Chocolate Hazelnut ,
Banana Cream Smoothie

Natasha from 5 Star Foodie has perfect timing!

This months 5 Star Makeover comes with the anticipation of being a winner of a the HealthMaster Blender. So here I made a smoothie just for the event.. "without a blender". I hope this counts as a smoothie with a twist. Last week I was cleaning out the cupboards and my blender jar tumbled out as I was pulling out the rest of the cabinet contents, shattered glass everywhere! "This isn't good.. we use our blender often". But not to fret, :) I have a mini and a large capacity food processor which worked well for this smoothie.

The layers go like this..
Strawberry on the bottom,
Chocolate Hazelnut in the middle
and Banana cream on top.

This is a yogurt and fresh fruit based smoothie with layers of fresh fruit between the flavor layers. I did add a little bit of whey protein to each filling.. besides the nutrient benefit, it also adds a creamy texture with a vanilla flavor enhancement. I use Jarrow Formula Vanilla Flavored Whey Protein which I purchase from Henry's Markets here in So. Cal.


1 1/2 Cups Fresh Strawberries (reserving 2 strawberries for slicing)
1 Cup Plain or Vanilla Yogurt *
1 rounded Tbp. Protein Powder

Chocolate Hazelnut
1/2 Cup Nutella
1 Cup Plain or Vanilla Yogurt *
1 rounded Tbp. Protein Powder

1 1/2 Bananas (reserving 6-7 thin slices)
1 Cup Plain or Vanilla Yogurt *
1 rounded Tbp. Protein Powder

2 tsp. Nutella & 2 tsp. cream warmed and heated for drizzling on top

* If you are using plain yogurt but would like some extra sweetness, honey is a good alternative.

Blend the individual fruits and flavors separately. Set aside.
With a spoon or small ladle pour Strawberry blend in the bottom of the glass.
Layer the reserved strawberry slices on top. This will ensure that the next layer will not blend into the first layer.
Next carefully ladle the chocolate blend onto the strawberries. Layer that with the thinly sliced bananas.
Next carefully ladle the banana blend on top. With your warmed nutella cream, drizzle a few swirls on top of the banana blend. If you have fresh whipped cream go all out and scoop a dollop on top. I was intending on doing tjhis but I was out of heavy whipping cream so I used the next best thing, Nutella!

Buon Appetito!

Broccoli & Aged Gouda
"Cheese Souffle"

We have a dairy not far away called the Winchester Cheese Co. I have posted about this farm and cheese purveyor before and expressed my favorable opinion of this cheese. I was reminded recently why I enjoyed their dairy products so much, while on a visit to the Temecula Farmers Market I happened to pick up some of their Super Aged Gouda. This is considered their ultimate superior cheese that is aged over one year. It has a very sharp taste, rich orange yellow color and makes an excellent and flavorful accent for recipes like this cheese souffle.

I used a recipe for a Cheese Souffle that I found in Aliza Green's cookbook called, “Starting With Ingredients”. Aliza has been recognized as a James Beard Award winning author for this book. This award winning cheese along with an award winning author's recipe made for an amazing souffle display!

I would normally include a recipe with a photo description but this recipe is from a published author and not my own nor an adaptation. From what recipes I have read it seems that souffle ingredients are very similar as far as egg, flour and liquid ratios are concerned with the difference occurring in cheeses, vegetables and seasonings. I think if you happen to have a good cookbook with a souffle recipe chances are you can enhance it with what you have on hand. That's usually what I do with a quiche or fritatta too. :)

I'm also exited to share that I will be a part of a food community called Foodierama.

Foodierama is designed as a portal front page containing teasers to the latest posts of all the best food blogs. With Foodierama users get a panoramic view of what's going on in the food blog-sphere all on one graphic page.
Foodierama also includes an intuitive logo-based directory of the best food sites on the web. Registered users can add their own personal links to the directory for easy access. Last but not least, Foodierama includes a specialized food search engine based on Google search. Using the search box at the top of the page users can perform either a regular Google search or a food related search that will only show results from the best food sources on the web.

Check it out here!

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Grilled Swordfish
with a
Parsley, Oregano
& Thyme Marinade

Parsley, Oregano and Thyme, a beautiful combination of aromatics to excite the culinary senses. But when you blend these herbs with finely minced shallots and garlic, fresh cracked pepper, olive oil, lemon and wine, it's enough to drive the salivary glands crazy! But I was patient.. I mixed these ingredients together, poured them over the swordfish, put it in the refrigerator and waited.
But just for 30 - 40 minutes while I prepped the rest of dinner.

The potatoes were quite easy as well. I par boiled small red potatoes till a fork inserted easily. I then cut the potatoes in half and poured some of the herb marinade over them, tossing to coat and sauteed in a hot skillet till golden with a nice browned crust.

While the potatoes were sauteing I fired up the grill to medium high. With the fish on the grill, brush the extra marinade on it during it's cooking time. The swordfish should be cooked for approximately 4-5 minutes per side (It is recommended that a fish of a 1 inch thickness should be cooked for ten minutes).

Marinade Ingredients
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Juice from ripe Lemon
3/4 cup white wine (I like a Penot Grigio with fish)
1/2 cup packed finely chopped Parsley, Oregano, Thyme
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste (three - four twists of the mill on fine)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
1/2 of a shallot finely minced

Whisk ingredients well. Pour some over the swordfish steaks reserving some for the potatoes and for brushing on the steaks while grilling. Let steaks rest in refrigerator while your prepping your dinner.

Buon Appetito!

"Whole Wheat"
Pasta Fagiolo e Verdura Sauce
100% Fat Free

Whole Wheat Pasta with a Cannellini Bean and Vegetable Sauce

Pasta.. so satisfying, so hearty and so comforting. But sometimes it leaves me feeling full and heavy, unable to move, unable to keep my buttons done, even a little sleepy!

So I have been experimenting with whole grain, rice and spelt pasta's, even forgoing the sauteing of my garlic and onions in oil first. I mentioned in the previous post the theory of food combining. So I wondered how satisfying a sauce could be without the addition of olive oil, to keep this a carbohydrate/vegetable only dish. No fats included.. yes that means I even tried this without a dousing of Parmesan. Call me crazy.. I know, what am I thinking.. I'm Italian.. right!! O.k., so I made this very authentic Italian tasting.. but fat free.

Ingredient List

Whole Wheat Fusili Pasta
(or semolina pasta of your choice)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Medium Vidalia Onion or Sweet if you can't find Vidalia's (very tasty onion)
2 Large Cans (27 oz size) crushed un-seasoned tomatoes (like Contadina)
1 14oz. can regular tomato sauce no additives
1 small can tomato puree (Contadina)
2 14 oz. Cans “Cannellini” Beans plus there juices
(if you can’t find Cannellini beans, Great Northern white beans are an ok alternative)

Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
4 Sprigs Fresh Oregano washed and chopped (off the stock)
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme washed and chopped (off the stock)
Red Pepper Flakes ½ teaspoon
1 – 2 teaspoons liquid hot sauce.. like Tapatia
2 Teaspoons Italian Dried herbs for more kick
1 ½ cups Dry White Wine
1 Red Bell Pepper thinly sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper thinly sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper thinly sliced
*Water (drizzles) to add if sauce becomes to thick while cooking for an hour


I started with roasting my garlic and onions on my grill in a tin foil pouch. I kept the heat pretty low so as not to burn them. The steam and heat really brought out the moisture and the natural oils in the garlic. Next in a large sauce pot I heated up the tomato sauce.. I like to use Contadina puree and crushed tomatoes with no additional flavors.
I also added two cans cannellini beans with the liquid. There is no fat in these beans but the starch in the liquid really adds beautiful texture to the sauce. I added my seasonings.. fresh ground black pepper, salt, fresh oregano and thyme, red pepper flakes, a liquid hot sauce.. what's up with all this heat.. it definitely adds to the final flavors for sure! I thinly sliced red, green and orange bell peppers and also added them to the sauce. When the onions and garlic were done roasting I roughly chopped them and added them as well. I used around 1 cup or so of dry white wine and let it all come to a soft boil. Then I turned down the heat and simmered on low for around 1 hour. Close to the end I added some dried herbs.. basil and oregano, it just gives an extra boost of flavor. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Within the last 20 minutes before the sauce is ready I cook my whole wheat fusilli pasta till aldente. Only cook in salted water.. I never add oil to the water when cooking dried pasta. When your pasta is done, reserve the water for adding to your sauce and pasta mix. This ALWAYS adds more body and flavor to your dish.

My family of skeptics was amazed.. I even made them first try it without the Parmesan cheese. Although I was totally cool with their need for Parmesan.. I was actually o.k. without it and 100% enjoyed this fat free very authentic tasting Whole Wheat Pasta Fagiole and Vegetable Sauce!

I hope you try this, or your own fat free version and let me know how you like it..
Ciao, abbracci e baci!

Salmon with Goat Cheese, Herbs
& a Muscat Wine Glaze

Simple and quick for lunch is how I prefer to eat. This salmon preparation literally takes minutes to prepare and is so satisfying served with a salad of greens and vegetables.

I often create meals that allow me to utilize a Food Combining Diet Plan. It's really simple if you have plenty of ingredients on hand, and in my opinion has been the best way for me to maintain good digestion at the same time as losing extra holiday and party weight.

I won't go into details here about the diet because I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian.. but the gist of it is to not combine your carbohydrates with proteins and fats. Eating plenty of vegetables with both, allowing plenty of time after eating a carbohydrate before you then eat a protein or fat.

This Salmon with Goat Cheese and Herbs is a Fat/Protein with little carbohydrates included by way of the vegetables and little bit of wine. Goat cheese can come in different textures and flavors. This particular one was very soft and creamy and very mild which pairs well with desserts. In preparing my glaze I decided on the Muscat Canelli Wine from Maurice Carrie Winery here in Temecula, for it's sweet and tropical fruity flavor that I knew would go wonderfully with the goat cheese.
It was a perfectly delicious choice!

I ate this salmon with a side of salad and veggies along with crumbled goat cheese, a salad dressing and even a sprinkle of pine nuts on top. Hope you enjoy!!

1 Skinless Salmon Steak
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
Cracked Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Dried Thyme
3-4 sprigs Fresh Oregano
1/4 cup crumbled Goat Cheese
2 Teaspoons Butter
1 Teaspoon finely minced shallot
1/4 cup Muscat Canelli Wine

Prepare your salmon by rinsing it and letting it dry. In a flat dish add olive oil, pepper, paprika and and dried thyme. Blend well. Add salmon to the dish and rub herbed oil over salmon to coat well. Leave in the refrigerator for 10 - 15 minutes to marinate.

Preheat small cast iron skillet or saute pan. Add around 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter.
When oil/butter combination is sizzling add the salmon. Cook each side for around 3-4 minutes depending on your cut.
(It is recommended that you cook fish 10 minutes per 1 inch of thickness.)
Press goat cheese on top of the salmon, sprinkle fresh oregano on top. Lower heat to medium low, cover for around 1-2 minutes to soften cheese. Goat cheese won't look like it's melting, it just softens up beautifully.
Remove Salmon to a plate.
In pan that you cooked salmon, add 2 teaspoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of shallots. Saute just till they start to turn golden. Add the Muscat wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes. *The longer you simmer your wine the thicker your glaze will be.. but it will also evaporate quickly and you won't be left with any glaze, so keep an eye on it.
Drizzle glaze on a serving plate, place salmon on top and serve.

Buon Appetito!