Showing posts with label EAT HEALTHY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EAT HEALTHY. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eat Healthy and frugally! Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups

Not exactly a recipe today, but more an idea of how to creatively use leftovers while still trying to eat healthy.

I made chicken the other day. I used one of my favorite (and easy) methods because it always goes over well with the poultry eaters here. It's not enough of a recipe to actually post, but I'll tell you what I do:

Cut up boneless chicken breasts into thirds (kinda). Place them in a Ziploc bag. Pour in some Wishbone Italian Salad dressing. Smoosh the bag around so they all get coated. Place Ziploc in baking pan in refrigerator for at least an hour. I like it to marinate for at least four. Remove baking dish from fridge. Pour entire contents into baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until chicken is done. I can't remember exactly how long. Until the chicken juices run clear. You'll know.

See why this isn't a real recipe?

Okay, so we had that the other day with salad, veggies, etc. The whole dinner thing.

But I realized I'd made too much. We'd all had plenty but there was a *lot* of chicken leftover. What to do?

Well, I had some tortillas here. A whole pack in fact. Unfortunately, they weren't the whole grain kind, they were plain flour tortillas (me, I prefer corn).

A light bulb went on. I tore (er, I mean, sliced) the leftover chicken into bite size pieces, placed a scant smear of mayo on the tortilla, added fresh sliced green, red, and yellow peppers, and (CHEESE - forgot to mention this earlier... so this is a correction. I also added a little cheese!) then rolled them up. I secured them with toothpicks, covered the plate, placed them back in the fridge and whenever anyone was hungry - which happens a lot around here - they had a quick and tasty snack. Perfect.

BTW, I added onions to about 1/3 of them. I love onions on just about anything but my husband doesn't really tolerate them well anymore. I think he overdid it early in life... just saying...

Anyway, I offered these to the family and they went nuts. They loved these. I mean, they raved about them. I couldn't get over it. Honestly? I think the idea of having something quick to grab that they didn't have to put together themselves was what sold them. But I had to admit, they were pretty good. I was very happy with them, myself.

Don't you just love improvising? I do!
Speaking of which, I'm just beginning to write Grace #3 (improvisation, for sure!), which I'm tentative calling GRACE AMONG THIEVES. I like that. I hope Berkley does, too.

Have a great weekend!

By the way, I'm still offering bookmarks for GRACE INTERRUPTED - The book comes out in June and I'm asking readers to take five bookmarks to share with friends. If you'd like some bookmarks, just send me an email at JulieHyzy (at) gmail (dot) com. More than 5 is okay, too, just let me know how many you'd like and where to send them. U.S. addresses only, please!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Julie's EAT HEALTHY French fries

Remember when we talked about how some experiments come out great and some are disasters? Well, there are also those that fall somewhere in the middle. For instance, the oven baked French fries I'm about to describe.

In theory, they're wonderful. No deep frying, no butter, not a lot of salt, good use of a potato...
But what happens when they just don't turn out the way they're supposed to?

Come on, you know the answer to that one. If at first you don't succeed...

Yep, I tried again. And I plan to continue trying in the future. I'm open to suggestions for seasoning. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Here's the first attempt:

I used my handy-dandy crinkle cutter to cut baking potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Let me go off on a quick tangent here. I got this crinkle cutter as part of my Pampered Chef starter packet years ago. Figured I'd never use the thing. I was wrong. This is the best vegetable cutter ever invented. So much easier than a knife for things like broccoli and cauliflower. I use knives for tomatoes and onions, but this is great for the bigger items. Love, love, love it.

Okay, back to the experiment:

With my potatoes cut into nice fry-sized crinkles, I dosed them with beaten egg whites. Why? Because I figured that would make my seasonings stick better. Hmm.... more on that in a minute.

I then tossed the coated crinkles in a large bowl containing a mixture of minced garlic and taco seasoning. We like taco seasoning and I thought that would be flavorful enough.

What happened? Well, when I poured the crinkles out onto a cookie sheet, I got a mess! Egg white glop everywhere. Still, I pressed on.

I baked the crinkles for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and I think I should have left them in about 5 minutes more. The crispier versions were better than the floppy ones, but the worst part of it was the fact that the taco seasoning provided almost no flavor whatsoever.

Family verdict: Not bad. Not great.
The true test came an hour later when I looked at how many were left. Almost the entire batch. This one was a no-go.

So I tried again, changing things up a bit. Instead of fry-shaped potatoes, I opted for chip-shaped potatoes. I figured this gave me more surface to season, and it might provide more flavor. This time I decided against the egg white base and sprayed the potatoes (both sides) with olive oil flavored Pam instead.

To keep things constant, I should have used taco seasoning. But I didn't feel like it. Instead, I opted for lemon pepper seasoning on half, simple sea salt on the rest. I then popped them into the oven at 350 degrees for about 27 minutes.

Much, much better. I strongly preferred the lemon-pepper version to the simple salt version. Little bit spicy, but that was good. Next time I'll slice the potatoes just a tiny bit thinner and leave them in the oven for a couple of extra ticks.

The best part is that the possibilities are endless. Lemon pepper today, tomorrow, who knows? Any suggestions?

Thanks for sharing my experiment today!

By the way... there's an Amateur Sleuth contest going on online and my protagonist, Ollie Paras, made it into the second round! Woo-hoo!! Problem is, this time she's up against the Hardy Boys! If you'd like to see what other pairings are out there, and you'd like to vote please visit Jen Forbus's site here: Jen's Book Thoughts. After you make all your selections, just hit "Finish Survey" at the bottom. You can vote once per week and this round closes tomorrow. Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breakfast in a Glass—Fruit Smoothie


School here starts pretty early. Actually, it starts real early.

I’m an early riser myself, so the early hour isn’t too big of a deal. But one thing I’m not, when I first wake up, is hungry.

I usually want to eat something about an hour after I’ve woken up. My children are the same way.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option. An hour after they’ve gotten up, they’re already sitting at a desk in school. And lunch comes pretty late for both of them.

I always put a breakfast of some kind in front of the children. Here in the South, breakfasts are traditionally large. That might be, historically, because they’re an inexpensive meal to fix and they can keep you from being too hungry, later, for the more expensive lunch and supper.

Sometimes my children will eat all their breakfast…sometimes they’ll just pick at it and I can tell they’re still half-asleep and not a bit hungry. Considering I’m the same way, I can’t really blame them.

But one way I know I can fill their tummies with enough fuel to get them to lunchtime is by giving them a smoothie.

There are about a million different ways to make a smoothie. You can actually just put any fruit you’ve got in your house in it. I’m going to share my favorite smoothie—the one the family likes the best. I can feel good about it because of the nonfat yogurt, the fiber, and all the vitamins from the fruit. And…it only takes minutes. Using mostly frozen fruit makes it a snap to fix...and also gives the smoothie a nice consistency.

IMG_20110315_123427Mixed Berry Smoothie

1 32-oz container vanilla flavored nonfat yogurt
3/4 of a 16 oz. bag of frozen, mixed berries
1 speckled banana (my family will not eat speckled bananas)
1/3 cup shredded wheat (I like a whole grain one)

Combine all in a blender and blend on medium.

I like to put the yogurt on the bottom of the blender—frozen fruit on the bottom tends to gum it up too much and make the process take a while longer. If you like the consistency thicker, you could add more fruit. If you like it thinner, you could add a little juice to the mix (I’ll sometimes add orange juice.)


This serves to both fill them up and give them a healthier jumpstart on their day. Plus, it’s just a little more appetizing sometimes than just another bowl of cold cereal.

And…they’re not just for breakfast, of course! They’re great for a snack, too…to keep us from reaching for something a little less healthy :)

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Killer Tofu From Guest Blogger Alan Orloff

AlanOrloffpicReading a good book is one of the great joys of life. So is eating.

Many people don’t like tofu. I should know; I used to be one of them. But a few years back, on an “eat healthier” kick, I figured I’d give it a whirl. In order to make it palatable, though, I had to invent my own recipe. After an ill-advised experiment involving hot fudge sauce, bananas, and maraschino cherries, I finally came up with a tofu dish I liked.

I had originally named this recipe Tofu-a-Palooza, but I’ve re-christened it Killer Tofu, in support of my new release KILLER ROUTINE (see the resemblance?). Of course, the protagonist in that book, Channing Hayes, wouldn’t eat tofu if it were the last thing in his neighbor’s fridge. (Being a comedian, he’s more partial to sugary breakfast cereals with cartoon character mascots.)

Anyway, one of the best things about this recipe is its flexibility. And, since no real measuring is required, there are fewer things to clean up.

Believe it or not, this is a dish I sometimes serve at Thanksgiving!


Killer Tofu

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One small onion, diced

One pound block of extra firm tofu, diced

Half pound of frozen corn kernels, give or take.

Green or red pepper, diced, optional

A few tablespoons chopped or minced garlic. Or not.



BBQ sauce

Hot sauce

Heat 2 Tbs oil in wok or large skillet. Stir-fry onion (and pepper, if you’re using it) on high heat for about 2 minutes. Add tofu, and stir-fry another minute. Add corn. Dump in mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce, to taste, stirring well. Cook until everything’s nice and hot, about 5 more minutes.

Serve over rice or noodles. If the thought of eating a vegetarian meal unnerves you, toss in some leftover cooked chicken or shrimp.

Thanks for hosting me today, and let me know if you’ve become a tofu convert!

Killer Routine 72dpi 200x308Alan Orloff’s latest release, KILLER ROUTINE, is the first in the Last Laff series, which features Channing Hayes, a stand-up comic with a tragic past. The official release date is April 1, but it is available now! His debut mystery was DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, also available wherever fine books are sold. For more info, visit

Friday, March 4, 2011

Julie's EAT HEALTHY Quick and easy Kale Chips

It's not January first, but our family is planning to start eating healthier. We're not all that bad to begin with. The house is always stocked with in-season fruit and we all love veggies. Getting my kids to eat them was never a problem. Maybe because I vowed not to feed them sugary foods like cookies until they were at least two (didn't go over well with the in-laws, but hey...).

The thing is, we're not bad, but we could be better.

And with that in mind, we're embarking on an "eat healthier" journey together. Will we still enjoy our favorites from time to time? Of course! But experimentation often brings great reward (and occasional disasters).

Starting today - my first EAT HEALTHY experiment --


I read about these online and thought "no way," but I was intrigued enough to give it a go. Touted as a substitute for potato chips (really???), they're supposedly lower in calories and carbs and higher in vitamins and minerals. Easy to make, too.

But how do they taste?

Well, let me assure you, potato chip manufacturers will not be put out of business anytime soon. (Though I have to admit - since they took the trans fats out of foods, things just don't taste the same. Good for me! I don't crave potato chips - or Oreos - nearly as often anymore!)

Still, they weren't bad. They tasted faintly of (wait for it, Dave...) Brussels Sprouts. But they were crunchy and teeny bit addictive after you got used to them. That sure sounds like a rousing endorsement, doesn't it? Seriously, they weren't bad. Far, far better than the "made from veggies" natural chips I bought at the store. Those were just ... odd.

My husband said "eh" after the first bite. Then tried it again. Then ate half the bowl. Two of my daughters weren't thrilled, but the youngest hasn't been home to try them yet.

The big pile of kale I bought at the grocery store cost me 71 cents.
I used Olive Oil flavored PAM (that seems to coat them more evenly than straight olive oil), kosher salt and garlic salt - used sparingly.


Wash and dry curly kale. Cut out the thick stems and rip the leaves into bite size pieces.

Place on parchment on a cookie sheet (I used non-insulated)
Spray both sides of leaves with olive oil.

Sprinkle one side lightly with salt or other seasoning.
I salted some, garlic-salted others. Really lightly.

Bake at 350 for about 6 minutes. Then check. I found that the curly edges began to brown before they were done, so I kept them in a while longer. About 9 minutes total. But you have to watch them. Pick one up to see how it is. When they're crispy and light, they're done. Don't allow them to burn.

Allow to cool and serve.

Do you have any unusual healthy snacks you prepare? I'd love to hear about them!


Buffalo West Wing - fourth in the White House Chef Mystery Series
Grace Interrupted - second in the Manor House Mystery series (coming in June!)