This semester has been one of the busiest of my life. I seem to have had an influx of meetings, projects and future preparations. I have so much up in the air which stresses me out because I like to mark things off my list. Oh, and apparently I'll be starting a split semester class on March 6th at Shelton so it's only going to get worse. Even though it sounds like it, I'm not complaining. I like having job security and goodness knows I always need extra money. In addition to school work, I'm also working hard on getting this MLWOR book project an ISBN number. It's a dream that I've become obsessed with accomplishing. Writing a book is more than hard...it's a soul-sucking venture whose highs and lows are more extreme than I could have ever imagined. That seems dramatic to say but it also feels right. One of the ways I'm working toward this goal is by attending a writing workshop next Friday the 24th. It's kind of a day for writers who have written a book and are now saying "What now?" That's me! In addition to the workshop, I'm also going to be meeting with an agent and actually pitching the book. She will tell me ways to improve the pitch and hopefully give me some ideas. Because of this, I need to be ready to give them all I've got. I've been making some recipes from the book that you all may have seen before so I can get some decent photos. I'd like to bring a sample that provides a visual for the agent. I'll be sharing them again here and making Pins for them on Pinterest (hopefully). What I'm saying is, I'm sorry for any repeats. That may be something I do the next one or two weeks. I'm nervous about this whole thing but excited because I've been working on this material for a LONG time.
The first recipe is for Spicy Deviled Eggs. I am a BIG fan of Deviled Eggs and this recipe kicks them up a notch and adds bacon. I am incredibly lazy and usually by hard boiled eggs from the store or my mom makes them. I realized I had never made them myself. So, I decided to boil some eggs and it won't surprise you to know it was really easy.
2 Tablespoons Light Mayo (REAL mayonnaise)
1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard (you could also use Dijon for additional kick)
1 Teaspoon Srirachi Sauce (give or take depending on your tolerance)
1 Piece Turkey Bacon (cooked until crisp/I make turkey bacon in the oven) OR 3 pieces of pre-cooked bacon (usually around 80 calories)
Sliced Green Onion for garnish
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika to taste
Hard boil your eggs, cut them in half, dump the yolks in a bowl and mash them up. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in the mayo, mustard and hot sauce. Use the mixture to fill up the egg white halves. Top with crumbled bacon and green onions. It’s so easy! Regular deviled eggs are delicious but having them this way makes for a nice change to kick things up a bit.
Next up are the diet soda cakes. I have a lot of these that I make. I started with chocolate and then made creamsicle.
Diet Cola Chocolate Cupcakes
1 Box of your favorite chocolate cake mix
1 12 ounce can of diet cola
1 tub light whipped cream
1 tablespoon of chocolate fudge (out of a jar is fine)
Pre-heat the oven based on the instructions on the back of the cake mix box. Empty the box of cake mix into a mixing bowl, add soda. Mix. Pour the mixture evenly into a 12-cupcake cupcake pan that is lined with liners and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake the recommended amount of time on the box. While the cupcakes are baking, get out another bowl and mix together the chocolate fudge with the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate. When the cupcakes are done, let them cool completely if you want them to have the frosting.
Pro tip: Only frost the cupcakes you want at that moment. If you frost all of them and refrigerate, the top gets a bit gummy. Frost them as you eat them.
*Suggestion: If you are wanting to kick it up a notch, adding a frozen, miniature peanut butter cup to the middle of the batter before baking makes it even more decadent and still less calories than a full-fat piece of cake.
1 Box of your favorite vanilla or yellow cake mix
1 12 ounce can of diet orange soda
1 tub light whipped cream
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
Pre-heat the oven based on the instructions on the back of the cake mix box. Empty the box of cake mix into a mixing bowl, add soda. Mix. Pour the mixture evenly into a 12-cupcake cupcake pan that is lined with liners and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake the recommended amount of time on the box. While the cupcakes are baking, get out another bowl and mix together the whipped cream, orange zest and orange juice. Cover and refrigerate. When the cupcakes are done, let them cool completely if you want them to have the frosting.
*The zest and juice are optional but add a really bright orange flavor. You will be able to taste the orange in the cupcakes but it will be somewhat faint so adding the extra to the frosting will really amp up the orange vibe in the cupcake.
I made tuna tacos pretty recently but they are pretty and yummy so I wanted to include them in the book and repeat the recipe here.
Tuna steak is a gift from the sea. If it’s not overcooked, it’s tender and moist almost like an actual steak. Also, keep a watch for it to go on sale at specialty stores. It can happen and when it does, grab them up and freeze them so you can have the decadence of tuna tacos anytime you want. I used to think the idea of a fish taco was disgusting but I’ve changed my ways.
1 Tuna Steak
2 Small (taco sized) corn or flour tortillas
Shredded Lettuce (you can also use fresh shredded cabbage but it’s just not really my bag)
1 Tablespoon Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing (or any Asian inspired dressing you want. There are a lot of options these days in stores)
1 Teaspoon Garlic Chili Sauce (more if you want it to have more of a kick)
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chopped Peanuts
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Blue Cheese
Green Onion, Soy Sauce, Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to both sides of tuna steak after patting it dry. Marinate it in ginger dressing, chili sauce and minced garlic. While that’s marinating, chop the lettuce, green onion and peanuts. Also, in a small bowl, mix together the mayo and sriracha. Bring a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Take the marinated tuna and sear on both sides for no more than 1-2 minutes per side. Basically, as soon as a very thin white layer creeps up into the pink of the tuna, it’s DONE. Overcooked tuna turns into canned tuna and that’s not what you’re going for when it comes to tacos. When it’s done, take it out of the pan and let the steak rest while you prepare the tacos. Take each tortilla, divide and smear the sriracha mayo on the bottom of both. Then, add lettuce to each one. Add Blue Cheese on each one. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts. Then, slice your tuna steak into strips and divide them evenly on each taco. Sprinkle green onion and sesame seeds onto both tacos. I put a few drops of soy sauce on each. I have a big appetite and two tacos fill me up. These tacos are hearty, salty, filling and delicious.
Finally, I couldn't leave out a picture/recipe of the low cal ranch that I make.
Homemade Low Cal Ranch
3-1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 Cup Light Mayo (I’m very particular about mayonnaise too. I don’t use “salad dressing” mayo; I use “real” mayo)
2 1 oz packets of your favorite ranch dressing/seasoning mix
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder (the extra powders are optional but I like it to have a lot of flavor…adding these gives a very strong flavor that only intensifies as time passes so if you don’t like strong garlic flavor, eave this out or lessen it)
*Feel free to split this recipe in half if you don’t think you’ll need that much. This make a huge batch.
Plop the mayonnaise in a big bowl. Pour in the buttermilk half a cup at a time. This is an instance in which it’s important not to throw everything a bowl at once because you’ll end up with clumps of mayo. Stir the buttermilk in slowly making sure each half-cup portion gets mixed in evenly. I highly recommend using a whisk for this. Once the mayonnaise and buttermilk are combined and there aren’t a ton of mayo clumps, stir in the dressing mix, garlic powder and onion powder. Pop a lid on the bowl or container, stick it in the fridge and let it cool a bit then it’s all yours.
Pro tip: Keep some low fat blue cheese on deck and mix it in to the dressing for home made “healthier” blue cheese dressing. I know it’s weird but I actually bring a small container of this dressing to most places I go for dinner. You can have 3 tablespoons of this dressing for less than 60 calories.
See y'all next week!