Friday, July 27, 2012

The Conflicted Chef- 3 Sisters Making Healthy Lasagna

One thing I’ve never been conflicted about is the time my family spends in the kitchen. I grew up in the kitchen. The smell of  garlic sautéing, the bubbling of roasted tomatoes, the way the kitchen light bounces off the countertops, it speaks to my heart. Happiness could always be found in the kitchen.
I’m not sure what I would have done if my children didn’t like to cook. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. My three daughters are amazing in the kitchen. The dishes may not always turn out, but they are still a joy to watch. They are making memories that they may not cherish now, but some day they will.
They’ve been known to tackle dishes such as Kim chi right alongside good ‘ole chocolate chip cookies. So when a call went out for a more healthy lasagna, that they would still eat, they tackled it. And they started with the pasta.
A whole wheat pasta will really help cut the calories and we usually use whole wheat in our dishes. But I have to confess, they didn’t on this day. My husband is the main pasta maker and he’s a little bit of a purist at times. He had bought a big bag of Semolina flour, which is the way it is traditionally made, so the girls used that. They are good kids like that, trying to appease both Dad and Mom. But I’ll include a recipe for whole wheat pasta so you can decide which you’d rather use.
This is a pasta machine that was given to us one Christmas by my sister. We get very excited around here with gifts that center around the kitchen, imagine that. Anyway, they are wonderful fun and make the pasta making very easy. You can make pasta without a machine. Check out Sugarlaws blog to find an awesome machine free recipe (and it’s whole wheat too).
Here the pasta is drying on cooling racks. I love seeing my countertops covered in fresh pasta.
Next is the filling. One great way to cut calories here is to add bulk by not using lots of meat, but by using veggies. You could even do all veggies, but again my girls want their Dad to eat it so they compromised. They used turkey sausage, and lots of mushrooms in the filling. You could add spinach, caramelized onions, eggplant, zucchini, whatever sounds good to you.
Cheese, yummy cheese makes a lasagna. If you use cheese made from skim milk or 1% milk you can further cut calories. Or you could use less cheese. But please don’t use the fat free cheese, it doesn’t melt and then you have a crispy, crunchy layer to your lasagna. Moderation is the key when cooking and eating. You knew I was going to say that right? I just get so frustrated when people get crazy with the no-fat foods, no sugar foods, unless medically you are on a special diet. Just eat a smaller piece of lasagna and a bigger bowl of salad dang it. Whew, okay my lecture is over.
I’d show you a piece of cooked lasagna, but it got eaten before I could get the camera. Yes, it was that good. My girls did a great job cutting calories, but not taste on this dish. It received 5 smiles and a few extra, as we made an extra pan to give away when we made this batch.
This recipe we adapted from Eating Well for the filling:
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound lean spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (see Variation)
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms, (10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably chunky
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound part-skim ricotta cheese (2 cups)
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. 
  1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and water; cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage more, until it is cooked through, the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Mix tomatoes with basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. To assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup of the tomatoes in the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, trimming to fit if necessary. Evenly dollop half the ricotta over the noodles. Top with half the sausage mixture, one-third of the remaining tomatoes and one-third of the mozzarella. Continue with another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta, the remaining sausage, half the remaining tomatoes and half the remaining mozzarella. Top with a third layer of noodles and the remaining tomatoes.
  4. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake until bubbling and heated through, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the foil; sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is just melted but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Since our noodles were fresh we didn’t need to cook them before assembling, also there are noodles you can buy that you don’t have to cook before hand. I think it just makes things easier to not have to cook the noodles.
For a good pasta recipe we like to use the one from Bob’s Red Mill, since we like his flour.
So tell me what is your favorite type of lasagna? And do you like whole wheat pasta at your house?

Happy Eating,
The Conflicted Chef

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yes, I’m “Just” A Mom


I was a child of the late 70’s and 80’s, when women were making great strides in having careers outside of the home. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by saying my biggest aspiration was just to be a wife and mother.  The question was always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I’d always reply with a very professional answer, vet or nurse, or best-selling author and then at the end I’d tag on “and a mom”.  And truth be told, I did have dreams of becoming something big, like the first woman fighter pilot, or NASCAR driver, or travelling the world meeting dignitaries while representing my country, or manning a gun on a big battleship.  Problem was, even as a child, I was trying to figure out where I’d stash my children on that battleship or if wearing your child strapped to your back would be distracting while socializing with the Prime Minister of Australia. It was a small glitch that needed working out, one I would ponder for the next 20 years or so.

Fast forward to the birth of my first child. I was a teacher. I couldn’t ever figure out the logistics of my other career choices and having kids  as well, so it was no wonder I found teaching. The schedule was perfect for working and having a family, and I loved , loved teaching. Perfect solution. The problem was I never thought about where the kids would go when they were too small to be in school. I had a summer to find a place for my baby to go before the next school year started.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”, seemed to be the question that kept running through my head as I researched, interviewed, and prayed over who would be best to take care of my child while I was working. There were some wonderful, loving places my child could have stayed while I worked.  I felt I needed to work.  My husband and I were used to the money two incomes provided, and weren’t sure if we could make it without my salary. Plus, I loved teaching. I was good at it and I didn’t want to leave my school. The problem was, I didn’t want to leave my child either.

One night the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up echoed through my head for the millionth time and suddenly I knew the answer, “just a mom”. That’s it, nothing else. That’s all I’d ever wanted. I knew it when I was 4 and held my baby sister and pretended to be her mom. I knew it when I met the man of my dreams and walked down the aisle. I even knew it when I got my first teaching  job. So I tearfully called my principle the next day and told him I wouldn’t be coming back. I also cried on the first day of school, because even though I knew being a stay-at-home mom was my choice, I couldn’t help but be sad over a chapter of my life that was closing.

Can you be a mom and work? Absolutely! Could I be a mom and work? No. Just so you know, I worked for a short period of time when both my oldest girls could attend the school I worked at. As much as I loved my job, I once again found myself wanting to be “just a mom”. And then God blessed us with the surprise of being pregnant with my third and I knew I would be hanging up my working shoes for good.


I have three daughters who dream of being doctors, chefs, and horse trainers. They are smart and caring and hard workers. They have years to figure it out. But one thing I do know is that if they decide that someday they want to be “just a mom”, I’ll be as proud of them as I would be if they decided to be  just a neurosurgeon. arriedoc

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.”

-Henry David Thoreau

What about you, are you living the life you imagined?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lemon Rosemary Turkey Meatballs- Conflicted Chef

I know I promised this recipe about a month ago, but I they are worth the wait!
When my daughter, Em, decided to make these I had visions of dry turkey meatballs that no one would like. In fact, sometimes with my husband we have to hide the fact that he is eating ground turkey, instead of ground beef. I’m not sure why, but my Dad is the same way. Real men eat beef and not turkey, unless it is Thanksgiving seems to be the battle cry. So we are constantly sneaking in ground turkey and then when they like it we declare, “Victory”! Actually, my girls and I have found this whole game fun and try to fool them whenever we can. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But it is always entertaining.
So without further ado here is the recipe we adapted from Eating Well:
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or substitute more chicken broth)
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Place onion, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried) and pulse just until the mixture is finely and evenly chopped (but not mushy).
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and gently mix in turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper until combined. Use a generous 2 tablespoons each to shape the mixture into 12 meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place flour in a shallow dish and roll the meatballs in it to lightly coat. (Reserve the remaining flour.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add wine (or 1/2 cup broth) to the pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until almost evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the can of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and return the meatballs to the pan along with the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon dried). Cover and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a serving bowl.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup, 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the reserved flour in a small bowl (discard any remaining flour); whisking constantly, add the flour mixture to the sauce along with butter and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Serve the sauce over the meatballs.
We served this over rice and with our Asparagus with Lemon Zest and Pine Nuts.
I think it would be yummy served over whole wheat noodles or pearl couscous as well. Em wasn’t thrilled with the gravy. I think when we make this again we will try to tweak the gravy to make it thicker. I thought it had a  delicious flavor, she felt it was too runny.

My family gave it 3 smiles and 2 so so’s, because of the gravy.

Do you like to sneak turkey into your menu?
Happy Eating,
The Conflicted Chef
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Inspirational Monday- Interview with Paint This Town Red Co-Founder C.J. Frazier

I apologize from being absent from the blogging world for a bit. Circumstances, mostly out of my control, have been keeping me from blogging, mostly technical issues. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they are solved!

C.J. Frazier and I met when I worked at a private day school. He was my boss and young enough to be my little brother. I am a cradle Catholic, he is the son of a pastor and had found Christ again as a teenager. We were working at an Episcopal school and even though all of those could have spelled disaster it worked. Some of our greatest conversations took place over green chili-cheeseburgers at 10:00 in the morning  as we took a quick break from the craziness of the day. He taught me a lot about faith, about having a burning passion for the Lord and doing His work. C.J. eventually left his work at the day school to pursue his dream of being a youth pastor at a local church in our small town. I would eventually move over an hour away to prepare for the birth of my third child, but thanks to technology I have had the privilege to follow C.J. as he continues to do the Lord’s work. He has started a church, ministry, service project all wrapped into one amazing concept called Paint This Town Red. The following is an interview I had with him:

Give us some background on how Paint This Town Red, or PTTR, came to be.

I have had the privilege of working at three different churches since becoming a pastor. All of these churches had great vision and intentions for the city they lived in. The hard part was "convincing" people that we needed to get out of the church and serve more. It was a great blessing that I was in a church that encouraged me to dream and believe God for the impossible. Because of that liberty, I was able to really ask God to use me to do the impossible. Little did I know that the impossible would take place away from the beautiful beaches of Florida, and back to the flat, dry, dusty, windy land of Pampa Texas. But, because my heart was ready, I fell in love with this small town that I had left only 2 years prior.

So when I felt the Lord tell me it's time for this vision to be birthed I honestly wasn't sure what it looked like. And maybe it's just how my mind works, but I can't really get vision for something until I have a name for it. A name says a lot about something. So one day I was laying down praying and a song came on called Paint The Town Red, by Delirious. This song made some great statements in it that caught my hearts attention.

"You know I feel there's something 'bout to break now.
You know I feel there's a city here to take now.
And it's not so tough for these ordinary hands,
When we trust someone with extraordinary plans."

"You give us hope where hope is gone,
You fill the streets with a holy song,
We’re gonna paint this big old town red."

"Miracles run from street to street
Rise up Church for a holy meet
We’re gonna paint this big old town red
We’re gonna paint this big old town red
With the blood of Jesus!"

These lyrics voiced what my heart was dreaming for. So...that's how the name came to life in my heart. Once the identity of who we were came to life in our hearts, the rest was pretty easy.

I can identify with that as a writer because often I am inspired by song lyrics for a story idea. I always have to have a working title before I can sit down and start writing and I can spend days figuring out the title!

PTTR is unique in which the people are the Church. You have fellowship times, but your mission is to serve the people of the community and their needs. You have projects in which you “makeover” peoples houses and support them in any needs they have. What are your main goals?

PTTR's main goal is pretty simple. We want to always bring HOPE to the hopeless, encourage DREAMS for the dreamers and give LIFE to the lifeless. HOPE, DREAMS and LIFE. Whatever we do, however we do it, those three things are the back bone of who we are.

And from the many projects you have already done, it looks like you are definitely making these goals a reality.

Every town, whether big or small can present many challenges to starting anything that is new. What challenges have you faced?

To be totally honest, we've experienced a lot of challenges on this new journey. We thought the hardest thing in all this would be selling our homes in faith, quitting our high paying jobs in faith, moving to a place where we didn't know where we would live, and doing all this without any promise, or plans, of being paid. It turns out that was the easy part... The spiritual battles that have come about since arriving in Pampa May of 2011 have been enormous. Small towns have so much charm and beauty to them. The simplicity can be intoxicatingly wonderful. But in the same turn, small towns are not to open for change, especially when it comes to churches. We've taken on quite a bit of persecution from some churches who aren't supportive of us. And not just our church, but me in particular. Because of this, it's been hard to feel accepted by a lot of the community. But honestly, the people we came to serve are beyond excited that we're here. We didn't come to Pampa for the healthy, but for the sick. We're just trying to take our lead from Jesus on this one. Instead of detouring our dreams for Pampa, these issues have only solidified our heart for the people here. And of course, I OFTEN feel so unqualified to be leading something like this. But the reality of it all is this:God used the foolish things of this world to bring His glory to earth. I just want to be part of the solution, and not the problem.

And I think you are doing an amazing job, even when faced with such obstacles. I loved my 10 years in Pampa and I love small towns, but I also know how difficult it can be to introduce something new to such a small, tight-knit community. It’s a challenge, but you’ve captured the hearts of so many people who live there. It’s awesome to watch the difference you are making in so many people’s lives.

In the months since you started this journey, can you describe a moment that just blew you away? Gave you that confirmation that this is where you were meant to be?

From the very first Project Red we did, we were "ruined" from that point on to go back to life the way we knew it. To see the HOPE in the eyes of people that we were so blessed to serve was breath taking. Typically the hardest part about being a church that wants to serve people in their homes is finding someone to let us into their home. Our private way of living can be very embarrassing and shameful at times. Especially when you show me the river of sewage running from under your home because you haven't had plumbing for almost a year. All that to say this, we know we're right were we need to be because people are GIVING us the keys to their homes. They are asking us to come in and see what they won't show the public because of their desperation for help. From day one we HAVE NOT asked anyone to let us help them. They have called us by the hundreds to help them. If that's not confirmation I don't know what is. Either way, we love what we are here to do.

You are an inspiration to me! But I’m curious as to what inspires you?

My inspiration can come from a lot of areas in life. I'm very moved by music, movies and people who have gone before me and paved the way for guys like me to live my dreams. But honestly, it's the single mothers we encounter that face so much opposition and adversity that really inspire me. They somehow sacrifice everything to see that their children are taken care of.

One great example is a women we helped Easter morning. Her name is Donna Williams. She's a single mother and grandmother. She takes care of over 13 children and grandchildren...13!!! And what's amazing, is that they aren't all hers. She's adopted two young ladies who have children of their own and she became a mother and grandmother to them. She has taken it upon herself to bare the responsibility of others who weren't able to, or decided not to. On top of that, she lost 2 sisters and her mother to cancer. This kind of courage is so overwhelming to me. Great speakers and leaders encourage me daily, but women like Donna Williams inspire me to push the limits and boundaries of every day life.

Donna sounds amazing and very deserving of PTTR’s help! But with all this good you are doing I know there is tons of work behind the scenes, not to mention the everyday stress of running such an organization. I hope you make time for some fun. What do you do to relax?

I have to have time for fun. If I don't, I'll burn out quickly and be useless to everyone. Including my most important ministry, my wife Micki. I really do love to spend time on my bed with Micki and our 4 dogs watching movies. I workout 4 days a week. I LOVE good food with friends and family. Really it's simple things in life that keep me happy and recharged.

I agree, it is the simple things that keep you happy. You have a very blessed life, my friend.

I know many people will be inspired by your ministry. What can people do to help you?

We think anyone and everyone can be a part of PTTR in some way. For those that aren't in our area, we covet your prayers like nothing else. We believe the authority and power of prayer can change anything. We also are a non- profit ministry, which means we aren't funded by anything else but donations. Any donations are considered charitable donations by the state and are tax deductible. If you would like to help financially in any way, we would greatly appreciate it. We started PTTR in June of 2011. Since then we have done 7 large Project Reds. (since the time of this interview they have completed another project and are working on number 9.) Multiple Mini-Project red's. We gave out 500 gifts to anyone who needed a present for Christmas. Gave away a 2005 Toyota mini van to a single mother. As well as thousands of dollars in weekly assistance with people's utilities. We don't boast in this, but want you to know that your money goes to serving the people of this community. And we'll help anyone who needs it, but love to focus on widows and orphans. Thank you for any help you can be in serving our city.

Thank you C.J. for everything you are doing and for taking the time to do this interview with me. You are such a daily inspiration and I love watching what you are doing.

Please visit PTTR’s website, follow on Facebook and get inspired daily by all they do.

I want to leave you with the video introducing Donna’s Project.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Asparagus with Lemon Zest and Pine Nuts


My mom has always been wonderful about buying in-season, local foods. She was hip, before hip was cool.

As a kid we’d eat fresh vegetables either out of our garden or someone else's. And when spring rolled around there were always plenty of asparagus to go around. Mom would generally steam the stalks just long enough for them to turn a bright green, then she would drizzle with butter and toasted bread crumbs. Yum!

Did you know that the proper way to eat asparagus stalks is with your fingers? Yes siree Bob. I learned this little tid bit from Elizabeth Taylor. I’m not sure what the interview was about or why asparagus came up, but she taught me that it was okay to use my fingers. And as a kid, that was just one more plus for the green veggie. So whether you are at a fine dining establishment or sitting around your family dinner table you can use your fingers. Now if the stalks are not firm, or cut into pieces in a messy sauce, I’d advise you to use your fork, but otherwise dig on in with your hands.

Soph made the above asparagus one night as a side to some yummy turkey meatballs that Em made. Okay, I’ll admit it I cooked nothing. I sipped my wine and watched my girls do their thing and thought, “You are one lucky lady to have not one, but three awesome daughters who like to cook.”  I pretty sure I cleaned the dishes, but the dinner was so wonderful I didn’t mind that one bit.

Sophie’s Asparagus

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Set the oven temp to 350. After rinsing asparagus pat dry and lay in one layer on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, or if you have it Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (this to me is heavenly). You can pour some oil into a bowl and brush it on if you want a more even coating. Sprinkle with pine nuts (a handful) and zest some lemon peel over the top. Place in the oven for about 8 to 12 minutes. You want to take it out as it turns a bright green. The stalks should be somewhat firm, but not hard.



So easy, and so good. Next week I’ll give you the recipe for Em’s turkey meatballs. They were melt in your mouth good.

This dinner received 4 smiles. We are working on the five year old, that for some reason won’t even look at asparagus. She doesn’t want to talk about it, so I don’t ask.

What is your favorite way to eat asparagus?


The Conflicted Chef

Monday, May 7, 2012

Inspirational Monday- Kim Osborne and Hope For Savannah


This post has been a long time coming. I interviewed Kim right before I started dealing with some health issues. I have to apologize to Kim for it taking me a few months to get this up. But I am so thrilled I have the opportunity to share with my readers such an inspiring lady and her organization!

First I’d like to tell you that I got to know Kim through a dear friend of mine. Before I became friends with her on FB I had heard amazing stories about her from our mutual friend. I ended up buying some homeschool curriculum from her and friending her on Facebook. What a gift it was. I’m able to keep up with all she does, especially Hope for Savannah, the organization that helps not only cancer patients, but their entire family. Their mission is:

“ to provide hope and comfort to cancer patients and their families through an intentional outreach driven by our web site and support programs”.

When Kim and I talked one of the first things she said was, “This organization is not about me. It’s about what we can do as Christians.” She went on to say that she didn’t set out to start this organization but that “God ignited a passion in her heart. And when He does that, it changes everything.” Kim will be the first to tell you she has no prior experience with a non-profit organization, no business training. But, as I've watched this organization grow and have seen all the outreach programs they have established it is hard to believe Kim has never done this before. One of the reason she inspires me is that it is easy to see that she is doing what God intended for her to do. She has followed her passion faithfully.

That passion was born from her best friend who was diagnosed with, and eventually died from ovarian cancer. As she watched her friend suffer she wanted to help, but had no idea what to do. She credits this experience with bringing her to Christ. Years later her young son would be diagnosed with cancer. She describes this time as “horrific”, but was amazed by the ways God was constantly speaking to her and her family.

As I speak with Kim I am touched and inspired by her strong faith. She works everyday with families that are suffering terrific burdens, she sees children suffer and die from a terrible disease, and yet her faith remains strong. She hopes others will see God reflected in the work that Hope For Savannah does, and I have no doubt that as you learn all they do you will see His amazing grace at work.

I could go on and on about everything this organization accomplishes, but instead I’d like for you to go to their website and see for yourself. I can not do it justice.

I asked Kim what someone  can do to help, even if they are not in the Savannah area. She told me one of her passions is to create pages on Hope’s website where people with all different kinds of cancers can go for resources. So if you or a loved one  has been diagnosed with cancer she would love for you to share any resources you have gathered about the disease and treatment. Also, if you can share the YouTube videos they have created. They, in themselves, are inspiring and fill you with hope.

I’m going to leave you with one of those videos. Thank you Kim for having the courage to follow God’s plan for you. Hope for Savannah is making a difference in so many peoples lives!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why I Cut My Man’s Hair And Other Random Things

I’ve neglected my blog. I’ve been away and if I could I would give you a long detailed excuse for my absence, but that would require lots of typing. And typing requires the use of my hands, and my hands hurt. So quickly I will say first, I was without the internet, due to us cutting the wire while installing our sprinkler system. But on top of that I’ve been battling lots of crazy aches and pains the last few months. Bottom line is my hypothyroid decided to work even less, causing my meds to become ineffective. On top of that my B-12 dropped to dangerously low levels causing a whole other set of issues, most significant is my hands going numb, and crazy pain when I try to use them for more then a few minutes at a time. This includes holding the phone. I’m not sure what a gal like me is to do when she can’t type and she can’t use the phone!

Anyway, I have real cool interviews, book reviews, and many Conflicted Chef posts piling up in my head. I’m thinking of hiring my oldest daughter to type for me so I can catch up. Well, I will do that as soon as she gets back from Hawaii in a couple of weeks. Yes, the little stinker is in Hawaii with her grandparents for her 12 year old trip and I’m hopelessly lost without her!

So I apologize for my neglect and I hope to be back on track soon. And I’d like to leave you with a marriage tip, haven’t had one of those in awhile.

Marriage Tip 267- Cut Your Husband’s Hair- When WB asked me to start cutting his hair soon after we were married I was terrified. I had no experience in such things. But then I remembered that scene in Her Alibi with Tom Selleck and Paulina Porizkova.

And I thought, this could be fun! So spice up your marriage a little and cut your husbands hair. Believe me, he’ll overlook your lack of talent in the hair styling department and you may find yourself cutting his hair for years to come.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Conflicted Chef- Fast Chipotle Buffalo Chicken Wraps

This week my two oldest daughters helped make the menu for the week. One was in charge of lunches and the other dinner. Sophie, my middle daughter, actually picked out the chicken wrap for lunch, but we had it as a quick dinner one night. It was a an easy and fast dinner to throw together on one of those nights that everyone doesn’t get home from their activities until later.

Sometimes on these nights it is easy to succumb to the “lets just pick up some dinner” on the way home. But those dinners are never the healthiest and always more pricey then what I can make at home. That’s why I love when we make these weekly menus out. We look over our plans and find easy, quick dinners to make on the nights we have activities. When we have a plan of action we can stay on track! Something my little family is trying really hard to do. So without further ado here is how they are made:

These are the 4 ingredients for the Chipotle Buffalo sauce.

-2 TBLS Chipotle Crushed Sauce
-1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
-2 TBLS Cholula Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
-3 TBLS White Vinegar
Whisk all together and set aside.

For the Blue Cheese Dressing:
-2 TBLS reduced-fat mayo
-2 TBLS nonfat plain yogurt
-ground pepper to taste
-1/4 cup crumbled Blue cheese
-1 TBLS vinegar
Whisk together in another bowl and put in the refrigerator.

Next you need about 3 split chicken breasts and cut them into 1 inch strips. Heat  a skillet with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook the chicken over med-high heat until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Topping for the wrap :

Take whole-wheat tortillas and warm in microwave for about 10 seconds. I’m a family of five so I do five at a time. Dice up a large tomato or cut in half several cherry tomatoes, along with some shredded lettuce, and celery. My family likes the spring mix so we put that on everything.

Now to assemble the wrap:

Place warm tortilla on plate, spread 1 spoonful of Blue cheese dressing, top with 3 or 4 slices chicken, lettuce, celery, and tomato. Drizzle with some remaining hot sauce and roll. –inspired by a recipe we found at Eating Well


The verdict from the family was it was very yummy, but my kids didn’t really care for the Blue cheese. They tried it, but decided it was too strong.  A lite ranch dressing would be a yummy alternative as well as maybe trying a cheese like feta, instead of the blue cheese, in the dressing. I feel I need to be completely honest and tell you my 4 year old preferred her chicken without the hot sauce so I set a few pieces aside for her after they were cooked. Also, my husband is staying away from flour products so he ate his like a salad.

Aside from the Blue Cheese everyone gave it 5 stars. We served it along with some blackberries that were on sale at the grocery and everyone was happy. For a late night dinner this was the perfect amount of food, or it would be the perfect lunch!

What does you family like to do for those crazy nights when you don’t get home until late?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Busy Week and a Wildflower Photo Winner!

So I’ve been missing in action again! As you know the wildflowers in Texas are blooming and we have been taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather to traipse across Texas so WB could take his pictures.  We’ve had so much fun finding beautiful spots and waiting on the light to illuminate the flowers in all their glory.
Thanks everyone who entered the Wildflower Picture Give Away and checked out my husbands photography blog. He loved all your sweet comments! I picked the winner (by putting all the entries in a hat) and a big congrats to Marcy Kennedy. I’ll be in touch Marcy, be thinking of which photo you’d like to have. And if you didn’t win, you can buy pictures straight from WB’s site. Nice advertising plug I just slipped in there, sorry couldn’t help myself.
The other thing that is keeping me busy, is my baby is turning 5 in 5 days! She likes to ask every 10 minutes or so “What were you doing right now 5 years ago?” So I found a picture this morning of what her sisters and I were doing 5 years ago.
We have a whole week of celebrating planned. Yes, we celebrate it up around here. That, and I feel a little guilty that she doesn’t have any friends here, yet, that are her age. So instead of a party with a bunch of giggling 5 year olds we’ll be celebrating with family. Which really isn’t bad thing at all. But I’m trying to get all the festivities planned and there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. If I could just figure out a way to go without sleep!
But I plan on having a Conflicted Chef post up tomorrow. One thing I can always count on us doing around here is eating!
So just curious how many hours of sleep do you need each night?

Okay, I am so scatter-brained I announced the WRONG winner! The actual winner is Ginger Calem!! My brain is really taking a vacation, obviously I still need more sleep.  But Marcy if you like the pictures I'll send you one too, just let me know which one:)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Conflicted Chef- Emma’s Breakfast Sandwiches

I posted this a few years ago on another blog, that I had devoted to life at Cotton-Top Hills. But we moved last May and I no longer keep that blog up. To tell you the truth I still have a hard time saying “Cotton-Top Hills” without crying, but I’m getting better. But these sandwiches are worth repeating. They are super yummy and very easy!
My twelve year old is on her way to culinary school.  Okay, not quite yet, but it’s where she wants to go someday.  She cooks for us constantly and is thinking up new twists on everyday recipes.  This breakfast sandwich recipe was derived from a sandwich she had at a little restaurant in Galveston, The Lunch Box cafe.
For bread she likes to use baguette, but we use whatever bread we have around. This morning mine was on English Muffin. First toast the bread.  Spread honey over both slices and natural peanut butter on one slice.  Top the peanut butter side with blueberries. Top the other slice with sliced strawberries and walnuts.  You could use pecans, but we had walnuts today. Put the two slices together and enjoy.  It really is very yummy and nutritious, not to mention easy!
That’s it. And it always gets 5 stars in my house. Of course the hubby needs some sort of meat with it usually or a protein shake. I, personally, am good with the peanut butter and nuts fulfilling my protein source. But to each his own!

What’s your favorite breakfast sandwich? And don't forget to enter my Wildflower Canvas Photo give-away. I'll pick the winner on Monday morning!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wildflowers In Texas And A Give Away!

This weekend we headed towards the hill country. It’s where my husband grew up and his parents still live. It is also one of my favorite places, especially in the spring when the Bluebonnets and all the wildflowers are blooming. We love to travel off the main route, leave the highways behind and meander down the back roads. I feel so at home on these winding country roads spotted with old barns, churches that were built over a 100 years ago, and the occasional deer bounding across your path.


WB is a an engineer by day. He works in absolutes, chemical equations, numbers, and solid lines. But when you put a camera in his hand, or a wood-working tool, or a sketch pad suddenly he is transformed into this artistic being. He has an artistic eye that has been honed by his analytical self. The combination of the two are quite impressive, if not a little odd.

So as we meandered down these back roads , WB took beautiful pictures of the wildflowers. My children and 16 year old dog patiently rode along and didn’t complain too much that the 2 1/2 hour trip that turned into a 4 hour one. After all, WB had taken a sabbatical of sorts from the photography world soon after my second was born. Cameras and lenses are expensive, and the time you put into taking and editing photos is time consuming. He used his artistic talents in other ways and sold his lenses to pay for things like braces, and music lessons.


I’d love for you to go check out his photography blog and look at some of the fabulous pictures from this weekend. If you’ve never been to Texas in the spring you are in for a real treat. And just to sweeten the deal go look and come back here and tell me one of your favorite pictures. Your comment will enter you into a drawing to receive a free  8 X 10 canvas wrapped wildflower photo taken by my husband, photographer extraordinaire! Did I tell you he’s had his work published in magazines? Yep he has, being a writer I get really excited telling people he is a published photographer. I’m not sure he gets as giddy about it, in fact he may be embarrassed I even mentioned it. Sorry, hon.

The two links to his two posts on the wildflowers are here and here.

Okay, here’s how to enter the contest:

  • Go to Scott’s website and come back here and tell me your favorite photo. (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment on his blog, he would love that. ( 1 entry)
  • Tweet it, just let me know you did in your comment. (1 entry)
  • Share on FB, again let me know you did. (1 entry)

If you leave a comment as anonymous, because you don’t have an account, just make sure I know who you are and have a way to get in touch with you. If you have any problems leaving comments send me an e-mail and I’ll help you out.

The contest will end next Monday at 8:00 am. Good luck and thanks for supporting WB!

Do you have a favorite wildflower and what grows in your area?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baked Pork Cutlets–The Conflicted Chef

My grandmother made some very yummy fried pork chops. I think sometimes she cooked them with the leftover fat from the bacon she cooked that morning. Um, yes, it was melt in your mouth good and brought a smile to my face. And every once in awhile I’ll fry up some bacon just so my house has that decadent smell. I’ll even use the fat in my cooking.  But most days I think about cholesterol and calories and I steer away from that sort of thing. My motto “all things are fine in moderation” rings through my head. Which means I can’t cook with bacon fat every day, no matter how I love it.

So fried pork chop cravings are soothed with a healthier spin most nights. First thing I do is toast some whole wheat bread and then pulse them in the food processor until they are fine crumbs. This makes a great breading for the pork. Next, I add some spices to liven up the mixture a bit. Salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, etc. are all good seasonings to add. You know what you and your family likes best so pick according to taste.  I sprinkle with a little bit of oil, this will help the crumbs stick to the pork and get crispy.


I like to buy a pork tenderloin, all fat trimmed, and slice into inch think pieces. Then, if you pat them with a little cornstarch, instead of flour, you’ll create a nice crispy coating. The cornstarch absorbs the moisture from the pork and the starch granules will swell during cooking which keeps you from having soggy breading. Next dip in some egg white, then your spiced bread crumb mixture and place on a wire cooling rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. The result is crispy, healthier pork chops then the fried version.


Here’s the base recipe that you can tweak with your own spices. This time my spice of choice was some sweet paprika my parent’s brought back from Hungry:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon  sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice pork into 1 inch slices
  3. Mix breadcrumbs, paprika, pepper and salt in a shallow dish. Drizzle with oil and mash with a fork until the oil is thoroughly incorporated. Beat egg white with a fork in another shallow dish. Sprinkle cornstarch over the pork slices and pat to coat evenly on both sides. Dip the pork into the egg, then press into the breading mixture until evenly coated on both sides.
  4. Place the pork on the sprayed wire rack, which is placed on a cookie sheet. Bake until just barely pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 14 to 16 minutes


My kids loved this version of “fried” pork chops. I received 5 smiles for this recipe (which includes my own). And we were so healthy with dinner that I think this weekend we deserve some bacon. Maybe some bacon cheddar cornbread… If I do I’ll be sure to share. We all deserve a little bacon in our lives!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Dad Who Treasures His Daughters Hearts


I’m pretty sure 12 years ago when we were awaiting the arrival of our first child that my husband would have said he’d like to have a boy someday. But our first born was a girl. She came into this world fighting to take her first breath, determined to overcome her shaky arrival and in the process wrapped her dad around her finger. She also looked just like him, making me wonder if I had anything to do with her creation.


While awaiting the arrival of our second child we were sure it was a boy. That is, until at 4 months, the sonogram confirmed it was a girl. My husband might have been a tad disappointed for the briefest of instances that our baby wasn’t a boy. But he rebounded in the blink of an eye, looked at the sonogram screen and grinned at his seemingly long-legged, healthy daughter.


WB, my husband, is one of four boys. Little girls were almost alien to him. He had a hard enough time figuring out his wife, much less two daughters. So when we found out 5 years after our second was born that we were again expecting, I thought for sure that God was giving WB his boy. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with one of those, but I knew I’d figure it out quick enough. Sonogram at 4 months confirmed another girl. I breathed a sigh of relief, another healthy girl. I stole a glance at WB. Once again he was staring at the sonogram screen grinning ear to ear. He squeezed my hand and boastfully told the nurse, “Another girl, no problem. I know girls. I’ve got the routine down.”


And he does. Or what he doesn’t know he is learning fast enough. His daughters are now almost 5, 9, and 12. Just like any other Dad of a daughter he jokes of cleaning guns when the boys start coming around. But all jokes aside, he is making sure his girls hearts are well protected and treasured.

He has started taking each one on Daddy Dates. The girls LOVE this time with their Dad. He checks with them on the date and time and gives them an idea of how to dress, as he likes to keep them guessing as to where they are going. He picks them up at the bottom of the stairs promptly at the designated time. He holds open doors for them. He engages them in conversation that lets them know he cares what they have to say and he respects their views on things.

Outside of Daddy Dates he brings them flowers on very special occasions, he has figured out his girls like pretty flowers. He celebrates their milestones with high fives, hugs, and sweet words. He’s learned girls don’t respond too well to boot-camp commands, but instead to words spoken firmly and with affection. Instead of running from the tears my girls shed, he has learned that a hug usually helps stop the crying. He’s also taught them that girls can shoot, fish, engineer, and build right alongside of the boys and still be a beautiful girl.

WB is teaching my girls a little at a time how their future boyfriends and husbands should treat them. By the time they are ready to date they will know that they need to be in a relationship with someone that will respect them and their feelings. WB is confirming a little bit each day that their hearts are to be treasured and protected. He is teaching them that a little roughness around the edges is okay, as long as the heart of who they seek is good. He lets them know, in a thousand little ways, that whoever wins their heart must be worthy.

WB has embraced the role God gave him of being a Daddy to three girls. He doesn’t question how things turned out, even when I nag him with questions if he is really okay with “no boys”. He just gives me that grin, the one that captured my heart. And I can’t help but thank God that WB is the one who now protects my daughters hearts as well.

Do you think girls tend to find husbands that remind them of their Dad? And I really have no clue about boys, but is it the same way- they tend to find wives like their Moms? Or maybe we try to find someone who is nothing like our Dad or Mom, what do you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Conflicted Chef- Fish Sticks

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which signals the beginning of the Lenten season and with that meatless Fridays for my family. Many Fridays we find ourselves in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store picking out fish sticks. This year we decided to try our hand at some homemade, with a healthy twist, sticks. We found a recipe at Eating Well and tweaked it a little to make it our own.

You will need:

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup whole-wheat dry breadcrumbs (just toast some whole wheat bread to make your own super-fast breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup whole-grain cereal flakes
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1  teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour (we like to use half/half of the flours)
  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 1/2-by-3-inch strips

First spray a wire rack and set on a baking sheet and place in a 450 degree oven.


Next put the bread crumbs, cereal flakes, pepper, garlic, paprika, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the cereal flakes are finely ground.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. In another shallow dish put the flour. And one more shallow dish for the egg whites.


Take the fish and first dredge in the flour, then the egg whites and finally coat with the bread crumb mixture.


Place on the wire rack and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the fish is baked through.


Sophie made and easy and healthier version of tartar sauce for us.


She just mixed together some low-fat mayo. We like the kind made with olive oil. Added some salt, pepper, minced onions, capers, and lemon juice. She did all this to taste. Just experiment and see what you can come up with. You could even use low-fat Greek yogurt instead of the mayo. Try whatever suits your taste, and most importantly what you already have on hand.

This dish received 5 smiles, even though it’s not the usual beer battered fish we so enjoy, it is a nice alternative.

Have you ever made fish sticks? What is your favorite way to eat fish?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lassoing–An Important Skill


Have you ever  swung a lasso over your head and tried to catch something? I must say I’ve lived in Texas for 26 years, been around cows and horses, but have never put my hands on a lasso.

The secret, they say, is to keep your arm steady and twirl your wrist. This motion came easy to me, after all I grew up watching Wonder Woman. But WB had a more difficult time.


He was overthinking it, go figure.

Cowboy R told us to visualize the rope going around one horn. Then he told us to let the lasso fly.


I visualized it going around the horn, and after a couple of tries…


and a little help from Cowboy R (notice the boot pushing the steer towards my lasso), I  roped the steer by the horn. I practiced a few more times and realized I was pretty good at roping steers that sat on the ground and didn’t go anywhere.

WB got the hang of the lasso and then he mastered the whole roping exercise. It’s not enough for WB to do something once, he likes to perfect things.




Twirl, visualize, hook, and yank. Seems easy doesn’t it?

But now imagine if your steer looked like this and had no intention of letting you rope it.


Makes it a little more challenging doesn’t it? Just remember: Twirl, visualize, hook, and yank. No matter how big the steer, the concept is the same.

I plan on using this technique to lasso in my current WIP. What would you like to lasso this week?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Conflicted Chef- More Brussels Sprouts Please!

A few weeks ago as I was walking in the produce section with my kids we ran across this.


Brussels sprouts still on the stalk from a local farm! The kids immediately recognized the vegetable due to their constant watching of Food Network. We snatched it up and began making plans for our dinner. In hindsight, I wish I had grabbed  several of the stalks so I could have frozen some. Oh well, next time.

Here’s the secret to Brussels sprouts kids love, or at least my kids, don’t steam or boil them. When you steam or boil Brussels they tend to get mushy. Most kids, and many adults, don’t like mushy. Roast them in the oven. They will get nice and crisp on the outside and soft in the inside, which is a perfect combination in my book.

All you need is:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

First peel off any yellow outer leaves from the sprouts and cut off the stalky end. Rinse and dry the sprouts. Make sure to pat them with a paper towel because any moisture left on them will keep the oil from sticky well.

Next put in a bowl and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the sprouts around in the oil, salt and pepper until counted. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree F for 20 to 30 minutes. Toss the sprouts on the pan a couple of times during cooking. You are looking for the outer leaves to start to brown and get crispy.

Serve and listen to your kids ask, “More Brussels sprouts please”. Music to a momma’s ears.

This recipe received 5 really big smiles.


Did you know that Brussels sprouts contain sulforaphane, which is a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer agents? It also contains indole-3-carbinol a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and also appears to block the growth of cancer cells? It’s a powerful little vegetable!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Conflicted Chef- Healthy Chili Mac


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There is a meal in a box out there that sometimes busy moms turn to when they need to quickly feed their family. A large white hand with a smiling face promises all you have to add is meat and you’ll have dinner on the table lickity split. If at this point you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s good. But if you’ve been tempted to let this “helper” aid you in the kitchen I have a recipe that is simple, healthy, and fast.

My sister, who has NEVER made any meal out of a box, passed this recipe on to me. She’s a new ,busy mommy, and she now understands the challenges of getting a nutritious meal on the table easily. Best of all she sometimes looks frazzled. This makes me happy because I’ve been looking frazzled for the last 12 years. Welcome to Mommyhood!

Here’s the ingredient list:

2 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta noodles (elbow macaroni, or whatever shape you fancy)

2 pounds buffalo meat or lean ground beef (90/10)

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (16oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (6oz) can tomato paste

1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese

First cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. In another skillet brown the meat, onion, and garlic until the meat is no longer pink. (If you are using lean meat you should not have to drain it, but if you do see some fat in the skillet drain it off). Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, chilies, and seasonings. If your skillet is big enough you can add the noodles to the meat mixture. If you don’t have room that’s okay you can layer the noodles and meat mixture when you put it in the pan.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch pan with cooking spray. I was able to divide this mixture into two pans. One 13 x 9 and a smaller 7 x 11, I felt that I could stretch this meal into two. Anyway, place the noodles and the meat in the pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes with a foil covering. When it starts to bubble around the edges it should be ready.Remove the foil sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese is melted.


This is great served with a side of coleslaw or a big green salad!

It’s difficult to see, but this casserole dish I inherited from WB’s grandmother. It’s been around for many years and I can’t help but wonder how many casseroles have been made in it!

Tell me have you ever used the “helper” in the kitchen? It’s okay to be honest, we’re all friends hereSmile

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dear Daughters, A Beautiful Heart Is Yours

This is the second letter in a series written to my three daughters. The first one can be found here.

Dear Daughters,

As you grow older I’m catching glimpses of the young women you soon will become. Slowly, you are letting go of my hand and venturing into life on your own terms. I’m not sure who is more nervous, me or you, but it’s happening never less. There is no turning back, just moving forward. And you will be just fine because all three of you have beautiful hearts.

I know, you think I’m prejudiced because I am your mother. Well okay, that is probably true, but I’ve known the hearts of many and yours are truly beautiful. I’m proud to watch your beautiful hearts as you grow.

I see it in your feet when they walk to the one person who is standing alone in a room full of people. It’s in the high five you give to the person that just beat you, because you like to see others win. It’s in the gentle way you nurse a butterfly with an injured wing back to health. I see it in the way your nose scrunches as you try to figure out how to help your distraught sister. It’s evident in the clothes you choose to wear and your complete lack of needing to look like anyone else your age. I hear it in the questions you ask about homeless people, war, sickness, and death. I can find it in the way your lips curve into a smile after  you’ve made someone else happy. I watch it as you put the needs of someone else above your own.

God has blessed you each with a beauty that shines not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. Guard it well, it is a gift. Don’t let others persuade you to believe your beauty comes from somewhere else. Or that your beauty needs to be altered in some way for it to be truly appreciated. Be secure in knowing that the beauty you possess originates from your heart; a beautiful light in your heart.

Love you bunches,


This post is a part of  August McLaughlin’s Beauty of A Women’s Blogfest.I am so honored be a part of it. Please click on the link below to go to August’s amazing blog. Check in on Friday to find links to many other stories about beauty and enter a chance to win one of many prizes, including a Kindle!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Conflicted Chef- Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

conflicted chef badgeOnce upon a time I had a blog dedicated to my homeschooling adventures and the following recipe was featured there. It is one of my most looked at posts so I thought I’d share it again here. They seem to be a hit. But really, if someone says breakfast and cookie at the same time it’s bound to make people look. Reminds me of Bill Cosby and feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast. But these pancakes are actually healthy, not so sure about the chocolate cake. But who am I kidding, if Bill Cosby offered me chocolate cake for breakfast I’d eat it without question.

So without further ado, here is the post from 2 years ago:
IMG_0401[1] This morning Em made some very yummy pancakes for breakfast. They are the Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes from the cookbook Getting Thin and Loving Food by Kathleen Daelemans. She used to have a show on Food Network and I enjoyed her healthy spin on good food.
The neat things about these pancakes are they are filling and can be eaten without butter and syrup. If you feel the need to put something on them try some natural peanut butter.
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats ( not instant)
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking spray
Combine both flours, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Place egg white, brown sugar, buttermilk, and yogurt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Add rolled oats, apples, raisins, walnuts, and dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Spoon pancake batter by heaping tablespoonfuls around pan until you can’t fit any more. Let cook until bubbly and lightly brown. Turn and continue cooking just until lightly brown on the other side. Continue with remaining batter.
We put a bowl of raisins on the table, since some of us (yes, me), don’t like raisins in things. We wrap our leftover pancakes individually in plastic wrap and then put them all in a big Ziploc and toss in the freezer. You can heat these up in the toaster or microwave later.

So tell the truth, have you ever eaten cake or cookies for breakfast? I’m hoping someone says yes or I’ll feel really guiltySmile