 2011

        Cooking with Giada - Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree - and Other Snippets of Brilliance

        I'm going to start things off by saying so far so good on my two week menu planner.

        Last week we enjoyed:
        And today's amazingly flavourful recipe for Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree, compliments of Giada De Laurentiis.



        Notice the addition of garlic mashed potatoes.

        I saw the recipe for these creamy dollops of lusciousness yesterday at Simply Recipes and knew they would go perfectly with this dish.

        And I was right.

        They were amazing.

        As were the peas.

        **disclaimer**

        I am about to use the words "pea" and "puree" frequently over the next few paragraphs. I tried to edit myself - even throwing in a little francais for sparkle - but there was no getting around it.

        The pea, and the puree, want to be heard.

        ***

        Although I have never actually had (or made) pea puree before, I watch enough Top Chef to know this luscious looking emerald green concoction was something I would eventually want to try.

        Especially after the Pea Puree "incident" of season 7.

        For those not familiar with the show, there was quite the bru ha ha raging over a puree that may or may not have been stolen.



        What?

        I don't have a lot of excitement in my life so I take it where I find it - even on Top Chef.

        And now that I've actually had Le Puree de Pois, I understand what all the fuss is about.

        Talk about the perfect pairing with salmon!

        Not only that, it was very easy to make.

        You just take a bowl full of fresh mint, peas, salt, pepper, and garlic...



        And puree in a blender with a half cup of extra virgin olive oil slowly drizzled in.



        As an aside, the leftover puree makes an awesome green goddess style dip the next day with a little sour cream added.

        (my husband may or may not have used it as chip dip)



        To rave review, I might add.

        The rest of the recipe was every bit as good, and the lemon brodetto is something I will make again to go with other dishes or perhaps even as the base to soup.



        The original recipe calls for shallots, but I didn't have any - so I substituted green onion and it tasted just fine.

        I can be crazy like that sometimes.

        What I liked the most about this elegant looking dish was its simplicity.

        It was straightforward, easy to make, and full of easy to find ingredients that created a spectacular party on the palette.

        Which is what everyone should have on an early spring evening in March.

        Don't you think?

        Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree, compliments of Giada De Laurentiis.



        A deliciously zesty way to start the week!

        Author:

        Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

        Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

        Facebook Twitter YouTube

        Monday, May 2, 2011

        Philly Chicks in a Blanket

        Here's another Philly inspired weeknight meal that can easily be put together for your family.

        Not only is it flavourful and delicious it's a nice change from the regular fare of meat and potatoes or a standard tortilla.

        Creamy Tex Mex inspired chicken is blanketed in a tender on the inside, crispy on the outside cornmeal and avocado crepe that makes for a delicious and decidedly healthful dinner.

        Follow the link to view Philly Chicks in a Blanket, more about my journey as "Determined Dieter" and the technique for making this easy meal!

        For the printable recipe, click HERE

        Sunday, May 1, 2011

        Philly Phyllo Salmon Bundles

        Driving home from Victoria yesterday after having had a wonderful time strolling downtown and enjoying the sites, I began thinking in terms of dishes and the kinds of food I might associate with Vancouver Island in spring.

        My mind jumped immediately to sockeye salmon and as I drove, I began to put it all together in my mind so that by the time I arrived home, I was ready to cook - which these days means: "Lights Camera Action!" - and as  I walked through the front door my first words to my husband were "We're filming!"

        As an aside, I am so lucky he hasn't divorced me yet.

        Anyways, the whole thing came together nicely and made for a really delicious Saturday evening dinner.

















        Philly Phyllo Salmon Bundles
        For printable recipe click Here

         Today's video...