La-La-Leftovers

So its almost been a week since Thanksgiving, and all of the leftovers are gone. My sweet potato casserole, made with butternut squash, is a huge hit so I make two trays every year. This year, I didn’t go to my grandmothers house like usual, but I made two trays nonetheless. I started thinking What should I do with this leftover casserole???

Then it hit me! Pancakes!  Mom brought me home some fresh cranberries and I figured those would be the perfect addition.

Sweet Potato PancakesWP_007393

makes 1 serving

  • 1/3 cup sweet potato/butternut squash casserole (I’m sure pumpkin would work, too)
  • 1/3 cup Bisquick
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • cranberries or pecans (optional)

Combine all ingredients well. Dollop onto a heated skillet sprayed with non stick cooking spray and cook until batter begins to bubble. Flip and cook through. Serve with some sugar free maple syrup.

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I made these for dinner last night and then again this morning for breakfast and I’ve never seen someone clean a plate as quickly as my friend Brett did! Record timing!

I really enjoyed the rich flavor of the batter, and how the tart cranberries were matched by the sweet syrup.

I always love re-purposing foods and creating something new! Its been so long since I’ve posted, but boy does it feel good to write to you guys again!

Natale Italiano

Many Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Seven Fishes, however I celebrate Christmas day with the Italian side of my family.

Nonetheless, I still stick with baking my nonna’s papilli and pizzelles every year. For Christmas dinner, we typically have ravioli, sausage and meatballs. This year, I made a batch of my gnocchi to have, as well. I was very excited for my family to taste one of my favorite recipes!

This year, I also made two new additions to the Italian recipe stash, both of which turned out delicious! Being an incredibly proud Sicilian, I was ampt to bake these!

I attribute both recipes to Giada, and tweaked her recipes. Mmmm I could not get enough of these treats. The first is a perfect mid morning snack to have with your coffee. The colors of the pistachios and cranberries mimic the colors of Christmas, and the white chocolate adds just the right amount of sweet to offset the tart berry. I love the mild hint of lemon in the biscotti, too!

Natale Biscotti

makes 24 biscottiWP_004987

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 6 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, in shell, roasted and salted
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp flax milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the Splenda, buttery spread, applesauce, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the liquid eggs, slowly incorporating. Add the flours and baking powder in.

WP_004961While the dough is combining and forming, remove the nuts from there shells. Coarsely chop the bear pistachios  and set aside. Now, roughly chop the dried cranberries. While the mixer is still blending the dough, toss in the pistachios and cranberries and mix until evenly disbursed.

Transfer the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log. (This part gets your hands sticky and doughy).  Bake for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

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Once cooled, transfer the log to the cutting board, and using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, back on the lined baking sheet and return to the oven at 350 F for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

In the meantime, create a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl placed over the pot. Stir the chocolate and milk in the bowl until the chocolate melts. Using a brush, paint the chocolate over the cooled biscotti. Refrigerate until the chocolate dries, about 35 minutes, then enjoy!

Giada Note: “The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.”

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Fun Fact: “Bi”- “Scotti” translates into “twice baked.” Get it?

Funny Story: When I was younger, dad and I would take nonna food shopping. I can still picture this in my mind. We were in the aisle of Pathmark and I asked if she wanted “biscotti” (pronounced bi-scott-E). “You’re Italian… its “biscotti” (pronounce bish-kot). From that point on, the “E” sound never  left my mouth again when referring to this cookie.

The second recipe is perfect for after dinner. Its like a Fig Newton for Guidos. I am a huge fan of figs. I remember my nonna’s neighbor had a fig trees in the back yard, and every year, I would get to pick some off the bush. Mmm there’s nothing like a fresh fig. I just loved how beautiful these little crescent pastries were and how stuffed they were with the goods! The mild and seedy figs pair perfectly with sweet raisins. I am also a fan of the slight citrus notes from the lemon zest and orange juice!

Sicilian Fig and Walnut Christmas Crescents

makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Pastry Dough:

  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substituteWP_004992
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup Splenda, granulated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light

Filling and Cookies:

  • 8 ounces dried Mission figlets, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar free syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, Trop 50 preferred
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • about 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute (egg wash)

For the pastry dough:

Mix the flours, Splenda, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add the applesauce and butter to the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients with your fingers until incorporated.

Whisk the liquid eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and divide the dough in 2. Place each ball dough on plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap the dough disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling and cookies:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely, yet roughly chopped. Set aside. combine the figlets, raisins, lemon zest, and cinnamon in the food processor, while incorporating the syrup and orange juice until fully blended. Scrape the fig mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the walnuts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2  baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out 1 cold disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (I used a cup with similar dimensions), cut out dough rounds. Gather the dough scraps into a ball, flatten, wrap, and re-refrigerate disk while assembling the cookies.

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Spoon 1/2 heaping Tablespoon of the fruit mixture in the center of each dough round. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal. Arrange the cookies evenly apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies, lightly, with egg wash. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, while repeating the process and assembling the remaining dough and filling into more crescents.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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I actually ended up having excess filling… I can’t wait to do something with it!

Buon Appetito!

Savory and Sweet Sunday

Since this is my weekend off from work, its another Brunch Sunday with the family. Barry and I woke up and headed over to my moms house.

I had planned on making Hungry-Girl’s Crustless Pumpkin Quiche Supreme. I though about it, and realized I needed to make two pans. So rather than two of the same, I played around in the kitchen to create a  Sweet Pumpkin Quiche to match HG’s savory one!

Sweet Pumpkin Quiche

makes 8 slices

  • 4 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cream Cheese wedges, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp ground gingerWP_004486
  • 1 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In the meantime, break up the cream cheese wedges and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Add the Splendas, spices, and vanilla. Once combined, mix in the pumpkin. Fold in the cranberries, then mix in the eggs.

Spray a 9-in pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Pour the pumpkin mixture in the pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and evenly coat the top with syrup. Place back in the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Move the pan to the broiler and broil for about 10 minutes, until the top begins to brown and caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow the quiche to sit for a few minutes before slicing into it.

It was like breakfast pumpkin pie!!!

MMM Savory and Sweet!

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I put syrup out on the table, but I don’t think it needed a darn thing! I served breakfast up with some breakfast potatoes with garlic, onions, peppers, and spices (sort of like a Potatoes O’Brien).

Brunch was a hot according to my panel! I guess its time to formally introduce you to the panel:

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My dad, Tom, Frank, my step-dad, Dom, one of my little brothers, and Barry, my boo 🙂

They all have different taste preferences, except my dad and Barry… they put hot sauce on everything!

The Sunday got even better, when Barry joined dad and I for a post-brunch catch! Luckily, I had an extra glove!

The day was a typical Sunday. Barry and I watched a movie. Since the weather was chilly, Barry and I were in the mood for chili! While he ran to the closest Wendy’s for chili, while I browned up some 97%  fat free hot dogs, and onions. I snuck a soy dog on Barry’s plate and he really enjoyed it!

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The evening was finished up with some job hunting, hot mocha, gingersnaps, and the Eagles/Raiders game!

I love Sundays!

Manic Mind

Last night was finished off with a Lil’ Drum so I could get my ice cream fix.

Today, is National Apple Dumpling Day. In honor of such a decant sounding dessert, I attempted to make a decadent shake bowl . And it worked! BooYah!

Apple Dumpling Shake BowlWP_003930

  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (frozen preferably)
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (microwaved for 30 seconds)
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
  • 3/8 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

I topped it with some Fiber One bran cereal for crunch!

My belly has been bothering me all day! and my appetite has been minimal. I did manage to do some snacking on a rice cake and roasted red peppers.

I became a bit manic early this afternoon and began to use up the last of the green beans from yesterday’s discount snack attack! I tried my hand at Hungry Girl’s Oat-Standing Veggie Patties. They weren’t quite to my liking, so I ampted up the flavor with scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic. Once I formed the burgers, I kept them in the fridge until I was ready to eat.

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I finished up the last of some miscellaneous veggies from the refrigerator: bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby carrots, scallions, bell peppers, and broccoli slaw. After my first batch of veggies, I made another since it was just so good! All of the stir-fried vegetables were cooked in teriyaki sauce, kung pao sauce, and chili garlic sauce  for a kick!

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WP_003942I finished off the night with a bowl of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice and SF DaVinci pumpkin pie spice syrup. I finished the bowl with some praline pieces!

My stomach started to feel much better as the night went on. As much as I wanted to head to Zumba, tonight, I just couldn’t get there. I think I’m in a workout rut. I haven’t felt like doing much besides cooking and working.

I can’t dwell on my lack of exercise, but I can capitalize on what I can do, like clean up my cluttered bed room, and I’ve been creating variations of today’s veggie patties all day! There are just soooo many possibilities!

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the last few days with my mom. I’ve noticed a huge correlation between my mental health and eating habits and my relationship with my mom. Did you ever realize that when things between my mom and me are rough, my eating habits get totally out of whack?

Anyway, tomorrow is mom’s birthday and I have a special birthday treat for her. The recipe I am making takes two days to make. The first day is a pour and forget it day, but the second day requires a bit of attention. This recipe is a coveted one in the Higgin’s household. Its one of those recipes that my grandmother makes once every few years, and the family stocks up and freezes it to have. Here’s where I might lose you: Split Pea Soup.

I’ve never made it before, but I’m a big fan and I’m praying I can do it some justice.