Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When I went to California in February and saw my friend Brandi, she gave me 3 cookbooks. At the time she was working for Devin Alexander who has written several cookbooks including "The Biggest Loser Cookbook". I've been meaning to try some recipes and post them on here for awhile but haven't got around to it. This weekend I finally went through and picked a couple from each book to try this week.

The book "Fast Food Fix" has lowfat versions of your favorite fast foods. I tried "Subway's Southwest Chipotle Sauce" and "Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino" both were delicious.

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 20 ice cubes, divided
* 1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
* 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
* 1/2 cup aerosol fat-free whipped topping

*I know that the coffee in the picture is not instant, but I did not realize there was a difference until after I tried to make the recipe, so I did go out and get some instant coffee to use in the recipe. The kind in the picture didn't work*

In a small microwavable bowl or cup, combine the water and coffee. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, or until the water is hot enough to dissolve the coffee. Add the sugar. Stir until the coffee and sugar are dissolved. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add 6 ice cubes. Stir to accelerate melting the ice. When the ice is almost melted, add the half-and-half and chocolate syrup. Stir to mix. Pour into a blender jar. Add enough ice cubes for the liquid to reach the 16-ounce marker on the blender jar. Blend on high speed for 30-60 seconds or until just slushy. Pour into a 16-ounce tumbler. Top with whipped topping. Serve with a straw.

The next book I tried recipes from was "The Most Decadent Diet Ever". I made the "Mostly Mom's Marinara Sauce" and the "Eggplant Parmesan". The marinara sauce took a while but it made a ton so you can store it in the fridge and use it when you need it. I would add extra crushed red pepper flakes than the recipe calls for, though. It only calls for 1/2 a teaspoon and we ended up adding a lot more than that to give it a kick.

"Mostly Mom's Marinara Sauce"
* 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
* two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 2 teaspoons sugar, plus extra, if desired
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Place a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Put in the olive oil, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined. Turn the heat to low. Cook, covered, for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season with additional salt, if needed.

*This picture isn't very good, but it's the only one I took*

The last book (and my favorite book) that I tried recipes out of was "The Biggest Loser Cookbook". I tried Angel Hair with Rockin' Red Clam Sauce which was my favorite recipe of any that I tried this week and "White Chocolate-Strawberry Pie-Lets".

"Angel Hair with Rockin' Red Clam Sauce"
* salt
* 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow or white onion
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 1 pouch (3.5oz) baby clams, drained
* 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
* pinch of red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
* 2 oz of Nutrition Kitchen Angel Hair style Golden Whole Soybean Pasta
* 1 to 2 teaspoons grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

**I could not find baby clams in a pouch at Kroger, so I used canned. I also did not use the angel hair pasta it called for, I already had some wheat angel hair style pasta, so I used that**

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, lightly mist a small nonstick skillet with olive oil spray. Set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until almost tender. (Do not brown) Add the clams. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the excess liquid is completely evaporated. Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and oil. Season with red pepper flakes.
Meanwhile, when the water boils, add the pasta to the pot. Stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and add to the skillet mixture. toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Show Us Your Life--Vacations

This week on Kelly's Korner, it's "Show Us Your Life, Favorite Vacation Spots". We've been several places that I've really enjoyed.

We went to Jamaica for our "weddingmoon" and stayed at an all-inclusive resort called 'Sandals' and absolutely loved it. It was so beautiful, the people were so nice and everything was included in the price of the hotel, so you didn't have to worry about paying for anything. It was so nice and probably my favorite place that we've ever been.

We got certified to scuba dive while we were in Jamaica and I'm so glad we did. It was so much fun.

This is what it looked like, the water was crystal clear and the fish weren't afraid of us at all.

Beautiful Jamaican Sunset

During the summer of 2006 we went on a Mexican Riveria Cruise with Greg's family and stopped in Cabo San Lucas for a day and I really liked it. I'd really like to go back and stay at an all inclusive resort there.

We've been to Vegas a couple of times and always enjoy it there. It's so lit up and energetic.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We finally got around to planting some trees in our backyard. We woke up early on Saturday and started planting, we ended up having to make two trips to Lowe's to get another shovel and a pick ax. We planted 17 Leland Cyprus trees all together. Now we're shopping for a tree to put in the front yard. I wanted a Steel Magnolia but they just get too big. I also considered a Dogwood but I think it'll get too much sun in our front yard, so we're not sure what we're going to plant. Any suggestions?

Not a great picture since the tree blends with the grass.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Greg's Surprise Birthday Party

Greg turned 30 on Friday and I threw him a surprise party. I've been planning this since June and I think it turned out great. I called his co-workers back in June to make sure he worked the 10-6 shift to make sure everybody had plenty of time to get to our house before he got home. Somebody even called him with a pretend problem so he would have to stay until 6:00. He was truly surprised which was a first because I have the biggest mouth and it's impossible for me to keep a secret, but somehow I managed. It was so worth it, he was surprised and had a great time.

This is Greg in his birthday apron from my sister, Caroline, wearing his birthday shot necklace and drinking out of his birthday mug.

I made way to much food including this "Might Meaty Nacho" dip I got from Kevin and It's so good! It's one of my favorite appetizers.

It was a little humid when the party started but it cooled off fast.

A birthday shot glass necklace.

Greg's birthday mug.

Noise makers I got for us to blow when Greg got home.

Balloons I got from the dollar tree. They were out of the regular "Happy Birthday" so I was happy to get some "Over the Hill" balloons since he was turning The Big 3-0!

Greg owns a mullet wig and somehow always comes out when we're drinking.