Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Presto Pasta Nights: San Marzano Chicken with Fusilli

One of my favorite blogger's, Theresa over at Food Hunters Guide to Cuisine, is hosting Presto Pasta Nights this month. I thought since I'm trying to eat much healthier these days, that I'd enter a relatively healthy pasta dish.

Since beginning this diet and exercise journey I have thought about food constantly! I've always enjoyed cooking, and feel I have a pretty good repertoire of go-to recipes stored in my head. But when you embark on a journey to health, it seems like everything you know ceases to exist, and you are forced to learn healthier methods to prepare your favorite dishes. Finding flavorful ingredient substitutions is not an easy task! But when you do find them, it makes the dieting world a much nicer place to be. One of my favorite ingredients in this dish is the vegetable broth. I used Organic Better Than Bouillon. It has so many concentrated flavors that I didn't have to decide how much of "this" or "that", it was just "right". This recipe was created out of a need for rich flavor, and with only what was available in my kitchen at the time.

San Marzano Chicken with Fusilli

1/2 lb Fusilli or Radiatori pasta, pre-cooked and set aside
1/2 c fat-free Italian dressing
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Zero calorie Olive oil non-stick spray
2 medium zucchini, sliced
4 cups whole Cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms
1/2 of an onion (red or yellow), sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large can San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp crushed Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a Ziploc bag add chicken and fat free Italian dressing. Let marinate for at least an hour (2 is better) in refrigerator.

Spray large pan with olive oil spray and saute zucchini and mushrooms until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add 1 Tbs olive oil to same pan, and saute onions and garlic over medium heat until onions are partially translucent and garlic is slightly golden (Even when dieting, some things just work better with the real thing). Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes.

Add canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth to pan, and break up tomatoes slightly with a spoon. Add oregano, and salt and pepper. Return zucchini and mushrooms to pan. Continue to cook on medium to low for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Add pre-cooked pasta to pan, toss, and serve. Adjust seasonings according to your taste. Serves 4.

Remember, play with your food! Switch out ingredients to your liking, you're the boss!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cakes I have made

I was a little bored, and just goofing off here on the computer. I got to looking in some of my folders and thought I'd post these photo's of cakes I have made.

Growing up I used to love to watch my Aunt Maryjane make these huge wedding cakes. They were pretty much the same style for every wedding she did, all white with multiple layer cakes surrounding the big show stopper of 7 double layers, with lot's of bridges and stairways. Every one had the same little open book looking cake in the very front, with the bride and grooms name on it. Of course I thought they were fabulous, and they were. I was in awe that something could be created out of cake!

I remember the first one I ever decorated, my daughters first birthday cake almost 24 years ago. I had made a Cabbage Patch doll cake, and had only one pastry bag. It took me 7 hours to pipe 7 different colors of frosting onto that little cake! Obviously I had more time back then, and patience.

While my Aunt passed away quite a few years ago, I still think of her every time I make one, wishing I could send her a pic or two. She was such an inspiration to me. I don't think I'll ever be as good as she was...but I like trying.

This one was for a "Pirates" birthday

A baby shower for a little girl to come named Zoey
This one was last week for fire truck loving James
Loren loved to read the "Goosebumps" childrens books
Stephanie is quite the accomplished quilter

She even saved all my fondant creations!
This was my own wedding cake
I make a cake for my mothers church every year

My daughter loves Dora, who always happens to be near the water

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

We have a winner!

Congrats go out to Kristen over at Dine & Dish!! She is now the proud owner of the Hungry Girl cookbook!! Her fabulous dieting tip is this:

"This is a strange one, but I eat mindlessly when I cook, so to stop that I started chewing sugar free gum when I am baking and cooking. Keeps me from nibbling on calories I don't count!"

That's a terrific tip, and one that I am definitely going to try. All the tips were terrific, really. I will post them all a bit later. We can never have too many when trying to stay healthy!

Kristen has a FABULOUS blog with amazing recipes and tips. If you haven't been there before, head on over. She won't disappoint!!

Congrats, Kristen!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Wow, 100th post today! Giveaway, too!

Wow, I can't believe it- my 100th post. I look back to my first one and just laugh. I had no direction and just a stock blogger template. Now, a custom blog design, and everything I see has the potential to be a post, so I snap pictures of everything these days.

I am also amazed, no, stunned, that I actually lost 4 lbs this past week! There is truth to diet AND exercise, and it seems when you find the right plan of action, it doesn't feel like diet and exercise. It just feels good. I have energy. I'm not hungry. I eat at least 1000 less calories a day than what I was prior to beginning my journey, but now, eating the right foods, feel like I am cheating every day. This feels good.

I've relied a great deal on the recipes from the Hungry Girl cookbook. It is not gourmet by any means. It is, however, simple everyday fare that leaves you content, and not feeling like you have been gypped- you know- when you buy a box where the dessert looks like this
and what you really end up with is this

That is just wrong. Purely sale-intended evil in a box.

Hungry Girl, however, delivers. When you see a photo in the book that looks like this:

You can feel confident that yours will look like this:

and this:

and this:

At only 108 calories and 2g of fat per cupcake, that's pretty sweet (pun intended).

Caramel Pumpkin Pudding Cupcakes

  • 2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25-ounce box)
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping

  • 3 cubes (about 1 ounce) chewy caramel
  • 2 teaspoons light vanilla soymilk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup of water. Whip with a whisk or fork for 2 minutes until well blended.

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups. Evenly spoon batter into muffin cups.

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes (until cupcakes have puffed up but still appear a little gooey on top- I actually cooked mine for 20 minutes).

Once cupcakes are cool enough to handle, arrange them closely on a plate so that the edges are touching. Place caramel and soymilk in a tall microwave-safe glass or dish (mixture will bubble and rise when heated).

Microwave at medium power for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir mixture vigorously until smooth and thoroughly blended. (Return to microwave for 30 seconds at medium heat if caramel has not fully melted.) Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cupcakes.

** Be VERY careful with caramel topping in microwave- I burned my first batch! I'd do 30 second increments until thin and pourable!


Oh yeah, I forgot, there is a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive their very own HungryGirl cookbook!

Just leave a comment with your favorite diet tip or trick. Remember to LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS! You have until Wednesday, the 18th of February, 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, to win! Good Luck!

Winners will be chosen using Random Integer Generator

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not a care in the world...

Don't you wish you could fall asleep like this..?!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Win Free Cutlery!

Ok people, if you're anything like me, you curse your knives anytime you use them- I have to sharpen mine every time they are used, including the paring knives. Why can't I just chop away like other people, without having to sell my firstborn male child just to afford the knives?!

Here's an opportunity to win some, courtesy of Food Service Warehouse! They are giving one lucky winner $1000 worth of hair splitting knives- a must have in any kitchen! You only have till the end of February to enter, so hurry! Thanks to Milwaukee Cupcake Queen for the tip! I always find such neat stuff over at her place!

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

I, am gi-nourmous...

Well, today was D-day. Weigh in day. And not just any weigh in. It was a "You ain't hiding none of yo fat baby" kind of weigh in. It was under water. You can't lie. You can't fudge. You are FA-reakin' fat baby! You can try to hide it, but believe me, they find all of it. Insult to injury: I paid to be told that. Ouch. But it was time... I can't hide it anymore. I felt like a wet cat when it was over.

So for the next 3 months I am committed to working my butt off, every day. I am committed to eating right, every day. I am part of an incredible group of gals that work out with Stroller Strides, an amazing group of moms who work out with their kiddo's in the stroller. In our local group, 9 moms signed up for the nationwide Get Fit Challenge . My challenge: to obliterate almost half the 40.5% body fat that I have accumulated over time, to get to an ideal 22%.

I can do this...

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