Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Healthy Into Unhealthy

Weigh-In: 117.2
Difference: + .4 lbs

Oh well, no biggie.  On to the real reason for my post!!

I love recipes and cookbooks.  But the one thing that annoys me is when someone (a blog, a magazine, a person in general) tries to talk about the health benefits of something then they go and make it just as unhealthy as the store-bought stuff.
This recipe is from the Publix Family Style magazine

 This recipe says that it's "economical."  Personally I think when it comes to peanut butter (correct me if I'm wrong) it's more economical to buy it at the store.

To do my calculation I used SamsClub.com and looked at their prices.  Of course prices vary depending on the store.  

The recipe makes 3.5 cups.

Peanuts           -- $9  {Makes double the recipe}
Olive Oil         --$19
 Total              --$28

Price per cup --$1.41

Jif peanut butter -- $11 (has 8.75 cups)
Price per cup -- $1.26

So it's actually more economical to buy premade peanut butter.  The price difference isn't much though.

But what really burns me are the nutritional values.  199 calories and 18g of fat!  

Here's the actual recipe:

6 cups nuts
1/4 to 1/3 light olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt

  1. Process the nuts for 2 minutes
  2. Add oil and salt
  3. Process until desired smoothness (make sure to scrape down sides as you blend)
  4. Keep refrigerated!

Here's my recipe for peanut butter:

6 cups of peanuts  (or whatever type of nuts you'd like to use)
3 Tablespoons molasses

  1. Put everything in food processor
  2. Process until desired smoothness (scrape down sides as you go)
  3. Keep refridgerated!

For chunky peanut butter set some of the nuts aside and throw them in when it's almost smooth and process until desired chunkiness. 

 The difference between their recipe and my recipe is 55 calories and 6 grams of fat.  

They did suggest some interesting flavorings for your peanut butter.  I will definitely be trying these and letting you know how they come out.

What are your opinions on homemade peanut butter vs. store bought?  Which is your favorite mix-in idea?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day everybody!  
Hopefully y'all had a fun filled day.  Unfortunately for me and my family we were stuck inside because of Beryl.  The sun came out for a couple hours though.  The wind was still treacherous so while Kay and Mo went out with a friend Baye, Mr. Amazing, and I snuggled up on the couch and watched Rango.  It was a cute movie.  We originally planned a clambake done on the grill for dinner.  But, due to the inclament weather everything had to be done inside.  It was very low in calories and in fat.  I'm not certain of the exact amounts.  We were originally planning on having people over so that's why the amounts are so high.

3 lbs shrimp
3 dozen clams
24 ears of corn, shucked
3 lbs asparagus (optional)
2 lbs baby red potatoes
seasoning of your choice 

  1. Grab your largest stock pot.  I think I used my 20 quart.  (I'm not 100% how big it is.  I just know it's HUGE)
  2. Put your steamer basket in and fill the pot with water to just below the basket.
  3. Bring water to a boil
  4. Place all ingredients in pot, reduce to a simmer and cover
  5. Steam for approx 15-30 minutes until everything is done 

You could also boil the potatoes and corn and just steam the seafood.  The seafood by itself should take about 10 minutes.  

What did you do for Memorial Day?  Did you barbecue?  What did you fix?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blog Neglection

I've been a bad blogger the pas.  I've been slacking.  I'm sorry.  Things have been SUPER busy plus I'm getting sick.  It seems like the girls bring home a new case of the sniffles every month.  All of this has led to my blog (and my readers) being neglected.

I've been taking Baye to the splash park at the St. Johns County Pier.

She has a blast.  She loves when I take her there.  She runs around in the sprinklers, plays with the other kids and has a blast.

I love it too because I don't get wet on days when the wind makes it a bit too chilly ( in my opinion) to be in the water.

I always pack her a snack so that we can stay as long as she wants.

In other news, Kay won 3rd place in her class science fair.  I'm very proud of her.

My weigh in for Tuesday was:
Weight: 116.8
Difference: -2.8
Yey!!  That means I have 1.8 pounds to go.

This weekend we going to spend the day at the beach and pool and have a little barbecue at the house in celebration of Memorial Day.  My whole dinner is going to be locally grown and bought from the farmers market.  We're doing a good, old fashioned clam bake.  Clams, shrimp, corn, baby potatoes, mussels, asparagus, nearly fat free perfection!

I think that about sums up the days I've been away.  I promise I won't neglect you like this anymore!  What are you doing for Memorial Day?

Friday, May 18, 2012

My baby girl turns 9!!!

Farmers Market Friday

Spent: $35

What I bought:
Sweet potatoes
Green beans

What Baye bought:
Baby carrots
Baby cucumbers

Sorry I didn't get picture.  I was rushing because Mr. Amazing was supposed to work, I had 20 million things to do to get ready for Kay's birthday.
We picked her up early from school and took her to do the same thing Mr. Amazing took me to do for Mother's Day.  We went and wandered around St. Augustine.  She had a blast.  Then (per her request) we got subs and ate them on the beach....kinda.  We sat on the community porch and ate them.  She got to order at cake from Publix.  I told her that the exception to sugar free month was her birthday.  The cake was  delicious and gorgeous.
For myself I made peanut butter chocolate angel food cake.  It bombed horribly!  Don't get me wrong, it tasted great.  But, come to find out, humidity and anything with meringue isn't a good combination.  So, if you live in Florida don't bother trying to make homemade angel food cake in the summer.  I've never had a problem with the box mix though.
I got the recipe from SkinnyTaste.  I'm going to try this recipe again when the humidity is low.

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cake flour, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons PB2
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 egg whites from large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 

Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with baking spray or line tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the confectioner's sugar, cake flour, PB2, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl mix the egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar.

Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, mix on low speed a few minutes until foamy, then turn the speed to medium and slowly add the granulated sugar in 1 tablespoon increments, very gradually over a period of three to four minutes. When all the sugar has been added, turn the speed to high and beat for an additional three to five minutes, or until the mixture forms medium peaks. Don't beat until the mixture is extremely glossy and stiff; it should be modestly glossy, but the very tips of the peaks formed when you dip your finger in should flop over just a bit.

Add the dry ingredients in two installments; sift the dry ingredients through a fine mesh strainer, tapping them through and into the egg whites. Fold carefully, do not over mix. Fold in the second half of the dry ingredients.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing and icing. 

Now I leave you with photos from Kay's special day.

First we took a trip to the carousel

Baye had a great time!

Birthday girl posing for the camera

We HAD to get ice cream

We had to stop and chase birds


More boats

St Augustine

We looked at the canons at the Castillo De San Marcos

Played with our shadows on the castle wall
Mr. Amazing and the girls eating their subs

Kay loves her Chicken Bacon Ranch sub

Had to have one of me with the birthday girl and Mo

Skyped with Gramma and Sirr during presents and cake.
We do this every birthday

Her cake from Publix.  It was delicious!  

Chocolate cake, chocolate whipped topping filling and then
covered in chocolate ganache

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lightbulbs and Cheesecake

Weight: 119.6
Waist: 27.5
Difference: too big

This was a bad week.  Between cookies for sick kids and Mother's Day desserts it was a diet disaster combination.  But this post really isn't about my weight.
Pumpkin cheesecake.  Not fat free but, delicious!  I made this a few years ago.

This morning I had a lightbulb moment while I was surfing around a random recipe site.  I ahve been wracking my brain since about a month after got my gallstones to figure out a fat free cheesecake crust.  I finally realized this morning that I can use fat free cereal to replace the graham crackers in the crust.  Then, of course the gears in my head started spinning.  Frosted Rice Krispie crust, Fruity Pebbles, even a chocolate cereal crust.

I also had another revelation.  The whole time I've been making no bake cheesecake in order to make them fat free.  Why not try and replace all the fatty products with non-fat equivalents?

So now I've decided that July (I know!  So far away!!) will be cheesecake month.  I <3  cheesecake and so do the kids.  I'm going to make a different fat free cheesecake each week and try to give you a different recipe every day.

What's your favorite type of cheesecake?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day!!!
I was lucky enough to get a whole Mother's Day weekend.  Saturday Kay and Mo were at a birthday party for their friend that lives down the street so it was just Mr. Amazing, Baye and I.  It started off lovely with a surprise bouquet of flowers from Mr. Amazing.

We took Baye to the playground before her nap because the wind was to wild to goto the beach.

Mr. Amazing made me an amazing dinner of shrimp, salmon and corn.  They were all bought from the farmers market.  It feel good to eat a whole meal that was grown and caught locally.  I put an awesome chile-garlic glaze on the salmon.  I just mixed chile garlic sauce and a bit of soy sauce together with a few chopped green onions.  It was incredible.
For dessert I made myself a cookie cake.  I love cookie cakes.  I also love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  So I make myself an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie cake like you'd find at one of the cookie companies in the mall, frosting and all.  I made this super healthy.
I found the recipe at Very Best Baking.  The link is at the bottom of the page.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups stevia
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup  mashed bananas (approximately 4)
  • 1/2 cup stevia 
  • egg substitute equivilant of 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips  (I did 1/2 a cup of m&ms and 1  1/2 cups of chips)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat stevia, molasses, and bananas in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg substitute, milk and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, and chocolate; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 12 to 13 minutes for crispy cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

I actually spread it all in a pizza pan and baked it for about 20 minutes.  

After dinner we took Baye to wander around St. Augustine.  We had a blast.

Baye and her ice cream

Mr Amazing and Baye

One of the main roads past Downtown

The boats and the Bridge of Lions

Sunday the girls and I went to the beach with a friend and neighbor.  She made me this:
Katie- Happy Mommy's Day!  I love you!  You're not only a fantastic mother you're a one of a kind, beautiful hearted soul sister & best friend!  Love always, Anjel
 Please pardon the magnet.

I had a great weekend.

What did you do for Mother's Day?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A test for your stomach

Have you been looking for a quick way to test the strength of your stomach?

Here's my secret test.  Eat bad yogurt.

What?  Were you expecting an answer like, 500 situps or something of that nature?  Nope.  But that's how I tested mine this morning.  Let me just say mine isn't very strong.
On a brighter note, I love my chiropractor.  I am so thankfl I found them.  My massage therapis is amazing.  I fyou live in Flagler County and need a chiropractor or massage therapist go see them.  Carlisi Chiropractic.  They also have offices in Orange City.

Tonite I managed to eat 1/2 a 20 lb watermelon by myself.  I have never felt so bloated and fat after a meal.  But, I wanted to find out more about the health benefits of this humongous, super yummy, summertime delight.

Nutritional Benefits:
High lycopene levels -- Higher than tomatoes.  It has the highest levels of all fruits and veggies.  2 cups of watermelon contain 18.16 mg of lycopene

Heart healthy -- It's a very good source of citruline, which helps maintain blood flow to the heart.  Citruline intake helps maintain cardiovascular function.

Vitamin and mineral rich --  There's a long list of vitamins and minerals that are in this fruit. Vitamins A,C, B6, B5, and beta-carotene, and folic acid.  It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, iron, and zinc.  It will also give you 10% of your daily recommended potassium.

Health Benefits
It's a great diuretic.  It also has a laundry list of health problems that it will help you with.  Asthma, athritis, bladder problems, cholesterol, and skin blemishes, just to name a few.

Take a look at the links at the bottom of the page to see all the benefits of watermelon. I know that I will be eating it alot more now that I know that it has all of these benefits.

What's your favorite summer fruit?

Juicing For Health
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Kimchi day!

Current Weight: 118.8 lbs
Difference from last week:  -.6 lbs
Waist measurement:  27.25 inches
Difference from last week: -.75 inches

Goal Weight: 115
Goal Date: June 2nd, (Kay's birthday party)

Well, it's a start I guess.  I weighed myself earlier in the week and I was down to 117.4.  I was super proud of myself hoping I'd get to my goal weight by today but, no such luck.  I've figured out the only way to lose weight is for me to do about an hour of heavy duty exercise a day.  But, I'm happy with losing .6 lbs.
I was pretty active today.  I went for a 40 minute bike ride and took Baye to the pool for about 30 minutes.  When I bike I pull Baye around in a trailer.  I've always wondered how many extra calories I burn biking with that.  I found this equation online.

(My weight + bike weight + trailer weight + kid weight) x 0.28 = calories burned per mile

Okay if that equation is true then I burned

(118.8 + 46 + 29 +26) x 0.28 =
220 x 0.28 = 61.6 calories per mile
61.6 x 6 miles = 369.6

According to SparkPeople.com I only burned 150 calories.  That's a huge difference!

I got one of the greatest things in the mail today.  My mother-in-law sent me kimchi!!!  I wanted to kiss the UPS guy when he came to the door.   She didn't send me a trivial amount of kimchi.  She sent me 31 lbs of kimchi!!!

The label from the box.  31 POUNDS!!!
I am addicted to kimchi.  I'm actually a Korean food addict.  I would love to move to Korea but, I also know if I moved there I would gain all 80 pounds I've lost back and then 100 more.  

Of course I set some out for dinner.  (The UPS guy had perfect timing.  We were about 30 minutes from dinner when he arrived.)  I also made tuna burgers and mahi bugers for dinner.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture.  I'm hoping I can start to remember to take photos of all the meals that I want to include on here.  I always remember AFTER dinner that I needed a picture.  They were really delicious.  I know I overdid my fat intake at dinner due to the fact that I didn't pay attention to the buns I bought.  My dinner totaled around 10g of fat.  I can only have a max of about 5g without getting horribly sick the next morning.  

Anyway, here's the recipe.

1.5 lbs fresh (or frozen) firm fish filets or steaks (I split mine and made 2 tuna burgers and 2 mahi burgers)
2 T garlic
2 egg whites

  1. Roughly chop fish and put it in food processor
  2. Add garlic and process until fish is finely ground
  3. Mix in egg whites
  4. Form into 4 patties
  5. Place in panini press and cook for 5 minutes.  Or place in heated and oiled sautee pan and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side 

I'll leave you with a picture of my fridge after my husband put all the kimchi in jars
On the middle shelf is radish kimchi and the bottom shelf is 31 lbs of cabbage kimchi

What ethnic food can you not live without?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lazy Sunday

I <3 lazy Sundays.

I have been wanting to take the girls to play tennis and I finally got to do it today.  We have a tennis court about a mile from the house.  Kay is a natural.  I swear she's going to be my sports star.  Mo does well with gymnastics but not with other sports.  We got about 45 minutes in.  Kay actually got good enough that she and I could hit the ball back and forth a few times before missing it.  I'm not that great either.  I play because it's fun.  I find I do better at racquetball then I do at tennis.  But, I play for the exercise and the enjoyment rather than the fact that I'm good.  
Mr. Amazing got a call this morning telling him he could have the day off so we all packed up and headed to the beach.  I packed some sandwiches.  I normally don't eat lunch but, I find when we're sitting at the beach and everybody else has a sandwich I can't help but want one too.  Note to all my readers:  PB&J sandwiches and gorgeous beach weather do not mix.  You end up covered in melty peanut butter and drippy jelly.  (BUT, it still tastes good)
I love spending time at the beach because there are so many different ways to burn calories.  It's crazy.  My kids don't realize that they're getting their daily exercise in while they are playing around.  Here's a link to how many calories you can (atleast to me) effortlessly burn while spending a fun day at the beach.  10 Ways to Burn Calories at the Beach
I'm hoping I can get back to swimming soon.  It just seems like I get in the groove of exercising every day and something comes in (hello life, how are you?)  to mess it up.  

For dinner tonite I made spaghetti with homemade sauce.  The whole family enjoyed it.  I have never made homemade sauce.  Normally I just open a bottle and heat it up.  I found the recipe in the Betty Crocker Basics book.  This is a great book.  It's written for complete novices.  I love it because it's a great goto guide.  When I can't remember how long to cook carrots, I open it up.  Want to know how to broil a steak?  Open it up.  Need to know how many minutes per pound your Christmas ham needs to stay in the oven?  Open it up and you'll find that too!  It also has some great recipes like the spaghetti sauce.

1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1 green pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained (I actually used crushed and diced)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sprinkle of pepper

  1. Chop the onion, bell pepper, and garlic
  2. Spray your sautee pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Cook the onion, garlic and bell pepper for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the tomatoes and their liquid.  Break them up by hand or with a fork.  
  4. Stir in the seasonings
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  6. When it comes to a boil reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

My only complaint about this recipe is that it doesn't make very much.  I doubled the recipe and there was barely enough for Mr. Amazing and I to have 2 bowls and for the girls to have one.  If either of them had wanted seconds then we wouldn't have had enough.
For dessert I melted some Traffic Jam and warmed some strawberries in it.  I tested out a "whipped topping" recipe that I found in a low-fat cookbook circa 1970 that my mom bought me at Goodwill.  (I am obsessed with old cook-books.  The older the better.  If you have any you want to get rid of you can send them to me.)  It wasn't horrible.  If I was stuck in the woods with only the ingredients for this and a hand blender I'd make it.  Or if fat-free whipped cream or Cool Whip disappeared.   

I just told you about my perfect lazy Sunday.  What's yours?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

          I went fruit crazy this week.  Watermelon, pineapple, peaches, and bananas.  I also picked up my Mother's Day dinner.  I got salmon, shrimp and corn.
          Yesterday and today I managed to wreck all my hard work.  Yesterday I made cookies for my neighbor's son because he had surgery.  Today I made my cookie cake for Mother's Day.  I think I'm going to ask Mother Nature to push beach season back a month.  My goal is starting to drift farther away.
          We're celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow. since Mr. Amazing is working all day Sunday.  So starting Sunday I'm cracking down.  I'm going to count every calorie, and exercise my butt off (no pun intended.)

I made a family favorite for dinner tonite.  Vegetarian "chicken" and dumplings.  I didn't want the dumplings so I made biscuits.  I was worried that the biscuits  wouldn't be very good but they were actually awesome (and fat free)

Since I didn't put in the dumplings it was more like vegetables with gravy.  The link to the original recipe (which is super delicious) is at the bottom of the page.

1 large onion, chopped
6 T all-purpose flour
3 T sherry cooking wine
6 c vegetable broth
1/2 c lowfat milk
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 bay leaves
1 t fresh thyme leaves
3 c chopped mushrooms (10 oz)
2 c chopped celery (6 stalks)
1 c chopped carrots
1 c frozen peas
2 T minced fresh chives
Spray a large skillet with pan spray and heat over medium-high heat. 
Sauté onion until it begins to brown, approx 8-10 minutes. 
Add the flour and sherry.  Make sure to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan
Add the vegetable broth, milk, salt, pepper, bay leaves and thyme. 
Let it come to a boil.  When it does add mushrooms, celery, carrots, peas and chives. 
Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender

I knew I wanted biscuits to go with it so I searched for a biscuit recipe.  I had some sour cream to use so I decided to try this sour cream biscuit recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T baking powder
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 T water

Mix the dry ingredients together then add the sour cream and water.
Roll out and cut out circles.
Bake at 450 for 12 minutes

They turned out wonderfully.

Oh did I mention Baye got her own bag to take to the farmers market?  She even bought some stuff for herself.  All of them were small like her.

Vegetarian "chicken" and dumplings
Sour Cream Biscuits

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guess how much my watermelons weigh...

Go on.  Guess!!

Is that your final answer?

Well, you'll just have to wait to find out the weight of my melons.

Amount Spent: $54

I have no clue what I'm going to do with the brown mushrooms.  Do any of you have a good recipe for brown mushrooms?

Another sunny day at the market.  I got a phenomenal parking spot which makes my trip even better.  I went with a short list so I was really surprised when my vegetable bill came to $30.  I guess I picked up more things than I realized.  

In addition to all of these beautiful fruits and veggies I bought these:
60 pounds of watermelon
3 huge, yummy looking watermelon.  Sugar-free month has caused our watermelon consumption to skyrocket.  The girls and I go through a watermelon every other day.  I weighed these bad boys and there's over 60 pounds of watermelon.  That's only a little more than Mo weighs.  
I figure that since I'm showing you the vegetables that I use for my dinners I should let you in on what I'm making.  (Warning: I have a tendency to not make the thing that I have planned on the day it's planned for)

Weekly Menu
Tuesday -- Grilled Cheese
Wednesday -- "Chicken" and Dumplings
Thursday -- Tuna Burgers
Friday -- Omelets
Saturday -- Quesadillas
Sunday -- Stirfry
Monday -- Red Beans & Rice

For dinner tonite I made nachos.  I used fat free cream cheese for my cheese sauce.  It was VERY uneventful boring and plain.  I seriously do NOT recommend substituting shredded cheese for cream cheese.    It didn't taste bad, it just didn't really have a taste.   I put it over sweet potato fries, sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers.  I really wish I had just melted some fat free shredded cheddar over the top.  

Have you ever substituted something to meet your dietary needs and have it taste not the way you want it to?