Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grandma’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We sure had a wonderful time with family and friends. I am big on traditions and since we are still kind of newlyweds we are merging traditions we both grew up with into our own traditions. One tradition that Brian grew up was having his grandmother’s Snickerdoodle cookies every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember when my mother-in-law gave me the recipe after we had been dating for a couple of years and said I could bake his cookies for him every year now. It really made me feel as if I was part of the family. So if I didn’t bake his cookies for Thanksgiving I would have had a riot on my hands. As it is he has shared his cookies with his coworkers and now I bake dozens of cookies for them, too. This is a simple easy delicious cookie. Enjoy!

Grandma’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

• 1 cup Crisco shortening

• 1 ½ cups sugar

• 2 eggs

• 2 tsp cream of tartar

• 2 ¾ cups sifted flour

• ½ tsp salt.

• Cinnamon and Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In mixer, combine the Crisco, sugar, and eggs until well combined.

3. In a bowl, mix the cream of tartar, flour, and salt. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the mixer to combine with the wet ingredients.

4. When all ingredients have been combined into dough, roll the dough into small balls then roll in sugar and cinnamon. Place as balls on ungreased sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden in color.

On another note, that should not be related to the cookies at all (I only had one cookie, B had the rest) but I did have my weigh in over the holiday weekend. I lost another pound. I am now down 22 lbs. Yay! I have never lost weight over Thanksgiving before. It is very encouraging for the rest of the holiday season. We have my company’s holiday party next weekend and knowing I lost weight over Thanksgiving will help with the willpower to say no to all the bad stuff at the party. I am part of a no gain campaign at my gym, which basically is where we signed a contract to not gain any weight over the holidays. We don’t have to lose anything, just not gain any weight. I am one of the few that is currently maintaining the goal and that just boosts my esteem over the weeks to come.

Until Next Time,


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I just wanted to express how thankful I am for everyone and everything in my life. I am thankful for my husband who inspires me every day to be a better person, and my family for always supporting me. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Until Next Time,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hot Rolls

I have started my prep for Thanksgiving. This year the husband and I will be going over to my in-law’s house and have a late lunch there and then our traditional movie. I don’t know what movie we will see but hopefully there will be some good ones out. So since dinner will be at my in-law’s, I only have to bring a few sides. I am doing the traditional green bean casserole, the rolls, and snickerdoodle cookies. I will post the cookie recipe later this week but today I was looking for different roll recipe when I stumbled upon Pioneer Woman's recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Rolls.

These rolls were so simple and easy to make since they use frozen dough. I think instead of the rosemary and salt, I might make a mixture of honey and melted butter to spread on the dough. I think the family will like those a little better.

This recipe below comes from The Pioneer Woman.

Rosemary Sea Salt Rolls

• Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls

• Melted Butter, Regular, Salted

• Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped

• Coarse Sea Salt

1. Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.

2. After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.

3. Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

4. Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.

5. Serve skillet on the table.

Until Next Time,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Empty Bowl Luncheon

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay’s Annual Empty Bowl Luncheon. This is the 15th year that the annual event was held in a park in downtown Tampa. The Empty Bowl Luncheon is a fundraiser and awareness event that raised more than $70,000. For a $10 donation, each attendee received a lunch that included a half of cup of soup, a small apple, a little roll of bread, and water. This represents what most homeless and hungry people eat for an entire day. Each attendee receives their choice of a handmade pottery bowl that was created by local school children. My workplace bought our tickets for anyone who wanted to attend and I am so glad I went. It really makes you stop and think about how so many people are going hungry every day and what we could do to help. Since I forgot my camera at home, I had to take a picture of my handmade bowl from my phone at my work desk. Isn’t it so cute?

If you would like more information about this event, visit America's Second Harvest of Tampa Bay or this news article.
In these tough times, with job layoffs, the horrible economy, troops overseas, and everything else going on, I have to say that I am truly thankful for every opportunity I am given and I am overjoyed with everything that my family has as it is so much more than most. I am truly blessed.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekly Weigh In with Frustrations

So I totally missed last week’s weigh in, which was a loss of 1 pound. This week I haven’t loss anything. I am at the same weight. I feel so frustrated. Maybe I am paying for my loss of 5 pounds two weeks ago so now I am staying the same but I hate it. I am working so hard and it makes getting on the scale every morning difficult. My next thoughts involve a Biggest Loser Spoiler Alert so beware before you read. I feel like Rebecca from Biggest Loser last night. She is working so hard and then she only lost 3 pounds which for the biggest loser is the equivalent of my 1 pound, then no pound weight loss. Then she had to be sent home. She and Amanda are my inspiration on that show. Probably because they are younger like me, and were close to my starting weight but now with Rebecca gone, Amanda better win! However seeing Rebecca afterward running the half marathon was truly inspirational. So this coming up week even with the holiday I am going to make a double effort at the gym. I mean my holiday shopping is basically done so Friday I will be spending my time on the treadmill. If anyone has hints to help with these weight loss plateaus and how to deal with them, send them my way! I could use them.

So overall numbers, I am now down 21 lbs and currently weighing in at 219.

Until next time,


Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the Mood to Bake

Do you ever just get in the mood to bake? It usually happens to me every Sunday. I get into the mood to do some baking but with my diet I never want to eat it. The hubby gets to benefit. He has to work every Sunday so I spend the day doing laundry and baking some goodies for him to have after Sunday dinner and then he can take the leftovers to work the next day. This way I get to bake and not be tempted. So I went searching today to see what kind of baked good I could make. I found a cookie recipe over at Picky Palate that I knew my husband would love. It is a Chocolate Fudge Butterfinger cookie. He loves Butterfinger candy bars so this was perfect. Brian really loved these cookies. He says they are a cookie you have to have with milk. Enjoy and thanks to Picky Palate for providing me with a recipe for my baking urge.

Chocolate Fudge Butterfinger Cookie

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/4 cups cocoa powder ( Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder)

2 tsps. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Full size Butterfinger Bars, crushed

1 1/2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and use a cookie sheet with a silpat liner.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until well combined.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients then stir in crushed butterfinger and chocolate chips. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 9-11 minutes, should still be soft in center. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grown Up Spaghetti Sandwiches

Did you ever make sandwiches out of your spaghetti and bread when you were little? I sure did. My dad would put a loaf of bread with butter on the table and we would spoon our cut up spaghetti onto the bread and make sandwiches. I have taken this idea and made an adult version.

This meal is super quick and easy. One of the things I love about spaghetti night is that I know when I get home after my 10 hour shift that I will have a simple night of cooking. I really took advantage of that when the hubby and I first got married. We had the same spaghetti recipe every week. He got sick of it super quick. So now I just throw that spaghetti recipe into a sandwich and magically he likes spaghetti night again.

This is my entry into Presto Pasta Nights this week. Chaya over at Sweet and Savory Says It All is hosting so make sure you check out her page tomorrow to see all the delicious plates and bowls of pasta. I know I can’t wait.

Grown Up Spaghetti Sandwiches

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles (I used linguine this time, though)

1 jar of Spaghetti Sauce (I am not afraid to admit that I use jarred sauce when I need something fast)

1 lb ground lean ground beef

Basil, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Hoagie Style Rolls

Olive Oil

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, a handful will do

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil and cook spaghetti according to directions.

3. Season and brown the ground beef. Drain. Pour ground beef back in skillet and pour sauce over, stirring to combine. Add additional seasoning to taste.

4. While the spaghetti and meat sauce are cooking, hollow out the hoagie rolls.

5. After the spaghetti has drained, in a small bowl combine spaghetti and meat sauce. I also cut the spaghetti down to bite size pieces so it will be easier to eat the sub.

6. Place the hoagie rolls on a ungreased baking sheet. Scoop the spaghetti and meat sauce mixture into the hoagie rolls. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese. With a pastry brush coat the top of the hoagie rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.

7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is crunchy.

This recipe is so adaptable to any kind of pasta, sauce, cheese, bread, etc. Mix it up and enjoy. Plus there is tons of leftover spaghetti and meat sauce for lunch the next day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

This recipe came from a coworker. We were discussing ways to make our favorite items from a restaurant and how to make them cheaper at home. I know this economy is affecting everyone and cooking a home has been great for our budget and it has helped with my diet. This recipe isn’t super great for a diet but you can make it in small batches for better portions.
My coworker made this recipe over and over when she was little to get it perfect and I have to say she got it. The cheese melts perfectly and they are so crispy on the outside.

Restaurant Style Mozzarella Sticks
1 package of Polly-O Whole Milk Mozzarella
1 cup of Italian Style bread crumbs
1 egg
Olive Oil for frying

1. Slice the mozzarella cheese into what shape (slice, cube, any shape you choose).
2. In separate bowls, place the bread crumbs and egg. Make an egg wash with the egg. Use a fork to beat the egg until smooth. If the egg wash looks too thick, you can add a bit water to thin it out a little bit.
3. Dip the mozzarella in the egg wash and thoroughly coat.
4. Take the mozzarella and coat in the bread crumbs. Make sure the mozzarella is completely covered (unless you want your cheese to melt in the pan).
5. Place the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place only enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is at the correct temperature, fry the mozzarella until golden brown on both sides.
6. Serve and Enjoy.

Until Next Time,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Weekly Weigh In

So it’s been almost a week since I first told ya’ll about my diet and weight loss goals. So I am very excited to say that I have lost an additional 5 lbs. Woohoo! I’m doing my little happy dance. So now I am down 20 lbs total. I currently weigh in at 220. I know that I won’t have this amount of weight loss every week but my goal for next week is 2lbs. We will see how it goes. I did recently change up my workout plan. Now I get up in the morning at 5am to do my run Monday-Friday for 45 minutes. Then three days at lunch I do my 30 minutes of strength training. Finally I go to two classes a week. On Monday nights I go to Yoga and on Saturday morning I go to Spinning. Hopefully I can keep this up but we will see at next week’s weigh in. Until next week….


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Holy Macaroni Batman!

So when I say I am a picky eater, I mean extreme picky. It was especially bad when I was younger. It makes my father so mad now when he hears what kind of food I am eating or even trying. (By the way yes it was my Dad making the food; he was the best single father in the world.) When I was little, I would only eat plain noodles with just some butter and salt. Oh yeah, I also ate hot dogs. I was obviously not a foodie as a child. My Dad would always ask me if he could give me macaroni and cheese. I was adamant when I said no because cheese was not suppose to take the macaroni. Oh how wrong I was. I have truly seen the error of my ways.

However it wasn’t until recently that I actually made homemade macaroni and cheese. It was always from the little blue box before (but shh! don’t tell). So when Pioneer Woman had a recipe for macaroni and cheese, I just had to try it. The first time I made it exactly as the recipe said. Holy Macaroni Batman!!! That was a lot of macaroni and a lot of leftovers. So this time I cut the recipe in half. I also used whole wheat pasta to up our whole grain intake. Pioneer’s Woman’s recipe is below so if there are only two of you cut the recipe it half.

Macaroni and Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4 cups dried macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 heaping teaspoons dry mustard (more if desired)
1 egg, beaten
1 pound cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
*Optional spices: cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme

  • Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg.
  • In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
  • Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  • Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
  • Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  • Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  • Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
  • Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.Top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Not only was this a first time for making homemade Macaroni and Cheese, but this is my first entry into Presto Pasta Nights. Ruth at Once Upon a Feast has been running this weekly roundup for quite some time. She is the host this week and you should definitely visit her site on Friday when all the entires will be posted. I have always viewed the weekly recipes with mouthwatering awe. So I knew one of my first food blog posts had to be a entry into the Roundup. I can’t wait to see this week’s entries. I know I will be trying some out. Until next time……