Comfort Foods and Indulgences

blueberrypancakes.jpgLemon Ricotta Pancakes are usually an over-the-top decadence, but this is a lighter (low in fat) version of the traditional hotcakes you are used to consuming. Every bite is reminiscent in texture and flavor to a light and airy cheesecake. What could be better than that?

The assertive flavor of these pancakes comes from the double shot of citrus, using both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. When topped off with the Blueberry Sauce every bite is a fulfilling treat.

Has there ever been a more perfect Mother's Day brunch item? When Mom hears (because she won't know by tasting) this is a low in fat version of a favorite, it will knock her socks off.

So, whip these up. Mom will have no idea these are low in fat. She'll be thrilled you did.


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cornmuffinsCorn muffins are so versatile, but many can turn out dry and tasteless. The sour cream in this recipe keeps them moist and tender every time.

They’re perfect in the morning with some homemade jam, or serve them at dinner with Chili Con Carne or Chicken Tortilla Soup. To get the best corn flavor, I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal. It comes in a variety of grinds. Fine will produce a tender muffin, while medium grind creates a bit more texture.

My Favorite Corn Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 cup fine or medium-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (4 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

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applemilkshakeEpic. It's my new favorite word. I can't stop saying it. And I'm sure everyone around me can't stand hearing it. It's just stuck in my head and currently living on the edge of my tongue.

I used the word WAY too many times yesterday. Once, when describing the epic "blackberry honey-hole" I found during my walk around the meadow. Then again when I mentioned the epic nachos I was making for dinner. And yet another time when I said I needed to go on this epic diet, after I ate the epic nachos and this epic shake. Oy. I guess I need a new word. I think it's going to be pariah. Don't ask me why.

So here's one of the reasons this shake is epic. First of all, when I buy buttermilk, I always buy the Bulgarian version. You see, buttermilk in its natural state is low-fat. It's the thin liquid left over after you churn butter from cream. Commercially-made buttermilk is created by adding bacteria cultures to milk, then heating the mixture to give it that tart, slightly fermented taste.

BUT, the Bulgarian version is a type of cultured buttermilk in which cream cultures are supplemented or replaced by yogurt cultures and fermented at higher temperatures for higher acidity. It can be more tart and thicker than cultured buttermilk. This is why it's epic. It's the only buttermilk I ever buy. And it is thicker and yummier and makes everything taste great. I hope you have it at your market. And I wish I knew why this process makes it "Bulgarian". Anyone?

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enchiladas.jpgIt’s Fall. The start of a new school year, being on a schedule, homework (grrrr), packing lunches, and the change of the season. I live in a house filled with boy energy. It’s loud, it’s rough, and my husband has dubbed it perfectly; a mini frat house.

My frat boys look forward to the fall season and all the sports that comes along with it.  Monday night football is no exception. One rule that I prefer to not break is that we sit down to dinner each night, as a family, and discuss our day.  It’s a great way to bring the family back together and can be quite calming and soothing.  As my kids get older and their activities grow and expand, gathering around the dinner table becomes a bit more challenging.

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tartarsauceSometimes what I crave isn't the thing itself but the sauce that goes with it. Years ago when I was a vegetarian, I did very well without eating meat except for a recurring craving for hot dogs. I couldn't go to a Dodger's game or a county fair without being taunted by the sight of a hot dog stand.

Even now, writing this, my mouth waters at the thought. In time I realized it wasn't actually the hot dog that I missed, it was the mustard, relish, and chopped onions that had me questioning my commitment to vegetarianism.

I have to confess to a lack of enthusiasm for fish. Over the years I have found appetizing ways to prepare salmon, sand dabs, tuna, and sole, but fish isn't my "meat" of choice.

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