Sunday, August 8, 2010

If you can't beat 'em, make your own damn rules!

Back so soon! Aren't you impressed?!

Since I've been sick, my diet has changed significantly as I've been unable to eat the way I used to. In particular, I've noticed that sweet and sugary items make me feel ill, especially when they're... not the most natural ways to get your sugar fix (Hello, ice cream and Betty Crocker. I'm looking at you...). Instead, I've been searching for healthier ways to satisfy my sweet tooth while not overdoing it on my poor tummy. Things like sugar-free pudding and fat-free yogurt are great for a creamy fix, but sometimes a girl wants a baked good!

Today, I noticed three super ripe bananas sitting on my counter, and I decided I'd better use them up quick before they go bad. Baked goods and ripe bananas go together like bees and honey, but I was looking for more than basic banana bread. That's when I stumbled upon a recipe for Banana-Cocoa Muffins on the Kelloggs website.

By using healthy Special K cereal, naturally sweet bananas, and the addition of peanut butter chips, these muffins are moist and perfectly delectable without being overwhelming. As always, I've adapted the recipe, but feel free to check out the original.

Cocoa-Banana and Peanut Butter Muffins


3 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups Kellogg's® Special K® Original cereal
1 cup fat-free milk
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup peanut butter baking chips


12-cup muffin pan
mixing bowl
mixing spoon
measuring cups
measuring spoons
optional: muffin liners


1. Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Add milk and cereal, mix together, and let sit for two minutes to allow the milk to moisten the cereal.

2. Add egg whites, oil, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

3. Add cocoa powder and mix until combined.

4. Add the peanut butter chips and flour, mixing well.

5. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Fill to the brim with muffin mix.

6. Bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Que sera sera...

Long time, no see blog followers. Since you last heard from me, my life has taken some new turns. The health issues I mentioned in May have taken a backseat in order for me to concentrate on getting myself through new! improved! fun-filled! health problems that have developed since then.

Earlier this month, I was hospitalized after days of vomiting and a pain-filled evening and was diagnosed with gastritis. This hospitalization was the culmination of months and months of vomiting, loss of appetite, no energy, queasiness, and all-around feelings of shitty-ness on a near-daily basis. Over these months, I've lost 30lbs through absolutely no effort on my part, really. After leaving the hospital, being put on an alarming number of prescriptions, and still spending my days feeling like poo, I've been referred to a surgeon for gallbladder surgery.

I'm exhausted. I leave you with my only thoughts, for now, and one of the recipes that has been getting me through the last few months.

Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup


5 medium tomatoes
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
olive oil
1-32oz. carton reduced sodium, reduced fat chicken broth
1 teaspoon seasoning salt+additional for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper+additional for seasoning
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream


aluminum foil
baking pan
soup pot
immersion blender/regular blender


1. Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Cover your baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly drizzle the bottom with olive oil.

2. Cut your onion into sixths and lay them on their sides on the baking sheet.

3. Cut your tomatoes into thirds by cutting around the core in three slices. Then squeeze the chunks until the seeds are removed. Place them face up on the baking sheet with the onions.

4. Drizzle the onion and tomato chunks with olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

5. Place your garlic cloves in a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil, and fold the foil into a little bundle.

6. Roast the veggies for 45-50 minutes.

7. Transfer the roasted veggies into your soup pot and add the entire carton of chicken broth. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, simply blend the ingredients in a blender until smooth and transfer to your soup pot.

8. Add all of the seasonings except the basil and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

9. Remove the bay leaves and add the cheese and sour cream. Stir until smooth.

10. Serve with your choice of accompaniments. I like to top mine with Cheez-its. My fiance prefers good ol' grilled cheeses.