Watermelon Lime Smoothie

Watermelon Lime Smoothie



“Put the lime in the watermelon, shake it all up…”




Sip on this refreshing, easy-peasy smoothie while soaking up the rays. The lime juice balances out the sweetness of the melon. Serve it over ice or crush the ice to make a smoothie.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound cubed seedless watermelonIMG_9477
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, I used Splenda
  • Lime slices f and mint sprigs for garnish
  • Ice


Place 10-12 ice cubes in blender, add lime juice, sugar and watermelon pieces. If you want to serve over ice, omit the ice cubes and add 1/2 cup water or kefer instead. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and garnish as desired.IMG_9468

Make two (1 cup) servings. Calories per serving are in the neighborhood of 66 calories per serving.

Crock Pot Pork Chops & Barley

Crock Pot Pork Chops & BarleyWith the cooler weather today in Michigan I had the urge to get out my crock-pot and cook comfort food. Maybe it was a nesting impulse in preparation for the fall season. All I know is the aroma throughout the house was intoxicating as pork chops simmered in the crock.

Potatoes were eliminated as a starch dish due to the over-abundance of potato soup I made last week (enough for an army). Instead, I opted for barley and I’m glad it did. It was Brown chops in olive oila perfect pairing with the au jus used for the pork.

You don’t necessarily need to cook these chops in a crock-pot; you could simmer covered on a stove top. I was working outdoors and didn’t want to concern myself with stove top cooking.

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 thin sliced boneless pork loin chops (you can use 4 thick cut boneless pork chops, but you will need to bump up the cooking time to 4 hours on low or 6 hours on high)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used organic). You can also use chicken broth.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Original blend (found in the spice section)Whick together oil, broth & oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Quick cook barley


In a large skillet, brown chops in olive oil. Remove from heat and transfer to crock-pot. If you are using thick cut chops, be sure to cut a couple of thin slits in each chop with a knife. This will help them cook evenly throughout. Set aside.

Pork chops cooking in au jus

Pork chops cooking in au jus

In a large whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over chops in the slow cooker. Cover and slow cook on medium for one hour (thin cut).

Once chops are done, turn off slow cooker. Drain off the au jus into the pan used to brown pork chops. Thicken with a roux to a medium consistency.

Prepare barley per package directions. Use an ice cream scoop to plate the barley. Arrange chops and barley on plate. Drizzle both with the roux mixture. Garnish with sprigs of basil or parsley.

Optional: serve a side of au jus for dipping

Two thin cut chops with two scoops of barley and 1/3 cup au jus is in the neighborhood of 345 calories. Serve with a mixed green salad.

Mango-Kiwi Smoothie

Mango-Kiwi SmoothieNothing like starting the day off with a vitamin and iron packed smoothie. Mango’s are known for their anti-oxidant properties and 1 cup of mango contains the following percentages that apply to daily value.*

  • 76 percent vitamin C (antioxidant and immune booster)
  • 25 percent vitamin A (antioxidant and vision)
  • 11 percent vitamin B6 plus other B vitamins (hormone production in brain and heart disease prevention)
  • 9 percent healthy probiotic fibre
  • 9 percent copper (copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes plus production of red blood cells)
  • 7 percent potassium (to balance out our high sodium intake)
  • 4 percent magnesium

A kiwi is packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange and a good Peel mango and coarsely cubesource of dietary fiber. This recipe is easy and makes three 1-cup servings.

Here’s what you need:

2 kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup cold water
8-10 ice cubes

How To

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour off a serving and savor the flavor!Peel and coarsely cube two kiwi

*Reference- http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/17-reasons-why-you-need-a-mango-every-day/

Potato-Broccoli-Bacon Soup

This is a thick, hearty soup that can fill up in no time; especially, when you serve it with hard crusted bread. Personally, I like to let is sit in the fridge covered overnight. It makes for a creamier thick soup when you reheat  the next day.

Prep & Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: An army, just kidding. It will generously serve 8 people.

Potato-Broccoli-Bacon SoupHere’s what you need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes (you can use baby reds if you like), sliced into bit size pieces. No need to peel them.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped broccoli heads
  • 1/2 regular package uncooked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cups milk
  • 3 cups water, 1 cup of water used to cook potatoes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolve in the one cup potato water then return to the pot.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup salted butterCubed potatoes
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 bunch freshly chopped parsley
  • Chopped green onions for garnish


Boil potatoes and broccoli in a large pot of water for 10-12 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of potato water. Return potatoes and broccoli to pan and set aside.

Dissolve chicken bouillon in reserved potato water and return to pan.

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Drain fat from the pan. Add onion and Broccoli added to soup mixturecelery to the bacon pan and cook over medium-high heat until celery is tender, about 5 minutes.

To the potato pan, add milk, 3 cups water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is very hot, but not boiling. About 8 minutes, stirring often.

While the potato mixture is cooking, prepare the roux. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and mix well. Heat until the mixture bubbles, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add roux to potato mixture until soup is

Making the roux

Making the roux

thick and cream. (Optional) I used a handheld potato masher to break down the potatoes so the soup was not so chunky. It’s just a personal preference.

Crumble the cooked bacon and add to soup along 3/4 cup of cheese. Stir soup until cheese has melted. Add parsley. Serve hot and garnish onions.

Don’t ask for a calorie count on this one. With all that butter, cheese and bacon just know it’s vein-thickening and packed with calories. But, yummy ones!


Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous SaladI prepared this summer salad for a high school class reunion picnic. It was a bit of a challenge to quadruple-plus the recipe, but I think the end result was a success. It’s a an easy salad that can be prepared in less than an hour; unless you over toast the couscous, like I did, and have to meticulously remove the burnt pieces. Lesson learned!

I opted to use Israeli couscous because of it’s pearl-like shape and included a couple of containers that were colored. It made a nice contrast.

This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, one of my Italian favorites on the TV cooking network. I have provided the recipe for a serving of six. My upgraded recipe served 100 people; hence, the large disposable aluminum pan you see pictured.Cook the couscous as directed in the recipe.


  • 3 TBLS, plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 zested lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt  & 1/2 tsp. pepper (season to taste)IMG_9005
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cranraisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted is optional




1)   In a medium saucepan, heat 3 TBLS olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous, cook for 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Stir often prevent scorching.

2)   Add chicken stock and juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes. You want the couscous tender, but still firm to the bite. Stir


occasionally while cooking.

3)   Drain cooked couscous and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and seasonings. Cool couscous to room temperature. This is VERY important. You don’t want the fresh herbs to wilt when they are added to the couscous.

   Once cooled, add fresh herbs, dried cranberries and almonds. Combine and toss to evenly distribute ingredients.

Serves 6

TIP: If making larger quantities, toss all ingredients in an unused kitchen trash bag. Once mixed, empty contents of bag into the serving container.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples

IMG_1698I am trying to use up food before our trip to Italy. I had a couple of chicken breasts that I had thawed a few days earlier but never used. With the grand-kids coming for the night, this was a perfect opportunity to cook them.

There were a couple of apples that were in need of rescue, so I nabbed one to use with the chicken. This is the final results of my food rescue mission. Needless to say, the grand-kids weren’t big fans because of the cooked apples. That’s craziness to me since they like apple pie.

Personally, I would have used rice rather than noodles, but since the kids don’t like rice, I added pasta. The honey mustard sauce gives offers tang and the apples a sweetness which is a perfect blend when paired with the chicken.


  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive  oil
  • 2/3 flour for coating chicken pieces
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large apple, cut into cubes (leave on skin)
  • 1 small zucchini, peeled and shredded
  • Parsley to garnish (optional)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta or rice


  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour-coated cubed chicken and saute until lightly browned, then add the cubed apples and shredded zucchini.
  2. While the chicken mixture continues to cook, combine apple juice, cornstarch, honey mustard, honey and salt/pepper in a bowl. Add to the skillet.
  3. Let simmer for about one minute before adding the chicken broth.
  4. Turn heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Additional chicken broth can be added if the sauce seems too thick.
  5. While chicken simmers, cook the rice.
  6. Serve the chicken and apple sauce over rice and garnish with fresh parsley.
IMG_1690 This dish generously serves four. If served with 1/2 cup rice it is in the neighborhood of 461 calories.Suggested side dishes include steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus or garden fresh steamed green beans.Suggested wine selections: Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir

Mexican Cowboy Corn Dip


  • 8- ounce package low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 small can of corn, drained
Drain corn completely. Drain a little more than half of the Rotel and mix in with the cream cheese and corn. This will thin out the cream cheese a tad. Microwave, stir and eat!

I prefer Frito’s Scoops with my dip but Tortilla’s work too!! Calories play out like this:

10 calories per each scoop of dip
16 calories per each Frito Scoop Chip
9 calories per each Light Tortilla Corn Chip
6 calories per each Fat-Free Tortilla Chip

You can also add cooked ground sausage and 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar to kick up the dip a notch. Of course, it will also kick up the calories.

Palm of Heart Artichoke Salad Plate


This 150 calorie salad is not only healthy, but also very low in fat. It contains artichoke hearts marinated in oil, sliced hearts of palm (in water), low fat cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce and one halved tomato slice. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Costco has an incredible selection of hearts of palm and artichoke hearts that are ready to serve right out of the jar. This tasty salad contains a good portion of vitamin C, zero cholesterol and can be served in a matter of minutes.

Consider adding chopped white or green asparagus tips for additional color. These too are available at Costco in ready-to-serve jars.

This salad is a perfect addition to a main course of spaghetti or lasagna. Red leaf lettuce can also be substituted for the bib lettuce.


Pork Pot Roast in a Crock

Pork Pot Roast in Crock Pot

With the record breaking snow in Michigan this winter, comfort food in a crock pot remain tops on my list. I toss everything in the crock pot before I start my work day and it is ready by dinner time. Convenient, easy and there is little clean-up.

Prep time is around 20 minutes. You will want to use a 5-6 quart crock.


  • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large pear, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large apple, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • Center cut pork roast (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use the broth in the box)
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Crock Pot Pork Roast


Place fruit, celery and onion in the bottom of crock pot. Cover with thyme, sugar and 1 tsp. salt.

Place pork roast on top and pour chicken broth over top. Sprinkle remaining salt over the roast.

Center Cut Pork Roast

Place cover on crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Drop cubed Brie cheese on roast. Cover and cook for an additional hour.

Remove meat to platter and arrange fruit and vegetables around the pork.


TIP: You can brown the pork roast before placing in the crock pot. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a skillet and brown both sides of the meat for about 2 minutes.

Any liquid left in the crock pot can be thickened and served as sauce.


Cucumber Tomato Marinated Salad


Today’s lunch was this refreshing salad; prepped in under 15 minutes. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It’s refreshing, low calorie and filling. Don’t be shy about adding other veggies. Chopped broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower and zucchini are just a few of my suggestions.


2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/3 cup vinegar…
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.