Friday, October 17, 2014

Candy Corn M&M Cookies

I never used to like candy corn.  I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet, but it's one of the very few candies I could skip by without batting an eye.  So I'm not sure what ever possessed me to buy White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms.  Perhaps it was the "white chocolate" part of White Chocolate Candy Corn (in fact, I'm pretty sure it was).  I was rather unsure about them after my first taste.  They were sort of weird...more white chocolate than candy corn, and the candy corn part I could taste wasn't BAD.  I nibbled here and there over several days until...GASP.  They were GONE.  I guess I must have liked them!

That was last year.  This year, I made the mistake of buying three bags at once.  You know, they're seasonal, and I thought I should stock up.  And save them.  But then I pretty much inhaled bag #1 and I knew something needed to be done.  I can't afford to be pounding bag after bag of M&Ms!  I needed to pace myself.  I decided to make cookies.  I thought if these decadent morsels were in a cookie, I could limit myself to just one a day.  A reasonable amount.  Maybe? 


Candy Corn M&M Cookies
Adapted from Averie Cooks


Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups bread flour (makes cookies chewier)
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt


Directions:
Place the butter in a stand mixer or large bowl and beat on low speed until smooth.  Add the sugars and cream until well-combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.  Add flours, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined.  Add M&Ms and stir gently until incorporated.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for a minimum of three hours.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick silicone baking mat.  Use a medium cookie scoop and place eight mounds of cookie dough on the baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just set and slightly golden in color.  Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. The cookies will firm up as they cool.  Repeat until all the dough has been utilized.  Transfer cooled cookies to an airtight container for storage.   

Makes approximately 28 cookies

Saturday, August 2, 2014

No Soliciting Sign

For some reason, we get a lot of solicitors in our neighborhood.  A lot.  It seems like rarely does a day go by when the doorbell isn't ringing and someone is on the porch trying to sell us something, the dog is going berserk, the boy wants to know who it is, chaos abounds, etcetera, etcetera.  Ugh!  I'd just rather not deal with it.  And so I made a sign...


I got the plain wood sign at Hobby Lobby for $1.79 (using a 40% off coupon, of course), and also picked up some DecoArt Americana acrylic paint in Navy Blue.  I painted the sign with a thin layer of paint, and once it was dry, sanded it with 220 sandpaper.  The next step was to wipe it down with a damp paper towel to pick up all the wood and paint dust.  Next, I painted a layer of Plaid FolkArt acrylic paint in Licorice, let it dry, and then sanded and wiped again.  I repeated step one (for a third layer of paint), and once that had been sanded and wiped, I was ready to add my words.

I designed the words in Silhouette Studio.  Once hubby and I agreed on the phrases and the fonts (Copperplate Goth and Pharmacy), I used my Cameo to cut the design on Oracal 631 White (010) vinyl. Weeding (removing unnecessary vinyl from the design) the Pharmacy font was tricky, because some of the letters are pretty narrow.  I took my time and, amazingly, I didn't get too flustered.  I applied the transfer paper, lined it up on the sign, and applied the vinyl to the wood.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Hubby promises to hang it near the doorbell.  And then hopefully the new sign will work its magic! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skinny Egg Salad

We were on vacation earlier this month and I came home five pounds heavier.  I hate how one can gain five pounds in a week and it takes five weeks (or more!) to take it off again.  So I've been (trying to) cut back on calories and count EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth.  Easier said than done!  That also means making sure every bite will keep me feeling full.  Satisfied.  Not hungry!

This Skinny Egg Salad is high in protein, but low in calories, so it really fits the bill.  And it's The Boy's birthday this week, so I'll need all the help I can get when we order in pizza and have cookie cake sitting around. Sigh!



Skinny Egg Salad
Adapted from Dashing Dish
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Ingredients:
3 hard-cooked eggs (3 egg whites and 1 yolk, discard the other 2 yolks)
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1 mini dill pickle, chopped
1/4 cup Miracle Whip Light dressing
1/2 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. Penzey's Sunny Paris seasoning
Sprinkle of dried dill
Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
Coarsely chop three egg whites and one egg yolk and place them in a medium-sized bowl along with the celery and pickle.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the light dressing, mustard, and seasonings.  Pour the dressing mixture over the eggs and gently stir until completely mixed.  Serve immediately by itself or on a flatbread.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Calories:  Approximately 185 (entire recipe)
Serves: 2

Monday, May 19, 2014

German Apple Pancake

Sometimes we have breakfast for dinner.  Because it's easy.  And fairly low in calories, considering the protein content.  And since we don't necessarily care for a large meal as we start our day, it's also the only way we ever get to enjoy something like this:  a German apple pancake.  Apparently, these are also known as Dutch Baby Pancakes or Bismarcks or Danish Pancakes or a host of other names, but since I'm ethnically half German, we'll call it a German Apple Pancake.  Whatever it's called, it's nice to pull it out of the oven and be able to eat it as a family while it's actually hot (tell me you know about how you can't do that with regular pancakes...the cook always ends up eating them cold...or - blah - reheated).  This is one of hubby's faves and he never turns it down when I suggest it as a low(er) calorie dinner.


German Apple Pancake
Adapted from Penzeys
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Ingredients:
2 large eggs
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. skim milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. Penzeys Apple Pie spice (cinnamon may be used as a substitute)
2 Tbsp. Land O Lakes Light Butter
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and thinly sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place an empty 8” or 9” glass pie pan in the oven to heat.  Put the eggs, flour, salt, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and apple pie spice and set aside.  Take the hot pie plate out of the oven and add the butter, moving it around to melt and coat the bottom and sides of the pan.  Spread the apple slices in the bottom of the pan and then pour the batter over the top of the apples.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffy and golden brown.  Serve immediately drizzled with maple syrup.

Serves:

2 (two slices each or half a pancake), approximately 298 calories per serving



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Marinated Five-Bean Salad (gluten-free, vegan)

It's finally warming up in our neck of the woods.  Finally (it's ONLY May!).  At last it's time to put away the soup pot, fire up the grill and break out the salads.  My go-to salad is this one.  But, in all honesty, it takes a lot of time to cut up all the veggies.  I needed something in my repertoire that was quick and easy.  And I like a side dish that is either a) low in calories or b) packs a nutritious punch.  And, of course, yummy (that's such a given, I almost neglected to mention it!) This salad is all of the above:  fast, skinny, and filled with protein. And as a bonus for my friends with food allergies and sensitivities, it's both gluten-free AND vegan, so it will be perfect to share at this summer's backyard barbecues.  Hubby declared it a keeper!


Marinated 5-Bean Salad
Adapted from CalorieKing.com
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Ingredients:
½ c. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. Splenda
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 c. frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (14.5 oz.) wax beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) cut green beans, drained
1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed.


Directions:
Combine vinegar, Splenda, olive oil, and spices in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine, then set aside.  In a large bowl, combine corn, red bell pepper, and all varieties of beans.  Toss, then pour dressing over the top and gently stir to ensure all the beans are covered.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally and prior to serving.

Serves: 8 generous servings, approximately 146 calories each