Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Homemade Granola

I just acquired this recipe from a co-worker after she brought in a sample for me and I begged her for the recipe.  No artificial ingredients and relatively low sugar.  This recipe is a must try... homemade granola is 100% better than store bought. Period.

Homemade Granola


3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (pecan, walnuts, and or cashews)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Vanilla


1. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and combine water, oil, and vanilla in another.
2. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the water mixture, stirring to combine evenly
3. Spread over large cookie sheet and sprinkle cinnamon over top
4. Bake at 285 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir well after 30 minutes, then cook the remaining 30 minutes.

*Option to add dried fruit of choice. Stir in air tight container once cooled.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Low Calorie Baked Reuben Dip

Michael Scott said it best when he said, "I'm not superstitious but I might be a little stitious". 

One of these superstitions is to eat sauerkraut on New Years Day which has always posed a challenge for me as I'm not a huge fan of sauerkraut.  I was determined to keep that bad karma away with a good tasting, low calorie sauerkraut option.  My old roommate and I made a reuben dip every year with a ton of cheese and Thousand Island dressing (aka ton of calories) that was very delicious but this dip doesn't coincide with the health and fitness goals I have set out for myself in the new year.  I wanted to recreate the recipe to have the great taste without all the calories and most importantly.... still tone down the taste of the sauerkraut!

I started my recipe by using two healthier substitutions:

Protein... check!
Zero calorie dressing... check!

The rest was so easy to put together... reduce the amount of cheese and increase the corned beef to increase the flavor!

Low Calorie Baked Reuben Dip


4 oz. Greek cream cheese softened
1/4 cup Walden Farms Thousand Island Dressing
6 oz. corned beef, chopped
2 cups well drained sauerkraut 
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
About 2 Tablespoons parsley to garnish


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix together cream cheese and dressing in medium bowl until well combined and creamy.  Next add in corned beef and sauerkraut.
3. Spread the mixture in a shallow baking dish or casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes.  Option to broil for 1-2 minutes at the end to brown the cheese
4. Remove from oven and garnish with parley

Serve with pumpernickel bread or rye crackers... good with veggies as well!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Copycat Cucumber Delight Recipe

Just having two nights to spend in our nation's capital, I called upon my friends who were familiar with the city not for advice on which monument to see, or what museum was best, but...... where would we have the best food experience of course!  I asked all my fellow foodies for restaurant recommendations and they unanimously suggested (well... insisted) I try Founding Farmers.  If you have had the privilege to visit the Founding Farmers restaurant in Washington D.C. recently, I hope you were steered in the right direction as far as drink selection goes as this drink was the absolute highlight to my entire trip.
Having partied a little too hard the night before, I was extremely exhausted, dehydrated, and let's face it...hungover.  I was having a hard time deciding on which drink to order as I really just wanted copious amounts of water at that point when a couple of women in line beside us at the bar ordered this amazing looking drink garnished with cucumber and cantaloupe.  Being my nosy self, I asked them what they were drinking and their faces lit up with excitement as they pointed to it on the menu...."Organic Cucumber Delight" and told us it's the only drink they get when they go there because it is just that delicious.

I was intrigued but wasn't feeling the cucumber so I ordered a glass of Chardonnay.... big mistake. My friends were wise enough to order the cucumber delight and, of course, loved it just as much as the women at the bar.  Once I tried theirs, I realized just how big of a  mistake the glass of wine was. The drink was so refreshing and the perfect blend of sweet and citrus without either overpowering the other.  Next round of drinks, we all ordered the cucumber delight of course and I set my mind to a very important mission... to re-create this amazing drink!
I am all about making things from scratch and had planned on muddling the seedless cucumber as they did but was feeling very thirsty and was too impatient for the extra step, not to mention, mess in my kitchen.  The already infused cucumber vodka didn't disappoint but please feel free to try it with the muddling process and let me know what you think! Another difference in my recipe versus theirs is they used a higher-end French ginger liquor, Domaine de Canton, which is seemingly impossible to find in Ohio so I used what I believe to be the next best thing.
After only a few trials and errors, this recipe is what I found to be the masterpiece:

1 1/2 oz cucumber vodka (I used Effen Cucumber)
1/2 oz Stirrings all natural ginger liquor
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 fresh squeezed lime
1 melon ball
Shake in cocktail shaker and pour over ice in rocks glass.
Top with soda water (about 1 1/2 oz)