Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Weigh In today

I'm actually doing something for the first time in 10 years for New Years Eve!  No scale is available.

But I did want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  If you drink, do it responsibly.

Let's kick 2012's ass!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Is this where I'm supposed to recap and set goals?

Stuff That Sticks Out from 2011

I started the year trying cross country skiing.  The Mr loved it, me?  Not so much.  BUT I did like snowshoeing and burned comparable calories so it's all good.  Now if it would just freakin' snow so we could actually do it, we'd be good!

We played our version of tennis which should be renamed "one ball chase" for an hour.

We went on a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley.

Added some pretty hard workouts that we actually were able to do and they're ones fit people groan about so we're pretty proud of that.

Honestly, those were the highlights.  2011 was a year of frustration on the weight loss front.  We're looking to not repeat that.

Stuff we're implementing for 2012

When we take vacations, big or small, no high cal day the Saturday after we get back.  We eat what we want on vacation every day and if we want to get back to pre-vacation weight a donut or pizza isn't going to speed that up so, new rule.  Period.

We'd like to incorporate yoga.  I got a yoga DVD for Christmas that I asked for, we watched it and he fell asleep and I fast forwarded out of boredom.  That's a good sign.  *rolling eyes*  So while I was tempted to say yoga every Friday (which is usually our rest day) but I know with certainty we won't so instead I'll say, we'll do it if we feel like it which will be at least once a month.

I want to make more homemade items.  Whether its soups, pasta sauce, tortillas or cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, I want to know what's going into my foods.  I'm not saying I'm going to buy a cow to keep on the lanai and churn my own butter and shuck my own wheat from the field or stop going to Trader Joe's or big box grocery stores but there is pride in being able to make your own food and I want that for us.

As for the rest?  We'll just tweak as we go.  I'll always be on the lookout for new workouts to challenge us, I'll always track my food and I'll always cook awesome meals that make this lifestyle seem like people who gorge on crap are the ones missing out.

Anything in particular you are going to add/do differently for 2012?

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

What I've Been Reading This Week

Get Your Body Ready for Snow Shoveling

Strength Training No-No's: Squats

Get Victoria Beckham's legs (video start up)

Does the Shake Weight Really Work?  

Fad Diets That Don't Work

How to Peel a Whole Head of Garlic in 10 Seconds  (from the Mr!)

10 Healthy Foods You Should Always Have in Your Fridge

Couples Workout:  Team Up to Slim Down

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brussels Sprouts - Triumph or tragedy?

Remember when I told you all I was looking to try brussels sprouts?  I know, seems like a lifetime ago.  I think the Mr. was hoping I would forget or keeping buying them with good intentions and end up throwing them out.  The night finally came that I was ready to give it a go and honestly it was the worst night to do it.  I'd been baking all day, still had a house to clean and was stressed to the max.  But I said "tonight's the night" and I had him cut them in half and get them back to me.  He was nervous.  He remembers the smell of sulfur filling the air and his mouth when he was a kid and to him, nothing could improve that in his mind.  Well that only happens if you overcook or over-steam them which I had no intention of doing.  I took the sprout halves and my spray mister and misted them with olive oil.  I tossed them in garlic, added some black pepper and cut up one slice of low sodium bacon and put them in a glass pan.  I roasted them for about 30 minutes and got this:


The Mr was willing to choke them down since they smelled good and I was anxious to try them finally to see what I thought.  I took my first bite and they were good.  The more I ate, the more I loved them.  They tasted like the insides of a really good egg roll with a smoky bacon flavor.  The Mr had a bit of a mental block with them but in the end he said he would absolutely eat them again if I prepared them that way and would try them any other way.  I made them again the same way and they were the only side dish (I had rice to temper them for him last time) and the Mr ate them.  They're not his favorite but I'll confess, they're my new favorite.  I will so be stocking up on these as much as possible when they're in peak season, which I think is starting to dwindle if I'm not mistaken.  Boo!  I'm anxious to try a slaw recipe I've got whirling in my noggin and of course you know I'll give you my feedback on those!

When someone else is a guinea pig for a food and likes it, does it influence you to give it a chance you might not have on your own?


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And then I went insane...

Some years you think you've got it all mastered and you realize you don't.  Lord only knows how long it'll take me to undo what I did the 3 days I went insane but right now I really feel like ripping that gravatar off the page because I don't deserve it.

I know one thing, there will be a rule for next year, no f*cking candy in the stockings if it's stuff we can get any time of year.  We have to pick ONE candy and we split it, period.  Not three different kinds plus what my mom gets us.  I ate crap I didn't even want because it was there.  That is NOT how I'm going into this year, sabotaging myself.  I'm not going to spend time relosing weight I've already lost, that's not productive and it's not acceptable.  I thought yesterday was supposed to be an "on track" day but the Mr dumped his stocking and started rifling through his candy somehow I felt like "well if he's going to do it, so am I!"  But I never do anything small so I did equal to and greater than...like the math problem I am.  My holiday depression had kicked in FIERCE as soon as we got back from Christmas with my family and you couple that a healthy dose of PMS and hormones and it was like an out of body experience.  I swear it was like the healthy me was hog tied and an evil drone took over while I was forced to watch, yelling "noooooo!" from behind my gag.  Welcome to the big failure of 2011.

You can prepare all you want but in the end, sometimes temptation just wins, not once or twice but three times.  I suppose the only victory I can claim is I did exercise and not break our streak.  Well that and dumping the rest of the cookies in the trash so I couldn't screw myself up another day until planned treats on vacation from some of our favorite places.  My instinct is to beat myself up over it and tell myself what a failure I am, oh wait, I guess I already did that above but it's done.  There's nothing I can do to take it all back and I just have to move forward with new rules in place for next year since I'm not looking to spend a third Christmas in a row feeling the way I have the past 2 Christmases.  I will hop on the scale and see the damage and do what I need to in order to rectify it.  Period.

Now I'm off to drink my water and tell this attempted cold to take an effin' hike.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Keeping up with the gift cards

My grandparents, probably like yours, have everything.  When you get to be in your 70's and 80's, you've accumulated all of the stuff you want and need and say things like "gift cards will be fine."  The problem with that is when you tell someone that you go to Olive Garden all the time, then people will think they're all clever and get you a gift card there...all three daughters and a granddaughter.  Italian food for life!  I've been making sure I get them gift cards that can be used at multiple restaurants so they at least have an option.  So between each daughter, us and their friends, my grandparents really rack up the gift card count year round.  Her birthday is in the spring, his birthday is in the fall and then Christmas.  They're a lot to keep track of.

As I was watching my grandpa open his 7th gift card at his 80th birthday party, I pulled The Mr aside and joked that I was going to get them a recipe box to put their gift cards in to keep track of.  I decided to go through with it and bought a nice bamboo recipe box to organize the gift cards and I even filed their Christmas gift cards in there for them.


What I love about this recipe box is not only is it pretty and something they can keep on the counter but this particular model has a card holder on the top!  Let's say the grandparents want to go to Red Lobster for dinner, they can grab the gift card out of the box and slip it in the slot on the top so they don't forget it!


Love it!  When the lady at the store asked if I was organizing my Christmas recipes, I told her no, what I was going to use it for and she about lost it telling me how awesome that was and I thought, "hmm, I should probably share that one."  I know I'm not the first person to think of it but you'd have thought I was given how the cashier was going on not just to me but the lady behind me as I was leaving.  Of course the grandparents loved it or if they didn't they did a great job faking it.  So if you find yourself with an abundance of gift cards that you don't want to keep in your bulging wallet or dig out of the abyss of your purse, this recipe box is a great way to keep track of them!

(FYI- If you click on the link above for the recipe box, be aware the low reviews are because it doesn't fit certain recipe cards well but this does not apply to gift cards since they're so small.  They fit easily into the box)

What was your favorite gift you received this year?
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to me - Weigh In

Down one pound.  Which means...200 lbs lost!!!!!!!!!!!!

So when you say you've "only lost a pound" (which I'm very guilty of) remember that at some point, that will be a  VIP.  (Very Important Pound!)

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

The magic of the season

Where did December go?  Today is my hubby and I's dating anniversary and I love that we still celebrate that.  We're getting each other gifts this year, I'll update ya on what I get later.  Then I can spill the beans on what I got him.

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year.  There is something so magical about Christmas Eve.  It reminds you of that anticipation you had as a kid tossing and turning waiting for Santa Claus to come.  I remember one year when a kid at school tried to tell me that Santa didn't exist.  I was going to sleep under the tree and catch him.  I laid down and stared up at the lights interwoven in the Christmas tree with the Pickwick Living Voices The Little Drummer Boy playing in the background.  I was gonna do it.  I was going to catch him.  I was gonna...wake up in my bed after being moved in the middle of the night.  Damn.  The following year, I left a contract out for him to sign proving he was real and of course he signed it.  He had really pretty handwriting.  Very ornate...and similar to my mom's.  But I was good with it.  Little did I know that Santa was the spirit of Christmas carried on for generations from the days of Saint Nicholas.  Everyone who celebrates Christmas takes on that privilege to carry on the tradition and spirit of giving.  A right jolly old elf might not come through my fireplace anymore but I was reminded by a friend what that spirit of giving really means.

A few years back they were in a financial tight spot and things were really tough.  Her youngest had his heart set on a specific Spiderman toy and it broke her heart that things seemed so bleak at holiday time.  I offered to get it for him as well as a family gift and she said they loved playing board games as a family.  So we went all over town until we found her son's toy, a good board game she suggested and added a $50 gift card to the local grocery store so they could get a full Christmas dinner prepared.  She was overwhelmed and her gratitude was enough thanks, I told her just to pay it forward one day.  She did just that this Christmas to a woman who was about to be evicted and gave her the $100 they were short for rent when no one else could help them.  In addition to that, she told me that a kid was telling her youngest this year that Santa wasn't real and he said yes he was and he knew that because a few years ago he got the toy he wanted and his parents couldn't afford it that year so Santa DID exist.  It brought tears to my eyes and was worth every penny to allow a little boy hang on to his childhood a little longer.

Wishing you all a magical Christmas!

Edit:  Here's our dating anniversary take:


Yep, that would be the original Strawberry Shortcake I had as a kid...whose hair still smells like Strawberry and my beloved Fashion Plates!  If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that these were pinned AFTER he bought these on my Childhood Favorites board!  So he done good.  I got him some snowshoes which he was hoping for money this year to buy them but it didn't look good so I got them for him.  He was thrilled!  It's gonna be a great Christmas!  Happy Anniversary honey!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I learned from the 12 Days of Treats

Brilliant ideas requiring that much work should come about June 1st, not November 30th.  You can bet your bottom dollar (that tomorrooooow, they'll be suuuuuun.  Sorry) that I will be making and photographing pics throughout the year so they're ready to go when the time comes next year.

I had fun!  While it was stressful, I found and created some awesome recipes and some are going to be staples for my family.  We loved the shortbread, the Crinkle cookies on their own or made into whoopie pies, the ChocoRolo cookies and the chocolate chip fudge the best.  I'm already thinking of new recipes and I've actually photographed a few.  I know, I'm mental.

I was able to bake without scale penalties.  Did I lose anything?  4 lbs and that's with 20 recipes under my belt from what I posted here to things I made for our own actual holiday celebrations.  That is a huge friggin' victory in my eyes!  I also know that I can fit stuff into my calories as long as I track and this just reiterated how important that is.

Most decadent recipes can be made a little healthier than you found them without sacrificing taste.

Co-workers will eat a shoe sole if covered in sugar or slathered in buttercream.

Did you make any of the recipes?  Which ones were your favorites?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Guest Post from The Mr

I just thought I would stop by and let everyone know what a great job The Mrs. did the past week and a half baking her butt off and making some of the best treats that my co-workers and I have ever enjoyed. The most amazing thing is that she did all of this baking and somehow managed to avoid eating all of it. She showed tremendous willpower and I have to say kudos to her for a job well done, for keeping her cool, properly tracking her food, getting all the workouts in and still managing to research, bake and photograph all of the wonderful treats that you’ve enjoyed seeing here. She took on quite a challenge and I am extremely proud of her and hope that everyone is able to benefit from all of her hard work.

My favorite treat out of the bunch is the cookie-dough fudge but I have to say there is also nothing quite like one of those choco-rolo’s while they’re still warm. My co-workers really loved the 7 layer bars, which is funny because we honestly thought people would steer clear of the coconut since it is not one of our favorites. Yet when I tried a small bite of one I could understand why my co-workers were so crazy for them.

My co-workers weren’t the only ones who were able to benefit from all of the baked goods. We also made some staff and patients at a local retirement home very happy and it was heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces as we delivered two large containers full of brownies, raspberry tarts and snickerdoodles. Not a bad way to break the ice with complete strangers too, as it turns out.

Thanks to everyone for commenting and enjoying the wonderful pictures and I hope that you are able to share some of these amazing goodies with your family and friends at Christmastime. I know I will be hoping that she will make some more of that cookie-dough fudge! “Eatin’ dough is the way to go” – within reason of course! Which just goes to show that you can still indulge in some wonderful things as long as you balance it with a good workout and some sensible choices along the way, er, uh weigh. Merry Christmas everyone!

-The Mr
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 12: ChocoRolo Cookies

I've saved the best (in my opinion) for last my lovelies.  I see recipes that dump everything but the kitchen sink into a cookie dough and I'm sure it's wonderful but I like more simple and deep flavors to focus on.  Call me a baking simpleton but I like my taste buds to be overwhelmed with 2 or 3 really great flavors, this is my new current favorite.


These ChocoRolo Cookies are amazing especially when they're about 3-4 minutes out of the oven and not molten lava inside.  They're gooey, chocolaty and pillowy soft.  These are cookies that I could totally snarf down in 10 minutes all by myself.  They're so rich that they could easily double as dopamine discs for the hubby to throw at you in a fit of PMS.  But for now make some for yourself and share with friends and family who will think you're a rock star.

ChocoRolo Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Trader Joe's Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
38 Rolos

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a bowl or stand up mixer, cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until dough comes together.

With a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a silpat or non stick cookie sheet. Push a Rolo into the middle of the dough ball. Run a butter knife under cold water and cover the Rolo with the surrounding dough, sealing it inside.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 38 cookies. (3 dozen plus two "test" cookies.  Heh heh)

Just a note:  I did try a version of this using Splenda and while it significantly reduced the calories, it was also very dry and not something I would recommend.  Darn.

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories 135  Total Fat 7g  Sat Fat 3g  Mono Fat 1g  Cholesterol 23mg  Sodium 72mg  Potassium 28mg  Total Carbs 19g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 11g  Protein 2g  Vitamin A- 3%  Calcium- 1%  Iron 3%

Adapted from: http://picky-palate.com/

I hope you guys have enjoyed the 12 Days of Treats recipe countdown.  I found baking to be very calming and there was no better feeling that dropping batches off to the nursing home down the street who had a very appreciative staff and residents.  It's a great way to try recipes without having it hang around the house.

So I challenge everyone to bake your favorite cookies, whether ones I've posted or your favorites and drop them off to your local nursing homes especially the ones that are underfunded.  They appreciate it the most.

If you'd like a PDF of all of the recipes, click here.

Merry Christmas y'all!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 11: Christmas Cheer Mint Bark

I've always been intimidated by bark for some reason.  I guess it looks so pretty and I was sure I'd screw it up and when I made my first batch in Halloween, I did.  It looked like it had already been consumed if you get my drift so I peppered it with candy corn and the Mr's co-workers still ate it and loved it.  Those dingos will eat anything so long as it tastes good in the end.  This time I was determined to make something prettier.


This is so yummy and addicting, so as with everything I've posted, moderation.  I say take piece for yourself then gift it to others in a cute mason jar and be a hero of the season since people might be getting sick of cookies or bars.

Christmas Cheer Mint Bark

1 bag Wilton Vanilla Melts (or comparable vanilla bark)
12 mini candy canes or 4 full size
6 mint sandwich cookies, chilled in fridge
1 cup mint chocolate M&M's

Take 9 mini or 3 full sized candy canes and pulse in a blender until broken down into small pieces and chips.  In a microwave safe bowl, heat the melts for 1 minute then stir.  Heat for 15 seconds and stir until it comes together smooth.  Add the candy cane pieces and combine thoroughly.

On a medium sized cookie sheet, lay down a piece of wax paper the spread melted chocolate as evenly as possible so it's thin but no parts of the sheet peek through.  Get chilled mint cookies, crumble and distribute as evenly as possible.  Do the same with the mint M&M's.

Break down the final candy cane(s) and sprinkle the dust/pieces over the top.  (You could also throw in some Christmas sprinkles for additional color)

Cover with foil and refrigerate for an hour to 90 minutes.  Break up into random pieces.  Store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information:  Because the pieces will not be even, there is no way to accurately calculate this info however figure on 150 calories per normal sized piece (1 oz) and 200 for a big honkin' piece.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Greetings from the Bakery- Weigh In

Um yeah, I don't know what to say.  Down 4 lbs this week which means I'm one pound from 200 lbs lost.  Let me tell you why this is hilariously funny.

1)  The house has been full of temptation and I lost not gained.  Score.

2)  IF I lose a pound next week do you know what it will be in time for?  A mini culinary vacation we have planned for NYE in which I will need to spend 2 weeks getting back to my previous weight.  So I *might* hit it long enough to have it taken away.  Fate is a funny bitch, ain't she?

So honestly, if I do hit it, I don't know that I'll say anything because I don't want a bunch of congrats for something that's going to be gone 4 days later and I'll be danged if I'm giving up Sprinkles cupcakes which I got screwed out of in San Fran for our anniversary so it'll be a mini celebration then back to business so it can be a permanent one.

I hope everyone's been enjoying the 12 Days of Treats posts!  I've gotten some great feedback from it and there are 2 more recipes left and I think they're pretty dang good.  The last one is my favorite...okay one of my favorites.

Have a great weekend y'all!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 10: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

I have this fudge recipe the Mr found for me about 10 years ago (ugh, really!?) and it's the most simple thing ever.  Literally a bag of chips and a can of condensed milk throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes and boom, done.  Yeah.  It tastes way better than most fudge that people spent 30 minutes making...or 60-90 minutes cursing depending on the recipe.  So how could I make something that tastes that good make a certain someone's eyes roll in the back of his head?



Put some chocolate chip cookie dough in it.  Now before anyone freaks out because chocolate chip cookie dough typically contains eggs, mine doesn't therefore it can't be baked into anything really.  I call it "eatin' dough"...which is not good to have around the house.  But I tried to reduce the recipe to as little as possible so there is no extra to have hanging around the house so the eatin' dough will have weird measurements but is well worth it.





Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Fudge


12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (aka-"eatin' dough")

4 tbsp flour (have extra on hand in case dough is sticky and needs a sprinkle)
2 tbsp butter, softened
6 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp almond milk
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Make the dough first.  Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until dough comes together.  If dough is sticky, add a teaspoon of flour so it looks like normal cookie dough then chill for 10 minutes.  When dough is chilled, you can either roll out into an 8x8 sheet of dough so the dough is evenly distributed or you can roll into 18 balls of dough to be dropped randomly.  This needs to be done before the fudge is made because the fudge sets quickly.

In an 8x8 pan, line it with foil that comes about 6" over the sides of the pan.  Put a piece of wax paper cut to size on the bottom or give a little spray of cooking spray.  In a microwave safe bowl, pour the 12 oz bag of chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.  As soon as it's done, stir with a rubber spatula until glossy.  Then it's time to work quickly.  Spread enough fudge on the bottom of the pan to just cover it.  Then drop cookie dough sheet or balls in the pan, then spoon the rest of the fudge on top and spread evenly.  Cover with the foil sticking over the sides and then a piece of plastic wrap over the whole pan to ensure no foreign aromas from the fridge absorb as it chills.  Chill in fridge for at least 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Cut into 36 pieces.  Lasts about 5 days refrigerated.  (If it makes it that long)

Nutritional Information per piece (approximate):  Calories 117 calories  Fat 5g  Sat Fat 3g  Cholesterol 4mg  Sodium 32mg  Potassium 10mg  Total Carbs 20g  Sugars 18g  Vitamin A 2%  Calcium 3%  Iron 1%

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 9: Raspberry Tarts

I love cute little desserts or appetizers to bring to parties.  A nice 2 bite indulgence that allows people to sample without going too overboard.  Now when I was a kid, you couldn't get me NEAR a thumbprint cookie or anything with fruit in them.  The thought of it made me recoil.  Then I actually tasted one and I realized what I'd been missing.  Any seedless fruit spread will do but I love raspberry best not because it's healthy but it reminds me of Crunchberries without the crunch.  Is that wrong to admit?  *shrug*  I have a different recipe I usually do for a similar cookie but wanted to try something different so I found these and adapted them.


You can sub all kinds of things for the centers of these but these raspberry tarts are perfect not just for Christmas but would also make a cute Valentine's Day dessert for your sweetie.  In the future, I'm going to take the shortbread recipe and use that for the cups because I have a sneaking suspicion that they would taste like one of my favorite cookies, the Knott's Berry Farms Raspberry Shortbreads.  Oh man, maybe I shouldn't make those.

Raspberry Tarts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Polaner's Raspberry fruit spread, seedlessPowdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT fruit spread and powdered sugar in a mixer or food processor until dough forms.

On a floured surface, turn dough out and form a log. Divide log in half to make 15 balls. I used my steel food scraper to divide the half into fours and those fours into fours for 16 dough blobs. Because the butt of the loaf is usually smaller, the two ends from the butt end will be smaller so make them into one ball, and voila, 15 pretty even balls!)

Place balls into mini muffin pan and press your thumb in the middle to create a well until the dough reaches the top of the cup. (I used the bottom of my pizza cutter handle that was the perfect size for this. Search your gadget drawer for something to save your fingers from dough covered temptation!)

Spoon 1 tablespoon of raspberry fruit spread into tart making sure you don't over fill. (I found the large end of a melon baller worked perfectly for these. Who knew my baller would get such a workout with baking this year?)

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.

If desired, lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. (Will add a few additional calories)

Makes 30 tarts.

Adapted from: http://www.evilshenanigans.com

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 8: Healthified Muddy Buddy Truffles

Your not the only ones receiving recipes in your inboxes.  I have signed up for so many countdown deals from big companies over the years I set up a whole different email address for them to go to.  I got your tried and true "muddy buddy" (or "puppy chow") recipe from the cereal company and I kept thinking, "I know I could make those a little healthier."  Then I thought I could jump on the 'truffle' craze that everyone is on and make a slightly healthified version of this old favorite to go along with the current trend.  My healthified muddy buddy truffles were born...


These bad boys taste just like the original mix but in a nice little portion controlled size so you hopefully don't mindlessly shovel the mix into your truffle hole.  Here's what you'll need:

1 box Fiber One 80 cereal
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond Milk, unsweetened
1/3 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)


Break down cereal in blender to crumbs and put in a large bowl, set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate, peanut butter and butter.  Microwave for 45 seconds and combine until smooth.  Add to cereal and use your (freshly washed) hands to mix thoroughly until it is a chocolatey dry mix.  Then add almond milk and mix again with your hands until it all comes together to make large dough-like ball.

Roll out 48 balls on to a cookie sheets or piece of wax paper.  If you're not serving them within the next few hours, put them in an airtight container in the fridge.

About an hour prior to serving, add powdered sugar to a small bowl and toss 4 truffles at a time to coat until all truffles are evenly coated.  Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per truffle:  Calories 70 calories (per truffle)  Total Fat  4g  Sat Fat 1g  Sodium 58mg  Potassium 18g  Total Carbs 11g  Fiber 3g  Sugars 5g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A- 3%  Vitamin C- 3%  Calcium- 11%  Iron- 7%

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 7: Biscoff White Chip Cookies/ Whoopie Pies

You're getting a two-fer today folks!  I don't know about you but one of the few perks of flying these days are those cute little Biscoff biscuits they give you.  They have this kind of gingery, molasses taste to them that I could gorge myself on if the basket is brought around too many times.  I was oblivious there was a spread out there with the same sweet and spicy goodness that I could get in a cookie until I was reading various recipes throughout the year and kept seeing Biscoff spread being repeated as an ingredient.  I knew I had to try it.


I wanted to try a Nutella frosting I'd had my eye on so I thought keeping half a batch cookies and turning the other half into whoopie pies seemed the right thing to do.  I'm all about culinary justice, ya know.  To assemble the whoopie pies just slap two tbsp of nutella frosting between 2 cookies.  They may be the most beige looking things you'll ever eat with or without frosting but they're the most delicious beige you'll ever taste.

Biscoff White Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 egg
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp Hain no sodium baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Toll House White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, add dry ingredients (flour to salt on the list) and set aside. Mix first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl with a mixer. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture.

Add chips then drop dough by the tablespoon 2" apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the sheet for 3-5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes 38 cookies.

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories 112  Total Fat 3g  Sat Fat 1g  Cholesterol 5g  Sodium 57mg  Potassium 61mg  Total Carbs 23g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 16g  Protein 2g  Calcium 1%  Iron 1%

Adapted from: My Recipes.com

Nutella Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (omit if using for whoopie pie filling)
3 cups powdered sugar

Blend all ingredients in a bowl or stand up mixer.

If you want it to be thicker or for whoopie pie filling omit milk.

Makes 32 two tablespoon servings

Nutritional Information per 2 TBSP serving:  Calories 88  Total Fat 4g  Sat Fat 1g  Poly Fat 1g  Mono Fat 1g  Sodium 28mg   Total Carbs 14g  Sugars 14g  


Adapted from http://kokocooks.blogspot.com

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 6: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I don't even know how I stumbled upon this recipe but it was so easy I had to try it to see if it was true.  This is a case of they get better with age.  They turn from this fudgy, dense cookie to an almost marshmallowy texture after a few days.  These would be perfect for sandwich ends of a whoopie pie.  The look of them is so unique that people will think you're a fancy pants but you're not, you're just 10 kinds of awesome.  I gave my mom the recipe last week and they loved them so much they're now going to be a regular in the cookie rotation.  My family doesn't add new cookies to the usuals so this should tell you how great they are!

They're also not a calorie drain either.  It feels like you're cheating but you're not, as long as you can have one and be satisfied.  I'll take this 80 calories over my 80 calorie sugar free pudding during the holiday season.  I'll admit, these little buggers can be tricky to make due to the stickiness of the dough and you may be tempted to spackle that crack in the basement with it but they taste so dang good and look so pretty when they're done, you don't care about a little irritation in the prep process.  You can always wet your cookie scoop with cold water before scooping into the sugar to help make a smooth transition.  I know that's what I'm doing next time.  They last and stay pillow soft for as long as you want to keep them around.  Perfect for gift giving!


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 tub Cool Whip Lite (8 oz)
1 egg
1/4 c powdered sugar (only 1 tbsp will stick to cookies, if that)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour cake mix in a large bowl, add thawed cool whip and egg. Combine thoroughly. Dough will be very sticky.

Put powdered sugar in a small bowl. Use a small cookie scoop and drop dough into powdered sugar and toss to coat then shake off excess in a colander.

Place on a silpat or ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Allow to cool on sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 32 cookies

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories 80  Total Fat 2g  Sat Fat 1g  Cholesterol 6g  Sodium 141mg  Potassium 45mg  Total Carbs 16g  Sugars 8g  Protein 1g

Adapted from: Food.com

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 5: Lightened Up Snickerdoodles

I don't think there is any flavor more comforting than cinnamon sugar.  Whether sprinkled on buttered toast or rolled on dough balls and inhaled by the handful...err, I mean daintily eaten with restraint, it just feels cozy and well, addicting.  Lessen that guilt a bit with this healthier version of this classic that tastes good any time of year!


Lightened Up Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Trader Joe's 100% White Whole Wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon Hain baking powder*
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if desired)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine 3/8 cup (6 tbsp) sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and butter in bowl. Beat with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Shape dough into 24 balls. (I used the large end of a melon baller then used the other end to help coat the cinnamon sugar in the little bowl)

Combine 1/8 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets coated with cooking spray or on a silpat. Flatten cookies with a glass with desired.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then move to a cooling rack.  Makes 24 cookies.

Nutritional Information per cookie: Calories 68  Total Fat 2g  Sat Fat 1g  Mono Fat 1g  Cholesterol 5mg  Sodium- 30mg  Potassium 34mg  Total Carbs 13g  Sugar 9g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A 1%  Calcium 1%  Iron 2%

*- Hain baking powder contains no sodium & is available at most Whole Foods.  Sodium is 41mg per cookie if using regular baking powder.

Original Recipe: Food.com

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 4: Chewy Cocoa Brownie with Candy Cane Joe Joe's

Did ya know it's National Brownie Day?  Who starts these things?  Don't know, don't care...I'll just say thanks for giving me an excuse to make them.  (As though I need one)  I made a Halloween version of these and tested them on the Mr's co-workers back in October and they went batty for them.

Wah wahhhh.

(Actually they were really cute.  The cookies had little Jack O' Lantern faces on them that screamed "eat me!"  Thankfully I ignored them)


Try to ignore that.  You want some don't you?  Me too.  But I don't get one until later tonight so I'll have to lick the screen wait.  The recipe is so fudgy and chewy and the addition of that candy cane joe joe is to die for.  (You could sub Mint Oreos if you don't have a Trader Joe's close to you)  The bottom cookie gets soft and the peppermint filling melts into the brownie a little bit, filling your home with the aroma of candy canes.  It'll practically knock you over when you pull them out of the oven.  The top of the cookie retains its crunch so it has a great texture...the perfect brownie to celebrate this made up holiday or a real one like Christmas.  Just a note, don't store them with anything you don't want to pick up a peppermint scent.

Chewy Cocoa Brownies with Candy Cane Joe Joe's

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon Hain baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
24 Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe Cookies

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.

Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Combine granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Spread into prepared baking pan.

Line up 24 candy cane joe joe's on top of the brownie mix and push down slightly.

Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Cut into bars once cooled for non-stick cuts.

Nutritional Information per brownie:  Calories 205  Total Fat 10g  Sat Fat 5g  Mono Fat 2g  Cholesterol 31mg  Sodium*- 111mg  Potassium 23mg  Total Carbs 28g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 18g  Protein 2g  Vitamin A-4%  Calcium- 1%  Iron- 5%

*- If you use regular Baking Powder the sodium is 193mg per brownie

Adapted from VeryBestBaking.com

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 3: Seven Layer Bars

This recipe is my uncle's favorite.  I was never a fan because I don't like butterscotch or coconut much.  I know I could change up the chips but I wanted to stay true to the recipe.  The Mr had never tried them before and when he did a little "quality control" he really loved it and said he wished he'd known how good they were all these years!  When I sent them to his work, people raved about these and said they're the favorite thing I've made so far and are still talking about it 2 days later.  So there you have it.  Seal of approval straight from the Mr and his co-peeps!  All you have to do is sub out a few ingredients with low fat/fat free items and you have...a calorie laden bar.  BUT this is about making healthier choices where we can and I subbed low fat graham crackers for full fat, fat free condensed milk for full fat and reduced the coconut required by 1/3 cup and it all got scarfed down by the co-workers with no hint of it tasting any different than full fat seven layer bars.


Seven Layer Bars

1 1/2 cups Honey Maid Low Fat graham cracker crumbs (9 sheets of graham crackers broken down)
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
6 oz Toll House Butterscotch chips
6 oz Toll House Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Flaked Coconut
1 cup chopped peanuts
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put aluminum foil in 13 x 9 inch pan so the foil comes up over the sides of the pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter then add to the graham cracker crumbs. Pat the crumb mixture down into the pan so all of the foil on the bottom is covered evenly.  Spray the sides of the pan with some cooking spray to help things not stick as it bakes.

Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely then lift out foil and cut into 24 pieces.

24 servings

Nutritional Information per bar:  Calories 260  Total Fat  15g  Sat Fat 8g  Mono Fat 1g  Cholesterol  12mg  Sodium  78mg  Potassium 10mg  Total Carbs 27g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 22g  Protein 5g  Vitamin A 3%  Calcium  8%  Iron 3%

Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 2: Fluffernutter Cookies

I was looking for some cookie recipes with very few ingredients for those times when company is swinging by unannounced or you were just craving a really awesome, easy cookie.  I found 'em.  The Fluffernutter Cookie.



They taste like the best peanut butter cookies you've ever had and the Mr and I concur that if we doubled them that they would taste exactly like place up the street whose peanut butter cookies we cannot resist.  The fact this recipe is so easy makes it that much better.  (Or dangerous depending on your motives.)

Fluffernutter Cookies

1 cup Jif Smooth Peanut Butter
1 cup Marshmallow Cream
1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the egg and peanut butter together in a bowl.  It will get a little clumpy looking.  No worries.  Add the marshmallow cream and incorporate until it comes together and looks slightly streaked.

Using a smallish to medium sized cookie scoop, put on a silpat or non stick cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.  If it looks like it's going to need another minute in the oven, turn on the oven light and watch it for that minute, they overcook easy.  Don't ask how I know that.  *whistles*

Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.  Grab some milk and chow down...er...I mean put them in tins for gifts.  They stay soft and chewy for days.  These would make awesome ends for an ice cream sandwich but you didn't hear that from me.

Makes 18 cookies.

Recipe from Picky Palate

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories 115  Total Fat 7g  Sat fat 1g  Cholesterol  10mg  Sodium 75mg  Potassium 4mg  Total Carbs 7g  Sugars 4g  Protein  4g  Iron 2%

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 1: Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Welcome to the kickoff recipe of The 12 Days of Treats countdown!  I'm super excited to be doing this and so glad everyone else seemed to be as well!  Let's get to it!

There's this place on the Big Island of Hawaii that does these amazing shortbread cookies.  They're $15 and totally worth it.  I thought no one could make them as good as they do.  I was wrong.  I found the easiest basic shortbread recipe ever and it is so flavorful and buttery they were snarfed down quickly by the Mr's co-workers.  (I actually did a little extra exercise to fit in a 3rd cookie they were so amazing)  I know I'm really building these up but dang man, I've never tasted anything so heavenly.


Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

1 cup Land O Lakes salted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
48 (120 g) Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar then gradually stir in the flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half and roll into two 12" logs. Roll each in plastic wrap and chill for about 15 minutes. Cut logs into 1/4- 1/3" slices (about 22 per log)   Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with a fork on one side.  Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Microwave chocolate melts for 30 seconds then 10 additional seconds as needed until just melted and stir until smooth.  Dip the side with the fork marks in the chocolate and remove excess with a small knife. Add sprinkles of your choice or leave dipped plain.

Makes 44 cookies

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories: 81  Total Fat 5g  Sat Fat 3g  Mono Fat 1  Cholesterol 11mg  Sodium 33mg  Potassium 18mg  Total Carbs  10g  Sugar 5g  Protein  1g  Vit A- 3%  Iron 2%

Adapted: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Brown-Sugar-Shortbread/detail.aspx

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yawn - Weigh In

I'm down 2.5 lbs which is still 1/2 lb up from my lowest but I'll take it because Aunt Flo is bloatin' my big arse like nobody's business today!  Between that and sleeping hard from being up until 2:15am baking cookies (see how much I love you all?), I look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow woman!  Hope I didn't want to get my ring off today.

We have been making rather merry lately and attended a Christmas symphony last night and it was amazing!  One problem though is you shouldn't attend a moving musical piece when it's that time of the month because I was tearing up at every little thing.  Luckily I caught a stray tear but jeez man!  Why does menopause have to suck!?  I mean your hoo-ha is designed to squeeze out another human being, go through monthly hysteria and they take it away when you're older and you think you can celebrate but you still have to pay with hot flashes, night sweats and crap?  Sheesh.

Welp, off to make more merry on our annual road trip to a Victorian village for some Christmas cheer.  Thank God I don't have to be up early tomorrow but I will be a baking fiend so no rest for the wicked!

(Feedburner is having some kind of conniption fit this morning so I hope everyone gets this okay that is subscribed)

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Friday, December 2, 2011

You spoke, I'm listening

There will be a 12(ish) Days of Treats countdown.  We'll start it up Monday (which means I'll be baking my buns off this weekend to get ahead so brace yourself old folks home down the street, holiday treats are coming your way!)

I made the first recipe last night and The Mr's work folks loved 'em.  One dude ate four.  And he's thin.  Jerk.

Here's a wee little teaser:



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Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Days Recipes? Yay or Nay?

I know lots of sites like to do the whole 12 days of Christmas treat recipes.  Is that something you'd like to see here?  What if I got lazy and only posted 6?  Okay we'll pretend I didn't give myself the out.  (But I did)

I really am on the fence about doing one but I'm interested in trying other recipes in addition to the ones that are tried and true in my house and I just need to know if when I'm trying these out (and trying to lighten a few up if I can) would you be interested in seeing it or is it overkill for you?

Obviously we all know I'm going to do what I want (HA!) but I just wanted to see if I should be making sure the camera is charged up and keep the folding table on hand when I do them.

Should I do a 12 Days of Cmas treats recipe dohicker here?
 Sure! I love new recipes to try this time of year!
 No. The pics would be too tempting.
 Do what you want, you know you will anyway.



  
pollcode.com free polls 

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