About Me

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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mango Pico De Gallo

When I was pregnant I could not stand Mexican food. The only exception? Chips and Salsa. I craved chips and salsa more than anything else that there was available. Since I have had my baby I have not been able to quench my Mexican craving. I CONSTANTLY want tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or especially, CHIPS AND SALSA!!!!

My favorite salsa is the Garden Fresh Salsa from Sam's Club. But this one is my favorite homemade salsa! I love Our Best Bites and they definitely didn't disappoint with this recipe. It is the perfect combination of flavors, and this is coming from someone who DOES NOT like Mangos!!!

The picture and recipe are courtesy of Our Best Bites and can be found here.

Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 c. small cubes of mango (about 1 medium to large mango)
1/2-1 large jalapeno pepper (1/2 without seeds is a nice, mild-medium heat; go from there)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher or sea salt to taste

ROCKET SCIENCE ALERT: Combine ingredients. Serve. This will keep for a day or so (like it will last that long), but after that, the mangoes will get mushy.

PS! Do you remember the Crockpot Creamy Southwestern Chicken Nachos? This salsa makes that recipe, if it were possible, a million times better!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was craving a dessert and I had all of the ingredients for this one on hand. I have tried them before but they turned out so FLAT! This time they were much better, as evidence of the picture. YUMMY! Super easy to make too. This is a great cookie go-to recipe! I have highlighted what I believe to be the crucial step below.

From My Kitchen Café

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add Baking soda, powder, and salt and mix. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield : about 3 dozen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pizza Casserole

We had something else planned for dinner tonight but I thought pasta sounded good and Jake was craving spaghetti. I had all of the simple and mostly basic ingredients for this recipe on hand and I am so glad that I did! It was cheesy and delicious, substantial and hit the spot! Healthy? No... but then, when do you eat pizza to be healthy? But it really is good and is sure to be a hit. Jake loved it and is really excited to take the leftovers for lunch. The original recipe doesn't call for olives but I feel it is a must add. And really, you could add whatever toppings you wanted: green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms. This was a lot like my Meat Lover's Lasagna! Yummy! The recipe is courtesy of Blog Chef and can be found here.


From Blog Chef

1 lb ground beef
1/2 large onion (chopped)
1/2 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces rotini pasta, (cooked and drained)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (20 oz)
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
½ can olives, sliced

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet add oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic. Add Italian seasoning. Cook until the beef is browned. Drain.

Step 2: Stir in pasta, sauce and 1 1/2 cups of cheese into the meat mixture. Place mixture into a greased 9×13” baking dishes. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni and olives.

*The dish can be covered and frozen as this point if you are freezing.

Step 3: If you are cooking it now- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

(Makes 7 servings)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

We always love enchiladas and I was excited to try this new recipe! Definitely not the healthiest meal that you could have but it was very delicious. A bit more involved to make and Jake and I both agreed that we liked the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas  better but that is because they are very creamy while these ones were more true to form. Also, we're not huge "bean" people around here and so next time I make them, because I do want to make them again, I will probably leave the beans out. They will probably be more creamy then, but definitely less healthy! LOL! The picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.

*AFTER NOTE: My mom commented on this post, August 18th, and said this, "I made these for dinner tonight. After Shayla's comments, I decided to try Great Northern White Beans instead of black beans so that they would give substance without taking away from the other tastes. They were excellent!! My whole family loved them and I have to say that we liked them better than the sour cream enchiladas which have been a favorite around here for a lot of years!! Thanks Shay for the great recipe!!"

From My Kitchen Cafe
*Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here)

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream

8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe (melskitchencafe.com)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cherry Dump Cake

Talk about a delicious and easy dessert! This is the one for you! My sister and I were in charge of dessert for a family get together today and I thought about this recipe because it only has 3 ingredients. THREE!!!! And it turned out SOOOO good. It is just like a cobbler only with so much less work. And the greatest part? You don't have to use cherries. You can use raspberry, peach, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc, etc, etc... you choose! I choose raspberry and it was so good, there wasn't any left! The picture and recipe are courtesy of Three on Food and can be found here.

From Three on Food

2 cans cherry pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In the prepared dish, layer the cherry pie filling and then sprinkle the dry cake mix over the top, covering evenly. Pour the melted butter over the cake mix, and pat down with a spatula until the all the cake mix is covered. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until browned and bubbly.

* Store in the fridge. This is even good the next day - the crust stays good and crunchy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cashew Chicken

We love Chinese food around here so when I saw how easy this recipe was on The Sister's Cafe it just had to be tried! And it turned out deliciously! It isn't tangy like the General Tso's or Sweet & Sour Chickens you would get, but it isn't supposed to be. We will definitely be making this one again.


2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 tsp sugar
4 Tb cornstarch, divided
½ tsp salt
¼ c. soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tb oil
2 c. hot chicken broth
2 tsp lemon juice
½ c. cashews
cooked rice

Combine sugar, 2 Tb cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Dredge chicken pieces in this mixture. Drain and save dredge; then stir fry chicken in hot oil in frying pan or wok until chicken is lightly brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain excess oil from the pan. Add remaining cornstarch and the dredge drained from the chicken. Blend well, then add chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Add lemon juice; add chicken pieces and reheat. Do not boil. Taste to correct seasonings. Add cashews. Serve over hot rice. Makes 4-5 servings. You can stir fry some vegetables and add them to the mixture at the end.

*COOKING NOTE! I stir fried fresh green beans, broccoli, red onion, and green peppers into ours. I added the broccoli first (to already warm oil) and then the green beans a while longer. Remember that you need to take into consideration how FIRM the veggies you are using are. For example, carrots will need to saute much longer than onions will. You want ALL of your veggies to be crisp-tender in the end so don't add them all at once!

*SHOPPING NOTE! You don't need to spend a fortune to add veggies to your dish. To feed a family you aren't going to need a pound of each veggie. A lot of them are sold in small pieces. I just bought a handful of fresh green beans, the smallest broccoli head I could find, and one green pepper. We buy red onions in bulk from Sam's Club because we use them alot and they are so much cheaper. I only used 1/2 of the green pepper and will get to use the other half for breakfast tomorrow. For all of my veggies I paid about.... $1.50 for this meal. Probably less.

*P.S. I understand it is called "Cashew Chicken" but if you don't want to spend the money on cashews I am sure it would still taste great without them. The cashews just add a satisfying crunch.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Classic Repeat: Beef Taco Bake

We love this one around here! SOOOO good! Super easy with very basic ingredients. Make sure you don't use anything less than MEDIUM salsa so that you don't lose some good flavor.

From Real Mom Kitchen

1 pound ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup (regular or 25% Less Sodium)
1 cup salsa OR picante sauce
1/2 cup milk
6 flour tortillas (8-inch) OR 8 corn tortilla (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed and drained (Putting it in completely frozen makes your bake a bit too watery)

Cook the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir the soup, salsa, milk, tortillas, cayenne pepper, corn and half the cheese in the skillet. Spoon the beef mixture into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 400°F. for 30 minutes or until the beef mixture is hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (I put it back in the oven for 5 min to get the cheese nice and melty).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

This is a brand new recipe that I have never tried before and it turned out really good. We enjoyed it and it was a very different and unique taste. Given the option between these meatballs and the Swedish Meatballs that we love so very much I would definitely choose the Swedish Meatballs, but it is because I love the tangy sauce so much. If you want something a bit different and still tasty, this is a good recipe. The picture and recipe are courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe and can be found here.

From My Kitchen Cafe

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 T. ketchup
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I only used 1 lb. and they were probably a bit stronger but we liked them!)
3 T. flour

2 T. butter
3 1/2 T. flour
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth (If you want your sauce thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup)
2/3 cup milk
2 T. minced fresh parsley

In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients EXCEPT the beef and flour. Add beef and mix well. Shape into balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs, bake 8-10 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. If using the full can of chicken broth, the sauce doesn’t thicken overly much, but it is delicious that way. If you want it slightly thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup. Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Top with sauce and parsley. Serve over rice or egg noodles (We used garden rotini noodles and they were delicious!).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello Dolly Bars

These bars are a dessert my mom maakes a lot because we LOVE it. They are so rich and flavorful and REALLY easy to make. Some unusual ingredients but trust me, it is worth the purchases! Sorry the picture isn't great.... Sufficite it to say that they are even better than they look!


1 stick of butter
1 c. Graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. flaked coconut
1 c. sliced almonds
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Melt butter in 9x13 pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs in butter and press. Layer chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, then almonds. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into bars.

*Why do they call them Hello Dolly Bars?*

Answer from: http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/hello_dolly_squares_hello_dolly_bars_hello_dolly_cookies_hello_dolly_cake_h/

Entry from December 22, 2007

Hello Dolly Squares (Hello Dolly Bars; Hello Dolly Cookies; Hello Dolly Cake; Hello Dollies)

The Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964, and became one of the longest-running Broadway shows ever. The musical features a restaurant scene. The origin of foods named “Hello Dolly” requires some explanation.

Clementine Paddleford’s food column in “The Week “ magazine on September 19, 1965 featured a “Hello Dolly Cake” recipe by 11-year-old Alecia Leigh Couch, of Dallas, that she borrowed from her grandmother. The recipe included graham crack crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and condensed milk. However, on July 22, 1965, the Ada (OK) Evening News had published a similar recipe for “Hello Dolly Cookies.”

Pre-1966, the recipe was variously called “Graham Chip Squares,” “Chocolate Graham Squares,” “Washington Cookies,” “Chewy Delights,” “7-Layer Cookies,” and other names. The popularity of “Hello Dolly squares” has lessened since the 1960s, but there are many recipes on the internet.