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Monday, April 20, 2015

Texas Caviar ♥

I have teamed up with Red Gold Tomatoes and they are doing a great promotion! Spring Shake-Up" promotion, which runs from April 22 through May 20 on Pinterest.

 Add your own Spring Inspiration for a chance to win an amazing picnic prize pack from Red Gold valued at $350!  This prize will make any average picnic a grand event! See the link below for the entry form! I added my recipe for  Texas Style Black Bean and Corn Salsa or as the Texans call it Texas Caviar, what will be your recipe?  ♥

Red Gold Tomatoes Spring Shake Up

Ingredients ♥

1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes, drained
2 (15.8 ounce) cans black-eyed peas,
2 fresh medium jalapenos, stemmed,
seeded and minced
1 small onion, cut into small dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded
and cut into small dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Directions ♥
   Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 2 days. Before serving, adjust seasonings to taste, adding extra vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with chips or crackers. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Skinny Vietnamese Spring Rolls ♥

Want clean eating foods? Try my skinny Vietnamese spring rolls, packed full of shrimp and delicious veggies! A perfect lunch or dinner!

Replacing higher-calorie breads with rice paper wrappers can help you lose weight, as can keeping your fillings for rice paper wrappers healthy.One of the easiest ways to lose weight with rice paper wrappers is to use them as bread substitutes. Click for my recipe below along with my hoisin peanut dipping sauce!

Ingredients ♥

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 (16-cm) rice paper wrappers ( you can find these in any Asian ethnic store) 
1 cup baby spinach
4 ounces cooked vermicelli
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cucumber, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned


1/4 cup hoisin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions ♥
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the dipping sauce, whisk together hoisin, peanut butter, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl; set aside.
Place shrimp onto prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing into half lengthwise.
Working one at a time, wet rice paper for 10 seconds and transfer to a work surface; place spinach in the center of each wrapper and top with vermicelli, red cabbage, cucumber, carrot and shrimp. Bring the bottom edge of the wrap tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the rice paper. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Serve immediately with hoisin peanut dip.♥

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Margherita Pizza ♥

Now you can have low carb gluten free pizza! So what's the star ingredient in this pizza dough? Cauliflower! It is transformed into pizza dough, so this way you don't have to feel guilty about having pizza!  ♥

Ingredients ♥

Makes 1 large pizza - 3 or 4 servings

4 cups raw cauliflower, riced or 1 medium cauliflower head
1 egg, beaten
1 cup soft fresh goat cheese or 1 cup chevre cheese or 1 cup other soft cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch salt
4 tbsp tomato sauce
4.5 oz fresh  Mozzarella cheese, sliced
fresh basil (small bunch) 
freshly ground black pepper
drizzle extra virgin  olive oil 

Directions  ♥
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.
Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.
THIS IS THE SECRET: Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! It’s amazing how much extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.
In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about 1” thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400°F The crust should be firm, and golden brown when finished.
Now’s the time to add all your sauce,then add fresh mozzarella cheese. Return the pizza to the 400F oven, 
Bake for another 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool a bit before serving and add some more fresh basil leaves on top.Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!! ♥

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Orthodox Easter ♥

Today I celebrate  the Orthodox Easter, Easter or Paskha is the most important religious observance of the year in the Russian Orthodox Church. Easter in Russia is a lot more than just a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. ♥

In Russia Easter is usually celebrated later than in the West. This happens because Easter dates are determined by different calendars. When the Catholic and Orthodox churches separated in the 11th century, they both calculated the date of Easter in the same way. However, the Catholic church adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, and the Orthodox church continued to use the old Julian calendar. Because the two calendars had a difference of 13 days by the 21st century, and because both churches use March 21 for the date of the vernal equinox instead of the observed equinox, the date of Easter is different in both churches.Preceding Easter is a 40 days long Lenten fast during which no meat and dairy products, fish, eggs, alcohol are allowed.  The fasting begins with Maslenitsa or Pancake week which is celebrated during the last week before the Great Lent. Though meat is already forbidden, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products (russian pancakes, blini) and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful and introspective Lenten season. Holy week, beginning with Palm Sunday is a busy time in Russian families, when houses are cleaned and Easter food is prepared. On Holy Thursday, Russians paint Easter eggs using their traditional method of boiling them in onion peels or other natural dyes. Painted eggs are a universal symbol of Easter, but in Russia they take on even greater significance.

On Holy Saturday, a strict day fasting in which no food at all is allowed, families are nonetheless busy preparing for the Easter feast. The feast, served to break the fast after the midnight mass, includes the Paskha cake and Easter eggs which are blessed by the priest on Holy Saturday.Sunrise services in Russia are not common on Easter morning, instead Orthodox churches hold a midnight mass, with a procession around the church.  When the clock strikes 12, church bells announce the resurrection of Christ. ♥

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grandma Katrina's Russian Pancakes"Blini" ♥

Happy Saturday! Here is a special recipe that is near and dear to me...
My Grandma Katrina used to make the best blini, (these are russian pancakes), they can be served for breakfast, or for lunch or dinner, with a dollap of jelly, or sour cream, with salmon or caviar. enjoy! ♥

Ingredients ♥

3 large eggs
3 1/4 cups milk
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2.5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2-2.5 tsp dry yeast
Oil to grease the skillet
1 stick margarine to oil ready blini ( I use Smart Balance for a healthier approach)

Makes about 18-20 blini

Tools needed...
1/2 small raw unpeeled potato and a fork for greasing tool
3 quart covered pot (better enameled or at least stainless steel)
Non-stick skillet, 8-9" diameter
Ladle or a big spoon
Wooden spatula
Heat-proof dish to stack ready blini

Garnishes ♥
Salted herring, thinly sliced 
Melted butter
Soft boiled eggs, chopped
Sour cream

Directions ♥

1. Scald 1.25 cup of milk in a pot. Separate 1/4 cup and mix it with yeast until dissolved. Beat eggs, stir them in milk, along with yeast, salt and sugar. The mixture must be lukewarm, so if it cooled down, warm it up on very low heat constantly stirring.

2. Add flour and mix well until you get the batter/dough of rather thick consistency, like thick sour cream. Cover the pot, and let the dough rise in a warm place.  About 1 hour.

3. While the dough is rising, prepare garnishes (caviar and herring should be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated) and lay the table. Blini are served hot, so later you will have no time for this. Leave boiling of eggs to the end though - it's nice when they are served warm, just take then out of the fridge to acquire room temperature before boiling.

4. When the dough rises and at least triples in size, scald the remaining milk, and mix it in the dough in small portions (about 1/2 cup each), stirring well every time. Small portions of hot milk will not kill the yeast, but will keep the mass very warm. After all milk is in, leave the dough to foam for about 30 minutes, covered.  Don't mix the foam!

5. Prepare your baking tools. Pour some olive oil in a small bowl - for greasing your skillet. Make a greasing tool with a half of potato and a fork.
5. Your dough/batter will look like a thick foam when ready to bake. Heat the skillet on high heat, grease it with the potato dipped in oil, scoop a ladle of dough on the skillet, and smear it around. The thick foam will not spread easily just by tilting and turning the skillet. 

6. Bake on one side until bubbles form and the surface becomes mat, check if it's nicely browned by lifting the edge a little, then flip over with the spatula and bake on the other side. Adjust the heat so your blini don't burn, but bake through and are beautifully browned. Grease the skillet before each blin, otherwise your blini will not get a nice pattern.

7. Stack blini on the heat-proof dish, second side up (it is smoother and easier to oil), and gently oil each blini with the butter stick. Butter will prevent blini from sticking to one another.

8. When all blini are ready, loosely cover the dish with foil, and toss it into the 175 F oven to keep warm. At this point boil soft eggs. 

Serve everything with favorite garnishes. Herring, eggs, caviar, sour cream, jelly.enjoy! ♥

Leftover blini, if any, should be refrigerated. Blini will stick all together, so don't try to separate one blini - it will break. Warm them up all together in a microwave or an oven at 325 F, loosely covered with foil.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Russian Holy Friday Salmon Pie (Kulebyaka) ♥

In Orhtodox culture today is Holy Friday, Easter for orthodox is this Sunday, Here is a perfect russian fish recipe for today! 

The Russians call it kulebyaka,, the more general Russian word for pie. Inside the flaky crust, wild salmon from Alaskan waters is layered with rice and cabbage, crops introduced to the 18th-century natives of Kodiak Island by fur traders from across the strait. Long after the Russians gave up the hunt for sea otter pelts and sold their claim to the territory to the United States, the frontier fish-camp dish remained a staple of the Russian dinner table.

I made a low fat version of my grandmothers "Kulebyaka" salmon pie recipe but I think that this version is much more healthier and still very tasty! Usually Kulebyaka is made from yeast based dough, but puff pastry or fresh dough also can be used. For an easy version on the crust you can buy low fat puff pastry pre made. My  grandma Katrina traditionally made the crust from scratch I remember her tiny hands kneading away in the kitchen. 

serves 8 - 10

Ingredients ♥
1 1/2 lb. skinned salmon fillet
4-5 hard boiled eggs sliced
1 beaten egg
(1 lb) puff pastry - defrosted if frozen
Flour for rolling surface
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. dry white wine

1 tsp thyme
1 cup cooked rice
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 handful  chopped fresh dill ( if you are not a dill fan you may substitute spinach) 
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 medium chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 lb. mushrooms (of your choice), brushed clean and thinly sliced
Flour for rolling surface

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions ♥

The oven should be pre-heated to 400F. Lightly oil a baking tray.

To poach salmon: fill medium shallow saucepan or skillet with enough water to cover about two-thirds of the salmon fillet. Bring water to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the wine, thyme, salt, pepper and salmon, cook 10 minutes or until salmon just begins to flake. Remove salmon from poaching water and cool. Flake into bite-sized pieces.

To make a  rice and mushroom stuffing: In a deep, ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add chopped onion, garlic, the salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté a little more, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the fresh dill.

Assembling the Kulebyaka

On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry, to make a 30 cm (12 in) square.
Spread the rice and mushroom mixture  over the pastry, but leave a border all round of about 1 cm ( inch).
Arrange the salmon pieces on top of the rice,Then layer with remaining dill, scatter the sliced eggs over the salmon, and sprinkle with fish seasoning.
Brush pastry edges with beaten egg.
Fold the pastry twice to form a rectangle. Press the edges together to seal in the contents.
Carefully lift the pastry roll onto the oiled baking tray and glaze with beaten egg.
Pierce the pastry case in several places to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 40 minutes. After 30 minutes cover the roll with foil.

Leave on baking tray to cool.  Slice and Serve.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pearls Olives Campaign & Mini Tex-Mex Bean Dip ♥

I was so happy to be approached by Pearls Olives for their new campaign on Pearls to go! 

America's favorite olive just got easier than ever to enjoy. Delicious California-grown large pitted black ripe olives are perfect for lunchboxes, gym bags, desk drawers, as well as great for afterschool or an after-sports group snack. Always ready-to-go in single-serve, liquid-free, easy-to-open cups, they are a great choice for a tasty wholesome snack.

These easy-to-open cups stay fresh and tightly sealed until you're ready to use them--so that you can quickly enjoy a snack, (keep in a desk drawer), or just punch up the flavor profile of any dish without having to find a can opener or storage container. With 100 calories per 1.4 ounce cup, they come four cups to a package. Below I have listed a recipe for easy on the go mini taco dip cups~ ♥

Here is a little background on Pearls Olives....

Musco Family Olive Co. is a privately held family business. Rooted in expertise from the olive groves of Italy and built over many generations of active family involvement, Musco has become the leading supplier of table olives in America.

 From the time he was a young child in Italy, Nicolo Musco worked in his family's merchant business, peddling olives, cheese, and other food from village to village on his donkey-driven cart. Nicolo started his American success story in 1922, moving from Italy to New York to start an Italian food distributorship. Nicolo's entrepreneurial spirit, combined with a heritage that spans back many generations as a merchant of Italian food products, led him to seek his fortune in the olive groves of California..

Today, this rich heritage and expertise endures at Musco Family Olive Co. which honors its founder, Nicolo Musco, by continuing his philosophy of "making a good thing even better." Over 500 growers, 350 employees, and countless vendors and business partners are part of the Musco family tree. It is in this spirit of family that we are known as the Musco Family Olive Co.

Here is  a quick and easy recipe for Mini Tex-Mex Bean Dip !Just toss Pearls to go olives in  on top of the dip and your all set to experience the flavor of the Southwest! 

Mini Tex-Mex Bean Dip 

Ingredients ♥

2 cans bean dip
2 cartons fresh guacamole
1 packet taco seasoning mix
8 ounces light sour cream
1 jar salsa 
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 cup diced tomatoes or pico de gallo, drained
4 portable containers Pearls to go sliced black olives

Directions  ♥

In a bowl add taco seasoning package and beans. Stir until well blended. Then add a layer of beans in bottom of cup.Add a layer of guacamole.Next add a layer of sour cream.Next add some salsa!Next is a layer of shredded cheese!
Pack into a mini portable cups,  add your pearls sliced olives to go on top of the dip when ready for eating and your all set, so easy! ♥

Yields: about 16 individual cups

This post was sponsored by Pearls Olives  and Fit Approach Sweat Pink Ambassadors 

Monday, April 6, 2015

5 Eggcellent Recipes for Leftover Easter Eggs ♥

  I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter! ( I get to celebrate it next Sunday the Russian Orthodox Easter) Per request from my readers,I have collaborated 5 top recipe using leftover Easter eggs, because you all know you have those little suckers left over in your fridge, here are my top 5 eggcellent recipes enjoy! ♥ 

1. Skinny Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe ♥ 

Ingredients ♥ 

6  large hardboiled eggs
1/3 cup small-dice celery (about 1 stalk)
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Directions ♥ 
Peel the eggs, rinse off any bits of shell, cut them in half, and place back in the large bowl. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the halves into small pieces.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. serve on a whole wheat bread, with crackers, in a wrap or just plain by itself! enjoy! ♥ 

2. Grandma Katrina's Deviled Egg's ♥ ( click for recipe!) 

3. Polpettone Italian Meatloaf ♥

Ingredients  ♥ 

For the decoration inside
1 boiled carrot, sliced lengthways in 4 pieces
1 lightly boiled courgette (zucchini), sliced lengthways in 4 pieces
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs

For the polpettone itself
 (1 cup) breadcrumbs to coat
 (1 lb) very lean, quality ground beef 
Fifth to half a nutmeg, grated (adjust quantity to taste)
2 eggs
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
 (1/4 lb) Parmesan cheese
 (1/4 lb) ricotta cheese
2 boiled, mashed medium potatoes
3 heaped tablespoons flour

1 glass white wine
For the sauce
 (2 lb) ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 cloves garlic

Bunch basil (20 fresh leaves)

Directions ♥ 
Mix the ingredients for the polpettone very well, using a fork.

Roll out into a dinner plate size shape. Place the vegetables on the rolled mixture. Roll up into a “Yuletide log” shape. If using, toast the multicereal bread, crumbed, in a little oil with a clove of garlic.
Add plain breadcrumbs to the multicereal breadcrumbs .Roll the meatloaf in the breadcrumbs. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes on 390 F until well browned.
Add the glass of white wine, baste well and return to the oven.
Meanwhile, make a tomato sauce by cooking the tomatoes slowly with olive oil and garlic, adding basil at the end. Save some leaves for decoration.
If you like, press the garlic through a garlic press back into the sauce. If not, discard.
Cook the meatloaf for an additional few (around 10) minutes in the sauce. Decorate with basil leaves. You can serve this dish with or without the sauce, as you wish. Without the sauce, it makes great picnic food, served at room temperature.enjoy!♥ 

4. Skinny Potato Salad ♥  

Ingredients ♥
12 Small or 6 Medium Red Potatoes
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
1 cup Chopped Celery
6 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup White Sugar
1 tsp Cornstarch
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 can (5 ounce)  Evaporated Milk
1 tsp Prepared Yellow Mustard
1/4 cupfat free butter or margarine

1 cup light  Mayonnaise

Directions  ♥
Place peeled potatoes into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, cool and dice. In a large bowl, toss diced potatoes with the onion, celery, one teaspoon of salt and the eggs. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together 2 eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Stir in vinegar, milk and mustard. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Refrigerate until cool, then stir in the mayonnaise. Gently stir the dressing into the bowl of potato salad until evenly coated. Chill several hours, or overnight, before serving.

Refrigerating overnight is best as it gives the flavors time to blend.

5.  Deviled Green Eggs and Ham ♥ 

Ingredients ♥ 

Leftover Ham ( cubed)
Leftover hard boiled-12
green GEL food coloring
1/4 cup mayo
1-2 t mustard 
salt, pepper, paprika, tarragon {you can just use salt & pepper if you like}

Directions ♥
Pop the yolks out and mash lightly.  Add salt, pepper, paprika, and tarragon {or any combination of these that you like} to taste.  Add the mayo and mustard.  Stir until mostly combined.
Add two small squirts of the gel food coloring.  Do not use the liquid food coloring from the store.  It is too runny for these purposes and will make the egg mixture really loose. Stir them until all of the food coloring is incorporated and put into a piping bag.  If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a plastic Ziploc and just snip the tip off for piping.Pipe into the egg whites and enjoy! serve with the cubed ham on skewers in the middle of platter. So supercute! ♥ 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Healthy Grilled Beer Brats with Kraut Recipe ♥

It doesn't matter which state you are in tomorrow its baseball opening day! Here is a link to the schedule! Opening day 2015: TV schedule for all 30 MLB teams.

  Here is a great grilling recipe for your next tailgate or outdoor party! I put a healthy twist on the original brat and kraut recipe, you won't miss the calories and fat! 
I used a  grass fed turkey bratwurst from sponsored product  Applegate Natural Organic Meats. 

At Applegate their mission is to Change the Meat We Eat. 

By that we mean making good meat - the kind that’s raised humanely without antibiotics and hormones - accessible to as many people as possible. To achieve this evolution, they put their resources toward the people they think have the most potential to change their food system – eaters, farmers and innovators. Their work involves educating people about the important issues that impact their food, addressing the challenges faced by new farmers, and supporting big ideas that can improve the way good meat is raised, produced and distributed.

Ingredients ♥

Makes  12 servings.

6  turkey bacon strips, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium apple, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
12 uncooked  turkey bratwurst links ( I used Applegate Organic Brand
1 bottle (12 ounces) light beer
12  wheat or regular hoagie buns, split
condiments- Ketchup, yellow mustard, relish

Directions ♥

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
Cook and stir onion in bacon drippings until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 15-20 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add apple and garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in sauerkraut, mustard, brown sugar and cooked bacon.
Transfer to a 13x9-in. disposable foil pan. Arrange bratwurst over top. Pour beer over bratwurst. Place pan on grill rack over medium heat; cook, covered, 30-35 minutes or until sausages are no longer pink. Remove pan from heat.
Remove bratwurst and return to grill. Grill, covered, 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Serve on buns with sauerkraut mixture and condiments.  Enjoy! ♥

Saturday, April 4, 2015

DIY Glitter Easter Eggs ♥

Easter is tomorrow and here are some last minute decorating ideas, why not jazz up those easter eggs with some glitter! ♥ 

Eggs fully cooked 
Powdered glitter in assorted colors
Craft glue
Wax paper

Bowls and spoons (for glitter)

Directions ♥ 
Brush craft glue onto egg. Gently set in bowl of glitter. Spoon glitter over egg, covering entire surface. Remove from bowl; set on wax paper to dry for 1 hour.♥