day 12 // weekends are made for this — ice cream cake.

Ice cream cake.  I could leave my post at that with the recipe, and I would hope you understand my lack of words to be a dynamic emphasis on just how good this is.  However, I’m feeling wordy tonight, so you will get the full details.  I found this recipe a couple of years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.  I hardly ever get to eat ice cream cake because of my food allergies — most of the store bought ones aren’t safe for me.  And I really never thought about making one until I saw this recipe.  Once I saw this, I knew I had to try it.  You guys.  Try this.  It’s amazing.  It’s one of those desserts that you eat and then feel like you have had your dessert allotment for the year because it’s just so rich.  But then you eat another serving the next day — because you can.  Unless it’s all gone, and then you’re sad.

ice cream cake

I made this for dessert yesterday to take to my parents’ house.  We watched the UT game over there with my parents, siblings, and grandfather.  Everyone liked the dessert and was going back for seconds.  So here’s the recipe for the magic.


Cookies + Cream Ice Cream Cake

1 package Oreos
2 sticks butter
1 container cookies + cream ice cream, softened
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
4 Hershey’s bars
2/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1 container fat free whipped topping

1.  Smash Oreos and then line a 9×13 baking dish with them
2.  Melt 1 stick of butter and pour evenly over crushed Oreos
3.  Spread softened ice cream on top of Oreo cookie crust, smoothing out as much as possible without messing up crust
4.  Place in freezer and let it set
5.  While ice cream and cookies are setting, make chocolate sauce
6.  Combine the second stick of butter, evaporated milk, Hershey’s bars, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and melt together
7.  Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.  Stir often the entire time to prevent burning of chocolate!  It will burn easily so keep stirring!
8.  After chocolate sauce has boiled, remove from heat and allow to cool.  I usually give this at least an hour but sometimes more   That gives the ice cream portion plenty of time to set and the sauce plenty of time to cool
9.  When sauce is cool, remove ice cream cake from freezer and pour chocolate sauce over cake
10.  Layer on whipped topping
11.  Top with cookie crumbles, chocolate shavings, chocolate bars, or Oreos
12.  Place back in freezer and keep frozen until serving.


{Sometimes I leave off the whipped topping on my portion because I don’t always love “fake whipped cream”.  Saturday, I ate mine without it and it still tasted amazing.  However, it also adds a lot of goodness.  So do what you want 🙂 }




I found this recipe here and adapted it for our family!


I find dessert beautiful.


ice cream cake serving cookies and cream  beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

This post is part of a 31 day series on beautiful.  Find all posts here.

spinach chicken crockpot spaghetti.

I have been slacking on cooking lately.  Tommy isn’t home for dinner, so I’m completely unmotivated to cook.  Jack and I can make do with whatever.  But the problem is that Tommy comes home later and needs to eat, and I seemed to forget about that.  Poor man has walked in more times that not since he started working these hours to me saying eat what you can find.  In an effort to avoid this again one night last week, I scrambled through my kitchen looking for what I could fix using only ingredients I had on hand.  I needed to go to the grocery store, too, so there really weren’t a lot of options.  It also had to be a crockpot meal because I was busy that day and didn’t have time to cook around the 5-6 o’clock hour.


Using frozen chicken, spaghetti sauce, spinach, canned tomatoes, and spaghetti noodles I fixed up this dish.  It took less than 5 minutes of hands on time to get this together.  That alone will make me eat pretty much anything!


I will say that this is not my favorite dish.  It was okay but definitely not great or anything special.  It was easy, and it’s pretty healthy so I like those things about it and I will make it again because of that.  But it lacked flavor.  I would add some italian seasoning to it next time and maybe even one of those spice packets just to give it good flavor.  Another thing I did was to add the noodles to cook in the crockpot because I only wanted to clean up one thing.  This worked well, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if the noodles were separate and you put the sauce, chicken, and spinach on top of it.




frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins [I used 6]

1 pound spaghetti noodles

2 cans Hunts spaghetti sauce

2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 package frozen spinach


crock pot sauce ingredients



1.  Place chicken, spaghetti sauce, and tomatoes in crockpot.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

2.  About 2 hours before serving if on high, or 4 hours before serving if on low, add uncooked spaghetti noodles (if you want them mixed in)  If you don’t want the noodles mixed in, then cook them according to the directions on the package.

3.  Cook spinach according to directions on package then stir into pasta mixture.


crock pot sauce


Top with cheese if you want and serve!




spinach chicken spaghetti

homemade cream of chicken.

I do not like the canned “cream of” soups.  They are disgusting.  Convenient, yes.  But really gross.  The way they glop out of the can.  The shape it takes.  And it just plain doesn’t taste good.  I may be dramatic in saying this, but I can almost taste the preservatives.  I really came to dislike the canned “cream of” soups as a new dietitian working on the cardiac floor in my first job as a Clinical Dietitian.  A lot of people cook with these, and they are full of salt!  Many people don’t even know that.

The thing is that a lot of good recipes call for cream of something.  I used to just use chicken broth, but it lacks flavor and a thickness that the soups provide.  So now I make my own.  It takes me five minutes, and it’s time well spent in my opinion!

Here’s how I make it.

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup


2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk  [I use skim]
1/2 cup chicken broth [I use low-sodium]
salt and pepper as you desire [I often skip these]


1.  Melt butter on stove over medium heat.
2.  Add flour and whisk together.  Stir frequently to avoid burning!
3.  After 1 minute, add the milk and chicken broth.  Whisk together.
4.  Cook until mixture thickens [approximately 3-4 minutes]
5.  Add salt and pepper as desired.

*this is equivalent to one can of cream of chicken soup.

*you can use this recipe, substituting beef broth for chicken broth to make a suitable substitute when cream of mushroom soup is used in recipes.


homemade cream of chicken soup



creamy steamy southern chicken.

Comfort food.  Healthier comfort food.  Have I sold you yet?  I am obsessed with this dish.  I came up with this recipe the other day because I was craving some creamy chicken.  My friend, Danielle, is the southern cooking girl.  She is a great cook and makes the best food, especially down home southern food.  She makes an amazing poppy seed chicken.  I had that dish in mind when I created this recipe.

healthier comfort food


This chicken dish is so easy to make.  It is like a poppy seed chicken, but without the poppy seeds.  You could easily add them in if you like them, or just make it as is if you don’t.  I also used Club crackers instead of Ritz crackers.  Just because I’m not a big Ritz cracker fan, but you could use either.  I tweaked this recipe to make it healthier.  I made my own cream of chicken soup.  I cannot stand cream of chicken soups that you buy at the store.  I find them disgusting.  They’re full of preservatives and very high in salt.  I appreciate their convenience but to me it is just not worth it.  You can use a can of cream of chicken soup, or you can use my recipe to make your own.  I would normally put sour cream in this dish, but this time I replaced it with plain, nonfat yogurt to make it healthier.


Here’s why it’s healthier:

All natural, plain, nonfat yogurt  vs. low-fat sour cream
Calories                                  100                                                     320
Total fat                                  0 g                                                      20 g
Saturated fat                          0 g                                                      16 g
Sodium                                    150 mg                                             200 mg
Potassium                               510 mg                                              0
Carbohydrates                        15 g                                                   16 g
Sugar                                         15 g                                                   16 g
Protein                                      11 g                                                   16 g
Calcium                                     40%                                                  32%


*This is per 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of sour cream.  


As you can see, the yogurt is lower in calories, fat, sodium, and is high in potassium.    Yogurt is a much better choice than sour cream here!


That being said, I do not recommend this substitute for everyone.  Stick with sour cream and not the yogurt substitute if you have kidney problems and need to limit your potassium.  Yogurt is rich in potassium, so while it is a great benefit for most of us, for someone with kidney disease it would not be a good place to get potassium.  



Here’s the recipe:


Creamy Steamy Southern Chicken


10 frozen chicken breasts
homemade “cream of chicken”
8 oz. plain, nonfat yogurt
1 sleeve Club crackers
3 T butter, melted


1.  Place frozen chicken breasts into 9×13 baking dish.  Follow directions for baking.  [My bag of Kroger frozen chicken had instructions to bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes]
2.  While chicken is baking, make homemade cream of chicken [or you can skip this step if you are using the canned stuff]
3.  Add yogurt to cream of chicken.
4.  Crumble crackers and add to melted butter.  Coat crackers in butter.
5.  Remove chicken from oven when thoroughly cooked and pour yogurt/cream of chicken mixture over top.
6.  Top with cracker crumbs.
7.  Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until everything is warmed and slightly brown.

creamy chicken breasts

creamy chicken

creamy steamy chicken for jack   Jack loved this dish, too.

creamy steamy chicken

creamy steamy southern chicken


the green monster.

I’ve jumped on the smoothie bandwagon.  Because of my autoimmune disorders, I sometimes have trouble eating.  A smoothie is a great way to get nutrients in that is easy on my mouth and throat.  Autoimmune disorders aside, I think smoothies are great for breakfast and afternoon snacks.  Not only am I on the smoothie bandwagon, but the green smoothie one.  I am loving this green smoothie!  It tastes a whole lot better than it looks.  And this smoothie is very nutritious!  I use low-fat, plain yogurt.  It’s very low in fat and has less sugar than flavored yogurts.  I do add some honey to sweeten it, which also blends really well with these fruits and the spinach.


If you have trouble getting your kid to eat anything green, this is a really fun way to get them involved.  They can help put the ingredients in the blender, watch it go, and then drink a fun drink.  It’s a great way to get the goodness of fruits and vegetables in picky eaters.


favorite green smoothie


the green monster


1 banana
1 apple
1 cup green grapes
1 1/2 cups spinach
1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1-2 tablespoons honey



1.  Wash all fruit.
2.  Cut apple into slices and core.
3.  Put all ingredients in blender.
4.  Blend together to desired consistency.


green smoothie ingredients

green smoothie

green smoothie with honey

green smoothie in blender

green smoothie favorite


*note:  I don’t peel the apple because that’s where a lot of good fiber is, and I want to make sure I get that.  However, I do not have a great blender like a Vitamix – just a regular one – so the pieces of peel are obvious in the smoothie.  I don’t mind it, but I do have to take a sip and then chew the peel.  If it bothers you, you could simply peel the apple first.  Or get a Vitamix 🙂


Enjoy!  And happy Friday friends!

sweet treat.

Yesterday I had to take a sick day.  I may have laryngitis – not sure and totally self-diagnosing there.  But I have no voice and my throat hurts pretty badly and I have swollen lymph nodes – one so big it’s sticking out of my neck and keeping me from being able to turn my head.  Thankfully, Tommy was home yesterday because he got called in to work Saturday evening and didn’t come home until Sunday late afternoon.  Even though he missed a night of sleep, he spent most of the day yesterday taking care of Jack and allowing me to rest.  I haven’t had anything that’s kept me laying down in quite awhile.  But the sick day did allow me to get some posts written, and this is one that I’ve been wanting to share.


I experimented with this sweet treat a couple of weeks back.  I noticed this picture pinned on Pinterest

2014 diy valentine's day food gift, Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day


and decided to try and make a similarly pretty but much healthier version.  This is what I came up with…

Nikon D3200 632

This is so easy to make, takes very little time, and is a much healthier alternative to a very rich dessert.  This dessert is under 100 caloriesCompared to my inspiration picture which is cake and frosting and at least 300 but maybe as high as 500 calories. 


Here’s how I did it:


Pint of strawberries
1 container of light Cool Whip [I used the Kroger brand]
Mason jars



1.  Wash strawberries
2.  Cap strawberries and halve or quarter, depending on how big they are
3.  Place a layer of strawberries on the bottom, followed by a layer of cool whip.
4.  Repeat until you reach the top.

Hint:  For an even lower calorie dessert, add more strawberries than cool whip, and for a richer dessert add more cool whip. 


Nikon D3200 629

Nikon D3200 630

Nikon D3200 631


In less than 10 minutes you have a dessert that is healthy and looks great, too!  Enjoy!

healthy bits from last week.

Happy Sunday friends!  I hope you’ve had a nice weekend.  It is sunny and 54 here right now!  It’s windy, but it’s such a nice day out.  Tomorrow the low is 14 and they’re calling for scattered snow showers.  You just never know what the weather will be like in East Tennessee.


Our Maryland friends got some snow last week!  Lately I have really been missing Maryland, and mostly our friends there.  I think because our first winter there was so intense [3 blizzards], winter just makes me think of Maryland.  And my heart misses our dear friends there.  I loved our little house in the snow.  It was cozy and the radiant heat made it feel even cozier.

None of that has anything to do with my post today though.  Today I wanted to share what #healthyandorganized2014 steps I took last week.

Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been as good on the healthy as I have on the organized.  I did make one of my favorite, very healthy vegetables dishes a couple of weeks ago.



Last week Tommy’s mom, his uncle from Wisconsin, and Tommy’s mom’s friend, Christy, came over for lunch.  Christy brought this for dessert.

angel food cake and berries


It was very sweet, very delicious and definitely a healthy dessert option.  Angel food cake is a great way to go to save on calories and the berries are a great way to get in fresh fruit.  Top it off with low fat cool whip and you are in healthy dessert business.
As I shared earlier in the week, I made white chicken chili.  It was such a healthy dinner and so easy to make.


white chicken chili



So even though I made chocolate chip cookies twice, I did make some healthy choices lately, too.  Sometimes I get caught up in the all or nothing mindset, even though I taught against it to all of my patients.  Looking back on the week to think about healthy steps helps me to see what I did well.  And it also helps me to see areas I could improve upon.  Like the Cokes I had to drink 🙂

white chicken chili.

Oh my goodness.  This is my new favorite.  It took me awhile to jump on the white chicken chili bandwagon, but not only am I on it, I’m waving the banner for it too! 


This is so incredibly easy to make.  It took hardly any time.  And it is so very healthy!  I made it on the stove, but you can easily put this in the crockpot, so I am going to give directions for both.  Also, I am listing the ingredients based on what I used, but next time I make this I am going to double it so we have more leftovers. 

 white chicken chili  


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth 
2 cans great northern beans 
1 4 oz. can of diced green chiles 
2 tsp. cumin 
2 tsp. oregano 
a touch of cayenne pepper [optional] 
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese 


Stovetop directions: 
1.  Cook chicken breasts in oven.  I used thin sliced chicken breasts this time, so I cooked them at 350 for 20 minutes. 
2.  While chicken is cooking, get other ingredients ready. 
3.  Add chicken broth to large pot. 
4.  Drain and rinse beans.  Mash beans from one can to fairly smooth consistency. 
5.  Add beans and green chiles to pot. 
6.  Once chicken is done in oven, remove and cut into bite size pieces or shred [based on your preference.] 
7.  Add chicken to pot, then add spices. 
8.  Bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on for about 20 minutes. 
9.  Serve, topped with cheese and sour cream if desired. 


Crockpot directions: 
1.  Place chicken broth, beans [one can of whole beans, one can of mashed beans], chiles, and spices to crock pot.  Stir together. 
2.  Add chicken breasts.  [I use frozen chicken tenderloins when cooking anything chicken in the crock pot] 
3.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 
4.  Just before serving, shred chicken with a fork. 


So easy and so good! 

Nutrition info: 
–  Chicken is a low-fat and very healthy source of protein 
–  Beans are great for aiding digestion and are also full of protein 
–  This broth-based soup is low in fat and calories 
–  The spices add excellent flavor without adding any extra fat or calories 
–  Top with low-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream and you have a super healthy dinner! 


This dish was enjoyed by everyone!  Even the little guys we got to have in our home that night! 

white chicken chili jack  white chicken chili crew

hamburger soup.

Hello dear friends.  I’ve got a recipe to share today.  Really low calorie, with protein, and vegetables.  A one pot to clean up kind of meal.  And best of all – it’s super EASY.  I spent about 10 minutes of hands on time cooking, let it cook for about 30 minutes, and we were ready for a dinner that tasted much  more involved than that.


This soup is heavy on tomato.  It has a great tomato flavor to it that I absolutely love.  You might want to add some things to this soup that would make it even better!  Onions would be so good in here.  I can’t eat onions right now, otherwise I would have added them myself.  Between my food allergies and my autoimmune disease, I am pretty limited in what I can eat these days, so I came up with this recipe based on foods that I can eat right now.  This is a great soup to play around with, though, and add some of your favorite vegetables to.



1 lb ground beef [I highly recommend buying at least 90% lean ground beef.  I usually buy 93% – it is more expensive than the 80/20 but so much better for our health]
1 28 oz. can whole stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can green beans
1 14 oz. can corn
1/3 tiny can of tomato paste
2-6 cups water [depending on whether you like it more like a stew or more like a soup]
2 packets Ranch seasoning



1.  Brown ground beef in the bottom of the pot you are going to cook your soup in.
2.  Once beef is thoroughly cooked, add in the canned goods – green beans, corn, diced tomates, and whole tomatoes.  Be sure to drain green beans and corn, but add the juice from the tomatoes to the pot.
3.  Add approximately 1/3 of a can of tomato paste.
4.  Spend some time stirring this all together and mashing the whole tomato chunks.  A very loose mashing is fine, especially if you have tomato lovers.
5.  Add water depending on how soupy or stewy you like this to be.  I added over 6 cups of water because I prefer more broth in mine, but you can certainly add much less if you like more substance.
6.  Add packets of Ranch dressing mix + stir it all together.
7.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
Then you’re ready to serve.  I topped ours with cheese & just served my favorite Sister Schubert frozen rolls on the side.  Super easy dinner and perfect for a rainy day or a cold winter day.


Nikon D3200 003


This also went over well with Jack.  He prefers to have more cheese than soup, but I’m okay with him having cheese on it if it means he’s eating the vegetables that are under the cheese!


Nikon D3200 004