Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blueberry Oat Bars

If you are looking for an alternative to the store bought breakfast bars this is the recipe for you. When you make it yourself you know exactly what you are getting. This bar recipe is one that has great taste and is nutritious. I've made it many, many times and it has become a family favorite!

Blueberry Oat Bars
Source: Hy-Vee Test Kitchen (


2 cups uncooked quick oats

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup sliced almonds

9 Tbsp wheat germ

1/2 cup honey

2 Tbsp Spenda brown sugar blend for baking

2 Tbsp salted butter

2 tsp vanilla

1 (4 oz) package of dried blueberries

Combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and wheat germ on a large baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats and almonds are light brown.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, Splenda brown sugar blend, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in oat mixture and blueberries. Press mixture firmlly into an 8X8 inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow bars to cook before removing from pan. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Serves 15 (1 bar each)

Nutrition information (per serving): Calories: 210; Carbs: 29 g; Cholestrol: 5 mg; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Fat: 8 g; Protein: 6 g; Sat Fat: 1.5 g; Sodum: 15 mg; Sugar: 15 g; Trans Fat: 0 g

My comments:
This is another recipe that you can easily change up by using a variety of dried fruits, cranberries, cherries, you name it! Just do not use any frozen berries! I did it once and it added to much moisture to the bars - they did not hold a shape at all. In fact you practically had to eat them with a spoon they were so crumbly. Tasty...but crumbly!

This picture is the toasting of the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and wheat germ.

This picture is of the honey, brown sugar, butter and vanilla being heated in the saucepan.


Indian Summer Distance Classic - 4 mile run

My third race of the season was held at Lake MacBride State Park on 9/26/09. It was my first trail run and my first four mile distance. The first two were 5K, so I had set the bar a little higher! And miracle among miracles, I did not only finish, but I placed. First place in my W50-59 age category. When they called me up for the medal I was in a state of disbelief! I turned to all who were spectating and announced, "First 4 miles EVER, first season running!". Can you tell I was a little proud?

FYI - there were four women in my age category. My time was 40:52, my pace was 10:13. The hills were unbelievable! There were several hills and the course was quite challenging. But I finished and I did well!

My running partners, daughter Becca and sister Patty also competed. Each is in different age categories and each is much faster then me. I was the only one that walked away with a medal but each of them had set new best times for themselves.

I find it interesting that as I've trained this year (starting in May) and slowly built myself up into this running machine (NOT), I've learned some things about myself. First, I am capable of doing things that are bigger and greater then when I was younger. I ran when I was in the Air Force, but 2 miles had been my top distance. Here I am 25 years later surpassing that distance. Does this mean I am in better physical shape then I was 25 years ago? Maybe. Secondly, I've learned that my daughters can teach me a few things. They are very smart and very inspiring. They both work so hard at what they do, professionally and athletically. They are unrelenting in their quest for improvement. Wanting to be faster and more efficient... Finally, I have learned to consistently challenge myself. I don't want to become complacent. There is no telling where I will go from here......
The next race is on October 11th, the Especially for You race against breast cancer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fresh Apple Brownies

Apples, apples everywhere! My boss, Margaret has apple trees in her yard. They aren't pretty to look at, but they bake up great. Margaret has been busy making pies and bars and freezing them for future enjoyment. She sent a box of apples home with me so I knew I had to get busy before they go bad. I found this recipe in my collection. It is handwritten and I have no idea where I got it from, so I can't give anyone credit. But it uses a fair amount of apples (2 - 2-1/2 cups, chopped) and it tastes very good. The apple taste shines through! And since I love nuts in everything, I was generous when it came time to add them.

This picture is "before" the batter went in the oven.
This one is when it came out.

Fresh Apple Brownies
(source unknown)

Cream together:
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp cream or milk

Mix dry ingredients together:
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour

Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix together.

2 - 2-1/2 cups finely chopped apples
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Spread in a greased 9X13 pan. Bake @ 375 deg for 30-35 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New find - Kim's Magic Pop

I love finding new and interesting foods! We were in Dallas Texas for a wedding recently and our friends introduced us to a tasty new treat! They are called Kims Magic Pops. They are a multigrain snack cake and only 15 calories each! They can be topped with almost anything, sweet or savory. We tried them with some syrup drizzled on them and they were delicious! The question will be if we can find them here in Iowa. Our friend Randy found them at Central Market in Dallas. They had the machine set up there in the store, making them fresh right before the customer's eyes. If you see these offered at one of your local stores - be sure to purchase some! You won't be sorry!

New info - my friend Jody in Texas tried them with peanut butter and honey and said it was delicious!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crock-pot Turkey Breast

This recipe is one that I go back to over and over again. There is very little prep and the results are always wonderful. I can guarantee that you'll put this recipe in your favorite recipe file after you try it the first time!

Crock-pot Turkey Breast
source: Cedar Rapids Gazette, Desperation Dinners column

1 turkey breast (6 to 6-1/2 pounds), frozen (see note)
2 tsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves

Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub the turkey all over with oil. Sprinkle the breast lightly with salt and pepper to personal preference.

Place the breast, meaty side up, into a 5-quart slow cooker.

Peel the onion, cut it into quarters, and place the pieces around the edges of the pot. Peel the garlic cloves and place them around the sides of the cooker. Cover the cooker and cook the breast on low for 9 hours, or until the meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Remove the breast from the cooker and let the bird stand at least 10 minutes before slicing. (The internal temperature will continue to rise while the bird is standing.) Discard the vegetables in the cooker. Serve the breast sliced, preferably without skin.

Note: If the turkey breast is not frozen, check for doneness (170 degrees) with a meat thermometer after 7-1/2 to 8 hours of cooking on low. Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water immediately after handling raw poultry. Wash sink and counter surfaces the meat touches with soap and hot water.

If you do not use the entire turkey in the meal you can refrigerate, covered for 24 hours before chopping the meat and freezing. Place the meat in a freezer-weight plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition facts per serving (without skin): 326 calories (8 percent from fat), 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 194 mg cholestrol, 70 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g dieteary fiber, 122 mfg sodium.

Comments from me:
I like to have this turkey breast for my Sunday dinner, but I don't want to get up at 3:00 a.m. to put it in the crock-pot. What I've done the last several years is cook it overnight. I wait as late as possible (10 - 11:00 p.m.) to start the crock-pot. When I get up the next morning it is done. You then have two choices (I've done both), either keep it warm in the oven (put the whole crock pot in the oven) at 150 degree F; or let it cool, slice it and warm only what you need for the meal.

I don't always have an onion in the house, so I've used celery as my veggie on the bottom and it works. Make sure you use the garlic though - I oftentimes use more then 4 cloves. I also season with garlic pepper (my favorite seasoning).

It always amazes me that you don't need to add any water to the crock-pot if you are cooking the frozen turkey. You will get plenty of broth to make gravy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pistachio Brownies

You look at the pictures and think, "those don't look like pistachios"! You are right! The recipe called for them but with an abundance of pecans in my freezer I'm not going to go out and buy pistachios. So, if you want to make this recipe true to its name, you can go do that! These brownies are very good...very chocolately.

Pistachio Brownies
source: Prevention Magazine, Quick & Healthy Recipes (insert in their 10/09 magazine)

1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp chopped pistachios (or nuts of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Coat 8"X8" baking pan with cooking spray

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. In large bowl, whisk egg and egg whites till frothy. Whisk in sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.

Fold flour mixture gradually into liquid mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pan on rack, then cut into 12 squares.

Nutritional info per serving: 170 cal, 2 g pro, 18 g carb, 1 g fiber, 2 g sat fat 18 mg chol, 74 mg sodium

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

A few years ago I found this recipe for fruit salsa and chips. I will admit that there is a little bit of work involved, but it is soooo worth it! The mixture of fruits is just perfect and everyone who tries it falls in love! The chips are so good that they could be used in other sweet dips. I could see them used with a chocolate chip cheese ball. (I’ll share that another time!) The chips themselves are pretty easy and if you have some tortillas sitting around, needing to be used this would be the perfect recipe. You could probably even use some sort of savory spices and just eat them by themselves. (Sounds like I may need to do some experimenting in the future…)

I had a party to go to, hosted by my good friend Jennifer. The party theme was, “Dippy Blondes”, and we were to all bring a dip to share. Now I’m not blonde, and I’m certainly not “dippy”, but I loved the idea of a themed party bringing a bunch of gals together, to do two of my favorite things: eat and talk! We had a ton of fun and I won’t be surprised if Jennifer finds other interesting themes to bring us together again in the near future! This fruit salsa and chips recipe was my contribution to the party and it was very well received!

Here are some pictures taken while making this recipe. First up was cutting up the fruits, which is really the time intensive part of this whole process. The recipe didn’t say to cut up the strawberries, but I did – into small pieces. And the raspberries I sorta smashed.

Next, mix in the sugars and fruit preserves…and you are done. It just needs to chill!

On to the chips. I used whole wheat tortillas in this recipe. I cut them up into wedges using a pizza cutter and then sprayed them with the butter flavored cooking spray. Then you sprinkle them with the cinnamon /sugar mixture and spray them again. (I do NOT use 2 cups worth like the recipe calls for.)
Put them on a baking sheet (I like to use the pizza pan so they get crispy on both sides) and bake.

After baking them and allowing them to cool completely, you can store them in a plastic ziploc bag or container. They'll stay fresh for several days!

Here is the recipe:

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips
From – named for Annie

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious applies – peeled, cored and diced
8 oz raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) four tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar ( I never use this much)

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray. Cut into wedges (a pizza cutter works great) and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with additional tortilla wedges till all have been baked. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.