Friday, October 28, 2011

Butterfinger Blondies


1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)


Preheat oven to 350°
Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.
On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger.
Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)




1/2 cup room temp butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)


Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth.
Add in you powdered sugar on low speed.  Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!) NOTE: I did half in the frosting and half sprinkled on top.  Will do it again that way.
Spread on your cooled blondies
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

NOTE:  I baked my blondies for only 20 minutes and they were a bit more done around the edges than I would have liked them to be - will try 16-18 minutes next time.  This recipe was found on Pinterest and came from  Very good reviews following my office party this afternoon.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Bars

For the crust and topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Butterscotch chips, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Lightly grease the foil.  Combine the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and toss with a fork.  Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the oats and chopped pecans.

Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture and set aside.  Add the remaining crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Bake the crust alone in the oven for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until smooth and well combined.

Once the crust has been removed from the oven, pour the filling into the pan and smooth over the crust.  Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips, as desired.  Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Slice and serve. 

Tried these from they were great and got rave reviews from my extended family.  Might cook crust for 10 minutes instead of 15 next time.  Seemed a bit "crunchier" than I would have liked.  Might have been better the next day......

Banana Creme Pancakes

1/3 cup oats
1 T whole wheat pancake mix
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 banana
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 T cottage cheese

2 T sugar free syrup

Blend all ingredients except syrup in blender or Magic Bullet.  Cook in fry pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Makes 2 pancakes.  Taken from Phase 2 Week 8 challenge.

Pumpkin Cocoa Shake

1 1/4 scoops protein powder
1/4 cup low fat plain almond milk
1/3 cup plain canned pumpkin
1 T cocoa powder
1/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend all ingredients together with 1/2 cup water and ice to desired shake consistency.  Taken from - week 8 phase 2.

Week 8 Phase 2 Update

Down 3 pounds this week!!!!!  Halle-freakin'-luja!!!!  I have hit the coveted 25 pound mark!  VERY motivating to really stick to the program - even when you seem to be hovering forever!  I wore a jacket yesterday that I could not even get on (WAAAAAy too tight thru the arms) and it was quite loose and fit great!  Can't promise that I will do the 3 pound drop again, but I do know I will continue to live my life this way!  I will work on before and after pics and try to get some posted in next week's update.  Thanks for stopping by!

If you have joined me in the challenge I would love to hear how you are doing too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crunchy Strawberry Creme

2/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
6 large strawberries (I use frozen for this as it thickens the shake)
1 tsp Crystal Light
1 packet Stevia sweetener
1 1/2 low sugar rice cakes

Put all in blender and whirl until smooth.  Delish!  

Taken from Week 7 Phase Two of the Live the Life Challenge.  This was definitely my favorite recipe from last week.  

Week 7 Phase Two Update

I am down another pound this week for a total of 22 pounds in 19 weeks.  Feeling so good - with lots of energy!  Not too bad for a 50 year-old woman with thyroid, adrenal and hormone issues.  My husband is down 27 pounds.  Such a way of life for us now I can't imagine NOT doing this!  Hope this finds you all wellm healthy and happy!  Thanks for stopping by.......

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheesy Bacon-Egg Muffin

1 whole wheat English muffin
1 slice turkey bacon
1 low fat cheese wedge (Laughing Cow)
1/2 egg yolk
2 egg whites
1/2 apple

Cook eggs and bacon.  Toast muffin.  Add cheese wedge, eggs and bacon to muffin.  Eat apple.  

So yummy!!!!  One of my favorite meals on this plan.  Such a good combination.  I like to experiment with different flavors of the Laughing Cow cheese wedges.  Some of my favorites are swiss, blue cheese, and sun dried tomato and basil.   This recipe comes from - Meal 1 Week 6 of Phase Two.  

Week 6 Phase 2 Update

I FINALLY broke through my plateau!!!!!  I lost a pound this last week and am at a total loss of 21 pounds.  One of the things I find most interesting is that people don't say, "Wow, you have lost a lot of weight!", they are saying "You look pretty in that color." or "You are looking so great right now." - nothing about my weight loss.  I  am thinking that is a good thing!  I think that overall, from about a year ago when my health bottomed out, that I am looking, and, best of all FEELING, so much better.  I can't imagine NOT getting up early and getting in my workout and cardio.  My husband and I were both saying how surprised we are at how much strength we have gained through consistent workouts.  We could NEVER have imagined doing some of the exercises we are doing now when we first started.  In fact, since I have the books for all four phases, sometimes I will look ahead at the exercises and think - there is no way I can do that!  BUT, here we are - kicking butt (our own)!  Here's to another great week!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So, I had to do so something with this dresser.  LOVE the detail to it, but lots of water rings, etc on the top and repair was required on the drawers too.  I thought it would be fun to add a little punch of color.  See the results below.

My kind of "before" pic of the dresser (minus a couple of drawers - I am so NOT good about doing the before pics - sorry)

"After" pic of the dresser

My "after" pic of the bathroom shelf - it used to be a bright red......

I started by lightly sanding all pieces and removing the drawer pulls.  Then, I painted the shelf and dresser a bright turquoise blue and then put a stain over the top, and then wiped it off with a rag.  The stain "moves" as you put on the top protective coat, so there is no point in knocking yourself out with getting it "just right" as it will not stay the same anyway.  LOVE the look of these!  Super easy and didn't take too long to complete - just waiting for things to dry in between.  Hope it inspires you to pick a piece of furniture in your own home!  Good luck!

Love Me Some Fall!

Below are the results of my pumpkin harvest from my very own excited!!!!

A portion of my garden harvest

More of the big guys - love the slow bloomer that is still green!  :))

I had 29 large pumpkins and 40 minis

More of the minis in the garden cart

Lots of the big ones

My fall mantle

My entry way table decor (doesn't the P Buckley Moss winter scene go so nicely? - NOT!)

More fall decor on the living room shelf

Pumpkin added to a metal bench in my side yard

Entry steps

Pumpkin added to the granite bench out front

paper lanterns and bats in the eating area

Dining table decor

Pumpkins on back porch - don't you love the defective white one?!  Wish I had more of those!

Pumpkins on steps leading to deck

Pumpkins leading to side yard

More on the back deck - why not?!

More pumpkins on the path leading to side yard - hard to see, but there are some on the bench too

I have never grown pumpkins before and was beyond thrilled with the results of my first effort to do so.  The vines were planted down on the bottom terrace among the fruit trees - little did I know they would take over above the terrace and even snake into my neighbors yard below.  Several times I had to go down and cut vines from growing into their yard.  It has been so fun to have so many to place here, there and everywhere in my yard.  For decorating this year, I only had to purchase a few gourds for my dining room centerpiece. Will definitely be planting them again next year.  Plan to add white minis - could not find them for this year.  Did I mention that I LOVE me some FALL!!!!!   

Monday, October 3, 2011

Update Week 5 Phase Two

Holding steady this week.  I lost the 2 pounds I gained, but nothing additional.  I will not be lamenting however, just happy to be hanging in there.  I am feeling great!  My husband is down like 27 pounds now and we are continuing the daily morning routine of strength training and cardio.  LOVE the fall season and looking forward to getting thru the upcoming holidays with NO weight gain - yes I am that confident in this program!  :))  Clothes are fitting better all the time, so I think I am improving with my shape in spite of no further weight loss.  Hope you have a great week!!!