Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am finding I need to plan my meals and snacks better in order to stick to this diet...I also need to find some more ideas because eggs, yogurt, and beans are getting boring! So you will start to see a list of snacks as well as meals listed!

-Sausage and Egg Cups
-Eggs and ham
-Hard Boiled Eggs
-Greek Yogurt and Fruit, granola

-Hummus with red peppers
-Cookie Dough Hummus with an attempt to make it sugar free, but it will have mini chocolate chips.
-Homemade Lara Bars-Peanut Butter and Jelly
-Protein Shake...will need to get another chocolate one! 
-Black Bean Brownies

-Taco Salad(with turkey and black beans)
-Cheesy Ranch Chicken Chili(will use Greek Yogurt for sour cream)
-Baked Fish with Parmesan Cream Sauce
-black bean and sweet potato burgers
-Steak, Broccoli, Summer/Zucchini Squash
-Lime Salsa chicken wrap

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apple, Pear, Cranberry Crisp

 I had some cranberry's that needed to be used it and thought this sounded like a perfect fall dessert!

Apple, Cranberry, Pear, Crisp-adapted from Ina Garten
2 lbs pears, peeled, chopped
2 lbs apples(I used honey crisp), peeled, chopped
1 lb fresh cranberries
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick butter, cold, cut up

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place fruit into a large bowl, combine with sugar, flour, lemon juice/zest, and sugar. Spread into a 9x13 pan.

Mix together dry ingredients for toppings, cut butter into mixture until it looks like large crumbles. Place topping on top of fruit and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

**I did cut back on the sugar and butter oringally called for in this recipe, but it still tasted excellent. I really liked the kick of the lemon zest and it wasn't overly sweet!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Creamy Chicken Marsala

 I LOVE ordering chicken marsala's one of my favorite Italian dishes despite not like mushrooms. So yes I did make this dish and yes I did NOT eat the mushrooms, but it was pretty darn near perfect of a marsala recipe that I've made.

Creamy Chicken Marsala
1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
10-12 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup marsala cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb pasta(I used penne)
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese

Melt 1 tbsp butter in pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper, cook until lightly browned. Remove to a plate.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in pan, add in garlic, mushrooms, and onion. Cook for about 5-6 minutes. Add chicken back in. Combine marsala, cream, and chicken broth and add it to the pan, bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened.

Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Cook until sauce has been  absorbed a bit by pasta. Add cooking water in needed. Sprinkle with paremsan cheese and season with salt and pepper if desired.

**I almost doubled the sauce mixture...but I figured it was the first time I made it so I wanted to keep it the way it was written until I knew what to change next time. I do think next time I'll double the sauce...I think it also needed to be thicker, but the flavor was SPOT on and delicious!! YUM! Even my boys liked it, which surprised me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I've been struggling big time with my weight...I've met with a nutritionist and have eaten what she told me to eat and yet I've still managed to GAIN weight...instead of loose it.

So starting tomorrow I'm trying something new...last week was a bit of a bust with our entire area loosing power from a big Halloween Nor'easter. Plus trick or treating got cancelled so I ended up with 400+pieces of candy, don't worry I didn't eat ALL of them! Starting afresh tomorrow...with cutting out processed/added sugars and cutting back on carbs(which I've already been doing) I'll give it two weeks and see how it goes, if it goes well, Christmas baking season might be interesting but something needs to be done!

I will gladly take any and all low carb recipes or ideas and no sugar ideas. Fruit WILL stay...and I have stevia to use to combat my sweet tooth. By the way, I discovered this delicious tea the other day, it's called Candy Cane Lane Green Tea by Celestrial Seasonings, even my husband liked it and said he'd drink it over coffee...he's nuts I say, it's good, but I also love my coffee. For now my coffee with stay, but I did find some homemade coffee creamer recipes that I want to try so I can stop drinking the store's not that healthy for you anyway!

So here's the menu:
No baking..unless we get bored and the boys ask but I'll have to unload the treats to someone!
I do actually have to make some smore bars for the spaghetti dinner fund raiser we are going to on saturday!

-Lime Chicken Tacos
-Garlic Chicken Tacos, Steamed Summer and Zuchini Squash, French Fries for the boys
-Mongolian Beef, Steamed Broccoli

I have lots of veggies, hummus, and beans also to play around with different meal ideas as well!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

 I had never had Quinoa before, but I hear that it's delicious and I finally found a decent price on it! It is a complete protein, so it's very filling!

Creamy Quinoa Primavera-Let's Dish
1.5 cups uncooked Quinoa
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups thinly sliced or bite size pieces of vegtables(I used thawed broccoli)
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Rinse quinoa throughly and drain. Cook quinoa in broth according the the package directions. **I actually did use my pampered chef microwave rice cooker and it worked out wonderfully!

Melt butter in small sauce pan. Cook garlic in butter until golden, add in veggies and cook just until crisp tender. Stir in cream cheese, basil, and quinoa. Sprinkle with cheese. *I found it to be a bit dry, so I stirred in some milk until it was the way I wanted it to be.

**I did end up doubling this recipe, but used some brown rice as I didn't have enough quinoa. I was being quite brave to try something new on people, but it was a HIT!! Everyone raved about it and loved it! It was even tasty as leftovers! I can't wait to try another recipe with it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

Coconut oil has recently become VERY popular especially in the whole food blogging world! It has many beneficial health benefits and is a "healthier" fat to consume. Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Tradtions is the brand that I started with. I know there are many brands and kinds out there, but this seems to be one of the best, it's smooth and tastes great!

I first started using this actually on my son's diaper rash instead of traditional diaper creams as he was wearing cloth diapers at the time and this is safe for use on them. It cleared up beautifully...

I knew I could also cook or bake with it. But I'll be honest it took me a while to actually take that first step and try it out! But I'm learning still and finding all kinds of new things to make with it!

One night I decided to "fry" our homemade tater tots in did have a slightly coconut taste to them, which did work, but not sure I will fry with it again unless it's for a sweet dish vs. a savory one.

I recently tried an AMAZING granola recipe...which called for canola oil. I instead decided to melt coconut oil and use that instead. It was the best granola we have ever had tasted. Much better than store bought. The coconut oil added that slight hint of coconut flavor and it wasn't over powering. This is the only granola recipe I make...and I only use coconut oil in it!

This past week, I decided to try it in baking. I have yet to be brave enough to try it, and I also wanted to make sure I was feeding it to people who liked coconut. I used my brownie recipe and used half coconut oil and half butter. No one could tell that I had used coconut oil in it, although I could. They knew something was different about it, but couldn't pin point it. The flavor was very subtle. The next day, I found the coconut flavor to be a bit more prominent, but the brownies still tasted delicious. I didn't mind the chocolate coconut flavor, but I know some people don't. The battle was still perfect and they baked up beautifully!

There are lots of ways and recipes to use coconut oil and there are lots of ideas found on Tropical Traditions website!

To read more about the great benefits of using and cooking with coconut oil be sure to check out Tropical Tradtions website as they have TONS of information on it! From how it is made and where it comes from!

**Disclaimer:I was contacted by Tropical Traditions and received a jar of their virgin coconut oil to review