Apple Pie In An Apple

Apple Pie In An Apple

If you don't want to make a whole apple pie, then make an apple pie in an apple.

Watch this video. I was amazed at how easy it is to make.

It's kind of so crazy that it just might work, right?

It's going to naturally be healthier since you can control what goes in, and you're not getting so much crust. You can find the official recipe here.

Do you think it would work with pears?

Alternative Recipes

Of course, if you want to do it in the slow cooker, then just make baked apples.

And you can poach apples or pears and put a little brown sugar on them for a decadent yet healthy dessert.

 

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

With broccoli coming into season soon, this broccoli and bacon salad will make a healthy and delicious side with most main dishes.

Watch how easy it is to make

You can find the full recipe here. I love the idea of the dried cranberries to add a tart balance to the creamy dressing.

You know, I'd probably quickly blanch the broccoli. Sure it's nice to be super crisp, but you do have the water chestnuts for that. I think very lightly cooked broccoli can be just as crisp in texture and is easier to eat as well as digest. You could also cook it very lightly in your microwave.

If you do, just make sure the salad has time to cool down before you mix it with the dressing.

What Else Can You Do With Broccoli

I love buying pre-made broccoli slaw from my local Trader Joe's. You can mix it with some shredded cabbage for a more traditional tasting coleslaw.

You can mix it with a variety of dressings as well so you're not just having to do the standard three coleslaw dressings (buttermilk, mayo and sour cream).

Here's a lovely lemon dressing recipe. And this broccoli slaw recipe uses a touch of lime juice.

If you want more protein, here's a recipe for a quinoa and broccoli slaw salad with a honey mustard dressing.  And finally, here's a paleo friendly broccoli slaw recipe.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

9 Fun Ways to Use Cauliflower

9 Fun Ways to Use Cauliflower

Here's nine fun ways to use cauliflower instead of bread, rice and potatoes in your low carb diet. Down below, I have links to my other posts with cauliflower as a substitute.

Watch this video to get inspired.

 

You can see the links to the recipes here.

So Why Does Cauliflower Work Well

I think it comes down to the texture and moisture level. You can chop it fine and it absorbs flavors like rice. And you can get it to roast nicely without tasting bitter, and that's why it can replace things like pizza crust.

What Are Some Other Fun Ways to Use Cauliflower

I've already written some good posts:

Skinny Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Steaks

Make Farmer's Casserole Lighter

Shepherd's Pie with Tater Tot Topping (you can use the recipe for the Cauliflower Parmesan Tots in this)

But Will I Like It?

That's the question of the ages, right? You don't want to go into this thinking “Well, I'll learn to like it.” I did that with eggs, and I still have inner resistance when I go to make my veggie scrambles in the morning. I tell myself I'm eating cheesy veggies.

So some of you will love the cauliflower substitute and some of you will never like it. And that's OK. I will say I've tried the frozen cauliflower tots and they're not a perfect substitute when you're craving Ore-Ida. But they're a good side, and they go well on top of my veggie scrambles.

I do love cauliflower in place of rice. I love mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes (or in addition to…)

All I can recommend is try it out. Add it in. Substitute completely. Find what works for you as you move towards incorporating more vegetables in your diet.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Make Your Own Marinara from Scratch

Make Your Own Marinara from Scratch

One of the most fun things to do when you're overrun with plum and Roma tomatoes is to make your own marinara from scratch! It's easier than it sounds, and the results are far healthier.

Where to Find Tomatoes

photograph of my garden tomatoes

You can also buy a load of tomatoes from your CSA or a farmer's market if you have that as an option.

I love growing tomato plants. I use GrowBoxes. Self-watering containers are great. During the heat of the summer, I probably have to water every other day.

This year, I didn't get as good of a crop as prior years. I still grew a bunch of different Roma varieties including San Marzano.

They tend to be sweeter than most and are perfect for making a tomato sauce.

And of course, they aren't always ripe at the same time. So I'll pick what I can, and then process them a little bit, and I'm storing them in a jar in my fridge.

 

How to Process The Tomatoes

Now, I'm fortunate in that I have a 6 quart Instant Pot. (although, if I had an 8 quart, imagine how many more tomatoes I could process….)

You could also do this with a steamer, in the microwave, or using a special steaming pot on the stove.

You will want to have some way of separating the tomato from the water. I use a simple metal vegetable steamer insert. You can find plastic ones that will work for the microwave. You can also use the steamer insert right in a pot on the stove.

Put in some water, insert the steamer and then go prep the tomatoes.

How to Prep the Tomatoes

I cut out the top core of the tomato but leave the rest alone. Steaming will make it easier to get the skins off. And I like to pre-stew the tomatoes a bit. This is a bit of a personal thing, honestly. You'll need to play with a few tomatoes to get the hang of it.

I like to use the steam function for 0 minutes. Then I do a quick release and try to get the tomatoes to cool down quickly. Finally I'll peel off the skin and toss the tomato into a jar.

Another way that people used to do this was to stick a fork into the top of the tomato and plunge the fruit into boiling water for a little bit. Then you shock it by putting it into ice water. I have blanched food before (broccolini needs it), but if it's hot out, the last thing I want to do is be standing in front of boiling water. (This is probably why I gave up canning)

But What If I Don't Have Fresh Tomatoes

Not a problem. The reason why I want you to make your own marinara from scratch is because it's healthier and so much better tasting. You won't get all the sugar that the jarred sauces have.

Buy some good canned whole peeled tomatoes. I personally find Hunts to be the best quality. You may want to choose organic. My mom always used S+W.

One big bonus with canned tomatoes is you can get them seasoned. Some are made with basil so the flavor gets infused.

Make Your Own Marinara From Scratch

Your tomatoes are prepped. So let's get to work.

First, look in the mirror. Are you the kind of person who likes fresher tasting marinara or the kind that likes the slow cooked earthier flavored marinara?

And what do you want to serve it with?

I make marinara from scratch using canned tomatoes for my holiday manicotti.  I'll put in the recipe here some day but it's not going to make you thin eating it, believe me.

Also, you want to think about if you're going to serve it as is or if you're going to add in meat with it like Italian sausage or ground beef or turkey.

I think the fresher marinara is better with zoodles and angel hair pasta. You can also use it for dipping sauce for breadsticks.

And I think the slower cooked marinara is better with baked pastas, meat added (aka bolognase), or the thicker spaghetti.

I recommend Craftsy's Classic Italian Pasta Sauces: Meat & Tomato with Giuliano Hazan class. I learned oodles and think you will too. I'm always watching Craftsy classes when cooking and getting ideas for next week's meals.

Let me know if you enjoyed this style of blog post. Leave a comment below or contact me.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Cheesy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Cheesy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

If you're trying to go lower carb but you're not sure about swapping out your Idaho's, check out this fun video for cheesy Hasselback sweet potatoes. I really liked the cool chopstick trick:

What Else Can You Do with Sweet Potatoes

My husband complains that sweet potatoes never get as crispy as regular potatoes. That's why he doesn't want sweet potato fries or crusts.

I think I just haven't found the right recipe yet. Since he loves tater tots, I'll try these sweet potato tots. They're baked and since they're cut small, they'll get crispier.

Sweet potatoes don't always have to be used as a tuber in stews. Here's a fun recipe for fritters and another for shrimp cakes.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower rice is a great low carb alternative, but did you know you could make cauliflower steaks as well?

It's a wonderful way to get more fiber and satisfaction if you're looking to cook yourself thin. Also, if you've been wanting to eat more vegetarian but don't want to give up some favorites, embrace your cauliflower.

This video shows how to make it into “chicken” fried steak.

What Would I Change

Well, we should talk about the gravy, of course. I mean, that seems like a lot of cauliflower. And yet, it's a good way to use up a small head if you're the only person, right?

But it's not easy to make a good gravy that's healthy.

If you wanted to keep the gravy vegan, you could check out VegWeb's Vegan Sausage Gravy recipe or BrandNewVegan's Country Gravy recipe.

If you think adding some sausage to your gravy would make your cauliflower steak better, you'll want to make it with turkey sausage along with the low fat milk. To make your sausage gravy paleo, you'll need to use arrowroot or for the thickening agent instead of flour. Also, you'll want to use almond milk in place of cow's milk.

Variations on Cauliflower Steaks

If you're enjoying the idea of a cauliflower steak but want a few more ideas, check out

That should get you started! Leave a comment with your favorite recipe!

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Spaghetti Squash Ideas

Spaghetti Squash Ideas

I've told you before that spaghetti squash is wonderful in place of pasta. I also enjoy adding it in so you can have some with pasta for a heartier meal.

Most people want to know how to cook since it's a squash. And it looks scary. Plus, if you're used to cutting up butternut squash, you may think all winter squash is difficult.  It's not so.  It does help if you have the right tools.

There's two ways to use spaghetti squash. You can cook and use the strands in place of pasta like with a carbonara sauce. Or you can bake things into the squash like Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.

Cooking a Spaghetti Squash

I'm going to talk about how to cook the squash if you're going to use it in a recipe. If you're going to use a recipe where you put the ingredients in, and then bake it, don't cook the squash first.

I personally use an Instant Pot multi-function cooker. You can pressure cook a whole squash without cutting into it for 6-10 minutes depending upon the size. The skin then just peels off, and you can scoop out the seeds. Some people prefer to prick the skin or cut the squash in half before pressure cooking. Find what you're comfortable with.

You can also use a slow cooker to cook for 4 to 6 hours. It's a good idea to prick the skin a few times with a fork before putting it in.

If you have a microwave, slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Then put the squash cut side down on damp paper towels. Cover with more damp paper towels and microwave on high for approximately 20 minutes. Then let it sit for ten minutes. And you can scoop out the squash fibers.

Finally, you can bake in an oven.  Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and put cut side down in a pan with a cup of water. Then bake at 400F for 45-50 minutes.

The important thing to remember is you do not need to skin the squash before cooking.

Make Spaghetti Squash Into Fritters

Here's a video for a delicious recipe in using the spaghetti squash to make a fritter with spinach.

Turning Spaghetti Squash Into Casserole

You can add the cooked spaghetti squash into a casserole like a frittata or a quiche. It adds in vegetables without seeming like a vegetable. And don't forget to add in additional vegetables like spinach. Go easy on the cheese. You want just enough for the flavor, but you don't want it to add in too much fat.

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Much Ado About Root Vegetables

Much Ado About Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are still in season at the moment I'm writing this. Don't turn up your nose at the turnip.  It's a wonderful and inexpensive vegetable that can be a great part of your meals.

How to Choose the Vegetables

If you buy organic, the veggies won't be completely free of blemishes. Some find that organic veggies taste better. I subscribe to a CSA and I have a garden. Since I grow in self watering containers, you might think I won't get as good of root vegetables as if they were in the ground. But you'd be surprised!

Plus some like celery root and kohrabi look pretty crazy to begin with.

So how do you choose? Well they should be firm and a bit springy in general. Secondly, it depends upon what you want to do with them.

There are two types of root vegetables – older and younger. The young root vegetables can be good raw or lightly cooked. I have some young turnips that I'm going to steam. You can think of these like new potatoes. They're best when kept fresher.

The older root vegetables are better roasted or stewed.

Watch this fun video with Jamie Oliver. I adore him and saw him live once about ten years ago making risotto and pasta.

But What About Radishes?

Ok, you got me. There are root vegetables that are grand raw like radishes, carrots and jicama. But they do fall sort of into the younger category. If you have old radishes, you should try roasting them rather then trying to slice them for a salad.

Root vegetables are quite nutrient dense. You can make a lovely vegetable soup or stew out of them and feel quite satisfied. I use kohrabi and celery root (also called celeriac) in place of potatoes sometimes and you can't taste the difference.

If I have a younger celery root, I'll dice it up and cook it with my eggs in the morning and I don't miss potatoes.

Roasting vegetables brings out a sweeter side to them. So be careful of seasonings and sauces if you serve roasted vegetables.  You can also roast veggies and puree them as the side to the meat rather then putting the vegetables directly on the plate. Also, if you have leftover roast veggies, you can puree and then thin it out with some broth for a lovely soup.

Start by adding in one weird root vegetable and see what you think.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

When I first saw this video for a bacon wrapped avocado egg, I thought it was weird. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it could be a great Paleo breakfast. And since tomato season is coming up, it would be a nice low carb lunch with slices of tomatoes.

Watch the video and see what you think:

Avocado is a Good Fat

I'm always telling you to use avocados. They're a healthy fat and can be used in place of mayonnaise.  Some people think they don't like them.  (OK, they probably really don't. I still have some egg issues and probably couldn't make this for myself since I don't like runny eggs).

What Would I Change

A lot of the comments felt that the avocado they chose was underripe.  I don't agree. I think it was perfectly on the lighter edge of ripe and would be delicious.

Others found that you really needed to dry off the avocado really well to get the egg to sit in properly as well as get the bacon to wrap well.

I found PaleoHacks had their own version that seems to come out better than the Thrillist one. They used prosciutto so perhaps that cooked faster and more evenly than two rows of bacon.

Think you'll try it?

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I'm in love with Brussels sprouts salad. My biggest challenge is shredding them finely enough. However, this recipe has you roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts before tossing with the salad dressing. So you don't have to shred them as fine as if it were a raw Brussels sprouts salad.

Watch the video!

Some Cool Modifications

You could use butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes. You could also use parsnips since they are also naturally sweet. The recipe seems to make a ton of the salad.

So if you like the salad, make a big batch on Sunday and then set up a few Mason jars. Put the dressing in the bottom and the salad on top, and it's good to go for lunch time. Just shake up the jar and pour it out.

You could also toss in some roasted beets and cooked broccoli. If you like carrots, you could roast them along with the sweet potatoes. Or you could shred them and leave them raw for a crunchy counterpoint.

If you want something “meaty” flavored, add in some mushrooms.

This recipe lends itself to bean sprouts. You could add in tofu if you wanted more protein. Also, if you have leftover rice or couscous, you could blend that in.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​