From Buns to Cookies

He likes big buns and he cannot lie!

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When I found this recipe, I was immediately intrigued. As I rummaged through my baking supplies, I found the one cookie mix I did not have was sugar. Hmmm… snickerdoodles have cinnamon and sugar… this could work… 

Cinnabon CookiesWP_004846

  • 1 pouch (17.5 oz.) Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle Cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup light buttery spread, like Brummel and Brown, room temp
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 Tbsp. light buttery spread, melted
  • 2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flax milk
In medium bowl, stir cookie mix (cinnamon sugar packet included), buttery spread, ap flour, and egg until dough forms.On a floured surface, roll dough to about ¼-inch thickness.Brush with melted butter.In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over dough.Begin to roll up dough, starting at the long side. If the dough tears at all, do not worry. This dough is very forgiving. Just pinch it back together, it will still bake up nicely.Cut dough log in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and pop dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (until firm – not hard).
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Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper. Take dough out of freezer and begin cutting into coins to your desired width. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Cool for about 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cooling racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Using a basting brush, paint the glaze over the cookies.
You might be wondering what dad’s opinion of these cookies are… May I present the following text:
“The cinnamon bun cookies may be the best cookies I’ve ever had.”
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From Peds to Prisoners

And thus concludes my first two weeks of a working Registered Nurse!

My first day on the job was mostly paper work… My second day was much more exciting! My mornings flew by during med passes! Before I knew it, it was almost 1pm and my stomach was growling! I sat down and heated up some chili and was treated to some Hershey Kisses!

Before my shift ended, we received a call that two men would be brought to medical to be examined. I jumped right in and felt invigorated! I ended up completing assessments, wound care, and all the appropriate documentation! I loved it!

Although I found myself snacking much more than usual, I felt like I was still okay. Maybe its because my days were so long, maybe its because my cookies are sooooo yummy! I don’t know, but I definitely went through some cookies and celery… not together, ha!

So far I have worked day and evening shifts and will begin training on night shift in a little over a week. I really lucked out with the holiday schedule and was able to celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my family!

I have found some major differences between working in a hospital and a prison. For instance, I used called my kiddos “hun.” I have to be really careful about that, now, but sometimes it still slips out. I have found that other workers do it, too, so I don’t feel too bad.

I have covered everything from med administration to diabetes checks to sick calls. I learned how to work an ECG machine, and I don’t think I have ever administered so much insulin in my life!

Each day is a learning experience. You would think that the hardest adjustment would be not having my cell phone with me, but one of the hardest adjustments I am having is not having a resident or doctor at my disposal. At the hospital, if I had a concern, I could just page the doc on that shift and they would come over. Now, I either have to refer them to the PA for the following business day, or call the on-call doc for verbal orders. I DO think it is pretty nifty that at this facility, it is in my scope of practice to order specific medication for a 5 day order! I feel bad sometimes, though, because I am limited to how much assistance I can provide them, since they ARE in lock up.

Another really difficult thing is to keep up a wall. People who enter the medical field, especially nurses, do it because they genuinely care, are compassionate, and want to help. Working in a prison, I can be courteous, but I need to keep up a wall to avoid developing a relationship in which I can be manipulated. Like a “friendly hard ass” demeanor, if you will. It is slightly worrisome because  I really DO NOT want to lose the part of me that I was able to display in pediatrics…

I still find it very difficult to not have my kids. I tear up about it every now and then, but I remember that this is only a temporary bypass until I get enough experience to venture back into pediatrics.

Last Saturday

This is not only the last Saturday o f December, nor is it only the last Saturday of 2013, but it is also the last free Saturday that my dad has. The last few weekends, dad has not had to work, so last night, after work, I went to his house to to advantage of this “last Saturday” morning.

We stayed up late last night, surrounded by home-baked cookies (yum). Upon rising and shining this morning, I discovered some Harry & David pears in the refrigerator quickly ripening. Dad mentioned pancakes in conversation, last night, and I whipped up some breakfast.

He was rather skeptical of the idea, but quite pleased with the results.

Spiced White Pear Pancakes

makes 8 pancakesWP_005124

  • 1 medium pear, ripe, divided
  • 1 1/2 servings complete pancake mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp white chocolate chips

Slice the pear in half. With one half, finely chop the pear, with the skin, and add to pancake mix. Add the vanilla, Splenda, and spice to the mix, and mash with a fork. Chop the white chocolate chips and stir into the batter.  Slowly incorporate desired amount of water, mashing with a fork, all the while.

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray. Over medium heat, dollop 2 Tbsp batter, at a time. Thinly slice the other half pear into bite size pieces and top each  batter mound with some pear. Once edges begin to brown and batter bubbles, flip the pancake.

Serve it up!

I loved how moist the pancakes were from the pear! And the occasional bite of chunked pear added another dimension! Dad even mentioned how much he enjoyed the note of the pumpkin pie spice.

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Scrapple and a mug off coffee topped off this meal!

Have a great Saturday!

Merry Christmas, Darlings!

Merry Christmas!! I hope you all had a wonderful day! I am so excited to celebrate our first Christmas together. Yes, this is Barry and my first Christmas together, but I am referring to our first Christmas together… Yes… YOU!

Last night, I attended two celebrations. I really lucked out with not having to work. I first drove to Frank’s nephews house. How cute are the boys?! Cal and Anthony were preparing a four-course meal of The 7 Fishes! Not to mention, Cal baked a bunch of favorites, like her famous Angel Food Cake, pignoli cookies, and cocoa pistachio sables!

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Unfortunately, I was not able to stay and celebrate dinner, as I was expected at my grandmother’s house. I was so so excited to see the family, but pathetically excited to eat some kielbasa! Every year, we had three main dishes in the Higgins house: kielbasa and sauerkraut, roast beef, and meatballs! I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a piece of kielbasa! Haha!

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I had a couple favorite moments from last night. The first was a mommom combo. I first handed grandma a bottle of Spumanti from Barry and me. She loves this stuff! This is the drink she got completely buzzed off of at my graduation party. She was so excited she started kicking her feet, yelling, “My drink! Oh my drink! Oh I love this stuff!” (Keep in mind that this is a 79 year old woman with both knee and hip replacements, kicking her feet in joy… PRICELESS). The second was when grandmom opened an ornament I made for her. She immediately pulled it out of the box and kissed the picture of my grandfather that was in the ornament.

Another, came at my Aunt Linda’s House where cousin Eddie proposed to his girlfriend, Cindy! My Aunt was telling Cindy about Eddie’s First Christmas ornament, and when Eddie went to show her it… He showed her an ornament of a bride and groom on a motorcycle and tied around the couple was a ring. “So what do you say, babe? Will you marry me?” She was speechless. “Uh, I kind of need an answer. so I know what to do here…” We all laughed, she held out her hand and said, “Yes.”

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WP_005128Aunt Linda was really excited about the gift she made me.. In all honesty, I normally would have had some serious anxiety with this gift, but I was so well-thought-out, I couldn’t help but love it! Its the Nurse’s Survival Guide, packed with goodies and a paper included that stated the following:

Nurse’s Survival Kit

Lifesavers– A reminder of the times your are a real lifesaver. Starburst– For that extra burst of energy. Mints– A reminder that your compassion is worth a mint to your patients. Kisses– because you deserve many. Tissues– To dry tears, yours or someone else’s. Bandaids– To help with all the “little stuff.” Gum– To help your through the sticky situations. Paper clip– To help hold things together. Tea bags– Sit back and relax after a hard day at work. Taffys– To help you lick the problems you face. Jolly Ranchers– To remind you to laugh when you feel like crying. Tootsie Rolls– To help complaints “roll” off you back. Rubber Bands– For when you need to stretch beyond you limits. Battery– To keep you going and going and going. Candle– For when you feel completely burned out. Snickers– Because laughter is the best medicine. Button– Because you may need to button your lip. Marbles– To replace the ones you will lose.

Everyone asked about Barry, but he had to work. He came over at 6am Christmas morning and we began the holiday early.

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After opening presents with mom, Frank, Barry and my brothers, I headed over to dads with the pup.WP_005051

WP_005046We had a great morning. Money was a bit tight this year so we decided not the get a tree. Instead, we took a ceramic tree out of storage. My grandmother used to make ceramics and this one is one of my favorites! She even put a circuit in the base for a light bulb! It was a great substitution! Yay, for talented mommoms!

Who needs the avengers when youve got the Bundos??

Who needs the avengers when you’ve got the Bundos??

I thought it was pretty humorous that I got dad and Barry Captain America and Iron Man t-shirts, respectively, and my parents got me a Supergirl shirt!

Following a nice morning of family and gift exchanges, dad and I went to my uncle’s house. Before we headed over a prepared a few desserts. One of my cousins was on a low carb diet, so I made some dessert cups using Quest Bars. I cut a Lemon Creme Pie into 8 pieces, and and Apple Pie bar and a Double Chocolate Chunk bar into 4s.

Quest Cups

  • Quest bar of your liking
  • mini muffin tin
  • filling of choice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the Quest bars into the desired about of pieces. Space on a plate and microwave for about 8 seconds. Using dry hands, roll each piece into a ball. Flip over a mini muffin tin and spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Flatten each ball into a disk and form over the coated muffin tin. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Once cooled, fill the Quest cups with whatever filling you desire.

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I filled the Lemon cups with the left over fig and walnut filling from my Sicilian Crescents. I chopped up half a small fuji apple and mixed it with a packet of Splenda and apple pie spice. I, then placed the apple mix in the microwave for 30 seconds and filled the Apple Pie Quest cup. Lastly, I placed the Double Chocolate Chip quarters in the bottom of the mini muffin tin and baked for 5 minutes, as well. Upon removing the bar, I found 4 perfectly round Double Chocolate Chunk cookies, that RJ loved! Dessert would not be dessert with some fat free Cool Whip to top it off!

Aunt Carol and I took over the kitchen, preparing ravioli, Lightened Gnocchi, salad, gravy, sausage, and meatballs.

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Great minds must think alike. Barry and I, both bought each other robes for Christmas. My parents got Barry a pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants. Barry’s parents got me a new pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants!

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Some of my favorite gifts, this year, included the ornaments I made my family, the Cutco knife Frank gave me, Dad’s laptop and Mom’s pendant, the onsies dad got me, my Ninja (thanks Barry), and the collage I made Barry’s sister.

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Natale Italiano

Many Italian families celebrate Christmas Eve with the Seven Fishes, however I celebrate Christmas day with the Italian side of my family.

Nonetheless, I still stick with baking my nonna’s papilli and pizzelles every year. For Christmas dinner, we typically have ravioli, sausage and meatballs. This year, I made a batch of my gnocchi to have, as well. I was very excited for my family to taste one of my favorite recipes!

This year, I also made two new additions to the Italian recipe stash, both of which turned out delicious! Being an incredibly proud Sicilian, I was ampt to bake these!

I attribute both recipes to Giada, and tweaked her recipes. Mmmm I could not get enough of these treats. The first is a perfect mid morning snack to have with your coffee. The colors of the pistachios and cranberries mimic the colors of Christmas, and the white chocolate adds just the right amount of sweet to offset the tart berry. I love the mild hint of lemon in the biscotti, too!

Natale Biscotti

makes 24 biscottiWP_004987

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 6 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, in shell, roasted and salted
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp flax milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the Splenda, buttery spread, applesauce, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the liquid eggs, slowly incorporating. Add the flours and baking powder in.

WP_004961While the dough is combining and forming, remove the nuts from there shells. Coarsely chop the bear pistachios  and set aside. Now, roughly chop the dried cranberries. While the mixer is still blending the dough, toss in the pistachios and cranberries and mix until evenly disbursed.

Transfer the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log. (This part gets your hands sticky and doughy).  Bake for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.

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Once cooled, transfer the log to the cutting board, and using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, back on the lined baking sheet and return to the oven at 350 F for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

In the meantime, create a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl placed over the pot. Stir the chocolate and milk in the bowl until the chocolate melts. Using a brush, paint the chocolate over the cooled biscotti. Refrigerate until the chocolate dries, about 35 minutes, then enjoy!

Giada Note: “The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.”

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Fun Fact: “Bi”- “Scotti” translates into “twice baked.” Get it?

Funny Story: When I was younger, dad and I would take nonna food shopping. I can still picture this in my mind. We were in the aisle of Pathmark and I asked if she wanted “biscotti” (pronounced bi-scott-E). “You’re Italian… its “biscotti” (pronounce bish-kot). From that point on, the “E” sound never  left my mouth again when referring to this cookie.

The second recipe is perfect for after dinner. Its like a Fig Newton for Guidos. I am a huge fan of figs. I remember my nonna’s neighbor had a fig trees in the back yard, and every year, I would get to pick some off the bush. Mmm there’s nothing like a fresh fig. I just loved how beautiful these little crescent pastries were and how stuffed they were with the goods! The mild and seedy figs pair perfectly with sweet raisins. I am also a fan of the slight citrus notes from the lemon zest and orange juice!

Sicilian Fig and Walnut Christmas Crescents

makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Pastry Dough:

  • 1/2 cup liquid egg substituteWP_004992
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup Splenda, granulated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light

Filling and Cookies:

  • 8 ounces dried Mission figlets, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar free syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, Trop 50 preferred
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • about 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp liquid egg substitute (egg wash)

For the pastry dough:

Mix the flours, Splenda, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add the applesauce and butter to the dry ingredients and incorporate the wet ingredients with your fingers until incorporated.

Whisk the liquid eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and divide the dough in 2. Place each ball dough on plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap the dough disks. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling and cookies:

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely, yet roughly chopped. Set aside. combine the figlets, raisins, lemon zest, and cinnamon in the food processor, while incorporating the syrup and orange juice until fully blended. Scrape the fig mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the walnuts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2  baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out 1 cold disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (I used a cup with similar dimensions), cut out dough rounds. Gather the dough scraps into a ball, flatten, wrap, and re-refrigerate disk while assembling the cookies.

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Spoon 1/2 heaping Tablespoon of the fruit mixture in the center of each dough round. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal. Arrange the cookies evenly apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies, lightly, with egg wash. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, while repeating the process and assembling the remaining dough and filling into more crescents.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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I actually ended up having excess filling… I can’t wait to do something with it!

Buon Appetito!

Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

After trying Hungry Girls recipe for Gingerbread cookies, and utilizing prepared cookie mix another recipe last week, I am really digging, what I affectionately call, “Cheater Cookies.”

With today being National Bake Cookies Day, have at it!

WP_004945Cheater Chip Cookies

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 snack size (7.5 oz) package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp  cup pure pumpkin
  •  2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Splenda Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 F.  Place the rolled oats in a food processor and allow the oats to be finely shredded, about 2 1/2 minutes in the processor. Meanwhile, sift the prepared cookie mix into a large bowl, reserving the chocolate chips. Add all the remaining ingredients, including oats, excluding reserved chips.

Place the chocolate chips in the processor and briefly chop the chips, about 10 to 15 seconds in the processor. Add the chocolate shreds to the batter and fold in.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp measuring spoon, spoon the dough onto parchment paper- lined baking pans and bake about 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and just try to resist.

These were delicious!!! I’m warning you, though, its hard to stop eating them. The day I baked them, I ate like 6! These are probably in my top 3 faves from this year’s baking!

While baking, Frank said, “I want sugar cookies.” He had the pouty lip and everything!

I cheated, again, with Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie mix…

Sugar CheatersWP_004943

  • 1  (17.5 oz) bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp light buttery spread, like Blue Bonnet Light
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • jimmies or sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven t0 375 F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients and divided among parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. If desired, top with jimmies/sprinkles. Bake for 9 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and dig in! 

For other Cheater Cookies, check out December 17th’s Maple specials

Oh Snap!

Since I start my new job today, I decided to try to get as much baking done last week as I could. Are you ready for some cookie recipes??? Beacue today’s post has three! Yes, THREE!

Last year, dad and I tried our hands at gingerbread cookies. We used Hungry Girls recipe and loved it! I have a weakness for ginger snaps, AKA spiced wafers. These cookies utilize molasses, which I don’t have a need for. In an effort to make ginger snaps, I tweaked HG’s recipe to have a pseudo-ginger snap recipe. Dad and I were quite pleased with the results.

ThinGerbreadSnap CookiesWP_004872

  • 1 14.5 oz pkg Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie mix
  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 packets Splenda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3T Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grind Fiber One to an ultra fine consistency. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, along with spices, Splenda, baking powder, and cookie mix. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin with water and syrup. Mix well and fold into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly. It may take a bit of elbow grease, which is why I like to use the kitchen aide. Once combined, use hands to knead dough into two balls. Working in manageable batches, sparingly use the flour to dust the dough, rolling pin, and flat surface, and roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

Depending on the size of the cookie cutters, you’ll probably have to re-roll the trimmings for more cookies.) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and bake 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Once fully cooked, either dig in, decorate, of both!

I colored two tablespoons of cream cheese frosting (my fave) with green coloring and decorated my cookies. I only used about half the icing.

I had some very snappy dressing teddy bears, as well as a Beary Gates, cousin to Bill Gates, Dr. Bones, and Spock, as well as business men and nurses and doctors.

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Yes, I’m well aware of how weird I am… But you’ll thank me when you bite into these cookies!

This is one of my favorite recipes this holiday season!

Yesterday, I realized I had a bag of Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix, so I decided to experiment… And hence, the following two recipes were created and eaten!

Pumpkin GingersnapsWP_004947

makes 28 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

The smell of the ginger is fantastic when you pop open the oven door!

Pumpkin Butter CookiesWP_004949

makes 26 cookies

  • 1 bag Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cookie mix
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients and the PB until thoroughly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a 1/2 Tbsp, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

Inspired By A Cake

Sunday night, the 15th, was my final shift at the Pediatric Hospital. I will be starting a new chapter of my life tomorrow as a Registered Nurse… a paid RN, that is! The wonderful people I work with through me a going away party packed with goodies. The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the room, was the bowl of shrimp! “Oh my gosh, who the heck brought shrimp?”

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Kim answered… “I know you love it…” But its expensive woman! She just blew me off and told me to enjoy. Kim, also baked a cake and brownies. Other things on the menu included pizza, chips, salsa, fruit salad, and veggies. Even the color of the decorations were “ME” to a T! They presented me with a card and a gift certificate, and I must say that my entire shift was spent choking back tears.

The cake was dynamite! I had never had a Creamsicle cake before! And the frosting (I am not a frosting girl) I could have eaten by the spoonful! Ask Kim for the recipe for the icing and the following conversation took place:

Kim: You don’t want to know… It’ll kill YOU... (everyone chuckled as she emphasized me, in particular)

Me: No, tell me.. Its fantastic!

Kim: Crisco… (everyone burst out in laughter)

She proceeded to tell me the ingredients and I requested the proportions. However I have been sworn to secrecy (Sorry, bloggers).

I went to town! I still can’t believe the mass quantity of food I ate!

When I woke this morning… I felt the need to try to burn off some of my over indulgence from the party and went for a run. Stupid Sammy didn’t check to see that it was 30 F outside… Only after I arrived at the store did I realize how tight my lungs were… I should have kept that damn albuterol inhaler I thought to myself…

Upon arriving home, and with the cake still on my mind,  I was inspired to make pancakes:

Creamsicle Protein PancakesWP_004940

serves 1

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 tsp sugar free Orange jello mix
  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp water

Blend in a food processor until completely smooth. Spoon onto a sprayed griddle pan over medium heat and flip and cook accordingly…

I topped the pancakes with 1/2 Tbsp fluff. The fluff melted, add the perfect sweetness and was like the icing on my (pan)cakes!

After a complete afternoon of manic baking… shocker… I was hungry and refused to wait any longer for someone to get home to decide dinner…

With some pumpkin remaining from cooking, and with today being National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.. I opted for yet another protein pancake.

Chocolate Pumpkin PancakesWP_004948

serves 1

  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein
  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend in a food processor until smooth and spoon to a sprayed griddle over medium heat. Flip and cook accordingly.

I just drizzled syrup over mine and chowed down!

I then went to some much needed ZUUMBA!

Chocolate Covered Anything

OK, lets think this through…

Pretzels + Chocolate= salty sweet

Peppermint + Chocolate= refreshing

Cherries/Raisins/ Nuts + Chocolate= bring it on

Peanut Butter + Chocolate= no brainer

Ants + Chocolate = uhhh, not so much

The point of the story? Today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day! In honor of this tasty day, I’d like to share one of the winning recipes I made last week during my baking frenzy! Its no secret that I love Chocolate Chunk Rice Krispie Treats, but I will admit that they are NOT satisfying. Luckily, this recipe is sweet, salty, and filling!

Butterfinger Krispie Treats

makes 12 large squares

  • 1/4 cup Brummel & Brown, or Blue Bonnet Light, soft spread, divided
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Better n’ Peanut Butter, low sodium
  • 1 Tbsp toffee bits, or more
  • 5 cups Chocolate 80 Fiber One Cereal
  • 1 cup puffed wheat cereal
  • 2 Tbsp Butterscotch chips
  • 2 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolates

In a large pot, over medium-low heat, melt 3 Tbsp of the buttery spread. Stir in marshmallows and peanut butter, stirring frequently. Once the mallows and peanut butters melt together, add the toffee bits, the remaining 1 Tbsp of buttery spread, and the cereals. Mix until thoroughly combined!

Spray a 9 x 13 pyrex generously with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the cereal mix into the pyrex and flatten into all corners of the pan. Add water to the empty pot and bring water to a boil. Place a bowl over the pot to create a double bowler. Add the butterscotch and chocolate chips to the bowl and continuously whisk until smooth and melted.

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Once melted, use a basting brush to brush the melted mixture over top the cereal treat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

This was a big hit with everyone who tried it: Dad, Barry, the girls at work….

Nutrition: per square (1/12 recipe)

Calories: 193, Fat: 6.5g, Sat. Fat: .7g, Cholesterol: 0.2mg, Sodium: 162mg, Carbs: 34.4g, Fiber: 5.6g, Sugar: 16.2g, Protein: 3.1g

Lemon Cupcakes

Last night, my unit gathered, off the clock to say good-bye to Mike. He will be transitioning to another unit after the first of the year, so we gathered our rainy Saturday night at Timothy’s on the Riverfront.

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After arriving home, mom and I hit the cookies hard! I woke up feeling uneasy with guilt, but was determined to get back on track, and super thankful that my cookies don’t have as many calories as most home-baked cookies!

I rushed to Frank’s room with an idea to try to kick the scrooge out of my mom. “Let’s put up the tree!” For some reason, my parents were possessed and decided to buy a FAKE tree! Ba-Hum-bug! Thank goodness for my dad’s belief in REAL tress, which we get every year at his house. Frank and I rushed to the basement and quickly set up the tree. I bought some pine scented ornament thing to hang on the tree so it smells like Christmas.

Getting in a better mood and getting back on track, and loving to celebrate National Food Days, I made breakfast. Today is National Lemon Cupcake Day. Rather than making a shake, I opted for something a little more cupcake-esque. No, not a cupcake or a muffin, but pancakes!

Lemon Cupcake Protein Pancakes

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  • 2 Tbsp cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free, fat free Lemon pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Blend it all in a food processor until smooth and scoop onto a sprayed griddle pan over medium heat. Cook and flip accordingly.

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They poofeed up sufficiently after I flipped them, before settling down. Still impressively floofy! Yes, floofy… its a word I use often. I topped mine with sugar free Blueberry preserves. MMM I love blueberry and lemon!

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