Friday Faves: Breakfast food is the best

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Good morning Loves and Happy Friday.  I have a confession to make, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day – it’s sweet and filling and you can eat it in bed!

I wish I could wake up every morning and have French toast with home fries for breakfast, but unfortunately this is just not the case.  I am the kind of girl who will do anything for 15 minutes extra sleep so waking up 30 minutes earlier to cook a proper breakfast and clean the dishes is just not happening in my life.

So what’s your favourite breakfast food?

I am not the kind of girl who can eat a yogurt for breakfast and be full until lunch.  I like to eat and I am always the hungriest in the morning.  Right now my breakfast routine consists of a Kellogg’s Special K chocolate protein shake when I wake up and then I have an Egg McMuffin (no meat) with a banana when I get to work.  It’s a filling breakfast full of protein and it gives me a portion

English: An Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich fr...of fruit.  I don’t know why but for some reason I really love starting my day with a banana.

Are you getting hungry looking at all these pics?

My breakfast routine is simple, but it’s expensive.  I am always looking for ways to save time and save money in the morning so I am putting out a call for help.

I really really want to know what you eat for breakfast.

Love Always,

Photos by bcmom and  ralph&jenny

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A Domestic Disaster Tries a Little

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cooking

I am not a domestic person.

I’ve had many excuses for not being Holly Homemaker over the years — ranging from “I don’t have time” to “I refuse to be oppressed”. If you knew my husband, the latter would make you laugh hysterically as I am not oppressed in the slightest. In fact, he takes care of more of the domestic duties than I do…

Anyways, I am beginning to learn something. There is nothing empowering about not being able to cook or clean. While neither is “woman’s work”, both sexes should have basic skills in cooking and cleaning. Even me. *pouts*

A Top Chef I Am Not

As someone who was three years into adulthood before she learned how to make spaghetti (with canned sauce, mind you), I don’t seem to have the cooking gene. But I’ve learned something — neither does anyone else. Cooking is a very learned skill and takes lots of trial and error.

So here’s what I’m doing:

Trying. And then not getting hysterical when things don’t work out. Malcolm Gladwell says we need 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. I have like 16. If something doesn’t turn out, it’s really not the end of the world.

Carpet Lines Can Kiss My Ass

Cleaning is also not a skill I possess. Mostly because I get frustrated when things get messy again. Geez, I’m a whiny brat.

So what am I doing? You guessed it:

Trying. I made a little cleaning schedule with daily, weekly, and as needed tasks. My apartment is 400 square feet and I don’t own any furniture, this isn’t difficult stuff. It isn’t fun, but it certainly isn’t hard.

This is me, trying to acquire skills that every person should have, 6 years into adulthood. That’s embarrassing…

What about you guys? What do you need to just try to do? Anyone else lacking the domesticity gene?

Peace, Love, and Paring Knives,

Erin

Image from Rene Schwietzke


Fake it until you can bake it – baking muffins

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Good morning Loves.  Happy Monday morning.  This weekend I had a domestic rush run through my body and I just felt the need to bake some muffins.  Now you know that I have tried to cook and bake several times over the years of My Diary Entry – and so far my baking efforts have been without success.

Remember the Irish Cream Cookies or the first time I tried to bake Blueberry Muffins ?

It’s ok to fake it, right?

Just like many other 30 something ladies out there I don’t have a lot of free time. So instead of hitting up the grocery store to shop for fresh ingredients that I am probably only going to use this one time because it’s a waste of money and instead of spending my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, when I could be sitting by the pool, I decided to bake my muffins from a bag.

Let me tell you, the muffins were delicious.  They were so good that my boyfriend even ate them – and he never eats my cooking.

The beauty of baking muffins from a bag is that it only takes 17 minutes and I can’t mess them up because all I had to do was add ½ a cup of milk.  Easy, fast and delicious – it seems too easy right?  Well, I thought so too.  My quick domestic rush felt undeserved because it seemed to be too easy.

Do you ever feel guilty when something seems too easy?

I started to think that if it’s too easy than muffins in a bag must not be very nutritions because it seems like everything that tastes good is not good for us.  So I did some research.

Here are the nutritional facts for muffins from a bag, homemade muffins and store bought muffins from a donut shop.

                                    From a bag                          Homemade                        Store bought

Serving size                        49.5 g                                     57 g                                        115 g

Calories                              150 g                                      162                                          340

Total fat                                 6 g                                        6.2 g                                       11 g

Cholesterol                        10 mg                                    21 mg                                      40 mg

Sodium                             200 mg                                  251 mg                                  570 mg

Carbohydrate                        25 g                                       23.2 g                                     53 g

Sugar                                     11 g                                        0 g                                        25 g

 

So there you have it, baking muffins from a bag is not so bad. Happy Baking Everyone!

Love Always,

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Irish Cream Cookies in 20 minutes

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Happy Monday morning loves.  As promised Saturday night via Twitter I am sharing the recipe for these delicious and very soft Irish Cream Cookies that I found on Organized Island. I don’t drink alcohol, but I love the taste of coffee so I figured that sweet, chewy, coffee flavoured cookies had to be fabulous – and they are.

These cookies are not so heavy that you feel the need to sleep after eating a few and they don’t have the bitter aftertaste of alcohol – these cookies are just the perfect combination of sweet and light.  You can eat these Irish Cream Cookies after dinner as dessert or you can have them for breakfast with your tea or coffee.

These Irish Cream Cookies only take a few minutes to make, the batter tastes great uncooked and you don’t need a lot of ingredients.  Actually I already had most of the ingredients left over from my homemade banana bread recipe that I made a few weeks ago, the only item that I needed to buy was the Bailey’s.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking. As always, don’t forget to share your pics on Twitter. We love to see what you are up to!

What you’ll need to make Irish Cream Cookies:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup Irish Cream

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

How to do bake in 5 easy steps:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees

- Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and Irish Cream

- Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add to butter mixture

- Drop onto greased cookie sheet by 1″ balls. Flatten before baking

- Bake 14-16 minutes until golden on the bottom


Blueberry Muffins a la Bethenny

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No you didn’t read that wrong, my name is Tahnya Kristina but this weekend I baked blueberry muffins with a recipe by Bethenny Frankel and I want to share.

I am not an accomplished baker, so when I am in the mood to bake I need a recipe that is sweet and simple.  I have been a huge fan of Bethenny Frankel ever since she was a Real Housewife of New York City and I have been following her along the Skinnygirl journey.

I love this recipe for Blueberry Muffins because it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, it makes the perfect portion and it only takes 30 minutes.  Do you remember last month’s cupcake disaster?  I bought a cupcake kit from the supermarket and ended up making 24 cupcakes for a household of only two people.  Needless to say I threw out approximately 18 cupcakes.

The beauty of baking recipes from scratch is the portion control.  This recipe makes 8 cupcakes, so try it out and don’t forget to tweet me your pics. I made some substitutions to the ingredients because I didn’t want to go shopping for ingredients that I would never use again.  You can save money by substituting ingredients that you already have at home.

You will need:

1 ¼ cups oat flour I used all purpose flour

¾ cup raw sugar I used brown sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder (the small spoon)

¼ tsp salt

½ cup soy milk I used 1% milk

2 Tbsp fat free shortening, melted

¾ tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup fresh blueberries

How to bake Blueberry Muffins:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with pretty little muffin liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Combine the milk, melted shortening and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix in the blueberries. (I needed to add another ½ cup of milk).

Spread your muffin mixture evenly among the 8 muffin liners and put into the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes. (I baked my blueberry muffins for an extra 5 minutes – maybe because of the extra milk).

And voila! Blueberry Muffins a la Bethenny.

Happy Baking!

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A Healthier Table: Low Fat Banana Bread

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Merry Christmas Eve everyone.  If you are setting your holiday table and you are looking for a light snack or dessert that you can enjoy for several days may I suggest that you try my recipe (which I borrowed from the Joy of Baking ) for Low Fat Banana Bread.

This recipe is part of The American Cancer Society’s A Healthier Table series which allows bloggers and bakers from around the globe to share their favourite healthy recipes.  I originally posted the recipe a few weeks ago with tips on why healthy living is so important and how healthy eating can help prevent several long term and fatal diseases.  Be sure to check it out.

Today I am sharing the original recipe for Low Fat Banana Bread and I am also going to share some slight moderations that you can whip up to make this low fat recipe even healthier.

Enjoy and if you do make this Low Fat Banana Bread a part of your Christmas table I would love to see the pics on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Ingredients You Will Need:

1 cup (240 ml)   mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)

1 teaspoon baking   soda

1/2 cup (120 ml)   low-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup (60 ml) canola,   vegetable, or corn oil

3/4 cup (165   grams) light brown sugar

1 large egg or 2   large (60 grams) egg whites

1 teaspoon pure   vanilla extract

1 cup (130 grams)   all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (65   grams) whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon   ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking   powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Baking Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in   the center of the oven. Spray an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan with a   non-stick vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl,   mix the mashed bananas with the baking soda and yogurt. Allow to sit while   you prepare the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile, in a   separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg or egg whites, and vanilla.

In another large   bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt.

Then combine the   banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add to the flour mixture. Stir   just until all the ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and   smooth the top. Bake for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted   in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a   wire rack to cool.

Make It Even Healthier:

Substitute the all   purpose flour for whole wheat flour

Add some more   cinnamon (it’s very good for the digestive system)

Add another banana   (for even more flavor and potassium)

Substitute the low   fat plain yogurt for low fat strawberry yogurt (Yum!)

Add some crushed   nuts or oatmeal (many nuts are high in vitamins, protein and fiber)

Merry Christmas and   Happy Baking! Don’t forget to share your pics.

Love Always,

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Baking for a Cause with The American Cancer Society

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I am not going to lie, I have never really been a girl who likes to spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen becuase it’s very time consuming and I am not a huge fan of washing dishes.  However my new life plan to get fit by making healthier food choices and exercising on a regular basis has encouraged me to spend more time in the kitchen; surprisingly enough I actually like it.  I find time in my daily routine to cook at least 4 dinners every week and on Sundays I try to bake something.

I actually love baking because it makes my apartment smell great and it’s a really relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  When the American Cancer Society asked me to share one of my favourite recipes for their A Healthier Holiday Table initiative I was more than happy to do so and I immediately knew which recipe I wanted to share…Hello Low Fat Banana Bread!

Eat Healthy with The American Cancer Society

I met the good folks of The American Cancer Society last summer when I attended BlogHer’12 in New York City; it is a good cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Over 4 years ago I lost my best friend Kevin to cancer and since then my life has never been the same.

Thanks to my new friends from The American Cancer Society I have learned a lot about how your diet can affect/reduce your risk of getting cancer. For instance studies have shown that eating large amounts of processed meat increases the risk of stomach cancers; all the more reason to join me on the vegetarian wagon. Eating at least 2.5 cups of fruits and veggies every day can help prevent your risks of cancers, and drinking more than 1 alcoholic drink per day increases the risk of mouth, liver, breast and colon cancer.

5 Reasons Why I Love Banana Bread:

- There is a low fat option

- You can eat it with tea or coffee for breakfast

- You can eat it with fruit for a snack

- You can eat it as dessert after a meal

- You can eat it on the go

I used the Joy of Baking Low Fat Banana Bread Recipe and made a few minor changes.  The recipe is easy to bake and your home will be filled with the scents of bananas and brown sugar. YUM! If you decide to bake Banana Bread I would love to see your pics. Enjoy!

You Will Need:

1 cup (240 ml) mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large   bananas)1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 cup (120 ml) low-fat plain yogurt1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, vegetable, or corn oil3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar

1 large egg or 2 large (60 grams) egg whites

1 teaspoon pure vanilla   extract

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Spray an 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan with a non-stick vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the baking soda and yogurt. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg or egg whites, and vanilla.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt.

Then combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Love Always,

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No Pizza For A Year: 2 months down 10 to go

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English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...

I am proud to say that during the last two months I have only eaten pizza three times. I know that eating pizza three times in two months is not the same as completely giving up pizza all together, but it’s definitely an improvement.  Not eating pizza is not as hard as I originally thought it would be; this just confirms that I made the right decision. Eating pizza three times a week is not a necessity, it’s an obsession and it definitely had to stop.

The response from my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter has been very encouraging. Some people have joined me in giving up something they love in order to become a happier person and eliminate anything unnecessary or unhealthy from their lives.

Check out what other people are saying about not eating pizza for one year:

Facebook Comments:

 Patricia - Shocking…on the bright side, you can just eat m&m’s….btw, I’ve had pizza in Chicago and its totally worth the give up you’re doing!!!

 John-Michael – Really? Not all pizza is bad for you, so I wouldnt give it up!

 

 Ron - I think I could last 11 days…maybe.  It depends whether there’s dipping sauce or not.

Twitter Responses:

Kamara Kroeker @KamaraKroeker I would consider giving up bagels.  I’ve given up wheat products and dairy for some time now so I’ll commit! Should be easier after day 21. Supposedly it takes that long to break or form a habit.

Briana Myricks @howsmarriedlife A whole year? I don’t know how good my will power is. I’ll try to figure out what I can give up for a year.

Love Always,

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26 Days Later…I Ate Pizza

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Last month I decided to give up eating pizza for one year in honour of next year’s BlogHer conference being held in Chicago.  I have always wanted to visit Chicago and I also have a nasty little habit of eating pizza a couple of (sometimes even several) times throughout any given week.  Therefore in anticipation of eating some of the best pizza in the continental U.S. next summer I decided to give up eating pizza until I visit Chicago for the BlogHer conference. The first two weeks of my no pizza mission was definitely difficult because pizza is an easy meal to eat on the go; between work and school I am always on the go.

By some miraculous event brought on by the pizza gods themselves, this past weekend I found myself in Chicago and I couldn’t resist the temptation to finally eat a Chicago deep dish pizza.  On Sunday night my return flight from Denver, Colorado to Montreal was overbooked, and I was in turn booked on a connecting flight through the city of Chicago.  I had one and a half hours at the Chicago airport; in this short period of time I managed to eat a Chicago hot (veggie) dog from America’s Dog and a deep dish pizza from Reggio’s Pizza.  Let me tell you that food never tasted so good.

Now that I know how great Chicago deep dish pizza actually tastes, I have something else to look forward to when I visit Chicago next summer for BlogHer.  I don’t feel bad about breaking my “no pizza mission” because my goal was to give up pizza for one year until next summer when I visit Chicago.  Since I was able to visit Chicago 11 months early I decided not to wait.

Due to the fact that I am really excited about visiting Chicago next summer and thanks to the wonders of Social Media, I found a Chicago restaurant owner named Billy Dec on Twitter and I asked him where to find the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. He re-tweeted my question to his 28,000+ Tweeps and it seems like there are two must-eat restaurants for deep dish pizza in Chicago;  Gino’s East and Lou Malnati’s I will see you both next summer.

In an effort to make healthier food choices and in an effort to actually finish something that I started, I have decided to continue with my “no pizza mission” until next summer.  I also added a few things to my list; in addition to not eating pizza for a year I have also given up eating French fries and ice cream.

Keep reading My Diary Entry for updates on my “no pizza, no French fries, and no ice cream mission.” A little side note – I am already having cravings for ice cream and it’s only been three days.

If you want to see more pics from my Denver/Chicago trip check out my album on Facebook (Tahnya Kristina).  I promise to accept your friend request.

Love Always,

 

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Just Give It Up Already!

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Have you ever wanted to do take a risk on something but you don’t do it because you are too afraid of the uncertain outcome? Have you ever wanted to make a change to something in your life but you don’t take action because you are too afraid to leave your comfort zone?

I for one am always trying to better myself and make positive changes in my life, trying is the key word in that sentence.  Making changes and taking risks are definitely easier said than done.  I don’t always take a lot of risks in my daily life, but I do try and work towards my personal goals.  If I want to travel somewhere or do something in my life I try to do it as soon as possible (hence my Life List) because I don’t want to wake up in 20 years with regrets. The only way to make changes in our lives is to stop talking about making changes and actually start doing something about it.

In honour of next year’s BlogHer Conference being held in the great city of Chicago, I have decided to give up the one thing in the world that I love the most…Pizza.  For the next 12 months I am going to give up eating Pizza in anticipation of eating some of the best Deep Dish Pizza next summer in Chicago.  I have always wanted to visit Chicago and I eat way too much Pizza, so in an effort to make a personal sacrifice (just to prove that I can do it) and lose a few pounds at the same time, I am going to give up eating Pizza until next summer.

Will you join me and give up something over the next year?

Love Always,

Photo by BarelyFitz

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