Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Flavors

Greetings friends!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  I was home in Valpo this weekend.  It was my best friend Erin's birthday and I wanted to spend some time with her.  We got to spend a lot of quality time together even though little Cayden boy had the chicken pox.

I also got to spend a lot of quality time with my sister Rachel and her hubby David.  They two of my most favorite people in the world and I love being able to just hang out with them.  I am sad when I have to leave all the people I love in Valpo but my home is Indy and love living here.

Once back in Indy it was time to prepare for the week.  I ran to the store and got all the fixins for Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup .  As you know from previous blog posts I am obsessed with pumpkin this time of year.  The last time I went to the store they did not have my favorite brand, Libbys.  This time.....JACKPOT....I found a whole shelf.  I swear there was a light shining above the shelves and there was music playing.  I stocked up naturally :)  HOORAY.  There may be a piece of pie on this can but its pure pumpkin.  The sweet pumpkin is delicious but has SO much added sugar so I would rather buy the pure stuff.  

Ok now back to my recipe.  I heart pumpkin and I heart black beans.  The recipe sounded a little strange but I just had to try this.


  • 1 1/2 cups drained diced canned tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • Pumpkin seed kernels (optional)


  • Place tomatoes and beans in a food processor; process until about half the beans are smooth. Set aside. 

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Add cumin and garlic; saute 1 minute. 

  • Add bean mixture, broth, and next 3 ingredients (through pumpkin); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sherry. 

  • Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle each serving with about 2 tablespoons queso fresco and about 1 tablespoon green onions. Garnish with pumpkin seed kernels, if desired.

 And wha-la (how the h*ll do you spell that??) lunch for the entire week and dinner tonight!

And here is the pretty finished product.  

I went to Marsh to pick up my ingredients and they do not carry queso fresco.  So I substituted feta.  I am sure the queso would have been oh so yummy but the feta did the trick too.  It added a nice tang to the soup.  Now this might not be the prettiest soup in the world but it really was pretty good.  The pumpkin flavor is very subtle.  Two of my favorite things combined into doesn't get much better then that.  I would say a great way to end my weekend.  Laundry, unpacking, packing my lunch & snacks for tomorrow and packing my gym bag are calling my name.  Oye still lots to do tonight and its already 8:30!  Check ya later kids!


Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 175
  • Calories from fat: 16%
  • Fat: 3.1g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 29.2g
  • Fiber: 9.3g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Sodium: 785mg
  • Calcium: 139mg

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cake pop obsessed

Cake pops are all the rave right now and me being obsessed with trying new things I couldn't wait to try these.  If you recall from an earlier post a couple months ago I made cheesecake red velvet cake pops and they were delicious.  They were a huge hit but were complicated to make.  I made 2 different kinds this time and they were equally delicious and much easier.  Today's agenda, brownie pops and red velvet pops.  YUM!!!!

Brownie Pops

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1 bag of milk chocolate
1/2 cup of Peanut Butter
Mix and make the brownies the brownies according to the directions on the box.  If there are directions on how to make the brownies more cake like follow those directions.  Bake according to the directions on the box and let cool.

Once the brownies have cooled take a fork and shred/crumb up the brownies.  I just did the middle part and the edges are crunchy and I didn't want the pops to be hard.

Mix together the crumbled brownies and the peanut butter until the the mixture is creamy and all mixed together.

I used a 1/2 tablespoon to make mine but you can make these as small or big as your would like.  Measure out the size you would like and roll into a ball.

Once you have rolled all of the mixture place the balls in the fridge or freezer.  It works best when rolling them in chocolate for them to be cold so the mixture doesn't crumble into the melted chocolate.

Melt one bag of chocolate over a double boiler and stir frequently so the mixture melts evenly and doesn't burn.

Once you have rolled all of the balls in the melted chocolate place them back in the fridge until the outer shell has hardened.

I didn't take pictures of the red velvet pops as it is the exact same process but instead you use red velvet cake mix, 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting and a bag of white chocolate chips.  These are absolutely my favorite flavor combo yet, but they are a little more stingy to make.  The below picture is my first ball that I dipped in the chocolate and the last!  WOWZA.  The cake mixture start crumbling into the chocolate and by the end the chocolate was dyed pink and hardening.  The next time I make these I will only take a few out of the fridge at a time to ensure there is less crumbling.  I will also melt the chocolate in batches to help with the mixture turning pink.  These bad boys were all the rage at work when I brought them in.  A huge hit!  These are so easy to make and are always a nice little treat!

Enjoy my friends!  xoxox

Saturday, October 1, 2011

something different

This weather is seriously unbelievable!  When I woke up this morning I had a frost alert on my phone and it was 41 degrees.  Wasn't it just 80 last week?  This is by far my favorite season but I just had to turn on the heat and that I dislike!

How was everyone's week?  Mine was long and sleepless.  I have been sleeping somewhat decent the past couple of weeks and then this week....BAM no sleep.  I am right back to getting max 5 hours of sleep a night.  What is the deal?  I am exhausted when I actually decide to lay down but toss and turn for hours.  After a couple days of this I inevitably become so exhausted that I crash.  It is a vicious cycle.  UGH!

Now onto a foot update.  I went back to the doctor this week and no progress :(  I have been wearing this darn brace for 3 weeks and it is just as painful as it was day 1.  Doc says that I will need to wear the brace for at least another 6 weeks.  Yikes....the thought of wearing this stupid thing for another 6 weeks makes me cringe.  I am supposed to only be wearing gym shoes and can't walk more than a block.  Good thing we are leaving flip flop weather and moving into closed toe shoe weather.

What's for dinner this week?

  Marsala laced mushrooms courtesy of my friend Robin.

This recipe was quick, delicious and pretty healthy.  Robin ate her's on a baked potato and I thought that was a great idea.  The night I made these I was craving some mashed taters! 

Marsala-laced mushrooms
Serves 4-6

2 Tbls butter, divided
1/3 C Marsala cooking wine
1 Tbls soy sauce
1 lb thickly sliced mushrooms
1/3 C plain dry breadcrumbs
2 Tbls parm
1/4 tsp dried sage

oven- 425 melt 1 Tbls butter. combine cooking wine and soy sauce, stir in butter.

Pour mixture over mushrooms in a large bowl. Let stand 10 min., stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir breadcrumbs, cheese and sage. Melt remaining butter and stir into breadcrumb mixture. Set aside. 

Put mushrooms in an 8 or 9 ' pie plate or square baking dish. Bake on upper rack 15 min. 

Remove and pour off half the juice. Sprinkle w/ breadcrumb mixture and bake 10 more min. 

Robin has suggested rolling the shrooms in the breadcrumb mixture and I couldn't agree more.  They turn out extra crunchy and yummy.  Reheating these bad boys wasn't as pleasant.  They were ok but the first time around was best.  Throwing them back in the oven for 10 mins or in a skillet with a little evoo worked ok.  Experiment and see what way you like best.