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Vices to victories

Published on December 31, 2011, by in Update.

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”– Benjamin Franklin I’ve always liked this quote and think it’s particularly fitting when setting New Year’s resolutions, something that I’ve really struggled with this year. In the past two years, I have made a lot of changes in my life. I am more healthy and fit than I have ever been, but still have things to improve upon. Which things do I want to focus on this year? I love Diet Coke. However, priding myself on being a rather logical person, how can I continue to drink it when I know that is not good for me and could actually cause me to gain weight? Well, I can’t. Fake sugar is out the door in 2012. Since Brian and I have moved in together, I’ve noticed that I

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Get glowing for 2012

Published on December 30, 2011, by in Update.

One month of winter is over and I’m happy to report that I’ve only worn my winter coat once. I’m happy with the unseasonably high temperatures, however my skin is starting to get dull and dry. I need to get a gorgeous glow for the New Year! So, after work I came home and made a batch of Martha Stewart’s body scrub. I’m not sure that Martha actually uses it on her body, but I got the idea from her. I used this all last winter and it saved my skin. It’s amazing and very inexpensive to make. Just be careful to wash out the bottom of your shower after use or the next person to get in might slip. I’ve been missing my chocolate coconut peanut butter. Since I was in the kitchen, I might as well make some. Mmm mmm mmm. Happy Friday everyone!

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Brown sugar pecan baked brie bites

Published on December 30, 2011, by in Recipes.

These are a tasty and flavorful appetizer that are super easy to make and impressive enough to serve at parties. I made them as an app for Brian and I to snack on while I cooked our Christmas dinner for two. Ingredients: brie chopped pecans brown sugar honey mini phyllo tarts Preheat oven to 350. Place mini phyllo tarts(found in freezer section) in mini cupcake pan. You could also cut down phyllo shells, crescents or frozen pastry puff and use those too. Cut a cube or slice of brie and place in the bottom of tart. Top with a few chopped pecans. Put a pinch of brown sugar on top of the pecans. Squeeze a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup on top of the brown sugar. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes or until brie is melty. Serve warm. These are a taste sensation. The crispy shell, oozy cheese, sweet honey

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Deep dish skillet pizza

Published on December 25, 2011, by in Recipes.

Pinterest has been added to my list of addictions. More places to get recipes and ideas? I die. Everybody Like Sandwiches is on my list of regularly read food blogs, but I happened to run across this recipe from them on Pinterest. Since I got a new porcelain enameled cast iron skillet, braiser and grill pan for Christmas, I thought I should put one of them to use. Start by pre-heating the oven to 500F. Make your favorite crust. I did a variation that combined the crust that Everybody Likes Sandwiches used in their post and my easiest no-rise pizza dough. Once you have your crust ready for the pan, oil the inside of the skillet. Using oiled fingers, press crust into pan and about one inch up the side of the pan. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on top of the crust. Spread a layer of pizza sauce

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Easy all-in-one breakfast

Published on December 25, 2011, by in Recipes.

After flying home yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have the energy to go to the grocery store. Being that I was supposed to work today and wasn’t planning on making Christmas dinner until tomorrow, there is a lack of groceries in our fridge. Fortunately, we have a fully stocked pantry. While I was boiling water for oatmeal, I had realized that we still had a few eggs and in the fridge. So, I cut the amount of oatmeal in half and we split a bowl of peanut butter oatmeal with a few chocolate chips on top. I cooked up 4 slices of bacon, poured off most of the grease, and returned the skillet to the stove top. Then I used a biscuit cutter to cut circles out of two pieces of bread. I placed them in the skillet and broke and egg in the middle. Let egg cook until set enough

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Holiday happenings

Published on December 24, 2011, by in Recipes, Update.

It’s only Christmas Eve and my Christmas is pretty much over. I have spent the last 5 days in Iowa with my family and had a great time. On Tuesday my parents invited their neighborhood in for a holiday party. When it comes to fixing food, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s easy to see where I get my love for cooking. Mini fruit pizzas: A (very delicious) biscuit and veggie tree: And loads of candies and treats. My mom sure knows how to feed a crowd! We had my favorites, Ritz cracker peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate. Made loads of homemade soups: Stayed warm playing ping pong: While we got a little snow: Merry Christmas from Spatoola! May all your wishes come true.

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Honey and soy chicken thighs

Published on December 14, 2011, by in Recipes.

We eat chicken multiple times a week, but almost always in a boneless, skinless form. I’m not a big fan of bones in my meat but needed to mix things up a bit. I’m glad I did. These thighs were extremely moist and tasty. Recipe adapted from she wears many hats. Ingredients: 3 tables spoons olive oil 3 tablespoon soy sauce 5 tablespoons honey 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 ground pepper 6 chicken thighs Preheat oven to 425F. Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large ziploc bag. Add the chicken to the ziploc bag and toss to coat. Put in refrigerator and let marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. When ready to bake, place chicken in a baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes with the skin side up. I had to put them in two separate dishes as all the thighs wouldn’t fit in one

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Gluten-free chocolate cookies

Published on December 13, 2011, by in Recipes.

Do you need a quick, easy and inexpensive gluten-free dessert for the holidays? How easy? You probably have all the ingredients in your house right now. How inexpensive? The entire recipe cost me about $7.00 to make about 2 dozen cookies. That makes them about 29 cents each. If you eat gluten-free, I dare you to tell me the last time you were able to walk into a bakery and buy a gf cookie for less than $1.00. At that price, I think the recipe is worth a shot. Adapted from Kumquat. Ingredients: 3 cups powdered sugar 2/3 cup cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 4 large egg whites 2 teaspoons vanilla Preheat oven to 350F. Combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and chocolate chips in a bowl. Add in egg whites and vanilla. Stir well to combine. Once combined it should be the consistency of school

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MEGA NACHO: a meal

Published on December 8, 2011, by in Recipes.

What’s better than nachos? MEGA NACHOS! That’s what I had for dinner tonight. I made tacos for dinner last night and had some seasoned chicken meat left over and didn’t want tacos again. Problem: I wanted nachos, but they aren’t very healthy And I didn’t want to negate all the time I’ve been spending in the gym. Solution: A modified version, now known as the mega nacho. I started with the base of a half of a hard taco shell. I spread a small layer of jalapeno hummus on it, because I’m addicted to it, it’s wonderfully spicy and it will work nicely as a moisture barrier for the shell. Then a layer of chicken, topped with salsa. I placed some cheese on the salsa and some jalapeno on top of the cheese. I microwaved that until heated through and the cheese was melted. Then I topped everything with a little Greek yogurt(it’s

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Pumpkin gingerbread doughnuts

Published on December 7, 2011, by in Recipes.

To die for…and I generally am not a doughnut lover. I feel like they are waste of calories. I would run 3 miles just to get to one of these doughnuts. The ingredient list looks daunting, but I assure you that they are much easier than the recipe looks and worth every second it takes to make them. Your boyfriend, neighbors and co-workers will love you, too. The recipe makes plenty to eat and plenty to share. Adapted from Peanut butter and Julie: Ingredients: 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon allspice 2 tablespoons shortening 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses 2/3 cup sour cream 2/3 cup pumpkin puree canola oil for frying In a large bowl, stir together the flour,

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