Bacon Cheeseburger Salad

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I don't know why I've never thought to add a cheeseburger to a salad before. It's so simple! I typically eat my burgers with lettuce and tomato, so why not use a bed of vegetables for the burger instead of a bun?


Recently I've realized that if I pick and choose my carb consumption carefully (ex. saving them for the things I really want and skipping on things like burger buns) I can keep slightly better control of the number on the scale.


And honestly, after completing Whole30's multiple times, I'm really only a carb-craving person when it's absolutely freezing outside or that one PMS day a month where I'd kick you for a bowl of mashed potatoes or pasta with butter and chives. 



Bacon Cheeseburger Salad
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 4-6 servings
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Ingredients:
    • For the Burgers:
    • 1 ¼ lb lean ground beef
    • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 4-6 slices cheese of your choice

    • For the Salad:
    • 6 cups mixed greens
    • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 avocado, chopped
    • ½ cup dill sandwich pickles
    • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked

    • For the Dressing:
    • ½ cup ketchup
    • ¼ cup dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp mayo
    • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice

Directions:
1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat.
2. Combine the ground beef, worcestershire sauce, Panko, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Form into 4-6 evenly sized patties.
3. Grill the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked to your desired temperature. Add a slice of cheese to each and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, allowing the cheese to melt.
4. While the burgers are cooking, divide the lettuce, tomato, avocado and pickle slices among the bowls/dishes. Cut each slice of bacon into quarters and add to the bowl/dish.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, dijon mustard, mayo, and pickle juice until combined.
6. When the burgers are cooked, transfer to a plate and cut into pieces. Add to each bowl/dish.
7. Drizzle the dressing on top and enjoy!



Seriously, who needs a bun when you have a salad as gorgeous as this? The pictures show 1 1/2 burgers and I was absolutely stuffed after eating this salad. 


The combination of ketchup, mustard, mayo and pickle juice really bothers some people (and I understand that) so you could easily chose your own dressing for this. The one created is similar to a Thousand Island in flavor and ingredients. You can also pretty much never go wrong with ranch!

Bourbon Peach Cake

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As the last warm days of summer fade away, it's getting harder and harder to find peaches in the grocery store. Soon I'll be relegated to purchasing the sliced frozen ones until summer comes and graces us with her presence once again.


The end of summer is a legitimately sad time for me. No more flip flops, no more relaxing at the pool. No more peaches, strawberries, watermelon and honeydew. Pumpkin and apple and boots and scarves are nice and all, but I don't like them as much as I like all things related to summer.

So now if you're as much of a summer lover as me and I've thoroughly depressed you, hop on up and get to the store for some peaches before they're gone for good. You don't want to wait until next season to make this cake!



Bourbon Peach Cake
Source: Food Network
Servings: 6-8 servings
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Ingredients:
    • 1 ¾ cup sugar, divided
    • 4 ripe, medium-sized peaches, cut into ½ inch wedges
    • 2-3 tbsp bourbon
    • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup buttermilk
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Combine ¾ cup of the sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons water in a 10-inch non-stick ovenproof skillet and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. Heat over medium-high, gently swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture turns a light amber color, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and carefully place the peach slices in circles, covering the caramel and bottom of the skillet. Drizzle the bourbon on top. Set aside.
4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
5. Add the butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater blade attached. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and then add in the vanilla.
6. Alternating between flour and buttermilk, add each in ⅓ portions to the stand mixer, mixing until combined after each addition. Begin and end with the flour.
7. Gently pour the batter over the peaches and smooth the top with a spatula to make it even.
8. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. After 30 minutes, check the cake to make sure the top has not browned too much. If it has, cover with skillet with foil and return to the oven.
9. Allow the cake to sit for 15 minutes after coming out of the oven. Gently run a knife around the edges of the skillet. Place a plate upside down on top of the skillet and flip them over together, turning out the cake onto the plate. Slice and serve!






You can never go wrong with the combination of bourbon and peaches. Most of the bourbon flavor cooks off while this is in the oven but there is a slight hint left over. I had leftover maraschino cherries in the fridge and thought that one was the perfect centerpiece to the cake as a whole!

Improv Cooking Challenge: Bangers and Mash with Onion-Mustard Gravy

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I'll admit, I was a little stumped as to what to make for this Improv Cooking Challenge. The first image that came to my mind when I thought about sausage and mustard as ingredients is slicing up some cold homemade kielbasa and dipping it into good old French's mustard. Now while that is delicious and I highly recommend it, it's not a recipe.



I debated on doing something slightly more creative like crumbling up the sausage and serving it over spaghetti squash with spinach and a mustard sauce or maybe stuffing a sweet potato with sausage, kale and honey mustard sauce, but in the end a classic Irish recipe that I'd never made before is what won out.



Yep, that's right. I'd never made, nor had, bangers and mash before a few weeks ago when I made this recipe. As I've mentioned numerous times, I was not an adventurous eater as a child and even the name "Bangers and Mash" was not at all appealing to my picky palate. Then there was the time frame as an adult where my eating grew more adventurous but I didn't like sausage. Which brings us to now, as I scoff at my previous self for not wanting to try this delicious dish!




Bangers and Mash with Onion-Mustard Gravy
Source: The Suburban Soapbox
Servings: 3
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Ingredients:
    • for the mash:

    • 5 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1 cup 1% milk
    • ½ tbsp prepared horseradish
    • kosher salt and black pepper

    • for the onion-mustard gravy:
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1 large white onion, sliced into ¼ inch slices
    • 1 ½ cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
    • 2 oz beer (preferably dark)
    • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 cup beef broth

    • for the sausage:

    • 6 mild Italian sausages
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Add potatoes to a large pot and fill with cold water. Season liberally with salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
3. Meanwhile, add the butter and onions to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized.
4. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat and once hot, cook the sausages for 5-7 minutes or until brown on all sides. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven while you finish the rest of the meal.
5. Add the garlic and thyme to the caramelized onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the beer to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon, dislodging any of the stuck bits of onion.
6. Stir in the mustard and once combined, sift the cornstarch over the mixture and whisk in the beef broth, stirring occasionally until the mixture reduces and thickens.
7. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and add the milk, horseradish, salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
8. Plate the potatoes, followed by 2 of the sausages and a heaping spoonful of the onion-mustard gravy on top.




This was AMAZING. It was the perfect amount of comfort food and deliciousness that you just crave sometimes. And the onion-mustard sauce? Yeah, Tom didn't like it so I may have ate the rest of it with a spoon. Don't judge.



You could even make this recipe a lot quicker by picking up some of the prepared potatoes you can find in the refrigerated section of the store now. This recipe is totally going to become a staple during those cold winter months where the comfort food cravings are significantly intensified.


#BundtBakers: Easy Orange Bundt Cake

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September's theme for #BundtBakers was to make a Bundt cake that included a healthy cheat, sneak or substitute, meaning you could use applesauce or bananas for oil like I did in last month's Jewish Apple Cake, or use a flour like coconut or almond.



#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We taking turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. The host for this month is Andrea who writes Adventures in All Things Food.

It took me forever to decide on what type of Bundt cake to make. Nothing stood out to me as worthwhile to switch up the ingredients and I couldn't pick a flavor profile. I had just worked with apples and will be working with pumpkin next month. Berries are getting harder to find in the stores as their season ends and making a chocolate cake "skinny" seemed to easy.

BundtBakers

Finally I decided on this recipe using fresh oranges because I was convinced by the Wegman's employee to try and buy their freshly squeezed orange juice. Inspired by the flavor and lack of additional ingredients in the juice, I decided to find a recipe that worked with the fresh juice and could go for some additional lightening up.



Easy Orange Bundt Cake
Source: I Knead to Eat
Servings: 1 Bundt cake, 12-16 slices
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Ingredients:
    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • pinch of salt
    • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
    • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 tbsp 1% milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 6 tbsp orange zest
    • Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 3 tbsp fresh orange juice
    • pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl whisk together the orange juice, applesauce, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and add the orange zest. Stir until combined.
5. Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter.
6. Meanwhile, combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, vanilla and pinch of salt into a bowl. Whisk together until a thick glaze forms. Add more powdered sugar to thicken, more orange juice to thin it out.
7. Run a knife around the edges of the Bundt pan. Place a plate on top and flip over, dislodging the cake onto the plate. Drizzle the glaze on top, slice and serve.




I switched out the oil for applesauce and while the recipe didn't specify what type of milk to use, I used 1%. I thought this cake turned out pretty well but it was a little more dense than I was expecting it to be. It wasn't bad, it would just be nice to enjoy with your morning cup of tea or coffee. 






You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.



BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Butterbeer (Alcoholic)

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If you were/are a huge fan of the Harry Potter book series, you know that Harry's birthday is July 31st. When the movies were still being released and when Universal Studios in Orlando opened up the first and then the second Harry Potter portion of the park, tons of people, including food bloggers did something to celebrate Harry's birthday.



If you look online, there is an incredible collection of recipes from the foods mentioned in the book series, from the drinks like butterbeer and pumpkin juice to savory dishes like steak and kidney pie and yorkshire pudding, to sweet dishes like treacles and pasties.

A few years ago, after finally visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time, I decided to make butterbeer cupcakes and share them on Harry's birthday. With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it was only fitting for me to make something else.



Except the idea didn't come to me until July 31st in the middle of the afternoon. It was too late to get something made and blogged in time for Harry's actual birthday, but seeing as Hogwarts students would have returned back to the castle recently and Harry and Ginny would be sitting at home in the silence of the absence of their children, I thought they could do with an alcoholic version of one of the popular drinks from their childhood.


Although...I suppose butterbeer is sold everywhere in magical world and it wouldn't be something they'd need to create at home. But for the sake of this post, let's assume there's a shortage and the wizarding world has taken to making it at home.



Butterbeer (Alcoholic)
Source: Intoxicology
Servings: 1 serving
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Ingredients:
    • 2 oz butterscotch schnapps
    • 2 oz whipped cream flavored vodka
    • 6 oz cream soda
    • marshmallow fluff

Directions:
1. In a tumbler, mix together the butterscotch schnapps, whipped cream vodka, cream soda and ice.
2. Strain and pour into a tall glass (or your souvenir Butterbeer glass from Universal).
3. Top with a heaping spoonful of marshmallow fluff.
4. Enjoy immediately, preferably with your HP book or movie.




I've tried a few different versions of butterbeer at home and none of them were close to the version that you get at Universal. This alcoholic version was the closest match. I thoroughly enjoyed my glass and was sad that I only had nip sized bottles of the schnapps and flavored vodka that I couldn't make another one. 




Weekly Menu September 11th - 16th

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I debated on going to my mom's for the pool on Saturday because it was 91 degrees and sunny, but there was also 90% humidity which makes it pretty miserable to be outside. Instead I started on that list of things to do around the apartment that I put off all summer in favor of going to the pool every weekend.

I cleaned the washing machine and all of the appliances and found that my dishwasher is not draining properly. I also found an incredible amount of disgusting gunk in there that made me lose my appetite so if you haven't cleaned all the parts of your dishwasher recently, consider this your PSA to get right on that. Since we live in an apartment, I put in a call to maintenance and I'm hoping that they come early this week because hand-washing dishes really sucks.


I also finally picked back up on the Kon Mari method and went through the living room and dining room to find things to get rid of. The kitchen is up next and I'm not looking forward to how long it's going to end up taking me. I plan on taking everything out of the cabinets, cleaning them out and then only putting back in what I plan on keeping. The pantry and my small baking pantry need to be done as well, so I'm estimating 3-5 hours to really get it completely done since I'll likely super scrub all of the appliances again. I have that on my calendar for Saturday the 24th.

Why? Well the following Saturday I have family and friends coming over and we're going to make an absolute ton of polish sausage again and we're also going to try our hand at the fried bowtie cookies as well. Not only are we cooking but I also need to feed everyone since the food we're making won't be ready for a few hours and we're starting at lunch time. So I have my list on Kon Mari items to complete before people come over as well as an additional list of things I'd like to get done around the apartment before we have guests.

This is the second week I'm completing the Fast Metabolism Diet and I'm hoping it goes well. I think I did a better job of planning out larger meals that I can freeze and eat in the following weeks on Fridays and the weekends when I'm not interested in cooking. Here's what I have planned out for the week:

Monday and Tuesday:
Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinnamon and stevia, strawberries
Snack: watermelon
Lunch: basil balsamic chicken, quinoa, zucchini and tomatoes
Snack: watermelon
Dinner, Monday: garlic herb chicken, garlic and herb quinoa, green beans and mushrooms
Dinner, Tuesday: bunless spicy burger with sweet potato fries and ketchup

Wednesday and Thursday:
Breakfast: egg whites, chicken sausage, asparagus
Snack: deli meat, cucumber slices
Lunch: basil balsamic chicken over celery and broccoli slaw/mixed green salad
Snack: hard-boiled egg, deli meat, celery slices
Dinner, Wednesday: rosemary pork tenderloin and mustard greens
Dinner, Thursday: Southwest beef and cabbage soup

Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinnamon and stevia (made with almond milk not water), slivered almonds, strawberries, carrots
Snack: deli meat, celery with sunflower butter
Lunch: turkey chili with guacamole, plum 
Snack: cashews, deli meat, carrots
Dinner, Friday: pot roast
Dinner, Saturday: pot roast
Dinner, Sunday: turkey spaghetti squash chow mein 

SRC: Pizza Meatloaf Minis

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The second Monday of the month has arrived and it's time for the Secret Recipe Club again! This month I was assigned to An Affair from the Heart, which is written by Michaela.



Michaela is a stay at home mom, although her oldest is now in college and her youngest twins are teenagers now she still manages for those at home to sit down to dinner together, electronics excluded. One of the things we share in common is a love of entertaining. Small parties, big parties, and especially themed parties, we're both in our element. I immediately knew I wanted to choose a recipe that would be bite-sized or individual and Michaela's list of recipes definitely didn't disappoint with a variety of options.

Also, check out the cool story as to how she named her blog.



I narrowed down my choices to three recipes, pizza meatloaf minis, bacon cheeseburger meatballs and broccoli stuffed mushrooms. Unable to decide, I showed Tom all three recipes and asked him to pick one. He wanted to know if I could change up the recipe at all. I said yes and he decided on the pizza meatloaf minis but said he wanted me to make them explode with pizza flavor.

Meatloaf. Pizza. Explode.



I don't know where your brain might have went with that, but mine immediately went to stuffing the meatloaf with cheese.



Pizza Meatloaf Minis
Source: An Affair from the Heart
Servings: 12 mini loaves
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Ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • ½ small onion, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 ½ lbs extra lean ground beef
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • ¼ cup oatmeal
    • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp oregano, dried
    • 1 tbsp basil, dried
    • 1 tbsp parsley, dried
    • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
    • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 12 fresh mozzarella balls
    • ½ cup pizza sauce
    • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • optional: pepperoni slices

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with non-stick spray or use heavy-duty cupcake liners.
2. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, oatmeal, worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, parsley, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Add the cooked onions and stir until combined.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to gather a ball of the meat mixture. Use your thumb to press an indent into the center. Place the mozzarella ball within (If you can’t find mozzarella balls, use fresh mozzarella cut into chunks) and form the meat into a ball around the cheese, sealing up the edges.
5. Repeat with remaining meat mixture and place each mini loaf into the prepared baking pan.
6. Top each mini loaf with a heaping teaspoon of pizza sauce. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.
7. Remove from the oven and set the oven to broil. Add a heaping pinch of the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each mini loaf and add optional pepperoni as well. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pepperoni is crisp.
8. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.




I served these with mashed potatoes and a salad. Tom thought they were absolutely amazing and we both agreed that pumping up the pizza flavor was a great choice. I froze the leftovers and I'm sure we'll have them in the near future. 








Fast Metabolism Diet - What I Ate - Week 1

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I think I read seven pages of reviews on Amazon before purchasing the Fast Metabolism Diet book. One of the most common complaints I read is that you have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and that the recipes take forever.

I took that with a grain of salt. Being a food blogger means my idea of "a lot of time in the kitchen" doesn't exactly match up with the rest of the world. Honestly, it ended up taking me longer to figure out WHAT to eat than it ever did to make it. I spent 3 lunch hours and then an hour or so three more nights at home trying to figure out a menu that would work for Tom and I. Six hours of meal planning? I don't even spend that long planning out Thanksgiving or Christmas! I'm hoping that after a week it will get much easier to plan.

The short of the diet is that there are certain foods you can eat on certain days. Days 1 and 2 focus on carbs and include an insane amount of fruit that needs to be eaten. Days 3 and 4 are all about the protein. You eat protein and veggies and nothing else. Then days 5, 6 and 7 are about a balance of protein, carbs, fruit and healthy fats - basically how you should eat on a regular basis. You also eat within 30 minutes of waking up and you have at least 5 meals a day, 3 balanced full meals and two snacks.

Here's what I came up with.

Monday and Tuesday - Phase 1 
Breakfast - steel cut oatmeal seasoned with Stevia and cinnamon, strawberries
Snack: blackberries
Lunch: open-faced deli chicken sandwich on sprouted bread with arugula, tomato slice and cucumbers, watermelon
Snack: pineapple and cantaloupe
Monday, dinner: chicken, broccoli and rice bowl
Tuesday, dinner: turkey sausage, bell peppers and rice

Wednesday and Thursday - Phase 2
Breakfast: baked egg whites, mushroom/bell pepper/onion saute
Snack: deli roast beef slices with cucumbers and horseradish
Lunch: tuna salad with celery and cucumbers over spinach and arugula
Snack: deli chicken roll ups dipped in spicy brown mustard, bell pepper slices
Wednesday, dinner: sirloin steak, mushrooms, spinach
Thursday, dinner: pepperoncini pork roast, green beans

Friday, Saturday, Sunday  - Phase 3
Breakfast: baked egg, turkey bacon, sprouted bagel half
Snack: deli turkey slices, almond butter on celery
Lunch: avocado turkey wrap
Snack: deli roast beef slices with cucumbers and avocado
Friday, dinner: baked egg, turkey bacon, sprouted half bagel
Saturday, dinner: sausage with mustard-onion gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans
Sunday, dinner: turkey chili

I spent about 2 1/2 hours in the kitchen last Sunday doing prep work. Thirty minutes of that involved looking through all of the recipes to make sure that I had planned correctly. Another 30 minutes was spent running to the Dollar Tree and picking up 1-cup sized containers to easily portion out my food. (They're in 5 packs with green lids and I highly recommend them.)

The rest of the time was spent towards actual food prep -
Day 1 and 2:
- Cut up and portion out fruit
- Make steel cut oats
- slice up bell peppers, onions, broccoli and celery for both dinners
- remove 2 slices of sprouted bread from the freezer and place in the fridge (It can either be frozen or refrigerated and I have more room in the freezer, so I keep it in there.)
- cooked rice for both dinners
Day 3 and 4:
- baked egg whites
- sliced the bell peppers, onion and mushrooms for breakfast both days
- sauteed vegetables for breakfast both days
- chopped the celery, onion and cucumber for the tuna salad both days
- prepared the tuna salad
- sliced the bell peppers for Tuesday dinner
Unrelated:
- portioning out bulk chicken breast purchase
- portioning out bulk pork tenderloin purchase

I will say that this wasn't exactly cheap. I spent $20 in fruit, $26 in vegetables, $28 in deli meats, turkey bacon and canned tuna, $11 in sprouted bread and sprouted bagels, $26 for a pork roast, sirloin steaks and turkey sausage, and another $20-ish for almond butter, eggs, steel cut oats, rice, etc.

I am hoping the bread, bagels, oats, almond butter and rice will last for the whole 4 weeks. The pork loin will provide at least 1 day of leftovers, hopefully two, that I can freeze and eat the following week, but everything else was just enough for this first week. I am a little concerned with summer ending that I won't have enough fruits to eat on day 1 and 2 without spending an arm and a leg, but we'll see how that goes.

How it Went:
Monday - Since it was a holiday, I was home all day and didn't have any problems adhering to the eating within 30 minutes or waking up or eating every 3 hours. I felt full and did fine.
Tuesday - I packed my breakfast and lunch, headed to work, pulled out the containers and found that I didn't bring the oatmeal. Seriously? So I went to Dunkin and got plain oatmeal, which is not the same as steel cut oats, but I hoped for the best. A migraine set in Tuesday night.
Wednesday - the migraine was gone when I woke up but was back in full force by 10 am. I ate everything I had planned and spent the entire starving. For a diet that says you're supposed to eat frequently before you get hungry, this wasn't working. Fell asleep early with the migraine still there.
Thursday -  I added the turkey sausage from the previous dinner into my breakfast, upped the amount of deli meat and finally stopped feeling like my stomach was going to eat itself. The migraine was still persistently hanging on even through my prescription meds, so I caved and ate a bowl of light popcorn after dinner and immediately felt better.
Friday - overall I know Friday is going to be the hardest each week. I don't have time at night to cook a full breakfast and lunch for that day and what I cook on the previous Sunday isn't good that long. I had a work meeting and ended up eating the ordered lunch. The deli meat wasn't likely nitrate free, but you can't win them all.
Saturday - another hard day. I don't eat very much on the weekends and I hate cooking on my "days off" so this was a struggle to follow the schedule. I ended up missing the snack before dinner and instead had an earlier dinner and the snack later, which is acceptable on the meal plan.
Sunday - same as Saturday, it's hard for me to eat at scheduled times on the weekend. I did have a tablespoon-sized bite of a pumpkin cupcake I made.

The Good: sprouted bread/bagels are a lot tastier than I expected. With the right amount of protein, no carb days aren't terrible. I'm patting myself on the back. I've drank 2,250 ml of water every single day.
The Bad: eating within 30 minutes of waking up is hard. I've been eating my snack instead of breakfast, but then I'm not following the three hour rule and I'm hungry within 90 minutes to 2 hours by doing that.
Weight Loss: 4.2 pounds 

#FoodieExtravaganza: Churro Pancakes

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It's time for #FoodieExtravaganza again! The theme for September is pancakes and our host is Caroline of Caroline's Cooking.

Pancakes are such a classic breakfast staple that it really stumped me as to what kind of pancakes I should make. Blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes are super common and I already had varieties of each on my blog, so I knew I needed to find something else.



And then I found churro pancakes and was immediately intrigued. Cinnamon sugar and chocolate on pancakes? It sounded like a delightful combination of cinnamon sugar french toast and pancakes mixed together with a drizzle of chocolate and really, how can you go wrong with that?



Churro Pancakes
Source: Cooking on the Front Burner
Servings: 10-12 pancakes
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Ingredients:
    • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
    • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • ⅛ cup sugar
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • 1 egg + 1 egg white
    • 1 ½ cups milk
    • 2 tbsp melted butter
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • softened butter
    • 6 oz. chocolate chips
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp cayenne
Directions:
1. In a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white, milk, and melted butter.
3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
4. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon topping, then pour onto a small plate.
5.In a small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and heat over low, stirring until melted. Then stir in the heavy cream, butter, cinnamon and cayenne and stir until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.
6. Heat a griddle or grill plate over medium-high heat. Add butter or cooking spray and once hot, use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to pour the batter onto the griddler. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form around the edges and the batter looks dry. Flip over and cook 2 minutes more.
7. Lightly butter each side of the pancake and then dredge through the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat cooking and dredging pancakes until batter is gone. Divide pancakes onto plates and drizzle the chocolate sauce on top. 






Tom wasn't sure what to make of these pancakes at first but ended up finding them delicious as did I! You can really never go wrong with a cinnamon sugar and chocolate combination! 



See more pancake ideas for this month's Foodie Extravaganza below, hosted by Caroline of Caroline's Cooking

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board

Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.


Weekly Menu September 4 - September 9

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Happy Labor Day!

If you're on the east coast, I hope Hermine isn't causing you too many issues. She made the weather here not exactly summer friendly for the last weekend of summer. I went to the pool on Saturday when it was partly cloudy and 79 degrees and I was the only person there. I skipped going on Sunday, although the sun was out for the most of the day because it was still chilly. Since today is the last day of the pool being open, I'm going regardless of the weather!

Some random news for you - I'm now a notary! I've intended to become one forever and I even sent in the paperwork in 2014 and never heard anything again. Apparently it got lost in their system somehow. A few months ago one of my friends mentioned needing to have something notarized and asked me if I was ever planning on applying again. I figured there was no time like the present and filled out the paperwork again (which can now be submitted online). I picked up my notary commission on Friday and now I just need to order my stamp.

I know fall doesn't officially start until later this month, but I always consider Labor Day the last day of summer and the first day of fall. And with a new season I decided to make a new change to my food lifestyle. Wendy, over at A Day in the Life on the Farm had posted some recipes talking about her new eating plan and I found myself really intrigued.

Counting macros has helped me to maintain the nearly 10 pounds I've lost, but without daily exercise, I'm not losing anymore. My foot has finally fully healed and I plan on signing up for barre classes again in October, but I need to do something in the meantime.

Enter this new eating plan. Your week is broken up into three categories and you eat different foods in each of them. It starts off with high carbs and fruits, followed by high protein and no carbs and then rounds out the week with a combination of carbs and protein with healthy fats added in. Similar to a Whole30, there is no alcohol, soy, sugar and dairy allowed.

I start this new eating plan today and will carry through for 4 weeks, ending on Sunday October 2nd. From there I'll decide if I want to continue eating in the same fashion or how to change my diet going forward to maintain the hopeful weight loss. The book suggests that you can lose 20 pounds in a month, but I know my body and I know that's not likely to happen. If I can lose 10 pounds, I'll consider it wildly successful.

Sunday: mini pizza meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans 

Monday: chicken, broccoli and rice bowls 

Tuesday: turkey sausage, bell peppers and rice

Wednesday: sirloin steak, spinach and mushrooms 

Thursday: pepperoncini pork roast, green beans 

Friday: egg and turkey bacon breakfast sandwich 

Yep, that's right. I'll now have to cook on Fridays and Saturdays. I'm not too sure how I feel about this. I'm hoping I can find a meal that can be easily frozen so I can just pull out small portions for myself. I really enjoy my two days off from cooking!

Breakfast for this week starts off with cinnamon steel cut oats and strawberries, followed by egg whites with sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers and onions and ends out the week with a turkey bacon and egg sandwich on a half bagel.

Lunches include an open-faced turkey sandwich, tuna over salad and avocado turkey wraps.

The hardest part of this diet is going to be breakfast on the high protein days. I will easily get sick of baked egg whites and I can't stand scrambled eggs. 
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