Sunday, July 28, 2013

Party Time - Sausage Sauce Pauper's Pasta Sauce, Franks and Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Sauerkraut, Salad!!!

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It's party time!  I love cooking for a lot of people.  I made several dishes for a gathering of ladies (about 24 of us) this afternoon.  Mom also made several dishes.

Dish No. 1 - Sausage Sauce - Peasant Pasta Sauce

olive oil
sweet sausage
hot sausage (optional)  You can mix them, I don't as I don't like hot sausage
garlic cloves - chopped small
chicken broth
crushed tomatoes
heavy cream
red pepper (black pepper optional)  I don't like it.
pasta or rice of your choice

Heat a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add sausage meat (take out of casing) Crumble sausage meat as it browns.  Add chopped garlic. When all crumbles have browned, deglaze pan drippings with chicken broth.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring to bubble.  Add basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover. Add in heavy cream.  Cover partially stirring often.  Add peas and simmer until peas are cooked al dente.  Serve over pasta or rice of your choice.

Dish No. 2 - Franks and Beans

Bush's Original Baked Beans
Sabrett Skinless Beef Franks
Turkey Bacon

Place beans in aluminum pan or baking pan.  Cook turkey bacon fairly crisp and break into small pieces.  Scatter over beans.  Place frankfurters on top of beans.  Cook in over, covered, at 350 degrees until hot dogs brown a bit and beans bubble.  Uncover the last 5 minutes.

Dish No. 3 - Brussels Sprouts in Oil and Garlic

Brussels Sprouts
olive oil
garlic cloves
garlic powder

Rinse sprouts thoroughly, clean and chop (as shown in video).  Par boil until you can stick a fork through them.  Chop garlic small.  Heat olive oil on medium heat, add garlic and garlic powder, stirring often.  Add brussels sprouts, stir and cover.  Let simmer until sprouts are cooked to your liking.  I don't like very soft vegetables, so mine are firmer.  Stir often so they don't burn.

Dish No. 4 - Sauerkraut

Olive Oil
onions (chopped fairly small)

Heat oil and some water over low heat in small pot.  Add onions, stir and add a small amount of more water if necessary.  Cover and simmer and stir frequently.  Add sauerkraut once onions are soft.  Simmer until kraut is steaming.

Dish No. 5 - Layered Salad

Romaine Lettuce
Iceberg Lettuce
peppers (red, yellow, orange)
red onion
pink beans
various dressings of your choice

Layer lettuce and all other ingredients in a clear salad bowl, being aware of color.  You want the salad to look pretty.  You can basically put absolutely anything you choose in the salad and serve with any kind of dressings you like.

Well, my salad didn't look as pretty as in some of the pictures I've seen.  I gave it my best shot.  It tasted great though.  Everyone enjoyed.

The gathering turned out wonderful.  We had a ball; lots of laughter, fun and of course food!  I forgot my camera home so I didn't get pictures of the whole display or the awesome desserts.  I was so mad.  Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk.

I will link this recipe to Foodie Friends Friday Linky PartWhipperberryThe Chicken ChickCountrified HicksSwap N Share SundayTry A New Recipe TuesdaySaturday Dishes and One Creative Mommy.  Click on the links to check them out or check out my sidebar for links to their sites!

If you have any questions, want tips or would just like to chat, feel free to email me at!

Reene Pisi

For my intro click here

Friday, July 19, 2013

So Many Ways

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One of my favorite dishes is so quick and easy and there's so many ways to enjoy it.  All it consists of is cottage cheese and applesauce, to start anyway.  Sometimes I eat it as is, like I did tonight, but there's a lot of possibilities.


Breakstone 2% low sodium cottage cheese - 1/2 cup = 90 calories
Mott's Natural Applesauce no sugar added - 1 of the small prepackaged cups = 50 calories

You can eat it mixed together in a bowl like you would ice cream or you can add a sliced banana (90 to 110 calories depending on size) to the mix for some texture and as a filler-upper, to make you feel more full if you are very hungry and/or hold you until your next meal if you are just looking for a midday snack.

Mix in slices of apple.

You may want to combine just the cottage cheese and applesauce but sprinkle on some cinnamon or brown sugar.

It makes a great spread on whole wheat toast.  Spread on top of toast, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy.

Add berries to the mixture; blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries or a combination of some or all.

If you don't have a nut allergy like I do, you may want to add nuts; almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc. or any combination of the above.

Mix in sunflower seeds.

Add raisins either to the bowl of cottage cheese and applesauce or on top of the toast if using as a spread.

Enjoy with pineapple, or sliced peaches or pears or any combination of them all.

You can also make cottage cheese/applesauce pancakes or apple blitz pancakes!

There's simply so many ways to enjoy this delicious combination... cottage cheese and applesauce!  Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

If you have any questions, want tips or would just like to chat, feel free to email me at!

Check out some of my other favorite dishes below:  Click on links for recipes and instructions!

Special Needs Diets

Reene Pisi

For my intro click here

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is Going To Work Making You....

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Overweight?  Your job is notorious for being a hinderance to your diet goals.  At almost all places of employment, there's food just about EVERYWHERE, and food plays a huge role in just about everything.

Whether you work in an office, work in construction, work for a large company, a small company, own your own business, work alone as a consultant, food is involved.

How so you ask?  Well, think about it.  Most often when there's a meeting, food is ordered in. There's celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and generally people bring in or order trays of goodies, and pastries are generally included.  Business meetings involve lunches and dinners, generally in restaurants.
During the holidays, many companies treat their employees to luncheons, dinner parties or order food in. Business owners throw parties for their employees and customers.  I've been to holiday business parties that were like weddings, some more elaborate than some weddings I've been to.

At every job I've ever worked at over the past 30 years, there has been food EVERYWHERE, every day. On any given day at work, there's donuts, chips, pizza, bagels, just to name a few items.

Face it, your job is fattening.  People eat socially.  Many feel it's rude not to indulge when offered.  Many feel they aren't part of the team if they don't partake. Some just eat because it's there and available.  Some are drawn by the smell or the ooohs and aaahs of how delicious it is from coworkers.

I was always able to say no and not have it frowned upon as I always had a medical reason why I couldn't accept their offer when birthday cake was being passed around, bagels where in the kitchen because a boss bought breakfast as a thank you for a job well done for his unit, a client sent chocolates for the holidays, etc. etc. etc.  People understand medical issues and will not try to persuade you.  However, very often, I've seen people try to persuade those who simply said "no thank you."  They offer them "just a little piece" or tell them how insulted they would be if they didn't try their brownies, etc.

Graciously sticking to your guns can be challenging for some.  Some are battling with themselves to begin with and when you have someone pushing you, it's easy to rationalize that a little bit won't hurt.  However, as I stated in my post about how little things add up, all those "small" tastes, do add up and they add up fast.

Stick to your plan, learn to simply say no and don't feel guilty.  Most of all, don't attempt to please others, please yourself, you are the one that counts.  And the best advice, worry about what you think and pay no mind to what anyone else thinks.  If you think it's a bad idea to eat the cake, don't worry about whether or not someone else thinks it's insulting, rude, not part of the team, etc.  They will get over it and you will be healthier, happier and feel more confident that you are in charge of your own choices.

Of course, if it is your choice to indulge once in a while, that's fine too.  No need to feel guilty.  You deserve it and as long as you don't go hog wild, why not.  As a very wise doctor once said, a small piece of cake on a holiday will never hurt anyone.  Small amounts aren't going to cause harm, unless there's an underlying reason.  Obviously someone like myself, with food allergies, can't have any, but a healthy person, with no food allergies, can decide to go for it on occasion and all will be fine.

How to cut calories at work, at business meetings, at business meetings in restaurants, etc.  Be mindful of liquid calories... soda, wine, alcohol, fruity drinks, flavored coffees, juices, syrups, sauces, gravies, dressings, ice cream, etc., etc.

Don't be afraid to ask for special preparation; I do it all the time.  Ask them to leave off the sauces and gravies, leave out the butter, put dressings on the side so you control how much you put on.

Instead of soda, wine or alcohol, ask for ice water.  Replace the ice cream with fresh fruit, just be mindful of what kind of fruit and what it is served with, ask in advance.  I once ordered the fruit and it came with nuts (I'm allergic), and chocolate syrup drizzled over it.  Lesson learned, ask, ask, ask.

Don't feel badly about "driving people crazy."  I waitressed for years and was always happy to accommodate.  "Warn" them in advance.  I generally say with a big, friendly smile on my face, "ok, I'm the one who is the pain in the butt" or if it's a more formal affair, such as a wedding or a business meeting, I will say, "I just want to make you aware, I have special dietary needs."  I've never had a problem.  In fact, quiet the opposite, they practically stand on their heads to help me.

If they can't help me, they let me know. Fridays could not guarantee they would be able to safely serve me nut and gluten free.  Their grills are used for everything, flour flies around their kitchen, nuts don't come pre-packaged like in a place such as McDonalds so they are everywhere.  They didn't want to take the chance, nor did I.  McDonalds on the other hand could guarantee me gluten and nut free.  They changed their gloves, used a grill they know that no gluten or nuts has been on or near as all the nuts in their facility come in prepackaged, and made me a special meal.

High end restaurants I frequent generally have absolutely no issue guaranteeing me a safe meal.  They are diligent about being sure my needs are met, in fact, they, have on occasion, even had management come to speak with me, brought me company literature from various brands, showed me labels on products, etc. etc.
Ask and you shall receive.  You are paying them for a service, they are honored to have you as a guest and if they do right by you, you will be a life-long customer.

Stay strong,  do what's best for you, remember to only worry about what you think, not what others think and you will succeed.  Don't be embarrassed at a business meeting if you need to ask the wait staff for special accommodations, everyone will understand.

Keep in mind, every little bit counts, and small amounts add up fast!

If you have any questions, want tips or would just like to chat, feel free to email me at!

Check out some of my other favorite dishes below:  Click on links for recipes and instructions!

Special Needs Diets

Reene Pisi

For my intro click here

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It Works...

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I realized when I was teaching my children about saving and when I was fundraising for a very important cause, that small amounts really do add up.  It's true with money and also true for calories, sugars, carbs, etc.

We had planned a Disney Cruise and saved for two years for it.  The kids were small at the time.  I taught them to save their monetary gifts (for birthdays, holidays, etc.) and to save their change.  When we were ready to take our cruise, we went to the bank and cashed in their savings.  Well, it all added up to a really nice sum of money, they had hundreds to spend as they chose on the cruise.

When I was fundraising, every dollar counted, every dime counted.  When I would go to pick up the jar that was on display at a family restaurant, within one week, all those dollars, all the change added up to at least $80, that was the least, at times it was in the hundreds.

I've been using to track my diet and excercise.  It's similar to the Weight Watcher's site I used to use, except it's free; Weight Watcher's is not.

When you track your food, you really get a handle on what you are eating and how to control portions.  I never really ate bad foods, I just ate too much of the good foods.  However, keep in mind, you must eat enough food, because too little will defeat the purpose as well.

Calories can add up quickly.  However, you can save if you realize, little amounts add up quickly.  I cut out little things and save on calories.  Instead of a tablespoon of butter on my half cup of peas I leave them plain. That saves me 120 calories.  I flavor them instead with the same flavoring from the meat, the juices from the meat I'm going to eat.  Instead of using ketchup, as one tablespoon is 20 calories, I  eat my meat with my veggies in one bite.  Few people only use one tablespoon of ketchup, so they are more likely to be eating 40 to 60 calories.  Even going low, between the butter and the ketchup, I just saved myself 140 calories and didn't feel like I missed a thing.

Today's lunch was a turkey burger without a roll (or gluten free bread as I can't eat regular rolls) with a half cup of my homemade potato salad. I didn't use mayonnaise in the potato salad, click the link for my recipe.  I left off the cheese and ate the burger plain.  One slice of Boar's Head American cheese is 110 calories.

Leaving out the cheese =        110
Leaving out the ketchup =       20
Calories Saved =                          130

I washed it all down with a large bottle of water.  I've always loved water.  My mom always told me I used to suck down big bottles of water from a tiny baby, she couldn't give me enough!  There's always a big bottle of water on my desk at work.  If not water, I drink Lipton's diet green tea.

If you cut out little things here and there with each meal, you can save yourself a lot of calories daily. It all adds up. Give it a try.  It works.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Barbecue Side Dishes - Potato Salad and Zucchini and Eggs

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I made two side dishes for a barbecue over the weekend.  They came out delicious.

Potato Salad


white potatoes
red onion
peas (fresh or frozen)
olive oil
canola oil/extra virgin olive oil/grape seed oil combination
balsamic vinegar
garlic powder
Wishbone fat-free Ranch dressing

Wash potatoes well, scrubbing skin with a potato scrubber or sponge with a scrubby on one side.  Cut potatoes in half long ways and then in half again and then into cubes (see video).  Try to cut them all around the same size so they cook evenly.  As you chop the potatoes, place them into a bowl or pot of very cold water so that they don't brown while you are cutting up the remainder.

Boil potatoes covered until you can easily poke a fork through; test several potatoes.  Drain and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.  Chill in refrigerator until thoroughly cold.

Add all ingredients above to taste and gently stir potatoes, being sure not to break them up.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.  Stir just before serving.

Zucchini and Eggs


white onion
Zucchini (fresh or frozen)
olive oil

Chop onions small.  Heat a small amount of olive oil in frying pan on medium heat.  Add onions and stir frequently, let them soften, not brown.

If you are using fresh zucchini, add with onion.  If you are using frozen, add when onion softens a bit.  Add some water if necessary so they don't burn.  Stir often.  When the zucchini brown slightly and water dries up, add eggs.

Beat eggs in a large bowl and season to taste with salt, add to mixture.  Stir often.  Cook until eggs are dry.

You can heat the dish or serve at room temperature or cold, your choice.

These are great side dishes and hold up well.  We served turkey burgers, beef burgers, hot dogs and a large green salad with various types of lettuce with avocado and red onion, macaroni salad,

Special Needs Diets

Reene Pisi

For my intro click here

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