Monday, December 10, 2012

Well, the catering biz is gone with the wind but better things on the horizon!

Hello my little maters!  After some serious contemplative thought - I am no longer pursuing the tomato sauce manufacturing biz.  It was just too much investiment on all fronts and not as big of a return to keep it going.

Also, we have some other things stewing on the stove that need our attention.  I do thank you all for your fantastic feed back and support!

Fear not, the blog will continue and I am thinking that doing a cookbook and possible cooking classes and/or dinner parties next year is in the cards since I am exploring healthy eating and life style.

So I am just changing gears.  Expect more recipes and articles that will make you want to dust off your stove and get to cooking!

Much love and good cooking!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tired of Turkey yet? Order some wholesome Tomato Sauce from the Singing Tomato!

Tired of turkey left overs?   Well, I have the answer for you!  Go wholesome, healthy Italian!!

I am taking orders for December!  Due to the holiday I have a limited menu to choose from.
  • Please have your below orders in by December 6th.
  • Unfortunately I cannot deliver anything this month outside the west side (i.e. between west of downtown and Bellevue.)  If you order and you are not in that area - we will need for you to schedule a pick up visit.  
  • Orders will be ready the week of December 10th.
  • To order please email me at

Menu Items for December:

Rosaria's Sunday Gravy:  slow simmered tomatoes, garlic, carrot, olive oil, onions, oregano and parsley!  So yummy!
Price - $7.00 per quart

Bolognese Sauce - a saute of red onion, carrots, and garlic in olive oil to release the flavors and then slow simmered with tomatoes and organic ground beef.  Add your own pasta and badda bing - you have a dinner in 8-10mins.  (also can be made with ground turkey.
Price - $15.00 per quart

The Luciano Meatballs!  - Organic beef blended with parmesan, onion, garlic, italian spices and an egg and then slow simmered in tomatoes all day like they did back in Brooklyn!
Price - $15.00 for 8 meatballs (organic beef)
Price - $10.00 for 8 meatballs

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WAY EASY Green Beans - healthier than the casserole

I must confess, I have never liked the holiday tradition of green bean casserole.... Ok please don't fault me - just a taste thing. Also, with all the cream based soups in it & the fried onions - not sure how good for you it is... So I came up with this version and it tastes great and presents very pretty. You can use fresh green beans if you already have a steamer at home & have the hang of it. Me? I am not a steaming expert yet so....

2 steam in the bag green beans (the fancy long kind)
1/2 stick of real butter
4 cloves garlic minced through a press (if you are a garlic person, like me, use more)
S&P to taste

Steam the green beans as directed.
Meanwhile, back at the stove....In a large sauté pan or a fry pan melt your butter on medium/low. Once melted, add EVOO, and minced garlic, S&P. Sauté together until garlic is fragrant - don't burn. If you burn the butter - start over.

When beans are done, (this is why you need the large sauté pan) dump the beans into the sauté pan and toss to coat with the garlic butter mix. Once well coated put in your serving dish and serve.

Tips - this should take all of 10mins. So this will be the last thing you do before dinner.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins! EASY!

I have a Thanksgiving Day tradition since childhood. We have a big fancy continental breakfast while watching the Thanksgiving Day Macy's Parade. However, trying to go wheat free can be a downer on this breakfast tradition when you want to be eating muffins and pastries along with the family. So I went in search of the great pumpkin muffin. I came across several recipes but on their own they weren't very flavorful but when I started mixing things together and matching spices - I came up with this one that tastes, to me and friends who I have used as market researchers, like the inside of a pumpkin pie. I LOVE them, put I am a pumpkin lover, any time of the year. I use them in place of toast with my eggs on the weekends or snacks at work. You can put them out to non-paleo eaters and I am thinking they will love them too. Great as a breakfast item, snack or roll them out with the turkey on Thanksgiving instead of dinner rolls. And they are easy to make too.. These days I have found coconut flour at Publix and Kroger - but it is still cheaper on Amazon. Here you go...


1 (15 oz)can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of coconut oil (melted)
6 eggs
1T of vanilla extract
1/4C honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/8 t ginger
1/8t clove
1/2t Pumpkin pie spice
dash of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 – line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners (12)
In one medium mixing bowl, whisk together coconut flour and spices together, add baking powder. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, & honey together, combine well.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and then pour the pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients. Using a stand or hand mixer on low mix together well, scraping down the sides so everything is mixed in well.
Divide batter into the muffin cups.
Bake for 20minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Coconut oil - to melt put in the microwave in your glass measuring cup in 30sec intervals. You will know if you need more as it melts. Also, do this and let it stand a little in the microwave after done so it can cool down a little. That way when you mix it in with the eggs - it's not too hot and wont accidentally cook the eggs.

Making them look muffin like: Since we are not using rising flour these won't rise and look muffin like unless you make them look that way before cooking. To get the look - use an ice cream scoop instead of a spoon when putting the batter into the muffin cups. They will go into the oven with super cute muffin like rounded tops.

UPDATE! Blue Diamond Garlic Mashed Potatoes!

So I have been working on this since I posted it last year. I believe that I have PERFECTED the mashed potato - if I do say so myself (insert smirk here). In fact, I served them to my Dad, a self proclaimed mashed potato expert, with my 1st attempt at beef burgundy. He was still talking about them the next day. And thus I present the piece du resistance, the new and improved Blue Diamond Garlic Mashed Taters!

1 - 5lb bag of yukon gold potatoes
2 - 1lb bags of frozen cauliflower florets
2 sticks of REAL butter (or 1 package of Kerrygold Butter)
8 C water (or enough to cover the potatoes & cauliflower)
1/4C "Better than Bouillon" Chicken bouillon
1 container Allouett garlic and herb (I use light - it makes me feel better since I am using so much butter but that's just a head game I play with myself - you can use the whole fat version)

You're gonna need a BIG pot - go find the one you use for a shrimp boil or chili party and use this. Wash and quarter the potatoes and put them in the pot.
Then dump in the cauliflower
cover with water and then add the chicken bouillon
Bring to a boil and boil about 45mins until everything can easily have a fork go through it.
Drain and put veggies back in the pot.
cut up the butter and put in the pot, add in the Allouett. Mash up everything until well mixed and creamy. S&P to taste.

You will think THESE ARE AWESOME!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey!

Hi All - in the honor of Thanksgiving, I am reposting my No Fail Thanksgiving Turkey recipe.  This is the recipe I used to make my VERY first turkey and it came out PERFECTO!  Where did I learn this recipe you may ask?  My mother?  My grandmother? Nope.  The sales lady in the appliance department at Sears.  Yes seriously.

Picture it, Nashville, 2009, November.  We had just moved into our new home only 4months earlier and money was pretty tight.  We kept all the ugly yellow appliances and the thought was we would replace them when either they die or we re-save up the money.

We invited both sides of the family to our new home, as we were very proud of it, for Thanksgiving for me to cook the turkey for the very first time.  Then the fright of frights, only a mere 4 days prior to Thanksgiving - MY RANGE DIED!  ACK!  I was in tears, Darren was consoling me and off we went to Sears to pick out a new oven.

At Sears, this angel - I don't even know her name - helped us find the perfect range.  While she and I were working up the rush order, I asked her about stuffing the turkey because I had heard all these different ideas and thought I would get hers.  

She said, "GIIIIIURRRRL!  NO NO NO!  You do not stuff a turkey!  You yankees do turkey all wrong."  I was so taken aback.  I looked at her and asked her to impart her Southern wisdom on me...  she shared the following recipe with me.  I followed it to the letter and my very first turkey was absolutely the most moist, flavorful turkey even my mother said she had ever had.

And now I share this with you:

  • 1 whole fresh frozen Turkey (calculate your pounds by thinking how many guests you are having and then divide by 2.  Like, you're having 16 people for Thanksgiving – you will need an 8-10lb turkey.  And remember to get a little extra in case extra people show up and for sandwiches and turkey pot pie in the days after Thanksgiving).
  • 4-5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced into chunks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 sticks of butter – room temp so it's soft (YES REAL BUTTER – you can use light butter but the package should say BUTTER)
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 2t thyme

Ok – thaw out your turkey in the fridge.  The bigger the turkey the more time you will need to thaw – I have a 15lb one this year and I am taking it out of the freezer on the Sunday before.  Do not believe the package that 48hrs if enough time.  They lie.

Preheat your oven according to the package.

Once thawed remove all packaging, and put Tom Turkey in the sink start rinsing and get all the insides out – this is gross so you may want to get your mom or your man to do this if you are weak of heart.  Some people cook these up for the dog – I throw them away b/c they are gross.  Rinse everything and put Tom in the pan you're going to cook him in, breast side up.

In a large mixing bowl put the carrots, apples and cut up 1 & ½ sticks of butter up in chunks.  Add the lemon juice & 1t of thyme – mix it all together so it is tossed nicely.  Then take a large spoon and spoon the mixture into both ends of Tom's center cavity.  To have him full of apples, carrots and butter.  Once full – close him up but tucking his legs around the opening or using some cooking spears – metal is best.

Then salt & pepper him on the outside and sprinkle the other teaspoon of thyme all over him.  Then grab the other stick and a half of butter and massage it into him all over until he is well covered.  Then cover him and put him in the oven.  

Now read the package and do the math to figure out how long to cook him b/c it's based on his weight.  You will bast  him every 30mins.  Cook him covered for half the time and uncovered for the other half  that way he stays moist.

Also, you may want to try my Blue Diamond Mashed Potatoes with this.  Even my dad - a die hard mashed tater expert LOVES these - even though they are healthy!  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nov. Menu - Orders Due by Thursday Nov. 15th!

Hello my little maters!   Our November menu is abbreviated because of the holiday and I am cooking for the family.  Don't worry though - you can still get your basics and a great breakfast treat (Paleo Pumpkin Muffins) before the holiday!  And I will be reposting my perfect every time turkey recipe.

Email your orders to with your name & phone number.   Thanks!

Signature Sunday Gravy – slow simmered tomato sauce (ingredients: tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, carrot, garlic, oregano, parsley, onion) gluten free, no sugar added, Paleo diet friendly.
Price: 1 quart – $7.00

Bolognese Sauce – a slow simmered meat sauce made with tomatoes, ground organic ground beef. (ingredients: tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, carrot, garlic, oregano, parsley, onion) 
gluten free, no sugar added, Paleo diet friendly. 
Price: 1quart - $15.00

Meatballs – Handmade and slow simmered all day in crushed tomatoes and Italian spices.
(ingredients: organic ground beef or turkey, parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, baking powder, egg, tomatoes) low carb, gluten free, Paleo diet friendly
8 meatballs dressed in the tomatoes they were cooked in.
Turkey - $10
Organic Beef - $14

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Spaghetti Squash prepared for easy service to replace starchy pasta.  Add your favorite sauce or just butter, olive oil, fresh garlic and tomatoes for a great healthy Italian meal!
(Ingredients: spaghetti squash) low carb, gluten free, Paleo diet friendly
Price: 1 large squash prepared (serves 2-4) - $10

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins – Ingredients: Pumpkin, coconut flour, eggs, coconut oil, honey, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt.
Gluten free, Paleo Diet Friendly, lower carb
Price: 1 dozen - $18.00

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Day at the Farmer's Market!

Hi All!  I want to first thank my beloved Darren, who I mention from time to time here on the blog, and my parents for helping me all day long yesterday as the Singing Tomato made its first public appearance.  We had a lovely day cooking and chatting with folks.  It seems lots of people like the idea of traditional Italian cooking!  I think they liked the taste of it too!

It was so nice to meet all of you and to see old friends too!  I can't wait to visit with you again.  If you have any questions about what I do, the products I sell or any suggestions, please let me know.

I am still in the process of refining our products and my business plan - so than you for your input and for supporting me through all of it.  What a great adventure we are all on together!

I still need to catch you all up on our adventure to Disney's Epcot Center Food and Wine Festival we attended earlier in October.  Those blog posts soon to come!

Have a great week all my litter 'mater pals!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cooking at the Nashville Farmer's Market Sat, Oct 27th! Order something for dinner or come by taste some goodness with us!

Hi All!  Just a reminder that I will be cooking up some healthy Italian goodness on Sat., Oct 27 11am - 3!

-Know what you want for dinner already? Pre-order from our menu (click here) and email me your order.  This way you know I will have what you want for sure. 

-Not quite sure what item is your fave?  Come out to the Nashville Farmer's Market on Saturday, Oct 27th between 11am - 3pm and we will be offering taste sized portion meals so you can try things.  Find something you love?  You can take home dinner right there.

Some choices are: low carb / breadcrumb free (gluten free) meatballs, Spinach Baked Ziti, Bolognese sauce and Paleo Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti bites.  Check out the menu for everything - Menu.

Come out and dine with us on Oct 27th and then take us home for a freezer friendly meal or something you can put on your table that night!

If you would like to order please check the menu by clicking here:  October 27 Menu .

Pre-orders are due Oct 25 if you would like to pre-order.
To pre order - just email me.    

Hope to see you son & Happy Eating!

Low Carb YUMMY-LICIOUS Meatballs!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Make your own Spaghetti.....squash?

Ok - So I have avoided this since 1987.  My first go round with Weight Watchers and all diets there after - just cook up some spaghetti squash and replace your pasta.  I was like, "Are you kidding?!"  I am Italian - if it didn't have semolina in it - we didn't eat it.

Fast forward to 2012.  I'm no longer a teen who can eat anything.  I was told I needed to avoid ALL starches.. ACK!  Again  - I am Italian what is life without pasta?  What do you put your tomato sauce on?!  So I broke down last night and googled it.  "Spaghetti quash - how to cook."  I finally found one for the microwave.

This is what it looks like when you get it at the market.
Now let me tell you - you may be as skeptical as me.  I am not sure how one could be - I waited 20yrs to try this.  BUT, I swear you will regret your time wasted.  IT IS AWESOME!   I ate so much I am still full from last night.  I don't encourage gorging yourself as I did but you won't have the icky sugar rush, just that uncomfortable full feeling.

Now - not only was it fantastic - IT's WAY EASY!!! (way easier than making your own real pasta!)

Ok - here's what you'll need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/4C water

That's it for ingredients.

I used a casserole dish with a lid b/c you're going to steam this sucker.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and then scoop out the seeds, like a cantaloupe, and toss them.

Then place one of the halves face down in the dish.  Add the water, cover and stick in the microwave on high for 11minutes.

When it's done, take the dish out and remove the lid - be careful because it will be hot.  Leave it sit uncovered for 5minutes.

Then, VERY CAREFULLY because it's hot - flip it over and take a fork and run it through the inside to pull out the spaghetti like threads.
Start at the top with your fork..
 ...and then drag downward to make spaghetti - super easy.
That's it!
Now the hard part - what to top it with?!  I put my low carb meatballs and sauce on it and TO DIE FOR!

Have extra left over - you can put it in the fridge for about 3 days.  Want to have fresh through the winter?  Make your squash and portion it out among freezer zip top baggies.  Then you can freeze for a few months.  Just take it out when you are ready and par defrost.  Then steam it for 2-5 mins (depending on the amount - don't over cook it will turn to mush).  You are good to go.

Please don't wait to try this - it is fabulous.  I was looking high and low for a pasta replacement and there is was in front of me all along.  YUMMY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lower Carb Italian Meatballs for the Slow Cooker!

Slow Cooker Low Carb (but you'd never know it!) Grandma's Meatballs!

½lb ground pork
½lb ground beef
(or you can do a whole pound of your favorite – beef, pork, turkey, chicken, veal, etc)
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
1 egg
½C parmesan cheese, grated (I use Trader Joe's b/c it is just cheese – no preservatives.)
1t baking powder
1 ½ – 2t Italian seasoning (depends on how strong you want it)
24oz – 1qt your favorite tomato sauce.  (I use Singing Tomato Sunday Gravy – you can order some if you live in Nashville made by ME!)

Take out your Slow Cooker.  Spray it with cooking spray (preferably a Misto or other non-chemical spray).  Turn it on low.  Pour in your tomato sauce.

You may want to do the following near your slow cooker if you have the counter space.

Put the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and using your hands – mix it all together until well blended.  Then grab about 1 ½ – 2 T size of the meat mixture.  Using your hands form them into little balls and plop them into the slow cooker.  It should make about 12 of them.  When you're done – cover the slow cooker and cook for 8-10 hours.

I have to tell you – Darren HATES meatballs, meat loaf and the like because normally they have bread crumbs.  He LOVES these (ate seven of them the first time I made them) because they don't have bread crumbs and are not mealy.  Also, if you have a bread sensitivity and have avoided meatballs because of the bread – these are a great alternative!

You can make them on a weekend and freeze them for a quick, healthy weeknight meal as well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! The Singing Tomato is cookin' for you!

Hello My Mater Friends!  So excited to let the full cat out of the bag - even though we all know I have been hinting because I can't keep a secret for nothing!  The Singing Tomato is expanding beyond just a recipe & foodie blog.  I am happy to say I am now offering the following services:

Personal Chef - I come to your home for a few hours and cook in your kitchen.  I make you a few meals that we can put in the fridge or the freezer, with instructions, and then I clean up everything and leave you with very little KP duty.  You come home to a clean kitchen and a full fridge of healthy Italian meals.

We meet previous to my first visit and discuss likes, dislikes, any allergies or special requests - such as all organic or all natural items.  You will choose how many meals you would like, the day you need me to come (I can come while you are at work like a little dinner elf and be gone when you come home) and go over our menu options.

A more comprehensive menu and cost page is forthcoming

Meal Delivery - You order off our soon to be released menu, you place your order and later that week, I will bring dinner to your door.  You can order just the marinara because you love homemade tomato sauce but don't  have the time to make it or order a full meal soup to nuts, as they say, delivered right to your door.  There will be a delivery charge depending on distance.

COMING SOON!   Pop-Up Singing Tomato Cafe - The commercial kitchen at the Nashville Farmer's Market is set among all the other great restaurants in the Market House and hosts "pop-up restaurants" like mine, as well as a place to cook the above.  My goal is to do a restaurant night once a month, including entertainment, where you can come and have a great night out or just sample the great dishes we offer.

I am still working out menus for each so that is forth coming.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me over the last year, lifting me up with your complements on my cooking, and suggesting I offer these things to the Nashville community.

I know there are a bunch of Italian offerings in Nashville.  I believe that we will set ourselves apart by making traditional Italian comfort food that is holistic and a touch on the lighter side.  My goal is to use ingredients that are free of chemical preservatives (which is why we freeze our sauce and don't can it for delivery) and as close to organic on a regular basis but offer full organic upon request.  Make your favorite dishes in a healthier way - but also offer traditional options as well.

Your favorite Italian foods custom made just for you!   Mange!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Create your own Pumpkin Pie Spice & Chili mix! Just say no to MSG!

Hi all!  As many of you know from my facebook posts, I am not a big fan of GMO (stands for genetically modified foods) products, chemical preservatives or "taste enhancers" or processed foods in general.   I have over the last several months slowly been converting my pantry and food habits to a cleaner way of eating.

Two of my favorite "go to" spice mixes to use are Pumpkin Pie Spice and a Chili Mix packet.  I make a ton of breads, muffins, apples things using pumpkin pie spice.  And Fall wouldn't be Fall without chili!  But read the ingredients and you will find that there are some extra things in those little packets that have nothing to do with pumpkin pie spice or chili making....  Stuff that in parenthesis explains that it is an "anti caking agent" or MSG.  YUCK!

My friend Courtney shared with me some recipes for spice mixes so I could share with you. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice From My Baking
(click the link to see more great recipes from this site!)

YIELD: about 5 tablespoons

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

1. Combine spices in a small bow, mix well to combine. Store in a small jar or spice container.

Chili Mix from Courtney:
1 tablespoon paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Use this spice mix in place of a packet of chili mix per 1lb of ground meat (chicken, beef or turkey)

Thanks Courtney & Happy Fall cooking y'all!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fresh Summer Tomato Pasta

Fresh Summer Tomato Pasta - great summer alternative heavy sauces.

I think we all know by now I LOVE pasta – it's part of being Italian I guess.  And what would a blog called the Singing Tomato without some tomato recipes every now and then.  I also LOVE tomato sauce but in the summer it is SO hot here in Nashville that to heat up the kitchen to make a batch of tomato sauce is just not in the cards.  We also DO NOT buy jarred sauce in this house.  No – no.  So what's a girl to do?

How about a pasta recipe where all you have to know how to do is boil water and only heat up the stove for like 15minutes rather than all day?  Then this impressive and pretty presenting tomato and pasta dish is for you!

Fresh tomatoes and basil over al dente pasta – it's great as a weeknight meatless meal – so inexpensive or if you are a veggie you will love.  However, if you have a carnivorous tendency that you just can't curb you can always toss in some grilled chicken.  Also since it's so pretty you can make it for guests and they will be impressed.  Here we go!

3 large red tomatoes – cut up into bite sized pieces
3 large yellow tomatoes – cut into bite sized pieces
1/2C extra virgin olive oil
2t minced garlic (fresh or from the jar)
2C fresh basil – wash then stack the leaves on top of each other and slice up so it looks like little shreds (if you don't grow basil already you should BUT if you can't you can get it at the grocery)
1/2t crushed red pepper
1 dash of salt
1lb thin spaghetti – cooked as directed

1. toss everything above together in a large mixing bowl.  Cover with a lid or plastic wrap.  Put it in the fridge for at least 30mins.  The longer you leave it in there the more the flavors will marry.

2. When you are ready to eat – take the tomatoes out and let come to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, back at the stove, cook your pasta as directed and drain when done.
4. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and top with parmesan cheese.
5. You can add grilled chicken if you want.

I love this which a Vinho Verde – a bubbly not too sweet not to dry white wine from Portugal.  YUM!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thoughts of expansion for This Singing Tomato

Hello Fellow Tomatoes!

For many generations on my Italian side the woman of my family have made all kinds of tomato products.  So I have my recipes for sauces and other tomato oriented dishes from all my peeps.  Several friends have asked that I make and sell some of these products.

The first ones I was thinking of producing were my Tomato Sauce and possibly my healthier version of Bolognese sauce.  The sauces would be made and then frozen - which is a little different than what most are used to - like the jars at the grocery.  I like freezing because it preserves the freshness.  So initially it would only be available here in Nashville.

So I guess I am asking all of you readers your thoughts?  Would you be interested?  Would you order?  Would you care if it was organic or not?  Please send me thoughts via email or on facebook.  I welcome your thoughts before I embark on this endeavor.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Clean Eating Peach Crumble

Since its peach season I am in peach heaven!  I put them in my yogart, cereal, love them!  I love peach cobbler but it is very high glycemic and not “clean”.  So I wen tin search of a recipe conversion.  This one is GREAT!  Not to sweet and yummy!  Even Darren liked it.  

Peach Crumble

4C peaches, peeled and sliced
2/3C chopped pecans (or you can use almonds)
1/4C agave nectar
1t lemon juice
1t vanilla extract

Crumble topping
1/2C coconut sugar (you can find this on if you can't get it at the store)
1/2C whole wheat flour
1/2C steel cut oats (you can use regular ones if that's what you have)
1 ½ t pumpkin pie spice
4T butter (softened and cut into small pieces)
1 ½ T coconut oil (room temperature)

Grease either an 8x8 glass pan or a 9in glass or ceramic pie plate.  Peel and slice up the peaches and put them in the pie plate.  Sprinkle the pecans over the peaches, then drizzle the agave, lemon juice & vanilla extract over the peaches.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut sugar, flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice, butter and coconut oil.  Use a pastry cutter (seen in the picture) and cut the mixture together until it makes crumbles.

Pour the crumbles over the peaches evenly.  

Bake at 350 for 35-45 mins.  VOILA!!  Peach Crumble !!!  YUMMY!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caprese Panini!!

And yes, I am back. That darn Christian Grey has preoccupied my summer!!!!! Fifty Shades - fun summer reading.

Anywho....I was looking for an easy week night meal AND have been wanting a panini maker for like ever... So, when Aldi had them for $25 I snatched one up.

Caprese Panini is a great and healthier alternative to pizza night (& probably cheaper)

4 slices of whole grain sourdough bread (I get mine at either Publix bakery or Trader Joes)
1/4C olive oil
1/2t Italian Seasoning
Dash of sea salt
1 plum (Roma) tomato - thinly sliced
1 small ball of mozzarella - thinly sliced
1C fresh basil leaves

Preheat your panini maker at medium heat (like a 5 or 6)

In a small bowl or coffee cup mix together the olive oil, Italian seasoning & salt. Then, with a pastery or basting brush, brush the oil mixture onto one side of the bread.  Put the oil side face down on your work surface (cutting board or plate).

Build your sandwich.  Start with a layer of tomato, then cheese and finally the basil.  Place the 2nd piece of bread on top and again bruch the oil mixture on the top.  Now don't go crazy with the oil so it doesn't get soggy.

When your panini maker is ready - place the whole sandwich in there and close the top.  squish it down a tiny bit but you don't want to squish out the guts of the sammy.  It should take between 3-6 minutes, depending on your maker.  Just watch it and see.  When the bread is toasty and the cheese is melty it is done!  Repeat so you have 2 sandwiches.

A great red table wine is great with this quick, easy and light weeknight meal.  Want something a little more carnivorous?  Try putting a grilled chicken cutlet (a thinly sliced chicken breast) in the middle of the sandwich too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Favorite Summer Quicky Quick Lunch! Lettuce Wraps!

My new favorite lunch?  Quickie Quick Lettuce wraps!
4 big iceberg lettuce leaves
4 slices boar's head low sodium turkey (or your favorite cold cuts)
4 slices 40 cal 1/2 slice (I use Sarrgento) Provolone cheese (or your favorite cheese)
2t light mayo

Lay out a lettuce leaf and dab a little light mayo on the leaf - schmear around.
Then lay on a piece of turkey and a piece of cheese - roll up!  Yum!

It's super refreshing for summer plus - no bread carbs!  I thought it wouldn't be filling but YUM!  You can use any type of lettuce or cold cuts.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chocolate Marscapone Whipped Cream - OMG!!!!

OMG!!!  You could eat this all by itself - but with strawberries and angelfood cake - you will think you died and went to Heaven!  My mom was licking the bowl and beaters when I made this at her house.
No matter how much you make I know there will be none left! (Although if you do - you can put it in a sealed plastic or glass container for up to 3 days.)  Now you will note I use coconut sugar rather than regular sugar (you can get this from Amazon like I did.  It tastes and converts like sugar without the high glycemic impact on your system).

Chocolate Marscapone Whipped Cream

  • 1/2C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2C marscapone cheese
  • 1t vanilla extract (the real stuff)
  • 1T cocoa powder
  • 1T coconut sugar (I get mine on but if you are good w/ regular sugar that's fine too - measure it 1 for 1)

stick your mixing bowl & the beaters in the freezer for about 20mins.  When done - it's not super pretty unless you pipe it onto the cake all fancy but the stuff doesn't stick around long enough at my house for it to get pretty.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Garden Fresh Black Bean Salsa

Cha! Cha! Cha! It's time to Salsa!!!!

I love fresh black bean salsa (or some folks call it "cowboy caviar"). Since my jalapeño plant is sprouting jalapeñoes like crazy, I thought - its time to make some.

This is great with corn or flour tortilla chips as an appetizer or snack. You can make a chicken sauté or bake with it - or throw it on a salad. So yummy!

  • 1/2 red onion - chopped
  • 1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
  • 2 small or one large jalapeno chopped and seeded
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes diced
  • 1 can of whole kernel sweet corn drained
  • 1t minced garlic
  • S&P
  • 1t cumin
  • 2T olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lime

Chop all your veggies & toss together in a large bowl w/ cumin, S&P, olive oil, & put the lime juice on last & toss. Store in an airtight Tupperware for up to 5days (but I bet it won't last that long!)
Other uses - saute with some chicken and put over rice, put it in a tortilla with some grilled chicken and cheese, throw it on top of baked chicken  - TONS of other things - or just eat it with a spoon - AWESOME and healthy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simple Fabulous Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad is one of my “go to” things that I make in a pinch because I always have a ball (yes a ball) of fresh mozzarella in the freezer, usually a basil plant in the the window (or the garden) and a few tomatoes in the drawer.  And what self respecting Italian doesn't have olive oil?!

Anyway, I remember my favorite Caprese story...  Once upon a time, we decided to have an impromptu gals night at my house after work.  So a few of the gals came over and a couple of them don't cook.  Well, I went into action, whipping up my salad and they saw me grab the basil plant out of the window box and start plucking leaves.  One of them says to the other, “Oh my goodness – she just grabbed that plant out of the window and is going to feed us leaves?!  What is that stuff?”  The other one looks at her and says, “It's Michele.  I don't know and I don't care because I know it will be good.”  

Well, they ate the heck out of it and I told them not to worry, I wasn't feeding them just a random window plant.  It was basil.

This recipe is easy and quick – just slicing, arranging in a nice pattern on the plate and drizzle some olive oil – SIMPLE FABULOUS easy no bake appetizer Italian style!!!

Caprese Salad

1 ball fresh mozzarella  - cut in half and then sliced
20 fresh basil leaves - washed
2 -4 plum (Roma) tomatoes – sliced
1t Italian Seasoning
2-3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Looks super pretty on a pretty plate.

Alternate in a circle for a Christmas wreath look or in rows on a nice dish, the tomato, then a basil leaf, slice of mozzarella and repeat til it's all gone.  You can cover with plastic wrap if you are going to serve it later (up to 6hrs in the fridge).   When you're ready to serve it, sprinkle the Italian seasoning over it and then drizzle olive oil.  SIMPLE FABULOUS!

NOTE – for a great week night treat  get a Boboli or a Naan bread and just layer this on top and cook in the oven as directed.  Add some Sangiovese wine and SALUT!  A fabulous, fresh week night artisan pizza.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Coming soon Fresh Garden Black Bean Salsa

What a beautiful Tennessee morning! This is my first harvest from my jalepeno plant! Maybe it's time for my famous black bean salsa!

See, you can do some great patio gardening. Now if just one of my tomatoes would turn red I'd be in business!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lite Summer Pasta Primavera

I love pasta (I know SHOCKER!) and I love fresh veggies.  However, big Italian meals tend to heat up the kitchen and the house so much – plus anything with “cream sauce” in the name is high in fat!  Which in the winter is great, warm house – stick to your ribs food - but in the summer in Tennessee – is AWFUL!  So, what is an Italian gal to do to enjoy her pasta in the spring & summer of Tennessee?
I came up with the below recipe to make a healthy non-cream version of pasta primavera.  It uses less heat... no heavy cream sauce.  
Instead we have w hite wine, butter and olive oil reduction type sauce.  The fresh veggies are nice and crisp and the reduction sauce really brings out the crisp flavors of both the veggies and the pasta, you won't even miss the cream – I promise!  
The tomatoes I have to pay special homage to here because they come out SO AWESOME in the sauté method of cooking...The grape tomatoes cooked this way are a great alternative to the all day simmering sauce you would normally make in the winter months.  They just explode with flavor in your mouth (if I do say so myself).  I can't even describe accurately the pop and flavor that you will get with these.  If you love tomatoes – you will be in heaven.  If you are “iffy” on the subject – you will be a convert.  If you don't like tomatoes – why are you reading my blog?????  LOL!
In fact, I will be hosting a fundraiser ladies' evening in my house benefitting the American Heart Association in July and I think I will be serving this meal.  It is easy, quick and I think that would be a great way to share a meal with my gal pals and to benefit a great cause.  Plus, it will keep the house cool, is a healthy meal and tasty to boot 
12 grape tomatoes
1 zucchini cut in half length wise, & then sliced into little half moons
1C fresh green beans, cleaned & rinsed
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite sized pieces
2T olive oil
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
1T butter
1/2C white wine
S&P to taste
1/2 box of Whole Wheat thin spaghetti - cooked as directed on box ( you can use a whole box – the sauce and veggies go a long way)
Here is after I have put everything back together to toss in the reduction.
In a large sauté or fry pan put olive oil ver medium heat. Put in the chicken & season with garlic & onion powder & S&P. Cook until Noel longer pink (about 5-7mins). Remove with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Put in the zucchini & cook about 5mins (will get a little brown) and remove with slotted spoon to bowl with chicken. Put in the butter & swirl until melted but don't let it burn. Then pour in wine & scrape pan - simmer about 5mins. The put in the tomatoes & cook about 5mins - some might burst but that's ok. Put in the green beans & heat them up -about 2min. Then pour the chicken & zucchini back in the pan & heat everything through. 

Once everything is combined & heated - pour over pasta & serve.

I couldn't get the color right on the photo but it does make a fun presentation!
Serving Size: About 1 1/2 scoops with pasta spoon 1 1/2 to 2 cups of everything mixed together.  Number of Servings: 5

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 5
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 355.4
Total Fat: 8.9 g
Cholesterol: 28.1 mg
Sodium: 117.8 mg
Total Carbs: 50.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.9 g
Protein: 19.0 g