Mudslide Cookies

cookies, dessert, chocolate, mudslide

Click here for Jacques’ Chocolate Mudslide Cookies recipe from “Stylish Cuisine”!

Let’s get honest for a minute here.  There’s a solid week every month that women are allowed to be bitchy more abrupt than usual.  This coincides with all sorts of wonderful things like cramps, hypersensitivity, extended bathroom breaks, chocolate cravings, etc.  For the last three years, I barely had a period.  My body seemed to try to have one, but I just couldn’t pull it off most months.  Because of my unruly body, I didn’t have any excuse for my abrupt behavior… except that I was bitchy (What? NO!).

Good news, though!  My body is currently back to working correctly and my excuse for craving chocolate is back full force.  This is a dangerous craving for me.  I love chocolate on a regular day, so when I crave it on an extreme level, my dieting is constantly on the brink of disaster.  Last month, everyone and their mother and their sister and their bestest friend in the whole world decided to make cookies.  I’m not even joking.  EVERYONE MADE COOKIES.  And then they posted about it on Facebook.  Cruel!  Jess said she wanted to make some too and I was happy to participate in that.  I didn’t want to make any regular cookie, though.   My brain told me, “You want chocolate cookies with walnuts in them.”  I said to my brain, “Damn, that’s a great suggestion.”  So I made some.

chocolate, cookie, brownie, healthy, dessert

Click here for this Secretly Healthy Chocolate Brownie Cookies recipe by “Eliza’s Edibles”!

I found a recipe on the Cooking Light website for Mudslide Cookies and went from there.  They were perfect!  Not overly sweet (which is easy to do with chocolate cookies), perfectly crisp on the outside, but pillowy on the inside.  Best part?  Low calorie!  Granted, it’s still a CHOCOLATE COOKIE, so it’s going to have at least a few calories in it, but these aren’t over the top.  I made 30 ginormous cookies (as in the size of the palm of my hand) and they were only 4 PP each.  You could easily make cookies that were slightly smaller, and make 48 at 2 PP each.  Best part?  They satisfy my chocolate craving without making me want to eat seven in a row.  I get my momentary fill of chocolate after one!  That’s incredibly important  for me.  I have a tendency to go for chocolate CHIP cookies and then I eat four in a row just to get enough chocolate chips to actually satisfy my craving.  That’s not so helpful when you’re dieting.

Mudslide Cookies (slightly modified from Cooking Light)
Servings: 30
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4 (or 48 cookies for 2 PP each)

Ingredients

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, 10 PP
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, 9 PP
  • 1 1/2 tbsp organic unsalted butter, 4 PP
  • 1 1/2 tsp strong black coffee (CL used instant coffee granules, but I’m classy, so I don’t have those)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour, 17 PP
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 PP
  • 2 tsp baking powder
chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, pb fudge, fudge, dessert

Click here for this PB Chocolate Fudge Cookies recipe by “Sarah Cupcake”!

  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, 4 PP
  • 3 egg whites, 1 PP (CL used 1/2 cup egg substitute, but I didn’t have that)
  • 2 1/2 cups organic cane sugar, 52 PP (CL used regular refined sugar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 11 PP

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate is almost melted. (I melted my chocolate in a sauce pan on the stove since I have a tendency to over-nuke my chocolate.) Stir until smooth. Combine coffee granules and 1 tablespoon hot water, stirring until granules dissolve. Stir coffee and vanilla into chocolate mixture.

3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Combine sugar, egg substitute, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 6 minutes or until thick and pale. Gently stir 1/4 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture; stir chocolate mixture into remaining egg mixture. Stir in flour mixture and nuts.

4. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat mat (BUY ONE. Do it now.) Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; with moist hands, gently press dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (the pressing is optional.  I didn’t press and they turned out perfectly round). Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

When the cookies are done, they’ll be cracked on top and still moist in the center.  And magically delicious!  Hee hee!

Tangy Watermelon Rice Krispie Treats

Angela:

Okay, I love when people turn food into art and this totally qualifies! Rice Crispy Treats turned into a freaking WATERMELON? Love love love it. Perfect to wow those people at the next summer BBQ, right?

Originally posted on Chew Nibble Nosh:

When my kids are home in the summer time, and it’s a kazillion degrees outside, we spend a good deal of time in the kitchen making “fun food”.  Generally, there’s not a whole lot of nutritional value in “fun food”, but that’s OK.  It’s for fun, right?  This is a recipe that I came across online last year and it has become a summer favorite.  Last summer, I should have bought stock in marshmallows, I made so many batches!

The finished product is deliciously chewy, sweet, and tangy, but above all, fun!  Plus, from an adult standpoint, it’s pretty cute.

Rice Krispie treats are one of the easiest, universally loved desserts around, and this recipe is just as easy as the original…it just adds a couple of quick steps.

I start, just as I would with regular Rice Krispie treats, by melting down a bag of marshmallows with some butter…

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Diet Coke Brownies

Some people are just sheer genius. Who was the first person was that said to themselves, “Hmm… maybe I can replace all the oil, water and eggs in a pre-packaged cake or brownie mix with a can of pop and see what happens.”? I want to know who it was so I can give them a big shiny medal! I don’t know why it works, but it does. It works well.

It really isn’t too much of a surprise, though. I’ve made other tasty things with a box of cake mix and a can of somethingoranother like Pineapple Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Spice Cookies, but when I saw that you could make brownies with a boxed mix and a can of diet coke, my mouth literally dropped open. It was like a sign from heaven.

You see, there are many things that I love about my fiancee. Two of them are her obsessive love for diet coke and her sweet tooth that usually only craves brownies (or kit kats). So, DIET COKE BROWNIES??!?!? A-freaking-mazing. Two of her favorite things in one! Of course, it was a requirement that I test them out. And I did. And they were oh-so-tasty. But the best part? Only 130 calories/4 PP each. An indulgent dessert without actually indulging. Oh happy day :)

Click here for this Dr. Pepper Brownies recipe by “The Novice Chef Blog”!

Diet Coke Brownies (as shown on Eat Yourself Skinny)
Servings: 18
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4 (although EYS says they’re 3, but I put mine through the WW recipe builder)
Calories Per Serving: 130 (but EYS says 115. It really just depends on the mix you’re using)

Ingredients

  • 1 box brownie mix, 70 PP
  • 1 12-oz can of diet coke (or whatever pop you’ve got since it doesn’t make a difference in points!)

Directions
1. Follow directions on box as far as what temperature to set the oven to.

2. Combine brownie mix and pop in a bowl until completely mixed. Spray a baking dish with Pam and then pour in the batter.

3. Follow directions on the box as far as how long to cook PLUS 5-10 more minutes. Just make sure the check that they are cooked to your liking (anywhere from 38-50 minutes). Take out and enjoy!

Now, the combinations don’t stop at diet coke and brownie mix. If you want to keep things all natural and organic, try a can of diet Zevia and some organic brownie mix. Or maybe you want a little more depth of flavor? Then try diet or regular cherry coke. You can even do the same thing with cake mixes! I’ve heard of people using confetti cake mix and a can of sprite or selzer water. Maybe a can of coconut or lime flavored selzer and a white cake mix? Or some root beer and chocolate cake mix? There are just so many combinations you can try! I LOVE it when that happens!

Smoothies and Shakes… What’s the Difference?

Click here for this Wild Blueberry Shake recipe by “Colorful Palate”!

I’ve been on a smoothie rampage lately. Well, by rampage I mean that I have at least 1-2 per day… and not really for the purpose of losing weight, but because they are damn tasty! If I can have something that tastes like ice cream without all the guilt for any meal of the day AND it takes less than 5 minutes to make from start to finish why would I NOT have 1-2 a day? They satisfy my massive sweet tooth and since I put protein powder in every one, they fill me up. It’s a win-win.

Click here for this Juicy Pear Smoothie recipe by “The Healthy Foodie”!

My history with making shakes and smoothies has not been a great one, though. Until my mom showed me how to properly make one last month, I ended up disappointed in most of my smoothie attempts. I’d already packed the blender up for our move (which is next weekend) because I didn’t see the point in keeping it out! Oh, silly silly me. Mimsy (my nickname for my mom) brought over some Weight Watcher Protein Smoothie packets, bought some frozen fruit and went to work.

First off, let me tell you the difference between a SMOOTHIE and a SHAKE. I had to do my own research on this just to figure it out. A smoothie is typically made with fruit – frozen fruit, fruit juice, fresh fruit, etc. It’s not a dairy affair. It’s a fruit party. A shake (“milkshake” being the source of the word), on the other hand, is a dairy-based treat usually made with ice cream, milk or both. The thickness of either does not change the name; as long as you can suck it up through a straw, it’s either a smoothie or a shake. When you start to need a spoon, then it becomes an ice cream or a sorbet.

After you figure out if you’re making a smoothie or a shake, you then want to decide how thick you want it to be. Do you want to easily drink it or do you want it thicker so that you feel more like you’re “eating” something rather than “drinking” it? The breakdown:

Click here for this Blood Orange Smoothie recipe by “Bittersweet”!

– Start each shake/smoothie with no more than 1 cup of a liquid, whether that’s water, fruit juice or some kind of milk (soy, almond, coconut, regular, etc).

– If you want a treat you can DRINK, you can either skip the frozen stuff all together (like ice cream or frozen fruit) and just put in fresh fruit like berries and bananas (or even spinach or avocado!) or you can put in frozen items that are UP TO OR EQUAL to the amount of liquid you’re using. If it’s too liquidy, blend in something frozen like ice or fruit.

– If you want a treat you can EAT, you can put in frozen items that are EQUAL OR UP TO TWICE the amount of the liquid you’re using. You could also use half the amount of liquid and sub the other half with tofu, yogurt, avocado or cottage cheese. Any more than that and your blender won’t blend it properly and you’ll end of with icy chunks of fruit covered in what resembles a smoothie texture. If it’s too thick for you, add some more liquid.

Click here for this Lemon Apple Honey Smoothie by “The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife”!

– If you want a treat you NEED TO EAT WITH A SPOON, you’ll want to use 2 parts frozen stuff to 1 part liquid. Maybe a liiiiiiittle bit more, but not too much. Or you can use about 2 tbsp liquid, up to one cup of tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt or avocado and then add your sweetener and frozen ingredients.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: you want to make sure you eat/drink your treats right away. Smoothies and shakes lose their wonderful consistency within about 30 minutes. So, don’t make it until you’re ready to consume it.

Click here for this Papaya Strawberry Avocado Shake recipe from “Family Fresh Cooking”!

Now you know how to make it work. So all that’s left is some delicious recipes, right? Well, you can certainly click on any of the pictures I’ve posted to go to those recipes on different blogs or you can try some of these simple and delicious combos listed below! Just put in the wet ingredients first, then the protein powder (if using) and sweetener and THEN the frozen items. Blend and enjoy! You may need to use a spoon to re-position the fruit so that it blends properly. Once you see the top of the mixture seamlessly swirling towards the center, your treat is ready to be devoured!

Chocoberry Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

Click here for this Carrot Cake Smoothie recipe by “Pursuit of Hippieness”!

Tropical Breeze Protein Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 PP
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen tropical fruit medley

Peaches and Cream Shake (4 PP)

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream, 2 PP

Simple Strawberry Smoothie (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Chocolate PB Banana Shake (5 PP)

  • 1 cup skim milk, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp peanut butter, 2 PP
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 PP
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen banana

Watermelon Explosion Sorbet (1 PP)

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp truvia, 1 PP

Lemon Curd

Click here for this Ginger Grapefruit Curd Recipe from “101 Cookbooks”!

Let me start off by saying that normally I do NOT like citrus-flavored baked goods. I used to get terrible migraines and horrible car sickness as a kid and I was always taking orange-flavored dramamine pills (which never worked). I’d get physically sick eventually, and because of the dramamine, fake citrus flavored were ruined. No lemon bars, no fruit pizzas, not even plain cheesecake with a “hint” of lemon juice. No orange pop, no lemon tarts…. the only time I could enjoy citrusy sweets was when they were SOUR.

I CAN eat a lemon raw. I DO love lemonheads! I can’t get enough of edy’s all-natural lime fruit bar popsicles. That sh*t is ahhhhhhmaaaazing. So when I wanted to make an egg white frittata a couple weekends ago, I remembered reading a recipe in my Cooking Light magazine for Lemon Curd and Mixed Berry Parfaits and I decided I needed to put those egg yolks to good use, even if I wouldn’t like it (I knew the rest of the people at work would appreciate it!).

Click here for this Coconut Curd recipe from “Country Cleaver”!

Well, the lemon curd didn’t make it to the office. It didn’t make it 24 hours. Why? Because I ate it… one delicious spoonful at a time. Oh, the treachery!! A lifetime of saying “NO!” to lemony baked goods and here I was, standing in front of the fridge for the 5th time, dipping Trader Joe’s Coconut Thins into the curd a few times before going back to eating it plain with my spoon. I felt like a traitor to myself. But I couldn’t deny how delicious this curd was.

It was sour, but perfectly sweet. It had no “fake” lemon flavor because I used real lemons and oranges. I used light buttery spread to cut down the points by just a little. It was just…. perfect. I ate all 32 of those WWPP from that little tub of curd in 24 hours and realized that I have a new weakness: Lemon curd. Curd in general.

I CURSE THE CURD!

But I am most definitely sharing the recipe with you. Because I love you all and you deserve to taste such deliciousness. But I’m warning you…. make it to SHARE it or you will eat it all yourself. Or try one of the other curds that I linked to because they all look outstanding.

Lemon Curd (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 8 (about 1/4 cup each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4

Click here for this Blood Orange Curd + Bars recipe from “Local Kitchen”!

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks, 9 PP
  • 2/3 cup sugar, 14 PP
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 PP
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 1 PP
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, 4 PP (Cooking Light used regular light butter)

Directions
1. Heat the egg yolks, sugar, juices and sea salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 6 minutes (it will become slightly thickened). Add in the butter and stir until completely melted and blended in.

2. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put it into the fridge until cooled throughout and set. Take out a spoon and fall in love.

Elvis Pie

Angela:

I’m a sucker for anything PB/Banana. This pie looks AMAZING. And it’s WWF!  So, I’m thinking I’m going to have to make this soon.  Like REALLY soon.

Originally posted on nancyalden:

Bored with Weight Watchers or whatever diet you’re on because you’re eating the same old thing?  How about a piece of this delicious hunkahunka Elvis pie that’s only 4 points?  We all know Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches.   Well, here’s The King’s inspiration without all the calories!

Elvis pie    serves 6

Premade graham cracker crust

1 12 oz. can fat free evaporated milk

1 1 oz. box sugar free/fat free banana pudding mix

2 bananas

1 cup of fat free whipped topping

Mix milk, pudding mix, 2 bananas and whipped topping until smooth.  Pour into pie shell and put in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

“Icing”:

Combine  6 oz. plain fat free greek yogurt, 2 TBSP low fat peanut butter, 2 TBSP low fat milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Mix until blended, then put in a plastic baggie.  Cut a corner for…

View original 49 more words

St. Patty’s Day Sugar Rush

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Click here for this WWF Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting recipe by "Skinnytaste"!

I love you all.  You should know this.  Especially after taking a look at all the tender love and care that I put into finding tasty desserts for you to try this St. Patty’s Day!  I found something for everyone – cheesecake, cookies, brownies and cupcakes.  AMAZING.

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Click here for this Guinness Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe by "Lea and Jay"

Last year for St. Patty’s Day I posted a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage.  Pretty typical Irish fare.  That has always been the crowd pleaser, the belle of the ball, the star of the show at our house.  Dessert on St. Patty’s Day is usually an afterthought (if only that were the case for the other 364 days of the year).  This year, I’m giving you a smorgasbord of choices to make for the family!

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Click here for this Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake recipe by "Closet Cooking"!

In case you don’t know exactly what the origin of St. Patty’s Day is, I’ll give you the quick and dirty version.  It commemorates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  Interesting fact, Saint Patrick was NOT Irish.  He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century and was kidnapped at age 16 and brought  to Ireland to be a slave.  He eventually escaped, became a bishop, and went back to Ireland to “Christianize” the country whose people were largely practicing polytheism (no, they did not pray to leprechauns and pots of gold were not involved either).  He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (because of the three leaves) hence why it became the featured symbol.  Saint Patrick is the “Champion of Irish Christianity”, therefore he was given a feast day, which over time because a cultural holiday celebrating the Irish in general.  If you’re interested in more of the background of the holiday, check out it’s Wikipedia page!

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Click here for this Irish Coffee Blondies recipe from "Baked Bree"!

I’m not one for in-your-face evangelism, so don’t get all confused and flustered and think I’m trying to turn you all into Catholics or Christians or anything!  I just want you to enjoy a fun day of green clothes, corned beef and beer/liquor-laced sweets :)  I think I’ll be making the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes since they’re actually WWF!  Woot Woot!  I’ll also be roasting my cabbage this year rather than cooking it in the crock pot since I found an awesome recipe to try.

So put on your green shirt, or even some green pants if you have them, drink a little beer, eat some corned beef and cabbage, listen to some Celtic music (or Flogging Molly), chase a leprechaun, find some gold… do whatever makes your St. Patty’s Day just a little bit more fun!

Sweets for Your Sweetie

Click here for this Chocolate Lambic Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe by “The Type A Housewife” blog!

Oh Valentine’s Day…. a Hallmark holiday that has reduced the requirement to say “I Love You” to only once a year.  It’s not really that bad, but still, I think it’s a bit overrated as a holiday!  I tell my significant other that I love her every day!  That’s the way to do it people.  Tell them you love them every day no matter what and then on Valentine’s Day, do something a little different (like Jessica from The Novice Chef Blog).

This year, your something different could be…. a special treat made by you!  Stick it in their lunch or briefcase or make it after dinner or maybe even for breakfast if you can get up early enough.  What do they like?  Pure sugar, chocolate or something more fruity?  Dessert or a milkshake?  I’m sure if you know your sweetie you’ll be able to figure out something that will be sure to please their taste buds.

Click here for this Banana Pops recipe from the “Life and the Web” blog!

Then again, maybe you don’t have a significant other.  That’s no reason not to treat yourself!  Love yourself because YOU are worth celebrating.  Make your sexy self a treat that YOU like.  I’d be making myself a lightened up cheesecake with fresh fruit on top.  You know, I’ve never actually made a full cheesecake.  I’ve made the filling, but it never made it into a crust!  Just into a bowl and into my mouth.  Delicious.

Well, I figure I should leave you with at least ONE recipe that would be easy enough to make at home.  I made this on Friday night because I was having a MAJOR sugar craving and I just happened to have a candy thermometer from my adventures a few years ago with Microwave Peanut Brittle (it was amazing, btw).

Sponge Candy (from The Yummy Life blog)
Servings: 15 (1 oz per serving)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3 (not including optional chocolate dip because that was just TOO many PP!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar, 22 PP
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup, 27 PP
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2-3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional), 49 PP or 73 PP
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (optional), 7 PP or 11 PP

Directions
1. Generously coat an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray; set aside. (Seriously, you really need to coat it well! Mine stuck to the pan in certain parts because I didn’t coat it enough)

Click here for this Chocolate Truffles recipe from the “Point-less Meals” blog!

2. In medium sized saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar. Using medium-high heat, stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture has started to bubble. Check out the recipe link above to see Monica’s pictures of what each step should look like.

3. Attach candy thermometer to pan and continue to cook mixture to 300 degrees (hard crack), without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda just until well combined and evenly colored throughout. Pour immediately into prepared pan and leave undisturbed. Don’t spread or smooth it in the pan; it will even out on its own. It’s normal for the mixture to rise and then fall some in the pan.

4. Let cool completely. Flip pan over and shake gently to remove block of candy. Use a knife to cut and jab candy into pieces. Pieces will be irregular shapes.

5. OPTIONAL: In microwave-safe bowl, combine 2 tablespoons canola oil and 2 cups chocolate chips. Cook at full power in microwave, stopping and stirring in 20 second intervals just until completely melted (approx. 60 seconds total). Dip 1/3 to 1/2 of each candy piece in melted chocolate and place on parchment or wax paper until cool and hardened. Melt remaining chocolate chips and oil, if needed. Store in airtight container.

You can also substitute brown sugar and light corn syrup for the white sugar and dark corn syrup. That’s what I did since I didn’t have dark corn syrup and it still ended up looking exactly the same as Monica’s candy. This isn’t exactly WWF, but anything can be “WWF” once you’ve figured out the points value! So that’s what I did. I hope you enjoy it!

Click here for this Healthy Valentine Cheesecake recipe from the “Wishful Chef” blog!

Game Update and a Sweet Treat

It’s Day Three of our game and the fiancee and I are doing quite well!  At first the food was starting to taste quite repetitive (a BIG no-no for us), so we had to get creative.  The basics are pretty much the same, but the flavors are definitely starting to change!

Last night Bella grilled up a beautiful eye of round steak roast with just a little spicy adobo rubbed all over it.  Seven minutes on each side and it was perfection.  We didn’t eat it then, though, since our meal off was that evening’s dinner and we spent it at El Toro (that’s a whole separate paragraph)!  We put it in the fridge, along with the red, orange and yellow peppers that I sliced and sauteed (with just a spray of Pam and some adobo seasoning!).  So, this morning, I made myself an egg white, RF cheddar cheese and tri-color pepper omelet with just about a tbsp and a half of brown rice in the egg.  I also spiced the eggs with adobo seasoning and some of my absolute favorite hot sauce, El Picante Green Habanero Sauce.  Aaaaahhhhmazing.  And a kiwi on the side to add a little sweet!

So, with this meat, I’ve discovered a fabulous microwave meal – 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 oz shredded RF cheddar cheese, green sauce on one side, and then sliced peppers, slice raw zucchini with salt and pepper, and about 2.5-3 oz of the beef on the other side.  I nuked it for about 2.5 minutes and I was in heaven.  The green sauce really makes it!  It was a perfectly filling, perfectly tasty lunch.  And since zucchini is so delicate, the small bit of nuking (and the peppers resting on top of it) cooked the zucchini just right.

With meals like that, going out for Mexican food really doesn’t seem like a necessary expense.  I’ll admit, it was nice to get out and have someone else prepare our food, but the flavors weren’t perfect and the portions were HUGE.  I ordered a fajita taco salad with shrimp.  It was pretty good, but I’ve had better.  Too much bean and not enough veggies!  Bella ordered the burrito loco; the chicken was a bit overcooked and the sour cream tasted more like a sweetened cream!  Not good.  And since it was our meal off, neither of us took the leftovers back.  I do believe that’s the first time in the history of my life that I haven’t taken leftovers home.

Needless to say, I exercised hard this morning!  About 40 minutes of different routines on the “Challenging” difficulty.  It felt good to sweat again.  I’ve had so much more energy these past few days that I’m getting more done in the mornings and at night!  Most of it goes towards exercising and getting breakfast + 3 small meals to eat at work all ready before I walk in.  That’s when I discovered my newest sweet treat!

The perfect treat to curb that sweet tooth!

Dark Chocolate Pecan Ricotta Dream
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6 PP

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, 4 PP
  • 1-2 packets truvia
  • 1 drop vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped pecan halves, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp special dark chocolate chips, 1 PP

Directions
1. Mix ricotta, truvia and vanilla together. Then mix in pecans and chocolate chips. Sit back and enjoy!

Not only is this treat sweet, but it’s also filling.  It’s not fully of empty carbs.  It will actually fill you up since low-fat ricotta is basically protein!  The nuts are also filling as they are healthy fats and the special dark chocolate chips give you some antioxidants.  Truvia is a natural sweetener made from stevia, so even THAT is healthy!  Paired with a winesap apple from the local orchard, this has become a staple for my game days.  I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve eaten it like 3 days in a row… but now I’m out of ricotta.  Time to go to the store!  And if I start to get tired of this combination, I can change it up… maybe walnuts and banana slices?  Or just a tbsp of pure maple syrup and some other fruit?  You can really do whatever you want since ricotta lends itself to a huge variety of flavors.

One more thing, ricotta has a bit of a grainy texture, so if you don’t like that kind of texture when you are eating sweet things, you probably won’t enjoy this.  But if that doesn’t bother you at all, you will absolutely love this!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Click here for this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies recipe by Recipe Girl!

I am in love, people.  In love with this brownie.  I saw the picture in my Cooking Light magazine and knew I had to make them.  See, I have this obsession with foods that contain the wording of “salt and vinegar” or “salted caramel” in the title.  My culinary taste buds go wild when that combination of sweet and salty enter my mouth.  And you know what?  A lot of “salt and vinegar” flavored items actually have less sodium than their cheesey, ranchy, french onion flavored counterparts.  Why?  Probably because the salt is a main flavor and not just included in a mixture of all sorts of other spices.  Maybe because you don’t need something salty to compliment the flavor of salt…  Or I could be spewing crazy talk (definitely don’t quote me as anything other than a theory here!)  Either way, it is absolutely a winning combination in my book.

Cooking Light definitely hit the jackpot with this one and I am more than happy to share the recipe with you!  The minute I bit into one of these brownies, I knew I was in trouble.  They are SOOOO GOOOOOOD.  I had to cut them all up, wrap them in tin foil and put them in the freezer just to keep from eating them all in one sitting.  Due to the higher amount of butter and sugar, these brownies aren’t completely WWF… I mean, they DO have 5-6 PP per serving.  But there are definitely brownies with a lot more PP out there!  These ones were just too good to pass up.  They are worth the PP, at least in my book :)  I was supposed to have a picture of them, but due to some camera issues, that’s not happening!  So just take a look at these other delicious brownies that I’ve linked to.

These look similar to what mine looked like. This picture is from the Point-less Meals blog.

Salted Caramel Brownies (from Cooking Light)
Servings: 15-20
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6 PP for 15, 5 PP for 20

Click here for this Chocolate Chipotle Brownie recipe from the Cooking by the Seat of my Pants blog!

Ingredients
Brownies

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 9 PP
  • 1 cup sugar, 22 PP
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 6 PP
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 12 PP
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, 13 PP
  • 2 large eggs, 4 PP
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cooking spray

Topping

  • 1/4 cup butter, 9 PP
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 6 PP
  • 3 1/2 tbsp evaporated fat-free milk, divided, 1 PP
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 6 PP
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt, 4 PP

Click here for this WWF Cheesecake Brownies recipe from LaaLoosh!

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. To prepare brownies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 6 tbsp butter, eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla. Add butter mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine. Scrape batter into a 9 inch square metal baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray (I used an 8×11 glass one). Bake at 350 for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging (it took me about 23 minutes). Cool in pan on a wire rack.

3. To prepare topping, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp milk; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; stir with a whisk until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over cooled brownies. Let stand 20 minutes or until set.

4. Combine 2 tbsp milk and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring after 20 seconds. Stir just until smooth; drizzle over caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt; let stand until set. Cut into squares.