Monday, February 13, 2012


Say hello to my little friend!  I'm talking about this ham and brie sandwich. It is my favorite!  Simple and delectable! Ham and brie in a baguette!  I have loved it from the first time I tried it, probably some ten or more years ago.  This time around I decided to add arugula to it, for an extra zing.  I present you with a fresh, crispy baguette, stuffed with peppery arugula, soft creamy brie, and country ham.  Go all out and get the best ingredients, then share this sandwich with your valentine.  Accompany it with some nice fruit, and have a quiet, cozy lunch, just the two of you.

You can certainly use a whole baguette and make a large sandwich which will feed about 4 people.  I chose to cut the baguette in half, and make sandwiches enough for two people.  Having had gastric bypass surgery recently, I was able to eat only about 1/4 of my share.  Also, I discovered that even though my taste buds love a crunchy baguette, at this stage of the game my stomach prefers something softer.  

So most of my sandwich is still waiting for me in the refrigerator.  I guess I'll have some of it for tomorrow's lunch.  One thing:  I loved the small fruit salad on the side.  It was a perfect side, to a perfect lunch, shared with perfect company!  
Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Before I write down ingredients and directions, I have to tell you what I went through to buy the strawberries and blackberries you see pictured above: February 11, was mighty cold here in the Philadelphia suburbs, with a light snow falling on and off all day.  I went to Whole Foods to pick up a few things. In anticipation of Valentine's Day, the supermarket had all the "berry type" fruits displayed in large bins outside their front entrance.  No way you could miss them, and no way you could resist them.  How is that for merchandising?  I went inside, picked up some produce, and decided to go  back outside to get berries. By then it had gotten dark and the wind had started to pick up.  The snow was falling heavier now, and the wind was spinning it and tossing it around, so much so that it seemed as though the area was in the middle of a blizzard.  "What a time and what a place to be buying strawberries," I thought. One of the produce employees came outside to make sure the fruit bins were secure. As he opened the doors to exit the market, he inadvertently provided a way for the wind to tunnel inside and lay havoc.  A beautiful display of orchid plants collapsed on the floor. Customers and employees, me included, ran to prop them up.  Eventually the orchids were set up somewhere else, and I know they'll get sold by Valentine's, but after all that cold exposure they won't have a long life.  Meanwhile, I wanted to get somewhere warm.  I gave up my plans of choosing more berries, even though the raspberries and blueberries looked pretty good.  I looked down at my container of strawberries.  It was covered with something which looked like powdered sugar.  However, I knew better.  It was a soft, light dusting of snow.  Strawberries.... The luscious summer fruit! 

1 baguette
8 ounces good quality deli ham, sliced
4 ounces brie cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Dijon mustard 
some baby arugula
a few drops of vegetable oil such as canola (optional)
salt (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
some nice fruit such as apples, strawberries, grapes, blackberries, etc.

Slice the baguette horizontally.  Take one piece of the bread and spread it lightly with Dijon mustard.
Take the other piece of the baguette and arrange some baby arugula on it.  On top of the arugula sprinkle a little canola oil and maybe just a bit of salt.  Then, grab your pepper grinder and give it a go, seasoning with all that delicious freshly ground black pepper.
Layer the ham on top of the mustard and then layer the brie on top of the arugula.  Press the two sides of the baguette together.  
Slice the baguette into pieces and serve accompanied with the fruit.
A very enjoyable fruit and sandwich lunch!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yum, soup!  Good tasting soup, in a flavorful broth. Fresh vegetables, great seasonings, delicious and wholesome flavours!!! For protein, I added chicken broth and low-fat turkey sausage. Very easy and quick to make. 

Let's make spinach and sausage soup:


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
about 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into bite size chunks
5 cups of chicken broth, low sodium, low fat
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 pound low-fat turkey sausage 

4 cups spinach, washed well, roughly chopped, thick stems removed
salt and pepper to taste
some fresh sage and thyme for seasoning

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the potatoes, the chicken broth and the garbanzo beans.  
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 
  • Meanwhile, squeeze the sausage from its casing, then crumble it and brown it in a skillet.  Drain as much fat as you can and set the sausage aside.  
  • When the vegetables are tender, add the spinach, sausage, herbs, salt and pepper. Bring back up to a simmer, and let cook for another 10 minutes before serving.