Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cake Batter Pancakes

or, as I like to call them, Birthday Pancakes!!  I know I talked about Number One's birthday all last week, but I wanted to share these too.  Especially since the theme for Share A Spoon today is CAKE!! (I may have suggested this theme.  You know, maybe. But I'm not alone...others want their cake and eat it too!)  I was going to link up this cake....which was my first time making homemade icing.

But I thought I would go a little more non-traditional route...
Cake Batter Pancakes!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour   I used 1/2 cup whole wheat

2/3 cup yellow cake mix 

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups milk *How Sweet used vanilla almond milk. I used skim milk so I added a little extra vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, eggs and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. This will vary greatly on the brand of cake mix you use. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed. I suggest a small taste test as well to see if the pancakes are flavored enough.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat (I use an electric grilled and turn it to 250 degrees). Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze.

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles

Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more sugar or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes.

****The vanilla glaze would have been really good on these, but I was sending my kids to school and didn't want them on sugar overload (I think cake batter in the pancakes was plenty!), so we topped them with sugar-free pancake syrup. And more sprinkles of course.

My pancakes did not turn out nearly as big and fluffy as How Sweets.  I'm pretty sure I didn't let my pancake batter "rest" long enough...it was a school morning! And I added whole wheat flour.  The flavor was good, but not great.  It could use a little tweaking the next birthday that comes around.  They would have been better with the vanilla glaze!  But, the main thing is that it made Number One feel special on her birthday!  She had her party a few days before, on the weekend, so this was a way to honor her actual birthday.  Her special request for her birthday dinner?.....baked cheese sticks (the ones I made not long ago in eggroll wrappers)!  I thought that was pretty funny!  and yes, I made them.  'cuz I'm the greatest Mom ever.  Sometimes.

Now go check out all the other fabulous recipes at Think Tank Momma, Feeding FourMiz Helen'sIt's a Keeper, and Flip Flops & Pearls

Other linkys and hops can be found here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kay's Naturals Review

If you follow my blog, you know that my husband is diabetic.  He is diet controlled, but this requires that he have very tight control over his carb intake.  It's a struggle creating low carb meals, and snacks are even more of a challenge.  It is very difficult to find "convenience" items that are healthy and low carb, that my husband can grab on the go.  So, when I was given the opportunity to review Kay's Naturals, a company whose primary goal is to provide high protein, low carb snack items, I jumped at the chance!  This company is unique in that the founder, Dr. Massoud Kazemzadeh (known as “Dr. Kay”), who also has a Ph.D. in food science from Texas A & M University, created food items with his late wife's juvenile diabetes in mind.  He knew first hand the challenges she faced, and was determined to make a product that was more nutritionally sound.  Kay's Naturals products have a healthier nutritional profile of approximately 33% soy protein, 10% fiber and 57% net carbohydrates. Today Kay’s Naturals sells a dozen products – 3 cereals, 4 snacks, 3 pretzels and 2 cookies. 

Diabetics are not the only ones who benefit from products higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. Athletes, body builders, individuals who have had weight loss (bariatric) surgery and those following a gluten free diet all have an excellent choice of snack items with Kay's Naturals.  They have been wheat-free & gluten free since January 2009!
The Mo'Betta house received this bundle of goodies to sample.  Needless to say, we were pretty excited!  Especially hubs...he actually had some snack choices other than nuts and peanut butter!  You can view all the varieties they have to offer HERE!  I have to say, my personal favorites were the protein chips! They were light and crunchy with a great blend of spices and flavors.  It satisfied that need for something crunchy, while still being a healthier alternative to your average chips.  They are low in calories, no saturated fat, no sugar, 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein!  My husband enjoyed the protein cereals and cookie bites, b/c they allowed him to have a sweet snack without causing havoc on his blood sugar.  My kids of course, also enjoyed the cookie bites and my oldest daughter enjoyed the pretzel sticks, especially the Cinnamon Toast flavor! I think it's safe to say that there is something for everyone!

So it doesn't matter if you are diabetic, dealing with obesity, celiac disease or just following a healthy lifestyle, Kay's Naturals is a company that you should check out.  Visit their website, follow along on Twitter and "like" on Facebook to join the health and wellness conversation!

***Product Demo Kits for Physicians, Dietitians and Retailers Available upon Request***
This sample pack was provided to me by Kay's Naturals to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own and accurate to the best of my ability.  No other compensation was received.

Wordless Wednesday - Far and Near


Click HERE for more Wordless Wednesday posts!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Low Sugar, Low Carb Chocolate Eclair Cake!

Chocolate "eclair cake" has been around a very long time.  My husband's Grandmother used to make it frequently with a homemade chocolate fudge icing on top and it was to die for!  It's also an easy thing to make, but since my husband was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, it has not been making an appearance in the Mo'Betta house.  I would feel really bad to make one of his childhood favorites and then he couldn't have any!  In January, his Granny passed away just 4 weeks shy of her 95th birthday. To honor her memory (because she loved to cook!), and do something nice for the hubs, I decided to make her chocolate eclair cake - but do some tweaking to make it sugar free (or sugar free as possible!).  Thankfully, there are many sugar free items on the market now so putting this together wasn't all that difficult.

Low sugar Chocolate Eclair Cake
adapted from a family recipe

2 boxes of sugar free, fat free instant vanilla pudding mix (I used the small boxes, not sure of oz.)
3 cups skim milk
1 container of sugar free Cool Whip
1 box graham crackers (store-bought or homemade)
1 bag of Sugar free chocolate chips (I used Hershey's) **This makes a hard chocolate "shell" on top.  If you want a more traditional topping, you can use sugar free chocolate icing or sugar free chocolate pudding.

{If you are not worried about the sugar, you can use this homemade chocolate icing, which is how I make the traditional version. It's delicious!}

Mix the 2 boxes of instant pudding mix with the 3 cups of milk, when it starts to thicken, fold in the container of Cool Whip.  In a 9x13 dish, put a layer of graham crackers at the bottom (touching, not overlapping) and 1/2 the pudding mixture.  Place another layer of graham crackers across the top of pudding mixture.  Add remaining pudding mixture and final layer of graham crackers.  Melt your chocolate chips according to bag directions and pour on top of graham crackers.  Place in fridge to let the graham crackers soften up and get all delicious. 

The chocolate hardens and I didn't really think about this when I first decided to use sugar free chocolate chips. However, it was yummy!  But next time, I will probably use sugar free chocolate icing or pudding, b/c that would be closer to how my husband remembers it.  Regardless, he really enjoyed this dessert.

If you are looking for an easy low sugar, low carb treat, whether you are following a low carb diet by choice or necessity, give this a try!  It uses convenience items that are probably not the healthiest, but a nice change of pace to someone living a low carb lifestyle and really wanting something sweet.  I'd love to hear about any other sugar free recipes you might have!

linking this up with Ingredient Spotlight: Frozen Whipped Topping at Eat at Home

Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Price Nutrition Supplement Review



New Chapter WHOLEmega 1000mg 120 Soft Gels
A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity through GiveawayBlogs.com to review supplements from BestPriceNutrition.com.  It came at a great time, because I had been reading for a while about the importance of Omega 3's in your diet.  You probably know that fish is a great source of healthy Omega 3's, but I just don't eat a lot of fish.  It's not something I feel comfortable buying b/c I never know if it's fresh or not, and I just don't think about buying frozen fish very often.  So, I felt like an Omega 3 supplement would be a good idea to add to my diet.  I tried one brand, took one pill, and it gave me indigestion and "fish burps".  Now let me tell you, that is absolutely as disgusting as it sounds.  Then I read that a good quality fish oil pill will not do that.  So I wanted to try this brand New Chapter WHOLEmega offered by Best Price Nutrition.  I was so relieved when they had NO side effects!!  No nasty fish taste!!  New Chapter also has lots of other vitamins available.  I'm particularly interested in the Perfect CALM which is a multivitamin and herbal supplement to help with stress.  Sign me up!  Three kids=a lot of stress.  I'll let you know if I give them a try!
 New Chapter Perfect Calm 72 Tabs
They also have a wide range of sports supplements and fat burners.  Yes, I said fat burners.  That definitely caught my attention too!  They have well-known brands such as Gaspari Nutrition, BPi Sports, and Syntrax.  Since my husband is an avid weigh-lifter, I am familiar with some sports supplements like protein powders and I even like to add whey protein to my spinach smoothies.  I should call them green monters, b/c spinach smoothie sounds a little unappetizing!!

I was given a couple of fat burners to try...the Bpi Rx6 which from the site is Biochemically designed to burn fat and increase energy at the core. Specifically targeting increased muscularity, striated legs, and ripped abs. Key ingredients in Rx6 stimulate and transmit fat burning signals that carry on throughout the body. Each single serving dose is unmatched in strength and effectiveness. For non-stop hardcore energy without the effects of nervousness or crashing, count on Rx6. Rx6 delivers powerful results in short periods of time.  I also was given the Syntrax Fyre and Spirodex which are thermogenics.  They are energy stimulants and the Spirodex is a "mood-enhancing stimulant compound". 

With the Bpi Rx6, I lost a pound a day for the first 3 days.  I felt so much better to be rid of the extra water weight and that bloated feeling.  Also, it did not make me as jittery as I feared it would, b/c it contains the caffeine equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee.  However, since I do not consume but about half that on a regular basis, I tended to get headaches everyday while taking them.  If you are sensitive to caffeine, or have any health concerns, like high blood pressure, these are definitely not for you.  And, as with any dietary supplement or exercise regimen, you should discuss it with your doctor before starting. 

The Syntrax Fyre is a natural thermogenic and is "energy stimulating".  I took this on one of those days when I had been up and down all night with a sick child and I was SO TIRED and drained feeling.  I took one of these a little before lunch, and I felt so much more alert and able to function.  It definitely gave me the push I needed to get through the day (and actually get some things accomplished).  I was also able to fall asleep that evening without any difficulty.  I have not taken this on a regular basis, but the directions say that you can take 1-2 capsules 30-60 minutes before meals 1 to 3 times daily.  I have a feeling I'm going to need them this week as I am cutting carbs and it makes me feel so sluggish initially.

I have not taken the Spirodex yet, b/c I want to take it when I am working out on a regular basis.  I have yet to get back into that routine, but the reviews are pretty good on the product.  It contains about half the amount of caffeine as the Bpi Rx6, so I do not think I will having any problems taking it.

Do you take supplements?  If so, do you order on-line? 

The supplements were received free of charge to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own and no other compensation was received.  This is a personal review of the above products and is to be regarded as such.  I am not advocating or encouraging the use of the above supplements as that is a personal decision and should be discussed with your doctor.

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

I don't think there is anything better than fresh baked bread....and this cinnamon sugar bread smells soooo good while it's cooking!  The perfect thing for this dreary, cold (what's up with that?! Did Mother Nature not get the memo that it is Spring?!) Monday morning.  We had 80 degree temps last week, mid to high 80's one day...then today...chance of snow flurries. WTH?  Anyway, enough of me complaining about the weather again.  There are so many other things I could be complaining about.  Like my middle child, who has caused all kinds of drama last week from telling what she thought was a little white lie, which had me all up at her school like mom-zilla the psycho mom.  I could kick her little ass.  But anyway, the truth will set you free people
I had not meant to go down that path...I'm here to talk carbs.  Cinnamon-y, sugary, sweet BREAD. YUM!!  Which is ironic, since I've decided not to eat any carbs this week.  We will see how long that lasts.  I'm carb detoxing.  I'm short and fat.  Obviously I can't do much abt my 5'2" stature other than wear stilletos - which really don't go with sweat pants - but I can and will do something about this....this....fluffiness.  I'm out to lose 20 lbs.  But right now I'm shooting for 10.  It shouldn't be that hard right?!  Yeah, I've lost this same 20 lbs before...and damn if it didn't come right back to me.  Of course, if you saw all the stuff I made during Christmas, you know why.  B/c not only do I cook a lot, I eat it as well. 

Moving on...this bread is delicious anytime of day, but we especially enjoyed it in the morning.  My son loves cinnamon toast, so he really likes this bread.  I love something a little sweet with coffee in the morning, and this fits the bill.  (Of course, this morning I'm having a boiled eggs. help me.) 

The recipe is from the lovely (preggars) Lisa from The Pursuit of Happiness...go give her a big congrats!

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

• 1 cup milk

• 1 egg   *I used an egg replacement of 1 t. baking powder/1 T. vinegar/1 T. milk

• 1/4 cup applesauce

• 3 cups bread flour

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 t salt

• 1.5 t cinnamon

• 2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in bread maker pan.

Set machine for quick bread or sweet bread.

When the machine is done mixing and starts to bake, open the top and sprinkle sugar on top of the bread.

Let bake for remaining time.

**I forgot to add sugar once it started baking and Lisa says this can be made in a loaf pan if you don't have a bread maker! 
Go HERE to see what blogs I like to link up with!  Great recipes and craft ideas can be found, along with some blog and twitter hops!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

not enough time in the day

I have so many blog posts floating around in my head! I have reviews, recipes and the stack is growing by the day.  But there are just so many hours in a day...and most of those are consumed by child related tasks.  I know I'm not the only one! Tomorrow is going to be super busy as well - and I have some drama brewing at Miss Two's school...I can't get into now, but will soon I'm sure! y'all are the closest thing I have to therapy :)  So, please check back next week for reviews, yummy recipes and who knows what else!  Have a FABU weekend.  Holla.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

oh where, oh where, has my little girl gone?!


I can't believe this little baby...7 lbs 14 oz (20&1/2 in. long)
turned into this adorable 4 y/o

and quite sassy too!

started school before I knew it...
was 8 in the blink of an eye...
and now Number One is the big One Zero.  My baby is 10!  yowza.
 
Time flies when you're raising kids! 
 
See other Wordless (or Semi-Wordless) Wednesday and blog hops HERE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recipes from the birthday party!

First, Happy Birthday to my oldest daughter!  She is officially 10 years old today, and couldn't be happier to be in the "double digits".  I remember that.  I remember my 10th birthday!  I just can't believe how quickly my children are growing up.  And how quickly I am getting old.  Anyway, I better stop now before I start bawling all over my computer.  In yesterday's post, I gave a re-cap of her "baking" birthday party.  So today I thought I would share some recipes!  Y'all know that everything I make is fairly easy...I don't profess to be a chef or anything...even though now I have the hat ;)  Speaking of, some links for the paper chef hats and flowers from the party can be found here and here.  This is one of the reasons blogging is so great! One, a fellow blogger gave me some of the links, which gave me the ideas for the hats/flowers, and two - someone out in blog land has been there, done that, and has a great blog post about it :D  (That should be on a t-shirt "been there, done that, blogged about it".)
For the cake, I mentioned that is was the first time I've made homemade frosting.  I used this recipe from allrecipes.com

Creamy Chocolate Frosting **This is the original recipe - I doubled it to frost a 4 layer cake

2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1.In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.

2.In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.
***************
And as I mentioned yesterday, I can't imagine going back to canned frosting!  The only thing about this frosting (I'm not sure about others since I haven't made it before) it seems to melt quicker than canned frosting.  I just kept it in the refrigerator until I was ready to cut it.  If you have any tried and true frosting recipes, I would love to hear about them.  I have another birthday coming up in a couple of weeks!  Mr. Terrible Two is turning THREE!!  What will I call him then?  Mr. Three?  hmmm, points to ponder.

This was my pizza that I finally got to make and eat several hours after the party!

The pizza dough recipe was also a new one that I tried.  I went with a Bread Machine Pizza Crust from the Hillbilly Housewife because I was trying to make it easier on myself.  This will be my 'go to' crust from now on!  It was super easy, the bread machine did all the work, and the dough itself tasted good, had a great consistency, and was super easy to work with.  I made 8 "personal" size pizza crusts from one dough recipe.  I formed the crust, pre-baked, then froze them earlier in the week.  The day before the party, I stuck them in the fridge, and we were ready to go at party time.  The kids just fixed their toppings, and I stuck them in the oven to heat through.  They turned out great.

•1-1/4 cups water (plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons if necessary)


•3 tablespoons olive or other vegetable oil

•1 teaspoon salt

•4 cups bread flour or all purpose flour *I used all bread flour in one batch and a mix of bread flour and wheat flour in another. Both are good.  The wheat flour makes a denser crust. (& is a little healthier!)

•2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Measure the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Make a "well" in the flour and sprinkle the yeast into it. Set the machine to it’s Dough Cycle. After the dough has mixed a few minutes add a spoonful or two of water if the dough seems very dry (I didn't have to do this). On my machine the Dough Cycle lasts 1-1/2 hours. The dough will be risen and puffy in the bread pan when it is done kneading and rising. Punch it down (without hurting your fist on the paddle); and remove it from the pan. Knead it a few times to get it deflated properly. Divide the dough in half. Let the dough halves rest for about 10 minutes to relax the gluten, making it easier to roll out. Press the dough into 2 – 14″ or 16″ pizza pans. I oil the pans a little first, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. **I divided the dough into 8 pieces, and it made decent sized personal crusts - see pic above!

Top the dough with your favorite sauce and pizza toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.

For party decorations, I didn't go all out.  For one, the wind was blowing pretty good, so I couldn't do much outside.  We had a banner on the front porch, a Happy Birthday windsock, and
a cupcake cutout on the front and back doors.  I found them 2/1.00 at the Dollar Tree and hung them with ribbon.
I also had some kitchen utensils sitting around, tied with ribbon.  This was an oatmeal container that I wrapped in ribbon.  Added some spoons and cookie cutters.  Like I said, I didn't go all out on decorations!  We also had balloons, but they all had to be in the house.  I know, it's a little lame, but mama was tired!

Now, I'm going to get my butt out of the house and enjoy this 80 degree day we are supposed to have!!!

I'm going to link up with the great blogs found HERE! Check them out!  You can find some great recipes and craft ideas by checking out these linkys!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Number One's Birthday Party

So my sweet little munchkin, my first born, my little baby girl....turned TEN.  T-E-N.  Holy freakin' cow, I can't believe it!!!  I have a child in the double digits.  Well, technically she won't be ten until tomorrow, however, we had a party for her on Saturday.  And a sleep-over Friday night.  Which is why you haven't heard from me.  My very large vehicle was loaded down to maximum capacity on Friday.  Number One had a few friends come home with her, and then a few more come over for her party on Saturday. 

Friday night we cooked hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, since we had awesome weather this weekend!  Then the kids fixed s'mores. 
Miss Two posing with her "perfect" s'more. 
I'm not sure what made it perfect, other than having chocolate on it, but anyway - that's what she said.  Note the Beiber fever going on.  She wears that shirt all the time.

Nothing is more fun than a FIRE and roasting marshmallows -
(and chocolate of course).  Number One decided she wanted a "baking" party, so I spent the past week preparing 10 personal size pizza crusts, and 10 one layer cakes, and getting everything ready for said party.  My daughter has no idea what goes into planning an endeavor like this.  I was a little ambitious in taking it on by myself as well.  A rum and coke (zero) may have been in order before the weekend was over.

On Saturday, when the kids arrived, they got busy making paper "chef hats".  A big thanks to fellow blogger Jesseca for the ideas/links!  They turned out really cute.  They even made little cupcake liner flowers to put on them. 

Even the hubs got in on the hat making action and helped Mr. Two make one!
without the flower of course ;) And how scraggly do my kids look? Everyone is due for a haircut!

Then the kids made their pizzas.  I pre-baked the crusts so they just added the toppings they wanted.

While the pizzas were cooking, they went outside and played 'Bop-It'.  The kids love that thing!

They had pizza, a veggie tray (carrots and celery with ranch dressing), and chips.  After eating, they went back outside while I cleared the table and got things ready to decorate the cakes.  Everyone had a one layer cake to decorate and then take home, along with their chef's hat. 
The kids were so funny frosting and decorating their cakes! 
After they decorated cakes we brought out the birthday cake. This was not the best order to do this in, b/c the kids had eaten so many sprinkles, M&M's etc, while 'decorating' that they weren't even hungry for cake!

I thought my cake turned out pretty good!  This is the first time I have ever made homemade icing!  I've always thought it was just too much trouble to make when it was so convenient to buy it in a can.  However, it's not hard at all, requires just a few ingredients, taste really good, and have you checked the ingredients on a can of store-bought frosting?  YUCK.  So...it's homemade frosting from now on!!  This one was a little sweeter than I would like, so next time, I want to play with the cocoa to sugar ratio a little.  But, it was very creamy and everyone liked it. 

The flowers are cut marshmallows with colored sugar sprinkled on. You just take a large marshmallow, and using kitchen scissors, cut each one into 3 or 4 slices - depending how thick you want them. Then take the slices ("petals") and dip them in colored sugar or whatever your preference. I placed a piece of candy (M's) in the middle to make the centers. They turned out cute, and helped camouflage the lopsidedness of my cake!  (My chocolate layers were all smaller than my yellow cake layers!)  oops.  I had planned to make cake from scratch, but ended up just using a box mix.  I forgot how I have terrible luck with box mixes.  The chocolate ones I did first, and made according to directions on the box.  They turned out afflicted looking.  So for the yellow cakes, I added 3/4ths teaspoon of baking powder, and added more filling to each pan.  This helped a lot.

So, this was Number One's 10th b-day party!  It was a lot of work, we were all exhausted, but I think everyone had a good time!

The 'after-party'!

Miss Two had another party to go to after her sister's...so she was passed out by 7 o'clock that night!

I'll post some recipes from the party and links later in the week. *Update - you can see them here*

Linking up with Life as Mom - Ultimate Recipe Swap and Mums Make Lists

and the winner is....

Congrats to Nancy of  Style 'n Decor Deals!  She is the winner of the Lean Belly Prescription Diet by Dr. Travis Stork and a box of Multigrain Cheerios!  Thanks to everyone who participated, as well as General Mills and  MyBlogSpark for supplying the giveaway!

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1

Max: 101

Result:

24

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Asian Pork Ribs and Slaw

Have you ever started cooking a meal, and got about half way through and thought to yourself...you know, I think this is gonna be good.  Not just okay, but damn good.  That's the way I felt about this meal.  It was. THE. BOMB. (dot com)  It came together and was so good I had to get on the phone and call my mom. And instant message my sister.  Because we have to share wonderful culinary experiences.  Especially when it's something I actually prepared myself.  Because (I know, all you English majors are cringing at my starting a sentence with a preposition. repeatedly) unlike a lot of food bloggers, who started blogging b/c they were good cooks and wanted to share their recipes, I started blogging as a way to chronicle my cooking endeavors.  (read=experiments)   

But this meal was really good, and not that difficult.  It was also fairly healthy and low carb!!  And today's Share a Spoon Theme over at Think Tank Momma (inspired by yours truly) is.....LOW CARB!!  Ms. Momma picked little ol' me to host today's theme.  I was super excited b/c I am in dire need of more low carb recipes to fix for my dear hubby. 
So head on over and link up any low carb recipes you may have!!

Asian Country Pork Ribs, Asian Cole Slaw with Ginger, and Brown Rice

Asian Country Pork Ribs from Kitchen Centsability

1 package country pork ribs (I used boneless pork ribs from Sam's Club-bought a large quantity and used half for this and made barbeque ribs in the crock pot for the kids)

salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1/2 cup bottled smokey bbq sauce *I just try to find one with the least amnt of sugar. I've tried some low-carb/sugar free varieites in the past, but of course, they are hard to find around here

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce  *first time I've ever used this! can't wait to use it again!

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season pork ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder, wrap in foil and bake on a foil lined baking sheet for 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine garlic, ginger, bbq sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin and sesame oil in a bowl. After 2 hours, carefully unwrap the pork ribs and baste one side with the bbq sauce. Return to the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered. Turn over, baste the other side of the pork ribs and cook for a final 30 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. I didn't cook my ribs this long.  I cooked on low for abt 1 hour (covered), then removed foil and basted.  Cooked them for abt 20 minutes on one side and basted and cooked abt 15-20 on the other.  It just depends on the type of ribs and the amount you're cooking.  I use a meat thermometer, b/c I never know if stuff is done!

This made a fantastic sauce that I am going to try on chicken one day very soon!  I brushed half the ribs lightly with sauce for the hubs, since it did have sugar in it, and slathered the other half for me :)

For the slaw, I used a bag of cole slaw mix and the dressing recipe from here.

•1/4 cup rice vinegar

•2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola *I used canola

•2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

•1 tablespoon light brown sugar *I used Splenda

•1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

•2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Preparation:

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and pour over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
**********
I topped everything with green onion and toasted sesame seeds.  It was delicious and I can't wait to make it again!!  The kids ate green beans and brown rice with their barbeque ribs.  I thought I had made enough food for the entire family to have leftovers, but that didn't happen!  I did manage to have some brown rice and slaw which were good straight from the fridge the next day!  I have another really good Asian salad recipe here if interested. 

Now, head on over to Share a Spoon, and link up your low carb/diabetic friendly dishes!  I am also linking up this with What's Cooking Thursday, & Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Happy St. Patty's Day! 

Don't forget to go enter my giveaway for 'The Lean Belly Prescription' Book by Dr. Travis Stork of 'The Doctors' and a box of Multigrain Cheerios!  Ends Sunday.

Update (8/10/11) - I'm linking this recipe up with Eat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight - Vinegar)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring and Pier 1!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm so ready for Spring, and it's finally showing it's pretty little face around here.  The trees are in bloom, flowers are popping up and the stores are filled with greens, pinks, yellows and more! Pier 1 has some awesome outdoor furniture, making me really want to work on my screened in porch and patio area.  They definitely need some TLC, and Pier 1 has tons of stuff that would work great.  What's even better, a lot of their outdoor furniture is actually indoor/outdoor.  I think this is pretty great, because I love these -

 

Kaeden Indoor/Outdoor Foam Dining Cushions.  I love the idea that I could use them inside and out! And - how great would it be with kids to just take your chair cushions outside and hose them off! 

If you go and sign up for the Pier 1 Outdoor newsletter, you'll get a special in-store offer for the weekend of March 18-20 (that's this weekend!).  Then you can check out all the fab spring items Pier 1 has to offer, because the official start of spring is March 20th!  I'm sure you'll find many, many things that are "must-haves"! You can thank me later ;)  Or you can just send me one of these-

 A Swingasan!  I heart it.  or this  The double papasan!  I can see me and the hubs cuddled up enjoying the warm spring air.  Just kidding, I can actually see all three kids being able to sit in it, so no one is fighting over who gets the "cool" chair.

Also, if you a Tweeter, like me, be sure to check out the Pier 1 Tweetups for dates and locations!  So what are you waiting for?!  Go check out all the great spring items Pier 1 has to offer!

  Kaeden Indoor/Outdoor Foam Dining Cu

Visit Sponsor's Site

Flourless Brownies

You are not going to believe this recipe.  Well, you're not going to believe it tastes so good when I tell you what they are made of.  It's crazy.  As you may know, beans ain't my thang.  I just don't like them.  I think part of it is a consistency thing, and part of it is they just taste...nasty.  I know, some of you reading are thinking how much you like beans.  Well, um, not me.  However, I know they are good for us, and have been trying to incorporate them into my family's diet here and there.  So, when I come across a recipe that uses beans, but are not supposed to taste like beans, I'm all for giving it a try.  And when that recipes calls for chocolate...well, I'm all over it.  Because we all know chocolate makes everything....mo'betta ;)
These are flourless brownies, made with black beans.  And they are YUMMY.  I kid you not.  Fudgy, yummy, chocolate deliciousness.  And since they are made with beans, the sugar and butter calories just don't count.  These are good for you. *wink wink*  You have an obligation to make them for your non-bean eating family.  Or, you must make them out of sheer curiousity like I did!  I just couldn't believe that these would be good.  But they are.  Even Number One likes them.  Even after she found out what was in them!  So, that's proof, these taste like chocolate.  Not beans.  You're welcome.

Flourless Brownies from Lynn's Recipe Adventures

1- 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

3 eggs (Poor Mr. Two couldn't have these)

1/3 cup butter, melted I used Smart Balance 50/50

1/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup chocolate chips *I used 3/4ths cup Hershey's Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor or blender puree the black beans, eggs, butter, cocoa, vanilla, and sugar until smooth.

Stir chocolate chips into the batter and spread into a greased 8×8 pan.

Bake for 30-33 minutes.
*************
I know, I can see you shaking your head in disbelief.  You just gotta see for yourself.  These are good out of the oven, but they are even better the next day.  Straight from the oven (you know I had to try them immediately) they are tasty and melty (is that a word?) but the consistency is a little...different.  The next day, they were dense and fudgy and moist.  (These are not cake-like, as you should guess).

I was pleasantly surprised with these little gems, and will be making them again! 

As I sit here and type, with my morning coffee, the news is on.  Doesn't it seem strange to y'all to go about your daily business while seeing the devastation going on in Japan?  It's surreal.  And now, a nuclear meltdown on top of everything else?  If you are around my age, you probably remember all the movies that came out about nuclear war, I guess early 80's maybe?  My parents wouldn't let me watch them, but of course, I somehow managed to sneak around and watch at least one of them anyway.  And the images have stayed with me....why won't kids listen to their parents?  They really do know best.  *sigh*  Anyway, I feel horrible about what is going on over there, and I have to admit how relieved I am that it is not happening here.  That may sound selfish, but I can't help it.  I have children to worry about.  While I'm on the subject of terrible things, I have an anquaintance whose son just underwent brain surgery for a brain tumor.  He is 10 years old.  He was a former classmate of my oldest daughter.  Thankfully, it was benign, and he seems to be recovering well, but that family went from life being pretty normal one day, to being told their son had a brain tumor on a Friday, and brain surgery on a Monday.  How frightening and overwhelming is that?  So I guess my point to all this is....be very thankful each and every day for what you have.  It's so easy to take advantage of our everyday "normal" life, and we don't stop and really appreciate it until the "normal" is gone.  Then you want nothing more than to have the same normal, boring routine back!  I know this from experience with my dad's cancer hell

Well, how's that for a deviation from topic?  I feel like I should leave you on a happy note...or Prozac.
Tulips are happy!  Spring is on the way!!! 
It's supposed to be an awesome weekend here in NC.

I'm linking up with these Tuesday linkys and hops today, go check 'em out!

And after eating all these brownies, you may want to check out the giveaway I have going on this week!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spinach Pesto

This past summer I had basil coming out of my ears.  So much basil that I couldn't keep it under control, much less eat it all.  I discovered my love for pesto.  And then, summer was over.  My garden went bye bye.  What a sad, sad day.  In comes the harsh, gray days of winter.  I start to dream of spring.  Crave fresh herbs.  I want basil pesto!  Then I came across a couple of recipes for spinach pesto.  Spinach pesto? I was skeptical.  Downright perturbed even.  But, as I am always open to experiment in the kitchen, I thought I must give this a try before dismissing it.  So I bought a huge container of spinach.  Toasted some walnuts (b/c I never remember to buy pine nuts) and got out the beloved food processor. 
waaa la.  Spinach pesto.  And it's very good.  Not quite as delicious as basil pesto, but very good.  So, I got to make my favorite spinach pesto pizza.  My body probably went into shock at consuming this much spinach at one time.

Spinach Pesto-  adapted from The Simple Me

3 cups of raw spinach, packed tight

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts (walnuts are fine, too)  I used toasted walnuts

2 cloves garlic, chopped  I used one clove

1/2 cup olive oil  I used abt 1/4 cup...just enough to get it to make a paste, depends on how you like it and how you're going to use it. 

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese  I used Asiago b/c that's what I had on hand

2 tbsp honey

juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)  I used a T. of lemon juice
fresh ground salt & pepper, to taste

I also added a pinch of frozen chopped basil.  When I had an abundance from the garden I read that you could chop up fresh basil in the food processor with a little olive oil and freeze for use in recipes.  It has a much better flavor than dried basil.

Directions:

In a food processor, combine nuts, cheese, garlic & honey. Pulse until they make a paste. Add spinach, pulse a few times. Then slowly add olive oil until it’s a creamy consistency – but small chunks of spinach are fine. Lastly, add salt & pepper and lemon juice to taste.
(pizza dough recipe - found here except I use half whole wheat flour)
***********
This made an excellent pizza! I wish I had thought to buy feta cheese at the grocery store, but it was still yummy!  And my hubs has put up a fence to protect my garden from the dog, has tilled my garden up (twice!), so now I just have to make my rows, and wait for Mother Nature to cooperate!!  Bought my first seeds the other day too! Can't wait to get started!

The time change has messed up the Mo'Betta household.  My kids were tired and grumpy this morning, and I didn't feel like getting out of bed either.  On top of that, it's 20 to 30 degrees cooler than yesterday!  But, I'll be happy that it's still light outside at dinner time I guess.  Happy Monday peeps.

**I'll be linking up this recipe with these lovely blogs, Eat at Home's Ingredient Spotlight - Spinach, Gooseberry Patch Blog


Sunday, March 13, 2011

'The Lean Belly Prescription' Book Review and Giveaway!


You know the handsome Dr. Travis Stork from the TV show 'The Doctors'?  Well, he has written a book-  The Lean Belly Prescription.  Now, generally, I do not enjoy reading anything other than fiction.  Suspense, thrillers, etc.  I'm real intellectual.  However, I was interested in hearing what the cutie doctor had to say.  Within the first couple of pages, I was hooked.  It was an easy read, with very common sense, easy to follow guidelines and healthy eating principles.  It's definitely information that every American should read.  I say American, just b/c there are so many of us that are overweight.  It has become an epidemic in this country.  Myself included.  I am not obese, but need to lose 20 lbs.  Well, I need to lose 10 lbs to get back into a healthy weight range.  I need to lose 20 to look hot.  So, 20's my goal. haha. 

One of the things this book emphasizes is the importance of whole grains.  That's why Multigrain Cheerios is part of this great giveaway!  You know how we love Cheerios around here, and Multigrain Cheerios are no exception. 
General Mills is providing this great prize pack to one Mo'Betta reader through MyBlogSpark!


According to the Report of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a majority of Americans do not eat the daily recommended servings of whole grains (which is 3). In fact, the average person gets a little more than half a serving of whole grain each day.


Cereal is a one easy and convenient way to fit more whole grains into your diet.  Big G cereals, for example, contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving, with more than 20 Big G cereals delivering 16 grams or more. (At least 48 grams of whole grain are recommended daily.) A diet high in whole grains has been found to help (not prevent or cure) with diabetes and weight management, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. 

Visit http://www.wholegrainnation.com/ for more tips, additional information about the benefits of whole grain and how to help you manage your weight by incorporating whole grains into your day.


In this book “The Lean Belly Prescription,” by Dr. Travis Stork, he talks about how important weight management and proper nutrition are.  A large amount of research has shown that belly fat carries more health risks than fat stored elsewhere. Since having children, I know all about belly fat.  ew. 

In this book, you will find lots of practical information, as well as having different plans or strategies to choose from to help you in your weight management goals.  For example, Dr. Stork's  “Laws of Leanness” allows you to choose goals that will easily fit into your lifestyle -

*If you love to graze: Nosh all day long on your favorite fruits and vegetables to help keep your belly full

*If you love fatty foods: discover which fats can actually strip away pounds

*If you love soda: substitute more delicious drinks that can help you lose up to four pounds in four weeks.

There are so many more helpful tips and useful information, as well as exercise plans for beginners and intermediates.  This is what I need to focus on...exercise!! 

So what are you waiting for?!  Enter this giveaway to win this great book and a box of General Mills Multigrain Cheerios!

**Prize pack, information and giveaway were all provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.**

How to enter


MANDATORY - Follow Mo'Betta via Google Friend Connect (located in left side bar) and leave a comment that you are following. This must be done before any extra entries will be counted.

EXTRA ENTRIES - These are optional, you can do as many of the extra entries as you like.  Please leave a comment for each entry so each can be counted.

(2 entries) - How do you incorporate whole grains into your diet?

(2 entries) - "Like" Mo'Betta on Facebook (can be done in right side bar).

(2entries) - Share this giveaway on Facebook.

(2 entries) - "Like" Mo'Betta on Networked Blogs (can be done in left side bar).

(2 entries) - Follow Mo'Betta on Twitter. (can be done in right side bar) Leave username in comments.

(2 entries) - Tweet about giveaway. Use the hashtag #myblogspark. Provide URL in comments.
Can be tweeted daily for an extra entry

(4 entries) - Add Mo'Betta to your blog roll.

(4 entries) - Add my blog button to your site. Leave URL where it can be found.

(5 entries) - Blog about this giveaway.

*For extra entries such as being a twitter follower, facebook fan, etc., you must leave a way for me to confirm your entry (such as your name, twitter handle, link). You can leave your first name and last initial for Facebook & Networked Blogs. If I can't verify information, your entries will not count. No compensation was received for this post. The prize packs and information were all provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. The sponsor sent me the product free of charge to facilitate my honest review.

This giveaway is open to everyone and will end Sunday March 20, 2011 at midnight (EST). I will choose a winner via random.org and contact the winner via email, so make sure your email address is available in your profile or comments.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mini Spiced Donuts (egg free)

I know, mini baked donuts. Again. I just can't help myself.  My little donut pan calls to me on Saturday morning.  It says "helloooo, is anyone out there? Please come play with me.  Make mini donuts, you know you want toooo".  Okay, that was weird.  But these donuts are good yo.

This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen and was for 'Muffins That Taste Like Donuts' so I figured, if they taste like donuts, lets make them into donuts.  I'm logical like that.  So I guess I should call these Donuts That Taste Like Donuts :)

•1-¾ cup Flour I used 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 whole wheat

•1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder

•½ teaspoons Salt

•½ teaspoons Nutmeg I will probably reduce this to 1/4 t. next time. A little strong for us.

•½ teaspoons Cinnamon

•⅓ cups Oil

•¾ cups White Sugar I only used a 1/2 cup, and they were fine, but 3/4ths would be mo'betta

•1 whole Egg I used a "flax egg" - 2 T. milled flax seed in 3 T. warm water

•¾ cups Milk

•FOR THE TOPPING:

•¼ cups Butter

•⅓ cups White Sugar

•1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Combine flours, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. 
Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 7-9 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.
Shake muffins donuts out while still hot. Dip muffins donuts in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool. I just dipped the tops, but you could do the whole thing. 
yep, perfect little creations for a Saturday morning.  If you don't have an adorable donut pan, you can follow the original recipe and make muffins!  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

You can link up with these Saturday/weekend hops HERE!

I'm also linking this up with Allergy Friendly Friday!

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