I made it to the finish line!

Whole Living Challenge

I made it to the end of week three, and I have to say that the transformation in my eating has been really good.  I feel like I am back on track with healthy eating and limited sugar intake.  I have lost a few pounds too.  I am definitely planning to keep a few of these recipes in my regular repertoire. Here is my review of the food for Week Three:

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog

Tofu is in the House!


So I am feeling good and I have lost a few pounds (so exciting!) and the food is tasty, but I am still finding a lack of motivation for the third week of detox.  I do find myself occasionally thinking about eating a giant burger, but I can resist that.  I think I just don’t want to put in the effort of planning the next week, which is a slippery slope to eating junk.  Good thing I decided to blog about this so I feel like I have to plan, otherwise I might be getting off the Whole Living train right about now.  So here we go. The third and final week…

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven


Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog

Two Weeks and Feelin’ Good

Whole Living Challenge

Week two was much easier than week one.  My overwhelming afternoon sugar cravings have greatly diminished and I feel like I have more energy (could also be because Emily is sleeping better).  So here is what I liked and disliked from Week 2 (I had more leftovers than expected so I haven’t tried nearly as much as I thought I would for week 2):

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog

A Healthy Eating Restart

When I was pregnant, I gave up a lot of unhealthy foods.  After I had Emily I went on a little binge of all the things I gave up for 9 months.  Then the sleep deprivation kicked in and I found myself craving anything with sugar (in large quantities).  To top it all off, those cravings were combined with the insatiable hunger that comes with breastfeeding.  In the beginning, I watch the pounds I had gained rapidly disappear and I thought I would be back to my pre-pregnancy self in no time…ha!  The wight loss definitely bottomed out and then plateaued and then started to rise again after the first few weeks.  Of course another problem with thinking I would be back to my old self in no time was the fact that my stomach was all stretched out.  So here we are, 10 months later and I need to reboot myself in the health arena.  I have a two part plan.  First, I was reading All Things G & D (one of my favorite blogs) and saw the Whole Living Challenge.  Perfect!  This is exactly what I need to start over.  It is a three week (four if you feel ambitious) healthy eating plan.  It involves reducing your diet to the basics (fruits, veggies, lentils, and nuts) and then slowly adds things (fish, grains, eggs) back in.  The part that scares me the most is giving up any added sugar (no candy or cookies or chocolate – ahhhhhhh).  Caffeine is also off limits, but since I gave that up when I got pregnant, I won’t miss it.  The second part of my plan starts on February 19th.  I am taking a postnatal yoga class that targets all those areas that got stretched during pregnancy.  It is a six week class, which will hopefully whip my core muscles back into shape by the time Emily is 1 year old.


Week One Starts now (as I sip on my mango and tahini smoothie – yum?)

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven


Stay tuned to find out which recipes are keepers, and how I am doing.

Category : Food and Drink | Recipes | Blog

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Stew



  • 1 pound dry lentils
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. each garlic salt, dry mustard, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg, and dried thyme, crushed
  • 8 oz. Polish or German sausage, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 15 oz (2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons bottled barbecue sauce

In a Dutch oven, combine lentils, 5 cups of water, and seasonings.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer covered for 35 minutes.  In a skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is lightly browned.  Add to stew with remaining ingredients.  Simmer, covered, 15 minutes.

8-10 servings

Category : Recipes | Blog

What could be better than cookies from grandmothers?

This is a recipe (word-for-word) my grandmother (who we called Nana) made when my sister and I would visit. She passed away this year, but making these cookies brings back wonderful memories. Making these cookies was very nostalgic, but also wonderful because in a way you can visit someone you miss through the comfort of food once made by them.

Molasses Cookies


  • 3/4 cup shortening (Blue Bonnet Margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Melt shortening in a 3 or 4 quart pan over low heat. Remove from heat; let cool. Add sugar, molasses and egg; beat well. Sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add to first mixture. Mix well. Chill.

Form 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar.

molasses cookie ball

Place on greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake in moderately hot oven (350) about 8-10 minutes.

Molasses cookie sheet

(I often make the batter the day before and leave it in the refrigerator until baking).

These cookies have a wonderful, mild molasses flavor, but the best part is how chewy they are, especially fresh out of the oven!

Category : Recipes | Blog

A little piece of heaven…

Strawberry Cupcake

Makes 1 dozen



  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

Strawberry Puree

  • 20 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup sugar


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup strawberry puree



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Strawberry Puree

  1. Puree strawberries (thawed of frozen) in a food processor or blender
  2. Add sugar to taste and mix until dissolved


  1. Whip the cream, vanilla, and sugar.
  2. Fold in ½ cup of strawberry puree
  3. Beat more if whipped cream is too runny.
  4. Put frosting into a pastry bag with star tip.  Pipe onto top of each cupcake.


Category : Recipes | Blog

These are my favorite when I want chewy, chocolatey, buttery goodness fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk.  Yum!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup butter

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

6 oz. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix both sugars, butter, and egg in mixer. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until light brown.  About 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly and remove with spatula.

Category : Recipes | Blog

Cheddar Potato Soup

2 tbsp. butter or oil

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 med. potatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/2 c. chicken stock

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. grated Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Ham or bacon

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender but do not brown. Add potatoes and combine well. Stir in chicken stock and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook gently, covered, 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, cook the ham or bacon in a separate pan.

Puree half the soup. Return to saucepan. Stir in milk and heat just until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in cheese. Cook gently, stirring, until cheese melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with ham or bacon.

Category : Recipes | Blog

The Celebration of Apples Continues!

Week Two: Apples at Lunch and Dinner

Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Yield: Serves 10


5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup whipping cream


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Mix in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to pan.

Bring soup to simmer. Mix in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls.

Bon Appétit | November 1998

Sage Rubbed Pork Chops and Apples


6 Boneless Pork Chops

Dried crumbled sage

Salt and Pepper

1 Tbs. Butter

3 Tbs. pure maple syrup

3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 onion, diced

2 apples, peeled and chopped


Rub pork chops with sage and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Melt butter in skillet and saute pork chops. Meanwhile, cook apples in a little bit of butter until soft.  Add cinnamon and dash of nutmeg and serve on the side. Put a little oil in another pan and saute onions until soft. Add maple syrup, cider vinegar, and mustard to onions and simmer for a minute. Serve pork with sauce and apples.

Apple Sandwiches with Blue Cheese and Fig Preserves

Raisin nut bread

Blue cheese (brought almost to room temperature)

Fig preserves

Apple peeled and sliced very thinly

Saute apples in a little bit of butter until slightly soft. Spread blue cheese on one slice of bread and figs on other slice. Add apples to sandwich and place in a panini maker or cook in frying pan until golden. Serve immediately.

Category : Recipes | Blog