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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gluten Free Cranberry granola bars

Here is a recipe I came up with recently. It was my first time cooking with spelt berries. I loved the nutty flavor. I looked at granola bar recipes but couldn't find anything that had exactly what I had in my cabinet. So necessity being the mother of all inventions, I made this. My husband loved it and offered to be the guinea pig for whatever other foods I came up with. Gotta love those husbands! The recipe can also be found here The nutritional values are at the bottom so you can see exactly what you are eating.
Cranberry Granola Bars
Cranberry Granola Bars

Cranberry Granola bars

Minutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 30
Number of Servings: 12


  • Pumpkin, canned, without salt, 1 cup
    Oatmeal (plain), 1 cup dry
    Spelt, Grain, 1 cup,
    Cranberry Sauce, canned, .5 cup
    Peanut Butter, smooth style, .5 cup
    Brown Sugar, .5 cup, packed
    Salt 1/4 tsp
I used extra spelt I had soaked for a soup so it was quick.


Soak the spelt for an hour. Then put through a food processoruntil density you want.
Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a 14 x 11 dish that has been lightly oiled with vegetable oil.

Bake for 30 minutes in 350* oven. Cool then cut into bars.

Serving Size: 12 2 inch pieces
Nutrition Facts
  Servings Per Recipe: 12
  Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
  Total Fat6.5 g
     Saturated Fat1.3 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat1.7 g
     Monounsaturated Fat2.9 g
  Cholesterol0.0 mg
  Sodium110.9 mg
  Potassium154.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate30.5 g
     Dietary Fiber2.7 g
     Sugars18.1 g
  Protein4.6 g
  Vitamin A66.2 %
  Vitamin B-120.0 %
  Vitamin B-63.2 %
  Vitamin C1.9 %
  Vitamin D0.0 %
  Vitamin E6.7 %
  Calcium2.0 %
  Copper3.3 %
  Folate2.7 %
  Iron5.6 %
  Magnesium6.4 %
  Manganese6.1 %
  Niacin7.9 %
  Pantothenic Acid    1.8 %
  Phosphorus    5.3 %
  Riboflavin1.9 %

Monday, February 18, 2013

Apple Crate Natural Market

I finally made it to the Apple Crate Market  in Fayetteville. I had searched for a variety of gluten free items online but wanted to see if I could find them locally. You know, see and look at items. There are no whole food stores or food co-ops within an hour of me. So I checked this place out.

If you live around here, you have to go. At first I wasn't sure about it since the front of the store has a lot of supplements and I wanted things to cook with. However, the back half or more of the store is heaven! I found everything I was looking for and more. I knew about how much the price of them was online from research and was pleasantly surprised to see comparable prices. As a matter of fact, several of the items were less!

I got agave syrup there even though Walmart carries it. It was priced about the same and I really like supporting smaller businesses, don't you? I have tried out several of the grains I got there this week and will be posting some of my own recipes from experimenting with the grains soon.

The only indulgence we got was the maple butter.  Seriously!  We have found our new weakness.  Put a little of that on a piece of toast and you don't want anything else to mess with the flavor. My husband said "I am buying a case of that next month!" Which brings me to another thing I liked about this place. The ladies told me that I could place case orders with them. Speaking of the ladies who were there, they were very helpful but not breathing down your neck kind. You know what I mean? You want to be helped but still be able to browse. Having worked in retail for years I know it is a fine line but you will make more sales that way because people will see more they can't live without (like maple butter!) Or even nerve medicine for dogs. 
If you don't have an Apple Crate Natural Market, where do you find the hard to get items for gluten free cooking?

Monday, February 11, 2013

I got a book on my Kindle Fire this week that I love. Delicious Desserts: Sinful Low-Cal Favorites has recipes I will use. I am known for my desserts. Family will come in and ask what dessert I have made. Since I have changed my eating habits that has gone away. I have only made 2 chocolate recipes and you have seen both here. 
Quick Berry Cream Cheese Tart
The Chess pie was off the charts sugar and cholesterol wise. The chocolate cake met the requirements but I needed more. Most recipes I find online don't tell me the nutritional values. She does! I needed a lower sugar cheese cake recipe. So I tried the Quick Berry Cream Cheese Tart. I made 2 changes. I used rice flour and ground oatmeal for the ginger snaps. I was making this for someone who has celiac disease. She likes strawberries so I used strawberry jelly I had made last year for the berries. Th tart was a little thin and the crust was chewier than I would like. However, they said it was a fabulous cream cheese granola bar and she could eat it!
Plain Cream Cheese Tart
Plain Cream Cheese Tart

I ended up making the recipe again without any berries. My husband loved this. But he likes his cheese cake plain. I think the best thing about this recipe besides the low calories is how quick and easy it is to make. You go from beginning to eating in 30 minutes!

Strawberry Crumb Cake
I made the Strawberry Crumb Cake just like the recipe said. This was for the two of us and we have no food allergies. Oh, I did make one change! I used my homemade grape jelly that I made from my own grapes I picked from my small grape arbor. SO good and I know exactly what it has in it. My son was upset with me because there wasn't enough. He said I had ruined him eating store bought coffee cake now. So I promised to make more. He said the crumb topping was the best he has had. He would also eat it without the filling which would cut down on calories and sugar.

Like I said, I recommend this book because of the delicious recipes and the fact that it has the nutritional values already calculated. I plan on making more of her desserts in the next few weeks.

I almost forgot. For those of you who don't have a Kindle you can still use the book. Amazon offers several free kindle reading apps so the book can be used on just about anything.
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Gluten free Mango BBQ Beans

I found this recipe for Mango BBQ beans at What Would Cathy Eat. First let me tell you, I did modify it some. Cathy uses more spices than my family will eat. I would definitely recommend making it as she has. The changes I made to the dish were in the spices. I followed it exactly down through the bean liquid. At that point I just used 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. Only later did I realize that I had forgotten to add salt or pepper. But it didn't need it! It was perfect for our simple palates. I partnered it with a baked potato and broiled Kale. This dish will be added to my menu planning.

Gluten free

I chose this recipe because my sons girlfriend has Celiac's disease and I am trying to cook gluten free recipes at least 3 times a week. I noticed that gluten free is also low in cholesterol so everyone benefits. She liked the dish and was glad it was mad with pinto beans. Apparently kidney beans aggravates hr stomach. I don't know if that is normal for Celiac's or not. However, it isn't a problem since we use dried pinto beans anyway.

Nutritional Value
The nutritional value of the Mango BBQ Beans based on the way I fixed it is at the bottom of the post. I can't imagine there would be much difference if you made the dish her way. I notice she used agave nectar which I didn't. It is sweet enough for us without it.

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Nutrition Facts   6 Servings   Amount Per Serving
  Calories 123.5  Total Fat 2.7 g     Saturated Fat 0.4 g     Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g     Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g  Cholesterol 0.0 mg  Sodium 317.5 mg  Potassium 434.1 mg  Total Carbohydrate 21.8 g     Dietary Fiber 5.4 g     Sugars 5.9 g  Protein 4.7 g  Vitamin A 9.6 %  Vitamin B-120.0 %  Vitamin B-610.3 %  Vitamin C 23.2 %  Vitamin D 0.0 %  Vitamin E 6.0 %  Calcium 3.8 %  Copper 10.5 %  Folate 21.6 %  Iron 9.4 %  Magnesium 9.0 %  Manganese 18.2 %  Niacin 4.0 %  Pantothenic Acid    3.3 %  Phosphorus    9.5 %  Riboflavin 5.4 %  Selenium 5.4 %  Thiamin 8.1 %  Zinc 4.2 %

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gardening for healthy choices

As part of our healthy eating plan, I am adding a completely new garden this year. We had a square foot garden with tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans last year. However this year I have decided to add a separate greens garden. It will have nothing but rotating crops of lettuce, kale and any other "greens" I decide to try. I want to have a continuous variety through out the year. I have found several 4 x 4 foot gardens which will be perfect for the 2 of us.

Last years square foot garden
Our garden is 12 x 12 so I figure we will double everything. Here is a picture of our garden last spring. I can't wait until we can start putting plants in this year! I am also hoping to grow some herbs along the side of the garden so it will be one stop shopping. I have free range chickens so I have a wonderful compost pile that I use for my garden.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Hate Grocery Stores Now

I hate grocery stores now. A trip there is totally different than it used to be. When I went in the past, I could go in and get what I wanted quickly. It was easy I didn't have to read labels or anything.

Now I read everything on the label. I compare fats and whether they are saturated or unsaturated. I check cholesterol and sugars. I try to figure out if they are balanced or if there is a better choice. It takes me so much longer to shop and I actually and up buying less groceries. I find myself just going quickly by whole sections of the grocery store. I can't take the temptation of the ice cream section or the processed foods area.

However, I am learning more about the fresh vegetable area. I found a vegetable called name. I am going to try that next time.

The biggest thing I have noticed about grocery stores since I changed the way I eat is how much processed foods there are. When I worked in retail I saw so many people filling up their carts with ready to eat meals. I believe this is because there is so much of it in stores.  It is just easier to find than making your own.

I need a grocery store geared more to my new style of eating. I live in a rather community so I thought it would be fairly easy to find a store catering to this. However, I only found one and I plan to check it out this week. It is called Apple Crate Natural Market. I'll let you know what I think in another post. 

In the meantime, I am going to try to get a better attitude about what I am giving up but it will still be a challenge. I wonder if I can get my husband to do the grocery shopping so I won't be tempted as much?

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

with Hershey's chocolate syrup on it

Chocolate Applesauce Cake
I decided to try this recipe for Chocolate Applesauce Cake. It has 14 mg cholesterol and 3.9g saturated fat. I felt like this was acceptable. The sugars was 21.4g. The chess pie is 74mg cholesterol, 7g saturated fat and 39.8g sugars. I added a little Hershey's syrup as the "frosting" since he wanted something special on top.
The taste is great. It made up gooey which is fine. It reminded me of the Paula Dean gooey cakes. The recipe said it will be even better after 24 hours and I believe it.

I did make a few changes in this recipe. I left out the nuts. We just don't eat them. I have the recipe with my changes and the nutritional values if you want them. Just email me and I will send it to you. However I think this one would be great.

We will definitively be adding this to our menus for a dessert. I have learned that applesauce is a good substitute for the oils in desserts. I plan to start change my desserts this way in the future.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Website for recording food

I found a very helpful website. It is spark people. Here is why I like it. First it is free, which is helpful. Also it has a lot of tools I need. Not everyone who is trying to eat healthy is doing it to lose weight. That is not my real concern. Mine is to keep track of nutritional values in my food and make sure I'm eating a balanced heart healthy diet. I like the way you can set up your favorite foods. If you have an item that is not listed in the foods already, there is a feature for you to add them.You can build grocery lists. You can make favorites lists which are great to make this site work faster. Most people eat similar things on a regular basis. The only complaint I have is the grocery list. It isn't as easy to use as I want.

I am using the companion website spark recipe. You can make your own recipe collections. I have been working on that. You can put your recipes there and find the nutritional value. 

I also have to increase my activity level. The fitness section allows you to track your exercise. There are exercise videos that cover a variety of levels. I have used several of the video since this is a challenge for me.  I would like to find more videos online to use in exercise. I am looking for ones that are between 15-20 minutes. Right now I am looking for beginner levels but hope to be up to high levels in a few months.

You can do both at this site.  You can also print out reports. You can customize what you see. You can find people to interact with. Truthfully I haven't done as much as I should yet. However, I am still exploring it.
Has anyone else used spark people? Have they found a site they like better than this? Remember I am always looking for suggestions.

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Kale dish with Macaroni and Cheese

I bought kale for the first time yesterday. I know! My mother-in-law will tell you I hate anything green. That is not exactly true. I rarely like vegetables cooked. I like raw vegetables better. However, I decided to try this recipe since it looked SO good. It is Dawn's Kale Side Dish. The only difference for me was I left off the cashews. We can't chew nuts. Oh my, this dish is fabulous!!! The kale that cooked up crunchy was great. I had seen a recipe for Kale chips but wasn't sure about trying them. But now I will definitely make them. What I really liked about the recipe is that the complete nutritional value is available  I didn't have to run it through a recipe calculator. 

We are swapping days we eat meat now so this was a non-meat day. I paired a Classic Macaroni and Cheese dish that I wanted to try with it.  I felt comfortable using this recipe since I got it from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. It also had the nutritional values already figured. This dish was also very good. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

We like to eat simple meals. However, you might want  to add a fish or chicken dish with this meal to round it out. We will definitely eat this again. Let me know if you like it.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chocolate Chess Pie

I wanted to share a recipe I made last night. My husband wanted a chocolate chess pie and I wanted one I could eat. I got one at after Goggling for lower cholesterol chocolate chess pie. Oh this recipe is fanastatic. My grandson said it was like eating a fudge pie. I served it fresh out of the oven and still warm.

         Now let me tell you that I know it is high in sugar! But look at the calories from fat. Why so much fat calories? I must be missing something. The recipe has butter, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla. Which one is providing the fat calories? 

I want to know how I can make this recipe better for a person on a low cholesterol, low sugar eating plan. I considered using egg whits instead of whole eggs as an option. I also thought about using stevia instead of the white sugar. I wondered if it would be better to use brown sugar instead of white and if it would make a difference.  Would I use less sugar? Where would I go to figure this out? Just trial and error? But then again if I change the ingredients, how do I figure out the difference in the nutritional value?

I need to know if this is a recipe that I will just have to make for them or if I can modify it. Personally I want them to eat more like the doctor told me to so they don't end up with the same problems. My grandson is 10 and this is a good time to make his food choices better.

Like I said before if you have suggestions I will try them and post the results. If they don't work out I'll tell you why or what we didn't like about them.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The beginning

     This blog is the beginning of healthy eating and me asking for ideas and having a place to share ideas, tips, recipes and anything heart healthy. I have always considered myself very healthy. I am not overweight. I walk at least 2 miles a day. However recently I found out I need to lower my cholesterol and my sugar needs to come down too. My doctor agreed to give me 3 months to get the cholesterol from 328 or start taking medication. So my husband and I came home and started making changes. 

     Now we read labels which is something we had never really done before. But while I was reading a label looking at just the cholesterol, someone mentioned I needed to look at the different kind of fats and there is supposed to be a particular balance of them. Good grief!! I am totally confused. 
    We are finding major problems though. So here are our questions. What do you look at when you read labels? What do we need to compare and use to choose what to buy? What are your favorite healthy simple recipes? What websites do you use? What are your favorite tips? There is so much information out there that we are overwhelmed!
    I also have to exercise more. This is something I HATE to do. I was told it had to be intense exercise to really get the heart rate up. I want fun exercise ideas. Who or what do you use for exercise?  Right now I just turn on Pandora and uses the dance channel. Anything you want to tell me, suggest, or whatever-just leave a comment.  I WILL read and try them. 
    I want to get things set up where there is a lists of about 10 dinner meals so that I can make a master grocery list from. So let us know your ideas for lowering cholesterol and feeding the heart.

I will be posting recipes, tools and anything I can find. I would welcome your input. 

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