Miss Beatrix Potter Hen

Miss Beatrix Potter Hen
Miss Bea posing for Mama!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fun Budget Savvy Date Night Ideas!

Creativity is the key to enjoying regular FUN date nights with your sweetheart while keeping your bank account happy and healthy at the same time! Romance doesn't have to be expensive, just romantic! So, say phooey to the current economy and give some of these simple, inexpensive, and creative ideas a go!

  • Go on a traditional picnic! Checkered blanket in hand, picnic basket stuffed to the gills with old fashioned goodies like fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, fresh fruit, cheeses, a jug of  sweet tea or lemonade and a scrump-deli-icious sweet dessert to cap off your meal and your set to go! Head on out to a nearby lake or park and enjoy! Simply enjoy each other's company, chatting away the hours while feasting on simple homemade delights. No reservations required! Who knows, picnicking may become a new dating tradition! 
  • Take a walk through a nearby historic town, browsing the quaint shops and wares. Many of these small towns are lit up at night which adds that special romantic touch to an already lovely evening! 
  • Stay IN! Wait until your young cherubs have turned out their lights and have your very own popcorn and movie night right there in your own family room. No worries about paying exorbitant prices for movie tickets, waiting in line, or missing the best part because you needed a bathroom break. And, you can smooch with your sweetheart in the privacy of your own theater!
  • Go for a "Sunday Drive" on a Friday or Saturday evening, throwing caution to the wind and just winding around the nearby back country roads. Of course if you live smack dab in the middle of a great big city, you may have to travel a bit to get to the peaceful countryside, but I guarantee you, it's great fun!
  • Take a hike through nature! Hold hands and chat about this and that as you admire the beauty and splendor of God's creation! Or, just be quiet and listen. Nature will play her own melodies for your listening pleasure! Perhaps, you have an eye for a perfect photograph...take along your camera and let nature take it's course!
  • Marvel at the magnificence of a museum's many treasures! Many museums offer free admission on Sundays! Be an art critic, satisfy your inner history buff, reminisce or ponder antique displays of days gone by, stare in awe at well crafted wax look-a-likes, or envision yourselves behind the wheels of Henry Ford's baby, the Model T!
  • Take up a mutually satisfying new hobby, activity, or sport together! Try your hand at tennis, photography, or kayaking! Perhaps, host a weekly Italian Cuisine night and create a new dish each week, reveling in the intoxicating smells, taste testing, and garlic's health benefits a plenty! Again, wait until the kids say goodnight, after all, those quirky Europeans do tend to dine a bit later than we do! Or maybe you're a natural at languages and have always wanted to learn the "Oh so very romantic" French language. These days you can find lots of online courses for free. So, Ooo La La get to it!
  • Volunteer together! While this activity offers you the chance to spend quality time together, it certainly gives new meaning to quality time!
  • For all you bibliophiles out there, why not host a Book Club for Two! Take turns choosing books or authors and settle down on the couch, with a pleasingly aromatic cup of your favorite coffee in hand and chat about the mysterious plot twists, the brave protagonist, the naivete of a victim, or an unexpected ending! 
Well, I hope one of these suggestions will find it's way into your dayplanner or perhaps, these ideas inspired a spark of creativity in you and you came up with your own unique budget friendly date night! I say, "Kudos to you-dos!"

Just keep in mind, that romance doesn't have to be expensive, just romantic!!!!!!!

Happy date night to you all!!!!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blueberry Scrump-deli-icious Buckle!

  I absolutely ADORE blueberries! I pop 'em in my mouth as a healthy snack, I mix 'em up in my morning bowl of Cheerios to add a bit of color and extra flavor, I bake 'em up in muffins for a yummy breakfast, brunch, or dinner side, and I add 'em in by the cupful to bake up the one, the only, the most delightful Blueberry Scrump-deli-icious Buckle! Yet again, another yummy healthy alternative to regular coffee cakes and other baked goods saturated in saturated fats and cholesterol!

1         Cup Sugar
4         Tablespoons I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or other Low Fat Butter or Margarine
1/2      Cup Fat-Free Milk
1/2      Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2         Egg Whites- lightly beaten
2 1/2   Cups Unbleached or All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2   Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4      Teaspoon Salt
2         Cups Blueberries- Frozen or Fresh
1         Teaspoon Cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Coat an 11" x 7" baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the
    butter or margarine. Mix until smooth. Stir in the milk, applesauce, and egg whites.
4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, the baking powder and salt. Mix well,
    then add to the milk mixture. Stir until just moistened.
5. Gently stir in blueberries.
6. Spoon into prepared pan.
7. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar and
    1/2 cup of the flour. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter/ margarine and cut in
     until the mixture is crumbly.
8. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture.
9. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories                   185
Fat                              3 g.
Cholesterol                  5 mg.
Carbohydrates           36 g.
Sodium                    115 mg.
Protein                         4 g.

In this house, blueberries definitely win the award for "Most Impressive Fruit or Berry" Plus, blueberries are chock full of oodles and oodles of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, now there's a vocabulary word for you. Phytonutrients or plant chemicals, not only help plants fight the big fight against bugs, fungus, and germs, but also help our bodies to work properly and prevent disease!

So, with all this in mind, get ready, get set, and go, go, go mix up a batch of blueberry goodness!!!

This recipe for Blueberry Scrump-deli-icious Buckle is adapted from Jeanne Jones'  Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy- 200 Classic American Favorites (All low in fat with the Original Flavor!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Healthy Delicious Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

For me, the end of August finds me daydreaming of the soon to come cool crisp autumn days with red, yellow, and orange leaves dancing in the breeze, sipping hot cocoa at football games, and reveling in the joys of harvest time! 

Ahh, harvest time is indeed upon us and with recipes in hand, I'm soooo ready to bake up some yummy muffins and sweet breads for those cool mornings yet to come or as a sweet side to a chilly chili night.

Enter Chocolate Zucchini Bread! As one of the more zealous garden vegetables, zucchini will definitely add a little zest to your baked goods and meals. Adding shredded zucchini to muffins, homemade pancakes or waffle batter, or sweet breads will give your recipes added moisture and a bit of extra texture, as well as, the added benefits of substantial doses of Vitamin C and Potassium to boot! 

This recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread is both deliciously sweet and happily healthy and makes 2 lovely loaves-one for now and one to pop in the freezer to accompany a meal down the road!

3       Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2    Cup Cocoa
2       Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2    Teaspoon   Baking Powder
2       Teaspoons Cinnamon
2       Cups Sugar
4       Large Eggs (feel free to substitute a couple of egg whites for 1 whole egg for less cholesterol)
2/3    Cup Fat Replacement (applesauce, Greek Yogurt, or canned pumpkin puree, etc.)
2       Teaspoons Vanilla
4       Cups Shredded Zucchini

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Spray (2) 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, fat replacement, and vanilla until well blended.
5. Stir shredded zucchini into the sugar mixture.
6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened.
7. Pour the batter into the pans.
8. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool in pan, then transfer to a wire rack for additional cooling.
10. Store wrapped in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information:                                                    
Calories             150
Protein                  3 g.
Carbohydrates    23 g.
Fat                       6 g.
Saturated Fat        1 g.
Dietary Fiber         1 g.
Cholesterol         26 mg.
Sodium               94 mg.

This recipe was adapted from the original found in The New Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Cookbook!
Thank you Holly for giving us weight watching folks such yummy and sweet alternatives!

So, go ahead and serve up some chocolaty goodness for breakfast, brunch, as a yummy snack for your children, or as a sweet to eat side on a chilly autumn evening! Any way you serve it, this Chocolate Zucchini Bread is bound to be a hit!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Yummy Low Fat Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...mmmmmmm! With that "Oh so special"  blend of nutty peanut butter and sweet creamy chocolate, they're simply delicious! Pop some in the refrigerator for a bit and they are such a cool treat on a hot summer afternoon! And, because of their scrump-deli- icious-ness, they definitely earn the rights to the that old potato chip adage that encourages us to eat a few because "... you can't eat just one !"Unfortunately for those of us with a hankering for these luscious little sweeties,just one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is not only loaded with oodles and oodles of sweet flavor, but contains much too much of the bad stuff like fat and cholesterol. So, my health conscious friends, have I got a treat for you!
Enter, this Yummy Low Fat Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie! It's simply a cool Reese's in a glass! And, I guarantee you that from your very first sip you'll fall madly in love with this slim and frosty version! So grab a spot in the shade on your favorite chaise and while away the hours sipping with a good book! Cool never felt soooooo good!


3 cups Vanilla Flavored Soy Milk (or use regular low fat milk)
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups Ice
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 teaspoon Salt


Combine in blender until the ice is crushed and your sweet smoothie is smoooooth and delectable!!

Nutrition Information:

Calories:              366
Fat:                     14 grams
Saturated Fat:       2 grams !!!
Protein:               15 grams
Carbohydrates:    50 grams
Fiber:                    4 grams
Sodium:             388 grams
Cholesterol:           0 grams !!!

The absolute best thing about this yummy smoothie is it's versatility! Whether you whip it up as a sweet start to your day with a favorite muffin on the side or as a great light meal for lunch, brunch or even dinner, be sure to savor every sip! Or give it a go for an afternoon snack or energy pick-me-up with it's whopping dose of 15 grams of protein!
Perhaps,go ahead and be daring and revamp this yummy smoothie and make it with Low Fat Vanilla Frozen Yogurt instead of milk and use real peanut butter for a frosty summertime shake for your children! Remember though, that you won't need to add in the honey as a sweetener because the frozen yogurt's already sweet enough!! Add this smoothie to your "Winter Wonderland Celebration" from my earlier post, Smiling Summertime Scholars-FUN Activities that Educate!

Feel free to play around with the recipe and perhaps you and your family will create your own unique creamy smooooth concoction of deliciousness that will be the hit of the summer! Be wary though, concoctions such as these tend to become family favorites and may get requested over and over and over and over yet again!!!!