Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 has been good!

It's been a good year and I am oh so thankful for that. Below is a little recap on all (or most) of the wonderful goings-ons of 2010:

-Turned 27...yozers. But healthy and happy!
-Pursued my dream to become a personal trainer. Began in May and am still LOVING it...really, it's the best most amazing job ever. I am in love with my job! :)
-Celebrated many friend's engagements, weddings...and babies!
-My nephew, James was born
-Daniel and I celebrated our first year anniversary. I don't know where the time has gone, but we are loving married life and being newlyweds
-Bought our first home!
-Did many, many, MANY successful home projects on our first home
-Spent a wonderful relaxing few days at Holden Beach with Daniel's family over July 4th
-Went to Cape Cod for a wedding (and our late anniversary celebration) and explored that area...lovely!
-Our niece, Lily's 1st Birthday!
-Hosted our house warming party and celebrated all we've done to our home
-Went to Pawley's Island with my fam for Thanksgiving...always fun times at the beach
-Celebrated Daniel's 29th Birthday...big 30 just around the corna!
-Zoey, our black pug's 1st Birthday!
-Went to Raleigh for Christmas with the Hoffman's...another fun, relaxing time full of lots of laughter :)

I'm sure I am forgetting a few things...but these are what first comes to mind. I may add more if more pop into my head!

What's on the radar for 2011???

So far....

-Lots and lots of wedding showers/ times!
-My 28th b-day in Feb!
-Going skiing w/my parents and Daniel in March to CO
-Running my first half-marathon in March (can't believe it took me this long to run a half---but gotta start somewhere)
-2 weddings that I'm a bridesmaid in in April
-James' 1st b-day in April

Phew...I guess time flies b/c it gets slammed jam packed w/LIFE! It's all good though. Here's to you and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!



For Christmas I made a couple new cookie recipes. Both were delish! They were Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and Cookie Dough Balls. The PB cookies are super super easy, cheap and yummmmy. The Cookie Dough balls were easy (recipe from here), yet a little tedious...I love cookie dough soo much so when I saw this I knew I had to give them a try. They don't call for any eggs, so are safe to eat---unlike regular raw cookie dough. Enjoy the recipes below!

Peanut Butter Cups:


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 bag of reese's peanut butter cups


-Mix peanut butter and sugar together
-Put mini muffin cup liners in mini muffin pan (you do not have to use liners, but if you don't---spray heavily w/cooking spray)
-Put PB/sugar mixture in muffin pan
-Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes
-As soon as you take them out of the oven, put the reese's cups in the cookies
-Let them cool...enjoy!

Cookie Dough Balls

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
14 oz can sweetened, condensed milk
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

To coat: 1 1/2 lbs chocolate disks or chocolate chips

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

Since the dough is sticky, roll your fingers into flour. This will make it easier to roll.

Melt chocolate chips or disks in a double boiler. Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the season for cookies!

I've been baking up a storm here recently. Tis the season for yummy baked goods and lots and lots of Christmas COOKIES! We are big cookie eaters around here...well, we try so very hard to keep it in moderation...

In the oven baking as I type this are Festive Candy Cane Brownie Cupcakes that I made last year and was requested by the hubs if I could make them again this year. They are smelling delish!

I tried a couple new cookie recipes this year. I love the traditional ones that my Mom makes every year, but haven't yet gotten the chance to make any of those. One of my favorites that my Mom makes is a bar cookie that has a graham cracker bottom, then layered w/a coconut mixture, then topped with melted dark chocolate. I'm not a huge coconut fan, but these cookies really melt in your mouth. Maybe I'll make these for the New Year! She also makes traditional made from scratch sugar cookies and decorates them (we used to decorate them every Christmas as children)...Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies with a Hershey's kiss on top (pic show above), Rum Balls, etc. It's fun to remember special traditions such as these. Many memories are made in the kitchen :)

Stay tuned for Cookie Dough Balls and Chocolate Peanut Butter cup recipes! Mmmmm!

Do you have a favorite cookie around Christmas time?

The countdown to Christmas is on! Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie with puffy croutons

Yum. Not all of the recipes I make are out of this world delicious...but, this was. This recipe had the "wow" everytime you took another bite a "yummmmmm" would come out of our mouths. It's just that good. I had a craving for some warm, cozy, comfort chicken pot pie was on the brain. One of my favorite cooking blogs had this recipe I just had to try. It's different though...not your typical chicken pot pie because it uses puff pastry instead of biscuits or another topping. The hubs and I both agreed that the puffy croutons made the meal---SO yummy and I would have never thought to put these in pot pie. This recipe has a little more steps than the typical recipe that I post, but it is SO worth it. Take some time to make this on a cold, winter weekend and I PROMISE it won't disappoint! Here is the recipe...below is the recipe with my slight changes in parenthesis.

Chicken Pot Pie Bowls with Puffy Croutons


3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I only used 2 T.)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium white onion finely diced
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used 3 chicken breasts, 4 would be even better)
1 stick butter (I just used 1/2 stick of butter)
½ Cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cans chicken broth (I used fat-free, low-sodium)
1 Cup half and half (I used fat-free)
½ Cup low fat sour cream
1 Cup petite peas, frozen is fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of garlic salt, Lawry’s
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1. Heat oil into a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Saute carrots, onion, celery and onion until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low stir in chicken and simmer.
2. In a separate medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and half and half until smooth.Increase heat to high while continually whisking until mixture thickens and almost starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in sour cream and peas. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of garlic salt (won’t need much). Simmer on low while croutons are cooking.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Gently roll out puff pastry with a rolling pin to even thickness. With pastry brush, brush pastry with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. With pizza cutter, cut into ½ inch squares. Place squares onto a large baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool.
4. Serve in pot pie base in bowls and top with puffy croutons (I put some on the bottom of the bowl, too before adding the "pie!"), Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

On Saturday, the hubs and I went to Reston, VA to do Christmas with my side of the family. We had lunch at Michael and Amanda's. It was delicious and great to see everyone. Before we left that morning for "NOVA" (Northern VA), I threw this soup in the crockpot so that we'd come home to a healthy, warm and ready dinner. We were wanting a super healthy dinner on Saturday since we both suffered from horrible stomach aches after eating pizza Friday night. Ugh, I hate you cheese! But sometimes I just love you pizza! haha.

Anywho, try this recipe. It's also perfect for a colllld winter day...and good for leftovers on days when it's SNOWING (like today in Richmond)! I got the recipe here from FoodNetwork. The recipe calls for couscous, you add this in at the end...very interesting twist, but Daniel and I both LOVED it...great idea. The soup is VERY filling...we had this with cornbread and sliced pears. :)

Cook Time:6 hr 0 min Level: Easy Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen baby lima beans or regular lima beans
1 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeno (from can or jar)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano or regular oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/3 cup couscous (I used the whole wheat garlic and olive oil kind, yum)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients but the couscous, shredded cheese, cilantro and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. (Or, if you're like me...cook on low for about 10 hours)

Five to 10 minutes before serving (depending on temperature of slow cooker) add couscous, cover and cook, until couscous is tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Just before serving, top each serving with shredded cheese and cilantro.

P.S.- Yet again, I don't have pics of the chili. Taking more pictures of food is one of my new years resolutions ;) Enjoy the pics of having the first snow of the year in our first home!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not yo Mamma's Meatloaf

Growing up as children, both Daniel and I were not big meatloaf lovers. I wanted to find a yummy recipe for meatloaf, though, b/c it is so comforting on a cold, winter day. I think I found "the" recipe! I got it off Epicurious, here. Below is the recipe:

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)
3/4 cup Quaker® Oats
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup catsup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; mix lightly but thoroughly.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is to medium doneness (160°F for beef, 170°F for turkey), until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. (Now, the only problem I had w/this recipe was that it took almost 2 hours to bake...not sure why, but this was frustrating as there were 2 hungry people in my house! Just be aware of this and be prepared that it may take a while to bake...)

As good as the meatloaf is, it would not be complete without the sauce. Form the mixture into a loaf and place it in the middle of a roast pan to cook. Twenty minutes before it was done, the grease/liquid was drained off. She then covered the meatloaf with 1/2 cup of grated onion, followed by 1/2 cup of (Heinz) ketchup mixed with 2T of brown sugar, 2T vinegar, 1T Worchestershire Sauce; heated mixed ingredients but did not boil. I always make a double batch to spoon over each piece.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 2 days, or wrap airtight and freeze up to 3 months.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Overnight Baked French Toast

I made this recipe over Thanksgiving, but just now getting a chance to post it. I love breakfasts that you can make the day before then just pop in the oven the morning the next morning when you wake up. I made this for my family and it was loved. It is slightly sweet, so next time I would cut down on some of the sugar (which I went ahead and did in my version below for you), but overall it was delicious. Serve with fruit and coffee :)

Here is the original recipe from My slightly changed version is below:


1 loaf (or whatever fits in your pan) of whole wheat bread (I happened to have whole wheat cranberry bread on hand, and it was perfect)
8 eggs
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup


Spray with Cooking Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.
Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Serves: 8

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My new favorite veggie's been almost a month since my last food/recipe post. We've been so busy with getting the house ready for our housewarming party, and then after that...honestly I've been just making simple, easy meals not very blog worthy. I also train clients most evenings, so dinner must be quick and simple to get on the table when I get home. Wednesdays are my evenings off (for now), so tonight I finally got to hunker down in the kitchen. :) Oh, how I loooove cooking! Tonight's dinner was pretty much amazing...yet still so simple.

Back to the title of my new favorite veggie is...Kale! I've only had this veggie a couple times, yet have never tried to cook it before. My Mom gets a basket of fresh/local/organic foods every other week and this past week she had a bunch of kale in it. So, being the kind mother that she is...she gave me some. I was a little nervous to cook this for the first time, but it was great....soooo delicious. Another positive...soooo good for you! I will def. be making this again soon. There are so many recipes our there for kale, but below is the one I used tonight from the Food Network. We also had pork tenderloin that I had marinating in the refrig overnight in barbeque sauce. Popped that sucker in the oven at 425 for 40 minutes and it melted in your mouth. We also had brown rice with chopped pecans that I toasted and then threw them in the rice with a tiny bit of butter. All of the flavors from this meal blended in together and it was a complete success. YUM.

Sauteed Kale

1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (I only used 2 T. and was just fine)
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water (I used water and it was great)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

*I encourage you to go try and cook something new that you've never done before!

**Oh...and Happy December! I love this time of year!!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to eat healthy during the Holidays's that time of year again. Where in the WORLD has this year gone? I swear it was just January 1, 2010 like yesterday! Anywho, I love the holidays. My favorite part is getting together with family. I don't need gifts and any of that hullabuloo anymore...just spending time with family is so wonderful.

Of course, with family gatherings comes food...and, it is so yummy and tempting. Some of my favorite foods are during the holidays...all the sweets...stuffing...etc...yikes! Below are some tips to help you stay with your healthy eating goals. I got these tips from a blog I love, and totally agreed with every one 110%, so just had to post and share!

1. Everything in moderation – Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treats. If you do, you’re likely to binge or be plain crabby. Have a mug of eggnog, eat your favorite cookie, but remember to practice portion control and try not to overdo it.

2. Keep it moving – You’re bound to be busier around the holidays but don’t let physical activity go by the wayside. Schedule family walks after a big meal, wake up early to do an exercise DVD, and incorporate more NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis aka activities of daily living). Need to go shopping instead of going to the gym? No problem- consider your shopping cardio! A few good tips: park far away from the stores, take the stairs instead of the escalator, wear comfy shoes so you can walk at a faster pace, and please skip the mall food.

3. Eat normally – Even if you have a big holiday meal planned in the evening it’s helpful to eat breakfast and lunch as you would on any normal day. Your meals can be a bit smaller than your everyday meals, but this way you won’t be ravenous when dinner comes around and you’ll likely make better choices. (I think this is especially many people don't eat breakfast or lunch on Thanksgiving Day...this is bad, bad, BAD folks. If you eat breakfast and smaller lunch before your big meal, you won't pig out as much and be so ravenous)

4. Don’t let one bad day of eating get to you – Say you went overboard at a party and had way too many sugary sweet treats, bacon wrapped dates, and a candy cane martini. Don’t throw in the healthy eating towel. Put that incident behind you and try to pick healthier options at your next meal.

5. Bring healthy dishes and pack snacks – If you’re going to a pot-luck bring a healthy dish to share (like roasted root veggies, eggplant caponata, quick quinoa salad or Tasty Trail Mix Cookies ). At least you’ll know one thing on the menu is healthy. If all else fails, have some healthy snacks like carrot sticks, a nutrition bar or homemade trail mix with you. This is particularly a good idea if you have dietary restrictions.

6. Say no – Remember that you don’t always have to eat everything that’s offered to you. Just because grandma made her special corn pudding just for you doesn’t mean you HAVE to have seconds. Be polite, but assertive when you’re full or don’t really want to eat something.

7. Don’t focus on the food – Most holiday events are centered around food. Eat and enjoy yourself, but remember that it’s not all about the food. Step away from the table and enjoy all the other things the season has to offer – family, friendship, LOVE, reflection, decorating, relaxation, etc.

**What are you doing for Thanksgiving? This is our year to spend turkey day with mi familia. We are heading to my parents beach house in SC and are super excited. Oh, and this year we have a baby in the family (our nephew-James) so I know this will make it even more special and fun. :)


Last weekend, we had our housewarming party. It was the biggest party both Daniel and I had ever we were hoping that all would go as planned. did! It was pretty crazy trying to get a few last minute things done on the house and clean it, but we finished in time. phew! We had a great time and thank those who made the drive to join us in this celebration. We are happy to say that now we are relaxing with the house. We are enjoying it and not doing many projects...HORRAY! This is the best feeling ever. :) It's so nice to have a break and no worry about so many house projects. If you want to read more on our party, go here

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Pasta

Ok, this is seriously yummy. I know it sounds weird, and I do have to admit that I was a little nervous as to how it would taste, but is SO GOOD. Will def. be making it again very soon!!!! Daniel loved it much that we had it for leftovers Monday night for dinner. Perfect for a cold, Fall evening....and healthy too. :)

1 pound whole wheat ziti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
3 to 4 cloves garlic (diced)
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken stock
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup fat free half and half
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 package chicken sausage (I used the apple flavored perfect for this dish)
7 to 8 leaves fresh sage (thinly sliced)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta to al dente (see box for time). Saute chopped onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in cut up chicken sausage. Then, stir in chicken stock, pumpkin, and cream. Then, season with hot sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 6 minutes more to thicken sauce. Taste test and adjust seasoning as necessary. Stir in sage and toss with pasta. Top with grated cheese (to taste).

Here is the link where I got the recipe from. I made a couple personal changes to the original recipe to make it a bit better for you which is shown in the recipe posted.

*I apologize for no picture, again...we were so hungry I couldn't stop for a pic!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Reno post #1

I have neglected putting up "Before" and "After" pics of our home. We bought our first home in May of this year, and have been working out butts off remodeling and re-doing. Our home was foreclosed and was previously rented before we moved in. With that being said, it had not been cared for at all. Right when we walked in the home, we instantly had a vision for what it could become. I am proud to say that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! This, my friends, is our special treat. :)

Many rooms are beginning to be checked off the list of being done. I will focus on one room at a time...for are the before and after's of our dining room. We painted the top half red and the bottom half white. In the future, we'd like to put window boxes on the white...but that'll come in time. We bought our table off craiglist (steel!). My Mom's good friend (she does all my Mom's curtain, reupholstering, etc. things) made the curtains and reupholstered the big dining chairs. I bought the fabric a while ago (around when we moved in) was on super sale and I fell in love with it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

First off... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! Did you do anything for for Halloween? This year, the hubs and I were pretty lame when it came to halloween, but we can blame it on the house. Daniel and his Dad worked their butts off on our house this weekend. They did a great job and got a lot done. I am so thankful for so many of our family members who have helped us SO MUCH with this house. :) Anyways...tonight we are very excited to be giving out candy to adorable ghosts and goblins for the first time ever. Yes, the first time ever as "grown-ups." It's the little things in life...

Tonight we're going to drink some pumpkin beer, eat pumpkin pasta (if it's a hit, will post recipe soon) and enjoy a nice evening at home giving out candy.

Anywho on Friday I made this fabulous coffee cake for the weekend. I had a craving for an apple coffee cake and this hit the spot. My Mom found the recipe in the Richmond Times Dispatch...I modified it a is my version:


1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces
2 t. cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 T. flax seed
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
2 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt (18 oz.)
3 medium apples, Granny Smith, diced


-Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease and flour a bundt pan.

-Streusel: In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, the cold butter pieces and cinnamon. Mix w/fork until crumbly and butter is blended in well. Stir in chopped pecans. Set aside.

-Cake: In a bowl, combine 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and baking soda. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract and vanilla yogurt. Add flax seed. Beating on low speed of mixer, beat in flour mixture just until blended.

-Spoon about 3 cups of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the streusel mixture and the apples, then 1/2 cup of the streusel mixture. Spoon remaining batter over streusel apple layer. Top with remaining streusel. Press streusel down into batter lightly.

-Bake cake for 55-60 minutes or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Hold a baking sheet over top of cake and carefully invert. Remove pan; cool completely. Move to a serving plate if desired.

*This recipe is a little tedious, but totally worth it. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Firecracker Prawns

My wonderful father in law is here this weekend helping with some house work. When he arrived last night we had a nice dinner of firecracker prawns over brown rice, broccoli and pineapple. It was great and something I'll def. make again. Very easy, too.


1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1 jalapeño peppers
1/4 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems chopped, plus 1-2 tablespoons chopped for garnish
1 bunch green onion, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs prawns, peeled and devined


-Mix the hoisin sauce, orange juice, chile, cilantro, onion, and oil in a large 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Add the prawns and toss to coat.
-Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to marinade. If the shrimp are frozen, refrigerate overnight to thaw shrimp.
-Preheat oven to 375°F.
-Bake for 20 minutes until shrimp is cooked through.
-Garnish with more cilantro and green onion, if desired.

-Serve over brown rice.

Serves 8.
Make ahead: Cook the cooked shrimp and cover. Reheat in a 350°F oven for five minutes and serve.
**You can also make this as an appetizer...this is actually how I initially had this recipe and I loved it, but thought it would make a good meal over brown rice. I was right, but like I's just as yummy as an appetizer.

Well...the men are working away...maybe I should go help? ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

This Pumpkin Bread is the best...the best ever. It is a family recipe from my Mom's side of the family. Mom always makes it in the Fall and it's a tradition to have it with our Thanksgiving meal. I love this pumpkin bread any time of day. My favorite thing is to make a pumpkin bread and peanut butter sandwich for lunch...I so look forward to these lunches! It will also make your house smell delicious while baking...mmmmm...


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup oil (I use half oil and half applesauce)

2 eggs

1 c. pumpkin

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup raisins - optional

1/2 cup chopped nuts - optional


1. Beat together sugar, oil and eggs.

2. Stir in pumpkin

3. Sift dry ingredients together and add.

4. Add water and raisins.

5. Pour in to greased loaf pan.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes.

A Thanksgiving tradition! Enjoy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash w/Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti squash....butternut squash...acorn name it, I LOVE me some SQUASH! :) Here in the Hoffman household we have had many a squash lately (well, also lots pumpkin foods too). Yum, yum, yum. Below is the recipe for what was for dinner tonight. It was different, yet delish. The recipe used spaghetti squash as the "pasta" of the dish...I have heard this done many times, yet have not tried it...well until tonight. I have to say, great idea! The meal has all the fun and flavor of a traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but without the carbs and high calories. I have to be honest and note that I just used Trader Joe's turkey meatballs...I did not make my own tonight, so had to work w/the recipe differently. Nevertheless, everything still turned out great. Happy cooking!

Spahetti Sqush w/Turkey Meatballs
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4


1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.) halved lengthwise
1 T. plus 1 t. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t. chopped fresh oregano
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 T.)
1 T. dried breadcrumbs
8 ounces lean ground turkey
8 ounces mushrooms (about 3 cups)
1 cup low-sodium, fat free chicken stock
4 ounces spinach (about 5 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spoon out seeds, season cut sides of squash with 1/4 t. salt. Bake, cut sides down, on a baking sheet until tender, about 45 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Scrape flesh into strands using a fork. Let drain, covered to keep warm, in a colander set ove a bowl.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 t. oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until soft but not brown, 8-10 minutes. Add oregano; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Divide mixutre between 2 bowls.

3. Stir 1 t. plus 1 1/2 t. cheese into 1 bowl of onion-garlic mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs, turkey, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/4 t. pepper using your hands. Form mixture into 12 balls.

4. Heat 2 t. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown meatballs, turning, 4-6 minutes; transfer to plate. Add remaining teaspoon oil to skillet. Cook mushrooms, 1/4 t. salt, and 1/8 t. pepper, adding a few tablespoons water if skillet browns too quickly, until soft and beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add remaining bowl of onion-garlic mixture, meatballs, and stock; bring to gentle simmer. Cook, partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.

5. Divide squash and meatball mixture into 4 servings. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Per Serving: 277 calories, 2 G. Sat. Fat, 21 G. Protein, 2 G. Fiber

*On the side we had Trader Joe's spring rolls and edamame :) Oh, and if you're wondering, I got this recipe from the Martha Stuart magazine October issue.

P.S.- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET ELISE!!!! We are sorry that we can't make the big bash on Saturday, but we will surely be there on Sunday! Love you :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Chili

Perfect recipe for a rainy, chilly Fall day. Check it out here.. For once and for all, I made zero changes to this recipe! It turned out great...just a little hint of pumpkin...yum, yum, yum! We also had baked cubed butternut squash and homemade pumpkin bread on the side. Twas a delicious meal.


1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
Two 14½oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 cup pure pumpkin pureé
1 Tbs ground chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin seed
½ tsp ground black pepper
dash of salt
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream

1. Brown ground beef in large sauté pan with onion, green pepper and garlic. Spoon off grease.
2. Return to heat and add tomatoes, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
3. Serve topped with cheese and sour cream.

Servings: 4

Cooking Tips
*Lighten this up by using lean ground beef, low fat cheddar and light sour cream.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

If you don't like pumpkin, stay away from my blog for the next few weeks. I'm OBSESSED with all things pumpkin and looove this time of year when it's all around. This time every year I ask myself..."Why don't I just make pumpkin things all year??" For some odd reason, it just doesn't seem to happen. Anywho, today I made these Pumpkin Blondies. They are to die for and so easy! I have a few other pumpkin recipes on my list to make in the coming weeks such as Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Curry, be on the lookout (unless they are bad and not "blog worthy.")

Disclaimer: This is not my's from the blog where I got the recipe from.

Pumpkin Blondies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips (I used regular chocolate chips b/c I had them on hand and they were great)
1 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional...I didn't use these as I don't like nuts in my sweets)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips (and pecans, if using) with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

ENJOY! Happy Fall!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and Golden Raisins

O.M.G. Best Pork Tenderloin recipe I have made. Probably ever. And, it was sooo easy...and you didn't even have to soak the pork in the marinade overnight, or for that matter---not even 5 minutes. This is the BEST pork tenderloin recipe. Very easy, and so yummy. I made this for the hubs and I Sunday night and we had leftovers tonight that we JUST as moist, flavorful and delish. Big yum in our book.

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 45 min.
This is a great way to enjoy pork tenderloin without the grill.


• 2 small sweet onion, sliced
• 1/2 cup(s) golden raisins
• 4 tbsp brown sugar
• 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin


1. Cook all ingredients (except pork) in a skillet over med-high heat until onions are soft and browned.

2. Place tenderloin in pan coated with cooking spray. Pour onion mixture over meat.

3. Cook in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees (or until done).

Calories 292; Fat 12g; Saturated Fat 6g; Cholesterol 94mg; Sodium 68mg; Carbohydrates 22g; Fiber 1g; Sugar 19g; Protein 24g more info

*Suggested Side: Tossed Salad with pears, craisins, walnuts and gorgonzola. We also enjoyed this with corn on the cob and a delish couscous that I made along as I went. In the couscous I toasted pistachios and added those in there, I also added raisin's and cooked the couscous in fat-free, low-sodium chicken was to die for and the perfect side to the pork tenderloin.

Fabulous Fall meal for a crisp fall day! Plan to make this ASAP!

P.S.- The super cute napkins came from my festive Mom. They crack Daniel and I up everytime we use them..."boo ya'll."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baked Chicken Parm...

And a couple glasses of red wine make for a wonderful Friday evening meal.

Baked Chicken Parm

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 20 min.
Less mess, less fat, great flavor - what more could you ask for?


• 1 package(s) whole wheat pasta
• 1/2 cup(s) flour
• 3 egg(s), separated
• 1 cup(s) Italian bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup(s) parmesan cheese, grated
• 1/2 tsp oregano
• 2 lb chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
• 1 cup(s) mozzarella cheese (part skim), shredded
• 1 cup(s) pasta sauce (marinara)

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Place the flour on a plate or piece of waxed paper. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites. On another plate or piece of waxed paper, mix the bread crumbs with the oregano and parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

4. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, then dip in the egg whites (shaking off any excess egg), then dredge in the bread crumb mixture. Coat both sides of each cutlet with nonstick cooking spray and place on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake the chicken until the cutlets are golden, 8 minutes.

6. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the cutlet with the mozzarella. Place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is golden (watch so the cheese doesn't burn).

7. Transfer the chicken to the plate and serve with pasta. Spoon sauce over chicken and pasta.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go make this NOW.

Best meal I've made in a while. Hands down.

Lamb Tagine (from Cooking Light)


1 (1-lb.) boneless leg of lamb roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 t. salt, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground red pepper
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. honey
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, low sodium beef broth


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/2 t. salt. Add lamb to pan; saute 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1/4 t. salt, cumin, and next 3 ingredients (through garlic); saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in honey and tomato paste; cook 30 seconds; stirring frequently. Return lamb to pan. Add apricots and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories: 395
Fat: 17.8 g.
Protein: 28.3 g.

*I served this over garlic and olive oil whole wheat cous cous and with a side of broccolini. Oh, and don't be scared to cook with lamb...this was my first time and it was easy as cooking w/chicken!

I made this meal for my parents last night at their home and for dessert we had:

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread Pudding (another...GO MAKE THIS NOW!). This is a healthy bread pudding and super duper YUMMY.


1.5 C skim milk
3/4 C canned pureed sweet potato (pumpkin would also work)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
5 slices 100% whole wheat Nature’s Pride bread, toasted and cubed


Preheat oven to 350.

1) Whisk all ingredients except the bread together in a large bowl.

2) Toast the 5 slices of bread. This will make it hold it’s shape when it bakes.

3) Cut the toasted bread into cubes and add into a deep pan. Pour the sweet potato liquid mixture evenly on top of the bread.

4) Pop the pan into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Your kitchen will shortly smell amazing.

Perfect ending to a perfect dinner! :) Sorry for no pictures, we were at the parents house without the camera...oops.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brown Sugar Muffins

Stupid easy to make and delicious...especially with a dab of apple butter!


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 t. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1/3 t. salt
1 large apple, chopped (recipe didn't call for this, but I added it and was perfect!)


1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare 16 muffin tins (I sprayed them w/cooking spray to make sure they didn't stick).
2. Combine all ingredients and mix. Divide among the prepared muffin tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center come out clean.

Cider-Glazed Chicken w/Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

Weather is starting to get a little cooler, pumpkin smells are around, jean and sweatshirt wearing has arrived, halloween/fall decorations are out, apple cider is being made, and warm, home-cooked meals are smelling up homes.

I tried this recipe last week and it was a hit. From Cooking Light...enjoy!


1 (3.5 ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)...I used my rice cooker (couldn't live w/out that thing!)
2 T. butter, divided
1 lb. chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 t. salt, divided
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. refrigerated apple cider
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omiting salt and fat, drain.
2. While rice cooks, melt 1 t. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 t. salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2-3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
3. Melt remaining 5 t. butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently (careful not to burn). Add rice and the remaining 1/2 t. salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice w/chicken. Sprinkle w/parsley.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and about 1/2 cup rice)

Calories: 333
Fat: 13 g.
Protein: 29.1 g.
Carb: 24.2 g.
Fiber: 1.9 g.
Chol: 81 mg.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ham Sandwiches and Baked Barbeque Onion Rings

What was for dinner at the Hoffman's Tuesday night? Ham Sandwiches "grilled" on the stove, baked barbeque onion rings (amazing.) and sliced apple. I came across this recipe for the onion rings and just had to give them a try. But, pair them with what? I thought...hamburgers, nah...hotdogs, nah...ooooh, grilled ham sandwiches on delicious bread we had! They turned out fabulous. I lightly buttered the bread on one side, then put low-fat mayo, mustard, ham, and cheese (on Daniel's). I placed them on the burner on medium, then let them get warm and toasted. They were perfect! Along with this were the onion rings. They seriously tasted like fried onion rings...but...they're baked...woohoo! They were so so so so good...we couldn't get over that they were not fried! Give them a try:


1 cup barbecue sauce (your preference- I used Sweet Baby Rays)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups panko bread crumbs
2 medium to large sweet onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rings

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place two baking sheets in the oven and let those preheat too.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, eggs and flour.
3. Place bread crumbs in a separate bowl.
4. Using tongs (or your fingers) dip onion slice in the barbecue sauce mixture, shake the excess off and then dunk on all sides into the bread crumbs. Lay on a cool baking sheet. Repeat until all onion slices have been dunked.
5. Remove hot baking sheets from the oven and spray lightly with cooking spray. Move coated onions to hot baking sheets. Spray the coated onions lightly with cooking spray.
6. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until golden, then use tongs to turn each onion ring over. Spray the other side of the onions with cooking spray and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Watch closely to make sure they crumbs are not browning too quickly or burning.
7. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Serves. 4 to 6

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crab Chowder

Simple. Delicious. Quick meal! :) Enjoy!

Crab Chowder

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes


• 1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
• 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup(s) celery, chopped
• 1/4 cup(s) butter, with salt
• 4 tbsp flour
• 1 cup(s) chicken broth, low sodium
• 1 quart(s) fat-free half n half
• 1/2 cup(s) sherry wine
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1 tbsp old bay seasoning

1. Saute onion and celery in butter in a large saucepan until soft (about 8 - 10 min.). Add flour. Stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute.

2. Add broth and cook until thick and bubbly (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients. Add more Old Bay and sherry to taste. Cook until heated through (try to avoid boiling).

Suggested Side: Bread and salad complete this rich and filling soup.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spinach and Bacon Quiche....yummm

The hubs and I make some sort of egg dish about once a week. Eggs are cheap, easy, filling and pretty healthy. I wanted to make a dish that I could just pop in the oven when I got home from training and thought of this. I found a recipe from Paula Deen that got a 5 star rating, so couldn't resist. Here is the actual recipe, but as always-I've adapted it. Below is the Laura version:

Cook Time:45 min Level: Easy Yield: 8 servings

4 large eggs and 4 egg whites, beaten
1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
5 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a blender or mixer. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. (I made this all ahead of time, then put it in the fridge, and popped it in the oven when I got home from work...worked like a charm).

***Don't put the pie pan on a cookie pan...this REALLY slows down the baking time. I made this mistake, and instead of what was supposed to take 45 mins., took over an hour. The mixture will not spill over, so no worries there.

Enjoy, this dish is delish...light but filling. I served it with biscuits and green beans. Yum-O!

P.S.-So sorry for lacking in my picture taking of meals...I can't find the cord for my camera. I have been using Daniel's camera, but it was not around me tonight....will try to be better of the picture taking!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was the co-hostess of a women's group that I'm in and needed to bring a few nibbles. Hmm...what to bring? I had a craving for cupcakes....then decided I'd make Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite cake...well that and Cookie Cake are high in my rankings. :) This recipe from Barefoot Contessa turned out great. I realize that Carrot Cake is more popular in the Spring, but I felt that the cinnamon and orange from the carrots were perfect for the start to fall. Enjoy. :)

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used half veg. oil and the other half applesauce)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out, as I don't like nuts in my sweets)

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature (The "pounds" confused me, but I just used one package of low-fat cream cheese)
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used one stick of butter for this, although I think it calls for 2 sticks, but one was just fine!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar (I used about 2 cups...but start with one, then test to see if you'd like more if you want it more sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

Ritzy Cracker Chicken

Here's yet another adult and kid friendly, easy supper. Melts in your mouth...enjoy!

4 chicken breast halves (or I just used the chicken fingers to make it easier)
1 cup fat-free ranch dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 sleeve ritz crackers, crushed

1. Marinate chicken in ranch for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Remove chicken from dressing and shake in ziplock bag with crushed crackers and Parmesan cheese.
3. Place coated chicken in baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Broil to brown on top if desired.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Daniel and I have been racking up the mileage on our car lately. Thank goodness for Daniel's company car!!!!! A friend of mine got married in Cape Cod on August 28th. We have both never been up in that area, so once we got the save the date, we put it on our calendar right away. Originally, we wanted to go somewhere special for our 1st Anniversary, however; because of the house we vacation was in sight. We decided to make our wedding trip a vacation and stay a few extra days to celebrate our anniversary....although a little late. We are so glad we did this! It was such an enjoyable, relaxing and fun vacation. We stayed in Chatham, Cape Cod. Chatham is such a quaint, cute little town full of charm. The weather was the low 80's and a nice breeze from the ocean. Cape Cod was really what Daniel and I had both imagined. We had a few of the area's famous lobster rolls, clam chowder, fresh and boy do I mean fresh fish...and various other delicious foods.

Since we had our car with us, we went for a couple day trips. One day we went to Providence Town, or otherwise known as "P-Town." This is a very artsy, again picture-perfect, quaint town. It is very similar to Key West...if ya get what I mean. It's the Key West of the north. Very awesome though and we had a great time. We both had the bug the whole time to buy a piece of original artwork...however, everything was WAY above our budget. Oh well, next time!

Another day, we took a boat over from Hyannis to Nantucket. Another wonderful day we had! We rented bikes and peddled all over the island. We biked all over the town...went to the ocean...had an amazing lunch by the water and then biked to a brewery/winery. It was a full day and we were tired on the boat ride back to Cape Cod. So worth it though. We hoped to see some whales while on the boat, but no such luck. If we had one more day we would have gone on a whale watching trip, but time did not allow.

If you've never been in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend it. It's very family friendly, peaceful and an overall fabulous low-key vacation spot. We had a great time celebrating our 1 year anniversary! :) Cheers to year 2!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Broccoli, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole...

It was a rainy, gloomy day and I was looking for something comforting to make. I came across this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, and it was perfect. This recipe is very kid and adult friendly. :) Here is the original recipe, below is my adapted and somewhat healthier version.


1 small can of low-fat cream of chicken soup
1 small can of low-fat cream of broccoli and cheese soup
1 cup skim milk
8-10 cups broccoli florets (I used fresh broccoli, but I'm sure you could use frozen)
4 boneless chicken breasts (or I used chicken strips to make for easier cutting), cooked and shredded
1 tsp. (or more if desired) hot sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 bag Ore Ida Tater Tots, frozen
1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (or soy cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place soup and milk in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes to soften slightly. Stir in chicken, hot sauce, pepper, and garlic. Pour mixture into a 11x7 inch baking dish that's been coated with cooking spray. Top evenly with tater tots and cheese; bake for 20 minutes uncovered. Then, cover with foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. You may add more hot sauce once on your plate if desired. Yum!

Now for dessert...this recipe is sinful, yet so so so amazing. It's...a special treat :)

Coming from the same blog as the recipe above...are you ready for this???!!! Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars. Holy Yummo. I love this lady's blog because a lot of her desserts have two of my favorite ingredients...chocolate and peanut butter. Doesn't get much better than that, folks!

Here is the link.

I made a couple changes to the recipe, and here is my slightly different version below:

1 box devils food cake mix
1 egg
1/2 stick softened butter
1/2 cup water
8 oz softened fat-free cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 Cup sugar
10 regular size Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, cut into little pieces
1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons fat-free cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with tin foil. Spray with non stick cooking spray. Mix cake mix, egg and butter together then press into baking dish. Add water to mixture to help w/making the mixture more moist and easier to stir.
2. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Stir in egg until well combined then stir in peanut butter cups. Pour over cake layer and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cheesecake is cooked through (it only took 30 minutes in my oven). Remove and let cool completely.
3. Carefully lift bars out of dish using ends of foil. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until melted through. Stir in heavy cream and stir until glossy smooth. Spread chocolate over cheesecake layer, cut into squares and serve.

These are ooey, gooey heaven. :) Go ahead and eat some...happy special treat to you!

Spicy Apricot Asian pork tenderloin

Daniel and I both love pork tenderloins. I love all of the different marinades that you can do with them. I never buy the already marinaded tenderloins because they are SUPER salty. Below is a recipe from a friend's blog that turned out delicious. Here is her blog if you would like to check it out: Enjoy!

Spicy Apricot Asian Pork Tenderloin
low-sugar apricot preserves (about ½ a cup)
~2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup orange juice
2-3 Tbls Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
½ tsp dry ginger powder
¼ tsp chipotle powder (more if you like it spicy!)
Pork tenderloin (you could use any meat or tofu, I’m sure!)

Combine all ingredients on the stove over medium heat until they’re well mixed together and bubbly. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly, then pour into a pan or ziploc bag on top of pork tenderloin. Let it marinate a few hours in the fridge (I only got to marinate them for about 4 hours…I might even attempt to do it overnight next time) and then cook in the oven or on the grill. If you don’t have a lot of time to marinate it, make some extra marinade and baste it while it cooks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yet another dessert recipe...

Because I have been training clients around our typical dinner time, I have been making easy/quick dinners this week. All tasty, but nothing extra fancy. Tonight, however; I am making pork tenderloin and other goodies...I will blog about it later. Yesterday we didn't have any sweets left in the house. Probably a good thing, although the hubs and I have HORRIBLE sweet tooths. ugh. I wanted to make something quick, easy and with ingredients I had on hand without having to make another trip to the grocery. I had a bag of peanut butter/chocolate chips, so thought I'd make cookies. Well nevermind about that because we didn't have any more eggs left (one of our dinners this week was breakfast for dinner: eggs, biscuits, grits, eggs were used up!). I then decided that I still wanted to use the peanut butter/chocolate chips, and thought I'd make bar cookies with them. Still, no eggs. I then convinced myself to experiment and make eggless bar cookies. Boy, oh boy, did they turn out AMAZING. So amazing, Daniel and I have almost eaten half the large pan...sigh.

I learned that you can substitute 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp. of cornstarch to equal one egg. The recipe I used called for 2 eggs, so instead I substitute 1/2 cup water and 2 tsp. cornstarch. I was a little nervous about this, but it worked out beautifully. These cookies are super easy, SUPER moist and melt in your mouth. Enjoy with a tall glass of skim milk! Oh, and I got the recipe off my new favorite recipe web-site.


½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (or whatever kind of "chips" you want)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I didn't add these)
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In large bowl, or in large bowl of electric mixer at medium seed, beat butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar for 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Fold in chips and nuts.
Spread dough evenly in prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool completely.
Makes 16 (2X3-inch) bars
Variations: Substitute peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips or raspberry-flavored chips for all or half of the semisweet chocolate chips.