OC Restaurant Week

This is OC Restaurant week!  Through Saturday, 100 Orange County restaurants are offering special lunch and dinner deals and special menus.  Get all the details from OCFoodies.com, and find participating restaurants at the OC Restaurant Week web page.


Pasta with Proscuitto and Asparagus

Sunset Magazine  (at sister site Myrecipes.com) has a delicious looking recipe in the March issue that I’m going to make this week!  I doubled most of their quantities so this will make at least 6 portions, except for the sauce – they call for all cream, and I’m going to use half milk and half cream to reduce the fat and calories, and will add in a bit of pasta water if needed to extend the sauce.


1 lb angel hair pasta

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups sliced mushrooms

8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips

1 ½  pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup milk

Reserved pasta cooking water – up to 1 cup

About 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

½  teaspoon pepper

½  teaspoon chile flakes

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding 1 tbsp of olive oil. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid, then drain and return to pot.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, and mushrooms about 2 minutes Add garlic, and cook one more minute, then add prosciutto and asparagus and cook until asparagus is bright green, about 2 minutes. Add cream, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, the pepper, and chile flakes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 4 minutes. If needed, add up to one cup of pasta cooking liquid to achieve desired consistency.
  3.  Pour sauce with vegetables over pasta and toss to coat. Serve with more parmesan.


Healthy Blueberry Cheesecake – Miraval Recipe

So yesterday I posted my goal of getting to Miraval Resort this year.  In a bit more of my idol worship of them, here is their recipe of the month, a healthy looking but delicious looking blueberry cheesecake.  Look at the nutritional info on the bottom!

Makes one 9-inch cake


For Cheesecake

  • 2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 ½ cups low-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 whole vanilla beans, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Blueberry Compote

For Blueberry Compote
Makes 1 ¾ cups

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper and spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray.

Combine the cracker crumbs and apple sauce in a small bowl and mix well. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, set and starting to pull away from the sides, 15 to 17 minutes.

When the pan is cool enough to handle, wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil all the way up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to 325 degrees.

Puree the cottage cheese in a food processor until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the pureed cottage cheese, cream cheese, and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and mix for 1 minute to incorporate.

Beat together the egg whites and egg in a medium bowl, and with the mixer on low speed, add half of the egg mixture and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining eggs and vanilla extract, and mix on medium speed until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come half-way up the sides of the cheesecake and bake until firm, 1 hour and 55 minutes to 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the aluminum foil from the outside of the pan. Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack to room temperature. Wrap the cake in aluminum foil and refrigerate until chilled all the way through, at least 6 hours.

To serve, run a long thin-bladed knife around the outside rim of the cheesecake and release the spring form pan.

Dip the blade of a sharp heavy knife in hot water, wipe with a towel and slice the cheesecake into 16 servings.

Place one slice of cheesecake on each of 16 dessert plates and spoon 1 ½ tablespoons on top of each slice. Serve immediately.

For Blueberry Compote
Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch slurry to the pan, whisk to remove any lumps, and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened but the berries are still whole, about 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The compote can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories 340
  • Protein 11g
  • Total Fat 7g
  • Carbohydrates 60g
  • Dietary Fiber 1g

Miraval Resort … is calling to me

One of my goals this year is to go to Miraval, a resort near Tucson that features wellness and integrated health programs modeled after Dr. Andrew Weil.  The pictures look incredible, the food looks delicious and healthy, and the “attitude” conveyed by their promo materials is wonderful.  The focus is on a balanced life, healthy activities, anti-inflammatory eating.  Oprah has talked about this place several times!

You sit down with an advisor when you arrive to plan out activities that could include all kinds of spa treatments (like Qi Grounding!), hikes, yoga, massage, lectures, cooking lessons, meditation, art projects, almost anything that would give you peace, joy and rejuvenation.

When I go, I’ll provide a full report.

Friday Inspiration – How we Feel

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,

people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget

how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Garden Bon Bons


The perfect gift for the lazy gardener, says Sunset Magazine about Garden Bon Bons, available from moultonology.com.

These little balls of seed, clay and organic compost come in a gift box dolled up like chocolate truffles, and will sprout into a perfect little herb garden wherever you toss them!

I’m going to aim for this:


Peanut Butter Blondies


Peanut Butter Blondies

Yield: 24 blondies

Prep Time: 15 minutes – Bake Time: 30 minutes

1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup peanut butter chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to come beyond the top rim (fold over the edge).

2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well incorporated. Whisk in the peanut butter until combined. Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, add the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Add the peanut butter chips and mix until evenly distributed.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool completely on a wire rack. Using the paper overhang, lift the blondies from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or can be frozen.

Adapted from a recipe on browneyedbaker