Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Icing

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Last week I posted Dave’s favorite dessert I make. This pumpkin roll is a close second for him. But for me, it is hands down #1! I love anything pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin oats, pumpkin pancakes, etc. I also love anything with cream cheese. Cream cheese is probably my single favorite food ever. You can make it savory or sweet and its always amazing.

I am not one for keeping foods for certain times of the year. I often make corned beef and cabbage in October and make a thanksgiving type dinner in March. Why should all the amazing food only be had once a year? I feel the same way about pumpkin. People only seem to use it in the fall. Why? I don’t know. Its great for healthy baking since it can be substituted for butter in a recipe. I just made this Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Icing for the first time this past fall, but I’ve already made it probably 10 times since.

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Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Icing

makes 10 slices

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

3/4 cup flour (sprouted, whole wheat, all purpose)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/16(a couple pinches) cloves

icing:

6 oz cream cheese

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar (1/3 cup coconut palm sugar blended in a high speed blender for a few minutes until powdery)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in a separat bowl. Combine wet and dry.

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Spread on a 15 X 10 X 1 pan lined a silpat or greased parchment paper. Evenly spread batter out.

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Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes. While its baking make your icing. Combine all ingredients and beat until combined and fluffy.

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When roll is finished baking, lay a kitchen towel down and sprinkle it with a TB of powdered sugar (so the roll doesn’t stick to it). Take cake off silpat, slowly, being careful not to tear the cake and lay it on the towel. Then roll it up, kitchen towel included, lengthwise.

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Roll it all the way up and let it cool for 15 minutes. Letting it cool this way ensures it doesn’t crack when rolled. If you were to try and roll it once it was cool, it would just break apart.

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Once its cool, gently unroll it, spread icing over, and roll back up.

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Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You can also sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar to make it look pretty if you want.

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Slice it up and devour!

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Nutritional Information:

Calories: 146

Fat: 5.5 g

Sodium: 165(7%)

Carbohydrates: 20.6 g

Sugars: 13 g

Protein: 5 g

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Mini Peppers

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After getting home from pre-school story time the other day I was in the mood to cook. Usually I cook out of necessity and I get the urge to bake. But I had a few ingredients that needed to be used up before they went bad.

Fact: I will NEVER throw out food. I will eat leftovers for a week straight before I throw out food or make a random casserole concoction before letting any ingredient go bad. There’s a commercial right now that says the average American throws out $500 of food a year! I through out maybe $5 a year, no joke. And that’s just when the cottage cheese is too moldy to eat around it.

Anyway, I needed to use about 1/3 block of cream cheese, a sausage, and some spinach that was previously defrosted. I remembered the baby peppers I had and these little babies were born. They came together in about 10 minutes start to finish and were AMAZING. If you have yet to make something off my blog, let this be the first!

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Mini Peppers:

I bag mini peppers (about 20 tiny peppers)

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup defrosted chopped spinach, drained

1 chicken sausage

1/4 tsp dried basil

2-3 Tb shredded cheddar

 

First wash your peppers, cut the tops off of them, and rinse the seeds out. You can now either cut them in half lenthwise or leave them whole. I did half and half so I could decide my preference.

Take the casing off the pre-cooked chicken sausage and crumble in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and spinach. Add basil.

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Mix it all together and stuff inside your peppers. I started off trying to use a spoon, but my clean hands got the job done better. Here they are stuffed whole…

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And here they are stuffed cut in half. If you cut them in half, sprinkle each with a little of the cheddar.

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Spray a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes.

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Be careful to watch the peppers to make sure they don’t burn. Once the cheese and tops of the peppers start to brown, they are done!

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I know I said I did them both ways to see which I preferred. I think I liked the ones cut in half better because they were sprinkled with the cheddar and had that nice crusty cheese on top. However the whole ones stayed hot for a really long time so they would be perfect to sit out as an appetizer.

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If I were you, I would make these now…lunch, snack, dinner, heck they can even be breakfast!

50/10 Full Body Circuit Workout

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On Sunday night Dave and I did a circuit workout in the garage once the kiddos were in bed. I was going to do it by myself while Dave did the P90x stretching video but he noticed the video was an entire hour and bagged the idea. I made up a circuit workout that incorporated cardio, arms, legs, and abs. Full body, quick, and effective. I have been loving on these types of workouts lately because they aren’t boring. I love running and lifting weights but it can get boring to me after a while. Circuit workouts keep you and your body guessing and they require no equipment whatsoever! Perfect for a quick workout while the little ones nap too! They pretty much make it so I have no excuse not to workout.

Dave took one look at it and said, “what do you think you work for crossfit now or something?”. I guess thats a compliment? He looked at a couple of the exercises and said “oh no, that looks too hard”. He was talking about the mountain climbers. Thats right buddy, let’s go!

We did the circuit 3 times and it took us about 30 minutes. It took us a couple minutes longer to complete than it would if we had done it on our own. Dave had to wait a couple seconds for me to finish my pushups whereas I finished my mountain climbers first and waited on him to move on.

If you are a guy, I would say up the pushups and chair dips to 25 each. I know that kind of kills the name of my 50/10 workout but it would make it more full body. Dave said it was easy on him upperbody wise but for me it was good. Between the pushups and burpees I did 60 pushups total. Thats killer for me!

Both of us agreed though that our legs were shaking by the end. Dave had a hard time finishing all the ab exercises. So overall, it ended up being a great workout for us to complete together!

We did the workout again on Wednesday during naptime (in laws were at the house with napping kids). But this time making it more of a competition by seeing who can complete it faster. This could have turned ugly real fast, we are some competitive people around here! Its in our genes and Alyssa definitely got it, you should see that child when she plays Uno. “Booya, I just made you draw two!”. No joke, Booya came out of her mouth along with a pointed finger at me. I had to laugh first before we started talking about being a good sport. She gets it honest!

We only did it twice through on Wednesday because we decided to run a quick 2 miles outside afterwards instead of the 3rd circuit. Well I use the word quick loosely. We were both still sore from doing this workout Sunday night and the wind was killer so it felt rather slow. We almost called it quits after just 1 mile actually. But anyway, who won? I compeleted my 2 rounds in 18:00 minutes and Dave in 18:59…Booya Dave!

Chicken Marsala

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I don’t know why I ever ask, but I do. “Dave, what do you want for dinner?”. “I don’t care” is his one and only answer. Which is true, he doesn’t care. He will eat anything I cook and is appreciative. He is not picky at all and  it makes him very easy to cook for. But for me, I don’t really like deciding what to cook. I love to cook, but I don’t like the deciding. That was one reason I started reading blogs, for the inspiration and great ideas.

Well when I asked him what he wanted for dinner yesterday, I expected the same answer. But instead he responded “Chicken Marsala”. I had some mushrooms that were on their last leg and an opened bottle of wine. Then Dave says “What is chicken marsala anyway?”. He had no clue. He was good for the idea at least!

Chicken Marsala:

1.5 lbs chicken breasts

1/4 cup flour (sprouted or whole wheat) (substitute 1 Tbs organic corn starch if avoiding flour)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

2 Tbs butter

1 Tbs olive oil

8 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sweet red wine (Marsala wine technically, but I just used a semi-sweet red)

1/2 cup chicken broth (or stock)

 

Trim the fat from the chicken then pound it until about 1/4 inch thick. Sometimes instead of pounding it, I will just slice it in half length wise to make 1 thick chicken breast into 2 thin ones. Make sense? That way I don’t have to go through the mess of pounding chicken and I am left with smaller pieces, not huge flattened out ones.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and oregano together. Heat butter and oil in frying pan over medium heat. Dredge chicken in flour mixture then brown chicken on both sides in hot butter and oil. Once browned, add mushrooms, wine, and chicken broth. Make sure some of the liquid gets under the chicken so the chicken doesn’t get stuck to the pan while it finishes cooking.

*If omitting the flour, season the chicken and cook in butter. Mix the corn starch in with the cold chicken broth before adding. The flour that’s coating the chicken aids in thickening the sauce so the cornstarch takes the flours job)

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Cover pan and let cook until chicken is cooked through, roughly 10 minutes, flipping chicken over once.

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Serve over sprputed spaghetti, brown rice, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti squash. Top with freshly grated parmesan. I served it with a side salad for a little color and veggies.

I am glad Dave randomly pulled this dinner idea out of thin air. Its one of those meals that I always have ingredients on hand for but somehow forget to make. It really is simple and very healthy! Enjoy!

Getting Back to Intuitive Eating

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With my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes. The risk factors are if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are over the age of 25, had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, and are inactive. Well I was at a healthy weight, only 24, had a previous pregnancy without it, and run and lift on a regular basis. I literally did not have 1 risk factor. Oh well, it is what it is. I was going to do anything and everything in my power so it did not negatively effect the baby’s health or my own. I was told on a Friday about my positive result but wasn’t set up to see the nutritionist for another week. Lets just say Friday night was spend scouring google for meal plans and what foods I should stay away from. I was determined to follow the meal plan to a T so I would not have to be put on insulin. Here I am at 27 weeks, a couple days before I was diagnosed.

I did not have to calorie count, but I did have to carb count. I knew what a carbohydrate was. Bread, cereal, rice, etc. And I guess I knew that fruit was a carb but I never thought of it that way before. I thought of fruits and vegetables as “free” foods. They are so packed full of nutrients I wouldn’t worry about eating 3 apples if I wanted them. But my gestational diabetic body disagreed. I now had to count all fruit as carbs.

And the front view, beginning of the 3rd trimester…

I was given a meal plan by the nutritionist based on my body size. It ended up being 1700 calories a day. Um, are you serious? Didn’t you know I am pregnant? I ate more than that on a daily basis before being pregnant. So she gave me a new plan of 2500 calories. Much better. My new meal plan looked like this.

breakfast: 30 g carbs

snack: 15-30 g carbs

lunch: 45 g carbs

snack: 15 g carbs

dinner: 45-60 g carbs

snack: 30 g carbs

The carbs were use or lose. I couldn’t save up my afternoon snack carb allowance and then use it along with my dinner allowance. My body needed a steady dose to keep my glucose levels even. 190-210 g carbs per day, doesn’t look too bad right? But compared to my current 400 g a day, it was a change!

Do you know how many apples I could have for my afternoon snack? One really small one! And I mean really small, about the size of a plum. If I wanted a whole banana, I would have to use almost my entire lunch carb allowance for it. A banana for lunch, not too filling? Milk and yogurt have a lot of carbs too. A greek yogurt would take my entire breakfast allowance so I couldn’t even top it with fruit or granola. As you can see, things got a little difficult. It was hard to fit in the healthy carbs while still getting full. I finally figured out what worked for my body and how to get in enough calories while not going over my carb allowance and glucose levels. I was SO diligent about sticking to the plan. However, this took away all senses of intutitve eating. If I ate my breakfast and was still hungry. Oh well, I had to wait until snack time. And on the other end, if I wasn’t hungry for a snack, I had to eat it anyway to keep my blood sugar levels even.

I had to take my blood glucose levels 4 times a day. I never missed. I think I went over my threshold number 3 or 4 times my entire pregnancy, and just barely.  Not to say I am perfect but I am a paranoid pregnant person. I am one of those no caffeine, no artifical sweetener, no occasional glass of wine people. In my mind I would forever blame that one glass of wine if something went wrong with the baby. I would blame myself, that I caused it somehow, even though I know that’s not rational. Its just what I would have done. And I don’t judge women for drinking their morning coffee at all while pregnant, I kind of wished I could let myself be more laid back about it!

Since I was SO diligent about counting every single bite of carb that went into my mouth, I also kept track of calories to make sure I was getting enough. I was already having trouble gaining weight while pregnant since tests showed my metabolism was all revved up. I have never had it checked not pregnant so it may just be a pregnancy effect.

Literally the second they delivered the placenta, my gestational diabetes was gone. I could eat an entire cake if I wanted. I definitely went back to eating dessert and more carbs in the morning but I still found myself calculating carbs and calories in my head every time I ate. Even now, 6 months post-partum, I still do it. Its not intentional, but I just ingrained it in my head so much. I find myself starving a lot but I tell myself “you’ve already eaten 1000 calories at lunch, how could you want more?”. Well if I’m still hungry, then i must need more. I eat mostly healthy foods so that 1000 calories was a peanut butter and banana sandwich, a huge salad with avocado and sausage, an apple, yogurt and granola, some almonds, a brownie, and a 100 calorie pack of sun chips (my lunch today). But I am still hungry.

I need to get back to eating intuitively and somehow stop the counting in my head. Like most people, I eat a lot of the same foods. So while pregnant, I quickly learned the nutritional stats of those foods for easy tracking. But now I need to forget them. I am not worried about calories or carbs at all right now. I have fully incorporated them all back into my diet after pegnancy plus some! I just need to get the numbers out of my head. If I am hungry eat more, if i’m full then stop. Who cares if I’ve only eaten 2500 calories and 30o g carbs in a day or 4500 calories and 500  carbs. I just love carbs, especially whole grains and sweet potatoes.

And It’s Not Over Yet

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This weekend has been all about family time..

Family meals…

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Turkey meatloaf, garlic dill roasted potatoes, and cornmeal breaded baked okra.

A family run…We woke up Saturday morning, ate some granola bars and drank some water, then headed out for a 3.5 mile run.

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We did some planks and pushups in the garage too before coming in to make green smoothies with ham and cheese omelets for breakfast.

Family time in the chemistry lab…In my dreams. I was a science major in college and miss it (I am a closet nerd). These are Alyssa’s safety glasses for her workbench. So this is more Dave’s dream.

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Who says girls can’t use powertools?

Family dessert…homemade pumpkin roll

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Oh yeah…this is a pumpkin roll with cream cheese icing inside. Recipe is on my page! I think this is my all time favorite dessert.

Family pajama day…

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We went to church Saturday night so we could have all day Sunday to do “stuff”. Well we didn’t end up leaving the house all day long. Alyssa got excited when it was time to go to bed because she was already in her pjs. We brushed our teeth though I swear!

Family craft time…I worked on a dress I am making for a friend’s baby girl. She is about the same age as Cassidy and it is so hard to spend SO much time on a dress that fits Cassidy then give it away. I need to box it up and send it asap before I change my mind!

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 Dave and Alyssa cut paper and made some snowflakes for their craft.

And family workout time #2…Its a rarity but we worked out Saturday and Sunday! Sunday night we did a crossfit style circuit workout in the garage after the girls were in bed. It took us 33 minutes to complete and left my body shaking! We rarely workout on the weekends so this was an accomplishment.

AND the best part is…it’s a 3 day weekend so its not even over yet!

Cookie Dough Hummus

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I often times write about a new dish I made and say I will post the recipe details asap. And then I often forget. Well I apologize but I won’t do it this time! I am getting this cookie dough hummus recipe together now because it is too good to miss out on! We love hummus in our household, don’t get me wrong, but this tastes nothing like hummus. You would never know there were beans in here. It takes like pure buttery cookie dough, but without the salmonella. Did you know that one of the reasons you are not supposed to eat cookie dough or any batters is not just because of the salmonella in the raw eggs? It is more so because there could be salmonella in the raw flour! I never knew that! Well we are safe here because there are not any flour or eggs here.

Cookie Dough Hummus (or just call it Cookie Dough Dip so people don’t stick their nose up at it knowing its healthy)

2 cups cooked chick peas

3 TB honey

3 TB peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-5 TB milk (almond or cows)

2 TB mini chocolate chips plus more for garnish

 

First peel all the little skins off the chick peas. Yes, this takes about 5 minutes but it makes such a creamier hummus/dip. You can skip this step if you don’t care that it will be a tiny bit mealier. Or you could just use a different white bean like great northern beans or navy beans.

Place beans and the rest of the ingredients, besides the chocolate chips, in the food processer. Start with 2 TB of the milk and add more as needed to make everything combine. Add milk until you have your desired thickness. I like a pretty thick dip, so I added as little milk as possible.

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Garnish with the rest of the mini chocolate chips. The mini chips are really crucial for the dip, large ones don’t work as well. We need the most chocolate pieces per scoop here. If you only have large ones just give them a quick chop and now they’re mini! I am all about improvising and substitutions in my kitchen!

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Dip quartered homemade graham crackers, pretzels, fruit, etc into dip and enjoy. The graham crackers were my personal favorite because there was a nice big surface area to scoop up tons of dip in each bite Smile.

This seriously tastes just like peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough.

I took this to a potluck on Monday night and got asked for the recipe numerous times. Most people wanted it to “trick” their kids into eating beans. I don’t need any tricking nor does my family. I don’t care how healthy it may seem for a dessert, its delicious!