Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Homemade Pizza Lunchables

Hello, darlings.  So very sorry I haven't blogged in a while.  You know I'm an unpredictable poster.
I only like to post recipes that I felt were special enough.  And this one fits the bill.

Props to Money Saving Mom's Pizza Dough Recipe for her fabulous pizza dough I always go to when I need it.  I use stone-ground whole wheat, so it's not only an easy recipe, it's healthy.

To it, before I pop it in the oven, I brush on a dab of olive oil.  But otherwise, I follow it to the letter.  But because the dough I made today was strictly for the kids' pizza lunchables, I decided to break out my cookie cutters!!

I attempted to make this dough in my Ninja blender, because it actually has a dough blade, but it was a messy, messy fail.  So I rolled it all out by hand and cookie cuttered them!  I just made that word up.

How frickin cute is the owl?  OMG.


Little olive oil before baking at 400 degrees for 8 minutes!


Send a couple of these bad boys with some pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella, and your kid will be the envy of the lunchroom.  There are so many possibilities here for toppings, too, like ham and pineapple, pepperoni, bacon bits.  The world is your oyster.

Hmmm, oyster pizza! 

Stay young,

Friday, April 5, 2013

Carrot Cake Oatmeal!

I used to make carrot cake oatmeal that was decadent.  But those days are gone.  For now.

This time, I am making the Fat Smash Phase One version, and quite frankly, I didn't really miss all the added maple syrup and other sugary additives.

My other recipe (sorry, it's sideways) calls for milk, walnuts and syrup, which I completely omitted for Fat Smash Phase One.  I also should have skipped the raisins, but it's one thing
I just can't quit, when it comes to oatmeal.  Fat Smash or not.
I just cooked old-fashioned oats, per the instructions on the canister, and added one cup of shredded carrot, and used water instead of milk, about 1 3/4 cup.  Instead of maple syrup, I used a teaspoon of honey and a dash of salt.  I only had sweetened coconut flakes, so I skipped that, too.

The carrot gave it a nice, slightly crunchy texture, which I think oatmeal greatly needs.  It was simply wonderful! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fat Smash Phase One recipes! Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Here I am, starting yet another diet.  But a diet that I was on before, on which I was able to lose a few pounds.

It is the Fat Smash Diet by Dr. Ian from Celebrity Fit Club.  Phase One lasts 9 days, and it is fairly restrictive.  Basically, I'm allowed to eat the following:

Vegs (no white potatoes/avocado)


Brown rice 2 cups

2 cups milk

Oatmeal  1 cup
6 oz yogurt low fat 2 times a day

4 egg whites per day
2 cups decaf green tea a day

So, as you can see, we are allowed no meat, cheese, or anything else delicious.  So, I came up with an entire meal planner for myself with meal choices that my family might actually eat with me.  All of this work should produce results, right?

Let's hope.

So last night, day one of Fat Smash, I decided to make Mexican Stuffed Green Peppers.  Here are some of the major players.   I don't have an actual recipe for this. 

Basically, you mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl, (I used canned corn, canned black beans, and a half-can of enchilada sauce) while you cook a couple cups of brown rice.

I used my handy dandy Black and Decker rice cooker for this, and I start this step about 30 minutes before I need to assemble the peppers.

Once the rice is cooked, you can mix a cup into the filling mixture.
Then, get stuffing!  Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce over top.  If you aren't on
Phase One of the Fat Smash diet, you might want to add some shredded cheddar
on top of this, but I passed.  Didn't need it!

I covered the peppers with foil and baked in a 400 degree oven for
about 45 minutes.  I added a little low-fat sour cream (which isn't exactly
phase one but....) and voila.

Pretty?  Maybe not.  But I didn't feel like I was on a diet!  Score!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cream Cheese Pancakes -- Low Carb breakfast idea!

Good morning, friends!

I'm currently trying to stay away from grains, sugar, and high-carb meals, so I found a recipe for Cream Cheese Pancakes on Pinterest and thought I would give it a go.  It's something the girls would probably like, and I'm guessing it's probably freezable, too.  The thing with going low-carb is that everything, especially breakfast foods, need to be cooked and fussed over.  And in the morning, you really just want to throw something together quick and go.

Let me tell you, these were divine.  Like, way better than real pancakes, in my humble opinion.  They didn't have that overly sweet, gaggingly filling fluff.  They were a little bit crispy, and so satisfying when you haven't had anything bready in a while.

These are the major players.  I also added a little almond flour blend, which is gluten-free. 

 Mix wet ingredients (2 eggs, 4 oz cream cheese, 2Tbsp cinnamon and 2 Tbsp honey) in a blender or with a mixer.  You could do this by hand, I'm sure, but I don't want to burn so many calories this early. 

After you have a nice, bubby mixture, you can add about a 1/4 cup of almond flour blend.  Now, the original recipe only called for eggs and 2 oz. cream cheese, but the mixture was so watery, I couldn't see how it was going to work.  I added the flour and 2 extra ounces of cream cheese, and they were perfection. 

Melt a little butter in a pan.


You could probably break this up into smaller pancakes, but I just made two 8" frying-pan sized pancakes.  

Now, you should probably not start cleaning out your fridge, like I did, while these are on the stove.  Then, you will get a much darker pancake than you might prefer.


This shade of pancake is a little more palatable.

I don't think it took more than 4 minutes per pancake.  They flipped over like a dream.  No breaking, no running.  Really, they are so easy and so mmmmmm.

You may never eat another doughy pancake again.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Butternut Squash Pie

This family loves their pumpkin pie.  And what is pumpkin?  It's a squash.   Soooooo, when you have a big ole' butternut squash in your fridge that you don't know what to do with and you're hankering for dessert, what else is a girl to do?

There are probably ten different ways you can go about this.  I took my squash, pierced it a couple times, and popped it in the oven on a tray for about an hour.  Then I sliced it longways, scooped out the seeds, and cut out all the orange fleshy goodness.  I then put it in my food processor until it was pureed nicely.  Then I let it cool a little.

Once this is accomplished, you're ready to begin.  You're just an hour away from pie.  Here's how  you make it happen.

Spiced Butternut Squash Pie
Makes 1 Pie (9”)

14 ounces vanilla wafer cookies, finely ground into crumbs (I used graham crackers)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups butternut squash puree
1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Unsweetened Whipped Cream: (I used cool whip)
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl mix together the vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter until fully incorporated. Press the mixture into a 9” pie dish or tart shell, pressing both evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Place onto a baking sheet and then into the refrigerator until ready to use.

This is my older cutie, helping mommy.


3. Place butternut squash puree in a bowl and add the remaining filling ingredients. Stir together until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

 Pour the filling into the prepared crust and carefully set into the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the filling has set, but is barely loose in the middle.   (I dusted the top with a little nutmeg.)

(I had a lot extra, for some reason.  Or maybe this isn't a true 9" plate.
So I made two little ramekins of pie, without the crust,
because I can.  Should I have thrown the extra away??)

4. Allow pie to cool completely, about 2 to 3 hours. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

5. For the unsweetened whipped cream: Place cream and vanilla into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl, if using a hand mixer. Beat cream and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. To serve: Generously top pie with whipped cream and top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, or both.  Serve.

This is so similar to pumpkin pie, you would be amazed.  Mom always said to eat your veggies!  Okay, mom.  If you insist!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Stomach Virus -- An unappetizing subject

This isn’t the type of post I typically write, but because I am knee-deep in the trenches right now with a family stomach virus, I thought I would blog about things that I have found helpful over the years.  I will never forget my first experience with my daughter’s stomach virus.  I was ill-prepared, pardon the pun.

It was 3 a.m., and my daughter came into my room and uttered the three words that shake every mother to the core:  “Mommy, I threw-up.”

In my half-awake state, I leapt from the bed and assessed the situation.  My daughter was covered in vomit --- chin, hair, pajamas.   Bed, covered.  Comforter, covered.  Bah.

There is no way to prevent this first assault on the bedding/pajamas/floor.  It is unavoidable, unless the child indicated prior that their stomach was upset.  Especially the younger children.

At first, I panicked.  I literally did not know where to start or how to handle this situation.  My dear husband is of no use, with a high sensitivity to bodily functions.  So it was up to me to deal with the mess, and somehow prepare for the next day or so of stomach virus.

My first encounter with treating a child’s stomach virus was disastrous.  I spent days doing buttloads of laundry, trying all the while not to succumb to the monster myself, each time I rinsed the offending sheet or blanket.  I knew I would have to have a plan, for the next time.

So, I developed a system.  This may be something that others just do naturally, but for someone like me, I needed to actually think about it and write it down, really learn it, so that I could deal with it better and smarter.  Here is what I came up with:

It’s 3 a.m.  Your child has vomited in their bed.

  1. Get a waste bin and line it with a grocery bag.  Direct your child to use this bin for vomiting.  Bag will be tied, discarded and replaced after each incidence.  Do this BEFORE you clean your child.   Trust me.  Being prepared is your ultimate goal.
  2. Clean up your child.  BEFORE you remove pajamas, clean hair, hands and face.  I like to use diaper wipes because washrags have to be laundered.  I put diaper wipes into a grocery bag and into the trash right away.
  3. Remove pajamas.  Leave child in underwear and undershirt, if possible.  During the next day, you could even put them in a smock, which can be wiped down.
  4. Have child wash hands and face in bathroom, then rinse mouth and brush teeth.  Pull all hair back into a ponytail or pigtails.
  5. Remove sheets.  I ball them up, put them in laundry basket, and put them in the laundry room to rinse in the morning in the utility sink.   (If you’re a saavy mommy, you will have had a mattress protector under the sheet.  My favorite is something like THIS.  I place them under the sheet.)  After rinsing in the sink, I will launder them, by themselves, on a stain cycle.  I wait until the morning to launder, because by the morning, I may have more items that require laundering.
  6. Instead of fresh sheets, I have found that using a sleeping bag works much better.  The material is easier to wipe down, if necessary.  We use the sleeping bag until the virus is gone.  This cuts down on the laundering of bedding over and over.  Or, designate a throw or blanket to the patient.  Patient is only allowed to use this blanket or throw for the duration of the illness.  ALSO, I will designate a bathroom hand towel to the patient, which no one else is allowed to use.
  7. CLOROX/LYSOL.   First thing in the morning, wipe down/spray all doorknobs, faucet handles, railings, fridge handles, and anything else your child normally touches.  Ipads, kindles, toys, schoolbag, all of it. 
  8. 100% Grape Juice.  Get your whole family on a grape juice regimen as soon as a virus starts.  100% Grape juice, three times a day.  Whomever is actually vomiting only gets WHITE grape juice.  Grape juice has something in it that can prevent you from getting the virus, or prevent the virus from getting too bad.  I saw it on the internet, so it must be true.  I actually tried it, and it seemed to work.  (Placebo?  Can't say.  Don't care.)
  9. The patient gets no food until next afternoon.   Sips of room temp water or cola that has been stirred and flattened.  Then, she only gets toast, broth, crackers, bananas, diluted gatorade and water for a day or two.  Slow, small bites.  I will also allow patient to have a peppermint, or peppermint tea, or a chamomile tea.
  10. Wash your hands.  Constantly.  Everyone in the house needs to wash hands every time you touch something.  Seriously.  Make sure you are washing the little ones’ hands and faces, too.  Make sure the patient gets a nice, warm shower at some point in the first day.  And don’t forget to shower and change YOUR clothes, too.  

Prevention and preparation will get you through it.  It’s harder with little ones, who simply can’t direct their vomit into the proper receptacle.  Even the older ones miss, sometimes.  You must be swift and thorough with the cleaning process, however, so that the virus is contained.  I tend to like to clean with throwaway items like paper towels, chlorox wipes and the like for floors during this time, rather than towels or sponge mops.  I just couldn’t imagine keeping mops after using them to clean vomit.  Just, no.

I wish I could put the kids in a bubble, but unfortunately, this is just a part of life.    Hopefully, there are tips here that you can use, the next time the stomach virus monster visits your home……

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