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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Low Fat Sesame Peanut Snow Peas {Only 2 WW Points}

In our house vegetables are a given.  We all like a variety of fresh or frozen vegetables and we work hard to keep at least 1-2 servings with each meal.  We do however get tired of preparing the same old ways every time so I adapted a classic to make these Low Fat Sesame Peanut Snow Peas.  Not only are they delicious and low fat, but if you are doing Weight Watchers they figure in at only 2 Points per serving!  While typical vegetables steamed or broiled would count for only 1 point or less per serving, the extra point is well worth it for the flavor punch you get in these.



LOW FAT SESAME PEANUT SNOW PEAS


INGREDIENTS:
2 Cups Snow Peas
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoons PB2 Powder Mixed with 2 Tablespoons Water (will be thin)
1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds


DIRECTIONS:
  • In a large skillet heat oil, garlic and snow peas for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Mix in sesame seeds and prepared PB2
  • Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until all snow peas are coated well and heated through. 
  • Remove from heat and serve.  
  • Makes 4 servings

Instead of using my traditional crunchy peanut butter, I substitute the PB2 into this dish which is far lower in fat and calories, but still packing a lot of flavor.  If you want to mix in 1/4 cup chopped peanuts for added crunch it is a great boost of protein for just a few more calories, but not necessary to give the flavor you are looking for.

These pair great with our Broiled Dill & Caper Salmon or our Weight Watchers Sesame Chicken for a low fat, low calorie and yet tasty and satisfying meal. 

11 Frugal Mother's Day Gifts


Each year we strive to honor our mothers and the mother figures in our lives by dedicating one special Sunday to them. Mother's Day is just around the corner and for some of us that means finding just the right gift for our own mother, our spouses mother and even those women who have impacted our lives like a mother would or our childrens step mothers who help us raise them. Since this can be quite costly we have come up with a great list of 11 Frugal Mother's Day Gifts that are perfect for any woman. Many of these are things that you won't even have to spend any money on. Others are items that will only cost a small amount of money, but will bring pleasure and joy to that special woman in your life. Honor your mother or mother figure this year with one of these fun and creative gift ideas. 



11 FRUGAL MOTHER'S DAY GIFTS


  • Deep Clean Her Home. You can come in with supplies in hand and just make it happen, or you can present a handmade voucher letting her know that at her convenience you will come in and do a deep clean for her. Baseboards, ceiling fans, the works.
  • Make Homemade Body Butters Or Salt Scrubs. Treat her to some custom pampering by grabbing a bottle of her favorite scents or essential oils and whipping up some coconut oil and shea butter for a luxurious body butter or mixing some Epsom Salts with oils and pouring in a decorative jar for a great bath soak.
  • Give Her A Manicure & Pedicure. This one is especially fun for the kids to help out with if you have little girls. Grab some new polish and a manicure set and settle her down for a little one on one pampering session. If you have daughters to help let one of them give her a foot massage while you paint her nails.
  • Cook Her A Special Lunch. Does she always feed your family after church on Sunday's? Why not take the burden from her by cooking all of her favorite dishes and serving her like the Queen that she is.
  • Plant Flowers In Her Garden. Pick out a special rose bush, tree or simply some beautiful flowers and plant in her garden for her. Save her knees, back and budget by swinging by once a week to weed and water them as well.
  • Create A Scrapbook Of Her Romance. Conspire with your father if he is still living, and pull together pictures, cards, letters and other memorabilia to create a custom scrapbook of their romance and time together. Ask him to write a special note to include talking about how she has been a great mother to his children.
  • Make Her A MixTape. Yes, even mom loves a good mix of music. Download her favorite music for a great custom playlist or CD that she will love. Whether she prefers classical, musicals or old school rock and roll you can't go wrong with a great mix of songs that remind you of her and that bring a smile to her face when she hears them.
  • Make A Video Message From Her Children & Grandchildren. This is especially great if your family lives apart from each other. Message all of your siblings, nieces and nephews and have everyone submit a special video message with a special word of love or a memory of her.
  • Make A Mom's Cookbook For Her. Fill a journal or type and have bound a cookbook full of your favorite recipes she has cooked through the years. Leave space to add new ones or ones you forgot that she remembers for later.
  • Take Her On A Lunch Date. Pick a bistro, cafe or fun local place she enjoys and take mom on a date. Let her pick where to eat, what dessert you'll go have and even take her to a museum, art gallery, concert or movie afterwards.
  • Ger Her A Custom Locket or Necklace With Her Kids & Grandkids Initials or Birthstones. If everyone in the family will pitch in this can be a very inexpensive gift to give together. There are tons of options on lockets, necklaces, bracelets or pins that can be customize to include birthstones, initials or simply a few charms that remind her of her family.

While none of these 11 frugal Mother's Day gifts are terribly expensive, they are rich in love. Each one can be customized to suit your mother and her tastes. Mom's don't need flashy gifts or expensive things to know they are loved. Give her the gift of your love, appreciation and something from the heart and she will cherish it forever.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Broiled Dill & Caper Salmon

I hear all the time how people just don't know how to cook fish, or that it doesn't taste good or seems complicated to make.  I have learned that I love certain types of fish because not only do they taste great but they are easy on my diet.  Not only is this Broiled Dill & Caper Salmon delicious it is super easy to throw together at the last minute.  We typically buy the large bags of frozen Atlantic Salmon fillets due to ease and cost but you can do the exact same thing with a fresh cut of Salmon from your seafood department at your local grocer.  Don't be afraid of fish.  It is simple to cook and a great option in your diet. 


BROILED DILL & CAPER SALMON

INGREDIENTS:
4 4oz. Salmon Fillets
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Dill
1 Tablespoon Capers

DIRECTIONS:
  • Spray cookie sheet or baking stone with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix cayenne, salt, pepper and dill together and sprinkle generously on all sides of fillets
  • Place fillets onto baking stone and sprinkle with capers 
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. 
  • Turn oven to broil and cook for additional 5 minutes
  • Depending on thickness of fillet may need to adjust cook time by 3-5 minutes.  
  • Make sure to watch while on broil to ensure fish is browning but not burning. 

For added flavor in this recipe you can easily cook the Salmon over cedar chips or even toss it on the grill wrapped in foil to steam it.  Salmon is a very forgiving fish and pairs well with pasta and cream sauces, but if you are watching your calorie intake we recommend serving alongside some brown rice with fresh steamed vegetables and a little teriyaki sauce for a really tasty and satisfying meal.

What To Pack For A Beach Vacation


You've booked your summer vacation for a favorite beach setting, but now is the hard part. It's time to start thinking about what you need to prepare for the trip, and that is where these tips on What To Pack For A Beach Vacation will come in handy. Not only is it a great checklist, it has a few tips on what you might want to tuck into a bag that wouldn't immediately come to mind when you think about beaches. Some of these will be the usual items you always think of, and others will be new reminders of what might come in handy that you hadn't thought about. 



WHAT TO PACK FOR A BEACH VACATION
  • WATERPROOF SUNSCREEN: No matter what skin tone you have, or how great your tan already is, sunscreen is essential. For protection against not only sunburn but skin cancer later in life slathering on a generous amount of sunscreen from head to toe prior to a beach visit is essential. You'll find that local swim shops will have higher prices so grab some before you leave home.
  • ALOW VERA GEL: You're prepared with sunscreen but you always want to pack some aloe just in case. Inevitably there will be a spot or two that ends up with a bit of burn and aloe is a great way to sooth and help heal the burn. It is also great for moisturizing those little guys and gals whose skin might become chapped due to the wind on the water.
  • WATER SHOES: Sandals and flip flops are common beach wear but we find that water shoes are a better choice for kids and adults when there is much walking to do going back and forth from beach to car. Water shoes protect your feet from rocks, sticks, etc. and are also less likely to slip around if your feet are wet from coming out of the water. Fewer accidents and better support is well worth wearing them.
  • EXTRA TOWELS: Your resort, hotel or condo may have towels for you to use but your own beach towel from home will be preferred. Not only are resort towels often not as large, you will want something you don't have to worry about returning.
  • GEL ICE PACKS: Although you my have a cooler and ice along for the day to keep your beverages and snacks chilled gel ice packs are a great item to keep in your cooler as well. They help with accidents, sooth sunburns and help keep things colder for longer periods of time.
  • EXTRA BAGS FOR WET THINGS: Pack some plastic shopping bags or a “wet bag” to be used for wet towels, t-shirts, shorts and swim suits for those car rides from the beach to where you are staying.
  • JACKETS: Sure it will be hot when you are in the sun but evenings are almost always chilly on the beach. The wind and water will cool the air and you'll find yourself in need of a light weight jacket or fire on the beach to stay warm.
  • COLLAPSIBLE CHAIRS: The sand is fun to sit on but those collapsible chairs that you can haul in little matching bags are a great investment and easy way to stay comfortable while enjoying the sun.
  • EXTRA SWIMWEAR: You have that one great suit you love to wear but when you are going to the beach you really need at minimum 2 swimsuits. One to wear while the other is drying.
  • HAND SANITIZER & SANITIZING WIPES: There aren't always bathrooms with soap available so going prepared for anything with sanitizer is always a smart move.
  • LARGE BRIMMED HAT: Nothing shades your face and neck quite like a large brimmed hat. Very important for shade and preventing burn.
  • TRASH BAGS: Whether it is the bits of paper left over from lunch or treasures found on the beach a few trash bags are always handy to have when going to the beach.
  • LOOSE LIGHTWEIGHT CLOTHING FOR LAYERING: Even though you'll be in the water most of the time it is nice to have loose lightweight clothing to put on top of your suit when out of the water. It is also helpful
  • SUNGLASSES: Grab cheap sunglasses for everyone in the family. Make sure they have UV protection, but don't spend a lot on these because they are easily lost or broken and you don't want to feel bad if that happens.
  • WATERPROOF POUCH FOR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS/EMERGENCY CONTACTS: Grab a waterproof pouch to keep on hand with a list of emergency contact information, a photograph of everyone in your group and information on where you are staying. It's important to have this on hand should there be an accident or separation between yourself and your kids.

This is just the beginning of what to pack for a beach vacation, but serves a great starting point and checklist to help you stay on top of things when planning and packing. You don't want to over pack, but you do want to be fully prepared for everything that might come your way. Remember when traveling with children that more is always best.

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