Pumpkin Seeds

Every year during this time, I buy a large pumpkin – not to carve, but to cook. I use every bit {except the skin & stem} of that pumpkin.

Pumpkin seeds are kind of a nostalgic thing for me, like a lot of people. I have always remembered my mom making those delicious pumpkin seeds, dressed simply with garlic salt. Pumpkin seeds have a long history of delivering loads of manganese, which helps your body properly use biotin {the nutrient which is thought to promote hair growth}, and contain a good amount of protein.

Now, we all know there are plenty of variations on pumpkin seeds, ranging from sweet to savory, but since I’m not such a sweet lover, savory definitely reigns in my book. I wanted to try something a little different than just garlic salt, however delicious they may be.

This year, I cooked my pumpkin seeds with salt, cayenne, and taco seasoning {amounts to your liking}.

On a spray oil-greased baking sheet, bake the dried, seasoned seeds at 325 for 20-25 minutes. Here is a link to create your own natural taco seasoning.

Holy pumpkin, these were delicious!




I found something interesting at the store the other day. They are called Tofu Noodles {or as Husband calls them, “Tofoodles”. He’s clever like that}. Have I been under a rock, because I have never heard of them.

Not only do they add protein to any dish, but an entire package {which has 2 servings, approximately a cup each} contains only 40 calories – quite the contrary of it’s starchy cousin. Even a cup of whole what pasta has almost 200 calories! Yikes.

I have come into the season of wanting to cook Brussel sprouts and mushrooms all. the. time. So, I grabbed some cherry tomatoes {3/4 C}, brussel sprouts {1 C}, mushrooms {3/4 C}, and of course, onions {1/4 C} and got to work.

I started roasting the tomatoes in a pan, covered on medium high heat, with a little olive oil and a TBSP or 2 of water, stirring every few minutes. When they started getting soft and the skin brown, I halved the spouts, and began to steam them in about a qaurter cup of water, over medium high {7-8 notch} heat and covered. I quartered the mushrooms, added them into the pot and drizzled in about a half a TBSP of olive oil {mushrooms soak up everything, so just a little oil should be used}. I roughly chopped the onions and added them, too, still covering the pan.

Bring the heat to medium low {3-4 notch}. When the water has completely evaporated, everything should be nice and tender. Keep covered for another few minutes, and let everything begin to brown just a little, to add some crunch. When the brussel sprouts have turned a little brown, add in a quarter cup of tomato sauce, 1/2 TBSP of Italian Seasoning, 1/2 TSP of salt, 1/2 TSP of garlic powder, pepper to taste, and a TSP of Basil Pesto. Stir everything together, and cover.

Drain your Tofu Noodles {they come packed in water}, and rinse. Add them into the pan, stir and cover. Keep occasionally stirring, and after about 5 minutes, you can remove from the heat and plate it up!

It’s like a succulent little Italian dish, but without all the fat and carbs. The entire dish { it’s HUGE – I couldn’t eat it all} has around 300 calories, 12 grams of protein and zero cholesterol.


Husband’s Breakfast

Fried egg sandwiches are kind of a staple for my family, and even have a little bit of a humorous story behind them, but I make this for my husband probably at least 3 times per week {I hope he’s not getting bored of them}. They are so easy and are loaded with 17 grams of protein to get his day started right!

Start with a piece of buttered whole grain toast.

Layer a piece of cheese of your choice {this one happens to be pepperjack, but cheddar is kind of the staple}

Using some spray oil, fry up a egg and sprinkle simply with salt and pepper.

The egg goes atop the cheese on the toast, followed by {husband’s kind of a hot sauce snob} Frank’s Red Hot.


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

 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 312.6
  Total Fat 16.9 g
  Saturated Fat 7.8 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 5.2 g
  Cholesterol 214.8 mg
  Sodium 561.1 mg
  Potassium 244.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
  Sugars 0.0 g
  Protein 17.1 g
  Vitamin A 12.0 %
  Vitamin B-12 11.9 %
  Vitamin B-6 9.2 %
  Vitamin C 0.0 %
  Vitamin D 10.9 %
  Vitamin E 3.8 %
  Calcium 24.0 %
  Copper 6.3 %
  Folate 13.3 %
  Iron 13.2 %
  Magnesium 11.4 %
  Manganese 43.9 %
  Niacin 8.4 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.6 %
  Phosphorus     33.1 %
  Riboflavin 21.8 %
  Selenium 31.1 %
  Thiamin 8.0 %
  Zinc 14.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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!


*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.

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}.


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!