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Archive for April, 2012

So today I have a fun and refreshing Guest Post from Casey. I met Casey through the Foodie Pen Pal Program. This month I will be sending Casey her Foodie Pen Pal Box, and I thought it would be fun to ask her to do a Guest Post. The Foodie Pen Pal Program is open to bloggers and readers, Casey is a reader of Healthy Living Blogs and possibly a future blogger. I love this post because it happens to us all at one time or another. So with that, please Meet Casey and enjoy her post.
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Hey Y’all,
My name is Casey. I’m from a small town in South Carolina but recently moved to Georgia after I married my husband. Since we’ve bought a house I’ve really gotten into cooking. You can usually find me scribbling down a recipe or searching the Internet for one. I try to find easy and quick things because we both work in a nuclear power plant, which calls for long, busy days.
My husbands’ grandmothers’ birthday recently passed and I was asked to bring a dessert. Let me just say, I am NOT a baking type of person. So, not knowing what to bake I frantically searched Pinterest for something. All I really found was plain chocolate cakes or cookies but I wanted something a little more advanced. BIG MISTAKE! Ha! I can’t help but laugh thinking back on it now. After a few times of looking through Pinterest I had finally found THE cake I was going to make. I can’t really remember the name of it now but it was something along the lines of a chocolate cake with a raspberry butter cream frosting..just not that simple. Here’s a picture of it on Pinterest…
dark chocolate and raspberry buttercream cake
 And here’s a picture of what mine looked like…
My version looks way better, right!?!? HA! Okay so this cake was a total disaster! An epic failure, if you will! Long story short, over the two-day period I attempted to cook this cake: the cake overflowed into the oven, my icing would not set up to save my life and after taking it out of the freezer multiple times to ice it the cake got soft and crumbled under the icing! At first I told myself I was NEVER baking a cake or any dessert again! Then I finally realized I’m going to have failures and problems and a very messy kitchen but all I can do is try and try and hopefully one day I’ll be halfway decent at it!
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Thanks for a great Guest Post Casey, I think it makes us all better cooks and bakers to have a few fails in the kitchen, and who doesn’t like to make a mess once in a while, plus I bet that cake tasted amazing, I mean chocolate cake is chocolate cake. I sure do hope Casey comes back for another Guest Post someday soon.
The Lean Green Bean
Also if your interested in joining the Foodie Pen Pal Program,  go check it out!
Question of the Day: What dish or baked treat do you get asked to bring to parties?
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On a recent trip to Big Lots, I found an end cap with Bob’s Red Mill Products. I was super excited, my grocery store only carries a few of Bob’s Red Mill items, plus it was such a great price.

So I went with a Crock Pot Recipe, Crock your Oats if you will. I thought about doing it over night, but I wanted to watch this batch because I adjusted the recipe a bit. Messing with the original recipe can lead to a fail or can yield a new way of making a dish. I was hoping this was going to be a winner.

This recipe has all of my favorite ingredients, cinnamon, apples and oats. I used apple sauce to replace the butter in this recipe. Also making an appearance is Milled Flaxseed.

Chopping the apples was the most time-consuming part of this recipe, and that really only took about 5 minutes.

I started using Date Sugar in place of brown sugar while baking. It help cut back on unnecessary sugar, but keeps the flavor that is needed in the recipe.

Mixed all the ingredients in the Crock Pot and kept an eye on its progress, I was not sure how long the cook time was going to be so I did a quick stir every hour or so.

Normally I let the crock pot works its magic, but I am so glad I kept checking on it, my cook time was 2 hours less than the original recipe called for. When it started to stick to the bottom and to the side of the crock I could tell it was going to dry out if I left it on any longer, so I did a taste test and found that it was done and ready to serve.

Here’s the end result, they were creamy, and the apple chunks were done to a nice soft texture. I topped with fresh black berries and some additional cinnamon and dug in.

Knowing I want this for breakfast tomorrow, I grabbed my OIAJ Jar and filled it up. I plan on adding some Coconut milk to it when I heat it.

I also portioned out a big old bowl for my husband and another bowl to last over the next few days. Jeff’s portion in the one on the left, but I think he could eat the bowl on the right.  I listed the recipe how I prepared it and what the original recipe called for in (parenthesis). I don’t have anything against butter, but I like to try healthy substitutes for recipes.

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Adapted from: The Yummy Life

Makes Approximately 6-1 Cup Servings

Cook Time: 5 Hours (Original Recipe calls for 7 hours) 

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 teaspoon date sugar (original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 3 tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce (original recipe called for 1-1/2 tablespoons butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax-seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: fresh fruit, chopped nuts, dried fruit, maple syrup, additional milk

Directions:

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 5 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well. To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Note: The original recipe called for 7 hours of cook time on low, but since I altered the recipe I cut off 2 hours from the cook time. 

Question of the Day: Have you ever crocked your oats?

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When I made these Blue Cheese Chicken Wraps I had intended on taking them to work as my lunch, but once I made them, I had to try it, so I served them for dinner, and still had two left for lunches. All’s I can say is Blue Cheese Please.

We also had a Spinach salad and a side of rice with our Blue Cheese Chicken Wrap.

Love this salad, the dressing is so good, it’s a white balsamic vinaigrette.

Plus it also has blue cheese and I love blue cheese.

This wedge of Blue Cheese was so fantastic, I mean it, I could not stop taking bites of the bits.

Chopped the wedge into bits and added to the mix.

Such an easy recipe to just throw together.

My kitchen does not have much counter space so I do tend to assemble food on my stove, sorry about the dark photo’s.

I held back some of the spinach leaves from the salad and added to the wraps along with some shredded cheese.

Folded them up and grilled on the panini maker for 6 minutes.

Just enough time to heat up the ingredients and brown and crisp the tortilla.

I can not wait to make these again, they were spicy, cheesy and wonderful.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Wrap

Makes 4 Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 13 Ounce Can of Chicken
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 2 Green Onions Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 4 10-Inch Flour Tortillas
  • 1 – 5 Ounce Container of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Salt , to Taste
  • Pepper , to Taste
  • Fresh Spinach (add just before you fold)
  • Shredded Cheese (add just before you fold)
Directions:
Mix all ingredients together except spinach and shredded cheese, and spoon equal sized portions into the center of each tortillas, put a few pieces of fresh spinach leaves on top of chicken mix and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Fold tortilla’s and grill for 6 minutes.
BEST BODY BOOTCAMP
Boot Camp Update: Boot Camp is going really well, I love weight lifting, and have really enjoyed the challenges. I like stepping out of my comfort zone and doing new exercises, and using new equipment. I really have found a love for squats and lunges.
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The Plie Squat with Upright Row has become a favorite of mine:
1. Wide stance, feet pointed diagonal away from body, dumbbells in front, palms facing towards body
2. Squat down without letting knees go beyond toes
3. When coming back up, raise dumbbells to chest height, elbows pointing out to side
4. Works inner thigh and glutes
The thing I am taking away from this Boot Camp that is the most important to me is the confidence I have developed.
Question of the Day: What’s your Favorite Wrap Sandwich?

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We headed to Upper Michigan for the Easter weekend. We left on Friday after work and hit the road for the 3 hour drive. I knew my mother would have something for us to eat when we arrived, but I knew I could not go the entire drive without something to eat so I packed up a light dinner and we had a Wrap  on the Run. 

A wrap sandwich is something I like to make for car rides, they are easy to eat on the road and they do not make a mess.

I packed up a few snack bags of veggie chip and pretzels, and a pair of string cheese sticks.

Sliced up an apple.

We spread the wrap with Wholly Guacamole, threw on a slice of cheese and some thin sliced lunch meat.

Folded it up and wrapped it up.

Packed up our light meal and hit the road, having something to snack on while driving always makes the trip go by faster, especially when you have 2 very excited dogs traveling with you.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite snacks for the road?

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Stuart wanted to be the headliner for this post, he had such a great Easter and wanted to share some of his favorite moments, so towards the end of the post you can see some of the things he enjoyed.

Easter is a favorite holiday of mine and apparently my little guy Stuart’s. My favorite food related reason is because of Eggs.  I love Deviled Egg’s. So when my mom whipped up a batch on Saturday afternoon I was really excited.

These snacks came just in time, we had just taken the 3 dogs on a 2 mile walk, and dinner was still a few hours away.

For dinner we had Ham and all our favorite side dishes.

Cheesy potatoes.

Sweet baby peas.

Olives.

Sweet potatoes.

I loaded up my plate.

I opted for my favorite cocktail, Vodka and Cranberry juice.

Everyone else had wine, but Vodka is my drink of choice right now.

Here’s a few pictures of the doggies trying to get a little love from the dinner table.  I have to be honest, I’m a sucker for my dogs on Holiday’s, I let them try all the foods I eat, I know that is not a good thing to do, but I only give them little bites, I feel bad not including them in Holiday meals. The middle dog is Charlie, my parents dog, I call him my furry baby brother.

  

I waited until dinner was over and I tested Stuart to see if he would try to eat off my plate, ahhh yeah he did! He even tried to jump up on the table for a better view. I then put him on my husbands lap to see if he would try it with him, I’m usually the one he knows he can get away with stuff like that with, and sure enough, the power of the ham took over Stuarts fear of being a naughty dog. He went for it!

    

For dessert we had Creme Brulee, I was out playing with the dogs when my mom torched them with her little butane torch, I really wanted to get pictures of her browning the sugar and before she topped it with whipped cream and fruit, but I missed out on those photos. It tasted amazing.

I love the texture of Creme Brulee, so smooth and thick.

We let the doggies try the Creme Brulee, they loved it. I know I’m a naughty mommy, can you imagine what I would let real kids get away with.

  

Look at the little dog, he balanced like that for about 30 seconds, he really worked hard getting this taste, and this was my husband giving out these tastes.  This was Stuarts favorite moment, he loved the Creme Brulee.

BEST BODY BOOTCAMP

Looking forward to a great week, I’m at Week #6 of Boot Camp. It has been a great experience so far.

Question of the Day: Do you let your kids/furry kids get away with things on holiday’s?

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Thinking about a good recipe for the Easter Holiday Week-End I knew I wanted to make something in advance and something that would reheat well. I decided that Mini Asparagus Pop-Up’s were the way to go.

Added this amazing blue cheese to the ingredients list. I just added things I had on hand that I thought would compliment each other.

Eggs, blue cheese, bacon, Franks Red Hot Sauce and green onions.

Looked so pretty in the bowl.

Spooned the ingredients into the muffin cups to the top.

After 16 minutes the egg mixture did what it was supposed to, and Popped-Up.

Waited about 5 minutes before I popped them out of the cups.

I had to taste test them next so I grabbed 2 Pop-Up’s and topped with sour cream. I loved the combination, the asparagus still had a nice crisp bite to it and the blue cheese and bacon flavor really stood out.  I think I could have been heavier handed with the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, next time.

The rest of these are coming with me to my Mother’s for Easter breakfast. I sure hope my parents like them.

Mini Asparagus Pop-Up’s Recipe

  • 8 Eggs
  • 5 Pieces of Bacon Chopped
  • 2 Green Onions Chopped
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles about 1/2 of a Cup
  • 8 Pieces of Chopped Asparagus
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to Taste
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Sour Cream and Chopped Chives for Garish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spray the mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and spoon mixture to the top of each cup. Bake for 16 minutes, or until the edges of the cups are golden brown. Let cool for at 5 minutes before removing from the mini muffin tin. Top with sour cream and chives.

My little dude’s got their Easter baths, and they were not happy about it, they protested the entire time, it cracks me up when they try to escape from the tub.

  

  

Hope everyone has a great Easter and enjoys time with their families.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite ingredients to add to your egg dish?

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Needing dinner fast and not sure what to make, I remembered I had a  leftover chicken breast and an avocado that needed to be eaten. I also had a container of Brussels sprouts that I could not wait to roast, but my main inspiration came when I saw my Greek Flat Bread staring at me. I needed Flat Bread Fast.

Chopped the chicken into smaller bites and loaded them onto a Greek Flat Bread and topped with avocado and a slice of cheese.

Grilled the sandwich on my panini maker for 5 minutes. Roasted the brussels on 400 degrees for 20 minutes, which were seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic salt.

Yummy, cheesy and fast.

When I was cutting and trimming the Brussels Sprouts to roast, a few of the layers broke off and it left all these great pieces and I thought why not make Brussels Chips. So I arranged them on my baking sheet and sprayed with cooking spray and seasoned with Chili Powder and Garlic Salt. Baked on 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I really liked them, the inspiration to make them came from making Kale Chips.

     

Question of the Day: What gives you inspiration for your meals?

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So recently I bought a big Bag of Oranges. Well after eating them everyday for 7 days I still ended up having 5 oranges that I just couldn’t get to before they started to get really soft, perfect for squeezing.

So I juiced them!

It really made a lot of juice.

So I had a great idea when I started to juice it, let portion it out into snack size bags and freeze them. They will come in handy for smoothies and for cocktails.

It ended up making 4 portions and I cannot wait to follow-up with this post and let you know how I used them.

Question of the Day: What fruit do you like to freeze?

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Yesterday was a really big day for me, I pulled out the grill, and I had a blast Getting My Grill On. I really missed my grill over the long winter, it is the only grill that I have ever been brave enough to start on my own. Let me explain, I had an incident when I was 16 years old lighting a grill. I made the mistake of having my face to close to the grill and as I dropped the match to light the flame and it sent a puff of flame straight up at me, and I ended up singeing my bangs and my eyebrows.  I have been afraid of grills ever since, but that all changed with a new grill purchase last spring.

Greek food is a favorite of mine and I just love Chicken Gyros. I really love the fresh flavors from the cucumber and yogurt sauce that is called Tzatziki.

I Grilled up some broccoli. That is my favorite way to prepare my vegetables during grilling season. I just make sure I toss the veggie with olive oil and use cooking spray on the pan I am using to prevent the vegetables from burning or drying out.

Here’s my Grill, she’s a beauty, I just love her. It’s so nice to have an electric start on a grill, nothing to light, no way to singe your hair, and it’s a perfect size, with 2 shelves.

Perfect for grilling your veggies and cooking your meal at the same time. I have even cooked french fries on the top rack using my toaster oven tray. We had a power outage last year for over a week (in August) and I made all our meals on the grill. It was fun and I looked at it as an adventure and I found that I learned so much about cooking that week. I really got creative.

Made a Simple Tzatziki Sauce.

  • 1/2 – Cucumber deseeded, and Chopped
  • 1 – Small Container Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Diced Garlic to Taste
  • Processed in a Food Processor until Incorporated

It came out smooth and creamy. I love the slight bitter flavor you get from the yogurt. I think you could put this on anything, I am going to use my left over sauce as a salad dressing. I will let you know.

Once the chicken is done grilling I let it rest for about 3 minutes then slice and dice into strips or chunks.

The broccoli cooked the entire time the chicken did and it was done perfectly. I kept the grill on medium the entire time.

Once I took off the chicken and broccoli I put the flat bread on the top rack for a minute on each side to warm.

Loaded the pita up with chicken, spooned on some of the Tzatziki sauce and topped with some feta cheese. I only wish I had some tomatoes to top it off with.

It was a really easy meal to make and I had a good time Getting My Grill On. Plus I am all for the easy cleanup in the kitchen, which leaves me with more time to spend with my guys.

BEST BODY BOOTCAMP

Boot Camp Update: Feeling really sore today and in lots of places. Upper chest is sore, hamstrings are really sore and my inner thighs are super sore. So I have been trying to get up from my desk and stretch throughout the day.

Plank Club Update: Had a set back this week in my Planking time, for some reason I have not been able to hold a Plank longer than 35 seconds, so I have been doing several throughout the day. It’s a work in progress.

I’m attending Blend Retreat 2012.

So in just under a month I will be flying out to Boulder Colorado to attend the Blend Retreat. There are still tickets available for anyone who wants to attend, just click here for the Blend Retreat Link. This retreat is for Bloggers and Readers. The list of sponsors just keep getting bigger, which means the Swag Bag’s are getting bigger and bigger. We have all kinds of activities planned, Hikes, Yoga Classes, Boot Camp Class, Food and Fun. I am so looking forward to meeting all the ladies.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite Greek Food?

Additional Random Question: Have you ever been to a place that did not have Wi-Fi and you were not able to blog?

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When I set out to make these burritos I knew I wanted to jazz them up, so I used a leftover that really made me go Loco for this burrito.

My secret ingredient was this little gem, I added barley instead of brown rice, I thought why not, it’s a grain and I had a bowl full of leftovers.

Keeping it easy, I just reheated the barley in a pan added a can of black beans and some salsa.

Scrambled 6 eggs and seasoned to taste, a little salt a little pepper.

Mixed it all together.

Oops, I almost forgot the cheese.

Did I forget to mention it had avocado in it.

Tortillas always are so much easier to fold and tuck after they are heated up. So I heated each side for a minute.

I packed it full and topped with avocado slices, then I did my best to tuck and fold it up.

Garnished with a few additional slices of avocado and some more shredded cheese.

I crushed it bite by bite, it was really good go get em’  fuel. I ended up doing an amazing workout after I ate it, and it even kept me full for a few hours after my workout. That really never happens. I think the beans and the barley did their job well.

Wrapped up a few burritos so that I could take them to work with me and have a Loco burritos for lunch.

Later in the day I wanted more so I made a Blue Chip Loco Nacho. I will use any reason to make a nacho.

It was a thing of beauty.

Question of the Day: Breakfast burritos for Lunch?

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