Adaptable Recipes, Dessert, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meals- Who Needs A Cookie Edition

Cowboy Cookies

 

After a long day of meetings, phone calls, IT issues, mass transit delays, and traffic, sometimes you just need a cookie. Whether large or small, you can’t stay mad when you have cookies.

Cowboy cookies seem to be a fusion combination of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, coconut macaroons, and pecan Sandies with a hint of cinnamon.

This cowboy cookie recipe came to prominence courtesy of Family Circle magazine’s First Lady’s Cookie Contest. Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie recipe bested Tipper Gore’s Gingersnaps in 2000, and it remains one of the most popular recipes. In any case, if you’re a fan of chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut, and pecans, this cookie is for you.

 

This particular recipe comes from the Baker By Nature Blog and highlights melted brown butter to add a little extra nuttiness to the cookies. These cookies are also pretty easy to make for the perfect Monday post-work detox.

Cowboy Cookies by Baker By Nature adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted until browned. (vegan unsalted butter)
1/2 light brown sugar, packed (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar, vegan light brown sugar)
1/4 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)
1 large egg at room temperature (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 1 egg)

1/2 large egg yolk at room temperature (1 tablespoon of whisked egg yolk) ( ½ tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ tablespoon chickpea flour plus ½ tablespoon cold water, mix well, or ½ tablespoon full-fat coconut milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour. If the flour blend doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (178 grams) of old-fashioned oats (not steel-cut or quick oats)
3/8 cup (60 grams) sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup (64 grams) pecans, roughly chopped plus more for decorating
6 ounces (340 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt optional

Instructions

 

Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl using a whisk, beat together the browned butter and both sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry if they look a little separated here.

Whisk in the eggs and yolk, beating until well combined. About 45 seconds. Whisk in the vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Scoop 2-inch balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2-inches between each ball so they have room to spread.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden and set at the edges, and still slightly soft in the center.

Press extra chocolate chips and pecans on top of cookies when they come out of the oven (optional). Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

 

Notes

  • Let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes to give the flour an opportunity to hydrate. This is an optional step but helps to ensure a tender crumb.
  • Do not overbake
  • It’s important to let the cookies cool on the baking sheet to allow for carry-over baking.

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Dessert, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- You Deserve A Cupcake Edition

 

There are days when everything seems to go wrong, from sleeping through your alarm clock to printer issues just when you’ve got to run to a meeting. Conversely, there are days when you feel like a rockstar. You had nothing but green lights on the way to work, the barista nailed your coffee order, and you got a parking space close to the entrance instead of in the hinterlands.

Whether you fall into the former or latter category, cupcakes are great for commiseration and celebration. This recipe for a one-bowl vanilla funfetti cupcake comes from The Kitchn

This recipe has been scaled down to make 6 standard-size cupcakes or 4 jumbo cupcakes, perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth without too much temptation lingering around. We adapted the recipe for vegan/vegetarian, low-sugar, and gluten-free dietary needs.

Vanilla Funfetti cupcakes by Ktchn adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour. If the flour blend doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)
7/8 cups granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, coconut, turbinado, and raw cane sugar, pulsed finely)

3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 2 eggs)
3/8 cups canola oil, or melted and cooled unsalted butter (unsalted vegan butter)
1/2 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2% or, fat-free milk) (non-dairy: unsweetened almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup rainbow sprinkles  (vegan sprinkles)

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line 6 muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the eggs, oil or butter, milk, and vanilla and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sprinkles. Do not overmix or the sprinkles will streak the batter.

Fill each paper liner 3/4 full. Bake until the cakes are lightly browned, spring back when tapped gingerly, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

 

Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meals- Takeout Dinner Edition

A quick and easy takeout meal made at home.

 

 

There’s nothing like takeout after a long day at work or after you’ve run a ton of errands. I think everyone has a favorite local Asian restaurant for takeout. It seems like there’s something magical going on in the kitchens that keep everyone coming back. While it’s certainly faster to call up your favorite takeout place, it’s not necessarily something you want to do all of the time. Not only can it add up in terms of dollars, but it may not be great for your overall health. My great-grandmother never went on a diet, she believed in moderation. I’m not rejecting your favorite Asian takeout out of hand, but you can make your own takeout at home without taking too much time.

My sons have always been vegetable eaters. There were very few vegetables that I had to force on them. In fact, they even eat some of the veggies I hate, including lima beans and green peas.  The best part about this recipe is the ability to switch up the veggies to your liking. This recipe works with corn, green beans, or squash. It’s up to you. It’s also vegetarian and vegan adaptable. Moreover, you can buy the vegetables prepped in the produce section or in the freezer section of your supermarket. You can also put the steak or tofu cubes in the marinade the night before, or you let it marinate for ten minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Stir-Fried Beef with vegetables and garlicky cauliflower rice.

1 pound stir-fry beef strips, you can also use a sirloin steak, cut into strips (if using a steak, put it in the freezer for up to 30 minutes, it will make it easier to slice into strips)

Marinade

½ cup low sodium- soy sauce

½ cup low sodium teriyaki sauce

3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar (Swerve light brown sugar substitute, coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw cane sugar)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 ½ tablespoons of minced fresh ginger root

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Vegetables

2 broccoli crowns, sliced in quarters or 1 package of frozen steam in bag broccoli

½ cup julienned carrots

4 ounces or ½ cup snow peas

1 bunch green onions, sliced on the diagonal, including green parts

1 steam in bag of lemon garlic, garlic, or plain cauliflower rice

1 tablespoon of cornstarch or gluten-free cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Vegetable or peanut oil

Place the beef strips in a resealable plastic bag. In a large bowl mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Reserve 3 tablespoons, then pour the rest over the meat. Seal the bag and let marinate for as little as ten minutes up to overnight.

Steam the cauliflower rice according to directions. Empty out into a paper towel or cheesecloth-lined colander to get as much of the excess water out.

Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Add the broccoli for three minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. If you’re using the steam in bag broccoli, follow the directions. Open the bag when done and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

In a wok or large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the cauliflower rice, green onions, and carrots to the pan. Sauté for 4-6 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and broccoli and continue to sauté for 3-5 minutes.

When heated through, add contents to a bowl. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Using tongs or a fork, remove the beef strips and add them to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, moving the meat around with a spatula or spoon.

Add the vegetables back to the pan and stir. Make a well in the center. Add the marinade you set aside along with the cornstarch slurry (mixture). Stir thoroughly until you have coated the meat and vegetables completely.

Serve hot. This meal will keep in a plastic container for three days. It also freezes well for up to one month.

| Yield: 4-6 servings | Cook Time: 30 minutes |

Inactive time: 10 minutes to overnight

 

 

 

 

Stir-Fried Tofu with vegetables and garlicky cauliflower rice.

 

1 package of drained extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes

Marinade

½ cup low-sodium vegan soy sauce

½ cup low sodium vegan teriyaki sauce

3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar (Swerve light brown sugar substitute, coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw cane sugar)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 ½ tablespoons of minced fresh ginger root

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Vegetables

2 broccoli crowns, sliced in quarters or 1 package of frozen steam in bag broccoli

½ cup julienned carrots

4 ounces or ½ cup snow peas

1 bunch green onions, sliced on the diagonal, including green parts

1 steam bag of lemon garlic, garlic, or plain cauliflower rice

1 tablespoon of cornstarch or gluten-free cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Vegetable or peanut oil

Place the tofu in a resealable plastic bag. In a large bowl mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Reserve 3 tablespoons, then pour the rest over the tofu. Seal the bag and let marinate for as little as ten minutes up to overnight.

Steam the cauliflower rice according to directions. Empty out into a paper towel or cheesecloth-lined colander to get as much of the excess water out.

Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Add the broccoli for three minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. If you’re using the steam in bag broccoli, follow the directions. Open the bag when done and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

In a wok or large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the cauliflower rice, green onions, and carrots to the pan. Sauté for 4-6 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and broccoli and continue to sauté for 3-5 minutes.

When heated through, add contents to a bowl. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Using tongs or a fork, remove the tofu cubes and add them to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, moving the meat around with a spatula or spoon.

Add the vegetables back to the pan and stir. Make a well in the center. Add the marinade you set aside along with the cornstarch slurry (mixture). Stir thoroughly until you have coated the tofu and vegetables completely.

Serve hot. This meal will keep in a plastic container for three days. It also freezes well for up to one month.

| Yield: 4-6 servings | Cook Time: 30 minutes |

Inactive time: 10 minutes to overnight

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals, Take Out Favorites From Your Kitchen

Makeover Monday Meal- Turn Takeout into Dine-in

Almost everyone has a go-to place for great takeout. Whether you go on a Friday, Saturday, or even Tuesday night, there’s nothing like ordering your favorites and digging in when you get home.

However, there are times when you just don’t feel like making the drive. Granted, there are a plethora of delivery options available, but many of them require a minimum order to get free delivery, and if you’re in the mood for one thing, it’s just not worth it.

For many people, lo mein with its noodles stir-fried with vegetables and your choice of beef, chicken, or shrimp in a delectable sauce, ticks all the boxes. Thankfully Cooking Professionally has a recipe for Beef Lo Mein that is not only delicious but it can also be prepared for two in twenty minutes. Moreover, by making it at home, you can control the level of sodium and carb intake.

With so many supermarkets and grocery stores offering pre-chopped and julienned vegetables in their produce sections, you can save yourself some more time. This is a great and economical way to enjoy your favorite takeout meal at home.

If you want to make this vegetarian or vegan:

Omit the beef and increase vegetables *

Replace the oyster sauce with an equal amount of low-sodium or regular soy sauce plus 2 teaspoons of white sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw cane sugar. You can also use 1 teaspoon of Swerve, Splenda, or monk fruit sweetener. *

To make it low-carb instead of Lo Mein noodles or egg noodles, you can use zucchini or spaghetti squash noodles. Instead of blanching in hot water for 2 minutes, blanch the vegetable noodles for 4 minutes and set them aside. *

 

Beef Lo Mein recipe by Cooking Professionally adapted Still A Chick Lit

Ingredients

• 14 ounces Lo Mein noodles (or cooked egg noodles) *

9-ounce beef sirloin (tenderloin/rump or any tender meat cut) *
• 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
• 2-3 spring onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
• 1 bell pepper, julienned
• 2-3 cabbage leaves, cut into thin slices
• 5-6 snow peas
• 1 small carrot, julienned
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the sauce:
• 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
• 4 tablespoons oyster sauce *
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or rice vinegar)
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
For the marinade
:• 1 tablespoon sauce mix
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
optional garnishes:• chopped spring onions• chili oil, to taste

Directions

Step 1

To begin, blanch the noodles in hot water for 1-2 minutes, then sprinkle in a bit of sesame oil, mixing well. Set aside.

Step 2

Combine all of the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Step 3

To prepare the vegetables, wash and slice them. Set aside.

Step 4

Cut the beef steak into thin slices, going against the grain. In a separate bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients, then add the beef slices. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Step 5

Heat the pan or wok over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of oil, then add in the beef slices.

Step 6

Flatten the beef, searing for 1-2 minutes, then continue to stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. Then, follow with the vegetables, adding in the hard ones first. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Step 7

Make space in the middle of the wok, add in the noodles, and pour in the sauce mixture.

Step 8

Toss all the ingredients and noodles well for 2-3 minutes to combine evenly, until fully cooked. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate.

Step 9

If desired, top the dish with extra chopped spring onions and chili oil. Serve immediately.

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Dinner, Fall Comfort Recipes, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Soup’s On

 

Well, November is here, and we are about to head into the heart of the holiday season. That said, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and many of us will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks together.

All of it means there’s a lot of planning underway to put family favorites on the table, and you might be looking to try a few new recipes to include for your get-together. As the unusually warm air gives way to colder temps, you might be looking for something that makes your feel warm inside, and a nice bowl of soup fits the bill.

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Catherine Fulvio of the Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ireland. Catherine’s Kitchen Quarantine Edition had a wonderful recipe for red lentil soup, that’s soothing, delicious, and 100% vegan. The addition of coconut milk makes this soup creamy and velvety.  Many of us will have people with different dietary needs at our tables this Thanksgiving, and this is a soup that is sure to please.

Finally, the soup comes together quickly with a minimum of prep time. You can season the soup to your taste. Be mindful of the fresh ginger, it can have quite a bite. Keep tasting as you go along, and remember to use salt and pepper to balance everything on the palate. Also, Catherine has a tip for ginger that I always use. Store fresh ginger in the freezer. Use a freezer bag and use it as needed. Not only will it keep, but it also makes it far easier to use in recipes.

This recipe is Vegan. Vegetarian, Gluten-free, and low-fat.

I hope you give this a try.

 

Red lentil and ginger soup by Catherine Fulvio

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 ½ Red Chilies deseeded and finely chopped
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Red Peppers deseeded and diced
  • 4 oz Red Lentils soaked for 10 minutes in water and drained
  • 20 fl oz Vegetable Stock
  • 14 fl oz Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Toasted Desiccated Coconut and Fresh Herbs to garnish

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 10 minutes until transparent.
  • Add chili and ginger and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the peppers, lentils, and nutmeg and stir to mix. Add the coconut milk and the stock to the soup. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked through and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
  • Sprinkle over the toasted coconut, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
Adaptable Recipes, Breakfast, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast and Snack Edition

 

Breakfast cereals have long been a big business. They’re a quick and easy way to enjoy a good breakfast on busy mornings. There are a number of delicious granola brands on shelves to choose from, but there’s something special about making your own. Not only can you make it any way you like, but it’s also economical and the recipe is fairly simple.

The best part is, granola isn’t limited to your breakfast bowl, it makes a great topping on yogurt or you can dress it up to top a fancy yogurt parfait.

I did love granola as a kid. Now, instead of buying granola, I’ve found it’s easier and more economical to make it.  This way It allows me to make it my own. I hope this recipe will inspire you to do the same.

This recipe is based on a mash-up of Ina Garten and Catherine Fulvio’s homemade granola recipes.

Homemade Cinnamon Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup quinoa

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened

3/4 cup vegetable oil

½ cup liquid raw cane sugar or clover honey (liquid monk fruit sweetener)

1 cup raisins, soaked for 1 hour

1 cup dried cranberries

Cinnamon or Vietnamese Cinnamon (your taste)

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk the oil and liquid raw cane sugar together in a small bowl. Toss the oats, quinoa, cinnamon, and coconut together in a large bowl.  Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees, then add the soaked raisins, toss with a spatula and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool, stirring occasionally. Add dried cranberries.  Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

You can also add cashews, almonds, walnuts, or pecans, along with other dried fruits like cherries, figs, or apricots.

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Easy Preparation Meals, Food Glorious Food, Healthy Lifestyle Choices, Makeover Monday Meals, Slow Cooker

Makeover Monday Meal- Dinner Edition

 

This Monday meal is just right for autumn and football season. When the temperatures drop, this chili will warm you up without weighing you down. It also comes together fairly quickly. Serve the chili alone, topped with cheese or over rice. It also goes well with guacamole and chips.

This is a family pleaser and perfect for Monday Night Football.

The recipe includes adaptations for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also gluten-free and high protein.

 

Chicken Chili by Still A Chick Lit

 

 

4 small or 3 large sweet onions, diced (Vidalia or Texas sweet)

2 green peppers, medium-diced

3 red peppers, medium-diced

1 orange pepper, medium-diced

1, yellow pepper, medium-diced

1 can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can low-sodium pink kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken stock or broth

3 cans Campbells tomato soup

3 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste

1 pound ground chicken (or ground turkey)

1 pound ground chicken breast (or ground turkey breast)

3 tablespoons Canola oil

Add Canola or vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add your diced onions and peppers. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground chicken and chicken breast in, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cover and let cook through, stirring occasionally.

When the chicken is no longer pink, add the chili powder and stir well. Add the beans and tomato soup. Mix well. Lower the flame and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Vegan Substitution

  • 2 Packages of vegan ground meat
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 unsalted vegetable stock or broth

 

To Make Using a Slow Cooker

  1. Cook the ground chicken separately in a skillet until cooked through. Set aside. Clean the skillet and add the onions and peppers. Cook until the vegetables are just beginning to soften. Remove from the heat.
  2. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a slow cooker with the beans, tomato soup, seasoning, and chicken stock.
  3. Cover and cook on high until chili has thickened, about 4 hours. Or cook on low for 6 hours.

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Food Glorious Food, Healthy Food Makeover, Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Taking a Healthy and Positive Approach to Eating North of Forty and Fifty-plus

Although life north of forty and fifty plus has changed in a more positive way for us as women, many of us still struggle with the changes our bodies go through in the three stages of menopause. According to Johnson Memorial Health, the three stages are:

  1. Perimenopause– The earliest stage of menopause usually happens 3 to 5 years before full menopause occurs. During this time, estrogen, and progesterone levels drop.
  2. Menopause– The technical definition of menopause is not having your period for 12 months or more without having other health issues like illness, surgery, or pregnancy. At this time, the ovaries cease to make estrogen and progesterone.
  3. Post-menopause– When a full year has passed after your last period, you are officially in post-menopause. Over a period of years, your shifting hormones will settle into a more stable balance. Hot flashes and other menopause symptoms will likely reduce significantly.

Besides hot flashes, many women find themselves battling weight issues. For some women, hormone fluctuations make it harder to lose weight, and it can feel like you’ve lost control over your weight regardless of what you eat. There is always something shiny and new when it comes to the world of dieting and diet fads. At one time the grapefruit diet and cabbage diet were the rages. Then there was the Scarsdale diet that focused on protein and the villainization of carbohydrates, which resulted in weight loss but raised cholesterol levels and caused gout in some people.  Here in the US, we have the proliferation of diet plans from Nutrisystem and Jennie Craig, diets where you buy the food you eat, and then there’s WW formerly known as Weight Watchers. WW uses a system of points for each food. Servings of food are assigned points based on four criteria: calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Every Weight Watchers member gets assigned a daily and weekly point goal based on their height, weight, age, and gender. One of the latest entries for weight loss is Noom, which uses psychology to design a program to change eating habits. Members are coached virtually by psychologists whose goal is to help unlearn bad habits to form a healthy relationship with food. Dieting in America is a multi-billion dollar industry. Where it doesn’t seem to be a billion-dollar industry is in Europe.

People in countries like France, Italy, and Spain consume a lot of butter, pasta, cheese, and more, but they also have lower cases of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, just to name a few issues that are very common in the US. What is their secret?  Well, there really is no secret. Europeans eat an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. They also eat beef, lamb, game, and pork. What is most notable is the smaller portion sizes, and if they do snack, they don’t go for a bag of chips, choosing fresh bread, cheese, fruit, or nuts.

Since there’s so much going on in our lives, one of that the best ways to address this issue is to make a change gradually. Our bodies have been evolving since we were in utero, if we embrace this as something that happens incrementally, it can help with our health goals.  We’ll share recipes that touch on facets of the Mediterranean diet (Italy, Spain, Greece), and the French diet full-fat cheese and yogurt, butter, bread, fresh fruits, and vegetables (often grilled or sautéed), small portions of meat (fish or chicken than red meat), wine, and dark chocolate.

Naturally, before beginning any lifestyle diet change, check with your doctor so the two of you can work together for a healthier you.

We begin with Baba Ganoush which is usually served as an appetizer. It’s a spread made chiefly of eggplant, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. There are a lot of variations of this eggplant spread. This recipe comes from the Mediterranean Dish Blog by Suzy, who has a number of wonderful recipes to try. The link to her site and social media platforms is below the recipe.

Baba Ganoush by Mediterranean Dish 

2 pounds Italian eggplants (about 2 small-to-medium eggplants*)

2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice, more if necessary

¼ cup tahini

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the eggplant and garnish

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish

¾ teaspoon salt, to taste

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish

Serving suggestions: warmed or toasted pita wedges, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides down.

Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is collapsing, about 35 to 40 minutes (this might take longer if you are using 1 large eggplant). Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes. Flip the eggplants over and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind.

Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, then transfer the flesh to the strainer and discard the skins. Pick out any stray bits of eggplant skin and discard them. You want to remove as much moisture from the eggplant here as possible, so let the eggplant rest for a few minutes and shake/stir the eggplant to release some more moisture.

Discard all of the eggplant drippings, drain and wipe out the bowl, and dump the eggplant into the bowl. Add the garlic and lemon juice to the eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until the eggplant breaks down. Add the tahini to the bowl and stir until it’s incorporated. While stirring, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue stirring until the mixture is pale and creamy, and use your fork to break up any particularly long strings of eggplant.

Stir in the parsley, salt, and cumin. Season to taste with more salt (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon) and more lemon juice, if you’d like a more tart flavor.

Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Lastly, sprinkle parsley and smoked paprika on top. Serve.

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal-Holiday Weekend Edition

 

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. The kids are back in school. Fall is on the horizon. One of the things I love best about the fall is putting the oven on once again. After ditching it in favor of no-bake desserts and dinner on the grill, it’s nice to have the aroma of something delicious in the oven wafting through the house.

It was Google’s baking and cooking feed that led to finding this wonderful recipe for a perfect morning treat. 31 Daily, is a blog by Stephanie from Puget Sound is an author, publisher, and former television news writer and producer.  She describes this recipe as divine and she’s 100% correct. This donut is lovely and the perfect way to begin your morning or you can save it for your afternoon snack. The recipe is straightforward and since it’s baked and not deep-fried, it seems a little less guilty. The only special equipment needed is a donut pan to bake them.

To make sure as many of you can enjoy this, we have adapted the recipe for:

  • Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease
  • Low Sugar

We hope you enjoy this recipe and make it this holiday weekend and many more weekday mornings. Enjoy in good health,

Double Chocolate Glazed Donuts recipe by 31 Daily adapted by Still A Chick Lit

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour, sorghum, sweet rice, brown rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic brown sugar, turbinado sugar)
  • 1/3 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, fat-free) (non-dairy almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt, whole milk or low-fat, do not use fat-free) (non-dairy: almond or coconut yogurt, vegan sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (unsalted vegan butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons cream or milk (dairy light cream whipping cream) (non-dairy coconut or almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vegan butter)

 

  • If you would like to add more fiber use 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • If you don’t have instant espresso, you can use regular instant coffee or 1 teaspoon of strong brewed coffee
  • If using turbinado sugar, pulse it in a food processor a couple of times to give it a finer texture. Turbinado sugar can have more of a rock candy type of consistency.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan with oil or butter; set aside.
  2. Make the donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with brown sugar until well mixed. Add the milk, sour cream, melted butter, vanilla, and vinegar; whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Using a spatula transfer the batter to a piping bag or zip-top plastic bag. If you don’t have either, a spoon will do just fine! Cut off the tip of the piping bag or plastic bag and fill donut cavities with batter until 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donuts comes out clean. Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Make the chocolate glaze: Microwave the chocolate, cream, and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Or use a double boiler and melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Once the donuts are completely cool (this only takes a few minutes), dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and place them on a rack to set. While the chocolate is still wet, add sprinkles or other decorations to the top.

 

TO STORE:

The donuts are best on the day they are made. If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Dinner Edition Unstuffed Peppers Skillet

 

 

 

We are always on the lookout for delicious recipes to start your week off right. To that end, we came across this lovely recipe by the Real mom Kitchen for an unstuffed peppers skillet. Many of us know and love a version of stuffed peppers made by our moms or grandmothers. The presentation was always as delightful to the eye as it was the palate.  Laura Powell’s unstuffed recipe is a great take on this classic.

To make this recipe a little more inclusive, we have adapted it for vegans and vegetarians too. Remember, you can season it your way. The seasonings used in Ms. Powell’s original recipe work nicely, but feel free to go with your own palate. It can easily be more Italian with the addition of dried oregano, basil, or parsley too. For an Indian flare, a little curry or Garam Masala might be nice. You get the idea, make it your way and enjoy.

Unstuffed peppers skillet recipe by Real Mom Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit

 

3 bell peppers, diced (I used one green, 2 red)

1/2 onion, diced

1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef 80/20 or 85/15, 90/10) (Chicken: ½ pound ground chicken breast, ½ pound ground chicken) (Turkey: ½ pound ground turkey breast, ½ pound ground turkey)

(Beyond meat, ground, Gardein ground, Impossible Plant-Based Burger Ground, Farmland Protein, ground, Good and Gather, meatless beef style ground)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (14 oz) can beef broth (chicken or vegetable unsalted stock)

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 tsp salt

pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup uncooked extra-long grain rice

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya cheddar cheese shreds or vegan cheese shreds of your choice)

additional diced peppers and/or green onion for garnish

3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large skillet with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil, add onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Remove from the skillet and wipe clean. Brown the ground beef or sausage until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, then add the vegetables back in. * If you are using chicken, turkey, use 1 ½ tablespoon of oil to cook the meat thoroughly until no longer pink.  For the vegan ground, you can cook the onions, peppers, and vegan ground together in the oil until the vegetables are tender.

Add garlic to the meat or meatless mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain off any excess grease (meat).

Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire, and rice to the skillet.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed and rice is tender. At 20 minutes check and give a stir and continue cooking if needed.

Once the rice is tender, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and cover to get the cheese melted.

Once melted garnish with chopped peppers and /or green onion and serve. Serves 4-6.

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Original recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen  http://www.realmomkitchen.com