Simple & Healthy Ingredients Make For Delicious Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing

So, welcome 2015! 

Like many people who make new year resolutions, eating healthier options of the things I like always tops my list.  I’m always optimistic coming out of the gate but somewhere along the line I start lose my momentum, fall off the wagon, and resort to my old (not so wise) eating habits.  I vow every year that “this year is going to be different”.   And in the end, I’ve only fooled myself into believing that I could forgo delicious sweets, homemade bread, second helpings of my favorite dish of macaroni and cheese, and of course the great wines found here in the Finger Lakes Region and abroad. 

But… In a good faith effort to try try again, I’m sharing a recipe I found at The Pioneer Woman’s blog for a healthy and delicious homemade salad dressing she has named Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing.  I made a couple adaptations to the original recipe.

I decided that Aunt Trish’s dressing has a Mediterranean taste to it – which I love.  It tastes so fresh and healthy, and the fact that there are no preservatives makes it all the better.  I do have to warn you that this recipe makes a considerably small batch.  My suggestion is to double or triple the recipe because I’m sure it will keep well in the fridge for a week or two – if it lasts that long!  At some point you may want to remove the garlic if you don’t want garlic overkill.

Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing ( This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

3/4 c. olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbsp. of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt & pepper

Dash of paprika

1/2 tsp. honey

2 whole cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)

Put all ingredients together in a jar or dressing shaker and shake until mixed.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

 

Have you made any new year resolutions?  If so, what are they?  Do you think you’ll stick to them?

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One Bowl Corn Muffins for My Dream Restaurant

Order up!  I’ve often thought that I’d like to own a restaurant.  I envision it being a small place known for serving some of the best food north of the Mason Dixon Line.  I’d offer daily specials that could be read off an overtly large antique blackboard and I‘d serve the meals on vintage mismatched dinnerware that I’d scour local thrift stores to find.

The focus would be on good food made from scratch, using local farm fresh ingredients whenever possible.  And while I would offer plenty of healthier choices, there would be lot’s of comfort food to choose from too. 

Daily specials would consist of homemade soups, hand-pulled BBQ pork sandwiches, slow roasted beef and ham, country fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and my grandma’s famous coleslaw.  And what is a good meal without delicious homemade dinner rolls and corn muffins?   And let’s not forget the dessert cooler filled with slices of homemade cakes and pies – yum.

Okay, I’m back, no longer daydreaming… 

Since I really don’t see myself going into the restaurant business anytime soon, if ever, I decided to do the next best thing and make homemade The Joy of Caking’s One Bowl Corn Muffins to share with you.

These muffins are moist, sweet, and won’t crumble apart in your hands. And just so we’re clear, these are the muffins I would serve if I ever do open a restaurant. 

The Joy of Caking’s One Bowl Corn Muffins

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. Chobani Plain (low fat) Yogurt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 TBSP. olive oil

1/2 c. ground cornmeal

1 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. skim milk

Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add sugar, egg, yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and oil; mix thoroughly by hand.  Add in remaining ingredients of cornmeal, flour, and milk.  Mix until all ingredients are completely blended.  Fill muffin cups a little over half full and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.

Cool before removing them from the pan.

The Chobani Yogurt and skim milk helps make these muffins a bit healthier too.  You don’t’ have to feel so guilty when you eat one, or two…

Have you ever dreamed of opening a business?  What would it be?

The Two Ingredient Mini Cupcake

Okay, for those of you who have heard of this recipe, why the heck didn’t you tell me about it?  You’ll never guess who did end up telling me about it – a doctor.

This recipe only requires two things to make these delicious, moist, and chocolaty mini’s.

1.) Your favorite brand and flavor of cake mix. 

2.)  One 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin.

That’s right, no eggs and no oil.  The elimination of those two items makes this recipe much lower in calories, and much healthier.  

Want to be creative? Try adding dark chocolate chips to these, or make them with a carrot, spice, or vanilla cake mix. 

I did a little research on these mini’s after the doctor told me about them.  I found the directions for making them, along with the nutritional information, at the Hungry Girl

I made a couple minor adjustments.  I added about 2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of  the pumpkin can to rinse it out.  I then added that water right into the batter.  I also baked my mini’s at 325 degrees for about 14-15 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean before removing them from the oven.

I am currently looking for healthier recipes to share here at The Joy of Caking.  If you’ve got a healthier tried and true recipe that you’d love to share, or would like to guest post with me – PLEASE email me!

 

A measly cup of sugar-free Jell-O

Sadly this is what is has come to for The Joy of Caking.  A measly cup of sugar-free Jell-O. 

Lets talk about the upside of a cup of sugar-free Jell-O.  It has only 10 calories, tastes very cherryish ( I bought the cherry and black cherry pack), and is capable of a few upgrades –  capable enough to satisfy most of my cravings for sweets.  Thank goodness!  Now, do I have you convinced that sugar-free Jell-O is  far better tasting than the homemade treats you and I make?

I didn’t think so.  I’m not all that convinced either.   I’ve never been a big diet freak, but there is something I have noticed over the years.  The older I get, the harder it is to stop gaining weight, and the harder it is to lose weight when I want  need to. 

With weight loss foremost in my mind I spent some time last night in the grocery store reading labels.  I decided I was going to forego buying anything that was high in fat, sugar, and calories.   I didn’t even stroll down my favorite isle –  the baking isle.  Can you imagine?  No flour, sugar, chocolate chips, or butter.  What a hard task for a  baker like myself.  

Have you ever shopped when you’re thinking along the lines of dieting? It’s a real chore finding food to buy that resembles something healthier, and is still tasty.  Lets compare a breakfast food for example. Take bagels and english muffins. First, there is a considerable difference in calories between the two.  I prefer bagels but english muffins are lower in calories.  Then compare the whole grain  to the  white,  the regular to the light, and one brand from the next.  This is what I call work.   If everything I wanted to buy was this involved, the grocery store could easily become my home away from home.  Do I sound like Andy Rooney yet?

Have you ever notice the price difference from healthy food to what some might consider unhealthy food?  Why is it that anything that appears to be better for you costs more money?  If an english muffin has more calories doesn’t it make sense that more ingredients went into it?  Apparently not the case. 

To settle my nerves after my trip to the grocery store I upgraded my cup of cherry sugar-free Jell-O a bit.  I added some sliced banana and a squirt of whipped cream – while it did help satisfy my sweet tooth, it certainly is not comparable to a piece of my homemade chocolate and cream cheese crostata.  This is the price I have to pay for being a bit too excessive during the last ten months that I’ve been baking my fool head off and blogging about it.

Will you stand by me while I work on this self-improvement project, or until I’m sick of it?  Please join in, I’d love to hear your  suggestions, tips, and thoughts on getting healthier in 2011.