Low Fat Diva Blog

Low Fat recipes,cooking with beer/hops, adventures

Kitchen Sink Beer Baked Beans January 31, 2013

I asked my mom, friends and anyone I met what their favorite recipe was for baked beans.  I received a huge variety of recipes and most had a few things in common; brown sugar, onion, molasses and ketchup.   Ok, well that was a start but not what I was looking for.  So I took all the recipes that I sort of liked, combined them into one and as I was making the beans I found myself constantly adding more stuff, thus the Kitchen Sink Baked Beans (the beer was an afterthought).   I know in my article this month in Women’s Lifestyle Northshore I told you not to heat up balsamic vinegar but as with most rules this  is an exception.  The “tang” part of the beans is from the balsamic vinegar and it give the recipe a great flavor!

Cooking time will vary with this recipe and it also depends on if you put them in the oven or in a crock pot.  I used a crock pot for this recipe (have 3 and don’t ever use them).    Enjoy!!!  For comments/questions email Ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

 Kitchen Sink Baked Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ cup diced onions or leeks

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrot

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon Mustard

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/3 cup  brown sugar (start with this amount and you may decide to add more)

2 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 cups dried navy beans or other dried bean of your choice

1 can great northern beans (size is your choice)

5 cups water

8 oz. of any Porter or Stout beer (not sweet flavors) – keep 4 oz for the end of the cooking

6 oz. cooked and chopped up turkey bacon

Place dried beans in a pot and cover with water (you can use half beer and half water).  Leave them to soak over nights.

The next day drain beans and set aside.  In a non stick frying pan place the olive oil, add the onion, celery and carrots.  Cook until translucent – about 10 minutes.  Add in the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan for 1 more minute.  Add the tomato paste, mustard, rosemary, cocoa powder and paprika.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat

Set your crock pot on high if you want them done in about 5 hours.  Add the beans, vegetable mixture, water and beer.  Stir the mixture about every hour or so.  In the last 2 hours, add the canned northern beans and the cooked bacon.  I add the other 4 ounces of beer  at this time or more if I want my beans to have a bit more liquid.  There is nothing I hate more than having baked beans that are more like dry baked paste!

NOTE:  My friend Dawn browns up very lean ground beef or turkey and adds that into her baked beans during the cooking cycle.  The meat does give the beans a nice flavor.

baked beans


Gluten Free Appricot Chicken Wings

Filed under: Gluten Free — lowfatdiva @ 4:26 pm

Just in time for Super Bowl weekend here is a recipe for gluten free chicken wings from the magazine Living Without

Of course these are not low fat but you could make this recipe by switching out the wings (which are extremely overpriced right now because of Super Bowl) for chicken tenders and the fat content would be reduced by a ton!

These tasty wings are real a crowd-pleaser, ideal for watching the big game. Turmeric, a spice that naturally reduces inflammation, ups the health benefits without altering the flavor.

⅓ cup gluten-free soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
1 (8-ounce) jar apricot preserves, preferably fruit
juice sweetened
3-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
3 pounds chicken wings (cut into pieces at joints)

1. To make marinade, combine soy sauce, preserves, rice vinegar, garlic powder, turmeric and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix tapioca starch/flour with an equal amount of water to make a slurry. Add to saucepan ingredients and continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. In a zipper plastic bag or glass container with tight-fitting lid, marinate chicken wings in apricot sauce for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Turn bag or container occasionally to distribute marinade thoroughly.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking pan or line it with parchment paper.

4. Remove wings from refrigerator and place them in a single layer on prepared pan. Place in preheated oven and bake 40 minutes, turning and basting occasionally with accumulated juices.



Welcome To February! January 30, 2013

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 12:01 pm
Tags: , , , ,






DSC01082Welcome to February, the month of love, chocolate and heart health.  February is also the second month in 2013 and month two of your New Year’s Resolutions – how’s that going for ya???

I have found over the years to make my resolutions more obtainable like, drinking more water, not taking life for granted, physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day (walking/running/dancing), continue with my low fat lifestyle, stop procrastinating, step out of my comfort zone occasionally, learn new things/words each month and spending more time/connect with family.

This month I want you to be involved with one of my resolutions, the one about learning new things/words each month.  Granted that means we are going to have to learn eleven new things during February but what the hey, we can do it, right!  Together we will tackle things like Fairy Water, what an Emulsifier is, Chow Chow, Chutney, Butters (not what comes from a cow), what the hype is with Balsamic Vinegar  and Conserve.

Let’s start the month off with learning something about Balsamic Vinegar.  I mean seriously, what is the big deal and why does some of this stuff cost as much as a pair of my shoes?  I started doing some research on this liquid gold after I received a bottle for Christmas from my son.  He seemed so proud of my gift and must have thought I was a crazy woman when I gave him the “oh my,….thanks”.  I literally had no idea how coveted this vinegar was until I started talking to my friends about it.

So, off to the internet I went to see why some people thought Balsamic Vinegar was the God’s nectar.  I found that “true” balsamic is aged in oak casks and is from the Modena Region.  The vinegar is aged a minimum of 12 years and up to 25 (the longer the aging process, the higher the price tag).  I was told when you purchase balsamic you need to read the ingredients and be sure the “grape must” (grape juice) is the first ingredient because it’s important to the flavor and the amount of years it’s been aged will tell you the value/worth of the balsamic as well as the region it’s from (Modena Region).  A name to look for is Aceto Balsamic Tratizonale Vinegar.

I actually saw a bottle in my research that was quite similar to the one I received for Christmas…..ouch.   Friends have told me that if you try good quality balsamic you will find that it taste phenomenal on fresh strawberries.  I guess that will be one of my first attempts in the Test Kitchen when I get brave enough to crack open the bottle I received for Christmas.  A few months ago I purchased a spray bottle of DeLallo Balsamic Vinegar from Plumb’s Market and used it on my green beans when I sauté them, adding it just as they were finishing up (you are not suppose to heat up balsamic just use as finishing flavor).  This month I will be delving into how we can use balsamic vinegar in other dishes and share those recipes with you on my blog site lowfatdivablog.com 

If you don’t want to take the risk of purchasing the “true” balsamic, I was told by a very reliable source that you can age supermarket balsamic with this easy recipe.  In a sauce pan add 1/3 cup of balsamic, 1 tablespoon of Port and 1 tablespoon of sugar and slowly cook it over low heat until the mixture is ½ the original volume.


Beer Health News From A Blog Called The Weekly Pint January 28, 2013

Filed under: Diva's Brew-ha — lowfatdiva @ 3:09 pm

This article was sent to me from a blog that I follow called The Weekly Pint.  Normally I read and then delete but this one had some interesting comments about the health benefits of hops.  Now, I ‘m not a big hop girl but my husband tends to like an IPA or other beers that are loaded with hops, so I thought for those of you hop lovers out there you may appreciate this bit of good news about hops!

Article from The Weekly Pint

Hanging out with friends and family this time of year can be a roll of the dice, as the nation continues to battle epidemic levels of influenza and, of course, the common cold. And while such pathogens won’t survive in beer, sharing glassware or bar food with sniffling friends could easily lead to infection (pro-tip: don’t share; wash your hands constantly) But don’t let the fear of flu keep you from enjoying a good craft beer. According to recent studies, moderate beer consumption can actually be good for the health of adults.

According to AFP (Agence France-Presse), results of recent medical tests in Japan show that ingesting large amounts of humulone, the key ingredient in hops (which give beer aroma and bitterness), might help fend off a form of seasonal sickness in adults, specifically “RS”, or Respiratory Syncytial virus, which can lead to severe forms of pneumonia and bronchitis in children. We’ll note loud and clear here that the test itself was commissioned by Sapporo Breweries through Sapporo Medical University, which in turn points out it would take about thirty cans at once to achieve an effective dose, which, of course, could kill you six ways to Sunday (don’t try it). Nevertheless we’ll raise a salutary glass in hopes that further medical testing confirms that hops are indeed the happiest, healthiest plant.

In the meantime, take solace in this Time magazine article outlining several other health benefits to beer, from healthier blood and bones to the lungs, skin, hair, and even brain.


Spicy Shrimp & Rice

Filed under: Main Dishes & Sandwiches — lowfatdiva @ 12:07 pm

Here in the Mitten I woke up to over an inch of ice on top of some very heavy snow, not a good way to start your Monday!  I decided today was going to be a day I stayed close to home and worked in the test kitchen on recipes for February.  But before I ended this month I wanted to share this quick and easy recipe for Spicy Shrimp & Rice.  You can actually make this mild or spicy depending on the Creole season you use and if you use some Rotel tomatoes like I do.  Where ever you are I hope you like this as much as my husband and I do.    Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com


Spicy Shrimp & Rice

3  teaspoons olive oil

3/4  pound  large  uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

3  teaspoons Creole seasoning (such as McCormick)

2  large  green peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2  large onion, chopped

3  stalks  celery, thinly sliced

2  cloves  garlic, finely chopped

1  can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes ( I used Rotel tomatoes as part of my mixture)

4-1/2  cups cooked Basmati rice

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and season with 1 teaspoon of the Creole seasoning. Saute’ for 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

Add remaining tablespoon oil, the peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape up any browned bits in bottom of skillet. Add tomatoes and remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning. Break up tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and heat through. Serve with cooked rice.


Coconut Rice Pudding January 27, 2013

Filed under: Desserts — lowfatdiva @ 1:54 pm

As I have stated earlier, my husband is a huge fan of rice pudding.  His mom and grandmother used to make it for him as a child but I never had it as a child (hard to believe, right?) so it took me awhile to develop a taste for it.  My mother in law primarily made her rice pudding with lots of cinnamon and raisins, so when I started making it for my husband in other ways I got the statement all women hate “that’s not the way my mom used to make it”.  –  Ugggg.

The first time I made rice pudding I was so proud to put an  orange spin on the recipe, only to hear the dreaded comment about how his mom made it and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I was told “it’s not quite done enough”.  What, what!!!!!  I cooked that rice pudding for what seemed like forever but it became on of my lessons in patience.  Rice pudding just like risotto needs to be cooked for a long time…a really long time and you can’t hurry it, unless you have this recipe for coconut rice pudding that actually takes about half the time as the other recipes I have posted 🙂

My husband likes coconut so when I decided to try out this new recipe that I altered, I decided not to tell him about it.  Instead I dished it up and asked him to try it.  His reaction was priceless, he loved it and actually told me he enjoyed trying new versions of rice pudding as long as…….”they were done enough”.  I guess I will never live that lesson down 🙂     Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

coconut rice pudding

1 cup water

1 cup uncooked instant rice

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups no fat half and half

1/2 cup low fat coconut milk

1/4 cup Egg Beaters

1/8 cup flaked sweetened coconut

1 teaspoon Beanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.  Stir in the rice, cover and reduce heat to medium/low.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, uncover and set aside.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl.

Combine 1/4 cup of the no fat half and half along with the Egg Beaters in a bowl and whisk together.  Add the sugar mixture and whisk until blended.

Bring the remaining 1 3/4 cup of no fat half and half and coconut milk to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, stirring with a whisk.  Return the milk mixture to  pan and bring to a boil, cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly with the whisk.  Remove from heat, stir in the cooked rice, coconut and the rest of the spices.

Serve warm or room temp.

NOTE: Because I cut down the coconut milk to 1/2 cup (due to the fat content), I also added about 1/4 teaspoon for coconut flavoring to give it even more coconut taste.


Butternut Risotto January 26, 2013

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 11:55 am

My mom had some butternut squash that really needed to be cooked so I decided to try to make some risotto with it.  My husband and I had butternut risotto in a restaurant while visiting our son on DC but this was my first attempt 🙂  I found recipes where I liked some of the ideas they had but not enough to try the complete recipe so I mixed a few and came up with this one.  I will say this, you do need to like the flavor of butternut squash because it is quite intense with that flavor.  Although my kids love risotto, I do know neither one would try this because of the butternut flavor (they are not squash fans).

2 cups cubed butternut squash

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 onion, minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 cup Arborio rice

5 cups hot chicken stock

1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Place squash cubes into a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to steam until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes), then drain, and mash in a bowl with a fork.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then stir in the rice. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is glossy from the butter, and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Pour in the white wine; cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in the mashed squash and 1/3 of the hot chicken stock; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the rice, 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the remaining chicken stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in the remaining stock, the maple syrup and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.



Lose Weight By Eating

with Audrey Johns

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