Where’s the Beef?

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CAJUN STEAK WITH APRICOT ORANGE GLAZE

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PREP TIME
10 mins
COOK TIME
40 mins
TOTAL TIME
50 mins

Author: Jen@CarlsbadCravings.com
Serves: 6 servings
INGREDIENTS
1-2 tri-tip roast(s) (3 – 4 lbs.), also known as triangle steak or bottom sirloin cut*

Marinade
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Cajun Spice Mix

Cajun Spice Mix
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon EACH paprika, smoked paprika, brown sugar, onion pwdr, chili pwdr
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon EACH dried basil, thyme, black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon salt

Apricot Orange Glaze
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon reserved Cajun Spices
INSTRUCTIONS
Spice Rub/Marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the Cajun Spice Mix. Add 3 tablespoons to a freezer size plastic bag along with all of the Marinade ingredients. Whisk together. Pierce steak all over with a fork and add to marinade. Massage marinade into steak and seal bag. Marinate 8-24 hours, turning bag occasionally. Store remaining Reserved Cajun Spice Rub in a sealed container/bag.
When ready to grill, remove 1 teaspoon Reserved Cajun Spice Rub and add it to a small saucepan for your Apricot Orange Glaze. Whisk all remaining Cajun Spice Rub with 3 tablespoons olive oil and rub all over steak while it comes to room temperature – 30-60 minutes. (There will seem like a lot of rub which is a good thing)
Grill: Grease and preheat grill to 400 degrees F. Sear roast for 3-5 minutes per side, cover, and turn heat down to 350 degrees F. Grill for 15 minutes, flip, cover, and cook an additional 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your steak cut and how well done you want your steak. Watch closely that your temperature stays around 350 degrees F.
Check for doneness with a meat thermometer inserted right in the middle of the steak. Thermometer should read: 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees F for medium. The outside of the roast will get quite dark with a charred crust which is exactly what you want with this cut of steak.
Remove steak from grill, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing THINLY across the grain. Serve with Apricot Orange Glaze (recipe follows).
Apricot Orange Glaze: While the steak is grilling, whisk together all of the Apricot Orange Glaze ingredients in small sauce pan with reserved 1 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until reduced and thickened.

Log on to: http://www.carlsbadcravings.com for more yummy recipes!

“we rise by lifting each other” GraceFace

©Carlsbad Cravings Original

7 Foods that Boost Your Mood

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Here are some of my favorite happiness-creating, mood-boosting foods:
By Dr. Axe
For recipes, please click on the link at the end of the message

1. Avocado

Avocado benefits are far-reaching, particularly in the brain department. In fact, you’ll find them on nearly every healthy-eating list I create — and with good reason. This superfood is loaded with benefits ranging from protecting your heart to helping with digestion, but it’s also a great pick for improving your mood. Avocados are natural hormone balancers, ensuring your brain is making the right chemicals needed for keep it feeling great. If I had to recommend just one food to eat to feel happier, this would be it, the mood-boosting avocado. It’s the No. 1 food to eat to feel happier.

Try it: Satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy all of avocados’ benefits with my Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe.

2. Grapes

Juicy grapes are the ultimate take-along snack, but these powerful little fruits are also handy when you want to feel better. When you look at grapes nutrition, you see they are packed with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which have been found to affect mood. (3) While you can get some of the antioxidant benefits from red wine, which is made from grapes, alcohol is a known depressant. Keep your spirits up by eating the fruit in its natural state instead.

Try it. This hearty homemade Chicken Salad recipe includes a serving of grapes, but feel free to serve extra on the side.

3. Shiitake mushrooms

This meaty mushroom has more to offer than just taste. Upgrading your normal white mushrooms to this Asian variety brings a variety of nutrients to the table, including vitamin B6. While the entire B vitamin complex family is critical to ensuring our physical and psychological functions operate normally, B6, also known as pyridoxine, is particularly great for improving your mood and feeling good.

Because vitamin B6 impacts the production of serotonin and neurotransmitters, healthy B6 levels are associated with a positive mood and reducing stress naturally. (4a) It’s also been proven to effectively treat mood disorders like depression. (4b) Plus, shiitake mushrooms are a delicious addition to meat-free meals thanks to their texture and ability to soak up sauces and taste. Mmm.

Try it: My Vegan Sushi mixes shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower rice and some tasty veggies for a vegan-friendly sushi that everyone will enjoy.

4. Raw nuts

It’s time to go nuts. That’s because these bite-sized foods are loaded with healthy benefits that will leave you smiling. Nuts are full of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that’s in short supply when you’re depressed. (5) Nuts are also full of antioxidants and healthy fats. I’m a fan of walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews — just be sure to be mindful of how many you eat. While they are healthy, nuts are also high in fat and calories, so a handful or two is usually the right amount.

Try it. These Salty Lime Roasted Nuts combine sea salt with maple syrup for a sweet and salty snack you can eat on the go.

5. Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is one of the best foods for both your mood and brain health. This lean protein contains double your recommended value of vitamin B12. Getting enough of this vitamin is crucial to warding off depressing and staying mentally healthy. (6)

One study found that patients with the highest vitamin B12 levels were most successful in combatting depression. (7) Salmon also packs a punch of mood-stabilizing essential fatty acids. These bad boys keep your brain operating in tip-top shape by helping you producing the right chemicals so you can turn that frown upside down. (8)

Try it. This Salmon Stir Fry recipe comes together in minutes and pairs my favorite fish with a heap of fresh veggies.

6. Sesame seeds

Not just a topping, sesame seeds are powerful in their own right. This ancient crop has been keeping happy levels up for thousands of years. Its benefits stem from tyrosine. This amino acid boosts the brain’s dopamine levels, kicking the feel-good hormone into high gear, while balancing out the others. Pretty impressive for such a small seed!

Try it. Sprinkle sesame seeds on salad or in smoothies. You can also roast them and make this Tahini recipe, a delicious alternative to the usual hummus.

7. Strawberries

Last in this list of mood-boosting foods? Probably the most beloved of berries: the strawberry, which proves the berries are rich in an array of vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A and C and manganese. Because of this, strawberries serve as a strong line of defense against brain degeneration, while also boosting the happy chemicals your brain produces. And who can argue at how good they taste?

Try it. My Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Seed Pudding is dairy-free, full of berries and makes an excellent breakfast or dessert.

Mood-Boosting Foods: 7 Foods for Greater Happiness

Honey Dip

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“My son, eat thou honey, for it is good”                                              King Solomon, Proverbs 24:13

Honey, one of the oldest sweeteners on earth.  It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus. Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients.

BEAUTIFUL SKIN: Its anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing.

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder…wow!

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol. COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it’s delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root. GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age.

REDUCE COUGH AND THROAT IRRITATION: Honey helps with cough, particularly buckwheat honey. When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

WEIGHT LOSS: Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

Different honeys have different flavonoids profiles, depending on the floral source of the nectar. If you want to get the goodness from your honey, make sure it is pure and raw.  Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes not present in refined honey.

“My son, eat thou honey, for it is good” King Solomon, Proverbs 24:13

It’s A Green Thing

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“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”                                                                                   1 Corinthians 10:31

A couple of months ago when my Nutribullet arrived from Amazon, I dived head first into the juicing and smoothie craze.  It has had an amazing impact on my journey for healthy mind, body and spirit.  I have a lot more energy, my digestive system is happy, my skin is happy and the few pounds that I have lost are just an added bonus.  I usually try to have at least one green smoothie a day and my 2nd smoothie will still include kale and or spinach, but various berries that alter the color from green.  Pictured above are the ingredients that I mix with water and ice for my daily basic green smoothie. Listed below are just a few “green” recipes that I have tried to keep it exciting and from becoming monotonous.  For that extra boost, you can always add a touch of cinnamon, fresh or dry ginger, cashews, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, etc.  The sky is the limit.  Enjoy! ~P

Pina Colada

Pina-Colada-Green-Smoothie

INGREDIENTS


2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut flakes, unsweetened (optional)
3 cups pineapple, fresh

Tropical Mango-Rita Green Smoothie

TropMangoRita_Logo_560

Ingredients


2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup coconut water, unsweetened
1 orange, peeled
2 cups mango, frozen
1 cup pineapple, frozen
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime slices for garnish
Coarse salt for rim of glasses (optional)


This tropical smoothie is so yummy, it’s hard to believe it’s packed full of nutrients that does a body good.  This tropical fruit combo packs a big Vitamin C punch and the coconut water base will keeps you hydrated all day long. Oh, and coconut water is great for replenishing lost electrolytes.   // serves 2

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Peachy Green Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 orange                                                                                                          1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 banana
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)

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TROPICAL SKIN CLEANSER GREEN SMOOTHIE


Antioxidants help to prevent and repair damage to body tissues, our skin included. Vitamin C is one of the greatest antioxidants we have available, and it’s abundant in pineapple. The addition of avocado brings with it other skin-specific nutrients such as vitamins E, A and zinc. In fact, you could probably use this smoothie on your face as a beauty treatment! // serves 1

INGREDIENTS


1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup coconut water, unsweetened

1 cup pineapple, frozen

1/4 avocado

DIRECTIONS


1. Blend spinach and coconut water until smooth.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

*Use a frozen fruit to make smoothie cold

10 Foods that does a body good

The 10 Healthiest Foods on the Planet
These 10 superfoods are proven, expert-beloved disease fighters and energy boosters. Add them to your meals and get on the fast track to a super-healthy body.

 

 

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Healthy Food #1: Lemons
Why They’re Healthy:

— Just one lemon has more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones.

— Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Quick Tip:

Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. One study found that citrus increases your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants in the tea by about 80 percent.

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Healthy Food #2: Broccoli
Why It’s Healthy:

— One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C — two essential bone-building nutrients.

— The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.

Quick Tip:

Zap it! Preserve up to 90 percent of broccoli’s vitamin C by microwaving. (Steaming or boiling holds on to just 66 percent of the nutrients)

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Healthy Food #3: Dark Chocolate
Why It’s Healthy:

— Just one-fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.

— Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels.

Quick Tip:

A dark chocolate bar contains about 53.5 milligrams of flavonoids; a milk chocolate bar has fewer than 14.

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Healthy Food #4: Potatoes
Why They’re Healthy:

— One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate — about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli.

— One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.

Quick Tip:

Let your potato cool before eating. Research shows that doing so can help you burn close to 25 percent more fat after a meal, thanks to a fat-resistant starch.

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Healthy Food #5: Salmon
Why It’s Healthy:

— A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease, and cancer.

— A 3-ounce serving contains almost 50 percent of your daily dose of niacin, which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

Quick Tip:

Opt for wild over farm-raised, which contains 16 times as much toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) as wild salmon.

 

walnut and leaves

Healthy Food #6: Walnuts
Why They’re Healthy:

— Contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts.

— Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage, too (but don’t skip the SPF!).

Quick Tip:

Eat a few for dessert: The antioxidant melatonin, found in walnuts, helps to regulate sleep.

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Healthy Food #7: Avocados
Why They’re Healthy:

— Rich in healthy, satisfying fats proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22 percent.

— One has more than half the fiber and 40 percent of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Quick Tip:

Adding it to your salad can increase the absorption of key nutrients like beta-carotene by three to five times compared with salads without this superfood.

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Healthy Food #8: Garlic
Why It’s Healthy:

— Garlic is a powerful disease fighter that can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli.

— Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.

Quick Tip:

Crushed fresh garlic releases the most allicin. Just don’t overcook; garlic exposed to high heat for more than 10 minutes loses important nutrients.

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Healthy Food #9: Spinach
Why It’s Healthy:

— Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health.

— Recent research found that among cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective.

Quick Tip:

Spinach is a healthy — and flavorless — addition to any smoothie. You won’t taste it, we promise! Try blending 1 cup spinach, 1 cup grated carrots, 1 banana, 1 cup apple juice, and ice.

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Healthy Food #10: Beans
Why They’re Healthy:

— Eating a serving of legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by 22 percent.

— That same habit may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Quick Tip:

The darker the bean, the more antioxidants it contains. One study found that black bean hulls contain 40 times the amount of antioxidants found in white bean hulls.

Cheesy Veggie Bake

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Cheesy Veggie Bake

Ingredients

4 large zucchini squashes
Salt
4 large eggs
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites)
1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt (certified gluten-free if necessary)
Black pepper
2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups kale, torn and lightly packed
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 10-inch Cast Iron skillet with cooking spray. Set aside.

Using the 6mm blade on your spiralizer. Spiralize the zucchinis, so that they turn into long noodles.

Place the zucchini into a strainer set over a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes, stirring around every so often.

While the zucchini noodles sit, whisk together the eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Add in the Greek yogurt and a pinch of pepper and additional salt. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Once the zucchini has sat, squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Then, transfer the zucchini noodles onto a paper towel and dry off, again, as much as you can.

Stir the zucchini noodles, broccoli, kale and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese into the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake until the eggs feel set and begin to slightly pull away from the side of the skillet, about 40-45 minutes. Turn your oven to high broil and broil an additional 2-3 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1/8 of dish

Per serving: Calories: 164; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 121mg; Sodium: 301mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 16g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 678mg; Iron: 8%; Vitamin A: 48%; Vitamin C: 114%; Calcium: 40%

Article printed from Hello Healthy: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com

URL to article: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/cheesy-veggie-bake/

Fall Back & Pump-kin Up!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer — from savory to sweet, the options are endless. It’s finally pumpkin season, and the reasons to celebrate are many.

Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above and more, it also packs some powerful healthy perks — like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check, as long as you take it easy on the sweets, that is.

Below, are a few favorite health benefits of pumpkin.

1) Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp
2) Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss
3) Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
4) Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk
5) Pumpkins Protect The Skin
6) Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
7) Pumpkins Can Help After A Hard Workout
8) Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/pumpkin-health-benefits/

For a healthier way to add pumpkin into your diet, adding pumpkin chunks to a roasted vegetable medley, or sprinkling pumpkin seeds on top of your salad. You can also try pumpkin puree in place of nut butters as a spread. And for an energizing morning smoothie, blend a high-quality vanilla protein powder with coconut milk, chia seeds, pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.

Other than pumpkin seeds and pumpkin muffins, I’ve never been much of a pumpkin lover, but the recipes below and the health benefits have definitely sparked my interest and taste buds.  Although pumpkin-laced desserts decrease in the health benefits, these recipes look and sound too yummy to resist!  I can’t wait to try them all.  Because GraceFace is all about “trying to get it to healthy” a few substitutions have been made to lighten the calories and the sugar content.  If you have any other healthier alternatives to making these treats even lighter, please feel free to share with us!

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Pecan-Crusted Pork with Pumpkin Butter

1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans
3/4 cup bread crumbs
4 (1/2 inch thick) boneless pork chops
1/4 cup oil for frying

Whisk together pumpkin puree, apple juice, sugar, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the mixture has reached the consistency of applesauce. About 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse pecans and bread crumbs in a food processor until the pecans are finely chopped. Pour into a shallow dish, and press pork chops into the mixture to coat.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded pork chops and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve the pork chops with a dollop of pumpkin butter.

 

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Enchiladas

Yield: 9-12 servings

1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed
18-24 Flour tortillas
6 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Caramel sauce

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between the tortillas. Roll each tortilla up and put on serving plates. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Brush the mixture over the rolled tortillas. Top with caramel sauce.

 

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This recipe is fairly simple to make. If you’re looking for a great Fall recipe, be sure to give these Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars
Printable recipe
Yield: 18-24 bars

For the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

For the cheesecake layer:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2½ cups Lite Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-in. baking dish lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine first 6 ingredients crust ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, shortening and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Press the dough into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in the whipped topping.

When the crust has cooled off, spoon the cream cheese mixture into crust. Level with an off-set spatula or the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake bars in refrigerator.

 

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Decadent Pumpkin Muffins
Original recipe makes 24 muffins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
4 egg whites
1 egg
2/3 cup water
1 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper muffin liners.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, white sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg whites, and egg. Blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the water, to form a smooth batter. Fold in the raisins. Transfer to the prepared muffin pan.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

CHEERS!!! Delish Summer Drink!!

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I am always looking for a refreshing summer drink and my new favorite is Ginger Beer. Ginger Beer is a non alcoholic crisp and refreshing libation. I have only purchased Ginger beer but I did find a reciepe online and will try in the future to make my own.

Non Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Makes about 3 cups of ginger beer base or enough for 15-20 servings.

1/2 pound fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1-2 cups purified water

1/8-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/1-1 cups raw agave nectar or honey

candied ginger, optional

sparkling water or club soda

Combine the prepared ginger root along with the purified water in the bowl of a high powered blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend or process for about 3-5 minutes.

Strain the ginger pulp through a fine mesh strainer or a strainer lined in wet cheesecloth. Use a spoon or ladle to press all of the liquid through leaving only the dry pulp.

Return the pulp back to the blender or food processor along with another cup of water and process for another 3-5 minutes.

Repeat the straining and discard the remaining pulp.

Add 1/4 cup of the freshly squeezed lime juice along with 1 cup of raw agave nectar to the strained ginger juice. Blend together. Do not add additional agave or lime until after you have sampled the mixture with soda.

In a 10-12 ounce highball style glass, measure 1-2 ounces of the ginger base. Add about 7-8 ounces of sparkling water or club soda, stir, and taste to make any adjustments.

If you prefer a sweeter base, add more agave. You can even add sugar or blend in some candied ginger for a considerably sweeter gingery drink.

If you want it to be more citrusy, add more lime juice. Be careful not to add too much lime as it might interfere with the gingery nature of the beverage. Add only a little at a time until it is just to your liking. Another option for additional lime essence without overwhelming the base with juice would be to serve the brew with a twist of lime run around the rim of the glass before serving.

Store the ginger base in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze in ice cube trays for individual servings ready to go.

When serving, mix drinks individually or make a pitcher for a larger crowd.

Cheers

*Ginger root is great for you as a metabolism booster as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory where regular consumption of the root has been proven to help reduce and alleviate the pain and swelling associated with chronic ailments.

A new twist on watermelon!!

I love watermelon!!! It is low in calories and refreshing ( 1 cup is  only 45 calories).  Now I hate water,  but I am learning the importance in drinking water daily. I have been trying different drinks to replace drinking my favorite PEPSI.  Today I ran across this recipe on skinnytaste.com and decided I would share it with you. I am going to try this tonight. Cheers!!!

Agua De Sandia (Watermelon Water)

Can’t think of anything more thirst quenching that this on a hot summer day like today – chilled watermelon pureed with water, a squeeze of lime juice over a large glass of ice. Agua fresca is as common in Mexico as ice tea is here in the States. And BONUS, since watermelon is naturally sweet, there’s no need to add any sugar!

Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene and a great choice for it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits, so eat as much as you can, before the summer’s over.

I’ll drink to that!

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OH YUMMY!!!! Healthy Hawaiian Blizzard 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 1 banana 1/4 cup ice cubes 2 teaspoons honey, optional pineapple wedges, for garnish Directions In a blender, combine the pineapple chunks, coconut milk, banana, ice and, if desired, honey. Puree until smooth. Pour into 2 large glasses. Garnish each serving with a pineapple wedge.

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Banana Bonkers Original recipe makes 6 servingsChang 3 bananas 3 cups fresh grapefruit juice 2 cups lemon sherbet 1 cup crushed ice Directions Puree bananas in a blender or food processor. In a gallon pitcher combine pureed bananas, grapefruit juice, lemon sherbet and crushed ice. Stir and serve

.   imageimage Raspberry  Coconut Smoothie Needed: Unsweetened coconut flakes, greek yogurt, coconut water (frozen in ice cubes), fresh raspberries, 1/2 frozen banana. Optional: Truvia. Directions: For the coconut layer blend 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 6 coconut water cubes. Add to glass and rinse blender. Next, blend 1 cup raspberries (frozen if possible), 1/2 a frozen banana and 1/4 cup greek yogurt. This layer will be very tart. If you prefer a sweeter taste add 1 teaspoon Truvia before blending. Add to glass. Garnish with coconut flakes. Enjoy!

 

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Ideas for flavoring your water

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Spice up your light lemonade and iced tea!

 

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