Experimenting in the kitchen

In all of my blog reading I have discovered many recipes that look so yummy and seem so easy to make.  I used to be afraid to make anything that had more than 3 or 4 steps.  My sister loves to cook and came to visit Hailey and I a few months ago and made this delicious fettuccini alfredo for us.  After watching her cook in my kitchen and seeing how simple it actually was and how delicious it tasted I decided to do a little recipe experimenting.

One of the blogs that I follow has tons of healthy recipes they make that their own kids love.  I came across this recipe for pumpkin muffins and decided to give them a whirl.  When I do make time to bake I like to make healthy things for Hailey and I.  Adding more whole grains to our daily food intake is important to me.  This post did a great job explaining whole wheat.

So, on to the experimenting!  I was a tad nervous using whole wheat flour because when I had used it another time I didn’t like it.  She uses white whole wheat flour in this recipe so I was hoping that would improve the taste.  On a side note I actually found the same brand used in the recipe.  This was exciting to me because the closest thing I have to a Trader Joe’s is the organic section at Festival Foods.

First you had to mix the dry stuff together and dump the wet ingredients in the middle.  This was my first time using coconut oil.  Apparently coconut oil is one of the best oils to use according to numerous foodie blogs.  Who knew?

These muffins were so delicious fresh out of the oven all warm and moist.   Hailey absolutely loved them!  She asked me if I would make more for her to take as a treat for her class!

This kitchen experiment was a definite success.  Not only were the muffins healthy and yummy but this recipe was super simple.  Trust me, if I can make these anyone can!

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

I was sitting at home last night missing Hailey (she was at her dads) when my friend Cindi told me to come over.  They were making a cheesecake.  Not just any cheesecake – – chocolate cappuccino cheesecake.  Yum!  I had eaten this delicious treat one other time so I knew what I was in store for!  Needless to say I headed right over to her house!

When I got there Cindi was well into mixing all of the unhealthy delicious ingredients together.

Grace was busy crushing the Oreos for the crust!

After the baking and the cooling I finally got to have a piece!

This desert is literally to die for!!

Voila!  Chocolate cappuccino cheesecake topped with homemade whipped cream!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

Peas and Crayons

Another WIAW post! I am having fun taking all these pictures of food for these posts!

For breakfast I had a yummy breakfast cookie.  Today I formed them into cute little balls to change it up a bit.

I dug out this old guy to make a home made sugar free vanilla latte.  This baby is probably 10 years old and it still works like a charm!

Lunch was some cold peel and eat shrimp, some yellow cherry tomatoes, and some baked chips that were not laden with chemicals!

Simple snacks this afternoon – Larabar in peanut butter and jelly and an apple.

For dinner I got a little creative – – for me anyway!  I made stir fry!  I looked at different recipes and sort of winged it.I used steak and I marinated it in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and honey all day.

I browned the steak and removed it from the pan.  I picked out veggies that I knew Hailey would like and threw those in the pan.  Broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans.

Let the veggies cook for a bit and then threw the steak chunks back in and let it all simmer a bit longer.

When it was all done sizzling away I served it over a bed of brown rice.

I thought it tasted delicious but the real question was what would Hailey think?

Another delicious day!

Mother/Daughter Date Night

Hailey and I do spend a lot of time together, but we decided to do an official Mother/Daughter Date Night this last Friday.  We have been taking a mother/daughter bible study called Raising Little Women of God.  The books we are following suggested doing a special date night, so that’s what we did!

I actually took Friday afternoon off from the bank because I had an appointment at the college I attend with the Assistant Dean.  I picked Hailey up a half hour early from school so she could come with me.  More about that appointment later!

After the appointment Hailey and I headed to our favorite restaraunt, The Olive Garden.  We love going there and I have been taking Hailey to eat there since she was 3 years old.  We don’t go too often because it’s kinda pricey, so we knew this was the place to go for our special dinner!

After eating way too much for delicious dinner we headed back home.  Hailey put on a little show for me singing and dancing.

After the entertainment portion of the evening, we snuggled into our comfy clothes and cuddled up on the couch to watch one of our favorite shows, Bewitched.  This show has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember and I am happy that Hailey is into it now too!  Normally I do not allow Jackson on the couch, but sometimes he wiggles his way up and cuddles so quickly and by the time I see him he is too darn cute!

Hailey wanted to make us a special snack.  She made healthy yogurt parfaits.  My sister came to teach our girl scout troop about nutrition and she showed the girls how to make these.  Hailey loves to make these at home now all the time!

After watching a few episodes, eating some delicious home made popcorn sprinkled with garlic salt, and lots of snuggling with Jacksy and Marley, we called it a night!

My first ever WIAW post!

Peas and Crayons

One of the reasons I decided to start my own blog was to be able to participate in some of the fun foodie related things that I see going on in the blogs I follow!  I struggle so much maintaining a healthy balance with food and have been having a particularly bad 2 weeks.  I am feeling really heavy and weighed down.  So time to clean up the food intake again and what better to start me off with a post on WIAW!

For breakfast I ate a peanut butter whole wheat tortilla wrap with peanut butter and Trader Joe’s Honey Apple Butter.  I love this honey apple butter – my sister Katie got me hooked on it!

So yummy!  Added bonus is that Hailey absolutely loves these!

I did stop at the coffee shop for my favorite Creme Brulee sugar free skinny!  Also yummy!

Lunch consisted of leftover sauteed veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.

I am trying to like sweet potatoes so I keep trying them different ways.  Right now I am still kinda forcing myself to eat them.

I did find these though – – and they are delicious!

I found a recipe for homemade sweet potato chips on one of my favorite blogs that I will definately be trying!

Afternoon snack was grapes and some greek yogurt.  I try to like the greek yogurt because it is so healthy, but man its tough to eat!  I ended up using it as a dip with some pita chips. That tasted quite good.

Dinner was chicken that I cooked in my crockpot.  I used to make crock pot dinners a lot and got rather sick of them.  But I decided to lug it out.

I tried this quinoa for the first time.  I have seen it on so many food blogs that I follow so I decided to give it a whirl.

I have to say it was not bad.  The consistency reminded me of rice and I am not a huge fan of rice.  Hailey ate it and seemed ok with it.  We will try it again.

We ended up mixing the quinoa, chicken, and steamed green beans all together.  It tasted delish!

Evening snack was a few yogurt covered pretzels.  Hailey and I devoured them before I remembered to snap a pic!

So thats it! My first ever WIAW post!  This post was so healthy compared to what I have eaten in the last 2 weeks.  When I fall off the wagon I fall hard!!

Breakfast Cookie

One of my favorite things to do is search through food blogs to find healthy and delicious EASY recipes.  One of my favorite blogs I follow is The Fitnessista.  She has a recipe posted for a breakfast cookie that I decided to try out.

I basically followed the recipe but I used chocolate peanut butter and this awesome stuff my sister got me from Trader Joe’s.

It was so easy to make!  Dump the ingredients in a bowl, mix it together, and dump it on a plate and refrigerate!

Hailey and I were too excited to wait for morning to try it!  We decided it would be a good snack after our Tuesday evening Zumba class.

I thought it was delicious…..

Hailey said it was the best thing ever!

She was so excited while she ate it!

Easy, nutritious, and a hit with Hailey! Definately a new favorite recipe!

A few neat ideas!

This last weekend my girl scout troop went to the nature center for an Earth Day Celebration.

They had different stations set up for the girls to participate in.

There was a healthy snack session.  Some older girl scouts talked briefly about nutrition and showed the girls how to make a delicious healthy snack all by themselves.

I felt like my Grandma Betty when I asked if I could take all of the banana peels home for my compost bin! Hailey and I just started it and we are short on the greens that need to be added! More about that later.

Another station was making a birdfeeder.  A local bagel shop donated day old bagels that otherwise would have been thrown out.  The girls simply spread peanut butter on one side and dipped it in bird seed.  A piece of yarn tied to it allows you to hang it from a tree.

My favorite session was using an old T-shirt to make a bag!  No sewing at all, just cutting!  This was totally up my alley – – I don’t sew!

First you cut the sleeves and the neck off of the shirt.

Turn the shirt inside out and then lay down a piece of some magical tape that I was told I could find in the sewing section in between the bottom pieces of the shirt and iron it to create a seam without sewing!

Turn the shirt right side out and do a little trimming and voila! A groovy recycled bag!

We ended the fun day with a hike around the pond.  I snapped this pic of my beautiful baby.

Saturday Morning

Relaxing with a nice K-cup of Chai Tea and watching the news before my crazy weekend starts.  The girls are still in bed sleeping.

The animals are playing – – their normal morning all day routine of chasing each other around and pouncing on each other.  It is entertaining, but sometimes it gets to be too much and I have to seperate them

I work at the bank this morning and then this afternoon we are off to the nature center to celebrate Earth Day for Girl Scouts.  Hailey goes to her dad’s tonight and I work at my other job and then again tomorrow.  Work work!  I am already wishing it was 5:00 Sunday!

Friday Evening

So after a long, long, loooong day working at the bank, I am finally able to relax.  Working on figuring out how this blog thing works and watching Alvin and the Chipmunks Shipwrecked with Hailey and her little friend Grace.  Here they are chillin on the couch.

Jackson is pretty happy too. I am not sure why he thinks it is ok to curl up on my snuggy though!

So we are all settled in for a quiet Friday night.  Grace is spending the night – one of the things I love is when Hailey has her little friends over.  I love to hear them playing and talking!  I get to know my daughter in a different way when I see her interacting with her peers!

Well the first movie is done.  I think I will take advantage of some time and clean up a little bit.  I have been so busy this week and coming and going so things just sort of get dropped when we get in the door.  With our tiny cozy house everything needs to be put in its place otherwise a little disorder leads to a massive mess!  I don’t think I’ll post a pic of what my kitchen table looks like now!

Happy Friday the 13th!