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, November 29, 2010

Chinse Sundaes/Hawaiian Haystacks

This is one of my all-time favorite meals. I grew up with this dish and absolutely love it. It is very versatile too. You can top it with whatever you want to fit your individual tastes! Easy, delicious - excellent! The picture is courtesy of Good Stuff Maynard and can be found here. There were lots of options for pictures but this one was certainly the best!


2 cans Cream of Chicken soup

2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
3 chicken breasts cut-up
Thin sauce with milk until good consistency (approximately 1 cup)

Heat until warm in sauce pan. Serve over rice. Top with whatever you desire. (Cheese, tomatoes, celery, pineapple, crushed peanuts, Chinese noodles, peas, coconut)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup like Zupas

Have you ever been to Zupas? If you haven't you really should go! It is delicious and flavorful and good for you! My mom loves this soup from their menu and really wanted a copy recipe. She found this one on Just Cook Already and we all LOVED it! It is creamy and delicious and PERFECT for this weather! The recipe is courtesy of Just Cook Already and can be found here. The picture is courtesy of Zupas and can be found here.

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
From Just Cook Already

Yields: 9 cups or 8 first-course servings (or 4-5 hungry adults :)

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Oh.My.YUM!!!! These were delicious. They are crunchy and creamy and flavorful and delicious. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and you have the perfect dessert! My family loved these. They were more involved to make but don't be put off by the length of the recipe. It is time consuming but not hard to do. And trust me, these are WELL WORTH THE EFFORT! This is going on the list of my all-time favorite recipes! Thanks so much to the wonderful site My Kitchen Cafe for the recipe and picture. You can visit Melanie's site by clicking here.

From My Kitchen Café

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

White Texas Sheet Cake

We had a family get-together yesterday and I wanted to take a simple dessert to compliment the much fancier dessert I had made. I wanted to make sure there was enough of the fancy dessert for the adults so I made this cake for the kids! Even then, it is still delicious and I wouldn't have minded if it was the only dessert we had. It really is incredibly simple and requires mostly basic ingredients. The only ingredient you probably don't have on hand is the almond extract but it is SOOOO good in this cake! I got this recipe from Three on Food but the picture is courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found here.

From Three on Food
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Bring butter and water to a boil. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the boiling liquid over the flour and sugar and beat well. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well. Pour into a well greased jelly roll pan. (I just used a normal cookie sheet.) Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Cool for 20-30 minutes and spread with frosting.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Bring butter and milk to a boil. Pour over remaining ingredients, adding enough powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Idea for Leftovers

If you are like us, we LOVE taco salad around here. We had a series of "continuation meals" that went like this:

Saturday: General Tso's Chicken with Rice
*Lots of Rice leftover!

Tuesday: Taco salad - throw in leftover rice, taco meat, lettuce, crushed chips, cheese, salsa, and ranch and toss!
*HUGE bowl = more leftovers!

Wednesday: Taco salad isn't REALLY great leftover because once you heat it up the salad isn't as crisp as it was... so we rolled the mix in some flour tortillas and ate them burrito style! This would be even better enchilada style with some sauce and cheese melted on top!

And there you go! Three meals, utilizing everything you've got!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winger's Asphalt Pie

This recipe from Real Mom Kitchen tastes just like the wonderful Asphalt Pie you can get at Winger's. The only difference is that this pie has a chocolate sauce that tastes like Leatherby's Homemade Hot Fudge sauce instead of a caramel sauce. Needless to say, this pie was DELICIOUS! There wasn't any left by the time I had served up the TWO pies I made for my brother-in-law's birthday party and everyone loved it. This one is worth the time and ingredients! You will love it - especially if you're a die hard mint lover like me! This recipe and picture are courtesy of the wonderful site Real Mom Kitchen and can be found here.

From Real Mom Kitchen

1 prepared Oreo cookie pie crust (store bought or homemade)
4 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
5 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed
Chocolate Sauce (recipe below)
Sweetened whipped cream

Let the ice cream sit out for a little bit to soften. Once softened, scoop into pie crust and spread evenly. If you use the Dreyer’s ice cream I used you’ll use almost the whole carton. Top with crushed Oreo cookies. Then top with the prepared chocolate sauce. Cover and pace in your freezer. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Top each serving with sweetened whipped cream.

Chocolate Sauce

1/2 sugar
3 oz evaporated milk or cream
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from stove. Allow to cool. You will have a little more than you need for the pie (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup), but just save it and use it to a bowl of ice cream another day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Classic Repeat: General Tso's Chicken - New Picture!

It has been several months since I posted about this recipe and it is SUCH a favorite in our house that I had to share it again. Especially since I have a better picture for it now. Also, if you like baby asparagus it is on SALE right now! We got some for $1.99/lb at Smith's Food & Drug and it was DELICIOUS! Remember that this recipe is SOOOO much more flavorful with FRESH ingredients. In my opinion, fresh ginger is a MUST for this recipe.


1 Lb. chicken breasts (cut into 1" pieces)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. "lite" soy sauce
1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. white distilled vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I just use refrigerated minced garlic)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 3 Tbsp. water
4 green onions, sliced

Dredge chicken in flour and fry in oil over medium heat (in a wok or a skillet) until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil. Sprinkle cayenne over the chicken and keep warm on low heat. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients (sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, and ginger) and heat gently. When sauce is smooth and sugar has dissolved, SLOWLY add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until sauce has thickened to desired thickness. Pour sauce in the wok and stir to coat chicken. Stir in green onion and hot red pepper flakes (optional). Remove from heat and serve.

*I cut some of the chicken into small strips too for variety. I used regular soy sauce at just under ¼ cup.

*Disclaimer: This dish is extremely flavorful - tangy and spicy. If those aren't your style you may want to steer clear of this one. You can play with the heat of the dish with the hot pepper flakes but the cayenne pepper really helps to balance the VERY tangy flavor of the sauce so I wouldn't recommended reducing or eliminating it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

This fantastic new recipe from Real Mom Kitchen is one that would fall into my category of sinfully delicious. Chicken in a creamy ranch flavored sauce between layers of cheese and noodles - YUMMY! If you are looking for completely waist-friendly foods... this one is not for you. ;-) Or you could take my husband's approach, "We had peas with it! That counts!" This recipe requires a bit more preparation time than I would normally spend because the sauce has to simmer for 25 minutes, but it is well worth the end result and has minimal ingredients. This one is a winner in our book!

From Real Mom Kitchen

2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk (not fat-free)
1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I recommend reducing it to 8 oz to 12 oz, we used around 8)
*I used oven ready lasagna noodles and they were GREAT! I may never go back to boiling lasagna noodles again.
1 1/2 to 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to 2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

Cook the chicken and noodles first at the same time. Once noodles are done–rinse in cold water and set aside (it keeps them from sticking together). Combine evaporated milk (don’t use fat-free version) and Ranch dressing in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes (don’t do any less), stirring frequently.

Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce, and cheese in well-buttered 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

*NOTE: This is the very best right out of the oven. It is okay as leftovers but not nearly as good as when you first make it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese

This is a great comfort food meal! We loved it. It was a sophisticated meal that was much more suited for an adult than the mac and cheese out of the box. I try to use as many low fat or fat free products as I can to make this more waist-line friendly. Sour cream and cottage cheese are especially easy to get fat free as the price isn't any different for the fat free stuff. Even still this recipe is surprisingly filling! This recipe is courtesy of Allrecipes.com.

From Allrecipes.com

1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni (We used penne)
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (We used medium and it was just fine)
1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese (Fat free)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream (Fat free)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter, melted
½ cup milk (Fat free)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.

2. In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, milk, and salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Pasta

I got the idea for this recipe from a recipe I saw on Betty Crocker. I wasn't sure my family would've liked the style of cooking that particular recipe called for because my husband isn't a big chicken fan... he will always eat it but he prefers it in smaller pieces and the Betty Crocker recipe called for the chicken to be in full breasts. So this is my version of the recipe. And it turned out great! Very flavorful and, although probably not the most healthy meal, very fun and easy!


3 chicken breasts, cut up into cubes
1/2 cup pepperoni slices, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 can olives, sliced
12 - 16 oz. pasta (I used garden rotini)
1 large can of any pasta sauce you prefer
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil. Place the garlic, onion, chicken, and pepperoni in the skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink. In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Once chicken is cooked place spaghetti sauce in skillet and heat thoroughly. Add sauce and olives to pot with noodles and mix thoroughly. Top with cheddar cheese or parmesan as desired.