Thursday, March 29, 2012

Honey Marinated Mini Fruit Pizzas with Flaxseed!

These little divine circles of goodness were hands down one of my favorite after diner refreshing desserts.  I hadn't had a dessert pizza in years, well since my childhood really.  My brother and I used to make the big ones with my dad as kids, where we would spread cookie dough on a large round pizza tray and then after we baked and decorated it with the lusciously light topping and fresh sliced fruit, dad would cut us "pizza" slices from it.

This one is a unique idea that lets you get your own mini sized pizza to yourself and boy am I glad that I did because I only made two and Prescott and I both licked the plates clean.  Funniest part about all of this is that the secret ingredient (flax seed!) was Prescott's idea?!?  I love that man :)  Make these this summer with your kids, if you have them, or your friend's kids (this is my plan) and it will be such a fun and delicious memory!  Did any of y'all make these when you were younger???  If so, what were your favorite toppings?

take store bought sugar cookie dough of your choice or make it out of Trader Joe's Sugar Cookie Box Mix and add in 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal (even Wal-Mart has this in the baking isle)

I made homemade sugar cookie dough (secret recipe, sorry!) and then added 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal to it

make small disc sized shapes using a circular cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and lay on a baking sheet.
you can make them whatever size you want, ours were about the width of an orange.

Bake accordingly.

Meanwhile cut up any type of fruits you might want, drizzle them in honey and pop in the fridge to stay cool and fresh (we cut extra to snack off for the week) 
I recommend strawberry, banana, kiwi and blueberries.

In a separate bowl stir together 8 oz. softened reduced fat cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar until creamy and then fold in 8 oz. Cool Whip Lite, adding 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract and about 6 grates of lemon zest, to taste.

Spread your creamy mixture on top of the COOLED cookie 
(you can always pop the cookies in the freezer a couple minutes after they come out to speed up the process)

add your honey marinated cold fruit and devour!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Week's Dump Salad... Herbed Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad!

Okay, so this week's dump salad requires a little more effort, simply because you have to boil water and then dump, but that is about it ;)  I wanted a fun pasta salad recipe for this Spring/Summer that I could take to picnics and decided on something with lots of seasonal veggies and fresh flavors in it.  Best paired with mint, lime, cucumber infused water!

What you will need:
1/2 a 16 oz. bag of farfalle or your choice of pasta (tortellini would also be tasty)
1 zucchini (quartered)
1 yellow squash (quartered)
1 bag or bunch of asparagus
1 container of small cherry or pearl tomatoes (halved)
1/4 of a red onion minced
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 block of parmesan cheese (grated)
juice of one large lemon
a bunch of our choice of herbs ( I chose basil, mint, parsley and dill)
olive oil, salt and pepper, seasoned to taste

pour 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot of boiling water.
bring to a boil and dump in your pasta.

meanwhile, cut your veggies.  
when cutting you always want the ingredients to be the same size, so the veggies match the pasta size ;)

during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking the pasta, add your veggies and then lightly drain.
(this is the tricky part, you don't want to over cook the veggies or pasta!  If you don't think you can time the pasta and veggies to be done at the same time, then just take the pasta out with a slotted spoon when it is al dente and put in your usual dump bowl and then add the veggies into the pasta water and cook 3-5 minutes, still crisp but not raw)

meanwhile cut your tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs

then dump those into your drained pasta and veggies

add a lot of yummy parmesan cheese and olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste.
don't be shy, the cheese and seasonings add flavor, just make sure to keep tasting as you add.
I also threw in some red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit.

toss together and dump into your usual dump bowl, cover and refrigerate.
best when eaten cold.

serve with an iced glass of infused water! simply add torn mint, thin sliced cucumber and lime wedges to iced purified water. stir it together and then after a couple minutes all the flavors will come out.
SUPER refreshing :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Homemade Banana Puddin' Pie VLOG

Okay, so I caved and am doing a VLOG (video blog) for one of my favorite southern desserts, Banana Pudding!

I was inspired by one of my friends Nina's blog, "Peace, Love and Good Food"to do a vlog and am so glad that I did because now y'all can actually see, not just read about, each step to making the yummiest homemade banana pudding recipe EVER!

I also brought this to one of my other favorite friends/bloggers, Genevieve's dinner party and it was a hit - all plates were scraped cleaned :)  Hope y'all enjoy this video blog and actually make this delicious dessert because it is sooo worth it.

Ingredients are listed below to make it easier for those of you who decide to make this...
1 box reduced-fat Nilla wafers
3 RIPE sliced bananas (yellow with a few brown spots)
8 oz. tub of Cool Whip Lite
4 egg yolks
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purp flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon Smart Balance (or butter)

Friday, March 23, 2012

DIY Easter Wreath

This was a fun little DIY Easter project that I did with a leftover fall wreath from our wedding that we had bought at Michael's.  Since I had 2 of them and we only have one front door, I decided to make one of them a Spring themed wreath. 

So, I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought the pastel colored eggs with an online 40% off coupon (FYI you can use your iphone to look up the coupon on their website and then just show the check out person the code on your phone's screen, sooo easy and savvy!)

Then, all you have to do is hot glue the eggs on and I added intertwined colored satin ribbon in spring colors for a little more pizazz :)  That's it!  Same look as some that they had already made in store for a fraction of the cost and hardly any work at all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Asian Dump Salad!

This week's dump salad is asian inspired with soybeans, mandarin oranges, almonds, cucumbers, onion, cabbage, carrots and sesame sticks all tossed in a sweet and spicy peanut vinaigrette.  It is low in calories and high in protein without even having meat in it (although if you have any left over rotisserie chicken that would be great shredded and tossed in, as well).

You can also pick and choose some ingredients in this week's dump salad, like if you don't have almonds, then peanuts or cashews would be equally as good or if you can't find sesame sticks then crunchy asian noodles are a great substitute and if you are allergic to soy then, it is totally fine without the soybeans!  The Sweet and Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette can be found at Trader Joe's and makes this salad so sweet and spicy at the same time, LOVE it :-)

What You Need:
1/2 to 1 cup of cooked soybeans taken out of their shell
1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion
1/2 bag of shredded cabbage and carrots
1/2 regular cucumber, diced (or 2 small persian cucumbers, halved)
1/2 a jar or 1 cup of mandarin oranges
1/2 cup of slivered or sliced almonds (OR halved peanuts or cashews)
1/2 a jar or so of Trader Joe's spicy peanut vinaigrette
handful of sesame sticks or asian noodles (both can be found at Wal-Mart!)

cook 2 cups of frozen edamame according to package in your glass bowl with water

pop soybeans into bowl and out of the edamame pods (dispose of pods)

quarter 1/2 of your cucumber and dump into bowl

thinly slice about half a cup or your red onion and dump into bowl

dump half your jar of drained mandarin oranges into bowl (about 1 cup full)

sliver your almonds (or half your peanuts/cashews) and dump into bowl

dump half a bag of shredded cabbage and carrots into your bowl

pour about half your jar of dressing into bowl, toss, cover and throw in the fridge

add your sesame sticks or asian noodles per serving (so that they don't get soggy) and DIG IN!

This would even be great as a slaw for a side dish or on top of a teriyaki burger, get creative ;)

Monday, March 19, 2012

FroYo Cupcakes!

As you may have noticed by now, I am a HUGE froyo lover.  So, these perfectly portioned frozen yogurt cupcakes are exactly what I need to stay on track and they are sooo easy to make.

1. Simply make an Oreo crust by either grinding 12 of your own reduced fat Oreos into crumbs in a food processor or using store bought Oreo crumbs and then stirring in 3 tablespoons of melted Smart Balance or your choice of butter until it forms a buttery crust consistency.

2. Pack your Oreo crust into the bottom of each individual cup of your regular sized cupcake pan and fill the rest of the cupcake cups to the top with your softened choice of froyo flavor (you can just leave the icecream containers out on the counter for 5-10 mins. while you are making the crust and then they should be soft enough to spread into the pan).

3. Garnish with a thin layer of reduced fat (dethawed, if frozen) cool whip and your choice of reduced guilt topping.  Put in the freezer for at least an hour and then simply use a butter knife to go around the edge of each cup and pop them out.  Eat with a fork :)

I couldn't decide which flavor I wanted, so we made a variety.  I garnished the Cookies 'n Cream with crumbled reduced fat oreos (this was Prescott's favorite one), the Cappuccino Chip with mini chocolate chips (this was my favorite one) and the Chocolate Fudge Brownie with crumbled dark chocolate peanut butter cups (also very delicious).  Honestly you can't go wrong with any flavor!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Banana, Peanut Butter & Honey Yogurt Shake

My favorite combo of all time is banana and peanut butter with a touch of honey and luckily it is a very healthy snack full of protein, potassium and the right kind of Omega packed fat that our bodies need.  So, when I was trying to come up with more tasty smoothie shakes this immediately came to mind and I have to admit I am kind of addicted now.  Since I discovered this, I have made it three days in a row, lol!  I have a few other addictive recipes that I am going to share with you next week that are also great for you and sooo yummy.

For 1 Individual Serving:
Blend 1 large ripe banana, 1 cup fat free frozen yogurt, 1 heaping tablespoon of all-natural no-stir peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/4 cup of fat free or 2% milk to your desired consistency
(you can kind of make this how you like it, if you want more peanut butter add more and blend, more frozen yogurt, go for it, just add a little more milk to make sure it comes to the proper consistency)

* Warning you WILL want more, so multiply the recipe if you want a larger serving ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Make Your Own No Sew Window Seat Cushion!

This is my favorite DIY project that Prescott and I have done thus far.  I know some of y'all have seen this, but for those of you who haven't... here is the totally cool and easy tutorial on how to make your own window seat cushion without having to sew a single thread or having to throw down a ton of cash for a custom made one!

The Finished Product



Of course Chauncey, again, takes credit for most of the hard work ;)

Supplies you will need:

  • Plyboard (2 @ 55 x22 inches) or whatever size you need for your space

  • Fabric (4 yards)

  • Poly foam (2 inch thick) and cut with your serrated knife to the appropriate width

  • Batting

  • Wood glue

  • Scissors

  • Serrated knife

  • Staple gun

  • Put the wood glue all over your board and attach one of the poly foam cushions to it

    Repeat with the other board and polyfoam piece
    Let them dry at least 10 minutes or more

    Lay board and attached foam (poly face down) on top of the batting and staple neatly to the board.
    Repeat to other board.

    Your board should look like this after you are done.

    Now do the same thing again but with the fabric to each board.
    Tada... you are done and should have 2 finished fabric wrapped boards to put on your window seat!

    Inspired by:

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    The BEST Low Fat Fettuccine Alfredo

    So, growing up there is one dish that my mama used to make my brother and I that we just couldn't get enough of and it was her fettuccine alfredo (actually hers was tortellini alfredo) and I mean we would scrape our bowls clean and my brother (who was the pickiest eater as a kid) would always ask for seconds, which never happened with any other dish.  So, this is a great one for moms and kids alike.  Every time I make it, it brings me back to my childhood.  Thanks mom for having such a great staple recipe that I still love today and will someday make for my kiddos, too!  Without further ado, the easiest and yummiest fettuccine alfredo recipe...

    Your 5 Sauce Ingredients:
    (of course I have lightened up my mama's version)
    skim or 2% milk, smart balance butter, 2-4 cloves of garlic, 1/3 less fat cream cheese, 100% grated parm, noodles of your choice - tortellini is fantastic with this as well, I chose spinach fettuccine for this time.

    Start your pasta and cook while making the sauce.

    For the Sauce:
    Only crush the garlic and saute it in the pan on med-low heat with 1 tablespoon of your choice of butter for a couple of minutes until it smells fragrant. Be careful not to brown the butter or burn the garlic.
    (you want to get the flavor of the garlic infused into the butter as opposed to chunks of it in your sauce)

    You can remove the garlic cloves (sometimes I keep them in their and fish them out at the end, but I don't mind if I have a few garlic chunks, depends on if you are a garlic lover or not!)
    and then dump in 8oz of reduced fat cream cheese (NOT fat-free) and stir until melted, like above.

    Once the cream cheese is all melty, pour in 1 cup of your reduced fat milk and 1/2 cup or so of grated parmesan cheese (with no fillers in it!) - the parm acts as a thickener and binds the sauce together, you can add more later if need be.
    Stir and continue to heat on low (at least 5 minutes) until the sauce is thick and smooth, like above.

    Pour over cooked and drained noodles and DIG IN!
    The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  If it is too thick add more milk, if it is too thin add more parmesan cheese, until the desired thickness is achieved.  The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets.  Eat while HOT, once it gets cold it will thicken up on you.