Monthly Archives: January 2015

Healthy Midway Food?



When it comes to junk food, nothing beats the midway. Whether it’s a fair, festival, or amusement park, I’m captivated by the aromas of fried corn dogs, funnel cakes, sausages, and wonderful Philly cheese steak sandwiches. Unfortunately, nothing beats the fat, sodium, and calorie counts of these foods. So I set out to lighten them up in my kitchen.

I’m happy to report success with my first midway meal. In about 30 minutes, I had a yummy version of fair food. All I needed was a well-seasoned cast iron skillet to make it happen.

First, I cooked frozen fries over medium-high heat for 20+ minutes, turning once to get them evenly browned.

Next, I grilled two (opened) whole wheat wiener buns (toasted buns are sturdier than plain bread). Meanwhile, I sliced thin strips of onion and sweet pepper. After grilling/toasting the buns, I sprayed with Pam® and grilled the pepper and onion slices. I sprinkled cheddar cheese over one half of each bun so it would start to melt.

I added the cooked onion and pepper slices to the cheese.


Then, after another quick spray of Pam®, I grilled two Johnsonville Farms chicken sausages, turning three times to brown all sides.




I plated it and presto! I had a yummy, lighter version of midway junk food! Next I’m going to try the Philly Cheese Steak. Wish me luck! And don’t be afraid to try your own midway food, especially if you have children. It’s fun, cheaper, and better nutrition.

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Fat Free Dessert

How are you doing on that New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Or perhaps you vowed to eat more healthily. Forego all sweets? I’m a firm believer in moderation. If you say “no desserts” you’ll feel deprived. Self-pity leads to indulgence, which leads to discouragement and feelings of failure in your efforts to maintain a healthy diet.

One of my favorite choices for the occasional dessert is angel food cake. It’s light, versatile, and is one of the few cakes I prefer the boxed mix to homemade. Homemade is too time consuming for me when a mix produces reasonably tasty results.

I call this version Aunt Nell’s cake because my late aunt made it the first time I took my husband to her house. He ate three or four slices of it because he loved it! She loved that he loved it. It’s simply an angel food cake frosted with 7-minute icing. I thought it was amazing. (Because I suck at frosting, mine never looks pretty, but hers did)

To make 7-minute frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine 5 Tbsp. water (or citrus juice if you prefer) with 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar. Stir over low heat until a syrup forms. Using a candy thermometer, cook (stir occasionally) until it reaches 140°.

Meanwhile, using a stand mixer and a whisk beater, beat 2 egg whites until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and SLOWLY pour in the syrup. Remember it’s 140° and you don’t want to cook the eggs. After all the syrup is incorporated, turn the mixer up to its fastest speed and whip for seven minutes. Set a timer.

That’s it. Then you’re ready to frost the cooked and completely cooled cake of your choice. 

Aunt Nell's version was much prettier.

Aunt Nell’s version was much prettier.


One slice is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Even if a dessert is fat free, it’s still a good idea to limit the desserts in your diet. Enjoy.

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By request, here is the recipe for my hazelnut chocolate spread (AKA Nutella Knock-off)


I love Nutella®, but it has refined sugar, a no-no for me.  So I searched both books and online sources for a homemade version of chocolate hazelnut spread. None suited me, but one came close: Skinny Ms. “Skinny Nutella Spread – The Healthier Version.”I experimented with that recipe but soon went my own way.

This is my version of Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. My recipe uses the Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you will need both a blender and a food processor. Read all the directions before you try making it. It looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Complicated recipes don’t qualify as “Hasty Tasty” meals. 😉 



Hasty Tasty Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

Makes 2 cups

©2014 Cheryl Norman


  • ½ pound hazelnuts, roasted and skinned*
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (I used Special Dark because I prefer bittersweet chocolate)
  • ¼ cup raw honey (select a light…

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