Thursday, March 16, 2017

On the Road . . .

. . . to healthier eating, better self esteem, and Avon RepFest! LOL  I am embarrassed to mention it is well past Christmas and all those delicious sugar cookies and I am still struggling to gain the ground I lost during the annual holiday binge eating-a-thon. So with my head held high and my feet taking baby steps, here I go back down the road of lo to no carb and sugar free.
To kick things off right  made homemade banana bread for coloring club tonight using this recipe from one of my diabetic cook books:  Banana Bread
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sugar (I use Truvia, but not full)
2 TBS. butter, melted (but thinking I will use coconut oil next time)
4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 egg
cooking spray
1) Pre heat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a glass loaf pan with cooking oil. 
2) Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine sugar and next 3 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. At this point I add nuts if I have any chopped pecans available. About 1/4 cup should do it and just lightly stir them in.
3) Pour batter into  loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 50  minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes ; remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.
Serving: 1 whole loaf (book claims 15 slices but I am skeptical )
Today I also dug out my skinny chocolate recipe . Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and big deal in my house. I had bought the twins some fun gold foil wrapped chocolate coins to enjoy, but I wanted something too.

I made this coconut oil based chocolate , with orange extract.

You need to keep it in the freezer, but that is half the fun, remembering it's there or being pleasantly surprised when you don't!
Skinny Chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder (I find Ghirdelli's is best)
1/2 cup coconut oil
TBS. extract flavoring of your choice
TBS. Stevia/Truvia
Pinch of salt

1)Melt coconut oil.
2) Add cocoa, stevia, and remaining ingredients. Mix well.
3)Line pate with wax paper and spread mixture on top.
4) Freeze until solidified, then break apart like bark and enjoy!
5)Store in freezer.

Tip: I double the recipe and use cool shaped candy molds I found online.

Enjoy this Irish for everyone holiday! 
Blessings, Beth

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Post Thanksgiving wrap up

The big turkey day is over and our focus has shifted to the  big prize, Christmas!  Four weeks from today is Christmas eve!  Wasn't yesterday just the 4th of July?
I just wanted to take a moment from all the hustle and bustle to share a couple recipes that made our family day more yummier, is that a word? I always cook fresh cranberries and  was thrilled to find them at UGO (United Grocery Outlet) for only .99 cents a bag. The secret is : bring to boil 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/2c. water.  Then add the cranberries, 1 TBS. pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp. orange zest.  Simmer until all the berries pop.  The fun part is helping the tough berries break with the back of your spoon!

I also whipped up some deviled eggs, a favorite here but I probably haven't made since Easter! LOL
The secret here is hot sauce and smoked paprika.

This year for dessert I decided to try something new, making a caramel cream pie.  I had never made caramel from scratch and was excited to do this boil in a can experiment!  Turned out just like everyone said it should - whew! LOL
I got the idea from an internet recipe, Christmas with the Kranks caramel cream pie.  If your a fan of the movie or even the book, Skipping Christmas, then you will understand the significance of Blair's favorite pie.

Another easy peasy recipe: 2 14oz. cans unsweetened condensed milk, 7oz. jar marshmallow fluff, 1 graham cracker crust pie shell, and 16 oz. cool whip.
Boil milk in cans, lable,  removed, for 3 hours. After cooling, save 1/4 c. and set aside, and mix with fluff. Pour into crust and  refrigerate overnight.  Before serving; cover top of pie with cool whip and drizzle with reaming 1/4c. caramel.
This was good, but a little to sweet for my taste.  Next year I will just stick with my cheesecake pumpkin pie.

From my family  to yours - Have a holly, jolly Christmas season this year!
Blessings, Beth

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Life is a little nuts right now . . .

                           Isn't that the truth! Seems like I wait for  Fall all year long, it is my favorite time of year.  Then October gets here and BAM! I swear it is like a starters gun went off and the time moves like warp speed on a episode of Star Track!  I feel like the holidays are hurtling themselves at me with an unseen force that only Ray Bradbury could appreciate. However I am trying to assimilate and be flexible.

My first hurdle this year was our yearly tradition of the great nut bowl!   Grandma Lawaine's nut bowl is filled as soon as the whole nuts hit the store at Thanksgiving time, and kept filled all through the season .  Of course we always find some under the hutch or china cabinet come July or something, we blame the cats.  Well like everything else, the price has gone up to an almost unacceptable price.  So the big question is do you let crushing economics void out your family traditions?  When is enough, enough?  I choose to bit the bullet and pay almost $5 a pound and try to cut cost somewhere else.  Who needs toothpaste and toilet paper during the holidays right?

I am also feeling very blessed with all the holiday outings we have coming up.  I do not take it lightly to be included. Most people take it for granted to be part of family outings or groups that in

clude friends new and old.  We don't have that, as we are transplants with no family in this state. I have also heard or been treated to the "your not from her
                           Isn't that the truth! Seems like I wait for  Fall all year long, it is my favorite time of year.  Then October gets here and BAM! I swear it is like a starters gun went off and the time moves like warp speed on a episode of Star Track!  I feel like the holidays are hurtling themselves at me with an unseen force that only Ray Bradbury could appreciate. However I am trying to assimilate and be flexible.
e" mentality which includes cliques of old school friends not needing new friends apparently. 

Our youth needs out grew our last church, so recently we have been attending a slightly different and smaller church. They have been very welcoming and we love the  folks there, they are so real, not just dressing up for Sunday if you know what I mean.

Today they youth group will help package up over 100 turkey dinners to be given out by the churches ministry, Jesus Helping Hands. To be followed by a potluck turkey dinner for those  chilled children.  I am bringing mashed potatoes, gravy, and my famous pineapple corn muffins.  I would like to share this easy/peasy and economical recipe with you , for this holiday season:

Pineapple Corn Muffins

20 oz. can crushed pineapple
3 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix

Mix ingredients together, fill lined muffin cups and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Makes approximately 18 muffins

Blessings, Beth Ann

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Beans to you

Mid - week greetings.  Been a crazy couple weeks here and everywhere!   But the daily grind continues, despite feeling the contrary while suffering through last nights presidential race.  With the daily grind comes our mid-week bible study and fellowship dinner.  I have taken over the task of bringing the dessert, and salad. In an effort to help myself and the other diabetic folk in our group, I try to make a mostly healthy type offering.  Last week for example I made black bean brownies.   Not a huge hit, some are missing all the sugar I suppose.  One comment was that the brownies tasted like they had coffee in them.  Not a bad thing in my book!  LOL
This week we will revisit the bean with, Faux pecan pie. Yes, you heard right. Pecan pie made with pinto beans.  This recipe unfortunately also contains a cup of butter and a whole  lotta sugar! So why not as healthy, it is a little more wallet friendly than regular pecan pie. Have you seen the price on nuts lately?!?
Pinto  Bean Pie
1c. cooked pinto beans with juice
1c. flaked coconut
4 eggs
3c. sugar
1 TBS.  vanilla extract
1c. butter, melted
2 (9 inch)deep dish frozen pie crust, thawed
1. Mash beans till very smooth
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Mix in beans, sugar, vanilla, melted butter, and coconut until well blended. Divide filling into pie crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
*TIP: I like to garnish the top with a few chopped pecans while the pie is still warm. Gently press them in a little to stay in place.  Helps with the over all experience and sells the whole "faux pecan pie" .

Happy fall y'all and happy eating without breaking your wallet or your health. Will let you know the reception it garnered at church tonight! LOL

Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Getting started

Just wanted to pop in and give a progress report on my new plan.  Yesterday was my bi-weekly shopping trip into the 'city' or 'boro we call it here.  Did my best to get what I needed to get started, feed the whole family (not make 3 or 4 meals-not running a restaurant here), and stay on budget.
My budget stayed the same and I was pleased to see that without buying as many carbs/junk food, I was able to shop the sales and come home with plenty of veggies, fruit and protein - for same shared family meals!
I have been following a few 21 fix blogs/groups and a common thread was they would make special meals/plans for just themselves, something healthy.  Not an option for me.  As a family we eat the same food at meal time, and we can all benefit from a more strict portion control.  I did purchase a couple things/snacks for just me since the twins can tolerate a few more carbs than me.  Items such as snack packs of almonds and a vegan protein powder for shakes.
I mix mine with unsweetened almond milk
 First, I chose vegan because just about all protein powder contains soy as their protein source. About 98% of all soy grown in the united stated contains GMO.  If you need to know why GMO's are bad, contact me and I will fill you in.  So I needed a pea protein based product. My local Wal-Mart had two vegan choices, both with pea protein. However one also had soy and GMO's  listed. So this is the only one that passed muster, and of course it was $5 more.  I was able to adsorb that cost because they did not carry the color coded containers.

I really hemmed and hawed over buying these/wanting these.  Then decided they would be the best way to quickly figure volume on salads and what not.   Most blogs said they were easily available at Wal-Mart for a low price.  Not mine.  I did find them on Amazon. Amazon carries the  BeechBody brand at a price of between $12-18 dollars. There are a few knock off brands to choose from as well.    I found a brand from a vendor that was actually nice and had a lifetime warranty for only $5!  Now I just have to get enough 'extra' money put aside for an Amazon order with free shipping (now up to $49 minimum).  But I do need to order an ant hill for school . . .  again.
Until these things come to pass I will make due with all the free material I printed from the internet and double check calories vs. serving size with my Fitnessbuddy app.  which is how I also keep track of my water intake and exercise .
So  I started this morning and seem to be right on track according to the cross referencing. Will keep posting updates . Feeling positive, doing something feels better than doing nothing!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, October 24, 2016

Making plans . . .

Typically I would have placed my Meal Plan Monday here, but getting back to basics and am busy reworking old menu's.  In a nut shell: As of my last doctor appointment, 2 weeks ago, I now have my A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol under control.  Now I just need to redouble my efforts on the weight loss front.
In a series of events I followed a link from a diabetic blog and was almost tricked into buying the BeachBody 21 day fix diet.  I had never heard of it before so did extensive research.  Worth the time.  I will not spend money on this but found many things free online and it seems pretty sound. 
Basically with these colored containers they have made portion control and calorie counting goof-proof.  Based on your current weight and weight loss goals, you will have a chart as to how many times a day you can fill and eat each container of food.  Example:  Green is for veggies and equals 1 cup.  Based on the 1200 - 1400 calories I wish to consume, I can fill and eat 4 of these. Red is protein and equal's 5 oz. I can have 5 of these.  Yellow, carbs. Purple - fruit, blue - dairy/fats, and orange is salad dressings and nuts/seeds.  All this is to help make it idiot proof to get a balanced diet.

I found so little info when doing the diabetic diet, but had good results. However I made myself a wreck trying to count calories and even made my own food swap cards for food conversion. And recipes? Ha! Most cookbooks don't carry conversions for carbs, protein or sugars anymore. Sigh. I read a review of the 21 fix and it said don't spend money, print it free from online groups or Pintrest posts, she was so right!  I have so much more info already than I ever had on the diabetic exchange diet. I have also started a great recipe collection from recipes found on Pintrest, all with the container coding.   Example: Mexican lasagna is 1red, 1green, and 1 yellow container.
Again all material I collected seemed right in order with correct serving sizes and quanites. Just much easier to figure out.  Even hubby seemed pleased. He has less patients than I for food calculating and will default to eating whatever if it is a hassle.
You can by cheap version of diet on Amazon if your not into googling, and even the containers alone at Wal-Mart.  I will keep you posted on how this pans out for me.
Blessings, Beth Ann