Okay, everyone, my last blog trying to catch up needed to be broken up into two blogs, because it was so long, so here it goes.
On Sunday, I woke up at the normal, very early time, Sarah called me when she was on her way down to my house because it was time for church. I got ready super-fast, considering that I slept in WAYY to late, but we made it right in time. We joined Dan at church, and enjoyed being able to be in the Word not only together but with our church family. After church it was time for breakfast at the usual place. We all grabbed our usual and then it was time to really start to begin the day. Dan headed out to work, but Sarah and I hung around, we decided to make the trip down to Downtown Disney, and take in some of the shops as well as the beautiful scenery. After a little while of hanging out, it was time to head back home. My whole family was going to be home tonight and it was definitely going to be a group effort to get dinner going. We decided to make top sirloin steak (one of the leanest cuts that you can get) which my brother quickly grilled up. I was ready to take on the challenge of making my first Julia Child recipe. Sarah, my best friend, had bought me “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for my birthday last October, and challenged me to remake 10 of Julia’s famous recipes. Up to this point I was way too scared to even attempt to crack open the book, but with my MimicCreme in hand, and light butter in the other I felt like it was time to embrace the challenge. I pulled out the book, and my mom had prievosly asked me to do a recipe with potatoes, since it seemed like we had potatoes coming out of everywhere. I figured what goes better with steak than one of my ultimate favorites, scalloped potatoes. In Julia’s cookbook she has about a billion recipes for scalloped potatoes, but I decided to attempt her Gratin Jurassien (Scalloped potatoes with Heavy Cream and Cheese). I was sure that it was going to be a challenge but I was ready. I started out by replacing the butter with light butter, the “boiling” potatoes or russet potatoes, with red skinned potatoes, the swiss cheese with reduced fat and fat fat cheddar cheese, and the heavy cream with MimicCreme. The overall result, was amazing, just what you want out of scalloped potatoes, a rich and creamy taste with just the right amount of potatoes. For the Julia’s original recipe the caloric count comes out to 359.6 calories, 26 grams of fat, 25.37 grams of carbohydrates, 2.49 grams of fiber, and 7.8 grams of protein. For my revamp of this classic French dish, the amounts come to a remarkable 197.4 calories, 7.95 grams of fat, 25.95 grams of carbohydrates, 2.0 grams of fiber and 7.95 grams of protein, not bad, and I’m not gonna lie it works as a great way to impress your friends !
For dessert on Sunday I wanted to make something that I hadn’t tried yet, and I was really in the mood for something decadent. Chocolate sounded absoultely wonderful, along with pecans, marshmallows and all my favorite sweets, then I ran across the recipe for Mississippi Mud Cupcakes. These little guys are from Southern Living magazine, and sounded like something to die for. I quickly started to think of a way to trim down these very costly little cupcakes. I replaced the butter with half light butter, half applesauce, only used a quarter of the pecans and half the chocolate. I also used a blend of sugar and Splenda instead of all just sugar, and Eggbeaters to replace the eggs. I replaced the plain white flour, with all oat flour, and I also made my own frosting of Cool Whip Free and Sugar-Free Jello Chocolate Fudge Pudding Mix to replace the original butter-cream frosting on these little guys. The original Southern version of these little cupcakes, calls for a caloric count of 385.2 calories, 21.6 grams of fat, 46.2 grams of carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of fiber and 4.8 grams of protein! That is almost as much as the original serving of Julia’s French style scalloped potatoes! Honestly if I were going to choose an original, I think I would probably choose Julia’s, because at least it is a huge serving, instead of one little cupcake! For my rendition of these super decadent cupcakes, my amounts are a little easier to swallow, at only 136.2 calories, 4.8 grams of fat, 21.5 grams of carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of fiber and 3.59 grams of protein, how can you go wrong? After a long night of cooking, it was nice to just relax with my huge, crazy family, and just have time to enjoy each others company. I was able to talk a bit to my sister-in-law, Elaina that night, and I was thrilled to learn that she had lost weight the previous week on our little trip up to Cami’s. In fact, I learned that there was a total of an overall 13 pounds lost! That is crazy, all by eating a little healthier and keeping better watch over portion sizes! Lain also said that she has taken on the step of always asking for a to-go box whenever she goes out to eat, so that she never has to worry about potentially eating to much. I’m SOO proud of you Lain, keep up the great work!
After a long night of fun and fellowship, it was time for bed, before work began the next morning a little to early for comfort. I woke up a little later than I had originally intended and through on my clothes after taking a quick shower, and in no-time I was out the door. My sister had been kind enough to pack me a lunch, so I was already prepared, and a Luna bar and a banana were my go to breakfast. After work, I was popped out but I was ready to cook. I had been thinking about what the recipe of the day was going to be that night. I am always so excited to try out a recipe, that sometimes I just can’t resist being really excited! I am also a little bit of a perfectionist, I like things done the way that I already foresee them in my mind, and when things don’t turn out just so, I can get a little upset. Well Monday nights dinner is one that I won’t soon forget. I was in the mood for a soup, and it had been a while since I had last made one. So I took out my “The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Recipes” and started flipping through the soups. I came across a recipe for White Chicken Chili, it sounded like it would be what would really hit the spot, something hearty and delicious. I only changed the cheese in the recipe from being full fat Monterey Jack to being a reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend. The biggest problem with the recipe, wouldn’t come until the very end. I knew that I didn’t want to have just soup, so I decided to also whip up a quick bread side dish. I flipped to the front of the book to a recipe for Herb and Onion Wheat Biscuits, after making a couple of quick swaps, I knew that I would be good to go! I switched the all purpose flour, to a blend of oat and white, used Splenda in place of the sugar and used light butter as opposed to the normal stuff. The result was awesome, I thought, flaky biscuits, and a mildly spicy chili. I was soon going to be wrong, the biscuits, weren’t a worry but the chili was another story. We stock a lot of hot sauce at my house, and I decided to ask my family, who enjoys everything they eat to have a fairly large kick, which hot sauce they would enjoy more. I volunteered two options, a regular Tabasco, or a specialty hot sauce called Dumb A$$, my mom and sister piped up that they wanted the special stuff. I figured, “Sure, why not?” I opened the lid, and was only going to add the tiniest drop, I knew that stuff was hot and I didn’t want it to overpower the chili. Well, it was just a little late, the specialty sauce had no shaker top, it was just a full-flowing top with no restrictions and with the smallest flick of the wrist, a quarter of a cup of the spicy stuff went flowing into my pot. I was stunned, and in shock. The chili I had just spent over an hour making, was going to be WAY too hot to eat. I was pretty disappointed, but I appreciated my whole family’s effort to make me feel better. My little sister grabbed a spoon and bravely dipped it into the stew. She took a tiny bite, but declared the chili to be less spicy then she originally suspected. I was surprised and very sure that she was lying. I grabbed a spoon myself to try, and was astonished, it really wasn’t overly spicy. I was thrilled, a little disappointed in some ways, but so glad to know that my hard work, didn’t go without a reward. We scooped up big bowls and sat down to eat our chili and biscuits, which we were all grateful for the reduced numbers. The chili came to 219 calories, 4.5 grams of fat,12.31 grams of carbohydrates, 3.4 grams of fiber and 32.7 grams of protein, a reduction of 14.3 calories and 1.4 grams of fat off the original version. Our biscuits had a lower outcome then the original amount of 119 calories, 4.1 grams of fat, 17.9 grams of carbohydrates, 1.3 grams of fiber and 3.1 grams of protein. My version of these light and flaky biscuits comes to only 110 calories, 3.1 grams of fat, 18.3 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 3.48 grams of protein, not too bad for just a couple of changes. I really learned a lot from that little chili recipe, mostly that cooking light isn’t always going to be a perfect process. Sometimes, it’s easy and sometimes the unexpected happens!
After plenty of very spicy chili it was time for bed, and it felt like as soon as I laid down, it was time to get right back up. Tuesday was my first day of school but I started the day with work. A quick bowl of cereal before I was on my way, and a sandwich for lunch. At two it was time to leave work and head to school. My first class of the semester was “Cooking for your Heart and Health”. This class was something that I was definitely interested in taking. Considering that what I do, is cook for my health. Our first day was fairly brief, just going over the basics of the class and that was pretty much it. I was left with excitement and anticipation for the following week. On the way home, I stopped by the store to get inspiration for dinner and to pick up whatever I needed. I was in luck when I saw pizza crusts from the very beginning. I knew that is what I wanted to make for dinner. I decided to grab the two thin crust package, along with some other tasty pizza topping items. I have made pizzas many times before, but Dan asked me the last time that I popped in a pizza if I could include more meat. I normally make a veggie and cheese style pizza or a barbeque chicken pizza. I decided to grab some supplies and see what I could do to satisfy his manly craving for meaty pizza. I picked up some turkey pepperoni, extra lean ground pork, an assortment of veggies, reduced-fat and fat-free mozzarella cheese and some low sugar barbeque sauce. When I arrived home I set out immediately on making a couple of tasty pizzas. I followed the instructions on the back on the pizza crust for time and temperature, and while waiting for the oven to pre-heat I prepared my chicken and sauteed my vegetables. For veggies, I just sauteed up my favorites, like bell pepper, zucchini and squash, but honestly any veggie is a great idea, as for the chicken, a little non-stick spray, garlic, salt and pepper and those babies where grilling in no time on my George Foreman grill. As the veggies were cooking and the chicken was grilling, Dan began working on the sausage. He followed Devin Alexander’s recipe for sweet and spicy Italian style sausage in her “The Most Decadent Diet Ever!” cookbook, and they were great. All the flavor of traditional sausage and a fraction of the fat and calories, they were great! After cooking the sausage we were ready to build our pizzas. The barbeque chicken started with a thin layer of BBQ sauce, followed by chicken, grilled onions, bell pepper, corn and a mixture of both cheeses. As for the meaty combination pizza, it begun with tomato-basil pasta sauce, followed by a ton of different veggies, turkey pepperoni, sausage and a ton of cheese, it was a pizza fit for a king, or for my Dan. After only about 10 minutes it was eating time, thin and crispy crust topped with a ton of flavorful and fiberful toppings! For one slice of the BBQ chicken pizza, the caloric counts add up to only 193 calories, 3.2 grams of fat, 25.6 grams of carbohydrates, 0.8 grams of fiber and 13.9 grams of protein, and for Dan’s combo pizza only 198 calorie, 4.6 grams of fat, 25.1 grams of carbohydrates, 2.4 grams of fiber and 13.8 grams of protein. Not too bad for my favorite type of pizza or Dan’s meaty pizza, especially when you consider the other side. For a slice of BBQ chicken pizza from other places you are looking at 205 calories, 7 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of protein, I double your protein and reduce your fat! For a combo pizza slice elsewhere the price comes pretty steep, 330 calories, 15 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein, the extra protein boost isn’t worth all those other setbacks!
Well, it looks like the rest will have to wait for another day, but until I’m in the kitchen again….