Friday, November 19, 2021

Apple Blondies for Thanksgiving!

When Shi asked me to pretty please make an apple surprise to share at the gym for Thanksgiving I did a search for a snack with lots of apples which would be easy to serve and  eat for a quick snack.

This is what I found.  It was certainly a success for the girls at the gym and my family at home.

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups finely chopped apples. 

2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cups orange juice

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp salt


·         Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.

·         Peel and core about 3-4 apples.  Finely chop apples.  (You can pulse in a food processor)

·         In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Whisk together.

·         Add eggs, oil, and orange juice.  Mix well.

·         Fold in diced apples

·         Spread in prepared baking pan.

·         Bake at 324 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  (It’s done when toothpick comes out clean)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Covid Cooking

 It's been a while since my last post and I've learned a thing or two about making delicious food, fast, with ingredients already in the house.

The last year or so has seen my family home - a lot.  

Like everyone else in lock down, food has been the star of the show and our favorite way to pass the time.

With all this Forced Family Fun,  I've taught my kids many "life skills" in the kitchen.

Since we limited our visits to the grocery store and could not always find everything on our list once there, I kept up with their voracious appetites by inventing new meals with pantry ingredients, garden goodies, and leftovers.   

This is a favorite we call "Josh."

Why?  I don't know.  

We sat down to eat this one pot meal and amongst the oohs and aahs the question was broached.

"What should we call it?"

 My husband said "Josh" and it stuck.

"Josh" is now a frequently requested meal when my eldest is in town for  visit.

How to make "Josh":

Everything is better in cast iron and so this story goes as well.

In a large cast iron chicken fryer or deep dish pan put a few tablespoons of olive oil.

If using frozen veggies sauté them first and then add the fresh veggies once the frozen veggies are soft/unfrozen.

To the pan I add:

Sliced Peppers and sliced onions ( 1 bag of frozen or 1 each if fresh)

1 clove minced garlic

Broccolini or broccoli

Sauté until soft

Add a bulb of sliced fennel.

6 whole garlic cloves lightly smashed 

Peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (depends on how many you are feeding - 3-4 potatoes

Toss with a little more olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onions powder.

Add 2 packages of sweet Italian sausage sliced in 1-1/2 inch hunks.  (If you want less fat use the turkey based Italian sausage)

Place halved plum tomatoes around the perimeter of the dish and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Top tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette

Bake in 400 degree oven about an hour.

Top tomatoes with chopped fresh basil.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Mixed Meat Stew with Barley: "Wonder Pot" meal in 30 minutes!

When it's cold outside and you want to warm up from the inside try this hardy "Wonder Pot" meal.  Use what is in your fridge and feel free to substitute and modify.
(Any Electric Pressure cooker will work.)

Here is what I came up with one day:  We all loved it!


1 lb. loose turkey breakfast sausage

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 cup scallions

I can Italian diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)

3 cloves minced garlic

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups beef stock

3/4 cup water

¼ cup dry red wine

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp fennel seeds

2 bay leaves

1 ½ cups pot barley


Put pot on sauté function and add a little olive oil.

Brown garlic.

Brown meat – about 6 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients.

Place lid on pressure cooker, lock lid, and close pressure release.

Press the Chicken/Meat button and set time to 30 minutes.

Once the timer reaches 0, the cooker will automatically turn to warm. 

Serve it up!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Wonder Pot - aka the wonder of using the new electric pressure cookers for yummy and nutritious fast food.

"Chicken Fried Rice" without the frying
My kids were super insulted when I proclaimed last year's Christmas present "The best thing that ever happened to me!"
"Really - the Pot is more important than the birth of your children??"
Well of course not.  However, the Wonder Pot decreases my time in the kitchen and provides quick, easy, and nutritious meals for a family demanding 3 squares a day in addition to the demands of full-time work and household chores.
I typically prepare 2-4 meals on Sunday for my family to pack in thermoses for lunches outside of our house and dinners on the way to the gym or to eat in shifts.
It is my compromise as we have always maintained a strong commitment to sharing home cooked meals at our table without outside interruptions at least once a day.
As this is no longer possible on a daily basis due to our gym schedule we at least commit to conversation in the car with a home cooked, warm meal, and "forced family fun" on weekends and breaks.
I will post my family's favorite recipes found in this recipe book - some of which have been modified per our family's preferences.

Today's Post is Fried Rice with Chicken (not really fried):  It was the first recipe I picked and is not only a favorite - it is by far the easiest.
The recipe calls for a rice blend.  I have used all of these blends from Trader Joe's and we have enjoyed then equally.  One whole package does the trick:

1/2 stick butter, softened
31/2 cups water (I use chicken broth instead)
2 cups chicken, cut into chunks
2 medium-sized carrots, thinly sliced or diced (I prefer one carrot and fresh peas instead of two carrots)
2 1/2 cups multi-grain rice
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil (I have also used fresh)
1 tsp dried dill weed (I have also used fresh)
1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Choose the Rice/Risotto function.  Add all ingredients to the Power Pressure Cooker XL.
Place the lid on the Power Pressure Cooker, lock the lid, and switch pressure release valve to closed.
Set the timer to 20 minutes.
Once the cooking is complete press the "Cancel" button.
When the steam is released remove the lid and serve.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Hydration - More than H2O

Don't let the gym feel like the Sahara Desert!

It doesn't have to be hot outside for your athlete to lose essential hydration and electrolytes.
Here are a few great links to help you with your gymnast's hydration needs:

These links assist you in understanding hydration needs:

This link is a great resource for DIY Electrolyte Sports Drinks:

In addition to the awesome choices from Mommypotamus above we tried an easy cheat by making lemonade with Crystal Lite Pure and Coconut water.
Crystal Lite Pure States the following:
  • Contains No Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors or Preservatives; Gluten Free and Kosher
  • Sweetened with Sugar and Stevia Leaf Extract; Each 8 Ounce Serving Contains 5 Calories
  • Color Sourced from Turmeric
  • Flavor Sourced from Lemon and other Natural Flavor
By using coconut water in place of H2O we added some essential electrolytes.
Our girls were quite satisfied and it was an easy compromise.

"Watermelon water" was another summer favorite.
Why Watermelon?
Watermelon contains:
  • cancer-fighting lycopenes
  • tumor-blocking cucurbitacin E
  • vitamin C
  • carotenoids, AKA what your body generously turns into vitamin A
  • amino acid citrulline
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • a handful of vitamins B
We made "watermelon water" in our Nutribullet.
Just cube a bunch of watermelon, grind a bit of sea salt in the batch, and fire it up in the blender.
Put in the fridge for a cool treat and add a sprig of mint or wedge of lime for fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Savory Gym Snack - Bring on work out energy without the crash of refined sugar!

I'm not sure how you break from serious gymnastics to the Christmas Fitness Tree rotation and back to serious gymnastics if you are fueling up with a cupcake (unless there is a can of pumpkin in it of course.)
To me it appears like a recipe for sugar crash.
With a typical gymnastic practice lasting four hours, I prefer to offer a savory treat such as this whole grain rye bread with spinach and yogurt dip.
It is super easy to create and our athletes enjoyed a treat without a crash.

The dip is not my creation - it can be found on the back of the Lipton Vegetable Dip mix.   
I used 1 cup greek yogurt rather than sour cream to add protein without as much fat.
Ingredients include:
Vegetable Dip Mix
1 container chopped frozen spinach cooked and drained
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup Mayo
Mix it all up and serve with cubed rye bread and a variety of fresh raw veggies.  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie Snack - A New Favorite Fall Treat

  I love introducing gymnasts to healthier twists on sweet treats.
                                              For Thanksgiving this year I brought in mini "Deconstructed"                                                     Pumpkin Pies.  The gymnasts added the finishing touches of                                                       whipped cream and pie crust leaves for a fun and festive                                                               celebration.

I found the below recipe and made modifications.

Modification:  I rolled out pie dough and cut out with a leaf cookie cutter.  I baked them until brown.  I topped the pumpkin pie cupcakes with whipped cream and a dough leaf for a “deconstructed” mini pie.  I used whole wheat flour instead of bleached flour.


·         15 oz. pumpkin puree

·         3/4 cup sugar

·         2 eggs

·         1 tsp vanilla

·         3/4 cup evaporated milk

·         2/3 cup flour

·         1/4 tsp baking soda

·         1/4 tsp baking powder

·         2 tsp pumpkin spice

·         1/4 tsp salt


1.      Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.      Grease 12 cup cupcake pan.

3.      In a bowl stir together flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

4.      Mix the pumpkin puree with sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk

5.      Add dry ingredients in the mixture and mix until it’s evenly combine.

6.      Fill the pan with 1/3 cup of the mixture in each cup.

7.      Bake for 20 minutes.

8.      Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 20 minutes than remove them from the pan and let them cool completely. Store them in the fridge.

9.      Top the cupcakes with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on top before serve.

Basic Nutritional Guidelines Based on Mom Research ( I am NOT a nutirtionist!!)

First the disclosures and disclaimers:  I am not a nutritionist nor do I play one on TV.  I am just a Mom with a student athlete and a PT wh...