Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

sweet potato, breakfast, hash browns, breakfast potatoes

Oh so sweet

Breakfast is easily one of my favorite meals of the day, but only when it’s done right. Like most people, I can live with a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit and then go about my day if I have to, but I’d always rather have something homemade. The only thing that frustrates me about breakfast is the monotony that we’ve settled for! Eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal, rinse, repeat. Sure, there’s a little more differentiation than that, but it sure feels like there isn’t sometimes.

In order to break up that monotony, I try using ingredients that aren’t normally found on a breakfast menu. I’ve already posted some delicious recipes using wonton wrappers, salad fixings and polenta, but I definitely need to bulk up that section of my recipe index! Here are some examples of different, delicious breakfast foods that I’ve been enjoying lately:

Giardiniera and veggie-cheese omelets
Vanilla chai pancakes (cooked in coconut oil.  YUM.)
– Sweet potato hashbrowns

All these things are extremely yummy and satisfy that need for change. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is for my sweet potato hashbrowns. I’ve been making them for a couple years now, ever since we had run out of regular potatoes and I was craving some hashbrowns. We mash them, soufflé them, bake them, French fry them and turn them into hummus, so why not turn them into hashbrowns as well? I made them for my parents on Christmas Eve morning and they went bonkers. I think they forgot how well the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes lends itself to savory dishes.

I’m actually going to share two variations. One is low-sodium and includes onions and the other is just well spiced and doesn’t have onions. At least one of them is sure to please anyone in your household who likes sweet potatoes!

sweet potato, breakfast, hash browns, breakfast potatoes

Jess took these photos. She calls this one “sweet hash”…. :)

Simple Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Servings: 4
PointsPlus per Serving: 3


  • 1 large sweet potato, 8 PP
  • 2 tbsp light butter/margarine, 4 PP
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika


  • 1 large sweet potato, 8 PP
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • crushed red pepper or chili powder
  • 2 tbsp light butter/margarine, 4 PP

1. Get a bowl of warm water.  As you dice up your sweet potato, throw it into the bowl with water.  Letting them soak in the water for a little bit as you are preparing everything will soften them up just enough.  Chop up your onions and set them aside (not in the water).

2. Warm up a non-stick skillet or cast iron pan (my preference).  Once it gets to a medium heat, put in the butter and let it melt.  If you’re doing the version with the onions, put the onions in and let them soften up just a little.  Then put in the drained potatoes.  Sprinkle your spices over top (I just do a sprinkling of each and use a little more of the flavors I really want in there), mix around the potatoes so they are well coated with butter and spice and then let them sit for about 4 minutes.  Once they start to brown up on the bottom, scrape them all over to one end and give them a flip.  Let them sit for another 4 minutes or so.  Do this until they meet your level of satisfactory softness/crispness and then transfer them to a plate.

**PLEASE NOTE** – If you are doing the version with the onions, you’ll have to stir them up more often so the onions don’t burn!

What are some other things that you eat for breakfast that you’d consider “different”?

Fiesta Salsa

Beautiful photo by Jess!

Because it’s a party in the bowl AND a party in your mouth!

In case you didn’t know, Jess has a green thumb. She’s been able to keep our three outside plants alive with LOTS of dedicated watering throughout this ridiculous heat and lack of rain. Well, during our weekly trip to the Farmers Market on Saturday, we stopped by a vendor that had tomatillos and got the scoop on how to know when they’re ready to be harvested. Apparently they should still be pretty firm and the husk will get pretty dry. Then they’ll be ready! So, Jess went outside and picked off the three that we’ve been patiently waiting to harvest from our own tomatillo plant.

What does a person do with only three tomatillos? I looked through my cookbooks (sadly, not many tomatillo recipes) and found a couple for salsa that looked good. But still, I only had three. Then, I looked up at the beautiful heirloom tomato in our hanging fruit basket. It only had about 3 days left until it would get soggy and I decided it needed to be used as well.

Now I had enough tomato/tomatillo to make a salsa! Those, plus some jalapenos and even a habanero that’s been in my freezer for months came together with the other essential salsa ingredients and the result was spectacular. This salsa is a farmers market delight. As long as you have jalapenos, onion a little lime juice and a lot of cilantro, you can literally make any salsa your heart desires. Mine was sweet from the heirlooms and the tiny bit of cane sugar and spicy from the habanero. And the garlic (german garlic, which is ginormous), was a spectacular find from last week and it lent its flavor splendidly. No need to waste those heirlooms anymore. If it can go in tomato sauce, it can go in salsa!

Beautiful photo by Jess! Don’t you just want to dig in?

Fiesta Salsa
Servings: 1 (about 1.5 cups worth)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1


  • 3 small tomatillos, finely diced
  • 1 cup skinned and finely diced red heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium white or red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 small jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 habanero, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar (or regular sugar), 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1. Take your garlic, onion, jalapenos, sugar and tomatillo and simmer for a few minutes over medium heat in a nonstick pan. This tempers the bitterness of the tomatillo.

2. Put your heirloom tomato and habanero into a bowl. Pour in the simmered tomatillo mixture. Put in the lime juice, cilantro and sea salt. Mix well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavor can deepen.

3. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas and a New Bike!

Click here for this Shrimp Enchiladas Verde recipe by “Eat, Live, Run”!

I GOT A BIKE!!  Jess and I were finally able to drive up to the REI where it was shipped to and picked it up on Saturday.  Then we drove back the same day… which made it a 6 hour drive round-trip.  But it was totally worth it.  She’s a beauty!  Pictures will come later.  We went for our first bike ride together the next morning instead of going to church and it felt just as good as a spiritual refresher.  We did almost seven miles, which isn’t much on a recumbent bike in a gym, but certainly is with slight hills and lots of cracks in the pavement!  We’re both getting squishy seats soon because, well, you know why.  The feeling of a numb coochie is slightly unnerving. (TMI?)

After the biking, we went swimming!  The water was perfect.  The pool had just opened and no one else was in there, so Jess and I dove right in to cool, cool water.  With the crazy heat we had the last couple weeks, every time we got in the water it felt like we were getting into warm bath water.  Gross.  This was the first time it truly felt like a pool.  Awesome.

Click here for this Zucchini Beef Enchiladas recipe from “Recipe Girl”!

Since I knew we’d both be biking in to work the next day, I wanted to make lunches ahead of time so I could leave the house before the heat index rose too much.  I also wanted to use up some of the veggies I’d had in the fridge for a couple weeks from our local CSA, The Wingfield Farm.  I didn’t have the typical mexican blend cheese in the fridge, so I improvised!  In fact, these enchiladas are full of so much delicious flavor that the tiny bit of feta cheese I put in was really more of an afterthought.  So, these enchiladas can definitely be dairy/lactose-free for those of us who fall into that category.  YAY!  And if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian, take out the pork, use another veggie like corn, potato or kale (just make sure to add a bit of the spices to the veggies that I list for seasoning the pork) and this can be a vegan dish as well!  I love it went that happens :)

This is also my recipe of the week for my cousin’s CSA newsletter.  It’ll be highlighting the tomatoes, garlic, onion and summer squash that everyone will be getting in their baskets.  Score!

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas
Servings: 4 (3 enchiladas per serving, plus fall-out filling!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10 (or 7 PP for 2 enchiladas each)

Click here for this Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “The Novice Chef”!


  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed, 10 PP
  • 12 extra thin La Mission corn tortillas, 12 PP
  • 3 cups diced zucchini/yellow squash
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, 7 PP
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 jalapenos (or less if you don’t want it spicy), diced
  • 3 tsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • spices to season pork (I used ground coriander, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, sea salt and a little adobo powder)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 packages Frontera Verde Enchilada sauce, 6 PP (or 2 cups of another green enchilada sauce of your choice)

1. Get out a cast iron skillet and turn to medium heat. Season your pork on both sides and cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes or until done.

2. While it’s cooking, get out a medium sized mixing bowl. Rinse the black beans and pour in. Dice up your tomatoes, chop your cilantro and dice your jalapenos and put those in the bowl as well.

3. Now, dice up your zucchini and onion and set aside in a separate bowl. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick pan to medium low heat and pour in 1 tsp of the olive oil and garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant for about 15 seconds and then put in the zucchini and onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then put in the bowl with the other veggies and beans.

Click here for this Thai Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “How Sweet It Is”!

4. Take your cooked pork and let it sit on a chopping block for a few minutes to cool. Then, slice into thin strips (against the grain, preferably) and dice each of those strips. Combined the diced pork with the other filling.

5. Now you can turn your oven on to 375. Take the same non-stick pan you used for the zucchini and onion pour in the enchilada sauce and the last 2 tsp of olive oil and stir up (if you have non-fat greek yogurt, I sometimes stir in a spoonful of it as well to make the sauce creamier). Turn heat to low so that it just gets a bit warm.

6. Take out a 9×13 glass pan and spray with Pam. Organize your counters so you have 12 tortillas on your left, pan of sauce to the right of that, glass dish next to that and the bowl of filling on your right (and a small bowl with the feta if you’re using it next to that). This setup seems to work the best for me. Now, take one tortilla and dip into sauce so that both sides have been covered. Put in the glass dish, sprinkle in a little feta and spoon in a generous scoop of the filling. Roll tortilla, keeping the folded ends on the bottom and shove it into the corner of the pan. Repeat for the next 11 tortillas. You should end up with two rows of six enchiladas, a bunch of leftover filling and about 1 cup of leftover sauce. Scoop the leftover filling into the middle of the dish between the rows of the enchiladas and pour the leftover sauce all over the enchiladas.

7. Rinse your hands and then put into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Take out, top with a little greek yogurt or guacamole or salsa and enjoy!

Goetta Breakfast Salad (uhh.. salad for breakfast?)

Oh boy was this tasty.

No, no. Breakfast food in a salad and eaten for lunch! Although, I’m sure it would be delicious and filling as a breakfast dish, but I just can’t get myself to eat salad for breakfast. Weird.

How did this fusion of German breakfast food and salad come to be, you ask? This is just what happens when two people start making two different things for lunch and decide that they both want a bit of what the other is having! Hee hee. No, literally. I’m sitting here giggling because I find it kind of funny. I wandered in the kitchen with a desire to cook up some of the goetta we brought back from OH last weekend and she was already in there washing some salad and putting it into bowls for us. I asked her if she wanted some goetta too and she said yes. I asked if she wanted an egg too and she said yes. I said, “what if we make it into a salad?” She said sure! BAM! Idea was born.

You can’t just put an egg and goetta on some lettuce and call it a new and interesting recipe, though. So, I mixed it up with some sauteed mini sweet peppers (because their flavors blend so well with egg and goetta) and threw in some zucchini as well because, let’s face it, you can pretty much add it to anything savory and it’ll taste good and fill you up.

Cheese and croutons were added in there too because we are a house that looooves cheese and croutons. In fact, during our latest visit to OH, we bought a bag of croutons to have with salad one night for dinner and the next night my dad decided to bring home FOUR MORE BAGS because… he figured we needed to eat them like french fries? I don’t know, lol, but they certainly didn’t last long.

They were good in this salad, but they didn’t add too much to the salad other than some more texture and a bit of cheesey/carby goodness, so if you want to save yourself some points you can go ahead and leave them out. I was just excited that I made up a new recipe using goetta that’s different than just slicing and pan-frying them up or inserting them into a breakfast sandwich. And it was definitely satisfying to both my palate and my stomach! Yum :)

Goetta Breakfast Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 11 (or 8 without cheese or croutons since they’re more of an afterthought)


  • 2 to 3 handfuls of salad greens
  • 2 oz goetta, 5 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 3 mini sweet peppers
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp low-fat french dressing, 1 PP
  • 1/2 oz dill havarti cheese (or another cheese of your choice), 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 tbsp croutons, 1 PP (optional)

1. Get out goetta and slice off two 1-oz rounds. Heat up a non-stick skillet to medium heat and cook goetta on both sides until nicely browned.

2. While the goetta is cooking, wash lettuce, drain and put in a bowl or on a plate. Wash zucchini and peppers. Slice peppers in half long-ways and slice zucchini into rounds.

3. Once the goetta is done cooking, cut each slice into quarters and put on lettuce. Cook up peppers and zucchini with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until slightly tender. Once done, slice the peppers into strips and put those and the zucchini rounds onto the salad.

4. Cook up your egg over-easy (so that the yolk will mix with the french dressing and be generally amazing.) While it’s cooking, cut up or shred your havarti cheese and put on salad.

5. Once egg is done, put it on top of the salad, add your croutons (if you’re using them) and drizzle the french dressing over top. Cut up with a knife and fork, mix it all up together and enjoy the delicious flavors!

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables

The best grilled veggies I’ve had in years.

Jess and I spent the last few days with my parents in Ohio making great food and having fun. On Thursday, I made some Saucy Italian Chicken and we had salad on the side. Friday we had Agave-Lime Salmon and some amazing grilled summer vegetables. Saturday we lit the fire pit and cooked our hotdogs over the flames before bringing them inside to cover them in all sorts of our favorite toppings.

We also had Graeter’s Ice Cream, which is the most fantabulous ice cream on the planet, and some s’mores on another night… but that’s not the point of this post! I’m here to talk about those grilled veggies.

The veggies that we had with the salmon were AMAZING. Dad and I got some asparagus, summer squash and mushrooms washed and sliced and then grilled them in a veggie grill pan on the grill. I told him to drizzle a bit of olive oil over top (once it was on the grill and not just sitting on the table since there are holes on the bottom, duh.) and sprinkle in some sea salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes. Dad decided to use some homemade basil-infused olive oil and threw in some fresh basil and a couple of hungarian wax peppers from the garden as well!

Jess took this BEAUTIFUL photo of the Agave-Lime Salmon we had with the vegetables!

When we sat down to eat everything, it was like sitting down to a feast. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were still tender-crisp. He did a perfect job grilling them! And since it was a super easy veggie dish that most people wouldn’t just throw together, I decided to share with you. It is super low in points. I even threw all my veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, tossed in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkled it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzled it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar. WOW. Amazing.

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1 (WWOnline says 2 PP, but they stay tendercrisp and they’re veggies so I ignored it and just counted the olive oil!)


  • 1 lb washed and trimmed asparagus, sliced in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hungarian wax peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil of your choice, 5 PP
  • 6-10 leaves of fresh basil
  • cracked pepper and sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. Make sure all your veggies are washed and sliced. Put them in a saute/grill pan specifically for cooking veggies over a grill (except basil and hungarian peppers).

2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies once the pan is on the grill. You can either roast your peppers on the grill right next to the pan or you can put them directly in the veggie mix; your choice. Sprinkle in pepper, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes. Then put in basil leaves.

3. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Serve immediately and enjoy!

And I would HIGHLY recommend doing what I did with the salad. It only adds an extra 2 PP and it really brings out the delicious flavors of the grilled veggies! (In case you forgot what it was: put veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, toss in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkle it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzle it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar.)

Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata and a New Endeavor

Spinach growing at Dienger Gardens in Cinci, OH

I have awesome cousins. See, I come from a very LARGE Irish/Italian/German liberal Catholic family. I have 27 first-cousins; they’ve survived leukemia, marathons and mudathalons, political protests, backpacking through 6 different continents, stints in the Finnish Army, lots of college and lots of crazy family get-togethers. How could I not think they are amazing?

Some of these awesome cousins started a CSA. That’s “community supported agriculture”. My cousin, Stephen, decided he wanted to be an organic farmer, got some apprenticeships on farms and the rest is history. Well, actually, it’s just starting so it’s not history yet! Here’s a link to more information. He did it last year and my parents took part. They were absolutely thrilled! His produce is BEAUTIFUL. I’ve never seen swiss chard so vibrant. The pumpkins were bright and full of flavor. I love it! Here’s his garden’s FB page if you want to check out pictures and more recipes!

This year, Steve and two of his sisters, Amy and Ellen, decided to do a newsletter for all those who are participating in the CSA. And since I’m their awesome chef-to-be cousin, they asked me to write up a recipe each week highlighting some of the produce that will be given out that week! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this. I’m even participating in another local CSA this year (splitting a basket with a friend since our full basket last year was too much) so that I can get some seasonal produce to be inspired by.

This first recipe highlights spinach. It’s a stealthy, sneaky leafy-green that gives you large amounts of calcium and iron (even some fiber!) without you even noticing. It cooks quickly and tastes amazing. Mix it with some tomato, cheese, egg and italian spices and you’ll be in heaven (especially since it’s only 3 points per portion, so go ahead and have two!)

My cousin, Steve, is on the right and the other guy is Jules. They both have their own farms and together they are “Our Harvest Coop”.

Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3


  • 6 large egg whites (or 5 extra-large), 2 PP
  • 4 oz crumbled light feta cheese, 7 PP
  • 3 handfuls of rinsed and drained spinach
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Turn oven on to 350. Then heat up an OVEN-PROOF skillet (small or medium sized) to medium heat.

2. Cut up the onion and tomato if you haven’t already. Spray the skillet with Pam and put in the onion. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add tomato and spinach. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain some of the excess juices from the pan and return it to the stove.

3. While your fillings are cooking, mix your cheese into your eggs whites (shred it first if you need to) and add the spices. Pour egg mixture over fillings. Put away all your utensils now! Leave it be until it browns slightly around the edges.

4. Once it’s slightly browned, stick the whole skillet onto the top rack of the oven and let it finish cooking for about 10-12 minutes. This will finish baking it and let it get nice and bubbly on top. Once the timer goes off, check to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. If it is, there should be no excess liquid on top and it should be able to slide right out of the skillet once you loosen the edge. Slice into fours and enjoy!

If you want to check out some other frittata recipes, try my Havarti Ham and Veggies Frittata or this Bacon Tomato Cheese Frittata that I highlighted from Closet Cooking!

Pasta with Roasted Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta

You know, I’ve been sitting here trying to think of creative ways to start off this blog post, but they all sounded like poop. So, I’m just going to give you some random tidbits of my life and then give you the recipe!  Kapeesh?

TIDBIT #1: I have tracked all my food 100% for almost three weeks now and it’s paying off!
TIDBIT #2: I am currently obsessed with protein shakes thanks to my Mimsy. My favorite so far is Choco-Berry. ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST!
TIDBIT #3: I have so much going on in my life right now that I can barely stand it. I just keep taking deep breaths and tracking my food since those are the two things I can control.
TIDBIT #4: I caved and bought some “shape-ups” to help my plantar fasciitis. These ones aren’t quite as atrocious, but they are definitely working!  And I’m not worried about Jess leaving me because I look like a fool :)
TIDBIT #5: The main reason why I got back on track is because I have $200 bucks in gift cards to spend that I promised myself I wouldn’t use until I reached 50 lbs lost and now that it’s getting hot outside, I NEED NEW CLOTHES!

Okay, enough randomness. Time for tasty! It’s inspired by this recipe I saw on Eat Me, Delicious. I just happened to have most of the ingredients and I wanted to do something different with my asparagus, so this was perfect! I switched up the ingredients just a bit, but it’s pretty much the same thing. I hope you like it!

Pasta with Roasted Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta
Servings: 3 (around 1 1/2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10


  • 7 oz uncooked pasta of your choice, 19 PP
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in a bag, not oil)
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 2 oz feta cheese, 4 PP
  • 2 tsp olive oil, 2 PP
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp reserved water from the tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp capers (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

1. First, you want to roast the asparagus, so turn the oven to 400 and wash and snap off the ends of your asparagus. Then, take out a cookie sheet, line it in tin foil and lay down the asparagus. Spray with some cooking spray and lightly salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of doneness (should be cooked, but still slightly firm). Once cooked, cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

2. Now, put a pot of water on to boil the pasta in. I used a tomato-garlic fettucini noodle, but you can use whatever you’d like. Cook until al dente, strain and set aside.

3. While the asparagus is roasting, put the tomatoes in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook them until mostly re-hydrated (around 7-10 minutes). Slice into small strips and set aside.

4. Once your three main ingredients are ready (or while you’re waiting for them to be ready), crumble the feta cheese into a big serving bowl. Pour in the tomato water, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried herbs, capers and black pepper. Mix it together and then put in the pasta, asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss to coat it evenly, serve and enjoy!

Portobello and Peppers Sandwich

Click here for this Grilled Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Pistachio Pesto from “Closet Cooking”!

I lost track of my tracking, people.  Gah.  It’s in my nature to do this… but I’m back to tracking today!  It’s been a bit crazy at our house, so I’m going to blame it on that.  The craziness consisted of our floor leaking.  Yep.  The carpet was randomly getting soaked right outside of our kitchen entryway and along the wall.  I mean SOAKED.  Bella and I noticed this on Valentine’s Night when my sock got sopping wet from me bringing our tasty dinner to the table in the dining room.  One step and my toes were squishy.

So, we called the emergency maintenance guys and they came over, but couldn’t figure out what the issue was.  The next day, they concluded that it was probably the leaky dishwasher of our neighbors.  Of course, we were the only ones with a leaky floor.  Just our luck.  They replaced their dishwasher, called over the carpet guys who soaked up as much water as they could and then ripped up the carpet so they could put two de-humidifiers in place before they came back to clean.

Click here to see some easy WWF Portobello Pizzas from “TJ’s Test Kitchen”!

For two days, our dining room area looked like a friggin blow up bouncy castle.  The cats enjoyed it; laying down in the middle and having carpet blowing up all around them, but Bella and I were completely frustrated by all the CRAP flying in the air!  Gross.  It smelled like a swamp down there.  We pretty much ate out for the next few days because there was no possible way to cook without it getting contaminated.  A couple days later, the carpet guys came to take their fans and clean and the apartment smelled good again…. for one day.  And the leaky floor was back.

I worked from home yesterday while a plumber figured out what exactly the issue was, fixed it (not before he put two huge holes in our pretty green wall) and then the maintenance manager came and put some drywall in the wall to cover the holes.  Now, he needs to nail it in place, spackle and then paint over it.  Oh, and the carpet guys have to come back since there’s another de-humidifier drying out the place again!  Goo.  I’m just glad we rent and don’t have to pay for a cent!  That’s the only upside.

Now that our leaky floor issues have been taken care of, I was actually able to get back to cooking!  Last night I made some DELICIOUS soup with pork, veggies and rice.  Definitely going to make that again.  But the sandwich I made for lunch today was sooooo tasty that I just HAVE to share.  I did not take pictures since I gobbled it up, but I included pictures of other delicious things you can make with portobello mushrooms!  This sandwich was so quick to make, had great texture and fantastic taste.  And it is super low in points!

Click here for this WWF Vegetarian Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich from “LaaLoosh”

Portobello and Peppers Sandwich
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3


  • 2 slices of your favorite 1 PP bread (like Sara Lee’s MG 45 cals-per-slice bread), 2 PP
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Swiss spreadable cheese, 1 PP
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap
  • 2 mini sweet peppers, de-seeded and cut in half longways
  • salt and pepper

1. Get out a cast iron pan and turn to medium high. Spray lightly with Pam. Then wash your portobello and peppers.

2. Toast your bread! This is crucial as it keeps the bread from getting too soggy too fast. Spread the cheese over both pieces.

3. Put the mushroom in the hot pan cap first. Then sprinkle some salt and pepper into the underside (it sits in there nicely). Put the peppers on the pan as well. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes. Once it’s done, put the cap side down on the bottom piece of bread and pile the peppers on top. Put the other piece of bread over top and enjoy!

Try to keep the sandwich in this position as the juices will fall out if you flip it over. Eat within an hour for the best texture and taste! The bread will get too soggy after that. DELICIOUS! I thoroughly enjoyed mine. If I was to ever go vegetarian or vegan, I’d pretty much live off mushrooms. Waaaay better than seitan!

Simple Broccoli Soup

Sometimes life’s complicated and you just want something simple to calm you down and let you catch your breath. If that’s how you feel today, you should make this soup. Believe me, it will calm you down and let you relax. It will also surprise your taste buds at how delicious a soup can be despite the fact that it has NO broth and No preservatives added! It’s simple – veggies, water, salt and a blender. Well, there’s a little more to it, but nothing you can’t handle :)

I came up with this recipe after watching an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares”. He’s definitely not a simple person, but he definitely knows how to keep his food simple and delicious! He came up with a soup that was literally just water, broccoli and salt. I wanted to do something along those lines, so I looked through my cookbooks at different soup recipes to see what looked good to me. I ended up using my own mix of veggies and spices to create this pure, creamy, hearty soup. I hope you enjoy! Bella and I sure did. And this is DEFINITELY going on the menu of the bistro that I’ll open up some day!

Photo Courtesy of: Jess Costantini of Beautiful Orange Productions

Simple Broccoli Soup
Servings: 2 BIG BOWLS (like 2.5-3 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5


  • 2 small white potatoes, cubed (I left the skin on for added nutrients!), 3 PP
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/2 big white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil, 1 PP
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 chili powder

1. Cut off the florets of the broccoli, rinse and set aside. Then cut up the stems of the broccoli (and rinse), cube the potato, smash the garlic cloves and slice the onion.

2. Warm up the olive oil in a soup pot, add the broccoli stems, onion, garlic, potato, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Saute for about 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant.

3. Add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and let cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add the broccoli florets and cook for about 5-7 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Then, turn off the stove top and plug in the blender!

4. Pour the soup mixture into a separate bowl, but make sure to discard the bay leaf! Put two ladle-fulls of the soup into the blender at a time and puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot on the stove and put on low.

5. Once it’s back to cooking on the stove, add in the black pepper, chili powder and the rest of the salt. Let simmer for a few minutes before serving.

If you want, add a little parmesan cheese on top.  Bella’s favorite is a sharp, tangy parmesan called “locatelli”.  Not many soups or pasta dishes pass by her without a sprinkling of locatelli on it, and rightfully so.  It’s delicious.  Personally, I don’t add a thing to this soup.  Although, I do think that some croutons or crusty bread would be a great addition!

Asian-Flavored Quinoa Salad

Photo Courtesy of: Mimsy

This recipe is brought to you by…. Mimsy!  Otherwise known as my mom :)

She took a beautiful photo of this dish after she made it and I thought it looked beautiful and tasty, so I had to share it with the rest of you.  The recipe actually comes from a Weight Watchers Weekly magazine, but Mimsy did make a few substitutions.  And I figured out the point breakdown for her way and their way.

I haven’t actually made this yet, but I’m excited to try it!  The colors look wonderful and the flavors of the ingredients are already great individually, so I can only imagine how yummy they are combined together.

Asian-Flavored Quinoa Salad (from Weight Watchers)
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6 (with sugar snap peas), 7 (with edamame)


  • 1.5 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 uncooked quinoa (or 1.5 cups cooked quinoa), 12 PP
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil, 2 PP
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger root
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (or 1-1.5 cups shelled edamame, 6-8PP)
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 PP
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade, 3 PP (if using low-sugar marmalade, it’s 1 PP)

1. In a small saucepan, combine broth and quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, to make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, marmalade, oil, ginger, and salt; set aside.

3. After quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, toss in snap peas (or edamame) to partially steam them; cover and simmer until most of liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Remove pan from heat and stir in carrots cabbage, peppers, and dressing; mix to thoroughly combine. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving.

NOTES: Check the box of quinoa you bought to see if it has been “pre-rinsed”. Of not, rinse the quinoa in a colander before cooking to remove its bitter outer coating. Use prepackaged coleslaw mix or shredded vegetables to speed the preparation of this dish.

Also note – If you used low-sugar marmalade and the sugar snap peas, the PP goes down to 5 PP per serving. If you use low-sugar marmalade and only 1 cup of edamame rather than 1.5, the PP goes down to 6 PP per serving. Mimsy prefers edamame to sugar snap peas because she believes that they don’t overpower the other flavors of the dish, whereas sugar snap peas have a very distinct flavor and tend to be the highlight of any bite where it’s included. I’m sure either way you make this, it’s going to be fantastic!