Monday, August 31, 2009

Start Your Week Off Stuffed

Monday’s can sometimes be the worst day of the week—back to school, work—you know the feeling. But there is something that can make it a tad bit better. How you ask?? With a super stuffed recipe of course ;-) What can be so good that it would transform a whole day, even a Monday? Here’s a clue..

If you guessed chicken, you’re right! But not just your everyday chicken—this recipe was inspired by one of my favorite restaurant meals. It’s cheaper than the restaurant ($2.28/serving vs. $9.99), and even though it took awhile to compile the ingredients to perfection, it was soo worth it. And lucky for you, it’s pretty easy as well!


Crab Stuffed Chicken Breast

*Serves 1, but you can easily double or triple.


  • 4 oz skinless/boneless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp FF block cream cheese, room temp
  • 6 tsp imitation flaked crab, 1oz
  • 1/6th an envelope of Lipton savory herb&garlic mix(about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp butter or butter spread (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
  • Handful of spinach, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 F and smear butter spread in a 12-inch skillet on stovetop.
  • In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, crab, and Lipton soup mix.

CIMG0489 CIMG0487

  • Take 4 oz chicken breast and slice into it horizontally, stopping about 1-inch towards the opposite end.


  • Spread the inside of the chicken breast with the cream cheese mixture and flip the opening shut. If you’re having trouble getting everything to stay inside, you can seal with a toothpick, just remember to take it out before you eat it—ouch!


  • Roll chicken breast in egg whites until completely coated. Then dredge it in the bread crumbs—you may need to add a few more breadcrumbs if you can’t cover the whole piece.
  • Cook for approximately 10 minutes on MED-HIGH heat, flipping once. If the outside starts to get extremely charred, turn down heat.
  • Next place in baking dish, and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes, and you’re done!!
  • Serve on a bed of baby spinach if desired.


Have a great start to your week!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Step Right Up And Get Your Fiber!

I’m always a huge fan of extra fiber-infused foods as long as they taste good! Fiber is so good for your..

Digestive Health

  • The most recognized benefit of fiber is its important role in keeping the digestive system running smoothly by promoting regularity. Fiber adds bulk to help move food through the digestive tract.
  • Along with regular exercise and plenty of water, fiber plays an important part in maintaining digestive health.
Heart Health
  • Fiber – specifically soluble fiber – may also help lower blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk for heart disease. Fiber appears to lower cholesterol by interfering with its absorption in the digestive tract.
  • Fiber may also be important for people who have diabetes. Diets high in whole grain and fiber have been shown to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Weight Management
  • Getting enough fiber can also help curb your hunger and help you feel satisfied, which can help with weight management. Research suggests that people who have higher intakes of fiber tend to have healthier body weights.



Recently I received some Fiber One samples in the mail, (get yours here) and was pleased to see both items were two products in their line that I have yet to try. I received the Oats&Chocolate chewy granola bar and the Honey Clusters cereal. Here’s what I thought:


The Oats&Chocolate chewy bar smelled great when I opened the package, but sometimes looks/smells can be deceiving. Not so with this bar! It was extremely chewy, which made it a little time consuming to eat, but hey—that just means the goodness lasts even longer, right?? =) Between the mini chocolate chips and the chocolate drizzle, if you have any kind of chocolate craving, this is a great way to satisfy it! As far as the ingredient list goes, it’s not too long, and I can pronounce/recognize every ingredient. This bar provides 9g of fiber for just 140 calories. Check out the ingredient list and more nutritionals here.


Being the cereal addict that I am, I have high expectations for every box that makes it to my bowl. The Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal was simple, yet simply good! Lightly sweetened whole grain flakes and honey clusters are the main components of this cereal that provides 13 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving—that’s 51% of the fiber you need in a day! I say that’s a fiberulous fabulous way to start the day =)

Some other ways to get your daily fiber:

  • Mix in Fiber One cereal to your favorite ready-to-eat cereal, or stir into hot oatmeal.
  • Garnish a fresh garden salad with Fiber One cereal as a substitute for croutons.
  • Stir Fiber One cereal into your favorite fruit yogurt for a creamy, crunchy delight.
  • Create a unique snack mix by combining Fiber One cereal, pretzels, cereal, and seeds.
  • Sprinkle Fiber One cereal over your favorite soup for crunchy variety.
  • Punch up the fiber in brownies or cookies by adding nuts and Fiber One cereal.
  • Blend Fiber One cereal into dips and serve with fresh veggies for fun snacking adventures.
  • Top chicken or fish with a crispy coating of crushed Fiber One cereal before baking.
  • Cover casseroles or baked vegetables dishes with Fiber One cereal and melted cheese.
  • Add Fiber One cereal to fruit and nut trail mixes for tasty snacking on-the-go.

    All info provided by the wonderful Fiber One.

    Stay tuned for yet ANOTHER stuffed surprise tomorrow!

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Just Another Stuffed Saturday

    It’s the weekend!

    I think I forgot how it feels to actually need a weekend to relax. I was so used to my summer weeks and weekends running seamlessly together, which was no big deal—now, with college deadlines, reading, and keeping up an apartment, I definitely hanker toward Friday to relax for 2 whole days! This weekend I need to do some reading, cleaning, and baking of course! An awesome recipe coming soon, so keep an eye out for that. :-) What do you like to do with your weekends? Relax, shop, cook, a little bit of everything?

    So I just realized that I have been on a stuffed food kick. I made stuffed zucchini the other day, now another stuffed recipe coming at ya today! So that’s two this week, and I figured why not go for three stuffed recipes because three’s a charm, right? So one more stuffed recipe after today—any guesses to what it might be? This recipe today came out better than I imagined! It’s meat free so perfect if you are a vegetarian, but even if you don’t have people who eat eggs, you can also sub tofu.


    Breakfast Stuffed Potato


    • 1 medium-sized potato
    • 3 broccoli florets
    • 1/8 C chopped yellow onion
    • 1/8 C chopped mushrooms
    • 1/4 C chopped baby spinach
    • 2 egg whites or 1/4 C Eggbeaters
    • 2 Tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese blend
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
    • Ketchup or salsa, optional


    • Preheat oven to 450 F.
    • Microwave your potato until soft. I used a Speedy Spud (from Wal-Mart) which is a pre-cleaned, wrapped potato that you just place in the microwave for 7 minutes—and presto! You have a perfectly cooked and cleaned spud!



    • Next, scoop out pulp leaving a generous potato shell to stuff.


    • Now start your scrambled egg mixture. Heat skillet on Med-High heat. Stir eggs, mushrooms, onion, spinach, and seasonings together.


    • Pour mixture into skillet, and stir constantly to get fluffy eggs. As soon as all visible moisture has dissipated, turn off burner, and add egg mixture to the reserved potato pulp. Add broccoli florets, and chop everything up well.



    • Now comes the fun part—stuff your spud! I did end up with more pulp mixture than I could fit in my spud, but I ate it on the side of course :-) Then top with cheese, pop in the oven, and when it’s done in approximately 15 minutes, top with whatever you desire!




    Check out the fab giveaway here!

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Stuff It Style

      I am so happy college is now underway—it looks like it is going to be a busy but fun semester! I am taking 3 courses on campus, one online, and one through the mail! Obviously I like variety! :-) I am taking a Media Writing course on campus, and a lot of it is going to pertain to blogs, so I am hoping to either share mine, or get some useful tips to further my blog! I have another full day today, so I better get onto the recipe I concocted yesterday…

    I have a Techniques of Relaxation class (a sad excuse for a phy ed requirement if you ask me!), and all we do is lay on mats in the dark dance studio and listen to calming music while stretching muscles, etc, and in my case, brainstorming recipes of course! This was the result of my first “relaxing” class ;-)



    Super Stuffed Zucchini


    • 1/2 of a large zucchini, reserve the inside zucchini meat
    • 1/2 small sweet potato
    • 1/4 canned stewed tomatoes, or fresh if you prefer
    • 1/4 c diced green pepper and onion combined
    • 1/4 c of mushrooms and shredded carrots combined
    • 1-2 Tbsp of shredded Italian blend cheese
    • Small handful of spinach
    • 1 garlic clove, or 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp. salt


    • Scoop out all zucchini flesh leaving a 1/4’ inch shell to stuff. Reserve 1/4 C of zucchini flesh, and chop.


    • Take 1 tsp of salt and sprinkle over the zucchini, and turn it upside down for 10-15 minutes.
    • Once that time has passed, take a paper towel and pat the zucchini to get all the moisture out.


    • Preheat oven to 375 F.
    • Meanwhile, get all the veggies listed in ingredients and chop them up in small pieces. Place in a skillet turned on high and stir frequently until veggies start to caramelize. Throw in spinach during the last minute or so.


    • Now your ready to stuff, stuff, stuff! First stuff in the veggies. If you have extra that doesn’t fit, just use it for topping a salad or however you wish to use it.
    • Next layer is for the stewed or fresh tomatoes. I used stewed.


    • Next up is the tuna. The lemon pepper tuna really did wonders for the flavor of this dish, so I recommend using it if you can find it. It’s cheap, too! :-) I could only fit half the pouch in my zucchini boat.


    • Then the cheese—it’s best to put it on last, so it gets all bubbly and good.


    • Pop in your preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.


    What’s your favorite food to “stuff”, I am always looking for suggestions! Another stuffed recipe is in the works—stay tuned!

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Goodbye Summer..Hello College

    Well guys, usually I can’t relate to the “hating Mondays” as everyone else, because I have become pretty accustomed to lazy summer days, but today marks the beginning of my second year of college! It’s hard to believe—but college goes by 10 times faster than high school did! So now posts will have to take a back burner unfortunately, and I will be going back to 1 or 2 posts per week. I know y’all will understand! :-) Meanwhile, if your starting college or just continuing your 9-5 work days, keep in touch, and of course keep visiting the blog!

    I figured I’d do a virtual toast to a great fall season ahead with two new drinks I have been enjoying! Cheers!


    v8 Splash Smoothies in Tropical Colada was a new buy for me! I love v8 vegetable juice so I thought I would give this a try. It has all the great benefits of regular v8 with an amped up twist—it’s a thicker consistency, free of artificial sweeteners, and comes in Strawberry Banana also! I am not a huge fan of thick drinks, but this wasn’t overly thick and while I was drinking it, I felt like I should be on a beach with some tropical music in the background—in other words, I loved it! (To prove it, I have bought 3 since, and they are not small!) You can find out more about it at the link above. I also tried the Strawberry Banana, but after trying the Tropical flavor, I already had claimed a fav flav! But if you’re a Strawberry Banana fan, no doubt, try it!


    Mountain Dew’s Diet Ultraviolet flavor has just recently appeared on store shelves. Although I am trying to veer away from soda in general, how could I pass up this awesome purple color?! Stylish soda, anyone? My thoughts: It was beyond good. I do not like regular flavored Mountain Dew, but this was super infused with bubbly berry goodness. I have a feeling all my fellow berry lovin’ bloggers would feel the same. :-) Sadly, the company is promoting it as a “limited time offer”, so in other words—DO THE DEW!(ASAP)

    And I’m off to college round 2!


    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Sweet Saturday Smack Down



    The Contenders: Stevia Sweetener vs. Sucralose (Splenda)

    First Up---Splenda

    • Splenda contains chlorine.
    • Sucralose is now formally FDA approved and has zero calories.
    • Research on animals has shown that it has effects on liver and kidneys.
    • Supposedly, artificial sweeteners can stimulate appetite.
    • There has been no independent long-term research of sucralose performed on humans.
    • Sucralose has been available in international markets for more than 13 years.
    • Sucralose is actually derived from sugar.
    • How it’s made: The process replaces the 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups present in the sugar molecule with 3 chlorine atoms. There is chlorine in many foods that we routinely eat so this is not considered toxic. Chlorine is present in all sorts of products including table salt, mushrooms and lettuce. When chlorine is added to sucrose, sucralose is created. Sucralose passes through the body undetected and is not converted into energy, nor is it considered a carbohydrate. Splenda is considered to taste like sugar with none of the calories.
    • It is found in many soda drinks and sugar-free products.

    Second Up---Stevia


    • Stevia is an all-natural powdered sweetener.
    • Unlike sucralose, it is deemed to actually have beneficial health factors such as not effecting blood sugar levels unlike sugar, prevents cavities, recommended for diabetics, and non-toxic extensively tested in animals and extensively used by humans with no adverse effects.
    • The powdered form is up to 30 times sweeter than sugar, while it's extracts can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.
    • It has been used since pre-Columbian times with no reported side effects such as toxicity.
    • Stevia is quite popular in Japan where it has been used for over 35 years as a sweetener.
    • In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to obtain approval for rebiana for use as a food additive within the United States by 2009, as well as plans to market rebiana-sweetened products in 12 countries that allow stevia's use as a food additive.

    Who Wins?

    It really comes down to personal preference. Of course sucralose no doubt gets more rap then stevia, and of course stevia is natural, although sucralose is derived from sugar. The way they are processed also varies greatly—one is more chemical, the other is pretty natural. As far as taste goes, I have tried both, and although I consume Splenda a lot through the granulated powder and because it’s found in a lot of foods I eat. I recently tried stevia in the from of Pure Via and am considering switching over as much as possible because there was no real taste difference. It is more expensive than the Wal-Mart off-brand Splenda I buy, but I think it would be a worthwhile investment.

    What’s your stand between the two?

    Here’s a new recipe I came up with using the stevia sweetener!

    Stevia and Maple Glazed Baby Carrots


    • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
    • 1 packet of Pure Via or other stevia sweetener
    • 1 1/2 c small baby carrots
    • Microwave Steam Bag


    • Open steam bag and place all ingredients in.
    • Microwave for 5-6 min, depending on how soft you like your carrots to be.
    • Open steam bag carefully, pour onto plate—eat!

    This was inspired by numerous steamed carrots at restaurants—easy, quick, and healthy.


    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    I’ve Got the Solution!

    Well guys, I have a problem. I guess maybe it isn’t that bad of a problem—it’s an overabundance of garden zucchini. My grandpa is a big-time gardener and they sent me a huge load of zucchini, so of course now I need to find delicious ways to use it! I made some roasted zucchini fries yesterday, cut it up for salads, and can you guess what’s next? Something baked of course! This is an original recipe of mine, so please link back if you happen to use it! =)

    Do you have any favorite recipes using zucchini?


    Zucchini Snack Cake

    Serves: 12


    • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2/3 c packed light brown sugar (I used Splenda brown sugar blend)
    • 6 tbsp light vegetable oil spread (such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which is what I used)
    • 1/2 c egg whites (approx. 3 eggs)
    • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 C of pureed zucchini
    • 1/4 C of sweet potato baby food


    • 1 1/2 C thawed frozen light whipped topping (such as Cool Whip Lite)
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • Optional- 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips (I added this after the pictures!)


    • Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 8” square baking pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, soda and salt; reserve.
    • On medium-high speed, beat sugar and butter spread until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Beat in egg whites and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined. Stir in zucchini and jarred baby food.
    • Transfer to pan, bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    • Remove from pan; cool. Spread with topping, sprinkle cinnamon and chocolate chips if desired.




    Tip of the day:

    Make sure all your baking flours are stored in an air tight container so they don’t get stale-like. Here’s how I store mine—simple yet effective!


    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Food in the News

    I haven’t done any Food in the News posts lately, so I thought it was long overdue, and I thought this one was interesting! If you ever have any interesting Food in the News shoot me and email!

    Cars of the Future Will Be Built With Food

    And you thought filling up with a corn-based ethanol was a little crazy? Now auto makers are introducing earth-friendly and edible materials.

    • Seaweed is being used by Toyota for improving its bioplastics(plastics made from natural sources such as corn starch) in hopes of creating superlight chassis. It should be on the road by 2020.
    • Soybeans is being used in millions of vehicles from Ford. How? Soybean-based seat cushions of course! Manufacturing the cushions with soybean oil helps the company cut down on petroleum and CO2 emissions. Next up: interior trim made with soy-based plastic.
    • Carrots  are being used at England’s University of Warwick to build a race care equipped with a steering wheel made from carrots and other veggies. It reaches speeds of 135 mph and runs partly on chocolate waste from a nearby chocolate factory.

    Article adapted from Food Network Magazine

    What do you think of the food-mobile trend?

    I think it’s great to use foods for something else other than eating—under one condition; that it isn’t using up the whole surplus of food meant for eating—we still have so many people in the world starving that could use some carrots or soy foods. I think that should be a priority before cars, but it’s still a cool concept as long as they don’t start using Larabars for brake pedals or an oat-weaved carpet…hey who knows?


    p.s. Cha-cha-cha-chia! Do you want to jump on the chia seed bandwagon? Diane at Greens Plus offered to send all readers a free sample! Interested? Email her at

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Jungle Time


    Even though I have never been to a jungle, it’s still on my list of to-do’s at least once during my life. I love the lush greenery, the animals, and of course the fruit that comes from the jungle. My favorite would have to be a banana! (Did you really think I was going to ramble on about an actual jungle ha ha?)


    Over the past 18 years, I have had my share of banana bread; dense bread, fluffy bread, tropical banana bread, glazed, not-so-good, delicious, etc. This new recipe is based off of this one, but of course I made significant changes that make it go from “just a good banana bread” to one that you want to make all the time! The secret is…

    • A jar of sweet potato baby food
    • Imitation Banana Extract (found by spices, vanilla, etc.)
    • Pumpkin pie spice (you can make your own—see how here)

    So grab your bread pan and all of those frozen bananas that you aren’t using for the oh-so-famous banana soft serve(I still need to try this), and be prepared for your kitchen to smell like the jungle and your taste buds to go wild like a monkey! ;-)


    Amped Up Banana Bread

    Serves: 12


    1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup no calorie granulated sweetener of your choice 
    1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas) + 1/2 c sweet potato baby food                               
    1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
    1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce (I used cinnamon applesauce)
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tsp banana extract
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 tsp. salt


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl, combine both types of flour,sweetener, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon (in other words, all dry ingredients).

    In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, baby food, egg substitute, applesauce, and extracts (all the wet ingredients).

    Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan (about 9" X 5") sprayed with nonstick spray.

    Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, and then cut into 12 slices. If you like, spritz with some spray butter or spread on some Cool Whip Free.


    Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Whole Lotta Whole

    So like I said yesterday, my second day in Minneapolis was full of fun stuff, but I saved one last stop to share today.

    Whole Foods of course! This is my 2nd time there—so Trader Joe’s and WF’s all in one day—good food overload alert!

    I actually didn’t buy any groceries because I got plenty at TJ’s, but I did pay a visit the the hot bar which always gets rave reviews. I picked a little of a lot of things!


    I got some jimaca coleslaw which was marinated in vinegar and had a nice twang to it! I got some grilled pineapple—sweet and savory! Then some roasted fennel and carrots—love fennel! Some kind of cauliflower, marinated artichokes, and a tofu salad, which I am not a huge tofu fan, but it wasn’t bad. Do you have a WF’s hot bar fav?

    By the way, I tried the TJ’s Mini Cinnamon Raisin Bagels and CIMG0354 they were awesome!! Not really mini, but the raisins were plump and chewy, and the cinnamon was definitely apparent. Plus they were super cheap—I should have bought 2 packages since they can be frozen.


    Recently, I had been searching online for a new lunch bag for the upcoming college year. Since I won’t have a meal plan, I will be packing lunches to save on money.(And I wasn’t a fan of “cafeteria” food anyway) But before I bought one online and paid for shipping, etc. I decided to check stores around here. Luckily I found one I loved at Target! It looks like a purse instead of a standard lunch bag. Check it out—>



    Nice, huh? Even better than the style? The price! Only $9.99! It fits everything nicely, so if you’re in the market for a new bag, head to Target in the camping/outdoors department.

    Come back for a trip to the jungle tomorrow! ;-)

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    I’m Back..With Food of Course!

    Wow; what a fun little jaunt to Minneapolis—just what I needed before I get dragged down by the college life in just a short week! I have a lot of stuff to share, so I will keep the chat to a minimum and the pictures to the max! Hope you enjoy my recap as much as I enjoyed my time :-)

    We (my lovely grandma and I) started out Wednesday morning and made the four hour drive to the Mall of America (check out my last trip to MOA here.) Once we arrived, I was more than ready to scour the stores, but first I needed to quell my growling belly! What did I choose amidst millions of choices? Something that I love, but don’t have in my area of course!  


    I chose the new Freshside Grille meal from Long John Silver's. It came with fresh grilled tilapia, half of a corn on the cob, and a vegetable blend that was lightly seasoned. It was a nice meal that didn’t weigh you down to shop, so light in fact that I split a broccoli stuffed baked potato from The Steak and Potato restaurant with my grandma. I love food courts because then you can create endless meals. What’s your favorite food court option?

    Shopped, shopped, and shopped some more—I think we did a tad of retail damage!


    Thursday we woke up and I had a anticipated mission—my very first trip to Trader Joe’s; exciting right?!


    Minnesota only has 4 in the metro area. I was anxious to see if all the good vibes TJ’s gets was true—it was amazing! Cheap, variety, and good food—everything a foodie could ask for under one roof! Obviously I bought some good stuff.


    Lots of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (it’s 1/2 the price there vs. what I pay here!), more No Pudge Fudge brownie mix (review here), some new bars, mini vanilla meringues, some Garden Patch Veggie soup, also not pictured some Chicken-less BBQ Pulled Chicken and a bag of TJ’s Kettle Corn.




    Some TJ’s mini cinnamon raisin bagels and mini original bagels. Then some of their heavenly looking French rolls!


    Some European style Mocha coffee flavored yogurt. (Yes mom I bought you one for when you come visit!)

    And I was uber excited to find this..


    SUSHI!! If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile I am sure you remember my complaints about never being able to try this because it is no where near me! Verdict? I am in love, so looks like I will have to learn to make my own!


    And of course a rockin’ TJ’s reusable bag—for 0.99!

    I have another surprise place I went on this trip too, so stay tuned for tomorrow. Also tomorrow: food reviews. :-)