Healthy Baking: Getting Ready

Since fall is officially here, I can feel the burning desire to BAKE! I love baking, love it. I like all the ingredients, I like the process, and I like the end results. One thing over the years that I have learned is that you can totally bake AND lose weight, its true. There are so many healthy options out there for even the most decadent baked good, have you ever read Chocolate Covered Katie?

Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

This winter is going to be a little harder for me, as I will be working in a cafe like atmosphere, that will be selling tons of baked goods. This just means I need to make sure I don’t feel deprived of these things at home. If I’m eating (in moderation) healthy baked goods at home, my desire to eat unhealthy ones at work will be much less (at least I’m hoping). In order to bake healthy treats though, you have to be prepared. A pantry stocked full of nutritious ingredients, and recipes ready to make! You also have to remember to portion them out, freeze leftovers, or giveaway anything that feels like something you couldn’t control yourself around.

Weight Watcher Pumpkin Cupcakes

So I figured in honor of the beginning of baking season, that I would make a shopping list, AND post some awesome websites, and recipes. (click photos for recipes)

WHAT YOU NEED TO BAKE HEALTHY:

  • Canned Pumpkin (Not canned pumpkin pie filling)
  • Canned Sweet Potato Puree
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Xylitol (look it up)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Oat Flour
  • Maple Syrup
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Agave
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Spelt Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • All Purpose Flour (I like Organic Non-Bleached)
  • Eggs
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Sugar
  • Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
  • Mashed Bananas
  • Rolled Oats
  • Quick Oats
  • Nut Butter
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Stevia
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Pitted Dates
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Canned Coconut Milk
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Chia Seed
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • Fat Free Pudding Mix
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Cloves
  • Honey
  • Nutmeg
  • Molasses
  • Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • FRUIT!
  • Lemon Juice
  • Pam
  • Cornstarch

Skinny Apple Cobbler

Lighter Apple Pie Turnover

Some great healthy baking websites:

-Chocolate Covered Katie

-The Healthy Chef

-Skinny Taste

-Averie Cooks

-Eat Yourself Skinny

-Eating Well

-The Gracious Pantry

Healthy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Skinny Sweet Potato Pie

Oatmeal Spelt Honey Scone

 

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Not A Cook Anymore

I kind of miss cooking.

I haven’t really cooked anything since we started round 2 of weight loss. I know I cooked a lot when we did Weight Watchers, but were doing things a little differently now. For me cooking is a way to really enjoy food. To mix flavors and textures and really take full pleasure in what you eat. I’m avoiding that. The 45 pounds I’m trying to lose means that I have enjoyed the pleasure of my fair share of food. Now I’m trying to enjoy the pleasure of my body (well that just sounds awkward) but seriously. I’m tying to see changes and feel changes in what my body can do. I WANT to be proud of my body, not to hate it.

But I miss cooking. And baking. And Food Gawker. And Cookbooks. And GROCERY SHOPPING! Sweet sweet grocery shopping, how I loved thee. I use to love nothing more than spending an hour wandering around Whole Foods or Sunflower Market picking out all the good things I would cook. Getting home and putting them all away and staring at a fridge full of veggies and goodness!

Now I got to the store and grab the five things I NEED to get through the week. Yogurt, Fruit, Granola, Chicken, Vegetables.

It’s not fun anymore. Althought being fat was never fun either, so who am I to complain. You cant bake your cake and be skinny too!

The good news is I am having a little Veggie Potluck with friends in 2 weeks and I’m going to go all out and make something awesome!

Until then I’m going to go workout and eat BBQ Chicken and Dill Relish for lunch….Dont Judge!

GOALS GOALS GOAL…

Costco Eats and Work

We went to Costco this morning.

It was busy and I had a few too many samples…so shoot me.

We bought some amazing Hummus and Pearl Couscous Salad! I usually don’t buy pre-made pasta dishes, but this was vegan and organic and $5 for 32 oz! And the Hummus was $5 for 32 oz, also vegan and organic. It was a special deal through Pita Pal. At Whole Foods they sell 8oz of their Hummus for $5! Such a better deal at Costco. The guy also said that it last 5 weeks, which is nice because it’s a lot. Sealing the deal he yells to the crowd “For those of you on Weight Watchers, it’s a 1/2 cup for 1 point!” ummm…done. I bought it.

With a crap ton of Hummus we needed a chip like product, so we bought these Blue Ginger Brown Rice chips which are 33 chips for 110 calories, plus 3 grams of fiber. I’m not usually a big rice chip fan, but these are brown rice, so they are much more like a POP Chip, not that weird Lacquered looking cracker product. They are good.

Plus part skim cheese, Apple Chicken Sausage, Salad mix, Lean Ground Turkey, and lunch meat. Costco it always good to us.

I have to work today at Pier 1, which I’m actually kind of enjoying. Its WAAAY better than my real day job, which I hate. On friday I had a total breakdown at work. See on Wednesday I worked my butt off getting my department in to tip-top shape, like really went above and beyond, because we had a big store walk with all the district managers and supervisors. On Friday they came back after the walk and told us that they only walked a few departments and mine wasnt one of them. It was such a let down because I was really proud of myself. I just sobbed in the bathroom. My job is already pretty pointless, and when I really try to work hard and make a difference, it doesn’t even matter. They don’t care, don’t see, and sure as hell don’t say thank you. Its sad.

The good news is that on Thursdays we did our first local delivery of a painting. It was a 1st time Grandma who bought a painting of her grandson for his parents. She was so in love with it, and sent me such a sweet email telling how great it looked and how wonderful it was to work with me. It was so nice. This was my first order done without the assistance of Etsy, and it was great knowing that it can easily be done with email and Paypal and not have to pay Etsy’s Fees. This job is so much more rewarding! You work hard and it actually pays off! It just made me want to keep building this business, I NEED to do this for me.

The big move is now 14 weeks away for me! EEEK! So much to do still, but I’m trying to just stay on top of it and not stress. Christmas is till on the back burner for me. I got a really nice email from my friend Rita talking about the importance of Christmas, and reassuring me that its ok to kind of take a year off. I feel ok about not pushing any holiday cheer on myself this year. I know not everyone agrees with me, but that’s ok.

Lastly Mr. Gaunt and I are both undecided about the gym thing still. I really want the both of us to get memberships, but its really hard to find an extra $70 a month to do that. If you buy a 1 year membership its only about $17 per person a month, but we sure don’t have $400 laying around either. Its so tough to know what to do. I do know that the only way I’m going to lose weight is buy either STRAVING or working out. And let me tell you, starving aint that fun.

 

 

The Perfect Sunday Man

For anyone who has lived closely with me(Mr. Gaunt)knows that Sundays are the bane of my existence. The love hate relationship I have with them, often turns me into a bitchy crying unproductive bump on a log.

Sundays for me are usually:

– Wanting/needing to go grocery shopping, but being too poor.

-Having a mountain of laundry to do, with no quarters, or no time to do it.

-A messy disgusting house that usually puts me in such a funk that I can’t even manage to clean it.

-So much stress that the weekend is almost over and I will have to return to work, that I can’t accomplish anything.

It’s all very pathetic and like I said, unproductive. Sundays are often the day when I let the little things get to me and the world comes tumbling down. The weather pisses me off, money stresses me out, I cry over my lack of house wife skills, and of course any and all feelings of weight/body image comes up. Lets just say Sundays and I are not friends.

At our company picnic on Friday. Drinking Sangria and 11am

Today however was the PERFECT Sunday, in fact, it was the best day of the week! And as cheesy and mushy it is to say, it was all because of my Perfect Sunday Man.

Mr. Gaunt and I have been going through a lot this last week, money, insecurities, family issues, but somehow our communication and ability to understand each other is stronger than ever. He’s been talking to me about his feelings like he never has before. I am so lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful partner. I know that women say “You can’t change a man” but sometimes they just offer up change all on their own. And if your lucky they thank you for inspiring them to do so.

I came home late last night after hanging out with friends to find my ENTIRE house cleaned and all of the laundry sorted! Holy Shit! He even organized my closet and cleaned up my makeup area!  He was in bed all snoring, so I woke him up and kissed him bunches and we laid together and talked to each other for almost and hour. I slept very well. Today he let me sleep in (which is something I NEVER do) until almost ELEVEN! Then he went to the grocery store and bought Whole Wheat Pancake mix, cantaloupe, and stuff to make Mimosas! He made a very yummy breakfast and we ate and listened to Iron and Wine Pandora. We are on the hunt to find the perfect Indie Love song for our first dance at the Wedding.

After Breakfast I laid on the couch and read the two magazines that I have been ignoring for the last week. REAL SIMPLE and Whole Living (previously Body+Soul). My interest in cooking has been at an all time low this summer, as well as blogging, Foodgawker, and all food/health magazines. I’m not sure why I’ve lost interest, but its made me sad. Today though I sat back, relaxed and let myself fall back into the world of amazing food, cooking for my family, and living healthy. It felt so nice, like the old me. I even found a new food blog to crush on Dinner A Love Story. Check it out.

While I read Mr. Gaunt gave me a foot and calf masage…drool…unitl I fell asleep. And so we napped on the couch, for four hours…lol! It was so amazing. One of those naps that you have no regret during and no neck kinks afterward. It’s now 4pm so Mr. Gaunt and I do laundry, that was already nicely sorted and waiting in laundry baskets, quarters on hand.

Then we spent some time searching the web for a recipe to use some ground Turkey and Yellow squash we had. I found this recipe that SHOCKINGLY we had every ingredient on hand…yipee! So we made it, and it was amazing, and a blog post will be up tomorrow on it.

At our favorite restaurant Merles in Littleton on our 1 month of being engaged anniversary.

Part of the reason for our lazy sunday was that it was a SCORCHER out today, and Mr. Gaunt made it clear that I was not to step outside. Heat makes me super bitch, seriously. After dinner when it had cooled down to high 70s…lol…we finished some laundry and went swimming in our pool. While swimming we talked about our plan to start running. Yup, we have made a plan! We are gonna try the “run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes” until we can work up to longer sprints. Neither of us are runners, but we want to start, and we don’t have the money to pay for gym memberships. So we are gonna start Monday. I’m really hoping to get new shoes for my birthday, I’m pretty sure I want the Reebok Easy Tone They’re kinda like the Sketchers Step-ups only not super ugly.

After swimming we went up to Whole Foods and got Green Tea Ice cream and stuff for smoothies. I also decided to switch up our regular Cliff Bars and try the Odwalla Bars They are lower in fat (2g vs 6g) and were on sale, plus they have a Mocha flavor that I really wanted to try. I’ll give you a review next week after I’ve had a few flavors.

So now we are just sitting on the couch winding down. Next week I’m gonna talk to my boss AGAIN about transferring to Mr. Gaunt’s team, it’s all taking forever. I also think I might try to get a part-time seasonal job this winter. We finally sat down and budgeted the wedding, and if we are going to be able to pay for everything without getting into debt we need to make some extra money. Yes it will suck to work so much, but it will be worth it to be less stressed when we move and get married.  So I’ll be looking into this in the coming months. We are also in the beginning stages of building our credit, and deciding whether to keep my car or not. Until then my focus is and will continue to be the happiness and success of my family. And Thank you Mr. Gaunt for turning a usually crappy Sunday into a Perfect Sunday. Love.

Grocery List and After School Activities

Ok we don’t really go to school, but oh my word have we been busy! Not with anything that important, just random activities: Therapy, Softball, Trivia Night, Taxes. I’m exhausted, and I have no desire to cook when I need to be in bed in an hour and a half. I’m glad we are staying busy, but night after night of stuff until 8pm is a bit much for me.

Whole Foods....heaven on earth for grocery shopping.

I did however make a yummy salmon dish to share soon, and in VERY exciting news I updated my grocery list! Woohoo! It’s the tab at the top of the screen that says MY GROCERY LIST. It use to be more based on Weight Watchers, but I re-did it to be more up to date on what we eat currently. It’s pretty Clean Eating, Wholesome, Vegetarian-ish. I have also stated adding links to a lot of it, its kind of freakishly long so I havent finished it yet. Feel free to check it out, and you can leave comments on that page if you think I have missed any excellent foods.

I’m hoping the Mr. Gaunt and I can get out and do some fun relaxing things this weekend. We have a BBQ on Friday night, which I will be cooking up some yummy treats for. We also have been invited to participate in Littleton’s Pea Patch Garden and grow some veggies and flowers to donate to the elderly. I think we might do that this weekend. Oh and I have decided to take a one day Women’s Self Defense Class on May 2nd with some friends, I’m really looking forward to it!

Oh so so so busy. Dinner will be something boring (if anything) tonight. Tomorrow though I will be cooking!

Sunday Budget

Ok last week I mentioned my goal of reducing our grocery bill down to $67 a week, this week I want to share how things turned out. First off I want to clarify that each week doesn’t have to be a perfect $67, but I would like it to even out to that by the end of the month. Also I’m trying really hard to reduce my artificial ingredients, today at Target this proved to be difficult.

Ok so to start with last week we spent:

$52.88

This included the $22 for our Door to Door Organics box. The other $30 was basically spent on Milk, Cliff Bars, Smart Ones Meals, Bottled Water, and Fruit. We had a fair amount of food still so we really didn’t need to buy much.

Today we went to Target. Now I have heard mixed reviews on shopping produce at Target but I have always been pleased. They have a mix of Organic and non organics, they usually have everything I need in stock (like Kale even thought King Soopers, Safeway, and Whole Foods were out). They also have GREAT fruit prices. (see their ad here)

Today on Ad they had:

1 lb Strawberries: 2 for $5

1lb Fuji Apples: $1 a pound

Annie’s Organic Mac n Cheese: $1.25

Kellogg cereals & Breakfast Bars: 4 for $10 plus a $5 instant Target Gift Card

____________________________________________________

So we spent $80.93 today, if your curious here is the (approximate) breakdown:

-$20 on Fruits and Veggies

-$16.00 on Almonds, Organic Peanut Butter, Bread, and Dark Chocolate

-$12 on Cliff Bars (Also Organic and Natural)

-$7 on Dairy (Cream Cheese, Milk, Ice Cream (ok its fat-free sorbet)  (Havent made the switch to Organic in these)

-$5 on Weight Watchers Smart Ones Meals (for Mr. Gaunt, the Kashi Organic ones are TWICE as much…grrr)

-$13 on Cereal and Oatmeal (I have switched to Organic Kashi Oatmeal, but the Cereal deal was too good to pass up)

So basically out of our $80 only $24 of it was spent on items that are not “Clean Eating” material. Now not all of those were Organic, but they were natural ingredients. I am VERY happy with this! And we remembered our bags! Yay! now I just have to use up all these good foods before they go bad. I read somewhere that no one should eat anything that wont expire in a month.

Oh and I have a TON of Sweet Potatoes, any ideas for HEALTHY (no candied Yam ideas) recipes? I’m pretty sure we will make sweet potato fries, but I would love to bake something with them. In my head I’m picturing a Sweet Potato and Peanut butter bar…lol…how could I do this? Anyway sorry if this post was boring, I found it really comforting to break down my bill into nutrition like this. Try it! I will be doing this every Sunday evening.