February, 2014

Feb 26, 2014

Quick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce

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Why buy a jar of tomato sauce when you can make your own in 20 minutes? Seriously. By the time you boil the water and cook the spaghetti, your delicious, homemade, spaghetti sauce is done. And it tastes way better than the stuff in a jar. If your family likes spaghetti and meatballs, they will LOVE spaghetti and meatballs with this homemade sauce. It just tastes so much better.

You can even make this recipe using fresh tomatoes but it takes a little longer because you’ll need to peel the tomatoes first. I’ve made this sauce many different ways… with fresh peeled tomatoes, with cherry tomatoes (unpeeled) from my garden, I’ve done it with roasted tomatoes, but most of the time I like the quick and easy 20-minute version. I’ll be using it in a recipe I’ll be posting soon… oven-baked chicken parmesan!!!

Did you know that cooked tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which is a known defender of prostate cancer? But they need a little fat for better absorption so be sure to use the full amount of olive oil (1 tablespoon). Oh, by the way, tomatoes are also believed to protect against heart disease, memory loss, macular degeneration and may even prevent some wrinkles caused by the sun. Click here for the recipe.

Feb 25, 2014

Does alcohol turn into sugar in your body?

Aspasia asks… Hi Jenny, Am fairly new to your site, I want to try some of your recipes. Question: I love  to drink red wine preferbly dry to semi dry, I’ve heard alcohol turns into sugar, is this true? I grew up in a Greek household we always had wine with dinner, why is alcohol getting a bad rap..please explain… Thank you AF 🙂

My response… According to nutritionist Joy Bauer MS, RD, CDN, not only is it impossible for alcohol to turn into sugar in the body, it also tends to lower blood sugar levels.

“This effect is so well documented,” says Ms Bauer, “that people with diabetes are advised to adjust their insulin and oral medications if they drink alcoholic beverages. Of course, this only refers to straight liquor and wine. Cocktails made with sugary mixers are another story. Alcohol is the only food component other than fat, protein, and carbohydrate that contains calories, and like these other nutrients, excess alcohol calories can be stored. The storage form for alcohol is triglycerides, which is a fancy name for fat. In other words, alcohol acts more like fat in your body than sugar! This is why one of the first things I recommend for my clients with elevated triglyceride levels (a known risk factor for heart disease) is an immediate reduction or elimination of alcohol.”

Her advice is to keep it moderate. That’s a five-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor per day. And try your best to avoid sugary mixers like syrups, tonic, juices and regular soda.

Feb 24, 2014

Thanks for All the Thumbs Ups

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It means so much to me when anyone takes the time to post a comment about one of my recipes. So I just want to say “thank you” to all of you who let me know that by sharing my home cooking, I’m making a difference. I don’t allow ads on this site or accept any sponsors so the only reason I created this place was so I can share what I love. So thank you for your comments and please continue to send your feedback on my recipes. I appreciate it so much!

Now, a little trivia…

~My most popular recipe on Youtube is Pepperoni Pizza with over 190,000 views.

~My most popular recipe on Pinterest is Beef Stew with over 50,000 pins.

~The recipe that generated the most comments on this site is Cabbage Rolls.

~People from 143 countries have visited this site.

~The number of people who post,”You look so familiar. Have you ever been on TV?” – five. 🙂

I wish you all good health and happy cooking!

Jenny

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Feb 21, 2014

GIANT Breakfast Cookies

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OMG! I love these breakfast cookies so much! They are so healthy and each cookie has over four grams of fiber! Let’s talk about what’s in them… and what’s not. First of all, there is no butter and no white flour. They are made with heart-healthy olive oil and are 100% whole grain. There are lots of oats, whole grain flour, and then I add some high fiber cereal for even more health benefits – and crunch. They are sort of chewy and crunchy at the same time. The prunes not only add fiber, they help keep the cookies moist. Dark chocolate does have health benefits…. and it’s chocolate!  Now some info on the ingredients:

~Flour: Whole wheat pastry flour is not the same as whole wheat flour. It’s a finer grind and will make a lighter cookie.

~Oats: I use Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats, not quick-cooking.

~Cereal: I use Kellogg’sAll Bran Original (20 grams of fiber per cup)

~Oil: I have made these with olive oil, canola oil, and extra light olive oil. All came out good.

~Chocolate: Dark chocolate has antioxidants so the darker the better. I use Callebaut bittersweet chocolate chips or I also chop up some of a Scharffen Berger dark chocolate bar.

~Prunes: They are not all the same. Moist prunes keep the cookie moist so I use Sunsweet Premium Prunes in the round can. If you can’t find these prunes, try pouring boiling water over regular prunes, cover and let stand for 15 minutes, then drain and chop. Without moist and sticky prunes, these cookies will be dry.

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Why should you make this cookie? It’s all about the fiber in this healthy breakfast cookie, which contains lots and lots of soluble and insoluble fiber. The benefits include everything from lower cholesterol, protection against colon cancer, heart disease & stroke, reduced risk of diverticulitis, hemorrhoids  & diabetes as fiber slows the absorption of sugar, more stabilized blood sugar, less constipation, easier weight management because fiber keeps you feeling full longer… but if you increase your fiber, it’s also important to drink plenty of water for it to assimilate properly. But enough about fiber. Make this cookie. Try it. It’s so good, you’ll be doing what I do and having it for dessert too! – Jenny Jones  Click here for the recipe.

UPDATE Feb. 27th:

In case anyone finds their cookies to be dry, please make sure to use moist prunes and not the typical ones that are more common. If you can’t find these prunes, try pouring boiling water over regular prunes, cover and let stand for 15 minutes, then drain and chop.

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Feb 14, 2014

Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs: How To Video

I want everyone to see how easy it is to make baby back ribs with tender meat that falls off the bone. There’s no mystery to making those barbeque ribs we all love, the ones where you have to catch the meat as it falls away from the bone. It’s easy. But if you’re impatient, you will have to change your ways to make tender ribs because you really need to slow cook them first. But there’s nothing to do during all that time while you wait for the ribs to tenderize.

Oh wait… there is something to do. Call the neighbors over for a barbeque! Middle of winter? Snow on the roof? No problem. You can do it all in the oven. In fact, there is so little clean up if you do it all in the oven, that has become my favorite way to make ribs. By using a disposable foil pan, and working on foil or wax paper, the only thing to wash is your sticky fingers from my amazing sauce (yes, there’s a recipe here for that too), most of your face, and the white shirt you should never have worn on rib day.

So don’t wait for summer to enjoy my fall-off-the-bone ribs. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 11, 2014

Apple Brownies

Apple Brownies_600They’re not too sweet and healthy enough for breakfast. My apple brownies are loaded with tons of fresh apples. In fact this easy recipe uses two Granny Smith apples (those are my favorite for baking) but that’s not even the best part. There is no butter and no oil in these moist and yummy bars and they are 100% whole grain!

So… let’s see… whole grains, fresh fruit, fiber, protein… that sounds like breakfast to me. The fiber comes from the whole grain flour and apples, and there’s added protein in the toasted walnuts. Did I mention there are toasted walnuts in there??  Did I mention that it’s a super easy recipe? This is the perfect breakfast dessert. This morning I had a hard boiled egg and some melon and one of these apple brownies. Brownies for breakfast? Not a problem with this healthy recipe. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones 

Feb 10, 2014

Gluten-free pancakes

IanzGurrl asks… Just found out the hubby is gluten-intolerant. Could I make your blueberry buttermilk  pancakes (and would they still be yummy) with rice flour?

My Response… The short answer is yes. I had never used gluten-free flour before so I bought some at the grocery store and made my pancake recipe using King Arthur Gluten Free Flour… this one…

img_8566I did some research and they say you have to add xanthan gum to rice flour to add body for baking but this flour made really good pancakes. It does contain some added starches so maybe that’s all it needed for pancakes. I made plain buttermilk pancakes and one with blueberries and they came out great. I ate all three!

IMG_9332If your rice flour has no starches added, you may need to add some or just try the flour I used or one with added starches. Next, I’m going to try baking a cake with gluten-free flour. Fingers crossed!

Feb 8, 2014

How to keep brown sugar soft

Nancy asks… Hi Jenny. What is the best way to keep brown sugar fresh?  Thanks.

My response… Brown sugar gets hard when its moisture escapes. The best way to keep brown sugar soft is to use a small clay disc and it works really well. Here’s an example below…

xbrownsugardiskmooseIt costs less than $5 and you just soak the disc in water for 15 minutes and then put it into a fresh bag of brown sugar. Seal up the bag tightly and you’re done.  Mine stays soft until I finish the bag. You can even use a piece of broken clay from a pot as long as it’s unglazed.

Feb 4, 2014

Easy Turkey Chili

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Any dinner that all cooks in one pot is for me! And if it’s low fat, healthy, easy to make, and tastes yummy, I have to share. Sure I use a can, a box, and a carton but it’s all good. The can is the red kidney beans. They provide fiber, calcium, and help reduce cholesterol. The box is Pomi strained tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes have lycopene, a great prostate protector and wrinkle preventer. The carton is unsalted chicken stock which is handy for my 30-minute chili. I sometimes use my own homemade chicken stock in this recipe but the carton is easy to keep on hand.

It’s hard to mess up this recipe so feel free to make it your own. Here are some other suggestions… 1) You can use ground beef instead of turkey but keep it lean. Use ground sirloin. 2) Use a different tomato product like canned crushed tomatoes or stewed ones. 3) Use a spicier chili pepper like habanero, if you dare. 4) Spice it up with some cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

For my taste, this is just the right amount of spice and just the right amount of easy. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 1, 2014

How Long to Keep Spices

Vicki asks… How long should spices be kept? I never know when to throw out and replace so I seem to have multiples. I don’t know if they are any good when I need something.

My response… They say not to keep spices for too long because they lose potency over time, but I have had some for almost ten years! So when I use the older ones, I just use more. I probably should replace some of my older ones but it’s hard to throw away an almost full bottle. (Btw, I still have 25-year old bottles of makeup!) Sure, there are guidelines for spices but I go by how they smell and as long as it smells like it’s supposed to, I use it. There is clearly no definitive answer to this quandary. Here’s a guideline I found on the Spice Islands website:

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But on the Spice Hunter website they say:

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Here are some tips:

1. Lose the spice rack. Store your spices away from direct light or heat. The worst place would be out in the open on the back of the stove. I store mine in a drawer.

2. It’s a good idea to mark the bottle or tin of spice with the date you opened it.

3. Never shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something you’re cooking – that’s the quickest way to steam and spoil your spices.

4. To test a spice’s potency, rub some in the palm of your hand. If it smells good, it’s good. That’s what I do.