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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

COOKIE BUTTER MILK SHAKE


Recently a friend of mine treated me to lunch at Steak 'n Shake. After deciding what we would order for lunch, we started to look at all the milk shake flavors they had to offer. 

Sooooo many flavors and then....I couldn't believe my eyes---cookie butter!  Cookie butter was a milk shake flavor!  It was new! I was skeptical at first.  I thought what if they ruin it?? What if it has an artificial taste??  

Instead, I was going to order a tried and true flavor like mint chip or Oreo cookie. At the last minute I told myself to just try it and so I did!!  I can't even begin to explain what was happening in my mouth. It was definitely the best thing that has ever happened to it!  

Once I got home I told my whole family about it.  I was going to take them there to try it and I knew it would be the best thing that has ever happened to them!  It didn't occur to me to try and make it at home...at first.   

Then I had a light bulb moment----I had vanilla frozen yogurt, cookie butter, cookies that make cookie butter and of course ice and milk...oh and I added vanilla extract to bump up the flavor.  I wasn't sure exactly what Steak 'n Shake did, but I was going to try and replicate it. 
I even told my husband it probably won't be as good, but it can't be bad.  IT WAS AMAZING!  LIKE PERFECT!  





COOKIE BUTTER MILK SHAKE

ingredients:
  • 2 cups of milk (you can substitute with almond milk)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen vanilla yogurt (you can use ice cream, I happen to have frozen yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter*
  • 8 cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend for approximately 30 seconds.  
It's that easy! 
Serve in a glass and enjoy! 

*I use to only buy Trader Joes brand cookie butter and for the first time I tried the original brand Lotus.  It is very yummy!  It even comes in crunchy!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Chicken Broccoli Casserole


IT'S ALMOST FALL!  
I can't help but to start thinking about all the things 
I LOVE about fall!!   The food, the smells, the food, the beautiful landscape that peers out my windows, THE FOOD!  
Wonderful comfort foods...
This yummy casserole is pure comfort food that is perfect for a weeknight meal. It's super easy to make and there's no better 
way to end the day (after a long day of doing school, errands, 
taking care of the house and chauffeuring the kids around 
town all day!) than with a tasty, comforting meal.
   This can be put together in the morning and placed in the fridge until dinner time or it's quick enough to start in the evening.  Either way your family will have a healthy, yummy meal on the table.
*see below about freezing this casserole
  

CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
Ingredients
  • butter, for the baking dish
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (you can use brown rice, if you prefer)
  • One 10-ounce can/box condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream (you can use light sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (you can use light mayo or vegenaise)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated 
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with butter.
  • Place the chicken in a large pot with water to cover. Add some salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the chicken until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the chicken, cover, and refrigerate until cool.  Shred.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil 5 minutes.
  • Spread the rice in an even layer in the baking dish. Make a second layer with the broccoli. (Make rice using chicken broth for even more flavor!)
  • In a large bowl, mix the chicken soup, the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, shredded chicken, half the Cheddar and some salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the broccoli and top with the remaining Cheddar. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes; let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


This recipe feeds a small army!  
Serve with warm bread and butter or garlic bread and a green salad!  YUM!!   



 SHRED OR CUT UP CHICKEN.


CUT UP FLORETS INTO BITE SIZE PIECES.


MIX INGREDIENTS TOGETHER.


START LAYERING RICE.


THEN BROCCOLI.


THEN CHICKEN MIXTURE.


BAKE

___________________________________________________________________

This is a great freezer meal!
Put in freezer at this point!
Make 2...one for now and one for later!
If you plan to make this and freeze it, you will need a couple things to help you out---
Sharpie to label container (you will forget what it is!)
Aluminum container with lid.
*If baking straight from the freezer, extend cooking time an extra 20-30 mins.  Ovens will vary.



Making casseroles healthy is simple to do---
A few simple swaps like using fresh whole foods
and brown rice can boost the nutritional value.  
Here's a little tip: If you don't want to use a low fat cheese, use sharp cheddar.  Because it is stronger in flavor, you use less!  It's a great way to get that cheesy flavor without using a whole lot of cheese.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sweet Leaf Organic:Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins

"SweetLeaf is the award-winning, best-tasting zero-calorie, zero-carb, non-glycemic response, natural sweetener available in the U.S. market today. Its uses are endless. Add a delicious sweetness to all of your favorite foods and beverages with SweetLeaf packets."



Just the facts~ 
•SweetLeaf Organic Stevia® Sweetener is a Certified Organic, zero-calorie sweetener made from high-quality stevia leaves.
 •With a delicious taste that is sweeter than sugar, SweetLeaf  Organic Stevia Sweetener is perfect for sweetening hot or cold beverages, cereals, baked goods, desserts, fresh fruit, yogurt,  and more.
 •SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is gluten free, and contains no artificial ingredients, calories, carbohydrates, or glycemic response, making it ideal for people managing their blood sugar or calorie intake.
 •One packet of SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is as sweet as two teaspoons of sugar. 





*I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.



Adding Sweetleaf Liquid Sweet Drops to sparkling or still water will entice you to drink more water and keep you deliciously hydrated! 


Who can't resist freshly baked muffins? You can enjoy these 
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins without any of the guilt.  
Using Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia Sweetener adds the sweetness you like without any chemicals. Since I'm always looking for 
healthier ways to bake for my family, this product was 
just the thing I was looking for. It has the taste and texture of sugar making it perfect to bake with.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup (24 packets) Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia Sweetener
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips 
PREHEAT oven to 350ยบ F. Paper-line or grease 18, 2 1/2 –inch muffin cups.

COMBINE  flours, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter and Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia Sweetener in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs and milk; beat until smooth. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture; beat until just blended. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Using ice cream scoop, pour batter into prepared cups, filling 3/4 full.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Enjoy these healthy muffins!

Here is a helpful chart to use when baking or cooking.

Stevia Conversion Chart

"SweetLeaf® is safe for cooking and baking, and is heat and freezer stable. Please refer to the conversion chart below when substituting SweetLeaf Stevia® for sugar."

Stevia Conversion Chart | SweetLeaf®

From the SweetLeaf Organics website.

Friday, February 6, 2015

For Your Health: Make Your Own Chia Seed Juice



I went to the doctor last September and my blood pressure was high.  I never had high blood pressure before, not even when I was pregnant.  I was so shocked!  I had blood test done and after being asked a bunch of questions, he said "Well, you are not over weight and BMI is in normal range, you're active, blood test came back normal, you already don't smoke or drink, so I can't tell you to stop. Heredity could be the reason?" 

He begins to suggest taking a pill, at this dosage or that dosage and for me to take it once a day... forever.  Just like that, I was doomed to taking a pill once a day forever without any understanding as to why my BP was high.  I told him to give me a few months to educate myself on this and to see what I could. 

I remember my grandmother talking about her high blood pressure and her needing to take a pill every day for the rest of her life.  She was also a chain smoker and a light drinker and over weight. So, I wonder is that hereditary?  Can I inherit my grandmother's chain smoking, drinking, over weight blood pressure disease?  Would she have had high BP if she did not do those things?  We'll never know?

I could always exercise more and eat healthier.  Those were my main tools right there.  I read about what foods help lower BP and planned a menu around those foods.  For the first time ever, I logged what I ate.  I thought I would never do that.  It seemed senseless to me, but it actually helps.  Who knew that the experts knew what they were saying when they suggest to log what you eat. I did that for 2 weeks and then 2 months later, I did it for 1 week.  I think I will do that periodically to keep myself aware.

This is something I made to write down what I ate throughout my day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Food Journal


MONDAY_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

TUESDAY____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WEDNESDAY_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THURSDAY___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FRIDAY______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SUNDAY Take a break and plan for the next week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I really wanted to eat foods that were heart healthy and not feel deprived.  If I don't LOVE what I am eating, I WON'T eat it!  Chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3's and potassium and I needed to eat more of both.   
Here's a great fact: Chia seeds ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health.

I always wanted to try chia drinks but they are so expensive.  I finally treated myself and surprisingly, I liked it.  It is very different than what I am used to.  I mean I usually don't chew my drinks. You're not exactly chewing it but sorta.  I thought... I will make my own at a fraction of the cost.  Another surprise was how easy it is. I thought it would be some complicated process, but it is not.  If you can pour water, you can make this drink.

Oh and my BP...low again.  I guess I won't really know what caused it but for me making these simple changes helped. However, I am not suggesting for you to not follow your doctor's orders.  I am just sharing how it all went down with me!





To make chia juice~

1 cup of  juice of your choice~ I used 100% grape juice
1 cup water
3 TB chia seeds

How to make your own chia juice~

Warm your water and add your 3 TB of chia seeds. 
Stir well
Put lid on jar and refrigerator. 
Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove jar from fridge (water will be a thick gel) and add 1 cup of  juice of your choice and mix well.

This makes 2 servings.
You can double or triple this recipe as needed.