Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

meal ideas ~ easy & healthy lunches

Don't let a busy day tempt you into ordering high-calorie, carb-heavy fast food on your lunch break. These low-calorie lunches (all around 300 calories or less) are tasty and fit well into a healthy meal plan. Plus, these are quick and easy to prepare.

Homemade Walking Tacos
One of our favorite on-the-go lunch options, this easy recipe combines the tastiness of a taco with the convenience of a bag of chips. Plus, the all-in-one meal adds up to just 207 calories and 16 grams of carb per serving.

 2 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
 8 ounces uncooked ground turkey breast
 1/4 cup chopped onion
 1/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper
 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium taco seasoning 
 1 tablespoon water
 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
 5 100-calorie packages nacho cheese-flavor tortilla chips
 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
 2/3 cup diced tomato
 1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
 5 teaspoons light sour cream

 In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add turkey breast, onion, and sweet pepper. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Stir in taco seasoning, the water, and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

 Meanwhile, open the bags of tortilla chips; if desired, gently crush chips. Add lettuce to the bags. Top with cooked turkey mixture, tomato, and cheese. Top each with a teaspoon of the sour cream. Use a fork to mix together and eat from the bag. Makes 5 servings (1 walking taco per serving)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 207 cal., 10 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 28 mg chol., 327 mg sodium, 16 g carb. (1 g fiber, 2 g sugars), 15 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 0.5; Fat (d.e): 1.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 1.5

Fresh Tomato Sandwiches
Who says sandwiches have to include meat? Our vegetarian open-face sandwiches feature a cheesy spread and juicy tomatoes on bagel thins.

2 whole wheat bagel thins, split
 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
 1/3 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
 1 teaspoon snipped fresh dill or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
 2 -3 roma tomatoes, sliced (you can also use other varieties)
 1/4 cup red onion cut into thin wedges and separated into pieces
 Dash garlic powder
 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
 Fresh dill (optional)

 Lightly toast bagel thins. Place bagel thins, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and the snipped fresh or dried dill. Spread mixture on bagel thins.

 Layer tomato slices and onion pieces on bagel thins. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.

 Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the Parmesan cheese over each bagel thin half.

 Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until mayonnaise mixture is melted and Parmesan is lightly browned. If desired, garnish with additional fresh dill.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 248 cal., 11 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 27 mg chol., 423 mg sodium, 27 g carb. (6 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 16 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges  Fat (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 1.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 1.5;

Greek Fusion Burgers
These turkey burgers revved up with chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce are ideal for diabetic meal plans. Ground turkey breast, light cream cheese, and reduced-fat cheddar cheese all help to keep calories around 272 and fat to a minimum.

1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast
 2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce
 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
 1/4 cup light tub-style cream cheese, softened
 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 2 large whole wheat pita bread rounds, halved crosswise
 8 small slices tomato
 1/2 of a medium cucumber, cut into thin bite-size strips

 In a medium bowl, combine turkey, 1 teaspoon of the chile peppers, and the oregano. Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick oval patties.

 For a charcoal grill, grill patties on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium heat for 10 to 13 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into side of each patty registers 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through grilling.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon chile pepper, the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onion, and salt.

 Open cut sides of halved pita bread rounds to make pockets. Spread cream cheese mixture into pockets. Add cucumber, grilled patties, and tomato slices.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 272 cal., 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 58 mg chol., 473 mg sodium, 22 g carb. (3 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 33 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges  Fat (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 4

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

healthy living ~ for pets too

    When we think of healthy living, we need to consider our pets as well. Here are a couple of posters that I have printed and placed inside of the medicine cabinet where I keep a list of other important medical information.

     Just right click on the photo and “save image as“ and save to your computer.
here are a couple of medical info website and phone numbers that you should also have handy. 
Do you have an emergency and need to find a Vet quickly in your area? is best way to find a veterinarian, their detailed Listings with Office Hours, List of Services and Directions. With over 20,000 veterinarians and animal hospitals nationwide, you'll never have to worry about finding the right doctor for your beloved companion. In addition to featuring great vets, offers: 
  • Detailed Listings with Office Hours, List of Services and Directions
  • Specials and Promotions
  • Advice and Articles on Pet Care

 Pet Poison Control a must have number ! These operators specialize in animals- all kinds, not just dogs, cats, and birds. (A neighbor’s hamster got into something he shouldn’t have and his life was saved due to calling the Pet Poison Control Hotline.) 
(888) 426-4435

there are many vets, community programs, and
the American Heart Assoc. that offer courses in
Pet CPR, if you have an opportunity to find one,
 I highly recommend it, you'll not regret the time.

Monday, June 22, 2015


this was posted a long time ago, and when I came across it the other day I knew it needed to be shared once again. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

thursday's garden ~ A tire garden?

Yep, a tire garden is a great way to reuse old tires and helps save on the cost of expensive pots. Use a few different colors of paint and you've got a garden unlike any other.  As well, what cuter way to get kids interested in gardening than to make a fun colorful garden that is all their own.

I saw this first picture on Pinterest and then googled “ways to repurpose old tires in your garden." wow, tons of ideas; it was really hard to choose just which ones to feature here. So, I picked a few of my favorite ideas and decided to let you explore these wonderful, fun projects on your own....and of course have a chance at “being green and helping our environment.”

 and my favorite---
i'm not a minion-addict, but this is really cute.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

meals ideas ~ favorites from the past

I was going through my past recpies to see what I have posted in the past and found five of our favorites that I had posted way back in my early blogging days. We enjoy these on a regular basis and I decided it would be fun to share them with you once again. Since these are recipes that we put together, I don't have the nutritional values. There are websites that will convert your recipe into it's nutrients, but trust these are as healthy as they themselves can get. LOL (the date is when I last featured these on Journey. hope you enjoy.)

the willow
there is a restaurant in California near Grass Valley called Willow. It mainly served simple steak dinners with a few other flame cooked items. the food and atmosphere was wonderful. since we now live in southern california, we make our own "Willow"

steak  -your favored cut- grilled
salad - whatever style you like
ranch style beans
grilled ranch bread
favorite style beer or beverage of choice.

grilled ranch bread -- you can use any type of thicker style bread such as a hot dog bun or  torpedo roll. Spread with "lots" of ranch dip, sprinkle on some roughly chopped green onions, and finished with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese- place under broiler until slightly browned. 

red (steelhead) trout fillet with curry & green onions 
I absolutely love this meal, it is healthy, tasty, quick to make and looks pretty too. This is one of those dishes that you choose how much you want of each ingredient.

Red trout fillet--- can use salmon fillet
Margarine or butter- pads or dollops.
Curry powder
Green onions - chopped

Line a pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray or margarine. Sprinkle some garlic salt on the foil. Place fillet on pan and put pads of butter / margarine all over fillet, sprinkle with curry powder (don’t be shy with the curry) sprinkle with chopped green onions.  Place under broiler for 8 to 10 mins depending on thickness of fillets. Onions will get dark and crispy, if you prefer you can add to fish half way through cooking.

We serve this meal with a baked potato (microwave) and some angel hair slaw.
Slaw dressing – mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar

I like bits of tomato in my slaw, Steve likes to have raisins in his,
Chili Verde - yum~
nice meal that warms the tummy and tantalizes the taste buds. you can use canned beans or dried, make it as spicy as you want or not. We usually serve it with La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn tortillas and a tamale.

1/2 to 3/4 lb boneless lean pork
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced (roughly)
1/2 c. water
1 lb fresh tomatillos- outer dry skins removed
14 1/2 oz can chicken broth- or homemade
1 can (4 oz) dices green chilies, drained
1 tsp. ground cumin
 2- 15oz can Great Northern Beans, drained
1/2 c.  lightly packed cilantro, chopped
non-fat plain yogurt or sour cream – optional

trim fat from pork; discard. Cut meat into cubes. Place pork, onion, garlic and water in large saucepan. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes (add more water if needed). Uncover; boil over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and pork browns. 

add tomatillos, whole, and chicken broth; stir. Cover; simmer over medium-high heat 20  minutes and tomatillos break up with a fork. Add chilies and cumin. Cover; simmer 45 minutes or until pork is tender (add more water or broth if necessary). Add beans; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through. Stir in cilantro, serve with yogurt or sour cream, if desired.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
You may not ever find a better Shrimp Taco anywhere…
this recipe is a little more involved than I have posted in the past….but worth every second. makes 4 servings of 2 tacos ea.
for the shrimp-

½  cup lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 lb large shrimp peeled & deveined (24)
8 tortillas **see note
for the chipotle sauce-
½ c. mayonnaise or sour cream
1 ½ tsp minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 ½ tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lime juice
  salt to taste
for the red slaw-
4 cups shredded red cabbage
½ cup sliced scallions
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

WHISK together lime juice, olive oil, & chili powder for the tacos. Add shrimp, toss and chill until ready to skewer. 

WHISK together mayo, chipotles, honey, and lime juice for the sauce. Chill until ready to serve up to 2 days.

COMBINE cabbage, scallions, cilantro, oil, vinegar for the slaw. Season with salt and chill until ready to serve up to 1 hour.

WHEN READY -  heat grill on med-high heat  (shrimp  can cook under broiler.) Either skewer shrimp or place on a cooking grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side.

DIVIDE the shrimp and slaw among the tortillas and drizzle with the sauce. yum!

TORTILLAS- use either flour or corn, and heat however you like. The way we do it… Use a cast iron skillet or pan swirling the tortilla until warm and lightly toasted. 

Note** we have found what I consider the best tasting tortillas around.
La Tortilla Factory’s Hand Made Style Corn or Flour Tortillas
The first tortilla with the taste of corn, but the flexibility of flour tortillas!  They are absolutely the best. They will not crumble or taste dry, and are calorie friendly.
Curried Chicken Thighs with Buttery Croutons
Steve, my husband, loves curry, and these saucy curried chicken thighs made a huge hit with him.  There’s plenty of curry sauce, so serve with rice or egg noodles.

· 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
· 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
· 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
· 1 large onion, sliced
· 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder (adjust to your curry liking)
· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
· 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 1  14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
· 1 cup low-fat milk
· 1 10-ounce bag frozen peas (2 cups)  keep frozen
· 1/4 cup low-fat  mayonnaise (I use regular)
· 1 tablespoon lemon juice
· 2 tablespoons butter
· 4 slices whole-wheat sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until softened and light brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add curry powder, ginger, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Add broth and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in frozen peas, then, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Wash and dry the pan. Melt butter in the pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in bread cubes. Toss to coat. Arrange the bread on top of the casserole.

Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the croutons are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes
· Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then bake at 400°F for about 1 hour.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

healthy living ~ a double what? yikes

I am beginning to get a “double chin” and I hate my “double chin,” and if I was ever to have cosmetic would be to pulverize my “double chin” – seriously! But first things first before we get drastic about solutions, here are ten suggestions from my friends at Top Ten Home Remedies– I love this website.
So, if you have or are getting a “double chin” and don’t want to be too drastic just yet- check these ideas out, I am.

How to Get Rid of a Double Chin
We’ve all tried tricks to hide a double chin—wearing a high-neck top or scarf and tilting our heads just right when our photo is taken.
There’s no denying it. The extra layer of fatty tissue under our chins is most often caused by being overweight. Sagging skin under the chin can also occur as we age and our skin loses elasticity. For a few, it can be genetic.
While there are surgical procedures that can eliminate a double chin, they can be expensive. There are many simple home treatment options to get rid of a double chin that are pocket-friendly and painless. Needless to say, you also need to reduce excess weight with proper diet and exercise
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of a double chin.

1. Sugar Free Gum
To get rid of a double chin, it is essential to keep your facial muscles toned and give the muscles in your jaw line a workout. One of the best ways to do that is to chew sugarless gum. Sugar free chewing gum can even help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Simply chew sugarless gum several times a day to reduce your double chin as quickly as possible.

2. Cocoa Butter
When cocoa butter is used regularly, it will improve the elasticity of your skin and help get rid of your double chin.
Slightly warm a few tablespoons of cocoa butter in the microwave.
Gently massage the warm oil into your neck and double chin for several minutes.
Do this twice a day, before taking a bath in the morning and every night before going to bed.

3. Wheat Germ Oil
Regular neck massage with wheat germ oil is another effective way to get rid of a double chin. Wheat germ oil has the goodness of vitamin E oil that will nourish and help tighten the skin.
Before going to bed, rub some wheat germ oil gently around the chin area.
Gently massage upwards from the bottom of the neck to the chin for 10 to 15 minutes.
Leave the oil on your skin overnight.
Repeat regularly to soon notice improvement in the appearance of your double chin.

4. Egg Whites
An egg white mask can be of great help in getting rid of a double chin because it has a skin tightening effect. Egg whites are also good for the overall health of the skin.
Whisk together two egg whites, one tablespoon each of milk, honey and lemon juice.
Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil.
Apply this mask to the skin around your chin and neck area.
Leave it on for 30 minutes.
Rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat dry your skin.
Do this once daily for quick results.

5. Glycerin
You can also make a natural mask with glycerin to get rid of a double chin.
Make a mask by mixing one tablespoon of glycerin, one-half tablespoon of Epsom salt and a few drops of peppermint oil.
Use a cotton pad to apply it on the neck and chin area.
Leave it on for several minutes so that it absorbs into the skin.
Wash the area thoroughly with cool water.
Do this three to five times a week to get positive results.

6. Chin Exercises
Chin exercises can help stretch and tone your face, neck, and jaw muscles, thereby helping you get rid of your double chin. They will also strengthen your chin and neck muscles and relieve stiffness.
While keeping your spine erect, slowly tilt your head back until you are looking at the ceiling and then pucker up your lips in a pout. Hold this position for five counts and then release. Repeat 5 to 10 times in a row. Do this daily at least for a few weeks.
Another exercise involves gently turning your head clockwise and then anticlockwise, keeping your spine straight all the while. Do 5 to 10 repetitions of this exercise, about three times a day for several weeks.
Note: You can do these exercises while sitting or standing but make sure to keep your spine erect.

7. Green Tea
Green tea contains potent antioxidants and various components that speed up your metabolism rate. This will help you burn extra calories and lose weight.
Start your day with a cup of green tea and drink several cups throughout the day. Green tea is available in different flavors, so you can choose one that suits your taste.

8. Vitamin E
Another way to get rid of a double chin is to increase your daily intake of vitamin E. It will increase your skin’s elasticity and the general health of the skin.
Vitamin E is found in many food sources like green leafy vegetables, wheat germ oil, dairy products, brown rice, barley, legumes, nuts and seeds, beans, soybeans, peanuts and liver.
Include foods rich in vitamin E as much as possible in your daily diet.
You can also take a daily vitamin E supplement. Consult a doctor first for proper dosage.

9. Milk Massage
Milk massage can also be used to tighten and tone the skin around the chin area. Plus, applying milk will also keep your skin soft and beautiful.

Apply milk on your chin, massage for a few minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat several times a day for several weeks.
Another option is to make a mask with milk and honey. Mix the ingredients well and apply it over the chin area. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Follow this remedy once daily.

10. Melon
Melon, too, can help tone the skin and reduce a double chin.
Extract fresh melon juice. Use a cotton ball to apply it to the skin around the chin and neck and then massage. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with water. For best results, combine melon juice with apple juice and use it to massage the soft tissue around your jaw line.
Also, eat more melon as it is high in water content. This will help to flush out toxins from your body and also aid weight loss.

Additional Tips
  • Drink plenty of water and eat more foods with high water content like melon, cucumbers, lettuce and celery. At the same time, limit your consumption of coffee, alcohol, tea and carbonated drinks. Adequate fluid intake will help reduce water retention contributing to puffy face.
  • Improve your sitting posture; keep your head up, neck erect and body straight.
  • Include cardio exercises and weight training in your workout regime.
  • Pay attention to your diet to avoid fatty foods and restrict your calorie intake.
  • Until you get rid of your double chin (which will take some time), use smart tricks like a beautiful and strategic hairstyle such as layered waves, long bob or maybe an angled haircut to make your double chin less noticeable.
Following these remedies can help you get rid of your double chin. Just keep in mind to follow the tips regularly without fail to get positive results.

this really is an awesome site

Monday, June 15, 2015

my intent goes public

~when you make a personal goal public, you make yourself accountable for your success~
~this is my goal~
every day something nice for yourself something nice for someone else
    ...face something you have been avoiding
    ...compliment yourself
    ...praise someone else
    ...look for good in every situation
    ...look for good in every person

oh, what we could become only if we had the knowledge and wisdom of age in our youth...

Friday, June 12, 2015

fun friday photo ~ hugs

know anyone who could use a HUG like this?
copy and send along, save for later, or...
let it be it a healing hug from me to you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

thursday's garden ~ samantha...part two

 sometimes "cat-nap time" slips in while on squirrel patrol... 

and sometimes the squirrels take full advantage of this moment
being a Garden Guardian can be rather ardous...

p.s.~ squirrel slipped in and managed to eat all his peanut treats without arousing our sleepy sentinel... ha!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

meal ideas ~Lemon treats you'll love

I know ... had to do it- yesterday’s Healthy Living Lemon Power just got me craving some lemon desserts. And with these delectable diabetes-friendly dishes, when life hands you lemons, you can make a lot more than just lemonade.

Just a note: It is my opinion that if everyone ate as if they were diabetic and/or had heart disease....those health issues would be almost non-existent. So, don’t shy away from my recipes just because they are diabetic-friendly- you will not only be giving your taste buds a treat, but your body too.

Lemon Meringue Sandwich Cookies
These cream-filled cookies will be at favorite at your house. You won't believe that you can eat two sandwich cookies for fewer than 50 calories and 8 grams of carb! Plus, one recipe makes 17 cookies -- just right for a party-platter treat. ** I do not recommend using sugar substitutes for this recipe.

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 recipe Yellow Cream Filling (below)

In a medium bowl allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Add lemon extract, cream of tartar, and salt to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). In a small bowl combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually add the sugar mixture to the egg white mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold in lemon peel.

Transfer egg white mixture to a disposable piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 1- 1/2-inch circles that are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between circles.

Place cookie sheets on separate oven racks; bake for 10 minutes. Turn off oven; let cookies dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Carefully lift cookies off parchment paper. Transfer to wire racks; let stand just until cookies are cool. (The cookies can quickly become tacky, especially if the weather is humid. To prevent this, store unfilled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

 Just before serving, place Yellow Cream Filling in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or in a resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe 1 teaspoon filling onto the flat side of half the cooled cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down, to make sandwich cookies.

Yellow Cream Filling
1/2 cup softened light tub-style cream cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 drops yellow food coloring

 In a medium bowl beat softened light tub-style cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in light sour cream and powdered sugar until smooth. Add yellow food coloring or more until desired shade is reached.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 48 cal., 1 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 5 mg chol., 61 mg sodium, 8 g carb. (7 g sugars), 1 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 0.5;

Lemon Cheesecake Bites
Tart lemon lightens up this decadent low-carb dessert. Made with fat-free cream cheese and Greek yogurt, these tangy bites let you indulge guilt-free.

1 cup finely crushed graham crackers
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup fat-free milk
1  pke lemon instant pudding mix
  (fat-free, sugar-free, reduced-calorie- or not)
2 --8 ounce Neufchate, softened
8 – oz pkg fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white baking pieces
1/2 teaspoon shortening
 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, chopped

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Set aside.

 For crust, in a small bowl combine finely crushed graham crackers, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the butter. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 In a medium bowl whisk together milk and pudding mix until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl beat Neufchatel cheese and fat-free cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the yogurt, pudding mixture, and salt. Beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the lemon peel and the lemon juice until combined.

Evenly spread batter over cooled graham cracker crust. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until a 1-inch area around outside edges appears set when gently shaken (center will still jiggle when gently shaken). Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cheesecake to avoid condensation. Chill for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

In a small microwave-safe bowl combine white baking pieces and shortening. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 10 to 60 seconds or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds.

Drizzle the melted mixture over baked cheesecake; sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut cheesecake out of the pan. Cut into 25 squares. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon peel.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 142 cal., 7 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 41 mg chol., 244 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (10 g sugars), 5 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Milk (d.e): 0.5; Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Fat (d.e): 1.5

Lemon Pistachio Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Grandma's slice-and-bake cookies get a modern twist with lemon and pistachios. Enjoy these low-carb cookies yourself, or box them up with a ribbon as a delicious gift for a friend.

1/2 cup 60% to 70% tub-style vegetable oil spread
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup finely chopped lightly salted dry roasted pistachio nuts
Lemon Icing (optional)

In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil spread and butter; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Beat in sugar and salt until well mixed. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the lemon peel.

Divide dough in half. Shape each dough portion into an 8-inch-long log. Sprinkle half of the pistachio nuts on a sheet of waxed paper. Roll one log in the nuts to coat. Repeat with remaining nuts and log. Wrap logs in plastic wrap. Chill about 2 hours or until firm enough to slice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If necessary, reshape logs to make them round. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until edges are firm and tops are set. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.

Note: had some of these made with white chocolate chunks mxed in the dough instead of being rolled in pistachios (not diabetic friendly-oh well) and they are awesome !!!! icing not recommended on this idea.

 If desired, drizzle cookies with Lemon Icing. Let stand until icing is set.

Lemon Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 - 3 tablespoons fat-free milk

 In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, lemon peel, and enough fat-free milk (2 to 3 tablespoons) to make drizzling consistency.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving 59 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 3 mg chol., 34 mg sodium, 7 g carb. (3 g sugars), 1 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0; Fat (d.e): 0.5;