twohundredseventy

Overcoming Deployment One Day at a Time

Two Desserts, One Night

And the picture doesn't do justice...

And the picture doesn’t do justice…

I got excited one Saturday after weigh-in.  So excited about my 4-pound weight loss that I made TWO desserts to celebrate.  Not to be eaten until after a nutrient-full dinner, of course.  😉  To be honest, I don’t even remember dinner that night.  But I damn well remember these desserts.

The first one I got elbow deep in was a Double-Caramel Turtle Cake.  Okay, I did not get “elbow deep” in it literally.  That would’ve been sticky.  But I would’ve enjoyed every second of this chocolate, caramel goodness.  Anyway.  I got the idea from Pinterest.  (Of course.)  And the awesome original recipe came from a website called My Recipes.  Their recipe calls for a cake from scratch.  I’ve been known to be a bit lazy from time to time, though, so I did not make my own cake.  Unfortunately.

WHAT I USED:

The Cake

2 8” Round Cake Pans, greased (I used butter then sprinkled with flour.)

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake (I used Duncan Hines.  It’s my favorite store-bought brand.)

The Frosting–  This is the part I didn’t change up at all, and it turned out AMAZING.  That is if you like extremely sweet frosting.

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/4 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar

2-3 Tablespoons Fat-Free Milk

 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Sifted Powdered Sugar  (I sifted the powdered sugar then measured out 2 cups.  Some people may read this as measuring out 2 cups of powdered sugar then sifting it.  Not me.)

The Topping

2/3 Cup Low-Fat Caramel Apple Dip (I used T. Marzetti’s brand.)

1/4 Cup Finally Chopped Pecans (I used raw, but the original recipe calls for toasted.  It’s really whatever your taste preference is!)

HOW I DID IT:

The Cake

Easy.  I followed the package directions for 2 8” round cakes.  Cool them completely on a wire cooling rack after they bake.

The Frosting

1.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons milk.  Cook it until sugar melts (about 1 minute).

3.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.

4.  Combine butter mixture and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a large bowl.

5.  Gradually add powdered sugar.  Beat with a mixer on medium speed until it’s smooth.

6.  Add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time beating until consistency is such that it would be easy to spread.

The Topping & Assembly

1.  Place 1 cake layer on a plate, and spread the top of the cake with half of the frosting.

2.  Place caramel dip in a small zip-top plastic bag, and snip a small hole in one corner of the bag.

3.  Drizzle half of caramel dip over frosting then top with other cake layer.

Here's what my first layer looked like.  :)

Here’s what my first layer looked like. 🙂

4.  Spread remaining frosting over top of cake, and drizzle with remaining caramel dip.

5.  Finish off by sprinkling the top of the cake with the chopped pecans!

6.  Dig.  In.

Finished Product!

Finished Product!

The 2nd dessert of this magical night-Pecan Balls courtesy of Key Ingredient.

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Know Your Produce! (Women’s Health Article Included)

English: Produce aisle in the Bashas' grocery ...

Produce aisle in the Bashas’ grocery store located in Chinle, AZ. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Ok.  This is by far one of my favorite and most informative food-related articles I’ve come across.  I worked in a grocery store for some 7 years while in college, and a lot of the customer complaints and praises came from the produce section.  Those who complained usually complained about the out-of-season produce.  It’s not pretty enough, fresh enough, tasty enough.  Well…there’s a reason behind that.  It’s OUT-OF-SEASON.

Customers also need to know how to pick their produce.  Even in-season fruits and veggies are not always the freshest.

The customers who praised the produce were almost always the ones who knew what to pick and when to pick it.  They must’ve read this article, or something similar to it.  🙂  Don’t forget to check out each of the 25 specific fruits and veggies in the article, what to look for and when to buy them!

Master the Produce Aisle

Eat fresh!

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Homemade Hot Pockets

HotPocketBlog2

Flaky crust with ooey, gooey goodness inside? Yes, please!

Well.  As I’ve said I cannot make any promises that I will ever eat entirely Paleo.  It’s because of recipes like this one (and because I adore sweets more than occasionally…shame, I know) that I cannot make such a promise.  Since the day I made these, though, I have begun eating cleaner-very little dairy if any, no added sugar, etc.

Anyway.  These homemade hot pockets were so much fun to make, especially with my boy’s help.  I got the recipe off of Pinterest, of course.  I mean…are there other places to get recipes these days?  I’m not so sure.

Here’s the link to the yummy blog that put this recipe in my kitchen:  The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

What I Used:

1 large sheet puffed pastry, thawed (I used Pillsbury brand.)
1 ripe avocado, halved and mashed
9 dollops cream cheese, or approx. 1/3 cup (I used Philadelphia Cream Cheese.)
9 dollops salsa, slightly less than 1/3 cup (I used the fresh stuff from the produce section.)
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten
How I Did It:
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with foil then grease.   I usually grease with Pam Cooking Spray.
2.  Follow the puff pastry package directions to thaw.  I did not thaw entirely.  I found it easier to cut the pastry when it was not entirely thawed out…less sticky that way.
3.  Once thawed cut the pastry into 2”x2” squares.  You should get 18 total squares, which will make 9 pockets.
4.  Split the avocado among 9 of the squares, followed by a dollop of cream cheese on each of those 9 then a dollop of salsa on top of the cream cheese on each of the same 9 squares.  (I used less than 1/3 cup of salsa mainly because I didn’t want my pastry to get soggy from too much liquid.)
*NOTE:  You can add however much of the 3 above ingredients as you like.  Some people may want a little extra avocado, or a little extra cream cheese, or a little extra everything.  Just make sure you don’t overstuff to prevent oozing.*
5.  Sprinkle sea salt and freshly grind a bit of pepper onto each of the 9 square with all the goodies on them.  (I am not a huge salt fan, but these need a little salt love.)
6.  Use the 9 leftover/plain pastry squares to top the filling, and press each side firmly down with a fork to create a tight seal.  (No openings=no oozing!)
7.  In a small bowl, beat an egg to create an egg wash.  This is where my son came in.  He applied the egg wash…with a turkey basting brush.  🙂
HotPocketBlog1
8.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until desired browning and puffing occur.
9.  Enjoy!
Servings:  9
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Eat Cleaner. Start Here.

 AdditiveFoodBlog

If you’re anything like me, you want to eat cleaner, healthier but you don’t know where to start.

Here.

Start by cutting these 15 things out of your diet. Completely.

15 Scariest Food Additives

You’re welcome.  😉

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Paleo Craze-y

Tell the truth.  How many of you are interested in at least learning a little bit about what’s so special with the Paleo diet?  Well.  I am.  So I’ve been on a hunt for awesome Paleo-related blogs and articles to teach me what I want to know.

Now.  I cannot promise that I will one day follow the diet strictly, but it has spiked my interest enough to eat clean most of the time.  And by “most of the time” I mean when I am not at my inlaws’ house.  For one reason or another, my self control leaves itself at the door.  It’s humorous and frustrating.

Anyway, I digress.  Here are a few of the Paleo-friendly blogs that have helped me learn what this Paleo craze is all about:

everyday paleo – Make sure to check out all of her awesome recipes after you learn a little bit about Paleo!

Paleo Plan – This blog has several articles that are informative in nutrition and fitness topics along with several ways to get started.

nom nom paleo – Ok!  This has to be one of my favorites.  The blog’s vibrant appearance in and of itself makes this one awesome.  Aside from that, though, there’s a lot of information, recipes and resources for your Paleo-viewing pleasure.

Eat real food!

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Diabetes-Friendly Online Tool (ADA Article Included)

The subject of diabetes always hits close to home with me.  Many, many of us are either affected by diabetes ourselves or know someone very close to us who is dealing with the disease on a daily basis.

That’s just it, though.  You have to deal, take care of yourself and continue living your life.  I found this pretty awesome tool on American Diabetes Association’s website.  It’s called My Food Advisor, and it makes living with diabetes just a little easier.  No one is alone in this.

Do You Know What You Are Eating?  

I have to add this… Just because your doctor may recommend LESS fat intake does not mean you should turn to low-fat or no-fat substitutes. Most are riddled with chemicals that damage your body, especially patients with diabetes. Chemicals in low-fat and no-fat substitutes are known to create spikes and severe drops in blood sugar. Opt for all natural lean meats and fibrous veggies to keep you full.

Enjoy life!

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Know Your Food (Forbes Article Included)

KnowYourFoodBlog

I cannot stress the fact enough that people need to understand what is going into their bodies.  Many of us (myself included) do not eat exactly the right foods to keep us healthy.  For that reason (and many others), the least we can do is understand the products that go into our systems and their effects.

*Warning*  The following probably isn’t for the weak-stomached.  It’s strictly for informative purposes only, but you may find yourself gagging once or twice.  Be careful.  😉

Here’s an article with just a few examples of what I mean.

6 Disgusting Things You’re Eating (And You Don’t Even Know It!)

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Bugs: They’re What’s for Dinner (Yahoo! Health Article Included)

Choose fresh over frozen or canned. Here’s why. 

8 Bugs You Don’t Know You’re Eating | Yahoo! Health.

 BugFoodBlog

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