Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weekly Menu for: November 5-11, 2012

Cranberry Crumble Bars
Raisin Bread Apple Crisp
Amish Baked Oatmeal
Blue Corn Tortilla Chips with refried bean and queso dip, baby carrots, grapes
Tortellini with Alfredo Sauce, raisins, apples with peanut butter, brocolli
Cheesy quesadillas with simple salad, grapes, apple slices
Italian Chicken bites, spinach, banana, applesauce
SnackBlockbuster Cookies
Pumpkin Fluff with Graham Crackers
Baby Carrots OR broccoli with ranch or honey mustard dip
Pizza stuffed Chicken breast, biscuits, and peas
Mashed Potato cakes topped with sour cream, simple salad
Beef and bean tortillas, with choice of toppings (salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, chopped tomato)
Chicken, Bacon, Spinach, Tomato, and cheese calzone (using my multi-purpose dough recipe found here)

Breakfast Recipes for: November 5-11, 2012

Amish Baked Oatmeal recipe can be found here.
Raisin Bread Apple Crisp
Found at: Sunmaid Raisins
Serves- 6
6 TBS. melted butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
4 slices raisin bread (homemade, or store bought)
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ¼ inch wedges
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and nuts.
  2. Tear raisin bread into ¼ inch to ½ inch pieces.
  3. Mix torn bread with butter mixture.
  4. Put cut apples in a 9-inch baking dish, pat bread mixture firmly over apples.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown and apples are soft. Serve warm.

Cranberry Crumble Bars
Found at: Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 Issue
Makes- 24 bars
1 can (14 oz.) whole-berry cranberry sauce
½ cup dried cranberries (7 ½ oz.)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp. cornstarch
¾ cup cold water
6 TBS. cranberry juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ¼ cups packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
(If making your own filling): Pulse cranberries and sugar in a food processor until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into cold water, then add to cranberry mixture, whisking to combine. Stir in juice. Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and sugar dissolves, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool completely.
  1. Butter or spray with cooking spray a 9x13 inch baking pan. Line baking pan with parchment paper, letting 2 long sides overhang edges. Butter parchment, then flour parchment and sides of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add brown sugar and butter, and stir until well combined. Mix in egg and vanilla, then oats and walnuts.
  3. Press half of dough mix into pan. Spread cranberry filling evenly over the dough, then crumble remaining dough on top of filling.
  4. Bake about 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
  5. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 1 hour, then lift out using parchment.
  6. Cut into 2 inch squares.
Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Lunch Recipes for: November 5-11, 2012

Refried Bean/ Queso Dip

1 large can of refried beans (or about 2 cups, if you make your own)

1 jar of your favorite brand of salsa con queso

1 cup sour cream

Put all contents into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined and heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with your choice of tortilla chips, raw veggies, etc.

Italian Chicken Bites


4 Chicken Breast, cut into large chunks

1 ½ cup flour

2 TBS. dried parsley

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 eggs

2 TBS. oil

Marinara or Your choice of dipping sauce (ranch, honey mustard, etc.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet with oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, combine chicken chunks and eggs. Make sure each piece is coated with egg.
  4. Put chicken pieces in flour mix, turning over to coat each side.
  5. Place on cookie sheet. Cook for about 10 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5- 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Dinner Recipes for- November 5-11, 2012

Pizza-Stuffed Chicken Breast

From: Schwan's

Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and Pepper

¼ cup Italian Style bread crumbs (find a quick recipe for it here)


1 cup shredded pizza cheese blend (or ½ cup shredded mozzarella and ½ cup shredded cheddar, parmesan , or Romano cheese)

1 cup pepperoni slices

1 tsp. Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Place chicken in a plastic bag or between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound to flatten to 3/8 inches thick OR butterfly chicken breast to make thinner. Put aside.
  2. Mix Cheese(s) and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
  3. Divide filling ingredients in center of each chicken. Put cheese first, pepperoni on top.
  4. Wrap chicken around filling. Secure with toothpicks, put stuffed chicken in a baking dish.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly spray with cooking spray or brush with oil. Sprinkle chicken with breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.


Mashed Potato Cakes

From: Schwan's

Serves 4

2 cups cooked mashed potatoes(homemade, or from a box)

2 TBS. vegetable oil

2 TBS. butter

½ cup flour

1 tsp. granulated garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Divide mashed potatoes into 8 portions and form patties.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Mix together remaining dry ingredients. Place on a large plate.
  4. Coat patties in dry mixture. Place into skillet and cook 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Turn over and cook 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Optional- serve with a dollop of sour cream, bacon crumbles, and chives.


Meat and Veggies Calzone

Okay, I'll admit. I have no idea of what normally comes inside a calzone. I've never had a "real calzone" before. I made this last week on the grill while our power was out. My original intention was pizza, but I was afraid I was going to burn the bottom(since I've never grilled a pizza before), so I quickly folded it and this is the end result. If it's not a "real calzone", then I'm just going to call it a huge hot pocket, so I don't offend any potential calzone lovers. J

You can also mix and match whatever sounds good or you have available.

Serves 8

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1-2 TBS. oil

Monterey Chicken Seasoning, to taste

10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 cups shredded cheese( I used mozzarella and cheddar)

1 cup spinach leaves, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

1 recipe Multi-purpose dough (found here)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Mix chicken cubes, oil, and Monterey chicken seasoning. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Put aside to cool.
  2. Once chicken in cooled, mix with bacon, cheese, spinach, and tomatoes.
  3. After multi-purpose dough is done rising, divide into two dough balls. Roll out each dough ball to form a large circle(almost like you're making a pizza).
  4. On one half of dough, put chicken mixture. Fold and seal closed to form a half circle. Repeat the same process with second piece of dough.
  5. Put on a baking sheet, bake 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool a few minutes.
  6. Slice each calzone to 4 pieces, enjoy!


Taco Seasoning Mix

My family loves tacos, but since starting the process of better eating, I've noticed with pre-packaged taco seasoning, I get terrible heartburn. No matter how little or what brand I used, the result was always the same. We started to cut down on our taco eating, but then I bought the Fix-It and Forget It Diabetic Cookbook for my dad when he found out he had diabetes. When he passed due to other health issues a year later, my stepmother gave me back the cookbook, saying she had no need for it. I found this recipe, tried it, and we haven't bought pre-packaged taco seasoning since. It doesn't leave a funky aftertaste in your mouth, and I have yet to get heartburn from it.

Found at- Fix-It and Forget it Diabetic Cookbook

Makes- 3 servings(equivalent to using 3 packets of the store-bought stuff)

6 tsp. chili powder

5 tsp. paprika

4 ½ tsp. cumin

3 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

2/3 TBS. dry cornstarch


  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Put in a small Tupperware or ziplock container. Make sure to label it!
  2. One-third of mix(or, about 7 tsp.) is equivalent to 1 package of purchased taco seasoning mix. To use for cooking, mix 7 tsp. of taco seasoning mix with ¾ cup water and cook until thickened(about 5-10 minutes), and mix with meat of choice.





Snack Recipes for: November 5-11, 2012

Blockbuster Cookies

Found- Family Fun, November 2012 issue

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 TBS. vanilla

1 ½ cups Raisinets

3 cups buttered and salted popcorn (store-bought or homemade)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, use a stand or hand mixer on medium speed to cream the butter until it's light and fluffy. Add both sugars and blend until they're well combined.
  4. Crack one egg into a small bowl. Separate the white from the yolk of the second egg, and add the yolk to the first egg. Discard the white or reserve for another recipe. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and blend on medium-high until they're fully incorporated.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in three batches, blending well after each addition.
  6. With a spatula, stir in the Raisinets, and then gently fold in the popcorn.
  7. Form dough into medium-sized mounds (about 2 TBS. each), and put nine of them staggered, on each baking sheet. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 14 minutes, turning the pans halfway through. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat the step to bake the remaining dough. Serve.


Pumpkin Fluff

1 recipe Vanilla Whipped Cream (see recipe, below)

1(5 oz. pkg. vanilla pudding mix (or 1-8 oz. container of pre-made pudding, store bought or homemade)

1(15 oz.) can pureed pumpkin

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix pudding mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in vanilla whipped cream. Chill in fridge until ready to serve. Goes great with graham crackers or ginger snaps.

Vanilla whipped Cream

Found- From McCormick

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup confectioners' sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Healthy Eating Update

Since the beginning of summer, I have been trying hard to eat foods that are considered "real". Of course, in the beginning, it was hard. I'm not where I hope to be with it, but I feel as though I'm better than I was when I started. I'm still learning as I go, I'm still trying, I still fail on occasion. I'm not perfect. The weight has NOT just magically "fell" off. I know I kept saying, "I'm not doing it for the weight!" but in the beginning, I really was doing it for the weight.
But, weight aside, I feel a difference. I can now explain better my reason of sluggishness. I know I feel better eating better. I didn't think I could ever say that. I always thought it was just cliché. But, it's true.
I read somewhere that our body reacts differently to overly processed food. I thought it was just health nuts trying to win converts saying that, but after eating not so great these past two weeks, I now know what they mean. I'll try not to get too gross in how I realized this, but one innocent example is my taste buds. I never realized how overly processed foods are…overly seasoned. It seems they are often too salty or too sweet. If I try and eat more than a small amount (because, hello, I'm fat! And I don't know diddly squat about portion control), I get a weird bump or two on my tongue. Anyone know what that's called? It always seems to be on the sides of my tongue. Anyways, I just call it salt or sugar overload. I never took notice to how much seasoning has to go into overly processed foods in order to make them taste reasonable, until I stopped eating them.
Another thing I noticed was how much more expensive it is to eat a largely overly processed food diet. A large amount of people are under the belief that it's healthy eating that's expensive, but that really has not been the case for us. By omitting most overly processed frozen, dried, and canned products I have seen a huge difference in our food budget. Well, that and planning our menu I believe have really helped us get from "oh, snap, how are we going to eat for the next week or two?!" to, "oh, snap, I have some extra money in the food budget left for the next week or two!" This leads me to my next point…
We have been eating less. The first month or two, we sort of pigged out because I felt like, "I FINALLY found something I can stick with! Something that says it's okay to eat butter, and bacon, and strawberries, and chocolate (though not in that order)! I'm eating really real foods, so I can live it up! YAHHOOOO!!!" But, now that we are past the fun and thrill of it, we are slowly getting to the point of it becoming a part of our everyday lives. Eating better foods eventually makes you want to slow down and savor it. There are some moments where we pig out, but they decreasing. I still probably eat faster than I should, but I don't eat seconds or thirds much anymore. I don't feel the need to "pile it on" my plate. I'm still trying to learn that free food doesn't mean I can and should be pigging out.
Which brings me to my dilemma…With the holidays coming up, we are often invited to functions involving food. I am always thankful for these events, because it means food that I don't have to cook and often times food to bring home that I don't have to cookJ. Not that I mind cooking, because I really enjoy it. But let's be honest- I'm not exactly sharing the responsibility of cooking with anyone here. As much as I enjoy it, it gets tiring after awhile. I won't pass down the chance for someone else to do the cooking. However, I'm already starting to feel a bit uncomfortable about functions because I have to ask questions of how/what it's made of. Do I suck it up, enjoy the food and keep the moments rare? Or, do I decline the offers? Bring my own food? Is there anyone who reads my blog and has had the same problem? What do you do when having to eat outside the home?