Friday, February 6, 2015

Author Interview with Diana Keuilian

Chef Morrow

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Diana Keuilian. Mr. Morrow reviewed her cookbook The Recipe Hacker, and it was fun whipping up one of the recipes. We're excited to learn more about the deliciousness. So, without further ado... take it away, Diana!
Mr. Morrow: Now, I’m known for my wizardry in the kitchen, and I enjoy being creative. One of Fairday’s favorite snacks is skinned pickles, which I call “mouse fillets”. What would you recommend for an easy treat, that’s healthy and will peak a kid’s interest?

Diana: A couple of years ago my son (at age 7) challenged the idea that I could take any food and create it with healthier ingredients. He said, "Oh, yeah? What about Fun Dip?" Fun Dip is a packaged candy that’s basically pure sugar with artificial colors and flavors. It has a candy stick that is dipped into colorful sugar, licked off and then dipped again. You know, the atrocious kind of thing that kids end up with after a birthday party or Halloween.

Well, I took Andrew’s challenge and ended up with this fun, wholesome snack that’s quick to make and entertaining to eat!



Here's what you need for Andrew's Fun Dip:

* 1 oz bag freeze dried strawberries
* ½ a jicama, peeled and sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Throw the freeze dried fruit into a food processor and blend until it becomes a fine powder. (Make sure you remove that little stay-fresh packet before blending!)

2. Serve the powdered fruit in a small bowl or ziplock bag with a handful of jicama sticks.

Sarah Gr. 5- Middlebury Elementary School

Mr. Morrow: My kids are picky eaters, and I try my best to get them to eat healthy. Fairday’s favorite breakfast is blueberry pancakes. I found your recipe for Swedish Pancakes intriguing, noting that it was one of your favorites as well. I especially enjoyed the part about the fruit-spiked butter melting on top. Is it possible to use any type of fruit? What is the consistency and texture, and are kids okay with it? It seems like something you could get really creative with.

Diana: Yes, fruit-spiked coconut butter is a delicious way to top warm, homemade pancakes! I’ve found that mashed berries work best, or a spoonful of fruit-only jam. For half a cup of coconut butter I would use 1 Tablespoon of fruit, but feel free to eyeball it and add as much or little as you please. Once you beat the fruit and butter together place it in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes. The resulting butter should be soft, creamy and filled with delicious fruit flavor.


Mr. Morrow: One of my signature dishes is cheesy-baked macaroni, which my whole family loves- I make it super cheesy. What would be a fun twist on this classic recipe? What ingredients would you recommend?


Diana: A fun way to make any pasta dish healthier (macaroni included) is to swap out the traditional noodles for noodles made with zucchini. To make zucchini noodles you can either use a simple veggie peeler to create long strips, or you could use a spiral slicer to turn out noodles that have a traditional spaghetti noodle sized strand. A fun twist on your cheesy baked macaroni would be to make the recipe exactly as is, except swap out the macaroni noodles for zucchini noodles.

Mr. Morrow: My youngest, Margo, is a trickster. She’ll like something one day, and then throw it off her plate the next? What healthy recipe would you serve to a finicky two-year old?

Diana: Two year olds certainly can be tricky! My kids are 9 and 7 now, but I remember those food throwing days clearly. I’ll bet Margo, and any picky two year old, would love this simple recipe for Baked Parsnip Fries. It’s easy for them to grab and dip into some ketchup, and mom is happy because her youngster is eating vegetables with a smile on her face!

In the past I have baked sweet potato fries, which are amazing, and I’ve even baked carrot fries, which are also quite good. But NOTHING even comes close to touching these amazing fries. These are THE BEST EVER! Please, please, please try this recipe (if you are a fry lover) and let me know what you think.

Click here to read my review of this fun recipe
Mr. Morrow: My wife, Pru, is the always on the go. She works in interior design, and she’s currently renovating an old Victorian house we recently purchased, which will be a bed and breakfast. I will be head chef, and I want to make sure I have some unique ideas for busy people who want to order something good and healthy, but fast. What would be a tasty recipe for me to include on my menu?

Diana: How lovely! My favorite fast, healthy breakfast would have to be muffins. Now most muffin recipes wouldn’t pass as “healthy” but with a little hacking, I’ve been able to create a muffin recipe that is free of grains, gluten and cane sugar. It’s packed with protein, beets and, best of all, it’s filled with CHOCOLATE! Your guests would love to wake up to a warm basket of these nutritious and delicious Chocolate Muffins…
Here’s what you need for Chocolate Muffins:

· 1 cup dark chocolate
·      ¼ cup coconut oil
·      1/3 cup raw honey
·      2 eggs
·      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·      ¼ teaspoon almond extract
·      1 (15oz) can beets, drained
·      1 cup blanched almond flour
·      2 Tablespoons coconut flour
·      ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·      2 teaspoons baking soda
·      ¼ teaspoon sea salt
·      ½ cup dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS
1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
2.     Combine the dark chocolate, coconut oil, and honey in a small pot, and place in a medium skillet in an inch of water. Place over medium heat. Stir often until the chocolate mixture becomes smooth.
3.     Combine the melted chocolate mixture, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and beets in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
4.     In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt. Add to the wet ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until smooth. Mix the chocolate chips into the batter with a large spoon.
5.     Fill each muffin tin with batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until baked through. Serve with a sprinkle of unsweetened, shredded coconut. Enjoy!


Mr. Morrow: Fairday loves books, and she always wants to know what people like to read. As she’s letting me host her book blog this week, I have to ask, what is your favorite book? If you could be-friend a character from any story, who would you befriend? Why?


Diana: Being asked to name a single book as my favorite is like being asked to name one of my children as my favorite – just can’t do it! I have a deep appreciate and love of many, many books. I recently re-read Angela Hunt’s The Immortal, and think that 2,000 year old Asher would be a very interesting friend to have. Would love to have a personal tour of Rome from the guy who saw history unfold.

Mr. Morrow: Finally, what is a special entree that you like to serve to your family? Do you have a tradition that accompanies the dish?

Diana: My kids love Make-Your-Own Taco night, and our tradition is to put all the fixing in the middle of the table so we can assemble our own tacos as we eat, laugh and enjoy! My favorite Taco recipe is on page 80 of The Recipe Hacker. Thanks for having me and enjoy the recipes. :)
Pick up this cookbook for more great recipes

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51 comments:

  1. What a great challenge! It sounds like a yummy creation too. I love strawberries.

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    1. Kelly- I agree with you that it is quite the challenge! Strawberries are so delicious! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  2. What fun recipes! I love finding new ways to eat healthier with my son. We do the sweet potato fries too, but what a creative idea for the fun dip. Will be trying these recipes and get him involved too - which makes it more "his creation" and therefore more eager to try and like. :)

    My son loves chicken noodle soup but the kind canned or from a grocery or restaurant are so full of salt and other ingredients. So whenever I make a roasted chicken, I make broth from it, throw the scraps of chicken in and freeze it in soup size containers. Then when he wants chix noodle soup I throw it in a soup pot to defrost and heat up, add a wee bit of organic veggie bouillon, high protein Amish noodles, and voila! Instant chix noodle that I can feel good about serving him. I will definitely be checking out your cookbook!

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    1. Donna- Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I love finding new healthy ways to eat old favorites. This cookbook is bursting with good ideas.

      I love your chicken noodle soup idea. That is a favorite soup with my kids, so I will now be trying out your idea. Sounds like smart cooking to me. Thanks for sharing! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  3. What a fun review. It's always made me wonder why you can bring up children, serve them the same things, and they all develop different tastes. These appear to be some excellent recipes. I live with three grandchildren and they are like my five children were, different foods appeal to them. Two like chocolate, one hates it. Two like mashed potatoes, the other only eats French fries. It is a challenge but we are all different personalities so I suppose it makes sense palates are different also. I will check this recipe book out.

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    1. Thanks, Anna! I always fine our varied tastes interesting too. Everyone likes their own things. I guess it is part of what makes us each unique. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  4. okay! now I am starving! :) I'm obsessed with strawberries...and those parsnip fries--are you kidding me...I LOVE parsnips. They get like no love and I don't know why! they're so yummy!

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    1. Beth Ellyn Summer- I agree with you that parsnips don't get any love, so I am happy I was able to showcase a delicious recipe. The parsnip fries are amazing. I love strawberries too. I am getting hungrier the more I type. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  5. Those are such great ideas for kids and adults too. I'd never heard of zucchini pasta. Thanks for all the tips and recipes!

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    1. Lexa- Glad to introduce you to some new recipes for kids and adults. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  6. These sound delicious. I'm going to have to try the chocolate muffins. Yum!

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    1. Stephanie- Don't they sound fabulous! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  7. Smart kid coming up with fun dip. I can't believe you managed to make it healthy! Sweet potato fries are one of my favorite things ever!

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    1. Molly- I was amazed at the healthy version of fun dip. Very clever! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  8. Some fun recipes here - though Captain Google got a work out. Jicama was new to me.

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    1. Elephant's Child- It was new to me, too! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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    1. Romance Book Haven- I agree! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  10. Everything looks yummy yet adventurous!

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    1. Patty- I agree and can't wait to try more of these! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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    1. The Armchair Squid- You are welcome! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  12. Diana, we're a grain-free family. Love your recipes. I hope hubby will let me buy your cookbook. I guess you make cauliflower rice. :-)

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    1. Robyn- This sounds like an excellent cookbook for you and your family. Good luck with your healthy eating! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  13. I loved this interview! Diana is so creative in how she makes comfort foods healthy. I really liked the fun dip idea with strawberries an jicama sticks (I've never heard of jicamas before today). I used to love fun dip when I received in my Easter basket. Such a great reinvention of a candy I enjoy. I still have not forgotten about the parsnip fries. I must make it!

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    1. Adriana- I am so glad you enjoyed the interview! It was such fun having Diana on Fairday's Blog. I think hearing about the creative ways she makes foods healthy is inspiring. I know my children will want to try that fun dip! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  14. Awesome! So many great tips and ideas. thanks :)

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    1. Jemi- You are welcome! Glad you enjoyed the interview and recipes. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  15. It seems like I have gotten a lot of cooking tips as well in this interview as well as getting to know Diana as well! She seems like such an easy going person who really knows what she is doing in the kitchen as well! I even felt inspired from your previous recipe post and took the initiative to research a new recipe and make a different kind of chicken curry for the first time today! It was delicious :)

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    1. Olivia- Savannah- I am so glad you got so much from the interview. It is awesome that you felt inspired from the last recipe and that it caused you to look up another kind of chicken curry recipe. That is fabulous! So glad it was delicious! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  16. I remember Fun Dip! And yup, it is ALL sugar. I love your replacement recipe.

    Great interview! And with recipes? That's a plus in my book. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog for Stephanie's interview, DMS!

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    1. Chrys Fey- Thanks for visiting! I am glad you enjoyed the replacement recipes! Anyone who can make Fun Dip healthier is very smart in my book. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  17. I remember Fun Dip! And yup, it is ALL sugar. I love your replacement recipe.

    Great interview! And with recipes? That's a plus in my book. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog for Stephanie's interview, DMS!

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  18. I remember eating fun dip. I didn't care for the powdered sugar all that much but those white candy sticks that we used for dipping, I loved those. I was such a strange kid. I love those tips you gave for a replacement. I bet a lot of kids would eat that.

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    1. Mary- How funny that you liked the stick more than the powdered sugar. I bet you aren't alone. I personally loved the powder, but I really can't wait to try this healthy alternative. :) Thanks for visiting! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  19. I have heard quite a bit about using zucchini in place of macaroni, I am going to have to try that one... and of course I want to dry spaghetti squash... that is another one people have raved about. I have never tried parsnip fries, I will be trying these with my youngest... they sound interesting xox

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    1. Launna- I hope you and your youngest like this healthy alternatives. Little changes can make a difference, and I plan to try spaghetti squash soon! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  20. I'm a picky eater myself. I mean, really. I love something today and the next day I'll find some inperfection to the meal and BAM, I don't like it anymore. Bad bad bad, I know.

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    1. Lola- I can understand your picky tastes! Margo is the same way. She loves something for a while and then finds something about it she doesn't like and will not eat it again. I never know what will happen at dinner time. Nice to have some more tricks up my sleeve with these recipes. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  21. I love how Diana is so creative with churning out healthier versions of dished that sounds equally delicious! The freeze dry strawberries dip is really innovative! I'm getting all hungry with the cheesy macaroni. I don't know if zuchinni would taste as good as macaroni. Hehehe But still, it would be delicious I'm sure.

    Jo
    Jo's Jumbled Jardinière

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    1. Jo- I love Diana's clever variations too. I think the zucchini might be a good choice some of the time, but I know my family will want to also have regular mac and cheese at times. Once we try it we will know for sure! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  22. OMGosh. This sounds like an awesome cook book/

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    1. Sandra- It really is! So easy to follow! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  23. I am so hungry after reading this interview! :)

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    1. Carrie- I was hungry during the interview and now I am hungry again thinking about all these tasty treats. :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  24. Definitely going to have to check this out. The grandboys have a sweet tooth so I love to fool them with delicious and nutritious goodies.

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    1. Cate- This Fun Dip could be a great choice for those sweet teeth! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  25. Yummy recipes! Thanks for sharing. Will be checking out this book.

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    1. Nas- You are welcome! Enjoy! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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  26. Very entertaining interview and yummy recipes! Ohhh chocolate muffins... now I'm pining for some, lol :) Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Wendy- Thanks for visiting. I agree with you about those chocolate muffins. YUM! :) ~Mr. Morrow

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