Dine with Diana: Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

If you’re like me, you’re scrambling around this week trying to get the kids back to a respectable bedtime routine, trying to remember where you left off at work, unpacking from holiday trips, and just generally trying to keep your head screwed on.

Meanwhile, my kids will not stop asking for snacks and chocolate. Literally. They average about once an hour. In the morning they want a snack, not breakfast. And around 9am they start saying, “Can we please have chocolate now. We haven’t had any yet today!”

Now that they no longer get their way, they go into full tantrum mode in hopes of recreating the near free-reign eating they experienced during the break when grandparents, uncles and even laid back parents were caving in at every turn.

So now our challenge is to get us all back to eating normally again with a focus on nutritious and delicious meals. Oh yah, and you know me. Fast and easy are key.

Since we’ve all been eating hearty dishes with a lot of flavor and comfort to them over the holidays, I wanted to come up with something that would give our family the same comfort feelings without being full of fat and calories.

Hubs and I came up with this amazing Veggie Quinoa dish that can be used as a side, a full meal (don’t be afraid to add meat) or as Hubs did, as a bed for our roasted leg of lamb a few nights ago. Decadent for a post holiday meal, I know, but it really wasn’t heavy at all.

The flavors, nuttiness, textures and healthy-factor on this dish all add up to perfection for getting back on track at the dinner table this week.

Let me know how you serve it!

Xo,

Diana

Too Good To Be Healthy Veggie Quinoa

 quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 bag vegetable quinoa mix- I like Roland brand Garden
  • Yellow grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Top with raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
    (amount of added ingredients is all to taste)

 Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa mix according to package instructions
  2. Toss in the yellow tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins, cranberries and mix
  3. Sprinkle top of each serving with the crispy raw Brussels sprouts

You can follow Totsy’s Chief Mom, Diana Heather on Twitter: @totsymom

Dine with Diana Fridays: Easy Stuffed Celery Stalks. Perfect Thanksgiving Appetizer

‘Tis the season to break out the family traditions, or to start new ones for your own young family.

There are many things I remember fondly about spending Thanksgiving in Columbus, MS, with my family every year at my grandparent’s 100-year-old home. Oddly enough, one of them is eating this super simple appetizer every year while we anxiously awaited the turkey and fixin’s to arrive on the table.

Amidst the chaos of turkey, dressing and homemade pie, my grandmother still managed to make homemade pimento cheese (still a favorite of my dad’s to this day) along with a cream cheese and olive spread. Together, my mother and I would stuff the mixtures into celery stalks and serve a huge glass platter filled with half with the ‘white ones’ and half with the ‘orange ones.’

In no time, the platter would be empty and my grandmother would rush to get the rest of the meal on the table. Funny how little things like this stick in your mind.

So, this year, while planning my own turkey-day menu, I started thinking of things my kids would love and that they could even help make on their own. Suddenly, the stuffed celery stalks of my childhood popped in my mind.

I can’t wait to get my Littles in the kitchen this Thanksgiving to stir, mix and load the stuffing into the celery stalks. Fun. Delicious. Crunchy. Healthy. Perfect.

This year, I’m thankful for my memories and the traditions I now get to start for my own kids. I hope their memories will be as wonderful as mine.

Happy Thanksgiving Totsy Moms!

Xo,

Diana

Cream cheese and Green Olive Stuffed Celery Stalks

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 16 oz jar of green olives stuffed with pimentos
  • 1 bunch of celery

Directions:

  1. Clean celery stalks and cut stalks in to thirds
  2. Dry and set aside
  3. Drain juice out of olives save about 1/2 the juice and set aside
  4. Chop or dice olives
  5. Mix cream cheese olives and saved juice
  6. In a bowl until well blended
  7. Fill the celery stalks heaping amounts of spread
  8. Arrange the stuffed stalks on a platter and set in fridge at least 30 mins before serving- but if you don’t have time, just eat!

Homemade Pimento Cheese For Stuffed Celery

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (my family loves Cracker Barrel brand)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  •  ½ cup to ¾ cup of mayonnaise to taste and to texture
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimento, drained
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Grate the extra sharp cheddar cheese
  2. Place the cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and pimento into a large bowl
  3. Mix with large wooden spoon adding the amount of mayo slowly as a little goes a long way with this recipe.
  4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Fill the celery stalks with heaping amounts of spread
  6. Arrange the stuffed stalks on a platter and set in fridge at least 30 mins before serving – but if you don’t have time, just eat!

Dine with Diana: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Today started with an early morning work call.  There I sat in the lounge of my daughter’s school, post-drop off, with laptop and headset ready to go. Like most calls, we started with introductions and pleasantries and the woman on the other end, well, let’s just say I could tell I was going to really like her. Right off the bat, she hit me with this: “Oh, I’m great this morning. I’ve already had my coffee and my chocolate chip pumpkin bread!” 

Hmm, did she just say pumpkin bread WITH chocolate chips?

“That sounds amazing, do you think I could get your recipe? I am actually writing a recipe blog post today and that sounds perfect.”

Turns out, you don’t need a recipe. I mean you can, if you’re the baking sort and like making it from scratch. In which case you just use your fave recipe. I prefer to use a mix like the one from Williams-Sonoma. Just add eggs and butter and you’re done! But, according to the lady on my work call this morning, all you do is add chocolate chips to your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  Of course, I asked how much to add. A cup, half a cup?  Then, I knew I was making a friend for life when her answer was: “Well, I guess you could measure your chocolate chips, but I prefer to just dump a whole bag in!”

She didn’t have me at “Hello” but she certainly had me at “dump the whole bag in.”

I love life and am loving my new recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin bread!

Thank you, work-call lady

Xo,

Diana

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • Either your fave pumpkin bread recipe OR
  • My favorite- Williams-Sonoma Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix
  • Toll House Morsels, Semi-Sweet – 12 oz

Directions:

  1. Prepare your mix as instructed on the box or your favorite recipe as usual.
  2. Pour in a full bag of Toll House Semi-Sweet morsels and mix.
  3. Bake as instructed, cool and enjoy!

Dine with Diana: Baked Avocado

 My friend just told me about the most awesomest snack / side dish in the entire universe. If it were me, and well, it is – I’d add a shot of tequila and BAM! Ok, so that part isn’t kid-friendly, but the rest of it can be.

Are you ready?

It’s avocado – Holla!

Parmesan cheese – Can I get a, ‘what what?’

Lime Juice – Yes, mam!

and

Tobasco – Tssssssizzle!

Ok, I MIGHT be going a little over the top here, but seriously – this is all my faves in one place and its super fast and easy. Right. Up. My. Alley!

Baked Avocado with Parmesan, Lime juice and Tabasco

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • Tabasco sauce or Sriracha (red rooster sauce is what we call it)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice the avocado in half and remove the seed. Prick all over with a fork to let the sauce soak in.
  2. Pour Tobasco over each half (to taste), then top with lime juice and salt and pepper IF you like. I go for just Tabasco.
  3. In the cavity where the seed was, put a fourth of the cheese on each avocado half. Place under the broiler for 2 minutes.
  4. Top with remaining cheese and broil another 2 minutes until completely melted and avocado warmed through.

Enjoy with tequila and lime shot???

Xoxo,

Diana

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Dine With Diana: Cajun Grilled Corn On The Cob

Okay y’all – today’s recipe was inspired by both the amazing grilling-out summertime weather I’m enjoying with my family every weekend and my Gulf Coast upbringing.

When I was growing up, there were three shakers on the dining room table. Salt. Pepper. And Tony’s. What I mean by Tony’s is actually Tony Chachere’s (pronounced sa-sure-rays) Original Creole Seasoning.  On the Gulf Coast, between New Orleans and Mobile, AL, creole cooking was a way of life and Tony’s seasoning went with just about everything that hit the dinner plate.

The other thing my Dad put on the table almost every night was Tabasco red pepper sauce. From raw oysters to spaghetti and meatballs, there’s nothing a little Tabasco doesn’t make better. Or at least that’s how we feel where I grew up.

One of my favorite ways to bring a little Gulf Coast flare up to New York is to add some Tony’s and a little Tabasco to some melted butter and brush it over the fresh summer corn my Hubs grills up every weekend lately.

Let me know if you add a little spice to your life this weekend!

Xo,
Diana

Cajun Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 or more drops of Tony Chachere’s original creole seasoning
  • 2 or 3 drops Tabasco red pepper sauce
  • 6 ears corn with husks

Instructions:

  1. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat
  2. In small bowl, mix butter, Tony’s Chachere’s Cajun seasoning and Tabasco red pepper sauce. Reserve 1 tablespoon butter mixture
  3. Carefully pull back husks of each ear of corn; remove silk. Generously brush butter mixture over corn. Pull husks back over ears
  4. Cover and grill corn over MEDIUM heat 20-26 minutes, turning frequently, until tender
  5. Remove husks. Brush corn with reserved 1 tablespoon butter
  6. ENJOY!

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Dine with Diana: Frozen Fruit Kebabs

I’m becoming a Pinterest junkie. Recently I saw an awesome idea for bananas on a stick drizzled in just a little dark chocolate and then frozen! The idea can be found on weelicious – my favorite site for finding healthy and fun food ideas for kids and the whole family.

It got me thinking. Why not take this easy, fun, healthy and cool summer recipe one step further.

So, I decided to create my very own frozen fruit kebabs.

I hope you and your kids love them as much as my family does!

Xo,

Diana

Ingredients

  • Kebab skewers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Dark chocolate melted
  • Marshmallows (optional)
  • Other fresh fruit or sneak in some veggies – but it has to be something that will taste good frozen and be sturdy enough to withstand being skewered. (can consider melon, pineapple and kiwi if in season)

Instructions

  1. Cut bananas in large cubes, strawberries can be whole or halved depending on size and choice, peaches should be in large cubes and of course, blueberries should be left whole.
  2. Carefully skewer each piece of fruit with a kebab skewers alternating the fruits and marshmallows, just like you would with a grilled meat and vegetable kebab. If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate.
  3. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until frozen through.
  4. You can place the fruit kebabs on a parchment-lined baking sheet or place the skewers right-side up in a cup stuffed with foil – laying them on the baking sheet lined with parchment is probably the easiest and simplest way to store in the freezer.

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Dine With Diana: Easy Gourmet Burgers for Fourth of July BBQ

[Source: stltoday.com]

It’s almost the Fourth of July and we all know that probably means there is a BBQ in your near future. I don’t know anyone who can work a grill quite like my hubs (sorry dad).

This morning I begged hubs to let me share his proprietary grourmet burger recipe with you. He relented. I’m actually not a huge burger fan to begin with, unless it comes from Shake Shack in NYC, except when my hubby is grilling away!

Hope you love it as much as we do! It’s actually super easy. The hardest thing about it might just be convincing you own husband that this recipe tops his own. The men I know can get pretty caveman-like when it comes to their grill.

Happy Fourth of July BBQ!

Xo,

Diana

Totsy’s Chief Mom’s Hub’s Gourmet Burger

Ingredients:

*Makes 6 HUGE burgers (the size is part of what makes them so gourmet)

  • 2lbs ground beef (best quality you can get that has a little fat to it-needed for good juicy burgers)
  • Grated rind of 2 limes
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 4 slices of bread cut into small cubes
  • Italian herb mix-dried
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Buffalo mozzarella-usually comes packed in water OR you can use your favorite cheese-personal decision
  • Brioche hamburger buns
  • Pesto as a condiment particularly if you use the mozzarella cheese
  • All other condiments to your burger liking
  • Hubs does amazing caramelized onions on the side-I’ll have to ask if I can share that recipe next time!

Instructions:

  1. Preheat grill
  2. Mix ground beef, lime rind, onion, dried Italian herbs, bread cubes, and salt & pepper until well blended
  3. Hand-pat into 6 very large patties
  4. Cut a hole into each patty and fill with the buffalo mozzarella or your favorite cheese.
  5. Cover the cheese hole with meat before grilling
  6. Grill about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until desired doneness is achieved
  7. Do not flatten with spatula while grilling because that lets the juice flow out and creates a dry burger
  8. Toast brioche buns on top level of grill to desired toastiness
  9. Place burger on bun and dress to your desire
  10. Pesto works well as a condiment with the fresh buffalo mozzarella

ENJOY!

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