Friday, April 26, 2013

Carrot Zucchini Bread

Which is more important to you, pretty baked goods or tasty ones?  These muffins fit perfectly into my personal food perspective.  "It doesn't matter how they look, all that matters is that they taste good."  I am always the first one to admit that my baked goods are really ugly.  And MAN, are these ugly!  They are delicious though.  

I used the big holes on my grater and I think that's part of the reason they were ugly.  If I had shredded them smaller they would have been prettier. I found this recipe on Happy Herbivore.  It's basically the chocolate zucchini muffins that I have posted about before without the chocolate.  Sunny helped me with these.  I measured, she dumped and mixed.  These muffins are so easy a 4 year old can do it {it's really scary to call her a 4 year old....still can't believe she's that big}

Zucchini Carrot Muffins
Adapted from Happy Herbivore
Makes 12
Calories: 67
Fat 0.3 g
Sugar 1.5g

1.5 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 c sugar free maple syrup
6 T applesauce
1 t vanilla
.25 c skim milk
.75 c shredded zucchini
.75 c shredded carrot

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a muffin tin with pan spray or use muffin liners
  3. Mix together flour and baking powder
  4. Add in syrup, applesauce, skim milk and vanilla.  Stir to combine
  5. Fold in zucchini and carrot
  6.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full
  7. Bake for 18-25 minutes  (I think mine actually took about 30 but, start with 18) or until a toothpick comes out clean
  Happy belated National Zucchini Bread Day everybody! Do you have a zucchini bread recipe?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy National Zucchini Bread Day!!

Today is National Zucchini Bread Day.  I love zucchini bread.  It adds a bit of color and a dose of veggies plus, it adds a bit of sweetness in my opinion.  Tomorrow I will have a zucchini bread recipe for you all!  I can't resist the urge to make them.  

I have really cool news too.  Kaylee will hopefully be doing a guest blog for me once a month.  It's called.....

She and Mantha are always interested in my blog, giving me advice, asking if they can help, and wondering what it's about every time they see me working on it.   So, I finally suggested that if they were so interested in it they should write a post for me.  Kaylee decided that she didn't want to do just one post, she wanted to do a series.  But, at the same time she IS (almost) 10 and we all know that sometimes things don't get finished.  So, keep an eye out for it.

And just so you know, after May 10th I will be back to my regular blogging schedule.  School is taking a toll on me again and finals are done in 2 weeks so, I'll be free until August.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Sunny Bug!

Sunny, Newborn to Age 3

Happy Birthday Sunny!

4 years ago today my world got turned upside down.  Today was a fun filled family day.  I let Kaylee and Mantha skip school because we were originally going to goto the zoo.  But, it rained half the morning so we went bowling instead.

We bowled 1 game.  It actually took us an hour.  According to 1 hour of bowling burned 140 calories.  Not bad for just having fun, right?  Ken beat me, but not by much.  The girls had a blast

I love family fun time.  We on on adventures so seldom.  I'm glad that Sunny is getting older so we can do more.  {But I'm not going to lie, I broke down last nite thinking about the fact that I have no more babies in my house...}

After bowling we went to Ken's work to eat.  The people there love the girls.  I ordered the salmon {like I always do}  this time I ordered the Salmon Florentine.  It's supposed to come with Spinach Artichoke dip on top but I substituted the dip for some steamed spinach.  It was the best salmon I've had.  The GM cooked it for me himself because he wanted to make sure it was right.  {I adore that they care enough to do that for me}  We also ordered the gaucamole so I could try it. It was delicious!

[Tip:  Avacado's are very healthy.  Loaded with fat though.  They are not good if you are dealing with gallbladder issues.  But, if you are just wanting a healthy appetizer then the gaucamole is a great option.  BUT, chips are a diet buster!  Order it with a side of raw zucchini rounds.  They still give you that chippy crunch without the fat and calories]     

The people at Ken's work really did an outstanding job of waiting on us.  It probably helped that I brought them 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.  They really made Sunny feel special.  Balloons, a gift {I told you, the GM is awesome!} and exceptional service {thanks Kevin!}

We came back to the house, called Gramma and Sirr on Skype and video chatted while we did cake.  I made a watermelon cake since we were having cupcakes at dinner.  This was the simplest cake EVER!  Ken cut 2 rounds of watermelon and I topped it with Cool Whip and skewered fruits.  Sunny loved it.   Kaylee wanted to do something special for Sunny so she was the one that designed the cake "topper" (there was no space on the top so it got put on the side.)  She made it out of homemade modeling chocolate.  {Melt 1 pound of chocolate and stir in 0.25 cup of corn syrup or maple sugar, let it come to room temp and then use it like play-doh}  
The sun and butterfly wings Kaylee made for the cake
Super healthy!

And finally, some pictures from our day...
Bowling fun

Dinner and Cake
What do you do for your kids birthdays?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Recipe Redux

Cupcakes are everywhere these days aren't they?  You can find 40 bajillion flavors. Normal flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and carrot), off-the-wall flavors (beer, apple onion, and corned beef with cabbage), ones for every dietary restriction (vegan, gluten free, and sugar free), and combinations of all of the above. I love cupcakes. They are great pre-portioned desserts (as long as you only eat one.)
Sunny's birthday is tomorrow. She's one lucky duck. She's getting a watermelon cake at home before presents and cupcakes after dinner at Ken's work. Why 2 different desserts? Because we are bringing cupcakes to share with to Ken's coworkers because we like to spoil them and they adore the girls. I made chocolate zucchini cupcakes with a marshmallow creme-cool whip frosting.
I love this recipe. It's sweet but not too sweet.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Adapted from Happy Herbivore
Calories:  86
Fat:        0.4 grams
Carbs:  19.3 grams
Sugar:   6.9 grams
Protein: 2.1 grams

1.25 cup whole wheat flour
.25 cup unsweetened cocoa  
1.25 tsp baking powder
1 banana, mashed
.25 cup sugar  
.5 cup applesauce
.25 cup skim milk (non-dairy milk would work also)
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini


  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Grease your cupcake pan (or use liners)
  3. Combine dry ingredients
  4. Mix together the banana, applesauce and sugar
  5. Stir in the milk, vanilla and zucchini
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture
  7. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full
  8. Bake 18-25 minutes (stick a toothpick in it and if it comes out clean then it's done)
You can substitute the sugar for sugar free syrup.  This drops the calories to 70, carbs to 15.4, sugar is 2.8

I frosted them with a simple Cool Whip Fluff Frosting.  Word to the wise, when you want to do something impressive, stick to what you know.  I decided to try a new fat free frosting.  Cool Whip and marshmallow fluff.  It didn't stiffen up.  So now my cupcake's frosting is all runny.  It tastes good but, instead of the recipe I was planning on posting I'll give you a link to my normal fat free frosting.  Click Here for it.  Just so you know, the normal recipe is great because you can use any flavor of pudding that you'd like.  And if anybody has a good fat free frosting recipe, please PLEASE send it to me!  I'm always searching for a new one.    But it's really pretty though....

get the InLinkz code               

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fat Free Queen's Reaction to the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Yesterday at 2:50 pm someone set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  As of now 3 people are dead and 140 are injured.   What the hell is the world coming to??!??  People have to be worried about going anywhere or doing anything!

The Boston Marathon has a long history.  It's a major event for many runners.  To have it marred by something like this is appaling! 

I have a hard time putting words to how much this upsets me. 

I believe that Cassey at puts her feelings into better than I can.  Check out her post:
 Blogilates response to the Boston Bombings

And here's a link to CNN's story on it:  CNN

My heart goes pout to all the victims and their families.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Living Simply, or Simply Living?

My husband loves me.  Wanna see what he bough me himself?  (I have a gym membership so, he mostly bought it for himself.)  

A bit shabby but, it works and it's great for the days [Friday, Saturday, and Sunday] when I don't goto the gym.  Do you consider this "living simply?"

That's the NaBloPoMo prompt for the day.  How do you interpret the words "live simply"? 

This question seems so easy....yet it's so complex.  I feel like I live simply, yet again I feel like there are parts of my life that are rather lavish.  I live in a simple house.....half a mile from the beach.  I have a gym membership....and I now have a home gym....that was bought used and very cheap.  

So do I live a simple life?  Compared to who?  But to me, living simply is living at or below your means.  I'm not driving a car I cannot afford [I drive a 10 year old car], I don't have any credit cards, and I shop at Walmart and Target.  My life is not complex.  It's as simple as simple can be. 

You know what else is simple?  My food.  I have some awesome simple recipes for you coming soon.  

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My garden

The picture doesn't look like much but it's my garden.  I have corn, squash, watermelon, jalapenos, snow peas, cilantro, chives and a few other things growing.

Every year I try to grow vegetables.  I would love to be able to say that 90% 50% of the vegetables that the family eats are picked from my yard.  Normally I only have sucess with basil and marigolds.  {They normally overgrow my other plants}  

This year my plants are doing better than normal.  I think it's because I started them early.  Hopefully I'll actually get vegetables, not just green.  Some of my plants are actually already edible.  I'm going to end up "harvesting" them soon and start some new seeds.  

When I first started planting things (I've tried and failed many time) I didn't do it because there were any benefits.  I did it because A) I had the space B) it was fun and C) there was no reason not to.

Backyard farming has some benefits though.

  1. You can get you family to eat more vegetables
  2. You save money on groceries
  3. It helps the environment
  4. Gardening is exercise
  5. Growing your own vegetables gives you a sense of pride
  6. You can reduce some of your worry about food safety
  7. Reduce your food waste
   Hopefully I will post recipes using what I have grown.  I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Do you have a garden?  What do you grow? backyard gardening

UPDATE 4/25/13:  I have stuff growing!!  

Chives, Spinach and Cilantro

Snow Peas
  I'll figure out a recipe for them soon....any ideas?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pulling Dinner Out of Thin Air

This morning was gloomy and yucky.   Normally I goto the farmers market and the grocery store on Fridays.  I ended up not going because my vegetable guy doesn't come when they call for rain and I didn't need any necessities at the grocery store.  Plus, I hate driving in the rain and I avoid it at all costs. 

I spent all day deciding what I wanted to make for dinner since I didn't get the last few ingredients for what I had planned.  I bounced around between a few ideas and finally settled on a fish stoup (as Rachel Ray calls it).  Not quite a soup, not quite a stew. 
Thick, chunky, yummy and quick!

Calories  187
Fat 2.1
Protein 32.3
Vitamin A 382%
Vitamin C 329%
Iron 27%
Calcium 47%

1.5 lbs tilapia
1 cup onions
1 cup diced tomato
1 T minced garlic
2 t tomato paste
1-1.5 cup water
2 head bok choy
1 t old bay

  1. Slice the onions and bok choy.
  2. Sautee in large pot until soft and slightly brown, while that is going cut your tilapia into chunks
  3. Add tomatoes, and tomato paste and cook for about 10 minutes over medium
  4. Add water, old bay and fish to pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (until the fish is cooked through.
This takes about 30-45 minutes and it it delicious.  I served it with potatoes and it made a filling meal.

Have you come up with any spur of the moment meals? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is it April Already??!??

Happy April everybody!  I can't believe that 1/3 of the year is almost over.  Only 3 weeks until Sunny's birthday and 6.5 weeks until Kaylee's.Next time I turn around I'll be leaving for vacation {vacation plan post coming soon!}

It's finally starting to warm up and it finally feels like spring.  I love spring.  The produce, the animals, and the weather.  I especially love the switch to spring produce.  Watermelon season starts the first week of May according to my watermelon guy (yes I have a watermelon guy)

On Easter morning the girls, my dad (he's been in town since Thursday,) and I went to Panera.  Panera has been a tradition for Kaylee, Mantha and him since it opened about a year ago.  Sunny just recently got included in the tradition (along with the Bob Evan's and McDonald's PlayPlace traditions.)  I was lucky enough to be able to join in on this trip.  

Sometimes I feel like it's easier to exclude myself due to the fact that I have to spend hours researching the menu in order to find what I can eat.  But I know that the time I get to spend with my dad outweighs the annoyance.  

On the menu there were only 2 things that I could consider, the Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey (as long as you ask for it without turkey or pesto) or the Fat Free SuperFruit Power Smoothie.    I decided to go with the smoothie and a cup of coffee.

The smoothie was really amazing.  (It probably would have tasted better if I hadn't burned 75% of the taste buds off my tongue with my coffee though).  It was sweet but not too sweet, the flavor was complex, it was just all around delicious.  I would definitely go back for it again. Add bonus: it kept me full a lot longer than I expected. I normally get hungry about 2 hours after I eat and I start to munch.  I didn't eat again for probably 4 or 5 hours. 

According to the smoothie is a "superfruit power puree (which includes apple, blackberry and blueberry purees, cherry, concord grape, pomegranate, elderberry and acai juices from concentrate, and plum puree) and blends it with Oikos organic plain Greek non-fat yogurt and ads a boost of ginseng for good measure." 

The nutritionals on the smoothie are pretty good too.  Besides being fat-free, it has 200 calories,  100% of your daily B6 and B12, 150% of your daily vitamin C, 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and a bunch of antioxidants.  I would definitely recommend this.

What do you look forward to most about spring?  What is your favorite spring produce?

Below are some links about seasonal produce.  Take a look.  I also have a graphic on my healthy photo page.

Seasonal Produce Links
Food Network Spring Produce Guide


Photo Courtesy of: For the Love of Food