Low-fat, low-cal crunchy cucumber salsa recipe

chopped-cucumbersWe are fortunate to have an abundance of local farmers markets in our area. Plus, our tomatoes and peppers are finally coming in and we’re enjoying homegrown produce at home. We didn’t grow any cucumbers this year, though, so I need to hit the farmers market for some! I ran across this on Facebook and tried to pin it on Pinterest, but it limits descriptions to 500 characters. Also, the poster on Facebook linked to some spammy weight loss products site, so I don’t want to point anything in that direction. My guess is she copied it from somewhere else, too.

So, I’m putting it here for myself and for you readers. This sounds delicious!

Crunchy Cucumber Salsa

Only 16 calories per 1/4 cup.

First Combine:

2 cups finely chopped, seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped, seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed


Then combine:

1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp seasoned salt

In a bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumber mixture, toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Easy peasy! Don’t be intimidated by cooking. It’s really not difficult to make healthy, delicious salsas. If you’re unsure of how to chop or mince ingredients, check out YouTube and search for how to chop vegetables. For instance, this series featuring Norman Weinstein is great!

Make sure your knives are sharp – that’s the biggie. A sharper knife is a safer knife, plus it will do its job better.

If you have a food processor, here’s some help on how to chop veggies in a food processor:

If you have some tips or techniques to share, post them in the comments below!

Oh, the difference a hyphen can make

I received recipe newsletter from the Just A Pinch yesterday, the subject of which said Man Catching Fried Chicken. The recipe’s here.

Man Catching Fried Chicken Recipe

What the recipe was called: Man Catching Fried Chicken

When I read the subject line, I knew what the recipe’s submitter was trying to say when she titled it. This is a place where one tiny hyphen would have made a difference in the literal interpretation of the phrase. This is what immediately popped into my mind:

Doodle of man catching a bucket of KFC fried chicken.

What I saw in my mind: Man catching fried chicken.

Actually, my mental image was better, but I don’t have the drawing skills to reproduce what’s in my mind’s eye!

When two or more words modify the noun that come after them, there should be a hyphen in between them (see Compound Modifiers).

Man-catching fried chicken implies, “This fried chicken is so good, it’s sure to catch you a man”. However, without that hyphen, the phrase means this: (The) man (is) catching fried chicken. The words in parentheses are assumed.

Applesauce Whole Wheat Bread

I got this recipe from a Google search that led to fooddownunder.com, a website that’s no longer in existence. Fortunately, Google had a cached copy, so I copied it!

Applesauce Whole Wheat Bread
For the bread machine.

1 1/2 cup Applesauce
1 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Oatmeal (grind to coarse flour first)
1/4 cup Wheat Germ
1/4 cup Oat bran
2 tsp Gluten
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger (optional)
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Yeast

The combination of oatmeal, wheat germ and applesauce is deadly!

Add the solid and liquid ingredients and the yeast in order according to the machine’s manufacturer*. Be on hand to observe the first mixing cycle and add flour or water as needed as the moisture content of applesauce varies dramatically from batch to batch. Because of the applesauce this bread needs no sugar or butter/oil.

*Most bread machines call for you to first add the liquid ingredients, then your dry ingredients, and wait until last to add the yeast. My Oster 5838 breadmaker’s instruction book says not to let the yeast come in contact with the liquid ingredients. I’d imagine most of them are the same way. If in doubt, search for your brand and model and you may find the manual available in PDF format online like I found mine.

I like that this recipe doesn’t call for any fats like butter or oil. I use olive oil in my bread, but cutting out the fat sounds like a winner to me. Plus the applesauce ought to make it a sweeter wheat bread. Sweet is good in my book!

Okay, now for my tweaks to this recipe. I didn’t have any oat bran, so I substituted Kellogg’s All Bran cereal that I ground into a coarse flour like I did the oatmeal. I know it’s not the same, but you make do sometimes! Additionally, I used KAF white whole wheat exclusively rather than using part all-purpose flour. Lastly, I opted for fresh grated ginger since I keep a tuber of it my freezer.

You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the dough ball as it mixes and goes through its first knead. I had to add a little flour because the dough was too sticky.

I used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper to grind up the oats and cereal. I’d really like a small food processor like this kind. That and a cheap blade coffee grinder just to use for grinding herbs.

I’m going to have to replace my big food processor before too long; the bowl has a crack in it and the chopping blade housing has some cracks forming, too. I tell ya, these small appliances are a not just conveniences, but a godsend and I use them! Since I have tendinitis in my hands and wrists, doing a lot of prep work by hand can cause flare-ups. The food chopper works well, but pounding on the thing isn’t something I need to be doing.

Okay, so back to the bread! It’s still in my bread machine, now in its second kneading cycle. I’ll update this post with the results. If it’s good, I’ll take it to home group tonight to share.

UPDATE: The bread turned out well. Owing to the sugar in the applesauce and my decision to use the medium crust setting, it browned more than other breads I’ve made; however, the crust wasn’t overly crusty and the bread is still tender inside. You can taste the apple, but it’s not overpowering. The white whole wheat gives it a wheat taste, but a mild one. Howie and I both like it, so I’ll make it again. I never got a photo of it – next time I make it, I will.

I ended up going to bed instead of home group because I had a terrible headache. After 3 hours’ sleep, my head felt better. I awoke to find Howie bringing home a care package from group – a bag with some mini chocolate eclairs and mini banana muffins. Oh, my! If you must have a headache, having some love sent in the form of sweet treats helps. 🙂

Coffee week at Dave’s Garden

WARNING: Do not read this post after 2:00pm or you may not sleep well tonight!

Recently, the writers at Dave’s Garden percolated and came up with these coffee-related articles . Enjoy!

September 22:
The Truth about Chicory
by Sharon Brown

We first tried coffee with chicory in 2001, when we met our friend Lisa. She loves Community Coffee with Chicory. We’ve never become fans of the taste, but many people love that unique flavor. It also has less caffeine since it’s cut with chicory.

September 23:
Save your money: Delicious cups of wonder from the world of COFFEE
by April Campbell

I don’t want to pay out the nose for coffee treats, either, and this article gave me some ideas that will be especially nice come holiday time when we entertain. Most are too fattening to enjoy regularly here.

September 24:
Coffee tasting on the Big Island of Hawaii
by Jill M. Nicolaus

I tried Kona Coffee for the first time last year, when a customer brought some in for us to grind for him at the store. He’d been to Hawaii and visited the plantation and brought some home. He gave us enough to make a batch French pressed. It was sweet, smooth and delicious! I can see why people rave about it, but I can’t see us spending that much on coffee beans.

September 25:
Happy, Hunting Grounds
by Jeremy Wayne Lucas

I wish Caribou Coffee would offer a grounds recycling program like Charbucks Starbucks does. Several times this summer, I brought grounds home when I worked, but there is nothing in place for customers. I am not a Starbucks fan as far as their coffee goes, but they’re doing a good thing in their “Grounds for your garden” service.

September 26:
Cowboy coffee: Keeping it real
by Summer Walla

I do not like percolated coffee, but when you’re camping even the nastiest coffee tastes pretty good first thing in the morning.

September 27:
Bird Lovers, Wake Up and Smell the Shade Coffee!
by Marna Towne

Many people have never seen what coffee looks like before its beans are dried and roasted. This article is a nice overview of how coffee is grown.

September 28:
Diana’s Anise Biscotti
by Diana Wind

I so love crunchy biscotti! We even have bronze fennel growing in our birdfeeder bed, but have I harvested it for use in cooking? I need to! Diana’s directions are so clear, I think I could manage this recipe.

So, there you go. There’s plenty of good coffee reading for you, so grab a cuppa Joe and settle in for some armchair traveling (and drooling).

Cinco de Mayo

“This? Why, this is The Yumminess, dear!”, she said immodestly.

Yes, it’s time for the yearly Cinco de Mayo party at our friends’ house, and I’ve made The Yumminess, my mango salsa. Howie took half of the batch and added the three minced Habanero and four minced Jalapeno peppers I’d prepared for him. My fingers are still burning, and I even used my Pampered Chef food chopper!
See Cinco de Mayo at Flickr.