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Oh I'm just a girl on a mission…
So I think I’m lonnnnnng overdue with a post… and since it’s been SO long, I’ve decided to include a special treat for you… A RECIPE!
However! This is not just any baking recipe, no…. this is a DINNER recipe! I’m broadening my horizon… Today I made Lasagna Cupcakes (which my friend named them, and, lets face it, it sounds so much cooler than individual lasagna cups…) I actually saw the idea on Pinterest.com – a website I have become absolutely addicted to… I just wish I could get my own invite for it… sigh. Anywho… Before I give you this fantastic recipe, a quick goal update.
First off: New Years Resolutions: I’ve lost 2 inches around my waist, and have been eating all healthy (I gave up pizza and only had one piece of lasagna today) other than on Saturday at work, when I ate a macaroni and cheese that contained 123% of your daily intake of saturated fat. That’s right. 123%. We sell them at work, and they’re oh so good… but oh so bad… Anywho, I hadn’t eaten anything all day, it was like 5:30pm…. Let’s just never speak of that again.
Monthly Goals: Saturday was another challange…. after going almost two weeks without Tim Horton’s (Saturday would have been day 11) I got stuck working in the freezer for 3 hours, and was then asked if I was going to Tim Horton’s…so I went. HOWEVER, my friend gave me a $5.00 gift card for Tim Horton’s for going, and told me to use it and keep whatever was left after I bought his tea… So TECHNICALLY I didn’t spend any money on Tim Hortons… I made a $1.95 for going…. So can I still count Saturday as a day I did not spend money at Tim Horton’s…. keep my streak going? Please?
Ok, so, before I bore you anymore, LASAGNA CUPCAKES! Now, if you make your own lasagna already, you can simply use your own recipe for the fillings… if you don’t never fear! I never have either!
So I got my recipe off a lasagna noodle box… but I had a bit of trouble converting the measurements… So I estimated a bit… and it turned out great! I got 3 opinions from school (two people I only met today) and 3 family opinions, and 2 work opinions… and everyone liked it, so yay! The outer shells were a little dry as they stuck out of the cupcake trays and therefore had no sauce on them to moisten them… but they were still edible. I am going to try something different next time to try and avoid the outer shell from drying up.
1 package lasagna noodles
680 ml of spaghetti sauce
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup of water (I actually think I skipped this… my spaghetti sauce was thin enough)
450 grams (1 pound) of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (I bought a bag of 4 cheese Italiano mixed – Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and Provolone – but you can also use a mix of just Mozzarella and shredded Parmesan)
12 Cupcake papers
(Keep an eye on the lasagna cupcake second from the left on the top row… I referred to it as the ‘perfect one’ as everything seemed to work out perfectly for it right from the very beginning.)
1. Preheat oven to 200C (375F) and line a cupcake tray with squares of parchment paper (I actually prefered using cupcake papers, I did some with parchment paper squares and some with cupcake papers… and I found the cupcake papers helped hold the shape better – the ‘perfect one’ was made in a cupcake paper)
2. Boil your lasagna noodles for 2 minutes less than the box instructs you to (I used oven ready lasagna noodles and boiled them slightly to soften them enough to work with. This may have been my first mistake. Next time I’m going to use the regular lasagna noodles that need to be boiled first… maybe boiling oven ready ones overcooked them?)
3. When the noodles are soft enough, allow them to cool slightly (so you don’t burn yourself) and form them into a circle in the cupcake holders (the noodle will overlap a bit, about 2 inches) Cut the remaining noodles into squares (You’ll get approximately 4-5 squares per noodle, depending on the size your cupcakes – I also found it was easier if I removed the bumpy edge of the lasagna noodle from these squares)
4. In a saucepan, brown your ground beef. When it’s browned, drain the grease and add the pasta sauce to the pan and bring it to a simmer.
5. While your beef is browning, you can mix up your cheeses. Beat your egg, then add the ricotta cheese and the shredded cheese blend. Beat it all together with an electric mixer. (You can also add salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg if you desire)
6. Put a small drop of your sauce mixture on the bottom of each cupcake tin. Place a square of lasagna noodle on the bottom of the cupcake tin.
7. Add a teaspoon of your sauce mixture into the lasagna cup. Then add a teaspoon of your cheese mixture. Don’t be stingy. Top these two layers with a square of lasagna noodle. Repeat once more.
8. On top of your last lasagna noodle square, place another teaspoon of your sauce mixture, then sprinkle with some shredded cheese (or use half a teaspoon of your cheese mixture if any remains)
9. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven or until the edges are a dark golden/light brown colour and the cheese on top is darkened. Remove from the oven, sprinkle each cupcake with a pinch of shredded cheese, then place them back in the oven only long enough for the cheese to melt on top.
10. Remove from oven and serve hot. (You can add a teaspoon of lasagna sauce to the finished lasagna cupcake in order soften the outer shell a bit if you’d like)
Just as a side note, the next time I try this recipe, I’m going to cover the cupcake tray with aluminum foil to try and lock the moisture in and stop the outer shell from drying out. I may also try soaking the outer noodle in pasta sauce to help it keep the moisture…
So I know I didn`t get this post up last night like I had hoped, but I was having a few difficulties getting on. So, here it is.
First off, I want to wish one of my best friends a very happy 21st birthday! I met her in my first year at university, and I simply adore her. We talk all the time, I know she`s always there to listen, and I to her, and I can`t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn`t eavesdropped on her convos with other people in our one class… 😛
On that note, she also happens to be an incredible artist, and for my birthday last year, did this drawing of Taylor Swift for me.
I love it, and I love her, and I hope she had an incredible birthday full of bananas. 😀
My other update for yesterday was that I have successfully made it through a full 8 hour shift at work without going to Tim Hortons on any of my three breaks, or getting one of the guys to go to Tim Horton`s for me on any of theirs. This may not sound like much… but I work directly across the street from Tim Horton`s and we all go there on a daily work basis… and I`m known to make coffee runs at least twice a shift. I`m known for it. That`s how bad I got at spending money at Tim Horton`s. But, I made it through yesterday! That`s one more day!
So I have great news!
Everyone loved the leftover chocolate tarts from yesterday. They were a great hit… and I was talked into having half. Half a tart I think is acceptable… I skipped my pre workout snack because of it though… so that was a little tiring tonight, but the chicken I had for dinner was still kicking around come 9pm. Yes, that’s right, I did my TurboJam at 9:00 at night… I did it. That’s what counts. I make sure I get it in, even if it’s a little late. I also need to wait for my mom to go to bed so I can use the kitchen space. Haha.
Anywho, back to the chocolate tarts. I have I think four left (I saved them at home) so I’ll take those to work tomorrow and continue seeing everyone’s reactions. They’re officially really good though. Just saying.
So I’m not to sure what else I can talk about today, I found a new website that may help me stick to my fitness goal, but I’m still feeling my way around the site to see if I like it, so we shall see if it makes an appearance in a future blog.
On a side note however, while killing time at school today with my friend on ‘Pinterest’, I discovered about five new recipes I want to try… so we shall see how those turn out over the next couple weeks. I’m telling you, y’all will love them. Sneak peak, one of them involves marshmallows and chocolate! But I’m going to save that one for February so I can enjoy it too without breaking my ‘no junk food’ rule.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these motivation posters/phrases I found (mostly) on pinterest…
Woohoo what a day!
I got an awesome workout in with TurboJam this morning, got all my laundry done, did some baking, and then enjoyed a fabulous dinner with my best friends in the world! The four of us have been friends now for almost 15 years… and they are literally like sisters to me. It’s been too long since we’ve all gotten together, what with life, school, and work getting in the way… but when we’re together it’s awesome. I love them all dearly and miss them already… especially since I know two of them leave this weekend for school and I won’t see them until the end of February. 😦 BUT we had a blast tonight, and we did our secret santa gift swap, shared some stories, gave advice, made resolutions (Actually my one friend made our resolutions for us… her word is law though. Always has been.), serenaded some waiters… Barrel of laughs like always.
Anywho, along with that awesome day, I did a little bit of baking. I figured, tomorrow will be my first time hanging out with people at school… so why not get some baking in for them while I can. 🙂
Today I made left over chocolate tarts…. they taste a lot better than they sound. Truth is I don’t actually know the name, I saw the recipe at Halloween time on Rachel Ray – featuring Buddy the Cake Boss. It’s not so much a recipe as a way to rid the house of all the left over chocolate and candy.
Basically, whatever chocolate/candy you have left over, you put into a pie crust (obviously try a little bit to pay some attention to flavours) and then you bake it and serve it. I did a mini version…. Tart size.
First I baked my tart shells slightly, just enough to get them a real light golden colour… then I took them out and while they were still warm, I put a reese peanut butter cup in the bottom of each (the warmth started softening the chocolate right away so I could push it down a bit) after that I added a piece of a mini Aero bar into each tart…
Then I added a piece of Hershey Milk Chocolate with Almonds… and a piece of a crunch bar… and to top it off and add some colour, a sprinkle of reeses pieces candy. Then I stuck it back in the oven enough to melt the chocolate.
I cooked it for a little bit, maybe 10 minutes, honestly I just watched for the shells to darken more, I didn’t want to overcook it (though a few of the chocolate pieces that stuck up burnt a little bit… my bad)
I think they look good… unfortunately I’m watching what I eat (I researched all my options tonight for dinner before we went and I got a lovely 8oz steak (no sauce) and a side salad (dressing on the side) for only 400 calories… love it!) so I have yet to actually taste these… however, I will let you know tomorrow how the verdict turns out. 🙂
I said ‘no!’ to potato chips today! I get it’s not a huge deal, but to me it is. Potato Chips… Mrs. Vickies salt and vinegar mainly, are my downfall. I have major issues with chips. Buuuuut I. Said. No. 😀 Proud moment for me ok.
Instead today I made myself a lovely haddock fillet with brown rice for dinner. And an incredible strawberry smoothie for a late breakfast (since I overslept a bit more than I should have). It was a really good supper though, and like I said I’d do in my resolutions, I turned the tv off while I was eating my dinner, and focused only on it. Little by little I’m going to get myself back on track to a healthy eating habit. Baby steps.
I also didn’t buy any Tim Horton’s today… put $1.60 in my Jar instead and made a tea. 🙂
The highlight of my day however, TurboJam. Today was the first time I’ve gotten all of the moves completely right the first time, and didn’t have to slow down a lot because I was tired. Not saying I wasn’t tired or sweating like a pig, but I pushed myself through it and didn’t give up. I just hope I can keep it up. I know I can.
Other than that today wasn’t too interesting. I went back to classes today at McMaster. I only made 1 of 4 of them…. but it was the most important one. *blushes* In all honesty, my mom was sick most of the night and in the morning, and I can only get my grandma to stay with her for so long, so I chose my afternoon class instead of the morning, because I get participation marks for the afternoon class. It was fun going back though! I got to see some of my cool people, not everyone, and not for long, but I did get to see some cool people.
So, like I promised, here’s your official New Year’s Day post… Including my January Challenge – Not to be confused with the list you’ll get tomorrow of my New Year Resolutions… Yes, I will write one.
So after looking back at last months challenges, I realized they really were just to general, and there were a lot. I think I got excited about my blog and just kept spitting out more and more goals! So this month I’m going to be more specific, and more realistic. Let’s face it, I forgot my goals a few times last month because I had so many set out.
I thought about focusing on a certain topic each month, say food, or esthetics, or recreation…. but I don’t quite think that’ll work how I’d want it to. So I’m going to look at what I find most important right now, and start there. Seems logical to me.
Before I give my list, I’d just like to thank everyone who was so supportive of last months challenges and overall blog posts… y’all made my day each time I logged on and found a new comment or someone who ‘liked’ my post, and those who gave me encouragement to follow through with my challenges… I really appreciated it! It was so reassuring to know I had people following what I wrote, and it really encouraged me to keep writing, and to keep trying new things. You guys are all so great, and I truly hope I can entertain you all in the coming year.
So without further ado;
1. Save the Tim Horton’s money: Ok, I know this is revisiting last month’s challenges… but I’ve been taking a harder look at how often I’ve spent money at Tim Horton’s, and why I do. Leading cause, my grandmother. Bless her, but in order to convince her to come over at night, since my mom’s nervous to leave her home alone overnight, I usually need to tell her I’m running to Tim Hoton’s, getting her a coffee, and picking her up on my way home. The Fix: I need to remind myself this month, just because I go for her does not mean I need to buy myself a tea or hot chocolate as well (even if the guys behind the counter start making mine the moment they see me pull into the parking lot). Just. Say. No. And take that $1.60, and drop it into the jar that I will place in the kitchen, beside my car keys to remind myself each time I reach for them, not to make a detour. This month, I know I’ll also be faced with the problem of the six Tim Horton’s on campus: The Fix: Don’t take change to school. Tim Horton’s doesn’t accept debit on campus. I also need to keep an eye on work. The Fix: Stop offering to do the coffee runs!
2. Portion Control: I am one of the worst eaters this time of year, and as you saw last month, I really struggle with the sugar and salt cravings. I’ve noticed however that my biggest downfall has nothing to do with the food itself (ok maybe a little), but more so with the activity I’m doing as I’m eating the food. That’s right, I blame the TV! I have a huge problem with curling up on the couch, laptop beside me, tv on, bag of chips in hand… and I just go to town! One show, two shows, and before I know, chips are gone! I went to the laundry mat the other day, and took the half bag of salt and vinegar chips I had left over from work with me. They had a tv playing some singing competition show for kids – Star something – and while I was waiting for my washer to finish, I pulled out my chips and zoned out. In the 15 minutes it took for the washer to finish… my bag was empty. I don’t even know what the show was called! The Fix: Pay attention! A snack here and there is alright, but I really need to start taking out the ‘recommended serving’ and putting it in a seperate bowl… no more eating straight from the source. Better yet! When I get that urge to chow down in front of the tv, I got to get moving. I know it’s going to be a tough habit to break at first, but with a little will power I think I can do it. I just need to find a way to distract myself better. I mean in all honesty, half the shows I watch, I don’t even like that much…
3. Write at Least One Chapter of my Book: I know this month is going to be busy since school will be starting back up, and I’ll have my own readings and essays to do, but I truly enjoy creating my own stories. Usually I get so fed up with my essays though, I don’t want to write anything else because of it. But I noticed at the end of November, when I was in essay overload, I would use my blog post as a sort of, break. So, The Fix: Use my future novel as a reward. If I start my essays earlier, and I don’t leave them for the last two days, I’ll have time to write them, and time to finish them, and when I finish, I can sit down and get lost in a story from some far off place that doesn’t revolve around victorian poets or colonization. I’ve always loved writing, as long as I like my topic, so if I can use it as a reward, not only will I get that chapter done by the end of the month, I might get my essays done on time as well!
So, I think three challenges for the month are a good start. They’re specific, and I’ve got some sort of strategy mapped out to help me get started at least. I’m also going to dedicate one post a week to updates on my challenges! That will give me more of a drive to focus on them and get things done!
Thank you again to everyone who has been reading and following my blog. I hope you all have a fantastic 2012, and I can’t wait to continue writing for you, and hearing your comments!