A Mother’s Day Recipe for Peanut Butter Crepes with Strawberry Sauce … and a Sneak Peek at my Recent Trip to Napa
I’ve never made crepes before—at least not that I can remember—but they’re super easy to make, even if you’re a kid with a dad hovering over your shoulder. These peanut-butter filled crepes are the perfect breakfast-in-bed treat for Mother’s Day … and they’re healthy too! All YOU have to do is copy the recipe and pass it along to your family. HINT HINT!
Many of the crepe recipes I’ve seen are made with lots of butter (yes, I used some, but not much, and I used “light”), filled with all sorts of decadent cream cheese-laden ingredients, and topped with whipped cream. My crepes are a lot lighter, which is something I know you moms will appreciate. They provide a nice helping of protein thanks to the heart-healthy peanut butter and the Greek yogurt, and they’re filled with vitamin C from the strawberries. Plus … they are gorgeous to look at.
The motivation for making crepes was twofold: First, it’s Mother’s Day, and when we asked our Facebook fans what they would love as a breakfast-in-bed surprise for Sunday, crepes topped the list (along with waffles). Second, last weekend, I traveled to Napa, CA for a food and nutrition conference sponsored by the Peanut Institute. We spent some time at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where a peanut butter crepe recipe was demonstrated. My recipe is a version of that one.
This is the view from my window as we flew towards California. A feast for the eyes!
A chef at the CIA demonstrated an interesting technique for making crepes. She suggested blending the crepe batter ingredients—a quick way to get everything incorporated—and said the key to crepe success is a nonstick pan. You can certainly use a lot less butter that way.
Peanut Butter Crepes with Strawberry Topping
Makes 6 Servings
Peanuts are one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods. Hmmm … where to begin? They contain vitamin E, which research shows boosts the immune system and lowers heart disease risk. They also contain more arginine (an amino acid) than any other food; arginine improves circulation and may help to lower blood pressure. And studies indicate that when people include peanuts and peanut butter in their daily diets they have lower BMIs and body weight. The nutrient analysis for this recipe is per crepe, and I suggest you serve it with lots of fresh, sliced strawberries on the side. (Recipe adapted from the Culinary Institute of America.)
- One 12-ounce bag frozen organic strawberries (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch, divided
- 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 1 large egg (preferably an omega-3 egg)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light butter, melted, divided
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 3/4 cup 0%-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
- Sliced fresh strawberries for topping, optional
- Powdered sugar, optional
1. Place the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and a pinch of the salt, in a small or medium saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook at a low boil, stirring every few minutes, until the berries break down and the mixture is nice and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. To speed things up, use the back of a spoon to smoosh the berries against the side of the saucepan as you stir.
2. Remove the berries from the heat and transfer to a bowl (you’ll have about 1 cup of sauce). Let cool to room temperature, or cover and place in the refrigerator for later use.
3. To make the crepes, place the milk, egg, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a blender and blend until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush the pan with a bit of the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Place a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl to form an even layer. Cook until the bottom is lightly browned, 60 to 90 seconds. Use a spatula to flip the crepe and cook an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter. (You can make the crepes ahead of time, cover, and place in the fridge. Before assembly, simply heat each crepe for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
5. To assemble, spread 2 teaspoons peanut butter on each warm crepe. Spread on about 1 tablespoon of the strawberry sauce. Fold the crepes in half and then in half again to create a triangle. Top or serve with Greek yogurt, the remaining strawberry sauce, and sliced berries and powdered sugar as desired.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 crepe): 200 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 150mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 9g protein, 40% vitamin C
Post a comment and let me know what you had for Mother’s Day!
Disclosure: I do not work for the Peanut Institute, but my travel expenses associated with the conference were paid for. All opinions and recipes are mine and the scientific research addressed in this post is based on peer-reviewed, published studies.
Most of us would probably entertain more often if someone else did the food shopping for us and then stopped by to prepare, serve, and clean up the mess! It takes hours to plan and implement a spectacular dinner party … hours most of us don’t have in our busy lives. As much as I love to cook and entertain, which I do fairly often, it was great to recently host a dinner party for local foodies on behalf of the Tri-Lamb Group AND have it catered by Miss Fork, a boutique catering company in Stoneham, MA.
Chef Julie served up samples of my Barbecue Lamb Sliders which one guest declared as, “mad good.” I’m a big fan of lamb not only because of the flavor and the fact that it’s nutrient rich, but it’s also surprisingly lean (especially the leg, loin, and rack) with an average 3-ounce serving containing only 175 calories.
Every item on the menu was inspiring, but the Armenian Lamb Kufta and the Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops with Quinoa Salad were show stoppers!
Liz certainly enjoyed the Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops with Quinoa Salad!
Boston-area food bloggers were invited to the dinner including Shannon from Tri to Cook, Christine from America’s Test Kitchen, Kathy from Kathy Can Cook, Pam from Cave Cibum, and Rachel from Fork it Over Boston.
Fellow RD and author Carolyn O’Neil (on the left) was in town from Atlanta to receive the Nutrition Science Media Award for 2013 from the American Society for Nutrition, so I was thrilled that she was able to join us. Here she is along with Allison Beadle from the PR firm Salt & Co.
If these lamb kabobs have you yearning for more, be sure to try my Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs. Stay tuned for my Barbecue Lamb Slider recipe on the blog in the coming days…
Disclosure: Janice was compensated for recipe development and media work by the Tri-Lamb Group
Kitchen Makeover Update: I Host an Open House for the Contractors and Builders Who Worked on the Project
My kitchen makeover took six months to complete, but do you know how many people it took to make it happen? The answer: A lot! It took a village to make my dream kitchen a reality … from the architect, excavators, framers, roofers, and siders to the countertop/appliance/cabinet suppliers, plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters, and general contractors. To thank everyone for their hard work and commitment, I invited them to an open house in my new kitchen last weekend.
A few of the key people who helped with the kitchen makeover are Randy from Sears/Kenmore, Paul from Paul John & Son Roofing, Dave the tile guy, Billy the plumber, Tom the general contractor, Alberto and Jorge from Paul’s Professional Painting, and Tom #2 (Tom’s sidekick), the guy with the colander on his head!
I made two slow cookers full of our Pulled Pork Primavera Sandwiches, and they were devoured. You may recognize Tashia, one of our past Boston University interns, who came early to help me organize the pantry and then helped shred the pork.
Randy, the awesome Sears sales associate who helped me pick out my Kenmore appliances, was impressed with the double oven.
In addition to the builders, I invited my many neighbors who endured months of trucks on the street, our messy yard, and construction noise. There were 52 people who showed up, and it never felt crowded in the space!
My kitchen makeover would not have happened without these two guys: Tom Moylan and Tom Roy. They were fixtures at my house for six months. Some days I miss seeing them, but most of the time I’m glad they have moved on so I can cook and entertain in my new kitchen!
My parents have hosted every major holiday since I was born … and well before that too. They’re the ultimate entertainers, and they throw a party like no one else I know. Mom sets her game plan weeks in advance, and she and Dad set their beautiful dining room table days before their doorbell rings … and rings … and rings.
Mom and Dad on Easter 2012. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t make it to Easter dinner this year due to a medical issue. Luckily, we live close by so we were able to send over a nice plate of food — (lamb and asparagus are two of his favorite foods) — and we called him a few times throughout the day to cheer him up.
All this holiday entertaining doesn’t happen without a lot of effort on my parents’ part, so I decided it was high time I stepped up to welcome my family here for Easter. After all, I have the space now in my new kitchen, and I have a brand, spanking new Kenmore double oven, which makes cooking for a crowd so much easier than life before my Kitchen Makeover.
We fit twelve people easily around my new Pompanoosuc Mills extension table, and Don and I could have fit two more on the ends if we needed to.
I made a lovely raisin sauce to go with our ham that I adapted from a Farmland Foods recipe I found online. I cut back a bit on the butter and sugar and used cornstarch instead of flour, and it was very tasty. (Yes, I did use a bit of rum.)
One of the highlights this year: My brother Jeff brought a whole leg of lamb that he cooked in his new smoker. The flavor was amazing.
Scalloped Potatoes, Maple Glazed Carrots, Grilled Asparagus, Smoked Leg of Lamb, and Honey Baked Ham were on the menu at Chez Bissex this Easter.
In addition to family, holidays are about friends, and I was delighted that Nancy (right) stopped by for Easter dessert and Shirley (left) invited me over to her house the day before Easter to try her family’s awesome pizzagaina (a traditional Italian dish made with eggs, meat, and cheese).
It wouldn’t be Easter dinner without the “Lamby Cake” that our family friend Lucy makes every year. Gotta love our holiday traditions!
I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of my two girls. Leah was so happy when her big sister, Carolyn, came home to celebrate the holiday.
The second Passover seder is tonight, though I must admit that I celebrated the holiday early this year. Over the weekend, we visited my family in Connecticut where we sat down to my mom’s best-in-the-world matzo ball soup and my niece’s hardest-in-the-world-to-find afikomen. I made two vegetable side dishes for the meal: Roasted Fennel and Carrots with Pecorino from the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentis and a Sweet Potato and Apple Kugel from Martha Rose Shulman of the New York Times. Now that I’m back home, I thought it would be fun to treat my immediate family to a new recipe tonight for Mushroom Matzo Kugel.
Fresh herbs can turn a simple side dish into something sensational!
Use regular or whole wheat matzo. If you can’t find cremini at your local market, use portobello or button mushrooms.
Mushroom Matzo Kugel
Makes 12 Servings
Kugels are often sweet, but once in a while, I like to cook up something more savory for Passover. This kugel is made with matzo — use whole wheat if you can find it at the market — and lots of chopped up vegetables. The herbs add a flavor punch and look lovely as a garnish.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 medium carrots, shredded on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 10 matzos, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cups all-natural vegetable broth
- 4 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release their liquid and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme.
3. While the vegetables are cooking, place the matzos in a large bowl. Add the broth and stir to combine. Stir every minute or 2 until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the matzo mixture to the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the eggs. Transfer the matzo mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, until set, about 45 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if the top of the kugel begins to brown too much. Garnish with additional parsley and thyme.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 180 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 220mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g protein, 40% vitamin A
My sister, Amy, hosted Passover this year. We had my mom’s matzo ball soup, and Josh, who is turning 18 in less than a month, ate us out of house and home. (See plate piled high with kugel, mashed potatoes, brisket, green beans, and salmon!)
Josh, Tim, and Uncle John on the left / John, Simon, and Cousin Andrea on the right. (Hey, I just noticed the cell phones on the table. Those teens better not have been texting…)
Wishing everyone who celebrates a happy and healthy Passover.
Many of you know that Don and I have been working on a major kitchen renovation for the past six months. My mom, whose spectacular cooking and entertaining skills have inspired me to do what I do, turned 80 as our project was winding down. My siblings and I had talked about a surprise birthday party for Mom, but the challenge was that she hates surprise parties! So, we decided to compromise — we didn’t invite a gaggle of friends — by hosting a low-key surprise dinner party in my new kitchen with just us “kids” and Dad. Don served as bartender, photographer, and host, but otherwise it was just the seven of us.
Diane, Denise, Mom, Dad, me, Lori, and Jeff celebrate Mom’s birthday in style. Diane and Lori live on the west coast, so it’s always a special occasion when we are all together.
My beautiful Pompanoosuc Mills table had not yet arrived, so we brought our coffee table into the kitchen dining area and ate there! Smoked salmon and spanakopita held everyone over until dinner was ready.
We chose a menu that we could eat on our laps and that didn’t require cutting. Asparagus risotto happens to be my Dad’s specialty, so he and I cooked it together. Don grilled chicken breast halves and sliced them thin so they were easy to manage. It was a thrill to cook on our big Silestone island, look out, and still be part of the party.
Check out Dad seasoning the risotto with kosher salt and my sister Diane sneaking more butter into my gorgeous Le Creuset French Oven. Don’t think I didn’t see you Diane!
Don snapped a shot as I roasted asparagus in my new Kenmore double oven. Stay tuned for an upcoming Cooking with the Moms podcast with more details on the kitchen renovation and the materials Don and I chose for the project.
Here is a sneak preview of my new kitchen. Come visit and cook with us!
Cooking Classes at the Culinary Institute of America … And a Recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote
Any time I can go to Napa Valley — for business or for pleasure — I jump at the opportunity. When the Food & Culinary Professionals (a sub group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) announced plans for a culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute of America, I think I was the first dietitian to sign up! On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, I share the delicious details from my trip, and I serve up two new recipes: this one for Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote and another one for gluten-free quinoa guacamole.
This olive oil cake may seem rich and decadent, but according to a new study on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, eating EVOO every day can help to protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The Culinary Institute of America has amazing facilities for classes with tiered seating and video screens. Hmmmm. And I thought the big island in my new kitchen was impressive!
What fun to start the day with an extra virgin olive oil (AKA fresh fruit juice) tasting. Heat and light are enemies of EVOO, so be sure to always store it in a cool, dark place.
The sweetness of the blueberry compote adds a luscious, family-pleasing flavor element to this awesome dessert.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote
Makes 12 Servings
I ate lemon cake like this one at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and it was so delicious that knew I wanted to make it when I got home. When I looked at the recipe and saw 2 cups of sugar, 1½ cups of oil, and all white flour, I felt a mini makeover was in order, so I cut the oil and sugar in half and replaced half the white flour with whole wheat flour. I also created a blueberry compote for an added burst of great nutrition. To make this cake even prettier, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter and set aside. (If you don’t have a springform pan, use a 10-inch cake pan and cook about 5 to 10 minutes less.)
2. Whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, yogurt, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and slowly add the liquid ingredients, stirring until just combined and lumps are gone. (You may need to use a rubber scraper to smoosh the lumps against the sides of the bowl.) Do not overmix.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just pulling away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake to a serving platter.
5. To make the blueberry compote, place the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside. Place the blueberries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, add the cornstarch mixture, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
6. Serve each cake slice with the compote, and sprinkle with powdered sugar as desired.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 slice with 1½ tablespoons compote): 320 calories, 16g fat (2.5g saturated), 200mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein, 10% calcium
In the “before” recipe, each slice has 500 calories, 30 grams total fat, 5 grams saturated fat, and 55 grams carbohydrate.
Every time I go to a culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute at Greystone in Napa Valley, I want to stay forever. It’s a food lover’s paradise
Most people come home from vacation with a snow globe, a piece of local art, or even a few seashells. The souvenir I nabbed on our recent family vacation to Amelia Island, Florida, however, was this gorgeous antique plate. I’m a pushover when it comes to pretty blue dishware, so I couldn’t resist nabbing this beauty from a local antique shop on the island.
Amelia Island is located in northeast Florida. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the Jacksonville airport, so it’s easy to get to. The island is close to Georgia, so being on Amelia brought back memories from my years living in Atlanta. The trees drip with Spanish moss, the beach-side sand dunes rise as high as 60 feet (see my photo below for NaNa, the tallest dune in Florida), and the island’s historic district of Fernandina Beach dates back to 1811.
During our vacation, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, which was just a boardwalk away from the beach. Tim and the boys spent a lot of time on the golf course … while me and my shadow spent hours walking along the lovely beach.
The inland marshes in the area are ideal for long kayak adventures. Tim and I paddled around in this two-man kayak one sunny afternoon while our boys hung back with their fishing rods, eager to snag a local fish. (They were skunked on this day but managed to catch and release a couple of fish at the beach.)
A few words on the food ….
The Ritz offered an all-you-can buffet each morning with everything from sausages and grits to lox and cream cheese with bagels. After recording our podcast with Danielle Nierenberg from Food Tank, I decided to go for the à la carte menu and helped myself to a simple yet filling bowl of oatmeal each morning. I’m trying to reduce my personal food waste, which is why I kept my morning meal minimal. The hotel offered up plenty of beautiful berries, dried fruits, and local honey from their very own bees.
The Ritz Carlton is home to Salt, a restaurant that boasts contemporary American cuisine. The menu reflects what’s grown and caught locally, and dozens of natural and infused salts are served with the meal and as accents to the meal. For example, I ordered the Local Flounder with Gnocchi, Spinach, Piquillo Pepper, and Grapefruit, and it was served with Adriatic Citrus Salt.
Executive Chef Rick Laughlin serves up one creative menu. Tim and I loved our meal which included Key West Pink Prawns with Grits, Green Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic, the Local Flounder, and Dark Chocolate Souffle with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and White Chocolate Cream Anglaise for dessert. We also had Florida Snapper with Calypso beans, Clams, Braised Kale, and Rouille and the Grilled Romaine Salad. And yes, I was full after the meal
My favorite place to walk during our time on Amelia was American Beach, home to NaNa, the tallest dune in Florida. The American Beach community was established in 1935 during segregation when black citizens were not allowed on other area beaches. Today, the area and its majestic dune are protected.
Okay. So maybe it was a wee bit cold during our trip. But hey … we’re hearty New Englanders so we handled it well. All in all, it was a great trip of fine food, fun adventures, and lots of outdoor fitness.
I spent a few glorious days in Napa Valley recently for the Food & Culinary Professionals‘ culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute of America. Wow, that’s a lot of culinary in one sentence, and I certainly experienced a lot of culinary magic during my time there. In an upcoming Cooking with the Moms podcast, I’ll be talking about my trip, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few tidbits and a fabulous recipe that I sampled.
One highlight of the workshop was a visit to the new studio kitchen of Cheryl Forberg, RD (dietitian for The Biggest Loser TV show) where I sampled this High-Pro Guaco from her latest book, Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies.
I had seen Cheryl’s kitchen a couple of years ago when construction began, and it was amazing to see the finished product. Having just completed a six-month renovation of my own kitchen, it was great fun to compare notes! Just when I thought I had a big kitchen suitable for videos and cooking demos, Cheryl’s kitchen knocks it out of the park; it seats an impressive 50 people. What an amazing place to cook.
Makes 3 Cups
You can serve this as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a side dish or lunch. I sampled this gluten free, quinoa-filled guacamole at Cheryl’s house, and I was delighted when she packed up a container for me to take on the airplane ride back to Boston.
- 1 cup cooked black quinoa
- 3 ripe Haas avocados
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup drained, diced canned fire-roasted tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree*
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1. If you don’t have cooked quinoa on hand, cook the quinoa according to package directions and set it aside to cool.
2. Halve, seed, and peel the avocados; then dice them into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the diced avocado and the lime juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combing the fire-roasted (or fresh) tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, Chipotle Puree, and salt. Mix well.
4. Add the tomato mixture and the cooked quinoa to the avocado cubes. Toss gently and serve immediately with corn chips.
*To make the Chipotle Puree, puree one 7-ounce can chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce with 1/4 cup water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store leftover puree in the refrigerator for up to a month and use a teaspoon or two to spice up your recipes.
Nutrition Information per Serving (2 tablespoons): 46 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated), 55mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 1g protein
Here I am taking a picture of Cheryl’s flock of chickens, known as the ”girls.” I’m a little jealous of Cheryl’s relaxed life in the beautiful countryside of Napa Valley. On my final night of the trip, I stayed with Cheryl and savored a fresh, hard-cooked egg for breakfast, courtesy of one of these lovely ladies.
Here is what you might eat if you spent the night at the home of the dietitian for The Biggest Loser TV show: quinoa breakfast cereal with nuts, a locally-grown kiwi, a fresh hard-cooked egg, and a steaming cup of cappuccino. I can’t wait for my next trip!