Saturday, August 27, 2011

Meatball Vegetable Soup For Two

A crock pot is a busy girl's best friend in the kitchen; in this soup recipe, you literally throw everything in the pot and forget about it for four hours. There is minimal chopping prep, and no extra cooking or searing. This low maintenance recipe is a meal in itself: hearty, delicious, healthy, and will only leave you with leftovers for tomorrow (unless you decide to have thirds). You can easily add more vegetables to this soup, like frozen green beans or corn. It also goes well with egg noodles, orzo, or kidney beans thrown in if you want to make it a bit more complicated. But I think it's just right with the minimal ingredients, and super simple. This meatball soup is a perfect meal for two, especially on a chilly summer night. Best served with warm sourdough bread or some flavorful crackers.

2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 cups party size frozen meatballs from your health foods store (no fillers or preservatives)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 small gold potatoes, cubed
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash of sea salt and black pepper
1. After chopping the vegetables, throw beef broth, meatballs, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper into the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on high for four hours or on low for six hours. Go do something else and come back for dinner!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Leftover Potatoes for Breakfast

Is your stomach feeling those extra glasses of Moscato from the night before? Have a few potatoes sitting in your fridge? Make a dairy-free comfort breakfast with easy to digest carbohydrates, perfect for the weekend morning. Here is an easy breakfast potatoes recipe that you can quickly throw in the oven and then go back to sipping your morning coffee.


6 small gold potatoes, cubed
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic olive oil*
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic*
Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped*
1/2--1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
Dash cayenne pepper*


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cube your potatoes and place them in a 7" x 11" (2.2 quart) or larger baking dish.

3. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic oil, onions, and minced garlic and toss until coated with oil.

4. Sprinkle the onion powder, black pepper, sea salt, oregano, and basil over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly.

5. Bake at 30-35 minutes, or until tender. The potatoes will be soft and browned on the edges. Remove from oven and stir in the chopped parsley. Enjoy!

*Updated and optional.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Vacation Peach Cobbler

Even busy girls like to cook something more involved now and then, which is why I am supplying the full from-scratch recipe to my mom's unparalleled peach cobbler. Putting this recipe together is fairly simple, but you can make it much easier on yourself by using already sliced frozen or canned peaches and a premixed flour mixture such as Bisquick Light. Just add the sugar, lemon, milk, egg, and oil blend. I do recommend that you make the dough from scratch, however, because the premix version just isn't the same.

This is not the exact recipe--I've altered it to fit the dairy-free lifestyle and made it healthier by eliminating butter and substituting the sugar with Splenda. One cup Splenda instead of one cup sugar = a lot fewer calories. Likewise, 4 tablespoons of a non-hydrogenated solid oil blend like Smart Balance or Earth Balance eliminates an entire cup of unhealthy fats. You can use one cup of sugar and 1 cup of shortening (which is what the original recipe calls for), but my version is amazing and much less fattening. With the suggestion of my mom, I've also substituted peach schnapps for almond extract to give it a summer vacation twist. The result is divine. This dessert is not complicated and will never interfere with your ability to wear a string bikini, which is why it's perfect for summer vacation!

3 cups sliced peaches
1 cup granulated Splenda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of peach schnapps (optional)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 tablespoons oil blend
1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
1 beaten egg

Busy Girl Preparation for Peaches:

  1. Open bag of sliced, skinned, frozen peaches. Rinse three cups worth under water to remove ice and set in bowl containing one tablespoon of lemon juice. 

If using fresh peaches, which is the tastier way to do it, the easiest way to skin them is by parboiling:

Click to zoom in and see the "X."
More Time Consuming Preparation for Peaches:

What you will need:
  • 6 large ripe yellow peaches
  • Large bowl filled with ice water
  • Large pot with enough water to cover peaches
  • Slotted spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Lemon Juice
Directions for Parboiling

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse the peaches. Slice an "X" on each peach to create an easy opening for skin removal. Place peaches in the boiling water for one to two minutes depending on ripeness. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in ice water to stop them from cooking. After they are cool enough to handle you can remove them from the bowl. Drain the ice water and replace it with one tablespoon of lemon juice. The skin from the peaches should come off easily as you start removing from the X. If you have trouble, just get the rest of the skin with a peeler. Peel the skin and pit the peaches, slice and add to the bowl with lemon juice. Ready to make your cobbler!

Remaining Peach Cobbler Directions
  1. To your bowl of sliced peaches and lemon juice, add Splenda, lemon zest, and peach schnapps. Stir peaches until evenly coated. Pour mixture into a 9inch square baking dish.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the peach mixture in the oven to warm while you mix the dough.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and one tablespoon of real sugar. 
  4. Melt your 4 tablespoons of oil blend such as Earth Balance in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  5. Combine soymilk, oil blend, and lightly beaten egg in small bowl, then add to flour mixture and stir until smooth. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  6. Take the peaches out of the oven, and spoon the dough on top, forming as even a layer as possible. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar on top.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until brown. Enjoy your peach cobbler warm by itself or with vanilla ice cream! Mmm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dairy Free, Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

A really busy girl would normally make pancakes using a mix, since it skips the step of having to mix all of the dry ingredients together. Watch out though; some pancake mixes contain hydrogenated oils and aren't actually very healthy for you. If you use a mix, I recommend Bisquick Light instead of the regular kind, yet this mix lacks whole grains. If you use a whole wheat mix, check the ingredients for any sign of "partially hydrogenated oils" or "mono and diglycerides" (which are hydrogenated oils in disguise). Here is a healthy version of yummy blueberry pancakes. It's made with whole wheat flour and lacks the saturated fat that comes with buttermilk pancakes. It's also dairy free for lactose intolerant people like me. You can easily substitute cows milk or almond milk in place of the vanilla soymilk. These fluffy blueberry pancakes are sure to add sunshine to your day!


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. rinsed and drained

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly mix the vanilla soy milk, egg, oil, and vanilla extract. 
  3. Pour the soy milk mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture, and whisk together until smooth, being careful not to over mix.
  4. Carefully fold in blueberries. 
  5. Lightly grease a nonstick skillet, and heat over medium low heat until hot. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the heated skillet, and cook until fluffy and bubbly. Flip with a spatula, and continue cooking about 1 minute, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Enjoy alone or with pure maple syrup or honey.