34 Pounds

My last report was on August 1. It is now August 17. I have lost another 4 pounds. I’m still doing intermittent fasting, and it is still fairly easy to do. I am feeling better all the time. I have had no drops in energy. And the weight keeps coming off, and I suspect and hope that everything else about my health is improving as well.

I have adjusted my fast from 20 hours to only 18 hours, leaving myself a six-hour window for consuming nutrition. This seems to work better for me. I have fewer issues with hunger.

I am starting to notice that my face looks a bit slimmer. My legs are becoming pretty skinny. I think my waistline has decreased, but since it was so large in the first place, I can’t really tell. I can tell you that all of my clothes are fitting me much more loosely. Makes me wish that I had not gotten rid of my smaller clothes a few months ago.

I do still struggling to eat the right stuff. Every now and then I screw up and carb-load like a marathon runner. Or my sweet tooth overcomes me and I become a dessert monster. Other than that I am mostly in control. Perhaps one day I will learn to eat right all the time.

Oh, why no pictures? Because I don’t want to. Maybe when I reach my goal weight. But for now…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I know. You’re probably thinking, “if this guy is so worried about his diet and health, why is he collecting such recipes?” Well, just because I want to change my habits doesn’t mean I will cease to be a cook or baker. I love baking and cooking and trying new recipes, and I always will, PERIOD!

If you liked the Chocolate Banana Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Icing, you’re gonna love these. The frosting on this one is pretty much the same, but the chocolate chip cupcake underneath is fabulous. Let me know what you think. I found this one on Allrecipes.com (one of my all time favorite sites). If you are not a member there you should check it out. Enjoy!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips, or to taste (optional)
Frosting:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

Combine white sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup butter in another bowl; beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in egg. Mix in mashed bananas. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, stirring after each addition. Fold chocolate chips into the batter.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and 3 tablespoons butter in a bowl until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth.

Spread frosting over cupcakes.

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English Toffee Cheesecake

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I have not tried this one yet. I probably will soon. I have a friend who loves cheesecake. It is one of my favorites too. The only flavors I can do without is any kind of chocolate cheesecake. They all taste the same. I like chocolate a lot; just not in cheesecakes.

I love English toffee and I’m guessing it tastes good in cheesecake. If you try this one before I do come back and let me know how it was. I found it at the Eagle Brand website. You know, the people who make sweetened condensed milk.

BTW, that’s not an actual picture above. I couldn’t find one big enough. I’ll replace it when I make mine.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (8 oz.) package English toffee bits, divided
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
2 teaspoon Pillsbury BEST® All-Purpose Flour
1 (12.25 oz.) jar Smucker’s® Caramel Flavored Topping
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Direction:

HEAT oven to 325°F. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press into bottom and halfway up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended.

STIR English toffee bits and flour in medium bowl to coat toffee bits. Stir 1 cup into the cheesecake mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle remaining English toffee bits evenly over cheesecake.

BAKE 60 minutes or until almost set in the center. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Chill several hours or overnight. Drizzle individual servings with caramel topping. Sprinkle lightly with milk chocolate toffee bits, if desired.

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Top Secret Chocolate Cookies

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I made these the other night, and they are quite delicious. Chocolate is one of my favorites, whether it be chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, or just plain chocolate. These cookies are simple to make, but they taste really rich and extremely chocolaty. Let me know what you think.

By the way, this recipe comes from the FoodNetwork.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
White Sanding sugar, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar and cream together with a hand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the creamed mixture and mix until combined. In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until incorporated.

Roll the dough into 2 logs that are about 2-inches high and 1-foot long. Wrap them in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350º degrees.

Once thoroughly chilled, slice the cookies into 1/2-inch thick rounds and cover with sanding sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

A viewer, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

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Sweet Potato Pie

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NY-0207 Callie’s Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Tater Pie!

This is one of my most favorite desserts. My mom made Sweet Potato every year during the Christmas holidays. Of all the pies she made, this one was my favorite. Of course later in life, I have discovered that there a  whole host of other pies that seem to be straight out of heaven. Sweet Potato pie is still in the top of my favorites list of pies.

Ingredients:

1 (1 pound) sweet potato
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions:

1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.

2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

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Buttermilk Pie

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This is a traditional southern style, simple pie; Buttermilk Pie. I know, that doesn’t sound like it should be good. But if you’re thinking that, you would most definitely be wrong. This pie is fantastic. I used to make it at the restaurant where I worked in Texas back in the 80’s. And on occasion, my Momma would make it for me when I would go home to visit.

If you have never made a pie, this one is really easy and would be an easy first pie to learn. It is custardy and creamy, and you will love it. And if you make it, and by some miracle don’t enjoy it, freeze it and send it to me!

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C).

2. Beat eggs until frothy; add butter, sugar, and flour. Beat until smooth.

3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and nutmeg; pour into pie shell.

4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until center is firm.

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Old Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound  Cake

Ingredients: You need a food scale to weigh ingredients.

12 oz Butter, dice & softened
12 oz granulated sugar
2 grams salt
3 lemons, zest only
12 oz eggs, room temperature
4 grams vanilla extract
12 oz Ap flour
10 grams baking powder

Lemon Flat Icing:

6 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 oz lemon juice

Directions:

1. Spray pans and set aside on a flat sheet pan
2. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter until the texture is smooth and even.
3.Add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the butter and paddle on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, approximately 4 minutes.
4. Add the eggs two at a time, occasionally scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. It is important that the mixture is beaten for a couple of minutes after each egg is added ( this ensures proper emulsification). Blend in the vanilla after extract.
5. Sift together flour and baking powder.
6. With the mixer off, add all of the sifted ingredients. Paddle on low just until the mixture is completely combined.
7. Portion the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
8. Bake at 360ºF for 20 minutes.
9. Remove the cakes from the oven and run a paring knife down the center of the surface of each loaf.
10. Return the cakes to the oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
12. Untold and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

For the Icing:

1. Carefully stir together sifted confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. Adjust the consistency as needed. For thicker icing, add more sugar. For thinner icing, add more juice or water.
2. Glaze the cakes with flat icing
3. Allow icing to set.
4. Store the cooled cakes, tightly wrapped in plastic film, refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to one month.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

white_chocolate_raspberry_CheesecakeI made this for my daughter on her 16th birthday. She was most pleased. Cheesecake is one of her favorite desserts. Others that I have made it for loved it also.

This is an easy recipe I am sure you will enjoy. If you make it, let me know how it turns out.

Ingredients

1 cup (US) chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tbsp white sugar
¼ cup (US) butter, melted
1 (10 ounces) package frozen raspberries
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp (US) Cornstarch
½ cup (US) Water
2 cup (US) white chocolate chips
½ cup (US) half and half
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup (US) white sugar
3 egg
1 tsp (US) Vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into the pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

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Chocolate Banana Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese Icing

This particular cupcake does not offer a healthier choice. I’m not even interested in modifying it to make it more healthy. It would be ruined. Sometimes food IS about pleasure, strictly for our eating pleasure. And this chocolatey, banana, cream-cheesy treat will knock your socks off.

I learned to make this one at the Culinary Institute of Charleston (Trident Tech). The recipe makes 12 cupcakes. When you taste them you will be tempted to eat them all. So, make sure you have others over to share them. Enjoy!

The Cupcake

Warning: All ingredients should be weighed, NOT volume. In other words use a food scale, not a measuring cup.

7 oz granulated sugar
4.35 oz Flour
1.35 oz Cocoa powder
4 grams baking powder
2 grams baking soda
2 grams salt
1 whole egg
4.25 oz bananas mashed
4.25 oz water (warm)
2.15 oz milk
2.15 oz vegetable oil
2 grams vanilla

Directions:

1. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2.  In a second bowl, whisk together egg, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla.
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine using a spatula.
4. Divide into paper lined muffin tin.
5. Bake at 360 degrees until the cupcakes spring back to touch.

Whipped Cream Icing

4 oz cream cheese (softened)
4 oz granulated sugar
.10 oz vanilla
8 oz heavy cream

Directions:

1. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla
2. In a separate bowl whip up heavy cream to medium peaks.
3. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
4. You can whip the final mixture to a pipeable consistency but do not overwork the mixture.

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