zucchini vichyssoise

Yesterday was Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.  Hmm… porch was empty.  I’ll give my friends and neighbors a pass though, since it’s not a well advertised event.  They probably didn’t even realize it was occurring since Target didn’t display themed merchandise two months in advance so you can properly prepare.

I’m surprised Halloween candy isn’t already on the shelves.

But luckily this year I am growing a decent crop in my garden.  Last year’s bounty was horrible and I thought I might be in the Bermuda Triangle of Zucchini.  I mean, who plants zucchini, and then gets two?

Super easy, super nutritious and Weight Watcher friendly.


Zucchini Vichyssoise

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups chopped, unpeeled white potatoes
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium-low heat  Add onion or leeks and saute for 10 minutes.  Add potatoes, zucchini, stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes, then blend with an immersion blender.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot or cold.  Makes 12 cups.

Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each 1 1/2 cup serving has 4 Points Plus.

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in points plus, soups, vegetarian


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sweet onion salad

This past weekend we drove up to Guemes Island to see my 95-year-old grandmother who is visiting from Albuquerque.  She left a comment on my Thai shrimp cake entry last week saying that she would love to try it, since at her retirement center they are a little lacking in food with spices.  So Anna and I made two  batches and formed them into appetizer-sized bites and brought them up.  I think I almost prefer them bite-sized (one recipe made 9 small bites, instead of 4 larger patties).  Grandma loved them 🙂

My dad made this salad to go along with the burgers and fresh crab for lunch.  Delicious!  I quickly took a picture before everyone dove in.


Sweet Onion Salad

  • 3 large sweet onions (Walla Walla or Valdalia)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives (about 20)
  • one red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Slice onions 1/4″ thick and place in bowl.  Add salt and vinegar and toss to combine.  Add olives, red pepper slices, and cilantro.  Refrigerate for several hours, tossing occasionally.    Add olive oil and feta cheese just before serving.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, the entire recipe has 22 Points Plus.  I didn’t have a chance to measure how much the recipe made, but it was a large bowl full.  If you divided it into 10 servings, each would have 2 Points Plus.  I’m estimating that it would be about 3/4 cup for each serving.

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in points plus, salads, vegetarian


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gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

Hello everyone, Anna here with another fabulous guest post 🙂

The story behind these cookies begins with a babysitting job. Four o’clock in the afternoon, warm, sunny day. I took the 3 and 1-year-old I was watching into the backyard to play. When I went to go retrieve my phone from my purse inside I discovered, to my horror, that the backdoor was locked.

At this point I have to add that I admire all adults who manage to remain calm in panic situations to keep  children from freaking out. Maybe I’m over exaggerating, but this felt like a panic situation.

I have never been locked out before, let alone with two small children and no cellular device.

The good news is that I know the next door neighbors (they had previously referred me as a babysitter to their neighbors, whose house I was now locked out of). So, after checking all doors, I grabbed the kids and we marched over to their house where, thank goodness, they were home. After a little explaining, a lot of window checking, and a few phone calls, I finally got the garage door code and was able to get back inside. And right before the pizza man arrived, whew.

As a thank you, I wanted to bake some cookies, which would have to be both gluten-free and nut free (so our delicious gluten-free almond butter chocolate chip cookies weren’t going to cut it).


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/8 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a standing mixer, combine butter and brown sugar well until light brown.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, drop 12 cookies onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Cool.

Recipe slightly adapted from

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, each cookie has 7 Points Plus.


Posted by on August 2, 2013 in baking, desserts, snacks, vegetarian


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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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roasted vegetable and lentil salad

I almost decided to post-pone posting this recipe until next week.  The reason being that my husband is away until Friday chaperoning 6th grade camp, and I didn’t want him to see what he was missing at home.  He says the camp food isn’t that bad.  They had stuffed peppers for dinner last night and Alex loved them.  Today’s pizza at lunch was a low-point, but we are pizza snobs, so he could be a little biased.  As biased as a half-Italian who has a pizza oven in his back yard and buys special Italian flour for his pizza dough.

Many thanks to my Pilates student Missy for passing on this recipe.  Marc will love it when he gets back home.

Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad

  • 6 carrots, cut into 2 inch lengths and halved
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 cup French lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 onion, studded with 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 6 oz. arugula
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • parmesan shavings
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss carrots, shallots, brussels sprouts, butternut squash and garlic with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place on rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning once.

Place lentils in a small saucepan.  Cover with 2 inches of water.  Stud 1/2 onion with cloves and place in pot, along with bay leaf.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer until lentil are tender.  Drain off water and discard onion and bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper.

To make vinaigrette, mash garlic in a small bowl.  Add vinegar and mustard.  Whisk in 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place lentils in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette.  Fold in arugula, then vegetables.  Add chopped celery and zest and juice of one lemon.  Top each serving with parmesan shavings.  Serves 6.

Recipe from Daphne Oz.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, each serving has 7 PointsPlus.

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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in points plus, salads, vegetarian


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butternut squash and sage soup

It’s tradition in our house to have breakfast in bed and the dinner of your choice on your birthday.  My daughter turned 17 on Tuesday and requested butternut squash soup and biscuits.  I’ve never been happy with the recipe I’ve used in the past.  It just lacked flavor.

I found this recipe on and after making it, realized that the simple act of roasting the squash before putting it into the broth made all the difference.  It was delicious, super low in Points, and made the birthday girl very happy!

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cubes over and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until they are caramelized; set aside.

In a Dutch oven or a large stockpot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, and the remaining salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is flavorful. Remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender, process until smooth.

Makes 10 cups.

Recipe adapted from

Using the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, each 1 2/3 cup serving has 3 PointsPlus.


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in points plus, soups, vegetarian