Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recipe: Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

Fall just makes me want to eat pumpkin.  Unfortunately, many delicious pumpkin things (pie, bread, cookies, muffins, donuts, ice cream -- the list goes ON and ON) are sugary, fattening, calorie filled guilt on a plate.  Well -- great news!  I have figured out a guilt free way to have all of that pumpkin-y spice-y goodness without all of the fat and calories.  Pumpkin Pudding Parfaits!

If you make this into little parfaits, they are so darn cute -- but let's be honest, it tastes just as good if you throw it all into a little bowl and call it a day.  Enjoy!


1 box sugar free fat free instant vanilla pudding
1 cups skim milk
7.5 oz canned pumpkin puree (1/2 of a small can)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 - 2 cups light Cool Whip
4 low fat cinnamon graham crackers
1/4 cup Planter's cinnamon pecans


  1. Prepare pudding according to package directions.  Be sure to whisk for the full two minutes as the box instructs to ensure creamy texture.
  2. Whisk in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
  3. Allow to set up in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes (longer is better).
  4. In 4 small glasses (I used juice glasses), spoon in about 1/3 cup of pumpkin pudding, spreading with a spoon to create an even layer.
  5. Next, add a layer of cool whip, followed by the last layer of pumpkin pudding.
  6. Top with a dollop of cool whip and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers and pecans.
  7. Enjoy immediately while graham crackers are still crunchy.

Servings:  4 parfaits
Nutrition Info:  Calories - 130, Fat - 3g, Dietary Fiber - 3g, Protein - 6g

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recipe: Pesto Crusted Fish

A couple of weeks ago at work, we had this AMAZING pesto crusted salmon left over from a meeting.  I have wanted to recreate the recipe ever since, and decided to give it a try with tilapia.

Three 6oz tilapia fillets (or salmon, or whatever fish suits your fancy)
3 tbsp prepared pesto (I used Classico Original Basil Pesto)
3 tbsp 100% whole wheat italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Place fish fillets on baking sheet and sprinkle with black pepper.  No salt is needed as pesto and parmesan cheese are both pretty salty.

In a small bowl, combine pesto, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese (hands or a fork will do).

Divide the topping evenly over the fish fillets, spreading with your fingers and pressing into the fish.

Bake for 10 minutes, then switch to broil to crisp up the crust for the last 2-5 minutes.

If the middle of the fillet flakes with a fork and is completely opaque, it's time to dig in!

Serve with steamed broccoli and brown rice pilaf for a healthy dinner.

Nutrition Info (per 6 oz fillet):  Calories - 236, Fat - 7g,  Carbs - 5.25

Recipe for Rice Pilaf (kind of) to follow in a later post!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

diy Gift : Personalized Pyrex

So.... the time has come... my friends have started to get married!  Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I'm unable to spend as much money as I'd like to on wedding gifts.  I have found that if you put some time and work into a gift and make it personal, it tends to be much more appreciated anyways!

When I found a tutorial from Make It and Love It for Glass Etching, I had to give it a try for my lovely friend Sarah and her to-be husband Josh!  I decided to write out my own instructions, because I don't have a Cricut cutter like Make It and Love It used.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Pyrex bakeware (I got a 2 piece set from Target)
  • Clear contact paper
  • Print out of the design you want to etch into the Pyrex (Make sure you print in mirror image, so the reverse of how you want the design to show up on the bakeware.  I had to reprint mine after this picture because I forgot)
  • Exacto Knife
  • Masking Tape
  • Paint brush
  • Armor Etch cream (A bit pricey from Michaels' but a little goes a long way!)

Print out your desired design.  It's best to choose a font that is fairly basic so it is easier to cut out with your Exacto knife.  I found a larger leaf pattern and used Photoshop to simplify it and make it easier to cut out, then arranged the text and graphic in Microsoft Word to print.

Make sure you print a mirrored image of your design.  If you're using a Mac, click Print, in the Copies&Pages dropdown, click Layout.

Check the "Flip Horizontally" image to print in reverse.

To make the "stencil," cut a piece of contact paper and affix it to the bottom of the Pyrex dish in the location you want to etch your design.  Make sure there are no bubbles.

Again, make sure you print out your design in reverse so that when you look at the dish from the top, the name reads correctly.  Tape the printed design over the contact paper.

Cut out each individual design/letter with the Exacto knife, being sure to cut through both the paper and the contact paper.  Go slowly and be very careful.  If you make a wrong cut, you'll have to apply a new piece of contact paper and start over on that letter.

After you have cut out the shape, use the Exacto knife to lift the edge of the shape up, and peel it off.  On letters with holes, like "D," be sure to leave the center of the letter in place.

Continue on until you have cut out the entire pattern.

Remove the masking tape and paper, leaving the contact paper "stencil" in place.  Flip the dish over to see what the pattern will look like right side up.  At this point, use your Exacto knife to smooth out any rough cuts.

Use a paint brush to liberally apply the Armor Etch cream to the stencil, being very careful to avoid contact with your skin!  This stuff can eat through glass -- let's not see what it does to skin.  Make sure you keep the cream inside the edges of the contact paper to avoid unwanted etching along the edges.

Apply the cream to the entire stencil and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  The Armor Etch bottle says to wait 5 minutes, but I felt that the longer time produced a better "etch."  As it sits, the cream will tend to goop up in certain places -- so you can move it around with your paint brush if you'd like.

After the 15 minutes is up, rinse off the cream with warm water and admire your new, personalized, Pyrex dish!  A lot of work goes into it, but if you take your time, the results will be fabulous :)

Enjoy, Sarah and Josh!  May you live happily ever after and never lose your Pyrex :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini

Let's just get this out of the way -- I LOVE ZUCCHINI.  I use it in recipes every chance I get!  The first time I made Stuffed Zucchini, I got the idea from (well, at the time it was still Recipezaar), but I couldn't find a recipe that I loved.  So, I made my own!  Serve with whole wheat spaghetti, a nice salad, or both!

3 medium/large zucchini
24oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
20 oz. extra lean ground turkey breast
1/2 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg white
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Spread about a cup of the spaghetti sauce into the bottom of the pan to keep the zucchini moist as they bake.

Cut the ends off of the zucchini.

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise.

Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out of each zucchini half to create zucchini boats, reserving the pulp.  Place zucchini in pan.

To make the filling, place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl.  Chop the zucchini pulp and add 1/2 cup to the ground turkey.  

I decided to add this in as I felt bad wasting it!  You could reserve the rest to use in place of oil for baked goods.

Remove the seeds and ribs from the red pepper and jalapeno and finely chop.  Dice onion as well and add these to the bowl.

Add in egg white, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper.  Mix to combine -- don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!  I've found that's the best method.

Divide the filling among the zucchini.  Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may have extra filling, but it works really well for stuffed peppers as well, so just find something else to stuff!

Cover the zucchini with some of the remaining spaghetti sauce -- I didn't end up needing the entire jar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Then cut into the meat to make sure it is no longer pink in the middle.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

The finished product!

Nutrition Info (per 1/2 zucchini):  Calories - 210, Fat - 3g, Carbs - 18, Fiber - 3.5

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recipe: Red Wine Sangria (Bobby Flay Remix)

When I was searching online for a sangria recipe, this Red Wine Sangria I found from Bobby Flay got amazing reviews!  But... it wouldn't be like me to follow a recipe exactly now would it?  So, here's my variation.  My apologies, I didn't think to take pictures while I was making it -- but it is really simple to make!

3 bottles cheap red wine (I used Fisheye Merlot)
1½ cups brandy
¾ cup triple sec
1½ cups orange juice
1½ cups pomegranate juice
¾ cup simple syrup, or more to taste (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)
4 oranges
3 apples
2 peaches
1.5 cups fresh raspberries
cinnamon sticks
Squirt soda

In a large airtight bowl, combine wine, liquors, juices, simple syrup, and a couple of cinnamon sticks.  Slice 2 oranges and 2 apples, then add to bowl.   Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

If desired, remove soaked fruit and cinnamon sticks before serving.  Dice remaining 2 oranges, 1 apple, and 2 peaches, and mix in a small bowl with the fresh raspberries.

To serve, add a scoop of the fruit mixture to a glass with ice.  Fill with sangria and top off with a splash of Squirt.

(You could just serve the sangria with the soaked fruit, as is traditionally done.  Add any other fruits you like!)

Mod Podge Magnets

While browsing Pinterest one day, through a series of clicks to different blogs, I stumbled across a blog called Two Girls Being Crafty.  There was an awesome tutorial for these adorable DIY Glass Magnets, so I decided to give them a try myself!  In the tutorial, they used scrapbook paper, but I decided to use some fabric I found.  These magnets are going to make excellent (cheap) gifts :)

Here's what you'll need:

  • Glass Gems (You can usually find these large ones at Joann Fabrics or Dollar Tree)
  • Fabric with a print that you like (I bought 6 inches of each print and had plenty left over)
  • Mod Podge
  • Small paint brush
  • Magnets (also purchased at Joann fabrics)
  • E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive (or any other kind of strong glue)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors (fabric shears work best)

Move the glass gem around on the fabric until you find a design that fits.  I of course needed to take advantage of the Penn State fabric I found.

Trace around the gem so you have an idea of where to cut.

Cut out each design and match up with the gems that fit best.  Trim each fabric circle to fit if necessary.

Paint the back of each gem with Mod Podge.

Place the fabric on the back and add another coat of Mod Podge to secure it.

After the Mod Podge has dried, add a drop of glue to the center of the back.

Press a magnet into each glue drop and hold it in place for a few seconds to make sure it won't slide around.  Allow these to dry completely before trying them out on the fridge!

Here are the finished products -- all ready for Christmas gifts, and 4 months early at that!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Glazed Expressions

Let me first say that I absolutely LOVE paint your own pottery places.  My first experience was in Pittsburgh, PA at Color Me Mine with my aunt Cindy.  I chose a tall skinny vase and painted it yellow with red and blue paint pen flowers, and to this day my mom has it on display in her hutch at home.  During college at Penn State, I paid a couple of visits to 2000 Degrees in downtown State College, making things ranging from mugs to shot glasses (of course).

My most recent visit to a paint your own pottery place was to Glazed Expressions in Chicago with my roommate Taylor.  Taylor made a vase and I opted for salt and pepper shakers (before firing and after firing pics below).



Here's how it works:  You go in and pick what piece you'd like to paint (prices range from $5 to quite expensive).  My salt and pepper shakers were $14 I believe.  On top of that, you pay a studio fee of $8 per person.  So, it is a little pricey, but it's great for a fun rainy day activity or a special treat for kids.  The person working there was very helpful, gave thorough instructions, and played a nice mix of Beatles and 90's music while we were there :)

Anyways, if you're bored or feeling creative and need something to do, check out a paint your own pottery place near you!  I completely didn't mean for that to rhyme :)

Made by Maria

I make all kinds of things.  Crafts, food, dessert, pottery, you name it -- so I need a place to share everything!  This blog is going to be a mish mash of a bit of everything, including planning for my wedding (once we finally set a date!).  I hope you enjoy my creations and that you'll try to make a few yourself!