Tag: recipes

Recipe Winners

So lately I’ve been very stressed out.  I’ve been working long hours trying to find tenants for our rentals (which are found!) and my other responsibilities.  The exercising has also been great but combined with the high work hours I feel wrung out- completely tired.   I just can’t seem to figure out how to exercise without it completely draining me of all energy for the day.  It can be very frustrating. I went to the doctor yesterday and got some medicine that should help my hormone levels be more balanced.  I am very hopeful that this will help me to feel better.  Its hard to explain but I feel like there is something off in my body and hopefully my doctor and I are down the road to fixing the problem.  Have you ever felt that way about your body? What do you all do to keep your energy up?  How do you know when to push yourself with exercise and when your body truly needs a break? What can I do to speed up my weight loss when I’m already dead to the world?   I’m still trying to figure all this out!

Anyway, I’ve been overwhelmed lately and have a long time taken to declare the winner for the recipe contest.  The three best I tried were as follows:

Roasted Winter Vegetables. I don't know if I am completely won over by brussel sprouts yet but they were good. Sent by Suzanna Rush

Take a medium sized bowl-full amount of winter veggies (wow that
sounds like it makes no sense…but it will, I promise haha), such as
brussel sprouts (my fave), yams, and potatoes UNCOOKED and chop the
potatoes until they’re about the size of the brussel sprouts.

Toss in enough olive oil to coat and one package of powdered onion soup mix

Put the entire mixture on a baking sheet in one layer

And then bake for 20ish minutes on maybe 375, take it out, flip
everyone over, and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes.  Until the onion
pieces look like they’re caramelizing 🙂

stuffed chicken breasts. This was a good recipe sent to me by Amber Winkle.

Mushroom and cheese stuffed chicken
3 tsp ex virgin olive oil
2garlic cloves minced
1/2 lb shittake mushrooms finely chopped
3/4 tsp herbs de province
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 oz reduced fat goat cheese softened ( I use fat free or reduced fat
mozzarella because the first time I made it I couldn’t find goat cheese
and the mozzarella worked great.)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 shallot chopped( I do green onions)
3/4 c chicken broth
6 T oj
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp cold water

To make filling heat 2  tsp oil add garlic cook 30 sec add mushrooms herbs
salt pepper cook about 5-6 min. Transfer to a bowl add cheese. Stir cool.
Cut pocket in side of chicken. Divide filling and stuff inside each
chicken. Add remaining oil to pan salt and pepper. Cook 8 min ea side.
Keep warm.
For sauce/ gravy
Add shallot to same pan and cook 30 sec. Add broth and oj. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 3 min. Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in cold water
in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Cook stirring
constantly until it bubbles and thickens about 1 min. Pour over chicken.

(The only thing I would cut out would be the orange juice.  I also added an onion to the stuffing)

these cookies are as good as the supermarket pumpkin cookies and only have 2 gr fat and 75 cal. Amazing! Amber Alison send me this.

1 spice cake mix

1 30 ounce can pumpkin

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 c pecans or walnuts

1/2 c chocolate chips

1 egg

Mix all together.  Drop tablespoons on greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.

(Since discovering these cookies it turns out that everyone else seems to have heard of them.  I can’t believe that after dieting for over 20 years nobody thought to tell me about these amazing cookies.  In the future dear friends tell me of such things!)

All these recipes are simple and delicious but the one that excited me the most is the cookie recipe.  It was exactly the type of recipe I was hoping to get- a healthy version of something I crave.  All of the sudden cookies are possible and this make me happy!  So Amber wins the prize! Thanks to the submissions and please keep sending me your healthy recipes and perhaps I will do other contests.

Healthy Recipe Contest

Yesterday I went to my free trainer session at my gym.  Fortunately my trainer is awesome, thoughtful and understanding (she is a former overweight girl herself).  I felt great about our session until today when my entire body hurt- and when I say entire, I mean just that.  Unfortunately for me she gave me an assignment to replicate the work out every day except Sunday and then meet and report on Monday.  I’m not exaggerating when I say every muscle in my body revolted against mere movement today, let alone exercise.   However, knowing my body lies, I forced myself to the gym and did the routine.  Then I suffered 2o minutes on the exercise bike.  My face was red, my body ached like it was being tortured and I felt ready to pass out but I made it through.  Now I am writing this post full of ibuprofen and smelling strongly of bengay but I’m proud of myself.  I did it and it was really hard.

In an effort to NOT think about tomorrow’s exercise I have an exciting proposition.  Since I started to change my life, I have been trying different cookbooks on healthy eating from the library with limited success.  I did find one that had a cool recipe for pork chops with roasted grapes (sounds weird but it was great!) Most of the recipes have been either stuffed with lame substitutes (cool whip is no whip cream), or are completely lacking in flavor.

Here’s my idea…I am going to have a healthy recipe contest.  Anyone can enter by sending me a healthy recipe via email to smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.  This can be baking, cooking, grilling whatever but please make it a recipe you have actually tried.  Do not simply google “healthy fried chicken recipe”.  I would particularly love recipes that mimic or satisfy cravings for comfort foods.  These recipes do not have to be “quick cooking foods”.  In fact the more ambitious the better! Some examples of healthy recipes I would love are:

fried chicken or chicken fingers


spaghetti and meatballs (I would love a great healthy meatball recipe)



french toast (breakfast food in general is a real craving)

snack foods

fettuccine alfredo (Italian food would be great)

thanksgiving food (turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing etc)

chicken and noodles

chili and cornbread

grilled cheese and soup

thai food

lemon chicken

wheat bread/rolls

quesedilla (or other interesting latin food)

gourmet salads

homemade ice cream

cookies (chocolate chip are a favorite)



indian food


gourmet sandwiches


pies (especially lemon meringue would be a thrill)

The recipes you send can be variations of traditional dishes.  (Such as lemon mirengue pudding instead of pie).  Please include the source for recipe if received from a cookbook or magazine (also add the nutritional information if it comes with).  I have a traditionally stocked kitchen with stick blender, blender, kitchenaid mixer,  food processor and george foreman grill.  I do not currently have a waffle iron or souffle pan.

Once I have tested the recipes (might take a while- sorry) I will declare a winner and he/she will receive:

$20 gift card to Williams Sonoma. (that’s right!  If there are 2 great recipes I may have a second place prize).

Instant fame with the recipe publication on my blog (I know its a big prize!)  🙂

Consider your efforts to send recipes as your piece in my eventual fitness puzzle.  Just think of it-  someday you can see the stunning skinny me and think “thank you, I had a part in that gorgeous woman!”  Seriously, it would be a big help and I am keenly grateful in advance.  Happy cooking!

Healthy Recipes

So lately I have been exploring healthy eating and stumbled upon 2 recipes that I love .  The thing I love about both these recipes is that they satisfy my cravings in a healthier way.


One of my favorite foods is pizza- especially thin New York style pizza.  The best pizza I’ve ever had was in New York at one of the countless pizza places in Manhattan.  It was a thin crust and had ricotta cheese, fresh mozarella, sliced meatballs and fresh basil. Yum! Here is a picture of me with that pizza;

Now I am not saying this recipe is as good as that pizza but it was in the same ball park.  The recipe is a bit time-intensive but worth the effort.  Enjoy!


  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.
  5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top
Indoor Smores
The other recipe I have is a simple one that is great for a “healthier” desert.  There are days when I get the craving for something sweet.  This of course creates 2 problems- First, I usually end up eating something unhealthy and second I eat that unhealthy item multiple days in a row.  Because most deserts are made in batches one nights indulgence can turn into a week-long affair!  That is why I have started making these indoor smores when I feel a need for a treat. I can make just one and be done with it!
You can use any chocolate  but I like the lindt dark chocolate bars.  They aren’t too expensive and have interesting flavors such as “touch of sea salt”, “hot chili” and “intense mint”.  One square of chocolate has 3 grams of fat.  One graham cracker split into 2 has 1.5 grams of fat.  The entire desert has around 100 calories.
All you do is
Heat oven to 400
Layer graham cracker, chocolate, marshmellow, cracker
Then wrap entire thing in tin foil and put in oven.
Heat for 6-8 minutes until gooey and yummy.
Like I said, the great thing about this desert is I can make just one.  It’s also easy, comforting, and satisfying.
Give both the recipes a try and let me know what you think!

Dating Chili

This Monday I participated in a chili cookoff at the churchhouse.  It was one of the most enjoyable activities we have had in a long time with everyone talking and enjoying good chili.  Each contestant was responsible for making a pot of chili and giving it a funny, creative name.  I made my own variation on the Barefoot Contessa Parties Chicken Chili recipe by Ina Garten and called it Dating Chili: It’s so good you will want to ask me out after eating it!  I would like to say that the title worked and I got a lot of dates from but sadly that was not the case.  (Plus, there were about 40 girls to 10 boys so the odds were not in my favor).

The competition was pretty fierce with around 10 pots of chili for the judges to try- including one pot made by a professional chef.   Mine was undoubtably the best and the biggest crowd pleaser; however, I just needed the judges to agree with that assesment.  Unfortunately they picked another 😦    It’s like my sister said “ther’s no accounting for taste”.  Afterwards a couple of the girl judges came and said they liked mine the best.  Maybe chicken chili is more suited to a girl’s pallet.  Who knows.  Despite not winning, a number of people have asked for the recipe and I decided my blog is the perfect place for that.

Chicken Chili (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook by Ina Garten)

  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 red jalapeno seeds and stem removed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (preferably with mexican seasonings or fire roasted flavor)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro plus some for garnish
  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can cannelloni beans
  • 1 (28-0unce) can pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Dice the onions, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, honey and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, beans, cilantro and basil.  Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

I think it is the yummiest recipe.  I love a big bowl with a little sour cream, cheese and cilantro on top.  Delicious!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  It does make a large pot of chili so if you are making it for a family I would cut it in half (believe it or not this is already cut in half from the original Ina Garten recipe!).

By the way, I did win best name for my chili, so there is some hope for next time! My only regret is I didn’t take a picture of the delicious chili.  I always forget to take pictures of normal life events.  If you looked at my camera you’d think all I did was go on vacation!