Cafe Mocha Swap

I’m back and out of whatever funk I found myself in the past few months!  I thought I would start off with a quick, easy, and delightfully tasty morning coffee drink.

Did you know if you got a tall (12oz) cafe mocha with 2% milk at Starbucks it would be 290 calories, 13g fat, 34g carbs, and 11g protein.  How about if I told you a simple way to recreate that for 60 calories, 2g fat, 10g carbs, and 2g protein?

Cafe Mocha Swap:

  • 1 cup fresh brewed coffee (I used a breakfast blend k-cup from Costco)
  • 1 packet diet swiss miss hot chocolate mix
  • 1 packet truvia
  • 1 tablespoon coffeemate creamer of your choice (I used Heath flavored)

Mix all the ingredients well and enjoy!  Oh, and you’re welcome for your new favorite breakfast drink :)

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Cheesecake for Chase

Tomorrow is Chase’s birthday (yes, he is younger than me and he never lets me forget it) :) One of his favorite desserts is cheesecake.  I have never made one because I haven’t had a springform pan, but since I got one for Christmas I knew what I would be doing this weekend.

Last week when I was off work I pinned some cheesecake recipes on pinterest and while I was at work Friday I decided to give Chase a couple of choices to choose from: Reese’s peanut butter, chocolate chip, brownie caramel, sugar cookie, or salted caramel.  His reply was “caramel chocolate chip”.  Well, that wasn’t an option, but I thought I might could make it work.

I first looked at the brownie caramel cheesecake recipe to figure out what the caramel was all about.  I also looked at the chocolate chip cheesecake recipe to see how the actual cheesecake was made.  After looking at both of them I decided I would make a hybrid of both for Chase.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Caramel:

1 package graham crackers

6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

4 packages cream cheese, room temperature

1&1/2 c. sugar

4 extra large eggs

1/4 c. sour cream

1&1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c. mini chocolate chips

**I cheated and used a jar of caramel topping

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In food processor pulse graham crackers until crushed.  Add in the melted butter and mix until combined.  Press this graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes.  Let cool completely
  • Raise oven temperature to 450
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix cream cheese and sugar together until nice and fluffy.  Add in eggs 1 at a time until well combined (I always crack each egg into a separate dish first in case something goes wrong).  Lower speed to low and add in the sour cream and vanilla.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Before adding the cheesecake mixture to the springform pan I poured a layer of caramel over the graham cracker crust.  Top the caramel with the cheesecake mixture.
  • Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven (in case you have any spills) and add the cheesecake to the top rack.  Bake for 15 minutes then turn town your oven to 225 and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Once time is up turn off oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 45ish minutes then on the counter until completely cooled.  Place in the fridge overnight and then enjoy!
  • I plan on using some additional caramel sauce to drizzle over each slice immediately prior to serving.

Creamy and not too sweet=a perfect cheesecake

Chocolate chip cheesecake

Apple Butter

I seriously eat an apple a day and my brother has been known to make fun of me (more than once) because he claims that eating the same thing every day is boring.  Well, let me tell you, the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” just may be true.  I hardly every get sick and plus apples are delicious!

As delicious as apples are they can also be expensive, so I usually pick up whatever type is on sale that week at the grocery store.  My favorites are Fuji, Gala, and Honeycrisp.  Last week while I was at Harris Teeter I noticed that it would be a better deal to get the 5lb bag of Gala apples rather than buy them individually.  I didn’t realize just how many apples I was getting until I got home and they completely filled up my fruit basket.  After being out of town this weekend I realized Monday that I needed to find a way to use up my remaining apples before they went bad.  I just happened to be browsing on Pinterest when I saw a post for Apple Butter.  Once I read the recipe I knew exactly how I was going to use up my apples!

The original apple butter recipe is from Organize Yourself Skinny and I adapted it based on what I had on hand and my preferences.

Apple Butter

  • 3lbs Gala apples, chopped (with the skin on)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

**you can adjust the spices to your desired taste

  • Place the chopped apples into your crockpot (I used these crock pot liners and clean up was a breeze)
  • Top with brown sugar, water, and spices
  • Cook on high for about 4 hours until apples are soft
  • Remove the apples from the crockpot and place into a mixing bowl (leave all the extra liquid behind in the crockpot)
  • Use an immersion (hand-held) blender to blend all the apples until smooth
  • Place the apple mixture into a saucepan and heat over low heat for 30 minutes-1 hour until desired consistency is reached.

I froze some of the apple butter I made and I cannot wait to eat the rest!  I bet it will be delicious on the new Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread I just got from Target :)

Quick Fruit Salad

Last Thursday while I was shopping in Harris Teeter I saw that they had both blueberries and strawberries on sale.  I love fruit and thought that I could use these plus blackberries to make a quick fruit salad!

 

Quick Fruit Salad:

  • 1 container blueberries
  • 1 container blackberries
  • 1 container strawberries
  • 1 package Jello instant pudding mix, vanilla flavored
  1. Rinse all fruit and quarter the strawberries
  2. Add fruit to a large bowl
  3. Sprinkle the instant pudding mix over the top of the fruit (the plain mix NOT prepared) to lightly cover
  4. Mix well
  5. Cover and refrigerate to allow time for the pudding mix to combine with the fruit juices to create a sweet tasting dressing for the fruit salad

**I think if there had been more fruit juices in my fruit salad it would have worked just a tad bit better, but it was still delicious!

I can’t wait to try this idea with other fruits as well

 

Taco Soup

I am so happy the weather is finally starting to warm up (although today hasn’t been such a good example)!!  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks ago it was cold, rainy, and SNOWING!  I was off Tuesday (2 weeks ago) and I knew that I would want something warm and hearty for dinner to go with the cold, damp day.  Thankfully one of my technicians, Ashley, had just given me a recipe for taco soup and I knew it would be perfect!

 

Taco Soup
1 can corn (don’t drain)
1 can kidney beans (don’t drain)
1 can rotel (I used the hot variety)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced onion

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I simmered mine on the stove stop for a little over an hour and it was delicious!  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips to complete the meal!

I plugged all the ingredients into MyFitnessPal (see a tutorial on how to do this here) and while I think I under estimated the servings at 6 it still came out to be a good calorie bargin at 249 calories/serving.

Working it out

So this past month has been a whirlwind of work, bad weather, and lots of errands and  to-do list activities.  After an incredibly fun weekend celebrating St Patrick’s Day I decided it was time to get back on track.

I went by WalMart yesterday and got the ingredients to make some super simple chicken in the crockpot to take to work this week.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

  • 1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can lower sodium black beans

Place all ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours (or if you wait until the last minute like me cook on high for 4 hours).

I plan on taking a serving to work tonight for dinner and also as one of my meals tomorrow.  It is so good by itself, with brown rice, with tortilla chips, or I have even used it as a filling for enchiladas!  I also love this simple recipe because it freezes well.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon with my FitBit Flex, so I am currently charging it so I can wear it to work this week.  I definitely like seeing how much I am walking and also find that it is a great motivator to get those extra steps in.  I did just hit up the gym in my apartment for a short workout and I know that is something that I definitely need to make time for.  I feel so much better when I am working out and eating better.

I feel the need to get back on my goals and have been thinking about how I will incorporate them this week as I face one of my long weeks at work.

Daily Goals–Starting March 17, 2014:

  • Get in at least 10,000 steps daily using my FitBit Flex (the hardest day for me will be Wednesday because I am off work, so I will definitely focus on this)
  • Track my meals using MyFitnessPal every day
  • Do some meal planning/prep Wednesday to help me stay on track as I work through the weekend
  • Look at my Pinterest and pick some new recipes to try out
  • Think of ways to mix up my snacks/meals so I won’t get burnt out of the same ‘ol same ‘ol :)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

I have an extremely busy week coming up at work and I knew that I needed to take some time yesterday to write out my meal plan and also decide when and what I would need from the grocery store.

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One thing I decided to make this week to take to work was baked pumping chocolate chip oatmeal that I originally found a couple of years ago from Slender Kitchen.  The recipe is for a single serving so I went ahead and tripled the recipe so I would have 3 servings for work.

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (From Slender Kitchen)

  • 1&1/2 c old fashioned oatmeal
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c pure pumpkin (like Libby’s)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and add the ingredients
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool

**store leftovers in the fridge

Using  MyFitnessPal I calculated each serving to have 240 calories