working towards a better me... 1 pound at a time.

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

go-to recipes

When I ventured out to make all of my christmas presents for '08, I instantly had an idea of compiling a recipe book for my sister-in-law. She always asks what I make since I cook so often, and I wanted to share with her my go-to recipes. I love to cook healthy, but I want to cook things that are so good they 'fool' my boyfriend, you know? So, for my own reference, as well as something I can direct others to, I wanted to compile all the links in one place (for some reason papers don't stay in my recipe file for too long, haha!)

Barbecue Pork-and-Coleslaw Hoagies (8 points each)
The coleslaw used in this recipe is my go-to, even when I'm not making the Hoagies. It's delicious! I use fat free sour cream instead of light.
Chicken Cordon Bleu (7 points each)
I serve this with mashed potatoes (try mixing half potatoes and half steamed califlower - it works well!), and green beans. In the recipe, I use brummel & brown instead of real butter, which I'm sure brings the nutritionals down a bit.
Chicken-fried Steak (7 points each)
I also serve this with mashed potatoes and green beans, and the gravy that goes with it is THE BEST cream gravy ever!!
Cream Gravy (1 point per 1/3 cup)
Soooo delicious, and I use fat free instead of low-fat milk.
Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce (7 points per serving)
I half the pasta and use the same amount of sauce, which alters the nutritionals, but it's worth it!
Herbed Chicken and Dumplings (6 points per 2 cups)
I always double this (the recipe is for 2 servings) because it never lasts long between me and my boyfriend.. it's one of our favorite soups. I also use almond milk* instead of low-fat in the dumplings.
Mini Meat Loaves (6 points per loaf)
The best part - it's pre-portioned so there's no temptation! They cook fast, and are delicious. I don't splurge for the sirloin as called for in the recipe. I just use 90/10 ground beef. Another meat dish that goes great with mashed potatoes and green beans =)

*Almond Milk is incredible. We rarely have milk in our house because this is so much better! I use the Blue Diamond brand, unsweetened vanilla. It's only 40 calories per cup! That's less than half of fat free milk. I use it in cereal and in recipes! Plus it's easy to always have on hand because you can keep it in the cupboard like soy milk until you open it!

As you can see, I make a lot of mashed potatoes. When cooking for 2 people, there's always leftovers. Whenever I have left over mashed potatoes, I always re-create KFC's 'famous chicken bowl' at home. I bake up some frozen breaded chicken tenders (2 for me, 3-4 for my bf), and microwave some frozen kernel corn. I also make up a batch of cream gravy (see link above). In a shallow bowl, layer a spoonful of mashed potatoes, topped with corn, then cooked chicken tenders. Pour a bit of gravy over top and sprinkle with a little reduced-fat shredded cheese. SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! =)

Hope this is helpful!

Monday, January 26, 2009


So, I'm not the greatest cake baker in the world. Cookies I can do, but cakes, not so much. So imagine how ecstatic I was to get The Cupcakes! Book by the 'Cake Mix Doctor' from my aunt for Christmas. It has totally awesome recipes that all start with cake mix. I love cupcakes.. I think they're fun, adorable, and make us all feel like kids again. I've only been able to try a couple of the recipes, but one in particular, the "Cookies and Creme" cupcake, has been a big hit with everyone who has tried it! I've made them 4 separate times now because I keep getting requests!

Of course, when I saw these groundhog cupcakes featured on tipjunkie, you KNOW I automatically thought of doing them with the "Cookies and Creme" cupcake recipe!!! Especially since the recipe already has you garnish the top of buttercream frosting with oreo cookie crumbs =).

For those of you who are interested, here is the recipe:

  • 1 box white cake mix (no pudding)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light works just fine)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 30 oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crush 18 oreo cookies in a large zip-top bag with a rolling pin.

Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. Separate remaining 12 oreos from one another, ensuring there is some creme filling on both sides of the cookie. Place cookie, creme side up, one in each cupcake liner.

Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds or until incorporated. Increase speed to medium for 2 minutes (batter will be thick). Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the crushed oreos, reserve remainder for garnish.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into cupcake tins until about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched and are slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare buttercream frosting

  • 1 stick butter (at room temp)
  • 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stop mixer to add sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla. Mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high for 1-2 minutes. If too stiff, add up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk. Frosting should be spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes and garnish with cookie crumbs. Lightly press crumbs in to stick. If making groundhog cupcakes, see instructions through tipjunkie link!

Seriously, these cupcakes are ridiculously good.

update (10/7/09) i make these cupcakes so often i've played around with how to decorate them.. crumbs, mini oreos, oreo halves, piped frosting, spread frosting.. anywho.. these are my favorites:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Being a baker, I've always found dieting to be daunting. A lot of people say they don't like the things they make, but I do!! And even if I don't, I still convince myself that I have to try things if I'm going to feel comfortable giving them to other people.. haha.

I've been on and off the weight watchers bandwagon many a time.. but I'm really making an effort this time and feel like communication and sharing my struggle with others is the best way to be successful. I mean, I've used the same strategy in baking, arts & crafts, etc.. so why not in getting healthy?!

I wanted to compile some of my favorite tips and treats.. as well as my struggles that I feel are fairly common amongst anyone who has had trouble with their weight (ahem... everyone?! haha). I'll keep updating as things come to me.

Oh, and I recently added some uber cute cookies to my picasa account! they are under 'cookies 2' and still need to be organized. I think I need to start making folders.. birthdays, holidays, showers, etc. with my cookie pictures. =)

check them out!