Sunday, October 17, 2010

We've Moved!!!!

We finally have our new website up and running! We are still learning a lot about how to post but things are going great! Stop by today to check out our newest recipe adventures!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hello! My Name Is . . .

Laura and Kat!

But what's your name??

I'm actually stealing this idea from Whitney at Slimming Down for the Gown because I loved the idea so much! Awhile ago, she asked her readers to comment and introduce themselves. She brought up the good point that for the most part, we don't know who reads our blog (except for those who comment).

So we're asking all of our readers to leave a quick comment, even if you've never done it before, and just tell us your name, where you're fun and one interesting thing about you.

I'll go first! My name is Laura and I live in Houston, TX with my boyfriend and our two dogs.

Something interesting about me: I hate blood, needles, guts, and all things related, which is ironic because I work in a hospital and Cody is a surgery resident, so he spends his days with all of the above.

And since I'm writing this post, I'll introduce my blogging buddy and partner-in-crime, Kat. She also lives in Houston with her hubby and two dogs (just as cute as mine, but much more well-behaved!).

Something intersting about Kat: her nickname is Chili Dog. I think I'm the only one that calls her that, but it still counts!

Your turn!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday!! This past weekend I was thirsty for some lemonade, but not just Plain Jane lemonade. Something special. So I whipped up some tangy, lip-smacking Fizzy Blueberry Lemonade. Yum! I wish I still had some!!

I looked at tons of lemonade recipes to see how you make the original and they all start with a simple sugar. Being lazy . . .er, time-conscious, I heated 2 cups of water in the microwave (instead of waiting for water to boil on the stove) and added in 1 cup of Splenda and let it cool.

While it was cooling, I measured out 1 cup of frozen blueberries. I added some of the warm Splenda water to help soften them and tossed them in the food processor and blended them up.

Once that was blended, I added one cup of lemon juice. I wish I could say I squeezed 10 lemons just for our readers, but this lazy gal just measured out 1 cup of pre-squeezed lemon juice.

I taste tested it once the blueberry puree, Splenda syrup and lemon were combined and it was still a bit tart. So I added 1 cup of club soda to dilute it and give it some fizz.

And the final product . . .

Pretty tasty! Tart, but lip-smacking delicious. And pretty filling, too! I think if I had a better food processor, it wouldn't look as murky, but I like seeing the fiber.

What's your favorite lemonade blend?? Cody really likes those Sweet Tea and Lemonade mixes. They're a little too sweet for me, but he drinks it like it's going out of style!

On a side note, does anyone have any tricks for removing blueberry stains from carpet? I had a little accident . . .

Here's the stats for this thirst quencher:

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 32
Fat: 0.4 g
Sodium: 28 mg
Fiber: 1.3 g

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Starting to feel like Bubba Gump

I mean really, I have so many shrimp recipes! This weekend I decided to flip through the rest of my recipes to decide what I would cook for the next few posts. Of course I realized that I had already cooked the ones that sounded the best, so now I am left with some questionable recipes, mostly which are shrimp. Don’t get me wrong, I do love shrimp, but I have a feeling Rusty and I will be eating shrimp 1-2 times per week for the next few months :/

The recipe I chose for this week was an unlikely winner. I am typically not much of a Cajun food eater. Realistically I just don’t like the spice of Cajun food. I unwillingly chose Paula’s Shrimp Gumbo recipe and gave it a whirl. Well, let me tell you, it was awesome!!!

I pulled my cast iron skillet for the first time in many months to make this delectable treat. Did you know that you are not supposed to wash cast iron with soap? In order to prevent rusting we actually just scrub and rinse the skillet really well and after drying, rub it with a little oil to keep it “seasoned.” For more info on cast iron care check out the Lodge Cast Iron Use and Care page.

What it takes to make some “Lick the Bowl Shrimp Gumbo:”

Start out by heating a little Garlic Gold in your skillet. Add you chopped onions and celery and sauté well.

Add in your seasonings, broth and okra and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Paula says 30 minutes but again, I don’t like to sit and wait very often.

After adding your shrimp, mix up your cornbread and dollop it out all over the top.

Using oven mitts, put your skillet in the oven, and voila!

A holy cow mixture of yummy gumbo goodness!

Obviously I really like the dish, but how about the nutrition facts? Well, because I used a typical Jiffy mix, my gumbo was not as light as I had hoped. Next time I make this I will probably try to make cornbread from scratch to help cut back on calories, fat and salt. Again, the calories don’t seem all that different even though I added more veggies and cut back the fat. Either way, I only had this for dinner, so 3 calories weren’t too bad (even though I ended dinner with a Pumpkin Cheesecake Bite).

The breakdown:

Lick the Bowl Shrimp Gumbo Casserole
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 tbsp Garlic Gold
2 bay leaves
½ tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp Mrs. Dash lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp FNF seasoning (see recipe here)
2 cups 99% fat free chicken broth
2 cups diced tomatoes
16 oz package frozen okra, slightly thawed
2 cups shrimp, cleaned, peeled and deveined
¼ cup Egg Beaters
1/3 cup skim milk
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix

In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil and sauté onion and celery until softened. Add all seasonings, stock and okra. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for corn muffins. Using a spoon, dollop mixture on top of gumbo, leaving center uncovered.

Carefully, put skillet in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Frozen Fish

This recipe is unique in that I hadn't intended to change much about the ingredients. The foundation of the Paula Deen's Savory Salmon is pretty healthy. The only modification I planned to change was to eliminate the salt. But in terms of fat and fiber, there wasn't much I could change.

I did make some changes, but my changes were based on what I had on hand.

I used agave nectar instead of honey, pre-squeezed lemon juice instead of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I omited the strawberries just because the ones in my fridge were covered in fuzz. No moldy fish for us!

I took the fish out 4 hours before I started and thawed according to the package. I put the fillets in the foil, added my veggies (so pretty!!) and wrapped them up and let them hang in the oven.

Half an our later, I pulled out the pan and opened up my salmon surprise.

Pretty, huh??

But the fish was stone cold still! Ugh! So I put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

The second time I took it out of the oven it was warm, but not hot. I was so afraid about eating raw salmon (I'm not a sushi eater, unless it's California Rolls, which is not raw) that I thought I'd pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds, just to make sure. While I was setting up my plate, I heard three loud pops. I don't know if it was the skin or what but there were flakes of fish all over the inside of my microwave. Good thing we're moving soon (just kidding, I cleaned it up; I didn't want everything I microwaved to smell like fish)!

I took it out and taste tested a little corner. Pretty blah. Probably because all the good stuff was still sitting in my foil wrapped pan.

By this time it was 7 PM and I was hungry and crabby and I just called it quits and ended up making Grilled Cheese. It was amazing, by the way.

Since the I didn't really make any significant changes AND the recipe was a disaster, I didn't even calculate the nutritional stats. If you want to try it, here's Paula's recipe. Maybe you'll have better luck!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Overload!

With the fall weather on its way (at least in the South), we are all looking forward to fall foods. Some of my favorite fall foods involve butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Lately there has been a HUGE craze about pumpkin. Don't get me wrong, I love pumpkin pie but I haven't ever put much thought into using it in other ways.

Today, when I was planning my weekly meals, I remembered I need to make a dessert for next Sunday's Sweets post. I asked my hubby what dessert he loved most and his answer? Cheesecake. Of course I wasn't just going to make plain cheesecake, I needed to give it a kick! I decided to make little pumpkin cheesecakes bites. I promise I am not trying to be a tease, because this recipe will be posted Sunday, but I wanted to at least explain why I am writing about pumpkins today!

With all of the wild pumpkin talk going on, I figured I should find out what is so great about them. First of all (and sometimes most important) they are super tasty! Now I don't mean fresh pumpkin, a la the leftovers from your Halloween carving! I mean the yummy puree that comes in a can!

I used the Libby's Pumpkin puree today...and may or may not have licked the can :) It was DELICIOUS! I really think I may start adding it to other things like oatmeal and maybe make one of those awesome sandwiches Caitlin has made.

What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes?

Now why is pumpkin so awesome? Well it tastes yummy, and has some pretty great nutritional info!

One cup of Libby's puree had:
80 calories
0g fat
10g fiber
And how about the awesome Vitamin A and C that pumpkin provides?! (obviously I have jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon)

That is a lot of fiber from one delicious squash! Do you want to know some other awesome things? While researching pumpkin recipes, I came across these fun pictures and world records.

The world's largest pumpkin pie was 20 feet in diameter and weighed 3,699 pounds! That is a lot of fiber!

The world's largest pumpkin? It was grown by Chris Stevens and yes the record was set YESTERDAY!!! The giant pumpkin weighed in at 1810.5 pounds! Whoa!

On the note of carving here are some cool carved pumpkins from to get your creative juices flowing this season.

On a closing note, check out the pumpkin preserving page. Apparently you can use Clorox Cleaner with Bleach to help your pumpkin friends stay fresh for the trick-o-treating season.

Happy Pumpkining!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some Greens I Can Sink My Teeth Into

Yea! Sunday Sweets is back! I love desserts, but it can be hard to find one that isn't loaded with fat or sugar. I found a recipe for Zucchini Brownies and made a few changes. I know what you're thinking, I've already made a dessert with zucchini, but I like sneaking some greens into sweets.

I started off with what looks like a lot of stuff, but I promise it came together really quick!

I originally had planned on doing a 3 sugar blend: real sugar (because sometimes baked goods with Splenda only don't come out well), Splenda (less calories) and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (it's the best of both worlds right?). But I got lazy and ended up just doing 2/3 real sugar and 1/3 Splenda.

I used half the oil of the original recipe and half applesauce. I know a lot of recipes omit oil and just use applesauce, but I've found that that tends to make the baked good more cake-y and less chewy.

When I mixed everything it, it seemed pretty dry . . .

I ended up having to pat it down and finally was ready to toss it into the oven.

I took them out of the oven and they looked a tad dry. But they were soooo easy to cut! You know how normally when you cut brownies (especially if you don't wait for them too cool completely, which never happens at my house), they all crumble and end up looking mangled and half eaten? No problem here!

I sprinkled them with confectioners sugar instead of frosting. I think if I ever make them again, I'll get some reduced sugar frosting because my end product was a little dry and a little bland (Cody agreed!).

Do you have any recipes for sweets that have hidden veggies in them?? What do you wish you could hide in a brownie?

Here are the stats for the final product:

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 24
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 91
Fat: 0.3 g
Sodium: 177 mg
Fiber: 1.6 g

And the recipe!

Zucchini Brownies

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, Splenda and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

Dust lightly with powdered sugar.