Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Family Fun and How I Looked Like a Crazy Woman

Happy Memorial Day!

Today we spent the day at the pool.  Honestly getting Ken there is like pulling teeth.  He's more than willing to pack up the car and goto the beach but, when I suggest coming to the pool with us he's super quick to opt out.  But today I got him there. Originally we were going to the beach but, tides were not in our favor so, we changed plans. 

Here's a little known fact about me: Ever since I was little, if I go out in the heat after eating/drinking dairy, fruit or vegetables I get very sick.  This is part of the reason I no longer drink milk  Because of this when we goto the beach or the pool and pack food I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Yesterday I ran out of PB2.  So, today I sat at the pool eating cereal (with soy milk.)  I got a few looks from the other people at the pool. {I mean SERIOUSLY, who eats cereal at the pool?}

  Kaylee made a comment to me a few times this week about how she wanted to buy a poppy.  After talking to Ken today I found out that she didn't just want to buy a poppy, she wanted to buy one that was a donation to the Veterans.  Sometimes she truly amazes me.  She has become a few caring, selfless child.  

The prompt from NaBloPoMo today was "What's the most comfortable room in your house?"  I started writing my answer but, after today I realized that the most comfortable room in my house is the one where my family is.  They make me comfortable. Mo and I sat on the kitchen counter and talked for a few hours last nite.  Ken and I frequently sit in the garage and hold conversations.   And Sunny and I frequently snuggle on my bed and have our best conversations.  Kaylee and I have our best conversations in the car so, she doesn't count. So, at some point, every room in my house has been the most comfortable.

I'm not going to lie, I occasionally need space and alone time.  But, honestly?  It's not often.  

So, what did you and your family do for Memorial Day?  What room is most comfortable to you?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fruity Fat Free Muffins (with next to no sugar added)

One of the girls favorite dinners is one of the easiest too.  Smoothies and muffins.  This is a meal that I incorporate into every month's menu.  {There are 5-10 other standard meals that I put on first also} Last nite's muffins were apricot blueberry.  I stuck a few too many blueberries in so the insides were a bit gooey.  But, on the upside, it made the inside taste like blueberry cobbler.

Look at those beautiful muffins!  Chunks of blueberry in almost every bite.  The apricot added just enough sweetness and there's next to no sugar in these.

Apricot Bluberry Muffins
Servings: about 16
Calories: 106
Fat: 0.3 g
Carbohydrates:  22.3 g
Sugar:  7.1 g
Protein:  3.8 g

2.25 cups flour
2 T sugar
1T baking powder
1 15 oz can of apriciots (make sure to get the ones without added sugar)
2 egg whites/ egg substitute equivilent to 2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 t vanilla
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Drain apricots and puree in food processor.
  3. Whisk together apricot puree, egg whites, skim milk, applesauce and vanilla
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder
  5. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  6. Fold in blueberries
  7. Grease muffin tin and fill with muffin batter (I use an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter.  You get the same amount every time.  A measuring cup would also work)
  8. Bake for 18-25 minutes until done
These paired perfectly with our mixed berry-banana-peach smoothies.  The apricot adds a je ne sais quoi.  You can tell there's something special in there but you just can't figure out what it is.  You can actually substitute the pureed apricot for whatever fruit you can puree and substitute the blueberries for whever fruit you're in the mood for.  But if you're using a bigger fruit (like strawberries) make sure to dice it up small.  Just don't use kiwi as your puree.  It doesn't work well.  

Do you like smoothies?  What are your favorite smoothie flavors?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Randomness

While looking through some old posts the other day I found I had a bunch of half written posts that I {obviously} never finished.  There were a few with some good recipes I really wanted to share with you but, for whatever reason, they never got done.  So, I've put together a post with all of them.

But first, my review on the Chisel & TRX Abs class with Christine at Thriv yesterday.  This class is no joke!  It's a mixture of light weights, kettlebells, bands and TRX.  It starts with a simple warmup, skipping, side shuffles, arm circles, etc.  Then the hard stuff started.  We used a step and all the equipment (besides the TRX to do combination upper and lower body moves.  Bicep curls while stepping, lunges while doing raises, and kettlebell swings to name a few.  As I've talked about before I'm not a sweater, I don't really sweat.  But, about 10 minutes in, at the end of the first exercise, I was drenched.  
Then came the abs portion of the class.  Planks, leg raises and pikes.  My legs and abs were burning.  Christine kept coming by and correcting my form when my hips would drop on planks, or when I was turning out my feet during squats (old dancer habits die hard.)  
I am so sore today it's not funny.  And I will be there next week to do it all over again.  I highly suggest taking this class. 

squash baked ravioli purses
1 medium Butternut Squash
2 T minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 package of wonton wrappers

  1. Cook squash until soft. (I peel and cub it then roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30-60 minutes) and sautee onions and garlic until golden and soft.
  2. Heat oven to 375.
  3. Mash squash and mix in onions
  4. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment and spray with pan spray
  5. Lay out wonton wrappers and add 1-2 tablespoons of squash mixture in center
  6. Pick a way you want to fold them (Nasoya has a list of directions.  Click here to be check it out)
  7. Use a bit of water to moisten the sides so they'll stick together when you close them
  8. Spray the tops with pan spray and bake for 13-17 minutes until golden brown
I served them with a roasted vegetable gravy (not pictured)

roasted vegetable gravy
2 packet Lipton Mushroom Onion soup mix
1/4 flour
4 cup water
16 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced thin
a few cloves of garlic, optional

  1. Heat oven to 425
  2. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with pan spray
  3. Place mushrooms, onions and garlic on sheet and spray with pan spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and soft
  4. Make soup mix according to gravy directions on box.  When the gravy is boiling add in your vegetables and heat through.
Don't you love when you come across a DIY project online that is something you actually need?  My MP3 holder arm band is too small for my new phone so, I was stuck listening to gym music.  (which is okay but, listening to the sounds of the gym, in my opinion, is distracting)  I was really excited when I came across this DIY project online.  It's a cell phone/MP3 player holder made out of an old tube sock.  Is it glamorous?  No.  Is it pretty?  Nope.  (Especially since I made it out of an old army sock.  I need to find a prettier sock to use)  Does it do it's job?  Most definitely.  It works better than the one I paid money for actually.  It's comfortable and I only readjust it if I've touch my phone. It doesn't slip at all. 

DIY MP3/Cell Phone Holder 
What you need:
  • Old Tube Sock
  • Scissors
  1. Cut the foot part of the sock off.  Make sure you are left with only the tube.
  2. Turn the sock inside out and fold the bottom of the tube up so it meets the top of the tube and so it's right-side-out again.
  3. Insert your phone into the pocket you just made.
  4. Put your arm into the hole and pull it up to the middle of your arm.
Some people prefer to put on the sock before folding it over their phone.  I was no talented enough to do that so I put my phone in THEN put it on.  But, do it whichever way works best for you. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's getting closer!

1 month, 2 weeks and 2 days!
6 weeks 2 days
47 days
1128 hours
67,680 hours
4,060,800 seconds

Until what??  Until vacation!!  I'm so excited I could scream.  And as the days go on I find myself getting more and more excited.

The plans have been finalized, reservations have been made, now all we have to do is shop for the few things we need.

I read an article that said that families spend about $1100 per person on vacations.  REALLY???  I don't think I have ever spent that much on a vacation.  My budget for this whole vacation is a few hundred dollars LESS than what they claim is spent on 1 person.  

We are camping for 3 nite in Tallulah Gorge State Park.  Hiking, swimming, fishing, pure family fun.

On the fourth morning we are going to pack up and head an hour south to Atlanta and spend the nite in a hotel overlooking the runway of the airport.  {classy, right?}  We plan on sightseeing a bit, going to Build-A-Bear {an old vacation tradition of ours}, and trying out a local restaurant.  
We honestly have only 2 reasons for staying in Atlanta; 1)To get one actual vacation relaxing day {camping is fun but NOT's WORK} 2)To stock up at the local big name Korean store.

The next morning that's where we are headed before going home.  I plan on taking a ton of pictures for y'all and reviewing the restaurants we goto.

I know that some of y'all probably don't like camping but, who doesn't like roasted marshmallows?? Even though I can't do the complete s'more I still love roasted marshmallows.  But, I don't want to have to wait until Ken grills in order to get myself one.    Well, you don't have to wait any longer.  As long as you have marshmallows and an oven you can make one whenever you want!  

Courtesy of: Tumblr

  1. Turn broiler on high
  2. Line a sheet pan with tin foil
  3. Place marshmallows on pan and place on top rack of oven.  
  4. Broil for 2-3 minutes watching them carefully (they burn quickly)
  5. Flip over and broil another minute or so.
Eat and enjoy!  I have made myself a roasted marshmallow every nite since Kaylee's party.  I'm addicted to marshmallows!  How much do you love marshmallows?  Do you like them roasted?  Are you a burnt marshmallow person or a golden brown person {I personally am a golden brown person}  Lemmie know!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Vegetarian Meatloaf

I assumed that when school was over I would get to relax.  BOY, was I wrong!  As soon as I finished finals I had to start working on Kaylee's partyu, work on my AFAA stuff, and take care of a house and three kids.

So, now that Kaylee's party is over (and it was a big success, the girls are STILL talking about it) I can start fociusongh my attention on AFAA.  I'm kinda bunned that I'm not done already but, I be there soon.

Fat Free Queen is another thing that I had to set aside becuase of all the other things that were keepiong me busy.  But, I'm back full force!

Ken has been asking for a meatloaf for a while now.  I decided to test out a vegetarian meatloaf.  It turned out better than I expected.  The only person who didn't enjoy it was Sunny but, she's a picky eater (and I'm hoping that changes soon.) 

Photo Courtesy of Boca
Vegetarian Meatloaf
Adapted from Boca
(Nutritional information is from the recipe's site)
Calories: 160
Fat: 2 g (I personally think this number is high)
Protein: 15g
Fiber: 5g
Carbohydrates: 24g

1 pkg.(12 oz.) frozen BOCA Veggie Ground Crumbles
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I ground 2 slices of reduced calorie wheat bread in the food processor)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup barbecue sauce

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Microwave crumbles in a bowl for 1-2 minutes
  3. Sautee your onions and green peppers until soft
  4. Mix in all other ingredients
  5. Put in a greased loaf pan
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes depending on how crunchy you want the top
This hit the spot for Ken.  I served it with baked potatoes and carrots.  Just remember, just because you're eating a low fat diet, it doesn't mean you can't have the food you crave.  

What comfort foods do you miss?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Great Brunch Idea...Swet Potato Pancakes!!

Recipe Redux Time! Yes folks, it's that day of the month when I reveal my entry for the Recipe Redux.  If you don't know what it is then click here to find out more.

The theme this month is Shower Brunches.  If y'all read my blog regularly then you know that I love live for breakfast foods.  I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  When I got this theme I was super excited.  I got an idea but, by the time I went to make it, my star ingredient had gone bad.

When I came across this recipe I knew it was perfect.  It's a little sweet, a little savory, great for brunch.  I have been munching on them since I made them.  I spread them with peanut butter, dip them in syrup, and make them into pb&j sandwiches. I actually made these on the day of Kaylee's party because I couldn't eat the cake and I didn't want to be left out.  

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Adapted from Super Healthy Kids
makes 6
calories 101
fat 0.2
protein 4.7

1/2 cup sweet potato.
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c egg substitute
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder

  1. Cook sweet potato until soft.  (You could possibly use canned if you wanted to)
  2. Mash and measure out a cup and place in a bowl.
  3. Add skim milk, egg substitute cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Mix in flour and baking powder
  5. Using a 1/4 measuring cup drop onto greased heated skillet (heat the skillet on medium to medium high)
  6. Flip when the sides start to bubble 
  7. When the second side is brown take off

Every time I get the hankerin' for pancakes I think I'm going to make this....or I'll just make a big batch to freeze so I can eat them whenever I want.  These would also be great to serve a child who doesn't care for vegetables. 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kaylee Party Recap

Right now it's 5:22 in the morning and I'm hiding in my garage because I have little girls scattered all over my living room.  Seriously, it looks like a crime scene.  There's 2 sprawled out on the floor, one curled up on the loveseat, one on each end of the couch and the last one is asleep SITTING UP on the couch.  I wish I could get a picture for you.  But, I'm enjoying the quiet.  It's been over 12 hours since I've heard any silence in this house so I'm taking the time to start this post.

Anyways, yesterday was Kaylee's birthday.  She had an 11:30 game, her final game of the season.  They won {YEY!} 3-1.  As sad as I was to miss her final game, I stayed at home to work on stuff for the party.  Since Sirr is here for the week he was more than happy to take her and see her play.  Unfortunately during the game one girl dislocated her ankle and another got hurt.  

Kaylee's friends got here around 2:00.  They are some of the most interesting, smartest girls I've met.  I think I've had better conversations with them then I have with many adults I've interacted with recently.  We headed up to the pool and they got to swim for about an hour before we did cake and presents.  I also set out some chips, dip, and watermelon for them to snack on.  Some of the girls had to leave at 5 {I had 2 options for the parents.  If they couldn't sleep over they could come for the party from 2-5} so we headed back to the house.  They ran around like crazy girls until it was time to make pizza.  Then they ran around like crazy AFTER they made pizza.  Actually, I really don't think they stopped running around like crazy...

As party of their goody bags I had them decorate pillowcases.  They had a blast doing it.  

After dinner and pillowcases it was time to do makeup.  Finally at around 10 we had them settle down to watch a movie.   They chose A Wrinkle in Time because they were reading it in school.  Turns out it's a 2 hour movie!  While they were watching the movie I set out popcorn, and pretzels.  The popcorn was plain.  I figured after the chips and dip, candy and cake, they didn't need any more salt and buttery fatness going in their body.  {Kaylee's lucky I love her so much or this would have been a TOTAL health freak party}  We, after being rudely asked  "DON'T YOU BELIEVE IN BUTTER OR SALT??!!??"  I went into a brief lecture on the health risks associated with high sodium diets. I am proud of myself for keeping it short and simple (and appropriate for 10 year olds.)   {During breakfast I was given hell by a certain child because we only had sugar-free syrup, we don't normally use butter, salt, or really eat junk food, and because we don't have ice cream in the house.}

I ended up crashing at around 11:30. According to Ken the girls finally fell asleep at around 2.  They ended up waking up around 7:30.  For breakfast we had Puffins (pancakes made in a muffin tin.  I do this so I don't have to stand over the stove for 2 hours making a million pancakes.) and then we headed to the pool for about an hour.  By 11:30 it was just the family.  

The girls relaxed and watched Hotel Transylvania while I cleaned up a bit.  We went out to Golden Corral for dinner and came home and did cake cookies and presents.  Kaylee and Mantha's stomachs were not too happy from a day full of eating crummy food.  Next party we have is going to be a healthy party.  I will allow a cake but, no cookies, candy, or junk food.  

Kaylee claims she had a wonderful birthday.  I'm so happy that she had fun.  Next time though, Ken and I have decided to keep it small and simple.  Well, maybe not simple but, atleast small.  

All in all it was an excellent day.  I sent the kids to bed early because they were starting to break down on me.  Good nite fat free family!  I promise there won't be as much time between this post and my next one.  Life is calm now.  My break has officially begun (besides stocking up for vacation and working on my AFAA book.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kaylee Birthday

Yesterday I had a baby and today she's turning 10.

Where did the time go??

Tomorrow she'll be driving and in a week she'll be graduating college.  

Kaylee age 1-5
Kaylee Ages 6-9

Friday, May 10, 2013

Kooking With Kaylee: Vegetable Pasta Toss

As I said a few weeks ago, I'm doing a new part of my blog called:

Yesterday Kaylee decided that she wanted to make dinner tonite.  I told her she could as long as she blogged about it.  So, here she is.

Hi! I'm Kaylee.  I'll be 10 next Saturday!!  I love cooking, reading and eating.  My favorite things to cook vary from cakes to pastas to salad.  I like to cook because I always watched mom cook.  It was fascinating to watch so I started asking to help.  I also like the fact that it's science.  I love science.  You measure and mix things, and see the reaction.  My favorite things to eat are pumpkin cheesecake and Japchae.

I was flipping through a cookbook yesterday and found this recipe.  I checked with mom to make sure that she could have everything.  When she told me that we could make some changes and it would be okay, I was excited.  I asked if I could make it sometime and she told me I could cook tonite.

This recipe interested me because it seemed like something interesting to try and simple to cook.  I knew that I could do everything.  I also though the flavors would go well together.

While I was in school mom did all the chopping for me.  When I got home we got everything out of the fridge.  I heated the pan.  Then I sauteed the mushrooms and onions and added some pepper (because everything tastes better with pepper.)  We added all the other vegetables and warmed them up.  Once they were heated we added the pasta and dressing and stirred it all up together.

I liked that it had different shades of green.  It actually looked like something you'd buy for decoration.  It tasted magnificent!  All the flavors blended really well.  You could taste a bit of the mushrooms, a bit of the spinach and the dressing in every bite.

So get in the kitchen and make this tonite!

Vegetable Pasta Toss
adapted from Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids
Calories: 152
Fat: 3.8 grams {I personally believe this is wrong}
Protein: 10.5 grams
Serves 6

16 oz (2 packages) Shirataki Noodles (found near the tofu in the produce section of the grocery store) {you can substitute 8 oz of regular noodles}
16 oz white mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 T minced garlic
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, in water, drained
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
16 oz frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 package Hidden Valley Garden Green Onion Dip Mix
.5 cup fat free mayo
.5 cup skim milk
.25 cup fat free sour cream

  1. Cook pasta according to package
  2. Whisk together the dip mix, mayo, skim milk and sour cream.  Place in the fridge until ready to use. 
  3. Spray large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.Cook mushrooms until they are soft and a little brown.
  4. Add artichokes and heat through.
  5. Add spinach, broccoli and garlic and garlic and heat through.
  6. In a large bowl add veggie mixture with pasta and toss with dressing.

{This dish can be served warm or cold}

I hope you enjoyed the dish Kaylee picked out to make for you.  She's really excited about this post so leave a comment to let her know how you liked it.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What Did the Daddy Tomato Say to the Baby Tomato?


And that's exactly what this post is....a catch up post.  Between school (which is over next week) and life, FFQ has taken a back seat.  

So, the semester is going to over next week.  I'm so happy!  The last few weeks have totally stressed me out.  I just want to be able to relax for one whole day and do nothing and not worry about whether or not I have homework or studying to do.  And after my last final on Thursday I can start working on the last bit that needs to be done to for my AFAA certification.  I'm so excited about it,  I really don't think y'all understand how much this excites me.  

On Wednesday I booked all our vacation plans.  I'll be posting about those later in the month.  But, the whole family is super excited and can't wait.

I have started 2 personal challenges.  

Challenge #1
For the entire month of May I have decided to cut out everything processed that I can make myself.  Chips?  GONE!  Pretzels?  Getting rid of them!  I will still be eating things like soy milk and cheese and I might try my hand at making sandwich bread.  (I love baking bread so it won't upset me too much)
Why am I doing this challenge?  Because I'm sick of being in pain.  I'm tired of having to look at every package and make sure that I'm picking up the correct brand of things.  I'm done with it.  So, to gain a piece of mind and to save my stomach I'm just cutting it all out. 

Challenge #2
I WILL challenge.  Every day this month I'm going to start the day with a phrase beginning with I WILL.  This is because I've found some days hum-drum and boring.  Why not try and make every day a challenge? 

Here are my I WILL statements since the start of May..
Photo courtesy of: World's Strongest Librarian

Photo courtesy of: Inhabitots
If you want to join in then you're more than welcome!  Use the hastag #IWillFFQ. or post it to my facebook page

So I tried something new tonite for dinner (I really wish I had snapped a picture)

Mushroom Gravy Oatmeal
.5 cup Quaker hot cereal (or oatmeal)
1 cup water

1 cup vegetable broth
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 sliced onion
1-2 T minced garlic
1 T cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a small bowl toss mushrooms and onions with garlic
  3. Lay out on greased sheet pan
  4. Place on top rack of oven for 20 minutes
  5. Boil vegetable broth
  6. In a separate bowl mix together cornstarch and a bit of water
  7. Take your broth off of heat and whisk in cornstarch, put back on heat and boil until thickened (about 2 minutes)
  8. When mushrooms are done then put them into gravy
  9. Cook oatmeal according to package instructions and put into bowl
  10. Spoon 2T-1/4 cup of gravy over oatmeal. 

It was delicious.  It was alot like rice with gravy but a bit heartier.  Pure deliciousness.  Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo so, I'll have a nice shrimp fajita recipe for you.

Are you challenging yourself to anything this month?