No-Fat Cookies

2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup applesauce
½ cup honey
¼ cup raisins, optional

Powder oats in a blender or food processor. Mix with remaining ingredients. Drop heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375° F for 9-10 minutes.  Remove to cooling rack.  Makes 2 dozen.

Easy Healthy Cooking

So much for not gaining weight on prednisone.  **sigh**  Every pound I lost before vacation last year came back and brought a few friends.  My rheumatologist said not to worry, that it will come off just as easily as it went on.  Then again, she’s not the one with no clothes that fit!

For now, as I continue my taper (down to 8mg), I’m trying to be extra-cautious of what I eat so that I don’t gain any more weight.  To that end, last night’s dinner was grilled chicken breasts and steamed green beans.  This is a very easy recipe that tastes delicious.  The chicken is also good sliced and served on Caesar salad.

1 C salad/cooking oil
1/2 C lemon juice
2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tbsp mustard
1 clove garlic, minced (optional – I usually don’t bother)
1 family-pack boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (or ziplock bag).  Marinate for at least one hour, not more than a couple days.  Grill.  Cook veggies or prepare salad while meat is grilling.

Hope life is treating you well!

Let There Be Cake

It’s so much fun when a bunch of ladies gather to share tips.  My church had such a party recently.

  • Someone from a nursery came with a ton of plants and taught us how to design container plantings.
  • Another person taught a lesson on bread making (I was amazed that there are people who don’t know how to make bread, but there were).
  • We got to see how easy it is to make lip balms – simple ingredients, not necessary to decipher all those chemicals on the side of an expensive tube.
  • My daughters helped me teach some basic cake decorating skills.

It was tons of fun.  Instead of doing a demonstration where people just sat and watched, my daughters and I made some samples ahead of time.  First we decided that due to the fact that it had been a while since any of us had done anything like this, we needed to make a practice cake.  I didn’t get a good photo of that one.  At least I had the sense to make it chocolate flavored so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it!  It turned out reasonably well, so next we turned our attention to creating samples for the class.

For the class, we lined the samples up down the center of the table where everyone could see them, then on a plain cake, I demonstrate one technique at a time and allowed everyone time to practice doing it.  We’d taken a couple dozen pastry bags filled with frosting, so there was plenty to go around.  We even had enough rose nails for everyone to try.

To illustrate pure white, my daughter decorated a white cake with roses, leaves, etc. – all in white:

Then she did the exact same techniques using colored frosting:

I illustrated basketweave and a different type of flower. It ended up looking like something out of the 70’s:

We also showed how easy it is to do something very basic, then throw a couple figures on top of the cake.  $3 for decorations and $1 for cake, instead of $40 for the bakery to make the same thing.  This one, and the cake at the top, were simple examples.  Normally you’d write “happy birthday” or “go team” or “welcome home” or something in the middle of the cake instead of leaving that space empty:

To wrap things up, we had a cake with some simple roses and matching ribbons swooping along the sides.  Maybe not the best ribbons we’d ever made, but people got the idea of how it’s done.

Everyone had a great time practicing, and when they thought they had the hang of it, we gave everyone a couple cupcakes to decorate and take home.

For those of you not trying to lose weight, the frosting recipe is:  2 cups butter, 2 pounds powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp liquid.  Liquid varies depending on type of cake.  My favorite is lemon juice, but water or orange juice will work, too.  Or probably anything else.  On chocolate cake I like to use the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries in the frosting.  For white frosting, use white shortening instead of butter and add 1 tsp clear butter flavoring and 1 tsp clear vanilla extract (found in cake decorating stores).

Making the samples with my girls was the most fun we’ve had together in ages.  I realized that we’re doing too much work and not enough playing together. 

Hope you have a great week.  Don’t forget to play!