Category Archives: appetizer

strawberry and goat cheese crostini

We just dropped off our 12-year-old at YMCA camp for the week.  Now the house is very quiet.  Yes, I still have two children at home, but he is the one who is usually in the same room as me, curled up in the dog bed (orthopedic cushioning!),  reading a book and ready to talk with me or climb the counters to reach an unreachable.  It might be a long week.

I needed a few appetizers for parties this summer, and this has been my most recent go-to recipe.  I know it’s a little late in the season to be posting strawberry recipes, but as one of my party guest exclaimed “the colors are so beautiful, this would be perfect for Christmas!!”


Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini

  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • one sliced baguette
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • basil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to high broil.  Slice baguettes on the diagonal and broil each side until lightly brown.  Watch closely!!

Top each slice of baguette with a smear of goat cheese and a spoonful of strawberries.  Slice basil thinly (chiffonade) and sprinkle over crostini.  Finish with cracked black pepper and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Using the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, each crostini has 2 Points Plus (estimating 18 slices of bread from baguette).  You will probably have strawberries left over.


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thai shrimp cakes

I’m back!  It’s been a long time, but I’m excited to start blogging again and share my favorite recipes.  Last year had a lot of personal ups and downs, as life sometimes does.  And so blogging went on the back burner, so to speak.  And then, like a left-over, got pushed to the back of the refrigerator where it just sat and waited for someone to notice.

Well, I finally noticed!  I noticed that I had gained a bit of weight, partially from not staying invested in the Points Plus program.  I noticed that I felt the need to be creative again.  And I noticed that my youngest had been after me for a year to start blogging again…

“This is great, did you take a picture?’

“Did you blog this yet, Mom?”

“Are you ever going to blog again?”

He was so excited tonight when I plated this shrimp cake and grabbed the camera.  He helped me with the cilantro garnish and kept encouraging me along the way.  This one’s for you Alex, my biggest cheerleader!

And now for the recipe 🙂  I’d never even heard of shrimp cakes before I read about these in the April 2013 edition of Cooking Light.  They turned out almost too good to be true.  A little heat from the Sriracha, a little zestiness from the lime, a little coco-nutty crunch.  Delicious!!  These would also be terrific as an appetizer, just make them into smaller servings.


Thai Shrimp Cakes

  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs), divided
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut, divided (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 oz. peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lime, quartered

Combine 1/3 cup panko and 2 Tbsp. coconut in shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine 1/3 cup panko, 2 Tbsp. coconut, and next eight ingredients in a bowl.  Add shrimp and stir until just combined.  Form into four equal balls.  Roll balls in panko/coconut mixture and press into patty.

Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add oil.  Add patties and cook about 4 minutes on each side, until shrimp is cooked (turns pink) and patty is nicely browned.  Serve with lime wedge.

Recipe from Cooking Light, April 2013.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each shrimp cake has 4 Points Plus.


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french lentil dijon spread

My 11-year-old proclaimed that this spread was “the best thing you’ve made all month, Mom!”  He might be right.  I’ve made 2 batches this week.  It is great with veggies as a dip or on crackers as a spread.   I even put it in a sandwich with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.  Very low PointsPlus value and lots of flavor!

French Lentil Dijon Spread

  • 2 Tbsp. pecans
  • 1 cup cooked French lentils
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • water, if necessary
    Finely grind pecans in a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients (except water) and blend until smooth.  Use a little water to achieve your desired consistency.
    Makes 1 1/2 cups.
    Recipe from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.
    Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, the entire recipe has 8 PointsPlus.  Each 1/4 cup serving has 1 PointsPlus!

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italian-style goat cheese-stuffed mushrooms

I’ve watched a few episodes of “Hoarders” recently, and as a result, I have cleaned out a few of my cupboards.  Now, I am pretty much the opposite of a hoarder.  In fact, I’ve been known to throw away receipts as soon as I get home, only to realize that I need to return an item and I have to dig through the trash to find it.  This has happened too many times to count.  You’d think I would have learned my lesson after the first time I found the damp, coffee-ground coated receipt in the bottom of the third bag of garbage I had gone through.  Gross, but apparently not gross enough, since I haven’t changed my ways.

I found this cookbook during my cleaning/organizing spree.  Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes.  I’ve paged through it and bookmarked a handful of recipes I want to try.  Since I’ve never made stuffed mushrooms before, this recipe was the first on my list.  My kids couldn’t get enough of them.  And only 1 PointPlus for 2 mushrooms!

Italian-style Goat Cheese-stuffed Mushrooms

  • 18 large button mushrooms
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove stems from mushrooms and discard or save for another use.  Brush mushrooms off with a damp paper towel to clean.  Place caps on a large baking sheet, rounded sides up.  Spray with cooking spray, then turn over.

Combine goat cheese, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, and basil.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each mushroom cap; gently press filling into cap.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and filling is lightly browned.  Serve warm.  9 servings (serving size: 2 mushrooms).  PointsPlus value per serving: 1.

Recipe from Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes.


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Kim’s Magic Pop

I’d like you to meet my new favorite addiction:  Kim’s Magic Pop.  I stumbled across their new kiosk in the middle of the deli section in my local Fred Meyer’s.  Apparently they make them on site with their special grain pop machines, but I have yet to see it in action.

The website describes Magic Pop as “a freshly popped grain snack that is a wholesome blend of wheat, brown rice and corn”.  They are crisp and airy and have only 15 calories per “pop”.  You can eat 3 pops for 1 Weight Watcher PointsPlus value.  They are a good size (think corn tortilla) and come in a variety of flavors.  My favorites are the plain and cinnamon.  I ate the plain today with my homemade hummus and it was delicious and very filling.  They also make smaller Deli Pop which looks like a traditional rice cake, but is made with barley, wheat, and brown rice.  You can eat 6 for 1 WW PointsPlus value.  They sell Chocolate Dipped or Drizzled Deli Pops (1 Pop=1 WW PointsPlus, 2=3 WW PointsPlus) and they are yummy!

Either my obsession will die down or I will need to invest in the company!


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baked beet chips

I love beets!  I love them cold, drizzled with basalmic vinegar.  I love them roasted, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.  And now I love them thinly sliced and baked into “chips”.  I love them so much that when my daughter asked if we should call the boys downstairs so they could have some, I said NO!

What kind of mother denies her children beets?

Baked Beet Chips

  • 3 beets, scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Thinly slice beets using a mandolin or knife.  The thinner you cut them, the crisper they will be.  Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.  Season with salt.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, if you divide this recipe into 3 servings, each serving has 3 PointsPlus.


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phyllo-wrapped asparagus with prosciutto

It was weird not being at the ocean for the long 4-day weekend.  Except for the 4 years we lived on the East Coast, I have spent every Thanksgiving since 1970 at Long Beach.  So it felt odd, but change is just that.  Change.  Neither good nor bad, just different.

We also celebrated my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday last Thursday (her actual birthday is today.  Happy Birthday Mom!).  All the kids went in on a Kindle with accessories and a gift card to Amazon.  She is looking forward to using it on our upcoming trip this summer to Italy.  I have one and I find it to be a great travel device.

These asparagus were a surprise hit at Thanksgiving, and they will be making a repeat performance at Christmas.  They were a last minute addition, since I received the December’s edition of Cooking Light just days before the big event.  They were almost gobbled up before I remembered to take a picture.  Very easy, delicious, and low points!

 Phyllo-wrapped Asparagus with Prosciutto

  •  3 ounces proscuitto, cut into 30 long, thin strips
  • 30 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wrap one prosciutto strip around each asparagus spear, barber pole-style.  Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying); coat phyllo with olive oil cooking spray (I used a Misto).  Cut crosswise into thirds to for 3 rectangles.  Arrange 1 asparagus spear across 1 short end of each rectangle; roll up jelly-roll fashion.  Arrange rolls on a baking sheet; coat rolls with cooking spray.  Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, asparagus, and cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until phyllo is golden and crisp.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Calculator with the calorie breakdown provided by Cooking Light, each serving (3 pieces) has 1 PointsPlus.


Posted by on November 28, 2011 in appetizer, points plus, pork, snacks


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