Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Photo an Hour

7 AM

 8 AM

9 AM

10 AM

11 AM

12 PM

1 PM

2 PM

3 PM

4 PM

5 PM

6 PM

7 PM

8 PM

9 PM

10 PM

*Note: Yesterday was the first day in a very long time that I really didn't have to run around on my day off, so I finally enjoyed some "me" time with a few books whenever I had the chance; plus I had Book Club last night! And of course I had to celebrate the First Day of Summer with ice cream (peanut butter and pistachio gelato, in case you're wondering). Also, the photo of Mr. B: we've decided to get rid of cable and he's testing our new antenna.... Oh, and the travel items are for my upcoming conference trip to Chicago next week.

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dessert of the Month

This may come as a huge shock, it was to me anyway, but I have not made a dessert in quite awhile. A few weeks ago I attempted a couple of batches of homemade ice cream, only to fail because my ice cream mixer bowl wasn't as chilled as it should have been (read: Mr. B keeps turning the freezer down to "save" on electricity). However, I was able to salvage the icy, clumpy mixtures by turning them into milkshakes. Waste not, want not. YUM.

This past weekend was Father's Day, and my hubby and I were treating my daddy to the best and biggest steak in his life. We were taking him to Henry Waghner's, a small German-American Pub located near my college Alma mater. And these steaks are ridiculous. I could.not.wait. Yet, I knew I couldn't have Daddy up without treating him to one of my homemade desserts. There's only two rules I must follow when making my father a dessert: 1) chocolate must be involved, and 2) the sweeter the better. (Daddy has a very strong sweet tooth.)

But I wanted to make something new, because y'all know that's how I roll. I love trying new recipes. So I skimmed through my cookbooks, realizing I wanted something simple, cold, and with peanut butter. (Because peanut butter and chocolate is a must.) I remembered one of my favorite bloggers, Katie at Dashing Dish, often features frozen pies and her recipes are on the healthier side. Once there I immediately knew which pie I was making: the Frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Pie. Absolutely. Annnnd I had all of the ingredients except for the mini Reese Cups. An easy fix.

However, I can't help it. I like putting my own twists on recipes, making them my own, using what I have on hand. It's one of the reasons I love being in the kitchen. Glancing at the recipe, I instantly knew my alterations. She has a love of baking with Stevia, a no calorie sugar replacement. I do, too, yet I can't stand the odd aftertaste Stevia often gives to desserts. I've made many desserts with Stevia and I'm just not fond of its taste. I have baking Stevia on hand and I still find ways to use it...just not so much at one time. are my adjustments:
  • 8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese (1/3 less fat than regular)
  • creamy peanut butter (of course)
  • for the 1/2 c Stevia called for, I used a scant 1/4 c of Stevia + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • I used a plain graham cracker crust instead of Oreo (because I want a stronger peanut butter flavor than chocolate)
  • for 1/4 c skim milk, I used 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • for the 3 Tbsp of chocolate syrup, I used 2 Tbsp hot fudge (mixed in the batter)
  • and crushed mini Reese Cups only for the topping (when sliced, I then decorated each piece with a drizzle of melted fudge and peanut butter to make it pretty)
Blend until smooth, scoop mixture into crust, top, and chill for at least 6 hours, and TA DA!!!!! A beautiful, decadent, and healthier dessert! And Daddy never even noticed the missing sugar. I like to think it was the focus on the peanut butter flavor, the secret serving of vanilla extract, and the creaminess from the Cool Whip. I actually preferred to serve this straight from the freezer instead of letting it sit for 15 minutes. Straight out of the freezer it's more like ice cream. Delicioso.

Nutritional Information (my version): 243 calories, 11 fat, 11 sugar, 7 protein, 2 fiber
(My version is 28 calories more, but my calculation includes the crumbled Reese Cups on top...not sure if Katie's does...just in case you wanted to know specifics!)

Welp, Daddy went home (and since he has a two-hour drive and it was quite humid out) and couldn't take the leftovers, which meant I was stuck in a house with half a pie that I knew Mr. B wouldn't touch. What's a girl to do? All that peanut butter. All that cold creaminess. PLUS, I still have an almost full bag of mini Reese Cups in the fridge! It was calling my name every time I walked into the kitchen, "Brindi, there's peanut butter goodness in here!" Yes, I'm here! Ummm, yeah, thankfully my mother-in-law was stopping by and I gave the rest of the pie to her to give to my step father-in-law so he could share in this Father's Day dessert (his sweet tooth almost rivals Daddy's, but not quite).

At 8:30 last night I get a phone call from him telling me it was the best pie he's had in his life.

Like I say, it's the little things that make my blessed life so sweet.

*Stop by Dashing Dish for the original recipe!

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Takin' It To Work


I'm embarking on a new challenge, and this one's a little longer than my previous weekly challenges. I'm committing myself to 58 days of "Brown Bag Lunches." Which means...I'm packing my lunch for 58 work days straight. (Why 58? Why not? I like 8s.) --->However, this excludes the days I'll be in Chicago, in which the challenge will be halted and promptly resumed upon my return :)

I am a huge advocate of bringing my own lunch, but I haven't been doing a very stellar job as of late. My problem: my produce is going bad faster than I can eat it. So, by the time mid-week rolls around, what I planned on making is no longer edible. Easy solve: buy produce again in the middle of the week. Ummm...."ain't nobody got time for that."

(My OCD grammar side had a very hard time allowing me to type that previous statement. I think I owe Mama a quarter.*)

Another possible solution: stop being lazy and prepare my lunches on Sunday, freezing fruits and veggies if needed. Plus, I have soooooo many easy portable lunch pins (uh, I may have a problem) I'm dying to try and this challenge will help me hop to it!

Lately, my lunches have consisted of a wrap, like this one, or a turkey sandwich (either from Subway or Panera, at least I'm still choosing healthy-ish dining out choices...or a salad from Chipotle). And this is usually a result of my poor lunch planning in the first place. When I look at a wrap I forgot half the ingredients to, the bowl of wilted lettuce, or the even smaller bowl of watermelon, my mind starts to crave a tasty sandwich.

Alas, Day #1 of challenge is no different. This was supposed to be a delicious lunch using leftovers from last night's tacos, but I forgot half the ingredients....tomato, avocado, and plain Greek Yogurt. Having only corn, black beans, and a mixture of brown rice and quinoa made for one dry meal. But very filling with quite the dose of protein.

So, here's to tastier and healthier lunches, more money in my pocket, and discovering some new favorites!

(*When I was little I used to say "I got that" instead of "I have that." Mama decided for every "got" she heard I owed the Grammar Jar a quarter. Thankfully, I'm a fast learner and that was one looong summer. But still to this day, I cringe when I hear someone say "got" and am automatically digging for change.)

With Love and God Bless,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Inspirational Friday


Here's my latest musical inspiration to carry you into whatever great weekend is ahead!

You know my every longing.
You've heard my every prayer.
You've held me in my weakness
'Cause you are always there.
So I'll stand in full surrender, it's your way and not my own.

"We Won't Be Shaken" by Building 429

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. --Ephesians 6:10

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fruit and Nut Butter Breakfast Wrap

It's National Fresh Fruit Month!! YUM-O!

I wouldn't say I dislike change, but I tend to be a fan of the familiar. For example, I had my previous phone for three years and a month ago decided I'd join the rest of the smart phone world. I will only purchase dress pants from Banana Republic (which, sadly, I haven't been in awhile, but that also explains the quality of their clothes). I always sleep with my back to the bedroom door. There are only two drinks I constantly order at Starbucks. I could eat my Strawberry Oatmeal every morning. For.ever.

Or until the humidity creeps in and the temperature jumps to the 80s by 7:00 a.m. and the thought of turning on the stove already has me sweatin'. Ha, yeah I'll pass.

That's when I bring out my trusty blender and make a delicious protein shake, like my current obsession. But sometimes I crave a little more substance, especially when I plan to workout in the mornings, and this breakfast wrap is perfect before or after my early session.

Fruit and Nut Butter Breakfast Wrap

Serves 1

1 whole wheat tortilla wrap (I personally like the Low Carb, High fiber ones)
1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
3 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 heaping Tbsp granola (I like Bear Naked's Peak Protein)

Smear the nut butter on the tortilla, but not all the way to the edges. Layer on the berries and granola. Roll up like a burrito and slice in half. Enjoy!

*Note: I usually add in banana slices as well, but the bananas in the stores lately have absolutely no green on them. Waaayyyy too ripe for me. (Any fruit will work...peaches, blueberries, apples...) And sometimes I add in plain Greek yogurt.

Nutritional Information
Per wrap (original above recipe): Calories 234, Fat 10, Protein 10, Fiber 13, Sugar 4

With Love and God Bless,