Friday, December 19, 2014

Mug Cheesecake! What?!

You know all those great mug recipes?  Muffin in a mug, cake in a mug, even meatloaf in a mug!  I love those things.  So easy to make one or two servings.  Well, how about cheesecake in a mug?!  I know!  How awesome  is that?  I couldn't believe it when I saw the recipe at!  I mean, who does that?!  This girl, that's who!   (Lots of exclamation points over this one, but so worth it!!!!)

Anyway, I just happened to have the ingredients on hand to make it, because it really isn't complicated.  I like recipes that don't require weird stuff.  Like xantham gum.  Oh my gosh, you need like two granules of that stuff when you use it, but it comes in an 8 ounce bag that costs a LOT!  Anyway, I digress..  Because there is no xanthan gum in this recipe.  Just normal stuff.  Oh, and I lied.  I didn't exactly have all the ingredients as the recipe was written so I improvised.  Plus, I don't use regular confectioners sugar  And the original recipe also called for fat free or low fat things... and I don't do that.  (My body likes the fat I eat.  It really helps me stay on track better when I consume enough fat.)  I also omitted the vanilla wafer (white flour!!! No!)  So the recipe I am posting is adapted from this recipe and you can use that one if you prefer, but mine turned out totally awesome.  Just so you know!

I made my own confectioners sugar because... well, because I can!  And so can you.  I made a whole cup even though I didn't need that much.  I figured there will be another opportunity to use it, and now I have some already made sitting in a jar in my cupboard!

Confectioners Sugar (makes 1 cup)

1 cup coconut sugar (or other preferred sugar/sugar substitute)
1 tsp corn starch

Whiz together in a small grinder until powdery soft.  It won't take long.  I used a clean coffee grinder.  (The quantity is too small to use most food processors.)
Using coconut sugar makes it darker, but it has the right texture and sweetness so it works.

Cheesecake in a Mug (makes two servings)

1/4 cup confectioners sugar (see above)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
6 TBSP cream cheese
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.  Divide among two coffee mugs.  Microwaving one mug at a time, microwave on high 1 minute.  Let it sit for about 30 seconds.  Then microwave again for 1 minute.  Remove from microwave, and then do the second mug.  When they are both done, allow to rest for about 10 minutes.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  Enjoy!

I am so serious when I tell you this is awesome cheesecake!  I haven't experimented with mixing in fruit or anything yet.  What is your favorite cheesecake flavor?

I couldn't get a great picture because it didn't pop out of the mug very pretty.  Plus it was so yummy I had eaten half of it before I realized I better take one so I can share it with you!  Sorry about that!  ;-)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Not Magic. Not Rocket Science. (plus a link to a giveaway and a giveback!)

Baby, it's cold outside!  I am not a big fan of the cold weather but since we moved slightly south of my home in the great white North of Ohio, I can deal with it.  Most of the time. One thing that makes it easier, though, is something in the slow cooker when I walk through the door in the evening.  And right now I have a brisket in ye olde slow cooker!  This is such an easy recipe that it doesn't require a recipe at all!  It's just brisket and a big jar of pepperoncini.  Put the meat in the slow cooker, and pour the pepperoncini, juice and all, over the brisket.  Cook it low and slow.  Definitely looking forward to that tonight.

I saw a sponsored post on Facebook recently for one of those weight loss programs that requires you to purchase their food. I noticed there were a lot of comments.  Curious, I clicked on the comments to see what people had to say.  Some people were trashing it and some people were talking about how awesome it was, even if the food didn't really taste that great. (Hmm...okay.)  But one in particular jumped out at me.  A woman posted that she loved [WeightLossProgram] "and I miss it so much.  I went off of it, gained all my weight plus 10 back..."  She also stated that she can't afford it is the reason she is not still doing it.  I really just want to tell her....  Wouldn't you rather have a weight loss lifestyle that doesn't require you to buy groceries for your family and their program for you?  A "program" (if you will) that you don't go off of because you can't afford it and then gain back all your weight.

I know that clean eating is not magic. Nope, no magic tricks here.  It takes some time and effort.  I know people have different degrees of success.  But I also know that when I keep my meals and snacks clean, I feel great and the weight stays off.  Not rocket science.  It's coming up on three years now that I have been doing this, and I am still down to a much healthier weight.  My weight fluctuates a few pounds... everyone's does.  But I haven't gained back all I lost, plus ten pounds. It's not a program for us.  It's just the way we eat.

I'm not here to bash any other way of eating or any program.  I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist or anything.  I just know what works for me, and that's what this blog has always been about.  Sharing my journey, hopeful that it might help someone else.  And I truly hope it has.

Okay!  So, here's what you really came here for.... What are we going to eat this week?!

Oh, but before we get to that, I Breathe I'm Hungry is having a great giveaway!  You should go check it out.  It's a pretty epic bundle of essential tools!  Oh, haha!  That's why she calls it essential bundle giveaway.

So that's the giveaway (but wait, there's more.... keep reading).  And now a way for you to give back, and it costs you nothing but a mouse click.  If you're on Facebook, you just go to this link and vote once per day for Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry to win a $20,000 grant from Wal Mart.  Voting ends December 12.  Please go out and vote for my friends!  Thanks so so much!  You can learn more about the awesome work CCFP does in the community here.  A special secret giveaway for my loyal readers... if you vote for Chesapeake Cares, share it on your Facebook page, and then comment below, I will send one lucky winner three bars of Trader Joe's dark chocolate with almonds.  This contest ends December 12, 2014.  Winner will be chosen December 15, 2014.

I have also started pinning my weekly recipes on a Pinterest board dedicated solely to that.  It changes every week, but is another handy way to keep everything together.

First up is Tortilla Soup.  We have a potluck just about once a month and this time the theme is soup and salad.  This is an incredibly tasty soup that it so easy and it's versatile!  You can add ingredients as you like.  We sometimes add chicken, sometimes add quinoa, usually add black beans.

Basil chicken with sundried tomato - Oh my gosh, I love this!  I mean, it has prosciutto on it, so that right there makes it awesome. I am definitely looking forward to this later in the week.

Mexican Chori Pollo - I was pretty excited when I found this recipe because this is my go to dish at my local Mexican restaurant.  And now I can make it at home!

Spaghetti squash burrito bowls - I am going to use delicata squash in this, I think (I actually forgot to buy squash so it depends what's available when I go back).  This is another one that you can dress up or down to suit your taste.

Pumpkin cheddar soup - The last pumpkin soup turned out so well that I am definitely willing to try another!

Cabernet beef stew - The picture for this just looks so good I can't hardly stand it!

Did you know I have started to make my own yogurt?  I used to buy the expensive plain Greek yogurt.  More than $7 for a container.  Now, I buy a gallon of milk for about $3.50 and make almost twice the amount of yogurt.  Let me be clear, I am lazy, and I don't take risks.  But making yogurt is not hard.  It takes a long time but most of that time the milk is just resting and turning into yogurt.  While I do nothing.  And knock on wood... I haven't made a bad batch yet!  We like to scoop out a serving and mix in some berries, or granola, drizzle a little honey over it.  A great way to start the day!  Go get you some!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Would You Do With $20K?!

I am a big supporter of my local food pantry, Chesapeake Cares.  They are actually the largest food pantry in Southern Maryland.  In the last year they have seen an increase of 79% with over 6,500 individuals depending on their support annually.  Children are their highest percentage served at 40%.  And seniors are a growing segment at 14%.  The fastest growing demographic is the 40-59 year old, married population seeking services for the first time.  Hunger is a real need in our country.  Chesapeake Cares is doing something about it locally.  Already this year, the volunteers have distributed over 700,000 pounds of food.  Can you even imagine?

In addition to groceries, Chesapeake Cares acts as a centralized referral helping families connect with additional support through SNAP, reduced or free school lunches, WIC, and utility assistance.  They also offer life-skill classes on budgeting, earned income credit, healthy eating, and shopping on a budget.  Families are also offered free tax assistance, including learning to prepare their own returns and avoiding predatory financial practices.

All that to tell you that my favorite food pantry, Chesapeake Cares, is a finalist for a $20,000 grant from Wal-Mart!  Isn't that just the coolest thing?!  And you can help ensure they... and their clients... win.  All you have to do is click on this link.  Scroll down to the "search" bar and type in MD.  Hit enter.  Then vote for Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry.

That's all there is to it!  So simple for you but it will mean so much to the families that rely on Chesapeake Cares.  Please take a moment.  You can vote once per day through December 12!

Thanks a bunch!!

And to say thanks I want to share this recipe with you.  I hope you enjoy it!!!!  I sure did!

Egg Crepes with Chia Berry Jam - These were so delicious.  I just love the chia berry jam.  You can use it to fill these super easy crepes or to fill in thumbprint cookies.  Or even on a whole wheat English muffin if you like!  Go get you some!