Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a great option for whole wheat, especially if you have someone in your family opposed to whole wheat (Dan). The pb flavor masks the whole wheat. These cookies are soft and crumbly and oh so delicious. And, if you really want to use white flour, that's ok too.

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture. Chill for 20-30 mintues. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Drop by rounded tablespoonfulls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 mintues. Let cool on wire rack.
Makes 5 dozen.

Julie & Julia

I choose this movie as an antidote to the Hurt Locker, which I was coerced into watching with Dan. Thankfully, it was the perfect counterbalance. How relieving and refreshing to watch a movie where no one dies or loses a limb or even bleeds. Sigh ...
Do you ever feel like you are watching a movie about your life? That's how I felt watching Julie and Julia last night. Not that I am an accomplished cook, like either of the title characters. (Although I do love making yummy things in the kitchen) Rather, I felt that the movie addressed a very serious issue in my life, but did so in a funny, lighthearted, and encouraging way.
The movie follows two story lines, first Julie a 29 year old would be writer stuck in dead end temp jobs. Julie, trying to find some meaning in her life, decides to "cook her way through," Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and write a blog about it. The second story is of Julia Child's journey to discover her passion for cooking and teaching others to cook.
What I loved so much about these true stories is that both women were older when they found their "groove." I love that message. We are never too old to find something we love or to reinvent our lives.


Homemade Veggie Pizza

This dough recipie is fast and simple. You can use it with any toppings, but these are our favorites!

Makes two pizzas

Pizza Dough
2 TBS Yeast
2 TBS Sugar
2 cups Warm Water
4 cups Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 TBS Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Ranch Dressing
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 – 1 ½ Lbs. Cheese, grated
½ zucchini, thinly sliced
1 can artichoke hearts
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ red onion, chopped
½ cup spinach, chopped
1 each red and green bell peppers chopped

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add flour, salt, and oil. Mix well. Let dough rise until doubled, about an hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal if desired. Divide dough in half. Roll out on a well oiled surface and place on pizza pans. (Cookie sheets work just as well)
Add garlic to ranch dressing and spread over pizza crusts. Sprinkle with ½ of the cheese. Add veggie toppings evenly, going all the way to the edge of the crust. Add the other ½ of cheese.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes, but check after 20 minutes as bake times may vary. Cheese should be completely melted and crust just starting to turn golden. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Tag Team

If you know me, then you know I love my friends and I love blogs. I especially love my friend Becca’s “food blog.” In quotes because it started out as a food blog and has now evolved into a blog about everything healthy. I highly recommend reading Becca’s blog because she really takes the time to research subjects and then put them into practice. Having a friend like this is great for me. I try to surround myself with people who know what they are talking about because, while I like learning new things, frankly I’d rather just take your word for it. Life is too short for me to spend researching the pros and cons of everything. And 9 times out of 10 Becca and I are on the same page about things, especially health and fitness related things. When I tell Dan that I learned something from Becca he just shakes his head and says, “You and Becca just like to tag team, don’t you?”

To read Becca’s blog, click here: A Word of Wisdom


Three Cups of Tea

Yes, I know this book came out a while ago, and yes I know that the sequel is already in bookstores, but it's ok. I have never been one to follow the very latest trends. You're talking to a girl who JUST discovered Weezer.

Anyway, This book is absolutely wonderful. (Until you get to the last few chapters) The story follows Greg from his failed attempt to climb K2 (One of the tallest and most dangerous Himalayan Mountains) to his journey to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Besides the fact that I would be doing something like this if I had never married, the book is well written and easy to follow. The author gives plenty of background and doesn't elevate Greg to sainthood, but shows his weaknesses as well. Plus, Greg was in Pakistan when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and during 9/11.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone who is interested in how one person's influence can truly make a difference in the world.

Cute Little Yoga Instructor

Tuesday and Thursday nights are Yoga Class at the PFC on post. The class is free to military and dependents, so I don't have to cut this treat out of my budget! I love yoga. I really believe that it can have great fitness, health, and mental benefits. I relish the opportunity to breath and focus on the moment, letting go of all my cares and worries. Thankfully, I have wonderful husband who volunteers to watch my sweet baby while I have some much needed Michelle Time. This yoga class is at the perfect level for me too: it's more challenging than just stretching, but I can still do most of the poses.

So, who's the cute little yoga instructor I mentioned in the title? Me. In my imagination. One of my life goals is to become a yoga instructor. Can't you just see me in my cute little yoga clothes, leading a class? My absolute dream job would be to teach prenatal yoga and childbirth preparation. So, yesterday I got on online and planned out a course of study to get my associates degree and yoga teaching certification from Salt Lake Community College. Just looking at the spreadsheet I created makes me so happy. I'm going to be back in Utah in April and I would want to start classes right away.

Now I just have to figure out how I can go to school. Right now I can't see how it would work. Dan's going to be taking 15 credits a semester to finish his bachelor's degree in two years. Plus, he's thinking about working part time for the Utah National Guard. Then there is sweet baby Ethan. Right now I can't think of a way to watch a baby, work full time to pay our bills AND go to school. There has to be a way ...


Healthy Fat

Today's post is on my favorite healthy eating topic: Healthy Fats. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these foods because they are so good for you and so satisfying. One of my biggest pet peeves is the notion that you have to eat 'diet foods' or gross healthy sounding foods to loose weight. No wonder people go for the bag of cheetos.
We are bombarded with messages in advertising about Low-Fat foods. Practically all labels of prepackeged foods claim to be low-fat or reduced fat. That must mean they are good for us, right? The truth is that these foods may actually casue more problems than they solve. Lets look at the facts.


  • In the 1960s, Americans ate 45% of their calories from fat – and only 13% of us were obese. Now, while most of us get only about 33% of our calories from fat, 34% of us qualify as obese!
  • The human body uses healthy fats to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes, and lungs.

  • People following traditional Mediterranean diets, which are very high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil, tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • When manufactruers take out fat they have to add something to make you think their product still tastes good. Want to guess what they add? Sugar.

  • Not all fats are created equal.
  • When we cut out essential fats from our diets, we naturally turn to high calorie foods, which leads to packing on the pounds.

So, what are healthy fats?

As a general rule, look for Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats. Omega3 fatty acids are a type of Polyunsaturated fat you have probably heard a lot about. Your body can't make this beneficial type of fat, so you have to get it from food.

Stay away from Saturated and Trans fats; these increase your bad cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Your body can make enough saturated fat so you don't need to include it in your diet. Many processed foods are very high in Trans fat. This is a great reason to cook at home and buy foods in as unprocessed a form as possible.

Now my favorite part ... EATING HEALTHY FATS!

My favorite sources of healthy fats include:
  • Salmon
  • Almond Butter
  • Avocados
  • Olive Oil
  • Soybeans
  • Flaxseeds
  • Olives
  • Pumpkin Seeds

For further information or to see where I got my facts, visit these websites:





New Year

This year Dan and I are doing a makeover on our lives. We have been talking about this for a while, but didn't have the motivation to start. We finally decided to get our butts in gear on Christmas Eve. I once heard someone say that people don't change until they can't stand the way things are anymore. That moment came for us, standing in the car dealership, unable to pick up our car because we couldn't pay for the repairs. All three of our credit cards were maxed out and we had $40 in the checking account. There was no healthy food in our house and we were out of shape and just generally a mess. Thankfully, we have wonderful family members who were able to loan us the money to pay for the car repairs. But, on the way home we promised each other that we were going to change and never come back to this place.

Our New Year's resolutions are about being healthy and wealthy. They are intertwined and work together to hopefully achieve some big changes this year. I am going to use this blog to chart our process.



In addition, we will be focusing on "going green." Yes, you read that correctly. I will elaborate in a future blog post. Wish us good luck on our journey into 2010!