Thursday, February 2, 2012

Half and Half Because Variety is the Spice of Life

Cooking over the last couple of weeks has bee a mix of healthy foods and treats.  As I thought about it I realized that my cooking has reflected my real life.  While I'm fairly strict with myself Sunday through Friday, usually one day a week,  I look forward to some sort of splurge.

Here's a breakfast I had recently that was super simple yet so delicious! I halved and seeded an avocado then pushed the half into a small ramekin.  I then dropped a raw egg into the hole that was left by the seed, salted and peppered everything and threw it into a 350 degree oven and baked it for about 20 minutes.  Oh my goodness this was terrific!  The avocado was creamy and buttery and the egg was, well, an egg. But so good.  The only thing I'll do different next time is to go ahead and peel the avocado all the way.


I tried a couple of recipes over the weekend on my treat day.  Both were absolutely terrific. No nutrition information on these because I don't calculate treats, nor do I track on my treat meal/day.

The first was Pecan Pie Muffins.  I can't explain it but this recipe works - a muffin that tastes like pecan pie.  We actually ate them as dessert on Saturday evening. Mr. Helen plopped some whipped cream on the top of his and declaired, "You can make these every weekend!"  Well no, I won't but still there were simply hand-held heaven!

The other recipe I tried was BLT Pasta Salad.  We really enjoyed this.  I did change things up in the recipe as I decided I didn't want to saute the tomatoes in bacon grease.  I simply cut grape tomatoes in half and added them into the pasta before dressing it and we only added the lettuce to our individual portions.  I just think if lettuce was to sit in that pasta it would get soggy.  I think next time I make this I'm going to increase the dressing a bit, it didn't seem creamy enough to me. Also, I only made a half recipe.  I like bacon and pasta too much to have a bunch of that leftover!


Finally here's a good, healthy veggie recipe that came about because I had a bag of pre-washed and prepped kale that I needed to use up.    I wanted to do something different with it other than the usual cook with ham hock Southern style. When I looked at the bag there was a recipe on the bacl that sounded good.  It really is delicious - as a side dish or you could even have it over rice for a heartier meal.  This one goes into my regular repetoire.

Sweet and Sour Kale

    2 T olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 T Dijon mustard
    2 T apple cider vinegar
    1 T sugar
    2 cups organic vegetable broth
    16 oz bag prepared kale (~12 packed cups kale)
    1/3 cup craisins

    In a large stockpot, heat the 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the mustard, vinegar, sugar and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add kale and lower heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the craisins and cook for 5 more minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Makes 6 one cup servings, 168 calories, 5.6g fat, 26g carbohydrate, 6.3g fiber, 5.5g protein.


The trend of some super healthy and some treats will continue over this upcoming weekend because of the Superbowl.  Mr. Helen has already told me what he'd like to have as it's "his" Giants playing against some other team. Do you watch the Superbowl, even if it's just for the commercial and half-time show?  Are you making anything special?


  1. I don't think I've ever had cooked avocado before - I will definitely give that one a try!

    Tony is all about the snacks for Sunday - one thing he wants is bone marrow bones - he saw it on Anthony Bordaine (sp?) show - the half a bone (cow?) and then broil the bone until it starts to pull away, and then you top it with a parsley garlic mixture and scoop it out and put it on bread. Ew. But he called our local butcher and is picking the bones up on Saturday!

    I think we are going to cheese fondue though for a splurge - thank goodness my WI is on Saturday this week!

  2. I would never have thought to use an avocado (that I too never have cooked) and an egg for breakfast but it looks great and very easy too maken.

    I think you will make Roz very happy with your kale recipe :)

    And I think you are not surprised I don't watch superbowl. They don't air it here either because our country is not really into Football but they do mention it usually on the news who won.
    Enjoy the game.

  3. Like Fran, I immediately thought of Roz when you showed the kale. I've never tried it (well, maybe it was in some soup at Olive Garden, but you know what I mean). The splurge meals both sound great, and I'm not even a huge fan of pecan pie!

    And now I want fondue. And Meat-o-Rama. Damn my laziness!!! Actually, we are going to have pizza that I make - ground beef and onions on a Boboli. So see...I will be cooking! :) Go Giants!!!

  4. Haha, we all have Roz on the brain! She finally convinced me to give a massaged kale salad a try this week. It is SOOO good! I think it brings out the sweetness of the kale rather than the bitterness that I associate with kale.

    Egg and avocado... mmmm...can't go wrong with that combo!

  5. We always watch the Superbowl, usually with other people. Everyone brings a very yummy dish, so it is "super" challenging for this dieter. I guess I will just have to stick with one small slice of pizza and a salad, which is just fine with me.

    One year we did a food extravaganza and everyone brought one item of restaurant prepared food, including specialty desserts. We had pizza from the best restaurant in town, KFC, Asian, chicken wings, Mexican, Italian, etc.. It was wonderful and yet terrible at the same time! Thankfully we're not doing that this year!!

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. I copy many of them and put them in my computer recipe file. I love pasta salads, so the bacon/pasta dish looks fabulous!

  6. I accidently ate a bit of avocado skin than got chopped up into a salad... at a fancy restaurant....
    Took me about a year to get over the taste.... and to eat them again!

  7. 3 winners in the recipe department here, Helen. I'll be trying them all. I cook a lot of kale and this recipe sounds interesting. If I have craisins on hand, may make tonight to use up similar bag of precut kale!

  8. Love the avocado idea! Migth have to give that a try especially since they're on sale at Kroger right now.
    And I'm jealous you have prepared kale at your grocery store!

    Yes, I'll be watching the super bowl. I'll be making up wings and probably some jalapeno poppers. Maybe some margaritas. ;)

  9. Oh I am SO going to try that kale recipe!! Thanks :-)

  10. OMG! Avocado and egg for breakfast sounds fabulous. I love kale so I will have to try that recipe.

    Helen I like how you balance out your healthy eating while allowing yourself to have some treats as well.

    For maintenance the 17 Day Diet allows you to eat normal portions of your favorite foods for a couple of meals over the weekend, while staying with lighter eating during the week days. It makes so much sense to do it that way. When I get to my happy weight again I am going to give this method a try.

  11. oooh that avocado and egg looks amazing!!!!
    we are off to a superbowl soiree this weekend.
    Im still sad my steelers arent playing!

  12. I never watch the superbowl, but when I had a tv I routinely turned it on to see the half time show. I always surprised myself that I could predict the time so well.

    The pecan pie muffins sound so good I am not even going to dare looking at the recipe!

  13. Yay for cooking!! All of that looks delicious!

    Also, Tag! You're It! Be sure to check out my blog ( to see what's up! :)

  14. Okay, I don't even like pecan pie but I want to try those muffins. I am also intrigued by the BLT pasta salad; I have a couple of other pasta salad recipes I like, and the idea of mixing it in with lettuce is just brilliant (last minute, though, because the sogginess worries me too).

    We do watch the Super Bowl, but mostly for the commercials. Sometimes I will make a "tailgate" type food, like chili. One year we had guests, and I made a couple of meatloaf recipes for sandwiches that they inhaled. This year was just us so we did grilled onions and chicken sausages. Yummy, and just perfect for two.

  15. Would never think to put the two together!! Sounds interesting! Keep focused!