Tag Archives: baking

Beautiful Saturday!

I have to be quick this morning.  We have a special event to attend today! 😉

Yesterday I baked up one of my favorite treats…

The Weight Watchers pineapple angel food cake.  It’s so easy and so delicious.  Mix the 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple with the juice with an angel food cake mix.  Cook according to the box directions…Voila!!

I didn’t eat any yesterday because I would be weighing in at WW this morning.  I should have eaten the cake…I gained 1 and three-quarters pounds… 😦  I was not happy as you can imagine.  Not sure what my issue was, but I WILL get back on track.  But first…

Today is the wedding of two of our favorite people…

Heather and Brian are getting married today!!!

It’s sunny and beautiful and I can’t wait!  It’s at a restaurant that everyone keeps telling me about, Maggiano’s.  I hear the food is outstanding and it will be worth the Points!  I’m going to be careful because since I already have a hurdle to get back to where I was before weigh in today, I don’t want to increase the difficulty for myself.

I’ll take lots of pictures and share them tomorrow.

Time to go get ready…

Happy Saturday!  Happy WEDDING!!!

Reduction Mission

I got up early on Sunday to make a treat to take to Gail’s house (and for us to have a treat too!)  I decide I’d make the cinnamon loaves I’d made a week or so ago.  My mission this time…to lighten up the recipe.

As I made it last time, a 1/12 serving of the recipe counted as 8 points.  It’s delicious, there’s no doubt, but I hate to use up 8 points on a treat.  I knew I could do better. 

Instead of using 1/2 cup of canola oil, which added 28 points to the overall recipe for a total point value of 93 points, I used sugar-free applesauce which counts for “0” points!  It reduced the overall value of the recipe to 65 points.  This makes each serving 5.41 points.  Unfortunately, on the new program you have to round up to the next point so it comes out to 6 points per serving.  Still better!

Before the oven…

…after the oven!! 🙂

They looked the same and thank goodness, they tasted the same!  I took one over to Gail’s house and everyone said it was delicious and they couldn’t tell the difference…Right Answer!! 😉

Ralph thought it was just as good also (although he’s always big on telling me he doesn’t want to know what the ingredients are…ESPECIALLY if he likes something!)

I started thinking though that I might be able to lighten it up a little more.  I calculated it with egg substitute rather than regular eggs.  Real eggs add a total of 4 points, while egg substitute only adds 2 points.  That brings it to 5.25 points per serving…still 6 points.  This morning I thought about checking the milk.  I had used 2 % milk for 1 point.  Unfortunately, changing it to non fat milk is still 1 point.  So it seems we’re stuck at 6 points.

I’m thinking of looking into egg replacer to see if that would help  the count.  Did any of you who know me well, EVER think you’d see so much Math on BCDC?!? 😉  I didn’t either, but I’m enjoying this challenge and I’ll probably try to continue it with other recipes.  I like a challenge! 

Another comment on this whole process…just because a container of something (sour cream in this case) is 16 ounces, doesn’t mean you’ll get 2 cups out of it.  I was a little shy on sour cream, but that didn’t seem to make a difference.

Dinner last night was the left overs from Saturday night’s Chinese dinner.

There was so much left over, I was stuffed again.  I forgot to mention that for a table treat at Sakana Oriental, they give you steamed edamame in the pods.  They’re really tasty and certainly better for you than the crispy chip thingys they give you at other Chinese restaurants.  (Ralph always complains he misses his little chippy things!)

I had brought the leftover edamame home with the other leftovers.  I popped them and included them in my leftover dish which was a pleasant addition.  Get that protein in any way you can!! 😉

Here it is Monday and it’s dreary and damp outside.  I have lots to accomplish before I go over to Gail’s again, to help.  I’m learning a LOT about baseball and catching up on a lot of shows On Demand.  It’s fun to spend so much time with old friends.  I just wish it was for a different reason.  We’re all trying to make the best of it. 

Don’t know what else the day may hold…Happy Monday! 🙂

Wednesday Where Did You Go?

Wednesday was a day that kind of flashed by.  After my baking project in the morning, I headed over to my friend Gail’s house to deliver the goodie.  It was well received, everyone thought it was really good.  She tried to get me to eat a piece but I told her I had mine waiting at home.  Actually, I wanted to be able to sit down with perhaps a cup of tea and really enjoy it. 

Before I left, because I knew I’d get the question, I set out to calculate how it counted on Weight Watchers.  Sadly, it came out to 8 points per slice…and that was with using fat-free sour cream.  No one was happy with that number, but the good thing about having a best friend who is also on WW, we sort of brainstormed on how we could lighten up the recipe since we all liked it so much.  I’ve got some good ideas and I’ll give it a try again soon, revamped! 🙂

I spent most of the day at Gail’s helping and I was pretty tired when I got home.  I didn’t feel like cooking.  Ralph suggested he pick something up at the local pizza shop.  I agreed and told him I just wanted their Garden Salad.  I figured I could fancy it up a bit.

He got himself a spaghetti dinner, which smelled wonderful, but I was happy with my salad and thought I made the right choice.

I started with this…

I added 2 of the MorningStar Farms Grillers California Turk’y Burgers which I cooked up in the toaster oven.

Along with the burgers, I added sunflower seeds, black pepper, Mrs. Dash and Newman’s Own Light Lime.  Yes, kids, I am pretty predictable, but I like what I like and I also know what works for me in terms of WW so I stick with certain things. 😉

Finished product…

Big yum…not much work! Who doesn’t love that?!?

Then later, I got what I had been waiting for all day…

And how was it???

Well worth waiting for. Ralph loved it, too.  I thought it tasted just about like Ele’s original.  We’ll have to see how close my next version tastes to the original. ;-)The cup of tea was very enjoyable and relaxing.  I should do that more often in the evening.

So Thursday dawned cold and rainy.  Actually I don’t think our heater is working properly because it’s pretty chilly inside too.  We’ll have to look into that.

I’m off to Verchio’s for produce.  One of things I love about going there…you’re never sure what you’ll find.  Sometimes that’s good, sometimes bad.  As long as the keep having clementines I’m satisfied!  We’ll see what I turn up.

Happy Thursday!  Stay Warm!

I Love the Smell of…

CINNAMON!! 

I’ve been planning on making Ele’s Cinnamon Loaves recipe for a week or so.  She had made it when we went for St. Patrick’s Day dinner and it was so good!  She told me I’d had it before, I didn’t really remember it.  But I remember it Now!  And now that I know how good cinnamon is for me…it’s actually health food!

I had hoped to be up earlier to do it, but it was one of those days…I did however get it done! 🙂

CINNAMON LOAVES

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream (I used fat-free)

1/4 cup milk (I used 2 %)

2 cups flour

1 tsp vanilla

FOR TOPPING:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together 1 cup sugar and oil.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Blend in sour cream and milk. 

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Spread 1/4 of the batter into each of 2 greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans. 

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon over the batter in pans.  Top each pan with remaining batter.  Cut through batter gently with a knife to make swirling effect with the cinnamon sugar.  Top with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  Check to see if it is done by using the toothpick method.

And finally…the finished product…

They smell so good!!  One is destined to go to Gail’s house and one we’ll keep.  I still have to figure out the points value, but I’ll get to that.  Whatever the point value…it’s worth it!

In this photo, you can see the wonderful oven “hot” gloves that Ralph bought for me.  Sadly, I don’t know where he got them so I can’t recommend a place to buy them.  They most likely came from a catalog.  If I can figure out which one, I’ll let you all know.  They are a great help when taking hot things from the oven or microwave.  I have to take care of my delicate hands, don’t I? 😉

So if nothing else, I accomplished something today…a delicious goodie that I get to share.  That makes me happy. 

Off now to be productive…Happy Wednesday!

Friday/Saturday-A Melange

Friday was another one of those days when I woke at 3am and was out of bed by 4:30 because…why stay there when you’re not sleeping?  😦  It was good because I needed to be at Gail’s house at 10:30 and I had a cake to bake!

I was giving another try to the Weight Watchers pumpkin spice cake that turned out so badly before.  Fortunately, this time it was much more successful.

Again, it is insanely simple…

You open a spice cake mix, any brand…

…and mix it with a can of pumpkin…

It’s a little stiff and it takes a bit of stirring to get it to mix, but (when done correctly, using a FRESH box of cake mix!) you get this…

Boy, does it smell/taste GOOD!   It made me want the holidays to come back…it smelled like Thanksgiving.  Everyone at Gail’s house thought it was great!  So did Ralph.   I was waiting until weigh in at Weight Watchers on Saturday morning for my taste.

Now that I’ve weighed in, I know that I deserve that treat!  I lost 1 and 3/4 pounds at WW this morning…I was SO excited!   I tried hard this week so I was glad my efforts paid off…because I was Free and under goal!

After the meeting I coerced Kristen into going to Mullica Hill so that I could pick up my edamame burger at Natural Harvest Market.  The only problem was that it didn’t open until 10:30.  So we stopped at WaWa for coffee and then headed to the Amish Farmers Market.  We had a great time there browsing around.  I picked up a few things…

Flax seed-which is SO inexpensive there, vanilla extract and Coco Pop Cakes in whole wheat.  I’ve had the regular ones before, but I figured the whole wheat would be healthier and it has 1 gram of protein as opposed to 0 for the original ones.  They are so good. They’re big and count for almost nothing on WW.  I have to calculate it, but I know it’s a good deal on points.

Then we went to Natural Harvest and picked up my edamame burger.  As Kristen had warned me, it was pricey, but she tells  me it’s worth it.  It comes with its own little tub of special sauce.  I also got a block of tofu that could stop a truck~it’s “super firm” and extra protein.  It has 14 g of protein for a 3 ounce serving, so that’s pretty good!

I’m excited to give both a try.  Kristen told me about how she used tofu to make something reminiscent of tuna salad.  That will be project for the coming week because I certainly have tofu!!

It’s been a good day so far.  Ralph and I are headed to Barnes & Noble, because earlier in the week he found 2 gift cards left over from Christmas.  I have a coupon for a new book by an author I really like.  Then later we’re meeting Bill, Alex and Patrick at the mall to “hang out.”  Haven’t been asked to do that for a long time, but I’m looking forward to it!

So Happy Saturday to everyone…we’ll see what the day holds!

Where Did Thursday Go?

I woke up Thursday not wanting to do any of the things I needed to do.  I didn’t feel like doing my meditation practice in the morning so I skipped it. (I did make it up in the evening though) I did my 30 minutes on the exercise bike. 

Then I was off to grocery shopping.  I wanted to make a recipe that Ele had made on Sunday and I needed to pick up a few things.  I stopped at work to see her to be sure I got what I needed.  When I came out of her office it was Snowing!  I couldn’t believe it.  Fortunately, it didn’t last long. I just stayed cold and damp all day.  (Remind me again why I’m still in New Jersey… 😦  )

At the store, I stocked up on Oat Bran which I had been missing terribly since I finished my supply earlier in the week.

…and since the box had a yummy looking muffin recipe on it, I splurged on a new muffin/cupcake tin!

I’m looking forward to giving the muffins a try…yes…she CAN cook from a recipe!  I’ll prove it to you! 😉

I had picked up some things for my friend Gail and stopped by to see how her Mom was doing.  I spent most of the afternoon there.

I hadn’t eaten any lunch and by the time I came home I was starving, but didn’t feel like cooking.  I decided it would be a salad for me.

I popped 2 Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers into the toaster oven.  That always seems to be the easiest way for me to cook them. 

While they cooked I chopped up Romaine and grape tomatoes

Added sunflower seeds and  1 cup of my home-made black beans ( I was going for serious protein here!)  I also added lots of Mrs. Dash’s Fiesta Lime seasoning (yum!) and tossed things around.

Added the chopped up burgers and WW cheddar cheese…can you say PROTEIN?!?!

Even though I had the Newman’s Own Light Lime in the photo, I changed my mind at the last minute.  I decided that plain balsamic vinegar would taste better with it.  I was right.  It was a truly delicious salad.  It was very filling and just what I needed.  I like when dinner is filling…it gives me a much better chance to stay on track as far as night-time snacking is concerned.

Interesting thing about the Newman’s Own.  After I had decided not to use it, I got a call from my friend, Pat.  She had bought the Light Lime on my recommendation.  She called to tell me that she had a bottle to give me because she HATED it!  I felt bad that she’d spent the money on it, then didn’t like it.

I guess it just proves the point that different people like different things.  I usually say I like anything with lime.  Two years ago I was in Florida with Gail and Alice.  We were out at a restaurant and I had been hearing about one of the beers, I think Miller Lite that now had a variety with lime.  I had been waiting to try it.  Gail looked at me like I was crazy when I ordered it while everyone else had their pitcher of Coor’s Lite.  I drank about half the bottle and asked for a glass from the pitcher.  Gail gave me her best “I told you so” look and then laughed at me.  I guess I can’t just think that anything with lime will be good.  Hey, it sounds like we’re getting back to the green theme again!!

Now it’s Friday.  It’s one of those days when woke up at 3am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I’ve been using my time well though.  Let’s see if I can keep it up for the rest of the day!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday Came and Went

Wednesday was kind of a blur.  My morning routine went well.  My meditation practice was very interesting…I continue to feel more focused each time I do it.  I love the feeling I have just after I finish…so peaceful and calm. 

I did my 30 minutes on my exercise bike.  I’m reading a terrific book…Summerland by Michael Chabon.

I’m really enjoying it and when I’m enjoying my book, I ride faster and longer so it’s a plus for me!  Very unique plot.  I can’t wait to find out what happens.

After posting on BCDC, I got my breakfast…

Chobani plain Greek Yogurt and Fiber One  mixed with cinnamon (!), Splenda and unsweetened applesauce.  It is SO good!  Because the plain yogurt is only 2 points on Weight Watchers, the whole thing is only 4 points.  AND total of 20 grams of protein (18 yogurt/2 cereal)  AND I like it!  Good start.

I wanted to make a treat to take to Gail’s house so I went back to the old stand by…angel food pineapple cake…

I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, but I’ve shown you that before.  Trust me, they were lovely AND delicious! 😉  I figured out that they now count for 5 points on the new WW program, but still worth every bit of it. 

I spent most of the day at Gail’s house doing my best to help (beyond just bringing goodies!)  It makes me feel good to be helping.  Gail’s Mom was always such a good friend to my Mom, and Gail is my best friend so I feel good being able to help.  It’s a good thing that I’m now working because I can be available to help.

I didn’t get lunch (but I did turn down all snacks offered while I was there!) so when I got home I was starving.  I realized I had some left over pasta in the fridge and it was calling my name.  It was there, all I had to do was heat it up and add cheese.  So that was dinner! 

I didn’t have the best night with my no snacking rule.  But I did realize I had made it a week without breaking my no chips for lent rule.  I’m happy about that.

Today will be a good day.  We’re having lunch with Ralph’s sisters and their husbands and 2 of his cousins for St. Patrick’s Day.  We’re all looking forward to it.  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be eating the Green!  The restaurant where we’re going has Big salads that they will usually adjust to my requests so I should be good for lunch.

But first I’m off to the hairdresser.  I don’t mind going…I get to READ!!  Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! I need to go dig out some of my Irish CD’s to listen to in the car!  Have a great day!

Sunday was a Funday

Ok, no groaning at that title.  I know it was a stretch, but… Just like in writing poetry, sometimes finding the right title is the hardest thing!!   😉

My planned project for the morning was making scones.  Same recipe as I had used for Valentine’s Day, only this time with the benefit of a Silpat.  My intention was to make 2 batches, one for Ralph and me and one to take to my friend Gail’s house as a treat.  I’ve been trying to take treats to her whenever possible.  She’s going through a lot taking care of her Mom who is 91 and failing.  Treats are good under those circumstances. 

I didn’t take a lot of photos of them, because I was sort of on a time crunch.  This was the first batch which I fed to Ralph almost as soon as they were out of the oven!

They were not perfect in terms of shape, but boy did they taste good!  I put the second batch in while Ralph and I enjoyed our scones and coffee.  I still need to calculate what they count for on Weight Watchers…maybe I don’t want to know, but I have to do it.  That’ll be a project for today!

When the second batch had cooled a bit, it took them to Gail’s house.  She only lives a few blocks away, so they were still warm.  When I got there, she was doing something in the other room with her Mom so I just put the scones on the kitchen table.  She had to go into the kitchen and I hear her say “scones!”  I was so excited that they were recognizable as scones.  In a few minutes she came out and said ” I have to try one now!”  She declared it delicious.

Our other friend Alice was also there and tried one also declaring it delicious!  After her Mom was settled, we all sat around the kitchen chatting.  I said I was glad everyone liked them and that they could let me know when they wanted me to make more.  Alice said, “I’m putting in my order now!”  When I said I’d have to get  more flour, she said she had flour and she would be glad to contribute. A little later, Gail’s Mom woke up and Gail asked her if she wanted one.  She hasn’t been eating all that much lately.  She ate almost an entire scone!  She thought it was good too.  That really made me smile.  Guess I’ll be making scones again soon! 🙂

We made plans to go to lunch with Ralph’s son Bill and grandsons Alex and Patrick.  We were heading to Ruby Tuesday.  On the way out the door, I had to stop for these…

The first sign of spring…crocuses!  They’re so pretty and really more colorful than they look in these photos.  I love them and they’re scattered around my yard because squirrels keep digging them up and re-planting them in other places.  It’s very funny!

While waiting for the boys to show up, we sat near this…

A great help for families with children to have a way to transport the kiddies if they don’t have a stroller with them.  I did however notice something interesting on the back of the SmarteCarte…

“Do Not Put Child In Bag.”  Do parents really need to be told this?!?  I suppose they do.  I thought it was interesting.

Lunch was delicious.  Ruby Tuesday has one of the best salad bars in any restaurant I know of.  Choices of lettuce and lots of options for the veggie-tarian to get her protein.  I had edamame, black beans and chick peas plus some shredded cheddar.  It was very tasty topped with balsamic vinegar (which I splashed all over my light grey sweater 😦  ) Very filling too because it was all I could do to finish my entrée, the Vegetarian Pasta Marinara which is a red pepper marinara.  Very tasty.

We enjoyed our time with Bill and the boys talking and laughing.  We love to spend time with them.

My meditation practice was very fulfilling yesterday morning.  I do believe I am finding more focus as I do it.  I now need to translate that focus into my every day activities.  I am working on that.

So everyone have a happy Monday.  It’s kind of dreary here but it’s not raining.  That’s always a good thing! 🙂

Saturday On and Off

After breakfast with my friends Gail and Alice at the Gateway Diner in Westville, I headed home to see what was in store for the day.  Since Jim is visiting from DC, I knew we’d be doing some adventuring. 

We started out with lunch at In A Pickle one of our favorite lunch spots.  Why you ask…

Why, Free Pickles, of course!! 😉

My attempt at being “arty”  See me, looking at you?!?  Jim is such a master photographer, I should ask him for some photo tips while he’s here.  I probably need to wait until it get my new camera (whenever that might be!!)

Jim and Ralph…Ralph still not being sure about all of these photos…can you tell by the look on his face?!?

Me and Ele…Ralph insisted on standing up to take the photo. (?)

First time for a Caesar salad there…

Pretty yummy.  The dressing was very garlic-y but I like that.  Glad that I asked for it on the side, though.

After a quick stop at Target we were off to Barnes & Noble (no, not again!) 😉 While everyone else went in, I took a detour next door to the Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I was in search of this…

A Silpat!!  I’m so excited, now I can make scones and biscuits and maybe even cookies and not have to worry about them sticking.  Am I happy? 🙂

Our group was scattered, shopping in B&N but I located them all.  I had a 20% off coupon and wanted to make good use of it.  I am now the proud owner of this…

The Happy Herbivore!!  In just the short time I’ve had to look at it so far, I really like it.  It’s based on the idea that you use ordinary ingredients as opposed to the exotic ingredients you see in so many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks.  The recipes sound really good.  I’ll hopefully be making some of these soon and sharing them. 

Our happy group at B&N…

Jim, Ele and Ralph. 

After that, Ralph and I came home and generally crashed.  We were both tired, him because he’s still trying to get over the plague and me because I haven’t been sleeping well at night. 

Sunday will be fun, dinner at Ele’s with our friends Ginny, John and Stephanie joining us to celebrate Jim’s birthday.  Considering the fact that I’ve been up since 3:15, I may need to take a nap so I’ll have energy for all of that fun!  Looking forward to it!!

The Sky’s the Limit

I had decided to surprise Ralph with a special treat for Valentine’s Day…but first I got the surprise of a wrap around sunrise.  I don’t know what else to call it.  It was out my kitchen window which I expect…

But was also heading toward the West…

It just went on and on.  It was a wonderful gift for Valentine’s Day.

On to my surprise for Ralph.  I had mentioned that during the Christmas holidays my sister, Ele had taught me how to make scones.  I thought it would be fun to make some today for Ralph for Valentine’s Day.

First the recipe which is from Martha Stewart’s magazine but I can’t remember the name of it.  It’s the little one that you get at the check out in your grocery store. 

The recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surfaces

5 Tbsps sugar plus 1 Tbsp for topping

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsps chilled unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

2/3 cup half and half plus 1 Tbsp

1/2 cup halved cranberries drained on towels

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, 5 Tbsps sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in 2/3 cup half and half until just moistened.  Gently fold in cranberries.

2. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, 5 to 10 times.  Pat into a 1 inch thick round.  Cut into 8 wedges; place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Brush tops with remaining tablespoon half and half; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.  Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack.

Ele tells me that this recipe is very forgiving. She uses margarine and 1% or sometimes non-fat milk depending on what she has. I used Smart Balance and 2% milk. I also used dried cranberries, but you can use almost any dried fruit or even chocolate chips.  Since the first time I made them, I’ve been formulating in my mind some other variations including savory ones.  Now that I know I can make them on my own, the sky’s the limit!

Forgot to take a photo until I got to this point!!  Then it got tough because I was covered with flour…and so was my camera when I was finished!! 😮

It’s hard to see but the one on top is heart-shaped!

All finished!

Ralph’s tray all pretty and ready for him! 🙂

The whole time I was doing my best to be quiet so that he wouldn’t wake up before I finished and I was successful!  He was very appreciative and gave me a big hug and kiss.

I also tried to start on a good habit…

When I emptied the bag of flour into a plastic container, I cut the side of the bag so that first of all I would know it was all-purpose flour (all those white things look alike!!) and also it has the “use by” date on it.  I’m so proud of myself.  I’ve learned my baking lesson…fresh ingredients…good results.  My only issue with the scones was that they stuck to the foil which made it a little hard to remove them…a few of the bottoms are not ready for their close up!  My next purchase needs to be a Silpat.  That will make life much easier!  It’s no fun to make something that tastes good and have half of it end up on the cookie sheet!  

After a day like today…

The sky really is the limit! 🙂