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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hungry Girls Chocolate Chip Softies

So one of my goals to a better me is to bake more weight watcher friendly treats. Chocolate chip cookies is one of my favorite treats but at 5-7 points a cookie it's not very WW friendly. I found Hungry Girls recipe for So Good Chocolate Chip Softies. I thought Hmm I'll give them a try.

Verdict: Do they taste exactly like a chocolate chip cookie? No. They really don't taste anything like a chocolate chip cookie but they are chocolaty and sweet.

They remind of a cookie my mom and I used to buy all the time made with carob chips. I can't remember the brand or which store we used to find them at but they were pretty good for something sweet to eat and they were only 1 WW point apiece with the old point system. So I actually really like these HG Chocolate Chip Softies. I'll probably make these quite often. I do want to find a WW friendly chocolate chip cookie recipe that actually tastes like a chocolate chip cookie that isn't 5-7 points. Because really if a WW recipe is going to cost me 5-7 points per cookie I could just eat the real thing.

Hungry Girls says that this recipe makes 8 cookies at 2 WW points per cookie. When I inputted this recipe into the recipe builder on WW's it said that 8 servings would make these cookies 3 points apiece. Hmm, interesting. I just happened to make this recipe into 10 cookies and by doing so made the cookies 2 points a cookie. I used my medium sized cookie scoop. Below is the original HG recipe.

HG's Chocolate Chip Softies
from Hungry Girl

8 cookies, 2 WW points per cookie

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3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
6 T unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup fat free liquid egg substitute
2 1/2 T mini semi sweet chocolate chips
2 T brown sugar, not packed.
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

Pre heat oven 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips (flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt). Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (applesauce, pumpkin, egg substitute, and vanilla extract). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until completely blended. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick spray or line with silicone baking mat, and spoon batter into 8 evenly spaced circles. Place pan in the oven for about 10 minutes (until cookies appear done and feel firm). Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool slightly. For best results, enjoy while the cookies are still warm and the chips are still melty. I think they taste just as good room temperature.

Basic Pancakes

I was very proud of myself yesterday for not going straight to the fridge and pounding down leftover pumpkin pie tarts because it was very tempting. I had decided to stop waiting for tomorrow so I said no to the tarts and I opened up my new WW cookbook and made the Basic Pancake recipe out of it. Gold star for me. I stayed within my points all day. I made Will and his brother finish up our Christmas leftovers and I made myself pita pizzas for dinner. I give myself a pat on the back.

Today I packed up those pumpkin pie tarts and mini cheesecakes and took them to work. Yes, I still had access to them but I didn't eat any of them and I left all the other goodies staring at me alone as well. I made healthy choices for day two I ate more than my daily points but I just used some of my weekly points so all is good. My first goal is to have weight off by March 25. I don't really care how much weight off I would just like to steadily lose each week. Will and I are going to Arizona and I would like to be lighter when we fly. If we fly. We may drive if we can't get decent plane tickets. Though I'm not sure if our car would make it or not so flying may be our only option. Or I may have to go alone and I don't really want to have to fly alone because I feel like I'm in someones space sitting on the plane. At least when Will is with me I'm in his space. It isn't fun flying when your heavy. But come hell or high water I'm going because I need my Jessica time and I need to see my Noah boy. I miss living only 10 minutes from each other.

Anyway on to the pancakes. They weren't as fluffy as normal pancakes and that could have been due to me using skim milk. The recipe called for 1% but I only had skim on hand. I'm really not sure how old my baking powder is so that could be part of the problem as well. But other than that they were very tasty. I added vanilla extract which I thought gave the pancakes a very nice flavor.

Basic Pancakes
from WW New Complete Cookbook

6 servings (4 pancakes per serving), 7 WW per serving w/o syrup

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2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups low fat (1%) milk
1/2 cup fat free egg substitute
1 T vegetable oil
1 T vanilla extract (optional)

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla if using. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until flour mixture is moistened (batter will be lumpy).

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Pour scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear and edges of pancakes look dry, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until golden brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, making a total of 24 pancakes.

These reheated well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Taking Control Today

Have you had that moment in your life when you stepped on the scale and went "Holy Blue Bonnets Batman! When did I get this big? When did the number on the scale go up this high?" I actually know the answer to those questions. I have gradually been seeing the number on the scale go up for the past two years but I keep telling myself I'll take control tomorrow. But tomorrow hasn't came. I need to take control today and stop with the tomorrows. Because if I have learned anything in the past two years is that life can be short and tomorrows can be limited. I see my future if I don't take control of my health. Yes, I have my diabetes and high blood pressure under control but I'm 29 and already have those problems. My doctor has been telling me the same thing that my moms doctor had told her for years, “If you lose the weight you will get off the medication.” Did she lose the weight? No. Have I lost the weight? No. My mom died at the age of 59 with a whole slew of issues after being bed ridden for two years in a nursing home. That isn't the future I want for myself but my body is only going to be able to handle this excess weight for so much longer before it starts to break down.

I think I'm having a hard time getting back on the wagon because I had been doing so well two years ago. I had lost almost 40 pounds when my mom passed away. I remember telling myself to not let myself gain it back. I let myself gain it back plus about 20 more. I need to stop beating myself up about it. It happened and now I need to do something about it. My mom would tell me to learn from my mistakes and move on. All I'm accomplishing now is depressing myself further and making myself gain more. Not very productive. I feel it in my clothes and just in the way I carry myself. I want to feel good again.

So I'm challenging myself to live a better life. To cook more, to eat less fast food, to bake more weight watcher friendly sweets, to start exercising, and to start taking care of myself. I am worth it. I am worth living a long, healthy, happy life. But nobody can do that for me but me. If I falter I'm going to not berate myself but just pick myself back up, brush myself off and move forward. I know I can do this.

So I started today. No more waiting for tomorrow. For Christmas I received the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. It has over 500 delicious recipes for the healthy cook's kitchen. Best of all it includes the Points Plus values. This morning I made the Basic Pancake recipe which I will be posting about soon. This book has a lot of amazing recipes and I can't wait to try them. I also found some amazing food blogs that I believe God steered me too.

I first found Dashing Dish: Healthy Alternatives to the Foods You Crave authored by Katie Farrell. The food she is dishing out looks crazy good and is good for you. It was on her blog that I stumbled upon It Sux to Be Fat authored by Jennifer Swafford. Katie and Jennifer have partnered up. Jennifer has lost 100 pounds doing Weight Watchers and she is supplying Katie with the WW points for her fabulous food. So I headed over to It Sux to Be Fat and I'm so glad I did because Jennifer is such an inspiration. Her weight loss journey has spanned the last three years and she has had some ups and downs but she has never given up and I think that is the key. I'm really enjoying reading through her blog.

Another great weight watcher blog is Gina's Skinny Taste Her recipes are fantastic and you don't have to worry about the points because she does the hard work for you.

I also love Hungry Girl. I have several of her cookbooks and I get her weekly newsletter. I wish she could just come cook for me. Wouldn't that be nice.

I'm ready to tackle this new chapter in my life. I'm ready to take care of myself because I am worth it. Now I just need to get rid of all the temptations sitting in my fridge leftover from Christmas. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sloppy Joes

Raise your hand if you love sloppy Joe's. I don't see any hands raised. I'm not a huge fan of sloppy Joe's but I enjoyed this recipe. Will loves sloppy Joe's but my mans not into Manwich. He likes simple ketchup sloppy Joe's. These are simple yet tasty.

Sloppy Joe's
adapted from Heinz

8 servings, 6 WW points per serving

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1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 light hamburger buns

In a skillet brown the beef and onions over medium heat. Once browned, drain. Place meat back in skillet and add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mom's Lasagna

I think I have talked about my love of pasta before so I don't think I need to repeat it. Oh I do. Well I love pasta. I love my mom's lasagna. I don't know where this recipe came from I just know this is how mom made it and how she taught me to make it. Simple, yet so delicious. You can use the no boil noodles but my mom thought they tasted starchy so I still boil. But either way you do it people will be asking for seconds and for this recipe.

Mom's Lasagna

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1 1/2 pd. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 large container cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 bags shredded mozzarella cheese
1 box lasagna noodles

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a skillet brown the beef and onions. I like to season the meat with garlic powder, oregano, and basil or Italian seasoning. Drain beef. Place the meat back in the skillet and add the spaghetti sauce. Let simmer. Meanwhile boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain. In a bowl mix together the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. In a 9X13 pan spread in a thin layer of sauce. Lay down a layer of noodles, spread a layer of sauce, spread a layer of cottage cheese, sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers ending with mozzarella. Bake for 1 hour or until heated through and the cheese is melty.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Milk Pie

My grandma used to make a milk pie. I never did get to experience my grandma's cooking because she died before I was born but my mom really liked her milk pie. She told me that after she would get done making pies she would piece together a crust in a pie plate with the pie crust scraps and right in the crust she would mix together milk, sugar, and vanilla. Mom didn't know the precise recipe. I tried finding a recipe that was like what grandma used to make and I came close one time. After my mom died I found out about Hoosier Cream Pies. Hoosier Cream Pies I think originated from the Amish. The recipe seemed similar to what my mom described as grandmas recipe. I finally made this pie and it's really easy and really yummy. I think mom would have loved it.

Milk Pie
recipe from Turkey Creek Lane

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1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

2 heaping tablespoons flour

1 pinch salt

2 cups Milk or Cream (or enough to fill pie shell)

Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Mix brown and white sugar with flour. Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture over pie crust. Beat egg yolk with milk. Fill pie shell. Take a spoon and swirl it through the milk mixture a couple of times. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Bake at 410 degrees for 10 minutes.Then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The filling should be bubbling. The center should still jiggle. Be careful not to overcook or the filling will not set.

Homemade Milky Ways

"Lacey Klemm has made quite possibly the greatest dessert in her life, the Homemade Milky Way. It is addicting and i dare say, better than a real Milky Way." posted on Facebook by Will Klemm.

This is high praise coming from my loving hubby. He is correct in saying that these chocolate confections are addicting and better than the real Milky Ways.

My mom's favorite candy bar was the Milky Way. I have been wanting to find/create a homemade version for awhile. I just wish I would have thought about this before she passed away. She would have loved these.

I decided not to dip these fully because I was being lazy. No one missed them being fully dipped in chocolate. You can get away with not dipping if you don't want to. I highly recommend that you make these. Run, don't walk to your nearest grocery store!

Homemade Milky Way

adapted from Tasty Kitchen

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2 bags (12 Oz. Size) Milk Chocolate Chips

1 container (7 Oz.) Marshmallow Fluff

6 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk, Divided

1 bag (14 Oz. Bag) Caramels, wrappers removed, or Caramel Bits

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir to completely melt all the chocolate. If you need to microwave further, do so for very short periods; you do not want the chocolate to burn. Stir in the marshmallow fluff and half of the evaporated milk.

Pour this into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with foil or wax paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Smooth the top. Place this in the fridge to harden while you work on the next step. My 8x8 was being used for lasagna so I just used a cookie sheet and spread the marshmallow mixture out not too thick and not too thin.

Put the caramels and the rest of the evaporated milk in a bowl, and microwave until they are melted. Start with 45 seconds, and then stir. If needed, heat for longer, checking every 15 seconds. Once nice and smooth, pour and spread this over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

If you are going to fully dip your Milky Ways:

Once firm, remove from the pan and cut into desired size pieces. Melt the remaining bag of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 45 second intervals. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, start your dipping! Set the coated caramels on a baking sheet and then place it in the fridge or freezer to harden. Enjoy!

If you are being lazy like me:

Melt the remaining bag of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 45 second intervals. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and place back in fridge to harden. Once chocolate is set cut the Milky Ways into desired size pieces. Enjoy!