Thursday, March 15, 2012

Update on Life & Why I have been MIA + Kale & Feta Egg Bake

     Maybe you have noticed that I haven't been posting as often as I used to around here.  Maybe you haven't noticed!  My life has changed over the past 4 1/2 months.  My younger brother got engaged and I decided that it was time to get serious about getting healthy because I wanted to feel great at his wedding and enjoy having my picture taken.  I joined Wow! Boot Camp, which is an awesome workout that  combines cardio, strength training, intervals, etc. and starting training for a half marathon with other Boot Campers. I became a part of a great support system.  I also got serious about my nutrition.  I started keeping a food diary and writing down every single thing that I ate.  Every little bite.  Now I use Lose It! as a way to track my calories and exercise. 

  It hasn't been easy.  I have had to change my lifestyle.  I thought I was eating healthy before, but keeping a food diary has helped me realize exactly what I was consuming and also helped me realize that I was consuming too much.  I have reduced the refined sugar and flour that I eat.  I have increased the lean protein that I consume.  I have changed my ways.
  I'm not here to preach about what you should eat or how you should exercise, but I am here to tell you that in the past four months I have lost 20.5 pounds.  I have shed 16.5 inches off my body.  I have reduced my BMI  and reduced my body fat % by 5.6 %    I have worked hard and I feel happier than I have in years.  I have more energy.  I don't need naps during the day and I wake up excited about exercising and starting my day off right.  I am proof that if you want to accomplish something bad enough and you combine hard work and determination- it is possible.
  Through this process, I haven't felt like blogging much.  I haven't been baking very often and if I have been baking, I haven't been eating the things I bake.  When I started this blog, it filled a void in my life and I feel like I don't need to blog anymore.  I feel excited about other things.  I still love to cook and bake, but for some reason, documenting it just isn't the same for me.  I don't know what that means exactly.  Maybe I will get back to blogging often.  Maybe not. 
   My husband and I ran the half marathon on our 11th anniversary and had a great time.  I missed my goal time (1:48)by a couple of minutes (1:54:31), but considering the pouring rain and tornado sirens, I will have to get over it.  I can't believe I am saying this, but it was fun!

My brother got married last weekend and I couldn't have enjoyed myself more.  I fit into a lovely dress and felt great about being in a million pictures.  I am truly happy and loved our time with family.  I was able to cook and bake for my family while we were in Utah visiting and will share some of the recipes below.

 I made this Kale and Feta Egg Bake before we went to Utah in 2 single servings, but also made it in Utah to serve 15 people.  It will take longer to bake if you make it in a 9*13-inch dish, but it still works.  I reduced the amount of cheese and oil, just to keep the calories in check.  When I made it for myself, I used 1 egg and 1 egg white, instead of 2 eggs.  I love this dish and plan to keep in rotation for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can reduce the feta even more and just do a little sprinkle on the top for a hit of flavor.  You can follow me on Pinterest, if you are interested in the recipes and things that have caught my eye.

    Here is the original recipe for Kale and Feta Egg Bake
    * I doubled the amount of marinara and kale
    * I used half the amount of oil and feta
    * I used 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
    * I served Sweet Potato Biscuits on the side

    Other recipes I made and shared with a crowd last week in Utah-
    Greek Salad with Orzo and Black-Eyed Peas

    Savory Cornmeal and Chive Waffles with salsa and eggs 
    * I used half whole wheat flour
    * I did not use melted butter in these waffles.  I used 1/4 cup of canola oil and a couple extra Tablespoons of low fat buttermilk.
    * I also used this recipe as a base for a sweet waffle- omitted the herbs and added 2 tsps of sugar.

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans
    * I didn't puree the dressing, I just added the jalapenos, lime juice and other ingredients
    the the roasted veggies & beans
    * I used less olive oil than called for, both when roasted the sweet potatoes and when dressing the salad
    Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders and Salad with Tangy Maple Dressing
    * I have made this multiple times and never fry the tenders in as much oil as it calls for.  I use about 2 Tablespoons of canola oil and cooking spray.

    Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

    Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Muffins
    * I used half whole wheat flour in this recipe

    Thick and Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Pumpkin Brownie Waffles

    My son celebrated his 10th birthday last week and our celebrations include allowing the birthday child to choose a fun birthday breakfast. A friend had told me about a recipe she saw for Brownie Waffles and since my son looovveeesss brownies, I figured they would be the perfect way to start his birthday. I searched for a recipe and saw quite a few that were simply made from a brownie mix, but I wanted a recipe that was a little bit more breakfast and less dessert. I also wanted it to be from scratch.

    I made these Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes (per my son's request) for him to share as the special friday snack at school, so I didn't really want to serve him a completely sugar-filled crazy breakfast. I saw a recipe for Banana Brownie Waffles and decided to swap pumpkin puree for the mashed banana since my son doesn't really care for the taste of bananas in baked goods. I also added some mini chocolate chips to the batter.

    I didn't really think about the fact that bananas are much sweeter than pumpkin puree, so these waffles were not very sweet by themselves, but very chocolate-y. I guess you could add a little bit more sugar to the batter if you wanted to. The kids enjoyed these topped with syrup, strawberries and whipped cream. I spread a little bit of peanut butter on one and topped it with sliced strawberries. It was a delicious splurge of a breakfast and we had a very happy birthday boy.

    Pumpkin Brownie Waffles adapted from these Banana Brownie Waffles
    1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
    1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifter
    1/4 cup wheat germ
    3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup canola oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

    1. Preheat your waffle iron.
    2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
    (I did this the night before, covered it and put it in the fridge.)
    3. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract until well blended. Gently stir in mini chocolate chips.
    Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
    4. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour batter in the center of waffle iron and cook until done. Repeat with remaining batter and serve with syrup, whipped cream, strawberries or peanut butter.

    Here is the original recipe for Pumpkin Brownie Waffles