Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recent Lunch Boxes and Muffin Tin Meals

Here are a few more ideas for lunch and dinner.

I love feta for breakfast.

That's slow cooker chicken with peppers and tomatoes on the top left.

The kids really enjoy the variety of these muffin tin meals.

Meatloaf.

Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Blondies

I know I keep saying that I'm not baking anything else before Christmas, but I just can't help myself. These Chocolate Chip Blondies are made with a box of cake mix. Very easy to do. The first day the texture is like a dense cake, and the second day they end up as something in between dense cake and a cookie. But they were delicious. I adapted this recipe from Girl Meets Life. But I'm not into sprinkles too much so I left them out and used semi sweet chips instead.





Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Blondies
12-15 servings

Ingredients
1 box white cake mix
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup milk (or water)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8 or even a 9x13 inch glass dish with parchment. Spray with cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. The batter will be thick. Use a spatula to spread it out as evenly as possible.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into 20 squares or they'll fall apart.


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HAPPY HALLOWEEN


No More Weight Watchers Points

I’ve been on weight watchers since late June. While I’m happy to report that I’ve lost about 17lbs so far, I’m really getting bored with having to calculate points. That’s probably one of the reasons why I haven’t been making a lot of new recipes lately. It’s annoying having to calculate every recipe to get the points value before I eat it. Calorie counting is easier and a lot of recipes from cookbooks, magazines and websites already include nutritional information. So I’m switching back to My Fitness Pal. I love their app too. It allows you to scan barcodes from packages and place the items right into your tracker. Now if Weight Watchers had that feature, they may have been able to keep me longer, but they don’t so I’m moving on.

I went for my physical today and for once my doctor didn't have to give me crap about losing weight. He noticed that I lost some and told me he was trying to lose a bit himself using My Fitness Pal. What a coincidence! Although he never really seemed overweight to me to begin with.

Speaking of cookbooks and magazines; I just re-organized my bookshelves. I saved my favourite magazines and am in the process of pinning recipes from the ones that I don’t care as much about. That way, I can get rid of a lot of them and clear some space. As you can see from the after photo, I managed to get everything onto one bookcase. I recycled a lot of magazines too. i thought about saving them to make paper beads, but the goal here was to get rid of the clutter. Not have it stick around. The cookbooks stay. I probably won’t be buying any more for awhile though. My shelves look like they're gonna collapse soon.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Muffin Tin Meals

Muffin tin meals are very cool! I've made 2 so far and my kids love them. I use the free printable planner page from Second Story Window. I love how this planner has all the food groups listed at the top. You check them off to make sure you've included something from each group in your meal.

I've got a bento/ muffin tin meal Pinterest board going as well. Whenever I come across meal ideas I pin them of course.

So far, I'm keeping it simple. I chose 6 cup muffin tins and some silicone liners. You can use all sorts of food picks and bento supplies to make your meals fancier or with a theme. There's also a great printable list with lunchbox ideas from Meet The Dubiens. But bento and muffin tin meals don't have to be just for lunch. My kids don't eat lunch at home during the week, so muffin tin dinners it is!

Here are the muffin tin meals I've made so far.

Pork ribs (that I removed from the bone to save myself a mess later), steamed broccoli, strawberries, frozen peas & corn (they love this), drinkable yogurt, goldfish.

Cheese, yogurt, rice cakes, turkey, crab apple, brussles sprouts. My kids like vegetables!
 
So you can see we've got our protein, dairy, carbs, fruits and vegetables. And they can be a combination of warm and cold foods. But keep the cheese away from the sprouts unless you want it to warm up.
 
There's a blank space on the planning page. Probably for dessert. Well, I don't know about your kids, but I'm sure dessert would be the first thing my kids pick off the plate so... better to leave dessert off the menu until they're a little older and understand that dessert comes last.
 



Get the planning sheets.



Get the list.




Follow my bento/ muffin tin meal board on Pinterest.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

I just made these in between loads of laundry. They were delicious! Probably not that Weight Watchers friendly though. I've been slipping the past few weeks with all the baking I've been doing. Time to stop until closer to Christmas. Or at least bake more low fat items instead.

I told my cousin to take this recipe and use 1/2 cup Peanut butter and 1/2 Cup Nutella, then tell me what happened. She said they still turned out great and her co-workers enjoyed them. So there you go. You can change the ratio of peanut butter to Nutella and still come up with a delicious cookie!









Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies
26 cookies | PointsPlus per Cookie: 2

Ingredients
1 large egg
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup large flake oats

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon, until well combined.

Using a small cookie scoop (or teaspoon), place cookie dough 1-2 inches apart on the prepared sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. They were perfect at 10 minutes for me, but the middle should just be past that under-cooked looking stage.

Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes or until you can lift them off with a spatula without breaking them. Cool on wire racks.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Seasoned Rice Mix - Ready to Cook

You can customize rice you know? You don't have to buy the packaged ones anymore. Make your own mixes and keep them in baggies ready to cook. All you have to do is add a bit of butter.





Seasoned Rice Mix - Ready to Cook
2-4 Servings
(I'm not calculating the points value for this)

Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried dill
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
2 tablespoons dehydrated vegetables
Then add 1 tablespoon butter

Directions
Mix everything together (except butter), and store in plastic baggies.

To cook, simply mix the rice with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of butter. Bring it up to a simmer over medium high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium low for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. You can add more water as needed.

Wonton Apple Cinnamon Turnovers

It doesn't get any easier than this! These are best eaten right away, otherwise they get soggy. When I say right away, I mean after letting them cool enough to put the icing on. Yum! A great way to use an apple that might be a little too soft to eat as a snack.





Wonton Apple Turnovers
12 Servings | PointsPlus per Serving: 1

Ingredients
Turnovers
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced(small)
2  tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
12 wonton wrapper
Icing
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon 2% milk

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a small pot, cook the apple with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Place 12 wrappers on the counter and divide the apple mixture among them.

Use a little water around the edges of the wrappers, then fold them into a triangle. Press along the edges to seal them. Mine weren't perfect! Spray both sides with cooking spray and place on the prepared baking sheet. You could also melt butter and brush them with it.

Combine remaining teaspoon of sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the turnovers.

Bake for 6 minutes or until they start to turn golden.

Let them sit for 5 minutes to cool a bit while you prepare the icing.

To make the icing, simply mix the powdered sugar together with the milk until smooth. Drizzle over the slightly cooled turnovers.

10/18/12 - Featured in DailyBuzz Moms top 9 Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
 
 
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Pie with Apple Cinnamon Cheerio and Brown Butter Crust - CrazyCooking Challenge

Welcome to another Crazy Cooking Challenge! This month the theme was Apple Pie! Just in time for (Canadian) Thanksgiving! So Happy Thanksgiving!

For this recipe I wasn't in the mood to make a pie crust so I had to think of something else that I could use instead. I had apple cinnamon Cheerios on hand so I tried to make a crust out of those, and I was pretty happy with the result! As for the filling of this pie, I made it the way I usually make any apple filling by using sugar and spices. And I used a mixture of apples that weren't being eaten here.



Brown Butter
 
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios


Use whatever apples you have.


Ready to go into the oven.







Apple Pie with Apple Cinnamon Cheerio and Brown Butter Crust
8 Servings | PointsPlus per Serving: 7

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups Apple Cinnamon Cheerios
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 8x8 glass dish with parchment.

Use a food processor to crush your cheerios, then dump them into a bowl.

Place the butter over medium high heat until it starts to bubble, foam and turn brown (see the image above). Pour the butter into the crushed cheerios and mix until well combined and crumbly.

Put the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press it down evenly. You can go up the sides a little too. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, combine the apples with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and corn starch. When the crust comes out of the oven, evenly place the apple mixture on top. Bake this for 20 minutes, then sprinkle on the turbinado sugar and bake for another 10 minutes. Your pie should be bubbling after 30 minutes and the apples should be soft.

Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before pouring on the caramel. Serve warm or let it cool completely.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cranberry Coconut Lemon Squares

I've always loved this recipe. I don't make a lot of lemon desserts these days because my husband isn't into them. I let him sample a square last night after I made them, and he was sad when I told him he couldn't have more. I gave him a second one anyway of course, but I made them for a sip and see today so two was the limit. Lucky for him there were some left over and I brought them home. For someone who doesn't like lemon desserts, he certainly went crazy for these!

I have many cooking magazines and that's where I originally got this recipe, but now everything's online too so you can find it on Canadian Living.

These aren't that Weight Watchers friendly, but I'm providing the points value for you anyway. Totally worth it! Of course, I've been going to parties every weekend for the past month, so I'm loosing very VERY slowly lately. But I'm still hanging on. I'm considering switching to calorie counting once my membership expires with Weight Watchers. Why? Umm ... because it's free! I like MyFitnessPal because their app is cool. It scans barcodes making life a lot easier when adding to your tracker. I wish the WW app did that. For recipes and exercise videos, I like Spark People.

You know you want some!

When you squeeze the dough it should hold a shape like this.

All pressed into the pan and ready to be baked.

Mixing up the filling here.

Now the filling is poured into the pan and ready to go into the oven.

Mmm!


Cranberry Coconut Lemon Squares
20 Servings | PointsPlus per Serving: 7

Ingredients
Base
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup butter, cubed and softened
Filling
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon will do)
2 cups whole cranberries (I used fresh)
2 cups shredded coconut (I used sweetened)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 13x9" baking dish with parchment paper. I didn't bother to spray it and had no problem getting the squares out.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Use your hands to cut in the butter until it's crumbly. When you squeeze it, it should hold together. Dump it into the prepared pan and use your hands to evenly press the dough on the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden. Don't over bake at this point because it's going back in after you put the filling on.

While the base is baking, you can prepare the filling. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon juice, then, whisk in flour mixture until well combined.

And finally, stir in the cranberries and coconut. I think my coconut was a 200g bag and that was just about 2 cups. My bag of cranberries had 3 cups in it, so I froze the last cup to use in something else later.

Once the base is cooked, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 325F.

Pour the filling over the base layer, and spread it evenly with a spatula. Try to get the cranberries evenly distributed so that every square gets some when you cut it up. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and firm. Let it cool completely before cutting into squares. The original recipe said it made 40 but there's just no way! I cut 20 and that was a good portion in my opinion. Actually, in most people's opinion it may have even been too small!

Apparently these freeze well for up to a month.

10/06/12 - Featured in Daily Buzz Food top 9 Cranberry Treats