Pumped Up Mac & Cheese

Whenever I am in the kitchen, Sasha always asks me if I am cooking mac ‘n cheese. I am sure most toddlers could eat this meal morning, noon and night; Sasha would be tickled pink if I place a plate of mac ‘n cheese in front of her for breakfast. Although nothing beats homemade mac ‘n cheese, at times it is just easier to use the boxed variety. Now I know that mac ‘n cheese isn’t the healthiest lunch option, but it is quick and easy, and perfect for a mom with lots to do. I’ve tried to healthify (cut some calories) the boxed variety by adding a fraction of the requested butter and using low-fat or non-fat milk.

Awhile back I saw Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah, talking about her new cookbook Deceptively Delicious. I do not own nor have I read her cookbook, but the idea of getting kids to eat healthier foods is something I want my kids to do. Luckily I don’t have to be so deceptive with my cooking right now, my kids are excellent eaters and I hope they remain that way.  Mrs. Seinfeld “sneaks” vegetables into her recipes so her children get the added benefit of extra vitamins and nutrients.  I didn’t have to sneak any vegetables in to my mac ‘n cheese, I just stirred in a can of peas and carrots, and pumped up my mac ‘n cheese with additional Vitamins A, C, and K, along with additional fibre (which we could all use). My girls loved the chunks of veggies in their mac ‘n cheese and I was happy to know they were getting the additional vitamins and nutrients they wouldn’t have had with plain mac ‘n cheese.  So peas have another helping! 😉

Pumped Up Mac & Cheese

1 box Macaroni and Cheese
1 small can peas and carrots (drained and rinsed)
Butter or MArgarine

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to directions on box. A few minutes before the macaroni is tender stir in peas and carrots. Strain macaroni, peas and carrots. Stir in milk and butter. Enjoy!


Pineapple Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Pineapple carrot cake, sounds tasty doesn’t it? These cupcakes are a low calorie delight. My friend Jessie, from Little Calorie recommended these. These cupcakes are so flavorful and moist; you even get the cream cheese frosting. Best part is, you don’t have to feel guilty after eating one because they are almost half the calories of your traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I made these cupcakes yesterday with Sasha; she is really into helping me out.

The cupcakes are really dense, without being dry. I used only the pineapple, and left out the raisins and walnuts. The original recipe can be found here http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com/local/carrotcake.html I adapted it with the ingredients that I had on hand. The cake part was delicious, however the frosting was mediocre. I may have added too much pineapple juice to it, because it was a little runnier than I would expect frosting to be. I will most certainly make the cake recipe again, but figure out a new and better recipe for the frosting.

My husband took this photo.

(makes 12 cupcakes)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I didn’t have any so I added a dash of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c crushed pineapple in juice, drained (reserve 3 tablespoons juice for topping)
2 eggs
1/4 cup Wesson vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots (I used minced baby carrots)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray spray 12 cupcake liners with nonstick, vegetable cooking spray, place into muffin-tins. Dust lightly with all-purpose flour. Set aside.

Combine all cake ingredients except carrots in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer just until combined. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Fold in carrots. Pour batter so liners are 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

4 oz. American Neufchatel Cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (used a dash of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice)
3 T reserved pineapple juice

In small mixing bowl, combine cheese and sugar. Mix until combined. Slowly add pineapple juice. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. Spread topping on cooled cake. Sprinkle with additional shredded carrot, if desired.

Soups On!

Like I said earlier, I would post the recipes for the soups I made last week. Unfortunately I don’t have photos to go along with them. Next time I make the soup I will include a photo. I apologize for not using “real” chicken stock, this was a 30 minute meal day.


3 carrots, pealed and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
salt/pepper to taste
1 hardy pinch of dried thyme
2 – 32 oz boxes Swanson’s chicken broth
3 c cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1 – 32 oz package Reames frozen noodles

Sautee vegetables in the olive oil until softened. Add salt/pepper and thyme. Add chicken and broth. Bring to boil, add noodles and boil for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

I really enjoy my potato soup made with sauteed onions and crumbled bacon. When I made this soup the bacon was frozen. But feel free to add 4-6 slices cooked and crumbled to your soup.


6 Russet potatoes, pealed and cubed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
pinch of dried thyme
1 c chicken stock
1 c cheddar cheese
2 c whole milk

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain. Sautee onions in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add salt/pepper and thyme. Add your liquids and the drained potatoes. Simmer until warmed through. Scoop out 1/2 of the soup with chunky potatoes and puree in the blender until smooth. Add to pot and stir in cheese. Simmer until cheese is melted.