Pumpkin Soup

I thought this was pretty tasty. I drink it out of a mug, rather than spooning it out of a bowl.

15 ounces pumpkin
14 ½ ounces low sodium chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 T. brown sugar

1 TB Splenda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash salt

Stir together pumpkin, chicken broth, and milk n a large saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Heat just to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with chives, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings. Per serving (over 1 cup)= 64 Calories; 1g Fat (10.8% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 323mg Sodium.  


Hot Spinach Dip

I made this at work today in a 2 quart crock. We gobbled it up! It was very tasty!

Hot Spinach Dip

10 3/4 oz can reduced fat broccoli cheese soup
8 oz light cream cheese
1 tsp onion powder
10 oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Combine all ingredients in 2 quart crock and cook on high 2-3 hours, until can easily be combined and has no lumps.
Yield: 8 servings. Per serving (about 1/2 cup)= 97 Calories; 6g Fat (50.2% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 17mg Cholesterol; 437mg Sodium

Apples in a Bag

I had this with a little Cool Whip Lite. yum!

Apples in a Bag

1 small apple
1 packet of Splenda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Core and slice the apple. Place in freezer-quality plastic zippered bag along with remaining ingredients. Seal bag and shake well to mix ingredients. Reopen bag just a touch to vent. Microwave on High for 2 minutes– longer if you use a big apple.
Carefully (it will be HOT and steamy) open bag and pour over plain or cinnamon-sugar pita chips, flour tortilla chips, oatmeal or ice cream.

Nutritionals: Serving Size 123 g 
Calories 59 
Total Fat 0.2g 
Fat 0.0g 
Cholesterol 0mg 
Sodium 2mg 
Total Carbohydrates 16.7g 
Dietary Fiber 2.9g 
Sugars 11.0 g 
Protein 0.3g

Impossibly Easy Breakfast Pie

This WAS easy and I got to use my tiny fiestaware pie plate!

Impossibly Easy Breakfast Pie
2 oz pork sausage, cooked
1 TB diced green chilies
1 slice reduced fat cheese
1/3 c. reduced fat Bisquick
1 egg white
2 TB water

Preheat oven to 375*. Spray small pie plate with cooking spray. Place cooked sausage in bottom of pie plate; add chilies. Top with cheese. Combine Bisquick, egg white and water; pour over meat. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Yield: 1 serving= 417 Calories; 25g Fat (54.9% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 41mg Cholesterol; 997mg Sodium.

Applesauce Bread

This had a pretty good flavor, but I think it needs more sugar. I think I’d add a 1/2 cup of Splenda. And maybe another 1/2 cup of applesauce.

Applesauce Bread

Easy   Yield: 1 loaf

1 TB butter

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups reduced fat Bisquick
Dash  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup applesauce
1 large egg
1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 by 4 by 3-inch loaf pan.  Combine the butter and brown sugar. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well until blended. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes.

 Yield: 10 servings. Per serving= 145 Calories; 3g Fat (19.8% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 328mg Sodium.

Rut Climbing?

Rut Climbing?

      Are you bored?  Or maybe stuck in a rut? Boredom is defined as tedium.  To me, boredom is a having nothing to do. I don’t often feel like that, but sometimes I feel like every day is the same and every week is the same. I’m in a rut and don’t want to do any of the usually fun things I can think to do.

      The house I grew up in was on a dirt road so I know about ruts.  Every time it rains and cars and trucks drive down the muddy road they leave deep ruts. The longer it’s wet and the more vehicles drive down the road the deeper the ruts get.  How do you get out of a rut like that? 

     Sometimes life can become too routine.  We need some spontaneous diversions.  Maybe take a road trip to someplace new or not often seen.  I love to drive to a little town near me known for its antique stores.  I can browse the stores and see if they have items to add to my collections.

     Hobbies are also a fun diversion.  A new hobby just might help you out of that rut.  We like having something to feel excited about.  (Sometimes why marriage goes bad—we no longer feel excited about our partner and we feel excited about someone else.)  Is there a hobby you haven’t had time for lately?  Dust that hobby off and make time for it.

     Volunteering can also get us out of a rut. Focusing on someone else brings to light our own blessings. 

      Using our spiritual gifts can give us something to feel excited about.  What are you good at?  What do you enjoy? It may be related to your spiritual gifts.

     Goal setting can pull us out of a rut. Is there a list of things you want to accomplish this year? Start planning the steps you need to take to meet those goals.

     Learn something new.  Take a class. There are online classes you can take at your own speed and if there is a vocational school near you, they may have cooking classes, computer classes, foreign language classes—you get the idea. They are fairly inexpensive and you also have the opportunity to meet new friends who share your interests. Something new is definitely the opposite of boredom and ruts.

     What are you thankful for? Counting our blessings can help us out of a rut by reminding us of all for which we have to be grateful.

     There are lots of ways out of a rut. What is your favorite way to get out of a rut?

Bean Trio with Citrus Cumin Dressing

I liked this citrus dressing! It made it a very unique salad.

Bean Trio with Citrus Cumin Dressing

1(15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz can corn kernels, drained
½ tsp onion powder
½ cup celery hearts, small chop
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons SPLENDA
® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
¼ cup lemon juice, fresh
⅓ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin, ground


Mix together beans, corn kernels, chopped onion, celery, and parsley in large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, lemon, lime, and orange juices, olive oil, salt, and cumin in medium bowl. Pour over bean mixture and toss. Refrigerate for two hours before serving. Toss and serve.

Calories: 200, Fat 8 g, Carbs 26g, Fiber 8 g, Protein 7

Banana Pudding Pie

Making the Rootbeer Float Pie made me wonder why I couldn’t make a Banana Pudding Pie. So, I did!

Banana Pudding Pie
28 reduced fat Nilla wafers
1 c. skim milk
1 oz sugar free fat free banana cream pudding mix
2 bananas
8 oz Cool Whip Lite, thawed

Place 28 Nilla wafers in a pie plate. Slice bananas over the wafers. Combine the milk and pudding mix with mixer. Fold in half the Cool Whip. Pour over the bananas. Top with remaining Cool Whip.
Yield: 6 servings. Per serving=229 Calories; 6g Fat (25.4% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 305mg Sodium.

Root Beer Float Pie

This was delicious!

Root Beer Float Pie
3/4 c. diet root beer
1/4 c. skim milk
1 oz pkg sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
8 oz Cool Whip Lite, thawed
9 oz reduced fat graham cracker crust
6 marachino cherries

Combine the root beer, milk and pudding mix with mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes). Let it sit to thicken; fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip. Pour into crust and top with remaining Cool Whip. Place a cherry on each piece.
Yield: 6 servings. Per serving=304 Calories; 12g Fat (36.4% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 404mg Sodium. 

Do Low Fat Diets Work?

Do Low-fat Diets Work?

By Raquel Haggard

            A few years ago, when she was 52, Donna Paddock thought she was getting the flu, but what she actually had was a heart attack.  Before that she ate what she wanted, did not exercise and was 35 pounds overweight.  This heart attack was a warning and after recovering Donna began walking daily and following a low fat diet, but she had a hard time continuing the healthy eating program.  One year later Donna’s intestines became twisted and she had colon surgery.  “My diet was killing me. Because of no protein and no fiber, my body couldn’t function properly and went haywire,” Donna said.  After this she was desperate for a healthy eating plan she could maintain.  Donna began following a plan that focused on healthy oils, low fat proteins and vegetables and high fiber carbohydrates.  “It is more about the balance of what I eat and never eating a carb without a protein,” she said.  “I also eat six times a day–3 meals, and 3 protein/carb snacks.”  Donna lost 35 pounds and has maintained the loss for over one year by continuing the diet and walking her dog each day for 30 minutes.  Her cardiologist is amazed by her progress.  “This summer, when I had all the routine heart check-ups, such as running the treadmill, I did fantastic and the nurses and doctor could not believe the improvement — majorly due to this diet.” 

            The low-fat diet craze began in the 1980s and in 1990s, the federal government hopped on the band wagon and began recommending low-fat diets and canola oil to reduce the risk for heart disease, but 18 years later the problems still exist.  According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  In addition, about two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.  Researchers and physicians are now considering the idea that fat is not what makes us fat and causes heart disease. 

            What is a low-fat diet?  Many low fat diets seem to decrease fat and protein and replace them with processed carbohydrates.  The American Heart Association says 30 percent of daily calories should come from healthy fats.  AHA also indicates that we need fat, but not as much as most people eat each day.   In her book, Ten Years Thinner, Christine Lydon, M.D. states, “…eliminating dietary fat from your meal plan is absolutely, positively, one hundred percent counterproductive to eliminating stored fat…when your diet lacks sufficient amounts of the right kinds of fat, stored fat becomes largely inaccessible as an energy source…if you don’t eat fat, you won’t burn fat.”  Lydon also recommends certain exercises to build muscle as muscle burns more calories.  In addition, she says, “Active people have increased protein requirements.”  Lydon also says to have a firm, youthful body you should eat three fists’ worth of protein per day because lean animal protein sources promote simultaneous muscle toning and fat burning. 

            According to Naturopathic Doctor Bruce Fife, a diet lacking in fat can reduce the efficiency of the immune system, making us more susceptible to disease.  Fat is necessary for the absorption of essential nutrients and vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as calcium.

            In their book Eat, Drink & Weigh Less, Mollie Katzen and Walter Willett, M.D. state “A calorie is a calorie, so making the healthiest possible choices about where you get your calories is everything.”  They also explain that the fats we eat do not increase weight any more than carbohydrates or protein.  Every food has calories and can cause you to gain weight if you eat too much and don’t burn the calories you eat.  Eating the right kinds of foods is key, rather than indiscriminately cutting fat, carbohydrates or protein.  Katzen and Willett say, “Keep your total caloric intake and your activity level constant and shift the ratio of the kinds of fat you eat to include more unsaturated fats and less saturated ones, you won’t gain weight.  Add to this a small reduction in carbohydrates and you’ll lose weight.”  Unsaturated fats are important to a healthy diet.  They not only reduce risk for heart disease, they make food taste good.