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Strawberry Short (whole wheat) Cake

>> 5/29/10

Strawberry Shortcake can be as deceptive as a politician.   Hidden among the glistening red fruits and the lure of hitting 3 of the 5 the major food groups are mounds of sugar and butter fat.   "You say that like it's a bad thing," my husband would say.
It's summer, strawberries are spilling into the grocer's aisles and they're cheap - how can I not make this dessert?   So, I have refashioned Strawberry Shortcake with help from great online resources to make this old time favorite more nutritious, less caloric, but not sacrifice flavor.

Strawberry Shortcake


Mix 4 cups sliced strawberries and 2 T sugar and let brew (can use Spenda and/or heat over stove and cool to produce more juice)

Whole Wheat Shortcake: adapted from Tammy's Recipes

4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided*
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl with electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating at high speed and add 1/4 cup sugar, about 2 tablespoonfuls at a time. Beat well after each addition, until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites stand in stiff peaks.
2. In another mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the egg yolks, flour, water, oil, baking powder, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the beaten egg whites until completely blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan or two smaller round cake pans.
3. Bake cake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched with finger and cake tests done. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan. The cake will sink slightly as it cools. 

Whipped Cream: adapted from Eating Well
1/2 c whipping cream (I've tried with lesser fat milk and have not had success)
1/2 c fat free sour cream
2 T sugar or packet of sweetener

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue whipping until stiff.  Fold in sour cream until well blended.

To assemble: slice a cake wedge in half and fill with 1 T whipped cream and strawberries.  Place cake half on top and spoon more strawberries over and add another dollop of whipped cream.

Fast alternatives:  Use angel food cake and some fat free, ready made whipped topping


Chicken Apple Sausage²

>> 5/27/10

I admit, sausages make me snicker like frat boy.  "I miss Jack" - who can name the movie?

We love food reinvention at One Real Bite.  We start with a great summer meal: grilled chicken apple sausages, asian slaw, corn on the cob, and watermelon.
I buy the links at Whole Foods where they grind their own sausages (snicker) without nitrates or hormones, from real organic chicken breasts.  But, I smell all the meat (snicker) and seafood from WF before I have them pack it up because, sadly I've purchased turned items too often from the store that usually grants all of my grocery wishes.

We grill twice as many sausages as we'll need, because that luscious, smoky and sweet sausage will be reinvented into minestrone soup.

I'm partial to Tyler Florence's Hunter Minestrone, but have modified it for my very own real food meal and offer options for speed and ease.

Sherri and Tyler's Minestrone Soup
Essential recipe:

1.  Chop and saute in 2 T olive oil:
     2 celery ribs, 2 medium carrots, one onion
2.  Heat:
     1 qt chicken broth
     1 qt vegetable broth
3.  Slice:
     3 grilled chicken apple sausages  reinvention
4.  Add to heated broth:
     sauteed vegetables to broth.
    1 (28 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
    1 bay leaf
    1 or 2 cans cannelloni beans

5.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Heat together for 15 minutes and serve or freeze.

Radical version:

Saute the following herbs olive oil before adding the vegetables:
  Thyme sprig, rosemary sprig and 8 fresh sage leaves
  (Remove before serving)

Heat broth with 1 head of garlic - halved.  Remove before adding vegetables to the broth.

   1/2 bunch chopped fresh Italian parsley
   1/2 pound partially cooked, small whole wheat rigatoni
Serve with:
   grated parmesan cheese


Get Me To The Greek

>> 5/24/10

Mediterranean cuisine, long recognized for its light and healthy fare, includes a variety of fresh vegetables, fish and olive oil.  No matter how many salads I try, I keep coming back to the Greek.   The vegetables in this salad are also good to have on hand when a snack attack hits.  I avoid the prepared dressings where I can because they are packed with preservatives and salt and my simple flavoring just taste better.  Because I had all of these ingredients prepped in my refrigerator, the salad took me 5 minutes to create.  Try it without lettuce for an authentic Greek.   

Salad:  Lettuce - Cucumbers - Tomatoes - Red Peppers - Red Onion - Feta Cheese - Kalamata Olives - Shrimp (roasted, see When In Doubt, Roast)
Seasonings:  Red Wine Vinegar - Olive Oil - Dried Oregano - Salt and Pepper 

Mayo Clinic shares the key components of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet:

  • Exercise and eat meals with family and friends
  • Eat a generous amount of fruits and vegetables
  • Consume healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Eat small portions of nuts
  • Drink red wine (in moderation for some)
  • Consume very little red meat
  • Eat fish or shellfish at least twice a week


Breakfast for the Junior Conquerer

>> 5/23/10

Sunday is Prep Day for the rest of the week here and so we start the morning with a big batch of waffles that can be frozen and reheated as the week drags onward. To boost up the nutrition for those long days where school runs immediately into sport practice, I mix 1:1 white flour with flour from a high protein grain. My favorite is emmer, also known as farro. Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum for you gardeners who love latin names) is the original ancient wheat. It was first cultivated in the Middle East then migrated to the Mediterranean where it literally fed the Roman Legions. Why were they so successful in building their Empire? Emmer flour contains twice the protein of regular white wheat flour!!

We get our emmer flour from a local farm, Bluebird Grain Farms but other local wheat producers are popping up all over the country to sell specialty flours. If you can't find emmer flour, look for flours made of "hard" winter wheat. Unlike wimpy generic cultivated wheat, these wheats are genetically programmed to survive harsh conditions by storing more nutrients-all the better to build strong healthy kids! The whole farro grains are fantastic on their own too, but I'll sing their praises on another day.

Protein Packed Waffles
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups flour (one cup white, one cup emmer or other hard wheat variety)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together separately. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Pour into prepared waffle maker.


Roasting Continued

>> 5/22/10

Don't be afraid to experiment with roasting veggies that you normally eat raw or steamed! Blasted broccoli tossed with olive oil and garlic is a revelation-the crispy flowers taste almost fried. Cauliflower carmelizes into tender nuggets that are super tossed with curry. Fennel turns into licorice flavored sweet onions, and if you've never had a parsnip you'll weep once you taste the sweet apple carrot flavor that roasting brings out.

Throwing what ever veggie is in season into a hot oven is a great way to vary your intake of different vitamins and anti-oxidants throughout the year. Our bodies are clearly designed to need this variety. Studies show that exposure to lots of different plant products reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. BUT if we try and pick just one of those products to take as the cure all (I'm talking about you beta-carotene) and turn it into a pill there are no benefits at all. So pick a new veggie ever month to blast in the oven-your blood vessels will thank you!


5 Minute Salad - 5 Ingredients

An easy salad with a big taste. Good feta and aged balsamic are flavor savors to packing in loads of flavor with small amounts.  

1. Cherry tomatoes
2. Crumbled feta cheese
3. Chopped fresh basil
4. Dash of seasonings: salt and pepper
5. Balsamic vinegar

3 servings - 85 calories each


When In Doubt, Roast

>> 5/19/10

Olive oil, salt, pepper and a 400° oven is all you need to roast any meat, chicken, fish or vegetable to perfection.
Potatoes (shown) for 45 minutes and turn. Make them in bulk to have throughout the week. I added chopped, fresh rosemary to these. Potatoes are more starch than vegetable so they will not give you the nutrients you need you need from our vegetable friends, but keep the skins on because they are a rich source of fiber and it makes prep even easier.
Shrimp (raw, peeled) for 5 minutes (no turning necessary). Roast shrimp in bulk and then reincarnate it later in the week: salad topping, reheated over pasta, sautéed with garlic.
Chicken for 30 minutes.  Make extra for future meals.
Vegetables for 45 minute, turning as needed.  The goal is to bring out the natural sugars in vegetables for caramelized flavor.
Fish (salmon, halibut (shown), orange roughy, tilapia, etc) about 15 minutes, no turning necessary.


Salad Kids Love - Sunomono

>> 5/18/10

This Japanese salad turns out different every time.

Here are the basics: sliced cucumbers, rice wine vinegar, something sweet (sugar, sweetener, agave syrup, I use Purevia - a natural, zero calorie sweetner from the Stevia plant - a bit much I know), soy sauce, water, salt.
Mix everything but the cucumbers to taste. Adjust to your liking and then pour over the cukes.

For the uncertain:
-one large cucumber
-2 T rice wine vinegar
-1 T sugar (one packet sweetener)
-1/2 t salt
-1/4 t soy sauce
-1 T water

For the adventurous: add in any of the following: sliced radishes, sliced red onion, crabmeat, imitation crabmeat, sesame seeds).
For the fancy: use English cucumbers, regular cucumbers-halved, scoop out seeds and slice, or Persian cucumbers (shown).


Apologies to the Egg

>> 5/17/10

Eggs-speaking for myself if not all cardiologists-we were wrong, and I'm sorry. In the seventies we didn't understand that our bodies made cholesterol out of saturated fat. Instead we blamed high human cholesterol on food that was high in cholesterol, and that put you in the public health pillory-(you too shrimp). In fact, most of the cholesterol in our bodies is made by our own livers from saturated fat that we eat. So if you need to lower your levels of bad LDL cholesterol-concentrate on decreasing your intake of foods high in saturated fat like cheese, butter and ground beef.

Eggs from the local farmers market-while more expensive-come from chickens that are allowed to roam and eat what they are born to eat-grass and bugs, NOT processed cornmeal. These eggs are especially high in Omega-3 fatty acids-a good fat that keeps heart and blood vessel cells healthy. So think about offering an egg to your kids next snack time-boiled, fried or scrambled in just a touch of canola oil. At 75 calories with lots of protein it will cost the same and power them longer than that sugar loaded "breakfast bar" or "fruit rollup".


Spinach Egg Bites in Two Minutes

Chopped spinach, egg whites, a pinch of shredded cheese and then microwave in an egg poacher for two minutes. No oil needed. Get creative, add any veggie you have on hand. I find that it's easier to get veggies in the morning within some egg white concoction then to eat raw. Shredded lowfat cheese is another flavor savor, but also my vice. I limit where I can, but find that if I add a smattering (pinch, dusting, sprinkle) of cheese to eggs or a salad, I am delighted not deprived.
I added the garnish of cilantro for show, but loved it with the eggs. Note, the small plate to tell my eyes that I'm getting a lot of food.


Can We Love a Fava Bean?

>> 5/16/10

In my never-ending, and sometimes painful, drive to get more vegetables in my diet, I subscribe to Farm Fresh to You, a produce delivery service from local growers. It's also a good thing to eat local and seasonal food - tastes better, better for the environment and the rest of that do-good stuff. I'm challenged and intrigued with each delivery because there's always one fresh item that I've never cooked with or that I think I'll like, which brings me to Fava.
What to do with a giant bean that arrived in a pod nearly the size of a banana? Like Katrina De Voort ("Her house always smells like soup," Bleeker said to Juno.), I made soup.
And that meant I went to Chop Therapy first.

Chop Therapy session included carrots, leeks, green beans, asparagus, celery and "The Groovy Sixties" CD. You can get pre-chopped if you're in a hurry, but you'll be missing the soothing sounds of Me and Bobby McGee.

My culinary cousin Pam taught me to start with a mirepoix (fancy French term for chopped veggies that become the flavor base - pronounced meer-pwah) - two parts onion (in this case, leeks) to one part each celery and carrots. Cook in a little olive oil over med/med high heat for five minutes to bring out the flavor. Add in broth (veggie/chicken or both), all beans and asparagus. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dried herbs here or fresh herbs before serving (thyme, basil, flat leaf parsley, mint -all work for spring flavors). Play with ingredients you prefer or those you have on hand and always taste as you go.

Spring Vegetable Soup with fava beans.

It's Sunday, I even had time to grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top.

I had dismissed the fava as just another bean of colossal proportion, but it tasted unique - fresh, an inexplicable spring flavor.


Saturday Morning Pancakes

>> 5/15/10

Kids don't refuse pancakes, they beg for them. Let's use that motivation to do some good. "You get them started," I told my 9 year old son, Griffin. He did most of the work while I read the paper.I arrived in time to sprinkle the pancakes with flax seed meal before he flipped them.
I portion the syrup into small bowls because I once saw Griffin dipping sausage into syrup. Also, we're big on the real deal maple syrup. It is higher in sugar content than the 'lite' versions, but it's real and not loaded with chemicals. A little goes a long way in flavor. Ah, maple syrup -- a fine flavor savor in flavoring baked goods and salad dressings.
Sliced berries and a glass of milk (carb + protein for peak energy).

Today's Pancakes, Tomorrow's Toastercakes


Smoothies: One Batch, Three Treatments

>> 5/14/10

Smoothies are fool-proof and easy, especially when you give them several presentations. Motto - make everything in bulk and reincarnate. This smoothie, one of my go-tos, serves as a breakfast beverage, a frozen to-go drink, and a popsicle.


Frozen Strawberries
Vanilla yogurt (yea protein)
Orange Juice (lowest sugar possible)
ice cubes

*don't fret measurements, just play

Future smoothie ingredient

This weekold pineapple would get major complaints at the table...but not when I slip it into a smoothie. Make sure to freeze the fruit flat so you don't get a frozen fruit blob that makes your blender explode. Smoothies are not healthy for your walls!


Possibilities Waiting to be Created

Possibilities Waiting to be Created
Santa Monica Farmers Market

Crunch Time

Gives any well-intentioned cook, completely possible ways to get more real, fresh food onto the table without being shackled to a recipe or breaking the bank or getting an uprising from finicky eaters.
We are big on quick food prep - Chop Therapy - to make real food into fast food and we use what we term flavor savors that give a flavor punch to foods instead of using preservatives or processed ingredients.
We love getting the whole family involved in the food preparation effort. We also use some momgenutity for presenting real food in our homes so it stands a chance against the marketing assault of the Happy Meal.
Please share your ideas and share our posts with anyone you know who might want more real food in their meals.

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