Cooking Light (Limited Edition) Cravebox

I currently am subscribed to the Cravebox program.  Cravebox is similar to a Birchbox subscription but in this box the boxes are geared more towards food (and food related items), a healthy living and some beauty.  This particular box is a special/limited edition box – centered around Cooking Light.  I signed up to be included in the box availability drawing and was selected.  The reason I signed up is because I’m a Weight Watchers member and am always looking for something new to test out in the kitchen.  I know in the past Cravebox has provided magazine subscriptions so part of me had a glimmer of hope that that would be the case this time around.  The box arrived and I will say the one item I was most excited about was the Torani syrup.  I’m a huge coffee lover and I purchase my Sugar Free Torani syrups on Amazon.
Here’s what I received in my box:
          Perfect Pinch Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning by McCormick (x2)
          Nectresse 100% natural, no calorie sweetened by Splenda
          Tully’s French Roast Coffee
          Fruit Crisps by Dole – flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Peach and Apple Pear
          Salted Caramel sugar free syrup by Torani
          Coupons, recipe cards, magnet, etc.
I’ve tried the McCormick seasoning in a dish I was cooking and it’s a good flavored stand-up McCormick seasoning.  The peach fruit crisp is mediocre and the salted caramel syrup is ah-ma-zing!  I’ll be trying out the coffee this week at some point and most likely the Nectresse sugar packages as well.
So there you have it, my Cooking Light Cravebox!

Breakfast: Egg-“Hash” Muffins & Ham Steak


I’ve been getting bored with breakfasts as of late and have been finding I’ve been gravitating towards the same things.  Typically some sort of deli meat on toasted light wheat bread.  Of course I switch it up, but at the end of the day, it’s still deli meat and that can be really boring.  One thing about me is I am and probably always will be a complete carbaholic.  I LOVE anything that’s a carb – bread, potatoes, rice, etc.  If it’s starchy, I love it.  I had wanted hash browns and since I’m not a terribly huge fan of eggs I decided to try morphing the two together.  I looked up a few ideas online and found an egg white version but since I don’t like egg whites, I decided to just go with my own idea and chug along.  I originally was going to chop up my ham steak and drop it into the muffin tins, but when I got to that step there just wasn’t enough room in the tins.  That would work if I used giant muffin tins.
The only ingredients I used were 1 cup Simply Potato shredded potatoes (this is for 2 servings – ½ cup a serving – 3 tarts per serving), 1 cup egg beaters (1/2 cup per serving),  minced garlic, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder and Mrs. Dash Spicy seasoning.
I mixed the minced garlic (use as much/little as you like – I love garlic so I put a fair amount) with the shredded potato, add in sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder to your liking and mix until blended.
Split the mixture up into the 6 greased (with Pam) muffin tins.  In the same bowl the potatoes were in add in 1 cup of egg beaters, black pepper, sea salt and the spicy Mrs. Dash seasoning.  Blend and pour the mixture evenly over the 6 cups of potatoes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 20 minutes (until eggs are cooked through).
I ate with 3 ounces Carando breakfast ham steak and I topped my eggs with sriracha (LOVE that stuff!).  They were really yummy – the potatoes mixed with the eggs and made a fabulous flavor.
On my last trip to the grocery store they didn’t have the shredded potatoes, so I bought the diced with onion – which would be 2/3 cup of diced potato in place of the ½ cup per serving.
3 muffins comes out to be 3 PointsPlus Values (2 for the potatoes, 1 for the eggs).

Dinner: Homemade Meatballs & Sauce on fettuccine

 I ended up making a large family-style dinner a couple weeks ago.  I had originally planned to make this meal on Sunday – but my brother, sister-in-law, niece & nephew came down on Saturday so I decided to make this then.  I’ve made sauce a number of times in the past but never made my own meatballs.  I’ve always helped my mother make her meatballs when I was younger so I had a general idea of what I needed.  Because I’m a Weight Watchers member I measured my ingredients out and converted them into PointsPlus Values so I’d know how many points my dinner would be.  Overall – I’d say the meatballs came out quite well.  Next time I’d add a little more garlic and a hair more parsley.  How about my sauce? Perfect!

Here’s my recipe:

1 ¼ pound lean (93%) ground beef
1 ¼ pound lean ground pork
½ cup wheat Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs (beaten)
3/4 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese (1/2 cup into the meatballs, the other half goes in the sauce)
Small handful fresh Parsley
~4 tablespoons minced garlic (2 tablespoons in sauce, the other half in the meatballs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup skim milk
3 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (with garlic) – Drained
Large onion (cut in half)
Dried Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder

Instructions:

Mix the ground beef, pork, eggs, parsley, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, milk together in a bowl.  Season with some black pepper, salt, Italian seasoning (I added extra even though the breadcrumbs were already seasoned). Season appropriately to obtain the smell you’d want.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Cooking time varies based on your oven – my oven cooks very quickly.  Make sure to shake the pan halfway through to turn the meatballs.

In a large sauce pan, add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through.  Add garlic and halved onion.  Let the flavors marinate then add in cans of crushed tomatoes, can of diced tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes.  Let simmer.

When meatballs are done cooking – add to the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours on medium-low.

A serving of 3-meatballs with sauce was 6 PointsPlus values.  I ate this with 1 cup of whole grain fettuccine making it an 11 PointsPlus dinner.

Pumpkin "Flan"

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A number of weeks back I was really wanting something sweet – flan particularly.  I love authentic Spanish flan.  It’s soft, creamy, sweet and just downright delicious.  One of my close friends mom is from the Dominical Republic and she gave me her recipe a number of years ago and I have made it a handful of times and it’s seriously a party in your mouth BUT it’s not a party on your waistline (tons of sugar and fat).  I was browsing the Weight Watchers website one day and found this pumpkin flan recipe and put it into my favorites to try later.  I had all the ingredients in the house, except for the orange juice, so I picked up a small single serving container at Target and quickly made this later on in the weekend.
The original recipe showed the flans in individual ramicans but since I don’t have any I decided to make it in a large pan and cut it up into the 8 servings.  I will say though – this isn’t a flan consistency, it’s more of a pumpkin pie filling consistency.  It’s good BUT it would be SO much better with a little crushed graham cracker crumbs over the top with a dollop of cool whip.  That’s the one thing I didn’t have so it tasted kind of plain – but served cold with whip cream it’s good – with graham cracker crumbs it would be even better.
By the way – the one thing I switched in the recipe was instead of using individual seasonings (which I should have done) I used pumpkin pie spice instead.
If you’re interested in trying this out for yourself here’s the recipe:
½ cup brown sugar (unpacked)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 ounce canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie)
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
¼ cup unsweetened orange juice (I used the 50 Cal Tropicana)
¾ cup fat free egg substitute (egg beaters)
Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, cayenne and salt in a bowl.  Whisk in the pumpkin, evaporated milk, orange juice and egg substitute.  Once mixed divide into 8 custard cups OR as I did pour into a glass baking pan.
Place the container (either cups or baking pan) into a roasting pan and pour boiling water around – about an inch deep.
Bake in a pre-heated oven set at 350* for about 45 minutes – the flan should be firm around the edges and just slightly puffy.  When done cooking remove your cups or pan from the water (careful – this is pretty dangerous) and let it cool completely before putting into the fridge.

FREE 5LB hand weights @ Burlington Coat Factory!

 Last month a Burlington Coat Factory store opened and with their opening they sent out $10 off your purchase coupons/flyers to all area residents.  I received one of them in the mail, stuck it in my purse and decided I’d check out the store when I was in the area.  A few weeks later I popped into the store and browsed around.  Originally I was going to purchase a handbag, but the opening was rather small — well, small in comparison to what I was looking for.  I knew it was going to bother me over time so I decided to not get it — but instead found these 5 pound hand weights in the little fitness center.  I had been looking at hand weights at Target and Walmart and the 3 pounders were $8 each — this set for both was $7.99 so it made them absolutely free!  They’re made of good sturdy material  The hand surface is smooth, which after using may require me to handle with textured gloves (to avoid slippage and smashing my toes to smithereens).  But overall I’m happy with my purchase!