Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crustless Pumpkin Pie Recipe and Thanksgiving

15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
12 ounce skim milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup of Splenda
1 Tablespoon of butter, melted
1/2 cup of dried oats
2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl mix together the milk, eggs, butter and Splenda until well incorporated.
Add the pumpkin, spices and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.
Lastly add in oats and incorporate well.
Spray crock pot with Pam.
Pour the mixture into the crockery and cover with lid.
Cook on low for 5 - 6 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. You're looking for the edges to brown and the top will start to crack.

Thanksgiving was a long 4-day weekend celebration of life, happiness, and thankful to God for this amazing life. Lots of family, friends, fun, and food. I can honestly say that God is the reason for my being and I know my family feels the same way. All we have is His and we are beyond blessed!

I have come to the conclusion that I may be one of FEW who actually lost weight over Thanksgiving weekend. Ha! I thoroughly enjoyed my share of sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and some desserts I made. Life is not about deprivation, but enjoyment. Life can be enjoyed without an over consumption of food. It was a challenge to opt for different versions, or should I say REMAKES, of the menu at various places, but was well worth it! I was not planning on losing anymore weight, but being DOWN rather than UP is a good thing in my book!
I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and time with family and friends. This is REALLY what life is about. God has blessed us with a beautiful life – take advantage of it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spaghetti Squash, Carmel Pumpkin Muffins, and a healthier remake of Pumpkin Pie

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Rosemary Sauce

1 spaghetti squash
Large pan

Instructions to cook the squash:
To soften squash, place in microwave for 1 minute. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp. Place rind up in about an inch of water. Boil for 20 minutes on a low boil. Flip and scrape out squash. This part should be easy. If it feels like you are pulling the squash apart, cook longer.

Tomato Rosemary Sauce

1 large tomato
10-12 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
½ Tablespoon of garlic paste
Finely chopped rosemary
Optional: cheese

Instructions to make sauce:
Dice large tomato then add in cherry tomatoes, desired amount of olive oil and vinegar, add garlic paste, pepper and rosemary. Mix and pour on top of squash.

Optional: Put shredded cheese on top of squash, then add sauce.


Carmel Pumpkin Muffins
1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree)
1 ½ cups of Splenda
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup of fat free vanilla yogurt
3 eggs
¾ cup of shaved almonds
Variable amounts of carmel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with Pam or line with paper muffin liners.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, Splenda, and brown sugar. Set aside. In small bowl, mix eggs, canned pumpkin, and yogurt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Add shaved almonds.

Fill each muffin tin half way with batter, place small amount of carmel in the center, then cover with another small amount of batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool and remove from tin.
HealthIER Pumpkin Pie

For the Pumpkin Pie, I used the recipe on the can of Libby’s Famous [canned] Pumpkin. I replaced the sugar with Splenda and used skim milk instead of evaporated milk.



Monday, November 21, 2011

Pajamas, Pumpkin Orange Muffins, and Guacamole

Could this weekend have been anymore AWESOME? There is nothing like showering and changing from one pair of pajamas to another. My body LOVES these recovery days, as I get one per week. However, recovery starts at 9:30am on Saturdays post-Spin through Sunday evening.  So, the picture above happened often this weekend, just keep changing out the flannel pajama bottoms.
Pumpkin Orange Muffins

3 cups Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
2 eggs
1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spray muffin tin with Pam and fill with batter ¾ to the rim for each muffin. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool and remove from tin. Voila!

Homemade Guacamole
Home grown avocados and lemons + pepper, Rooster sauce, and some salsa = Guacamole. Again, another perk of living in San Diego – home grown produce!
Even though we pay extra attention to giving thanks this week, try to remember that every day is an opportunity to be thankful. Life is SO precious and expressing gratitude should be a daily gesture. On that note, Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OB Farmer's Market, Thai Mexican Pasta, 44 days and counting...

Happy Thursday Friends and Family!
Today marks one week until Thanksgiving and 44 days until 2012! Can you believe it?! One year ago, we were gearing up for our move to San Diego. Dreams continue to come true every day, just depends on how bad you want them. There really is NO reason anyone should complain about their life. This world is endless of possibilities! Just set your mind right and get after it.
Mama C and I (and a llama) went to the Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market yesterday – literally 60 seconds from our home. Just ANOTHER perk of moving to San Diego! Ocean Beach is such a melting pot of individuals, then throw a farmer's market in there, and well, it's just an EVENT. So much fun!

I took a recipe, changed a few things, and renamed it. Voila! Thai Mexican Pasta.
Serves 4 (or 1 Hawaiian and a Superstar Mama)
3 TBSP olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
¾ cup black beans (rinsed)
3 TBSP salsa
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 packet of Sazon Goya seasoning
1 diced avocado
1 package rice noodles

Heat olive oil in pan. Once hot, place onions in pan and simmer until tender and golden brown. Add black beans and salsa. Combine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and Sazon seasoning. Combine and cook 2-3 minutes.

While mixture is cooking, bring water to boil. Place noodles in boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes. Strain and add a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Combine noodles and sauce on ready to serve dishes. Top with diced avocado. Serve.

Feel free to share! Enjoy...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake and Egg-less Cookie Dough Balls

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
¾ cup of sugar
8 oz. canned pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
One frozen pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Mix. Add to pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes. Pie will rise while cooking then set when cooling. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Egg-less Cookie Dough Balls
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
12 ounces miniature chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well – use your hands to gather the dough. Roll into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze.

Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate or eat as is. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy! Please feel free to share. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge/Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins + the Weekend

Happy Monday! What a fabulous weekend spent in flannel pjs, baking, and relaxing. Enjoy these recipes. I am preparing for Thanksgiving as all these goodies are in the freezer!

Pumpkin Puree
This was the first time I made pumpkin puree. I was very pleased with the outcome. The Magic Bullet (or generic version) works just as well as a food processor, so that is what I used to puree the pumpkin.
1 4-lb. pumpkin (sugar pie pumpkin)
1 cup of water
Large Knife
Food Processor (Magic Bullet)
Roasting Pan

·         Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
·         Split the pumpkin in half and seed it.
·         Remove the stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon.
·         Place the two halves cut side down in a roasting pan along with 1 c. water.
·         Bake the pumpkin until tender, about 90 minutes.
·         Scoop the flesh out of each pumpkin half.
·         Puree in a food processor/Magic Bullet fitted with a metal chopping blade.
Pumpkin Fudge


¾  cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
½  cup canned pumpkin (Or pumpkin puree, see recipe above)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans/walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly for about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour on to cookie sheet and spread for desirable thickness. This process needs to be quick, as the fudge sets rapidly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares.


Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins
Servings:  Varies
Preparation Time:  10 min
Cooking Time:  10-12 minutes per pan
Level of Difficulty:  Easy
1 ¼  cup(s) all-purpose flour   
½  cup(s) unpacked brown sugar   
½  tsp table salt   
½  tsp baking soda   
¼  tsp baking powder   
3 tsp canola oil   
1 large egg(s), beaten   
2 large egg white(s), beaten   
2 small banana(s), ripe
½ cup Pumpkin Puree (I made mine from a sugar pumpkin, see recipe above)
1 cup(s) uncooked old fashioned oats   

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add oil and eggs; mix thoroughly.
  • In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with pumpkin puree. Add bananas, pumpkin puree, and oatmeal to batter.
  • Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Pour batter into muffin tin and bake until muffins is firm to touch and edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.
A picture to exemplify our weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tomorrow. 50 Days and counting. Random Recipe.

Tomorrow marks the half way point of the 100-Day Challenge. 50 days, my friends! Let me remind you that this is NOT about speeding up the process and sprinting through life to get to the New Year. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The purpose is to live each day to its fullest and take steps every single day to inch closer to accomplishing your goals. If you have fallen off the challenge, get back on. If you are plugging away, keep plugging. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy every minute. It is in this journey that we learn about ourselves and just how strong we really are.  

Jack Canfield, a motivational speaker, has 7 tips for success that are parallel to the 100-Day Challenge. They are:
1)    Take 100% responsibility of your life.
2)    Be clear why you are here. (Know your purpose!)
3)    Decide what you want.
4)    Believe it’s possible.
5)    Believe in yourself.
6)    Be an inverse paranoid. (Expect success!)
7)    Unleash the power of goal setting.
Get those goals! You deserve them!
Random Recipe:
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup pecan halves
Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, beat softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift twice.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chopped pecans.
5. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar, mixing well. Add cream, stirring until smooth.
6. Pour brown-sugar mixture into bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange 1 cup pecan halves in brown-sugar mixture. Spoon prepared batter over pecan halves.
7. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake pan to loosen cake edges. Immediately turn cake onto a serving dish. Serve with Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce.

Makes approximately 1 cup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking to combine. Add brandy, whisking to combine. Add cream, whisking until smooth.
2. Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sauce can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
Have a blessed day and get after it! - Carisse