Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake

Healthy Pineapple Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This healthy carrot cake is a lighter version of the original. It is moist, easy to make and is lower in sugar and has no butter or oil.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (I used splenda 1:1)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup of finely grated carrots (about 2 large)
  • Pam vegetable spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray Pam on 8×8 ceramic cake pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together egg and applesauce.
  5. Add vanilla, sugar and crushed pineapple. Stir until combined.
  6. Pour dry ingredients into wet and gently mix with a spatula until completely combined.
  7. Stir in carrots until evenly distributed.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25-35 min until pick comes out clean from centre.
  10. Cut into 12 squares.

Nutrition Per Serving with Splenda


– Calories 55
– Fat 0.55 g
– Sugar 2.8 g
– Carbohydrates 10.1 g
– Protein 2.0 g
– Fibre 1.0 g

Nutrition Per Serving with Sugar


– Calories 94
– Fat 0.55 g
– Sugar 11.3 g
– Carbohydrates 18.6 g
– Protein 2.0 g
– Fibre 1.0 g

This cake is easy to make. The longest part is grating the carrots and making sure that there is no extra protein (the skin off your fingers) as I so often scrape my fingers on the grater.

I’ve given the two versions of nutritional facts with sugar and with Splenda. Even using sugar, a diabetic can have this as the carbs are low and so is the sugar. You can ice it with a cream cheese frosting (let me know if you want the recipe) but it doesn’t even need it. You can sprinkle a little icing sugar for extra sweetness but that is up to you. There are so many possibilities including chocolate chips, or raisins, or even dates that there is no reason you can’t have fun and make it your own.

Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Applesauce is often something I have in the house. I’ve learned to buy the little cups as many recipes ask for it but in small quantities. I hate opening a jar and then have half go bad. Here is a recipe that calls for just one of those prepackaged cups of unsweetened applesauce. I’ve given you a couple of options on the fat or sugar content below.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil or applesauce (if you have extra, my nutritional value below is based on oil)
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of white or cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups of white, spelt or oat flour (I used white unbleached flour)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar or sugar substitute (my nutritional value is based on sugar, if using substitute sugar value is 0 g)
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of allspice (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add remaining dry ingredients to form a batter.
  4. Smooth into a greased 8” square pan.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
  6. Cool, then frost if desired.
  7. Cut into 9 squares.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 130
  • Fat 4.4 g
  • Sugar 7.2 g
  • Carbohydrates 21.6 g
  • Protein 2.8 g
  • Fibre 2.6 g

So as you can see this was really easy. Just because it is low in fat and sugar doesn’t mean it can’t taste good. I made mine with oil but without the sugar. I used splenda 1:1 and it was fine. This also brought the calories down to 102 cal per piece. If you change the oil to applesauce it goes down to 66 and only 0.4 g of fat. You can add raisins, chopped walnuts, even chocolate chips without making it go crazy on calories or sugar. Depends what you are after. You could even ice it, if you really wanted to. I thought it was great plain but now it’s your recipe and have fun and make it your own.

Easy Stroganoff

Easy Stroganoff

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Quite a few people are intimidated by stroganoff. I’ve seen recipes that are tricky, need so many ingredients, and hours of work. Here is a quick, easy, great tasting version that is on your table in just over an hour.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tbsp of spicy steak spice
  • 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 1 cup 5% sour cream
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 2 tbsp of non fat half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 1 package of extra broad extra large Egg White Noodles (no yolks)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Brown meat in large stock pot on medium. Make sure to crumble meat.
  2. Leave about 1 tbsp of fat and drain the rest.
  3. Add onion and mushrooms. Stir regularly.
  4. Once mushrooms are soft, add the spicy steak spice, beef broth and sour cream.
  5. In a separate bowl, add flour, cream and mix well.
  6. Add to meat mixture.
  7. Simmer for about an hour.
  8. Cook egg noodles per package instructions.
  9. Serve meat mixture over noodles.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 603
  • Fat 10.8 g
  • Sugar 5.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 71.3 g
  • Protein 51.3 g
  • Fibre 4.0 g

This is my version of quick stroganoff. I was at the store and saw the packaged one and thought I could make this and probably a little healthier version. It is really high in protein, so a good meal to have after a hard workout. It reheats well. Serve it with a salad, or veggies, and you have a complete healthy meal. You can change the ground meat to chicken or pork, or even economical round steak sliced thin.

Have fun and make it your own!

Beef and Vegetable Barley Soup

Beef and Vegetable Barley Soup

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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We love soup. What can I say? It can be a side, a main course, comfort food, even a snack. It’s even better when they are easy and you get to use leftovers to make it.

Ingredients


– 1 tbsp of butter
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 medium onion chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced or 5 garlic scapes minced
– 1 carrot thinly sliced
– 3 celery stalks sliced thin
– 1 1/2 – 2 medium zucchini sliced thin
– 1 cup of barley
– 8 to 9 ounces of cooked sirloin steak sliced thin about 1 inch long
– 6 cups of reduced sodium beef broth
– 1 tbsp of Worchestire sauce
– 2 tbsp of Soya Sauce
– 2 tbsp of Diana Sauce or ketchup
– 1/2 tsp of cayenne (optional)
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp of cajun spice

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot, over high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, butter and onion. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are transparent.
  2. Lower heat to medium, add garlic. Stir constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, stir until well blended.
  4. Lower heat and let simmer for an hour.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 149
  • Fat 5.1 g
  • Sugar 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 17.6 g
  • Protein 7.7 g
  • Fibre 4.0 g

The vegetables are interchangeable. We had steaks the night before and that was the left over. You can sub for inside round which is a cheaper cut. Be sure to cut it against the grain. As a main course, I serve a double serving with a nice salad. Remember that what you put as a veggie, spice, is how you can make this your own. Enjoy and have fun.

Easy Pork Curry

Easy Pork Curry

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Did the word easy get your attention? It got mine when I first saw this recipe. Dinner for 6 in 75 minutes, I just had to try it. Turned out pretty good. So here it is.

Ingredients

  • Boneless pork shoulder roast (2 lbs) cut into 1inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp of curry powder
  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can of coconut milk (light)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 4 cups of cooked basmati rice
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot, over high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and onion. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are transparent.
  2. Lower heat to medium, add garlic and ginger. Stir constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Add curry powder and stir for 15 seconds.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, coconut milk and chicken stock and stir until well blended.
  5. In a large skillet, over high heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and cubed pork, working in batches if necessary. Sear pork on all sides, approximately, 1-3 minutes.
  6. Add pork to curry mixture and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes .
  7. Serve with basmati rice and topped with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 365
  • Fat 16 g
  • Sugar 7.4 g
  • Carbohydrates 20 g
  • Protein 37.2 g
  • Fibre 4.8 g

This was an easy recipe to make. If you are watching your carbs or need to be careful on what carbs you eat that might spike your blood glucose, you might want to switch the basmati rice for brown converted rice, or even a tortilla. The nutritional facts are with basmati rice. You can also make this with the other white meat, chicken.

Have fun and remember to make it your own.

Macaroni Cabbage Salad

Macaroni Cabbage Salad

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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With summer finally here, macaroni salad seems to be a staple in the summer. Like everything else, if you always make it the same, it becomes predicable and ordinary. I always seem to have extra cabbage in the house so I thought, why not. It will give it a crunch. Also I was short on mayo so I thought I’d do oil and vinegar and lemon juice. Here is the end result.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 head of a medium cabbage sliced really thin
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper chopped
  • 4 medium branches of celery chopped
  • 10 oz (uncooked) elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice, fresh preferred but Realemon Lemon Juice is a good substitute
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook elbow macaroni to al dente.
  2. Once pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse with cold water until pasta is cool to the touch.
  3. In a very large mixing bowl put cabbage, garlic, onions, carrot, all three peppers, celery and cooled pasta. Mix well.
  4. In a smaller mixing bowl, put vinegar, lemon juice, oil, sugar, chilli flakes, paprika, salt and pepper and mix very well until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour over pasta and vegetable mixture and coat well.
  6. Chill for an hour and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 197
  • Fat 6.3 g
  • Sugar 6.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 30.7 g
  • Protein 4.5 g
  • Fibre 3 g

Pot lucks, picnics, and BBQs just scream for macaroni salad. Well at least they do here. I’ve always worried about it being out too long because of the mayo and feared it would turn bad. This recipe put my mind at ease. Now of course, this is one recipe that you can play with a lot. You have extra avocados, throw that in, it won’t go black because of the vinegar and lemon juice. You want asparagus that you have left over in the fridge, in it goes. Same with broccoli. This is a great way to use up your left over veggies. The only one I would really want to cook is the asparagus (too tough if not cooked).

This recipe screams for you to have fun and make it your own.

Chinese Sausage Fried Rice (Lop Cheung Chow Fan)

Chinese Sausage Fried Rice (Lop Cheung Chow Fan)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Chinese food, especially fried rice, is often considered a comfort food. I have personally made fried rice in many variations, and yet could never quite get the flavour when you go to chinatown and get it there. This recipe came close. With a few modifications, this is what we came up with.

Ingredients


– 3 Chinese sausage (cook as recommended on package)
– 1 large white onion (chopped)
– 5 cups of cooked white rice (preferable cooled to room temperature)
– 3/4 tsp of salt
– 1/4 tsp of sugar
– 2 tbsp of hot water
– 1/2 tsp of sesame oil (essential)
– 2 tbsp of soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp of white pepper
– 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
– 3 eggs (beaten)
– 1 cup of frozen green peas (thawed to room temperature)
– 1 cup of bean sprouts
– 2 scallions (chopped)
– 1 tbsp of soy sauce

Directions

  1. Prepare your Chinese sausage, onion and rice.
  2. In a small bowl, add salt, sugar, water, sesame oil, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, white pepper, mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat your wok over medium heat and spread 1 tbsp of oil around the perimeter of your wok.
  4. Add the beaten eggs and scramble them in the wok, breaking them into small pieces with your spatula. Once cooked, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add Chinese sausage and fry for 20 seconds.
  6. Add chopped onion and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes until translucent.
  7. Add the remaining oil and add rice. Use your metal or wooden spatula to flatten out and break up any clumps. (I tend to do that before hand with wet hands). Keep moving it around to heat thoroughly and prevent sticking.
  8. Once the rice is warm, pour sauce mixture evenly over the rice. Mix rice in a scooping motion for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked egg, frozen peas, bean sprouts and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  10. Add the scallions and another tbsp of soy sauce and mix well. Stir fry for another minute or so.
  11. Serve hot.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 455
  • Fat 24 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Carbohydrates 43 g
  • Protein 16 g
  • Fibre 2 g

As you see the recipe is quite simple. The fat content is a little high and a lot of it has to do with the Chinese sausage. If that is a concern, you can change it to cooked chicken or even pork. The sodium content is also high. As is, using regular soy sauce and Chinese sausage you are looking at 759 mg per serving. That’s up there. I used sodium reduced soy sauce. I personally found this recipe to lack soy sauce but I’m not a good judge. I even add some at the Chinese restaurant, so you be the expert with your plate. It’s easier to add some than take it away.

We serve it with a bowl of won ton soup and steamed veggies on the side. Makes for a complete balanced meal. You can serve it as a side dish with whatever other main course you are in the mood for. So, I hope you have fun and make this your own.

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Perfectly refreshing, colourful, and versatile. Looking for a healthy dish to bring to a pot luck, picnic or just a great way to end a meal, here is a healthy option.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of strawberries, chopped
  • 1 lb of fresh pineapple (canned pineapple pieces if you don’t have fresh, drained)
  • 12 oz of fresh blueberries
  • 12 oz of red grapes, sliced in halves
  • 4 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 3 mandarine oranges (canned mandarines drained will work)
  • 2 bananas, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tsp of lime zest (zest from 2 medium limes)
  • 1.5 tbsp of fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Add all fruit to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, lime zest and lime juice.
  3. Pour over fruit and toss to evenly coat, and serve

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 143
  • Fat 0.4 g
  • Sugar 27.1 g
  • Carbohydrates 36.6 g
  • Protein 2.0 g
  • Fibre 4.1 g

This is a very versatile recipe. Use the fruit you like best and/or have available. Keep in mind that the longer between the time it is made and served, your pineapple will start changing color. It will absorb the juice of the strawberries and such. This is a little tart due to the pineapple, lime and mandarines. You can make this using melons, watermelon, mango, peaches. The possibilities are endless. All you need is a little imagination to have fun and make it your own.

Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner

Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner

  • Servings: N/A
  • Difficulty: N/A
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I was making a recipe called Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese and thought I would compare the values of Kraft Velvetta Vs Kraft Cheez Whiz vs Kraft Mac and Cheese (KD). I have done my recipe with both Kraft Velvetta and with Kraft Cheez Whiz. Of course, like every else, I’ve also had Kraft Mac and Cheese.

The purpose of this exercise was to compare value to the nutrients. I wanted to compare price to the fats, protein, vitamins and of course convenience.

Convenience Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese wins hands down. It is the easiest, quickest and needs a total of three items, the Kraft Dinner, milk and margarine. My recipe needs tomato soup, pasta, Velvetta or Cheez Whiz, milk, margarine, onions. Then I wanted to compare pricing. Of course this varies where you are and if you are using generic or brand names. For the purpose of this exercise I used brand names and all from one store, Walmart.

I calculated to make the same quantity which would serve six. However, I didn’t count the salad or veggie you should be having with this to make a balanced meal. Nor did I add any extra protein. Conclusion of the pricing was pretty simple. Cheapest was with Cheez Whiz, at 1.05 a plate, Velvetta at 1.10 and Kraft Dinner which I found expensive at 1.27 a plate. Kraft Dinner has more calories, more fat, more sugar, and less calcium and Vitamin A per serving.  Mind you, it is much quicker and works well in a pinch. I have used it as side dish many times and will continue to do so.

Now for the comparison of the Cheez Whiz light and Velvetta light which one or the other was required for my recipe, here is what I came up with:

Cheez Whiz LightVelvetta Light (2% fat)
30 g or 1 ounce30 g or 1 ounce
60 calories62 calories
3 g of fat3 g of fat
2 g of carbohydrates3.3 g of carbohydrates
2 g of sugar2.4 g of sugar
3 g of protein5.5 g of protein
0 g of fiber0 g of fiber
8% of daily calcium10% of daily calcium
2% of daily Vitamin A5.5% of daily Vitamin A
4.88 for 15 ounce jar5.48 for 16 ounce package
7.98 for 32 ounce package
comes to $0.325 per ouncecomes to $0.342 per ounce
comes to $0.25 per ounce

To me, this was an easy choice. The 2 calories, 0.4 g of sugar more vs the 2.5 g of protein extra made all the difference. Now mind you, if budget is the issue buying the large container of velvetta was also very appealing. I’ve seen both these items go on sale for lower than that. 

Results, I vote for Velvetta. The main reason for this exercise was to see which was worth more for the buck. We should think of doing this for all foods we buy. We need to make sure we are eating the right foods, and are getting the most we can for the price and convenience. A non processed food would have been a better alternative, but pricing is not always the option. 

This was a fun exercise on something we use often and never took the time to compare. 

Eat right, eat healthy, eat economically and always have fun and make your recipes your own.

Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Mac and Cheese is very popular right now. You go to almost any restaurant and it’s on the menu. This recipe is actually quite old. I’ve used variations of this recipe for at least 40 years. It is economical, relatively healthy and can be modified in so many ways, we could probably fill up a whole recipe book with all it’s versions. You can use this as a base or as is.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of elbow macaroni
  • 300 g of velvetta light cheese chopped into small pieces (11 ounces)
  • 1 cup of low fat milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 can of tomato condensed soup (I used Alymer low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp of cajun spices

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente and drain (reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot, melt butter and add onion. Stir until translucent and tender.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, and add milk, water, tomato soup, and cheese.
  5. Stir until cheese is melted and this is a nice smooth sauce. If too thick, add a little milk. It might seem a little runny but don’t worry it will get absorbed into the pasta,
  6. Add spices, salt and pepper.
  7. Add pasta and stir to cover all of the pasta and make sure that the pasta is warm.
  8. Serve. That easy.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 437
  • Fat 8 g
  • Sugar 12 g
  • Carbohydrates 67 g
  • Protein 19.5 g
  • Fibre 5.1 g

So as you see this was easy peasy. This is a very economical meal. I looked at the prices for the cheese and the pasta vs Kraft Dinner. Mind you there is nothing wrong with Kraft dinner but there is more sugar, less calcium and vitamins and if you are not using generic mac and cheese, can actually be more expensive with Kraft Dinner. I’ve written a comparison between Kraft Cheez whiz, Kraft Velvetta light and Kraft dinner, see Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner. On the average you can make this for approximately 1.10 a plate. Now is the fun part, I was asked what about veggies. This is not a balanced meal and they were right. I suggested a nice green salad with this, or you can add spinach, steamed broccoli or streamed cauliflower. You can also add drained canned veggies or thawed and drained frozen veggies. All depends on your budget and/or tastes. If you want to add protein feel free to do so, including a very economical black bean or white kidney bean drained. This is where I tell you have fun and make it your own.