Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project Vintage Recipes June Recipe: Great Grandma Stauber's Cucumber Relish

I found this refrigerator cucumber relish recipe tucked inside the pages of my great grandmother's cookbook "Table Home and Health" published in 1892.  I have cucumbers coming out of my eyeballs right now in my garden, so this recipe was a perfect feature for this month.  I love that you can store this in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks and it can even be frozen.  It saves me the trouble of canning when I don't have the time.  I love her use of horseradish in this relish!  It gives an unexpected kick to enhance the flavor.  I did change her recipe slightly.  She used a 1/2 cup pickling salt and that was a bit much for me.  Unless you want a lip puckering dose of salt, it was better to use a smaller amount.  It still turned out wonderful and was full of flavor.  I also added a half cup more brown sugar.  It was a bit too tart without the added amount.  You can serve this as a side dish, a topping for beans and rice or any other way that you love to serve relish.  I like mine chunkier, so I didn't chop the vegetables too small.  Sometimes, I want this in a bowl all by itself.  Enjoy~

Great Grandma Stauber's Cucumber Relish

1 dozen large cucumbers peeled, seeded and chopped
4 green peppers, finely chopped
2 red peppers, finely chopped
4 large onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt or kosher salt
1 cup horseradish
1 1/2 cups natural brown sugar
1 tsp celery seed
2 tbsp mustard seed
cold white vinegar to cover

Peel, core and chop cucumbers.

Add 1/4 cup salt to chopped cucumbers.

The original recipe says to place in a sack and allow to drain overnight.  I put them in a colander over a large bowl, covered and allowed to drain overnight.  You will have a large amount of water in the bowl the next morning.  Drain and rinse cucumbers in an ice cold water, filling the bowl.  Drain well.  This helps to remove the excess salt. 
Chop peppers and onions.  Add to cucumbers.  In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, horseradish, celery seed and mustard seed.  Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves.  Add to cucumber mixture and then add enough vinegar to cover.

Bottle in your favorite jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks, freeze or give as gifts to friends. 

Tasty Travels...

I recently returned from a wonderful summer vacation and wanted to share some of my favorite restaurant dishes with all of you.  We went to Hilton Head Island, SC and Asheville, NC.  I also made a trip to the Phoenix, AZ in May for a fun hiking excursion and girl's weekend. 

The first place that I am writing about is the Essence Bakery Cafe in Gilbert, AZ.  This place has amazing French macarons!   Absolutely delicious!!  I had the key lime macaron.  It had just the right blend of tart and sweet with a light and soft texture.  This was my first macaron experience and I plan to have many more.  Their delightful, organic menu can be found here.

If you love a great mojito, Wise Guys in Hilton Head has one of the best mojitos that I have tasted.  It's loaded with fresh mint.  It's a great refreshing cocktail for those hot summer days...

They have a great tapas menu.  The braised short ribs were delicious.

I also had the naked seared tuna.  It's one of my favorites.  If you would like to explore their menu, the website is here.

My favorite meal of our recent summer trip was at The Arbor Grill at the Winery in the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. 

The alfresco dining experience was nice and they have great live music at certain times of the day.  The menu is small, featuring a great variety of dishes.  I had the red curry lime grilled shrimp salad with pistachio lime couscous, pineapple compote, chili oil and and chicory greens.  It was absolutely heavenly!!

The Biltmore Estate is a spectacular sight to see.  Make sure that you leave time for a tour of this unbelievable mansion.  The history of the Vanderbilt family and the construction of the estate is fascinating.

They also offer a wine tasting.  We enjoyed sampling the wonderful wines made on site.

If you would like to know more about The Biltmore Estate, you can visit their website at The Biltore Estate.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A healthier donut alternative

Every now and then I need to get my donut fix.   I refuse to sabotage my fitness goals by indulging with a krispy kreme, so I found a great alternative.  Kinnikinnick Foods makes a gluten free, wheat free, dairy free and nut free vanilla glazed donut that is delicious!!  My daughter's favorite is the cinnamon sugar.  They are also really good.  If you need a "cheat moment", this is the way to go!  Less guilt with these babies and lots of flavor.  YUM!

Farm Burger...these folks are doing it right

Buying local, supporting ethical and organic farming practices and representing the farm to table movement is what Farm Burger is all about. 

Their grassfed beef is delicious and so is just about everything else on the menu (so I've been told).  There are many healthy selections on their menu.  I had their quinoa burger and it was really good!! 

If you are ever in the Decatur, Georgia area, don't miss this place!  It's a restaurant that I am happy to support.  For more information, visit their website here.

Mom's Cottage Cheese Pancakes

This protein packed pancake recipe originally came from my Nana.  She has made them for years.  They have more of a dense texture than a fluffy pancake and remind me of a thick crepe.  It is important to only use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, or they will be hard to flip.  My mom has put her own healthy spin on these pancakes and they are just as yummy as the original.  I will post my Nana's version and my mom's version and let you decide on your favorite.  My mom's recipe is more waistline friendly, so you get all the protein with less calories.  These pancakes are a great way to get your protein in the morning.  I love to spread these with all fruit preserves or top with fresh fruit and a drizzle of agave nectar or real maple syrup.  Delicious~

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Nana's version)

1 cup whole milk (small curd) cottage cheese
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour (can sub a gluten-free all-purpose baking mix)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil (melted and cooled unrefined coconut oil can be used)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed for 1 minute.  Scrape sides of the blender and blend for a few more seconds until all is incorporated and smooth.  Bake on a greased griddle using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.  

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Mom's version)

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
6 eggs (you can do 3 whole eggs and 4 egg whites)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I use spelt,oat flour, or GF baking mix too)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk (or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp canola oil (or melted coconut oil)

*Prepare pancakes according to directions above.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (My version)

1 cup whole milk cottage cheese
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Brand)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

*Prepare pancakes according to directions above.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fit and Fabulous Fridays #3

Welcome to my Fit and Fabulous Fridays link party.  Submit your favorite healthy recipe of the week.  Thank you for stopping by and linking up!  Just click on the blue frog link below to add your recipe.  :)  I'll keep the link up all weekend so there is plenty of time to share.

Here's how it works:
  • Please link up to the URL of your post, not the URL of your main blog. When it asks for "Name", type in the name of your recipe.
  • Please leave a link back to this post in your post and grab my button for your blog(please pass the word to your blog friends for more fabulous recipes!)
  • Share your delicious and fit recipes from this week.
  • Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked up.
  • Please visit at least two others and comment on their wonderful additions to this party.
Thank you for being a part of my link party! I love sharing recipes and look forward to trying yours! Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Squash Rice Casserole

I got this delicious casserole recipe from our local paper last week.  It came from Cooking Light Comfort Food.  We loved it!  This is a great way to use up your abundant zucchini harvest right now.  I used a wild rice medley instead of the brown rice that it called for in the recipe.  It would be delicious either way.  To shorten prep time when making this dish, cook your rice the day before you make the casserole.  I cook mine in a rice cooker on the "brown rice" setting.  It comes out perfectly every time.  I felt like the original recipe needed a little more salt, so I added a little more in my version.  I served it with a rotisserie chicken for a fast and delicious meal.  Enjoy~

Squash Rice Casserole


8 cups sliced zucchini (can also use yellow squash)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 cups cooked brown rice (can also use a wild rice medley)
1 cup shredded Cabot 50% reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free or low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I used Ian's whole wheat panko crumbs with 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lightly beaten eggs


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine zucchini, onion and broth in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil.   Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. 

Drain; partially mash with a potato masher. 

To Dutch oven; add cooked rice, cheddar cheese, sour cream, 2 tbsp Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs; stir gently. 

Spoon mixture into a 9x13 baking dish spray with non-stick butter flavored spray.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Broil 1 minute or until lightly browned. 

Per serving: 190 calories; 12 grams protein; 3 grams fiber; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meaty Pesto and Tomato Lasagna

I made dinner tonight with absolutely no intention of blogging my recipe.  I came home from getting my kids from camp and was in a mad rush to get dinner on the table (you know how those days go...).  Hence, the lack of photographs for my steps.  I made lasagna my "healthier" way using a combination of recipes.  I created my own recipe hybrid and it turned out amazing!  My family doesn't always get a repeat of a recipe that they really loved.  I frequently throw things together, without writing it down, and never remember exactly how I prepared it.  It's kind of a running joke in my family, because my mom is the same way.  My poor father will love a dish and may never eat it again.  Oh well.... they can't say that our meals are repetitious!   Without further hesitation and my annoying rambling, here is my recipe.  Enjoy~

Meaty Pesto and Tomato Lasagna


8oz box VitaSpelt whole grain lasagna noodles
2 (24oz) jars organic marinara sauce (such as Newman's Own)
16 oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
1 whole egg
1/2 cup homemade or storebought pesto sauce
2 cups reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesean cheese, shredded
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 lb lean grassfed organic ground beef (*can also use ground bison)
1 tbsp fresh basil, rinsed and chopped fine
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend (such as McCormick's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil.  Add a little salt.  Cook lasagna for 3 minutes and drain.  Brown ground beef over medium heat until meat crumbles and is cooked through.  Drain.  Stir in pasta sauce, Italian seasoning and fresh basil and set aside.  In a separate bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, pesto, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesean, salt and pepper.  In the bottom of a 11x7 baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce mixture.  Top with 4 noodles.  Spread with 1/2 the ricotta mixture and then more pasta sauce mixture.  Add a second layer of noodles and repeat with remaining ingredients.  Top with the extra cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesean cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6-8. 

A wonderful surprise!!

One of the great perks of writing a food blog is networking with other food bloggers.  I have had the privilege to meet some amazing cooks/bakers online and I'm having a blast sharing and testing out new recipes!!  It is so interesting to read about what motivates and inspires other people in the kitchen.  One of the amazing women that I have enjoyed getting to know is Donna from My Tasty Journey.  She is such a fun writer and I really enjoy reading her blog.  Please visit her blog and tell her that I sent you. :)  She was so kind to award me with all of these really great blog awards!!!  Donna, you are the best!!!  Thank you!

Now I pass these awards on to 10 of my newest blog friends.  Please visit their wonderful blogs and check out their great recipes!!  There are so many more great blogs that I love, but can't list them all! :)

1.       Kay @

2.      Amy @

4.      Meagan @

8.     Megan @

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Super Easy Homemade Jam


Hodgepodge Berry Jam

 Recipe courtesy of Alice at PBS kitchen explorers...


  • 2 cups chopped berries (any mixture of berries, preferably local or organic)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used whey low to reduce calories)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


In a medium pan, cook the berries, sugar, and lemon juice on medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Blackberry Strawberry Jam...

The jam is ready when the consistency of the jam is like a thick maple syrup or the temperature reaches 220 degrees F.


Perfect texture.

Makes an amazing PB & J....

I love this simple pectin-free jam.  After cooking for 20 minutes, allow to cool to room temperature (if refrigerating).  It will continue to thicken.  If you are canning: pour into a hot, sterile glass mason jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Skim any foam off the top of the jam before sealing. Seal and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes to seal lids and store.  You can also refrigerate and use within two weeks.   In our house, it never lasts that long!  Delicious~

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fit and Fabulous Fridays #2

It's that time again....
Come join the party and submit  your favorite healthy recipe!!  The link will be open all weekend this time, so you have plenty of time to get your recipe on here.  :)

Here's how it works:
  • Please link up to the URL of your post, not the URL of your main blog. When it asks for "Name", type in the name of your recipe.
  • Please leave a link back to this post in your post and grab my button for your blog(please pass the word to your blog friends for more fabulous recipes!)
  • Share your delicious and fit recipes from this week.
  • Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked up.
  • Please visit at least two others and comment on their wonderful additions to this party.
Thank you for being a part of my link party! I love sharing recipes and look forward to trying yours! Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tomato Vinaigrette for Pasta

This is a perfect summertime dish.  My mother-in-law, RoseAnne, has been making this for years and passed the recipe along to me.  I love this light and delicious pasta sauce.  Make it in the morning, because it has to marinate all day.  I serve this sauce tossed with angel hair pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  This is a great dish for picnics and potlucks because it is wonderful at room temperature.  I hope that you enjoy this summery dish as much as our family does.  It goes well with grilled chicken breasts.  Enjoy~

Tomato Vinaigrette

1 packet chicken broth concentrate mixed with 1 cup water *see below (can also use Knorr's chicken bouillon cube)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, pressed
4 medium-large tomatoes, diced (remove pulp and seeds)
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (or more to taste)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest (this is my zest!)
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Start with dissolving chicken broth concentrate or bouillon cube in hot water.  I like using the concentrate because it adds so much flavor.

Cut, rinse and chop the fresh basil and oregano.

Dice the tomatoes.  Scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Don't forget the lemon zest...

After everything has been combined in a large bowl, cover and let stand at room temperature ALL day.   This step is very important!!   You need to let the flavors mingle.

Toss with hot pasta (I love the Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta) and garnish with freshly grated cheese.

Light and delicious!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry cobbler is one of my husband's favorite desserts.  I made healthy substitutions to our favorite cobbler recipe without compromising taste.  Believe me, if he could tell the difference, he would not be a happy camper!!  Most quick cobbler recipes, like this one, call for self-rising flour.  Since I wanted to use a healthier flour substitute, the baking powder is added to help it rise.  Serve topped with vanilla frozen yogurt or low-fat vanilla ice cream.  We think it's absolutely delicious and summertime just isn't the same without it...Enjoy~

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

1 stick (1/2 cup) smart balance butter (olive oil blend is my favorite)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder (metal-free)
1 cup organic sugar (or wheylow sugar-what I use)
1 cup milk (1%)
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash fresh blackberries by rinsing several times in cool water and set aside.  These babies are beautiful!!

Melt butter in a 1 1/2 to 2 qt. casserole dish in the oven or microwave.  Set aside.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add sugar and milk to flour mixture and stir until combined.  Pour this mixture over the melted butter.  Do not stir.  Spoon blackberries evenly over batter, but do not stir. 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.  Top with your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream and enjoy!

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