Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pears and Chocolate?

While out to dinner with my favorite suppliers of "discounted" fruit it was mentioned how good the pear cinnamon jam was and that they were out of it. And that their kids would only eat jam if it was jam I made. I figured it was time to get out the canning supplies. I had a weekend coming with nothing planned and my husband was working so it was perfect timing! Thursday evening when I got home I found a box of pears and apples on my door step. Yes!!!

I spent a slow Friday at work looking for new recipes. (Don't worry my boss does not care!) I am not good at following recipes but I do enjoy reading them for ideas. The first site I always go to is (and I usually end there). A new recipe was on her recipe index! Pear and chocolate jam! How could I not make it?

Since I have been trying to get healthy and loose weight I have cut out most of the sweets from my diet. I know it is hard to believe for those who know me. But the sweets I do have tend to be ones I have made. So I know what I am eating. I am excited to have this treat in my almost empty jam closet!

My first batch I used 10 pears, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, 3 1/2 cups sugar, 7oz dark chocolate and cinnamon. It was so rich you could barely taste the pear. So for my second batch I used 15 pears, 3/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup water, 4 cups sugar, 7oz dark chocolate and cinnamon.

The second batch was much better. Still very chocolatey but you could really taste the pear. Especially when you bit into a chunk of pear.

This jam will definitely be made again! Next time I may even add more pears. But whoever gets a jar of this batch is pretty lucky. Today I made 9 pints and I am hesitating giving any of them away!

Now it's time for a little break before I head to the store for cinnamon. Can't really make pear cinnamon jam without the cinnamon!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

More Protein, Ugh

So I am officially down 20 pounds! I have been trying to follow a diet of 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fats. Some days I am spot on, others I am close and then there are those days I am not even close. One thing that is hard is getting 100+ grams of protein a day without eating a lot of calories. I started looking into protein powders. Most added a lot of protein but also added a lot of calories. But I finally found one that I think will work for me.

For 2 scoops it is 100 calories and 15 grams of protein. I know some of the other protein powders have more protein per scoop but I want to try and stay away from the extra calories they have. Last night for dinner I made a smoothie that was 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, 1 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup non fat milk and 2 scoops of the protein powder. It was delicious, extremely filling and had about 42g of protein.

For breakfast this morning I am having another shake. This one is 1 1/2 cups mixed frozen berries, 1 cup vanilla non fat yogurt, 1 cup milk, 1 cup spinach and 2 scoops protein powder. It is wonderful and about 35g protein.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oatmeal Muffins

After returning from a much needed girls trip to Hawaii I began a new chapter of my life! My main goal is to get healthy! Loose weight and eat better. Well I love food so part of my new life involves going to the gym. I am lucky that just down the street is a gym I feel really comfortable working out at. I have found that going there allows me to eat more, yay!

Using an App on my phone called Lose it is making this process so much easier. It is also making it so I actually write down (or log) recipes that I am making. Some have been awesome and some I will probably not make again.

Today I made banana oat muffins. They turned out better then expected.

Here they are!

Here is the recipe. I mashed the bananas then added everything else. Baked at 350* for 20-30 minutes.

I now know what to do with any bananas that get a little brown in our house.

You may be wondering what PB2 is. Well I discovered it last week and so far it has not disappointed!

I found it at the local health food store. When this jar gets low I will probably order online where it is a little cheaper. And they make a PB2 with chocolate.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Hawaii

It is December 28th and we are starting to pack things up to head home tomorrow. I do have to say that not being home for the holidays was kind of weird. Growing up the holidays were always so routine. For us it was Christmas eve at mom's house then Christmas day at dad's house, for so many years this never changed. But as I have gotten older the normal routine has changed so much. Wanting to do what I am so used to and wanting to start new traditions with my own little family. I don't think Hawaii will become part of that tradition. There are so many things I missed. Putting up a Christmas tree, waking up Christmas morning to stocking and presents from Santa, a big holiday dinner around the table and holiday baking. The weekend before we left I could not help myself. I had to do a little holiday baking. I made frosted sugar cookies, almond roca bars, thumb prints with the now infamous chocolate raspberry sauce and muddy buddies. It felt a little more like the holidays with plates of goodies around. I took some pictures but cannot find which memory card they are on, so I will have to share later. But here are some fun pics from Hawaii.

The beautiful black sand beaches. Turtles were there everyday.

Getting him signed up for swimming classes ASAP!

The biggest challenge of the trip was getting him to slow down and take a nap.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the Dinner Rut: A Pasta Pie

When finding new recipes I love to look at pictures. I skim the actual recipe and study the picture and develop my own recipe based on the idea and how it should look. So my new favorite website, Pinterest, has become an addiction. When I came across a post of a pasta pie I knew I had to try it. Mainly because I wanted to see if it really worked. This would be an impressive dish to serve to guests. What you will need; a springform pan, 1 box of rigatoni pasta, 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb of sausage, 1 jar of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cook pasta only half of the directed time. Drain, rinse with cold water and toss with olive oil. Arrange pasta in a greased springform pan standing up. Really pack the noodles in. One box fit perfect for me.

Brown ground beef and sausage and drain grease. Add the jar of pasta sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Really make sure to breakdown the beef and sausage. You want it to be able to sink down into the pasta openings.

Pour sauce over the top of the noodles. Pressing it down and trying to work some it down the pasta openings. Make sure to put your springform pan on a baking sheet. Some of the sauce seeped out of mine and made a mess until I put it on a sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot. I did mine about 30 minutes. Remove and add cheese to top. Bake for another 10-20 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Let cool for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the edges and release the outer ring. Slowly remove, making sure nothing is sticking. I really expected that when I was doing this the whole thing was gonna fall apart. But it didn't!

Definitely will be making this again. Probably when we have guests or if I need to bring a dish somewhere. It is impressive and cuts just like a pie.

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In the Dinner Rut: Mongolian/Hunan Beef

Sometimes I feel like I make the same 10 dinners over and over again. So when the little one naps on a Saturday afternoon I watch cooking channels and surf the Internet for dinner ideas. When I could not find anything that sounded good I started pondering the idea of just ordering Chinese food. But the thought of greasy chicken and gooey sauce got me thinking maybe I should try making something myself. I found a recipe for Hunan Beef that sounded fairly simple to make. I made my list and headed to the store.

Thinly sliced flank steak marinating.

Sliced onions and bell peppers.

This dish paired with some sticky white rice was just perfect for a fun and different Saturday night dinner. It was also really easy, I just think I need to invest in a wok. Watch out for the grease splatter when you add the meat to the hot peanut oil! Definitely adding it to my list of dinners.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So Thankful for Cranberries!

I have always loved cranberries. I even love the canned jelly that is a part of most Thanksgiving feasts. But several years ago I started making my own cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving has never been the same. I follow the 1,1,1 + extras when it comes to making cranberry sauce. One 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup liquid, 1 cup sweetener and what ever extras will make it your own. This year I did 1 bag cranberries, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 vanilla bean. This combination turned out so good!

I came across a recipe the other day for a Pear Cranberry Compote and decided that this could be a fun alternative to the normal cranberry sauce on our Thanksgiving table this year. Something I thought my little brothers, nieces and son would really enjoy. I added a few more cranberries then the recipe called for and 2 vanilla beans. Who would have thought that these fall favorites would work so good together? This will also be great mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese.

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