Decorating my plate one meal at a time


It had to happen…

A little soy and sriracha helped balance the vinegar flavor.

After going on a new recipe spree and having so many fantastic results, it had to happen: we discovered a recipe we weren’t excited about.  Well, let me clarify that.   We were totally excited to make it, but once it was made and we were eating it, neither one of us was excited about it any more.  It wasn’t *bad*, it just wasn’t as awesome as the other things we had that week.  In case you want to give it a try, check out FoodNetwork for the sweet and sour pork recipe, after all, tastes vary, and you might really like it.  I thought it was just a little too vinegary.  Mom thought it was ok, but “not worth the points”…  in other words, the nutritional values were a bit higher than she was hoping, especially if you serve it over rice.

It turned out pretty enough, I added a little red pepper for color, and served it with brown rice, soy sauce and sriracha (or rooster sauce, as we call it around here).

So this post won’t be a total bust, let me tell you about the super tasty, super easy, decadent treat I found.  Guess where.  That’s right, Pinterest.  I swear, between that and facebook, I’m not sure how I ever manage to peel myself away from the computer.

I didn’t get a photo of it, and to be honest, it’s *not* that much to look at, but it tastes pretty darn good.  The blog author calls it 123 cake, but after sharing it with some friends, I’ve been informed it’s actually 321 cake, which makes sense, keep reading and you’ll see why.

Basically you get two boxes of cake mix. One HAS to be angelfood.  The other can be whatever you want.  You pour both boxes of mix into a storage container (like a gallon Ziploc baggie) and mix them together well.  Then you put 3 tablespoons of the mix into a coffee mug, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir.  Pop it in the microwave for 1 minute (actually, 45 seconds to a minute, depending on your microwave).  That’s it.  Fresh hot cake.  (for those tracking WWP+: my calculations show 3, but another poster on the original recipe page said 4.5, it may depend on which cake mix you use)

So quick and easy and not bad in the stats.  My biggest weakness is sweets, especially cake, so if you’re like me, keep this on hand to stave off those ruthless cravings that just won’t take no for an answer.


Things to be thankful for.

Slimmed down pumpkin pie; an extra sprinkle of pie spice speckles the top.

Today’s post covers three of my favorite things: Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie and Hungry Girl.

I’ve already talked about my deep love for pumpkin pie AND the fabulousness that is Hungry Girl in previous posts, so let’s move on to Thanksgiving.

If I had to say that one holiday was my favorite, it would be Thanksgiving, because it includes so many other things that I adore, like fall weather, a reminder to be thankful for the things that we have, and food.   A whole holiday where the celebration is based around a meal?? How could I not love it?  I will be covering things to do with the leftovers in the next few days, but today, I would like to talk about one of the things I will be bringing along to Thanksgiving dinner:  Wayne’s Pumpkin Smash.

This Hungry Girl recipe uses some of the basics for slimming down the fat and carb content: reduce or replace sugar and use the fat-free version of things when they’re available. While we’re at it, let’s chuck the crust (I never eat it anyway).    This is so simple to make and tastes so good!   I’ve made this twice and I can’t wait for an excuse to make it again. The first time I made it, I didn’t use the full amount of sugar substitute suggested because I have noticed in the past that things tend to get too sweet for my taste when swapping cup for cup.  In this case, I should have known Hungry Girl knows what she’s doing.

I like using a 9″x9″ square pan, as this makes 9 servings. When have you ever cut a round pie into 9 servings?  When I took the picture, I had made it to take along to a party, so I used a disposable pie pan. Either way it tastes the same, but if you’re tracking your nutritional data, be sure to add for a slightly larger portion.

Serve this up with fat-free whipped cream (we like RheddiWhip).  Garnishing a slice with a liberal spoon full of pomegranate seeds over the whipped cream adds a burst of color and flavor that dresses up this old standby.  A container of the seeds can sometimes be found in your local produce section: be prepared to pay a price for saving time.  You can do it yourself, which can be a little messy, but isn’t difficult.

By making a few small changes to this Turkey-day staple, I’m able to stick to my healthy eating and I won’t have to say no when it’s time for dessert.   Just one more thing to be thankful for!

Harvest dessert

No need to visit the farmer's market

Canned pumpkin and a pudding cup make this super easy!

I love fall.  Love it.  I love the weather, the clothes, the colors, and most of all, the great things you can find at the local farmer’s market, apple orchard and pumpkin patch.  I adore pumpkin pie and never understood why we only make it once a year.  I would probably eat  pumpkin pie with every meal, if it didn’t mean that I’d have to actually use the Wii Fit that’s sitting in my living room or buy new jeans once a month.
I’ll be honest though, as much as I love pumpkin pie and I love to pretend I’m Betty Crocker, I’ve only made it from scratch twice.  It would have been once, but Mom begged me to make it for Thanksgiving the second time.  It is a lot of work.  A pain in the neck, actually, and you know what?  It doesn’t taste perceptibly different from canned pumpkin.  So use the pumpkins to decorate your table and save yourself from an entire day spent elbow deep in the kitchen sink, just buy the canned pumpkin.
I like to keep a can or two around to add to oatmeal or whip up with a spice cake mix.  I try not to make a whole pie unless I’m taking it somewhere to share it, otherwise, I would eat the whole pie and then we’re back to those new jeans.  After playing around with what I had in my fridge  I came up with this quick and easy dessert that can be enjoyed any time of year.  I frequently eat this without the pudding cup as a satisfying snack, because the high fiber in pumpkin helps me feel full long enough to make it to the next meal.
Here’s what you need:
Canned pumpkin, about 1/2 of a 15 oz can.
1 small apple (smaller than your closed fist) or 1/2 of a medium to large apple.
Sugar or sugar substitute of your choice, about a tablespoon.
Cinnamon or Pie spice to taste (I like a LOT).
1 Sugar Free vanilla pudding cup. (optional)
Cut the apple into small pieces (smaller than your pinkie) and sprinkle with cinnamon or pie spice. Microwave for about 45 seconds.  Stir in pumpkin and sugar/substitute.  Microwave for about another minute. (As with all microwave recipes, your times may vary).
If you like, top the whole works with a pudding cup and another sprinkle of spice to make it pretty.   Grab a spoon and dig in!