Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crunchy Caramel Reese's Cookie Bars

SO basically... I just got back from a 5-day trip to Oklahoma. And you all know that traveling is the worst when trying to eat healthily!!


But, I will hand it to the Oklahomans that they offer some pretty DARN good food.  There was nothing to do in that city except for walk around, and eat. basically.  So, consequently, the next month or so I will be working really hard to compensate for the extra, but glorious calories I consumed on my trip.


I must share this amazing recipe that I came upon last week.

This was before I went to OK, and i was feeling a sugar craving, and lo and behold, I came upon the most amazing chocolatey-peanut-buttery treat, EVER. I must share.

These things are DIVINE.  They can be found at this blog: Let's Dish  
Please make these, they will make you extremely happy! 

Crunchy Caramel Reese's Cookie Bars  

1 (16.5 oz.) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 cup crushed pretzels
1 (12 oz.) bag mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
10 caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cut cookie dough roll in half and press half of dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Layer with crushed pretzels. Cut peanut butter cups in half and layer over pretzels. In a small bowl, melt caramels and milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.  Pour caramel over peanut butter cups. Crumble remaining cookie dough evenly over top. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Let cool completely.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave until smooth and drizzle over top of bars. 


Life's Too Sweet to Skip Dessert.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ready, Set, Eat!

hi. I am a college student. I live in a small apartment, with two other roommates. Our kitchen is not teeny-tiny (you should've seen my kitchen last semester in the dorms!) but of course, there is nothing like cooking/baking in a nice-sized, fully-equipped, stocked-up, CLEAN kitchen like my mother's in my home-sweet-home in Mesa, Arizona.

Oh, and I live in Provo, Utah. Quite the polar opposite in terms of weather. Bahh.

Anyways, ever since I was a little girl, I can remember loving being in the kitchen. Of course, you say, what kid doesn't love stuffing their face with ice cream when no one's looking, and raiding the pantry five minutes after Mom says "Don't eat anything, we're having dinner soon." WELL, I can assure you, that yes, i love to eat. There are some times, if I let myself go, when I could probably eat more than my 17-year-old, weight-lifting little brother. (Although little and small do NOT accurately describe him in the least sense!) Most of the time, however, I try to politely contain myself and eat until I am satisfied. But, in actuality, the main reason I try to eat less is because PORTION-SIZE IS EVERYTHING, PEOPLE!

^^ PRIME example of portion size; who in the WORLD needs to have this much meat, cheese, and SATURATED FAT?!?!?! in one sitting?!? No one, that's who. Over the last half-decade, portion sizes have more than doubled in our society, and obesity is becoming the norm. Please tell me that you look at this picture and think of its disgustingly atrocious amount of artery-clogging cholesterol and fat. Or at least pretend you do. :)

This is a lesson I am still currently learning. Becoming more successful, if I must add. You see, I am embarking on a journey to study dietetics at Brigham Young University; this is the study of nutrition. I think what spurred this interest in nutrition and health was the very fact that i love to eat! Growing up, this was no problem at all, I could eat anything I wanted and still look like a stick figure, but with even bonier, long arms. BUT, alas, I hit puberty: hormones kicked in, growthspurts took place, my maturity blossomed, and I soon realized that I might actually have to consider the word HEALTHY when choosing foods to eat.
HEALTHY?! This realization was also coupled with the example of my super-fit, beautiful mother who started to count her calorie intake when I was about 15 or so. Let me tell you, I did NOT like it. At all. I feel semi-bad about it now, but at the time it really perturbed me that my skinny mother, who probably weighed the same, if not less, than me, was "counting calories" and trying to lose weight, when I on the other hand, didn't want to care at all!!!!! She could tell I was bothered by this, but instead of reprimand me, she (like the amazing, wonderful mother she is!) taught me a little about nutrition and why our bodies need "good fuel" instead of "bad fuel" to work properly; and that cutting down on calories is not like starving yourself at all- you can still eat really good foods while keeping a certain calorie intake that is healthy for your body. (Working out and being active is also a crucial part of staying healthy and plays a great role in the metabolism of what we eat, so keep this in mind.)

Well, ever since, I've been cursed- I think I was in 10th grade when I started to count calories, and this habit has become quite a bit of a wee obsession with nutrition, health, and just food in general.

But, don't get me wrong. Like I said, I have been known to scarf food like dust particles being sucked into a giant vacuum head. Great analogy, huh? My mom and I, ever since we started noting what we eat, followed a little "routine:" super healthy during the weekdays, and then on the weekends (or just one day if you really want to be good) you can let loose and as we would say, "eat whatever you want!" In moderation, of course. That is, most of the time, the philosophy that I have kept while living as a college student. (Although, I am trying to be a little more disciplined on the weekends, because "eat whatever" sometimes turns into a free-for-all... and I end up sorely regretting it.)

ANYWAY.... back to the little girl in the kitchen. Not only did I love to eat as a kid, but I have always loved to cook and bake. I remember sending my little brothers and sister into the "playroom" while I concocted a "surprise lunch" for them all- usually consisted of toast or macaroni & cheese! I was probably around age 10. I also can remember helping my mother fix dinner. Peeling carrots, making jell-o, toasting bread, browning meats, boiling water, cooking corn, and buttering bread are just off the top of my head. And, might I add, the weekly Sunday treats- chocolate chip cookies and other desserts made (and still make) their weekly round into the Foster family's oven and stomachs.

Yes, I have always loved to eat, cook and bake. Food makes me happy. I am willing to bet my measuring cups that it makes us all of us happy, and it should!!

Paired with my nutrition obsession, I have sought ways to eat healthy without being bored of eating broccoli, apples, salad, and "Healthy Choice" frozen entrees for the rest of my life.


Therefore, this blog's purpose is to share recipes, ideas, thoughts, and advice on eating pleasurably and healthily. (Although I certainly can NOT guarantee that I will limit my posts to only healthy foods.... you HAVE to give in to your cravings sometimes ;)

To start, I thought I'd share a recipe that I made this morning for breakfast, from a health guru, Lisa Lillien, better known as Hungry-Girl! She has several published cookbooks that are quite entertaining and humorous that make healthy eating seem like a piece of cake! (no pun intended.) Check her out, she's really not something to be missed!! This recipe actually came from her website, and is called

Strawberry Short Stacks.

Don't those look delicious!?

These were very yummy; reminded me of strawberry-shortcake. Mmmm. And the best part is, that the whole "stack" was only 289 calories! As Hungry-Girl would say, Woohoo!! OH and a tip: if you do not have soy milk (which HONESTLY is not as bad as people think at all- I actually enjoy it!!!!) you can use fat-free milk. AND if you are like SOME people I know, and do not "believe" in egg-beaters, then you can substitute in one egg. But just note, this will bump up your calories about 40 calories more.

1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp. old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda)
Dash salt
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1 tbsp. light vanilla soymilk
2 tbsp. sugar-free strawberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup Cool Whip Free, thawed
Optional: Fat Free Reddi-wip, sugar-free pancake syrup

To make the batter, combine flour, oats, baking powder, sweetener, and salt in a bowl. Add egg substitute, soymilk, and 2 tbsp. water. Mix well and set aside.

Place preserves in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 20 seconds, until softened and warm. Stir into pancake batter until thoroughly integrated.

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add half the batter to form a large pancake. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until pancake begins to bubble and is solid enough to flip. Gently flip and cook for an additional 1 - 2 minutes, until both sides are lightly browned and inside is cooked through. Plate your pancake and set aside.

Remove skillet from heat, re-spray, and return to medium-high heat. Repeat with remaining batter to make a second pancake, and then set that aside as well.

While pancakes cool slightly, combine strawberries with Cool Whip in a bowl and lightly stir. Spoon this mixture evenly over one pancake, and then place the second pancake lightly on top.

If you like, add a squirt of Reddi-wip and a drizzle of pancake syrup. Woohoo!


PER SERVING (entire recipe): 289 calories, 1.75g fat, 471mg sodium, 60.5g carbs, 7.5g fiber, 7g sugars, 14g protein -- POINTS® value 5*

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