Elizabeth Somer

Eating well should be a pleasure! It can be as simple as choosing an in-season fruit, or buying locally-grown vegetables. Taking the time to prepare delicious and good-for-you food is easier than you think.

Here I share some of the most popular recipes from my book, The Food & Mood Cookbook. Try a few and then I hope you'll let me know what you think.

—Elizabeth Somer


Very Berry Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

Moist Blueberry Pancakes recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

Wheat germ loads these yummy pancakes with a sweet, nutty flavor, and provides nutrients from vitamin E and zinc to the B vitamins. These pancakes freeze well for later use.


Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or partially frozen)
Fat-free sour cream (optional)
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
4 cups blueberries (fresh or partially frozen
4 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch


Preheat pancake griddle (approximate setting - 380 degrees). Spray with cooking spray.
1.) With a whip and using a large bowl, thoroughly blend flour, wheat germ, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside.
2.) In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly blend egg yolks, oil, milk, yogurt, and lemon extract. Gently blend in blueberries.
3) Beat whites until firm, but not dry. Fold into pancake batter. Batter should be slightly thin.
4) Pour 1 /2 cup of batter onto griddle for each pancake. Turn when bubbles on top begin to break.
5) Top each pancake with 1/4 cup blueberry sauce (see below) and a dollop of sour cream (optional). Serve with orange juice. Makes 12 five-inch pancakes.
Heat 2/3 cup water and lemon zest in saucepan over high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cook for 3 minutes to soften peel. Add blueberries and sugar and heat through, approximately 3 minutes. Blend thoroughly 2/3 cup water and cornstarch and add to blueberries. Stir until sauce turns clear. Remove from heat. Makes 3 cups.

Nutrition information per pancake with 1/4 cup sauce:

189 Calories; 18 percent fat (3.9 grams); 0.6 grams saturated fat; 12 percent protein; 70 percent carbohydrate; 2.4 grams fiber.


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Toasted Whole Wheat Bagels with Brie and Strawberries

Whole Wheat Bagels with Brie and Strawberries recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

A great change of pace and a delicious quick-fix for lunch. For a special occasion, serve with Pecan, Tart Apple, and Dried Cherry Salad from
The Food & Mood Cookbook.


2 whole wheat bagels, sliced in half and lightly toasted
2 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced
4 strawberries, chopped
4 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons silvered almonds


Preheat oven to broil.
1.) Arrange slices of brie evenly on toasted bagel halves. Top with strawberries, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with almonds
2.) Place on a baking sheet. Broil until brie starts to melt, watch closely. Serve hot. Makes four 1/2-bagel servings.

Nutrition analysis per slice:

110 Calories; 1 percent fat (<0.5 grams); 0 grams saturated fat; 4 percent protein; 95 percent carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber.


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Caramelized Leek Tart with Apples and Blue Cheese

Leek Tart with Apples and Blue Cheese Recipe from The Food and Mood Cookbook

As an appetizer or light lunch, this tart goes well with a salad and a glass of Chardonnay.


Cooking spray
1 pre-prepared Pillsbury pie crust (unfold, fill and bake)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced, then cut in half
2 leeks (white part only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup liquid egg substitute (equivalent of 4 whole eggs)
1 cup fat-free half & half
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced (use any combination of apples)


Preheat oven to 425 degree. Spray 10 inch tart pan with cooking spray.

1.) Unfold pie crust into tart pan. Gently press dough to cover bottom and sides of pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crust is light brown. Remove from oven. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degree.

2.) In a large, non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir well, then spoon caramelized onion mixture evenly on the bottom of tart crust. Add crumbled blue cheese to cover onion mixture. Set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, and thyme. Pour into tart pan. Place sliced apples on top of tart mixture, starting along outer edge and working towards center of tart in a circular pattern. Overlap apples where needed. Continue layering apples until tart surface is covered with apples. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center of tart is firm. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings

Nutrition analysis per serving:

251 Calories; 43 percent fat (12 grams); 5 grams saturated fat; 13 percent protein; 44 percent carbohydrate; 1.7 grams fiber.


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Orange Frosty

Orange Frosty citrusy drink recipe from The Food and Mood Cookbook

This citrusy drink is sweetened partially with Splenda, and has the added benefit of using soymilk, which lowers heart-disease risk. The mixture of soymilk and fruit juice helps knock out hunger because it provides a great balance of protein and carbohydrate.


2 cups ice, crushed
1 cup Silk Plus DHA soymilk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Splenda
1 6-ounce can orange juice concentrate
5 teaspoons cranberry-orange relish


1.) Place all ingredients except relish in blender. Cover and blend on high speed 30 seconds, or until smooth.

2.) Pour into five 6-ounce glasses and top with a teaspoon of relish. Serve immediately. Makes five 6-ounce servings.


Place fresh cranberries in ice cube trays, fill with water, and freeze. Once frozen, pop out the ice cube and put two or three in glass before filling with Orange Frosty to make a pretty, festive drink.

Nutrition analysis per 1/2 cup:

110 Calories; 1 percent fat (<0.5 grams); 0 grams saturated fat; 4 percent protein; 95 percent carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber.


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Rum-Infused Tropical Fruit with Coconut (Alcohol-Free)

Rum-Infused Tropical Fruit with Coconut recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

This refreshing, light dessert tastes sinfully delicious, yet is alcohol-free. Use a knife to cut the peel off the orange so that all the pith is removed. Canned mandarin oranges can be used in place of the fresh orange.


2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Splenda
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon rum extract
4 kiwi, peeled and quartered
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 medium orange, peeled, quartered, and cubed
2 teaspoons sweetened coconut flakes


1.) Place sugar, Splenda, and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar and Splenda dissolve, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool until warm. Add lime juice and extract.

2.) Place fruit in a bowl and pour sugar mixture over fruit. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow rum flavors to blend with fruit.

3) Divide fruit mixture evenly between two glass serving bowls. Top with 1 teaspoon of coconut each. Serve. Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition Analysis per serving:

258 Calories; 6 percent fat (1.7 grams); < 1 gram saturated fat; 4 percent protein; 90 percent carbohydrate; 9.1 grams fiber.


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Grilled Polenta Rounds with Tomato Capanato

Grilled Polenta Rounds with Tomato Capanato recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

Precooked rolled polenta makes this appetizer easy to prepare. Serve as an hors d'oeuvre or as a light lunch along with a tossed salad. The caponata can be made two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


Cooking spray
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, unpeeled and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 package (18-ounce) precooked-ready to eat rolled polenta
2 tablespoons capers, drained


1.) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

2.) Add remaining ingredients, except for polenta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and cool. Set aside.

3) Slice precooked polenta into 12 slices. Spray both sides of polenta with a small amount of cooking spray.

4) Place polenta rounds on grill or stove top skillet. Cook until brown on each side, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

5) Place warm polenta rounds on a serving tray, spoon Caponata on each slice, and serve. Makes 12 appetizers.

Nutrition analysis per serving:

215 Calories; 17 percent fat (4 grams); 1 gram saturated fat; 41 percent protein; 42 percent carbohydrate; 3.2 grams fiber.


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Garbanzo Toss with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Red Pepper and Fresh Parsley

Garbonzo Toss with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Red Pepper and Fresh Parsley recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

This light and flavorful salad goes well with any sandwich and is easy to pack for on-the-go lunches and snacks. For a quick sandwich, stuff a whole wheat pita with this salad along with red or yellow pepper slices.


2 (15.5-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup water or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss to blend. Serve at room temperature. (Can be made the day before serving.) Makes eight 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition analysis per serving:

252 Calories; 34 percent fat (9.5 grams); 1 gram saturated fat; 16 percent protein; 50 percent carbohydrate; 7.8 grams fiber.


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Ginger Squash

Ginger Squash recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook.

This butternut squash has so much zing! Serve it with grilled halibut and steamed broccoli or Tandoori Chicken Made Simple or Grilled Asian Flank Steak from the Food & Mood Cookbook


11/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips or cubes (approximately 4 cups raw)
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup crystalline ginger
Salt and pepper


1.) Steam squash until tender, approximately 10 minutes.

2.) Stir in orange juice, maple syrup, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir until thoroughly blended and squash is partially mashed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with crystalline ginger. Serve hot. (Makes 4 half-cup servings.)

Nutrition analysis per 1/2 cup:

110 Calories; 1 percent fat (<0.5 grams); 0 grams saturated fat; 4 percent protein; 95 percent carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber.


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Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

This soup is so creamy and full of vegetables that it's almost a stew, yet has the rich flavor of the classic comfort-food soup.


1 49.5-ounce can chicken broth
1 pound chicken breast, skinless and boneless
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cups cooked egg noodles
1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
1/2 cup fat-free half & half


1.) Place two cups broth and chicken breast in a skillet, cover, and simmer over medium heat until chicken is just cooked through, turning once, approximately 15 minutes. Set chicken aside to cool, then dice. Save broth.

2.) In a large, nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until onion is transparent, approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with flour, oregano, poultry seasoning, and salt. Toss to coat. Continue to stir gently for 1 minute.

3) Add broth from cooked chicken and remaining broth to vegetable mixture, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Gently simmer for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Add diced chicken, thyme, and peas and simmer for 2 minutes or until peas are heated through. Add noodles, milk, and half & half, stir, and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition analysis per serving

215 Calories; 17 percent fat (4 grams); 1 gram saturated fat; 41 percent protein; 42 percent carbohydrate; 3.2 grams fiber.


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Fish Fajitas with Creamy Chipotle Coleslaw

Fish Fajitas recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

The sliced mangos add a tropical twist to complement the warmth of the chipotle peppers. This is a great Friday night dinner!


4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless fish fillets, about 1-inch thick (halibut, sea bass, cod, red snapper)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

Chipotle Coleslaw:

4 cups prepared coleslaw mix
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon canned chipotle peppers, minced in Adobo sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
8 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas, warmed
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
cooking spray


1.) Rinse, pat dry fish fillets. Set aside.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, lemon juice, Creole seasoning, and oil. Spoon marinade on fish fillets to coat. Cover, place in refrigerator until ready to grill. (Up to 1 hour).

3.) In a medium bowl, add prepared coleslaw mix. Set aside.

4.) In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, lemon juice, and cilantro. Pour over coleslaw mix. Toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Up to 1 hour).

5.) Spray grill with cooking spray. Heat grill to medium-high. Remove fish fillets from marinade. Place on grill. Cover lid and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until no longer opaque in center. Remove from grill. Separate fish into 2-inch chunks with a fork. Cover to keep warm.

6.) To assemble: Set up buffet style. Let everyone make their own fajitas. Place grilled fish on a plate, next to warm tortillas, coleslaw, and sliced mango. Spoon several pieces of grilled fish on bottom end of tortillas, cover with coleslaw, add mango slices. Fold over, roll up, and eat. Makes 8 fajitas.

Nutrition analysis per fajita:

235 Calories; 20 percent fat (5.2 grams); < 1 gram saturated fat; 35 percent protein; 45 percent carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber.


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Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Orange Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe from the Food and Mood Cookbook

Thanks to a quick-brine technique, this pork is full of flavor and so tender. Serve with other recipes from The Food & Mood Cookbook such as Fluffy Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish, or Yams with Chipotle Peppers.


8 cups water
1/2 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Rosemary Orange Sauce:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup orange marmalade (reduced sugar)
11/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


1.) Brine mixture: In a large bowl, mix water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Trim excess fat from tenderloins and add them to brine. Submerge in brine for 30 minutes.

2.) Pork rub: In a small bowl, mix together rosemary, thyme, cumin, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3.) Remove pork from brine, rinse with water, and pat dry. Rub each tenderloin with olive oil, then pat on pork rub, covering all sides evenly. Place in a shallow baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to grill, or up to 24 hours.

4.) Heat gas grill to high (preheat for 5 to 10 minutes). Place pork over hot grate, insert a meat thermometer, and close lid. Grill for about 8 minutes, turn and grill another 8 minutes on opposite side. Cook until meat reaches 145 to 150 degrees.

5) Rosemary orange sauce: Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, or until shallots are tender. Add marmalade and vinegar, heat until mixture simmers. Add juices from resting pork tenderloin.

6) Slice pork into 3-inch rounds, place on a large serving platter, drizzle with orange sauce and serve. Makes 8 servings, approximately 4 ounces each.

Nutrition analysis per serving:

335 Calories; 44 percent fat (16 grams); 5 grams saturated fat; 38 percent protein; 18 percent carbohydrate; 0 gram fiber.


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