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Monday, March 18, 2013

Veggie Lasagna
 I know I am such a slacker!  Where have I been?  Well making some cake, working out, and loosing track of time.  I have no real good excuses.  I have been working out hard and so far I'm down 32 pounds since Jan. 1st of this year!  Yay me!  Is it easy?  Heck no!  Do I miss feeling tired, sluggish, sore joints?  Heck no!  Just by working out I feel much better.  Is it crazy that just getting your heart rate up and if nothing else than walking fast on a treadmill 3 to 4 days a week can make you feel 50lbs lighter?  Seriously!  I told my husband after the first month, I know I haven't lost a lot of weight but is it crazy I "feel" like I'm thin again?  Seriously a little moving, breaking a sweat can do a lot!  I started running on the treadmill just for short distances at a time.  I would count my steps as I ran and let myself take a breather after hitting my goal.  My first goal was 100 steps at a jogging/running pace.  For me, that was a good start.  Then I would walk it out, and when I say walk I mean at a brisk pace 4.0.  Then I would do it again, but increase my goal steps. 
I love the elliptical machines, but they didn't love me at first.  It used to be my go to work out plan.  This year when I started back on the get healthy campaign, I tried my old trusty friend.  It hated me!  Seriously!  I couldn't do five minutes without being sore.  That is why I started on the treadmill.  Now after 2 1/2 months, I run a mile on the treadmill (first 2 minutes are the warm up) in 9 1/2 minutes.  Then, I go talk to my old friend.  I do the elliptical hill climb, yea buddy, for an hour.  Yes I said an hour.  I like to sweat.  I like to feel the burn.  And what can I say, I'm liking my results.
I thought I should change it up after awhile.  I started hitting that plateau of loosing weight. No one wants that, especially not me.  So I began doing aqua bootcamp.  Let me just say it is a love/hate relationship.  I love that it's in the water, and I can do this after work.  I love the fact that the instructor makes it different each class.  I hate the fact I am not a good swimmer.  Not that we do a lot of actual swimming, but it may make treading the water easier when your passing orange cones to your partner.  Oh yea!  I definitely feel the burn in that class.  Anyway, enough about sweating and running, and nearly dying for lack of breath.  How about that lasagna?  This is for my vegetarian and my healthy eating.  I made the very full fat unhealthy version for my husband.  Why would I do such a thing?  Because he won't eat veggies.  And like little kids, sometimes I have to hide them, and he saw me chopping the broccoli and zucchini in this.  So I really had no choice!
Be glad, I actually measured for this recipe, but slacked on cooking times.  At least I'm getting better!  Don't be discouraged by all of the ingredients.  Of course you can cut it down if you like.  This recipe makes a 9x13 pan.  A family sized pan with enough leftovers to freeze.  And it was delicious with a salad!  I could have licked my plate clean, it was that good.
*preheat oven to 350*     
All of the veggies are chopped very small, all roughly the same size to even cooking time.
1 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
2 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped red, orange, or yellow peppers
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms (I think they are meatier than button)
1 large onion chopped
1 10 oz box chopped spinach, thawed squeezed dry and chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes (mine had added garlic)
4 garlic cloves minced (or pushed thru a garlic press)
1 box Healthy harvest whole wheat lasagna noodles (or your favorite)
1 8oz block fat free cream cheese
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 cup low fat mozzarella
1 egg
1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 cups Ragu light sauce
Cook noodles according to package, drain, and rinse.  Meanwhile while the noodles are cooking, preheat a large saute pan with nonstick spray.  Place the first 10 ingredients in the saute pan.  Stirring occasionally cook until the veggies start to soften.  Place the cream cheese, cottage cheese, mozzarella, egg, basil, parsley and garlic salt in a food processor and process until smooth.  When the veggies are ready start layering.  Place 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of lasagna pan.  Spread around until the bottom is covered with the light layer.  Place 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom, overlapping the edges.  Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture of the noodles.  Spread half the veggie mix over the cheese layer.  Repeat the steps with 1/3 noodles,1/3 cheese, and rest of the veggie mix.  Top the veggie layer with the noodles that are left.  Spread the rest of the cheese mixture over the noodles.  Top with the 1 cup of Ragu, spreading evenly over the cheese.  Place in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until heated thru and cheese and sauce on top are bubbly.  Let lasagna stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting.  Cutting the lasagna too early will result in a runny mess.  It has to have time to set up.  So go eat a salad!  Enjoy! 
 you want dessert?  I made a chocolate cupcake, adapting a recipe I found on spark people.
Here is my version:  preheat oven to 350*
1 c cake flour (all purpose will work)
1 c white wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 splenda
3/4 cup fat free mayonaise
1 cup cooled coffee(or water)
1 tsp vanilla
Sift together flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl beat together mayo, sugar, splenda, coffee, and vanilla until smooth.  Stir the liquid mayo mixture into the dry ingredients.  Only stir until blended.  Do not over mix.  Scoop into cupcake liners (18) evenly.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.  Check. They are done when toothpick inserted in the center almost comes out clean.  You want just a few crumbs on the toothpick.  Cool in pans for 5 minutes then remove from pans.  Cool completely.  ***I baked mine for 10-11 minutes and they were over baked slightly. 
Top with fat free cool whip and fresh fruit or just fruit!
And for those who wanted to see the cakes I've worked on here goes~ AND DON"T STEAL PHOTOS FELLOW CAKERS!

Have a good day all!

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