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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Healthy Apple Crisp with Cranberries

Yesterday after school, Carter said “Mom, what did you make us today?!” Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good answer for him, but today I will! I needed to use up the remainder of the apples from our haul at the apple orchard this fall. We picked nearly 50 pounds and after only 2 batches of applesauce and 1 pie we had eaten the rest until today…Im trying a healthy version of Apple Crisp for my sweetie pies today, hope you enjoy :)

9-12 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced (the handy-dandy peeler slicer is amazing here)

2 TBL lemon juice

2 TBL white sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 cups of  old-fashioned oats

2 TBL Smart Balance Canola oil spread (or whatever blend/spread you desire)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss apples, lemon juice and sugar together in a large bowl. Spread in a greased 9×13 pan.

In another bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, canola spread, and cinnamon together with a pastry blender or fork. Sprinkle over the apple mixture.

Bake until crisp is bubbly and golden brown, 50-55 minutes.

Serves 12 and is 4 PointsPlus per serving.

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Salted Caramel Blondies

 

IMG_6913Preheat oven to 375 degrees

List of ingredients

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp coarse sea salt

2 sticks of room-temperature butter

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of Kraft Caramel Bits (tiny preformed balls of caramel found in baking section)

2 cups of slightly broken pretzel twists

Salted Caramel or Butterscotch melting wafers to drizzle on top after cutting

Instructions

Cream butter, sugars and vanilla together. (I use my Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer for almost all of my baking) Add eggs. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chocolate chips and caramel bits.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and lightly spray. Spread dough in pan and gently press pretzel pieces on top. The beauty of the parchment paper step is that you will be able to lift the entire slab of cookies out of the pan for easier slicing.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until middle is set and top is slightly browned. Allow to cool for a few hours.  Once cool, I sliced the bars and put on a cooling rack and drizzled with Salted Caramel Wafers. These bar cookies are actually better one they have cooled, if you can wait that long!

Enjoy!

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20 Pounds Gone!

Last Friday I achieved my goal! 20 pounds gone since March 1st!!!!!!! It was weigh in day…and yes, I have been a closet Weight Watchers member. The only person that really knew I was on this journey was my dear husband. It wasnt necessarily a secret, I just felt I would be more successful if I just did it and not talked about it. I was very skeptical when joining this program. After all, I have young kids in the house, I really do not like to focus on my weight or a number on the scale. I really think “diet” is a four-letter bad word. Mostly, I love to eat, and thought how could this possibly work?  But, I had decided it was time to drop some pounds, something I had wanted to do for a long time.  Having 4 babies in 7 years was a bit tough on the body.  I had also suffered from plantar fasciitis in both of my feet for almost a year.  I went through months of physical therapy, icing, electronic stimulations, massage, and with the help my wonderful physical therapist, I am now pain-free. Those months with limited exercise certainly didn’t help my situation and for some reason last March, I decided it was time. I actually lost the first 10 pounds by myself , by literally working my tail off and tracking my intake religiously. I upped the ante on the workouts, became best friends with the elliptical, walked miles and miles and regularly did weight lifting. I used an app on my iPhone to track calories. This tracking became very eye-opening. I thought I knew what I was eating, but until I actually recorded EVERYTHING, I really had no idea.

Summer arrived and I felt I hit a plateau, I joined Weight Watchers to help me finish off my goal. The plan basically gives you a set amount of “PointsPlus” to consume based on your weight and height. What I like best about the program is the ETools program you can use online and on the smart phone. I mainly use it on my phone, but it’s basically a  tracking program. I also like the plan because it’s not a restrictive “diet” or something where I had to purchase or only eat certain foods. I’m a foodie after all, I wouldn’t like being told I couldn’t eat something. I still eat everything I want to, just in limited quantities. It’s really just held me accountable. This summer Weight Watchers came out with an activity monitor called ActiveLink. It monitors all of your activity in a day and gives you a goal for each day.  You can actually see how much your moving and I could get a better idea of the physical activity I was getting. Being the digital girl I’ve become, I surprisingly loved all  this tracking and monitoring!

I’ve met my Weight Watchers goal and have maintained it for 6 weeks. Yahoo!  I’m pretty proud of my accomplishment!  That makes me a “lifetime” member at Weight Watchers, which means, the program is now free  for me, even the Etools! I think that’s pretty awesome too. I am not an official “spokeswoman” for Weight Watchers, but I’m here to say it works and it’s a pretty great program. My journey has really just confirmed things that most of us know already, I just needed some reminding. Moderation and movement, it’s really just a lifestyle, about making healthy choices.  I will feature recipes on my blog from time to time that I have made PointsPlus calculations on and I will continue to look for tasty and healthy recipes to share with you and your family.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

I love October and all things pumpkin, so this week when I was “snack mom” for my daughters theatrical team, I made this dip. It’s super easy, has a cute presentation and it went over really well with the kids.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

2 8 ounce tubs of whipped cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups of powdered sugar

1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin

1 TBL cinnamon

1 TBL pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp of apple cider

Directions

1. Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth with no lumps, I used my Kitchenaid stand-mixer.

2. Gradually mix in the pumpkin, spices and cider until smooth.

3. refrigerate for a few hours until firmed up a bit.

4. Serve in a hollowed out “pie pumpkin” (those cute small ones you see in the grocery store) I lined mine with a plastic wrap before putting the dip in. Keep the pumpkin lid to put on the side for presentation. Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers or sliced apples. Leftovers cold be used on bagels or a teaspoon in your coffee. Enjoy!

Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-dip/

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes

Something about a Saturday or Sunday morning that seems to call for pancakes. Comfort food at it’s finest, who doesn’t love a steaming stack of pancakes filled with gooey chocolate chips or bursting blueberries and topped with warm maple syrup? I love pancakes of all types and have over the years devised a lower-fat, healthy version that my family enjoys. This recipe does include some pre-made mixes, you can certainly make your own homemade pancake mix, but this is a time saver step for me, a little “semi-homemade.” After all, who has time to create EVERYTHING from scratch?!?! Not me :)

This is a variation I have created for fall, enjoy with a pumpkin spice latte!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients include:

1 single serving packet of reduced sugar, brown sugar flavor oatmeal

1 small handful of whole rolled oats, for extra texture

1 cup of water

1 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick

1 cup Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 1/2 cups of skim milk

Special add-ins include: semi-sweet chocolate chips (a great combo and necessity with the pumpkin i think), golden raisins or dried cranberries

Begin by using a microwave-proof bowl (pyrex-type), add oatmeal packet, rolled oats and water. Microwave for a minute or so until oatmeal is cooked. Blend remainder of ingredients. Cooked on lightly greased (cooking spray) griddle. These pancakes are moist and thick and therefore need to cook long enough not to turn out doughy in the middle.

Enjoy with warm, 100% real maple syrup. After being raised on the artificial syrups, I switched to the real deal a few years ago and will not turn back. A little goes a long way and you get what you get. 100% pure maple syrup, no additives or chemicals.

Makes 12 pancakes, which would be 3 points per (plain) pancake.

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