Saturday, October 18, 2014

Free Yoga Workouts - Win

I was a nubbie yogi many lifetimes ago during university. It was a great way to stretch all the nursing school stress away. I sadly got out of it and have missed it. Now as I'm trying to get my better-than-before-baby body back, I'm trying it again for the days when I'm not doing cardio or weights.
This selection of videos is great. I tried it for the first time today and really enjoyed it

10 Free At Home Yoga Workouts for Busy Moms - or busy anyone, not just moms!

The yoga is for beginners, and as a very out of shape yogi I found the moves challenging but not too difficult I couldn't get through it or kept falling over. Each video is about 10 minutes, so you could easily do multiple videos to meek one long routine, or just one if you want to squeeze something in quickly in your day. All the videos link to YouTube and all work, so it's a good site.
I plan to repeat the first few for a week or two, then build as I become more familiar with the moves and form. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple Pie Cookies - Fail-ish

I love baking, if you haven't noticed. But when it comes to cookies, I rarely move away from my never-fail tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe. 
But with fall here and a preschooler to entertain, I find I'm baking more. So I needed to break out of my regular (but tasty) cookie rut. 
And what better way to celebrate fall with Apple Pie Cookies! Serious! Like pie but less effort. These Apple Pie Cookies taste fantastic, but they really don't store well.

Right out of the oven, these cookies are lovely. They totally remind me of warm apple pie. However, after 24 hours they start to get super soft. After a couple days they're nearly impossible to pick up because they're almost like dough again. They still taste awesome though!
Freshly Baked
Baked on a Tuesday, soggy but still tasty on Friday

I've made these cookies twice, adding slightly more flour, increasing the cooking time, decreased the cookie size, and changing the storage method and still ended up with the same doughy results after a few days. My theory is the apple pieces leech their water into the cookie making it soft and doughy. After a few days, they are so soggy they are difficult to even pick up because they just fall apart.

These cookies still taste fantastic. They'd be perfect for a bake sale or potluck where you could bake and consume them in the same day. If I make them again I may use parchment paper for storage, and try something to keep the apples from 'leaking' so to speak. 
So these cookies are a win for taste, but a fail for long term consistency and storage. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Microwave Potato Chips - Fail

Who doesn't love chips? Seriously. It's a problem, my love of chips. But they don't love me. Or maybe they love me too much, but just my hips. If you catch my drift. So microwave potato chips? Low on the fat, high on the taste! Seems too good to be true?

It is. 

This recipe needs some experimentation and I will update if I succeed in creating crispy tasty chips in my microwave. But for now, the 3 crispy 'chips' I received out of my one potato amid the soggy and the burnt isn't really doing it for me.
There are varying methods for this recipe which may explain the lack of success. Some say soak/rinse the potato slices first, some use oil and others don't, some use parchment paper. Cooking times vary between 3-6 minutes per side. 
I rinsed my potato slices, used a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, and placed the potato slices on a plate lined with parchment paper. I cooked the slices for about 10 min per side in 3-5 minute intervals in order to prevent burning. I only burned the last few. The rest were slightly crunchy on the outer edge but soft in the middle. Not very chip like. 

I plan to continue to experiment and I'll post my final successful recipe (if I get one). If anyone has suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken - win!

I'm slowly falling in love with my slow cooker. The whole "set it and forget it" dinner prep is very appealing. And this recipe is a fantastic addition to my slow cooker recipe book!

The Sesame Chicken recipe literally takes 10 minutes to prep. The sauce turns out lovely and thick, but a bit on the sweet side for our tastes. Next time I may add a bit more spice and cut down the sweetness, but that's just our preference. 
I made a few alterations to the recipe 

1) I replaced 1 tbsp of olive oil for sesame oil. I love the flavour it gives Asian style foods
2) I only added 1/4 cup honey because that is all I had. I added 1.5 Tbsp of brown sugar to make it up, but I may cut it down next time
3) Onion was replaced with onion powder (I forgot I had one)
4) Chili instead of flakes

This was a quick and easy recipe. Four chicken breasts made a huge amount, we had decent dinner portions and enough for left overs. Round out your meal with some quick brown rice and steamed veggies and it's the perfect weeknight dinner with minimal effort

I've made this recipe a few times now. It really tastes better and cuts on the sweetness if you can use real onion, so do so if you can. I'm not an onion fan, so I still reduced the amount and had good results. And 1/4 cup honey and 1-2 tbsp brown sugar was plenty sweet enough for us, so you can adjust this recipe to your own tastes. 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal - Clean Eating Win!

I love breakfast but I find it one of the most challenging meals of the day, especially during the week when my hubby is already off at work and I have myself and two kids, plus all the fur-children to wrangle and feed. So for me, something quick, healthy, and filling is needed so I can get everyone out the door on time.
A while ago I came across recipes for Overnight Oatmeal, otherwise called Summer Oatmeal since it is typically eaten cold. I was a little apprehensive about cold oatmeal, but this past week I decided to jump in and give it a try. 

A few notes about Overnight Oatmeal...
1) Despite all the images on Pinterest, a mason jar is NOT required for this to work. After some research, other people have used plain Tupperware with a lid, or like me, a regular bowl covered with cling wrap. 
2) You can use any type of oats. Steel cut oats will give a crunchy texture, quick oats a softer oatmeal. I've used Quick Oats and Large Flake Oats and both turned out great. The large flake was a denser more chewy oatmeal, and I prefer the quick oats. You can experiment as you like.
3) Speaking of experimenting, the flavor combos are ENDLESS! No getting bored with this oatmeal!

I've tried two versions of Overnight Oatmeal. You can also add flax seeds, chai seeds, nuts, protein powder...again the options are endless. Just look on Pinterest!

My Oatmeal recipes
The measurements are approximate with the exception of the oats and milk. Everything can be adjusted to taste. 

Have fun!

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter

1/4 cup oats
3/4 cup almond milk 
1/2 ripe banana (can be mashed in during prep or sliced on top before eating)
Couple tsp coco powder
1 tsp honey
Couple tsp peanut butter (I may end up heating it first next time so there won't be PB globs in my oatmeal)
Mix together, cover, and let sit in the fridge overnight
When ready to eat, give it a good stir, add any toppings you'd like and enjoy

Apple Cinnamon

1/4 cup oats
3/4 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 apple, chopped
Mix all ingredients except apple. Cover and let sit in fridge overnight. In am stir and add in apple.

Banana Nut

1/4 cup oats
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
In am add sliced banana and pecans/walnuts/almonds to oatmeal

Baked Ravioli - Weeknight win!

Meals that require minimal effort that yield a tasty meal are almost always a win. Crowd pleases are an added bonus. And since Munchkin's response to this dish was "Mommy this is amazing!", it's now on our regular menu. 

My version is a combo of two recipes. One is super basic, the other adds a few ingredients and time, but I found an extra 10 minutes of cook and prep adds a great dimension to the meal. 

The basic version is simply frozen ravioli, cheese and spaghetti/marinara sauce, layered and baked. The link is here
My preference is to use this recipe, repeated below, which adds some herbs and cream cheese to the sauce. I didn't get to add any fresh basil since our September snowfall killed my already stunted plant. 

Easy to assemble, just like lasagna

Spinach and cheese ravioli works great and makes this a totally vegetarian meal. I'd love to try with a beef ravioli if I can find one. But this 30 minute meal is amazingly cheesy, perfect with salad as a side. And the leftovers are just as tasty!
Cheesy goodness!

Sprinkle your serving with a little extra parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for a lovely weeknight meal, and enjoy!