Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Big Delicious Mess or Chewy Caramel Bars



You can’t win them all.  Most recipes start out with the best intentions.  I say most, because there are quite a few recipes with green peppers and they don’t stand a chance.  You could say this recipe turned out to a something only a mother could love, and I loved it.  Too much.  What it lacked for in the looks department, it more than made up for it in personality. 


Here is a quick dessert after dinner during the week or something to take to a bake sale.  In fact, I found the recipe in the “Taste of Home” cookbook “Bake Sale Recipe” cards.  Chewy Caramel Bars has 5 ingredients.  That’s it!  Five!  Gabriel gave me a hand in the kitchen practicing his cutting and his counting.  The recipe calls for 36 Rolos, I think we had 35 by the time he was done.  The bars feed a crowd and smell absolutely delicious baking. 


If you would like to make your bars a little bit more presentable, I would suggest spreading the top layer of batter over the Rolo candies.  The recipe said to drop the batter in tablespoons.  I did that and the batter didn’t spread like it should have.  Ugly, but absolutely delicious!  Give these a try and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Easy Weeknight Meal: Honey Mustard Chicken



I know it’s Tuesday and you guys are rushing around getting people from here-to-there and back again.  That’s now what happens in our house every night of the week.  I get out of work at 2:30pm but my feet don’t land solidly on my floors at home until after 7pm!  It’s a matter of rushing one kid one way and one kid another way.  Picking up one and dropping of another.  I live in my car. 


So I picked out a recipe for today that can be prepared in 15 minutes.  Yes, there is some bake time involved, but by the time you get your running done, dinner will be too!  Honey Mustard Chicken, was found in “Taste of Home, Fast Meals with Mixes”.  It is a pull-apart cookbook that has recipe cards built right in and can be found at the check out lane in the grocery store.  My copy was given to me by my mother for Christmas.  All the recipes included a prepared item already and you build your recipe around it. My recipe called for a packet of ranch dressing mix as the base of the marinade. This chicken can easily be paired with a salad or a green vegetable and rice or potatoes.  Whatever you have time for.  The kids will love it because it is sweet and sticky and they can use their fingers.  Everybody rated the recipe “4 out of 5”  stars.  Definitely a weeknight repeater! 


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sweet Sunday: Fudgy Nut Bars



Technically not a brownie.  Technically not fudge.  I would describe this dessert as a totally new eating experience.  Definitely something I was craving.

I am debuting a recipe from another one of my health cookbooks.  I always buy the cookbooks with the hope that one of them will magically shrink the tire around my middle just by opening the cover.  Obviously I know that doesn’t work.  The 45 other health cookbooks can attest to that, but again I am a cookbook glutton and am always searching for the next easiest thing to help me out.  Enter Rocco Dispirito.  I have had my on eye on Rocco for quite some time.  Not because of his cookbooks or the diet plans he has come up with.  Let’s just say there is a small crush (ok, he is super cute).  Now in all honesty I did purchase his diet plan/cookbook “Now Eat This! Diet” in the bargain bin.  I have seen it on the bookshelves for a while now and I have read reviews about it.  So I picked it up and then bought the other two cookbooks that go along with it. 


The diet plan is easy to read and the recipes look delicious.  The cookbook is laid out in a color pattern.  Each recipe is assigned a color based on its calorie count so you can mix and match to eat the right amount of calories for the day.  I would love to be able to do that.  Make everything from scratch everyday and feed my family from this diet plan.  Wouldn’t that be a dream.  First thing I would have to do before shopping is rob a bank.  Every single recipe has high priced ingredients and that just isn’t in my game plan.  I can easily make recipes out this book every so often, but not something to follow everyday of the week.

So here is a treat.  I know not everyone has the ingredients to make “Fudgy Nut Bars” in their cupboard, so maybe make these when you are feeling adventurous and have time to plan ahead.  The bar/brownie/candy are fantastic.  The dessert is loaded with fiber and protein and is low in calories so you can quench your chocolate craving without breaking your calorie bank.  I wouldn’t tell your family what is in them until after they have tasted one, and when you look at the ingredients list you will know why.  Just know that you can feel good about eating this dessert.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chia Seed Pudding



So in my cookbook collection I have over 40 cookbooks dedicated to healthy eating.  Cookbooks that tell me what to eat, how to eat, and how much I shouldn’t eat.  Yes, I do love them all, because they are apart of my cookbook family.  And yes, I have bought into most of the fad diets, the all protein, the no milk diet, figure out what blood type you are diet, the only 15 day diet (that one lasted two days) and the peanut butter diet.  Yes, the peanut butter diet.  I was ecstatic to find that cookbook, but very disappointed to find out, it wasn’t all you can eat.


Enter 2014 and a new healthy living cookbook has found it’s way into my family.  “Giada’s Feel Good Food”, by Giada de Laurentis caught my wandering cookbook eyes before it was released in stores.  I am a fan of her show and she had been advertising her upcoming cookbook.  I mean look at her!  She has to be doing something right.  It did not disappoint!  “Feel Good Food” is filled with beautiful pictures of healthy delicious food, simple recipes and tips on how Giada stays so “Giada”.  I can’t wait to try them all.  Also, a lot of her recipes are gluten free.  I bought the cookbook for my sister (who is quite gluten free) and I hope she finds great ideas as well!


Chia seed pudding peeked my interest the first time I look through the cookbook.  In my research to eat healthier, I found out the nutritional benefits of adding chia to my diet.  You probably are thinking, don’t you just grow chia seeds on novelty Garfield sculptures?  Why yes, you can.  If you keep reading the instructions on Chia pet boxes you would see that you can eat those too!  You can find chia seeds at your local health food store.  Chia seeds contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese (good for bone strength), phosphorus (good for your teeth), and protein.  That is one powerful seed!  You can add chia seeds to anything, muffins, bread, mashed potatoes, it doesn’t’ matter!  Chia seeds don’t have any flavor so they won’t change the taste of what you are making!


I did make some changes to Giada’s recipe.  The original recipe calls for unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk.  I substituted Almond Breeze coconut/almond milk.  It has 45 calories per cup and tastes delicious!  I also used 0% fat Greek yogurt.  The recipe called for 2% low fat Greek yogut

Please give this a try and tell me what you think in the comment section below! Talk to you soon!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Indian Spiced Roasted Chickpeas



I  like to snack.  When I make breakfast, I am snacking.  When I make lunch, again more snacking.  And dinner.  Don’t even get me started on dinner.  The hours from 3-6pm are known as the witching hours in my house.  I eat dinner before I make dinner, while I’m making dinner and after dinner when I am supposed to be cleaning up dinner.  It’s a vicious cycle that happens day after day after day. 


Since I haven’t quite figured out how to stop all the snacking, I have figured out how to make my snacks better for me.  More nutritiously sound snacks.  Snacks that give me more bang for the buck.  Baby carrots can only take me so far, and cucumbers make me even hungrier.  I crave sweet and salty.  Something crunchy and worth chewing and, when I am counting calories something worth spend my precious calories on. 

Enter chickpeas.  Chickpeas are full of fiber and protein.  Two elements that keep your hunger at bay longer.  Chickpeas are a blank canvas for any flavor you want to coat them in.  I am partial to Indian spices.  Smokey, hot and intense is the perfect combo for me.  You can choose to do any flavor.  Plain old salt and pepper works fine as well.

Please enjoy!


Oh!  Look what my daddy made me!!!!!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Cake…..Yum!



Yadda, yadda, yadda….It’s been a while…..Yada, yada, yada….the kids are great, I’ve been super busy…. no excuses… we go!

I have been dabbling in the art of making things a little bit healthier.  Mama loves to eat.  Ok, I could eat all day long if science would let me.  When I cut out the foods that I like, I always seem to crave the foods even more.  NO CHOCOLATE!  I eat at least two candy bars worth the next day.  NO PEAUNT BUTTER!  Wait, how did that empty jar get there?   It’s a vicious cycle.  My scale and my body are sick and tired of losing the same ten pounds over and over again.  The cycle stops now.


So it’s January.  The time of fresh beginnings.  Newly fallen snow, hides the dirtiness left from the year passed.  Time to recharge, reshape, and resolve.  2014 is my year.  My year to fall in love with myself.  My year to keep on this blog.  For those of you who read, please keep my butt moving.  Time tends to get away from me.  My year to step out of my comfort zone and learn new things.  Thanks for carrying me along the way.  It’s my time.  (you can start listening to “Eye of the Tiger” right now.")




Peanut Butter Banana Cake  (or Mama needs some peanut butter)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 egg

3 over ripe mashed bananas

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

For Glaze:

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 peanut butter baking chips.



Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with non stick cooking spray.

1.  In a large bowl combine the bananas, egg, butter, applesauce, peanut butter, salt, and both sugars until mixed. 

2.  In a smaller bowl sift together the flour and baking soda.

3.  Pour the flour mixture into the banana mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Don’t over mix or the batter will be tough.

4.  Spread in the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5.  Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Release onto a cooling rack and top with glaze. 

6.  Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds and add the peanut butter chips and stir until melted.  Drizzle over cake.


Serves 16.  130 calories a serving.  Cut loaf down the middle and cut into sixteen even pieces.  Try not to lick the spoon from the drizzle.  The calories do count.