birthday countdown

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pizza Margherita

I forgot that I promised a few of my friends that I would post this recipe. It is very yummy!
The crust recipe is from a good friend - who might be reading this! ha ha and it is in our church cookbook. I modified it to work with my new eating 'rules'.

Makes 2 large pizza crusts:

2 Tbl. yeast
2 cups water
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups whole wheat flour

Mix by hand or mixer. Then let rest for 5 minutes while preparing your pans. Grease pans and divide dough into 2 globs of dough.  Add sauce and toppings. Bake at 375-400 until golden brown.

Toppings for Pizza Margherita:
Pizza Sauce ( I use Ragu homestyle because it has no added sugar)
Fresh Mozzarella sliced thin
Tomatoes sliced thin
Fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped

Spread sauce onto unbaked crust.  Layer top with tomatoes and fresh cheese slices. Sprinkle with basil.
Bake as directed above

I always make one of these for me and add my families favorite toppings to the other. Then everyone is happy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reality Wake Up Call

Okay so my friend and I rode our bikes form Moscow to Troy today. Well almost, we had to stop about 2 miles short because there was too much ice on the bike trail.  We think it was about 20 miles- but since we couldn't get the bike computer to work we aren't sure. It was a HUGE reality check for me. Thank goodness I have such an awesome, positive and great friend! She kept me going. So some things I learned about myself today.... My bike needs some serious help. I need to work harder in spin class, I need A LOT more biking outside time and this 75 mile bike ride will be the hardest thing I have ever done. 

Do I feel in over my head? oh yes, but I also feel empowered and good about myself. It was a tough ride for me, but we did it. We started our training. I am just glad that I registered for the ride BEFORE today! It is going to be an adventure.

But 2 hours of biking and 2000 calories makes for a pretty good day. Now for a hot shower and some lunch! I wonder how my legs will feel tomorrow??

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wheat Grinding Maniac

I can't believe that I have used almost 100 lbs of wheat since Jan 5th! All of the white winter wheat that I bought was ground today plus most of what was left of a  50 # bucket of red wheat. I guess that makes sense since that is all I am using, and I make all my own buns, rolls, etc.. It was just surprising to me. I guess when we were asked by church leaders to store hundreds of pounds of wheat for the future they knew what they were talking about! I took some time yesterday, since I was home with sick boys, to make a double batch of my hamburger buns. I turned half of it into hoagie rolls. We had french dip sandwiches on some of them last night! Yummy! This time I added 1/3 cup of gluten flour to the recipe and I can't believe how much bigger they got. Huge Buns! I froze them so I will have them when I need a quick meal. Well my timer is ringing, back to my bread making!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making my own Greek Yogurt

Okay most of you know that I have this thing for Greek Yogurt. I LOVE IT! but it is expensive. I got to thinking there has GOT to be a way to make this sutff. So I got searching on the interent and also talked with some friends who tried a similar method. It sounded easy so I gave it a try.  It is SO easy and super yummy. So here are the easy instructions.. You have got to try this out.

I have a huge crock-pot so I made a full recipe. You could easily make less, by using half the ingredients.

1 gal milk ( I used fat free but the more fat the creamier the yogurt)
1 cup of plain high quality yogurt with active bacteria ( I used Nancy's)
White 'flour sack' type of dish towel or Cheese Cloth
Big Bowl
Crock Pot

Pour the milk into the crockpot. Turn on to low. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug crock pot. Wait 3 hours. Scoop out a cup of the warm milk into a small bowl. Mix in the plain yogurt until smooth. Stir this mixture back into the warm milk. Put lid back on crock pot. Wrap crock pot in 2 big bath towels. Go to bed. In about 8-12 hours you will have a crock pot full of plain yogurt! Now before it is ready to eat you have a few more easy steps to do.

On top of the yogurt will be this watery liquid that is slightly yellow. This has to be drained off. To drain the yogurt: Open the dish towel and place it in the colander, put the colander in a slightly larger bowl. Scoop out the yogurt from the crockpot and let drain.  The more of the liquid you drain off the thicker the yogurt will be. You can just drain off a little and then whip it all up together. This will be about the consistency of plain store bought yogurt. The thick greek style that I like is about the consistency of sour cream I let mine drain about 4 hours and it was almost as thick as cream cheese! I mixed back  in some of the drained water to make mine the way I prefer. Let the yogurt cool in the fridge. I let mine drain and cool at the same time. When it's cold it is ready to eat.

I like mine just plain with a little fruit (berries especially) and some of my homemade granola. But you can add jam, fruit spread, honey, whatever to make it how you like it. I read that the Greek's like it with honey and walnuts, that sounds yummy! You can also use the plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.

Now the difference between regular plain yogurt and the thick greek style aren't just the consistency. I did a nutritional comparison on both. They both have the same calories and fat per serving BUT the greek style has double the protein (23 grams per cup!) and also about half the sugar, the sugar that is naturally in milk- so therefore less carbohydrates. Both are great for you, but I like the higher protein content. Adding some fresh fruit and a little homemade low fat granola and you have a great breakfast!

I am sure I will be making this a lot. I am going to experiment with some flavor additions. I will let you know how they tun out. My kids are pretty willing guinea pigs! I might even stop buying yogurt all together. It's nice knowing I am making a product without any added sugar, preservatives or gelatin that is in most store brands.  In fact look at the label next time you eat a small container of yogurt. Most brands have at least 27 grams of sugar per serving and most of those are from High Fructose Corn Syrup or chemical sugar substitutes.  For 27 grams of sugar you might as well have a bowl of sugar cereal or a donut- not the healthy choice you were thinking it was, right?  Okay off my soapbox for the moment.

Let me know if you try it out.

Super Decadent Chocolate Torte

Okay I must admit that during Valentines week I had a tough time not eating sweets. I was craving Chocolate Cheesecake or something so badly. So I got on one of my favorite websites and found an awesome recipe that would meet my eating requirements. It is NOT low Calorie (about 372 per piece) but very satisfying and my family loved it. So if you need something for a special occasion try this out... is one of my favorite sites for new ideas! This is where I got the recipe from, but of course I modified it- don't I always!

Super Decadent Chocolate Torte

Crust: Grease a springform pan with Pam, and set aside.
2 cups of almonds (or choice of nuts)
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of oat  flour (oatmeal blended in my blender until fine powder)
2/3 cup of real butter
1/4 cup of Agave Syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place almonds in a food processor, and process until a coarse flour, add the rest of the ingredients and process until it forms a uniform dough. I had to add a little bit of cream to make it mix well. Just a tablespoon or two.  Press down into the greased pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
Take out of the oven and cool. Once the crust is cool, making the filling.
8 ounces of quality dark chocolate ( I used Newman's Own organic Orange Dark Chocolate)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
Dash of salt

1-Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a medium size, heatproof bowl. Add the butter and  mix it into the chopped chocolate a little.
2-Heat the  cream on the stove until very hot. Pour over the chocolate and tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate. Let this sit for about one minute to start melting the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula (heatproof), slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl. Stir for about two minutes or until melted.
3-  Pour this over the crust and carefully place it in the fridge to set. It will take about an hour to set. Cover with plastic wrap once all the way cool. Will keep at least three days in the fridge (if you can resist that long!).

Back on track with my plan....

Okay I must be honest. NO, I didn't eat any sugar or white flour BUT I have really slipped the past few days with my plans. Life just got in the way.... some things were out of my control (like Ashton accidently breaking Isaac's arm and me not really clueing in to that for 2 days!) and lots of other little things not in my control that threw me off base a little. Anyway I took a few days to re-group and now I am feeling on top of my game again. I won't make my fitness or eating goals for the month or get my monthly reward that I chose for myself BUT I am not going to give up. I feel too good when I am doing the right things for that to happen. Plus I have paid and registered for my bike ride in June so I can't stop now! Funny thing about that... I got my race number. I am #3,  which means that there was NO reason to stay up and register at midnight last week, BUT apparently having a single digit race number is cool. Just hope I don't come in dead last on the day of the race! :0)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sugar Cookies? Are you kidding me!

Okay Valentine's Day was getting to me. So I found this recipe for Sugar Cookies made with White Whole Wheat flour and Agave Syrup. They are amazing. Of course they are about 80 calories a cookie. But one, okay two plus a little dough sample! :0) and my craving is cured. Better give the rest of these away, any takers? I found this recipe on a blog called  (or otherwise my year without sugar) it is a very inspiring blog and has tons of great recipes and information!!

Sugar Cookies


1 1/2 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine butter and flour in food processor until combined. Add vanilla and agave syrup slowly. Form into a disk. wrap in plastic wrap. Refridgerate until firm. Roll out. Cut, Bake at 300 for 6-8 minutues

Yummy Low Fat and Low Sugar Granola!!!

I found this recipe in Bob Greene's Book The Best Life Diet. It was fast to make and my whole family loved it! I made it just like it suggested. But now that I know how easy and yummy it is I will tweak it in the future. The possibilities of spices, fruits, and nuts you could add would be limitless! I ate mine with some plain yogurt and fresh berries for breakfast... Super Yum! Try it out, it took me about 30 minutes to make from start to finish.


4 cup Rolled Oats
1/4 cup Unprocessed Oat Bran
2 tbsp Canola Oil
1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Pure Almond Extract
1 tsp Ginger, Ground
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 cup Pears, Dried-unsweetened
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries- sweetened with apple juice
1/4 cup Dates, Chopped


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the oats and bran on a large baking sheet

In a small pan over medium heat, stir in the canola oil, maple syrup, ground ginger and vanilla and almond extracts.. When the mixture bubbles, pour it over the oat mixture and mix well. Bake for 10 minutes.

Add the almonds and stir the mix thoroughly. Continue to bake until the oats and almonds are lightly toasted, about 10 minutes more, stirring again halfway through.

Stir in the pears, cranberries, dates, and ginger. Bake until the oats are crisp, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and stir the mix. Let the granola cool for 5 minutes, then stir again.

When completely cool, store the granola in an air-tight container for up to 4 weeks.

Well it is official....

Well it is official. I am registered for the CHaFe 150 on June 12, 2010.  I think I will add a countdown to the 75 mile bike ride. This is going to be an adventure.... This is a ride for a charity so if anyone is interested in pledging money for a good cause. You can do so on my fundraising page at

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Registration is tonight for the big bike ride!!!

My friends and I have to register tonight at midnight for our crazy bike ride in June. It is called the ChaFe 150. We will bike from Troy Montana to Sandpoint ID (75 miles total). I am super scared, but excited at the same time. I can't believe I am going to even attempt something so huge. Thank goodness I am doing it with friends that I love. It should be an adventure to say the least!!

Honey Ginger Mahi Mahi

This is one of the first fish recipes that I found that I loved! It is easy and delicious. I buy my Mahi Mahi at Costco. It comes in individually frozen fillets. This fish is extremely mild. I also used the same marinade for some chicken tenderloins- for those kids who don't want to even try the fish. It worked just as well.

We had this last night with Quinoa.(pronounced KEEN-WA) A very yummy grain that you might not have tried before. It is faster and easier to cook than rice. It has tons of protein and other great things in it.!! Try it out!! My kids LOVE it!

Honey Ginger Mahi Mahi-  (From

3 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Soy Sauce
3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Fresh Ginger Root
1 cloves Garlic Clove
2 tsp Olive Oil
4 fillet Mahi Mahi Fillets
1 tbsp Oil, Canola

In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.
Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best Food Finds of the Month!

You can not even imagine my excitement when I found unsweetened ketchup at our local food co-op. I literally squealed... I am sure the employee stocking shelves thought I was crazy. But not having ketchup has been hard. Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Unsweetened Ketchup is what I found and I love it!

The other find was Coconut Bliss Ice- Cream now this is not a low calorie food and is pricey. But one night the family wanted ice-cream and I started feeling a little left out. So I found this in the health food section of my local grocery store and I was in heaven. It is made with coconut milk and agave syrup.
I had to have some self control and have just a serving but it was so delicious. It comes in lots of flavors.
I had the Dark Chocolate. It will definitely be on my list of treats for those special occasions! YUM!

I also was impressed with a protein drink that my gym sells called  Syntha-6 . I am not positive about the sugar content but at first glance it looked safe, what I am impressed with is the protein content and other benefits they were amazing and it takes great! I plan on buying some and using it on those days that I do extra hard workouts and need to replenish.

Goals for February

It's a new month so it is time to shake things up a bit. I have decided to add at least two days of strength training a week to my 6 days of cardio routine. I am really focusing on my biking to get ready for the 82 mile bike ride in June. So I am taking at least 4 spin classes a week. One day of the week I try to get in a double spin or at least a long class if I can. I am cross training on the other two days. I had started my walk/run program but my knee is really complaining about that so I am just walking fast or doing the elliptical. My hope is that as I get in better shape and drop weight my knees will stop wining and cooperate! We shall see.... I am trying to get a strength workout for my legs figured out. Apparently my right knee doesn't like to do squats of any kind- so I am in the process of figuring out what I can do.

I am also tracking my food daily using the  site. I can't believe how fast and easy it is to use. I have also found that as I insert my recipes in for nutritional information, they are then available for everyone to use. I highly recommend it for whatever your health and fitness goals are. It is by far the best site I have used and it is free!  I spent way too many days this week trying to figure out what I should be eating and when... I think I had some information overload. In fact one of my best friends and I  spent a good portion of a day trying to decide what we would eat for lunch! We of course laughed about it the next day and decided that we were making WAY to big of a deal about it. I am continuing to eat very healthy, no refined sugars of any kind, and really limiting any added sugars ( honey, fruit concentrates, etc..) I have also stuck to my no white flour, pasta, or rice. It is easy for me at home. It gets a little tricky when I am not, so I have to plan ahead and make the best choices that I can. The site really helps me to make sure I am getting a good daily balance of nutrition and enough calories. Another thing I learned about this week- too little calories will make your body hold onto everything- so I have found that something between 1700 and 1800 calories work. I don't feel hungry but not over-full, and have enough energy to get me through the day. I have to adjust it a bit when I have a big workout and burn lots of calories vs a day when I don't.  I have found that my tastes are really changing and when I do eat something that I think is sweet, my family looks at me like I have lost my taste buds completely! But again I can't deny that I feel better than I have in such a long time, and that has made these changes easy for me.

The Sunday Weigh in..

I am actually happy to report that today's weigh in was a 5 pound loss! I was so happy, especially since last week had me at a gain.. So all together I have lost 12 pounds. But more importantly I feel so good. I was very disappointed 2 weeks ago when the scale showed another gain when I have been working so hard that week- the calories in vs. the calories burned just didn't add up! Thank goodness I have such awesome and supportive family and friends.  I have been reading a lot this week, and have learned a little more about the science of weight loss. Our bodies fluctuate all the time and sometimes it takes a while for things to start working together. I also think that you have to look at the overall month to really get a gage for how your weight loss is working. I have been reading Bob Greene's book  The Best Life Diet  all this week and have learned a lot about how my body is handling all of these changes I am making. It is going to take time and I have to remind myself often that I AM NOT looking for a quick fix, but a change for life. But I also would be lying if I didn't say a 5 pound weight loss made me down right giddy!

Back from the long blogging break!

Well as you know our family took a week off to 'unplug' ourselves from all electronics. It was a nice break in some aspects but I really missed blogging. Then last week life for some reason was just really crazy for me. I really didn't feel like I could justify blogging when I couldn't put all my groceries away for 3 days! Part of the reason life was so hectic is that I added some new goals for myself, and that took some adjusting with my schedule. But I am feeling more on top of things now so I am excited to share some great things I learned and discovered over the past two weeks!  Read on.....