Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Dessert: Boo Cups!

Need a quick, easy, no-bake Halloween dessert idea?!

Aren't these Boo Cups the cutest things in the world?! I was looking for a dessert to go with my Halloween dinner (Baked Orange Chicken with Black Sesame Seeds) and came across the idea for these Boo Cups on

All you need is pudding mix, milk, Halloween sprinkles (or Oreo cookies), Cool-Whip, and a few chocolate chips!

Best part of this dessert: you could make the Boo Cups 'skinny' too! Just use sugar free pudding, go easy on (or omit) the sprinkles or Oreo cookie, and use fat-free or sugar-free Cool-Whip.

So easy and so fun... and delicious!!!! The perfect no-bake Halloween dessert that both kids and adults can enjoy!

Boo Cups
based on a recipe by

makes 2 large servings, or 4 small servings

  • 2 cups cold reduced fat (or fat free) milk
  • 1 (1.4 oz) package Jell-O pudding - you can use any flavor or sugar free flavor
  • 2 tbsp. Halloween sprinkles or crushed Oreo cookies
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Cool-Whip whipped topping, thawed
  • a few semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare pudding according to package. Top with sprinkles or crushed cookies. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

When ready to serve, top pudding with Cool-Whip in the shape of a pyramid (or ghost). Add two chocolate chips for ghost eyes.

SO CUTE!!!! And yummy. Enjoy!!!!

Hope you had a spooktacular Halloween... we sure did!


Halloween Dinner: Baked Orange Chicken w/ Black Sesame Seeds

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! To celebrate, me and Amy decided were going to watch some Halloween movies, hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.... and I would make some Baked Orange Chicken topped with Black Sesame Seeds! (orange and black... Halloween colors, get it?) 

I didn't want to fry the chicken like an authentic Chinese orange chicken dish calls for... since I've eaten my weight in Halloween candy this last week! So I searched for a healthier recipe where the chicken was baked instead of fried. To my surprise, there were quite a few recipes! Some called for a corn flake crust, some called for panko, and some called for breadcrumbs. And almost all of the recipes had different ingredients for the orange sauce! I didn't really know where to begin since all of the recipes had good reviews, so I picked the one that I already had the most ingredients for (of course).

It was a good gamble... the Baked Orange Chicken turned out crispy and delicious! The orange sauce was really flavorful, but not too sweet or spicy. This Baked Orange Chicken recipe is a great healthy alternative to the original, authentic version... no heavy fry coating or sweet, thick, sticky sauce. It really is the perfect balance of flavors and textures. And in full disclosure, it was so good I had seconds... and thirds...

Baked Orange Chicken
recipe via

Orange Sauce: (adapted from
1 1/2 Cups water
1/4 Cup fresh orange juice (1-2 large oranges)
1 Tbsp orange zest (1 large orange)
1/3 Cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger root, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp cornstarch into 1/4 Cup water, mixed thoroughly
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp green onions or cilantro, chopped and set aside as garnish

Baked Chicken:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs
Non-stick canola spray

5 Servings of white or brown, prepared

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f) and position a rack in the center. Line a cookie sheet or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non stick canola spray.

Make the sauce first by combining the 1 1/2 Cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce into a large sauce pan. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes to warm. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil then slowly add the 1/4 cup of water and 3 Tbsp of cornstarch. Heat until the mixture thickens.

To make the baked chicken, in a medium bowl, pour the olive oil. In a separate, large bowl, place whole wheat panko bread crumbs. Dip the chicken pieces into the olive oil to coat entirely. Transfer to the bread crumbs and toss to coat. Place the chicken pieces on the lined baking sheet, leaving just a little space between each piece. Spray a light coat of canola oil over the assembled pieces.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is slightly brown and crispy.

Serve the chicken over brown rice and pour the orange sauce over the chicken to taste. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds and green onions or cilantro over the sauce and serve.

This tasty orange and black dish was a perfect addition to our Halloween night. Hope you had a spooktacular Halloween too!!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

'No Excuses' November

September and October were extremely crazy months for me... and unfortunately during that time my daily strength training routine suffered. But now that I am settled into a new place, new routine, and new work schedule, I can get back to my Monthly Fitness Challenges!!!

I've been putting together these Monthly Fitness Challenges since the beginning of the year. The idea behind the monthly fitness challenge started because I needed a way to be held accountable for strength training exercises on a daily basis (not just telling myself "ok Self, today we do 100 sit-ups"). So I made up a calendar with a list of exercises I had to complete daily... and the first Monthly Fitness Challenge was born! Before long, the idea had grown, was shared on Facebook and Pinterest, more people joined the challenges, and now we were all getting the the challenge and push we need to get fit together!

The great part about the monthly fitness challenges is that they are made up of strength training and core conditioning exercises... without any equipment! You can use you own body weight, in the comfort of your home! If the workout is too easy, you can add more reps or do a harder variation of the exercises. If the workout is too hard, you can decrease the reps or do easier, modified versions of the exercises. You are in charge of your workout... and you can make it your own!

The November Fitness Challenge is a great all-over body workout that uses simple, standard, body-weight exercises to tone up those midsections, strengthen your core, arms, and legs, and burn some calories... who's with us?! Since the exercises are standard and simple, there should be NO EXCUSES this month!

Click on the calendar to see full size and print.

To get updates and information on the challenge, make sure to go to our Facebook page and "Like" us:

You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest too!
#NoExcusesNovember #Fitness Challenge #sistersdofoodandfitness



Monday, October 28, 2013

How To: Roast Pumpkin Seeds


Not only do Amy and I enjoy carving pumpkins at this time of year... we also enjoy roasting and eating the pumpkin seeds! Carving the pumpkin, pulling and cleaning out the "guts", and picking through the pulp to get the seeds is actually the hardest part of roasting pumpkin seeds. It's super quick and easy once you get the seeds cleaned!

Toasted and salted, pumpkin seeds have a nutty, delicious flavor. They're even better flavored with sweet and savory spices!

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds:

1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)

2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Sprinkle with salt (or seasonings) and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.

4. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.


Pumpkin Seasoning Ideas -
  • butter
  • sea salt
  • cinnamon 
  • pumpkin pie spice and sugar
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • garlic salt and worcestershire sauce
  • seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup

YUMMY!!!! We made a few varieties of Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. I think the most fun part is making the pumpkin seeds your own by playing around with the seasonings. Sweet, spicy, savory, salty, or just plain... it's all up to you!



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

It's another cool, fall Football Sunday... the perfect kind of day for a big, warm bowl of chili! Instead of my usual chili recipe (Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili), Amy decided to try a "white chili" recipe today. She had actually e-mailed this Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili recipe to herself months ago, in hopes we would make a batch of it sometime during the fall. It's a Weight Watchers recipe with lots of sweet and spicy ingredients, so I was eager to try it too!

Not only is this Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili low in calories and fat, it also tastes AMAZING! The pumpkin puree adds the perfect hint of "fall" flavor to this delicious spicy and sweet chili recipe. I love how the sweet corn breaks up the spiciness... and adds more texture to the chili. Amy and I really enjoyed this recipe, it will certainly before a fall staple in our house!!

Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
recipe by Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes


2 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder, to taste
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 (15 oz cans) of white northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can pumpkin puree
4.5 oz canned chopped green chiles
2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 cup frozen sweet corn
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large heavy saute pan over high heat and lightly spray with cooking spray. Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5 minutes. Add to slow cooker.

Add oil to the saute pan, then onions, garlic, sauté about 3 - 4 minutes; add cumin and sauté another minute.

Add to slow cooker. Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chiles, broth, chili powder, oregano, and bay leaves.


Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Add frozen corn, remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving. 

Top with reduced-fat sour cream, cilantro, and/or chives.


*Janel (and Amy)*

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes, and Turkey Kielbasa

Amy and I were at a local produce market last weekend and couldn't pass by the bin of beautiful, fresh brussel sprouts without buying a bag! We had no idea what we would do with them... but we figured we could use them in one of our dinner experiments.

I have been struggling with a cold and Amy has been busy with work, so I really just wanted to make an easy, one dish kind of meal with the brussel sprouts. We have made oven-roasted brussel sprouts before (see Roasted Brussel Sprouts)... and they are delicious! But to me, a well-rounded dinner has to have a protein, a little starch/carb, and lots of veggies.... so all I needed to do was find two more ingredients that could be roasted along with the brussel sprouts. The starch was a no-brainer... I mean, who doesn't like crispy, oven-roasted potatoes?! And for the protein I thought about what flavor profile goes well with brussel sprouts or cabbage; turkey kielbasa seemed like the perfect match. Awesome... I had all 3 ingredients!! And even more awesome... they could all be easily cut up and oven roasted!

Ok, this Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes, and Turkey Kielbasa dish turned out AMAZING, we couldn't stop eating it. Amy said, "I think this is the best thing you've made since we've been roomies. We have to have this again." Oh, you can bet I will be making this again!! Quick. Easy. Delicious. No clean up. Perfection.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes, and Turkey Kielbasa

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts
  • 1 (14 oz.) package turkey kielbasa
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Wash potatoes, place on plate, pierce with a fork on all sides, then microwave on high for 2 min. Turn potatoes over and microwave another 2 min. Cut potatoes into 1/2" thick pieces. Lay out in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Wash and dry brussel sprouts, cut off stem, and then cut in half. Place on baking sheet with potatoes.

Drizzle olive oil over brussel sprouts and potatoes. Mix around on baking sheet until the brussel sprouts and potatoes are covered with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut turkey kielbasa into 1" slices and place on baking sheet with brussel sprouts and potatoes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once.

When done, brussel sprouts and potatoes will be cooked through and crispy.

We served with a side of ranch dressing and BBQ sauce for dipping.

ENJOY!!! We sure did. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

All the tastes of fall... in one moist, delicious, AND low-fat muffin!? Yes my friends, it can be done!

Since most of my recipes have not been "skinny" lately, I decided to take the original recipe for these Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins and make it a little healthier, lower in fat and sugar! The original recipe for these muffins called for more than twice the amount of white sugar and butter, and it also called for oil (which I replaced with unsweetened applesauce). So you can feel a little less guilty indulging in one of these muffins!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins
based on a recipe from

Original recipe makes 18 muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and applesauce. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. 

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

These Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins are so good!!! I love the little bits of apple throughout the muffins... and the crumbly, sugary streusel topping really takes this muffin to the next level.

YUM! Enjoy..


Luau Party!!

You're probably thinking, a luau... in the middle of fall?! That's odd. Well, I'm always up for a party that involves food, drinks and dress-up... so when my gym friend decided she wanted to do a luau-themed birthday party in October to celebrate her Pacific Islander heritage I was all in! I dug out my leis and grass skirt and set to work on some luau party food...

I made a big batch of my Slow Cooker Kalua Pork for the luau and served it with some delicious Hawaiian sweet rolls.

If you’ve ever been to a real Hawaiian luau... chances are you have had Kalua pig! Kalua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes a type of underground oven, called an imu. The word kalua, which literally means "to cook in an underground oven", is also used to describe the food cooked in this manner... like kalua pig or kalua turkey which are both commonly served at luau feasts!

The term "Kalua pork" has been used by famous Hawaiian cook Sam Choy to describe pork shoulder butt which is rubbed with sea salt, wrapped in ti leaves, and slowly cooked in oven using liquid mesquite smoke rather than an underground oven.

Bottom line... You don't need a whole pig or a pit in your backyard to bring the traditional flavors of Hawaii to your table! All you’ll need is a 6 lb. pork butt, liquid smoke, Hawaiian sea salt, and a slow cooker. This is the easiest and most delicious pulled pork I have ever had!

Kalua Pork in the Slow Cooker

1 - 6 pound pork butt roast (pork shoulder)
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

Pierce pork all over with a carving fork.

Rub salt then liquid smoke over meat.

Place roast in a slow cooker.

Cover, and cook on Low for 16 to 20 hours (or High for 8 to 10 hours), turning once during cooking time.

The Kalua Pork was a huge hit at the party!!!

I also made these cute little NutterButter flip-flops for the luau!! All you need is a package of NutterButter cookies and some colored decorating gel (don't use yellow, it barely showed up!). So cute and easy. I put the decorated cookies in the refrigerator before serving so the gel would set up.

One of the other girls took a watermelon, put a hole in the top, filled it with vodka, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. We cracked the watermelon open at the luau.... I have to say, that's some refreshing booze fruit!

Luau parties are a great time, and actually really easy to put together!

It was a fun night, with fun friends.... and delicious food!



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

I had a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits leftover from the Apple Pie Caramel Apples project we did a few weeks ago. Since then, every time I open the cupboard the bag of caramel bits is staring at me!!! I decided I better bake something with those bits asap... before they ended up becoming a late night snack! Of course I took to, searched, and found a recipe for delicious-looking Caramel Oatmeal Cookies (which uses the caramel bits). I wasn't sure how oatmeal and caramel would go together...

But O.M.G.!!!!! Seriously, these might be the best cookies I've ever had. SERIOUSLY. They are chewy, gooey, perfectly-spiced oatmeal cookies spotted with more chewy, gooey rich caramel goodness. I only made a half batch (since I wasn't sure how they'd turn out)... I am actually sad I didn't make the entire batch, they will probably be gone by tomorrow. My sister and our good friend were at the house when I pulled these little morsels of joy out of the oven and they couldn't stop eating them either! I sent some cookies home to my friend's husband (also a big food lover) and he immediately requested the recipe. I don't know what else to say except... these Caramel Oatmeal Cookies are amazing!!!!!

Caramel Oatmeal Cookies
recipe from

(Makes 5 dozen cookies)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old-fashion oats, uncooked
1 package Kraft Caramel Bits


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Fold in oats and caramel bits.   Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.


Note:  Let the cookies cool before you try to take them off the parchment paper or else the caramel bits will pull out of the bottom of the cookie! Once cooled, the cookies won't stick and will easily come off the paper.

yum... Yum... YUM!!!!!!!!

Enjoy!! I know we sure did...