Thursday, December 29, 2011


There is a reason this blog is called Healthy At Times and this week definitely qualifies as at times.  Overall, I try to eat healthy and have balance each day such as including grains, vegetables, dairy, and fruit into my diet.  It is really hard for me to do while traveling so basically I am trying to be okay with it and go with the flow!  I have had a big breakfast almost every day of this break...check it out:
 Cliff's Uncle made us humongo pancakes with turkey bacon.
 Grammer bought me an McMuffin
  Brent made us hashbrowns, sausage, eggs, and toasty english muffins.
If you have been reading the blog, you have seen several other big breakfasts throughout the week.  I believe I had about 6 straight big breakfasts in a row.  My stomach needs a break.  Don't get me wrong, I love eating breakfast like this-but I am not used to so many in a row.  This morning I had a bowl of my home-made instant oatmeal (felt good to eat a lighter b-fast).  I love this stuff and I will post the recipe when we get home.  For some reason, it seemed a little salty, but I can fix that easily!
Remember how I said Cliff's B-day was the day after Christmas?  Well, you should know that we went to Cracker Barrel and had the most amazing breakfast (I have to try and make it at home).  
Um, yes it tasted like a cinnamon roll-you have to try it if you go there (it is seasonal).
After breakfast we decided to build a snowman!  The snow was perfect so it did not take long.  While we were building the snowman I asked Cliff if he would like me to make him Queso....his face lit up and he said really?  I went to the store to get the goods and came home to make that for him.  He pretty much ate it all afternoon and didn't bother eating dinner...ha!
Peppermint eyes, cookies for buttons ha!
This is the queso in the background on the spoon Cliff is holding.  Did I mention I made a home-made Chocolate-chip Cheesecake?
The cheesecake is so so so good.  We ate it three nights in a row and sadly it is gone.  I'm posting the recipe!

 You bake it in a spring-form pan.  You also have to put it on a cookie sheet with water around it.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake I

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cocoa. Press onto bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Set crust aside.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; beat well. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Toss 1/3 of the miniature chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Mix into cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips.  Put spring form pan on a cookie sheet and put water on the cookie sheet (this helps with the appearance and texture of the cheesecake). 
Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1 hour.  Turn off oven (do not open oven door) and leave the cake in the oven to cool in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate before removing sides of pan. Keep cake refrigerated until time to serve.
 *Adapted from: Allrecipes

Last night I kind of got back to healthy!  I made dinner for Cliff's family.  Shake and bake pork-chops (Cliff made), home-made mashed potatoes, gravy, and veggies.  It  is nice to have a balanced meal in my belly:)  
Hope everyone is having a great week!  I am hoping to get back to some normal blogging in the new year.  I will be making some goals for the blog and myself!  I am excited.  Tomorrow Cliff and me head to Austin to hang with his Aunt and Uncle.  We are excited.  Now we are headed to have lunch with his Mom and do a little shopping.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas Merry Christmas

The past few days feel a little blurry.  Christmas Eve morning, Cliff's Uncle Curtis had us over for breakfast!  He is a bachelor so he made us a hearty, country boy breakfast and really good coffee:) 
 Thick, stick to your ribs gravy.  Cheesy eggs (I made those), bacon, sausage, and hash browns!
I was plenty full after eating this breakfast.
During the day we kind of prepped for Christmas and got things ready for dinner.  We went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service at their church then headed to Grammer's for Potato Soup and grilled ham and cheese.
I made the potato soup (recipe below), and the grilled ham and cheese was tasty!
His Uncle Jody (who is out of town), sent this awesome fruit bouquet!  I had a couple pieces of this too!
Christmas morning we woke up to stockings and presents.  His parents spoiled us this year.  I was completely surprised when I opened up a sewing machine!  I have been wanting one for a long time and now that we have room in our apartment I was considering getting one.  I couldn't believe they got me one.  They got Cliff a lot of business clothes-and he was very happy:)

 Aren't these cute little stockings!  I got some great perfume in here:)
 Sewing machine:)
Their cute Christmas tree!
Cliff's Dad made a big breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and banana bread!  It was so delicious.
 Can I just say I ate way to much today and have a big ol' stomach ache!  Yikes, but all the food they had was really good.
Brent's Dad made chocolate chip cookies and put peanut butter M&M's in them while they were still warm.
We went to Brent's sisters house and they had a huge spread!  I ate lots of green bean casserole, potato casserole, wheat thins, ham, and 2 huge pieces of cinnamon chocolate cake (oh my gosh this cake was so so good).  

This was the cake that took me down LOL!  I could not stop eating it!
It also snowed all day so we had a white Christmas.  We went to his Grammer's for enchilada's in the evening!  Not that we needed more food, but we ate anyway:)
Today's Cliff's Birthday!  We are headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast with friends (though I probably have eaten enough for the whole week already).  We may go to a movie but we aren't sure.  Hopefully my stomach will get better as the day goes on, but I think I have been on food overload for too many days in a row!  Hope everybody had a great Christmas:)

Potato Soup  
(Can be made in crock-pot or on stove)
6 large potatoes, cubed
1 chopped onion
3-4 stalks celery
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T. parsley flakes
5 cups water  
Salt and pepper to taste
5 Tbsp. butter
1 regular size can evaporated milk
Saute onions and celery in butter (optional).  Put all ingredients in a slow cooker except for the evaporated milk.  Cover and cook on low 10 to 12 hours (high 3 to 4 hours).  Stir in evaporated milk during last hour.
*We like to put bacon and cheese on top and serve with tortillas or homemade rolls!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fun With the Family

It has been a fun couple of days!  Yesterday I got some last minute shopping done with my great friend Kourtney:)  We had fun and laughed a lot.  In the evening Cliff's Dad ordered some pizza from this place called Pizza Planet.
I almost forgot to take a picture because I was SO hungry.  We had supreme pizza, mojos (awesome battered and fried potatoes), and salad.  It was super delicious.
We ate all this food then watched Chopped while we waited for Cliff's flight to arrive.  I also had a Peanut Butter Snickers (my new favorite candy bar).  Now Cliff is here and we are all happy.  We went to Grammer's house this morning and I made Baked Oatmeal while his Mom cooked bacon!  I have to share this recipe because it is really easy and delicious.  

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal.
 Man I enjoy bacon (wish it wasn't so expensive).
Made Cliff some cheesy eggs!
Here is my plate!  With lots of coffee-yummy.
Baked Oatmeal
2 Cups Oatmeal
1 ½ Cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 Beaten Egg
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Craisins (Could try various toppings: apples, raisins, bananas, etc)
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Baking Powder
Dash of Salt

Mix ingredients together.  Place into sprayed square cake pan.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  The liquid should be absorbed!  Served with milk and bacon:)
**Can add chocolate chips if you so desire:)  White chocolate would be good too.

You need to try this recipe.  Tonight we are headed to Buns Over Texas with Brent's side of the family:)  It should be fun!  Hope you guys are ready for Christmas and hope you take the time to rest and appreciate the amazing gift of Jesus, coming humbly to this earth so that we would be able to live freely in relationship with Him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Love Eggs

I don't know if you've noticed, but I have really been on an egg kick lately.  The weird part is, I have been eating them at lunch!  I don't know why, but they have just been sounding good for lunch.  Today I made some cheesy scrambled eggs on a toasty tortilla!

I folded this baby with a little blueberry jelly.  There is something about this salty/sweet combo that makes my belly happy!
I also had a lovely cutie smoothie for a snack:  1 cup milk, 2 cuties, 1/2 banana, ice, and a little vanilla coffee-mate!  It was light and creamy and delicious.

I am now in Amarillo spending time with Cliff's parents!  We are having a good time.  The good thing is, his g-ma lives a couple houses down, so I can hang out with her also.  Yesterday I went over to her house and she was making stew!
It was hearty and delicious.  I had a big ol' bowl with some buttery bread.
For breakfast lately I have been keeping it simple.  Peanut butter toast with various toppings depending on my mood!  Also, coffee has been a must because it is cold here and travel makes me tired!!
 Peanut butter, nutella, cranberries and cinnamon.
 Peanut butter and apple butter!  Love her table decorations!
Aren't her table decorations so cute!  I also put some eggnog in my coffee after breakfast!  It was is like sweet creamy goodness in an already awesome beverage.
I have been writing Christmas cards all day!  I also went for a short walk to get some sunlight which is a great mood booster:)  Dawna and me are going shopping tonight which will be a lot of fun.  Christmas is 4 days away!!!  Hope everyone is having a great Christmas week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As I Promised

I didn't get a chance to post over the weekend but I wanted to say that the muffins turned out delicious.  They are pretty healthy and make a great breakfast.

I love to put them in the skillet with a little butter and they get all warm and toasty.
Peanut butter on half-delicious.
Cliff liked them but felt like they were a little bland.  The next day we had them again with cheesy eggs on the side and he said he really liked them with eggs!  So I will be making them again...they are great to make the day ahead if you need ideas for a quick breakfast:)  I got this recipe from my friend Amber:

Baked Apple Bran Muffins

1 ½ cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk (can use 1 cup milk mixed with 1 Tbsp. vinegar as a substitute)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or substitute apple sauce for the same amount-have had them both ways and both are good)
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins (or 1 baked large apple-directions below)

Directions for baked apple:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil on baking sheet.  Dice apple and toss in a little butter (about 1 Tbsp.).  Place apples on foil lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a little cinnamon (not the teaspoon), and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Directions for bran muffins:
1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2.       Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
3.       Beat together oil, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in previously baked apples (other options – raisins, nuts, granola, various fruits, etc) and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
4.       Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
Side notes – If you use an oversized muffin pan and it makes 6 muffins (approximately 1/3 cup of batter in each one). Also, sometimes it takes 20-25 minutes to bake.
*you can store these at room temperature for 3-4 days (place in fridge if you are keeping them longer than that.

Chocolate You Have Got To Try

TURTLES!  Okay, have you ever had homemade turtles?  I love them but always figured I didn't want to go through the trouble of making them.  Last year I tried this amazing, easy recipe and now I have to make them every year (especially for my Dad and brother).  I made a big batch of them before Thanksgiving and didn't want to post them because I was going to surprise my family with them.  Now they have eaten them all so it is safe to share!
Carmel and nuts (pecans or cashews).  At this point you dip them in chocolate-but I forgot to take a picture of them:(  Trust me they are mouth wateringly beautiful.
 Here are the caramels in the pan melting away!  You need to try this recipe:

1 bag of kraft caramels, unwrapped
3 Tbsp. Butter
2 cups nuts (cashews or pecans)
16 oz dipping chocolate

Place caramel and butter in a double boiler.  Let sit until they start to soften.  You don't need to stir them very much.  When they are completely melted, take of heat, stir until smooth, and add nuts.  Spoon onto parchment as seen above.  Once they are cooled melt your chocolate according to the package directions and dip away!  These are very sweet and delicious!

BARKIN' DOGS!  I have posted about these before but I took a few extra pictures that may help with the process of making them. 

First, you need this little grill poker thing!  Get your ritz crackers ready with peanut butter on top (smooth or chunky).  Sometimes I put them in the fridge while the chocolate melts so the peanut butter doesn't melt as easy.
Place cracker in peanut butter side down.  Use poker to flip quickly.

Pull out and tap off excess chocolate!  It's that simple.  Usually I drizzle white chocolate on the top so they look awesome like so:
These are so delicious and simple to make!  People love them when you take them to events/gatherings.

Barkin Dogs
3 Sleeves Ritz Crackers
Plenty of peanut butter (I have used creamy and chunky-chunky is my favorite)
1 package chocolate almond bark (16 oz melting chocolate)

Top Ritz with peanut butter and put in fridge.  Melt chocolate in double boiler.  When chocolate is melted, dip peanut butter crackers in chocolate.  Drizzle with extra chocolate if you wish and devour!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Friday!

Today was my last day of work at my after school job.  I was in charge of an after school program for a local elementary school.  I think I needed more experience with kids before managing 32!  It was hard but I am thankful for the experience.  I made so many goodies this week and took some to my awesome workers and our apartment staff and family/friends, etc.  The plates turned out so cute.  Check out the assembly line:
Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, barkin dogs, chocolate spoons chocolate pretzels.  I also made separate baggies of chex mix!  They turned out so cute.
It was a great day.  I woke up and had a lazy morning of coffee and a smoothie:)  Read my Bible (without feeling rushed!!!).  Danced around my apt like a goofy nugget.  Danielle and me went for a fast paced walk and then she helped me put together the plates-thanks!  We had a lot of fun.  After our plate making, I decided to make some Apple Bran Muffins to have for breakfast tomorrow...they are jumbo:)
I will post this recipe this weekend!  They are healthy and I want to make sure they taste good before I go posting it lol.
Just so you know...I am completely hooked on this egg sandwich.  I have had it for lunch 3 times in the past week.  What is it you ask?  A cauliflower egg and cheese folded omelet.  I toast my english muffin while the egg is cooking then add blackberry jelly and put it together!  I know this may sound gross/weird but it is sooooooo good.
Tonight Cliff and me were supposed to have a date night, but his flight was delayed, so I decided to make pizza last minute.  I threw this together with a Boboli (HEB brand) crust I had it the freezer.  I burned the outside edges of the crust, but other than that I was very delicious.
  Pepperoni, tomato, bell pepper, pineapple, and fresh basil!
I am hoping to post about some of my chocolate treats I have been making-stay tuned because there are going to be some good recipes!  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baking Up a Storm

I had to look at my pictures to remember what all I have done this week.  It has been a really busy week and it is finally slowing down.  I am going to spare you details of my meals this week.  I have been eating on the run and finishing leftovers.  However, you are in for a treat because I have made a lot of Christmas goodies-that is why I have not had time to blog;)
 We will start with this awesome Chex PB & Chocolate Blast!
 This stuff is STUPID GOOD!  I love it.
 Chex, white chocolate, peanut butter chips, m &m's, peanuts and pretzels.  The recipe is here.
Great for goodie bags which is why I made it.  Be careful though because once you taste it you want to eat it alllllllllll!  I am eating it as I type YIKES.  I made this a couple of days ago and I hope it lasts long enough to take to Cliff's family!

Today Danielle and me went to our friend Amber's house for a cookie decorating extravaganza.  We had to fuel up before we started so naturally Amber made Toasted Coconut Waffles....Oh man they were good.  She made them with a normal box waffle mix and added toasted coconut to them.  She also said she used butter instead of oil for the batter.  I loved them.
Our spread with coffee-I overdosed on the coffee this morning.

 My waffle in sections: peanut butter, butter, and nutella.  Syrup on all of it and yes I ate the WHOLE thing:)  It was great.  Then we were ready to roll out cookies and bake up a storm.  Check it out:
 Sugar cookies!  We used pipping bags like pros.

 Amber and Danielle-they are masters!
I made gingerbread cookies from scratch (yes the recipe will be at the bottom of the post).  Yep they look good!

I was so excited...I was jumping up and down and the coffee made me feel crazy!  It was a lot of fun...Thanks Amber and Danielle:)

Gingerbread Cookies
*makes about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
4 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk,
1 tsp vanilla

1.  In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar.  Add the egg, molasses and vinegar; mix well.  Combine dry ingredidnts; add to creamed mixtue and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.  
2.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 in thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Make sure the dough is cold (we kept ours in the freezer in between batches).  Place 1 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets (or parchment).  Bate at 350 for 7-9 minutes or until set.  Let cool before frosting. 
3.  For frosting mix butter, powdered sugar, and milk (1 Tbsp. at a time) to desired consistency.  Add vanilla and mix well.  We died our frosting different colors
*you will need to chill this dough for about 3 hours (or overnight) and keep it cold as you roll it out
**Adapted slightly from Taste of Homes