Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easy Lemon Poppy Pound Cake



Nom. Nom.
Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake. 
Nom.



I have a confession, this is the 2nd time I've made this recipe.
I swear, I thought I had blogged about it before, but, Nay, my research shows that I did not.
I am sorry, because if you are a lemon-lover, you're going to really like this recipe.

Why is this the 2nd time I've made this cake in 3 months? 
Because it's been requested. And both times I have made it, multiple people tell me how much they love it. And I have a strong feeling, it will be requested many more times - Really. 

And the best part? It is soooo easy. 
You through it into a bowl, mix, then throw it into the oven (without the need to consistently "babysit" the cake), and pull it out oven the oven to cool. 
Heat up the frosting a tad, pour on cake, and Voila!
Easy Peasy!

***

I found this recipe on www.food.com----> Super-Moist Cake Mix Lemon Pound Cake

The original recipe doesn't include poppy seeds, but I decided to add it both times I've made it because Lemon + Poppy Seeds = Tasty! 
The cake can still be made without the poppy, but I highly recommend the poppy people! *wink*

Ingredients:


  • 1 Duncan Hines lemon supreme cake mix
  • 1 lemon flavor instant pudding and pie filling (3.4 oz.) (I used sugar free)
  • 1 Tbs poppy seeds (Optional, but recommended)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)
  • 1 cream cheese frosting (store-bought in jar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract


Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F and grease bundt pan.
2.  Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour into pan.
3.  Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (I cook mine for 50 mins.) Cool in pan 25 minutes. Invert onto heat resistant serving plate. Cool completely.
4.  For glaze, place frosting in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power 10 to 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. Repeat if necessary. Do not over heat. Add Lemon extract one teaspoon at a time until desired flavor is reached. Stir well. (I use 2 teaspoons for a moderate lemon taste. Add more according to preference.) Drizzle over cake.



I love the "pool of frosting" in the middle of bundt cakes...YUM!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Bit of What I've Been Eating Lately...

Just a quick "pop" in.
Enjoy!

Cottage Cheese, Strawberries, Milled Flax Seed, with a bit o' Almond Milk



Banana Protein & Blueberry Chia Smoothie (in a penguin cup!)


Rosemary & Hickory Bacon Wrapped Chicken & Broccoli



Soy Chorizo & Egg Burritos 
(Still working on perfecting this recipe.)


Olive & Goat Cheese with Balsamic Glaze and Olive Oil
(My attempt to replicate the best appetizer of my life).


Crockpot Indonesian Peanut Butter Pork with a side of Asparagus



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italian Meatloaf & Mashed Cauliflower



Does anyone else think of Will Ferrell in The Wedding Crashers yelling, "Ma! Meatloaf!"
Cracks. Me. Up.

These recipe was a result of 1) A cravin' and 2) me trying to stick to lower-carb foods

First up, the loaf of meat:
Now, to be fair, I made a close version of "Not Your Mama's Meatloaf"- 
1) I added about 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning to the Tomato Sauce Topping
2) halved the original recipe (b/c 2 lbs is a lot of meatloaf for 2 people), and 
3) omitted the prosciutto and provolone ('cause I had zilch)

Here's the original recipe:

Tomato Sauce Topping
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup sugar substitute (such as Splenda)
2 teaspoons white vinegar or 2 teaspoons water

Meatloaf
2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced (roasted or fresh)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 lb provolone cheese, sliced

Directions:
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 In small bowl, combine tomato sauce topping ingredients and set aside.
3 Add water to sauce to thin, as needed.
4 In large bowl, combine beef, eggs, cheese, vegetables, herbs & seasonings.
5 Place meat mixture on a wax paper-lined jellyroll pan or counter.
6 Form meat into a 10x8-inch flat rectangle.
7 Place prosciutto slices on the meatloaf mixture.
8 Place the provolone slices on top.
9 Starting with the short side, roll the meatloaf up (may need to use the wax paper to help).
10 Seal ends and place, seam side down, into a loaf pan.
11 Spread tomato sauce topping on the meatloaf, completely covering the top.
12 Bake for 75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes).
13 Drain fat and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

So, what's the result?
It tastes 80% like an Italian Meatloaf/Meatball and 20% like a traditional (Yes, I CAN verify those stats.)
The Tomato Sauce Topping tastes surprisingly like ketchup on top of the meatloaf. 
 

 Next up, is the "Mock Garlic Mashed Potatoes" from Foodnetwork.com
The Secret? 
Cauliflower
Ingredients
1 medium head cauliflower
1 Tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
1) Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
2) Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. 3) Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
4) In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, butter salt, and pepper until almost smooth.

 So, were they a good substitute for mashed potatoes?
I thought these were delicious!
I personally liked these better than mashed potatoes.
BUT, if you are a major mashed potato connoisseur, please note: Mashed Cauliflower is somewhat similar to, but they are *not* mashed potatoes in the classic sense- they are naturally slightly sweeter (which I love) and the texture is a bit different. 
 
Hubby prefers his actual mashed potatoes, but I think I'd make the mock version any day.

***
After a few days of feeling sluggish, I was READY for a good workout today, and, boy, I had a great one!

Which looked something like this:
- for the warm-up, 5 minutes on the elliptical
- for the HIIT Blitz portion, I did Fitnessista's Holiday HIIT Workout (4 times through)
- Lean Leg Circuit  portion
-for the 10 minutes of Steady Cardio, I jogged 6.0 (1 mile) on the treadmill

Whew!  
It was a good one!




Monday, March 18, 2013

Amazing Carnitas


THESE CARNITAS ARE AMAZING!
I promise you, they are going into our "regular rotation" of meals.
This recipe is in the top 5 for dinner meals/recipes I have made.
Seriously.
The husband took one bit of these and said, "Um...Jennifer, these are pretty darn good."
And for him, that means they are delicious. 
Trust me - I've been married to the man for almost 6 years.

I was like, "Yeah, yeah, okay." 
I took one bite...holy smokes
Amazing!
Yeah, I said that already, but they are really and truly tasty (not to mention easy).

What exactly are Carnitas? 
But, according to hubby, "It's like a pork fajita."


I highly recommend serving with some Guacamole (homemade, I beg you) and, Salsa, Sour Cream
Also, add cheese, if desired. 



This Carnita recipe comes from Stephanie O'Dea .....I found the recipe in her cookbook, "More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow," but she also posted the recipe on her blog, Crockpot365.
Click "Crockpot365" for the original recipe. 


*I crossed out the original portions of the recipe that I changed/did differently

The Ingredients:

  1. 2 pounds pork shoulder Bonless Pork Loin Backribs
  2. 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 large orange)
  3. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 large lime)
  4. 7 cloves garlic (whole intact) (minced)
  5. 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  6. 1 tablespoon cumin
  7. 1/2 cup beef broth
  8. corn tortillas  flour tortillas
  9. sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado Guacamole (optional)

The Directions:
Use a 6 quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the salt and cumin. Rub mixture all over the pork, then plop into the slow cooker. Add whole garlic cloves. Squeeze on the citrus, and pour the beef broth evenly over the top.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the pork shreds quite easily with a fork. If your meat is still fully intact after 8 hours, remove and cut into chunks, then return to the crock and flip to high for about an hour or two.
Shred meat fully and serve on warmed corn tortillas with desired toppings.



Need a homemade "Guac" recipe?
Super simple and darn worth the extra 2 minutes it takes to make. 
There's a BIG different in "bad" guac and tasty guac. (Like abysmal.)

Homemade "Guac"
1 Ripe Avocado, chopped
2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped and juice drained
2 Green onions (use about 1/2 of the onion - white part only)
Juice of 1 Lime
Plenty of Salt and Pepper
Cilantro, to taste, if desired

Mix all together. 
Voila!
Yummy, yum!

*****
This is my current read:
Yes, I scored it brand new for a whole dollar. 
So far, it's good. 
Anybody else read and have thoughts?
Please, no spoilers, yet! I'm only about 60 pages in.

Hope you all have a happy, blessed, and peaceful day. 

-Jen

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Low Carb Pizza

Announcement!
Hold the phone....I now have the FOOD NETWORK CHANNEL on my cable list
AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
I'm so excited!!!!!
Dear Food Network, I am so sorry it has been 6 LONG months since I have subscribed to thee. 
I miss you and I offer you so very much of my tv viewing time. 
Okay, now, the food. 

***

I've mentioned on here a week or so ago that I'm trying to do a low-carb diet. 
Nothing crazy, I'm still eating a few carbs, but trying to minimize it to around 50g a day. 
Well, what is delicious, but full of chewy, doughy, tasty carbs?
PIZZA!
I mean, who doesn't like pizza? 
Weirdos, that's who. 
(Sorry, somebody had to say it.) 

Well, since I'm trying to watch the carb-O-hydrates, I thought I'd make this "No Carb Pizza" recipe I found on the blog "They Smell." (Yeah. No Joke.)

Again, I will personally refer to this as "Low Carb Pizza" rather than a "No Carb Pizza" due to the fact the cream cheese and marinara sauce has some amount of carbohydrates. (Very little, but still.) 

How'd it go?
It's a fairly good substitute for pizza. 
Well, let's be honest, without the bread, this isn't going to be "real" pizza, but it suffices the craving. 
It has all the major elements of a pizza, cheese, pepperoni, sauce, and a "crust."
If you having a hankerin' for pizza and feel the urge...Don't Give In!
Make THIS and withstand! 
I know I would make this again to "get me through" the craving. 

I followed the recipe, but added MORE Cheese and MORE sauce (which added to the net carb total).
I also used Italian 5-Cheese blend as my cheese (love that stuff).  



Ingredients:

For the crust:For the pizza:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of reduced fat cream cheese (room temp.)
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce*
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian 5-cheese
  • Sauteed turkey pepperoni
  • Garlic powder

*Finding a sauce that doesn't contain added sugar is not easy, but I did find a “no sugar added” by Ragu that with a few added seasonings tastes fantastic on the pizza.

Directions:

For the crust:For the pizza:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Butter a 9×13 baking dish
  • Blend cream cheese and eggs and season with pepper & garlic powder
  • Add Parmesan cheese and stir until combined
  • Pour into buttered baking dish
  • Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown
  • Let crust cool for 10 minutes before adding toppings
  • After crust is cooked, raise oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix together marinara sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper & oregano
  • Top crust with marinara and spread evenly
  • Top with mozzarella cheese
  • Add toppings
  • Bake for 8 minutes or until cheese is bubbly

The crust is not crisp like traditional pizza.  Make sure you cook it til the top is golden brown and let it cool the full 10 minutes before adding the toppings and that will help.  You still may end up with a fork, but good, soft pizza is better than no pizza!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu


I have an announcement...
I have now successfully cooked Tofu!
Whoo! Hoo!

So, I've tried making tofu once before. 
But, while it wasn't terrible, it wasn't really that great either. 
However, I knew I hadn't prepared it properly - Perturbed Patty Passively Persisted such. 
(Sorry-couldn't resist. There is not Patty. I just wanted to use a lot of "p's")
The first time, tofu was attempted I hadn't 
1) drained the excess water from it or 2) gotten my pan adequately hot to induce crispiness.

So, you know what the game plan was this time?
Yeah, no-brainer.


I have this yummy, yummy, tasty recipe on pinterst, of course - on the blog, Fat Free Vegan. 
Ironically, I am definitely not a "fat free vegan."
Nonetheless, Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu passes the "tofu test."
Click the link to check it out....


You'd be proud - Yes, I totally followed the recipe, except only used Green Pepper and Onion as my veggies. Sometimes simpler is more welcoming at the time. 
So, if you choose, know that you can change up the veggies according to your tastes (or pantry stock). 

Sauteing the Pepper and Onion - check out those brown flavor bits!

Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu is very healthy, tasty, and easy (roughly about 300 or so calories, 27g of protein, and low carb!) 
It's nice to know I have a tempting tofu recipe I can whip up in no time!
YUM!
                                   

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chana Masala (Indian Chickpeas)


Namaste!
(That's "hello" in Hindi. And, I possibly had to "google it." Yeah, I know, "duh.")

I great you from the lands of India!
(Yeah, again, I know - nerd!)
I found a recipe for Chana Masala on Clean Eating Veggie Girl's blog that peaked my interest. 
I love me some Indian food and I've been trying to make a few more meat-free dishes. 
But, I'm always a bit anxious when it comes to making certain cuisines, like Indian or Asian, because, let's be honest, there are just some things us Americans just can't make as well as others. 
But, we can fry y'all up some mean burgers and fried chicken.
Now, we got that covered. 

Okay. Okay. 
Back to the Chana Masala. 
So, as I was saying, I got "the hankering" to make this dish. 
However, I decided to break out the ol' crockpot since I knew I'd home later than usual (a short workout and group run planned). 
Me home later = Starvin' Marvin'!
So, I pretty much followed the recipe, with some slight deviations...

Ingredients:
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tsp finely grated ginger (about 1 1/2-2 inches of a knob of ginger)
3 TB tomato paste
1 TB ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground tumeric mustard (No tumeric in stock!)
1 15 oz can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 1/4 tsp garam masala*

Directions:
1) Combine all in a crockpot. 
2) Cook for about 4 hours on low. **

*To make your own garam masala ---> :http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Garam-Masala/  
**When I made it, I originally cooked it for only 2 hours, b/c I was afraid my super-fast slow cooker would torch it. However, my chickpeas were still a bit cruncher than I liked. So, I cooked for about 1 1/2 hours longer. I would say about 4 hours is about right, but, to be honest, it is an estimate based on the type of crockpot you have (I have a 6-quart). 

***

So, I don't think I "recapped" properly regarding Tina's Best Body Bootcamp, but it was great! 
I am totally signed up for Round 5.
I encourage anyone to who is looking for a low-cost but thorough workout plan to join!
 It's only $25 for 8-weeks AND there's prizes!
And, no need to fear - The workouts are designed so you can adjust them to fit your fitness level/desired intensity. 
I dare ya, go check it out!

Okay, I almost didn't post this capital NERDY photo of me...This is after the Round 4 BBB (and more specifically after 2 intervals of Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred dvd - tough!). Anyway, I think I spy a tiny bit of muscle - Thank you for your Best Body Bootcamp, Tina Reale!!!


Sweat Brow - courtesy of Jillian Michaels. 
Yeah, she is good!
I love how you're not expecting that soreness that creeps up on you...the next day
Hello, sore bummy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Low-Carb Crepes (aka "No Carb Pancakes")



So, I'm attempted the low-carb thing for a bit. 
I stumbled across THIS RECIPE, "No-Carb Pancakes," on Mellissa's blog "I Breathe...I'm Hungry"
(Love the name of her blog, btw.)

I've tried many "healthy" pancake recipes only to be disappointed. 
But this recipe calls only for 
1)  Cream Cheese, 2 oz.
2) 2 Eggs
3) Truvia, 1 packet
4) Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp


That's it.
I'm quite a firm believer that a recipe that has cream cheese or sour cream is almost always good. 
(I could swear, it's magical.) 
But, I still wondered how these very few simple ingredients would made a pancake crepe.

So, I thought I'd "give it a whirl."
(See below...pun intended.)

1) "Whirl" all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 


2) Let the mixture rest for 2 minutes to let the bubbles settle. 
3) Cook in a non-stick skillet with butter spray on medium heat for about 2 minutes total. 
(I set my skillet heat on "5" - Right in the middle.)

Voila!

So, how was it?
Surprisingly Successful.
Now, in my opinion, this recipe makes more of a "crepe" than a "pancake."
The thinness/consistency is totally crepe - not "fluffy" like a pancake.
Plus, I'm a bit new to carb-counting stuff, but I estimate these (without the filling) have a total of 4g carbs.
Minimal, yes, but existent carbs. 

Overall, the Low-Carb Crepes provide a nice neutral base and flavor consistent with that of a crepe/pancake. 

It was screamin' (Ahh!) for some filling. 
So, I made 2 similar fillings (again, low-carb). 

Greek Yogurt, Truvia, & Strawberry Filling
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 tsp Truvia
1/4 cup diced Strawberries


Greek Yogurt, Truvia, & Cinnamon Filling

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 tsp Truvia
1/4 tsp Cinnamon



Both were delicious!!!

I think I'm going to try a savory version of this, too by omitting the Truvia and making a savory filling.

YUM!!!!!! 




Served as a Pancake:
Um...that doesn't look right....



Redo to Crepe: 
Looks better, don't you agree?


Yep, Crepe is better.
Nom. Nom. Nom. 

Just Roll it and Go. 
Roll it and Go.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Canadian Bacon & Zucchini Frittata



Yummmm....
Check out this easy, healthy, & delicious frittata -
Canadian Bacon & Zucchini Frittata

I made this recipe up as I went, using up items in my fridge, and I loved it!
Plus, it was ready in a flash and minimal clean-up.
Oh, yeah.

This is perfectly portable meal, too, for a breakfast-on-the-go or lunch.
('Cause that's the plan for my leftovers!)


Ingredients:
About 10 slices of Canadian Bacon
6 eggs plus about 3 Tbs of milk, beaten
1/4 large onion, diced
3 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
Parmesan, for sprinkling (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)

Check out those layers.
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Layer Canadian Bacon in a 10 inch non-stick skillet, overlapping edges of Canadian Bacon slightly.
3) Whip together eggs and milk.
4) Stir in onions, mushrooms, salt & pepper into egg mixture
5) Pour egg mixture over Canadian Bacon
6) Top egg mixture with sliced Zucchini
7) Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
8) Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
9) Flip frittata onto a plate and serve - Yum!

***
I was totally having one of those days where I was *this close* to not working out.
But, boy, am I glad I did. 
I got some much needed cardio endorphin release. 

Now, if only my complex would fix the gym entrance so I could resume my 5:30 a.m. workouts (instead of using my dvd's as backup)....
Oh, well, guess we all need a little change in our routine! :)





Monday, March 4, 2013

Mini Post: Parmesan Breaded & Baked Tilapia



I had a hankerin' for some tilapia!
Normally, our at-home fish dinners consist of salmon (b/c hubby prefers it). 
However, I really wanted some tilapia.
And I wanted (healthy) crispy tilapia.

I made THIS RECIPE from food.com.
'Twas yummy. 
Simple, but just what I wanted. 

I only had regular breadcrumbs in stock, so, I used this OTHER recipe to convert them to Italian Breadcrumbs. 
Easy-Peasy.

I served this with Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Peas.

One of the things I love about tilapia is it can thaw in no time flat!
Quick and Tasty Dinner!







Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday Events & a Hungry Quick Fix: Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla w/ Greek Yogurt

Hola! Aloha! Ciao!
Hope you are enjoying (or did enjoy) your Saturday!

Today, I woke up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday.
Yeah.
Well, I dealt with that like any logical human being (without kids) would...I lounged around on the couch until  I got hungry. 
First up: Coffee with my Keurig and a dash of Almond Milk.
Oh, Almond Milk, I have missed thee.
I do apologize for my two week absence. 
But, alas, now together we will be....
Needless to say, my coffee (cups 1 & 2) was delicious!




Then, I got hungry and made these for breakfast ---->
               Protein Muffins from Life and Fitness by Ashley

They are pretty decent (remember: protein muffins) - you can really taste the protein powder in them, but are filing and satisfy a muffin craving (because this girl hasn't had a muffin in for eva!)
I made 1 with banana-flavored protein powder and 1 with chocolate-flavored protein powder. Surprisingly, "bread-like."



Then, I soaked in the tub for my sore muscles (thank you Jillian Michaels and Supreme 90 Day System) and decided to take an easy workout day...Hello, HOT YOGA! I was totally diggin' the hip stretches today.


I came home and readied myself for the day (I know, about time, to get my relaxed lazy butt in gear!)
I ate some lunch and decided to go shopping!
Don't hate, I have no kids and an "itch" to purchase things.


I had a couple of Old Navy coupons AND they're khakis are $19 right now. And to be fair, I purchased clothes for myself and the husband.

See?

His:

Mine:

Looks pretty darn happy & "springy," huh?

Then, I bounced on over to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and found (but did not purchase, yet) the comforter set I want for our bedroom. 
I have been looking and looking for one that 1) we both would like and 2) would not cost my whole right arm. 
I think. 
I found it.

Now that I know the husband likes, I just need one of those 20% off coupons....
Whatcha think?
Petra 12-Piece Bedding Superset

After a couple more errands, I headed on home and was a bit hungry again. Darn physical need for food. (JOKE, I swear!)

I made a "Hungry Quick Fix": 
Peanut Butter and Banana Quesa-dill-a 
(Come on, say it like Napoleon Dynamite.)



Super Easy and Quick!

1) Smear 1 Tbs of Peanut Butter into a Tortilla Shell
2) Place 1 sliced Banana on top of peanut butter and drizzle with about 1-2 tsp of Honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon


3) Heat a skillet on medium heat. Spray with non-stick butter spray.
4) Cook Quesadilla until lightly browned on both sides. 


 5) Top with Greek Yogurt Cream - (2 heaping Tbs Greek Yogurt, dash of cinnamon, dash of vanilla, dash of Truvia).



6) Serve and YUM!