Turkeys and Traditions

I love the Holidays! As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I am in full holiday swing!

To me “The Holiday Season” is so much more than the major blow out sales! Lets think about it… When you think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, what do you think of? The first thing that comes to mind, besides the Christmas music, obviously, are the traditions that go along with each of those events.

Growing up, these three were filled with family! My mom is one of five, and, dad, one of four. My parents are the only ones in either if their sibling groups to have only one child, so needless to say, holidays can get crowded.


A day for stretchy pants!

Our Thanksgiving tradition requires heading to Philly. Over the years, my cousins have gotten married and have kids of theirs own, starting their own traditions. My earliest memory of our Thanksgiving dinner head count is somewhere in the mid 20s. Can you imagine three folding tables end to end from the front door to the kitchen in a row home living room??? Over the years, our head count has dwindled to somewhere in the mid-teens.


Despite the change of numbers, the menu remains unchanged. Each year we can expect to have mashed potatoes, succotash, sweet peas, both a ham and a turkey, cole slaw, stuffing, and giblet gravy, sticks of butter scattered throughout the table, and loaves of rye and black breads, and a basket of snowflake rolls! (My family doesn’t cook for the waist line.) And we always look forward to the most dense cheesecake you will ever eat.

Its funny that there are people who can’t stand the ends of breads, but to our family, its gold! My aunt/godmother and I usually sit next to each other and its a fight to the death for the butts of not just the black bread, but the ham! A fork belonging to each of us, sword fighting for the crisp glazed end!

Some of the nostalgia behind our meals, is that we do it our way! I remember the first time I ordered succotash at a restaurant and was completely confused as to what was delivered to me. We use sweet cream-style corn, rather than whole kernal corn, and you will not be sorry if you give this a try! Not a damn thing needs to be added to this corn and lima bean mix. Sweet and savory, wet and filling, and so much more.

Grandmom makes the stuffing the Tuesday before thanksgiving, and boy she means business! She has made it this way for so long that she doesn’t even know measurements. (Just imagine how hard it was for me to try to figure out the recipe, as her units of measurements are her palm and ziplock bags!) 

After she combines the hodgepodge of stuffing ingredients, she divides it amount countless aluminium loaf pans, then bakes them off. She makes loaves and loaves of stuffing. Not just for dinner, but then she wraps up the ten extra loaves, untouched by turkey day, and each family member gets a loaf to take home, which we slice up and freeze to eat throughout the year.

And I don’t know how many times I have tried to make her giblet gravy. I remember the first year I learned what it actually was. “I’m eating turkey neck?!” I exclaimed at the dinner table.

We all grow up looking forward to our grandma’s “something.” Like my grandma’s cole slaw isn’t your typical creamy slaw and she uses a secret ingredient that she confided in me a few years ago. (Sorry folks, a family secret is a family secret.)

Oh man! And that stuffing! The next morning, we slice it up, brown both sides and top it with cheese and an egg, over easy. Tradition baby! 

Compliments of Mom: There are two factors that contribute to our juicy turkey. The first, is the container in which we cook it. I’m not referring to the roasting pan. I place my turkey in a turkey-sized oven bag. Sprinkle a little flour in the turkey bag, shake it around, then slide in your turkey and tie up the bag. Here’s where I might lose you. The second trick is to bake your turkey upside down. That’s right, breast down. Don’t worry about that little popper in the turkey breast. Bake it upside down. All the juices that fall to the bottom, are now falling into the white meat to soak and infuse. And that little bit of flour that is added to the turkey bag coats the turkey and helps brown up the skin. (After much thought, as much as crispy skin appeals to me on such an indulgent holiday, I side with the juicy white meat.)

Grandmom was pretty darn sick in the hospital a few months ago. She still isn’t quite feeling up to par, and I can’t blame her. Since we live in a different state, mommom is going to my aunt’s house, so I will be hosting T-Day at home in Wilmington for anyone complacent on this holiday.

On our menu:

  • Turkey (duh!)20151126_161521
  • Succotash (creamy!)
  • Green Bean Almondine
  • Stuffing (Unfortunately, not mommoms)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Bourbon-Swirled Spiced Casserole
  • Baked Bananas with a Spiced Cream

I can’t just leave you all without a little recipe.

Baked Bananas with Spiced Cream

  • bananas, medium
  • egg roll wrappers
  • cinnamom
  • fat free cool whip
  • pumpkin pie spice

Cut medium bananas in half. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over an egg rolls wrapper and wrap up a half of a banana in each. Lay your wrapped bananas on a sprayed sheet of parchment paper, seam side down. Bake at 350 F for about 15 min, turning half way through.

Meanwhile, blend room temperature cool whip and pumpkin pie spice. I mix 1/4 tsp spice to each cup of cool whip. Serve each wrapped, warm, caramelized, almost melted banana with a dollop if spiced whip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with love!




The Simple Things Aren’t So Simple

The United States of America.

The Land of Endless Opportunity.

Education… Careers… A Home… Love…

“Ummm….What are things we take for granted?”

Whether an immigrant or a natural born citizen, growing up in the USA shapes a mind full of aspirations and the idea that anything is possible.

When I look around, I don’t see that anymore…

Every day this week, on the 12 Noon News, I have heard a headline covering a gun in a school, a college on lock down, a suspicious person being taken into custody from a high school… Its not about drive and opportunity, anymore. Now, you need to worry about safety, and if you will even make it to graduation day in one piece! I’m appalled!

I’ve written before about love, and what I look for in mate… so on and so forth… but it still seems that even the most basic of qualities is too hard much to ask.

I don’t ask for wealth, just employment.

I don’t ask for adoration, just love.

I don’t ask for age, experience, or monotony, but maturity and responsibility.

I don’t need the royal treatment, I’m not a princess.

I don’t need to be handled like a flower, I’m not that delicate.

I don’t ask for a caretaker, I can take care of myself.

Just the partner God made for me.

Love has changed. It has been confused with lust. It has been corrupted. It has been misunderstood as “What can you do for me?” Some people will “love you” (and I say that loosely), as much as they can use you. Once they stop benefiting from you, they move on. People will schmooze and woo you, just for a gain.

Every day this week, on the 12 Noon News, I have heard a headline covering a gun in a school, a college on lock down, a suspicious person being taken into custody from a high school… Its not about drive and opportunity, anymore. Now, you need to worry about safety, and if you will even make it to graduation day in one piece! I’m appalled!

Success is measured by the number of cars, homes, or pairs of shoes you own. Before that, success was working in a position you love.

Even the men and women who claim they want to make a difference in this country revert to mud slinging. They answer “What can you do for our country?” by telling us what they’re opponents will do wrong for this country. Do you think that responding to me like this makes me want to elect you? News flash…

Your job is acquired by who you know, rather than what you know.

What happened to drive? Hard work? I can’t imagine that social media and technology have brainwashed the society with instant gratification so much so that people just expect things to happen. That others should do the work, and you can just reap the benefits… Get a job, grow up, learn responsibility, discover independence (rolling a blunt all by yourself does NOT count), and learn what “accomplishment and pride feels like!

Keeping a roof over your head requires moving back in with your parents, because they, too, need help keeping a roof over their head.

Obtaining a degree is like entering a vicious circle. You want more money, so you want to go obtain a degree. But you can’t obtain that degree, because you don’t have the money to pay for schooling. So then you apply for financial aide or loan, while you work and go to school, spreading yourself thin between family, work, and school work, forgetting what a social life is, trying to provide shelter and security, potentially being indebted to the bank for your school loan, and most definitely pulling your hair out, crying alone in your room, putting on a strong a front so no one thinks your weak…

Feeling like your life, which you once saw as simple and manageable tasks, is spiraling…

All because you wanted to better your life and the life for your family.

What happened to us? What happened to US?


Ok… I’m done work early, and have 1 and 1/2 heads of cauliflower in the fridge…. Game on!

Low Carb Boli

makes 1 large boli, 6 slices


  • 1 medium cauliflower, to make 6 cups riced WP_008685
  • cheese cloth
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded fat free cheddar and/or mozzarella
  • salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, to taste


  • 6 Tbsp pasta sauce of choice
  • whatever the heck you want
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat free cheddar and/or mozzarella (more if you’d like)


  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Cut your cauliflower into pieces and place in you food processor. Process until the cauliflower is riced. Measure out 6 cups of the riced cauliflower and transfer to a bowl. Microwave for 8 min.

While awaiting the microwave, combine the liquid egg substitute, with shredded and grated cheese, along with seasoning. Toss it with a fork and set aside.

Carefully transfer the steamed cauliflower to the cheese cloth and remove as much liquid as you can. Don’t sweat it, if there is still some WP_008682liquid in the riced cauliflower, just don’t burn yourself trying to get it all out!

Transfer the strained, riced cauliflower to the bowl of egg, cheese, and seasoning. Use a fork to blend and flush ingredients together.

Spray a parchment paper-lined baking sheet with non stick spray, and dump you dough in the center. Using to hands, spread the dough to  the sides and approximately 13-14 in long. Bake for 13 minutes.

While this is baking, figure out what you want to add. I highly recommend using this time to cook down and vegetables, and cook out some grease from meats. Its pretty simple. Throw all your goods in a pan, cover with a lid, and cook over medium.


Once your timer sounds, remove it from the oven. Drain the filling goods of any liquid or juices, and transfer to the center of the dough, distributing it evenly from top to bottom. Top 3/4 of the dough with sauce, followed by cheese.

Use your hands or the parchment paper to assist you in rolling the bare side of the  dough over the middle fillings, followed by the sauce and cheese side over that. Again, by hand, or using the parchment paper, roll the stromboli over so the seam is facing down. Sprinkle the topping mix over the boli and return to the oven for a final 12 min.


Remove from the oven and allow it to settle for a brief 3 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces, beginning with the knife’s tip in the middle, and cutting to the edge, worked best for me.

Serve it with a side of dipping sauce/marinara and Buon Appitito!

The macros will vary depending on the fillings, but for the crust with toppings, here they are:

Nutrition (1 slice, 1/6 of recipe):

Calories:57, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 173mg, Carbs: 8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 7g



With so much cauli in the fridge, I made two strombolis:

  1. Made with myself in mind: 4oz cooked chicken, broccoli, onion, sliced banana peppers, and garlic
  2. Made with the men in mind: chopped turkey and ham lunch meats, onion, broccoli, garlic, and chopped tomatoes

Meaty Goodness

Both were winners, but I hate to say  that the second one tasted legit! As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite calzone is ham, spinach, and ricotta. I’ve made a pizza out of that craving, but I can not wait to make this craving into a stromboli! Gah! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Oh man! And brush it with garlic butter on top!!


Lady Orange Marmalade

Come on… I can not be the only one who thinks of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi” whenever I read the word marmalade.

Oh well… its a great song, and this recipe makes do a happy dance just as much as my girl Patti LaBelle does!

The other morning, I saw a lonesome orange in the fridge and, running late for work, grabbed that to go. As I sat at the table, devouring this sweet and juicy navel orange, I began to think about the remaining orange rind. If I were home, the rind would go into a compost pile, but at work… Well, I just feel sort of guilty throwing it away… I put it in a baggy, and then it hit me… marmalade!!

Orange marmalade, when I was a young kid, sort of put me off since, up to that point, I was always taught not to eat my orange peels, and now, your spreading it on my toast! Does anyone remember being a little kid out to breakfast playing with the little Smuckers jams and jellies in the brown holder next to the salt, pepper, and sugar?

Anyway, with the last of my oranges now in my stomach, I quickly devised a plan. Its easier than an marmalade recipe yo’ll find out there!

(Lady) Orange Marmalade

makes a 16oz jarWP_008639

  • 1 navel orange peel
  • 1 can Libby’s (skinny fruits) mandarin orange slices
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp no sugar needed pectin

Drain the can of mandarin oranges, reserving the juice (approximately 2 cups of juice or so). Transfer the drained oranges to a food processor and puree. Pour the juice into a small saucepan.

Using a pearing knife, or another fine knife, cut the pith from the orange rind, as best as possible. Once only the orange rind remains, finely slice the peel into strips. Then mince these strips. Transfer chopped peel to the pot with the juice, and bring to a boil. (I suppose you could simply zest an orange, bu that sounds like a hand cramp to me… plus, I really like the authenticity of the peel in the jelly).


While awaiting a boil, add the cinnamon and vanilla to the pureed oranges and briefly pulse until incorporated. Once the juice has come to a boil, add the pureed spiced oranges and stir. Keep pot at a boil, and quickly whisk in the pectin and Splenda. Turn off heat, continuing to whisk, to blend as  well as release some heat.

Pour the mixture into you prepared mason jar. Tighten the lids to a finger-tightness. If you have a canner,now is the time to use it… If not? Follow along:

In a large pot, place the sealed jar, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the top of the jar. Bring the water to a boil. Check on the jar every few minutes. Use a utensil to poke the center of the lid. If the lid dips when pressure is applied, continue to boil, rechecking the lid every few minutes. Once the lid are solid and no longer “pops,” turn off the heat, and carefully remove the jar, using tongs, and allow the jar to cool at room temp. Then you can refrigerate.

Nutrition (per tablespoon):

Calories:10, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Carbs: 3g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 0g


The right amount of citrus blended with the right amount of sweetness, paired with that refreshing bite and texture of the orange zest! I won’t lie… I have eaten this off the spoon.

Ten Gallon Hat Winery

I finally went to my first winery! After attending multiple wine festivals and tastings, I finally went to a winery. My friend got me a gift certificate to Ten Gallon Hat Winery, and before I knew it, its expiration date was quickly approaching. Unfortunately, she was not able to go with me, but dad was happy, and more than willing, to substitute.

So, February 10th, after work and running some errands, we drove about 15 minutes over the DE/PA line to Ten Gallon Hat Winery. Its pretty well hidden. Despite how small the building looks on the outside, its a spacious beauty on the inside. Dad and I walked down the steps to a room with a bar and a bunch of high top tables. Each table and corner bar supplied with mini saltine and chocolate chip morsels, to compliment the wine.

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We were given a list, with a descriptions of each wine, and a pencil to check off our choices. We were able to each choose six wines to sample, so between the two of us, we covered the 13 options. While dad was more set on the reds, I was counting down to the fruit wines.

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First came the reds:V__DAE2

  • Merlot- This was so-so. Its pretty hard to mess up a merlot.
  • Zinfandel- I’ve had white merlot, but never a red zin. It was sort of dry like a zin, but with a deep flavor typical of a red.
  • Barbera- This, in my opinion, was the best red. Cedar was the scent that stood out to me. I don’t mean it was like sipping on bark. It was mellow and there was something calming about drinking this wine.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon- Dad’s a cab guy, so he was looking forward to this one, and wasn’t disappointed. He rated this as his highest ranking of the red and whites.

Followed by the whites: Admittedly, neither dad nor myself are much fans of white wines.V__55CE

  • Chardonnay- It just sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? But, unfortunately, it was much too dry for my liking.
  • Pinot Grigio, AKA “The Sheriff’s Daughter”- Based on the description, I expected a citrus and fruity wine with a bit of a dry bite. But, alas, still not my fancy…
  • Riesling, AKA “The Preacher’s Daughter”- We had finally hit a white wine that tickled my fancy with its mild sweetness.
  • Moscato, AKA “The Farmer’s Daughter”- I’m not a moscato chick, typically. But this and Riesling were the best whites, in my opinion.

And, lastly, the fruits:

  • Blackberry- This was a dark wine, deep with flavor, but no incredibly sweet. I feel like this would be a good wine for someone who is a Cabernet drinker…
  • Red Raspberry- This was the one I was looking forward to the most. After my girlfriend’s wedding two years ago, I fell in love V__08E7with raspberry wine. The bartender spooned some chocolate semi sweets on a napkin and poured us our wine. The first thing I noticed was the pieces of actual raspberries in the wine! Well, that’s a good sign… real fruit… I thought to myself. Dad thought this was the best of the fruit wines. Although, this was an enjoyable wine… what was up next, blew me away.
  • Cranberry- Although I enjoy cranberries and cranberry juice, I did not have high expectations for this wine. Its cranberries… I mentally prepared myself for a tart wine. Boy, was I wrong! After our first few sips, the bartender brought out a wedge of lime to squeeze into the glass. In a nutshell, I bought a whole bottle, and dad and I finished off 2/3 of the bottle that night. Wow, just wow! I can’t even explain how delicious this one is! It’s been months since we’ve had this wine, and I still rave about it!

The fruit wines stole the show for me!

As I talked with Sheryl, one of the bar tenders, I had mentioned I was curious about what was done with all the corks. She filled a whole bag with corks for me to take with me. (I have one of those iron cork holders to hang on my wall and in need of more corks.) Dad and I headed back up the steps to the entertainment room, where were heard music playing. With our wine glasses and an uncorked bottle in hand, dad found us a seat, and I ordered a bowl of Lobster Bisque and a cheesecake.

I had just gotten my first pay check from my new job and was too excited to celebrate with dad. With all the endorphin flowing, I introduced myself to the musician playing, Matt Santry, and offered to get him a glass of wine, while dad and waited for out order.

Matt sat down with dad and I, and the three of us, sipping our wines, discussed music, life, performing, wine, and more. It was pretty cool. My dad must have liked the guy because suddenly dad became my wing man, trying to find out all sorts of information about Matt’s relationship status, past, and so on! I have to say it was pretty cool and quite the bonding moment for pops and I. (But, sorry ladies, Matt’s engaged.)

As Matt  took the stage, our food arrived. The bisque was served with a few homemade croutons. The cheesecake elegantly served with a pool of raspberry syrup and a white chocolate swizzle.

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We left the winery in a great mood and a bit of cranberry wine left. Guess who’s got limes in the fridge, now? This chick!!!



A Break

With the gross feelings  that I’ve been having about myself, and the insecurities I’ve been feeling, I thought it would be nice to break the monotony of the blog and complete a survey… I def want to hear about you too, so answer some in the comments below!!!

A to Z Survey

A – Age: 23.

B – Biggest Fear: Not being able to have children.

C – Current Time: 1151.

D – Drink You Had Last: Wawa Diet Green Tea.

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Mom, except if its about her.

F – Favorite Song: I don’t know how to pick just one! But I think this one send a great message:

G – Grossest Memory: I’m a nurse, so not much grosses me out. Sputum specimens used to make me gag, though.

H – Hometown: I was born in Wilmington, DE, but much of my childhood was spent with my mom’s family in Philly, and our summers in Seaside Park, NJ.

I – In Love With: Beauty (may she rest in peace), and learning.


J – Jealous Of: People who can just pick up and travel. I’ve been offered traveling nurse jobs, but just leaving my family and home… its pretty scary.

K – Kindest Person You Know: Mommom Higgins (my mother’s mom). I’ve never heard her say a bad thing about anyone.

L – Longest Relationship: about 13 months.

M – Middle Name: Marie. Its my mom’s first name, so I tell her that its where I get all my crazy from.

N – Number of Siblings: Technically, I’m an only child, but when my mom remarried to Frank, I gained a step-sister (who is 7 months older), and two step-brothers (who are 2 and 4 years younger than me).

O – One Wish: To make a difference in the world.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: My step-dad, Frank.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “You work with sick babies? How do you do that? Isn’t it sad?” No! No, it is not sad. I get to sing, and dance, and make silly faces, and comfort parents, and make that sick baby feel better.

R – Reason To Smile: I’m blessed with a job, a driving ambition, a roof over my head, and even though living with an eating disorder is a daily struggle, I’m surviving.

S – Song You Last Sang: “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffett. Probably that Andy Grammer song sing I just posted the music video, but prior to that…. a little Paul Mc Cartney.

T – Time You Woke Up:  0650.

U – Underwear Color: Since we just finished the Fourth of July weekend, my undies are screaming “USA” with blue fabric, red lace, and silver metallic stars.

V – Vacation Destination: My dream to travel the Mediterranean. I’ve always wanted to visit Sicily, where my Nonna was born, but Greece look gorgeous, as well.

W – Worst Habit: Besides biting my nails like its my job, I can be really lazy.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Hmmm… I’ve had chest X-Rays when I had bronchitis, and an X-Ray to my femur when I was having issues walking (muscle tear from malnutrition)….

Y – Your Favorite Food: I’m addicted to feel good foods, but who’s not?! My mom’s meatloaf or chicken cordon bleu I could eat every day. I’m currently (and I mean for the past like 6 years) addicted to soft-serve fro-yo. I would love to figure out how to make it at home. I always get just a shot of frozen yogurt, then cover it with chopped fruit and usually about 5 reese’s pieces.

Z – Zodiac Sign: You would think for a Libra I wouldn’t be so high strung.

So tell me about yourself….


Apples and cheese are a classic fondue pairing. So on Pintrest, it really doesn’t surprise me that there are so many apple-cheddar pies. Some put the cheese in the crust, others in the pie, and others on top. And it didn’t just stop at cheddar and pie. There was Brie, and gallettes, and hand pies, soups, and dips.

You all know my experimentality and how much I adore playing in the kitchen. Needless to say, Pintrest got my gears turning… Some food combos just taste odd together, like this grapefruit protein shake I made one time (not a good post, Pintrest)… But lets face it… bacon goes with EVERYTHING!

Apple-Cheddar-Bacon Pie

serves 8

  • 11 slices thin slice turkey bacon (2 slice for 35 calories)
  • 3 apples (enough to yield 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 in diameter), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely choppedWP_008337
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • salt and pepper, to top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-in pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and weave 8 slices of turkey bacon. Line the last three slices of bacon around the walls of the pie pan to create the crust. I found that making a little tear in the middle of those three slices helps keep the bacon from rolling down the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 min.

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In the meantime, core and thinly slice the apples. Then, cut your slices in half and measure 4 cups. Combine the apples, celery, and onion in a large skillet on medium heat with 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle with thyme, sage, garlic, Splendas, cinnamon, salt, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss the mixture. Whisk the cornstarch with cold water until dissolved and pour over apple mix. Recover with the lid until bacon crust finishes baking.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop 3/4 cup shredded cheddar. Set aside. Next, process the cereal until extremely fine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar to the processor, and blend until evenly distributed.


Stir just the processed cheese into the apple mix, and transfer mix to the baked bacon, spreading the cheesy blend evenly over crust. Return to the 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the unsweetened applesauce to the processor of cheese and Fiber One crumbs and blend until a crumble is created. Get messy, and use your hands to crumble on top of the warm pie. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and return to the oven for a final 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, while you make the optional sauce.

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What really is the icing on the pie is this sweetened thyme yogurt sauce!

Thyme Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Blend and dollop!

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Rather than sticking with the sweet/tart, salty feel, I wanted something a little more savory. I was really impressed that the bacon crust stayed perfectly together when the pie was sliced. I was  even more impressed by the the afterthought of dressing up some yogurt. Thank goodness for that afterthought, too, because it tied all the sweet and savory flavors if the pie together.

Nutrition: (1/8 of pie and 1/2 Tbsp sauce)

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 391mg, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 10g


I would imagine that this could also be served with an over-easy egg, where the yolk would act as the yogurt sauce.

I’ve sort of rediscovered my love for apples recently so you may see another apple pie riff sooner that you think.

On A Spoon

The family I work with belongs to a local co-op, but with everything going on in life, they were not able to use all the apples. They generously offered them to me, and I a gratefully replied, “Thank you. Sure, I’ll take a few.” The mother then handed me a huge bag of assorted apples and Asian pears.

So what to do with all these apples? Apple chips? Apple pie? Apple dumpling? Apple jam?

Apple Pie JamWP_008125

makes 16 oz (approx 32 Tbsp)

  • 2 cups apples, finely chopped (almost minced), skin on or off
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp no sugar needed pectin
  • 2/3 cup water

Place the minced apples and 2 Tbsp water in a microwave-safe container, cover with plastic/saran wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer contents of bowl to food processor, and process apples as much as possible before you create applesauce. This will require scraping down the sides and then processing. Combine the processed apples and remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, transfer mixture to clean jar(s). To seal jar(s), tighten the lids to a finger-tightness. If you have a canner, now is the time to use it… If not? Follow along:

In a large pot, place the sealed jars, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the top(s) of the jar(s). Bring to a boil. Check on the jar(s) every few minutes. Use a utensil to poke the center of the lid(s). If the lid dips when pressure is applied, continue to boil, rechecking the lid(s) every few minutes. Once the lid(s) are solid and no longer “pop,” turn off the heat, and carefully remove the jar(s), using tongs, and allow the jar(s) to cool at room temp. Then you can refrigerate.


Nutrition (per tablespoon):

Calories:6, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Carbs: 2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 0g

This stuff tastes amazing on anything! Toast, graham crackers, with nut butters…

** I made another batch, tweaking it a bit: substitute 2/3c water for 2/3c diet cranberry juice, 2Tbsp pectin, 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar, and sub lime juice for lemon juice.**

Heck, even just on a spoon!

Summer Memo

I know its not winter, but by the way Mother Nature has been treating us, I don’t think she got the memo… So on such a cold, rain day as today, I believe a warm, cozy, creamy meal is well called-for.

After seeing this recipe on Pintrest, I thought… I like veggies.. I like cheese… Makeover!!!


Winter Veggie Casserole

6 servings

  • 12 oz package frozen Winter Blend vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)
  • 12 oz package frozen California Blend vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  • 1/2 7.5 oz pkg fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 7.5 oz pkg fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 4-5 oz can (2 servings per can) water chestnuts, sliced, drained
  • 1 8 oz can bean sprouts, drained
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Dijionaise
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash of Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In one bowl, combine the vegetables. In another bowl combine the cheeses, and in a third bowl combine the remaining ingredients (I also added a finely chopped jalepeno for heat). Add half the cheese mix to the bowl of food glue (the soup-yogurt-egg- spice combo). Once well-combined, evenly coat the mixed vegetables.

Spray a 9 x 13 dish with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the coated vegetables to the dish, and evenly spread into the corners. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese blend.

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Bake for 1 hour, uncovered.

Nutrition: per 1/6

Calories:207, Fat: 1.1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 1503mg, Carbs: 21g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 24g

I served this with steak, and a doggie bag for pops to take with him. You could probably add the protein to the actual casserole, as well, and then bake it…. Or for a meatless meal, like I did, eat 1 1/2 servings for about 300 calories!

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Whats not to like? The crispy cheese shell? The creamy blend hiding just beneath it? Exactly! Dig in!

I started thinking about how versatile this recipe is. With the water chestnuts and bean sprouts, I began to think about playing on the Asian influences and tweaking this with Asian sauces and seasonings. I think my favorite part of the this were the carrots. I just love how cooking carrots brings out their naturals sugars and sweetness!!