Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Stew

Hello all, yes I am here with a new recipe.  Before I get into that though, let me just explain a few things.  There have been many many changes going on in my life right now.  One of those many changes is a new job.  Aside from my kids this is where my focus has been lately.  So you can expect me to be inconsistently consistent, when it comes to my recipes and videos.  I will try to make sure there isnt a huge gap from one recipe to another but I cannot promise particular days because no day off is the same for me.  So onto the recipe shall we.  Fall is here and summer is gone and even though I could eat soups, stews and chowders all year round, I understand some cannot.  Some people wait for the fall and winter months to hit.  I know as strange as it may sound but shhh they do exist.  This recipe is so easy to make and delicious.  Its protein packed but rest assured if there is something in here you do not like, use something else.  Want to keep it vegetarian ?   Well you can do that too.  Walk with me, talk with me and I will explain the ingredients and let you know what you can swap out to make it your own.


1 Large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic whole
1 pound of ground beef, you can use ground chicken, turkey or pork or you can even use tofu
1 can of black beans low sodium
1 russet potato diced (use the potato as a thickener instead of flour it saves like a million calories, I over exaggerated there but it does save a lot of calories)
1 sweet potato diced 
3 stalks of celery
4 carrots diced
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of chili powder to give it a kick
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
Parsley flakes as much as you like
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of paprika 
and shhh my secret ingredient that gives it a little something something an 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground all spice.
salt and pepper to taste
2 low sodium beef bullion cubes or 2 cups of beef broth
2 cups of water


Once all veggies are peeled and diced, add your olive oil into a large pot with a heavy lid or a dutch oven.  Add in all veggies and let them all simmer together.  This is going to let all the flavors of the veggies marry up before you add in anything else.  Also it will allow the potato to start thickening the juices from the veggies as well. 

 From here add in the meat or meat substitute.  Cook the meat right along with the veggies, the veggies are not fully cooked yet and once you eat this everything will be cooked and flavors will be popping. (FYI, if you use extra lean ground beef you can save yourself a step, you dont have to drain it because there is no fat to drain.)  Now add in your beans and spices.
Once you have all the spices stirred together with all the other ingredients, add in your beef broth or bullion and water.  Simmer on medium heat for about an hour.  When everything is thickened up and the veggies are fork tender, that just means you can shove a fork through them, the stew is done.  Plate it up with some crackers or crusty bread and a salad and boom!  Dinner is done! 

I hope you try this and love it like I did and a little tip there were no left overs.  If you want left overs from this I suggest to double the recipe.

Live, laugh and Love everyone thank you for stopping by,  


Monday, May 11, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Cake

Hi everyone!  As some of you know I have adopted a healthier way of life.  Sure its what I have to do to be successful however I knew before I had wls that I had to be all in or I just wasn't going to have the surgery at all.  With that being said I still had cravings and I still get them.  I hope this recipe will help those who may not have had wls but wants to still make healthier choices.  Now I am not promising that this recipe is the paragon of good health but its an improvement on the classic chocolate cake.  I will put alternatives you can use if chocolate is not your thing or if you are allergic down below this post.  


1 box of Chocolate sugar free cake mix I used devils food
1 whole can of black beans reduced sodium (do not drain)
1 can of water
1 scoop of protein powder ( I used six star pro nutrition whey Isolate)
1/2 a jar of sugar free Raspberry perseveres seedless


Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray non stick cooking spray in a cake pan or you can also use muffin tins for portion control.  Next blend the beans and water in a blender or immersion blender. Now go ahead and open your cake mix and put it in a medium to large bowl. Add in the protein powder.  Gradually add in the bean and water mixture.  What I did is just make sure the liquid was incorporated into the batter before adding more. The bean and water mixture looks like it will be too much but I promise you its just enough.  After everything is incorporated, add the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes.  Dont bother using the toothpick method to check for doneness because of the beans its never going to look done.  So if you notice the top of the cake springing back with you lightly tap it with your hand, then its done.

You do not have to wait for the cake to cool to frost it, in fact its important to frost it while its still hot.  Because we are not using a traditional frosting just preserves the heat from the cake will make the preserves spread better.  So cover the cake with the raspberry preserves and you can serve immediately.   

Here is a video of how I did it:  

Here is a variation in case you cannot use chocolate:

1 box of sugar free yellow or white cake mix
1 can of butter beans or navy beans not drained
1 can of water
1 scoop of vanilla cream protein powder, look for whey isolate because its not from concentrate and has a lot of protein.  Now just follow the above instructions!  

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we all do.  Now I can have my cake and eat it too!  

Live, laugh and love all.  Heather

Monday, May 4, 2015

Chicken Parmesan

Hi everyone, well Spring has finally sprung in Maine.  Since the weather has been gorgeous I will be honest and tell you, I have not been too inspired to cook.  I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago when the weather was blah and I have to say everyone in my family was impressed.  I dont want to say this is super healthy but its a little healthier than the traditional Chicken Parmesan.  I used tomatoes that I stewed and seasoned and then froze.  I will link the recipe for that here:

So I hope you all enjoy this as we all enjoyed this in my house. 


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half length wise
4 eggs beaten
2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs homemade or store bought
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
6 cups of marinara sauce, I used my homemade seasoned stewed tomatoes (its the same idea as marinara)
1/2 pound of pasta of your choice, I used angel hair (optional)
1 cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste


Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees, we are going to bake the chicken instead of frying it.  Grab two bowls, I find mixing bowls work well for this.  Add your beaten egg to one and then add your seasonings, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese to the other one.  Now that you have your station set up, go ahead and grab your chicken breasts.  They should already be cut length wise.  Now dredge your chicken in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture.  Place the chicken on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray.  Once the chicken is all breaded, place it on the oven for about 20 minutes.  Now while the chicken is cooking, grab your sauce and warm it up on the stove, and start making your pasta.  Just follow package directions.  If you are using fresh pasta wait until everything is almost done and cook it for a few minutes in boiling water.  Now once the chicken is done grab a casserole dish and coat the bottom of it with the sauce you just warmed up.  Add the chicken, then top it with most of the sauce.  Leave about half for the pasta.  Top the chicken and sauce with the cheese and put back into the oven until the cheese melts and the chicken absorbs the sauce.  (about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.)  Once the pasta is done, drain it and add the sauce to it.  Now take your chicken out of the oven and plate it up.  Serve a side salad and you have a delicious meal.  From start to finish this took me about an hour to prepare and serve.  You can let the sauce stew longer to concentrate the flavors if you wish.  

Live, Laugh, and Love


Monday, April 27, 2015

3 Day Fried Chicken

Hi everyone, the recipe we will be making today is very time consuming.  Its the longest recipe I make, however your patience is key.  Everyone thinks fried chicken is a very simple when you know how to do it.  It is very simple however the key to making fried chicken that stands above all others including some fast food restaurants that shall remain nameless, this is where your patience will pay off.  This fried chicken has so much flavor and crisp, you will be slapping your own self away from the table to get a piece of it.  Yes it's a labor of love and your hard work will pay off.  So follow me as I take you through day by day for my 3 day fried chicken!


2-5 pounds of chicken I used large chicken thighs but you can use whatever cuts you like
1 quart of buttermilk
3 tablespoons of salt of your choice the kind of salt doesn't matter just use it 
3-5 cups of cold water
4 eggs beaten
4 dashes of hot sauce (optional)
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of corn starch (very important for crispiness)
Seasonings: (you can change out to other seasonings you like, this is just what I used):  1 tablespoon of Seasoned salt
1 tablespoon of Granulated Garlic
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper 
1/8 of a teaspoon of black pepper

Day 1:  Grab a large bowl with a lid and add the 3 tablespoons of salt and cold water, stir and allow the salt to dissolve some and add your chicken.  You will want the water to cover the chicken but don't over flow or you wont be able to close the lid to the bowl. Now let the chicken sit for 24 hours in your fridge.
Day 2: Once 24 hours is up drain all the water and rinse the chicken.  Now add in the buttermilk leave about 2 inches from the top empty because the weight of the chicken will make the buttermilk rise.  Now add in the chicken. Put the lid back on and let sit for another 24 hours exactly.
Day 3:  Now its time to fry your chicken, first you need to drain off the buttermilk but DO NOT RINSE.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  While the chicken is drying add about 2-3 cups of vegetable oil to a cast iron frying pan or just use what you have for a frying pan but cast iron works the best, turn your burner to medium heat to let the oil come to cooking temperature.  To tell if the oil is ready sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in the oil if it starts to bubble up really nice then you know the oil is ready.  Now grab two bowls large enough for your chicken.  In one bowl add your beaten eggs and hot sauce.  In the second bowl add flour, corn starch and seasonings to. Mix them up with a fork.  Now once your chicken is dry add the chicken to the flour and seasonings, then the egg and back to the flour.  This will make a good coating for frying.  Once all your chicken is coated, slowly and gently add the chicken to the oil and cook for 15 minutes on each side.  Because my chicken was so large I had to pre heat my oven to 350 and let the chicken fully cook for another 20 minutes.  However smaller pieces of chicken like chicken legs can be fully cooked right in the oil.  Once the chicken is in the oil though DO NOT MESS WITH IT!  Leave it alone for 15 minutes or until you see parts of the underside of the chicken that are golden brown.  If you move the chicken around you will lose all that coating and all those 3 days will be all for not.  Once all the chicken is cooked grab a lint free tea towel and a large bowl to put your chicken in and serve it up.  As always any and all sides go well with fried chicken.  Down below is a video where you can see step by step what I did.  I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as my family does.  Live , laugh and love.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hot Ham and Cheese Dip

Hi everyone!  Today I have a recipe for you that you can throw together with left over ham from Easter, if you are like me and freeze the left overs.  I made some toast points, cut up some carrots, celery, bell peppers and called it lunch.  The kids loved it and even better than that, there were no left overs.


1 brick of softened cream cheese, I used fat free but you can use whatever you like
1 tablespoon of Mayo, you wont taste the mayo it helps with the texture
1 tablespoon of spicy mustard
1 tablespoon of sour cream
2 green onions both the green and white part diced
2 cups of shredded cheese, I used a blend of cheddar and Colby cheeses
2 cups of ham diced
A dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350, next grab a medium mixing bowl and cream together the cream cheese, mustard, mayo and sour cream.  Blend them together until you have a rich creamy texture.  Now add in the ham, green onions and shredded cheese.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  In a small casserole dish or whatever baking dish you have on hand, spoon in the ham and cheese mixture and spread evenly into your baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with a little more shredded cheese and bake uncovered for about 30-45 minutes, or until hot, bubbly and golden brown on top.  When the dip comes out of the oven, sprinkle the top with Cayenne pepper (optional).  I cut up some toast points, and veggies and the kids had this for lunch.  They loved it and I loved the fact that there were no left overs.  

Live, laugh and love and thank you all for stopping by.  Heather

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apple Fries with Vanilla Cinnamon Yogurt Dip

Have you ever had a craving for one thing and by the time you made what you were craving, it turned into something completely different?  Let me explain, a few days ago I was craving french fries.  Yes even after gastric bypass you still get hungry, you still get cravings.  It happens a lot more than what people admit to also.  Well obviously I didn't have french fries but I have been finding since I made these little gems, I crave these instead.  Its a good thing too because they are very good for you. I will give you the recipe to both the dip and the apple fries because even though they are great on their own, when they are together, Oh my goodness gracious!  They are something to be had.  


4-6 apples, I used gala but any apple will work
1/3 cup of sugar or sugar substitute, I used my no calorie sugar substitute
2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon, depending on how much cinnamon you like, I like things spicy so I used closer to 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup to a cup of vanilla flavored greek yogurt, I used oikos triple zero vanilla yogurt (15 grams of protein per container)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non stick cooking spray. 
You will want to slice up your apples like fries, all I did was slice off pieces of the apple around the core.  Then I sliced those chunks thin to make skinny half moon shapes.  After my apples were sliced, I mixed the sugar and cinnamon together on a large plate, and threw my apple slices in the cinnamon mixture.  Make sure to coat all sides of the apples.  Now just arrange them on your cookie sheet so they are not touching one another.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes and flip them once half way through the cooking time.  While those are cooking, its time to whip up the dip.  Grab your yogurt and add in your cinnamon sugar mixture about a tablespoon.  Mix it all up and store it in your fridge until your apple fries are out of the oven.  Once the apples are finished cooking, start taking the apples off the cookie sheet.  DO NOT LET THEM COOL ON THE COOKIE SHEET!  They will stick like cement.  Serve them on a plate with some of the dip and boom you are in snack Heaven, and you didn't have to break your diet to do so.  Its a win win situation.

I hope you all enjoy your apple fries and whether or not you make the dip with them is totally up to you but for me you cannot have one without the other.  Live ,laugh and love everyone.  


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity Salad

Hello everyone!  I made this salad over Easter for breakfast and oh my gosh, what a delicious addition to scrambled eggs if I do say so myself.  As some of you know I have had gastric bypass back in October.  I want to warn some of you now this is made with artificial sweeteners.  Real sugars, honey, ect makes me sick.  So to broaden my horizons flavor wise I use artificial sweeteners.  Honestly I cannot tell a difference in flavor, texture or otherwise.  I just know that I am not sick to my stomach after eating it.  However if you are still with the full sugar crowd have at it.  Far be it for me to tell you what you can and cannot have.  Just don't be telling me how awful artificial sweeteners are, I am well aware but believe me folks when I say I would be limited to very few things if I didn't partake in artificial sweeteners.  Different boats for different folks, live and let live.  Now with that all being said let's talk about this salad shall we?  As I mentioned this is packed with so much flavor you wont even miss the whipped cream or high calorie pastry some people put with this stuff like this.  Don't be taking my word for it, see for yourself when you make it!  


2 apples diced
3 oranges reserve one orange off to the side
24 strawberries cut in half
2 bananas sliced and put off to the side
1/3 cup of artificial sweetener or sugar your choice
The juice of 1 orange


Ok so grab a cutting board and cut up all your fruit.  Put the bananas off to the side you will see why in a minute.  Next mix the sugar and fresh orange juice together.  Pour it over the fruit and leave out on your counter covered for 30 minutes.  This gives all the fruit time to macerate or release their juices.  Now right before you serve this peel and cut up the bananas and add the sliced bananas to everyone's individual bowls.  You do this so the bananas don't turn to mush and they will be fresh every time you have this salad.  You can serve this with scrambled eggs like I did, have it with oatmeal or by itself.  



Live, Laugh and Love

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crock Pot Beef Tips

Today I have a recipe for you that you can throw together easily and better yet its a crock pot recipe.  You can throw the ingredients in a crock pot before work and have dinner on the table when you walk in from work.  I love my crock pot I use it whenever possible and this recipe makes the meat melt in your mouth like buttah.  Let's make some Crock Pot Beef Tips!  


2 pounds of Stew meat
1 beef bullion
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of water
1 packet of dry brown gravy mix
1 tablespoon of your favorite Barbecue sauce
salt and pepper 


Before you begin you need to grab a cutting board and salt it liberally.  Now cut your stew meat into bite sized pieces or in half depending how big or small the meat is. What will happen is the salt will tenderize the meat without being too salty and it flavors the meat too.  Add all the meat to the crock pot and then add in all the gravy, sauces and bullion.  Make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed into the meat.  Now add water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce.  Stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours  or high for 4 hours. 

The result is melt in your mouth beef tips with a flavor that is out of this world.  I served the beef tips on top of a baked potato but honestly these could be great with just about anything, or by themselves.  

Live, laugh and love everyone!  Heather

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mini Sundae Cakes for Two

Hi everyone, I know its been a while.  There has been a lot going on and I think I would have to make a whole blog post just to catch you all up on my life.  The short version is, anytime I make plans for anything something happens and that something always needs my attention first.  However today I am penciling in some time to give you a new recipe.  This one I created about a year ago, and its just now making it on my blog.  Oh well better late than never.  Now I will tell you right now I did not make any of this from scratch.  I wanted to keep this simple and I challenged myself to only use the microwave.  This recipe is for the people out there where cooking is not their thing or for kids that can only use the microwave, this one is for you!


1 Chocolate bar (any brand you like)
1 small package of chopped nuts again any kind you like I used chopped walnuts
1 cup of M&Ms
1 pat of butter unsalted
1 pre made mini pound cake you can find boxes of these at any grocery store
1 handful of Maraschino cherries
Whipped Cream


Before you begin anything you want to crunch the M&Ms, I used a hammer and a freezer bag.  I am not so fancy to have a mallet however if you have one have at it.  Now put those candies in a bowl and put off to the side.  Grab a microwave safe bowl and add the butter and chocolate.  You will want to heat this in 10 second increments because the chocolate melts fast. Now once your chocolate is melted add about half of the crushed m&ms to the chocolate.  Mix it around and pour it over the pound cake. Add the rest of the m&ms and the nuts top with cherries and whipped cream.  You can eat this by yourself or share it with a friend or significant other.  If you make this for a date though you better be damn sure you want this guy around though.  Because if you are not into him and you feed him this you will have a stalker for life girl.  

Live, laugh and love


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lemon Pepper Ranch Chicken Bake

Hi everyone, I know I haven't been around for a while. Getting myself working in the kitchen has been a bittersweet experience for me.  I love to cook however the cooking smells and smells of food has been making me queasy to say the least.  I know its just a byproduct of having gastric bypass. As my tummy heals things will get better.  However I couldn't resist not sharing this recipe with you. Its something I just threw together with ingredients I needed to use.  My family loved it and so did my sensitive tummy.  I was going to call this a casserole but it really isn't.  It doesn't have heavy sauces or a gravy to it, its very light and delicious.  So before I keep rattling on and on let's get right into this recipe!


2 Whole lemons
1/2 packet of dry ranch dressing (low sodium) or just make your own
Salt and Pepper through out the entire recipe more pepper than salt
1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half and then cut in half again
1 package of frozen broccoli 
5 Yukon gold potatoes with skin still on cut in quarters
1/2 cup of water
extra virgin olive oil


In a large cast iron pan or whatever skillet you have, add in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Salt and pepper both sides of your raw chicken and add to the hot pan.  Leave them alone, you want a good sear on both sides that wont happen if you keep moving them around in the pan.  We are only browning both sides we are not cooking all the way through.  While your chicken is browning, grab your largest casserole dish you have.  Add the frozen broccoli, do not thaw it or anything like that.  Add in the potatoes and then coat with about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from one lemon.  Cut the juiced lemon in half and add that to the veggies and potatoes.  You will not be eating the lemons but getting the flavor from the lemons that adds so much more to this recipe.  Once the chicken is brown on both sides add that to the casserole dish on top of the veggies and lemon.  While your pan is still hot add in the water, the juice from the last lemon and the ranch dressing.  Whisk it all around making sure you get the fond in the pan as well.  ( Fond is all the bits left over in the pan from the chicken, when you think of fond think of mad flavor.)  Then pour this flavor goodness all over the top of the chicken.  Cut the remaining lemon that you juiced earlier, in half and put that over the chicken as well.  Pre heat your oven to 375 and cover your chicken and veggies with tin foil nice and tight.  Bake for an hour and half or until the potatoes are done and the chicken is cooked all the way through. 

I know this recipe sounds involved but it really isn't it goes faster than I can type it out.  However the end result is nothing short of amazing and its good for you.  Live, Laugh and Love all.