Smash Spuds

A little while ago, I saw a picture on Pinterest of potatoes that looked, well… smashed. But not like mashed potatoes. No, Smash Spuds are different. I went back to see the recipe for it, but to my dismay, I had not pinned it. Good thing I like a challenge. I decided I would try to make a recipe myself!

Here’s what I did:

4 Russet Potatoes, halved

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Italian Seasoning

First, I used this trick that I learned from Rachael Ray: poke your potatoes about 4 times all around with a fork, then microwave them for 3 minutes {this lessens cooking time significantly}. Then, when they are tender enough for a fork to gently slide in, pop them out and place them on a large, greased pan. With either a meat mallet or a masher, gently smoosh the potatoes on one side, flip them over and do the same thing. Be sure to not mash too much, we need them to stay together. However, if they start falling apart, just mold them back into the original form with your hands {I had to do that, as you will tell by my picture}. These little taters are easy.

Next, drizzle over the top of each potato about a TSP of Olive Oil, then generously sprinkle with salt & Italian Seasoning, and crack some pepper over the top. Here was the tricky part for me: I figured a preheated 400 degree oven would work, but after the spuds just kept cooking, I figured I’d up the ante to get some crunch factor going, so 450 seemed to do the trick, for about 15 minutes, and out comes this golden, crispy delight.

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

  8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 189.4
  Total Fat 5.8 g
  Saturated Fat 0.8 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 15.1 mg
  Potassium 802.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 31.8 g
  Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
  Sugars 1.8 g
  Protein 3.8 g
  Vitamin A 0.3 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 23.3 %
  Vitamin C 24.0 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 3.9 %
  Calcium 2.4 %
  Copper 9.0 %
  Folate 10.5 %
  Iron 9.5 %
  Magnesium 10.6 %
  Manganese 17.1 %
  Niacin 10.6 %
  Pantothenic Acid     5.6 %
  Phosphorus     10.5 %
  Riboflavin 4.3 %
  Selenium 0.9 %
  Thiamin 6.4 %
  Zinc 3.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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Guilt-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Any baker knows that the easiest cookie out there to create would be the peanut butter cookie. The recipes can range from a cookie with a mere four ingredients, to much more complex ones. On a day with lots of experimenting in the kitchen, the simple one dominated for me.

Now here’s the real beauty of these little confections: they are virtually guilt free. Low cal, tons of protein. And here’s how you do it:

1 Cup of Natural Peanut Butter

3/4 Cup of Natural, Calorie Free Sugar Substitute {this wasn’t my intention; the original recipe calls for 1&1/3 Cup, but I only had the little packets, and after spending 15 minutes ripping each on open and pouring them out, I disturbingly came to find this was all I had. But, I think it would have been much too sweet if I had added any more.}

1 Egg

1 1/2 TSP of Vanilla

And, here’s my secret ingredient that I add to most pastries {and even pancakes} to make them stand out:

1 TSP of Almond Extract

Trust me – people will notice a difference with that – almost like they taste a bit of Christmas.

All you do is thoroughly mix everything together, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and mush with a fork to get a crisscross pattern. Pop them into a preheated 350 degree oven, and leave them in there for 10-12 minutes – unfortunately, this was difficult for me to gauge as I believe our oven is broken. Sad day.

This recipe should yield 16-18 cookies, depending on how much dough you eat. And you can eat it, friends!

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

 16 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 110.5
  Total Fat 8.3 g
  Saturated Fat 1.3 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Cholesterol 11.6 mg
  Sodium 64.4 mg
  Potassium 5.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 5.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
  Sugars 2.8 g
  Protein 4.4 g
  Vitamin A 0.4 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
  Vitamin B-6 0.3 %
  Vitamin C 0.0 %
  Vitamin D 0.6 %
  Vitamin E 0.0 %
  Calcium 0.1 %
  Copper 0.0 %
  Folate 0.4 %
  Iron 1.3 %
  Magnesium 0.0 %
  Manganese 0.0 %
  Niacin 0.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid     0.0 %
  Phosphorus     0.6 %
  Riboflavin 0.6 %
  Selenium 0.0 %
  Thiamin 0.0 %
  Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

How to Pack a Lunch

On Saturday, the hubs and I took the kids out to Waterworld, and we had such a blast! Knowing that we would be in near 100 degree weather, walking around, using up all our energy, all day, I knew I needed to pack something extra good for the lunchtime meal.

Little bodies need even more sustainable food than we do, so I was thinking of the most effective {and yummy} way to combine carbohydrates and proteins without over-stuffing their little tummies {because riding on a water roller coaster isn’t so fun if you’re about to ralf}, and quesadillas came to mind. But not your ordinary quesadillas. No – these ones are packed with power foods.

I took 3 tortillas and sprinkled over half of each one the following ingredients:

3 TBSP of Cheddar/Colby Jack Shredded Cheese {contains Calcium for their growing bones, and protein for an energy boost}

2 TBSP of Black Beans {which contain lots of fiber, to keep their little bellies fuller for longer & carbohydrates for long lasting power}

1 TBSP of chopped Red Bell Peppers {contains tons of Vitamin C and antioxidants to kill those germs from that icky water and increase immunity}

1/3 C of shredded chicken breast that I cooked up on the stove with S&P and Olive Oil {contains B Vitamins and protein, both of which provide sustainable energy}

And then fold over the empty half.

I don’t like to microwave quesadillas because they just get soggy, so I quickly threw them on the griddle on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.

Then to the lunchbox, I added granola bars, a bag of carrots with ranch for dipping, and 100% juice boxes {plus huge bottles of water}.

The kids ate half of their quesadilla, the carrots, their granola bars and juice. This was perfect because by the time we left, they were starving, so they ate the remaining half of the quesadilla.

It’s always a great feeling to be able to provide my family with such nutritious foods, and their attitudes the whole day {no whining or complaining} made the little bit of work in the morning more than worth it.

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

Note: This meal is meant to be high in calories.

 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 496.7
  Total Fat 17.4 g
  Saturated Fat 8.7 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 6.1 g
  Cholesterol 76.7 mg
  Sodium 756.3 mg
  Potassium 448.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 49.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
  Sugars 0.0 g
  Protein 34.2 g
  Vitamin A 18.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 9.2 %
  Vitamin B-6 24.9 %
  Vitamin C 30.9 %
  Vitamin D 1.0 %
  Vitamin E 4.7 %
  Calcium 29.1 %
  Copper 15.5 %
  Folate 37.7 %
  Iron 21.7 %
  Magnesium 18.3 %
  Manganese 25.9 %
  Niacin 53.7 %
  Pantothenic Acid     12.3 %
  Phosphorus     45.2 %
  Riboflavin 25.1 %
  Selenium 49.4 %
  Thiamin 35.4 %
  Zinc 16.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nova Yogurt

We have been introduced to some of the choicest eateries where we now live {closer to Denver rather than Parker}, but this little drop of bliss is one of the favorites, and has become a regular of ours. Nova Yogurt is utterly the best frozen yogurt place hubs and I have ever been to. And we have been to a lot.

Last Monday, we snuck out by ourselves and had ourselves a little Fro-Yo date. It was pleasant, friends, just the two of us enjoying ice cream like we were kids.

The husband got vanilla with cookie dough, walnuts & a few sprinkles.

Trust me, he actually like it, despite his guise.

I ordered Vanilla Almond {nondairy, yay!}, and topped it with with coconut jelly {which may quite possibly become an addiction in the near future} and strawberries.

Enjoy!

Sylvestor Would Be Proud

Summer is the perfect time to experiment with no-cook dishes. Last year, I made this recipe, and it is just so refreshing. Traditionally, Succotash is an American dish consisting of corn and lima beans {it actually became notorious during the Great Depression because the ingredients are so cheap}. I wouldn’t mind eating the standard version, but let’s spruce it up just a tad and get some excitement going on this otherwise monotonous salad; a twist on the classic Succotash.

What you’ll need:

1 – 15 oz Can of Black Beans, drained

2 Cups of Grape Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Cup of Onions, diced

1 Cup of Red Bell Peppers, diced

2 Cups of Frozen Corn, thawed {I find canned corn just plain gross}

2 Cups of Edamame

3 TBSP of Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 TBSP of Olive Oil

1 TSP Salt

1 TSP Black Pepper

1/2 TSP of Chili Powder

1/2 TSP of Cumin

Toss everything in a bowl, stir well and savor this colorful concoction!

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

 10 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 139.4
  Total Fat 2.4 g
  Saturated Fat 0.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 269.2 mg
  Potassium 280.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 22.0 g
  Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
  Sugars 1.8 g
  Protein 9.0 g
  Vitamin A 23.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 4.9 %
  Vitamin C 51.8 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 1.1 %
  Calcium 4.9 %
  Copper 6.2 %
  Folate 20.6 %
  Iron 10.4 %
  Magnesium 11.1 %
  Manganese 14.3 %
  Niacin 4.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid     3.6 %
  Phosphorus     9.4 %
  Riboflavin 3.0 %
  Selenium 1.2 %
  Thiamin 12.0 %
  Zinc 4.4 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

I’m the Coolest Mom Ever

With the days winding down before the boys depart, I want to leave them with some amazing memories – we tend to make things like this more complicated than they should be, but it can be so much more lucid than one might think…

So, I’m all about healthy eating. Like all about it. But sometimes, you just gotta let kids be kids. I may lose a couple kudos points from some moms, but frankly, I do not care. It’s totally worth it.

So you’re wondering what I could have done to preface this post with such a manner of address.

And here it is:

I let my kids have ice cream for dinner.

I am the coolest mom ever.

Enjoy!

Colorado, my Darling…

I pray for you.

{And he told them that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1}

I pray for this sick man, that he may find you.

{But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44}

I pray we can learn from this.

{And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28}

I pray you are comforted.

{Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27}

I pray your people are safe.

{In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8}

I pray you show us how to love harder.

{If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Corinthians 13:2b}

I pray you show us how to hate less.

{Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Psalm 10:12}

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

Thai Basil {Noodle Cafe}

Remember when I said I would be talking about this place? Yeah, that’s happening right now.

I’m kind of finicky about Asian food – I frequently find it either too heavy or not filling enough {hard to please?}, but this place has it right, let me tell you. It’s just a little hole-in-wall sort of joint, and not too impressive upon walking in, but if you cut it some slack, it will be worth it {plus, you’ll find the price to be surprisingly agreeable}.

My parents got the same lunch {oh, how cute} of Thai Spring Rolls {a rice wrap stuffed with shrimp, veggies & served with Thai peanut sauce} and Thai Spicy Soup {which included shrimp, onions, tomatoes & mushrooms, and had a delicious spicy broth – I will be trying to recreate it soon}.

Soup

I ordered their Grilled Beef Salad, which is pretty much strips of lean beef atop baby spring mix – it’s MUCH more flavorful than it sounds, and the perfect amount for a light lunch, including tons of protein to keep you going until dinner. Very important for a day of shopping.

Grilled Beef Salad

Next time I go there, I would like to try the Thai Curry Lime Beef. If you’ve ever been, menu recommendations would be welcomed gladly!

Enjoy!

Birthday Blues & Potato Wedges

My 23rd birthday was on July 2nd, but it didn’t feel like a birthday at all. I know, I know – the older you get, the less of a big deal it is, but hey – it’s not like I’m 30. Most of my family had left for California the day before, so it just felt… weird.

But thanks to my adoring, and simply perfect spouse, we had a wonderful date night the Saturday before, which we haven’t had in months. We went out for sushi downtown, walked around 16th street, then saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter {don’t laugh – it was amazing}, and ended the night with a tall boy beer down at Euclid Hall, a favorite of ours. This place serves their beers in brown paper baggies.

It still didn’t feel like my birthday, though. I felt left out and forgotten. So after much fuss, we finally got our family together {2 weeks later} and had a delightful BBQ. I felt that I could finally end this year’s birthday chapter.

You remember this recipe? That was one of the many delicious treats we had that night. We also had hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fresh watermelon, and potato wedges. I LOVE burgers, and there’s nothing quite like french fries to pair with a juicy one. I didn’t want to do normal french fries {of course – do I ever want to do anything normal?}, so I made potato wedges. Similar in taste, but just a little different to shake things up. And they couldn’t be easier to make. Actually easier than normal french fries, but they seem much fancier – always a plus, if you ask me.

What you’ll need:

8-10 Medium Russet Potatoes

1/2 TBSP of Olive Oil

Spray Oil

Italian Seasoning

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

Preheat your oven to 375. Cover a 9X13 ish inch pan in foil {trust me, this is a quick-clean-up life saver}, spray the foil with spray oil, and cut the potatoes into 1 inch ish cubes {exactness really isn’t required}. Situate the potatoes in the dish, trying to make an even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, and sprinkle the seasonings to taste. I like a little more Italian seasoning – I used about 3/4 of a TBSP. Give it a quick toss to coat everything, and pop in the oven for about an hour. After the hour, set your oven on broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the potatoes have a nice, golden crust. Serve alongside a yummy burger, and get back to mingling in your backyard!

Enjoy!

Me, Courtnee and the sister Jo

PS This is one of the dresses I was talking about from the Arc!

Statistics:

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

  10 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 170.5
  Total Fat 0.9 g
  Saturated Fat 0.1 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 245.4 mg
  Potassium 911.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 37.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
  Sugars 1.7 g
  Protein 4.3 g
  Vitamin A 0.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 31.5 %
  Vitamin C 70.0 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 0.7 %
  Calcium 2.7 %
  Copper 11.6 %
  Folate 8.5 %
  Iron 9.6 %
  Magnesium 12.4 %
  Manganese 16.9 %
  Niacin 11.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid     6.3 %
  Phosphorus     12.2 %
  Riboflavin 4.0 %
  Selenium 0.9 %
  Thiamin 11.4 %
  Zinc 4.1 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Bowling

This summer has already gone by so quickly. The boys will be going back to live with their biological mother in Arizona in just two weeks, and I am dreading it so. Husband and I made a promise that we would cram as many fun things for the two months that we have with them as humanly possible, no matter how tired we get.

And we are tired.

But on Saturday, we took them bowling for their first time! We went with the in-laws, and it was a blast. I hate bowling, and normally shudder at the thought of going, but after a little pep talk from hubs, I ended up having a great time. And more importantly, so did the boys.

Heartbreakers 🙂

Father-Son Moments ❤

Husband winning. Of course.

The shoes compliment my outfit, don’t you think?

Jacob is so much like his daddy. We used the bumpers for the children, but even with those, they did pretty awesome. Jacob got at least 8 pins every turn, but even that wasn’t good enough for him. Competitive-ness must be genetic.

After, we all went for an early dinner at Jimmy John’s, just being a family. I’m going to miss that.