Happy New Year’s!



The last few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind of activity. It’s hard to believe another year has gone by. I wish you all a very happy new year. Today is the day that many people will start their annual tradition of beginning their new year’s resolution. Dieting/weight loss is at the top of the list for many people. As a dietitian I will get asked about this many times over the next few weeks. People will ask which diet they should follow or what they should/shouldn’t eat. They will be thinking and planning far into the future. While having long term goals is a good thing they often forget about the short term ones. Sometimes you may even need to focus on the next few minutes. When it comes to changing your eating habits there is one thing that you might find helpful to keep in mind.

Make a U turn

Every moment is an opportunity to get back on track and achieve whatever goal you may have set. I wish you all much luck, love and happiness in the coming year.

~ Penny

Recipe ReDux part 2 – Pomegranate and Meatball Soup

Since I was already making some Pebbled Persian Bread for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge I wanted to make a dish suitable to serve with it. The book I was using,Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid suggested this soup. They said that Persian cooking is known for its use of sweet and sour in savory dishes. It certainly did sound good and I love soup so this was a perfect dish to accompany the bread that I made for the challenge.


Pomegranate Meatball Soup2

Recipe ReDux part 2 - Pomegranate and Meatball Soup
The meatballs can be made, cooked and frozen ahead of time. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of the mint garnish and serve with Pebbled Persian Bread. I used a 16 ounce bottle of pomegranate juice which was a little more than 2 cups.
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • Soup
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 cup long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 bunch finely chopped scallions
  • 1 - 5 ounce package spinach leaves, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, leaves coarsely chopped (do not use stems)
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice or unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons beef base
  • Garnish
  • 3 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Start by making the meatballs. Combine the ground beef, onion, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix well and, using your hands, roll teaspoon sized meatballs from the mixture. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the centers are just barely pink. Remove from oven, cook and set aside.
  3. For the soup:
  4. Place the water in a large stock pot. Add your favorite brand of beef base (or bouillon cubes) and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and boil for 5 minutes. Add the remaining soup ingredients as well as the cooked meatballs and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. For the garnish:
  6. Combine the mint, salt and pepper together. Serve in a small bowl to accompany the soup. Sprinkle a small amount (1/2 teaspoon or so) over your bowl of soup before eating.

Pomegranate Meatball Soup

The soup was amazingly good. The pomegranate juice adds a bit of tang but not the sourness that I had imagined. This could easily be made vegetarian if you left out the meatballs and replaced the beef base with a vegetable base. Make sure to add some of the minted garnish to your bowl. I wasn’t sure how much to add as I worried that the mint taste might take over. In the end I added about a 1/4 of a teaspoon without it being too minty.

Serve the soup with some homemade Pebbled Persian Bread or your favorite type of flat bread. If you’re looking for other recipe ideas why not stop over at this post and check out what other dietitians have cooked up this month.

Recipe ReDux – Pebbled Persian Bread

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is grab a book and cook. The Recipe ReDux has been around for 54 months. For this theme we were took cook something from page 54 or 154 of a cook book. Sounds easy enough right? As I’ve become to rely more on the internet for recipe ideas the number of cookbooks I own has gone down. Once I started looking through them I ran into a few problems…..no actual recipe on page 54 or 154 and, those that did have recipes were oddly all lentil dishes. Which could have worked but I was not in the mood for lentils. After going through a few of my favorite cookbooks I decided to try one I haven’t used yet. I went with Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas
by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Page 54 had the ending to a story of a mother and her son that the author’s had encountered while on the Karakoram Highway in the Chinese Pamirs. While there was no recipe on that page the very next page had a recipe for the Pebbled Persian Bread that they were served by the woman they met. Hmmm….who doesn’t like bread? And so I chose this recipe along with the Pomegranate and Meatball Soup the recipe suggested it be served with.


Pebbled Persian Bread

Recipe ReDux - Pebbled Persian Bread
Serves: 8
I used a bread machine on the dough setting to make this bread. The bread can be made by hand. It is suppose to be moist and a bit sticky. You can wet your hands while kneading if it seems too dry.
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1¾ cup warm water
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  1. Start by adding the ingredients to the bread machine in the order listed above. Use the dough setting.
  2. Once the dough cycle is done preheat the broiler. Set the oven rack about 6 inches below the flame. Cover a cookie sheet with foil.
  3. Set a bowl of water aside so you can dip your hands in it while working with the dough.
  4. Heat a skillet over high heat and lightly oil it.
  5. Separate the dough into 8 pieces. Wet your hands, pick up a piece of dough and flatten into a 5 to 6 inch round. Wet your hands if the dough is sticking to them. Place the round on the skillet and turn the heat down low. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the bread to the covered cookie sheet and place in the oven. Broil for 4 minutes or until the top has begun to brown.
  7. Repeat the process with each piece of dough.
  8. Remove to a rack to cool.

The process of making this bread went quicker than I thought. It took 3-4 minutes to cook the bread in the skillet in the first stage and another 3 to 4 minutes to finish it in the oven. By the time the bread was ready to come out of the oven the next piece that had been cooking in the skillet was ready to go in.


Pebbled Persian Bread2

As for taste…..well, it is a very plain wheat bread. The book suggested several meals that it would be served with this type of bread. I decided to also make the pomegranate meatball soup to serve with the bread. The taste of the whole wheat went well with the delicious soup broth. Why not try your hand at making homemade Persian Bread and pomegranate meatball soup. Then take a look at what some of the other dietitians in this month’s Recipe ReDux decided to make from their cookbooks.


Mini Turkey Pizza Meatloaves with Freezer Tips

Whenever I check out recipes online my mind is always thinking….Hmmmm would that recipe work if I made a double batch and froze half? I don’t set out to be the freezer queen when it comes to meals but having something already made is a huge time saver when it comes to both preparing the meal and cooking it. Meatloaf is one of those foods that always freezes well. I already have a recipe that is well tested but when I saw a Teaspoon of Spice’s post on mini turkey pizza meatloaves it looked like a delicious twist on meatloaf that I wanted to check out. And they were too! The shredded sweet potato adds a slight sweetness to the meatloaf that everyone seemed to enjoy.

Besides increasing the batch size to freeze some for myself I am also preparing freezer meals for my parents. They are both in their 70’s and making meals is becoming a bit more of a challenge. Add in some dietary restrictions due to medical issues and meal making becomes even more confusing for them. My mother always tells me she wishes I lived next door so I could cook for them. This holiday season I decided to do just that and make freezer meals for them as well. While I’m not there to cook they will be able to go to the freezer and pull something out. I decided that the turkey pizza meatloaves would be perfect for them and went with freezing individual servings.


turkey meatloaf 11

I had a small number of freezer containers on hand to use in creating their individual meals. To do this start by cooking up a batch of mini turkey pizza meatloaves (check out the Teaspoon of Spice site for the recipe). I went with tripling the batch. As a tip I will tell you that you may not want to triple the sweet potato or onions. I did but when it came time to add them into the ground turkey I used about 1/2 of it before it looked like the meatloaf would be overloaded with sweet potato and onion. It could be that I had rather large onions/sweet potatoes. If you use smaller ones then you will be fine. Once the meatloaves are all cooked and cooled I put about 1/3 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of each container, placed the meatloaf on top and added a sprinkle of mozzarella on the side. I am including a note to thaw this meal first, remove the meatloaf to heat it and then top it with the sauce and cheese.


turkey meatloaf1

For my own freezer meals I simply stacked the mini meatloaves in a freezer bag and sealed them. I double bagged them with a note indicating what was in the bag and that it will be topped with sauce and cheese. I find the note is especially helpful if the kids are looking for something to eat. They can easily put together their own mini turkey pizza meatloaf by using the note instructions.

How about you? Got a favorite meatloaf recipe that you use? Why not leave a comment or a link below.


Time Saving Tuesday (TST6) – Recipe Holders

Time Saving Tuesday

Join me for the (mostly) weekly Time Saving Tuesday tip.

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week, the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health. Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

This week’s TST tip is to help save you time is to use one of these handy, dandy recipe holders.

I don’t know about your house but in mine the kitchen is an area of constant activity. With so many people coming in and out of the kitchen things tend to get moved around, covered with other things, spilled on, etc. One day, while checking out the blog The Peaceful Mom I came across her unique recipe holder. It’s easy to use and I already had one of these magnetic clips on my refrigerator.


Image: The Peaceful Mom


Image: The Peaceful Mom

Most kitchen cabinets have metal hinges so you can open one up and attach your recipe to it. My spice cabinet is at the end of the row of cabinets so it is the one I use. Not only does using this method hold my recipe up out of the way but the spice cabinet is open while I’m cooking which makes it easy to grab what I need as I go along.

Along the way I found another great recipe holding method that uses a clothes hanger….the type you get when you purchase pants.

clothers hanger recipe holderImage

Not only will the clothes hanger help to keep your recipe up it’s also strong enough to hold some of your recipe books as well. Both of these methods get your recipe up off the counter and hanging at a perfect reading height.

How about you? Do you have a favorite recipe holding method? Why not leave a comment or a link below.

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