Don’t Know Until You Try

Anise… licorice  … none of that ever sounded appetizing to me, probably because the taste of black licorice thoroughly sceeved me out. Then, I started hearing about the vegetable called fennel. Being the Dego that I am, I payed attention since it was being used in so many Italian dishes. But then, I started hearing the “licorice ” to describe it. Needless to say, I’ve avoided  this vegetable for, let’s say 24 years.Molly Napolitano » Super Delicious Leek & Fennel Shrimp

Alright, Mario Batali, after countless episodes of The Chew, you have persuaded me to give it a shot.

I found a chicken and apple soup recipe that called toasted fennel seeds. After a little research I found the conversation from seeds to vegetable, and I’m glad I did because I believe it definitely bulks up the soup. This was also my first time pulling apples into a soup, which I was nervous would make it too sweet. I believe that by playing with the combination of spices off sets the sweetness that the apples contribute. The last minute add-in was a small can of sliced carrots, for some color and a little more natural sweetness. This first batch went so quickly, I used raw carrots the next round (see note in recipe).

If you are anything like me, and are completely clueless about fennel prep, I found this great tutorial here. I had no idea there was a hard fibrous center to core out.

Chicken Apple Soup

Inspired by Wholefoods

Makes 8- 1 cup servings20151210_175427 (2)

  • 4 cups reduced fat, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced into coins, OR a small can of sliced*
  • 1/2 lb (8oz) turnip
  • 2 medium gala apples
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground sage

Preheat the oven to 425 F while you prep. Place chicken breast in a soup pot along with chicken broth, water, cumin, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cover with a lid and keep over low heat.

*If using raw carrots, place in the pot, now, as well.

Peel the turnips, cut in half and each half into thirds. This will help you differentiate between the difference veggies. Next, peel and core the apples, cut into quarters,  and the quarters into more bite sized pieces. Peel the onion, trim the ends, cut into quarters, and the quarters into thirds. You don’t need to separate the rings of the onions prior to roasting. Lastly, following the instructions in the link above, cut about an inch above the bulb, then cut off the base. Cut down its center, and remove the tough outer layer, as well as the triangle-shaped core in each half of the bulb. Slice what remains to a size of your liking.

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Line a 9 by 13 Pyrex with parchment and transfer your prepped fruit and veggies. Sprinkle the garlic powder and sage over the fruit and veg and give them a good toss with your hands. Pour about 3/4 cup of water to the dish, cover with foil and roast in the oven about 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the foil from the Pyrex and carefully pick out the turnips (this is where the different sized turnip will help you), while giving the remaining fruit and vegetables a toss. Once the turnip has been removed,  return the Pyrex to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes.

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Transfer the roasted turnips into a food processor and begin to puree. Feel free the add a bit of the broth to help get things moving. Transfer puree to pot of broth and and chicken.

When your fruit and veg have finished the last bit of the roast, transfer everything from the pryex into your soup pot, scraping any seasoning and 20151209_191159whatnot off the parchment.

*If using canned, sliced carrots, add those now.

 

Remove the chicken breast to a separate bowl or plate, and use the two-fork technique to shred the chicken. Transfer the shredded chicken back into the pot, cover, and allow to simmer for another 40 minutes, or longer if you’d like. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you reserved any of the fronds of the fennel, top your soup with it before serving; parsley does wonders, as well. And don’t forget those oyster crackers (yeah, they’re kind of my thing, now).

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The original recipe called for a crockpot, but a low simmer, covered pot did me just fine. And I think I’d have to say that this soup tastes even better the next day, as all the flavors really enhance and marry!

Nutrition (1/8 of recipe):

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 807mg, Carbs: 14g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 13g

The end result? Fennel is officially a staple on my grocery list. And I threw out that 1-cup per serving jib-jab. A double serving in each bowl, please! Oh, and the aroma! The smell in the air was enough to cue your salivary glands! As soon as I entered the kitchen its fragrance wrapped around me with a come hither sensation!

Whats your food freaker? I’m still not touching sardines! Leave your comment below!

Pin-tresting

Apples and cheese are a classic fondue pairing. So on Pintrest, it really doesn’t surprise me that there are so many apple-cheddar pies. Some put the cheese in the crust, others in the pie, and others on top. And it didn’t just stop at cheddar and pie. There was Brie, and gallettes, and hand pies, soups, and dips.

You all know my experimentality and how much I adore playing in the kitchen. Needless to say, Pintrest got my gears turning… Some food combos just taste odd together, like this grapefruit protein shake I made one time (not a good post, Pintrest)… But lets face it… bacon goes with EVERYTHING!

Apple-Cheddar-Bacon Pie

serves 8

  • 11 slices thin slice turkey bacon (2 slice for 35 calories)
  • 3 apples (enough to yield 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 in diameter), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely choppedWP_008337
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp thyme, to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • salt and pepper, to top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-in pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and weave 8 slices of turkey bacon. Line the last three slices of bacon around the walls of the pie pan to create the crust. I found that making a little tear in the middle of those three slices helps keep the bacon from rolling down the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 min.

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In the meantime, core and thinly slice the apples. Then, cut your slices in half and measure 4 cups. Combine the apples, celery, and onion in a large skillet on medium heat with 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle with thyme, sage, garlic, Splendas, cinnamon, salt, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss the mixture. Whisk the cornstarch with cold water until dissolved and pour over apple mix. Recover with the lid until bacon crust finishes baking.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop 3/4 cup shredded cheddar. Set aside. Next, process the cereal until extremely fine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar to the processor, and blend until evenly distributed.

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Stir just the processed cheese into the apple mix, and transfer mix to the baked bacon, spreading the cheesy blend evenly over crust. Return to the 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Lastly, add the unsweetened applesauce to the processor of cheese and Fiber One crumbs and blend until a crumble is created. Get messy, and use your hands to crumble on top of the warm pie. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and return to the oven for a final 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, while you make the optional sauce.

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What really is the icing on the pie is this sweetened thyme yogurt sauce!

Thyme Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Blend and dollop!

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Rather than sticking with the sweet/tart, salty feel, I wanted something a little more savory. I was really impressed that the bacon crust stayed perfectly together when the pie was sliced. I was  even more impressed by the the afterthought of dressing up some yogurt. Thank goodness for that afterthought, too, because it tied all the sweet and savory flavors if the pie together.

Nutrition: (1/8 of pie and 1/2 Tbsp sauce)

Calories:119, Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 391mg, Carbs: 17g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 10g

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I would imagine that this could also be served with an over-easy egg, where the yolk would act as the yogurt sauce.

I’ve sort of rediscovered my love for apples recently so you may see another apple pie riff sooner that you think.

On A Spoon

The family I work with belongs to a local co-op, but with everything going on in life, they were not able to use all the apples. They generously offered them to me, and I a gratefully replied, “Thank you. Sure, I’ll take a few.” The mother then handed me a huge bag of assorted apples and Asian pears.

So what to do with all these apples? Apple chips? Apple pie? Apple dumpling? Apple jam?

Apple Pie JamWP_008125

makes 16 oz (approx 32 Tbsp)

  • 2 cups apples, finely chopped (almost minced), skin on or off
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup granulated Splenda
  • 1 tsp Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp no sugar needed pectin
  • 2/3 cup water

Place the minced apples and 2 Tbsp water in a microwave-safe container, cover with plastic/saran wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer contents of bowl to food processor, and process apples as much as possible before you create applesauce. This will require scraping down the sides and then processing. Combine the processed apples and remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, transfer mixture to clean jar(s). To seal jar(s), tighten the lids to a finger-tightness. If you have a canner, now is the time to use it… If not? Follow along:

In a large pot, place the sealed jars, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the top(s) of the jar(s). Bring to a boil. Check on the jar(s) every few minutes. Use a utensil to poke the center of the lid(s). If the lid dips when pressure is applied, continue to boil, rechecking the lid(s) every few minutes. Once the lid(s) are solid and no longer “pop,” turn off the heat, and carefully remove the jar(s), using tongs, and allow the jar(s) to cool at room temp. Then you can refrigerate.

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Nutrition (per tablespoon):

Calories:6, Fat: 0g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Carbs: 2g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 0g

This stuff tastes amazing on anything! Toast, graham crackers, with nut butters…

** I made another batch, tweaking it a bit: substitute 2/3c water for 2/3c diet cranberry juice, 2Tbsp pectin, 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar, and sub lime juice for lemon juice.**

Heck, even just on a spoon!

Fun With Fiber

I have been having way too fun with fiber! It began a few weeks ago with making some bran muffins. Then, this beautiful pear from my Harry and David package was staring at me and I decided to make Pear Spice Muffins! Fan-Tastic!

Pear Spice Bran MuffinsWP_005155

makes 8

  • 1 (7oz) box Hodgson Mills Bran Muffin Mix
  • 1 large very ripe pear
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • 3/4 Tbsp light buttery spread
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F. Chop the pear into bite-size pieces. Combine all ingredients and half the chopped pear. Once thoroughly mixed, fold in the remaining pear and divided amongst 8 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake paper. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

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Nutrition: per muffin (1/8 recipe)

Calories: 128, Fat: 1.6g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 178mg, Carbs: 26.2g, Fiber: 3.4g, Sugar: 8.2g, Protein: 3.9g

Dad and I adored the end result! He kept taking them to work for an on-the-go breakfast. I warmed one up at work and spread a little PB on top and the spread melted and it was fantastic!

??????????????Last night, after making two batches on Blueberry scones, I really went into baking mode! I zested 1 lemon, with the zester dad got me for Christmas, and combined it with powdered sugar, and enough warm milk to make a glaze. Wow! Genius! I love lemon and blueberry!

A few days ago, I began to make my own crackers… yes…. crackers… and dad? He loved them! “I need to put these away before I eat the whole bag!” he said.

The first time I made these, I used ground flax. This last batch, I used milled bran.

Fiberful Crackers

make 48 per batch

  • 1 cup ground flax (meal)
  • OR
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp milled bran
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat grated Parm
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat grated Parm
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp basil
  • 1 ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp flour of choice

Preheat over to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together and spread into a thin rectangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and slide a sharp knife over the sheet of fiber to cut 8 strips across and 6 horizontally (Sorry, guys, I’m pretty bad at dimensions). Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. By this time, the squares are formed enough to be broken. Break up the sheet into 48 separate crackers and return to the oven for a final crisp (5-8 minutes)!

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I’m seriously hooked! They go with everything! Salsa, peanut butter (of course), fresh fruit… I even crisped these up more and broke them into my salad as croutons!

Well, being on this bran kick, and in quite a baking mood, I went with the flow and after 2 batches on scones and a batch of crackers, I made another batch of bran muffins. This time with apples (and apple butter)!

Double the Apple Bran MuffinsWP_005254

makes 8

  • 1 (7oz) box Hodgson Mills Bran Muffin Mix
  • 1/2 cup apples, skin on, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp apple butter
  • 1/2 cup flax milk
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Splenda
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp reduced sugar Craisins, chopped

Preheat over to 350 F. Combine all ingredients! Divide amongst 8 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake wrappers. Bake for 15 minutes. Dig in!

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Nutrition: per muffin (1/8 recipe)

Calories: 118, Fat: 0.9g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 169mg, Carbs: 24.8g, Fiber: 2.1g, Sugars: 7.9g, Protein: 3.8g

Can you guy what dad’s breakfast was, this morning?

Fiber is freakishly filling, fun, fiberful, fit, and makes you feel fabulous!

Talk about a recipe overload!

PS. The muffins freeze really well!

Manic Mind

Last night was finished off with a Lil’ Drum so I could get my ice cream fix.

Today, is National Apple Dumpling Day. In honor of such a decant sounding dessert, I attempted to make a decadent shake bowl . And it worked! BooYah!

Apple Dumpling Shake BowlWP_003930

  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (frozen preferably)
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (microwaved for 30 seconds)
  • 1 tsp sugar free fat free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
  • 3/8 tsp xanthum
  • water
  • ice

I topped it with some Fiber One bran cereal for crunch!

My belly has been bothering me all day! and my appetite has been minimal. I did manage to do some snacking on a rice cake and roasted red peppers.

I became a bit manic early this afternoon and began to use up the last of the green beans from yesterday’s discount snack attack! I tried my hand at Hungry Girl’s Oat-Standing Veggie Patties. They weren’t quite to my liking, so I ampted up the flavor with scallions, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and garlic. Once I formed the burgers, I kept them in the fridge until I was ready to eat.

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I finished up the last of some miscellaneous veggies from the refrigerator: bok choy, bamboo shoots, baby carrots, scallions, bell peppers, and broccoli slaw. After my first batch of veggies, I made another since it was just so good! All of the stir-fried vegetables were cooked in teriyaki sauce, kung pao sauce, and chili garlic sauce  for a kick!

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WP_003942I finished off the night with a bowl of Vanilla Maple Arctic Zero sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice and SF DaVinci pumpkin pie spice syrup. I finished the bowl with some praline pieces!

My stomach started to feel much better as the night went on. As much as I wanted to head to Zumba, tonight, I just couldn’t get there. I think I’m in a workout rut. I haven’t felt like doing much besides cooking and working.

I can’t dwell on my lack of exercise, but I can capitalize on what I can do, like clean up my cluttered bed room, and I’ve been creating variations of today’s veggie patties all day! There are just soooo many possibilities!

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the last few days with my mom. I’ve noticed a huge correlation between my mental health and eating habits and my relationship with my mom. Did you ever realize that when things between my mom and me are rough, my eating habits get totally out of whack?

Anyway, tomorrow is mom’s birthday and I have a special birthday treat for her. The recipe I am making takes two days to make. The first day is a pour and forget it day, but the second day requires a bit of attention. This recipe is a coveted one in the Higgin’s household. Its one of those recipes that my grandmother makes once every few years, and the family stocks up and freezes it to have. Here’s where I might lose you: Split Pea Soup.

I’ve never made it before, but I’m a big fan and I’m praying I can do it some justice.

September 13

Some pretty interesting things happened on this day in history:

1224 – Francis of Assisi is afflicted with stigmata.

1503 – Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.

1788 – NY City becomes 1st capital of US

1948 – Margaret Chase Smith (R-Me) elected senator, 1st woman to serve in both houses of Congress

1963 – “Outer Limits” premieres on ABC TV

1965 – Beatles release “Yesterday”

1974 – Phillies set NL record, using 27 players in a game, St Louis uses 24, tying record of 51. Phils win 7-3 in 17

To make today even cooler… Its not just September 13th… And its not just National Peanut Day… Its Friday, September 13th!

Do you know what else happened?

1960– My daddy was born!

I follow a law in my head that I call “Experi-mentality.” Its another word I made up. I like to do that… Remember “Crock-Pot-It?”

Experimentality: ik-ˈsper-ə-mənt, men-ˈta-lə-tē

experiment: an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law

mentality: a particular way of thinking

experimentality: the operation of thinking up procedures to be carried out to discover an unknown outcome

Sound pretty scientific, huh?

WP_003882With all of these things falling on one day, all of our shakes followed a theme. We’ll start with the birthday boy and his Birthday Cake Shake:

  • 2 scoops cookie n cream shake mix (1 scoop vanilla and 1 scoop chocolate will do)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free white chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp jimmies/ sprinkles, more for garnish
  • water
  • ice

WP_003885I created a Black Cat Shake for Franks:

  • 1 scoop chocolate shake
  • 1 scoop cafe latte shake
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Black berries (mixed berries will do)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free licorice syrup
  • water
  • ice

I was expecting Franks shake to be much dark, but it turned out reminding me of  the color of red velvet ice cream. For myself, I call it a Mexican Jumping Bean. There were no peanuts to be found in the house, but of peanut butter, there is plenty…

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I got myself to eat some chips and salsa last night and with the pb being in reach, I’m  always one to experiment. What a combo! I would have never thought salsa and peanut butter would pair! It could be because I’m PMS-ing, but it worked for me. Frank tried it and WP_003886immediately said “No way…” I guess its a love it or hate it shake…  It reminded me of chili chocolate. So heres the Mexican Jumping Bean Shake:

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free fat free chocolate shake mix
  •  3 Tbsp mild salsa
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • the slightest pinch of cayenne pepper (a little goes a long way)
  • water
  • ice
  • xanthum and/or guar (optional)

I kept busy for the entire day! I even ate! I made a seaweed salad for the first time, to surprise dad with one of his favorite foods. It turned out great! I spent most of my day cleaning the carpets, however.

WP_003889Frank began to whip up a seafood gravy, and its always delicious! But I haven’t eaten it since he used sooooo much olive oil! With his weight loss goals, he has been cutting back on a lot of fattening ingredients in his cooking. Frank said it could be dads birthday dinner. I pulled out the last box of Paul Sorvino’s spaghetti. I’ve been saving it for a special occasion. I figured dad’s birthday would suffice. I wanted to to be able to eat dinner with my dad, so I sucked it up, cooked up a bag of Spaghetti Tofu Shiratki noodles, and topped it with a bit of seafood sauce. Frank was happy that I ate his cooking. He knows I enjoy it. Dad’s plate looked like a tour around the world. I had prepared the seaweed salad for him earlier in the day, and Frank made the pasta. I finished his meal off with a birthday drink of Diet Rum and Coke.

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up, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl! Pretty much every childhood memory involves my dad. My first memory of music is my dad popping in the cassette to Locomotion in the stereo, and us dancing around the living room. Music has always been one thing that always has tied us together…

If you couldn’t tell by our matching tattoos… Haha

No matter the song, no matter the situation, my dad would always come up with a song, or a spoof off a song with my name in it. One song he still sings is “Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie… I kiss Sammy Bundo’s eye!” Its silly, I know, but it works.

In honor of the birthday boy and in honor of our daddy-daughter bond over music, I created a special birthday surprise for him:

Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie

serves 8

The Crust:

  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 2 sheets (8 crackers) low fat cinnamon graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup Brummel & Brown
  • 3 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ground flax, optionalWP_003901

The Apple Peach Pie:

  • 2-3 Fuji apples (enough to yield 2 cups once sliced)
  • 2 4oz NSA peach snack cups, like Del Monte (do not drain)
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp granulated Splenda
  • 2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

The Pumpkin Pie:

  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 3/4 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine butter with 2 Tbsp water. Microwave until just melted. In a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One and graham crackers to a breadcrumb-like consistency, along with the Splenda. Once its ground, pour the melted butter and blend well.

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Spray a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute crust mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust. Press it into the edges and up along the sides of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 425 F.

Meanwhile, prepare the apple and peach filling. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples to produce 2 cups full. In a large nonstick pot on the stove, combine all ingredients for the filling except apples and peaches.  Add 1/3 cup water and mix until ingredients have dissolved. Bring to medium-high heat stirring frequently. Add apples and stir. After about 5 minutes, empty the peach cups, undrained, in the pan and stir. Lower the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until sauce thickens for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and  set aside, while making the pumpkin filling. Combine all the pumpkin filling ingredients and set aside.

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Carefully transfer the apple and peach filling into the cooled pie crust and evenly spread. Top with the pumpkin mixture. Bake for 12 minutes at 425 F. Lower the oven temperature to 375 F, rotate the pie 180 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees, again, and finish baking for a final 15 minutes, until the center has just set. Remove the oven and allow to cool.

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Slice and top with whipped cream and pecans (optional).

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Nutrition: (1/8 of recipe)

Calories: 165, Fat: 3.1g, Sat. Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 259 mg, Carbs: 33.3g, Fiber: 5.1g, Sugars: 17.8g, Protein: 3.8g

WP_003902My kitchen smelled amazing! It took everything out of me not to cut into this baby! “Can’t we sing happy birthday, today, dad???” I said yesterday.

We apparently didn’t have a number 3 candle! But we all loved this pie! It was mildly sweet, the flavors went well, it was light, and the crust was crisp….

We finished this wonderful day with playing Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, doing a birthday jig, and watching the new Star Trek movie on DVD!

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I loved  seeing dads face as I ate my dinner, and hearing him talk about how happy he was to see me in such a good mood! I am so blessed to be one of those lucky girls in the world that gets to be so close to her dad.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Never Too Old for Animal Crackers

After yesterday mornings excitment, I enjoyed sleeping in this morning.

Last night, Barry came over during his lunch break from night shift, around 9pm. I greeted him with a chicken sandwich, from the left over chicken we grilled the other day, a tray of broccoli and cheese, a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate cheesecake for work, that mom had had picked up from Wholefoods.

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After Barry left, and some studying, I laid in bed for about 2 hours tossing and turning. As tired as I was, I just could not fall asleep. I think that having a disagreement with my mom, yesterday, on top of Beaut getting out, really ampted up my anxiety. I felt similar to when I was really sick… I would lay in bed, up until all hours of the night, planning my meals for the week, stressing about calories… planning my every move for the coming days.

Finally, I fell asleep!

This morning began with a shake for Frank and myself. The tricky thing about cafe latte flavored shake powders is that besides bananas, flavoring syrups are typically used to flavor them. But I like fruit in my shakes, darn it!

I used to work in a nutrition store, and a really popular shake was the Carmel Latte shake. Wanting fruit plus a little pick me up, I experimented with a Caramel Apple Latte shake.

  • half a fuji apple (about 3/4 cup), chopped, preferrably frozen
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free caramel Torani syrup
  • 1 scoop Herbalife Cafe Latte powder
  • (1/4 tsp xanthum, optional)

Not to shabby…

After Beauty’s escapades, yesterday, and some time to kill before work, I ran to the pet store to get a new name and address tag for her. It was a toss up between a pink heart and and Eagles tag. While she went to pull out the pink heart, she found a pink heart with the Eagles logo on it! Score! I think Beauty has learned her lesson, though, at least for now, because she has been a sleepy pup since she came home. While at the pet store, I also snagged her one of her favorite canned foods, as well as a free sample.

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I felt so silly while on my way to work, today. Its 95 degrees outside and I’m in a long sleeve shirt… in a car without AC…

I swung by Dunkin for an iced coffee on my way to help cool me off. (I wear longsleeved shirts to work because its always cold!!!!) It was much needed!

I arrived at work a bit early, which gave me time to cool off and grab my assignment for the night. I was in a 1:1. That shake this morning really filled me up! I didn’t have much of an appetite at all today! I finished up the left over brussel sprouts from the other night (lightly drizzled with yellow and honey mustard), and celery sticks and peanut butter for snacking. Around 6pm, when I took my dinner, I was very hungry! Luckily, I spotted animal crackers! I don’t care how old you are, but you are never too old for animal crackers!

I was surprised by how hungry I was, but I hadn’t been very hungry since my shake, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. The important part, is that I recognized that I was full and I stopped eating before I lost control. Recovering from binge eating, just like anorexia or bulimia, has no boundaries. Eating disorders can strike anytime, anywhere.

Once my shift ended, I came home and snacked on some Fiber One 80 Chocolate cereal, but soon found myself nibbling on many items. I finally tasted that kick from the KIND Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. After realizing that I was beginning to have a mild binge, I quickly jumped to a warm glass of flax milk and began this post.

Strawberries and Mango

I wanted to make today a mildly productive day, and it was. It began with two super yummy shakes!

When I got down to some random frozen fruit, I diced it all up and made one big frozen fruit salad, containing bananas, apples, and assorted berries. This, combined with chocolate protein mix, made and incredibly delicious and creamy shake for Frank. Since I love froyo, oh, so much, and am constantly topping my sugar free strawberry with chunks of mango, I took the cue.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/3 cup halved, frozen strawberriesWP_002900

2/3 cup cubed, frozen mango

1 Tbsp Torani sugar free coconut syrup

Wowzah! That was a tropical dream!

After my shake and a cup of coffee, I grabbed Beauty and pampered her! She got her nails trimmed and a nice bath! It always amazes me how much a dog can shed! Nonetheless, she got a little pep in her step and went to show off how clean and fluffy she was to Bunny.

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I think that little pep tired this old gal out… nap time for Beauty!!!

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Following her bath, I checked on my discounted pears I had picked up. Perfect consistency for my Bakeri-inspired coffee cake! I’ve cooked for Barry, but never baked for him. I made a slight alteration to the recipe. Rather than layering the thinly sliced apple, I finely diced it and incorporated it into the batter. I then layered the pears, since they cook down a lot easier.

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I did have some pears left over, so I did the same and tossed them into the last layer of batter. I feel like the cake was so much moister this time around, since the juices from the apples were evenly distributed.

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Barry stopped by after work and I gave him some. It must have been good because he didn’t have any left by the end of the night and told me it was “delicious” and that I should feel free to make it anytime.

I did not have much an appetite today… but Frank wanted to take me out for dinner… for sushi… Dilemma. I compromised. We ordered a large hot and sour soup (always with added hot sauce) and a large shrimp with steamed vegetables, with garlic sauce. Much healthier and portion controlled than going to a sushi buffet.

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I love this stuff! I could eat it all day! Its just so refreshing, and I’ve really gotten Frank hooked on the stuff, too!

To finish off my night, a little Zumba! I mentioned last week that the instructor invited me to help lead the class. I did it for the first time, today! It was funny, at first, because I had to remember I needed to be the mirror image of what I usually do. It took a few seconds, but it finally got it. Dancing really gets me going and I think the instructor could tell how much fun I was having. Plus, it makes me go harder knowing that people are watching me, and that if I’m having a good time, they will, too!

After showering off my Zumba stank, and folding some laundry, and posting this post, of course, I will spending the rest of the night in bed sending out resumes.

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I spent the majority of my day at work. Unfortunately, no matter the holiday, there are always sick little ones. My morning began with a mug of Chocolate Cherry coffee that I got while at the Denver airport back in April. Sometimes coffee really just hits the spot. 

After completing my first set of rounds and bathing a few babies, I sat down to one of my favorites: nonfat coffee yogurt. I wanted something to crunch this morning, so rather than eating graham crackers, like usual, I sliced up an apple and dipped it into my yogurt. A surprisingly excellent combo!

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I attempted to keep busy the remainder of my shift, and while most of the girls ordered hoagies for lunch, I enjoyed a bowl of watermelon to hold me over until the end of my shift. 

I decided I wanted to grill some steaks for the holiday and enjoyed a very appropriate holiday meal with my guys (dad, Frank, and Barry): steaks, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, salsa,pretzels, and chips, and watermelon. YUM!

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To complete the meal with a red, white, and blue theme I mashed 1/2 cup blueberries in 1/2 cup fat free cool whip and dolloped it into four dessert shells. I topped each one with sliced strawberries.

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One of my favorite things to do on the fourth isn’t what you’d think. I’ve mentioned my dorky obsession with the Twilight Zone before, and every year on July 4th and New Years, ScyFy channel plays a marathon! I’m officially glued to my TV those days! 

After Barry left for work, I watch some Zone until 830pm. I headed over to Barry’s work, where he gave me a tour of the site.

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We eventually found our way to the roof of one of the buildings, where we stood and watched the fireworks. It was quite neat, actually. You could see multiple firework shows in various parts of the county all from this one roof!

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What are your favorite Twilight Zone episodes? 

I love “To Serve Man,” and “Night of the Meek.” I  really could make a whole list of my favorites!

What are your Fourth of July memories and traditions?

I can remember when I was younger, my mom and dad used to pack up a picnic basket with snacks. We would go to the soccer field a few blocks away, lay out the big red blanket, and eat hot dogs. 

Thanks to all the vets and active military! Its because of you that we are able to live safely and comfortable everyday!

Steak and Eggs and Tempeh

ImageStudying has ruled the last few days. Yesterday started with a delicious shake that kept me going and full for hours.

2 scoop Chocolate protein powder

Cherry Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt

bunch of spinach

ice

water

I can’t believe how good it was. I’ve made this before, but it was exceptionally delicious today.

The reminder of my day was spent at the kitchen table. studying. pulling my hair out.

I always like to eat a protein filled meal the night before an exam, so I invited dad over for steak and eggs. I feel breakfast foods should be eaten any time of the day!

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I seasoned some london broil with montreal steak seasoning and pan-fried it. Then I combined 1/4 cup egg beaters and 1 egg, and while in the pan, fold in a slice of Bordens fat free PepperJack cheese. Slice up the meat. Top a toasted english muffin with the eggs and meat. Lastly, I sauteed some onions, peppers, and garlic for garnish.

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Dad ate a sandwich, while I kicked it topless… that doesn’t sound right…

I followed dinner with some more food: apple, cinnamon, and cottage cheese

This test day began with Raisin and Spice oatmeal and some Dunkin Donut coffee.

I studied all morning, treating my stressed out self to a chocolate chip cookie before the exam.

I managed to pull out a B! Woah! That exam actually gave me a stomach ache!

To take my mind off things, mom asked me to dye her hair. Its nice to have a mom who was a cosmetologist  I’ve never had to pay for a hair cut or dye, and shes been teaching me!

Dinner, tonight, was delicious as well! Tempeh is one of my favorite salad toppers, as are roasted vegetables. Roasted artichoke hearts, onions, carrots, and Sesame Garlic Tempeh tickled my fancy this evening and I did not regret it! Wow-zah! MMMM Good!

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My girlfriend, Meaghen, got me hooked on tempeh when I was in New York with Barry’s Tempeh! Ever since, I’ve had tons of tempeh recipes in the making in my head. I can’t wait to make them and share them with you!

Cottage cheese and apples made another appearance as dessert. I’ve been doing a lot of stress eating the last few days, but I’ve recognized it each night, which I’m happy about and have been able to stop.

I remember, now, that this is how I gained so much weight in the first place; not just stress eating, but eating when I’m not hungry, or just because the food is there.

But, alas, although the exam is over, this semester is not. I have two projects and two exams to complete for the big G-Day (graduation)!