Saturday, November 30, 2013

Goodbye November.

Our left overs are almost gone, as is November.
Day 30: I am thankful that the bad hasn't been that bad, a window always opens, the smiles are real and that I have way more good days than not. Life is good.

That means it is almost time for Christmas! The neighbors are already getting their lights up, and the kids are egging Jason on to get our lights up too...glad I won't be the only one nagging him to do it LOL.

I made way too much of the yummy cranberry apple pear sauce for Thanksgiving. We have been enjoying it with our left overs...but the kids have discovered they love it even more in their oatmeal

I woke up in a baking mood...and so did Haddie. So we made some scrumptious cookies today. Pumpkin spiced oatmeal pecan (and chocolate chip) cookies....Skinny! 2 cookies are 165 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Besides an adorable helper, you need:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (I did a half cup of pecans and a half cup of chocolate chips this would throw off the calories though...I also tossed in some ground flaxseed)


Preheat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. In a large bowl, with a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed.

Add the egg, followed by the pumpkin and vanilla extract.
Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the pecans.
Drop 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges.

Cool on baking sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 32 cookies, 1 tbsp each.

Silly Hayden...Peace and cookies LOL.
They were so easy to make...and so good!

More gifts for the kiddos are rolling in. Jason and I talked about getting the kids an iPad mini this year. We really want them to be able to do learning apps and games so they can be nice and ready for Kindy next year. Then we figured sharing would be easier with 2 to go around...and we can get 2 Kindle Fire HD's for less than 1 iPad. We got the first one today for an amazing price. I am hoping to score the second on Cyber Monday. We just got the regular 7" 16GB one...but I'm sure it will do just fine. Xander is going to have a cow...I can't wait! Even though the little turd is on my list a little today. Earlier he comes up to me and says "I think you have more babies in your tummy."
Hmpf...and I thought the 20 pounds I just dropped was enough, guess not LOL.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Crazy shopping, paint and left overs.

Day 29: I am thankful I am not, have never been and never will be a Black Friday (or Thursday) shopper. Nutty Nutterson's abound. I will cyber Monday I do get it. But to be such a slave to the stores for "things" is not for me. I mean people were leaving their family Thanksgivings to go shopping at crazy hours in crazy lines... = nutty LOL. I do hope I can find some decent deals on Monday though...does that make me a hypocrite? Hahaha. I am so glad we just chilled at home today, warm and comfy...eating left over Thanksgiving goodness, nothing better than that.

The girls Christmas gift is coming along. The rooms all have two coats now, and I got the first coat of white on all the trim today.
It is looking pretty good!
Jason scored some laminate flooring for $4. I was not kidding when I said I would never do carpet again, that goes for dollhouses too Hehehe.

Gave the outside its first coat of paint too.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

So much to be Thankful for!

Day 28: I am thankful for family, friends, parties and dessert :) Good times!

Happy Thanksgiving guys, hope you all had a wonderful Holiday too.

My girls wanted pictures with Momma...OK maybe I asked them to take pictures with me, and even allowed the girls to take the photos in order to get them to agree LOL.
Hayden and Lily are so beautiful, and funny, kind, helpful, smart...and so much more. I can't wait to see who they grow to be, I know they will be amazing, because they already are.
Like my new dark for Fall/Winter do?
Jericho joined us for a couple moments...just enough time to be silly. Xan couldn't be bothered.

Such a ham!

The kiddos were so happy to see Uncle Scott, Auntie Amber and Hailee. The girls love hanging out :)

We managed to keep the big kids busy in the craft room. Jericho kept busy eating should have seen the size of his belly, BEFORE dinner LOL.

Great Grandpa Frank and Betty made it out.
Gangster was the guest of honor LOL. Actually this was his first Thanksgiving not shut into another room with Sakari. He did so great...have I mentioned how much I love this one dog thing?

Haddie put this crown on his head...he looks thrilled huh? LOL.
Buds :)
I know his nails need to be cut. I'm scared to do it and Jason has been too busy...he'll get to it soon.
So cute :)
Am I done yet??

The house filled up quick, our next house really needs to be much bigger. We had 15 the 6 of us. Cozy, but nice.
Gangster loved all the attention.
The trio had so much fun with Great Aunt Julie...they love when she comes to visit.

All of our "skinny" dishes went over great. My mother in law made this one for me, it was awesome...and sure disappeared :) "Skinny" Hot spinach and artichoke dip.

You need:
13.75 oz artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
4 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
salt and fresh pepper to taste
olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small food processor, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with the garlic and shallots. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. 1/4 cup 73 calories and 4 1/2 grams of fat.

I..yup, me, check me out...made the "skinny" Crock pot turkey breast with gravy. Jason made the "Skinny" Buttermilk mashed potatoes with chives.

For the turkey you need:
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh sage
2 bay leaves
4-5 lb whole bone-in turkey breast, skin on, trimmed of fat
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in the slow cooker, cover and cook 5 to 7 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with with foil and let it rest 20 minutes. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon. Strain braising liquid into saucepan, discard celery, bay leaves and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Discard the skin and carve the turkey and serve with gravy. Makes 2 1/2 cups of gravy.
4 oz of turkey and 1/4 cup of gravy is 167 calories and 4 grams of fat.

The potatoes...
you need:
  • 2 lbs (6-7 medium) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp low fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • kosher salt to taste
  • dash of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives


Put potatoes and in a large pot with salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return potatoes to the pot.
Add buttermilk, light butter and remaining ingredients. Mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. We put it in a crock pot on keep warm. 3/4 cup is 150 calories and 2 grams of fat.

The "Skinny" Chicken sausage and herb stuffing and the Cranberry apple pear sauce turned out can find those recipe's here.

Jason also made some "Skinny" Rosemary garlic parmesan biscuits.

For those you need:
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 3 oz shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk


Preheat oven to 400°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a small pan, add oil and half the garlic; sauté on low heat about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add chopped rosemary.
In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix, parmesan cheese, and remaining garlic. Stir in milk and mix (do not over mix). Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls (about 1.5 oz each) onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Brush or drizzle biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.
Makes 14...1 biscuit is 114 calories and 5 1/2 grams of fat. 

My was almost too much. This plate set me back 629 calories and 17 grams of fat...not too shabby for a big filling Thanksgiving dinner. AND it was all yummy!

That turkey started kicking in quick LOL.

Then it was dessert time!
Grandma made a real deal, full of yummy calorie overload, Apple pie. Jason and I made a couple "Skinny" options. The Pumpkin spice no bake cheesecake, recipe here, and a Cinnamon apple crisp.

I only tried a little of the two "skinny" desserts, they were excellent.

For the crisp you need...

For the Filling:
5 medium apples, peeled and diced
1.5 oz raisins (small box...we left these out, I hate raisins LOL)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup agave honey
* We put all this stuff in a gallon zip lock bag, mixed it all real well and then left in the fridge for about 18 hours. You don't have to "marinate" it though if you don't have time...but it did good things for the apples.

For the Topping:
1 cup Quaker quick rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine apples, raisins, cinnamon, agave nectar and lemon juice in large bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss until fruit is coated. Place fruit in an ungreased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender. 1/8th of crisp is 242 calories and 7 grams of fat.

After dessert Xan and Tyler had fun playing games on Tyler's phone. We didn't see or hear from Xander for at least an hour LOL. I really hope we are able to swing a Kindle Fire or iPad mini for the kids this Christmas.
Jericho was kept busy impressing Uncle Rick with his throwing arm. They played "throw the snowball...AKA balled up paper bag" for a good 20 minutes LOL. The kid has a little arm on him, and pretty great aim for a not quite 3 year old!

Then of course my little wild man got too wound up and couldn't calm down. They can't all be as calm, quiet and cooperative as my girls, now can they?
We had a great day...we are so fortunate that we have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another late prep night.

Last night before bed the girls came out of their room and asked us to take some pictures of them snuggling with their dolls before bed. This is a first, and Haddie started to cry when I tried to decline with an offer to take pictures of them today instead. Strange...but they were cute, and satisfied with a couple quick snaps.

We got a jump start on our cooking for tomorrow. We are doing almost all "skinny" meals...I wonder if anyone will notice?
Up first...

Chicken sausage and herb stuffing.
You need:
14 oz French bread, crusts removed (weight after crust is removed)
2 tbsp light butter (Land O Lakes)
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
1 3/4 cups (about 4 stalks) diced celery
13.2 oz fresh Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3 1/4 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
cooking spray

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and let it dry overnight - OR - place the baking sheet in a 350°F oven and bake about 20 minutes, or until the bread is dried out. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

In the same pan over medium heat, cook the sausage, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the onion/celery mixture.

Spray an oven proof baking dish with cooking spray (I use my misto)

Add the bread, sage and thyme to the bowl with the sausage/onion mixture and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and stir to evenly coat the bread. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir to mix well.
Transfer to the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir. Continue baking until golden, about 35 minutes more. Serve immediately. 3/4 cup 136 calories and 6 1/2 grams of fat. Last years stuffing was amazing, not "skinny" but amazing. I hope this one can come close.

Cranberry pear sauce.

You need:
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
2 ripe pears, peeled and cored, cubed small
1 apple peeled, cored and cubed
1/2 cup honey
1 cup water

Bring all the ingredients to a boil on high heat in a medium saucepan. When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool before refrigerating. Serve chilled or room temperature. 1/4 cup 62 calories, 0 fat.

Pumpkin spice no-bake cheesecake. 

You need:
7 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
8 oz Cool Whip Free, thawed
9 inch reduced fat Graham Cracker Crust

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours, or over night, until firm.
1/8th is 200 calories and 9 gams of fat.

I can't wait for tomorrow, I have a feeling I am going over on my limits just a bit :)

Got this from Sakari, and Pat, today. They are camping at Mt. Shasta. She is a very lucky dog.
Day 27: I am thankful for happy endings.