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August 2015

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Make Your Dash Count

I’ve been trying out different protein powders trying to find one that doesn’t make me poop my pants.  Doing this carb cycling it’s nice to have a mini meal that is pretty much grab and go.  Well, we have a winner!

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Even though yesterday was my cheat day, I knew I was going out to dinner last night to celebrate my SIL’s birthday and even though I made pancakes for Hannah and Jacob, I felt like a smoothie.  I added 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk to the blender with a cup of ice cubes and a frozen banana.  I thought it tasted just like a Wendy’s frosty, but Hannah didn’t think so.  All I know was that I loved the flavor, and it kept me full for a long time.

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Have you guys heard of bone broth?  It’s like the next big craze after the Green Monster smoothie.  You cook down beef/pork/chicken bones with onion, carrots, celery, peppercorn and parsley.  There is a place in NYC called Brodo where they have a window where you can order it just like a coffee drink.  I mentioned it in my blog post yesterday (did you guys see I blogged over the weekend?  Saturday was the Cooking Club recap and Sunday was my two scone recipes.)

I had pork bones I bought a while back when they were .99 cents a pound.  Yesterday I bought chicken feet and a beef femur bone.

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Chicken feet look and feel weird.

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It was a good thing Hannah was at work when I did this because pretty sure she would have thrown up.  I sent this picture to my brother and sister and Charlie just answered “Why?” 

Yesterday was Tony’s sister’s birthday so we went out to celebrate with her, her son and grandson.  This was the first birthday that Tony wasn’t at the table cracking jokes.  No one mentioned it, but his presence was definitely missed.  I had an amazing burger, but only could eat half. I think it has to do with my mini meals, I can no longer eat as much at one time – that’s a good thing!

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And then there’s me!  Klassy as ever.

photo bomb

Saturday night I was trying to find a movie to watch.  I remember Tony and I could spend up to an hour watching previews until we found one we both wanted to see.  He always wanted war movies and action packed movies, I always leaned toward romances and quirky films.  So when I got to this movie, Where Hope Grows, I knew Tony was pointing me in the right direction to watch this movie.  He would have hated it, but he would have rented it just for me.  Any time we are at the grocery store and there is a special needs kid packing our groceries I’ll strike up a conversation, tell them what a great job they are doing.  The premise of the movie was that a guy was a washed out athlete, and sees that this boy “Produce” who works in the produce department is always happy and wants to find out how to be happy again.

At the end of the movie, there is a car accident, but you don’t know who dies yet.  The next to last scene of the movie is at a grave sight, and the minister said these words, and it felt as if Tony were speaking them just to me.

You know it’s in moments like these I am reminded of one profound truth. Life is short. And it’s meant to be lived with courage and not laden with fear. And you have to decide are your dreams bigger than your memories or will you stay stuck in the past. Life is meant to be lived. And lived abundantly.

You look around the cemetery and you see there are two dates on every tombstone. Their birthday and their date of death. And every human being is guaranteed those two dates. But that little dash that lies in between those two numbers? That’s what defines our life. So make your dash count! Live – really live.

So that’s going to be my mantra going forward without Tony – making my dash count.  How are you going to make your dash count?

Breakfast

Healthy Scones Two Ways

I remember exactly where I was when I had my first scone.  It was a Starbucks.  In Chicago.  I was picking up coffee for my boss and he asked for a cinnamon chip scone to go with it.  Huh.  This was way before I became a foodie and literally ate the same things over and over.  Hannah was probably about five and I used to brag to everyone that she ate everything I made.  Well what kid doesn’t want to eat pasta, tacos and pizza day after day!  Gah.  So as is customary with any boss I pick up food for, if I fly they buy.  So I asked for two cinnamon chip scones.

I should have known right from the start that this would be love at first bite.  Because when I picked up the scone there were stains of melted butter on the bottom of the bag.  Nice.  The crust had a nice bite to it, the inside was flakey and cinnamony and it had a coarse sugar topping.  One word:  perfection.

It was many years later that I started to get Bizzy in My Kitchen and my first attempt was back in 2009.  I made craisin scones and at the time I thought they were the cats ass.  Let’s just say my baking skillz as well as photography skillz have improved over the years!

craisin scones

Last week it was our named partners birthday and I asked what she wanted me to make for her.  She said “I love everything you make!”  Duh.  Just kidding!  I asked her if she would like blueberry lemon scones and she loved the idea.  I’ve been trying to use less and less butter in scones to still get the flavor of the butter without all the fat.  The blueberry scone recipe was adapted from this recipe.  My adaptions are below to bring the calories down. 

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
Serves 8
Looking for a nice treat for work or a family brunch? This one will have them thinking you stopped by a bakery on the way!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
236 calories
39 g
19 g
8 g
4 g
5 g
110 g
153 g
13 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
110g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236
Calories from Fat 67
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 5g
23%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 19mg
6%
Sodium 153mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 39g
13%
Dietary Fiber 1g
6%
Sugars 13g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
15%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups white flour
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 5 tablespoons frozen butter
  6. 1 cup blueberries
  7. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  8. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  9. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  10. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. In a big bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together and mix well.  I keep sticks of butter in my freezer at all times.  I chopped of 5 tablespoons and grated that with my cheese grater right into the flour mixture and just toss – the pieces of butter are so small you don’t need to touch them – that’s the secret to fluffy scones – not letting the butter get warm.  Toss in the blueberries and shake the bowl so they get coated in the flour mixture.  Toss in the almond milk and mix just until combined – it will be a bit sticky.  Put a bit of flour on your counter.  Run your hands under cold water and shape the dough into a circle about 6-7 inches in diameter and about an inch high.  Wetting your hands helps the dough from sticking to your hands.  Put that circle on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze for 45 minutes.  This will help you get really nice knife cuts on the scones.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned.  In a small mason jar, mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest together.  I only put the glaze on right before eating the scone – otherwise it just absorbs into the scone.  Let the scones cool completely before glazing.
Notes
  1. The one hour total includes the 45 minutes of freezing the dough.
Adapted from Katie's Cucina
beta
calories
236
fat
8g
protein
4g
carbs
39g
more
Adapted from Katie's Cucina
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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If I am not mistaken, I believe all of these were gone by 9:30 in the morning.

So yesterday it was a rainy, gloomy morning.  I had my drywall guy coming at 8:00 a.m. so I was up at 7:30.  He didn’t leave until 1:00 in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time in the kitchen, and I went through a whole bunch of paperwork that had piled up on my desk.  As Hannah, Jacob and I call it, we just #tcb’d it – taking care of business!

I had one lone apple in my fruit bowl and about 1/2 a cup of granola left, so I decided to make apple cinnamon granola scones.  This time I made two smaller circles so I got 16 scones instead of the 8 above.  I also reduced the butter to 4 tablespoons and I actually think I could get away with less next time.  And I reduced the glaze in this recipe too.

Apple Cinnamon Granola Mini Scones
Serves 16
This mini scone is perfect when you just want a hint of something sweet to eat at breakfast.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
130 calories
21 g
8 g
4 g
3 g
2 g
56 g
76 g
5 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
56g
Servings
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 130
Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
10%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 76mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
8%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 tablespoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  6. 1 apple shredded with skin (about 3/4 cup)
  7. 1/2 cup low fat granola (homemade or store bought – Kellogg’s makes a good low fat one)
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  10. 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  11. 1 teaspoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  12. 1 pinch of cinnamon
  13. 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar (just 1/2 teaspoon sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  14. In a big bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sugar together and mix well. I keep sticks of butter in my freezer at all times. I chopped of 4 tablespoons and grated that with my cheese grater right into the flour mixture and just toss – the pieces of butter are so small you don’t need to touch them – that’s the secret to fluffy scones – not letting the butter get warm.   Toss in the shredded apple, and granola and toss until coated with the flour mixture.  Toss in the almond milk and mix just until combined – it will be a bit sticky. Put a bit of flour on your counter. Run your hands under cold water and shape the dough into two circles about 4 inches in diameter and about an inch high. Wetting your hands helps the dough from sticking to your hands. Put those circle on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze for 45 minutes. This will help you get really nice knife cuts on the scones. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of each mini scone and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned. In a small mason jar, mix the powdered sugar, unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon together. I only put the glaze on right before eating the scone – otherwise it just absorbs into the scone. Let the scones cool completely before glazing.
Notes
  1. The one hour total time includes the 45 minutes of freezing the dough.
beta
calories
130
fat
4g
protein
3g
carbs
21g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
IMG_9634

These are both delicious and calorie friendly.   Starbuck’s scones come in at 480 calories, 18 grams of fat and a whopping 70 grams of carbs.  It also has 50% of your saturated fat for the day as well as 34 grams of sugar.  Yikes, no wonder I loved them!

I am actually going to be making bone broth today – ever heard of it?  There is a place in NY where you can walk up to a window of a restaurant and they hand it out like cups of coffee.  Some people are calling it the new age of green monster smoothies.  Curious if any of my New York blog readers have been there.   Here are some of the health benefits – not sure if I believe in them, but the thought of sipping some well seasoned broth on a cool fall day really appeals to me.  I am sure my brother and sister would be all of this.  NOT! 

Today is Tony’s sisters birthday – Happy Birthday Jody!  We are taking her out to dinner tonight at our new favorite local place – Cary Ale House.  And since it’s my cheat day, I will be having one (or two) of their craft beers.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Side Dishes

Cooking Club Recap!

I was so happy when Courtney invited me to her cooking club a while back.   She was just at the tail end of a whole kitchen/family room remodel and I know she had dreams of getting back in her kitchen when she was without one for weeks during construction.

Um, to say the project was a complete success is an understatement!

Kitchen2

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I mean, come on now – look at that stove?!   Right when we walked in she had the table all set.  All together there are 8 of us – one had a last minute conflict (Tina, can’t wait to meet you at the next one – even though I forgot to take a picture of it, your flan was insulin worthy!). 

We obviously all settled into the kitchen and mingled and got to know each other.  Pretty sure everyone else knew each other – even though some of the Mom’s were around my age, they all had smaller children.  I know Lindsay said when I told her I had a 23 year old “you don’t look like you are old enough to have a 23 year old!”  Thanks Lindsay – made my night! Open-mouthed smile

Courtney then spoke a bit about why she formed the Club – because no matter what we all do on a daily basis, no matter the ages of our kids, where we live – the common denominator was that we all love food and cooking in our kitchens.  This is Courtney!

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The kitchen leads right into the great room which is super nice to have that open space next to the kitchen.  That is the only thing I really don’t like about my house is that the living room is in the front of the house and the kitchen was in the back of the house.

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Off of that room and right when you walk in the house to the right, is the formal living room.  I love the clean lines and that it looks comfy!

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Everyone was assigned a dish category.  Catherine showed us how she makes her guacamole.  I knew we would be best buddies because she doesn’t put raw onion or tomatoes in her guacamole, and adds extra cilantro!

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PicMonkey Collage - food

I haven’t had a margarita in ages and it was so good.  In the last three weeks I’ve only had three drinks total, so with that and a glass of wine with dinner, I was a cheap date!  Two women brought stuffed jalapenos – didn’t get a pic of the first one but she had corn in her cheese mixture, and the second one added bacon to hers.  Very spicy and delicious!  The upper right dish was my side dish – I ended up making a Mexican quinoa side salad – I bought tri colored quinoa at Whole Foods and while it looked pretty raw, it got a little muddled looking after it cooked – still tasted good!  Best part is that you can make the quinoa ahead of time (I did mine two days before and stuck it in the fridge) and then this dish comes together in about 5 minutes.

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Serves 8
Super easy cold side dish to go with tacos or enchiladas!
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
310 calories
47 g
10 g
8 g
13 g
2 g
115 g
203 g
2 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
115g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 310
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 10mg
3%
Sodium 203mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 47g
16%
Dietary Fiber 6g
23%
Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
11%
Iron
18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  2. 1 cup fresh corn (about 3-4 ears of corn, corn cut off)
  3. 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  4. 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  5. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 cup salsa verde (I used 1/2 cup of my homemade salsa, but jarred is fine)
  7. 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  8. 1/3 cup pepitas  (pumpkin seeds)
Instructions
  1. Mix the quinoa, corn, black beans, roasted peppers and cilantro together and mix well.  Stir in the salsa, adding more if necessary.  At this point I just put it in my fridge overnight.  I thought if I added the queso fresco and the pepitas too early, the cheese would get mushy and the pumpkins would loose their crunch.  When I poured my salad into my serving dish, that’s when I topped it with the queso fresco and pepita seeds.
beta
calories
310
fat
8g
protein
13g
carbs
47g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
Mary Beth brought what I thought she called chile con carne, but what it ended up being was this amazingly delicious shredded beef.  She’s have Mexican and said that this dish is at EVERY single family event she’s ever been too.  There are many steps to this dish.  First boiling the chuck roast with onions, then letting it stew in the fridge over night – and she did this all while moving this week and ended up having to buy a new stock pot because she couldn’t find hers that was packed up!  OMG, the meat was so tender.  She said in her family they just serve this with a side of flour tortillas and you pick off some tortilla and pinch the meat in the tortilla and eat it that way.  Truth be told, this would be an awesome filling for baked enchiladas.

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Courtney’s Mom made a delicious veggie enchilada dish she got off of Food Network.  I left the recipe at Courtney’s house, but once I have the link to it, I’ll share it.  She said that you pureed fresh corn as part of the sauce.  All I know is that it was cheezy, a bit spicy and pure comfort food.

PicMonkey Collage - donna

My plate below.  I probably could have eaten twice that amount, but it was so good.

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The table was set so nicely!  I am sad I didn’t get any pics of Lindsay or Julie!  Next time for sure 😀

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Each of us had to provide an interesting fact about us, and when we sat down, we didn’t know how’s interesting fact we were going to guess so we had to guess as a table.

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Lindsay next to me had this interest fact – not only did she wear her grandmother’s wedding dress, but her Mom and Aunt were able to wear it as well.  My interesting fact?  That I have an identical twin sister and until we left for separate colleges at 18 years old, we’d only spent 12 hours apart at most our whole lives.

I actually brought a handmade hostess gift to Courtney.  It was actually a Pinterest Win!   Here is where I got the directions from.   While this is really simple, you have to be patient and let each coat of mod podge dry overnight – so while it took about 4 days to make, it was literally about 20 minutes of hands on work.  The tiles I got were from Menard’s – white unglazed quarry tiles – they were .49 cents each.   I ended up taking one of the photos off of Courtney’s blog and then added the Courtney’s Cooking Club on Picmonkey before sending them to Walgreen’s to print out at .8 cents a photo.

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I am actually not that crafty, so I was pretty happy on how these turned out.  We meet again in October and I’ll find out what the theme is for that one.  Looking forward to getting to know everyone a bit better too!

It’s a dreary, rainy Saturday morning and I could not be happier.  We need the rain and it gives me an excuse to spend time in the kitchen because I don’t feel guilty about not being outside when it’s icky out. 

I have no plans this weekend other than to get to the gym, make my bolognese sauce for dinner tonight and hopefully get together with my SIL for her birthday tomorrow night.  Construction is moving along.  I have the drywall taper here right now, and then it’s coordinating with the guy who does the siding sometime next week.  But hopefully by the middle of the week the drywalling will be completed and primed so we can get on to painting the living room and dining room before having the hardwood floors installed.  No project is ever easy, is it?  But I can see it shaping up and I know Tony would be happy with the decisions I’ve made.

I actually am planning another post tomorrow – two scone recipes!  An almond milk blueberry lemon scone that I made for birthday treats earlier this week, and some baby scones I made today – apple cinnamon granola scone that comes in at only 118 calories!

PicMonkey Collage - scones

Enjoy your Saturday!