Monday, January 30, 2017

Healthy Smoky Veggie Chili

It's really amazing how many kinds of chili recipes you can find nowadays. I usually make mine with ground beef because that's always been the way my family liked it the best. Once in awhile I would make it with chicken, and that was always yummy too.

But I have been looking for ways to eat healthier, and get out of the habit of eating meat on an almost daily basis. I'm sure you know what a struggle it is to change your eating habits, especially when you are trying to lose weight. And I have to admit that since I've moved to Nevada this last summer, I have put on quite a bit of weight. I don't even feel healthy at this weight, and my clothes have become way too tight. Time to do something about it, and so eating healthier is a big goal for me this year.

I picked up this amazing magazine from Better Homes and Gardens called Eat Well Lose Weight. I love it because it's filled with amazing low calorie recipes and information about healthy eating. There's so many recipes I want to make from it, starting with this great tasting veggie chili.

It passed the taste test with my son-in-law who is a real chili lover. In fact, he ate three bowls of it and said it was delicious. I love it too, and am going to make another pot and divide it into small freezer bags to have for lunch on the days I work as a nanny.

I did change a couple things in the recipe, I substituted black beans for the Great Northern Beans, and added a small can of tomato paste. I always try to add tomato paste to a recipe if I can because it's such an added health benefit. I think it made this chili even better, but the chili is just as wonderful if you make it according to the original recipe.

Recipe for Smoky Veggie Chili


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans (or black beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
sour cream/shredded cheese optional


In a large sauce pan (or Dutch oven) heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet pepper and white onion; cook 4-5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add beans and chili powder; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients (through cocoa powder).

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with toppings of choice, sour cream, cheese, green onion, or additional chili powder.

Makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cups each).

-Post by Patricia


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blackberry Yogurt Muffins

I haven't made the usual New Year's resolution this year to lose weight because it hasn't ever worked for me. After the first few days, and usually a whole bunch of salad, my resolution would fall by the wayside and I would be back to my old habits again.

Of course I now know that losing weight starts with a decision, a decision to change your life for the better in the long run, not just for a few days in the beginning of a new year. And so my decision has started with finding and making new recipes that are healthier and lower calorie, but still taste great. Because let's face it, if it doesn't taste good, we aren't going to eat it.

Which brings me to this recipe for Blackberry Yogurt Muffins, which are delicious and packed with good-for-you ingredients. These muffins include fruit, yogurt, oats, whole wheat flour and a few other simple ingredients. You can whip them up in the morning in a flash, and enjoy them all week long for breakfast, in your lunch, or as a snack.

You can also use different kinds of fruit in them, too. I have made them with blueberries and pears and they were all equally delicious. This recipe makes 12 muffins. When I made them with blueberries, I made a double batch and froze the second batch in the freezer for convenience. They defrost beautifully and are especially good if you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds afterwards.

These muffins are just plain yummy, and having one that is good for me and lower in calories really lets me fight the urge to indulge in those high calorie desserts that I love so very much. Every day the decision is mine to make, what I will or won't eat. And every day I'll keep trying my best.

Recipe for Blackberry Yogurt Muffins


1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blackberries, chopped


In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, yogurt, oil, and egg. Beat well with an electric mixer until combined, let stand 5 minutes.
Sift in flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to blend. Fold in fruit. Fill paper muffin cups in muffin pan 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

-Post by Patricia


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It's nice to be back here on the blog, I must say. I didn't mean to be gone so long, but my family and I were busy with guests visiting, the usual Christmas madness, and then just taking some time to relax a bit.

Since this is our first year of living in Nevada, we didn't really know what to expect as far as how cold the weather would be in the wintertime. My son and his wife have lived here for five years, and they kept telling us to expect a very cold and windy season. But when you move here in July and it's 110 degrees, it's kind of hard to believe.

It turns out they were definitely right, it's cold here in the dessert. I've been wearing my heavy jackets and boots and scarves most of the time. And it's soup weather for sure, so I've been busy in the kitchen making big batches of our favorite soups to enjoy.

I just recently made this Roasted Cauliflower Soup for the first time, and it's now one of my favorites. The recipe is very easy to make, and I really like the flavor of the cauliflower after it's been roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper. The cream gives it a rich and velvety texture, and if you are a fan of cream soups like I am, I hope you'll give this recipe a try.

I started making my own croutons with cookie cutters, and the stars are some of my favorite shapes. My grandchildren love them, and it makes them want to try new soups just so they can top them with stars, hearts, and flowers. Just use your favorite bread and cut out the shapes with small cookie cutters. Then put them on a cookie sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes, turning once at 4 minutes.

Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small chunks
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
additional olive oil for drizzling
bread slices for making croutons (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cauliflower pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until edges are brown, turning once, about 18-20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add roasted cauliflower to onions, then add chicken stock.

Bring to boil. Let boil 8 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, add heavy cream and stir.

Puree soup with immersion blender ( or regular blender). Drizzle lightly with addition olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, and top with croutons, if desired.

*Recipe adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine.

-Post by Patricia

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