Low fat brownies for your sweetie

Need a quick and easy last minute dessert idea for tonight?

Pick up a box of Reduced Guilt brownies from Trader Joes and a small container of fat-free vanilla yogurt. Bake according to the directions.

Allow to cool.

Cut into twelve squares. Plate and top with Reddi wip, and

sprinkle with love.

Each brownie has about 13o calories, zero grams of fat and 26 carbs.

Reddi wip in 15 calories per serving.

Sprinkles are calorie free :)…well maybe not really but today they are.


Dulce Maria


Blackberry Surprise Granola Bars

Do you like chocolate..and oats…and blackberries?

If so then you should make these granola bars today.

I’m always buying granola bars at the grocery store and one day not long ago thought to myself. Self: “what if I made my very own granola bars?” I could save money and determine exactly what goes into the mix. I found a recipe at Eat Live Run for yogi trail mix bars and knew if Jenna made it then they had to be good. The original recipe called for 1 cup of honey, 2 tbsp granulated sugar and 1/2 cup oat bran, three ingredients I did not have. Since my car was buried thick in ice and their was now way I was going to put on real clothes to dig myself out, the only thing to do was improvise.

In the very back of the cupboard I found a jar of blackberry whipped honey. I purchased the honey on a bright summer day at the local farmers market. Oh how I miss the good old days.

At the time it was a pure impulse buy and had know idea what I was going to use it for.

Wildflower Ridge Honey from Anderson, Indiana

I’m glad I bought it though it was nice substitution for regular honey. Instead of oat bran I used wheat bran, and instead of sugar I was forced to use three packets of Splenda (gasp) . I know…who doesn’t have sugar in their pantry? A girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do. I needed to bake and I needed to bake now.

Blackberry Surprise Granola Bars


1/2 cup whipped blackberry honey (or 1 cup regular honey)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup dried cranberries (dried blackberries would be awesome!)

1/2 cup wheat bran

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 tbsp granulated sugar (or three packets of Splenda if you absolutely have too)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt


1. Combine the honey, vanilla, salt, sugar and peanut butter in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stir occasionally, cook for about four minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cranberries, wheat bran, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds.

3. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss well.

4. Add the chocolate chips and fold together, do not overmix.

5. Press the mixture into a lined nine-inch pan and pat down.

6. Chill in the refrigerator for and hour, or until firm, cut into bars.

Even though you don’t actually bake the bars, still put on an apron, grab a spatula and twirl around the kitchen.

Red Velvet Cupcakes


Valentines Day is just around the corner and if you’re looking for a special recipe to make for your hubby, boyfriend, son or daughter or anyone else whom you admire. Then these cute little cupcakes are just what you’re looking for.

I have never quite understood the infatuation with red velvet cake. The idea of putting a whole bottle of Wilton’s food coloring into otherwise perfectly fine cake batter has never sounded appealing.  

It wasnt until recently that both my daughter and hubby proclaimed their love for the dark red cake. In an effort to make them happy and see for myself what all the fuss was about I decided to do my own research and bake a batch of  red velvet cupcakes from scratch.


I’m glad I did, otherwise I would be missing out on a rich velvety cake with a creamy icing.

Trust me these cupcakes are good and well worth the consumption of a little red dye. Like the English poet Thomas Gray says: “Where ignorance is bliss,/’Tis folly to be wise.”

In other words: “Ignorance is bliss, bake these cupcakes today, don’t worry about the dye or even the calories for that matter.”- Maria

Did you know?

  • During World War II when ingredients, bakers would use boiled beets to enhance the color and flavor of their cakes.
  • Many bakers believe the additional ingredients of vinegar and buttermilk will turn the cocoa into a deep red color.
  • Using traditional cream cheese frosting adds a dramatic contrast to the actual color of the cake.
  • Legend claims a woman staying at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City loved the cake so much, she asked the baker for the recipe. After receiving the recipe in the mail with a rather large bill in the amount of $100.00. She was so furious she began circulating the recipe to everyone she knew for free. Much like the famed Neiman Marcus cookie.

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

source: Annie’s Eats

Makes 24


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. cocoa powder (a must)

1 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid food coloring

1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp.

 distilled white vinegar

cream cheese frosting*

Tools to have on handy:

cupcake pans, 24 cupcake liners ( I used dark  ones from cake create. You can find them at most baking stores, try Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma.), 1 medium bowl, electric mixer, bowl and whisk attachment, rubber spatula, whisk, wire rack, measuring spoons, sifter.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa power and salt; whisk until just blended.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. About 1/3 cup.

6. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cake comes out clean. About 18 minutes.

7. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting


8 oz. cream cheese

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted


1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth. About 2-3 minutes.

2. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated.

4. Chill frosting for 5-10 minutes before using.




In a pinch? A fresh off the treadmill glow!

This is going to be a really random post. Part this blog to express myself and talk about things I love. A few of those topics in no particular order.

  • food (well duh)
  • health
  • fitness
  • family
  • love
  • yoga
  • fashion
  • makeup

I was reading Kaths post the other day about organization and noticed that her makeup box compared to mine is tiiiiiny. Now I don’t know about you all but my makeup stash is twice that size.

Just to add to that stash I went shopping for lip gloss and ended up walking out of Sephora with this.

 Iv’e read really good things about NARS especially their best selling blush in orgasm (where do they come up with these names?).


Allure describes it as a pinky peach color (pinch)? A fresh off the treadmill glow! Count me in!

After getting home and experimenting with the products, I thought to myself “Did I really need all of this”? Of course not but I did need lip gloss remember and that was whole reason I went to Sephora in the first place.


The blush is awesome, the lip gloss not so much. It leaves glitter stains! Ugh, what’s a girl to do!?  So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t buy this lip gloss, stick to what you know. I think I’ll be taking everything back and punching the blush separately.

Do you have a favorite lip gloss? Have you ever tried buxom?

Now for the rest of yesterday meals:

Snack: 6:00 pm

Small sbux coffee (not my fave but it did the trick) and a small apple, while waiting for L.a’s choir practice to be done.

Dinner: 8:00 PM

The wine was only $5.99 a bottle at Whole Foods. It was very good. I had one glass while cooking and another with dinner.


The photographer went a little crazy.

Clearly I was enjoying myself.

Okay that’s enough!


Chicken quasadillas with salsa, pea avocado (I’ll explain later) and tortilla chips on the side.

His plate

Her plate 

 If you look real close you’ll notice the burnt edges. actually they all turned out that way on one whole side I just flipped them over so you couldn’t see it. Note to self: Learn how to use the broiler

They tasted really good though thanks to some awesome tortillas and hot salsa, both from AZ.



 Still no dessert waiting for Wednesday nights dinner outing.


the tortilla makes the burrito

Best tortilla ever! This tortilla really makes the burrito/taco whatever you want to call it.

I brought some of these delicious tortillas home with me from my recent trip to Arizona. They are by far the best store-bought tortilla I have yet to find. My mom knows how to make a mean homemade tortilla, but hasn’t done so in a long while (hint, hint). In the meantime these will do just fine.

Taco Tuesday Wednesday was a black bean burrito, with lots of vegetables.

For Beans


  • 1 can black beans rinsed
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peppers
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, carrots, and corn blend
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper


1. Cook onion in a medium pot just until tender. Add garlic, stir frequently.

2. Add beans and cook until tender, mash lightly.

3. Add frozen vegetables, stir.

4. Add cumin, salt and pepper.


For Rice


  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • juice 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp cilantro


1. Cook rice in water, lime juice, and cilantro until done, about 30 minutes.

2. Add to bean mixture

Fill warmed tortilla with rice and bean mixture top with shredded cheese or nutritional yeast.

Tortilla chips (my weakness) on the side with regular salsa. I’ll be having some hot New Mexican salsa as soon as we finish the open jar we already have.

Working tomorrow at 0700


Mornin Monday

I’ve been craving green spinach of all forms lately, I think it has something to do with it’s iron and calcium properties. This morning I decided to blend some up and put it in my pancakes.


It was really good, I promise.

I’m pretty sure the sneaky chef has some kind of recipe called spinach puree, that she adds to various dishes.

For my cakes:

I added 1 cup baby spinach and 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries to the blender and blended until just smooth.

I added the mixture to 1/2 cup of kodiac pancake mix and 1/2 cup water.

The batter was a little thick but cooked nicely on the griddle. The color of cakes were a nice brown.

Kodiac pancake mix is super easy to use. You don’t have to add, milk, eggs, or oil, just water. You could always substitute milk for the water if you like.

Originally I was going to add cocoa to the mix but decided it would be better to top the cakes with Nutella.

Oh yeah, Nutella baby.

Thank you Sara and Eric for getting me hooked on this stuff. Really 🙂

I got L.a to cautiously take a bite, and have to say she did not love them, but hey you can’t win fool em all. Maybe next time I’ll add some cocoa just for her.

I topped my cakes with nutella, vanilla yogurt, and a sprinkle of almond granola.

This has inspired me to make spinach cupcakes. Drool.

I really think you’ll like them.

Have a great Monday!


Saturday’s 3 mile run was fun and easy. I ran on the treadmill covering 3.29 miles at a 9’55” mile pace. My gym has the new Nike treadmills wich I absolutely love. The tread is smooth, and soft, and the stats seem pretty accurate. I also like the fact that I can hook up my i-pod and record my runs. Sometimes when I use older machines especially at hotel gyms I feel like I’m running 100 miles per hour and getting no where.

For lunch I made that new dinner recipe.

to do:

  • workout (always, always, always, make your workouts a priority. write em down, schedule them in, do whatever you have to do to make yourself accountable.) done 1/4
  • bake cupcakes for the little aprons birthday done 1/5
  • make granola done 1/4
  • clean refrigerator done 1/4
  • balance checkbook done 1/5
  • new dinner recipe done 1/8


I made this dish once before using a few different ingredients,  this one is the best. Maybe it’s the champagne vinegar I found at Target. I was actually looking for balsamic vinegar and white wine, so when I found the combo I figured it would be cheaper and taste better.

Artichoke pasta


  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • 1 small yellow onion,  chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tri-color pasta
  • 2 chicken breast, cooked (optional)
  •  1 tbsp evoo
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • dash s + p


1. Cook pasta according to directions.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. Add artichokes, mushroom, garlic, and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Cook until artichokes are tender, 7-8 minutes.

3. Add champagne vinegar, and simmer. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup past water, and sun-dried tomatoes.

4. Add cooked pasta and chicken.

Place on a bed of baby spinach and enjoy! 

I never made it on the ice yesterday, too busy entertaining.  I had my final piece of dessert for the week, and few kernels of pop corn.

The fam and I were invited to a co-workers home to have dinner, play catch phrase, and watch the Colts game.

 I’m sorry to say the Colts lost to the New York Jets 17-16 😦

The spread was amazing. Fresh fruit and veggies, salads, and some good ol comfort food as well.



My plate:

Fruit, veg, salad, texas caviar, texas toast, pork roast (shared), and a smear of mashed potatoes. Yes, that is a diet Pepsi you see. I figured since the hostess doesn’t drink alcohol, and I already used up all my deserts. A diet Pepsi would have to do. A girl’s gotta have some fun after all. I also had a diet squirt, haven’t had let alone seen one of those in forever.

 Q. How do deal with taking pictures at other peoples homes?

I do it all the time at restraunts, and sure the little old lady sitting at the table across from me might look at me and think I’m bizarre. But I’m getting used to it. I just pretend I’m under cover doing research for a restraunt article.

My family has gotten used to the five second pause before each meal. And I’m even figuring out ways to keep my food warm or cold depending on the dish.

Not very many people know about “The Fitted Apron”, and since this is so new to me I wanted to know your thoughts?

New Recipe: Apricot Granola

 I wanted to make this granola last month but never got around to it, I’m glad I waited till now.  The original recipe called for dried cranberries , which is fine, but I felt it was lacking something.  After cleaning out my pantry I found a bag of dried apricots, and decided to chop them up and add them to the finished product. The apricot adds a nice pop of color and flavor that reminds me of spring.  I guess I’m eager for  sunshine and spring blooms. Until then, this mix of granola will have to do. I hope it brightens up your mornings or snacks.

Apricot granola surprise:

Inspired by: Quaker

makes about 6.5 cups or 13 1/2 cup servings.


  • 4 cups Oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except cranberries and apricot; mix well.

3. Spread evenly in 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

5. Remove granola from oven; stir in cranberries and apricot. Allow to cool completely in pan. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.





You can divide the recipe in half if you want to make a smaller portion.

Double your pans to prevent burning and stir frequently.

Nutrition: per 1/2 cup about 203 calories, about 10 g fat, about 27.5 carbs.

write em down

write em down

i’m like a big ball of energy today,  there’s so much i want to do and get done. must be the optimism of a new year. as i was trying to figure out how i would get everything done i thought hmm. “maybe i should start with a to do list”.

to do:

  • workout (always, always, always, make your workouts a priority. write em down, schedule them in, do whatever you have to do to make yourself accountable.)
  • bake cupcakes for the little aprons birthday
  • make granola
  • clean refrigerator
  • balance checkbook
  • try a new recipe for dinner

What’s on your to do list?

remember this soup and how said it was awful? well it was. i have a better soup for you that i think you will like.

many times when i get home from work i’m not able to eat until 9:00pm.  i usually opt for something light and easy, either a smoothie or bowl of soup.

since it’s been so cold lately i’ve been reaching for the soup. this is one of my favorite soup creations.

Maria’s tomato soup:


  • 1 cup low sodium tomato soup (trader joe’s, or pacific brand)
  • 1 serving meatless meatballs (about six)
  • handful of baby spinach
  • red pepper flakes
  • parmesan cheese


1. Cook the tomato soup and meatless balls until warm.

2. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.

3. Top with red pepper flakes and parm cheese.

on the side, a slimwich bun grilled with a string cheese.

 i wasn’t in the mood for dessert last night, how’s your challeng coming along?

breakfast this morning was a bowl of filling cereal.

  • 1 cup natural toasty o’s
  • 1/4 cup cascadian farms vanilla almond crunch
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp apple butter
  • a few black berries and raspberries
  • 1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
  • dash of coconut
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

the texture variation was fun to eat.

happy tuesday. off to cross of the first thing on my to do list.

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year 2011

We went to our annual New Years Eve party at our dear friends home. Jason and Holly were such gracious hosts.

I made these beauties for the occasion:

Creme Chantilly in store-bought fillo dough shells topped with strawberries and chocolate shavings.

Chocolate pastry cream topped with creme chantilly, and raspberries.

Vanilla pastry cream topped with blackberries.

They flew off the platters in a blink of an eye. There may have been some pushing and shoving involved.

So glad I got to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer. This was my favorite gift from the hubby, truly a foodies dream.

 To make the cream.

Creme Chantilly (whipped cream)


  • heavy cream, chilled 1 qt
  • powdered sugar 3 oz
  • vanilla extract 2 tsp


1. Pace the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Using a chilled balloon whisk, whisk the cream until slightly thickened.

2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla , continue whisking until the cream becomes smooth and light. Do not overwhip.

The cream can stored for several hours in the refrigerator. If the cream begins to soften, gently rewhip as necessary.

 Goals for 2011 include:

  • Attend the Healthy Living Summit (again)
  • Attend a local blogger conference
  • Become a stronger blogger
  • Become certified in PiYo
  • Run two half marathons
  • Join a running club
  • Eat in more, eat out less
  • Host a dinner party
  • Develope healthy recipes


Toast, salud, chin chin !