Monday, February 28, 2011

Oat and Walnut Crusted Chicken

I have made oven baked chicken fingers a bazillion different ways. And each time I am typically disappointed that the coating is crispy enough or it all sticks to the pan and comes off when you cut the chicken. It is typically a kitchen fail... yet I try and try again.

I came across this recipe for Oatmeal Pecan Crusted Chicken from Sweet Treats and More. I thought I would give it a shot. It looked pretty healthy so I didn't make any intentional healthy changes. I did make a few changes thought...

A. I used walnuts instead of pecans. This was strictly a financial decision. Pecans were $8.99/lb. Walnuts were $4.99/lb. Not a tough decision.

B. I have altered the recipe to decrease the amount of topping prepared. When I made this originally, there was a TON of topping left over and I wouldn't want all of that going to waste!

Nuts have nutritional benefits that make it a great staple to incorporate into all kinds of ways in your diet. Walnuts, for example, are a great source of omega 3s which can help keep your heart, brain and joints healthy. They are also a good source of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant helping to strengthen cell membranes and fight free radicals. So obviously, adding walnuts to your chicken fingers is a great choices!!!

Overall, this chicken was pretty much awesome! It was moist and flavorful yet the crust was crunchy and held up it's texture. Plus it stuck to the chicken well and didn't fall all over my plate when I cut my chicken. Definitely a winner and will make a repeat appearance on our table :)

Oatmeal Walnut Crusted Chicken

2/3 c. dry old fashioned oats
1/3 c. walnuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme + 1 tsp oregano + 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
16 oz. chicken breast tenderloins

In a food processor (or blender, like I did) grind oats and walnuts. Dump into a bowl and stir in seasonings. Spray each chicken tender with nonstick cooking spray then roll into the oat/nut mixture.

Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees. Rotate while cooking.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving provides:
242.9 calories
8.9 g fat
10.6 g carbohydrate
2.5 g fiber
29.9 g protein

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Planning vs. Flexibility

The reason for most of my planning and flexibility!

I am a planner by nature. I thrive in a well-planned environment. I have learned that since having a baby and going back to work that planning is what holds it all together and I feel like our household would be chaos if I did not plan. However, I have also learned in the last few months is that flexibility is what makes a well thought out plan realistic in the actual world. I have found this especially true in two specific areas: Meal Planning & Exercise Plans


There are many different systems for meal planning and I really think it depends on the family as to which way works for you. This is how I do it....

Every Thursday night I sit down and figure out what we have going on in the upcoming week (Fri-Thurs.) so I know what nights I need to make dinner. I typically don't make a homemade dinner when my husband is not home and just eat leftovers or cereal. Then I think about what I have on hand. I usually base this off of what meats we have available and try to come up with meals that are based on these meats. But usually, it is just a review of the pantry and the fridge and figure out what I can make out of items on hand. Then I think about what is on sale this week and think of meals that can utilize the deal of the week. I take this list of possibilities and fill it into my week. I put meals that are quick prep on Mondays and Wednesday since those are the days I work late. I put slow cooker meals on weekends, etc. Then I put our meal plan on a white board in our kitchen. I know it may seem cheesy but it works for us. My husband works at a college where he eats in the cafeteria each day. If he knows what we're having for dinner, then he won't eat something similar for lunch each day. I make my grocery list and pull coupons Thursday night and go grocery shopping on Fridays. It works for us. I have found that I am not stressed out about dinner, we save money and we eat out WAY less than when I didn't meal plan.


As much as I like to plan, things do come up mid-week and I have to be flexible. It's not uncommon for me to switch around what we're having one night or another if my husband has something come up and can't come home. But at least I know we have the ingredients on hand and can just swap it out another day.

Each Sunday I discuss with my husband what we have going on in the week. Just like my meal plan, I have to figure out when he's going to be home to watch Finley. I figure out what days I can utilize the treadmill at work, what days I can run around the indoor track at my husband's work, what days I can run outside at home and what days I'm stuck doing an indoor workout at home. I've started putting my exercise log on the top of the page for my intended exercises. It helps keep me accountable and to stick with the plan.

Unfortunately, not everything can always go to plan but I need to make sure I'm still get workouts - even if its not the workout I intended. Example: Monday I was going to do circuits inside after I put Finley to sleep. Well I wasn't planning on there being 2 feet of drifted snow at the bottom of our driveway. I was able to get up the driveway no problem in my 4x4 but there was no way that my husband would make it up, without 4x4. So instead of circuits, after I put Finley to sleep I bundled up, took the baby monitor with me and shoveled extremely heavy snow. I decided it was more of a back/arm workout than I would have gotten with my circuits!

How do you plan? In what ways do you have to be flexible?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

I don't have a picture of this one as the camera has resided at my husband's office for the last couple days. Instead I'll give you a random picture.

View from my front porch in winter time.

This is one of those many recipes that I see all over the blog world and I was never introduced to until recently. I'm not a fan of alfredo and this is as close as I get to it. It's super easy and perfect for taking a dish to pass at a function. The recipe that I originally used is from The Girl Who Ate Everything. As originally posted, this provides (Just the topping, not the pasta):

305.5 calories
20 g fat
8.3 g carbohydrate
0.0 g fiber
22.7 g protein

I make just a few changes. First I use reduced fat cream cheese and a little bit less than the original recipe. Second, I add a bag of frozen vegetables. I like it with broccoli best but often make it with green beans since the husband isn't a huge broccoli fan. Adding vegetables to pasta dishes can help decrease the portion of pasta that you use and add extra vitamins and minerals.

Overall, this is a regular staple on our meal plan. Give it a try!

Creamy Crockpot Chicken - BETTER

four 4 oz chicken breasts
1 packet dressing mix, I like Good Seasons' Garlic & Herb
6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
10 oz bag frozen broccoli or green beans

Place the chicken in a crockpot and sprinkle dressing packet over it. Cover with cream of chicken soups and cream cheese. Cook on low for at least 4 hours. About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, take out chicken breasts and shred. Put back into the crock pot and give the sauce a good stir. Add frozen vegetables. Cook for additional 3o minutes.

Serve over whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash.

Makes 6 servings, each serving provides:

261 calories
13.6 g fat
10.6 g carbohydrate
1.4 g fiber
24.1 g protein

Monday, February 21, 2011

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Do you ever come across a website and you think to yourself.... Really? Am I just now finding out about this website? How have I survived this long without knowing about it?!?!?!

That's how I felt when I came across Gina's Skinny Recipes at . Honestly, there are some awesome recipes on here with lots of flavor but not a lot of fat and calories. Expect to see many variations of Gina's recipes on GBFMB in the future.

A few weeks ago we were having a babysitter come to watch our daughter so we could go for a night out. I wanted to have dinner ready for the sitter but didn't want to have to be slaving over the stove up until she got there. So I decided some sort of chicken and roasted vegetables would be the winner. I could prep everything ahead of time, throw it in the oven and have it be ready shortly after we leave. I searched the internet and fount this recipe on Gina's Skinny Recipes. I didn't have those exact vegetables on hand and I used four 4 oz. chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs, but the idea is the same.

The end result was awesome! I had leftovers for lunch a couple days after the original meal and it was so tasty. The chicken was very tender and all the vegetables were very flavorful. Great way to use up some extra vegetables in the winter time.
Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

four 4 oz chicken breasts
2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2" slices
3 celery stalks, chopped into large chunks
1 large onion, chopped into large chunks
1 bell pepper (color of choice) cut into large chunks
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry the chicken well with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients together and using your hands, arrange in a very large roasting pan. (I arranged the vegetables in a 9x13 pan and the chicken in an 8x8). The vegetables should not touch the chicken or it will steam. All ingredients should be spread out in a single layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving:
309.8 calories
8.5 g fat
29.2 g carbohydrate
3.9 g fiber
29.1 g protein

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday -Super Broccoli

I am concluding my superfoods series with broccoli.

Broccoli may seem like such a mundane vegetable that can be used in practically any way. But most people aren't aware of broccoli's superfood abilities.

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and iron. Vitamin A, most commonly associated with yellow and orange vegetables, helps with eye sight and immune health. Vitamin C is a great helper vitamin and helps your body absorb the iron found in broccoli. Vitamin K is a valuable vitamin which helps your body utilize vitamin D for bone strength. In addition to all these micronutrient benefits, broccoli is high in fiber and low in calories (like most veggies!).

Broccoli is a very versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw, steamed, grilled, roasted, baked or in any dish. I like to add broccoli to foods such as eggs, casseroles, soups, salads, etc. Here are links to some other great recipes which include broccoli:

What is your favorite way to eat broccoli?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

We continue quick bread week with a tasty recipe for muffins (although I assume you could make it in a loaf too!).

Lately I've been craving sweets at night - cakes, cookies, ice cream, brownies, you name it - I want it. I've upped my exercise in the last month or so and I have really noticed an increased appetite, but I'm trying to keep it under control. I have rationalized my sweets craving by thinking that if I just have "healthier" muffins around, that will satisfy my sweet craving without all the bad parts of other desserts.

I had some pumpkin puree in my fridge so off I went in search of a pumpkin muffin recipe. I found this one from It sounded (and looked) quite tasty so I whipped it up in no time! (Literally took me about 10 minutes to put together then throw in the oven- awesome!).

The original recipe provides per muffin:
203 calories
6.1 g fat
35.0 g carbohydrate
1.2 g fiber
3.0 g protein

I only made a couple small changes. Instead of oil I used mashed ripe bananas. I also added 1/2 cup raisins because I really wanted to put in white chocolate chips but this was my internal compromise. The end result is a flavorful, moist muffin perfect to satisfy my sweet tooth or for my husband to grab out the door in the morning for a quick breakfast.
Pumpkin Raisin Muffins - BETTER

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon-divided
pinch nutmeg
1 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar - divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins

Put oven in the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Sift together flour and baking powder in a small bowl, set aside.

Whisk together pumpkin, bananas, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in raisins with a wooden spoon.

Combine remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl. (Or just use cinnamon/sugar from your cabinet!)

Divide batter equally among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. After 5 minutes, transfer muffins to wire rack to cool.

Per muffin:
182 calories
1.1 g fat
41.3 g carbohydrate
1.6 g fiber
3.2 g protein

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cornbread muffins

Sometimes I struggle on this blog with what to share / what not to share. Believe it or not - I don't make every recipe that I make healthier. Sometimes its nice just to enjoy the high fat/calorie/carb-loaded food and call it good. I've debated whether or not to share this recipe because really.... it's not that great for you - but it tastes OH SO GOOD. Obviously I've decided to go ahead and share away.

In my mind, I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I make healthy choices, conscientiously plan my meals and exercise routinely. 20% of the time, I eat what I want, enjoy my treats and truly rest on my rest days. I figured it's only healthy to show balance and give an example of what can be included in my 20%.

Growing up, we always had Jiffy cornbread muffins with chili. It's just a natural pairing. I never really knew the potential of tastiness that cornbread could provide until one day I was forced to come up with a recipe that could use up the large amount of corn meal that I had in my pantry. Over the years I've tried many different cornbread recipes. But I've finally landed on one recipe the won hands down. It's a sweeter version of cornbread but I welcome everyone to try it (as part of their naughty 20% of course)!

Cornbread Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt in a large bowl. Add flour, cornmeal, and baking powder and blend thoroughly. Add milk while mixing. Add corn to mixture and combine by hand until corn is worked in.

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan and fill each cup with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Per muffin:
244 calories
9.3 g fat
37.4 g carbohydrate
1.2 g fiber
4.0 g protein

Monday, February 14, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins / Bread

I have been on a quick bread kick lately. I seem to keep making them as treats to give away or to go along with our meal. So I decided to declare this Quick Breads Week. First up - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins / Bread.

I had a freezer full of brown bananas and needed to do a little reorganization so they needed to be used. I also am in a calorie burn competition at work and having been pushing extra hard with the workouts, so I'm a little hungrier than normal. So having a sweet fix like banana bread around has been a lifesaver!

I went out in search of a banana bread recipe that was a little different and found one that called for sour cream on Foodies, Inc. So I decided to give it a try.

Original recipe provides (per serving):
194 calories
8.7 g fat
27.4 g carbohydrate
0.9 g fiber
2.8 g protein

I made the usual changes: I substituted reduced fat sour cream for the full fat version as well as used unsweetened applesauce in place of the butter. The result was awesome! I made 12 muffins and 2 medium sized loaves out of a double batch of this. The muffins were gone in just a few days. The loaves made it to the freezer. One was delivered to my coworker who is a new mom. The other one waits in the freezer for it's final resting place (which just might be my belly!).

Rock Your Banana Bread - BETTER

1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter desired baking dish (muffin tin, loaf pan, etc). Combine sour cream and baking soda in a bowl. Cream applesauce and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs, bananas, and sour cream mixture. Sift in flour and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into pan. Bake for one hour for 9x5 pan, 30 minutes for muffin tin, 45 minutes for 4x8 pan, etc.

Take it out of the oven , let it cool and enjoy! Makes 20 servings. Per serving:

153 calories
3.7 g fat
28.1 g carbohydrate
1.0 g fiber
2.7 g protein

***You could probably omit the chocolate chips here and save a bunch on calories and fat... that really wasn't what I was going for :) ****

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday - OATS

One of my goals in this Superfoods series is to highlight superfoods that are normal every day foods. I don’t shop at health food stores and I expect that any healthy food that I expect my clients to buy, they can get at their local grocery store. So yes some superfoods like acai and goji berries can have significant health benefits. But if I can’t get it at my local Meijer, I’m not featuring it.

Today’s superfood is as basic as it gets – OLD FASHIONED OATS. Not steel cut oats, not quick oats but OLD FASHIONED OATS. This type of oats are great because they are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble oat fiber has been shown to have significant benefits of to your cardiovascular health (did you know that February is Heart Health month?). Consuming 3 grams of soluble oat fiber each day can lower total cholesterol by 8 to 23 percent.

Oats are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, thiamine and pantothenic acid. Oats are filling and cheap! I know I can get maybe 6 bowls of cereal out of a box of cereal, or for the same price can get 25 bowls of oatmeal out of a canister of old fashioned oats.

Cooked old fashioned oats have also been suggested to increase milk supply in breastfeeding moms. A few studies have shown that mom’s who eat a bowl of cooked old fashioned oats and then pump at work are more likely to pump more on the mornings they eat oatmeal, than the mornings they choose a different breakfast.

There are TONS of ways to add oats to your diet. Of course you can eat oatmeal cookies J But you can also add oats to your yogurt. I pack my breakfast to work most days. I put in ½ cup old fashioned oats, ½ tsp cinnamon, 12 almonds chopped up and a spoonful of raisins. When I get to work, I add water and microwave for 2 -3 minutes. Perfect!

What is your favorite way to eat oats?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sour Cream Pork Chops

Apparently its slow cooker week here on Great Blog Food, Made Better as I am on day number 3 of posting slow cooker recipes. I love using my crock pot(s). It is so much easier to throw the ingredients in then go about my day.

One thing that I had never made in a crock pot before was pork chops. My mom always made pork chops with Shake-n-Bake coating and I loved them as a kid. So the few times that I have made them in my adult life, I have used some sort of coating. I know that many people use the crock pot to cook pork chops so off I went in search of a recipe that fit the bill.

I found a recipe for Sour Cream Pork Chops on A 4 oz. pork chop from the original recipe provides:
331 calories
20.5 g fat
9.8 g carbohydrate
0.3 g fiber
25.4 g protein

I think that sometimes pork gets a bad rap from it's fattier counterparts like bacon. But a lean pork tenderloin that has been sliced in to chops with all visible fat trimmed is a leaner protein option. My local grocery store often has pork tenderloins on sale and I just take the whole loin up to the meat counter and ask them to slice it for me... way cheaper than buying pre-sliced pork chops.

For this recipe I only made a couple changes. I used 3 oz pork chops instead of 4 oz pork chops. I also found that I didn't need nearly as much of the sour cream sauce as the recipe calls for so I cut the ingredients for the sauce in half. I also used reduced fat sour cream instead of the full fat version. It was delicious! Very tender and fell apart with my fork. It was a great change of pace from our usual chicken.

Sour Cream Pork Chops - BETTER

six 3-oz pork chops, all visible fat trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 oz (1/2 cup) reduced fat sour cream

Season pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder and then dredge in the 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, spray skillet with nonstick spray and then brown the chops on both sides.

Place the browned chops in the slow cooker and top with onion slices. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water and pour over chops. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

After the chops have cooked, transfer the chops to the oven to keep warm. In a small bowl, blend 1 Tbsp flour with the sour cream; mix into meat juices. Turn slow cooker to high for 15 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Makes 6 servings, per serving:
220 calories
11.6 g fat
9.0 g carbohydrate
0.3 g fiber
18.7 g protein

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vegetarian Crock Pot Black Bean Soup

I love having soup. I frequently throw a can of Healthy Choice or Progresso soup into my lunch bag for lunch during the winter months. But when I can make my own soup that is hearty and stands up as a meal... I'm a happy camper.

Black Bean Soup is something that I've been making since I got out of college and was working and living on my own. I would make a big batch of it and have it for lunch and dinner every day for a week! Things haven't changed so much now that I have a family, I still try to make a big batch of foods so I can bring leftovers to work for lunch but now I resort to my crock pot much more often.

So I went in search of a black bean soup for the crock pot recipe. I found a recipe kind of what I wanted on but it had a couple of ingredients I did not want. The original recipe had the following nutrition facts:

251 calories
1.3 g fat
49.1 g carbohydrate
11.3 g fiber
13.2 g protein

I omitted the lentils and rice. Maybe that is more of a Cuban flair, but I didn't really see the point in adding more starch to my starchy beans. I also substituted half of the chili powder with chipotle chili powder for a little extra heat. It turned out delicious! Give it a try!
Vegetarian Crock Pot Black Bean Soup - Better!

1 pound dried black beans (soaked overnight)
1 1/2 quart water
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 (28 oz) can peeled and diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chili powder (sub in some chipotle chili powder if you wish)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp salt

Soak beans overnight in water to cover. Drain and rinse.

In a crockpot, combine soaked beans and 1 1/2 quart fresh water. Cook for 3-7 hours on high, depending on how hot your cooker gets. You want your beans to be soft once cooked.

Stir in carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeno and tomatoes. Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, red wine vinegar and salt. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.

Puree half of the soup with a blender or food processor, then pour back into the pot before serving.

Serve with lime wedges, sour cream and cilantro.

Makes 10 servings. Each serving provides:
145 calories
1 g fat
27.3 g carbohydrate
9.4 g fiber
8.8 g protein
Don't forget to check out Hungry Runner Girl's Birthday Giveaway.... but feel free not to enter so my chances of winning are better ;) I really just want the coffee mug.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crockpot Marinara

Last weekend, I had both my family and Paul's family over for Finley's dedication. We all went to church together then came back to our house for lunch. I wanted to have a hearty meal but I wanted it to be ready when we got back from church, so I knew I would use a crock pot. I kept brainstorming for what to serve but all I could think of were BBQ Pork sandwiches (which are kind of cliche) and a big roast (which I'm afraid of buying big cuts of beef, I'm scared). So I was at a loss.

After a week or two of brainstorming, I came up with an idea. I would have a pasta bar! I had marinara and bolognese sauce cooking in my crockpots while we were at church then when we got home, I quickly boiled some spaghetti, bowtie and cheese ravioli.

I got the original recipe for the marinara from and didn't really make any nutritional alterations. I couldn't find my head of garlic (weird, I know) so I resorted to garlic powder.

Crockpot Marinara Sauce

2 (28 oz) cans Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder (or 8 cloves of garlic)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Splenda
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in a 3.5-6 qt crock pot.

Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or high 4 to 5 hours.

Serve over pasta.

Makes 12 servings, per serving provides:
73 calories
1.6 g fat
14.4 g carbohydrate
3.4 g fiber
3.0 g protein

Friday, February 4, 2011

Carrot Cake

Last weekend I had both Paul and my families over for lunch after church for Finley's dedication. We had a pasta bar with bolognese, marinara, bowtie pasta, cheese ravioli, garlic bread, salad, etc. For dessert I wanted something other than a traditional cake. After wracking my brain all week long, I finally came up with it - CARROT CAKE.

I don't care that we're in the dead of winter and its more of a spring food, who cares. It sounded good and that's what I made. Needless to say - IT. WAS. AWESOME. I may or may not have had a piece (or two) when I came home from my run the next day. Ahh.... I wish there was more left over.... oh well.

Original recipe provides:
525 calories
29.7 g fat
62.1 g carbohydrate
1.2 g fiber
4.5 g protein

Now I realize that dessert is dessert and I should try to make it the best thing ever for me, but I did make a few alterations. I got the original recipe from . The recipe does call for this to be made as a three layer cake. That is WAY too much work for me, so I did it in a 9x13 pan - WAY EASIER. The only substitutions that I made was that I substituted the oil with unsweetened applesauce (surprise! I always do that...) and for the frosting I used fat free cream cheese instead of it's full fat counterpart. You would have never known the difference!

Carrot Cake - BETTER

1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour (you could probably use whole wheat flour although I did not)
2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
3 cups grated carrots
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup butter
8 oz fat free cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat applesauce and sugar, then add eggs. Mix in the rest of the cake ingredients in the order given. Beat for 1 minute.

Pour into 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (This may take a little longer since its in a 9x13, not three 9-inch cake pans).

Once cake has completely cooled, mix the butter and fat free cream cheese together until smooth, then add sugar a little at a time. Beat until smooth. Frost cooled cake.

Makes 18 servings.
318 calories
4.6 g fat
65.1 g carbohydrate
1.4 g fiber
5.5 g protein

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday - Berries

I'll continue Thoughtful Thursdays with another Superfood - BERRIES.

Berries are considered a superfood for many reasons. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can eat a pretty large portion (usually 3/4 - 1 cup servings) for pretty low calories. Berries can also satisfy a sweet craving, without adding too many extra calories.

Being from Michigan, I love fresh berries! Blueberries and raspberry/blackberries grow here in abundance. Unfortunately, in season for berries is a very small window. Thankfully, berries can be enjoyed year round by simple preservation techniques. The best way to preserve berries is to freeze them. Place berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. When berries have frozen solid, transfer them to a ziplock bag and enjoy year round!

Berries can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Try adding them to your morning smoothie or pancake batter. Add them to muffins or oatmeal. Sprinkle fresh berries on top of your cereal or even a salad.

How do you add berries into your diet?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breakfast Sandwiches

I know some people are totally against it but having breakfast for dinner is a weekly staple in our household. It is fast, easy and cheap... pretty much my three favorite things. I can almost guarantee that we will have breakfast for dinner on a Monday or Wednesday (nights that I work late) each week.

BUT all breakfast sandwiches are not created equally.

There are a variety of ways that you can build your breakfast sandwich. I wanted to give you ideas for how your sandwich may stack up. Of course, you can put whatever you want in your breakfast sandwich but here are some suggestions for the basics: breads, eggs, cheese, meat.


2 slices wheat toast: 139 calories, 2 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein
Sourdough English muffing: 120 calories, 1 g fat, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
La Tortilla Factory wrap: 80 calories, 3 g fat, 18 g carbohydrate 12 g fiber, 8 g protein
Reduced Fat Grand's biscuit: 160 calories, 5 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein


1 whole egg: 70 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
2 egg whites: 34 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 8 g protein
1/4 c. egg substitute: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein


1/2 oz cheddar: 57 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein
1/2 oz. 2% cheddar: 40 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein
1/2 oz. part-skim mozzarella: 36 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein

1 oz ham: 69 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 11 g protein
1 oz. Canadian bacon: 50 calories, 1 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 11 g protein
2 slices turkey bacon: 70 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein
2 slices bacon: 84 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
1 sausage patty: 90 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein

So the above pictured sandwich of English muffin, 1 egg, 1/2 oz 2% cheddar and ham would have a total of 299 calories, 11 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 25 g protein.
What's your IDEAL breakfast sandwich?