Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Low-Point Cherry Chocolate Cookies

Will you be my Valentine? Treat your sweetie with these delightful cherry chocolate cookies made from 100% goodness! Nothing says lovin' like cookies from the oven! :)

Low-Point Cherry Chocolate Cookies
- 1 cup butter (I used Imperial stick butter for this recipe), softened but still cool
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 4 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- Red food coloring (as much as you need for your desired color)
- granulated sugar, for sprinkling the cookies
- 53 Brach's Chocolate Stars or Hershey Kisses
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Reduce speed and beat in powdered sugar and salt. Add cherry juice and almond extract and combine. With the mixer on low add the flour slowly, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Rolls the dough into 1" balls and place on a baking sheet. Press the center of the cookie with your thumb until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle cookie with a little bit of sugar and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Once removed from the oven, gently press a chocolate star or Hershey Kiss in the center of the cookie. Let cool and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 53
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 1.5

"Life is all about timing...the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable becomes available, the unattainable...attainable. Have the patience. Wait it out... it's all about timing." - Stacey Charter

Monday, January 30, 2012

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Bruschetta


We had one heck of a lunch today! This amazing bruschetta with sautéed tomatoes and garlic, fresh prosciutto, and mozzarella was thoroughly enjoyed by all! Very easy to make and definitely one worth repeating!


- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 4 thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 1/2 cups chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- kosher salt and fresh pepper
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbs butter
- fresh basil
- 2 Steak Rolls, halved 

Preheat broiler on high. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto slices and cook for several minutes on each side just until they begin to get a little bit crisp. Remove prosciutto to a plate, cut or break into pieces, and set aside. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, and a little salt and pepper to the same skillet. Saute' for several minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften. Butter each half of the steak roll. Toast roll until golden brown. Top rolls with tomato and garlic mixture, prosciutto, and a little bit of mozzarella cheese. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and place rolls on the baking sheet. Place in broiler oven just until cheese begins to melt. Remove, top with fresh basil and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true." - Leon Joseph Suenens

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Low-Point Cheesy Pepperoni Chicken


Cheesy mozzarella and pepperoni with chicken? Brilliant! This amazing recipe is a fantastic family pleaser that will have you coming back for more! Enjoy!


- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 14 slices pepperoni, chopped (I found mini turkey pepperoni that I used)
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
- 4, 4 oz. boneless chicken cutlets
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cooking spray

Preheat broiler to high. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic and pepperoni and cook for a few minutes until garlic starts to brown, stirring frequently. Add oregano and marina sauce and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and add basil. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with one teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle chicken with a little bit of kosher salt and fresh pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and spoon marina sauce over the top. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and broil for several minutes until cheese melts. Remove from broiler and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version, Click Here.

Total servings - 4
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 6.5

"Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it." 
- Mary Pickford

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low-Point French Toast with Fresh Berry Sauce

Add a little heart to this french toast breakfast with a lightly sweetened fresh berry sauce. This is a fun and delicious breakfast that we just had for dinner! :) 

Low-Point French Toast with Fresh Berry Sauce
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup 1% milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 6 slices of bread (I used Smart White which has 50 calories, .5 fat grams, and 2.5 grams of fiber for 1 slice)
- Pam cooking spray with butter
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 Tbs Honey
- 1 Tbs Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp. corn starch
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Spray a large skillet over medium-high heat sprayed with Pam cooking spray with butter. Dip bread into egg mixture and coat on both sides, letting excess drip off. Place in skillet and cook until bread is golden brown on both sides. Transfer toast to a baking sheet and place in oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile place berries in a small to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add honey, Splenda, and lemon juice. Cook until berries start to break up and add corn starch to thicken slightly. Serve berry sauce with french toast and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 6
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2.6

"The journey is filled with ups and downs. Don't confuse the two as ever being everlasting. Get up everyday and apply yourself, be authentic, trust your instincts and know that the more you apply yourself the better you get day by day. The day you are waiting for is the day you want to give up, that is when you MUST keep going. That's the barrier between normal and greatness." - Jackson Kiddard

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Would you like a cup of coffee? A muffin cup -- of coffee? These scrumptious chocolate chip coffee muffins will give you your coffee AND chocolate fix. With a dab of creamy icing to finish, this is one "muffin top" that you won't mind seeing. Easy to make and even easier to devour! Enjoy!

Low-Point Chocolate Chip Coffee Muffins
- 2 Tbs Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 4 Tbs melted butter (I used Land O Lakes Light with canola oil)
- 3 Tbs coffee grounds
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbs applesauce
- 1 Tbs cocoa
- 2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup Splenda (granulated sugar substitute)
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips (semi sweet or milk chocolate)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Cooking spray
- Betty Crocker whipped vanilla icing
- Chocolate Stars or Hershey Kisses
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin/cupcake pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix heavy cream, milk, butter, coffee, egg, applesauce, and cocoa. In a separate, larger bowl, combine flour, splenda, chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour milk mixture into the center of the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon mixture into cupcake pan and bake at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center). Don't over bake. (The mixture will be a little thick and sticky.) Allow to cool slightly and spread 1 teaspoon of icing on top and add a piece of chocolate if desired. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here. (I trimmed a little off the top of these muffins to make them a little less round for the icing.)
Total servings - 12
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 3 (w/out icing and chocolate piece), 4 (with icing and chocolate piece)

"Never explain yourself. Your true friends don't need you to. They already know."  - Anonymous

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Living in the Moment - My Hospice Journal


"The capacity to love in Christian life also increases the capacity to suffer." - Thomas Keating

I knew it would be difficult watching my hospice patient start to decline. I understood, through my training, what I would be witnessing as my patient's Alzheimer's progressively worsened. That's why I haven't been surprised by these past few visits with his memory failing more and his inability to find the right words to express himself. But I am surprised at how I've been feeling about this, especially since I'm pretty aware of the stages ahead. 
It suits me just fine to sit down with my patient and realize 30 minutes have gone by and the only topic we've discussed was "boiling fish." You'd think in 30 minutes I would know a lot about boiling fish, but the truth is, with Alzheimer patients, that's pretty much all I know... is that he boiled fish, at some point. Not being able to remember when he did this, for how long he boiled it, or even what kind of fish it was, made for a very uneventful half hour for me; but not for him. He couldn't wait to talk about it (the same 2 sentences) over and over again, like it was the first time he spoke about it, each time he brought it up. But the smile on his face the entire time made it a fun topic to listen to because you were just so happy that he was happy. 
Today's visit wasn't quite the same. I came in right at his lunch time. He was quite hungry and nearly cleaned his plate. After he was done and his plate was removed, I told him he must have been very hungry because he ate very well. His look was more blank this time than in the past and he asked me if he just ate. Then he wanted to know what he ate. After I listed for him the things on his plate, his eyebrows raised out of amazement and he replied, "Wow!" 
I started bringing up subjects we had already spoken about in his past, but today, none of those subjects sparked any memory. He asked me if he worked and I told him he did and what line of work he was in when he was younger. His only question was, "Was I a good worker?" As I sat there watching him put his hand on his forehead, squinting his eyes, trying to concentrate on what I was saying, my heart wasn't ready for words like "This is embarrassing." or "I don't remember things." He didn't need to remember any words at that moment because the expression on his face said it all. This once, hard-working man, full of smiles, was struggling to find himself. And all I could do was assure him he was one of the smartest and best workers around. And then I added, "and the most handsome too." (This was the first smile I got from my visit today.) His eyebrows raised, he sat up straight, and stared straight out the window smiling real big... before asking if that was his truck parked outside. 
Today really made me reflect on my own life, where I am, what I hope to accomplish, and mainly, why I would ever take for granted the blessings God has given me today. For us to want more, to wonder sometimes if life could be better if you stayed where you are, or moved somewhere else, or if you had a better car, or expensive clothes, etc. It is time for a reality check. Life passes us by so quickly -- we don't have time to sit around and want for more. As it is, we barely have time to thank God for everything He has given us today.
With each visit I find myself realizing that my patient is an incredible teacher, even with very few words; allowing me to leave with a little more knowledge and a lot more heart. As I was getting up to leave, an elderly woman with Alzheimer's got up out of her chair, walked over to me, and said, "Go! Just go now! And don't come back until you called his wife first because I have NOTHING to do with this. Bye bye." and walked away. :) I just love these patients!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Low-Point Barramundi with Red Pepper Corn Relish

This red pepper corn relish is excellent when eaten as a cold side dish. Very low in points and one of those tasty sides that lasts for quite awhile in the refrigerator. Heated up and placed on top of a delicious 4 oz. piece of white flaky Barramundi fish? Exquisite!!! A taste you're sure to enjoy!

Low-Point Barramundi with Red Pepper Corn Relish
- 1/2 Tbs olive oil
- 3, 4 oz. boneless Barramundi (fish)
- salt and pepper
- Goya Adobo seasoning
Red Pepper Corn Relish Ingredients:
- 1, 16 oz. package frozen corn, thawed
- 1 red pepper, chopped small
- 1 green pepper, chopped small
- 1 green onion, chopped small
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. tabasco sauce or hot sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil
- 3 Tbs pure maple syrup
Combine all ingredients for red pepper corn relish and refrigerate. (This relish gets better and better after being in the refrigerator for a day or two.) In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle Barramundi with salt, pepper, and a little Adobo seasoning. Place in skillet and cook (sear) on each side for approximately 5 minutes. Remove. Retrieve red pepper corn relish from the refrigerator and have as a side dish or heat it up and spoon on top of Barramundi. Enjoy this excellent entre'! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 3
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 4 (for 4 oz. fish plus 1/2 cup relish)

Total servings of relish - 10 (1/2 cups)
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2

"When Mother Teresa was asked, 'What can we do to promote world peace?' She replied, 'Go home and love your family.'"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes


One of my favorite cakes, transformed into cupcakes! Just one of these perfectly moist and divine cupcakes, especially with a cup of coffee, makes for a one very happy me! :)


- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, not completely drained
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, 1/3 cup pineapple and mix well. In a small saucepan, heat butter over low to medium heat and stir in brown sugar, pecans, and 8 oz. pineapple. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners. Place a small spoonful of the butter and pineapple mixture into the bottom of the cupcake liners. Add a spoonful of the cake batter on top and repeat until all 12 cupcakes are filled. (NOTE: I had leftover cake batter that I poured into mini cupcake pans, sprinkled a little brown sugar on top and placed one pecan in the center. I baked those for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle came out clean.) For the larger cupcakes, bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove paper lining and place cupcakes on serving plate upside down with the pineapple mixture on top. Enjoy!! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"The greatest gift you can ever gift another person is your happiness." - Esther Hicks

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Low-Point Ricotta and Pecan Samplers


A fun little delicious sampler to enjoy at your next get-together. These satisfying spoonfuls of ricotta and pecan goodness add a cute little savory flare for you to enjoy with friends or family. Prepare these, along with my fantastic "Walnut and Blue Cheese Grape Bites", and your party will be complete! :)

Low-Point Ricotta and Pecan Samplers
- 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup 1/3-less fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tbs heavy cream
- Red or green seedless grapes
- 6 tsp. finely chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. fresh finely chopped parsley
Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Chop a handful of grapes rather small. Add grapes to mixture and combine. (NOTE: This mixture only makes 6 or 7 tasting tablespoons of this sampler.) In a separate bowl combine walnuts, sugar, and parsley. Spoon one tablespoon ricotta mixture into tasting spoons or petite goblets or tasting bowls (small, tasting ramekins). Add one teaspoon of the pecan mixture on top of each serving and top with a half of a grape. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 6 (tablespoons)
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 2

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart." - Mahatma Gandhi

Low-Point Walnut and Blue Cheese Grape Bites

Blue cheese, with walnuts, and grapes? How can you go wrong? These scrumptious appetizers are a big hit at any party, even with people who don't care for the blue cheese flavor (like myself)! Enjoy these along with my wonderful "Ricotta and Pecan Samplers" for ultimate savory satisfaction!

Low-Point Walnut and Blue Cheese Grape Bites
- 1/4 cup blue cheese (I used freshly crumbled blue cheese), room temperature
- 1/4 cup 1/3-less fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tbs heavy cream
- 7 Red or green seedless grapes, halved if they're really big grapes or 13 to 14 whole grapes if they're small
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 to 1 Tbs Splenda or regular sugar
- 1 packed tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Place blue cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream into a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl. Place walnuts, splenda or sugar and parsley into a separate bowl and combine well. With clean hands, take the blue cheese mixture and gently form a small ball around a grape. Roll ball into walnut mixture and set on a plate. Continue until blue cheese mixture is all used up. (This made 13 balls for me). Refrigerate balls for several hours before serving. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 13
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 1.5

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world." - Anonymous

Monday, January 9, 2012

Low-Point Ice Cream with Carmeled Bananas

If you forget to add the ice cream, it's completely understandable! These delightfully-sweet carmeled bananas make it difficult to use as a topping. All you need is a spoon and you're good to go! :) However, someone in your family is bound to complain, so place it on top of some creamy fat-free vanilla ice cream and witness the smiles! Very easy and delicious!

Low-Point Ice Cream with Carmeled Bananas
- 3 bananas, peeled and sliced
- 3 Tbs butter - I used both Land O Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil and also Imperial stick butter. Yes, I've already made this twice! (Both turn out the same amount of points.)
- 3 Tbs light brown sugar
- Breyers Extra Creamy fat-free vanilla ice cream
Heat butter over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Combine bananas, coating thoroughly. Remove and place on top of ice cream hot or cooled. Amazing both ways! if you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Serving size - 1/2 cup ice cream with 1/4 cup banana topping
Points per serving - 3.5
NOTE: Banana topping total servings is 6, 1/4 cups.

"Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny -- he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally -- you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you." - Osho

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Low-Point Baked Swordfish with Fresh Tomato Tapenade

Tomatoes, capers, olives, and pine nuts are just a few of the ingredients that help make this a magnificent and memorable main dish. Perfectly baked swordfish marinated in teriyaki is terrific standing alone, but adding the fresh tomato tapenade makes this dish out of this world!

Low-Point Baked Swordfish with Fresh Tomato Tapenade
- 3, 5 oz. swordfish steaks
- 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
- pepper
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs capers, chopped
- 10 green olives, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped (all the white and half the greens)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 Tbs pine nuts
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle swordfish with a little pepper and marinate in teriyaki sauce for at least 1 hour. Place swordfish in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, turn down heat, and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove swordfish from oven, spoon tapenade over swordfish and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 3
Serving size - 1
Points per serving - 7

"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." - Hugh Downs

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Low-Point Chicken with Mango Orange Chutney

Sweet and savory that comes with a little kick. With a little creativity, this mango orange chutney has a wonderful combination of sweet and spice that leaves your taste buds wanting more! Easy and delicious... that's what I do best! :)

Low-Point Chicken with Mango Orange Chutney
- 4, 4 oz boneless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium mango, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium orange, peeled and chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped small
- 5 Tbs Splenda
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 3 Tbs finely chopped onion
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to desired spice level)
- 1/4 cup Riesling or non-dry white wine
- 1 Tbs White Karo syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken and place in a baking dish. Bake chicken for 15 minutes (or until desired doneness). Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add mango, orange, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or so until the garlic softens. Add splenda and the rest of the ingredients, turn down heat, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes (stirring occasionally). Remove chicken from oven and spoon chutney on top of chicken before serving! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Total servings - 4
Serving size - 1, 4 oz. chicken with 2 to 3 Tbs chutney on top
Points per serving - 3.5

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's word awaits another voice." - T. S. Elliot