Monday, January 30, 2017

Healthy 2017: Water

Here is another key for me.  Getting enough water in.  I find I eat when I am actually thirsty. I find that I specifically crave carbs and sweets when I am thirsty.  l find that drinking enough water nips this in the bud.  I really need to be more consistent with this.  What I like about MyFitnessPal is that I can count my water too. I just have to make a commitment to do it every day.

Here are some articles about the benefits of water.

Webmd on water
Health on water
Greatist on water

Here is to a renewed commitment to getting my water quota in!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Banana Bread

I know this is like my millionth banana bread recipe.  I dont know what it is, chocolate cakes, brownies, banana bread and zucchini bread, I keep trying new recipes.

I will tell you that I have never met a banana bread I didnt like.  There was one recipe I tried that was hard to bake, the top kept browning while the inside was still raw.  I never made that recipe again.  I suspect though if I had baked it in a bigger loaf pan of muffin cups it would have been better. Probably the only fault with that recipe was the size of the pan or the amount of pans.

What I like about this particular recipe is that there is a higher banana to flour ratio.  That really works for me because usually if I am making banana bread it is because there is a large amount of bananas wanting to be used up.

This recipe is SUPER moist.  I made some with walnuts and some without.  My one daughter is not interested in walnuts by any means.  I tasted one with and one without, definitely I prefer the ones with walnuts.
Banana Bread
Adapted slightly from this recipe at Epicurious.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 medium very ripe bananas (about 13 ounces), peeled and mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan or one of these above) fancy, shmancy loaf pans.

Cream butter and brown sugar together for about four minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl combine sour cream, vanilla and mashed bananas.  

In another bowl combine dry ingredients.

Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Then all the liquid ingredients.  Then the rest of the dry.

Fold in walnuts.

Bake for about an hour.  If using said, fancy shmancy loaf pan, about 45 minutes.  But please check on whatever receptacle you are using because baking times vary.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Magic Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my Mom's birthday.  We really loved this cake! Of course, it magically disappeared.

After 13 years this month of being a stay at home mom, I am returning to work.  What?  Yes, its true. Things change.  It's been a difficult shift for me but I am looking forward to getting back in the groove.  More things to learn.  Always a good thing.  One of the cool things that will happen is that my girls will see their Mamma in a new role.  The working Mom.  A breadwinner.  Instead of making the bread I will be earning the money to buy the bread.  Ha! But I will still be making bread. It will just be relegated to Sundays.  Hopefully I will get my girls making bread too.

In the coming weeks, besides Healthy 2017, I will be doing quick and easy meals, hopefully healthy too.  I hope to set it up as a linky so you can all share your recipes too!

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat sugar and oil for 4 minutes.

Add in vanilla extract and then eggs one at a time.

In a bowl combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

In a large measuring cup combine buttermilk and coffee.

Add dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately two times, ending with the dry ingredients.

Pour into two 9" greased and lined baking rounds or all of it in a 9 x 13.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Healthy 2017: Meditation

This probably is one of the most important changes I want to make this year.  This one is one that can help me the most.  Being quiet.  Meditating.

I am sure you seen countless articles about the importance of meditation.  I don't need to add to the list.

OMG I Can Meditate
Weight Watchers

You Tube.  So many. Here's one.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pressure Cooker Black Beans with Chorizo

True confession.  I may have already told you this.  I bought a pressure cooker like, over a year ago.  Its been sitting in the basement on my kitchen stuff shelf this whole time.  Lonely.  Why?  Beacuase I was afraid to use it.  Alas, I put my big girl panties on and jumped in.  Thanks to a some coaxing by my friend Sandy.  Thank you Sandy.

I love it now.  I keep using the pressure cooker.  Experimenting and trying new things.  Yeah!  Fun.  It is really handy.  SO much easier to use than the days of long ago.  WAY safer.  Jump in.  Put your big girl panties on!  You can do it.

You can take the Craftsy course about Pressure Cooking too if you want to know all about it and feel better.  I am not paid and reimbursed by Craftsy to say that, by the way.

These are VERY tasty beans!

Black Beans With Chorizo
I like Serious Eats.  I use a lot of their recipes.  Here is where I saw this one. I made a few changes.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces Spanish-style chorizo, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half moons
1 pound dried black beans
1 whole onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 orange, split in half
2 bay leaves
2 quarts store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or homemade
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Saute chorizo in oil in pressure cooker (there is a setting for browning) and cook, stirring, until it is crisp, about 2 minutes. 

Add beans, onion, garlic cloves, orange, bay leaves, chicken stock, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes.

For creamy beans let pressure release naturally.  Garnish with cilantro. Yum!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hushpuppies With Remoulade Sauce

I have made hushpuppies before.  I made them for New Years.  I have never made the sauce to go with them.  I did use a different recipe this time but I have to say I liked the ones I have made before better.  So if you want the recipe, just click the hushpuppy link above in this paragraph.

Can you tell I am catching up giving you all my Holiday recipes.  No time and no natural light during the season. Sigh. Better late than never.

Remoulade Sauce

1 cup mayo
2 teaspoons mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons scallions (use as garnish in sauce when serving)

Whisk all the ingredients until fully incorporated.

Around the internet some other remoulade sauces to try:

Simply Recipes. Remoulade


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Healthy 2017 Week 2: Writing It Down

I am working hard to get those sit ups into my daily routine.  This one is a great habit to get into and
it just takes a few moments.  I hit the mark 6 times this week.

This week the healthy habit is writing down what I eat.  This has always worked for me when I am successful.  I am hit or miss about it though.  So I commit to getting it written down.  Also, I commit to getting it down as soon as I eat it.  If I am eating it, I am writing it!

There are quite a few apps out there that you can use to journal your intake and ones you can use on a computer if you need to.  I use My Fitness Pal.  I used to use Sparkpeople.  I am not sure why I stopped because it was really good.  Had a lot of articles that were very informative and inspirational. Most of these programs you can log your exercise too. But now I have already added some of my recipes to Myfitnesspal that I can't leave.  It knows me and I know it. Yah know what I mean?

I am writing a list of the few I know.  If you know more out there, by all means leave it in the comment section and I will add it to the list.

My Fitness Pal
My Calorie Counter
Lose It
My Plate (Livestrong)
Supertracker (this one is from the USDA)
Every Day Health

Friday, January 13, 2017

Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting

My daughters birthday just passed and this is the cake she wanted.  I don't think she ever had it before.  But she loves coconut.  So this is what she picked.  We all love coconut!

It is amazing how time flies.  I can't believe how fast she is growing up.  I know to say these words is a cliche.  You hear it over and over again.  You don't realize when you are younger what these words mean.  Its only when it is your life to you fully comprehend.  Like all things.  One usually has to go through something to fully understand it. All its nuances.  Like, the passage time I see in her, I don't necessarily want to see this time passage in myself.  Like it or not, though, this is the way it is.

Coconut Cake

5 large eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour or regular flour minus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flaked coconut, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line 2 9 inch rounds with parchment and grease with butter or cooking spray.

Cream together butter, oil and sugar for five minutes.  Add in yolks, one at a time.  Add vanilla extract and coconut extract.

In another bowl combine flour and baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix in dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Fold in coconut.

In a separate bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.  Fold into the batter.

Spoon into prepared pans.  Bake for

Coconut Frosting

1 cup butter
4 cups (give or take) confectioners sugar
Coconut Cream*

Cream butter and coconut cream together with confectioners sugar.  Beat until smooth.

*I skimmed the top of the can of coconut milk as I did not have cream of coconut.  If you have it you could replace one of the butters or just use 1/3 cup and do what I did.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

This time of year poses picture challenges. Not enough natural light to catch all these things before they are eaten up. I have made so many things that I wanted to share on the blog but can't. Lately, even when it is daylight, its totally grey.

I have been listening to books on tape in my car lately and while I am quilting. The one I am listening to in the car is, What I Know For Sure, by Oprah Winfrey.  It's so good.  So good in fact that I am going to own a copy after I return this one to the library. I find it very inspirational.  I feel like I would get something new out of it each time I listened to it or read it.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

2 cups finely ground graham crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 ounces raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.

Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside.

Beat cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined. Pour cream cheese filling over crust.

Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.

Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.

Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Banana Bread

I make banana bread without nuts here at my house because my kids don't like the nuts in their dessert.  This time, I decided to add the nuts into each individual loaf, leaving a few without nuts. Wow, the taste is so much better with the nuts.  I forgot how much I missed that.

Day 3 of my Healthy 2017 and I am doing sit ups.  Did 25!  Yeah, go me!  I also did a cardio workout on You Tube from Pop Sugar.

This recipe is from Epicurious and seriously the most banana per flour ratio I have ever seen.  I like that because if I am making banana bread it is because I have quite a few bananas to use up. But I will be honest here, I put in a few more ounces then they did.  I probably hit 16 ounces, possibly more.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 medium very ripe bananas (about 13 ounces), peeled and mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the butter with the sugar for a few minutes.  Add in vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time. Add sour cream and bananas.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Fold in walnuts at the end.  Or place them in the little loafs or muffin tins, whatever you like.

Pour into sprayed tins or a loaf pan.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 45 to 60 minutes depending on what you are baking in.  If you are using a loaf pan it will be all of an hour before it is done, especially if you add more banana.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Healthy 2017 Making New Habits

I have proclaimed this year 2017 as the "Year of Getting Healthy".  No resolutions here because resolutions don't work for me.  I am going to be making some new habits for myself.  Every two weeks I will add a new healthy habit.  At the end of 2017 I am looking for a healthier, stronger and leaner me.

The key here is to add them as a regular part of life.  But some of these things are a periodic thing.  If you want to follow along and do this, try it for at least two weeks.  Of course, you don't have to do anything, right?  But I would love to have people walking the road with me.
The first healthy habit I am going to start is at least 20 sit ups every day.  I will keep adding when I feel I am ready.  We'll see what I get up to at the end of the year.

Won't you join me?  Join in doing the same ones or offer your own idea for a healthy habit in the comment section.  Would love to hear your ideas.