Grown Up S’Mores

Grown Up S’Mores!

Cookies (your preferred variety) or Graham Crackers (more traditional)
Marshmallow Creme
Nocciolota Organic Hazelnut Spread

I made these using soft sugar cookies. They would be delicious on almost any kind of cookie.

I won’t give nutritional data (for a couple reasons.) The number will widely vary based on the cookie or cracker you choose, and if you make them open face (like I did) or put a second cooking on top. The numbers will also vary based on how much marshmallow creme and Nocciolata you use. And lastly, sometimes, you just don’t want to know the numbers.

This dessert was absolutely delicious. The Nocciolatta (a more refined version of Nutella) added a wonderful chocolate-hazelnut flavor. Nocciolata has a slightly stronger hazelnut presence, and is smoother, and slightly thinner than Nutella.

Thanks to Kara McKena for sending me this delicious food to sample!

Kicked-Up Grilled Cheese

This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

A good grilled cheese is a common comfort food, and to be honest, one of my favorite meals when the weather is cold and dreary. On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, I ask my guests several food questions, and one is to discover their comfort food. It is refreshing to hear that many people have similarities, all over the world. For many people it is carb-related foods. Find out what Ilias in Greece, Steve in CanadaAlastair in Ireland, Ani in Armenia, Berni in Minneapolis and Chester in Tennessee prefers! Then listen to my 15 other guests!

Kicked Up Grilled Cheese
Serves 1

1 large slice of hearty bread (or 2 smaller slices) I used a single slice of homemade artisan bread
1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 ounce Mezzetta Gourmet Deli Roasted Bell Pepper strips & Caramelized Onions
1 ounce Mezzetta Gourmet Deli Sweet and Hot Pepper Rings

½ ounce (4 pieces) Mezzetta Cocktail Onions, chopped

  1. Preheat non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Assemble sandwich (bread, 1 slice of cheese, Roasted Pepper & Onions, Sweet & Hot Pepper rings, chopped Cocktail Onions, remaining slice of cheese, final piece of bread)
  3. Spread half the mayo on the outer side of one piece of bread. Season with a touch of black pepper. Lay mayo-side on the skillet.
  4. Spread the second piece of bread with mayo.
  5. Carefully turn the sandwich when the edge starts to brown (2-3 minutes).
  6. Let the second side brown (another 2-3 minutes.)
  7. Serve.

Nutritional Data:
Calories:          315
Fat:                12.2g
Sat fat:             4.1g
Chol:             24mg
Sodium:   774.5mg
Carbs:           41.8g
Fiber:              3.8g
Protein:         12.3g

Artisan Bread (with less than 10 minutes of work!)

We are all busy. It’s unfortunate, but true. However, few people are truly too busy to make this bread. It takes less than 5 minutes on day 1, and then less than 5 minutes on day 2 to make this bread. (Of course, additional time is needed for rising and baking, but those happen without you even needed to be in the kitchen.

It is almost automatic bread. And it is absolutely delicious. Bread this good might be illegal in some jurisdictions!

My Homemade Artisanal Bread

Makes 10 slices, each approximately 1.5 ounces.
My recipe (for 4 one-pound loaves)

Whisk together:
3 cups tepid water (95-105F)
1 tablespoon yeast (any dry yeast)
1 tablespoon salt (any type)

Stir in 6.5 cups of flour. Any flour works, but 100% whole wheat is a challenge. Mixing white with whole wheat and/or rye work well. I usually use at 4 cups general purpose white with 2.5 cups of whole wheat. As long as you use a total of 6.5 cups of flour, you will end up with bread.

Stir just until everything is wet and combined. Do not knead–ever. Cover loosely, and let rise on the counter for 2-3 hours (if you forget overnight, don’t worry, it will not ruin the bread.) Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, cut 1/4 of the dough out. Dust with flour. Working quickly, form the dough into a ball. 

For the greatest ease, place the formed loaf of a corn-meal dusted pizza peel.
                                            Picture from Amazon. I use this exact Pizza Peel

Let the dough rise for 40 minutes. These make free-form round loaves, not rectangles.  Do not bake in traditional bread pans.

Preheat oven and baking stone to 450. Boil 2 cups of water, and pour into an oven safe dish and place in the oven while pre-heating. (The water creates steam to help develop a very crunchy crust. It will work without the steam, but the crust isn’t as nice.)

When the dough has risen, make several shallow cuts in the surface of the dough. Sprinkle corn meal on baking stone and place dough on the corn meal. Bake for 35 minutes.

The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days and as it ages, the flavor develops into more of a sour dough character. When the last of the dough is used, do not wash the container. Immediately refill with the ingredients for more bread (this will quickly develop that wonderful sour dough flavor.

Nutritional Data:
Calories:         66
Fat:                0.4g
Sat fat:           0.1g
Chol:              0mg
Sodium:  117.2mg
Carbs:          14.2g
Fiber:             2.4g
Protein:          2.7g

Finding simple ways to enjoy life, and yet stick to both a financial and calories budgets are common themes on my Make Your Someday Today podcast, We all want the best of all possible options. When you take a little time to make your own, you get the best results.

Pickled Scallions

Pickled Scallions

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups Splenda (or table sugar)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 pound scallions, roots trimmed and cut to fit in the jar standing up

  1. Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil on the stove, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. While that is simmering, trim the scallions, wash under cold water, and stand up in a glass jar.
  3. Remove pickling liquid from the stove and cool (covered) to near room temperature. Pour over scallions. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. This will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
  5. Note: next time, I will also cut some jalapeno peppers in half (the long way) and add them to the jar for pickled peppers and onions.)
Excellent with burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and pork ribs.

Finding new ways to make simple foods that enhance life is a common theme on my Make Your Someday Today podcast, We want to live life, enjoy life, and become the best we can be. Don’t you?

Baked Eggs in Potato Cups

Baked Eggs in Potato Cups
Serve 2

This is a great way to use a leftover baked potato. If you don’t have any left, you can easily microwave a potato in about 5 minutes, while getting your morning coffee ready.

1 large potato
2 eggs
1 slice of cheese
salt and pepper as needed
Sriracha sauce (or your preference)

Preheat oven to 450F
Cut baked potato in half the long way.
Scoop out most of the potato, leaving less than a 1/4 inch of potato.

Season with salt and pepper (if needed).
Crack an egg into the potato cup. You may not have room for all of the white (depends on the size of the potato.
Place 1/2 slice of cheese over egg.
Bake for 8-12 minutes (8 will be very soft-cooked and 12 minutes will be fully hard cooked.)
Drizzle with Sriracha and let cool for a couple minutes.

    Nutritional data (approximate, as different sized potatoes, scooped out more or less will change this):
    Calories:            187
    Fat:                   8.9g
    Sat fat:              3.9g
    Chol:          199.5mg
    Sodium:       93.3mg
    Carb:               15.4g
    Fiber:                1.4g
    Protein:           11.4g

    Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw

    Cabbage, Lime and Jalapeno Slaw
    Approximately 10 portions, 1/2 cup each

    This recipe combines all the great food experiences. It has the creaminess of the sour cream, the tang of fresh lime juice and lime zest, and the heat of the jalapeno. And you can pump the heat up by using a habanero instead of jalapeno, or adding Sriracha for another layer of flavor. It is a perfect paring with seafood, especially a meaty fish like tuna, or with smoky BBQed pork ribs, or a battered and fried chicken. Such delicious foods, such a versatile side dish!

    ½ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
    2 tablespoon mayo
    The juice of one lime
    The zest of one lime
    1 bag of pre-shredded cabbage (9-12 ounces by weight)
    1-2 fresh jalapeno, minced
    4-6 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Mix together first four ingredients
    2. Mix in the cabbage, onion and jalapenos
    3. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
    4. This is better if you make it one day in advance.

    Nutritional data:
    Calories:       29
    Fat:               1.4g
    Sat fat:          0.8g
    Chol:         4.2mg
    Sodium:   15.1mg
    Carbs:           3.6g
    Fiber:            1.1g
    Protein:         0.9g
    My Make Your Someday Today podcast is committed to helping people achieve success, in any goal: weight loss, physical fitness, business, happiness. Part of that is finding good foods that will support your health, reduce your workload, and still taste delicious!

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
    Serves 8

    To give credit where credit is due, this recipe is a lightly modified version of one found in one of my favorite periodicals, Eating Well, the June 2013 issue. However, my modifications make the recipe a better fit for people sticking to a calorie budget.

    Make choices to stick to a budget is part of success. I talk about success choices, but with a calories budget and in other areas (like starting new careers) in my podcast, Make Your Someday Today.

    The fruit topping:
    1 cup (4 ounces by weight) diced fresh rhubarb
    3 tablespoons Splenda (or stevia, or sugar whichever you prefer)
    2 ounces orange juice

    2.5 cups (1 pound) sliced strawberries (fresh are best, but you can use frozen berries that are thawed)

    Cooking spray or vegetable oil (to prepare the pan/skillet)

    The batter:
    1.5 cups flour (either all purpose white, or white whole wheat)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    3 eggs
    2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or two individual serving cups)
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1 tablespoon orange zest
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 ounces rum (optional, but tasty!)

    1. Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and let is stand (the true term is macerate) for 20-30 minutes in the orange juice. (The acids in the orange juice begin breaking down the fibrous rhubarb.) Stir occasionally.
    2. Prepare a 9 inch cake pan (according to the instructions). I always use a 10 inch oven-proof non-stick skillet. I can’t imagine using a smaller pan. You will see why shortly.
    3. While the rhubarb is macerating, prepare the batter and preheat the oven to 350F.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together the first three dry batter ingredients. Set aside.
    5. In a large bowl, whisk together the next five wet ingredients. 
      You can see the rhubarb in the orange juice, along with the other recipe components.
    6. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix only until it is uniformly wet.
    7. Spread the fruit in the prepared pan or skillet. Pour the batter over the fruit. It should be wet enough that it will spread evenly on its own.
      The fruit in a well-prepared skillet.
      The batter gently poured over the fruit.
    8. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake (40-50 minutes, depending on your oven.)
      See why I wouldn’t recommend using a smaller (9″) baking pan?
    9. Now comes the only moderately tricky part. While the cake is still hot (and therefore not sticking to the pan) take a plate that has a larger diameter (11″ is best) than the pan/skillet. Lay it on the cake, inverted, so that when you QUICKLY yet CALMLY flip the whole thing over, the cake is batter side

      down and centered on the plate.  Use hot pads or towels, as there may be hot fruit juices.

    10. Don’t do this the first time in front of guests. On the other hand, I’ve done this recipe three times, and never had any disaster other than spilling some strawberry juice, so it really isn’t a big deal. I just don’t try new techniques in front of witnesses the first time I try them.
    11. Let is cool on the counter to room temperature (2 hours.) 
    12. Cut and serve (with whipped cream, or ice cream if you have room in your budget.)
    Nutritional data (per 1/8 of the cake):
    Calories:      201
    Fat:               2.5g
    Sat fat:          0.6g
    Chol:           79mg
    Sodium:       93mg
    Carb:          39.2g
    Fiber:            3.9g
    Protein:            6g
    By the way, I said I modified the recipe from Eating Well.  In specific, here are my changes:
    3 tablespoons Splenda instead of 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce instead of 2/3 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar instead of 3/4 cup packed packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder instead of 2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon salt
    To compare the nutritional data using the numbers the recipe gives:
    (And this is for 1/10 of the cake, so a smaller piece than my recipe)

    Calories:      321
    Fat:               17g
    Sat fat:            3g
    Chol:           56mg
    Sodium:     241mg
    Carb:            40g
    Fiber:            3.0g
    Protein:            5g
    In most cases, you can replace oil with applesauce, and reduce the sugar by about 1/3 and not lose anything My recipe is a better option that Eating Well gave (and I can eat a larger portion!)


    Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. 

    Red Hot Relish

    Hot Relish
    Serves: makes about 12 portions, 1/4 cup each

    A good relish takes a meal and can make it memorable. This is the perfect combination of heat, sweet and sour. Perfect on burgers, hot dog/brats, tacos or as a side dish to pork, or chicken.

    2 tablespoon olive oil
    15 red jalapeno peppers, partially seeded and sliced (Green will also work.)
    1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly and then quartered
    2 cups diced fresh pineapple or a 15 ounce can of diced pineapple
    1 1/2 cups white vinegar
    1 cup Splenda (or table sugar)

    1. Preheat large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add oil.
    2. Add onions and peppers, sautee, tossing occasionally, until the onions start to turn brown (10-15 minutes.)
    3. Stir in pineapple, vinegar and sugar. 
    4. Increase heat to medium-high.
    5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
    6. Salt and pepper as needed (optional)
    7. Cool to room temp, cover and refrigerate.
    Nutritional data:
    Calories:        60
    Fat:              2.5g
    Sat fat:         0.4g
    Chol:            0mg
    Sodium:     1.3mg
    Carbs:          9.6g
    Fiber:           1.3g
    Protein:        0.9g

    My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen!

    Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    Grown Up Grilled Cheese
    Serves 1

    This is the sort of “Comfort Food” that my guests on my Make Your Someday Today podcast will talk about in our interviews. Comfort foods do just that. They make us feel safe, secure and warm. They tell us that everything will be all right, that success will arrive, but only if we get moving toward.

    2 slices of your preferred bread
    2 slices of your preferred cheese
    2-3 slices of tomato
    1 jalapeno cut into strips
    1/4 avocado, sliced
    1 teaspoon Vegemite (optional)
    1 tablespoon mayonnaise

    1. Prepare your ingredients. Preheat non-stick griddle or skillet.
    2. Spread the Vegemite on one slice of cheese (optional).
    3. Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread.
    4. Lay the bread mayo-side DOWN on griddle.
    5. Lay the Vegemite spread cheese on the bread, Vegemite down.
    6. Arrange the remaining ingredients on the cheese.
    7. Top with second piece of cheese and bread, mayo-side UP.
    8. Grilled until the edge gets brown (2-4 minutes, depending on the heat.)
    9. With a spatula, carefully flip and grill the second side.

    Nutritional data:
    Calories:       274
    Fat:             16.8g
    Sat fat:          5.7g
    Chol:           25mg
    Sodium:     354mg
    Carbs:            25g
    Fiber:            6.9g
    Protein:          14g

    Please be aware that those nutritional numbers are specific to my sandwich. Adding to deleting ingredients, using different cheese, or not using Vegemite will change all the numbers.

    Served with Wisco Disco, a great American Amber Ale

    Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.

    Green Beans and Butternut Squash

    Green Beans and Butternut Squash
    Serves Variable

    This is a wonderful cool weather meal. It is very well-suited to pork dishes, but hearty fish (salmon), lamb or venison would be equally good.

    On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, many guests talk about need to make adaptations to changing conditions. When you make a side dish like that, you have automatic flexibility. You can prepare whichever meat you have in your freezer or is on sale at your local market. And this dish simply looks good!

    Fresh green beans
    Medium butternut squash
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    I didn’t weigh the ingredients, so I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I used about 4 cups of beans and 2 cups of squash and got 4 large portions from it.

    1. Put a large pot of water on the stove, and turn to high
    2. Peel the squash. 
    3. Cut into approximately 1/2 inch (10mm) slices. Then cut them into cubes.
    4. Trim the ends off the beans, and wash under cold water.
    5. Heat a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
    6. Place squash in pan. Let them saute a bit until the first side begins to brown, then start to toss every minute or so to evenly brown them.
    7. When the water comes to a boil, place all the beans in. Prepare a colander in the sink.
    8. After one minute, pour the pot of beans into colander. (You just “blanched” those beans.)
    9. Let them drip dry for a minute, then add them to the large skillet. Continue to toss until the beans are heated through. 
    10. When done, the squash will retain its shape, but be easy to piece with a fork, and the beans will be hot, yet still have crispness. (If you want the beans softer, keep them in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes.) 
    Nutritional data:
    Calories:           96
    Fat:               3.8mg
    Sat fat:             0.6g
    Chol:                0mg
    Sodium:         9.4mg
    Carbs:             15.8g
    Fiber:                4.4g
    Protein:             2.7g

    This is excellent with grilled pork chops, by the way!

    My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen!