Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's That Time Again ~ List Time

I don't know why I can't get my bloggin' mojo back with any consistency.  Good heavens, the days...they blur.  But I know if I go longer than a week, I start getting questions from inquiring minds..."Everything okay??"  Yes, everything is very okay.  Just also very busy and between the mothering and the working and the taxi-driving and the cooking and the laundering and the exercising, and the living, the blogging just doesn't make it onto the schedule.  In order to make myself feel a bit more together, I'm going to throw out the handy-dandy list.  Sorry.

1.  Brenna's track season starts tomorrow.  I sorta think of track as a Spring sport, so it makes me think Spring is approaching, even if it is still February.

2.  Brad and Alex made a whirlwind trip to Baltimore and Arizona for college auditions and interviews.  Twas a big success, and now we do my LEAST favorite thing:  we wait.  We should have all information in the first week of April, then we have a few weeks to figure it all out.

3.  I blew my diet this weekend.  And I blame it all on Rice Krispies.  The hubs makes a magnificent batch of Rice Krispie Treats, and he made them this weekend, and he put peanut butter and chocolate into them, and I ate more than my fair share of them.  I am powerless to resist him.  I mean them.  And him.

4. I did have my bloodwork to re-check my cholesterol.  Looking forward to hearing the good news this week of how wonderful everything has responded.  And minutes before I had the bloodwork done, I had my annual mammogram.  Seriously, girls, go get it done.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  Okay, that was not the best choice of words.  But truly, not a big deal.  My blood draw left a bruise.  The mammo?  You need to do it.  

5.  I was moments away from throwing up at the gym on Saturday.  I survived, finished my workout, and those around me were none-the-wiser.  An all-day, all-night headache followed.  Today was a new day and I'm thankful.

6.  Tonight was the first Sunday night in awhile with no Downton Abbey.  I was so sad after last week's episode that perhaps I needed this time to mourn.  

7.  And the Oscars tonight?  I thought Amy Adams was a vision of loveliness.  And Jennifer Garner tearing up on the red carpet talking about her man?  And then her man breaking up talking about his wife in his acceptance speech?  Love that.  I also thought Halle Berry was divine, and Anne Hathaway, and now I'm forgetting everyone who stood out to me...but there were so many lovelies it's hard to keep track.  And although I loved Jennifer Lawrence's dress color and dress top and her hair and sweet look, I thought the bottom of the dress was a bit much, as evidenced by the trip going to claim her award.  But her graciousness was so lovely that she could have been wearing burlap and she woud have been shining.  Oh, and I loved Sally Field and Jennifer Anniston too.  And Barbara Streisand was looking great tonight too.  And I'm so glad Daniel Day Lewis won for Lincoln, and his speech was sonderful.  Humble.  

8.  I need to go to bed now, so I'm quitting here.  :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Let's Talk About Love ~ And Chocolate Oatmeal

Ah, love.  I love love.  And a day to celebrate love?  Lovely.

Now, I must share with you one of my new loves.  I have found a breakfast that is so entirely delicious that I think I will prepare it for dessert every now and then. It is so very satisfying, and keeps me quite comfortable until lunch.  And since I've been cutting back on so much, anything that is healthy and CHOCOLATE totally speaks my love language.

This reminds me of the No-Bake Cookies I once loved.  The oats stay a bit chewy, not at all mushy, the almonds give a bit of crunch, the chocolate...well, it's chocolate!  So. Good.

Overnight Chocolate Oatmeal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
6 almonds, chopped
6 dark chocolate chips, chopped

Place all ingredients into a container with a lid, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.  And that's it!

This oatmeal has about 275 calories, 5 grams of fiber.

Hope you try it and fall in love...with chocolate oatmeal!

And on this day of loooove, I hope you have a bright, sparkly pink and happy day!

And to my love...I am madly, deeply, passionately in love with you!  Happy Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Apple Fritter Cake

Let's start with some good news before I segue into a knocked-it-out-of-the-park recipe, shall we?

The good news for me is I am now down 14 pounds!  Yay for hard work!  A little less than 2 weeks until I have my labs redone and that is the main thing I'm working for.  But it sure is nice to see some benefits of work and discipline.

I have been a bit whiny these last few days, really wanting something rich and chocolatey.  In large quantities.  The hubs so kindly reminded me that this new craving crisis may be linked to the calendar.  Sure enough, all should be well in a couple days.  So I will keep on keepin' on and trusting the process.

Today has been an extraordinarily productive day in the kitchen.  I have pre-made four dinners so far, and am mid-process in making 24 breakfast sandwiches for the freezer.  All this means that I not only have a couple meals to give away this week, but my evenings will also be a bit smoother with the heat-n-eat meals.  And ultimately that means I get to the gym after work with less chaos.

SO!  I have been working really hard to not only monitor my own intake, but to also make sure I don't punish the rest of the family.  Yeah, I can't eat nachos during the Super Bowl, but I can still make phenomenal nachos for everyone else to enjoy.  And I still love baking as an activity.  Sometimes my cravings are more to CREATE the sweets than to eat them.

Today I decided to make a cake I found on Pinterest awhile ago.  I knew it was one that would be lovingly embraced by my peeps.  And boy-howdy.  It is a homerun.  It will forever be in the rotation of requested desserts.  Brad, after two bites, requested this for Father's Day.  It's that good.

It is an apple fritter cake.  Yes, an APPLE FRITTER CAKE!!

The link above will take you to the original recipe if you want to take a peek at that.  I tweaked it ever so slightly, feeling like a little more cinnamon would be a bonus.

And, I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate a bite to verify the oohs and ahhs.  And it's truly great.  It would make an outstanding brunch cake, or just a wowzers cake, maybe warm with a little vanilla ice cream?  Yum.  Let's get on with it, shall we?

Apple Fritter Cake

1 heaping, spilling over cup of sliced apples.  I used 1 very large fuji apple
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 tsp water

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and apples are softening. (About 7-9 minutes) Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Filling #2:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine well in a small bowl, set aside.

1/3 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup greek yogurt (plain, nonfat)

Blend together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add applesauce, vanilla and eggs and beat well.

Sift together the dry ingredients.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 the yogurt.  Repeat, ending with flour mixture.  Blend until just combined.

Spoon half the batter into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. (Batter will be thick, so plop it around evenly and then carefully spread.)  Spoon the apple filling over the batter, carefully spreading in evenly.  Sprinkle with 2/3 of the "Filling #2" brown sugar mix.  Cover with the remaining batter, then top with remaining brown sugar mix.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick.

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 TBSP milk

Whisk together ingredients until smooth.  Add a tiny bit of milk as needed to get to the right consistency.

Remove cake from oven and poke a bunch of holes in it with a fork.  Immediately pour the glaze over the entire cake.

Set aside to drool...I mean cool...slightly and for the glaze to set.

Serve warm.  My peeps ate it with some vanilla ice cream and a tad bit of caramel sauce drizzled on the top.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some Pinteresting Love

Some very Pinteresting things have been going on around our house, and it's been so much fun!

I'll start back at the beginning.  It was time, past time, to take down all the Christmas decorations.  I had waited an extra week as it was, simply because my middle child LOVES the Christmas decorations and begged me to leave them up a bit longer.  The lazy side of me jumped at the chance to not tackle the job, so they stayed.  The next week they all got packed into their boxes to return to the attic.  All but one little 4-foot tree that brightens up our dining room.  As I was packing things away, I remembered a fun idea I saw on Pinterest, and decided to surprise my daughter, who was gone for the day.  I undecorated that little tree, and the re-decorated it with Valentine hearts.  It was so very cute, all lit up in white lights with pink and red hearts.  And to top it off, Brenna was thrilled.  And paired up with my love sign, another Pinterest idea, it's all very Valentine-sy.


THEN!  I saw this fun idea:  to decorated the kids' bedroom doors with one heart each day from February 1st thru Valentine's Day.  On the heart, I write something I love about them.  I thought it would just be a cutesy thing to do building up to the day of loooove.  And my kids have loved this more than I realized they would.  Especially my youngest, who needed some sweet words to fill her up.  She loved it so much that she started putting hearts on my bedroom door, one for me and one for her daddy every day.  Sweetness.

Yet another Pinteresting idea was these journals to share with my girls.


They each have one, and we write notes to each other.  I write something and leave it on their bed, they write back and leave it on my bed.  Not every day, just now and then.  It has been so wonderful I can't even describe.  If it wouldn't violate their privacy I would share some of their letters, they are so sweet and open and lovely.  I wish I had thought to start this years ago, but I'm so glad we do it now.  It is such a lovely way to end a day, to read the sweet words from my daughters' hearts.

I'll make an abrupt right turn and share one of my favorite meals in my new eating repertoire.  I love this so much that I have to be careful not to eat it as often as I'd like.  Especially this time of year, it's a tummy-warming, taste bud-tingling, quick-and-ready meal that I love:

Costco carries this creamy tomato soup.  One of the fabulous things about it?  It comes in this pourable container, so you can pour yourself a serving and then keep it in the refrigerator for the next time.  Only 100 calories a serving too!

My favorite way to eat it is to plop a spoonful of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt into the hot soup, stir it all up, and then add some chunks of avocado.  Delish!  I've also made it a more complete meal by adding some chunk of chicken breasts.  Really yummy.  Cannot recommend  this enough!  Next time you are at Costco, get yourself some!  I can imagine that it's amazingly tasty with a pesto grilled cheese sandwich too.  Although, for now, that is only in my imagination.  Yum yum.

So that's it for now.  As we creep up on Valentine's Day next week, hope you take some time to show some love to someone in your life!