Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pumpkin Corn Bread (For Maker's Diet Phase 2)

Pumpkin Corn Bread

Personally, it isn't something I would normally make outside the Maker's Diet, but it is a wonderful treat while you are on it.

2 tsp. oil
1/3 c. honey
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. Mashed cooked pumpkin
1/4 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. dry milk powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (my addition to the original recipe)

combine oil, honey, eggs and vanilla in bowl. Stir in pumpkin. Combine cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, salt and dry milk powder. Add to egg mixture, stirring to moisten. Pour into greased 5 x 9 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool in plan for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. 6 servings.

adapted from "Whole Foods for the Whole Family" La Leche League International Cookbook

The Maker's Diet - Phase II

We are well into Phase II of the Maker's Diet. It is a relief to add so many more fruits and corn. Unfortunately, I think the addition of corn is keeping me from losing weight. Cows are given corn to fatten them up. I think it might work the same for me. Can anyone say "moooo". I'm seriously limiting my corn consumption. I've upped the exercise this past week in hopes of dropping more weight, but it isn't budging.

In addition to the foods in Phase I (click here to see those menus and recipes), here are some food ideas that my diet buddy and I came up with for the next two weeks.

Breakfast (All of Phase I plus below)
Grits - add sharp cheese, chives, salt & pepper
Corn fritters
corn mush
Breakfast burritos in a corn tortilla (add turkey bacon, eggs, cheese, chives)
Pumpkin Corn Bread

Lunch & Supper (All of Phase I plus below)
Enchiladas in corn tortillas
Black Bean Soup
Fajitas in corn tortillas with spicy black beans and cantelope
Baked Sweet Potato (with honey, butter and cinnamon)
Roll up luncheon meat (roast beef or turkey) with cheese, corn
Kentucky Fried Chicken - Roasted Chicken, Coleslaw & corn on the cob

Snacks (All of Phase I plus below)
Baked Corn chips
Barbara's Baked Cheese Puffs
Pumpkin Corn Bread

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tortilla Soup (with chicken) or Sopa de Tortilla

Tortialla Soup (with Chicken) or Sopa de Tortilla
Yield 4-6 servings

2 chicken breasts chopped
1 can Muir Glen crushed Fire Roasted Tomato
2 tablespoons Corn or olive oil
1 medium Yellow onion; coarsely chopped
2 Cloves garlic; peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 teaspoon Coarse salt; plus more for seasoning
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper; plus more for seasoning
6 cups Chicken stock
1 small Bunch cilantro;
1 small Bunch oregano
4 Corn tortillas; yellow and blue
½ cup Vegetable oil; for frying
1 Avocado; cut into cubes
4 ounces cheese; freshly grated
4 Limes; quartered

Heat 1 tablespoon of corn/olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat. Brown the chicken. Remove from the oil and put aside. Add the onion and the garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add onions to jar of the blender and add the Fire Roasted Tomato. Puree the tomato-onion mixture until smooth.

Return soup pot to medium heat. Add remaining tablespoon of corn/olive oil and stir in tomato-onion puree, using rubber spatula to clean out blender jar. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be the consistency of a dark, thick ketchup.

Whisk in chicken stock. Add chicken pieces back in. Make a bouquet garni of the cilantro stems and oregano (put them in some cheese cloth and tie closed with dental floss). Add the bouquet garni to the soup, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Partially cover and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Season soup to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes; cut the tortillas into 1/4-inch strips. Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet, over medium-high heat, until the oil is shimmering and hot. Carefully add the tortilla strips, standing back as the oil might splatter. Fry until the strips are crisp and brown, 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Season hot strips with salt and pepper. (my boys love these strips for a quick snack too!)

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with avocado cubes, tortilla strips, cheese and quartered limes.

NOTES : This classic Mexican tortilla soup gets much of its flavor from the garnishes that are added just before serving-a squeeze of fresh lime for tartness and crisp tortilla strips.

This recipe is modified from a Martha Stewart recipe and is a family favorite. It can be modified for the Maker's Diet by using olive oil and skipping the Tortilla strips.

Wall Words and a Fun Little Contest For My Blog Readers

I've rearranged some furniture in my great room recently and it left me with a huge blank wall in my dining room. It has a faux finish that looks like marble. In my opinion, this wall came out the best with the faux finish and I have had it covered up for years with a large hutch. I wanted to find something to highlight the wall but not cover up the faux finish. I did a little digging on the Internet and found Wall Words. I had seen something similar in a magazine and liked the look. I browsed the website and liked how much I could customize it. I also like the fact that it is easily removed. When we put the house on the market (eventually), we can remove the words and keep the beautiful marble finish. We couldn't do the same with paint.

I anxiously awaited the arrival of the package from Wall Words. It wasn't easy to put up on my textured wall. The website said you could put it on textured walls if the texture wasn't too bumpy. Well, it did go on, but it took a lot of work. The end result was beautiful. You can't tell it wasn't painted on. As I stood back to admire my hard work, my 13 year old son passed through the room and casually noted that there was a problem with it. It's a "forest for the trees" thing. I was literally inches from it and never saw it. Ugh... I contacted Wall Words to get it corrected. They promptly corrected the problem.

If you can see the error, post a comment to this blog entry. The first person who correctly identifies the error, will win a prize. Don't forget to give me your e-mail and I'll contact you. I won't post the comments to this blog to protect your e-mail address. I will post when I have a winner.

Happy hunting!

Update: I received all the corrections and installed them on the wall. Here is the corrected quote:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sugar Free Teriyaki Sauce

Here is a great alternative to the sugar laden sauces that come in the stir fry packets:

Teriyaki Sauce:

1/4 C. tamari soy sauce
1/4 C. vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Has a wonderful flavor. I use half of it and marinade the sliced beef or chicken in it. I use the other half to pour over the veggies halfway through cooking in the wok.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fish with Sundried Tomato Pesto

1/2 c. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
3 Tbl. grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbl. olive oil, divided use
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt, divided use
4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks (or any fish you like)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat broiler. In a food processor, combine sun-dried tomatoes,
Parmesan, half the olive oil, garlic and salt. Process until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Season fish with remaining salt and
pepper. Brush with remaining olive oil and place in a shallow,
broiler-safe pan. Broil until lightly browned and thoroughly cooked
about 10 minutes per side. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon
juice. Add pesto and put under broiler just until topping starts to brown
(about 1 minute) Watch carefully as it burns quickly. I use this pesto for
any type of fish. If it is a thin, I do not turn the fish during broiling.
4-6 persons

Zucchini Boats

4 medium zucchini
1 lb. chopped sausage (beef for Maker's Diet)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. Mozzarella cheese, grated
4 drops of Tabasco sauce
1/4 c. bread crumbs (leave out for Maker's Diet)
1 beaten egg
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
salt & pepper

Cook whole zucchini in boiling salted water until barely tender, about 7-10 minutes. Cut in halves lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Mash the pulp; reserve the shells.

In a skillet cook the chopped sausage; drain off the fat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to skillet and cook until onion is soft. Stir in drained, mashed zucchini pulp and egg. Add Parmesan cheese. Add bread crumbs and seasonings; mix all ingredients together.

Spoon into zucchini shells. Place in shallow baking dish. Refrigerate, if desired (1 day maximum). To serve, add sauce, then cover with Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


8 oz. tomato sauce
dash of salt
dash of oregano
dash of sweet basil
dash of onion powder
dash of garlic powder
1 Tbl. of Olive Oil

Simmer 10 minutes

Mexican Chicken Soup or Sopa de Pollo a la Mexicana

1 - 4 1/2 to 5 pound stewing chicken cut up
6 cups water
3 to 4 onion slices
3 stalks celery, cut up
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 small avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced
cilantro, peppers, hot sauce, oregeno (optional)*

In dutch oven combine chicken, water, onion slices, celery, salty and pepper. Simmer, covered for 2 hours or till chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth. Strain broth, discard vegetables; return broth to Dutch oven. Add undrained tomatoes, sliced carrots, chopped onion and bouillon; simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Meanwhile when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones from chicken; discard skin and bones. Cube chicken, add to broth with zucchini and peas. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer or till vegetables are tender. Just before serving, garnish with avocado slices. Makes 10 servings.

*OK - I made this and while it smelled wonderful, it was too bland from my taste. My friend advised that you could also put hot sauce, cilantro, oregeno and peppers into the soup to add a little kick.

Pork or Beef Sparerib Soup or Caldo de Puerco

2 pounds of beef spareribs, cut in half crosswise (original recipe calls for pork, but we have changed it to beef here for the Maker's Diet)
8 cups water
3 carrots, sliced
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 Tbl. chili powder
1 Tbl. Salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin seed
1/2 tsp. aniseed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 small head cabbage, shredded (4 cups)

Cup ribs apart between bones into individual ribs. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs in a shallow baking pan; bake in 450 oven for 25 min. or till well browned. Pour off fat.

Transfer the browned ribs to a large saucepan. Add water, carrots, turnip, onion, chili powder, salt, garlic, cumin, aniseed, and pepper. Bring mixture to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours or till meat is very tender. Skim off fat. Stir shredded cabbage into soup. Cook 5 minutes longer. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

The Maker's Diet

Several years ago I embarked on the Maker's Diet. It was tough, but I did it and lost a lot of weight. Well, the weight started creeping back up, so I knew it was time to go back on it. A dear friend decided to go on it with me. There is strength in numbers!

This time I decided I wanted to sit down and make a list of meals that I could refer to when it was time for meal planning. My friend and I sat down to tea and started to write. I have a Cajun background and she a Mexican background. What a wonderful list of meals we came up with! We modified our regular recipes and came up with a bonanza. Seeing such a long list of a variety of meals gave me more courage to start. I've been on it for three days and I've already seen weight loss!

I thought I would share those here including any recipes.

Here are the Phase One* meal ideas we came up with:

*It must be noted that we do modify the diet a bit in that we do eat cow milk products instead of goat milk products.


Omelet - eggs, peppers, onions, tomato, cilantro, cheese, green onions, spinach, sour cream. Saute the veggies in butter and season.

Smoothie - blueberry, strawberry, coconut milk, yogurt, honey & vanilla

Boiled eggs with turkey bacon

Fried eggs with avocado on the side

Cottage cheese with raspberries

Yogurt with strawberries or blueberries


Quiche without the crust


Lunches & Suppers:

  • Lamb chops on the grill with mushrooms on a skewer and broccoli with butter (brush olive oil on the chops and mushrooms and season)
  • Chicken Breast with Cauliflower & cheese sauce, cucumbers
  • Tuna salad over lettuce with avocado, tomatoes & sunflower seeds
  • Chicken salad over lettuce
  • Fish with a Sundried Tomato Pesto
  • Beef Sparerib Soup
  • Tacos in Cabbage Leaves (replace the taco shell or tortilla with raw cabbage leaves)
  • Grilled Fish with Lemon Juice
  • Mexican Chicken Soup
  • Grilled Steak with steamed carrots and Asparagus
  • Beef or chicken stir fry (leave off the sugar laden sauce and use this recipe instead)
  • Grilled chicken breast with grilled squash and coleslaw
  • Grilled eggplant smothered in Italian sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 to melt cheese)
  • Fajita Beef on salad greens with picante sauce, cheese and sour cream
  • Roast cooked in crockpot stuffed with garlic. Serve with Artichoke and sauteed mushrooms.
  • Spaghetti with meatballs or meat sauce served over Spaghetti Squash (this is a very cool squash whose cooked insides look just like spaghetti noodles)
  • Ground beef Taco salad with tomato, avocado, cheese & sour cream
  • Rosemary Baked Chicken with sliced tomatoes and peas
  • Zucchini Boats
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup (minus the Tortillas)
  • Gumbo (sorry, no recipe here... it's a secret)
  • Chicken breasts stuffed with Broccoli & cheese (these can be purchased already made & frozen at your grocery store freezer section) & salad
  • Grilled Salmon with artichoke
  • Hamburger patty with sauted mushrooms and articokes with garlic butter sauce



  • Almonds

  • Sunflower seeds

  • pumpkin seeds

  • strawberries

  • raspberries

  • blackberries

  • blueberries

  • Smoothie

  • carrots

  • cheese

  • coffee

  • carrot juice

  • Herbal teas

  • Perrier

  • cherries

  • frozen peas

  • avocado
  • homeade lemonade sweetened with honey or Stevia


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