Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

This week's meal plan is full of old favorites I can make ahead to account for a packed work schedule.

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Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Tuesday: Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops

Wednesday: Italian Turkey Meatloaf Muffins  (recipe review)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Eat Out

Sunday: Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken (I use low calorie salad dressing)

Breakfast for the week: Slow Cooker Oats (I sub unsweetened applesauce for the maple syrup in this recipe to cut down on the sugar.  I also add 1T of peanut butter extract.)

Kid Friendly Meal for the Week: Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Dessert: Weight Watchers Friendly Cobbler using lemon cake and peaches

Have a great week and Happy Eating! :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Bake Granola Bars

We were all craving a sweet snack today but I didn't want to cave and buy something processed and unhealthy, so I started searching my trusty resource (Pinterest) for some recipes.  I settled on granola bars but didn't want to turn on the oven, so I was sticking with no bake.  I found several recipes and this one was my inspiration for the bars I ended up making.  They are so good!!!  Little A actually ate 2.5 bars while I was trying to individually wrap them and freeze them for this weeks snacks :)  I am thinking I may be making another batch later this week because these are not going to last!

One thing to note about these bars, they are not low calorie or low fat but all the fats are healthy from the nuts and nut butter and since you make them yourself you know there aren't any crazy chemicals or preservatives like you find in store bought bars.  That and they are so filling and satisfying they pack a punch for the calories.

Healthy No Bake Granola Bars:

2 cups oats
2 cups puffed cereal (Rice Krispies, puffed rice, etc...)
1.75 cups dried fruit (I used cranberries)
.5 cups chopped nuts (I used almonds)
.5 cups sunflower seed kernels
.25 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
.25 cups Grape Nuts (I ground mine in the coffee grinder, but this is not necessary)
.25 cups chocolate chips (optional)
.5-.75 cups honey  or agave (more will make the bars sweeter and stickier, but if they are crumbly as you are mixing, I suggest adding the whole .75 cups)
.5 cups nut butter (any kind will do, I used natural peanut butter)
1 tsp extract (I used peanut butter but you could use vanilla, almond, etc...)


Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Place honey and nut butter in a sauce pan and heat on medium until thoroughly melted.  Add extract to melted mixture and heat until just boiling then remove from heat.

Pour half the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.  Then add second half of wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  **Do not use your hands, it will just stick.  Use a spatula or plastic spoon.**

Grease a 9x13 pan.  Pour mixture into pan and press firmly into the bottom of the pan.  **This step is key.  You must press the mixture down firmly or the bars will not be bars, they will be super yummy granola**

Place pan in the freezer for minimum 1 hour (I kept mine in for 3 hours) and cut the bars.  Mine made 27 bars (9 rows and 3 columns) but you can cut them into whatever portion size you want.  Then individually wrap the bars with plastic wrap, place them in a freezer safe container and into the freezer, and you have the perfect, pre-portioned snack!

Happy Eating! :)

This recipe is being shared on Shrinking Kitchen's Cook and Share board yippee!

Meal Planning Monday

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Happy Monday all!  This week was a whirlwind of excitement, exhaustion and anticipation for me with a side of nervousness as I started a new job.  This upcoming week holds a bit more of the nervousness for me since I will meet my students on Tuesday and that comes with a whole new set of challenges...but I am definitely ready for it! :)

That being said, this week is going to be full of slow cooker recipes that can be used for lunches the following day, nothing like making it super easy for myself!

Monday: Cheeseburger Pie from Mommy Hates Cooking  I will use ground turkey to make it a bit healthier and gluten free Bisquick to make this even more healthy eating friendly.

Tuesday: Hawaiian Chicken This is a new recipe for us and I am really hoping it helps with my Chinese food craving so I don't cave and order sweet and sour chicken!!

Wednesday: Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Thursday:  Cheese Quesadillas, brown rice and green beans (A has karate on Thursdays so it needs to be a quick, kid friendly meal!)

Friday: Pizza (Going to try to make this Taco Pizza this week since I didn't get to it last week.)

Saturday: Eat Out

Sunday: Saucy Swiss Steak from Stockpiling Moms 

I will try to get to some recipe reviews since a lot of these recipes are new, but no guarantees with the new school year starting!

Happy Eating! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recipe Review: Braised Beef Brisket...with a side of True Blood :)

So when I woke up this morning I knew it was going to be a lazy day (being my last day of summer vacation and all) so I decided to make the Braised Beef Brisket in my Crock Pot instead of in the oven.  I used all the same ingredients and directions (except I cooked the potatoes and carrots separately as we don't like them mushy), I just cooked it on low for 8 hours instead of in the oven and it was delicious!  Next time I will add a bit more tomato paste and garlic, and some onion soup mix, to amp up the flavor a bit...but I am fan of big flavors :)

Then because it was Sunday, I gave all our menu items some True Blood inspired names: Big Bad Wolf Beef Brisket, Lafayette's Hot and Spicy Potatoes, Get Away Vamp Garlic Bread, Sookie's Sweet Tooth and True Blood Champagne Cocktail (1/2 champagne 1/2 Raspberry Crystal Light).  Check out the deliciousness below!

 So now you are all privy to my True Blood obsession...Happy Eating all! :)

Meal Planning Monday...the back to work version!

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This week we are going to have pretty simple meals because I have to go back to work :(  I do have to admit I am excited to start at my new school, but I will miss the lazy days of summer spent playing at the park and going swimming.  Oh well, back to reality!

Monday: Pork Tacos (still finishing the leftover Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin from last week!)

Tuesday: Double Delicious Mac and Cheese (love sneaking in veggies this way and I can set it up ahead of time!)

Wednesday: Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Thursday: Leftovers and these supper yummy looking Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Friday: Pizza, thinking about making this Taco Pizza

Saturday: Eat Out

Sunday: Chicken and Cheese Casserole (this is a Weight Watchers recipe that I am really excited to try!)

This week's breakfasts: still loving the Oatmeal Pancakes so I am going make another batch for this week.

Snacks for Aiden: Cheese Crunch Toddler Snack courtesy of Mommy Hates Cooking.  I love her site!!

My recipe reviews probably won't happen until Friday as I will be adjusting to the return to work, so have a good week everyone.

Happy Eating! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Recipe Review: Turkey Burgers with Peaches and Blueberries

When I found this recipe a few weeks ago on the blog My Favorite Things I thought it looked good and knew I wanted to make it, but I had a really hard time remembering to buy peaches.  Crazy right since peaches are so delicious!  I finally remembered and boy am I glad I did!  This was so yummy :)

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I made the burgers this afternoon, individually wrapped them in foil and then popped them in the freezer for a couple hours to help them keep shape.  The turkey did not stick together very well with the peach pieces, but after a few hours in the freezer an then and hour in the fridge they were the perfect shape.  Makes me think this would be a great make ahead meal!

As far as taste goes, it was really a great combination of sweet, spicy and salty.  I chose not to serve these with any bread (the recipe calls for serving with garlic toast) so I added .5tsp garlic salt to my peach-blueberry mix and it was perfect!

Overall this was a delicious recipe, so easy to make and will definitely be making its way into our rotation, so long as I remember to buy the peaches!

Turkey Burgers with Peaches and Blueberries

4 small peaches

1 pound ground turkey

4 slices Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup blueberries

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic salt

Finely chop one of the peaches
Place ground turkey, chopped peach, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix by hand. Shape turkey mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties (if necessary, dampen hands first). 
Grill on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until no pink remains (165 degrees F). Add cheese; cover and cook 1 minute more.*
Meanwhile, coarsely chop remaining peaches. In a large skillet combine peaches, blueberries, garlic salt and chili powder. 
Cook peach mixture stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until heated through and juices are beginning to form.

Top turkey burger withsome of the peach mixture and serve.

*Due to rain we had to cook these on a grill pan inside and it took a bit longer, about 10 minutes per side.
**You can adjust the chili powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper to your tastes
***Original recipe called for topping with fresh mint, but I didn't use it so I left it out of th recipe.

Happy Eating! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Zucchini Day!!

Did you know it's National Zucchini day?!?!  Neither did I , but now we are all better informed :)
Image Credit:

 In honor of National Zucchini Day, here is a delicious recipe from my friend Lauren.  I have yet to make this, but she says it delish and I completely trust her taste!

Stuffed Zucchini

2 large zucchinis
1 c. finely chopped green pepper1 c. finely chopped onion
finely chopped zucchini (whatever you scoop out to form the "boats")
1 c. bottled spaghetti sauce (i use prego)
2 c. shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. ground beef
**to make this lower calorie, you can use low-fat cheese and ground turkey**

First, prepare the zucchini by washing and cutting in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp. With a spoon, hollow out the zucchini by carving out enough zucchini flesh to leave it in "bowl" form, but don't penetrate the skin. Leave about 1/4" of zucchini meat so that it won't fall apart when it's cooked.

In a large skillet, brown meat. Add the chopped veggies (pepper, onion, and zucchini) and cook until tender. Drain fat and water from skillet and add seasonings. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer until hot.

In a roasting pan filled with 1/2" of water, place the zucchini boats side by side and fill each boat with the meat & veggie filling generously. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until zucchini is soft. (You can also cook it in an electric skillet on 225 degrees if you don't want to hear up the house during the summer!) Once zucchini is tender, remove the foil, cover boats with the cheddar cheese, and finish off in the oven until cheese is fully melted.

**I used to serve this with white rice, but to make it more WW friendly, I skip the rice and just eat a bigger portion of the zucchini since it's mostly "free" veggies anyway!!**

Happy Eating! :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Recipe Review: Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato "Frosting"

Oh.My.Goodness.  Dinner was so good!  Everyone loved it, even little A ate it!  This is a definite new recipe in the rotation.  It is only 4 Weight Watchers Points+, perfectly portioned and can be frozen and reheated for lunches or made ahead for a weeknight dinner when you know you will be in a hurry (can anyone say the night of karate class?)

I used my regular Italian Turkey Meatloaf recipe and instead of making a loaf, I used lined muffin tins.  I would suggest either silicon reusable liners or the foil ones because the paper ones will not stand up to the meat.  My regular recipe made 10 "cupcakes" but I am planning to double it and freeze them this weekend so I have ready-to-go lunches for when I go back to week yikes!!

This really is so simple and so quick.  I made the meatloaf mixture, placed it in the muffin tins (filling about 2/3 full) and baked at 350 for 30 minutes (or until cooked through).  Then you "frost" them using a piping bag, Ziploc bag with the corner cut off (my method of choice) or an ice cream scooper.

How cute are these? 

(Images are being really weird in Blogger tonight so this isn't the best picture I can get to load, but you get the idea right?)

I used a very simple mashed potato recipe.

Mashed Potato "Frosting"
1 pound yukon gold potatoes
1T Smart Balance Light
.25c Fat Free Half and Half

Wash and quarter potatoes.  Place in a pot filled with water and lightly salt water.
Bring water to a boil and boil until potatoes are fork tender.
Drain potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl.
Add butter and stir until melted.
Pour in half and half and mix well with a electric hand mixer or stand mixer.  (You can also use a hand masher, but you want to potatoes to be very creamy so the pipe well as "frosting'.)

And that's it!  So simple and so fun for kids who think they are getting cupcakes for dinner.

Happy Eating! :)

Italian Turkey Meatloaf

Tonight's dinner was inspired by this recipe found on Skinnytaste.  Skinnytaste is one of my favorite sites to use for inspiration and ideas when I am trying to keep meals exciting.  You should definitely check it out!

For tonight's dinner I decided to use my Italian Turkey Meatloaf recipe instead of the one listed on the site.  We are not huge fans of traditional ketchup topped meatloaf in out house, so I gave it a bit of a spin and now everyone gobbles it up!  This is not a recipe review of tonight's dinner, just a posting of one of my favorite easy weeknight/make ahead recipes.  I will include the mashed potato "frosting" recipe and a review of tonight's dinner in tomorrow's post.

Italian Turkey Meatloaf:
1lb ground turkey                                            Image Credit:           
.5c whole wheat bread crumbs
1 egg
1 packet Italian salad dressing mix
.25c shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  (Easiest to do with your hands, so get messy!)
Form into a loaf.
Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil and spray liberally with cooking spray.
Place loaf on foil lined baking sheet.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through

Happy Eating! :)

Recipe Index

Starting to get this organized, but am by no means done.  In the meantime, all my recipes and the recipes that inspire me can be found on my Facebook and Pinterest page.  If you are looking for a recipe you have already seen on this page, you can find it on the Pinterest page in the FoodLovinMomma posts board.

Some of my favorite recipe sites are:

Hope to have this recipe index more up to date soon!

Happy Eating! :)

Apple and Spice Oatmeal - Slow Cooker 
Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Strata
Blueberry Lemon Scones
Breakfast Cookies 
Carrot Cake Bran Muffins
Cranberry Maple Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Oatmeal Pancakes
Perfect Oatmeal - this really is great!
Veggie Crustless Quiche
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Beef Brisket - Slow Cooker
Braised Brisket with Potatoes and Carrots 
Broccoli Cheese Soup 
Cheeseburger Pie
Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole
Chicken and Peaches
Chicken Pot Pie - Skinny Version!
Chicken Tacos - Slow Cooker
Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin 
Garlicky Breadcrumb Pasta 
Hawaiian Chicken (slow cooker)
Italian Turkey Meatloaf
Meatloaf Cupcakes
Lemon and Dill Salmon
Salmon with Tomato and Basil 
Saucy Swiss Steak (slow cooker)
Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin(slow cooker)
Taco Pizza
Turkey Burgers with Peaches and Blueberries

Snacks/Sweet Treats:
Berry Cobbler
Carrot Cake Pudding 
Chocolate Fruit Dip
ChocoNana Bread
Double Chocolate Oat Bars
Lemon and Peach Cake - uses diet Sprite
No Bake Granola Bars
No Sugar Oat Cookies
Raw Cookies
Raspberry Peach Sorbet - No Sugar Added 
Skinny No Bake Cookies
Skinny Monkey Cookies 
Thai Chicken and Peanut Noodles

Kid Friendly:
Chicken and Broccoli Quesadilla
Double Delicious Mac and Cheese - there are veggies hiding in this one!!
Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets - Contains Nuts!
Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
Homemade Fish Sticks
Homemade Fruit Snacks
Mini Corn Dogs - Baked
Organic Chicken Nuggets

Monday, August 6, 2012

Recipe Review: Tomato Basil Salmon and Lemon Peach Cake

Tonight's dinner was Tomato Basil Salmon found on  It was really simple to prepare, in fact I could actually set it up the night before and then just have to pop it in the oven when I get home from work.  The flavors meshed very well: salmon, garlic, tomato and basil.  In fact I actually felt a bit like I was eating a caprese salad in top of fish.  It was a very nice, light summer dish.  And while I will say that I prefer my usual lemon dill salmon, this is a great way to mix things up and will definitely be making it's way into our monthly meal rotation.

We also made a delicious Weight Watchers friendly lemon peach cake.  This is a spin off of a post on Living a Changed Life.  I love her site for WW friendly recipes and this one was no exception.  The one problem I kept running into with the recipe was that the topping had areas where the cake mix remained powdery and no matter what I tried I couldn't fix it, so I decided to try making it a little bit differently and it turned out GREAT!  Side note, I have tried many flavor combinations and lemon peach with Sprite Zero is my favorite but you can get creative with this and use any flavor combination you want.  If you try a new combo, please post in the comments section so I can try it out too :)

Lemon Peach Cake: 
1 box lemon cake mix (any brand but not with pudding in the mix)
1 can diet lemon lime pop (I used Sprite Zero)
1 bag frozen peaches (or peaches you have frozen yourself)

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Pour peaches into the bottom of the pan evenly *Peaches should be frozen*
Empty cake mix into a bowl and pour in a 12 oz can of Sprite Zero.
Mix thoroughly. *This mix will be a bit fizzy to start but will end up looking like typical cake better*
Pour over peaches.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Notes: cake will not rise like a typical cake

WW Points+: 5 (makes 10 servings)

Kid Friendly Corner: Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Good morning!  As I was going through my recipes for the week I realized that there are a few Little A might not eat so I decided to play around with a gluten free chicken nugget recipe because what kid (and grown up) doesn't love a chicken nugget!  I already had some gluten free flour in my pantry but knew that wouldn't give me a crunchy nugget and the crunch is essential for a good nugget :)  I have also recently discovered the joys of making my own gluten free flours in the coffee grinder, so for this recipe I decided to make my own almond meal*.  Then Little A and I set up an assembly line on the kitchen table and got to work!

Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets:
1lb chicken breast tenderloins                         
.5c gluten free flour
1 egg
1c almond meal
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheet with cooking spray (be generous so your nuggets don't stick!)
Cut chicken breast tenderloins** into cubes and place in bowl. (I am not a big fan of touching raw chicken so I used my kitchen scissors and then popped them in the dishwasher but you could also use a knife.)
Pour gluten free flour into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour almond meal into a bowl. 
Beat egg with a bit of water to create an egg wash.
Now you are ready to make nuggets!  Dip chicken cube into flour, then egg wash, then almond meal and place on prepared baking sheet.
Repeat until you have dipped all your nuggets.
Bake for 15 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle)

These nuggets were delicious!  I made enough to keep in the refrigerator for the week for Little A's dinners when I make something for the grown ups that might be not so kid friendly.  One quick note, these nuggets don't have the typical friend, processed crunch but the almond meal gives them a great texture.

Happy Eating!! :)

*Almond Meal: ground almonds with skin on, Almond Flour: ground blanched almonds with no skin
**Chicken breast tenderloins have a silvery tendon that runs along the top of them that you will want to be sure to remove when you cut them.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recipe Review: Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Tonight we had Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin with a Cranberry Red Wine Glaze for dinner and I have to say it was pretty good.  I found the original recipe on Spark People and only made a few minor changes.  First off I was using 2.5 pounds of pork loin so I doubled the spice mixture.  Also I added a bit of nutmeg and clove to the spice rub.  In addition I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper before putting on the spice rub.  
Image Credit:

 The original recipe called for a mole sauce but I was not that motivated today, so I made a quick glaze.

Cranberry Red Wine Glaze:
1/2-3/4c red wine
2T brown sugar
1/4c dried cranberries (or cherries)

Remove the pork from the pan and de-glaze using the red wine scrappy up all the yummy bits of flavor on the bottom of the pan.

Pour the red wine mixture into a sauce pan and add the brown sugar.

Simmer on low heat and allow to reduce to the consistency of thick glaze.

Add the dried cranberries and stir.

Serve immediately.

Pork: 3 Points+/serving
Sauce: 1-2 Points+/serving depending on how much you use

This pork can stand alone or have a sauce (we also ate it with unsweetened applesauce and that was really yummy too-and lower WW points+!)
Overall I am really happy with this recipe and definitely plan to make it again, in fact I can't wait for leftover day on Thursday to try the pork in a taco :)

Happy Eating!

Meal Planning Monday...a little early

This weeks meal plan is going to have a few new meals I want to try out before I go back to work next week...yikes!  We are also trying to stick with low sugar, less processed foods and I will include the Weight Watchers Points+ for a serving of each of the recipes.

Monday: Salmon with Tomato and Basil  7PP/serving
Tuesday: Italian Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato "Frosting"  (I am linking to the recipe that inspired mine and will include my Italian Meatloaf recipe in a post later this week.) 6PP/serving

Wednesday: Turkey Burgers with Peaches and Blueberries 8PP/serving

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: order out

Sunday: Braised Brisket with Potatoes and Carrots  7PP/serving

Breakfasts for the Week: Oatmeal Pancakes 3PPserving and Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Oats 4PP/serving

Dessert for the Week: Lemon Cake made with Diet Sprite  When I make this cake I line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with frozen peaches and then pour the cake mix over the top.  4PP/serving

All the dinner recipes this week are new to me, so expect reviews as I make them.

Happy Eating! :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oatmeal Pancakes (gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

Today's breakfast was delicious!  I started searching last night for oatmeal pancake recipes because I had a craving, but all of them I found had regular flour in them and I didn't want to use regular flour, or they used cottage cheese which I can't stand!  So after about an hour of frustration I decided to just make my own recipe.  I did use an egg but you can sub 1T of flaxseed meal mixed with 3T of water to eliminate the egg.

Image Credit:

These were so yummy I didn't get any pictures before we gobbled them up (hence the picture of oats for this post haha!)  I do plan to make more to freeze in 2 packs for weekday breakfasts with a little bit of peanut butter.  The recipe makes about 12 pancakes and a serving size of 2 is only 3 WW Points+ and super filling!

Oatmeal Pancakes:

2.5c oats (2c ground into oat flour, .5c whole oats) 
1T baking powder
.5tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
.5c unsweetened applesauce
1.5c water

Grind 2 c oats in a coffee grinder to make oat flour.

Add all ingredients except water to a bowl mix.  Pour in water and mix again.  (There should be little to no lumps.)

Heat skillet or griddle (you can use a bit of oil if you want, I use my Misto to limit fat.)

Pour .25c servings of batter onto heated skillet.  The surface will not “bubble” like a traditional pancake (you may see a few bubbles) to indicate when it is ready to flip, so you just have to watch closely.

Add ins: diced apples, cinnamon, blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, cranberries

Make sure your oats are gluten free if you are on a gluten free diet.  I used a coffee grinder to make my own oat flour and it was so easy!  I decreased the amount of salt from 1tsp to .5tsp because it tasted too salty to me, but you could increase if you wanted to.  You could sub milk for the water as well, but I wanted dairy free and lower points for this breakfast :)

This recipe is being shared on Shrinking Kitchen's Cook and Tell board!

Friday, August 3, 2012

ChocoNana Bread: whole wheat, no oil, no sugar added

Went to bed last night thinking that the bananas on the kitchen table were looking a little brown and I needed to use them for something.  Then today I woke up with a chocolate craving, big shocker right? ;)  So I began browsing my recipes looking for something low sugar that uses chocolate and banana, but couldn't find anything and I thought "why not make up my own?"  I have been wanting to try my hand at writing my own baking recipes lately and now is as good a time as any, so here is what I came up with.

Doesn't this look delicious???

ChocoNana Bread

1.75c whole wheat flour
2-3 mashed bananas
.5c cocoa powder
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
.5tsp salt
1.5tsp baking powder
.5tsp baking soda
.5c applesauce
2 eggs (can sub flaxseed meal and water)

Preheat oven to 375.   

Mix together mashed bananas and applesauce (I did this in my food processor because I don't like banana chunks in my banana read).   

Pour banana applesauce mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in eggs.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg,  salt, baking powder and baking soda).

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing as you go.

Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan (or muffin tins if you prefer).

Bake 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This is not a very sweet bread since the only sweetness comes from the bananas and applesauce.  If you prefer a sweet banana bread you can try adding honey, sugar or even some chocolate chips.  This is a very dense bread because it uses whole wheat flour.  You could probably use whole wheat pastry flour for a lighter bread, I just didn't have any.  Also, if you don't like nutmeg eliminate or reduce the amount as you can taste the nutmeg in the bread.  

So here is how it looked right before I couldn't resist and ate it still steaming from the oven, delicious!!  

 Happy Eating :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Sugar Added Raspberry Peach Sorbet

So as you all know by now, we are on a low sugar kick in our household.  We are trying to stick with only natural sugars for the time being like the ones found in fruit.  If you have read any of my recent posts, you also probably know by now that I am a sugar addict!  I also happen to be pretty fond of ice cream.  Combine the sugar addiction, the ice cream obsession fondness and summertime and you have a recipe for a major ice cream craving!  I decided to stick with my low sugar meal plan though and make my own instead of buy some since most store bought ice creams have either tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

2 pints raspberries, frozen
1/4c milk of your choice, I used fat free but you could also use almond, coconut, soy, 1%, etc.
2 fresh, ripe peaches diced
Optional: Honey to taste.  I didn't use any, but this really depends on your taste buds

I started with 2 pints of frozen raspberries.  I purchased these before we went on vacation and froze them using a method I found on the Jewel grocery store website.  The method is quite simple and you don't end up with a pile of stuck together or mushy berries at the end.

Image credit: Jewel foodstores website
I placed all the frozen berries in my blender because it was already out, but you could also use a food processor.  I chopped the berries using the "chop" setting and when they started to look like sand I slowly poured the milk through the opening in the top of the lid (I would not suggest removing the entire lid because you may end up with a big mess).  I continued to blend the mixture until it began to look like sorbet.  At that point I removed the lid and used a spatula to scrape the sorbet into a bowl and mixed in the diced peaches. 

Image Credit:
This recipe was absolutely delicious and definitely satisfied my ice cream craving and the sugar monster!  I will happily be making this again soon.

NOTE: I would suggest serving immediately as when I froze the leftovers to eat later it got really hard and was difficult to eat.

Happy Eating :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Recipe Review: Skinny Monkey Cookies

I found this recipe through Pinterest posted by Once a Month Mom.  I love her site, her recipes and her ideas and knew when I saw this recipe that I had to try it!  Over the past week and a half our household has been working very hard to recover from a vacation filled with less that stellar eating and a bit too much sugar (in the form of sweets and alcohol!)  The problem for me was I am a sugar ADDICT!  I knew I would never make it through the vacation detox period without serious tricks up my sleeve.  One of them I already posted about, Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins.  They were delicious and helped with the sugar cravings, but I needed something more...I needed chocolate!  Oh the sweet, delicious, addictive substance of my dreams :)  Now I knew that I didn't really need chocolate, I just wanted it, but I also knew that if I didn't find a way to get the chocolate into my diet in a "healthy" way I was going to cave and eat a Snickers bar large cake shake from Portillos (no judging please!!)  So I searched my trusty resource, Pinterest, and found these cookies with a simple search for no sugar cookies.

I am not going to list the whole recipe, you can find it with this linkon Once a Month Mom's page: Skinny Monkey Cookies.  What I will share are my thoughts and changes.  First off, don't let the reviews on the page sway you, these are delicious!!  They are not a traditionally sweet cookie, but if that is what you are looking for why would you make a sugarless cookie?!  The texture is like a really soft oatmeal cookie, so if you don't like that these might not be for you.  Also, I added cinnamon (listed as optional) and a pinch of salt.  I have found in most of my healthier baking recipes that salt is not included, but I have also found that most baked goods need a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors (even the Quaker Oats package says to add salt to their oatmeal!)

After having made these once there are a few changes I would make, nothing major just more fitting to my tastes.  I would change the number of bananas to 2 and increase the applesauce and peanut butter to compensate.  I found the cookies to be very banana-y and I am not a huge banana person.  I would definitely keep the cinnamon, but add a full teaspoon because I love cinnamon.  I might also consider using chunky peanut butter for texture, but not sure on that one yet.  Finally, make sure you store them in the refrigerator (or freezer) and eat them all within about 5-7 days (longer if frozen), otherwise the banana takes over and you taste nothing else.

Overall this is a fantastic recipe and I am so excited that Once a Month Mom posted it and that I found it.  If you make these let me know what you think, and if you make other changes, please let me know.  I am always looking for new ways to satisfy my sweet tooth...without feeding my guilt monster!  Don't these look delicious???

Happy Eating :)
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