Category Archives: Tasty Tuesday

Because you have to feed them too

Another Pasta Skillet

We love Aldi’s brown rice & quinoa pasta. This pasta is a THM E meal, which means it is a healthy carbs and low fat meal. We like to weigh the pasta to ensure that we get the right amounts cooked for each of us. :) Measuring by cup doesn’t usually yield the correct amount of food.

So, bring the measured amount of pasta to boil. Be sure to check the serving size because it can vary per type of pasta.

Meanwhile saute your chosen vegetables. Seriously, pick whatever veggies you like. It is best to stick with non-starchy veggies since you’re having the carby pasta. Only spray your pan with a light coating of oil of your choosing (we either us olive or coconut spray). Then if your veggies need a bit more moisture, add a bit of water to the pan to help keep them from sticking.

This time we chose onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Tiffany has discovered that although she does not like raw tomatoes, she does like them cooked. :)

We added some minced garlic and stirred it in.

I just used the jarred variety this time. You don’t have to add garlic if you don’t prefer it.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then add it to the cooked veggies.

We had some chicken breast that we’d cooked up a few days prior in the crock pot. This is what we used but you could use any low fat meat. Canned chicken breast or canned tuna ( or fish from a pouch) would work well too.

This night Tiffany decided to add one wedge of Light Laughing Cow Cheese to add a bit more creaminess, but we’ve done it without it and it is just fine too. :)

Stir it in and serve. Of course add whatever seasonings you like.

This had me saying “Mmmm” with the first several bites and declaring how much I was enjoying it throughout the meal. The serving size of pasta is quite filling, so we didn’t serve it with anything else but a side salad would be good. Just keep it low fat to stay in E mode. :)

I hope you like this “recipe”. I’ll include what we used below but know that you can use whatever non-starchy veggies you like (and even a bit of the starchy ones, since it is an E).

Another Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta
  • Veggies of your choice: onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini were our picks this time
  • You could add some carrot or peas or a bit of corn if you like
  • Seasonings of choice: garlic, salt, and pepper were ours
  • Optional light laughing cow cheese wedge (1)
  • Protein: cooked chicken breast was ours

Instructions

  1. Boil measured pasta until done, and drain.
  2. Spray pan with cooking oil, lightly.
  3. Saute diced/sliced veggies.
  4. Add seasonings, drained pasta, and protein.
  5. Serve
http://lifeofjoy.me/another-pasta-skillet/

I hope you enjoy this “recipe;” we sure have.

Michele ºÜº

A Recent Menu Plan (THM style)

As many of you may know, we follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating here. It’s a family thing. :)

This week I thought I’d share my menu with you. I try to include a good number of E meals (those are healthy carb meals) because some of us do a bit better eating more of those.

  • Black Bean Spaghetti (E) – we were using the brown rice spaghetti from Aldi but they discontinued it. :( So we are trying some different healthy carb pastas out. This week we tried a black bean pasta. I cooked some chicken breast and a bit of turkey bacon with it and added some almond milk and gluccie (glucomannan) to thicken it up a bit. With the brown rice noodles we’d used before, the noodles made it creamy enough. I’ll definitely be looking for some more brown rice spaghetti because I wasn’t thrilled with the black bean spaghetti.  Any way, we had a salad with it that I just massaged a bit of MCT oil on the leaves and added nutritional yeast.
  • Impromptu Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Trim Healthy Table page 341 (S)– This is one of our favorite pancakes and Tiffany wanted them for dinner one night. She added some Turkey Bacon and Michael fixed some fried eggs. Lovely breakfast for dinner. :)
  • Pizza Skillet Salad (S) – We love pizza, generally once a week here. It’s been so crazy hot that we’ve been having pizza-ish foods this summer. This week I took the Pizza Skillet recipe I created and we put it on top of a bed of lettuce. :)
  • Salmon Patties, Mashed Cauliflower, and Creamed Early Peas (S) – Okay, I’m going to have to check this one out a bit more because the way I made it this time (after sooo long of not having it) I might have made it an accidental crossover. But I enjoyed it with a heavy dose of pleasure and will hope it doesn’t mess up my weight reduction. ;) I used Wasa light rye crackers and almond milk in my usual recipe. BUT that coupled with the peas is where I miscalculated. 8)
  • Cowboy Grub from Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook page 59 (E) – This we also serve with a salad like described above or with canned green beans.
  • Creamy Chicken Gravy from Briana Thomas’ Convenient Food page 107 (FP) – we served this with broccoli and I put a bag salad on the table too. This was a new recipe for us and I was surprised that we enjoyed it. I don’t generally like dill weed and curry isn’t a spice we use much of at all. This was nice and creamy and went on that steamed broccoli very nicely.
  • Turkey Hot Dogs, Turkey Burgers (all no bun for me), coleslaw, and baked beans (S) – I’ll only have a couple bites of the beans because I’m not a huge fan but Michael loves this meal. Sometimes I make the psyllium husk bread into rolls for both buns and Michael loves that too. :)

There you have it. These were not eaten in this order though. ;) I generally try to mix up the fuel source for dinners so we don’t have 3 or 4 of one type in a row.  On days we have S meals (which is the healthy fats/low carb meal) I try to make sure that I eat at least one E meal earlier in the day and an E or FP snack.

I hope this menu plan is helpful to you and gives you some ideas for your next menu. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Yet Another Bread!

The bread I’m sharing today is a single serving (but there’s also the recipe for a whole loaf too). This is the bread I shared for the beef and cheddar sandwich last week.

It’s so quick to throw together. Just put the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Add the egg whites and water.

Combine well.

Now, I have this small gravy pot that is a perfect size. I spray it with olive oil spray and add the swiss bread batter.

I bake this in my toaster oven for about 10 minutes

This is a great bun. :) I really like it with a lot of filling.

So if you are wanting to try this bread, head on over to Trim Healthy Mama’s summer e-zine.

I hope you like this too,

Michele ºÜº

Beef & Cheddar Sandwiches

Tiffany and I decided we wanted some “Beef and Cheddar” (think Arby’s) sandwiches. I decided the easiest way to do this at home was to pick up some of those really cheap beef lunch meat packages. Yeah, I don’t know much about the ingredients because I will admit that I was in a hurry and didn’t read it. I’ll have to check it before my next purchase. ;)

Anyway, it is really simple; pile the meat on a skillet over medium heat. :D It will be fuller if you roll some of the slices over but I didn’t do that. In hindsight, I wish I would have because it might have helped make it seem like more meat in the meat to bread ratio.

The next bit is the cheddar. I finely shredded just a bit of cheddar cheese to melt on top (after flipping the meat pile over) but last time I made them I just used the Laughing Cow cheese on it (the 35 calorie ones).

If you don’t want any crisping or caramelization of your meat then put that cheese on as soon as you get the meat in the pan and put a lid on it. I like some caramelizing of my meat, so I didn’t shred my cheese until after my meat was in the skillet and then covered to facilitate the cheese melting more rapidly. :D

I made a single serving of THM Swiss bread to eat mine on.

(I did think mine was a bit dry and added a light laughing cow cheese.)

Tiffany used a piece of simple keto white bread (which is like Another Kind of Bread) and just made hers an open faced sandwich.

Yeah, it was good. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Super Simple Snack

There are a lot of days that I just don’t feel like making something for an afternoon snack. Some of those days I go ahead and have a couple of Wasa cracker snacks. But some days I don’t even feel up to that. So what do I do?

Take some deli lunch meat (the lighter the better) and slice some strips of some kind of pepper. (Sorry about the pictures. We used a pink plate and it washed everything out and we were too tired and hungry to retake the pictures on a different plate. :D)

Sprinkle on some salt and nutritional yeast (if so desired).

Roll it up

And eat!

Now if you don’t like bell peppers, you can do this with whatever veggie you do like. I try to keep it low carb. I like it with cucumber.

At lunch today Tiffany even wrapped some of her sweet potato in lunch meat. It was quite good. (It was with a carb, THM-E, meal.)

Today I added a slice of cantaloupe to my snack and it was delightful. I haven’t had a good cantaloupe in years. :)

Well, I hope this snack idea helps you stay out of those high calorie snacks of cheese, nuts, and chocolate; it has me. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

When I made that delicious healthified version of Strawberry Pretzel Salad for Independence Day, I remembered that I really like Jello and gelatin desserts. Thing is that I don’t want the bad-for-you sweeteners and bad-for-you ingredients, so I hadn’t considered making it. But part for part of that dessert you use plain gelatin (which is very good for you) and fruity tea to make a gello to pour over the strawberries. That’s when this idea was born.

My biggest struggle was to get the amounts of ingredients right. I did a little search to find other people that made homemade gello and found some that used fruit juice. Well, that will not do for me, as I need this to be low calorie and low glycemic. :)

I decided to go with the Wild Berry Zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings for my flavor. When I make something, I like to make enough that I’m not going to be having to make it or something else again the next day. :) I started by boiling a pot of water.I placed four tea bags in a measuring cup and added four cups boiling water.Meanwhile, I put 1/4 cup cool water in a bowl, added two tablespoons of plain gelatin and stirred to soften the gelatin.

I was doing two batches: one wild berry and the other peach.

Then added 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water to dissolve it.

When the tea is as strong as it is going to get or as strong as desired, remove the tea bags and add sweetener. I used 1/2 cup Gentle Sweet. Stir to dissolve it in the tea.

I did not get a picture adding the sweetener to the wild berry one. ;)

Then add the dissolved gelatin to the tea. Just pour it in and stir it to mix it all together. At this point you can pour it into individual containers. When it is cool enough, put it into the refrigerator to firm up. It will take a few hours to do so.

Jello: Easy, Homemade, and From Scratch

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of boiled water
  • 4 tea bags, desired flavor
  • 1/2 Gentle Sweet or sweetener preference
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin
  • 1/4 cup just-off-the-boil water

Instructions

  1. Steep flavored tea bags in the 4 cups boiled water (about 15 minutes or so)
  2. Put 1/4 cup cool water in a small bowl
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons plain gelatin to cool water and stir to soften
  4. Add 1/4 cup just boiled water and stir to dissolve gelatin.
  5. Remove tea bags and add sweetener
  6. Stir in gelatin and cool about 15-30 minutes
  7. Refrigerate until set (a few hours)
http://lifeofjoy.me/jello-easy-homemade-and-from-scratch/

This is a nice sweet snack that will help cool you off a bit during the brutal heat of summer. ;)

What is your favorite fruit flavored tea?

Thanks for stopping by,

Michele ºÜº

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

A couple of weeks ago Tiffany and I were stumped with what to make for dinner. For whatever reason, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner that night or didn’t want to make what I had planned. This  meal is what we came up with and we absolutely loved it!!!!

It’s very simple. Just use whatever you have on hand. We browned some ground turkey with some onions and peppers. Then we added some cut fresh tomatoes that we had on hand and needed to use. (You could use any meat of choice, including chicken breast, raw or pre-cooked.)

The night of this picture we didn’t have any peppers, so it was just onions and tomatoes.
While the meat and veggies were cooking, I boiled four servings of Dreamsfield Pasta. To be honest, I didn’t think that the amount stated as a serving (dry measurement) was going to be very much when cooked but went with it anyway. It was plenty!

Once the veggies and meat were cooked, we added the cooked and drained pasta.

As you can see, the pasta we had this night was spaghetti. We made it with macaroni the first time and were concerned that we wouldn’t like it as much with this shape of pasta but thankfully, it was delicious as well. :)

We added extra virgin olive oil before eating. Yum!

The first time we made it we added a garnish amount of cheese but to be honest it wasn’t needed.

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 pound meat of choosing (I used ground turkey)
  • Veggies of choice: I used
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil or whatever you choose
  • Dreamfield Pasta
  • Any herbs desired (we sprinkled with a bit of basil)

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta as directed and drain
  2. Cook the meat and veggies with salt and pepper
  3. Add drained pasta, add any herbs desired, and combine.
  4. Drizzle with oil of choice.
http://lifeofjoy.me/quick-and-easy-pasta-skillet/

I hope this simple meal is as helpful to you as it is to us. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookies

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meFor the rest of this month, in honor of Christmas in July, Tiffany is putting her book on sale! If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February. If you like ebooks, grab that as it is a better deal for both you and her. ;)


Earlier this month I promised to share the yummy desserts I made for Independence Day and I had forgotten about it, until the other day.

I remember, years ago, someone made a fruit pizza and I really enjoyed it. It had a sugar cookie base. I don’t remember what the frosting was but then it was covered with a variety of cut up fruit. It was really good.

Well, I saw this Healthy Fruit Pizza Cookie on facebook and it looked so good, I was willing to make a second dessert on the fourth.

It was really easy. It’s a quick cookie base, which can be made up ahead of time (think: in the cool of the day). Then it is just a matter of mixing up the cream cheese frosting and adding the fruit.

This one is definitely a keeper here, even though some of our cookies didn’t make it. :D The tray of freshly baked cookies slid off the pans it was resting on when it first came out of the oven and most of them became a crumbled mess.

Of course, that didn’t stop us from eating them. They just weren’t nearly as pretty and couldn’t be eaten by hand but they were still just as good.

So, hop on over to Taryn’s website and get the recipe to make these very soon. I’ll probably make these again soon myself, especially with the plethora of delicious fresh berries available right now. But I’ll be making the cookies in the morning when it isn’t so hot.

I hope you’ll enjoy this dessert as much as we have.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Ingredient Substitutions

I am the type of person that follows a recipe the first time I make it. For most recipes, that even includes ingredients we don’t generally like. That is, until recently.

In the past it was just dill. I’d made some things that should have been delicious and I loved all the other ingredients but realized that the dill was ruining it for me. So for a long time, if a recipe had dill in it, I would not make it. Then I realized that I could make it and just skip the dill. For a long time, that is what I did. Then one day I got the recipe for something that I had tried before and enjoyed and found out it had dill!

Not long ago, we were invited to dinner at a couple’s home one Sunday after church. He made some herbed baked sweet potatoes. These too had dill and yet we liked them. So either our aversion to dill has dissipated or a little dill is okay now. I don’t know yet. ;)

Cilantro has landed itself on our do not like list. However with that I will either use a tiny bit of dried cilantro or parsley. Then at one time cumin was on that list as well. I learned to substitute with either oregano or chili powder depending on the recipe. I found this by searching what I could substitute for cumin. So if there is something you don’t have or don’t want to use, do a search and use something you do have or like. :)

This all resurfaced again because last weekend I made an apple pie flavored breakfast dish that called for ground cloves, which happens to be a seasoning that is a bit strong for our liking. As a matter of fact, I don’t add it in my apple pie at all. Once we had a ham with cloves stuck all over it, which made for a pretty dish but the flavor was off. I even decreased the amount of ground cloves it called for by about half and still it was too strong for us but otherwise we liked the dish. I’m making a note on the recipe to omit it in the future. ;)

Then it was another interesting turn of events when Michael became allergic to beef and pork. Wow, this really limited my options. I learned to substitute ground turkey for ground beef and thankfully it was less expensive too. :) But this experience has taught me that you can substitute meat in a dish as needed.

Recently I made a beef stroganoff from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook (page 44). It calls for beef or venison. I happened to have some boneless skinless chicken thighs in my freezer, so I opted to use that instead. I really enjoyed it. Now my son prefers ground meat in his stroganoff, so next time I will use ground turkey. As a matter of fact, we’re having it for dinner tonight; so the picture may appear a bit later than this post does. ;)

Anyway, all that to say, don’t be afraid to substitute a meat you do have or one that is on sale for a meat in a recipe that you don’t have. Of course, you generally want to go with something similar in cut but even then, like in the case of the ground turkey instead of beef strips, it can be done with a little textural difference. So do be sure to consider that when you make your substitutions. For many recipes calling for some form of beef, I use chicken breast instead. Of course there are limitations to this when it is a very specific recipe like fish but I have even used chicken breast in a fish recipe. :p

I even cook Michael some chicken breast in the crockpot seasoned like pork roast for carnitas. Oh, I’ll have to try it with boneless skinless thighs next time; it’ll give him more fat content in his meat.

I hope this post gives you the confidence to make substitutions as needed.

Michele ºÜº

Super Easy Make Ahead Meal

Yeah, I know, any meal you make ahead is easy when you finally eat it but this one is even easy to make. I put boneless skinless chicken in the crock pot with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and cook on low for about six hours.

Meanwhile, bake sweet potatoes that I pierce with a knife at 325º for an hour to an hour and a half. Then cool them and refrigerate until needed.

I like to cut them in half (long ways), place them in a skillet-cut side down, put a little water in the pan, cover and heat until desired warmth. Tiffany likes to cut them in half and put them in the air fryer/toaster oven to heat them up. Reheat chicken on the stove with a little of the broth in the skillet or pot.

So, pair it with the chicken and a salad for a good quick meal. Easy peasy!

The night pictured, I air-fried the chicken with a bit of chili-lime seasoning. When I use the crock pot chicken, I frequently just put it in a salad with the sweet potato on the side. No heating up of the kitchen on these HOT Oklahoma days.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº