Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chocolate Breakfast Cookies

Hellooooooo! Wow, I seriously did not intend to take this long of a break before posting a new recipe here on my blog, but time around the holidays just seems to go even faster than the regular amazing speed of time. I may not have been blogging much over the last month, but that does not mean that I have not been cooking. Let's see, I have made peanut butter waffles, rainbow pancakes, quadruple batch of breakfast cookies, healthier version of bisquick and turned it into sausage balls and sausage pinwheel, peanut butter banana muffins and just today, chocolate breakfast cookies and homemade whole wheat pitas. My mom and I also canned potato soup, beef vegetable soup, chili, white chili and bolognese sauce. I am sure that I am leaving something out, but you get the idea that I continue to do lots of cooking and have lots to share.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts was the Sneaky Chef's new cookbook Sneaky Fitness. It has lots of ideas to sneak physical activity into your everyday routine in addition to more sneaky recipes. Today, we tried the recipe for chocolate champion cereal cookies, since the regular breakfast cookies are now a staple in our household. How do you think your kids would react if you offered them these cute and tasty chocolate cookies for breakfast?

The sneaky ingredients include purple puree (pureed spinach and blueberries), wheat germ, whole wheat pastry flour and old-fashioned rolled oats. NOTE: This recipe calls for 1/3 c. of purple puree and I usually recommend storing your purees in 1/4 cup portions SO you will have to use more than one serving of your stored purees or just make a triple batch and use one cup of puree. These cookies have a nice little crunch and look great when you dust them with powdered sugar. Most importantly, my taste testers whole-heartedly approved!! Seth actually ate three cookies for dessert tonight and I think they would make a great snack for pre-school. You could make this dough ahead of time and flash freeze on a cookie tray and store to bake in the morning and then top with powdered sugar.

Enjoy and I look forward to blogging again soon!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Eggo Emergency?

In case you have not heard there is going to be a shortage of Eggo waffles. If you would like to read more about this shortage just click here. DON'T PANIC!!! Especially, if these are a staple in your freezer. You can make your own - Yes you can! We just had these for breakfast and they are so easy to whip up fresh and cook. Even better, they do not contain all the preservatives of the store bought variety and they are SOOOOO much cheaper. I just calculated (yes, the girl from Kentucky can do some cipherin' but I have to admit that I am not wearing shoes at the moment) and it cost me $1.32 for the ingredients to make 16 healthy waffles! Of course, that does not include the cost of a waffle iron. But, if you click here, you can see the list of waffle makers available at Target and mine was only $19.99, although it is not pictured there.

My waffle iron calls for 3/4 cup of batter to make two waffles, but last time I used that amount of batter the waffles were a little too thick for me and would not fit as well in my toaster to reheat. So, I only used about 1/2 cup of batter at a time and they were perfect. What we didn't eat for breakfast, I then placed on a cookie sheet in a single layer and placed in the freezer for an hour or so to "flash freeze" them. Then, I simply placed them in a freezer bag for storage.

These homemade frozen waffles reheat just as well in the toaster. You may consider not cooking them until they are completely crispy if you are planning on putting them in the toaster to reheat. But, you may need to play with that.
For those of you needing as close to an Eggo as you can get, I did find this website where a chef created his version of the waffle. I have not tried this recipe yet, but wanted to share it and the website with you. Let me know what you think if you try them before I have a chance. I do like his suggestion of using pieces of dried blueberries in the batter for the blueberry flavor.
So, here is your chance to start the break from pre-packaged convenience foods and start making some of your own convenience foods at home. It does take a little planning and time to get started, but once you have these yummy waffles in your freezer you will forget about Lego or Eggit or whatever they were called. Did I mention how much money you can save???
You can do it!
Oops! Almost forgot to include the link to the recipe. It if from and if you have time you should browse around for more great recipes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Buttered" Noodles

Can you really have healthy buttered noodles? Sure, if you get a little sneaky with it. This recipe is simple and tasty. I found it in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook and make it as directed. Just click on the title of this blog post to get the full recipe or you can go to the "Recipes" tab on the sidebar.

First, start with a healthy pasta such as Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Extra-Wide Noodle Style Pasta, Ronzoni Smart Taste Pastas (any shape) that contain 30% of your daily calcium, Hodgson Mill Whole Grain/Whole Wheat pastas or if you insist on white noodles then DeCecco spaghetti is one of the best. I used the Ronzoni Smart Taste Rotini.

Second, you will need to make a yellow squash puree which is so easy. Just cut the ends off of the squash and cut it into about one-inch pieces and steam (I use my Pampered Chef microsteamer) in the microwave or on the stove top for about six minutes or until tender. Then, just throw it in your food processor or blender until smooth.

One decent sized squash made about 1/2 cup of puree which was perfect for this recipe. Next, just combine the cooked and drained pasta with pureed squash, 1/4 c. of skim milk, 2 T. trans-fat free soft tub butter/margarine spread, 2 T. grated paremesean cheese and 1/4 t. salt.

This is the batch that I made for dinner last night and it was enjoyed by all in my household.

Seth enjoyed it, too! Cast and all!

Sorry that the posts have been few and far between lately. My husband was out of the country and my son broke his wrist, so things have been a little crazy. Hoping to be a little more frequent in posting in the near future.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Healthy Halloween

I am soooo sick of Halloween candy and my son has not even gone trick-or-treating yet. I know, I know, all things in moderation. But, seriously some of this stuff is just nasty. I'm all for GOOD candy. Alas, he loves it ALL.

I wanted to post this healthy cookie recipe that was tasty and easy to spruce up for the festivities of a preschool Halloween party. It is from the new Sneaky Chef cookbook that is due out in December. The recipe is for Smores cookies and calls for regular marshmallows on top, but I replaced those with pumpkin marshmallows to suit the occasion. In all honesty, they would be much better with just plain marshmallows, maybe you could find colored marshmallows for the occasion.

Here is the link for the cookie recipe and here is the link to the Sneaky Chef website with some ideas for making your Halloween more active.

Also, here is another link to a blog that I follow on my sidebar that has some other healthy, but yummy treat options for Halloween.
Happy and safe trick-or-treating.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Idea?

I love it when a plan comes together. You know what I mean. You think that you have a great idea, whatever it may be, and it actually turns out to be a great idea. As opposed to the times that you think that you have a great idea and it turns out to be a disaster. I know that the suspense is killing you and that you must know my great idea. Well, here you go. . .

I used the oatmeal pancake mix that I told you about in this post. I am sure that you have tried it by now and that it is a staple in your household. If not, we will talk later. I combined this recipe with orange puree and a little cinnamon for a yummy twist on traditional pancakes. This was super easy because I already had my pancake mix pre-made and then just added 1/2 cup of orange puree and 1/4 t. of cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) to the original pancake mix recipe.

In the recipes section of my blog, I will call these "orange pancakes."

Next time, I think that I will try it with a little pumpkin puree. I hope that turns out to be another great idea. We'll see.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheesy Animal Crackers

Here is another second chance recipe. I tried this recipe over a year ago and was not thrilled with my original results, but recently tried again with a few modifications.

This homemade cheese cracker recipe starts with pureed chickpeas, a little olive oil and lots of whole grains rather than a stick of butter and loads of cheese or the unpronouncable ingredients found in store bought crackers.

I did modify the original recipe by using sharp cheddar cheese instead of low-fat cheddar cheese. I just don't like what they do to the cheese to make it low fat, so instead, choose to use the real stuff in moderation. I chose sharp cheddar because I thought the crackers could use a bolder cheese flavor.

When you roll out the dough, I recommend that you do it in small batches so that you can get the dough thin enough to make crackers.

When you bake the crackers, I recommend baking them for 10-12 minutes and then turning your oven up to broil for a minute or so to make the crackers more crispy.

These are fun because you can choose whatever shape you want. I made these out of small Noah's Ark cookie cutters because the lesson in Sunday school today was about Noah's Ark. We also made some out of Halloween cookie cutters.
One can of chickpeas makes a quadruple batch of crackers. So, for sake of ease, just puree chickpeas in food processor and throw in enough ingredients to quadruple the recipe. These crackers store for weeks or freeze for months so it is worth the time to go ahead and use all of the puree while you have it in the food processor. Also, I mix all of the ingredients together in the food processor so that the cheese is completely combined. When I mixed it in the mixer the cheese remained kind of stringy and it looked like some of my crackers had hair (that's never good).
Lastly, these crackers have been taste-tested and approved by my fellow Mommy & Me ladies, their kiddos, my husband (but, please don't tell him they have chickpeas or cheese in them) and the Sunday school class at church.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I know that this blog is supposed to be about sneaky food and cooking, but I am just so PROUD that I am about to pop! So, I had to share. . .because being a healthy mom is not just about eating healthy but being active and setting a good example for physical health.

About five months ago, my friend Christa over at Motivating Mommies, decided that she was going to run a half-marathon and challenged several of us to do the same. I am not sure why, but I thought this would be a good idea. Let me preface this by saying that I have never been a runner! I was the person saying, "Why would anyone want to run that far?" or "only if I'm being chased." But, something inside me said that I could do this. I just had to get my husband on board, because even if he didn't want to do it with me, I would need his help to accomplish the training. He said YES! So, we embarked on this crazy adventure together. He found this program online for a "couch to 5K" training. We started running 60 seconds at a time and this past weekend we actually RAN 13.1 miles. We were certainly not the fastest people on the road, but weren't the slowest either.

The best part for me was running the entire time with my husband by my side. You see, about a year and a half ago he broke his back. He suffered a T12 burst fracture in his spine in a freak accident while attending a toddler gymnastics class with our son. Our life was turned upside down, especially when we did not know what the long-term prognosis would be. This man that I married, who could have wallowed in self-pity and despair, chose to count his blessings. He only missed six weeks of work despite being in a hard shell brace for over three months and set an amazing example of how to handle adversity for our young son. So, when he said yes to this challenge we weren't sure how his back would tolerate so much running. I am so PROUD of him and of us. I am PROUD of the man that he is and has grown to be. I loved running beside him and hugging him as we crossed the finish line. I loved that we challenged each other when the other was not motivated and accomplished this goal together.

I am just so PROUD that I could pop. So, if we can do it, then so can you. Set a goal and as my friend Christa says, "Get up and move it!"


Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Sneaky Ingredient

We are on a journey to improve what we are eating in our home. I say journey, because it is a constant, ongoing process/adventure to become healthier. It is a journey that we have taken in baby steps. I have become a label reader, a blog reader, a book/magazine reader to try to make better choices about the food that we consume. The more I read the more frustrated I become with the products I find in our local stores. I thought I was buying the best bread as the first ingredient was "whole wheat," but not too far down was "high-fructose corn syrup." Really, in bread?

Soooo, as I was reading and reading and reading some more, I came across recipes for whole wheat bread, pitas and english muffins. These are not difficult to make, but do require some time at home as they need time to rise. They do not require any special equipment, but do call for some different ingredients if you plan on making these whole wheat.

Whole Wheat Bread

First, this recipe for whole wheat bread can be made with either part white and part wheat flour or entirely with whole wheat flour. Please note that if you plan on making this bread entirely with whole wheat flour then you will need to follow instruction further down the page. This bread was delicious!!! Light and a little sweet. We used it for sandwiches, dinner bread and toast. If you decide to make it entirely with whole wheat flour then you will need to purchase some ingredients to use as dough conditioners to help make the bread lighter.

The vital wheat gluten can be found in the health food or whole wheat section of the store. The granulated lecithin is a supplement that I found at a health foods store, but could also be found at a supplement store such as GNC. You use very little of this in the recipe so if you are in the Evansville area and want to make bread just let me know and I would be happy to share. I just realized that I did not include a picture of the citric acid, but it can be found with canning supplies.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Next, homemade whole wheat pita bread. I tried pita bread from the store because it was supposed to be healthier, but it was tough and frankly I did not enjoy eating it. Then, I found this recipe and I cannot tell you how much better homemade pitas are than store bought. Again, they are not difficult, but just take some time to allow the dough to raise. Plus, it is so much fun to watch them raise in the oven. Again this recipe was taste tested and approved by my boys and is in demand from my husband as we speak. Please make sure that your yeast is fresh as the first time I tried this mine was old and the pitas did not raise. Very disappointing, but yummy flat bread.

I didn't know you could make your own English muffins. But, you can and they are YUMMY! Again, not hard, just need time to raise. And, you pan fry them in a skillet on the stove top and do not bake them. I chose to make mine completely with whole wheat pastry flour and they turned out very well.

So, my new sneaky ingredient is LOVE. Something that cannot be found on the labels of the store bought version.
Moral to the story - even though there is nothing "sneaky" in these recipes you can easily identify every ingredient that is in them and feel confident when you family is enjoying them.
Sorry, for the delay in posting new recipes. I have been working on this post for about three days now and just could not find the words.
Happy Baking!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins

My friend and neighbor, Jen, called last night. She had been at home yesterday with a sick kiddo and found herself with some extra time and decided to do some baking. She also decided to try to clean out the left-over baby food that her toddler no longer eats. So, she found a recipe that would allow her to bake and use up the left-over baby food. Success! She called to tell me that I just had to try this recipe and post about it on my blog. So, here you go!

I made these muffins this morning. I just happened to have some overripe bananas in the freezer that needed to be used. Just as Jen said, they were delicious! They were taste-tested and approved by myself and my son, by his teachers at pre-school, my friend Linda and the ladies who attended the Zumba class that I taught this afternoon and a few others along the way.

While Jen used baby food bananas for her muffins, I used a banana that I had in the freezer and just threw it in the blender. She used baby food carrots and I used orange puree (pureed sweet potatoes and carrots) that I had in the freezer. We both used flour blend instead of plain whole wheat flour. Slightly different ingredients, but the same result-healthy and delicious muffins!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we have. I even have some stuck in the freezer to take for snack next week at pre-school.
Just a reminder - all you have to do is click on the title of this post to access the recipe. Or click on the Recipes tab on the right sidebar.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Puree Party Schedule

Who wants to Party? Puree Party that is! Are you curious just what exactly a puree party is? Then just click here to check it out.

If you live in the Evansville area and want to join us then just click on the sign-up link and pick your date to attend.

The dates being offered right now are 9/29, 10/7, 10/14, 10/19, 10/29 - all from 8-11 pm.

Look forward to partying with you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

French Toast and Rocks

I made french toast for the first time today. I am not sure why I had never made it before, but nevertheless, it was a first. I made orange puree earlier in the week so that I could make a ton of chicken tenders to freeze and had some puree left over. My intention was to make applesauce muffins, but I discovered that I was out of brown sugar and therefore could not make muffins. I was determined to make something for breakfast that would use this orange puree. So, I looked through my cookbooks and discovered this simple recipe for french toast. Eggs, orange puree, cinnamon and whole wheat bread. Yum! There are a million variations of this recipe I am sure and I intend to try more, but this was a good start.

I almost forgot about the rocks. If you ever need to make some rocks, I have a great recipe. I attempted to make oatmeal raisin breakfast cookies, but instead ended up with, you guessed it, ROCKS. No taste, hard as a rock and just plain awful. They can't all be winners, right? Do you have a favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe to share? I would love to hear it!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday - No mess meatloaf

I love meatloaf. But, I certainly do not love mixing it up. If you are like me and don't like getting your hands dirty or cleaning up the mixing bowl later, then try placing all ingredients in a sealed plastic bag and smash/mush/smash/mush until the meatloaf is completely mixed.
Then, place in pan to cook. Toss the bag!

Also, I never just make one batch of anything. If I am going to make the mess then I might as well make it really big. This past weekend I made my favorite meatloaf recipe x 8.

Even if you don't have a ton of freezer space at least double the recipe so that you have dinner tonight and one to freeze for another night.

Another reason I love meatloaf, is that with this super healthy and tasty recipe I turned 8 pounds of lean ground beef and turkey into 16 pounds of meatloaf. Not only am I stretching the budget, but I am sneaking healthy ingredients such as old-fashioned oats, wheat germ and pureed broccoli, spinach and peas into dinner.
Don't forget to hop on over to Tammy's Recipes to check out more kitchen tips.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Quickie: We have frozen lots of seasonal berries this summer after going to the orchard to pick blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries. To make them easier to use at a later date, freeze them on a wax paper/parchment paper lined tray in a single layer for about an hour and then place in freezer bags.

Sorry no pictures this week.

If you want more kitchen tips head over to Tammy's Recipes and check out her new look.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies? Strawberries? Oatmeal? I am in!!!!

When I got my new Sneaky Chef cookbook this was one of the first recipes that I tried, but I was not a big fan. My husband liked these cookies, my son liked these cookies, my mom liked these cookies, but I thought they needed a little work. So, I waited a while to make them again. Quite a while. In fact, several months passed with a batch of these hanging out in my freezer. Then, my son requested strawberry cookies for snack at school and I decided I needed to get busy. I think I just didn't give this recipe a fair shake on my first attempt, because with very little modification that have met both my approval and my friends at Mommy and Me aerobics today. So, I thought that I should share this delicious recipe with you.

It is made with strawberry puree. Sounds fancy, but just take any strawberries that you are worried will go bad (doesn't happen often around here, but it is possible), wash and top them and throw them in a blender or food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water. Turn on the food processor until the consistency is smooth and you have strawberry puree. This can be frozen like other purees for future use.

The recipe calls for one cup of puree. I added just a smidge more. That is a technical and very specific measurement. Then when I baked them I sprinkled the tops with sugar. I used a one tablespoon Pampered Chef scoop to measure out the cookie dough and then about 1/4 teaspoon strawberry jam to fill the tops. The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each cookie, but my cookies must be a smidge smaller as there is no way that there is room for 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each one. I also baked them for about 10-11 minutes. My oven must run really hot, because the recipe calls to bake them for 25-28 minutes and they would have been crispy critters if I had left them in the oven that long. Also, I like my cookies a little soft and not too crunchy so I tend to bake them for a little less time, too. Please modify the time as appropriate for your oven.

I did freeze these in the dough form and they were just OK. I also tried making the dough the night before and baking in the morning and again they were just OK. I am going to try to freeze some fully cooked tonight to see how they turn out, but so far they are best made fresh and enjoyed then or shared with friends!

Moral to the story, don't give up on a recipe; try, try again!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This past weekend my son and I travelled to Kentucky to visit my mother and were fortunate to visit Reed Valley Orchard to pick blackberries. It is amazing to me how much sweeter they are when you pick them fresh as opposed to buying them in the store. Earlier this year we were also able to pick fresh blueberries, raspberries and black raspberries as well. At that time, I froze the blueberries and black raspberries and my mom and I made raspberry jam/syrup (supposed to be jam ended up more like syrup, but still delicious). Seth really enjoyed picking the berries, although I think that we ended up on the winning end of the deal as he ate as many in the orchard as he picked and were weighed so that we could pay for them. He does love fruit. After this visit, we made blackberry jam-YUM! You can see how beautiful the blackberries were:

Something I learned while at the orchard is that they sell imperfect apples. What I mean by imperfect is that they were not picture perfect. They had small spots on the peel or were an odd shape, but otherwise they were perfect apples. So, I bought a bushel of these "imperfect" apples for $6.75. Can you believe that? What a great deal! Always one for a great deal, but then I thought what am I going to do with that many apples? APPLESAUCE! These were the earli-gold variety and known for making great applesauce.

Most recipes for applesauce call for coring and peeling the apples, but I couldn't make myself cut off the healthy peel. So, we had a little experiment to see if we could make applesauce with the peels left on. I sliced and cored the apples using an apple wedger.

Then boiled them with a little bit of water and sugar. After making one batch of applesauce we decided to use even less sugar than called for in the recipe.

Then, the recipe called for putting the cooked apples through a food mill. Well, I don't own a food mill and neither does my mother and we also thought that sounded like a tedious process, so we threw it in our trusty food processor and VOILA . . .applesauce with peels and all.

Now, I am no expert canner. In fact, novice may be stretching my experience at canning, but Mom has canned her share of green beans, jams and soups. So, we canned our applesauce in a pressure canner. For more specific instructions on this entire process you could visit a website like this.

We did not add cinnamon or anything to the applesauce as I am planning on using it in some of my sneaky recipes, plus it just didn't need it. It was delicious and simple and homemade. What a feeling of accomplishment.
Planning on adding a real sneaky recipe soon, for those of you who have noticed that there has not been one of those added in a while.