a cruel April Fool’s Day


What do you do when all of your dreams come true? You sit back, appreciate it and think of what comes next. I think you do the same when your dreams don’t come true, when you are at a loss for words. You give thanks for what good things you still have and you reassess. And then, if you’re me, you bake cookies. I made muffins this morning in anticipation of the impending decision, and managed to screw up my own recipe. The muffins are hideous and a little moist but they are still a muffin thank goodness. Though I do have 24 ‘not quite’ muffins and more batter in the fridge to deal with now. The cookies however, I started yesterday before my nerves got unruly. I knew I would need something in the oven when I learned of my fate – good or bad. And something idiot proof… think scoop & bake. Easy.

My future husband  is a cynic while I am superstitious, he’s not so sure about religion and all while I’m pretty spiritual. Our difference here comes into play during situations like this.  He says try again, just keep pushing whilst I try to figure out the bigger picture and the message within it all. Who’s right? Not a clue. I can’t tell if it’s some higher power telling me that maybe I should reassess my goals or if it’s my hurt pride that doesn’t want to be rejected again. Maybe a bit of both? Only time will tell.

Here’s what I know I am: a wife (close enough), a daughter, a sister, a friend, a two-time internship/grad school reject…. ouch.

What do you make for your first meal after such a heartbreak? Scallops. With brown rice, a touch of bacon, and some green beans. You stay on plan because now isn’t the time to completely jump ship. Now is the time to zero in on priorities. Now is the time to really take care of yourself and what says taking care of yourself better than a healthy dinner with a dose of bacon with a chocolate chip cookie chaser? Not much.

Heart-Break Scallops

  • 10 ounces scallops
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, quartered
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon according to package instructions. Once browned remove to plate with paper towel to drain.
  2. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until tender and opaque, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes in the microwave.
  4. Remove scallops from pan and let rest with bacon.
  5. Deglaze pan with a splash (about 3 tablespoons) of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the browned bits up and let the sauce thicken.
  6. Add scallops, green beans, bacon and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes ensuring all ingredients are coated by the sauce.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Lumpy Path Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients – salt, baking powder, flours, chocolate, oats and coconut; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugars together on medium speed of electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and well-combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until just combined.
  4. Let the ingredients marry – allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake 16-18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cook-time.

harvest muffins make a come back


It was just over a week ago that the request for these muffins came to me. I made them once last year for a meeting and they were a huge hit. No surprise because they are filled with nuts, dried fruit and ‘fall-y’ spices. I have made them less sinful than the original recipe, but they will never and should never be a 2 point muffin – unless you make them mini then you could drop the stats. The changes I have made make them super moist as well so live it up and enjoy the tastes of fall.

Harvest Muffins

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried figs, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Line muffin tin with papers and spray papers with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl sift (or just stir with a whisk if you don’t have a sifter) dry ingredients together – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients egg, milk, sour cream, butter, applesauce, pumpkin; mixing slowly until just combined. Next, add in the sugar, making sure it is evenly dispersed. At this point I switch to a silicon spatula and fold in the fruit and nuts.

Scoop muffin batter in to prepared pans – each muffin paper should be 2/3 full. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking time. When they come out of the oven let them rest in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack (mine is still packed so I just put them on a brown paper bag to cool) until completely cooled. I keep them frozen and pop them in Carver’s lunch each day; by the time he is ready for a snack it has defrosted.

For 18 large muffins it is 6 Points Plus per muffin. If you were to make mini muffins you would get 40 muffins at 3 Points Plus per muffin.

I might add – they are delicious warmed with a light slathering of whipped cream cheese.


Must-Have List for a Blissful Kitchen: Baking Edition


One of the most important things to staying healthy is keeping a well-stocked kitchen. If you like to bake as I do, here is a must have list of items to keep on hand for healthy baking. The majority are traditional items you think of when baking, but some may be new to you. These are the standard items I use in my baking recipes and you can find them virtually anywhere.

All-Purpose Flour Coconut, shredded Granulated Sugar Raw Nuts
Allspice Confectioner’s Sugar Honey Refrigerated Pie Crust
Applesauce, unsweetened Dry Fruit: apricots, raisins, cranberries, etc Kosher Salt SF Pancake Syrup
Baking Powder Egg Substitute Light Cream SF/LS Preserves
Baking Soda Egg Whites Molasses Unsalted Butter
Brown Sugar Eggs Nonstick Baking Spray Vanila Extract
Canned Pumpkin FF/LF Greek Yogurt Nutmeg Vanilla Extract
Canola Oil FF/LF Milk Oats, quick-cooking and old-fashioned Wheat Germ
Chocolate chips and bars Frozen fruit, unsweetened Peanut Butter Whole-Wheat Flour
Cinnamon Frozen Puff Pastry Pumpkin Pie Spice Yeast

Cornmeal Cake with Apricot Jam


This is something I adapted from Orangette, which was adapted from Fresh from the Farmer’s Market. It’s a delicious indulgence, very easy to make, and perfect for a special occasion.

Cornmeal Cake with Apricot Jam

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

6 tablespoons fine yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk, non-fat

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup egg substitute

Zest of one lemon

Non-stick cooking spray, preferably the kind for baking

½ cup good-quality jam, preferably apricot

8 tablespoons light whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a cup; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar gradually, until smooth and fully incorporated; be sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula to ensure you’ve gotten it all. Add the egg substitute ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest, and beat to incorporate. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed until just combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan; before putting in the oven tap the pan on a hard surface to settle the batter. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan, then invert it onto a plate, and turn it topside up onto a rack. Cool the cake to room temperature.

When you are ready to serve the cake, spoon the jam into a small saucepan, and warm it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it loosens to the consistency of a sauce and bubbles gently. To serve, cut the cake into wedges, drizzle a bit (approximately 1 tablespoon) of warm jam over the top, and dollop (approximately 1 tablespoon) with whipped cream.

Yield: 8 generous servings