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Indulge Yourself Without the Guilt...

This mac n cheese recipe is so good, your kids will want to eat it too!

No more drooling over the kids’ mac n cheese – now you get one all for yourself (ok, share if you’re super nice)!  My new Sneaky Blends get in those veggie servings while shaving fat and calories off this creamy rich diet-friendly mac n cheese. Pre-Order Sneaky Blends today to get a Free downloadable Sneaky Sweets ebook. 

• Makes 1 serving •

The secret to this totally diet-friendly version of mac and cheese? The blend and cauliflower florets add volume—so you get to eat more—and I use superflavorful cheeses. Result: A decadent meal that has three times fewer calories than standard mac and cheese. 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cooked whole grain rotini pasta

1/3 cup Carrot–Sweet Potato Base Blend (see below)

1 egg white

1/8 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 ounce goat cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon low-fat milk

1 heaping tablespoon sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower florets

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the Parmesan together. Pour into an ovenproof bowl, sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 302 calories; 7 g fat; 287 mg sodium; 41 g carbs; 6 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 20 g protein

Carrot Sweet-Potato Base Blend

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• Makes 4 1⁄2 cups •

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and roughly chopped

6 medium to large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

Filtered water

Directions:

Place a steamer basket into a large pot, pour in a few inches of tap water (make sure the water is below the bottom of the basket), and set it over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and carrots and steam, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork-tender. Puree the veggies with 2 to 3 tablespoons of filtered water until smooth, adding more water as necessary.

Nutrition facts (per 1⁄2 cup): 47 calories; 1 g fat; 50 mg sodium; 11 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 1 g protein

Want more recipes like this? Pre-Order Sneaky Blends today for an exclusive Free Gift!


Cinnamon-Oat Protein Pancakes

with Sweet Potato and Carrots!

My new Sneaky Blends work double duty for the whole family! Make-ahead a few batches of my Sweet Cinnamon Protein Pancakes, freeze, then simply warm them in the morning for grab n go breakfasts. Save extra Carrot-Sweet Potato Blend for mom’s afternoon snack (see below)!  
BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO ME!

Makes 14 pancakes, Serving size: 6 pancakes

2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup Carrot-Sweet Potato Blend (below)
¼ cup low-fat milk (or unsweetened plant-based milk)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon rolled oats, finely ground (gluten free)
2 scoops unsweetened protein powder

Nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Mist a griddle or large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Pour rounded tablespoons of batter into the pan and cook until bubbles begin to set around the edges and pancake is golden underneath. Flip ad cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter, then serve.
Nutrition facts (per serving): 215 calories; 5 g fat; 330 mg sodium; 26 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 16 g protein

Carrot-Sweet Potato Base Blend 
Makes about 4 ½ cups

carrot sweet potato base blend 5.jpg

2 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and rough chopped
6 large carrots, peeled and rough chopped
Filtered water
 
Place a steamer basket into a large pot, pour in a few inches of water (make sure the water is below the bottom of the basket) and set it over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and carrots and steam, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork tender. Blend veggies into a with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and until smooth, adding more water as necessary.

FOR MOM - BACK TO ME! add a dash of cinnamon, sea salt and 1 tsp olive oil to the above blend, warm and enjoy as your afternoon snack!

FOR MORE RECIPES LIKE THESE, PRE-ORDER SNEAKY BLENDS TODAY!


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BLENDS CLEANSE

QUICK-START INSTRUCTIONS

If you want to go ahead and begin the 3-Day Reboot right away—perhaps you’ve done it before and know the drill—here are the basic guidelines to follow for the next few days. More instructions follow, though, that give you more how-whatwhy details.

There are only five simple guidelines to remember for your 3-Day Reboot (which I also call the Blends Cleanse™):

Replace three meals a day with vegetable and fruit purees from Sneaky Blends for three days. Followthe exact recipes and portion sizes, and promise me you won’t skip.

Eat two snacks each day—and dessert.

Stick to the Cleanse Blend options in the meal provided in the book. They’re designed to give you the right balance of nutrients from a variety of foods over the course of the day. If you only eat one blend, you’ll miss out.

Go ahead and have a cup or two of coffee a day—or caffeinated tea. You can also add a splash of organic milk, unsweetened plant-based milk, and a little raw honey or Stevia. But steer clear of processed stuff like nondairy creamers and sugar (regular sugar or artificial).

Ditch the booze for now.

Couldn’t be easier, right?

You’ll find more helpful info about the guidelines in Sneaky Blends and remember to weigh yourself before you start the Reboot and then again on the morning of day four so you can measure your results!

With the Blends Cleanse the recommended Total Calories for the Day is approximately 1,250. For all my Blends Cleanse Recipes Pre-Order Sneaky Blends Today and follow me on social media for exclusive recipe sneak peeks.


The Sneaky Chef and the Skinny Mom

Another fabulous recipe from the Skinny Mom with a Sneaky Allergy Friendly Alternative Twist, just use my Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter in place of the traditional peanut butter the recipe calls for. You are going to love this one!

PB&J "Brinner" Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling time Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/8 of the casserole (a 3 x 4 1/4-inch square)

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter (or use Sneaky Chef's No-Nut Butter)
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
1/2 cup reduced-sugar raspberry preserves (I like Smucker's Low Sugar)
4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons stevia
2 eggs
4 egg whites
2 1/2 cups Silk Unsweetened Original Almond milk (or allergy friendly milk-substitute)
3 tablespoons sugar-free maple-flavor syrup (I like Maple Grove Farms)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

  1. Coat a 13 x 9 - inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter onto the bottom of each of the bun halves. Put the top and bottom halves back together and cut the buns into 1-inch cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly in the baking dish. Using a teaspoon, drop mounds of raspberry jam evenly over the bread cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl, fold the cream cheese and stevia together until mixed well. Use the teaspoon again to drop the cream cheese evenly over the bread cubes.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, almond milk, syrup, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F
  7. Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle the oats evenly over the top of the casserole.
  8. Re-cover with the foil and bake for 40 minutes, rotating the baking dish front to back after 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer, rotating the baking dish front to back halfway through the cooking.
  9. Remove from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and serve sprinkled with the fresh raspberries.

Stay tuned for more delicious recipes from The Sneaky Chef and the Skinny Mom.

About the Skinny Mom:

Brooke Griffin is the creator of SkinnyMom.com, where moms 'get the skinny' on healthy living and author of best-selling cookbook Skinny Suppers: 125 Lightened-Up, Healthier Meals for Your Family. Through lightening up family-favorite recipes and creating quick, effective at-home workouts, Brooke hopes to encourage women to live their healthiest, happiest lives. 


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Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

My gluten-free friends and readers have two words to describe packaged GF chicken nuggets and tenders: mushy and weird! Since I have never had to eat this way myself, I decided to do a little taste-testing among the packaged GF chicken available in my markets. I have to admit, I couldn’t even finish a single nugget! They were, indeed, strange tasting and the texture was just plain off. Here is the sneaky version of a GF tender, proclaimed by my GF tasters as “crispy and delicious.”

Makes 4 Servings
 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Orange Recipe)
  • 2 cups GF Better Breading (see below)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil for pan frying method
     

Directions

Season chicken tenders with salt. Place corn starch in a shallow dish or on a plate. Beat eggs with Orange Puree in shallow bowl and place next to the flour. In a third shallow dish or on a paper plate, combine the GF Better Breading with the Parmesan cheese.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the corn starch, shaking off excess, then the egg mixture, and then the GF Better Breading mixture. Press the breading evenly onto both sides of the chicken. Put on wax or parchment paper and store in the refrigerator for cooking tomorrow or proceed to cook immediately.

Pan-fry method:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add a few strips at a time, pan frying on one side until the crumbs look golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch for burning, and turn down heat if necessary. With tongs, turn the pieces over and lightly brown the second side until golden, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue heating chicken until cooked through, about another 10 minutes. Blot cooked tenders on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Oven-bake method (not as brown and crisp, but quicker):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place breaded tenders on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn chicken tenders over once with tongs, then return to oven for another 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.
 

Gluten Free Better Breading

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds, slivered and blanched (optional; omit if allergic)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice krispies
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
     

Directions

Pulse the almonds in food processor. Don’t let the food processor run continually or you’ll end up with nut butter. Pour the ground almonds into a plastic bag, and then add the bread crumbs, wheat germ, and salt. Seal and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

*Sneaky Tip: Whole wheat bread crumbs can be found in natural and organic food stores, but you can easily make your own by pulsing whole grain bread in a food processor to achieve fine crumbs. It’s that simple. Three slices of bread yield about one cup of fresh crumbs. They keep for weeks in a sealed bag in the freezer.


Delicious, Healthy, and Easy to Make

Sneaky Chef Pulled BBQ Chicken, BBQ Sauce and Mighty Tots Blog

The idea behind slow cookers is to have a tender, delicious dinner that’s cooking while you’re gone and ready when you walk in the door. This will be a home run hit in your house.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups store-bought BBQ sauce* (or 2 cups Down Under BBQ below)
  • ¾ cup White or Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe White Puree or Make-Ahead Recipe Orange Puree)
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons oat bran
  • 4 skinless half chicken breasts, with bone (about 2 lbs)
  • 6 hamburger buns or English muffins (ideally whole grain)

*If using Down Under BBQ Sauce, page__, use 2 cups of sauce and omit the additional Orange or White Puree in this recipe

Directions

Preheat slow cooker to desired setting.

In the slow cooker pot, mix BBQ sauce with White or Orange Puree, broth, and oat bran. Add chicken to slow cooker and toss. Cover. Cook 5 hours on low or 2 ½ hours on high. Remove chicken from slow cooker. Shred chicken using 2 forks and toss with the hot sauce. Serve on warm hamburger buns or English muffins, if desired. Note: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.
 

DOWN UNDER BBQ SAUCE

This recipe is dedicated to Tina E., of Australia, who submitted a beautiful account of how Sneaky Chef recipes have helped her family. I hope this homemade barbecue sauce will be a sneaky staple not only in Tina’s home “Down Under,” but in homes worldwide.

Makes 2 cups of sauce

  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • One cup White or Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe White Puree or Make-Ahead Recipe Orange Puree)
  • One-half cup cider vinegar
  • Three-quarters cup tomato paste
  • One-quarter teaspoon each salt and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
     

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients except chili powder, hot sauce, and pepper. Add chili powder, hot sauce, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Thin with more vegetable broth, if desired. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
 

Mighty Tots

Turn a side dish that isn’t particularly healthy into a main course filled with whole grains and protein. Make a few batches at a time, then freeze in plastic bags for your own version of frozen tots.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (more if needed)
  • 2 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed and drained ½ White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe White Puree) ¼ cup oat bran

Directions

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the hash browns, White Bean Puree, and oat bran. Form teaspoon-sized scoops into small balls.


Sneaky Bowling Night Bolognese

Bowling Night Bolognese from the Sneaky Chef

As a busy mom, planning a healthy dinner the whole family will enjoy can be a challenge. Especially with a hectic schedule with work, school, and kids' after school activities and sports. This simple bolognese is perfect for a quick week night meal. Make it even faster by using one of my Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces.

This traditional meat sauce for pasta or lasagna, doctored up with seven sneaky veggies, whole grains, and calcium makes dinner time healthy and delicious. Want to make it ultra lean? Use ground turkey breast instead.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 ounce turkey bacon, cooked and finely chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey (or mix both), cooked and crumbled
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3⁄4 cup Green or Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #3 or Make-Ahead Recipe #2)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1⁄4 cup oat bran
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional extra boost: 1 carrot or celery rib, finely chopped

Directions:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or earthenware pot. Add the onions and cook until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes; add the carrot and celery (if using) and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the turkey bacon and beef (or turkey), stirring to break it up, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat is no longer red. Stir in the garlic, Green or Orange Puree, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, evaporated milk, oat bran, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, add cooked pasta of any shape to the pot of sauce and toss to coat every piece well. Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Now sit down and enjoy a healthy meal around the table with your family and friends. Don't forget to save the leftovers, if there are any, for a healthy lunch alternative at work or school. Healthy moms know best!


Free Recipes: Power Pizza

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Power Pizza

 

Healthy Alternative Power Pizza

 

Nutrition Highlights: Vegetables, beans, calcium, fiber, and protein Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, iron, lycopene, manganese, folate, tryptophan, fiber, protein, and calcium

With uncooked pizza dough on hand, or just some pocketless pita breads, this pizza is quicker to make than calling out for delivery from the local pizza place. And I’m sure Tony’s not sneaking carrots, yams, and beans into his sauce! I mix the healthy purees right into the bottle of store-bought tomato sauce (it looks perfectly normal), then I let the kids do the rest, adding any additional toppings they like. They’ve never once suspected anything in the sauce, especially under that blanket of bubbly cheese. You can even prepare this pizza ahead of time without cooking it, and then refrigerate for a day or two. Simply bake when you’re ready to eat.

Makes 1 large pizza or 4 smaller pizzas

Ingredients:

1 store bought pizza dough or 4 “ Greek style” pocketless pitas (whole wheat preferred)
3/4 cup store-bought tomato sauce* (Like my Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauce or homemade)
3 tablespoons Orange Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe #2)
1/4 cup White Bean Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
1 to 2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional extra boost: sliced mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, or artichoke hearts

*If using Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce, add 1 cup of that sauce and omit the additional Orange Puree.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if using one, or spray a baking sheet with oil. Stretch pizza dough, or roll out with floured rolling pin on floured surface, to form a pie and transfer it to the stone or baking sheet. If using pocketless pitas, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Combine tomato sauce with White Bean and Orange Purees. Mix well. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the sauce mixture across the large pizza dough (use only 1/4 cup of sauce for each pita), then top with about 1 cup of mozzarella (use about 1/2 cup of cheese per pita). Cover and refrigerate at this point, or bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Allow to cool a few minutes, then cut into triangles and serve.

Now serve and enjoy watching your family devour this tastey treat!


Happy Mother's Day

I understand that all any mother of a picky eater wants is peace at the dinner table. With Sneaky recipes you can be sure your kids will love what they are eating while knowing they are getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow big and strong.

Here are some deliciously simple recipes that your husband and kids will be able to "surprise" you with.

Banana Berry Breakfast Crumble (20 minutes / 4 servings)

Dessert for breakfast? Sounds decadent, doesn’t it? Rest assured, this fast, fruity, and fun dish is healthier than it appears. Plus, it cooks itself so it is a perfect recipe for kids and non-cooking husbands.  

Ingredients:

2 instant oatmeal packets, any flavor, sweetened
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 cups frozen mixed berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and/or raspberries), unthawed, no added syrup or sugar
1 banana, sliced
4 teaspoons butter, diced
Optional topping: low-fat vanilla or blueberry yogurt

Directions:

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Spray 4 individual ramekins with oil, or for one large crisp, spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish.

Empty the oatmeal packets into a mixing bowl and mix in the flax. Place about 1⁄2-cup of berries in each individual ramekin, or place all the berries in one baking dish. Add banana slices.

Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly on top of banana and berries, then dot the tops evenly with butter and lightly spray top with cooking spray oil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm, with a dollop of yogurt if desired.  

Tropical Breakfast Ice Cream ( 10 minutes / 2 serviings)

Tropical Breakfast Ice Cream

Yes, you read that right, ice cream for breakfast. The name alone will will send you right back to your childhood and is easy and fun to make for all! Try other frozen fruits for additional flavors.

Your food processor is the only way to puree the frozen fruit without having to add a lot of liquid — and for these small quantities, a three-cup mini food processor works best. These recipes can be quickly converted to a thinner smoothie by adding an extra ½ cup of milk to all the variations below and then mixing them in the blender.

Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup frozen mango, no added syrup or sugar
1⁄2 cup frozen strawberries, no added syrup or sugar
1 banana, peeled and chopped frozen or fresh)
1⁄2 cup low-fat milk
1 to 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
4 wafer ice-cream honey or sugar

Directions:

Fill bowl of food processor with frozen fruit and pulse several times to start the puree. Add banana, milk, and sugar and puree on high until smooth, stopping if needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl and push contents to the bottom. Ice cream will be soft—fill cones to just below the top, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze to further harden (or fill cones and serve immediately).

Hot Apple Pie Parfait (5 minutes / 2 servings)

Hot Apple Pie Parfait

Nothing beats the aroma of apples sautéing in butter and cinnamon on Mother's Day morning, especially if you are not the one cooking it!

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 large apple, cored, and thinly sliced, ideally unpeeled or 1 packet of presliced apples, such as Mott’s®
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice
1⁄2 cup low-fat granola
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
1⁄2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

Directions:

Add butter to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Mix in the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon or spice, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to pan if apple mixture gets too dry.

In parfait or serving glasses, layer granola/flax/wheat germ, yogurt, and apples as desired, and serve. 

Strawberry Short Shake (2 minutes / 2 servings)

Happy Mother's Day

We all love strawberry shortcake, so why not put that flavor in a glass? I hung a mini waffle (the “cake” part) off the side of a tall glass and stuck in a straw for extra flair. 

Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup low-fat milk
1⁄4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup low-fat strawberry yogurt
8 strawberries (about 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen), no added syrup or sweetener
Handful of ice, if not using frozen strawberries
2 whole-grain mini waffles, toasted
Optional: whipped cream and honey or sweetener, to taste

Directions:

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the waffles. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glasses. Make a small cut in each waffle and hang off the side of each glass. Serve with straws and top with a squirt of whipped cream, if desired. Add honey or sweetener to taste, if desired.

I hope you enjoy my Sneaky Mother's Day Recipes. If you happen to try one or more, I would love to hear from you. Please share on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if you have an account, #SneakyChef.

Keep it Sneaky!
Missy Chase Lapine
The Sneaky Chef


Enter to Win The Book!

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Sick of picky eater struggles? Parenting Magazine is giving away copies of The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue.

Go To Parenting Magazine's web page for your chance to win!

More >


I am so excited that my third book, The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue,
has just hit the (virtual) shelves! Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com
have it available for immediate shipment, and the bricks and mortar
stores will be unpacking their boxes and getting them out on
display day by day!

Plus, the Associated Press just did a great article on the book.
You can read it here: Cookbook Author Up to Her Old Sneaky Tricks
Again!


As every author will attest, it feels great to have the product of
so much hard work finally be out there in the public. People start using the recipes and as the feedback starts to pour in, there's a feeling that you can finally relax
and let the food processor cool down a little. But then... the
ideas for the next book are already percolating!

Can't wait to hear from you all!

In the best of health,

Missy : )


The New York Time's Dining and Wine Section had an interesting article on the Obamas this week. Seems they're as into healthy food as we are! It's bound to have a positive affect on the nutritional awareness of  Americans, and even the world.

In a speech at the Department of Agriculture last month, Mrs. Obama described herself as “a big believer” in community gardens that provide “fresh fruits and vegetables for so many communities across this nation and world.”

The White House Chef tried sautéed spinach with olive oil and shallots, whipped into a purée. But Mrs. Obama conceded, the dish was not a hit with Sasha. No matter what you do, she said ruefully, “sometimes kids are like, ‘It’s green!’ ” Gotta' try sneaking it in, Michelle! A little green purée goes a long way :)


Book Giveaway!

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Parenting Magazine is currently giving away 10 copies of my newest book, The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. Go to Parenting Magazine's web page to enter for your chance to win!

Good Luck!


A Fan for Many Reasons

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Dear Sneaky Chef,

Recently we made a temporary move from San Diego to the Sedona area (also known as 'the sticks') to care for my mother-in-law who has stage 4 liver cancer.  I am now cooking for 2 toddlers, one of which is very picky, my husband (who likes all of 2 vegetables), and a chemo patient who would rather eat doughnuts.  And then I found The Sneaky Chef (just now I was trying to find a Sneaky Chef page on FB to become a fan).

A  HUGE thank you.  You've just made my life considerably easier.

–A Fan for Many Reasons


Obama was referring to a simple restaurant in Chicago where they still make everything from scratch–delicious wholesome fare, at a fair price.

He is a man after my own heart. Every recipe I’ve developed for The Sneaky Chef has to pass three tests before it goes to print: first, it has to be delicious, second, it has to be packed with nutrition, and last but not least, it has to be made from accessible, real life, practical ingredients you can easily find and easily afford.

All three have to work together successfully if you’re going to feel really good about what you’re eating. A meal like this will give you the kind of deep down, lasting satisfaction that you feel all day long.

So, first, delicious. Either you really like it, or you’ll just be trying to convince yourself with every bite. If it doesn’t pass the taste test, it’s not going to be something that you’ll choose to make again.

Second, real nutrition. Our bodies and our energy levels never lie. It takes just one time to experience the difference between, say, how my Brainy Brownies (with hidden spinach and blueberries) leave you feeling, or your kids behaving, and the effect that regular brownies have.

Finally, real life ingredients you can use daily. If you have to travel to three specialty stores all over town to round up a bunch of exotic ingredients, it’s just not practical and certainly not economical. Compare that to the feeling of satisfaction you get when you can suddenly create all new nutrition-packed meals from the same store you always shop at, only now with a new eye for what you can put together quickly and easily.

At the end of the day, you’ll have made delicious, nutritious meals from readily available ingredients that leave you and your family feeling great for all the right reasons. It’s awesome having a foodie in the White House ☺


Fun Valentine's Day Recipes

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I love Valentine’s Day. It provides a great excuse to shower my husband (and my kids) with their favorite treats and surprises, and of course, lots more hugs all around :)

This year is going to be a little more challenging, though–I’ll be away on the 14th for a speaking engagement, so we have to postpone Valentine’s by one day. Postponing Valentine’s Day is not exactly the most romantic thing a person can do, but I know we’ll have lots of fun and more than make up for the short delay.

On Sunday morning, I’m planning to start the day by serving the girls and Rick a sweet and delicious Valentine’s Day red smoothie (see recipes below) from my men’s book.  Not only are these smoothies fun for the holiday, but they’re loaded with energy-boosting vitamins and nutrients that’ll give us energy for some fun outdoor activities now that the weather’s warmed up a bit.

Rick loves Sneaky Chef crab cakes (see recipes below), so I’m planning to make those for Valentine’s dinner.  They’re a yummy and low-cal way to sneak in some whole grains from the crunchy wheat germ coating and heart-healthy omega-3’s from the crab meat.  I have to run over to Costco today to get those large cans of top-rate lump crab at an affordable price!

So here’s to a healthy and happy Valentine’s Day for all of you!  Cheers!

Missy

Sneaky Chef Valentine’s Day Red Smoothie:
 
Makes 2 servings
1 cup frozen cherries, without syrup or added sweeteners
1 cup frozen strawberries, without syrup or added sweeteners
½ cup pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons sugar
 
In the container of a blender, combine the cherries, strawberries, pomegranate juice, and sugar, and pulse until smooth (add more juice if needed). Serve in a tall glass with a straw.
 
 
Sneaky Chef Concealed Crab Cakes
 
Makes 8 crab cakes
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 egg white
1⁄4 cup White Bean Puree http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_recipe_white_bean_puree.php
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1⁄3 plus 1⁄3 cup wheat germ
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained
Optional extra boost: handful of chopped green onions, celery, and/or bell peppers
 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
 
In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg white, then mix in the White Bean Puree, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay, 1⁄3 cup of the wheat germ, a few grinds of pepper, and the crabmeat.
Pour the remaining 1⁄3 cup of wheat germ on a plate. Scoop about 1⁄3 cup of crab mixture and form it into a fairly thick cake. Dredge the cakes in the wheat germ, fully covering all sides of the cake, and place the crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crab mixture. Spray the top side of the cakes with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, spray oil on the tops of the cakes, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.
 
 


Just Sent This to Michelle Obama

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Dear Michelle,

I wasn’t at the inauguration, but joined the millions at home who were deeply touched. I haven’t felt so much hope—and determination to do my part—in my entire life.

I have two daughters the same age as yours, so I was also happy to hear kind words addressed to Malia and Sasha during the ceremonies. Emily, Sammy and I have had some fun conversations imagining what they would do if they were transitioning to the White House! Exploring for secret passages tops the list at this point.

As the author of three Sneaky Chef recipe books, I was interested to hear that more people clicked on the recipe link for the inaugural luncheon than any other link on the inaugural website! Who can resist a good recipe? Which brings me to why I’m writing this: I’d like to share a recipe with you—or your cook-- that has been a hit with my fans. “Brainy Brownies” is the real deal: yummy, chocolaty treats. They also have a hidden purple puree that stars two nutrition superstars : blueberries and spinach!

I can guarantee that your daughters won’t detect the sneaky twist, and I’m willing to bet you’ll notice the benefits of eating a healthy, non-sugary snack. In fact, while I came up with this recipe for children, it has been just as popular with adults who need a goody that sustains energy and isn’t caloric. May I even suggest that both you and the President, with your figurative plates so full, might enjoy and benefit!

Please accept my deepest respect for what your entire family—including your mother—is willing to do for our nation. And enjoy the brownies for what they are: a delicious treat that makes life in America even sweeter and healthier.

With healthiest regards for you, your family, and all Americans,

Missy


How to Stock Your Pantry

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Rarely do I see information that is as useful as "The Minimalist" article that was posted on the front page of the New York Times Dining Section the other day. It lists fantastic healthy and tasty alternatives to so many of the canned, boxed and dried items that often clog up our pantries for months on end.

If you haven't seen it, here's the link: www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/dining/07mini.html

It's got great, healthy substitutions for everything from bread crumbs and salad dressings to vanilla extract and canned vegetables.

Mark Bittman must have been working on this article for months in order to pull together such a great list of easy, practical and economical information. Anyone who cooks should take a minute to read through this artcile. The recommendations it contains will save you time, money, and most of all, enhance the quality and nutrition of almost any dish you make.

Thanks for the great work, Mark!


Gratitude at Year End

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As we wind down the first half of the school year, the kids are both home with the sniffles. I’m pampering them with high C treats, and I know they’ll be in high spirits for the holidays.



The fast-approaching new year makes me look back at an extraordinary 2008. Personally, I was soaring with the sneaky chef, and lots of happy home time. But what about that last quarter, that economic bruiser out of the blue? Well, here we all are...



In our house, the upside is that we find ourselves more grateful for everything in our lives on a daily basis now. We don't take things for granted like we used to. And we’ve decided to get more creative with gifts this year. It's far more than just bargain hunting. It's about making something truly meaningful from what's readily available.



I can't help but use a kitchen analogy here. Have you ever noticed how some of your greatest creations come about when you have to improvise a little bit on recipe? Maybe you’re missing an ingredient or don’t have enough of something. The recipe becomes a guide to your creation. Without it, you couldn’t have even started. But in the end, it becomes your own. There's a unique creativity that emerges. And that's where the flavor is.



While I’m still in “kitchen mode,” let me add this: I have to admit that I get completely warm and fuzzy when I think about all of the families who have invited me to join them for meals and snacks on a daily basis this past year. I am truly humbled and honored. Thank you! I'm also excited that Tyler Florence has agreed to write the forward for my next book, due out in April.  I'm finishing up the final proofreading and retesting recipes for about the sixth time! There's a media tour scheduled for April, so I'm trying to lose 5 lbs now, at the worst time of the year. But I figure this year, I'm going to outsmart the holidays in more ways than one ; )
 


The Making of Book 3

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I've been in New York for the past two weeks doing food photography for book #3 in the Sneaky Chef series, Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. (It's not even out for pre-order yet, but should be available in the next couple of months).

The photography of the recipes is a fascinating process. First, we actually have to make every single recipe from scratch, exactly like readers will make out of the book. All of the ingredients are identical to what's in each recipe.

There's a restaurant kitchen right inside the photo studio. Once the dish is ready, I work with a professional "food stylist" to arrange each recipe into it's own "story." To create a pic nic, for example, we have to gather a wicker basket, a plaid blanket, some colored plastic plates and glasses, etc. For other scenes, like chile cooking on the stove, we show the chile in a cast iron pot with other interesting rustic wooden service utensils and country style props in the background, slightly out of focus.

The lighting and arrangement of the whole scene is then perfected by the photographer and he takes a myriad of shots that we'll all sit around and pour through later to select the best one. The effect is what you see on the pages of magazines and in professionally done cookbooks like The Sneaky Chef. It gives the shot depth and feeling. A plain photograph of the recipe just wouldn't be nearly as interesting or inspiring to the reader.

So the next time you're looking at a beautiful photograph of sneakily fortified birthday cake with a piece cut out to reveal the delicious layers within, and all of the party favors in the room all around, just slightly out of focus, you'll be able to see behind the scene and appreciate each shot is its own work of art : )


The Sneaky Chef is available at fine booksellers everywhere: