Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meal Planning 101: Week 17 & 18

Is anyone else as excited as I am that stores FINALLY have seasonal creamer?! It just makes everything better. Mornings, coffee, days, motivation. It's all better because my coffee tastes warm and cozy. 

The weather, and maybe the presence of seasonal coffee beverages, definately influence my cooking and meal planning too. It's been happening already with my baking, but it's now taking over my cooking! My meals this week are full of stew, crockpot meals, fall salad condiments, and even savory pumpkin. Since I neglected you last week, I'm giving you last week's meal plan and this week's! I've also been going baking crazy and making things left and right. Expect recipes soon.

My fav bread in the banana bread extravaganza was the pumpkin one. A pumpkin chocolate pizookie also happened. 


Leftover Corndog Muffins and Balsamic Crash Potatoes


Baked Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Salad


Leftover Fajitas


Chicken Fajita Salad


Dinner at the Mississippi State Fair


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and Fancy Grilled Cheese


Green Chili Beef Stew (this recipe but with beef instead of pork) and Perfect Brown Rice


Leftover Stew


Pumpkin Ravioli with Thyme Rosemary Brown Butter and Fall Chopped Salad


Leftover Ravioli

Thursday (today):

Crock Pot Ranch Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Butter Beans


Frozen Pizza and Cheesy Shells*


Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Bake and Corn*

Sunday (OCTOBER 14TH!):

Chicken Tamale Bake, Homemade Guacamole, Homemade White Queso, Homemade Pico Salsa, Smashed Beans, Jenny's Grandma's Apple Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Caramel Sauce**

*My friend Jessica is coming to town and staying with me for a few days! Normally I'd never have two back to back pastas and especially not two back to back macaroni and cheese dishes. However, Jess was my roommate when I first started cooking! One of my first cooking accomplishments was getting her to like macaroni and cheese which she had never liked before. It's embarrassing to admit it's just shells and cheese (not Velveeta even, the powder cheese kind) from a box that I doctor up! A. She loves pizza. B. She requested my box mac and cheese. C. She loved buffalo chicken stuff. Thus the Friday and Saturday meals.

**If Sunday looks over the top and fancy, it is! Two things happen on this Sunday, October 14th. 1. It's my favorite day! It's been my celebrated favorite day for 10 years now. Wow, just realized it's our (mine and October 14th's) 10th Anniversary! Makes the fancy meal even more worthy. And 2. It's Lat-Webb Family Fun Night with the Lat-Webb Staff! We have FFN twice a semester and it's just a time for us to set aside time to be intentional and have staff (family) bonding time and have fun. We cook, we eat, we play games, we laugh, we love.

I also make a Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal dish for make ahead breakfast for the week that I think I'll share soon.

Finally found the perfect no chill, no spread sugar cookie recipe! I went a bit crazy with my mini fall cookie cutters. 

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

100th Post (AND Blog News)

Remember that time I promised via social media that I was posting the 100th post the next day? That was September 28th. Unless you're worse at math than me, you've probably figured out that October 9th is not the day after September 28th. I'm going to go on record and say that if I ever say I'm posting something the next day, inevitably something will happen and there is a 98% chance that I won't follow through. I don't mean to make myself a liar! I promise I'll try not to say that tomorrow word again. Would it make it better if I told you that on the day that would have been the real "tomorrow," I made 6 loaves of banana bread?

Now that I got another batch of those familiar apologetic words out there, we'll move on. This is my 100th post! I'm not bringing you a recipe today, but I am bringing you news. As of today, this very day, Kasia's Kitchen has over 16,000 views! That's a really big deal to me. I never thought I'd make it to even 100 views and now I average about 50 views a day. Who knew?! I also never imagined I'd actually write 100 posts. I did! And I have so many more to write.

As I started getting more serious about my blog you may have noticed a few things. I got a professional design! Love it. Owls, argyle, pink and cooking utensils. If you can wrap me up in a blog this lady did it. My friend Jonathan also made a logo and header for me! Why do I need a logo and header you ask? Because I made a Kasia's Kitchen Facebook page! Right after I post this post, I'll be inviting you all to "like" my page. Right now this really is just a silly blog where I get out my needs to cook, ramble, and blog all at once, but who knows what God can do. Lots of known food bloggers have Facebook pages for their blogs, so I thought it was a good practical easy step. Like me! or you can click the Facebook button on the blog under my social media section over to the right.

Another cool thing you may have noticed is the Recipe Index. This is totally my favorite part of my blog redesign! It was one of the main requests I had for the design. It lists all the recipes on the blog in categorical order for easy access! Even I use it when I'm looking for recipes to recook. I also added a little About Me section as well. Another thing, if you read often but don't follow through the Google friends follow bar, please do! It helps me have a chance at being considered as a "real" food blogger in the likes of all the greats out there in the food blogging community. :) You can also leave comments! I love comments. I'd love to answer your comments. Mostly, I just love you! Whomever you are reading these words, I love you.

Again, just a silly blog, but I do have so dreams that could somehow one day be connected to this blog and maybe God will use it! I dream of getting catering jobs. I'd love it! I dream of one day having a cook book with some learned life lessons mixed in. I very distantly dream of having a bakery that caters, serves lunch, coffee, sweet tea, jarred things like pickles and jams, and serves seasonal goodies along with the norms we'd serve. I did say distant dream, distant meaning I'm aware it's an unlikely dream, but what is life without the ability to dream?! Blogging for you, your likes, your follows, your comments, it makes me feel like my dreams can happen and I take this 100th post to thank you with words. Words are powerful, but still just words. If I could bake each and every one of you something yummy to eat as a thank you, please know I would!

I close this 100th mile marker post with three things.

1. A quick how to - How to Use Frozen Bananas to Make Banana Bread

Did you know this?! I heard it from many sources, but I froze one once, defrosted it, it got all squishy and I FREAKED! I threw it away thinking it was a ruined, rotten, gross, slimy mess. I goggled "how to use frozen bananas to make banana bread" and didn't come up with any good results. I finally asked the friends who said they did it and it worked! I had 12 frozen bananas and made one big loaf and 5 mini loaves of banana bread with them. Here's what I learned:

  1. Collect browning/spotting bananas in the freezer, peeling in tact and on.
  2. When you're in a bakey mood, take the bananas out and let them thaw for a bit in bowls. You could just thaw them on the counter, but they will get a little juicy and I didn't want to clean that up. I put the three needed per each recipe in a bowl. 
  3. Once you can press on the banana and it feels squishy (and maybe a little gross) they are ready to be squeezed out. Use kitchen scissors to cut the end of the banana off, just enough of an opening to squeeze out the banana goo. 
  4. SQUEEZE. You're basically just going to milk all the gooey banana goodness out into the bowl, mash, and then use in any banana bread recipe like you would any bananas. 

2. A short list - Culinary Firsts Accomplished Recently

Apparently knowing I had made it to 100 posts inspired me and made me brave. I tried a few culinary firsts in the week or so.
  • Homemade Chocolate Sauce (Never buying bottled again! Probably a lie, but still, it's easy!)
  • Homemade Pasta (Pumpkin Ravioli, tonight! Pasta isn't nearly as hard as I thought it was.)
  • Pecan Pie (Not sure why this has always scared me. It's just one of those things that only grandmothers make!)

3. A Dedication - For My Dad

I dedicate this 100th post to my daddy. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that he's going through some significant health issues. I pray, hope, and believe every day on his behalf. I have full confidence that God will bring healing, whether it's to my dad and his health, or to the family members who love him as we heal from the grief that comes. Even though my dad doesn't understand computers or blogs, he's always believed in me in everything, even this blogging thing. He calls it my cookbook and always asks me about it. He compliments my cooking like no other and supports me in everything I do. I'd like to believe his calling my blog my cookbook is a glimpse into the future of the cookbook I have that will also be dedicated to him. I just hope he's still here to see it. I cherish every moment and memory. I remember knowing I loved cooking for people and wanted to continue to explore this love when I made one of my first cakes with pretty accents for his birthday. It was 4 or 5 years ago and it was a chocolate covered German Chocolate cake, his favorite. He still talks about it to this day!

In closing, I love him. I love cooking. I love baking. I love blogging. And I love you. Thanks for being a faithful follower and reader. 

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Single Serving Blueberry Cobbler

It's officially the weekend. I have a love hate relationship with weekends. I tend to splurge and make unhealthier choices on weekends. You know... watch an entire season of Pretty Little Liars in one day while I don't shower and stay in my pjs. Just me? This weekend I'm determined to make healthy and wise choices that mostly have nothing to do with eating. But, just in case you feel like splurging this weekend but don't want to eat an entire pan of brownies while watching an entire season of , I wanted to share this recipe with you! 

A. It's healthy. B. It's a single serving! You can eat the entire thing and not feel even a little bit bad. You can also make it your own with any kind of fruit you have on hand. It would be deliciously yummy with frozen or even canned peaches, strawberries, or blackberries. You know.. it would even be food with a 1/2 cup of pumpkin and some pecans. Done! I will be making a pumpkin version of this cobbler this weekend. Oh and sauteed apples! Okay. I'm glad I decided to share this recipe with you because I'm totally experimenting with new flavors this weekend.

Single Serving Blueberry Cobbler

Used the exact recipe from just used blueberries - Cup O' Cobbler Recipe


  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Brummel and Brown yogurt butter
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cinnamon


Mix blueberries and sugar in a small bowl and set aside so the sugar can do it's juicy job. You can smash your berries a little to help this process along. Prehat oven to 350. Spray a small ramekin with butter flavored cooking spray and then add the butter. Heat the ramekin in the oven until the butter is bubbly. 

Note: Heating the dish with the butter in it makes the recipe great. It makes the cobbler more well... cobbler like! It adds the crispy and chewy components to the crust. 

Mix flour, Splenda, baking powder, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a separate small bowl. Spread the mixture into the hot ramekin. Add the sugared fruit in the center of the batter, leaving a rim of batter around the edges. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the batter is golden brown around the edges and the center looks set. 

Remember those Frozen Yogurt Bites I made? Three of the vanilla ones on this was AMAZING! 

If you count the blueberries in the recipe, it's 5 points for the whole thing. If you don't (and sometimes I don't because fruit is free if you eat it plain!), then it's 4 points! Plus whatever topping you may or may not add. If you add just a dollop of fat free cool whip or a frozen yogurt bite or two, nothing extra! It's also perfectly fine with nothing extra at all. 

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

DIY Key Caps

Sometimes things can be easy. Sometimes they can take 5 minutes and solve problems and be so easy. Sometimes we complicate things. Sometimes we add too many ingredients to a recipe. Sometimes we don't wash our clothes for far too long so that the folding is so overwhelming we avoid it until clothes piles become clothes mountains when we could have made life easier by washing more often and folding little piles. Sometimes easy things are just nice. 

Do you have a bunch of keys that all look the same and always have fumbly moments trying to open doors? Maybe you don't have as many keys as I do, the Key-Keeper of Latimer-Webb, but I bet you have a couple at least! Stores sale these overpriced key caps to distinguish your keys. Well you know what else works? FREE! Tell me you don't have a couple bottles of nail polish tucked away somewhere? Or 32, no judgement. 

Pinterest taught us (my RAs and I) this trick. So clever! Clip your key bottoms with clothes pens to hold and for easy drying. Paint your key tops with different colors of nail polish. Add a glitter coat if you want for extra sparkle. Let them dry for an hour or so and they you have cute keys! Everything deserves a chance to be cute right? Even keys. Even better news... Removal and clean up is even easier! Nail polish remover and it's totally gone, in case you have keys that don't belong to you forever. Dipping them in one of the nail polish remover dippers works like a charm. 

Originally I didn't intend to do DIY posts for my blog, Kasia's Kitchen. However, it just so happens that I love DIYing and most of my DIY projects happen in the kitchen. That stone marble behind the keys? That's my new counter tops in my newly remodeled kitchen. 

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chai Banana Bread Muffins

I love chai. I love it so so much. I call it Christmas in a cup. I love it hot. I love it iced. I love it blended. I love it mixed with pumpkin spice. I LOVE IT! When I saw a Chai Banana Bread recipe, I instantly added it to my list of things to make. However... I'm calling mine Chai Inspired. The original recipe calls for cardamom, which is a chai ingredient, but dang it that stuff is expensive! My bananas were getting too brown before I could justify buying cardamon, so I improvised and they still taste spicy and yummy! I pretty much used her recipe but did a few healthy substitutes using yogurt butter, applesauce and whole wheat flour. I also made have jumbo muffins to break in my jumbo tin I hadn't used yet and half regular sized. I enjoyed these for breakfast, snack and dessert all week. Or for three days because I ate them too quickly.

Chai Inspired Banana Bread Muffins

Original Recipe from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.


  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana, 3-4
  • 1/3 cup fat free Greek yogurt - I used vanilla but you could use plain too, or regular nonfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons Brummel and Brown yogurt butter
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters (or 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or whole wheat white flour or all purpose flour, I like whole wheat because of the nuttiness it adds and it's a power food on WW)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add banana, yogurt, apple sauce, butter and egg beaters to a mixing bowl and  beat until blended. I used, as always, my stand mixer. Add brown sugar and white sugar and beat on medium until just blended. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg together. Add dry mixture a little bit at a time to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. Don't over mix! Pour into lined muffin tins and bake for 45-60 minutes, checking often to see if a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

For icing, beat butter and cream cheese together with a mixer until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat. With mixer on low add the powdered sugar a little at a time until thick enough to spread. Top muffins with icing and enjoy! I also froze a few of mine because I was going out of town and they defrosted well too! 

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkiny Overnight Oats

According to the dictionary, pumpkiny is not a word. However, for the glorious return of the awaited Pumpkin Spice Latte, also know as PSL, Starbucks used this word to describe the glorious goodness of the beverage. It was right there on my local Starbucks door in cute sticker art form. I trust Starbucks and their ability to make something a trend. Therefore, I shall adopt pumpkiny as a legit word despite the red squiggly line that tells me it isn't (and What does that red squiggly line know anyway?! It always underlines my name. (No offense red squiggly line, I do love and appreciate how you correct my typos.)

Moving on... I don't have to tell you again how much I love pumpkin things. I probably also don't have to tell you again how much I love Overnight Oats. We've definitely discussed the heck out of pumpkin, and I know I've discussed Overnight Oats a bit too. BUT... PUMPKIN OVERNIGHT OATS?! Yep. I'm even more in love. I went a little crazy and came up with four pumpkin versions of this easy make ahead breakfast.

I used my base recipe for each of these concoctions. 1/2 cup oats (non quick cooking), 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (greek or regular). I bought the 32 ounce container of Dannon Light and Fit from Sam's this time. It was super cheap for the big container, and I think I liked it a little better than the vanilla greek non fat yogurt.

Base Recipe: 

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (NOT the instant kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup non fat vanilla yogurt


Pour yogurt, oats and milk in a pint sized mason jar. Shake it until all ingredients are combined. At this point your jar will be about 3/4ths full.

Add pumpkin combo ingredients (listed below) of choice and stir until combined. Refrigerate overnight. They keep for 4 days.

Each base recipe is 7 points on Weight Watchers. Account for extra points for the different pumpkiny combinations. 

Pumpkin Pie Oats

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Skinny Pumpkin Fluff (1 package sugar free vanilla pudding, 2 - 8 oz containters of fat free coolwhip, 1 can of pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice - I make this OFTEN to dip apples in. You won't regret making this to have on hand for healthy snacks.)

Pumpkin Coconut Oats

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons Homemade Marshmallow Cream (I had homemade on hand that I used for S'mores Dip last week. I never have and probably wouldn't use normal jarred marshmallow fluff, but I just really liked the idea of marshmallow cream (egg whites, corn syrup, powdered sugar) and coconut, like a coconut cake! But you could also sub 2 tablespoons of sugar or Splenda.)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes 

Pumpkin Pecan Oats

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Chocolate Pumpkin Oats

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

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Meal Planning 101: Week 16-ish

A day late! But, I was holding a baby for an hour and a half when I would have been typing/posting this last night. It was totally worth it and I don't apologize! I mean look at him. His name is Kaiden and he's two weeks old today. His mom is my friend, neighbor, and coworker. She is an RD with me and we both work in the same office. I saw her literally almost every day of her pregnancy. We all watched him grow in her belly and it's so beautiful to be part of his and their lives. Last night I cooked them dinner and while they ate I held him!

Some vitally important updates totally relevant to the meal plan at the end of this post.

I FINALLY finished moving in to my apartment completely. It's all organized and put together and beautiful. I even decorated for fall.

It was a simple thing, but this simple thing made me feel so much better about life! I meal planned and grocery shopped and even did Meal Prep Monday! You know all is right in my world when Meal Prep Monday happens. In addition to cooking for Kaiden's Mommy & Daddy on Meal Prep Monday, I also created a whole pumpkin collection of Overnight Oats! Kaiden's Mommy loves pumpkin as much as I do, so I made extras for her to have for breakfast this week. Recipes coming (by many requests) this afternoon!

Also, I think I'm going to always grocery shop at night now for a two reasons: less people AND baby carts! They never have the mini carts when I go in the day time. Totally worth the night Kroger visits.

Two more totally relevant (okay not really) factors to my meal planning success. I mean.. who doesn't feel better about life and more organized when you achieve perfect curls (I got a body wave) and create a nail polish station/drawer?!

Now that I've done that thing where I push my life on you while talking about food, I'll move on to the meal plan! And by the way, I only do this updatey push my life on you thing because as I type, I imagine sitting at my little back yard table, feeling the fall breeze, watching the leaves fall, wearing sweatshirts, eating something pumpkiny, and drinking coffee with you as we chat. You don't mind right? 


Leftover Crockpot Cranberry Chicken, Crock Pot Sweet Potato Casserole (washed & peeled potatoes, cut in half, cooked on low for 6 hours, mashed in crockpot with potato masher, added homemade marshmallow fluff, brown sugar, and pecans and cooked for another hour), and French Green Beans (green beans sauteed in French dressing)


Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (with green onions, sour cream, and shredded cheddar for toppings), Perfect Brown Rice and Mexican Cornbread Muffins


Leftover Chicken Chili


Mushroom Stroganoff, Chopped Salad and Garlic Toast


Leftover Stroganoff


Mango Salsa Tilpia, Wild Rice Pilaf and Butter Beans


Leftover Tilapia


Baked Corn Dog Muffins (inspired by this, but I'm going to use Jiffy and Turkey hotdogs), Broccoli and Balsamic Crash Potatoes (First I found this recipe then I saw this one and I couldn't shake the idea of having corn dogs - basic kid food - and balsamic potatoes - classy grown up food - together!  So I'm going to attempt to combine the two recipes.) 


I made the new baby family a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pizookie with Pumpkin Spice Cool Whip (mix a little pumpkin and some pumpkin pie seasoning into a container of fat free Cool Whip) and Homemade Chocolate Sauce.

Made another batch of skinny Pumpkin Fluff to eat with apples. 

The aforementioned Pumpkin Overnight Oats for breakfast all week. 

I'm feeling bakey, so other things are sure to come from this! 

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Real Life - Take 327

Can I be real? Like super honest, spill all, embarrassingly real? I keep saying I'm going to post and then I avoid it because I'm ashamed to admit that there hasn't be a meal plan in two weeks! And there isn't one this week yet either. My meal plan looks like this...


Eat a cheapo brand lean microwaveable frozen meal that cost 88 cents at 9:30 pm because I forgot to eat while making 150 cake truffles until 3:00 am.


Snack on leftover Chick-Fil-A nuggets (from a free meal coupon) and lots and lots of cookies from KT (former tribe aka a sorority if you aren't from MC world).


Eat at Chick-Fil-A (from a free meal coupon) again because I forgot to do something with that frozen chicken and was on call and handled an hour and a half long incident.


Eat more food not cooked by me at a campus restaurant on an RA one on one biweekly date.


Do something with that frozen chicken.


PAY DAY! BUY FOOD! PLAN MEALS! Or really... eat out because I won't actually be able to buy groceries until Saturday.


Groceries! Cook something with newly acquired groceries.

Why the lack of creativity, motivation and mass amounts of Chick-Fil-A you ask? Well a few things.

A. I'm totally out of money. I accidentally got carried away buying cookie cutters and forgot I needed that money for gas to go out of town this past weekend and to buy massive amounts of supplies to make 150 cake balls (and other aforementioned baked goods) then had to dip into grocery money to purchase outrageously expensive gas to travel. I also got a little carried away buying things for my way over the top picnic to celebrate fall-like weather.

B. My life feels totally disorderly! I moved into my apartment at the end of July and life has been so hectic that I'm still not totally settled! Never fear, all the kitchen stuff was settled right away, but my room, hang up clothes, shoes, wall hangings, desk, and closet things are a disorderly mess. I know it's just one thing, but this one thing makes me feel like nothing in my life is in control or balanced! Remember you agreed to read my embarrassingly real post, this is real! I'm a little OC (as in OCD without the D). When something is off balance, I feel a little crazy and overwhelmed and under-motivated.

C. I forget that I'm a grown up, you know I'm 29, almost 30. And sometimes I do crazy things like stay up all night with 19-21 year olds to win free Chick-Fil-A coupons for a year. Thus the massive amounts of Chick-Fil-A splurges and a really BAD (read unhealthy) back up plan when I don't have meals planned!

Here's the good news. Besides the fact that I have a wonderful job and the best RAs who love me and each other. I mean look... Even when we're being silly and holding flowers for a pointless picture, our hands form an unknowing heart! But, God has blessed me with a really good friend that I can be way more real than I even am in this silly dramatic post. She understands me, life, our common life stage, and God pretty well. She reminds me that it's okay that I'm a little crazy and don't have it all together. She gets that my brain works in an overwhelmed all or nothing way and helps me see the big picture instead of all the little details that freak me out. She helps me plan baby steps that I need to make to get orderly in one thing so I can feel good about the rest and remember that I'm a lot better at life than I let Satan coax me into believe I am. So we made baby step plans! Saturday we FINISH settling my apartment so I can feel in order and be balanced! I know it sounds crazy, but this one thing will remotivate me to eat healthy, meal plan, exercise and spend time doing things that make me healthier, like spending time with Jesus and making time for myself. It's officially on Google Calendar! That's pretty solid.

Now that we got that out of the way, I feel better about posting other things that aren't meal plans until next Sunday (or Monday morning) when a meal plan WILL appear!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Week Baking Took Over

I promise I haven't forgotten my vow to come back! I have the pictures taken and in folders ready to be edited for so many things! Crock Pot Apple BBQ Chicken, Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches, Peach Cobbler Trifle, Fake Fried Okra, Single Serving Blueberry Cobbler, Pumpkin Blondies, Pumpkin Fluff, THE BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies in the world, Pumpkin Bread Pudding & Homemade Caramel Sauce, and Philly Cheese steak Sloppy Joes. I even have some DIY project pictures and how to posts lined up (magnetic chalkboard memo boards with DIY chalkboard paint). I promise! I haven't forgotten. August 1st until about mid to late September is the busiest, most hectic, craziest time of my job/life EVER. In addition to nearly 4 weeks of training, school starting, students moving in, training and working out the kinks with RAs, and more, the non profit women's ministry team I am on has our big two day event in September every year.

Okay, okay. You get it. I've been busy. But I always make time for a meal plan even in the midst of business right? So why not last week. Well... in the name of baking, I boycotted cooking. I only ate frozen things. From last Sunday to this Sunday I baked Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies, Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes, Mamaw's Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Cupcakes filled with White Chocolate Strawberry Ganache topped with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing and adorned with candy pearls, AND 150 Strawberry White Chocolate Cake Truffles. Seriously.

The cake was devoured before I could take a picture, but it existed too! And though I'm not eating quite as healthy as I should, don't think I made all of these things for myself! The blondies were for a fall picnic with friends. The cinnamon roll cupcakes were part of a cheer up gift for an RA. The cake was for an RA's birthday. The strawberry cupcakes were part of teaching my best friend to make fancy cupcake, per her request. Let me interject to say, they were my most favorite cupcake ever! They had a vintage antique look. She iced them all! I was quite impressed with her first time icing skills which are already better than mine. I adorned them with pearls and it was fun! The never ending cake truffles are for my former social tribe (for non-MC folk - think sorority. Their big rush part (aka KT Coke Party) is tonight. Their colors are pink and silver so I made strawberry cake, white chocolate coating, pink drizzle, and silver gem sprinkles. Later today I will post a meal plan and then hopefully a few recipes posts this week!

Adding this picture just for fun and because seeing my Macy, her little sister Ellie, their parents, the ladies who I get to serve on Total Woman U with, and my Slidell church family was the highlight of my month and so good for my soul!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Overnight Oats

You know how I have all those weird seasonal food aversions? No soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, or hot coffee unless it's cold out. No watermelon, or any melons for that matter, unless it's hot out. I also kind of feel this way about oatmeal. I LOVE a bowl of warm cozy oatmeal in the fall and winter, but I'm not a huge fan in the summer. 

I kept seeing cold overnight oatmeal on Pinterest. I didn't buy into it at first because I thought the texture might be weird and most recipes called for chia seeds, which freaked me out a little. Chia pets. Chair seeds. They are the same things. I'm not a picky eater, but that made me hesitant. Since then I've discovered it's normal and okay to eat chia seeds. I'm not scared of them, but still haven't tried them. Apparently they are really good for pregnant women. One day when/if I get pregnant, I'll add chia seeds to my oats. For now I'll save my self a trip to a health food store. 

All that to say, try these! You don't have to have the fancy chia seeds. My pregnant friend made them first (with chia seeds) and highly recommended them to me. We have similar food likes, so I trusted her recommendation. I'm in love! I got obsessed and game up with EIGHT flavor combinations. I'm gonna work on a pumpkin version next week. This is one thing that will not be a seasonal food. I love them for summer to take the place of hot oatmeal, but I love them so much I will definitely eat them year round. 

Base Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (NOT the instant kind)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup non fat Greek vanilla yogurt


Pour yogurt, oats and milk in a pint sized mason jar. Shake it until all ingredients are combined. At this point your jar will be about 3/4ths full. 

Add your toppings of choice, and shake until mixed. You may have to shake a little extra for some toppings. If it's not combining well, stir in the toppings to combine all ingredients. 

Refrigerate overnight. I made four at once and they were good up to 4 days. I don't think I'd go more than 4 or 5 days because fruit and non-fat yogurt can produce excess water.

For pretty presentation you can save out tiny bits of your toppings to garnish the tops. 

Each base recipe is 7 points on Weight Watchers. Extra points for different topping combinations are listed below. 

Peach Melba

  • 2 small nectarines (or peaches) diced
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Add 2 points for jam.

Peaches and Cream

  • 2 small nectarines (or peaches) diced
  • dash of cinnamon
  • drizzle of honey

Add 1 point for honey.

Strawberry Banana

  • 1 medium banana, diced (I sliced it, halved the slices, then quartered the slices)
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Add 2 points for jam.

Banana Nutella

  • 1 medium banana, diced (I sliced it, halved the sliced, then quartered the slices)
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella (one really is enough, Nutella is SWEET)

Add 3 points for Nutella.

Banana Peanut Butter

  • 1 medium banana, diced  (I sliced it, halved the sliced, then quartered the slices)
  • 1 tablespoon reduced calorie peanut butter (2 if you like more)
  • drizzle of honey

Add 2 points for 1 tablespoon of peanut butter + 1/2 teaspoon of honey.

Banana Chocolate (for those who like chocolate, but not Nutella)

  • 1 medium banana, diced  (I sliced it, halved the sliced, then quartered the slices)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 packet of Splenda

No extra points! 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder is zero. According to recipe builder you'd count the points for bananas in recipes, but I say if they're free as a snack they are free as a topping!

Banana Nut

  • 1 medium banana, diced  (I sliced it, halved the sliced, then quartered the slices)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts

Add 2 points for honey and how every many points for the nuts you choose. 

Apple and Cinnamon

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Parkay spray butter

Saute diced apple with a little Parkay spray butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar until they loose a tiny bit of their crispness. Add 1 point for brown sugar.

Stir into base recipe. Shake to combine completely. 

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Meal Planning 101: Week Oops (14)

Oh Julie (my blog's name)... I know. You're right. I know. It's been too long. Over a month. Okay, almost two months. I know I should be ashamed. I -am- ashamed. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me? What if I told you that since July 4th (my last post) I've been in a wedding, packed up an apartment, moved back into my new/old apartment, unpacked an entire apartment worth of stuff accumulated over the last at least six years, visited family out of town, went through two weeks of RD training eating frozen things, went through ten days of RA training that lasted from 8:00 am until at least midnight, usually later every day while eating provided things, made so many burlap and cloth flowers my hands almost fell off, got a massage because the stress knots on my back were so bad they made my hands go numb, had two panic attacks, a couple of emotional break downs, a dad frequently in the hospital and a mom in the hospital twice, and went at least a whole month with no more than six hours of sleep a night? Could you maybe forgive me then?? What if I also added that my lack of meal planning and healthy cooking and posting hurt me as much as it hurt you?! It's true. Girl to girl I knew that one would get you. No girl would ever wish weight gain on another girl! 

My apologies that you had to experience that conversation between Julie and I. She was mad. She had a right to be. We had it out and now we're good. It's just real. Flaws, weight gain, lost motivation, busyness, crazy panic attack/emotional break down moments. It's real. 

Other things are real too. Found motivation! It's real. Knowing yourself well enough to know that meal planning, OCD grocery shopping, blog post organizing, and cans of pumpkin actually do bring you motivation and make you happy, that's real too. I'm so happy to be typing right now! I don't even care that that huge paragraph written to my inanimate blog that I affectionately named Julie was ridiculous and cheesy and over the top, because it feels good to be typing in this white and orange box. I missed you blog, typing, readers, recipes, cooking, prep work, meal plans. I missed you a bunch! This reunion is sweet. 

You know what else is sweet? Hot tea. Literally and figuratively because I like mine with two spoons of sugar. In our absence I discovered I like it. I do believe the reason I never liked it before was because I hadn't had England's best tea, PG Tips. We're pretty close now and I'm happy about that. 

Now that I got all my excessive typing and words out of the way, let's get to business shall we? A meal plan! I missed many things about cooking and meal planning, but one thing in particular. Meal prep! I was so happy to cut up my bundles of green onions and find the new perfect bottle to store them in. (Remember my favorite trick to never let green onions go bad?)


Crock Pot Apple BBQ ChickenPerfect Brown Rice, and Not So Fried Okra with Spicy Scallion Dipping Sauce


Leftover Apple BBQ Chicken


Leftover something because I'm making a somewhat time consuming dessert for a premature fall party/birthday celebration the next morning. 


Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes and Crock Pot Roasted Veggies


Leftover Sloppy Joes & Veggies


Lazy SpaghettiTomato Bread, and a tomato heavy salad that will resemble this one but with some lettuce mixed in.


Leftover Pasta


Make Ahead Healthy Breakfast Sandwiches - I used ham and bacon. Can't wait to eat these all week! Post coming soon.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip - To dip apples and grapes in. Back on the healthy food way of life! This means healthy snacks. I also made fat free ranch dips to dip cucumbers, celery, baby tomatoes, and carrot chips in. I'll probably blog this pumpkin dip too since it was my first can of pumpkin for the season!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding - Minus the raisins. Making this for my friend's birthday and premature fall celebration party along with Caramel Sauce and Pumpkin Whipped Cream.

Proof! This was Sunday night's planned meal made on Sunday night. The Not So Fried Okra was a disappointment! I really want to be able to like okra in other ways that aren't fried or fake fried and coated in cornmeal. These were broiled and I hoped that meant no slime, but it didn't. The sauce was yummy though! 

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