Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 1: Let's Start That Cleanse!

HELLO FELLOW BLOGGERS! ... I gave you a heads up, now I bring to you my "new and improved" (I'm sure that's up for argument) challenge- Wedding dieting! As I have mentioned, I have grown to appreciate food A TON this year. It seems the only time I socialize anymore is to meet with people to grab lunch, dinner, or bake with them... Which has clearly made an impact on my waistband. When Stephen and I first started dating, I was a solid 139 pounds... up three from my lightest since high school, but still fairly fit. During my time in Pullman, I had packed on the pounds- up to 166 at my heaviest. After dropping those thirty pounds, I had sworn I would never let myself get that heavy again. Although I am nowhere near that weight, I am gaining. I yo-yo pretty badly... one day I'll be down to 142, the next up to 146. It's annoying, especially considering the awful weight issues I've always had.

Weight has always been a sensitive subject for me. For whatever reason, over the years, my weight has repeatedly been an issue. People will make offhanded comments about it, my family has never been polite when it comes to being overweight, etc. If I gain weight, it will literally be the only thing I can focus on for days on end. VERY UNHEALTHY. My weight is what I measure myself up against. I don't want sympathy of any kind, I just think you all need an understanding of where I am coming from.

It became even worse over the course of dating Stephen, which sounds awful... he and I love to eat and food and cooking together... plus, on top of that, he is VERY supportive of my looks. Which is amazing... I have never dated a man who continually tells me how wonderful and beautiful I am. Usually, the men I date make comments about weight constantly... which did WONDERS for keeping my waistline a little more trim, but did nothing good for my self-esteem. So I have been enjoying life, and food, and by BMI shows it.

I want to be small again. I hate how my thighs are always rubbing together. I hate how I have gained more muscle over the course of the summer with my personal trainer than I have had in years, and yet no one can tell. I hate that I can work out five days a week, and yet my pants are getting TIGHTER. I hate that I woke up this morning, tried to put on my engagement ring, and it hurt to do so. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

I am starting clean today. I've been researching diets for months, and I think I have finally found one that I am eager to try. My diet is starting today with the Jillian Michael's 7-day cleanse. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to shed that access Holiday water weight, and see what it is that I really need to lose. The cleanse is easy- you combine 60 oz. of water with one dandelion tea bag, one tablespoon of sugar free cranberry juice, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. It actually doesn't taste bad either- I took my first 24 ounces of the cleanse with me to Zumba this morning, and I am already almost done. It has a zesty, spicy taste to it, one that I can actually stomach, and let me tell you what- it really does make you have to go to the bathroom. Sorry, but just be prepared for that. Anyways, I am going to do this for the next seven days and report to you what I find. My diet will consist of watching my caloric intake... I'm hoping to eat between 1500-1700 a day.

So what are my goals? Cleanse for 7 days, start my official diet after that, while working out at least four days a week. I want to bring my starting weight of 146.6 pounds to at least 135... one pound under my smallest a couple of years ago. My personal trainer said that 135 is perfectly healthy, but if I wanted to push it, she said to hit 125 if I could. Considering I haven't been 125 pounds since my senior year of high school, I thought that might be a little much... but who knows? If I can hit 135, maybe I'll keep going.

I took "before" pictures this morning... but I won't post those. You don't want to see. But I will keep you updated on my progress. The ultimate goal? Spend my entire honeymoon in a bikini... or less. You know what I mean? Here is the official guide I pulled the cleanse off of:

#50: Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

All right, we've hit a major milestone. Not only am I technically half way to my goal of 100 recipes in a year, this will also be the last recipe I blog about for sometime. I promised an explanation, so here goes...

I feel good about my accomplishment thus far. 50 recipes, for a non-baker! That's a fairly amazing task, if you ask me. Considering when I started in April, I had no real knack for anything kitchen related, so the confidence I have now is a HUGE improvement! Although I do eventually want to tackle the other 50 recipes I had planned to bake, I knew there was no way I could do those in the next five months... which is basically all the time I gave myself to finish my one year challenge. Plus, on top of that, I fully intend on starting my pre-wedding diet ASAP. Within the last year, butter has become a food group in and of itself in my diet, and that HAS to stop if I'm going to look good naked on my honeymoon... know what I mean? So I bring you the final recipe I will be blogging about for quite sometime... my apologies for those of you who REALLY enjoy reading my blog for culinary inspiration (all 8 of you... thank you readers!). I will however be using this blog to keep myself in line with my diet plans, and I am sure some of you will get a laugh with the techniques I am gearing up to use. I WILL BE BACK. Boom.

#50: Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese (as found on

Disclaimer- Yeah... this isn't technically a baked good. I had originally wanted to temporarily close my blog with a recipe that included yeast, since I haven't tackled that crud yet. I was even planning on trying a copycat Texas Roadhouse roll recipe I had found on Pinterest WITH their delicious cinnamon butter, but I just didn't have the time. Instead, I pulled up five or so recipes from my Pinterest and had Stephen choose one that we were going to make his family for dinner. This was the one he chose, and according to the fam, it's a winner!


  • 1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken, warm
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon mayo (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon carrot, grated
  • 1 tablespoon celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon green or red onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese, room temperature, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, room temperature, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter

That is the "official" recipe... but I made some changes. We bought a delicious rotisserie chicken from Albertson's (which, those of you familiar with Albertson's know IT'S THE BEST!) and shredded it ourselves. Instead of using mayo, we used creamy bleu cheese dressing (buffalo chicken... come on, why wouldn't we use bleu cheese?), and we opted out of using the crumbled bleu cheese and onion.


This guy didn't include the BEST instructions, so I'm going to tell you how we did it-

1. Mix the chicken, hot sauce, carrot, celery and bleu cheese in a large bowl.
    - For the eight people we were cooking for, this translated to 2 cups of shredded chicken, 8 tablespoons of Frank's buffalo sauce (my anti-drug), 4 tablespoons bleu cheese dressing, 8 tablespoons shredded carrot, two stalks of celery diced, and then I also added some of the shredded cheddar cheese to the mix.

2. Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.
    - So, we took the sourdough bread we bought, spread bleu cheese on both sides, put a handful of cheddar cheese on one side, slathered on the buffalo chicken salad, placed the other piece of bread on top, and then spread butter on the outside of both pieces of bread. Stephen put them down on his new George Foreman (you're welcome!), and they were amazing!

I naturally didn't take pictures, but here is the picture from the website. These were DELICIOUS... clearly bad for you though. So good, SO BAD. I was only able to eat half of one before I had to stop. It was so rich! Try them... preferably before you start your post-holiday diets...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#48: Snowman Doughnuts and #49: Grinch Cookies

Two treats. One fourth grade Christmas party. I am the queen of all things DIY. Considering we are very close to reaching a temporary hiatus of my baking blog (I'll explain later), I wanted to cram as many recipes into this before the holidays were over- hence my making two treats for our classroom holiday party, even though I always know my two treat days NEVER turn out quite right. Luckily for me I chose two VERY simple recipes, but two also very much worth mentioning. The first I put Stephen in charge of- Snowman doughnuts. Three ingredients, five minutes of your time, and they are PRECIOUS... although for WHATEVER reason, Steve-o had some adorable "I'm-a-man-so-I-can't-be-creative" issues with them. The next are called "Grinch Cookies," which are essentially chocolate chip cookies with mint... but so much more. I bring you the HOLIDAYS... in blog form...

#48: Snowman Doughnuts (as found on I love fellow bloggers)


24 white powdered doughnettes (I'm not sure if that is how those mini-doughnuts are actually spelled...)
24 candy corns
Black icing in a tube


Place candy corn inside doughnut hole, with the orange and white end sticking up through the hole. Place black icing dots as nose and mouth.

Yeah, that's it. I think this takes the cake as the EASIEST "baking" project ever. It's not even close to something requiring baking though... so maybe it's more of a "craft" project. Regardless, it was ADORABLE watching Stephen trying to put black dots all over the doughnuts, especially because for whatever reason, he couldn't get the icing to stick to their surfaces. On top of that, when we left the doughnuts overnight in the Tupperware, the icing "bled," so all of the eyes and mouths were smudged. I forced the kids to all tell Stephen how "cute" the treats were though... so I think he got over his "failure" as a baker. Plus, they seemed to be a big hit, so score ONE for Miss Peters... and Mr. Baird.

This is a picture from Pinterest because in my excitement to finish school, I forgot to take ANY photos of the holiday party. Well played. Look how CUTE these are though!!

#49: Grinch Cookies (as found on


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
6 to 8 drops green food color
1 egg
1 cup creme de menthe baking chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks


1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.
     - I don't know what creme de menthe chips are. A lot of people who left comments about this recipe on Betty Crocker's blog said they chopped up Ande's mints and used those. I found a bag of mint chocolate chip chips from Tollhouse that worked amazingly. Also, I added a little more peppermint extract than what was called for in the recipe because I like a really minty cookie.
2. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
    - Teaspoon? Try tablespoon!
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
     - I actually ended up baking these for 12 minutes, because the bottoms got super crunchy, and the centers were still raw. Very strange. I also didn't like how the bottoms were so brown compared to the rest of the cookie... I'd have to play around with this recipe to see if I could prevent that next time.

YUMM-O. The dough tastes and looks just like mint chocolate chip ice cream... if I could somehow take the egg out of the recipe, I'd eat the dough all alone by itself!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

#47: Gingerbread Cookies

I love gingerbread. Or I did... in gingerbread lattes. I've never been a big fan of the treat itself, as usually whenever I did come across gingerbread it was stale or had chunks of actual ginger in it (and I'm sorry, but I usually hate chunks of ANYTHING in my pastries). The reason for this particular recipe actually started WAY BACK in April, when I first came up with the idea for this blog. After sharing my blog with Stephen's mom, she immediately turned to me, and with all seriousness in her voice said "You NEED to make gingerbread!" Now, I've never heard a request like that, but with my willingness to take on any sort of project, I agreed. With it being December, there is no better time, especially considering I found a recipe that AGAIN is all over Pinterest... and this is actually a really good recipe, no fooling. I'll admit though, rolling out cookie dough, remembering to dust EVERYTHING with flour to avoid stick... age, and then waiting to frost and decorate everything is TEDIOUS. I might just stick to pre-made dough for these sort of projects, ugh.

#47: Gingerbread Cookies (as found on


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg.
     - Molasses is GROSS. I didn't realize that until this recipe, because you use a ton of it. Even the sugar didn't help the taste... nothing like pouring tar into your cookie batter, yeah?

Yeah, that's tar! ... molasses!

Nope, not any better.

2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or not).

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

     - Okay, PLEASE, use tons of flour. Seriously. More frustration came from forgetting to dust everything EVERY TIME I rolled anything out, or cut anything, than anything else in this recipe. Seriously.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Cute? Yeah... they are.

6. Frost or decorate when cool.

Easy enough, but oh holy night, SO TIME CONSUMING. Ahhhh!! Mothers Baird better be pleased.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#46: Candy Cane Blossoms

I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I also love that this year I have a whole list of Christmas treats to make. I have BIG plans for this blog post-New Years, so I want to make sure I get in all of the sugary, buttery goodness I can as quickly as possible. Savor the holidays without any guilt, you know what I'm saying? ANYWAYS, the first weekend in December has brought with it an opportunity to harness my baking powers for good, so I quickly took out my laptop and scanned through my Pinterest account looking for a cookie that I knew would WOW the women of the branch. THIS is the best I could do. I wanted something festive, yet not overly complicated so I knew I couldn't mess it up. I still managed to, but the results were still deliciously edible. Here goes...

#46: Candy Cane Blossoms (as found on


1 bag Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

Bowl full of awesome.

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
     - This sugar cookie recipe isn't very sugary. Although obviously the gobs of colored sugar I added to the cookie prior to baking definitely sweetened them up, I'm not sure if this is a recipe I would use for just, straight sugar cookies... you know what I'm saying?

3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 - 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.
     - So many lies. First of all, NO, 12 minutes is the amount of time I kept them in. My parent's poor oven strikes again. Second, three minutes to wait isn't enough either. I placed the kisses in the center of the cookie after said time, and they immediately melted. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this mistake... subconsciously I think I didn't want to admit I am STILL a klutz in the kitchen.

There you go. SO CUTE. I have seen this recipe ALL OVER Pinterest, and it is worth making. My mom is even going to make this recipe again for our own family cookies, they're that easy and ADORABLE! Here are some pictures to prove it:

But I'm too silly to remember to take pictures of the cookies once they're COMPLETED, so here is the picture from the recipe: