Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spa Girl sets the Table for a Fabulous Feast...

I confess, I'm a foodie, and there is nothing better than sitting down to a fabulous meal with good friends. Generally in my house that also means great conversation about food, spas, art, politics, love...and health.

Most of my friends are 50 something and we are all concerned about what we eat. Most of us try to eat organic as much a possible and we like eating locally grown foods.

Over the last number of years since researching and writing the Spa Girl blog I have looked to Spa Cuisine for inspiration. More and more spas are hiring top notch chefs to prepare outstanding, healthy spa cuisine. This has spun off a number of great websites which feature recipes from outstanding creative cooks and has been the inspiration of a number of magnificent cookbooks about the savoury farm-fresh pleasures of seasonal, local ingredients.

Here are some of Spa Girls favourites.

 The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook which sells for $35.00 US and $39.00 CDN features...

Great cooking—unlocking the amazing farm-fresh flavors of seasonal, local ingredients without the traditional overuse of processed oils, animal fats, salt, and sugar—is at the heart of the experience offered by Rancho La Puerta, the world-famous fitness resort and spa located in Baja California. In Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta, the Ranch’s founder, Deborah Szekely, and co-author Deborah M. Schneider demonstrate that you can bring this revitalizing experience to your own home kitchen. Though not a “diet cookbook,” Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta emphasizes the authors’ view that eating simply and healthfully—with homemade meals that reflect the cycles of nature—is one of life’s most profound pleasures. This beautiful book includes 120 delicious recipes featuring seasonal ingredients that are colorfully and creatively combined to entice the palate as well as promote health.
You can order this book by calling Toll Free: 877-440-7773 or

Canyon Ranch has become synonymous with great spa cuisine and have published several cookbooks including CANYON RANCH: NOURISH (Viking Studio) which sells for $40.00.
Canyon Ranch Executive Chef Scott Uehlein, in collaboration with staff nutritionists, provides the tools, ideas, and inspiration required to create more than 200 of the most requested, delicious, healthy, and indulgent recipes. Inspired by seasonal flavor combinations with an eye towards wellness, the recipes cover a broad range of items, from Beverages and Snacks to Desserts and everything in between. Filled with delicious and nutritious recipes from the leading authority on healthy, luxurious living, CANYON RANCH: NOURISH helps make the pleasures of eating well easy and irresistible for every level of home cook.
You can order this book by calling Toll Free: 800-726-8040

For more outstanding cookbooks check out this website...

Spa Girl has some favourite recipes to share courtesy of New Age Health Spa, Sullivan County, Catskills NY, Golden, in California, The Heartland Spa in Illinois and Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas.

New Age Health Spa--Broccoli and Pine Nut Frittata
5 Servings, 157 calories per half cup
4 Eggs
4 Egg Whites
¼ TSP Sea Salt
½ TSP Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 TBSP Pine Nuts, Toasted
2 CUPS Broccoli, Lightly steamed
¼ TSP Paprika
3 OZ Feta Cheese


1. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, feta cheese, salt, pepper and pine nuts in a medium bowl.
2. Place broccoli at the bottom of an 8 inch pie pan. Pour egg mixture over top.
3. Sprinkle with paprika.
4. Bake at 350 degrees, 10-15 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

Delighful Orange and Butternut Squash Muffins from Golden Door, California
Makes 12 muffins

There's no doubt that fat carries flavor-not just in muffins, but in other baked goods and countless dishes as well. Since we're all trying to reduce our fat intake, one way to reduce the amount of fat in baking is to use flavorful ingredients that add moisture to the batter. Baked butternut squash and juicy oranges do the job here.

1/2 small butternut squash
Vegetable oil in a spray bottle or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 oranges
2 & 1/3 cup chopped pitted dates (16-18 dates)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 &1/2 cups semolina flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet; bake for 40 minutes, or until soft. Let cool, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds. (Reserve them for another use if you wish.) Scrape 3/4 cup of the cooked squash into a mixing bowl. Meanwhile, spray or grease a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with vegetable oil; set aside.

Grate the oranges to make 2 teaspoons of zest. Peel the remaining oranges and separate the segments of all 3 oranges. Remove all pith. Cut the outer membrane from the orange segments. Chop the segments and add to the cooked squash. Mix in the orange zest, dates, brown sugar, oil, honey, and the beaten egg and egg whites.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the semolina flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour the butternut squash mixture into the dry ingredients; mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack; serve warm or let cool.

Pumpkin Pancakes from The Heartland Spa, Illinois
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2 tablespoons cholesterol-free egg substitute
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla

In small bowl, combine flours, baking powder and spices. In large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, egg substitute, oil, honey and vanilla. Pour dry ingredients over pumpkin mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Cover pancake batter; refrigerate 30 minutes to thicken slightly. Lightly grease griddle or large skillet and heat until hot. For each pancake, spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on tops of pancakes, then turn them over and continue cooking until golden. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings Per serving (4 pancakes)
Calories: 157 Fat: 5 g (27% from fat) Protein: 4 g Carbohydrate: 25 g
Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 211 mg

From Canyon Ranch--Spinach Eggs Benedict
8 cups washed fresh spinach leaves, well drained
1 1/2 teaspoons non-salt seasoning (such as Mrs. Dash®)
4 whole-wheat English muffins

Hollandaise Sauce:
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar

Poached Eggs:
1 tablespoon white vinegar
4 cups water
8 whole eggs


1. Lightly coat large sauté pan with canola oil and sauté spinach over medium-high heat until wilted. Season with Mrs. Dash. Cover and set aside.
2. Split English muffins in half and toast.
3. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
4. In a medium stainless steel mixing bowl, combine yolk, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt. Place stainless steel bowl over (not touching) boiling water and whisk egg mixture with a wire whip until thickened. Place mixture in blender container and blend at high speed for 5 seconds. Reduce to medium speed and slowly add butter.
5. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until mixture forms stiff peaks. Fold yolk mixture into egg white mixture until blended.
6. To poach eggs, add vinegar to water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil again and reduce to a simmer. Gently crack each egg just above the surface and let egg slip into the water. As eggs cook, use a spoon to corral whites around the yolks. Cook until whites are firm and opaque, but yolk is still soft. Lift eggs from water with a slotted spoon and let drip for a few seconds before assembling plates.
7. Place 1/4 cup spinach on English muffin half. Top with one poached egg and 2 tablespoons Hollandaise Sauce.

Makes 8 serving, containing approximately:
210 calories
16 gm. carbohydrate
12 gm. fat
254 mg. cholesterol
11 gm. protein
400 mg. sodium
3 gm. fiber

Outstanding Parmesan Crusted Trout from Lake Austin Spa Resort
245 calories, 3 grams fat, per serving
4 four-ounce boneless Rainbow Trout filets
4 ounces grated Reggianio parmesan cheese
No-stick pan spray
Lemon wedges

1. Place the parmesan in a flat-bottomed dish big enough to hold a trout filet.
2. Dredge each filet, flesh side down in the parmesan, lay them out flesh side up and pat on more parmesan.
3. Pre-heat a heavy, non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly spray the pan and the parmesan coating.
4. Place the fish flesh side down in the hot skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Turn once, cook another 2 minutes.
5. Serve hot with lemon wedges, a green vegetable, rice or potatoes.

For more fabulous fares and delectable delights from starters to mains check out this site...

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