Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 263 - Sugar Cravings

Sugar cravings have nothing to do with pregnancy for me. I have a natural disposition to sugar and I know better than to allow myself to get started with it. If I take even a small bite of something overly sweet (which is all the good stuff) I'm done for. It triggers this need, and I know biologically and metabolically it has to do with blood sugar levels and with a bad, deeply ingrained unhealthy relationship I have with food in general, but particularly sugar.

I had to ask my husband to remove the sweets form the house again yesterday. What was here was mostly just remnants of the holidays... but it's like a gateway drug for me.

I'm having a hard time getting back on track with eating. My appetite is off and I'm craving more filling type things right now, which may or may not have to do with baby. I need to get my head screwed back on straight. I didn't do an official weigh in this past Sunday as I hadn't been following the plan most of last week, thinking that I would be told to drop it once I met with my midwife. She said to keep eating the way I have been-healthfully-and pay attention to needing more food. So I ate like an emotion mess last week (and the last couple days) and I've gained weight. Granted, my body is not fully processing food as efficiently right now (read constipation if you've been pregnant before...you know how this goes) which has something to do with what the scale showed me this morning. I'll fill y'all back in this upcoming Sunday. Back on the scale. Back to responsibility.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 262 - Gossamer Griddle Cakes

For my eighteenth birthday, realizing I had a penchant for cooking and baking, my best friend gave me my first cookbook. It is filled with all-American type dishes for every meal of the day. I found a 'griddle cake' recipe (pancake) and gave it a try; the were scratch and I never thought I would really make the time to prepare these over using a boxed mix. It's the only way I'll serve pancakes now. They were Christmas breakfast : )

This is the quantity produced by a double batch.
Gossamer Griddle Cakes 
(from 365 All-American Favorites by Sarah Reynolds)
Makes 8 fluffy griddle cakes

  • 1.5 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • .5 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1.25 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a medium bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and milk together with a fork to combine. In another bowl, whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until they are stiff but not dry.
  3. Stir the milk and yolk mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened, the batter will still have lumps. Stir in the melted butter. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites. (The batter will still be lumpy, this is ok, you don't want to overwork the flour--it will become tough)
  4. Coat a griddle with non-stick spray or a very light film of butter and heat to medium. Once a drop of water sizzles on the surface of the griddle, you are ready to pour your batter. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to pour even amounts each time. Cook until the edges are dry, the bubbles have formed little holes in the top of cake, and the bottoms have become gold brown, then flip. About 3 minutes per side.
  5. Cover with your favorite pancake topping and enjoy!
I love this recipe! They are thick and fluffy and have unbeatable flavor! No other pancake is ever served out of my kitchen, and I get requests for (extended) family breakfasts based on these.

This recipe, portioned into 8 servings (the 1/3 cup each pour) is 4 points per griddle cake for Weight Watcher's. This does not include any toppings you may want to add... and who doesn't want some blueberry compote on these?!?

Serve 'em hot, butter them right away and they just melt in your mouth...  *drool*

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 260 - Two Surprises

I had medical issues in October. I though it was the period from hell--it was a miscarriage. It wasn't an easy thing to deal with and it messed up my hormones and appetite for quite a while (not to mention my emotions). And as soon as I though I had gotten passed the ups and downs of the physical repercussions, They came back a few weeks ago. But this time...


As of today, I'm 6 weeks and 5 days along with a due date of August 14th. I'll be delivering on August 8th though (I've had 2 c-sections before and am no longer a candidate for VBAC). We are very, very, very excited to welcome our 3rd child into the family!

And yes, I'm going to be able to continue eating the way I have been, being mindful of hunger and signs that my body may need something more. But my healthy eating habits (minus this past week... ugh!) will make the baby happy and give him/her lots of nutrients to grow health and strong. And it will help keep my feeling the best I can. My last two pregnancies I ate whatever, whenever... No holds barred. Mighty Taco at 1am? SURE! (Buffalonians know what I mean : )  ) Ice cream for breakfast? Why not, I'm prego! Well not this time. I've got a plan!

Now for my second surprise... This one's not terribly off the mark for what I usually give you, but it is the completely unleashed dessert (unleashed meaning I did nothing to make it healthier) that I'm serving for our family's Feliz Navidad style dinner- Mexican! So I give you, Pastel Imposible!

Pastel Imposible (ChocoFlan) 
(This recipe is adapted from an AllRecipes.com formula as suggested by a reader from Southern Mexico. The original was a straight flan, she suggested adding the chocolate cake to make what is know there as Pastel Imposible--Impossible Cake)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box cake mix prepared, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe prepared
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquified and golden in color. (If you have never cooked sugar this way using the wet method is easier and more controlled; see the video at the bottom of the recipe for how-to instructions). Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish.
  4. Prepare your chocolate cake mix and lay it gentle over the surface of the egg mix. If you touch your spoon or spatula to the edge before dragging the cake batter over it will form a nicer blanket, making it easier to fully cover the egg mixture. It's important to completely cover the surface and touch the edges of the dish for a uniform and even piece of cake on the bottom.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes set in a hot water bath (similar to baking a cheesecake). Let cool completely.
  6. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool. 
I used individual portion cups (ramekins) to make my recipe, but you can prepare it in a larger round to make cut and serve portions. The caramel sugar method shown in the video below is for  preparing the sugar right in the flan pan. For individual portions cook the sugar in a sauce pot and pout into the individual cups.

Day 260...

It'll be here at 4:00 pm eastern time : ) I haven't forgotten. And it's good! (If you think you may not remember to come back, sign up for my RSS feed. It'll send it to your email inbox when I post. Then you'll never miss a an update (or HUGE update) again!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 259 - Big Things Tomorrow

I have two treats for you tomorrow...

One is food.

The other is not.

They are both amazing ways to enjoy Christmas. 

Stop by to find out why : )

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 256 - A Slow Reveal

I'll tell you all soon. Promise.

In the mean time, I've eaten too many Christmas cookies. They are my kryptonite. I know better than to make them and have them hanging around the house. Alas...

I am a little sick of them now though. So I think I can move on. I tracked them and took responsibility for my splurge--which I AM aloud to have, by the way. You can eat these things and still lose weight (have I mentioned this before?).

Hershey Kiss Peanut Butter Blossoms are my weakness at Christmas time. I baked a bunch for some good friends, and a few extra for me... Kara, step away from the cookie!

What holiday items are your kryptonite? Tell the world, take charge and own it! (Please do share, so I don't feel like the only cookie monster out there...)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 255 - I'm Going To Have To Be A Tease

...for this post.

I did go to the doctor yesterday and I do have answers. I just can't share them quite yet. I have to talk with a couple other people and then I'll share with you, my readers. This will affect my efforts in losing weight... but I have a plan!

(I know! I'm such a tease. It's unfair. Trust me, I can hardly wait to tell you!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 254 - Today's Plans

Off to the doctor we go, to try to figure out once again if my medical issues are back or not.

Tomorrrow I will hopefully be able to fill everyone in.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 253 - 3 Great Things About Weight Loss

Down another 2.2 lbs : ) I'm feeling good again!

And now, my top 5 favorite things about losing weight:

Number 3
As my body gets smaller, my boobs look bigger. (see my boob post) This week a friend took notice of this and commented on my seemingly growing boobs. (I measure them weekly--trust me, if they were growing I'd know it). Being in better proportion works wonders for the lady curves!

Number 2
Seeing you thighs slowly stop hanging out so closely anymore. Can't wait for the day when they no longer touch while I walk. Sounds odd right? Not so much- ask Susan Powter.

Number 1
I'll admit it, I've become quite addicted to the attention. But it's in a good way, it's motivating and empowering. It reaffirms what I have a hard time acknowledging sometimes: that I have done something pretty big and pretty great. It helps keep my head focused when I can only see what still isn't perfect. Some women don't like the attention. I love it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 252 - I'm Feeling Off

My appetite is just off. It fluctuates daily from none to outrageous.

Food doesn't taste right right now.

I;m still focusing on my GHGs and eating within my range when my appetite is crazy, and getting in whatever I can when I'm not really digging food. Eh. I'm convinced this has something to do with medical issues...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 249 - Eating

As soon as I think that perhaps my body has begun to level out, and my appetite begins to return to a more reasonable level, it continues to drop through the floor.

I'm thinking that the medical issues have not passed, but that they have swung to the other side of the pendulum...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 248 - The Mirror and Self Image

I get it. I've passed the 60 pound mark and when I look back at pictures from less than a year ago, I can't believe the difference! It truly IS amazing. But each day I have a hard time convincing myself that I no longer look that way. I spent years hating what I saw everyday in the mirror. I had many reasons to be unhappy about my reflection. It's hard to break out of that mindset.

What brought this up? Today, again, I looked in the mirror and caught myself thinking how fat I looked. I wasn't happy with what I saw and started getting self-conscious. WHAT AM I DOING THIS FOR?!?!?!?! Look how far I've come! Look at what I've accomplished already! Why can't my sensibility catch up to reality? It's really kind of ridiculous.

I have my moments where I feel like a fox (ask my good friend Steph who got to see me moments after a catching myself in the right light in a bathroom mirror, it was priceless!). But there are many more self-conscious moments than I care to admit to. And they seem to have only taken hold very recently--and strongly. Like the last 3 weeks recently. Perhaps I need to investigate why that is...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 245 - Weigh In Day & BACK IN THE GAME!!!!

I was just about to say "Well, it's Christmas. And I love baking about 12 different types of cookies--about 200 dozen. So I'm going to just deal with what the holidays will do to my weight. Eh. It's Christmas." Not so fast Kara...

I am SO back in the game this week! I made it below 190, the right way this time! A loss of 2.4 pounds this week, putting me back on track to get to goal. I needed this today, my motivation (and clearly my commitment) was waning.

In the beginning of October I had some medical issues arise that really put my body through some un-fun stuff, and has left my metabolism and hormones in a bit of a tizzy. I'm starting to notice a good change in my appetite and the power of cravings has declined. Those things along with this lose tell me that my body is beginning to return to a more normal state. Finally. : )

And if you're one of my Sunday reviewers and haven't yet had a chance to catch up my week, please read below for some great recipes (including Skinnier Bananas Foster French Toast) and the post immediately below this one--it was written by a guest blogger and friend of mine at the CIA. His article is something that is so important for us think about when we purchase food. Please take a few moments to read, especially this time of year.

Thank you all for continued support and encouragement! You all play a role in my dedication to this journey. You mean more to me than you may know : )

This week--I will be starting some Christmas cookie baking, but I have revised and reduced my typical production (I sound very professional industry there, I'm sorry, sometimes I just can't turn it off) and my famous sour cream cut-out have made the cut for this years bake off (pun intended). Stay tuned for some food pron. Yum.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 244 - Fareez Dosani and Fair Trade: A Chef's Perspective

Hello all! As I promised, a friend and colleague--Fareez Dossani-- is my first guest blogger. Please extend him a warm welcome and a few moments of you time.

And enjoy!

FAIR TRADE: A Chef's Perspective

What an exciting time to be a part of the hospitality industry! Chefs are revolutionizing the way the entire world is eating. Never have we, as a society, been so conscious of our food. It’s great that Americans are beginning to question where there food is coming from, but we must become more well-informed, and ask if the food we purchase is fairly traded. The local food movement has made great strides in reducing carbon footprints and teaching civil society to take advantage of the resources available at our fingertips. But we thrive on those commodity products which cannot grow on American soil such as coffee and chocolate, this is where the notion of fair trade comes into play. Generally speaking, the global population is unaware of the labor-intensive process that takes place in order to produce that sweet cup of morning joe, which fuels our groggy mornings and those midday slumps.

Imagine waking up to a nicely brewed, fresh cup of Nicaraguan coffee. Now imagine waking up and instead of walking into the kitchen having to walk into your backyard in order to pick your own coffee beans. After several hours of hard work you realize that you have some extra coffee beans left. So you head to your neighbor’s house to sell him the rest. He opens the door and hands you 3 cents for the entire pound. How would that make you feel? It’s unfair how much back breaking labor coffee farmers endure in order to make just a few pennies. Fair trade creates the opportunity for framers and their communities to flourish in poverty stricken countries. It creates the chance for a better quality of life. Something we take for granted just like that freshly brewed cup of Nicaraguan coffee.

Photo rights: newswireni.com
 What the practice of fair trade does for poverty stricken countries is create a democratic society within each community. So how does the selling and trading process work? All farmers in the area pool together resources and labor to certify there harvest, which in turn, is sold on the market with a price floor. For a small fee, the certifier company provides avenues for these farmers to get there products on the market without having the hassle of going through often corrupt middle men. Those middle men eat away at the farmers’ profits. Fair trade guarantees the farmer a fair wage for their product, and those monies are distributed throughout the community. In a democratic process the community decides if they want to build schools, hospitals and other community infrastructure. The fair trade movement is providing education to children, aiding in healthcare, empowering women, helping create safe working conditions, alleviating generational poverty, and, most importantly, giving back these individuals their dignity.

I am proud to say that the Fair Trade-@-The CIA community has gone to great lengths to establish a fair trade committee here on campus. Our team of inspired and dedicated students and faculty are committed to bringing awareness of fair trade and its impact on poverty-stricken countries to the student body. Through lectures, demonstrations and tastings, we’ve introduced fair trade products to visiting guests, faculty as well as the student body. We are also working to implement strategies so that the campus would be considered for fair trade status.

We have been successful in facilitating and organizing the following events:
• May 14th, 2011 World Fair Trade Day Brunch: The student body was invited to attend a brunch made with fair trade organic and local ingredients. Dishes such as fair trade coffee and spice rub steak w/ eggs, local wild hive polenta grits, fruit and yogurt parfait with fair trade honey, pineapple, and bananas, and fair trade beverages were highlighted.
• May 21st, 2011 CIA Birthday Bash: In an effort to celebrate The CIA’s 65th birthday, Fair Trade competed with three other clubs on campus (Gourmet Society, Expedition Thailand, Skills USA) in an event to see which club would receive the most votes for the best dishes made. The club supplied the students with three types of ice cream: fair trade chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. We did not win the competition, but we definitely ran out of ice cream. A most successful turnout with approximately 300 individuals in attendance.
• June 6th-June 10th: the club sponsored Organic Fair Trade coffee for the entire student body and faculty. Each day a different region of the world was highlighted to introduce the Culinary with premium coffee, while receiving direct feedback through surveys.
• Future
Thanks go out to our club advisor, Assistant Professor in Liberal Arts David Flynn, who has inspired and mentored us from the very beginning. Please reach out to us and offer insight or tell us about your fair trade experience. We want to hear from you!

Fareez Dossani
Founder & President
Fair Trade-@-The CIA

• It takes 4,000 hand-picked coffee beans to produce 1 pound of coffee.
• Small coffee farmers receive less than four cents for each $3.35 latte sold in the US.
• In Fair Trade Agreements, forced labor and exploitative child labor are not allowed.
• All Fair Trade coffees, teas, and chocolates must use environmentally sustainable growing methods.
• Fair Trade is a partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade.

For more information on how Fair Trade certified foods help fight poverty, support education, provide health care, empowers women, protects the planet, and builds businesses in 3rd world countries, please visit:

It's so important that we feed ourselves sustainably and responsibly. Our dollars should satisfy so much more than our own cravings--they should satisfy a virtuous cycle of business intermingled with life. Think about it over your next morning cup of joe or chocolate bar. It matters. ~ Kara

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 243 - What I've Been Up To

I have some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks! Exciting foor me and exciting (I hope) for you, my readers : )

I am in class with some amazingly talented and intelligent people. And we all think about the same main thing most days---food. It's the reason we're at The Culinary Institute of America. We get to know each other's viewpoints before too long; we understand where people come from what their 'angle' is. So I've asked to tap into their opinions.

A handful of fellow culinarians will be guest writing on my blog during the next few weeks. They have different focuses on food, different viewpoints, and different topics that matter deeply to them. Everything from where our food comes from, weight loss, and fun cocktails. I think this is a win-win situation seeing as food affects us all and getting a different perspective on something we may take for granted can only better the world.

The first guest writer i will be featuring will be Fareez Dosani. Fareez is the founder and President of Fair Trade @ The CIA. Haven't heard the term 'fair trade' before? You will be hearing much more about it in the very near future as the food and hospitality industry is becoming more acutely aware of who is responsible for bringing commodities such as coffee and chocolate to America, and how the growers are compensated for their labor. To make it wonderfully easy to understand, let me quote one of my two new favorite chocolatiers: Theo Chocolate.
Our founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical, sustainable fashion. We believe that every gold medal we win is a testament to both our commitment to excellence and to the people and families who grow and harvest our cacao. The social benefits of Fair Trade are far reaching. The child who gets adequate nutrition and access to healthcare and education today also gains access to a world of opportunities. Fair Trade enables farmers to take their livelihoods to the next level in sophistication, blending the benefits of modern techniques with artisanal practices, while participating in greater social change through the democratic Fair Trade cooperative organization.
Stop by tomorrow to get familiar with my first guest blogger--I promise, you'll never look at chocolate or coffee the same : )

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 242 - Potato Mille Feuille

Mille Feuille - FRENCH for 'thousand leaves,' usually associated with a puff pastry dessert.

For our purposes we will use it to refer to an amazing potato dish I had while at The Herbfarm just outside of Seattle. I made mine slightly less refined, a technique we like to call 'rustic.' That mostly means that it isn't dressed up for the ball, it's going to line dancing instead.

This recipe and technique I will continue to fuss with to try to get it as close to what I remember as possible. So this is the current version. Let's call it Potato Mille-Feuille Version 1.o.

Potato Mille-Feuille (Version 1.o) 
The key to this dish is getting the potato slices exactly the same thickness throughout; this can be tough which is why I use a slicer.
  •  4 medium Russet potatoes
  • 3 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • non-stick spray
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Lightly coat a glass loaf pan (9" x 3" x 3") with non stick spray. Wash and peel potatoes.

2. Using a slicer (like in the picture), or using a sharp
knife painstakingly carefully, slice the potatoes to 1/8 inch thick.

3. Begin staggering and stacking the potato in the baking dish, leaving as few gaps as possible. Fill up the dish this way; it should get a little tight by the end.

4. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the potato slices, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. To check doneness, insert a fork at a 45 degree angle in the center of the dish; if it slides nicely in without resistance it's ready.

6. Enjoy! This would be good with the potatoes being seasoned before they are stacked with herbs to compliment the rest of the meal, or with a sauce or gravy. It can be dressed up (to go with filet mignon) or it can relax (with meatloaf and gravy). I'll let you know how it evolves for me : )

Serves 5: 4 Points Plus for Weight Watcher's

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 241 - Cauliflower Polonaise

I never liked cauliflower. I never gave it a shot really, until I enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America. Even though I am proudly a graduate of the Baking and Pastry program there, I was required to take a basic culinary skills class to begin my kitchen education. We learned some basics like knife cuts (julienne, brunoise, baton, dice...) and heat applications with protein (how to cook meat in various ways) as well as some yummy side dishes and soups that will be a part of my kitchen forever. Thank you Chef Klug!

So today I introduce you to the reason I changed my mind about cauliflower...

Cauliflower Polonaise 
  • 1 head cauliflower, florets removed (break them off, don't cut them... they look prettier)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 hard boiled egg, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1. Place cauliflower florets into a 3 quart sauce pot with the milk. Fill the pot to 3/4 full with cool water.

2. Bring the cauliflower to a boil, uncovered, and boil until fork tender (the acid in the milk helps keep the cauliflower from oxidizing or discoloring). Drain the water and reserve.

3. Place the butter in a medium-large frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Brown the butter by continuing to cook until the butter is no longer sizzling. (It's browning when it gets quiet).

4. Add the bread crumbs and the chopped egg and toss around the pan with a spatula to coat and heat.

5. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat.

6. To serve, scoop into a serving dish, lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and parsley (optional).

2 PointsPlus for Weight Watcher's and equals one serving of vegetables.

I have forever changed my tune about cauliflower...
This pairs great with red meat as a replacement for potatoes (to cut down on carbs and starch).

Tomorrow: Potatoes Mille Feuille (mille feuille means 'thousand layers or sheets' and usually is used to refer to laminated pastries like puff dough)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 240 - How to Boil an Egg 101

This is not as simple as it seems. At least not if you like perfectly yellow yolks every time--none of that greenish/grayish outside. A few simple steps observed religiously each time you need a hard boiled egg will give you fail-proof results. (This is the prelude to Cauliflower Polonaise, tomorrow's recipe feature!)

How to Boil an Egg 101

  • Begin with a cold egg and a pot. Place the cold egg into the empty pot and cover with cold water by at least one inch. Just trust me. 

  •  Add 1 tsp white vinegar and bring to a rolling boil.

  • Allow to boil for only 1 minute.

  •  Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and set a timer for 20 minutes.

  • When your timer tells you 20 minutes  have passed, remove the egg to an ice water bath and allow to cool there (about 10 minutes).

Voila! Perfect egg every time! And this beautifully boiled egg will come in handy for tomorrow's dinner side dish--Cauliflower Polonaise.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 239 - Kara's Skinnier Bananas Foster French Toast

Oh, yes I did. And after reading this you will, too!

I was in the mood for a sweet and indulgent breakfast, but I didn't want a ton of sugar or fat. I got creative... With the use of turbinado sugar--a.k.a. Sugar in the Raw--I lowered the sugary impact on my diet. Using just a touch of rum I created a rich and intense flavor. It satisfied my want for something indulgent, was just the right size, had one serving of fruit and made me feel like I was being naughty ; )

Kara's Skinnier Bananas Foster French Toast

I made this recipe for one, but simply double your ingredients for a guest.

  • 1 large banana
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cap full of rum
  • 1 whole egg, beaten well
  • 1 slice of reduced calorie whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Peel and slice your bananas as shown, once lengthwise and once cross wise. Beat the egg, vanilla and cinnamon together.

2. Place the butter and turbinado sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat. As the butter melts, stir the sugar and butter together to begin to dissolve.

3. Once the mixture begins to bubble, add bananas to the pan cut side up. Allow to cook for about 1 minute over medium heat.

4. Flip the bananas with a spatula, cut side down. Add the rum. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the bottoms caramelize and are golden brown. The sauce will have thickened quite a bit.

5. While the bananas are caramelizing and the sauce is reducing, coat each side of the whole wheat bread in the beaten egg mixture and pan fry as any other french toast. (Medium heat in a non-stick frying pan)

6. Top the slice of French toast with the bananas and pour the syrup from the pan over top. No need for any additional butter, syrup or dusting sugar. It's already there : )

7 PointsPlus for Weight Watcher's as prepared--and worth every last point!

This is addicting...

Day 238 - Weigh In Day

A loss is a loss. Though hard to accept at only 0.4 pounds down. It is better than gaining or maintaining. I did something right last week.

I feel like my year is closing in on me and I've lost the momentum I had. This bothers me. Not because I might miss my 365 day goal, but because I've allowed things to get in my way and was conscious of it happening.

After following up with a doctor since having some medical problems in October, I know that my body has yet to get back to it's normal balance. My estrogen levels are too high right now which I've been able to link to uncontrollable eating. I troll the kitchen for sweet, then salty, then sweet, then salty. Nothing is satisfying me and I've lost the ability to discern between feeling full and feeling hungry (sounds odd, but I've this issue in the past and getting past it has been part of my success in losing weight). I need to get onto medicine to bring these levels down, which will help bring my appetite back to my normal levels.

Also, I've known that exercise would be key in creating a sustainable weight loss pattern--and I've neglected to do so. I hate running. Hate. Withe a capital 'H' kind of hate. I've never liked it (ask most girls who play softball or volleyball in school what their least favorite method of punishment from the coach is... it's usually having to run the bases and run lines, respectively; true for most of the gal's I teamed with in school). But I feel like I need to get past this as It would probably be the easiest way for me get activity in daily. I'm thinking of the Couch to 5K running plan--or C25K if you're in the know, and now you are : ). I was an athlete through most of my younger years and I know I can do this. Some people who don't like running before they start end up loving it and find it to be the best part of everyday. So I'm thinking let's give it a try. I have had many women swear by this program, most recently a couple of very good friends of mine. I trust them--they want to see me succeed in hitting my goal. Many of the blog pages on my links tab have women who focus on eating healthy

So, let's stop chatting about it, and start doing something about it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 236 - Struggles

I'm having a hard time with wanting to eat the proper foods. I could easily blame it one the amazing 3 weeks trip I recently returned from (based on eating and drinking wine for the better part of each day during the 3 weeks). But I have to blame it on me...

I knew that I would need to adjust many things about my lifestyle to make this weight loss doable, long term and sustainable. I have ignored my own better judgement and haven't worked physical activity into my lifestyle. Why does that have anything to do with eating the proper foods? Let me illuminate.

I should be doing this...
When you are more physically active, specifically when you exercise, you need to eat more to fuel your how much energy you're using. This is great! This means eating more (and who doesn't want to eat more and lose weight) and being able to indulge a bit. On Weight Watcher's, you earn Activity Points for the physical things you do, which are then able to be exchanged to eat more, or slightly higher point value foods (yes, the points and calculating seems tedious and obnoxious to some, but I'm a closet office nerd and love this stuff!). This is part of what makes this new lifestyle easier to transition into--not feeling deprived! When you feel deprived on when trying to lose weight, binges and other self-defeating behaviors ensue. So instead of eating all of my veggies one day, I ate 1/3 of my points in chocolate...

I also haven't set myself up for success since I've been home from my trip. I have my trigger foods surrounding me (which is my own doing and no one else's) and have developed a craving again for sugar that had subsided.

Instead, I'm eating this.

What am I going to do about this?

I've already started by admitting this to my very supportive hubby. I've told him that sugar is becoming a problem again, and that I hid 2 amazing milk chocolate bars from him so that I wouldn't lose any to his sweet tooth. I asked him to remove the problem foods from the house (and I disclosed where everything was and which 'normal' pantry items would taunt me requiring their removal). This was done in a moment of clarity. I'm going to get sugar crazy again before I kick the cravings and I'm prepared for it.

Do you have a sugar problem, too? Perhaps in the form of chocolate, or ice cream, or Buttered PopCorn JellyBelly Jelly Beans? (<---- me again)  Let this comment section be your Sugar Addicts Anonymous! Tell the world and then take control!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 235 - The Glorious Vanilla Bean

But first, an update. So far this week I'm doing better about being mindful of my eating, and it feels really good, empowering type good, to be getting that small portion of my life back in control. It's amazing how one area of chaos spills over into another. Maybe eating in control will lead to my laundry being under control, too. A girl can wish...

So. The vanilla bean. The wondrous fruit of the Orchidaceae family of orchids (I didn't just make that up, click to learn about the vanilla orchid). Even though I could go on ad nauseum about the scientific and botanical importance of this fruit, I will refrain. I will instead tell you what I like to do with it!

A vanilla bean, split and scraped.
That mass of darkness is where it's at. Those are the tiny little 'seeds' inside the vanilla bean. They are the little black specs you see in vanilla bean ice cream, or in creme brulee or cheesecake. They are not the only useful part of this pod though. Never discard those wonderful bean pods! They can be steeped in milk for pudding or scratch made hot cocoa. Or you can make your coffee just a little bit more wonderful...

Awesome vanilla/coffee idea number one: Get a little mason jar (the kind you use to make homemade jam) and place your scraped vanilla bean pod(s) in and fill the jar with white granulated sugar. Give it a couple weeks and the sugar will be infused with the vanilla essence. Use the sugar in coffee, gentle black or white teas, on top of sugar cookies for baking... Or any other sugar application that would benefit from a hint of vanilla. No need to toss the vanilla pods out after they have mingled with the sugar for two weeks, I've left mine in for more than six months and they simply continue to impart their aroma and flavor into the sugar.

Idea number two: infused coffee!

My favorite at home brew in the background, Peet's Coffee (Major Dickason's Blend). Not widely available--yet--on the East coast (a staple on shelves on the corners of intersections in the Pacific Northwest), but if you can find it, give it a try. It won me over after the first sip.

I have a Keurig coffee machine that is like my left arm... I don't know what I'd do without it on the mornings that I'm not on campus at Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. It's my coffee buddy. It makes a freshly brewed individual cup every time, and it only takes 30 seconds! Now, you can buy prepackaged 'K-Cups' that are already measured out coffee/tea/cocoa, insert, press a button and enjoy--which I do. You can also get a nifty little attachment for under $10 and fill it any time you like with your favorite at home blend (like Peet's). And I figured why not add something else as it works it's magic?

Vanilla bean seeds! I scraped them and added them along with the coffee grounds to the cup for my coffee and brewed away...

There's my Keurig and my new favorite coffee mug from another Pacific Northwest institution, Seattle's Best Coffee (which is incidentally owned by Starbucks, and which I prefer to their powerful and popular big brother corporation).

Mmmmmmmmm!!! Add a little vanilla bean infused sugar, a touch of milk (or not) and you've made a pretty special cup of coffee.  A very simply way to indulge without having to explain it to your hips : )

What's your favorite at home brew? And how do you jazz it up?

Day 234 - And Life Gets In The Way

Then again, how could life really get in the way of life?

Either way, had a sick little guy yesterday so my post on vanilla bean goodness took the back seat...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 233 - Kara's Cheesecake Story

Once upon a time, a pastry chick named Kara (how coincidental!) decided to grace a birthday boy with cheesecake. Cheesecake was one of his favorite things, especially Kara's--no one made cheesecake quite like her (good thing they were married). So Kara set out upon a task, to create yumminess without fighting against her waistline. This is how she did it...

A typical view from inside my Kitchenaid bowl.
Kara's Killer Cheesecake (adapted)  

*To make individual servings like I have, you can use creme brulee cups like I have here, or small mason jars--the ones used for canning jams and preserves--to control portions and create a quicker bake and refrigeration time.*
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  •  14 Oreos, finely crushed (or 1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs)
  • 16oz. reduced fat cream cheese (room temp.)
  • 2 large eggs (room temp.)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla bean seeds scraped from half of a Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean (or just add another squirt of vanilla extract if you can't find this in the spice section at your grocery store)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F degrees. Place individual serving cups staggered on a cookie sheet.

2. Melt butter till completely liquid and combine with the Oreo crumbs. Divide the crumb mixture evenly between all cups and gently pat down the mix inside the cups (don't pack it down or it become too hard to break into with a spoon).

3. Bake these for 6 minutes. Remove form oven and let sit at room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F degrees.

4. Set a pot of water to boil while you begin making the cheesecake mixture--you'll need it for the water bath while they bake.

5. Blend the cream cheese and sugar well in the bowl of a standing mixer on low speed till there are no lumps.

6. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well and scraping the bowl between additions. Scrape the bowl before adding the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, salt and lemon juice. Blend well again.

7. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly between the cups, careful not to drip the mix along the sides of the cups. Tap them each lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles.

Staggered and mostly filled.

8. Stagger the cups evenly inside a medium baking pan (the pan should be deep enough to allow for the water to be poured half way up the sides of the cups). Before adding the water to the pan: pull out the oven rack and place the pan with the cups onto it--then carefully pour the water. Be careful not to splash water inside the cups (removing one cup from near the edge and pouring water carefully there will allow enough room to avoid most splashing).

*if you can't do a water bath baking method because you haven't learned how to boil water, or whatever the case might be, turn your oven down to 225F degrees for baking*

9. Bake approximately 20 minutes. The cheesecake should NOT have any brown color to the top, and should still look mostly wet (not dried out) and should still jiggle in the center when the pan is lightly moved about (think Jell-O Jiggler commercials).

10. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours at this size (8 hours if you make this recipe for a single 6 or 8 inch round).

11. Try to share with others. You do have 10 individual servings after all...

Kara, the pastry chick, felt very strongly about proper cheesecake. There were just some rules that she wished everyone would follow so the world could be a better place when it comes to cheesecake, like: never over-bake it; no browning on top; jiggly is good; and share it.

Yes, I do eat these absolutely yummy things. They do fit within my lifestyle. I don't eat them everyday, but I'm consciously aware of what their impact is on my daily food intake and how my body burns them versus whole foods.

Losing weight doesn't mean losing the foods you love ; )

Happy birthday darling! They're all for you... But please share <3

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 232 - Weigh In Day

It wasn't horrible. I gained .4 pounds. It could have been a no gain/no loss week had I abided by my GHGs (Good Healthy Guidelines). I missed most of my veggies/fruits, didn't get my dairy in most days, and may as well have been in the Sahara for all the water I drank.

But, what did I expect? Nothing less than this actually. I'm owning this small, though significant, gain and am going to take care of it. Here's my action plan for the week, beginning today:

      • Clear the kitchen of trigger foods (chocolate, desserts)
      • Get more fruits and veggies to have on hand
      • Make a dinner plan for the entire week (for the whole fam)
      • Make a daily meal plan for me for the week
      • Get a master 'To-Do' list accomplished and stick to it
My meal plan will be posted later today--accountability.

These things are key to my success in changing my lifestyle. When I set myself up for success, I succeed. That's what I need to get back to.

Let's do it! 

Later that day... (my weekly meal plan I promised)

See? There it is : )

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 231 - I've Been In Denial--And Potato Pancakes : )

I haven't been in potato pancakes, like this post title suggests. No need to call in the troops for a recon mission. No worries. But...

Let's get the confession out of the way first.

I've been eating like crap since I returned from my trip. I begin each day with good motivation and intentions and on plan. Then by about 2pm I'm starting to spiral out of control, eating high-point, low nutrition, non-whole foods. And because they are not filling or satisfying at all, I then eat more, and it keeps going 'round and 'round and 'round. And for the first time while being on the Weight Watcher's program, my points are in the red for the week--which means I've eaten more than my allotted points. And I haven't tracked everything I ate yet... This stops today.

That's why I told all of you. My accountability has been key in my success, and denying to myself and you what I've been doing is only going to hurt my efforts. The scale will be honest with me tomorrow morning and I'm ready to accept responsibility for what I've done. Time to move forward!

And because of all of this, I woke up wanting left overs. But this doesn't mean I can't get creative and incorporate them in a healthful and reasonable way into my morning meal. So here's what I did. And it counts for 1 veggie serving and 2 heart healthy oils. Score!

Mashed 'Potato' Pancakes
  • 1/2 cup leftover Mashed 'Potatoes' with Chives (from my Turkey Day menu, or your own mashers)
  •  2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 Tbsp.shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1.  In a small frying pan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat.

2.Meanwhile, with a fork mix together the egg white and left over mashed potatoes until they are very well incorporated.

3. Add the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Tilt the frying pan from side to side to evenly coat it with olive oil. Scoop all of your potato and egg mixture into the pan and spread evenly so you have a nice round shape, not quite the full size of the pan. Allow to cook for at least 4 minutes before you try to check the underside for doneness. (keep an eye on the heat and if it seems to be scorching the pancake, every stove top's 'medium' heat is different--adjust as necessary)

5. Once you're able to insert a spatula under the pancake without it breaking, gently lift one side a pour the remainder of the olive oil, then flip it.

6. Continue cooking until the bottom has set as well. Then enjoy!

This is good as is, or with a dab of ketchup.

4 PP for Weight Watcher's as written with 1 veggie serving and 2 heart healthy oils.

nom nom nom!

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Day 230 - Eating Right Again and A Turkey Day Recap

    Time to get back on track with eating. Yesterday was delicious and my friend Becca joined us for dinner (and the making of it because I got myself in over my head : ) ) which made the day that much better. But I ate lots of food. I kept my portions reasonable, and I didn't feel the need to go back for seconds. I did splurge a little with dessert, but I'm a baker and I have my breaking point.

    Here's what I ate, pics of the final dishes, and their recipes as I made them. They would be great any time, and a few will be making an encore on my Christmas menu. Enjoy!

    Broccoli Cheddar Soup
    • 4 cups uncooked broccoli (florets and stems)
    • 2.5 cups chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup fat free milk
    • 4 oz. Cheddar (or colby) cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 Tbsp. corn starch

    1. place broccoli and broth into a large sauce pot, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until broccoli is tender.

    2. Laddle the broccoli and broth into a blender (food processors tend to leak and be messy... ask Becca who found this out when helping me make the soup) and puree to desired consistency. I like mine with a bit of texture and bite, not completely smooth.

    3. Return to pot and add cheese, stirring, over medium heat.

    4. The cheese may seem stringy at this point, so now we can use the cornstarch and milk. Combine the milk and starch together with a whisk and slowly add it, while stirring, to the soup. It will being to thicken.

    5. Serve and enjoy! Adding some fresh, crumbles of the broccoli florets and shredded cheese makes for a beautiful presentation.

    Asparagus Risotto
    • 1 lb. asparagus
    • 3 each shallots, diced
    • 1/2 tsp salt (for cooking water)
    • 1 Tbsp Butter
    • 1 cup Arborio rice
    • 1 Tbsp (fresh if you can) lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 cups fat free chicken broth
    Before we begin, let me just say that making risotto means stirring, and stirring, and stirring. I can't emphasize enough how much stirring you will do, but the end product is wonderful. So when my instructions say 'stir,'  boy do I mean it : )

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Fill a large bowl with ice and cover with cool water. Add asparagus to the pot and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove from the water immediately and place in the ice bath (stops the cooking process and keeps 'em nice and green). Set aside.

    2. Bring broth to a simmer in a small sauce pot. Meanwhile, in a medium sized sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted and hot, add shallots, stirring frequently, until they are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the rice to the onions in the pot and stir: cook about 2 minutes.

    3. Add lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

    4. Begin adding the simmering broth to the rice, while stirring, half of a cup at a time. Don't add the next bit of broth until the rice has absorbed all that it has. This is important!!! It'll take about 20 minutes for this stage. Once the risotto is creamy it's ready. Take a taste, some people like the rice slightly al dente, some like it soft (that's me). Cook a little more (with a tad bit more liquid) if you like it creamier and softer.

    5. Remove the pot from the heat, add the cheese and stir to combine. Stir in the asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Corn and Prosciutto Casserole
    *I've made a couple adjustments to the recipe I actually used, I didn't like the final consistency, so I adjusted it for you. My readers mean too much to be to bestow runny corn casserole on them : ) *
    • 1 thick slice prosciutto (available at most deli counters)
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2/3 cup sweet, yellow onion, diced
    • 2/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
    • 1 large bag Birds Eye Steamfresh Corn (plain, not the kind with sauce), cooked
    • 1/4 cup egg substitute (Egg Beaters)
    • 3/4 cups low fat Swiss cheese,grated
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • 3/4 cup seasoned croutons, crushed slightly
    1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Coat a shallow 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

    2. In a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook on each side until it becomes mostly crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

    3. In the same pan, add the onion and cook until softened (about 4 minutes). Add red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender (about 6 to 8 minutes). Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

    4. Transfer onions and peppers to a medium sized bowl. Chop prosciutto and add to the bowl along with corn, egg substitute, cheese, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture into the baking dish and top with the croutons. Cover with foil.

    5. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake until the top is golden brown and set firm (about 15 minutes). Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

    Sage and Chive Stuffing

    *The bread should be sliced into cubes and allowed to sit for a day or baked slightly to dry them out)
    • 1 loaf of caramelized onion bread (I used a francese bread baked at my school, The Culinary Institute of America, but any artisan type onion bread will do)
    • 1.5 cups Pepperidge farms herb stuffing mix
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 2 tsp butter
    • 1 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
    • 3 ribs celery, diced
    • 2 tsp. dried thyme
    • 2 tsp. dried sage
    • 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
    • 2 cups fat free chicken broth
    • 2 Tbsp. chives, fresh, snipped
    1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 4 quart shallow baking dish with non-stick spray.

    2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter. Once hot add the celery and onion and cook till translucent (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir into the onion and celery and cook till they become fragrant (about 1 minute).

    3. Transfer onion and celery mixture eto a large mixing bowl. Add bread and remaining ingredients and toos to combine. Spread into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

    Mashed 'Potatoes' with Chive
    • 8 oz. cauliflower florets
    • 3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 1/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
    • 2 tsp. butter
    • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, snipped
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add potatoes and cauliflower florets. Boil until fork tender.

    2. Drain and mash using your favorite method until smooth. Add evaporated milk and butter.

    3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chives.

    4. Amaze everyone at the dinner table that these are not true mashed potatoes!

    Sweet Potato Casserole
    *This recipe is my traditional one with the milk and most of the butter replaced by Greek yogurt*
    • 6 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
    • 4 oz. Oikos Greek yogurt, fat free vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp. genuine vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. butter
    • 4 cups mini marshmallows
    1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

    2. Bring a large pot of water to  a boil and add sweet potatoes. Cook until fork tender. Drain and mash.

    3. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.

    4. Spread into a shallow tart or baking dish and top with mini marshmallows.

    5. Bake until marshmallows are toasty.

    6. Try to keep little hands (and hubby hands) away from the marshmallows before you serve. The little open spots on the dish pictured above... Yup, that was my hubby and Angelo.

    Becca's Roasted Clementines with Cranberry Glaze

    Becca brought these to dinner and they were wonderful! She roasted the clementines and then added a beautifully smooth cranberry sauce/reduction/glaze. Sprinkled with a bit of ginger and sliced almonds, these were fantastic!

    Thank you Becca!

     Pumpkin Pie - Dough
    • 9 oz. Pastry flour (all purpose if you can't find Pastry)
    • 6 oz. Cold, unsalted butter, cubed
    • 3 oz. Water, ice cold
    • pinch of salt
    1. Combine flour, salt and butter in a food processor (using the dough blade) just until chunks of butter are the size of walnut halves.Use the pulse option, don't leave the processor in the on position.

    2. Slowly add ice water until the dough just barely comes together.

    3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and press together into a flat round disc. Be careful not to over-handle it as the warmth from you hands will melt the butter and reduce the flakiness of the final crust.

    4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

    5. Make your pie filling.

    6. Dust your counter space or work surface with flour and begin to roll out the cold pie dough, being careful to keep it as round as possible.

    7. Transfer the rolled dough to the pie dish, shape it the inside curve and crimp the outer edge.

    8. Most pie fillings bake between 375F and 350F degrees which is perfect for this dough. Egg wash the edges and cover them with foil for the first half of the baking time. When you remove the foil, egg wash the crust again for a beautifully colored, shiny crust.

    Kara's Apple Crisp

    I featured this in the early fall when I picked too many apples... I made it again because it was fan-tab-ulous. Click here to go to the recipe : )

     Cranberry Ice (Sorbet)

    I've been forbidden to share this family recipe. It is from my husbands side of the family and it is a Thanksgiving staple. I'll still show you my process which you can follow with your favorite sorbet recipe.

    Not sure of a recipe you found online or in a cook book? Send it to me and I'll check out your ratios and ingredients. No guarantees, but I know my frozen desserts : )

     These are the ingredients that I use; the pot on the right has my boiled and pureed cranberries.

    Oh look! My cell phone : ) It was in the picture of the Pie dough above... covered in flour. I clearly have attachment issues with my phone.

    Why am I showing you an egg? Well it's this thing called Degrees Brix rating.(click there to learn about ultra food-sciencey stuff that makes sorbets and ices work).

    As far back as ancient China, pastry chefs knew that having the right amount of sucrose/sugar in comparison to water/liquid was necessary for the mixture to freeze properly. How did they do it before the amazing invention of a refractometer?



    Yeah, I didn't get it either when a Chef/Instructor first told me this. But when you place a raw egg (washed well of course) into a sugar/water solution, it will float to varying degrees based on how much sugar is in the mixture.

    More sugar -----> the less it sinks.
    We're looking for a nickel sized spot of the egg to be showing above the mixture. This mixture isn't quite there. To remedy this excess of sugar, add water a
    a little bit at a time till it sinks a little more (and the opposite if the egg isn't floating enough, add more sugar and cook to dissolve, then retest with the egg).

    Cool the mixture then add it to you at-home ice cream maker.

    I use a Cuisinart ice cream machine. At home and for small quantities it's great... until I can afford a Pacojet!

    Process until it's as thick as you like it for immediate serving, or transfer to a freezer-safe, airtight container and freeze at least 8 hours. Yum.

    Well, that's my longest post EVER. And one of the most delicious : ) Any questions or suggestions on the above recipes? Leave it below!

    Time to go recover from yesterday and convince my waistline that I won't eat like that again anytime in the near future... Off to decorate the Christmas tree!
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