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Archive for January, 2011

If you are like me, you are thinking ahead to Super Bowl. What to bake? What to serve? What to make and take? For those of us trying to stick to our New Year resolution, the Super Bowl ritual can be a veritable caloric minefield. So many dips–so little Weight Watcher points.

One of the tried and true dips at my place is hummus. There are some Greek ladies who work in the kitchen at the place I used to work and they make the best hummus. Both named Eleni; they were cagey about giving out the recipe (probably because it is in their heads–not written down anywhere) but I kept asking for hints. I made many a batch until I got it right.

So now that I trying to cut back, what is a girl to do when she has a schmeck for hummus?! Answer: Cannellini dip!


My husband and I were over at Damon and Terri’s for the New Year and were served (among several yummy things) a simple cannellini dip with the antipasto. The next day, as I was journaling my food intake, I discovered that cannellini beans have almost half the points as chick peas. When you figure you aren’t adding the tahini, the following recipe I developed has about 27 points in total. If you exercise restraint and eat in teaspoon increments, the cost in calories is very palatable.

Cannellini Dip (makes 1 cup)

One 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, (from 1/2 a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano (can use dried in a pinch)
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons pignoli (pine) nuts, toasted

Drain and rinse beans. Place in bowl of food processor or blender. Add garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Process until completely pureed. Stop once or twice to scrape down sides of the bowl. While processor is running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Place in serving bowl, garnish with pine nuts and a pinch of minced parsley. You can serve with crudites or go with pita wedges.

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Today is one of those miserable weather days. Mother nature can’t decide whether to snow, sleet or rain. Gloomy skies dictate a cheerful touch to this week’s post. The color of this butternut squash soup is sure to cure to winter doldrums.

This soup is really easy to make. I discovered it a few years ago in the New York Times food section so I can’t take credit for its development. But if you are looking for lighter fare, this soup is sure to make it to your go-to recipe collection. I’ve made minor adaptations to make it even more calorie-friendly.

This year, I’ve started my new year’s weight loss resolution. I joined hubby and now attend Weight Watchers. He’s lost mucho poundage and I am playing catch up. This soup is my first discovery in low point recipes. The recipe contains no butter or cream although you would swear that it does. According to my calculations, each cup has only four points per serving! You can substitute a rich chicken stock, but this may add more points (fat) to the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion chopped
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, grated with a microplane
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 pound southern yams, peeled and diced
8 oz. russet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups boiling water
6 chicken-flavored bullion cubes

Set your tea kettle to boil. Add 6 cups boiling water to 6 bullion cubes. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the oil, add the onions and saute until tender. Add the grated ginger and stir briefly. Add the chopped veggies and chicken bullion mixture. Bring mixture to simmer and cook until veggies are tender (about an hour).

Working in small batches, puree the veggies and liquid in the blender, or use an immersion blender right in your soup pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! Serves 6.

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Happy New Year!

Final grades are in. I’ve finished my first semester as an adjunct professor. It was much more work than I anticipated, but the ride was fun. I enjoyed working with the students and they’ve asked me to do it again next semester.

After my professorial hiatus, Plucky’s back. But I have to admit that it might be more apropos to call me the Plumpy¬†Gastronome, as the months have taken their toll on my waistline. There’s a whole lot more of me to love and I’m gonna’ have to do something about it. The trick is to not let my weight loss aspirations throw a damper on my work here on the blog.

So suffice it to say, I’m back and plan on blogging without interruption now that I have the hang of grading papers and such. Thanks to those of you who pestered my mother for updates on my return to the blogosphere. She faithfully relayed all your words of encouragement.

It’s 2011 and time for a new culinary joyride!

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