Tag Archives: Recipe

Healthy Chicken Salad | The Assembler’s Kitchen

27 May

Healthy Chicken Salad

I’ve got a thing for fruit and nuts with protein in a main dish – I just think it’s super tasty. This healthy chicken salad is one of my favorite combos on the planet. I buy the nuts chopped and chicken cooked (sometimes even cut up already). Although a knife is required for the onions and fruit, it requires minimal technique. Don’t be too lazy chopping the onion though – having the pieces be too big can kinda ruin this one. (Trust me on that one….) Enjoy this healthy chicken salad on some spinach. Use it in a wrap. Or eat it straight out of the bowl (my personal favorite). I typically eat the whole batch in a day cuz it is good-good-good!  Continue reading

Cookie Recipe Makeover Disaster aka New Camera Practice Session

2 Jan

I had high hopes for a cookie recipe makeover. In the end, I’m not doing the happy dance about the cookies, but I am happy to practice with my new camera (Canon EOS Rebel T1i). I had visions of my grandma’s tea balls but with healthy ingredients (whole grains, almond flour, applesauce, etc.). I divvied the recipe into quarters and tried different variations.  Granted, my math might have been wrong, but I’m guessing that going astray had to do with not using “regular” flour LOL. That said, some of them tasted very good – I think I might be on to something.

Try #1 totally flattened to mush and was NOT what I had in mind (but really had the best flavor). By try #4, they were certainly “balls”, but they were not tasting like I had in mind (uh – a bit TOOO grainy).  Not all was lost,  at least I could practice with my new camera with some light.

I’m pretty pleased about the pictures. I think once I learn how to focus, compose, light, and present, I’ll be golden. 😀

From left to right, Try #1, Try #4, & Try #4 with sugar 😉


Just a few cookies - holding very still for the camera....

Learning the zoom & knowing that I will need a tripod. Geesh - I'm very shaky!

Loving my new Hip Hostess apron - it is a lovely subject, eh? Very proud of the artistic touch on this one **winks**

What’s your best advice for trying to bake with healthy ingredients?

Real Bakers:

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Quick Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

1 Jan
Butternut Squash Soup

My First Butternut Squash Soup

At the ripe age of 43, I’m discovering winter squashes, and I’m just giddy! I usually roast them and either stuff them, fork them,  or  mush mash them. But I’m on vacation with no time restraints, so I thought I’d give my new food processor a try with an assembler friendly Quick Butternut Squash Soup.

Warning: I’m an “assembler” so I didn’t measure anything! And I don’t have a good knife, so I bought a bag of pre-cut squash 😉 This recipe would even work on an exhausted, time crunched week night. The whole thing took 30 minutes – from start to finish – and 20 of those minutes required no oversight while the squash cooked (translation: it only required 10 minutes of my time).  Continue reading

Healthy Coffee Cake Recipe | Bob’s Red Mill 8-Grain Cereal

1 Jan

The body snatchers are lurking, and the result is another baking experiment from this non-cook. This time it’s healthy coffee cake with Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal. I used Bob’s Original Recipe as the base, and since I had some of their pancake & waffle mix handy, I used that instead of the other flour and related rising stuff. The result is a hearty and healthy coffee cake that is nutty and just sweet enough. I had a bit more batter than a pie dish, so I made a few individuals in my pretty new dishes. (Too bad I can’t focus the camera – sigh – I’ll work on that….)

You may wonder why I’m on this 8 Grain Cereal kick – well, in 1/4 cup serving, it has 27 g carbs, 0 sugar, 6 g fiber & 5 g protein. I’m thinking this is a PERFECT base ingredient, eh?

Healthy Coffee Cake

Combine dry ingredients. Mix together the butter, eggs, syrup & yogurt; mix wet with dry. Pour a portion into a greased pie pan. Add a layer of apples & nuts. Pour the remainder of batter over the top. Bake at 35o for 30 minutes. (Note: I didn’t watch the time perfectly – and my “recollection” was that it was done in 30 minutes – but it may have been less. Keep an eye on it and when the toothpick is clean – voila!)

I think I’m going to try some cookies later…. What else could we make with the Bob’s 8 Grain Cereal?


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Bacon Wrapped Rumaki Recipe

22 Dec
Bacon Wrapped Rumaki

Bacon Wrapped Rumaki

Confession: I’ve never taken a homemade dish to a party. I know this is shocking, but it’s true. So when my sis announced her big party, I immediately remembered my family’s Bacon Wrapped Rumaki dish. Now that I’m a grown up,  and I want to be a polite party guest, I thought I should bring something that didn’t come from a market. My coming out appetizer destiny would be Bacon Wrapped Rumaki.

I remember eating this every holiday with my family – yep, that would be me, hovering around the oven, making polite conversation while secretly securing my position for the bacon wrapped goodness.

This certainly isn’t a health and wellness recipe, but it is worth every calorie! Aside from the bacon cooking time, the prep is really quick. And because this is a crowd favorite, I would strongly suggest making a double batch.  Continue reading

8 Grain Muffins – Yummy and Tasty! #foodthanks

24 Nov

Tasty nutty goodness with whole grain oats, brown rice, corn, soybeans, millet, barley, oat bran, sunflower seeds & flaxseed

I can’t remember the last time I baked anything requiring baking soda. I pride myself on being an average “assembler” and since baking is chemistry and requires precise measurement, I’ve never really been a baker. But it’s cold out and I’m getting sucked into it by all the lovely posts and pics from my friends. (Thank you all, I think!) But I’m also trying to eat healthier, so I wanted to try something besides my great grandma’s Teaball recipe.

I picked up a package of Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal because it looked yummy and had a Muffin Recipe on the package. It has 8 whole grains for goodness sake – that’s healthy!

Knowing the danger involved, but feeling CONFIDENT (due to the kind support of Spabettie (Kristina) & VinoLuci (Barb), I decided to modify it a bit using yogurt, maple syrup, apples & nuts. But yes, I was also feeling nervous about modifying given the chemistry nature of this project.

I enlisted the help of my 18 month old nephew, properly slung a towel over his shoulder, turned on James Taylor, and went to work.   Continue reading

My First Stuffed Squash — Happy Dance!

24 Oct

You all know I’ve been trying to eat better – it’s been a slowwwwwwwwwwww process since I’ve only recently began chopping and grilling. But with the tips & support from so my friends, I’ve been assembling lovely dishes with real ingredients. I’ve learned that if I assemble food with ingredients that I like, then chances are it will work just fine.

I’d heard about acorn squash and saw them at the store, so I picked a couple up. (They sat on the counter a few days because I was scared.) Of course the apples are great right now and I had several. I always have nuts (one of my favorite staples.) And my new favorite treat is pomegranate seeds from TJ’s (If you haven’t had them, give them a try — crunchy, sweet goodness & a great topper on grains and salads.) Yes, I had all the ingredients on hand – which is KEY for my eating well (rocket science, eh?).

Tonight’s milestone? My first stuffed squash. Special thanks to my friend Michele at Seasonal Custom Cuisine. She really deserves her very own post — everyone learning how to prepare healthy foods should have their very own Michele as their cooking counselor. And Barb @VinoLuci is amazing and PATIENT! She has tweet coached me through many an adventure in the kitchen, and I am so grateful to her.

Sweet, Crunchy, Tart Fall Goodness (aka Stuffed Acorn Squash)

Ingredients (these are estimates… I’m an assembler, not a cook)

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup (or enough to lightly brush the squash)
  • 1 Apple Cut Up – Not sure if it’s chopped or diced or whatever
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts – Chopped or something
  • Cinnamon
  • Smidge of butter
  • Quinoa (I cooked a cup which was WAY too much – but you can never have too much cooked quinoa around, eh?)


  • Cut acorn squash in half, scrape out seeds, brush with a smidge of maple syrup & sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast til done (350 degrees? About an hour I think? Forked it to test for doneness). (Super Tip from Deb @DebRoby – Microwave squash for 5 minutes to make cutting in half easier.)
  • Cook the quinoa
  • Saute apples and walnuts in a smidge of butter (sprinkle with cinnamon)
  • Mix the apples & walnut mixture with quinoa, add in the pomegranate seeds & stuff the squash — VOILA!

I’ve been watching the Mamavation tweeps and have been inspired towards their commitment to clean eating and physical activity. One of the commitments is no sugar. I’m super sensitive to this and am not sure if the maple syrup counts or if it’s specifically processed sugar that folks are avoiding. Either way, I know for me, I have been paying attention to the “non-sugar” “sugars” that we get in foods and how our body processes them.

So in good faith and being the eternal student that I am, I went to the Glycemic Index site to do some comparative research and see how maple syrup compares to other foods in terms of its “sugar”. I also learned that a TBSP of Maple Syrup is about 20 grams ( TYVM @katieheddleston ).

From what I can tell – and I am NOT a professional – both the glycemic index and glycemic load are about the same for a TBSP of maple syrup & a banana. You can interpret and act on that however you like 😉

Food Name GI serve (g) carb/serve (g) GL
Maple flavored syrup (Cottee’s Foods, Australia) 68 25 22 15
Maple syrup, pure Canadian (Queen Foods, Australia) 54 25 18 10
Food Name GI serve (g) carb/serve (g) GL
Banana, raw 47 120 24 11
Banana, raw 62 120 25 16
Banana, raw 46 120 25 12
Banana, raw 49 120 25 12
Banana, raw 58 120 23 13
Banana, raw 58 120 25 15
Banana, ripe (all yellow) 51 120 25 13
Banana, under-ripe 30 120 21 6
Banana, slightly under-ripe (yellow with green sections) 42 120 25 11
Banana, over-ripe (yellow flecked with brown) 48 120 25 12

So are any of you doing anything special with fall squash? I’d love to know! Also, anyone else out there paying a little bit of attention to the glycemic index stuff?

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