Merry Christmas! Catching up…

December 30, 2011

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

We stayed very busy the weeks prior to Christmas trying to keep our Christmas gift to our parents top secret.  The weekend before Christmas we attended my brother’s fundraiser and unfortunately my mom discovered this little guy.


Meet Riley Reed!  He is a puggle (beagle/pug mix) and pretty much the most amazing dog.  He is a biter and a lover.  His favorite activity is to eat.  He has bear paws and he likes to play with anything that has four legs.  Especially our cat…but the feelings not mutual.

I guess you can guess how our Christmas was spent….cuddling up with this guy followed by tracing his every move to ensure he did not pee on our new blanket, eat a box of Sees candy, or corner Gracie while she makes growling noises we have never heard before.

I also wanted to share some new and exciting recipes!  One recipe was inspired by the Panini/Griddler press that I won at my company holiday party!  BEST.DRAWING.PRIZE!

Ham-Goat Cheese-Fig Butter Panini

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Bread: (2)  Pieces of Sprouts Multigrain

Inside: (2) Pieces of Healthy Ham from Trader Joes, 2 T. Goat Cheese, 1 T. Fig Butter

Directions: Turn on panini press (or you can do this on a griddle pan or regular pan). Butter one side of both pieces of bread.  Turn bread over and spread goat cheese and fig butter on either piece of bread.  Then pile ham on one piece of bread and sandwich together (butter sides should face out). Once panini press is warm, place sandwich on the griddler and press down for about 5 minutes.  Otherwise brown in pan for 1-2 minutes per side.

This is a light sandwich that could be enjoyed by itself at lunch or paired with a minestrone soup for dinner. 

Another recipe comes at you because of a birthday!!! My boyfriend celebrated his golden birthday this week and I made his favorite apple cake.  Because we were on sugar overload because of all of the treats on/before/after Christmas, I decided to make a personal size cake in a rammekin.  I also healthified the recipe a bit.  If you want to make this cake in a normal cake pan, you can trip the ingredient list. 

Apple Cake

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1 C. Flour, 1/2 C. Sugar, 1/2 C. Applesauce, 1 t. baking powder, 2 T. orange juice, 1 egg white, 2 small apples or one large (preferrable green, but I used honeycrisp), 1 T. Cinnamon, 1 T. Sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Peel and chop the apples into small slices.  In a small bowl coat the apples with the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. Combine the first 6 ingredients, but whisk in the oranje juice last.  Spray a small 4″ rammekin with non-stick spray.  Pour 1/2 of the batter mixture into rammekin.  Layer on 1/2 of the apples evenly.  Add remanining batter and then top with other half of apples. Place in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Allow to slightly cool then remove cake from rammekin and serve on a plate facing right side up so the apples are visible.


This cake easily serves two people.  The cake is pretty dense so even a small slice satisfies.  I recommend serving warm with a side of maple syrup for dipping or vanilla ice cream.

The last recipe is one that I found on Skinny Taste for

Tuscan White Beans, Shrimp & Feta.


The recipe can be found at the link above.  Trevor was NOT excited about this dinner, in fact, he asked what other proteins we had that I could make.  I told him everything else was going to take a while to cook and seeing that it was late, we agreed to make the shrimp dish.

This dish turned out SO GOOD!  Trevor and I both went back for more.  Even thought it’s shrimp, it still felt hearty and filling because of the beans.  We are both big fans of spinach and feta so I think that added to the liking factor.  I highly recommend making this because it was ready in about 20 minutes and only required cleaning one pan (and two plates :)! 

Here is the recipe:


  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I only used 1/2 pound since I was just making it for two people)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage (I didn’t have sage, so I used dried oregano)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 oz crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese


Heat 1 tsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp until just opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat and add onion, garlic and sage; cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally until golden. Stir in vinegar and cook 30 seconds.
Add broth, bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Stir in beans and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in shrimp. Top with feta cheese and divide in 4 bowls (I had a bit of leftovers from serving just two).

Try this out on a night when you don’t have a lot of time.  It’s also an inexpensive meal especially if you are willing to devein the shrimp yourself!

I hope you all try out one of these recipes! 



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