Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Kitchen Perspective

Nothing changes your perspective on being in the kitchen better than a new appliance. 

You know that feeling you get after buying a new car? The "new car euphoria" they call it? Where you get in a waste gas driving no where just because you want to be in and driving it? 

Ya, you get that from new appliances at home, too.
Like a new stove in the kitchen.
Like I just got...

Goodbye ancient dinosaur stove that only had one working burner and cooked unevenly!

Hello pretty new stove that has all working burners and cooks everything perfectly!

Needless to say, I kind of want to bake just so I can use it. I don't really enjoy cooking, but I've got that new stove euphoria thing going on ;)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Zebra Birthday Cake

We've all seen those crazy awesome cakes on Pinterest that we wish we could make, but know it'll never happen in a million years.

Well, for my daughters' joint little family party Wednesday night I attempted one of the easier of those cakes and Thank Heaven it turned out great! 

It was a pain in the butt to make, but my girls were amazed by it's awesomeness and I earned the "Best Mommy Ever" award for the night. I consider that well worth the pain-in-the-buttness.

^See the joy on their faces? I just love that. It's what makes the tediousness, money, mess, and cleanup all worth it :)


So what you'll need is 2 cake mixes. It doesn't matter what brand kind you use as long as they are two different colors. You can also use food coloring with white cake and make a multicolor zebra cake which is super fun, but at my house we try to stay away from a lot of artificial colors and dyes except for special occasions. I use Duncan Hines because most of their mixes have no dairy. This time I chose Classic White and Devil's Food for black (brown) and white stripes.

 I forgot to take in between pictures... sorry :/
Make the cake mixes as it says on the box, adding water, oil, and eggs in the appropriate amounts and mixing well.

 So this was when it had been in the oven for a few minutes. (I forgot to take a before the oven pic... pregnancy brain!) 
My center kind of ended up on the side, but hey, it was my first try! lol So basically what I did was use a quarter cup measuring cup and started with chocolate. I added a quarter cup to the center of the prepared pan. (sprayed and floured) Then I poured a quarter cup of white on top of the center of the chocolate layer, and then another quarter cup of chocolate, repeating the pattern till about half of both mixes were in the pan.

By then there was quite a bit of mix in the pan and I didn't want to cake to be too big for the pan. Every few pours I picked up the pan and dropped it gently onto the counter to make sure the mix wasn't getting to high up that I couldn't add the next layer. I hope that makes sense!

Since I had leftover batter I made half chocolate half white cupcakes.

 ^This is what the cake turned out looking like when it came out of the oven. Pretty nifty looking. And these below are what the cupcakes looked like baked. They kind of look like I added chocolate chips or something, but I didn't :)

 I was BEYOND excited (almost as much as my girls!) to cut the cake. Not only was my pregnant self excited to get a slice of that delicious goodness, but I really wanted to see if the center had turned out as pictured in the other zebra cakes I'd seen.


I was so happy, and my girls thought it was the coolest thing since non-dairy cookies they could actually eat. What a great end to a fun Birthday Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

So yesterday I spent 2 HOURS making Valentines Cupcakes for my 6 year old daughter's class party. I  made, baked, cooled and frosted forever to make these little sweet cakes and I'm going to try my best not to eat any of them while helping out at the party today... We'll see if that happens!

I think they actually turned out pretty cute! Wanna see my mad Cupcake Skillz??

They actually turned out pretty cute. 

And the best part?
They are COMPLETELY dairy-free! Who woulda thought you could have made something so delicious without dairy? 

I also made them with no oil/margarine so they're lower in fat than most other cupcakes.
The TRICK? Applesauce. Just substitute the same amount of applesauce in the recipe that is called for for oil. Amazing little trick I learned yesterday.

Ya learn something new everyday!

Well, Happy Valentines Day! I hope everyone's day is filled with love and fun!
(And hopefully not too many kids on a sugar high...)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


My amazing husband surprised me with a High Power Juicer for Christmas! I was so excited. I've been wanting a juicer for a long time, and now, I have one :)

He got me a Bella 1000 Watt Juice Extractor and man is it a mean machine! This thing shredded and juiced everything I put in it!

So this was my juicer maiden voyage yesterday:
1 granny smith apple with peel
1 red fuji apple with peel
1 mandarin orange, peeled
1 carrot without greens
2 stalks of celery with leafy parts
1 handfull spinach
2 handfulls blueberries
1 cucumber with peel, ends chopped off

That whole bowl made 2 large glasses of juice. 

I garnished the glasses with a lemon because I'm fancy ;-)
The taste was very interesting, not bad but not delicious, and the texture wasn't very pleasant, but I'm one of those people that has a hard time with certain textures and I think I will just have to get used to it.

My husband loved it.

But of course I was a big girl and finished my whole glass then sucked on the lemon for a minute. I had to use a butter knife to keep stirring it as it wanted to separate everytime I put it down. No biggie there though.

All in all my first juicing experience wasn't bad. 

It was a bit of a pain to clean, but most of the parts are dishwasher safe so I imagine the cleaning process would be lots easier if I had a magic dishwashing machine :-/

And maybe a little TMI, but that drink went right through me! If you're having a bit of trouble going to the bathroom, this is DEFINITELY a good idea! Ok, enough gross sharing! lol

I am definitely going to be trying some different blends. I hear carrots, apples, and pineapples all go really well with mango and celery so maybe that will be my next juicing adventure...

Oh the places you'll go!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Easy Non-Dairy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did I just find yet another recipe on Pinterest that my family loves? 
Why, yes! I did!
Seriously, Pinterest is the best thing for Mom's since someone decided to invent earplugs.

I found this recipe on The Knotty Knitters Blog. I'm not sure who actually created it though.

So this super easy recipe is great for when you are short on time and need a fall treat for your kid's class, or to take to a work party, or any occasion really! Want to know why? There are only 3 ingredients! Doesn't get any easier than that.

So here's what you'll need:
1 oz can of Pumpkin
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
1 bag your favorite Non-Dairy Chocolate Chips
(I like Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet)
*optional* I added an extra tsp of cinnamon because I just love me some cinnamon :)

You just mix all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl (you do not need the ingredients that the cake mix calls for, only the 3 listed above) and scoop them out into small mounds (about 1 tbsp each, a cookie scoop would be best) onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Cook them at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Seriously, that's it. Start to finish, less than an hour.

This recipe yielded appx 36 cookies when I used my cookie scoop. According to my calculations that's 105 calories per cookie. A little much for my dietary plan, but it's nice to indulge every once in a while.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Tea

These are beautiful, Golden Flaxseeds. 
Before I was introduced to the health benefits of flaxseeds and before I personally experienced their healing power, I thought, "Flaxseeds? Really? Gross." True, they are not as pleasant to eat on their own as say, Sunflower Seeds, but they do make a delicious tea and the benefits for your body makes it worth the time to brew it.

I have had personal experience with the amazingness (yes, I just said "amazingness" lol) of flaxseed tea. 
I suffer from Gall Bladder attacks almost every month. They usually happen at night, and my sweet, sweet husband always gets up and makes me some FlaxTea when I'm hugging the toilet bowl and groaning from the burning pain. I sip it slowly and it usually always helps my body to calm down. It is some amazing stuff. I don't know how I would get through my attacks without it!

This is how you brew Flaxseed tea. 
You just put a hand full of seeds into a medium sized pot that has a small amount of water (more than enough to fill your tea cup, but not too much. About 1-1.5 inches over the handfull of seeds) Some seeds will float to the top, don't worry about it. You brew it on low heat until it starts to thicken. It's thicker than most other teas that are normally the consistency of water. The water does not need to boil. 

Once it has thickened use something like this^, something that will let the tea through, but not the seeds, and fill up your tea cup. It tastes pretty bland, but add about a tsp of Honey and oh sweet tastebuds it's good ...mmm...

These are some of the incredible reasons to use flaxseeds in your cooking and drink the tea. Or just the eat the seeds if that floats your boat ;-)

Flaxseed may aid in:
Lowering Cholesterol
Stabilizing Blood Sugar
Fighting Bone Loss
Promoting Weight Loss
Increasing Immunity
and Fighting Cancer

Flaxseed is high in:
Most of the B vitamins, Magnesium, and Manganese
Fiber, both soluble and insoluble
Phytochemicals, including power antioxidants such as lignans.
Omega3 fatty acids

I got my information from this website. You may go here to read in more detail about the health properties of Flaxseeds.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Smoothie Day

I've been in kind of a rut lately and have been unable to lose my last 8 lbs. Seriously, I get on the scale week after week and the number remains the same. It's very discouraging! Especially since I gave up any and ALL sugary treats last week. No more candy, no more baked goods, weight watchers treats, soy ice cream, not even fruit juice. Strictly water and regular food.

Last night I decided that I wanted to do an experiment with my body. I was going to eat only fruit all day long and see if that helped me at all. When I actually sat down to plan it out I discovered that I don't have a wide enough variety of fresh fruit at home to make a fruit day doable so I decided a smoothie day would be a great alternative. I have 3 big bags of frozen organic fruit down stairs that on the bag say things like "Just as healthy as fresh fruit" and "Nutritious Immunity Blend" on them. Perfect!!

So this blog post is going to be all about what I ate all day long (with recipes), the products I used and how many calories each meal/snack had. I will also blog my feelings along the way in hopes that if this experiment actually works to jump start my body and get me out of this weight loss plateau, that others who read my blog can take the information and help themselves as well! I will also blog my workout for today just because I feel really awesome that I made it through the whole thing! lol

In order to do a smoothie day I had to have a couple of additives, but don't worry, they're healthy additives and there are only three. (When I say additives I mean things besides fruit. Asterix denotes non-fruit additives)

I also plan on drinking tons of water throughout the day, at the least about 3 liters, more than likely more.

BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE (7:45am, 105 cals)
Taken with two superfood capsules, a B vitamin complex, 2 comfortone capsules, 2 cinnamon capsules, a joint support supplement, a calcium magnesium potassium supplement, and a vitamin C.
1 cup organic frozen Mango and Pineapple chunks (70 calories)
*1/2 cup light original organic Soymilk (35 calories)
*1 pkt Stevia in the Raw® (0 calories)
Blended all together in my Ninja Blender (my new favorite kitchen gadget) for about a minute and enjoyed in a glass.

After this smoothie I was feeling pretty good, so I went to the gym and it sustained me through my workout. I made sure to drink plenty of water and added my Slique Essence® to my water bottle before I started my workout.

WORKOUT (Burned 400 calories)
10 forward lunges (each side) holding a 10 lb dumbell in each hand
10 plie jumps (click to see what these are)
10 reverse lunges (each side) holding a 10 lb dumbell in each hand
10 squat jumps (click to see what these are)
10 step ups (each side), step should be at least 1 foot off the ground
10 standing front leg lifts (each side)
10 single leg bridges (click to see what these are)
10 standing side leg lifts (each side)
10x10 wall sit (100 seconds, 1:40)
Rest one minute then repeat this cycle one time.

10 pushups (feet elevated)
24 biceps burners, 8 full curls-8 half curls-8 full curls, with 8 lb dumbells
15 overhead shoulder presses, with 8 lb dumbells
10 pushups (feet elevated)
15 tricep dips
15 bent over back rows, with 10 lb dumbells
15 lateral raises (arms fully strait and extend up/out to the side to shoulder height)
10 pushups (feet elevated)
15 tricep kick backs, with 5 lb dumbells
20 tricep pulses (stand leaning slightly forward, arms strait and pulse arms back)
Rest one minute and repeat this cycle one time. The second time I did this my feet were not elevated on the pushups.

Run 2 miles in intervals of 2 minutes. 2 minutes at 3.5, 2 minutes at 6.5, repeat till desired mile marker is reached.

I was completely exhausted after this as you can imagine, so I picked up my kids from the gym daycare and went home to make another smoothie.

POST WORKOUT SMOOTHIE (10:30am, 275 cals)
Taken with 2 superfood capsules.
*1 cup light original organic soymilk (70 calories)
2/3 cup frozen mango chunks (60 calories)
1/2 cup frozen strawberry slices (25 calories)
*2 pkts Stevia in the Raw® (0 calories)
*1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (120 calories)

This smoothie was delicious and totally filled me. I'm feeling pretty good at this point even though I've had no gluten or filler foods all day (like I normally do) and it's 11am right now. I'm going to shower and clean my house and see how I feel around lunch.

LUNCH (1pm, 155 cals)
Taken with 2 superfood capsules.
1 cup frozen strawberries (50 calories)
3/4 cup light original organic soymilk (53 calories)
1/2 of a banana ( 52 calories)

Delicious, of course, as usual! Enjoyed it outside while my kid's played on their tire swing and mini trampoline. They kept sneaking sips from me, too. Little stinkers :)

I had to have a snack after a few hours because I knew I wouldn't make it to dinner without feeling very hungry.

SNACK (3:30pm, 126 cals)
1 apple, sliced, with peel (126 calories)
The other half of the Strawberry Banana Smoothie's Banana
(52 calories)

This is where it got hard! I made breakfast for dinner, consisting of bacon, eggs, and biscuits. I did this so that it wouldn't be too tempting for me to steer away from my diet of the day. Ya, that didn't happen! I was very tempted to grab a plate full of eggs and scarf them down, but I held steadfast and didn't have a single bite. Makes me feel very proud of my ability to control myself.

DINNER (6pm,  about 225 cals)
Taken with two superfood capsules.
Homemade Strawberry sorbet made by and shared with my husband, yes be jealous!
2.5 cups frozen mixed fruit (175 calories)
1.5 cups light vanilla organic soymilk (120 calories)
3 pkts of Stevia in the Raw® (0 calories)
1/3 of a banana (35 calories)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (120 calories)
Mix all together for several minutes in your blender, spoon into a bowl and enjoy. Makes two full bowl servings.

DESSERT (7pm, about 52 cals)
1 Lg handfull frozen grapes (about 52 calories)

I went to bed without feeling hungry or run down, and that really surprised me. I had thoughts in my head of how it would feel to live on fruit and soymilk for a day, and I was thinking it would be a lot harder than it was. With the exception of dinner, it was actually pretty easy and enjoyable.

I consumed about 980 calories today (give or take 10-15 or so), which is well below the recommended amount that you should take in daily to live (and below what I normally eat which is around 1300-1500), but I'm perfectly fine and wasn't hungry. I got all the nutrients I needed to live, workout, play with my kids and do all the other things I did that day.

Side effects? There was only one that I can think of and, at the risk of over-sharing I will let you know that I was in the bathroom peeing about every 20-30 minutes. It was ridiculous. Besides that, there wasn't anything else that wasn't great about doing this.

The next morning I got up and stepped on the scale after going to the bathroom, crossing my fingers that I'd had some positive results from all my hard work. 2.6 pounds down people!! In one day!! What a success! My heart was soaring and I was very pleased with how things went. The fact that I got to go to the gym soon after that and do my all time favorite workout (Viva La Zumba!) made it seem so much better. What a great morning!!

In addition to my smoothie only day I decided to go gluten free today (the day after the smoothie day) just to see if that would help keep the pounds off after I started eating regular food again. I also plan on lowering my normal gluten intake for good, and trying to make better snacking decisions from now on.

If ANYONE has any questions or comments I would love to hear your feedback or help if I can.

*As a side note I would just like to add that only drinking smoothies or eating fruit for a full day is not for everyone. I would not recommend this diet for pregnant or nursing women or men who labor at work and workout heavily during the day. If you suffer from a chronic disease such a diabetes or a problem like hypoglycemia I would do some research on the effects that this would have on those types of conditions, or consult with your doctor before starting. It might also be a good idea to research the vitamins you take as well. I take/mentioned what is right for my body and you should do the same for yours.