Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Low Fat Brownie Sundaes

Is that an oxymoron? I thought so too, until I discovered all kinds of low fat options for baked goods on the internet.  Thank you Skinny Girl, Hungry Girl, whatever girl.  (But really, thank you Pinterest!) I've tried several different methods for reducing the fat.....cake mix and brownie mix with the can of diet soda - the cake mix works very well. The brownie mix works well if you like a really fudge-y brownie (like that could be a bad thing!)  I've done the applesauce in place of oil thing.  It works, but gives everything a weird texture.  But now, now I've discovered the brownie mix plus yogurt thing!  And it's definitely my favorite so far.  The texture is much closer to "normal".  {Now, some of you might be saying, 'just don't eat the brownies'.  Well, that would be like telling a hoarder to just throw all their sh*t away!}
Besides, the yogurt + brownie mix is an easy, egg-free way to make brownies that everyone can enjoy! Last night I made (another!) batch to take to a friend's house, and my little allergy boy said "can I have one?" I said 'yes, mommy made those with no eggs, so you can have one in a little while'.  He threw his arms around me and said "Thank you mama for making them no eggs!"  That kid is so sweet, he melts my heart :)
All you need is brownie mix (this is Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate. Don't judge.), and 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt (I would assume vanilla would be fine too) and the amount of water called for on the box of mix.  No eggs, no oil.  Bake according to directions on the box.
Then you can add fat-free Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream (no eggs!) and a little sugar free syrup. 
If so inclined.

This was a yummy treat for the kids and I - much lower in fat than the 'traditional' version. However, it is definitely still a "treat" b/c it is loaded with sugar!  

You just can't win them all ;)

Want a chocolate treat that is a little healthier? Check out the Healthier Chocolate Truffles and Haystacks!

On the blog 1 year ago : Pickles, Pickles and more Pickles!
On the blog 2 years ago: Homemade Popcorn in the Microwave!



Monday, July 30, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Projects

Yep, Mo'Betta's been craftin'.  Pinterest not only inspires me to cook (and eat!), but to also get my craft on.  With a new Hobby Lobby in town...well, it's a pinner's paradise.  And if you are wondering what the fudge is Hobby Lobby....it's like Michaels, a large craft store.  {That sells Christmas ornaments year round!!!  I looove Christmas ornaments.}

I have seen several "rope" projects, like this one, and decided to make one for my sister for her b-day....
I decided my 1st project should be something small, so I did a single glass vase.  It is so simple! Just take rope, (I started at the bottom - don't know if it matters) and wrap it around whatever you are covering, in this case, a vase.  Use hot glue to hold your rope to the vase.  I glued it where I started and then every couple wraps I would add some glue.  Then glue at the top where your rope ends.  Hopefully keeping it nice and secure.  My sister hasn't mentioned that it has fallen apart yet, so maybe all is well ;)

My next project was inspired by the many wreaths I've seen on Pinterest, like this one.   This is a work in progress.  I have also discovered Mod Podge.  Watch out people!  
I bought a large pre-cut letter from Hobby Lobby, scrapbook paper, & Mod Podge (which I will be checking out making my own after I use the bottle I have now!)
I covered my letter with the scrapbook paper (adhering and sealing with the Mod Podge).

I plan on attaching it to a rope wreath something like this one...
photo from Eat, Love, Inspire

So what has Pinterest inspired y'all to do?  

I wish I could get inspired to do all these exercises I keep pinning!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Astrobrights

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a confession to make.  I love office and craft supplies.  I mean, really love looking through multi-colored folders, papers, stationary, and don't even get me started on Sharpies, crayons, etc.  It's kind of a weird obsession. I mean, I have a drawer full of scrapbook paper, and not a single scrapbook.  I have multiple colorful file folders, just waiting to be used.  Not to mention a plethora of pens/markers/etc.  Soooo, that's my little secret.  

With that out in the open, just imagine how excited I was to discover AstroBrights papers!  Oh. My. Goodness!  They are so bright & colorful!  I immediately started dreaming up all the fun projects my kids and I could do with these!  With school starting soon, I know my girls will be jumping at the chance to make their projects stand out above the rest with these bright, unique colors.  Who wants boring white printer paper when you can have Fireball Fuschia, Orbit Orange, Venus Violet, just to name a few! (They come in 23 eye-catching colors!)

AstroBrights papers is also hosting "Give a Brighter Year" Sweepstakes, where you can enter to win a cash prize and school supplies valued at $30,000 for the school of your choice! (K-8 grade)  All you have to do is click on the link AstroBrights papers and like their Facebook page.  Click on the Sweepstakes tab and go to the app where there will be a form to enter the sweepstakes.  Easy peasy, and well worth it.  I know my childrens' schools could really use that kind of donation!

The company has lots of other things going on to, such as the family-friendly "Make Something AstroBright" design challenge!  I know you are a creative bunch, because I am constantly finding fantastic ideas on Pinterest.  Share your projects with picture and video and you could win some awesome prizes!  (If you share via Pinterest or Twitter, please use the hashtag #goastrobrights).  You can head over to AstroBrights Facebook page (click on any of the links within this post) and see what others have already been up to.

What would you do with AstroBrights papers?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Campus Book Rentals...It's almost that time again!

In just a few short weeks, college will be back in session.  Now, my college days are long over, and my kids are too young, but I know many of you are either going through school as "nontraditional students" (aka - "old". lol, just kidding - I was a 'non traditional' student when I went back for my 2nd degree) or you have children/siblings entering college.  Whatever the case, even if it's none of the above, I'm sure you know someone that you can pass along this info to, b/c it is worth sharing!

There is no need to pay the high college book store prices! I know when I was in school, the only option was to purchase books at the book store, and then pray they would buy them back at the end of the semester.  Half the time they didn't, and if they did, you only got a small fraction of the cost back.  It was always very discouraging!  Well, now there are other options.  Like Campus Book Rentals.  You can rent your textbooks!  Not only can you rent them at much lower prices, but shipping (both ways!) is FREE. No waiting in line at the book store, just order, have them shipped, use them for as long as you  need (they have flexible rental periods) and return them for free!  They also have 30-day risk free returns, so if you drop a class or whatever the reason, that's no problem.
Nursing Diagnosis Handbook : An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care, Ackley, Betty J. and Ladwig, Gail B., 0323071503
I was very impressed by Campus Book Rentals, and decided to do a little price comparison. One of the books I used was this Nursing Diagnosis Handbook (granted, an earlier edition I'm sure!).  This book can be rented for an entire semester cheaper from Campus Book Rentals than you can purchase the same book used off Amazon!  And you can still highlight in your rented books!  Now, I don't know about you guys, but I seldom kept my books at the end of the semester.  The ones I did keep (usually b/c they wouldn't buy it back) ended up collecting dust and given away later....so, rental just seems like a smart option to me.

One other MAJOR plus.....with every rental, Campus Book Rentals makes a donation to Operation Smile!
Read the stories from our patients that have recieved cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries
Read some of the patient stories from Operation Smile and see the difference they are making!

Disclaimer - I will be compensated for writing about Campus Book Rentals.  However, all opinions are 100% my own

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Healthier Chocolate Truffles and Haystacks!

Do these look healthy?

What if I told you they were full of fiber, and much lower in sugar and fat than their traditional counterparts?

OH! And no oven required!!  (If y'all are experiencing the heat wave we are, this is a major plus!)

So, what's the secret?!  Fiber One (original).  Yes, Fiber One.  And trust me, you will never know there is a healthy, fiber filled main ingredient in these little gems of dark chocolate deliciousness.

First up -  truffles. I first saw these over at Back For Seconds (well, I probably first saw them on Pinterest!).  Since I had some Fiber One cereal, I jumped on this recipe.  The only problem was that I only had Fat Free Cream Cheese, and I think reduced fat would have been better...or if you use fat free, maybe increase the brown sugar a little.  However, these were still good, and were devoured by my children pretty quickly.

Skinny Caramel Truffles adapted from Back For Seconds
  (Makes about 25 small truffles)

1 cup Fiber One cereal 
4 oz low fat cream cheese
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp caramel extract* 
*I didn't have caramel extract, so I used half butter extract & half vanilla extract*
8 oz dark chocolate

In a food processor grind cereal to a fine crumb. Add cream cheese, brown sugar, extract(s) and pulse until it all comes together. Roll into bite sized balls (I made mine about an inch?) and set on a parchment (or wax paper) lined cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Melt chocolate until smooth, thinning with a bit of coconut oil if needed. Dunk the frozen truffles in the chocolate and lift out with a fork (I use 2 toothpicks), tapping it gently to smooth. Immediately add sprinkles if desired. Store in the refrigerator but let come to room temp before eating. Enjoy!


Second, we have Dark Chocolate Haystacks.  I had chocolate leftover from the above truffles, so I just added some Fiber One cereal to it and mixed together.  Place spoonfuls of the chocolate covered cereal on the wax paper, and let harden in the freezer or fridge.  These were everyone's favorites!  Such a simple "recipe", yet they were so good! As a matter of fact, the kids have requested I make these again.  Score one   for mom in providing a healthier treat that the kids loved!  Of course, it would have been better had I not eaten most of them.  oops.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Low Fat Baked Blueberry Cherry French Toast Casserole

Wow, that's a long title! With blueberries and cherries actually affordable at the grocery store right now, I have been eating them quite a bit.  And always one to crave some carbs, I decided to make french toast casserole.
Instagram pic. 
If you are an Instagram user, you can follow me under kimslittlelife.  
I'm still figuring it out myself.

I followed this recipe for Low Fat Baked Blueberry French Toast, with a few changes.
I didn't use whole grain bread (b/c, of course, the store was out when I needed it!)
and I used a combination of cherries and blueberries -
AND I didn't let me sit overnight, but I did put it together in the morning and let it sit in the fridge until dinner time.
and I used unsweetened almond milk in the place of skim....
We had this for dinner.  We, meaning me, b/c my children decided to boycott dinner that night.  Number One will only eat fresh fruit, plain, not cooked in anything.  I thought I could entice her with syrup.  No go. Miss Two has decided she doesn't like French Toast...this is a new development, and Mr. Three couldn't have it anyway b/c it contains nuts and eggs. (And the hubs was out of town...he wouldn't have eaten it either...too many carbs).  So, needless to say, there is quite a bit of casserole in my freezer!  I will pawn it off on my folks as soon as I can remember.  That's the problem with being a 'foodie' and having very picky eaters in the house.  I want to try all these recipes...but often, I'm the only one who eats it!  However, my parents have come to expect food whenever I visit now :)

Anyway, the 'skinny' on this dish....it's not very sweet, so if you like things sweet I would add more cinnamon and sugar to the recipe.  You could also top it with powdered sugar and/or syrup before serving. I also needed to cook mine longer than the recipe said.  I don't know if it is supposed to be 'soggy' in the middle, but I didn't care for that.  To me, it was better the next day when I reheated it in the oven and cooked it longer.  I didn't cut my bread as directed in the recipe, so that could have affected texture and cooking times.

Don't forget that the Pillsbury Baguette Chips Giveaway is still going on until 7/26!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

Ohhhh YES! Chocolate + Bourbon + Bread = one divine combination.  Joy the Baker is a smart woman!  The other day I had a few bananas that needed to get used up, or frozen to make my kids favorite banana ice cream.  I, however, remembered I had pinned this fabulous banana bread recipe and I had some bourbon.  (Thanks to my brother, who always gives me liquor for my bday since I refuse to go to the liquor store. Mainly b/c I am always dragging 1 to 3+ children around. BTW bro...bday coming up soon! *hint hint*) Which reminds me...OH MY LORDY, I'LL BE FORTY!!! Holy cow. But that is a different post altogether.

Back to the bread...it was amazing.
Chocolate Bourbon Spiked Banana Bread 
adapted from Completely Delicious (from Joy the Baker cookbook)
**my changes are in italics**

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp *I used 1/4 cup Smart Balance Butter & 1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar *I used 1/2 cup sugar & 1/2 cup Stevia
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed (about 3 medium bananas) *I didn't have quite enough banana, so I added enough applesauce to equal 1 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli - roughly chopped since they are large chips)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. *I made 4 mini loaves.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the mashed banana, lemon juice, and bourbon and mix until just combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 
  • Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread to distribute it evenly. 
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. *I think the mini loaves took about 30 minutes. We polished off 2 loaves pretty quickly, then I put 2 in the freezer...portion control!
Verdict - Delicious!  It had a nice crusty outside, and was very moist on the inside - loaded with chocolate, mild banana, and a hint of bourbon!  So.good.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Anonymous Users

I'm sorry to do this, because every once in a while I get a cool comment from an anonymous user that has tried (successfully!) a recipe found on my blog.  I love hearing back from people, but I have had to block anonymous users from commenting. At least for now.  I am getting SO much SPAM that it is driving me bonkers.  It used to be pretty sporadic, so I didn't worry about it, but now it is fairly constant and filling up my inbox with crap.  So...if for some reason you would like to leave a comment and you are not registered on Google or anywhere, feel free to send me an email (located in the left side bar...sort of hidden in the chaos, but it's there) or send a message via Facebook or comment on Mo'Betta's FB wall (located in the right side bar).  There is also Twitter, Pinterest and who knows what else!  So really, with all the social media available, I guess I shouldn't feel bad that I am blocking anonymous users from commenting here!

Holla! (just not anonymously, lol)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd

Lemon Cupcakes 
Lemon Icing 
Lemon Curd filling.

Lemonlicious!

I made these cupcakes for my sister's birthday and they were the BOMB.  The lemon curd absolutely made them.  That is some good stuff.  I had never tried it before but recently ordered it, along with some other goodies, from Stonewall Kitchen.  I'm in love.  

These were super easy to make because I went for the quick and dirty version.  Boxed lemon cake mix, lemon icing, and prepared lemon curd.  Obviously, making everything from scratch would make it that much better.  I made the cake mix according to directions on the box, except I added the zest of one lemon.  Once the cupcakes were done, I used a melon ball scoop, and scooped out some of the cupcake (which I ate), and added a dollop of  lemon curd.  We topped the cupcakes with canned lemon icing (I say we b/c my 11 y/o helped with the icing, in case you were checking out the first pic and wondering.  Not that my frosting skills are all that.)  The icing is the thing I would change for next time.  I wasn't a huge fan of the artificial lemon flavor of the canned icing, but I was worried the homemade icing would melt so quickly in the heat, and I was traveling with them. Other than that, they were awesome!  My mother declared them divine...and that is saying something as my mom is more of a chocoholic than I am!  I know, it's not even possible, right?!

I am thinking about making these again soon, and instead of frosting, just add some cool whipped topping and fresh blueberries.  Lemon and blueberry is always a winning combo.  I could even make these "skinny" cupcakes by just adding a can of diet lemon/lime soda to the box of mix.  If you haven't tried this...it works! I blogged about it here if interested.  So.....maybe I'm just gonna go now and make these before I attack the lemon curd with a spoon!

And if you are craving a salty snack....go enter my giveaway HERE :)


Pillsbury Baguette Chips & a GIVEAWAY!

Have you seen the new Baguette Chips by Pillsbury? They are pretty darn good.  They come in 2 flavors - Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sundried Tomato.  The Italian Cheese & Herb is my favorite, and I have been snacking on them quite a bit!  They are great straight from the bag, and a good accompaniment to soup.  However, I've only eaten soup once or twice recently since it has been SO. HOT.  I also like them with salsa or hummus!  They are sturdy enough to hold up to dips, but not so thick and hard that they are difficult to bite into.  As a matter of fact, they have the perfect amount of crunch!  Also, they are a great alternative to potato chips since I am trying to watch my calorie intake, but don't want to deprive myself of chips :)  The Pillsbury Baguette Chips have 5g fat per 29g serving which is much better than some of the leading brand potato chips out there.  


General Mills, through MyBlogSpark was nice enough to send me this gift pack of chips to try - 
AND they are giving away a prize pack just like this to one of you!

Yep, that's 
  • (3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Italian Cheese & Herb 
  • (3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Cheddar Sundried Tomato
If you want to go ahead and try them now, then go ahead and print this coupon!

To enter the giveaway, complete the mandatory entry on the Rafflecopter form and as many optional entries as you would like!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes

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

Have you been searching for the perfect family vacation?  How about Legoland?!  My little boy would love this place!  And what are you going to pack all your stuff in for this fabulous vacation that I am getting ready to tell you about?  Atlantic luggage!  It is affordable, durable and best of all...lightweight, because all parents know how difficult it is to carry an ornery kid AND heavy luggage.  So where am I going with all this?

AtlanticLuggageNonSa#B8DED2.doc

The Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes is your chance to win a 2 day vacation for 2 adults and 2 children to Legoland in Florida.  This awesome prize package includes hotel stay for 2 nights (a 4 occupancy room), car voucher, a Meet and Greet with a Legoland Master Model Builder AND a set of Atlantic luggage.  How does that sound for a fun family vacation.  FREE is always good :)  Not to mention that Legoland has a new waterpark that opened in May.  How awesome would it be to have water slides, body slides and wave pools since it has been about 1000 degrees outside.  No, I don't exaggerate much ;)  Your family can also create, design and build your own unique Lego vessel and set it afloat on the 1000 ft lazy river.  Think about how much more fun that would be than, oh, say, stepping on all those lego pieces that your kids leave laying on the floor! 

Just click on the link Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes and complete the simple form to enter your family to win this cool trip.  Curious about the luggage?  Atlantic luggage comes in a variety of styles and colors, so there is something for everyone.  I like these colors and styles...

C2 3271113-09 image.jpg  AtlUltraLite 3110922-02 image.jpg

So what are you waiting for?  Go enter the Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes right now!

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blueberry Lime Salsa

I've been a little more adventurous of late with the food combinations I have been willing to try.  I have pretty much been alone in this endeavor since my children have zero sense of adventure when it comes to eating new things.  (Unless they are covered in chocolate.  But even I could not add chocolate to this.)  Now, if you want to see if they will use an air mattress as a launching pad (even though they have been told repeatedly not too); or use snow boards on the slip 'n slide; or combine several items of makeup together for their own personal 'makeover' from hell then I would say their spirit of adventure is alive and well.  But ask them to try something new that involves a vegetable....not so much.  All I can say is, their loss.  (And if anyone out there is an animal trainer, I could probably use a few pointers, since as I type, the kids sound like they have the Wild Kingdom plus WW III going on in the next room.)
At least I can look at this.  So pretty!  
And yes, it is a little odd to see beautiful red strawberries and blueberries mixed in with cilantro and red onion.  But give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Blueberry Lime Salsa - recipe from How Sweet Eats

1 cup fresh blueberries

5 medium strawberries

1/4 red onion

1 teaspoon lime zest

juice of two limes

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 avocado, chopped (I omitted)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until you reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper if desired. If using avocado, fold in now.  I ate mine with tortilla chips, but had the intentions of adding it to shrimp or fish tacos.  It just didn't last long enough!
I will not even mention what my kids said this looked like. 
*sigh* Just eat it!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Coconut Crunch Granola

I have been on the search for the "perfect" granola....not loaded with oil and sugar, but still nice and crunchy with lovely clusters.  I have tried several recipes, and think I have found a winner!  This one is a combination of My Bizzy Kitchen's Coconut Crunch Granola and PreventionRD's Sweet & Salty Olive Oil Granola Clusters.    This granola was so good, that I only have ONE picture to show for it!
This particular morning I enjoyed my granola with almond milk; other mornings I mixed it with my yogurt.  Not to mention all the times I just grabbed a handful while in the kitchen!

This is another recipe using coconut oil too.  The last few hours of the giveaway are going on right now!

Coconut Crunch Granola adapted from Biz & Nicole.  Thanks ladies!

Dry Ingredients - 
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup nuts (a mixture of almonds, pecans and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup mixed dried fruit (I used cranberries, cherries and blueberries)
Wet Ingredients - 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/2 cup sugar free pancake syrup
  • 1/3 cup loose packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 300.  Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl (I did not add my fruit until the end).  Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl, making sure the brown sugar is incorporated.  Mix the two together and stir until well coated.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray (or parchment paper can be used). Spread the granola mixture out in an even layer. Nicole baked hers for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, to get evenly browned. Biz cooked hers for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.  So I decided to cook mine for 55 minutes stirring every 15 minutes :)  However, 50 minutes was probably long enough since I almost overcooked mine! My nuts got a little singed.  (yes, I just said that. hahaha)  Keep in mind too, that it will crisp up as it cools.  I didn't have many clusters in mine, but I think the problem is that I used to large of a sheet pan, so everything was very spread out.  When I make this again, possible today! I am going to use a smaller pan to get all those nice clusters.  After my granola was finished and cooled slightly, I added my dried fruit.
Store granola in an airtight container and enjoy on your yogurt, ice cream, with milk...or just plain!  How do you like your granola?

Friday, July 13, 2012

'Lightened Up' Loaded Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those things I kind of have to be in the mood to eat.  Until now.  I think I could eat this  as a side almost every day!  Yes, it was that good!  I made this for my family's 4th of July cookout.
'Lightened Up' Loaded Potato Salad adapted from Craving Comfort
my changes are in italics

6-8 small to medium red potatoes - cooked*, cooled and cubed
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
8-10 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (can use reduced fat...I can't remember if I did or not!)
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 dash celery salt (can also use seasoning salt)
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash paprika (or cayenne pepper)

Directions
Gently stir together all the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving a little cheddar, green onion and bacon for garnish.
Transfer to a serving dish.
Top with reserved shredded cheddar, green onion slices and bacon.  Can be served immediately while still warm, or made ahead of time and served cold.  It was good both ways!

*I cooked my potatoes in a steamer bag in the microwave

Verdict? This was a delicious potato salad, and an excellent side to this :)
Yes, I like to see how big I can make my burger!

By making a few ingredient swaps, I was able to greatly reduce the fat and calories in this side dish, without sacrificing flavor. Not to mention, no one realized I had used yogurt and light mayo in the place of the regular stuff!  If you are not a fan of turkey bacon, you could use regular bacon, and just reduce the amount as well.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Low Fat Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's just say....yum.  This is a recipe I adapted from here.  I subbed out the butter for the healthier fats of coconut oil, I used stevia in the place of white sugar, and I used Ener-G egg replacer in place of the egg white due to my son's egg allergy.  And they were awesome little bites of chocolate-y goodness, with a slight hint of coconut flavor from the coconut oil.  Oh! and I used dark chocolate, since it's healthy and all from all those antioxidants.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Low Fat Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from About.com
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup stevia
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg white (or egg replacer of choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1/3 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat coconut oil and sugars together with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg white (or replacer), vanilla and mix until well blended.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Gradually add flour mixture to egg and sugar. Use a wooden spoon to work the dough together. The dough will be thick and a little crumbly. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll cookie dough into 1 inch balls and press slightly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. (I had to smoosh the dough together b/c it was quite dry and crumbly.)
Bake for approx 8 minutes (will depend on size of your balls. hahahaha). Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  The original recipe says it makes approx 30 cookies.  I did not get that many, but I think I made my cookies a little larger, and the raw cookie dough kept mysteriously disappearing. My oldest daughter and I both deny eating several cookies worth of dough.  *ahem*
Don't forget to enter my giveaway going on right now for Coconut Oil! *Giveaway closed*

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway!

My new favorite baking product...coconut oil!  I have been using it in everything!  I will be posting the recipes over the next couple of weeks.  (Be sure to check out the Dark Chocolate Baked Donuts & Chocolate Covered Banana Pops already posted)  I love having an alternative to butter and it makes everything taste great too.  Depending on what you are making, you may be able to taste a slight hint of coconut flavor. I will try to make notes of that in the individual recipes.  I have never been a coconut fan until recently, and now I can't get enough!

You have probably seen coconut oil all over blogland and Pinterest by now.  If you are intrigued like I was, then enter this giveaway to try it for yourself! You will be glad you did! For more ways on how to use coconut oil, check out this video.

About the giveaway:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?


Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Complete the Rafflecopter form to enter giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil for review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chocolate Covered Banana Pops

Need a quick summer time treat to help beat the heat?!

I don't know how things are where you are, but here....it's crazy hot.  I mean crazy. H-O-T.  The South is notorious for high humidity, but with temps over 100 degrees, it's been redunculous.  

Not to mention, my kids are borrrred.  I wish I could be bored.  Anywho...

to entertain and feed my kids a healthier, yet delicious treat, I made these 'banana pops'.  They are beyond easy!

I threw in a few apple slices for me too :)

Chocolate Covered Banana Pops
(not really a 'recipe', more of an idea!)

bananas (or any fruit you would like covered in chocolate!)
lollipop or Popsicle sticks (optional)
chocolate chips (or whatever your preference - could use white, butterscotch, etc.) 
coconut oil (could also use butter or shortening)

(I think I used 2 or 3 bananas; 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips; 1 teaspoon coconut oil)

Cut up your bananas (or other fruit) to desired size.  I cut my bananas into thirds.  Place your chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 20 seconds. Stir.  Continue heating in 10 second intervals if needed until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir between heating.  If using sticks, dip one end in chocolate then place in middle of banana (just helps hold it in place).  Dip fruit into chocolate mixture, letting excess drip off.  (This is the messy part.  I stink at dipping things in chocolate!)  Place dipped fruit on wax paper lined baking tray (that will fit into your freezer).  Once all your fruit is covered, place in freezer to harden.  This doesn't take long with the coconut oil (I can't vouch for butter or shortening.)  You can also add chopped nuts, sprinkles, whatever, to your chocolate covered fruit before it hardens.

Verdict?  YUM!  I loved the apple slices, and my kids (plus a friend) loved the chocolate covered bananas!

Come back tomorrow for a chance to win a quart of coconut oil!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Skinny Red Wine Tomato Vinaigrette

A while back I posted about My New Favorite Salad Dressing. I fell in love with Moni's Famous Light Tomato Vinaigrette. I haven't ordered any more (yet) so when I saw this recipe for Skinny Red Wine Tomato Vinaigrette from Gina's Skinny Recipes, I knew I wanted to give it a try.


  • 1 medium red ripe tomato
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot onion

Chop tomato in food processor. Add crushed garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, water, dijon mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.  Add onion and mix well.  Let sit for a few hours for the flavors to meld together.
Then,  have a salad!  This one is spinach, arugula, carrots and blueberries. I love fruit on my salads.

Verdict - The dressing is very good! It could use a tiny bit of sweetener, but I think that will depend on the tomato that you use.  Fresh, vine ripened would be best (of course!).  Oh, how I miss my garden!  

Hope everyone had a Happy 4th!

I'm linking this recipe up at Life as Mom, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, A Little Nosh

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