Curly Tapas Spoons~ What is Tapas?

Curly Tapas Spoons

So what’s all the buzz about Tapas? For me, it’s a fun dinner sharing various small plated food with friends. The term “Tapas” refers to “small plates”, like appetizers or sample dishes. A perfect mix when served with great wine and hanging with people you love.

My first experience at a Tapas restaurant was in Grand Rapids, Michigan (just across from the Amway Grand Hotel). I was in awe. All these small plates were delivered to our table with the opportunity to sample and taste so many different foods.

Ever since then, I am a big fan of Tapas dining. I recently ordered the above spoons to use at some of our Tapas dinners. A tapa is not a particular type of food, but rather a way of eating it. Tapas is best defined as the tradition of enjoying small portions of different appetizers and finger foods.

Serving Tapas Appetizers

Every year we do a “Tapas Dinner” with a party of 10 friends. It’s a great way to sample many different foods without preparing a main course. My most recent Tapas food experience was on our annual house boat trip to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. On our farewell dinner, each couple prepared a Tapas dish to share with the couples. My honey and I made a Beef Wellington dish. So fun and a great time creating a sampler dish.

Eggplant Goat Cheese Sandwich w/ Tarrgaon Red Sauce

WOW! That’s all I can say about this dish. A bit more time consuming than some of my Blimpy Girl meals, but holey shamoley, it’s worth it. I paired this with a side of pasta and spinach salad. The tarragon red sauce was bursting with flavor (and I didn’t even use fresh tarragon!)

One ounce of rich, creamy goat cheese sandwiched between two layers of crusted eggplant. A slice of roasted red pepper and roasted onion tops the sandwich. The pureed red sauce is flavored with tarragon and a smidgen of sugar.

I’ll get the recipe posted in the next day or two. This is a recipe worthy of keeping in your “favorite” file.

Christmas Monopoly

Grand Kids Christmas Holiday Monopoly Search & Find

Today I finalized the annual Search & Find  game for the grand kids. Every year it’s something different. This year, we are playing a “revised” version of Junior Monopoly. Here’s how it works.

I buy gifts card every holiday season for my grand kids ($5- $10 cards). These are hidden in various locations around my home. They love it! This year, I printed my own CHANCE cards to replace those in the Monopoly game. Each child has eight CHANCE cards with their names printed on one side and the prize location noted on the other side.

The die is rolled and the tokens moved around the game board. A CHANCE card is received when landing on a spot that reads “Railroad, Lunch, Chance, or Free Space. If landing on property, the bank awards monopoly money for the purchase price of the property. Passing GO, earns them $2.

The first person to remove their stack of CHANCE cards ends the game. Each player adds up their cash. A $2 fee is paid to the bank to purchase unearned CHANCE cards.

Players tally their cash and the total amount of Monopoly money is converted to “real” cash and donated to our local church for charity. The CHANCE cards are then cashed in for prizes that are hidden around the house. Example:

” Look behind the paper towel holder.”

Behind the paper towel holder is a $5 gift card to Subway.

The kids love racing around the house looking for their prizes. This year, I purchased inexpensive credit card holders for the kids to store their gift cards.


Bunless Cheeseburger Deluxe

Bunless Cheeseburger (Low Calorie)

Who needs bread when you can eat a burger wrapped in Iceberg lettuce? This Boca Vegan burger is topped off with low-fat cheddar, tomato, fat-free thousand island dressing, dill pickle relish, mustard and onion. A 10 minute lunch on the fly.

A mere 165 calories. If you want to add a bun, use a 100 calorie Slimwich Bun. That still keeps your cheeseburger well under 300 calories. Heck, you can even add a dollop of ketchup if you want. Recipe coming soon!

Gourmet Hot Dog Kabobs

Gourmet Hot Dog Kabobs

Gourmet Hot Dog Kabobs. You could easily add mushrooms and onions to the skewers with very few calories. I’m serving these tomorrow for my daughter’s daily BG (Blimpy Girl) lunch.

This lunch-dinner will take you less than 10 minutes to prepare. Add a side salad or scoop of low-fat cottage cheese and you’ll still be under 250 calories. Grab the Recipe 

Pineapple-Apple Chicken Fettuccine

Pineapple-Apple Chicken Fetuccine

I tend to eat alot of chicken on my Blimpy Girl eating plan. Problem is, it can get boring. I’m always experimenting with new ways to make it a bit more exciting. Chicken breast on its own is fairly bland and dry unless you jazz it up a bit. Here was last night’s dinner, Pineapple-Apple Chicken over fettuccine noodles. The steamed baby snap peas were an added bonus.

I was able to make four servings from this recipe. However, I eat smaller portions, so if you have a hungry guy in the family, you may only get 2-3 servings.

Blimpy Girl Pineapple-Apple Chicken Fettucine

The chicken breast fillets are first baked in pineapple (juice included). Once cooked, the juice is reserved and the chicken chopped into bite size morsels. The sauce for the noodles is made from the reserved pineapple juice. A definite keeper in Blimpy Girl’s recipe file. Grab the Recipe

Pumpkin Quiche

Pumpkin Quiche Pie

This recipe was sent to me by a good friend. I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin but I wanted to give it a try. I was intriuqed about a pumpkin flavored quiche. I had 3 taste testers, myself included and here was the verdict.

1) Taste tester #1 (my daughter’s nanny). She LOVED IT!! Thought it was deserving of some low-fat whipped cream.

2) Taste tester #2 (the honey-man). He said he would prefer pumpkin pie.

3) Taste tester #3 (myself). Thought it was a little boring in flavor.

Funny how everyone has a different take on a particular dish. I will try tweaking this dish until I find the right blend. There needs to be some sweetness. Pure pumpkin is rather bland and maybe a couple of no calorie sweeting packets might add to this recipe. I know it’s a quiche, and sweetness isn’t generally part of the mix, but it def needs something extra. Grab the Recipe (the current, unrevised one…you may find it to be awesome…)


What’s Your Favorite Comfort Food?

Comfort Food. What Makes it so comforting?

Over the weekend, my honey-man (the wine guy) made a batch of beef barley soup. Tender beef chunks mixed with potatoes and barley screamed, “eat me ‘cuz I can bring comfort”. Comfort? Exactly what is comfort food and how did that term evolve. Got me  thinking and here is my take.

Comfort food is personal to your upbringing. In my childhood, I remember coming home after Sunday morning church to the smell of a pot roast cooking in the oven. To this day, the smell and taste of a pot roast, at least in my mind, brings comfort and evokes so many good memories. On the other hand, there are salmon patties. It was not a childhood favorite. I gag on the smell alone. Certainly not a comfort food by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe because my mom made me sit at the dinner table until it was all gone. Thank God for big paper napkins (and a family pet who willingly devoured the chunks I left beneath the table).

Comfort food is likely food you won’t find on a three star restaurant menu. It’s generally food with smells and taste that evokes pleasant memories. Fried chicken reminds me of my Grammy. No one cooked Southern fried chicken like she did. The smell of battered chicken cooking in hot oil takes me back in time. It evokes feelings of nostalgia, safety, and security. At least that’s my take.

I think many people find comfort in reconnecting with foods from their earlier years, hence… “comfort” food. We all have are own agenda when it comes to classifying what we consider comfort foods. Here is my personal top 10, what are some of yours?

Southern fried chicken (it’s gotta be fried!)
Beef pot roast with potatoes and carrots
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken & Dumplings
Mac & Cheese
Corn on the Cob
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Apple Crisp
Corn bread with buttermilk (yes, really!!)


Veggie Napoletana

Eggplant Veggie Napoletana

This dense portion is chock full of veggie goodness. Hmmm…. let’s see… eggplant, spinach, zucchini, portabella mushrooms…. PLUS cheese. This portion size packs a powerful punch with less than 200 calories per serving. It’s filling and packed with yum-yum. Serve with a small side salad and low-cal salad dressing.

Perfect for lunch or dinner. This is my daughter’s BG (Blimpy Girl) lunch today. Her first words when seeing the dish were, “Ooooo… is that an eggplant dish?”. She was quite excited. I’ll give feedback on her taste test. The honey man was also plated a lunch portion. When removing from oven, he said, “That looks delicious.” I’ll post his verdict as well. Grab the Recipe