Feline Weight Loss Update & I Tell You What I Have For Breakfast….

We are in, what, week 3 of operation Honey I Shrank the Cat (naturally by healthy food and small portions). Things are going well. We are slowly getting used to smaller portion sizes and set meal times. We haven’t quite figured out that both bowls of food in front of us are not all for us, but we are learning. And we’ve discovered the wonders of canned pumpkin.

When we initially went to the vet several weeks ago, they recommended we give the oldest canned pumpkin to give her more fiber. The hiccup in the plan is that she isn’t fond of wet food, so I was skeptical that she’d want canned pumpkin.

I was very pleasantly surprised. She lapped it up lickety-split. She takes a teaspoon twice a day, so there is quite a lot left over, but I’ve found a solution for that.

The first time I gave her the canned pumpkin, I got to thinking that if it helped cats bowels, perhaps it’d do the same for people. I put a spoonful in my cheerios the next day, and sure enough, I got the results I wanted. 😉

So since then I’ve improved upon my concoction and today I thought I’d share it with you. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Pumpkin Spice Cheerios (dear Cheerios makers, I know you have more than half a dozen flavors of Cheerios and it’s really only a matter of time before you hop on the pumpkin spice train, but when you do, can you do me a solid and credit me and my blog? Thanks! 😛 ) :

Pour some Cheerios into a bowl. Top with a generous dollop of canned pumpkin and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Add milk and enjoy your fiberous breakfast creation!



Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Smoothie……

I had high hopes for this one. Seriously. Just read the title. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a smoothie whose main ingredient is freakin’ THIN MINT GIRL SCOUT COOKIES???

It turns out, plenty. Ah, let’s just get this one over with…..

So, I had good intentions. While eating a frozen girl scout thin mint cookie last week,  I had a great idea for a smoothie. So tonight I carved out a little bit of time to ‘speriment. Let me break down what happened next:

This story actually began a few days ago when I completed step 1. Taking out the blender from the refrigerator and dumping out the contents of my last smoothie fail. I then discovered that the blender needed a good soaking in hot soapy water overnight. The next day I washed it out again and left it to dry in the drainer. Which brings us to tonight’s events.

I excitedly took a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints (16 cookies) and crushed them the best I could with a rolling pin. Then I put them into the blender with about a 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen spinach. I threw in some milk (eyeballed it so I have no idea how much there actually was) and a cup of vanilla yogurt. The one ingredient that I intended to use but discovered we were out of was protein powder.

After plugging in the blender, I liquified the mixture, stopped the blender and opened the lid. For some reason it began to separate immediately. But it only seemed like it was the spinach that separated and swam to the top, covered in chocolate-minty goodness. Undeterred, I grabbed a glass and poured myself some smoothie.

I could definitely taste the chocolate and mint, but it wasn’t as sweet as I had expected. And there was definitely an earthy element to it thanks to the spinach. Actually that was what was left in the glass when I finished. About a half of an inch deep of tiny spinach shards. Like a sweet pesto sauce without all the good stuff, like actual pesto.

But I think I managed to fix my recipe so next time it’ll taste way better….

First, take out the blender and pour in some milk. Leave out the spinach, yogurt and protein powder. Take out a sleeve of Thin Mints. Leaving them whole and unblemished, pour the entire sleeve into the milk in the blender. Grab a giant spoon and pull up your favorite episode of anything on Hulu. Sit back and enjoy your giant bowl of Thin Mint cereal.

Happy Eating!

PS: after finishing your giant bowl of cereal, head on over to my cousin’s blog where she talks about crossfit. Yes, this is different than actually doing crossfit, but it sounds way too intense to do right after you just ate your weight in cookies. 😉

PPS: Nearly 24 hours after making the said smoothie, I look into the fridge and this is what greets me.  I observed that the smoothie had separated completely into 3 distinct layers. Chocolate cookie layer is on the top, the middle is your greens–ie mint and spinachy goodness and the bottom layer is your milk and yogurt, in other words; dairy. So really it’s like a regular food pyramid, without all that healthy junk like fruit and grains.


Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net…But Should Have In This Case: You Had Me at Merlot

Happy Caucus Day, Iowans! To break the tension, I thought we’d start out Monday with some humor……

Technically the exact wording on the invitation was, “there will be mulled wine in the crock pot.”Even if it hadn’t been one of my closest friend’s birthday parties; I still would have gone. She had me at “mulled wine in the crock pot.”

So on party day I carefully wrapped my favorite wine glass in plastic and put it in my purse. Yes, I now bring my own wine glass to gatherings where I know there is gonna be wine. But that is another story for another blog. 😉

The warm wine was a delicious addition to a wintry girls night out. While there was a sizable crowd, at the end of the night, there was still wine leftover. And I was the last guest to leave so the leftovers went home with me. Normally my husband and I have a policy of not having alcohol in the house, but I decided to take it anyway. There didn’t seem like there was much left. And my creative juices began flowing.

This ended up being a bad idea. Seriously guys. I even debated whether or not to write this one. But I’m pressing on because my mistake should be used to teach others not to make the same one. Although I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone that did the same thing I did. Moving on…..

Ok, so our blender has been the most used wedding gift we’ve been given. A few years ago I really got into making smoothies and enjoy experimenting with different ingredients.

Can anyone see where I’m going with this?

Although I use different ingredients in each smoothie experiment, there are at least two constant items; bananas and spinach.

During this last experiment I discovered we no longer had bananas, so…..

Iputfrozenspinachinawinesmoothie. Let me try that again; slower…..

I put frozen spinach in a wine smoothie. **blogger hides in shame inside Catty Stacks condo to avoid the onslaught of flying tomatoes from angry readers. After screwing up her courage, she emerges and continues**……..

And now we move to the “In My Defense” portion of today’s blog:

In my defense, I thought the spinach would blend easily into the wine and it wouldn’t be detectable. I was very wrong.

I thought it would give it a unique flavor. It kinda did. The flavor of soil. Drink up, people! 😀

I wasn’t expecting the spinach to separate completely from the wine. I probably should have listened more in science class. The resulting consistency was like lawn clippings. Alcoholic lawn clippings. Yummy!

In my defense, would you believe I was attempting to add more fiber to my diet, so that’s why….Ok, even I don’t believe that one. 😛

So, the biggest lesson I learned? When experimenting with wine, stick to fruit. I should have stopped at the cranberry juice and oranges I blended in. They blended in quite nicely and gave the wine a bit of a punch.

Next time I’ll leave the spinach for the salad. Unless we adopt an over-sized rabbit that demands only the best frozen spinach….



Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Spaghetti Casserole

Tonight’s blog is late because Chad and I were given the opportunity to take our friends dinner. They just came home after giving birth and are just settling into a new routine.

I wanted to blog what I made because it’s a very simple meal that is nutritious if you are a new mamma, or if you are home from the hospital due to surgery, or if you are just having a low energy day due to anxiety and depression.

Start by boiling a good amount of noodles-they can be any kind. I happened to use the Amish noodles I bought at the store. They were short and flat. Salt the water if you wish.

After draining the noodles, put them into a good sized casserole dish. They should cover the entire bottom of the dish.

Next, open a can of spinach or another vegetable. I used frozen since I’d made another dish with canned veggies earlier in the week. If you use canned, remember to drain them before adding them to the dish.

You can use any vegetable you want, I happened to use frozen spinach because that is what we had on hand, and it’s a good source of iron for nursing mamma’s.

Then you can add a can of kidney beans if you wish. Our new mamma isn’t a fan of hamburger, so I made this meatless, adding kidney beans for protein. If you add meat, you can skip this step if you wish.

Add one jar (if space allows-if not, use half) of spaghetti sauce. If you are making this for a new mamma, make sure it doesn’t have complicated spices such as garlic or a spicy pepper blend. These kinds of foods can get into breast milk and upset baby’s tummy.

Lastly, bring on the cheese! I used a sharp shredded variety and used enough to cover the very top of the dish.

Pop it into the oven at 350 till the cheese melts and enjoy!

Bon Appetit’!


Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net #2:DIY Froot Loops

I definitely feel it’s a Monday today. Our Christmas tree that’s on the porch must have felt the same because when I opened the front door to turn the lights on, I found it laying on its side (apparently our tree is no match for the wind of winter-either that or it sneezed 😀 ). I’m so tired that I can hardly conjure the brain cells needed for a worthwhile, inspirationally inspired (um, yeah, that’s a thing) post, but I can show you how to make my new favorite breakfast.

When I wake up in the morning, I need two things. One, I need coffee STAT. Also my blood sugar is low so I have to have a breakfast that is a little bit sugary. But we don’t buy sugary cereal (which is also not so healthy anyway). So last week I DIY’d a childhood favorite (that we only got at grandma’s because my parents also didn’t buy sugary cereal).

Guys, today I show you how you can make your own bowl of Froot Loops! And it’s SO easy, you only need 3 ingredients. And I’m pretty sure this is a cheaper option to buying the colorful, cartoon bird adorned box of sugar chunks that would be the alternative.

Step one: fill a cereal bowl with regular Cheerios (faux knock-off brand Cheerios works as well 😉 )

Step two: sprinkle a light dusting of Stawberry Quik powder over the Cheerios

Step 3: add milk (You can choose to reverse steps 2 and 3, but the powder may incorporate better into the milk if added first)

That’s it. And according to the back of the Quik container, the enclosed powder has less sugar per gram than other strawberry flavored milk alternatives (however, this information comes from a cartoon bunny who’s primary diet consists of sugary milk powder, so consider the source. I’m willing to take his word for it. 😛 )

So if you need more than coffee to jump start a raining Monday, I have you covered.

Happy Eating!


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*meme that has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it was a good question, appears courtesy of: http://www.brokenfollower.com/monday-morning-memes-8/


Lulabelle’s Food Experiement: Christmas Smoothie…..

I love making smoothies. Since we got married, I think our blender has been used more than any other wedding gift. I hadn’t made one in awhile though (Seriously, it’s getting colder and who wants something that has ice chips floating in it??). I love making up new recipes and trying them out. This can be hit or miss. Case in point; watermelon. It’s my favorite fruit by far and it sounded like it’d be amazing in a smoothie. It ended up being a big miss. I’m still sad about that one.

Today being the first day of December, I wanted to try a holiday themed smoothie. I found inspiration from our freezer in a year-old giant candy cane purchased from Hammonds Candy Shop last year.

I crushed up the peppermint candy cane to one inch pieces as best I could. Then I went to the cupboard to find the ginger. After tearing the kitchen apart, I realized we were out. Dang it! Undeterred in my quest (and the candy cane was already crushed up so I had to do something), I went forward. Trying to think of other Christmas-y flavors, my eyes landed on the only orange we had left. Years ago people put oranges in their stockings at Christmas. I grabbed it and the closest thing to a zester we have; a large grater that has numerous sized holes. I grabbed a plate and went to town. And quickly realized how freakin’ hard it is to zest an orange. Especially when it has thin skin because it’s one of those easy peel varieties. (It also occurred to me during this process that I neglected to wash the outside of the orange before zesting it. Since they are peeled, I normally don’t think about this. So in addition to peppermint and orange, my smoothie probably has remnants of some hard to pronounce pesticide to keep the oranges from developing a wormy disease. Tis the season, ya’ll! 😛 ) After what seemed like an eternity, I had little zestlets in the bowl below and deemed my task done. I combined the zest with the crushed candy cane and put them in my blender.

Then the irrational fear set in. What if the candy cane was in too big of pieces to properly blend and I end up breaking the blade of my blender?? Just in case I added a skosh of water. Then I grabbed the tupper ware of frozen bananas that had been waiting for my next smoothie endeavor, and dropped them inside the blender. I also added milk, two tablespoons of vanilla yogurt and spinach (these four ingredients are staples in all my smoothies). To top it off I added a dash or two of clove as I’ve been obsessed with this spice lately, and it just smells like Christmas.

I plugged it in, after grabbing the 3 prong adapter, then said a short prayer and hit BLEND. After a few seconds, I turned it off, lifted the lid and was met with the pleasing aroma of peppermint and orange. After checking to make sure it was chunk free, I grabbed my Wonder Woman glass (this makes anything taste better) and poured in my creation.

It looks like Christmas. The green of the spinach is the primary color, but you can see tiny dots of red where the peppermint is present.

It even tastes like Christmas. The overall flavor is peppermint with a tiny hint of citrus.

So this smoothie has been a success and I intend on making it more this winter.

Happy Eating!

PS: 10:44pm-After this went live, I was informed that there was some apprehension to try something that had peppermint AND banana. I can assure you that the banana is only added for thickness and you can’t taste it at all. 😉