Monthly Archives: May 2012

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Scone Recipe

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I had never made a scone before the other day. I had a couple bookmarked but cookies, brownies, or puddings all won over when it was time to actually bake. When I was at my moms she mentioned making scones so I figured this was a great time to try it out. I searched the internet for a recipe base. But I can’t ever seem to make a recipe as it reads. I ended up basing my scones off this recipe, and changing a couple of ingredients and steps. The result was great! I will absolutely be making these again, and soon!

I would say a scone is like a slightly sweet biscuit with mixins similar to cookies. This is one of the few recipes I saw with oats and I loved the flavor and slight texture it added!

Cranberry Oatmeal Scones

1 1/4 cups  flour

3/4 cup old fashioned oats

2 Tbs sugar or honey + 1 tsp coarse sugar for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs plain yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup craisins

1/3 cup chopped almonds, optional add in

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional add in

Preheat oven to 450F.

For starters, if you don’t have buttermilk, don’t worry. Just make some like I did. Place 1 Tbs of vinegar in a 1/2 cup measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You will now have 1/2 cup buttermilk. Reserve 1 Tbs of this.

Combine flour, oats, 2 Tbs sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Cut up butter into small pieces and work into the dry mixture. Hands work well here. Mix craisins in. Add the almond extract and yogurt to your buttermilk (minus the 1 Tbs) and then add that to the dry mixture. Again, hands work best. A spoon just doesn’t cut it because the batter is so thick.

Form mixture into an 8 inch circle. No precise measurements needed, just eyeball it. Flatten and make it an even height. Roughly 3/4-1 inch. Cut circle into 8 pie pieces and spread out on greased baking sheet.

Brush tops with extra 1 Tbs of buttermilk and sprinkle tops with extra 1 tsp sugar. Bake at 450F for 12-15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

I had one fresh out of the oven, one with dinner, one as dessert, and some with breakfast the next morning.

They were delicious! For only 2 TB of sugar, they had a nice sweetness. And I love the flavor the oats and almond extract gave.

Adding 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or 1/3 cup chopped almonds were both great!

And honestly, they were just as good, if not somehow better, the next day. I have also made them with a full 4 Tbs of butter instead of 2 butter and 2 greek yogurt, which is still less butter than most scone recipes. It tasted the same the day of, but i would suspect the yogurt version wouldn’t last as many days out on the counter top. But we’ve never been able to find out since they’ve never made it that long without being devoured!

Considering how easy these are to make, being pretty healthy, versitle, and of course delicious, I forsee lots more scone making in my future. Alyssa will be thrilled with this news! She kept saying “um, can I have just one more little piece?”. I said ok finally. So she breaks off a little piece, leaves it on the plate, and starts eating the big piece (majority of the scone) that was left. Can’t blame the girl! And she is cute enough that I let her get away with it. Afterall, the original inspiration for the scones was to go with an afternoon of tea.

Nutritional Information:

calories: 193

fat: 4 g

sodium: 142 mg (6%)

Carbohydrates: 33 g

dietary fiber: 2.4 g

sugars: 8 g

protein: 5 g

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Single Serving Cookie Recipe

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On nights when Dave isn’t home because he’s flying a night flight or on watch, I still like to have a little late night treat. I try not to bake big batches of dessert on those nights because I will be sitting here, bored, by myself, mindlessly eating them watching tv. So my solution is to just make a couple cookies. And using this recipe, you will only have a small cereal bowl and a tablespoon to throw in the dishwasher. No mixing bowls, beaters, etc to hand wash!

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3 Peanut butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies:

1 Tbs peanut butter

1 Tbs honey

1 Tbs  milk

splash vanilla

4 Tbs oats

2 Tbs crunchy granola

1 Tbs whole wheat flour

1 Tbs mini chocolate chips

Get out your tablespoon and cereal bowl. Mix peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and milk.  Add oats, granola, and flour. Add chocolate chips.

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Scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet making 3 cookies. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

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YUM…can you see that crunch? If for some reason you don’t want the nice crunch the cereal gives, just add 2 more tablespoons of oats instead. But I highly recommend it. Not sure the cereal would stay crunchy if you made these and saved some for the next day though. But seriously, who can’t eat 3 cookies in one night?

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I make these a lot since the military likes to keep my husband late quite often. At least I have delicious crunchy cookies to keep me company! I guess its no secret how I spent my Thursday night… Cookies, American Idol, Grey’s Anatomy…pure laziness! And no, I did not share my cookies with Alyssa. I made them after she went to bed just so I didn’t have to share. But she will never know Smile

Mexican Bean, Corn, and Pasta or Quinoa Salad

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One of our favorite side dishes in the summer time is pasta salad. Dave absolutely loves it. I always make it to take to BBQ’s and unfortunately rarely come home with leftovers. It is also a great dish for me to bring places because it often serves as Alyssa’s meal because of her food allergy. Since I can’t know for sure if there are tree nuts in dishes other people make, I can’t let her eat them. So I always bring a side that can double as her meal. Pasta salad has carb, veggies, and protein. Perfect.

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We went to a Cinco de Mayo party and were asked to bring a dish to share. I searched the internet but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. I also wanted to keep it healthy and not add an entire cup of olive oil or mayonnaise, like some recipes called for. I came up with this light, tangy, slightly sweet, vinegar based pasta and bean salad. I got quite a few compliments on the dish at the party. I let Alyssa try it before the party and she loved it. She asked if she could eat a bowl for lunch. I warned her that it was going to be her dinner as well. She said great and devoured it twice in one day. Ok… and I won’t lie, I did as well. Its got healthy carbs, protein in the beans, veggies in the corn and pepper, healthy fats in the avocado. Seriously an amazing summer meal in itself! Vegetarian, keeps well, healthy…

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Mexican Bean, Corn, and Pasta or Quinoa Salad:

10 oz whole wheat bow tie pasta or 1.25 cups quinoa, cooked and fluffed

1.5 cups black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 cups corn

1 red pepper, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3 green onions, diced (white and green parts)

Dressing:

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 Tbs plus 1 tsp honey

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 lime, juice and zest

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1/16 tsp chili powder

1/16 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne, optional if you like your mexican with a little kick

1 avocado, diced

Cook pasta al dente. Run under cool water. In a large mixing bowl add cooked pasta, beans, corn, red pepper, tomatoes, and green onion.

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In a separate small bowl mix the dressing together.

Pour dressing on salad and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight so the beans and pasta suck up the delicious dressing.

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When ready to serve, place diced avocado on top.

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If you have some chips on hand, dip them in there too…you won’t be sorry!

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I think I may make a batch of the dressing alone to have for salads.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 242

Fat: 7.3 g

Sodium: 128 (5%)

Carbohydrates: 39 g

Dietary Fiber: 7 g

Sugars: 5.4 g

Protein: 7.6 g

9 Months and Counting

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How is it possible that my baby is 9 months old? I know every parent says this a million times but its true. I feel like I was just pregnant with her and its been almost a year ago! You can read my birth story here, it’s a good one that will keep you on the edge of your seat for sure! (It did us!!)

Personality:

Cassidy’s personality is really coming through lately. She is no longer the quiet passive baby who just sits around. She is getting stubborn and sassy, which was inevitable. If you’ve met her older sister Alyssa, it would be no surprise. And honestly, all of our kids are bound to be that way because Dave and I both are. Its crazy around here! Cassidy now has a mind of her own. She protests if she wants something but can’t reach it.

She gets really mad if I am eating something and not sharing with her. She will yell and wiggle until she gets her way. Then give me a big goofy grin when she gets what she wants. And they say you can’t spoil a baby. I could not disagree more! I think its ok that babies are spoiled, but lets call a spade a spade. Its being spoiled. But I love spoiling my babies, as long as it doesn’t turn into being a spoiled brat. I am thinking the concept of time out is in our near future. I started with Alyssa around 1. For now I will give her a simple “no” and redirect her though.

Milestones:

She crawls everywhere. Mostly the army crawl (or LOW crawl as my Marine Corps husband corrects me). She can crawl on all fours but it hurts her knees on our hardwood floors and tile so she opts for the scoot. And shes faster scooting than real crawling.

She pulls up on everything

Can get herself from crawling, to sitting, to pulled up, back down, etc. Sometimes the getting back down isn’t as graceful as she’d like but she has a hard head.

Waves Hi and Bye.

Says Mama, Dada, and Bo-Dee (Brody, our dog)

Feeding:

She still nurses a good amount. She nurses when she wakes up between 830 to 9 am, 1130, 230, 515, 715, and then just a top off before bed around 825. I am planning on dropping her 715 feeding soon but she is just cranky around that time and a quick nursing session seems to cure it. So we’ll see.

We are doing all tiny chunks of food and no purees. She hated purees and its just easier to give her what we are eating anyway. She eats a meat, veggie, fruit, and breastmilk mixed with cereal around 1230 for lunch. Dinner is a meat, veggie, carb around 545. She then eats 2 oz breastmilk mixed with baby cereal at 745. I did this when she was smaller so I would load her belly up before bed and she’d stay full. Now that shes getting older I’ll probably move things around a little. But again, it works for us so we’ll just go with it. She rarely eats breakfast since she drinks a ton of breastmilk in the morning but she will occasionally have a little banana or pancake while she sits at the table with us. So she eats a lot, but is still so skinny…maybe she’s our little hummingbird and just has a really fast metabolism.

Sleeping:

My little girl is still a rockstar in this area. She has been sleeping through the night since about 6 weeks old and she continues on. We start bedtime around 8 pm and she is asleep in her crib by 830 pm. She usually wakes up around 830 am. If she’s especially tired, like tonight, she will go down more like 815 and will sometimes sleep as late as 9 am. Yep, thats 12 solid hours, sometimes closer to 13. I thank her every morning! I am a person who needs sleep. 8-9 hours is what I need to have my normal energy levels, so I am so grateful for her sleeping well. I usually nurse her until shes really sleepy, which only takes about 2 minutes. Some nights shes too full or too tired and won’t nurse and just wants in her bed, like tonight. Other nights she falls pretty much asleep in those 2 minutes. (ETA: She slept from 815 pm last night to 930am this morning, a new record of 13 hours 15 minutes! I actually woke her at 930 so we could get our day going, not sure how long she would have slept!)

Naptime is pretty good as well. IF we are home in the morning she will sleep from 10-1130. We are usually out and about though so she will take like a 45 mintue nap from like 11-1145. We are usually home for her afternoon naps, which are roughly 230-430. I lay her down awake and she is usually asleep within 5 minutes. Sometimes she’ll cry for 10 minutes before falling asleep, sometimes she sucks her thumb right to sleep.

Stats:

My baby is a little bean pole. Alyssa was a fat baby. Rolls everywhere. Cassidy is this little skinny tall baby. I fed them on the exact same schedule but every kid is just different I am learning.

Height: 28.75 inches (92%)

Weight: 16.5 lbs (20%)

Head: 17.9 inches (90%)

The doctor said she looks great and not to worry at all about her being petite. He said since my husband and I are both small builds, she may just be small. But she obviously has his height though. He is 6’1.5” and I am 5’3.5”. She is growing and is in the same percentiles every checkup so he said that’s what matters. If she all of a sudden drops into the 5th percentile for weight, then we may be concerned. But for now, just keep doing what we’re doing. Great thing to hear!

And just to show you Alyssa around the same age, at the beach as well. Check out those thighs!

AI can’t believe she will be 1 before we know it. She will be walking around soon. Just thinking of it makes me tear up. I feel like as soon as a baby walks, they are a toddler and not a baby. I need my baby to stay a baby! Although I am excited for her to walk because crawling results in her hands being all over dirty floors, which is particularly unsanitary for a thumb sucker.

I love you Cassidy Blaire more than anything in the world. You are the sweetest, most smiley, baby ever and love you more every day! Your dimples melt my heart time and time again with every smile. I swear if every baby was like Cassidy the world would be so overpopulated because everyone would have like 15 kids!

I am so lucky to have the little girls I have, I wouldn’t change a thing about either of them!

Cheesy Italian Polenta Bake

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I was searching the internet for a recipe with ground beef. I didn’t feel like the normal meatballs, meatloaf, burgers, or tacos. I wanted something new. I wanted to cook and experiment. I saw a recipe for a polenta lasagna and it inspired my creation.

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My version is much easier and healthier since its not completely doused in cheese (which can be looked at as a bad thing as well I guess, cheese is amazing!). But don’t worry it is still quite cheesy. I didn’t have a tube of polenta so I figured I’d make my own. I had never done it before but I have no clue why not. It is SO simple. Like probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made, no joke.

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Cheesy Italian Polenta Bake

Polenta:

3 cups water

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1 TB butter

3 TB grated parmesan cheese

Meat mixture:

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb lean ground meat

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 tsp garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 cups frozen vegetables

1 cup drained diced tomatoes, pureed or premade pasta sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

First, make your polenta. Put all ingredients, besides butter and parmesan cheese, into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until thickened and pulls away from bottom of pan. Mine took about 10 minutes to finish. When its very thick, turn off heat and stir in butter and parmesan cheese. Done. See, SO easy and quick!

Spray an 8 X 8 baking dish and spread polenta evenly on the bottom. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. While that’s baking, prepare your meat mixture.

Place oil, meat, onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning in frying pan over medium heat. Cook until meat is cooked through and onion is tender. Add frozen veggies and heat until defrosted. I used peppers and green beans but broccoli and zuchini are always good with Italian as well. If you use fresh veggies, just throw them in the pan at the same time as the meat and onion. Stir sauce in meat mixture.

Take polenta out of oven. Top with meat mixture then top that with the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for another 20 minutes.

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Top with more grated parmesan and enjoy!

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Italian is my favorite type of food but I can only eat pasta, sauce, and sausage so many times in a week. This was just as good, and the family agreed! This would also be a great gluten free Italian option. And for all you vegetarians, the original lasagna was actually made with a meat substitute but I think it has plenty of veggies and staying power on its own that you could just omit the meat.

I heated up the leftovers for myself for lunch the next day and gave Alyssa something else. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well for me. Alyssa said it wasn’t fair I got to eat the leftovers so I ended up having to split them…

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 485

Fat: 22 g

Sodium: 688 mg (29%)

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Dietary Fiber: 5 g

Sugars: 4 g

Protein: 38 g

My Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie

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Growing up, we ate a lot of the same things for dinner. My brother was insanely picky and my mom is relatively picky as well so when my mom made something everyone would eat, it was a keeper. Of course I was not part of this equation since I eat and love absolutely all food (besides olives, they are just way too salty, do they have fresh olives without salt?). One of everyone’s favorite meals at my mom’s house has always been her Chicken Pot Pie. She made it for birthday dinners and family gatherings and its sure to please everyone. How can someone not like chicken and veggies? She got this recipe out of Cooking Light decades ago so its very healthy, and I only tweaked it a little to add a few extra vegetables and a little more seasoning.

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This is the meal I made for my fellow Marine Corps wife who recently lost her husband. I got a text message from her about an hour after I dropped it off saying “You can cook for me anytime! That was SO good!”. This is also the meal I make for new moms for 2 reasons. One, it is very healthy and losing that baby weight is on the back (or front) of all new mom’s minds. And two, it is very breastfeeding friendly. There are no gas producing veggies like broccoli or acidic foods like tomato sauces which are in all Italian casseroles. The only change I make for nursing moms is to use onion powder instead of real onions (just in case they give the baby gas, like they do both of my babies while nursing).

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Chicken Pot Pie

32 oz chicken broth

2 cups diced potatoes (skin optional)

1.5 cups diced carrots

1/2 cup diced onion

3/4 cup peas

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup flour (sprouted preferably since theres no way to soak it in this recipe)

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp pepper

1 homemade pie crust or batch of biscuits

Boil broth in large pot. While it comes to a boil, chop the potatoes. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. During that time, chop the carrots and onion. Add carrot and onion and cook for 3 minutes.

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Add peas and chicken and cook for 2 minutes. During those 2 minutes combine the flour, milk, seasoning, and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Add to pot and cook 3 more minutes, stirring well.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and pour vegetable mixture, with all liquid, in pan. Roll pie crust to roughly a 10 x 14 rectangle. Top with pie crust and fold down the edges. Or roll out biscuit dough and lay it on top. Bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 

It is best reheated in the oven so the crust doesn’t get soggy.

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*You can use leftover rotisserie chicken, or bake raw chicken breasts on tin foil lined pan at 350 until center is no longer pink, or use leftover turkey at thanksgiving for a turkey pot pie.

*Make it vegetarian by omitting chicken and adding 2 cups of your favorite vegetable (or 1 can of white beans for protein)

This meal will feed the pickiest of eaters, trust me, my brother eats it.

 

Two New Workouts

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I have two new workouts I’ve completed in the last week. I rarely do the same workout twice in the same month or so, I get bored way too easily.

A tabata two nights ago that kicked my butt and left me nice and sore of course…

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It was nice adding a little warm up with stretching in there. Stretching is my sore spot and I really need to do more of it.

And I finally dusted off my treadmill for the first time in a couple weeks. Since I recently bought my double BOB jogger and the weather has been so nice, I have been opting for outdoor runs. Well and my lack of exercise in general the last couple weeks has kept me away from the treadmill. I get too bored just hopping on and running a couple miles at a steady pace and incline. I am a button pusher.

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And for some reason when I add in those short walking inclines, it makes me sweat like no other. After I was finished this workout Alyssa asked why I was so sweaty. I told her its because its fun and healthy to exercise and get sweaty. It makes you have a healthy body and live a really long time. She ran up to me and rubbed her head all over me.

Me:           EW Alyssa that’s gross, I don’t want to get you all sweaty.

Alyssa:    No, Mom. I want some sweat, I want to be healthy too.

Me:          That’s great babe, but you need to make your own sweat for it to be healthy.

Later that day we went to a bounce house place with her soccer team for her end of the year party. She ran and bounced and went down slides for 2 hours. She ran up to me at one point and grabbed my hand to put it on her head.

Alyssa:     Look mom, I made my own sweat. I am so healthy now!

She was so proud of herself, it made me smile. I really am trying my best to set a good, healthy, balanced example for her. Raising little girls these days is tricky with both anorexia and obesity such huge issues within our society.

Have you been taking advantage of Spring weather and moving your workouts outside? I need to go for more walks before it gets too hot. It was 91 here today, so its quickly becoming too hot!