coconut Oatmeal Bars

These were not bad, but I think they’d be better with some mini chocolate chips. 🙂

Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Bars

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup Splenda
1 egg white
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 c. coconut flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, applesauce and sugar until creamy. Add egg beaters, water and vanilla; beat well. Add combined oats, flour, salt and baking soda; mix well. Press dough into an ungreased 9×13 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes.
Yields: 18 bars. Per bar= 181 Calories; 3g Fat (15.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 171mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

So I called Aetna…

So I called Aetna last Friday and asked the customer service girl “who sets Aetna’s policies? Do you have a medical director?”
She stammers around then says, “The policies are set by your HR staff.”
“No,” I say, “not MY policy, ALL of the policies of Aetna. Like not paying for diagnostic mammograms.”
She sighs and asks me to hold.
I say, “Sure, and why don’t you find a supervisor I can talk to?”
“Well, they’re going to have to do the same thing I’m doing- research.”
“That’s fine. Please transfer me to a supervisor.”
After a few minutes she comes back and says she can’t transfer me to a supervisor without my member ID number. ??!!!!
I give her the number, even though it has nothing to do with my question. She puts me on hold again. After 5 minutes of waiting, I hung up.
But online at the Aetna site I find that Lonny Reisman is the Chief Medical Officer for Aetna. They give a number for the media to call. So, as a freelance writer, I am media, so I call. I left a message. I wonder how long it will take them to call me back?
Meanwhile, Mom calls tonight and says she got an email from Aetna and they are going to pay for the first diagnostic mammogram she had this year!

Beef Cabbage & Peanut Sauce

I made this with cube steak. It was ok.

Beef Cabbage & peanut sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed and thinly sliced (see Tip)
1 lb shredded cabbage
2-5 tablespoons water

Whisk peanut butter, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add steak and cook, stirring, until browned and barely pink in the middle, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Add cabbage and 2 tablespoons water; cook, stirring, until beginning to wilt, 3 to 5 minutes. Cook, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes more. Return the steak and any accumulated juices to the pan, then pour in the peanut sauce and toss to combine.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For me, it’s also Insurance Awareness Month. My mother had breast cancer almost 5 years ago. It was detected at stage 0 by a mammogram. She went through radiation treatments after having a lumpectomy and has been fine ever since. BUT she has to have diagnostic mammograms each year. This year she’s had two diagnostic mammograms. In Oklahoma, insurance companies are required to pay for one routine mammogram each year. Not diagnostic mammograms. Today I learned that breast cancer survivors (at least in OK, not sure about other states) are paying for their own mammograms. Insurance does not cover these, unless of course, the deductible has been met. Even then their coverage is usually no more than 80%. Does this make sense to anyone? So, if I’ve had breast cancer my insurance company doesn’t care enough about me having a mammogram to even pay for it? Do they really want to pay more if I end up with breast cancer again?? Or do they just figure it’s ok because surely I’ll want to live and I will pay for the diagnostic mammogram? This is incredibly unfair. Insurance companies need to step up and pay for at least one diagnostic mammogram each year. It’s in their best interest and the interest of their customers. In this time of healtcare reform can they really afford to do less?

Ladies, it is time to make some noise. Contact your insurance company, your state insurance commission and your senator. Keep talking about this and do not stop until someone realizes we will not “go quietly into that good night.”

“Therefore my dear [sisters] stand firm.” -1 Cor. 15:58a

Pumpkin Fudge

Ok, I was revising the original recipe so I made it 3 times trying to get it to set up. the 2nd batch did set up. It is VERY important to cook the sugar mixture long enough. But after this fudge set out for a while it became a gooey mess. So…I think the recipe still needs a little work. If you play with this and get a good recipe that doesn’t require 3 cups of sugar be sure to let me know!
regardless of it not setting up—it was delicious!

Pumpkin Fudge
2/3 cups white sugar
1 TB light margarine
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups butterscotch chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 C. Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spray 11×7 pan with cooking spray. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, cream of tartar, pumpkin, and spice; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat until mixture reaches 234 degrees F (118 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. (ahhh…I boiled 4-5 minutes…maybe a little longer would do the trick)
Remove from heat. Stir in butterscotch chips. When chips are melted, add marshmallow cream, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
Immediately pour butterscotch mixture into prepared pan. Spread evenly. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares, and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Yield: 24 small squares. Per square= 108 Calories; 1g Fat (6.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 16mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Calico Corn

This came from Busy People’s Lowfat Cookbook. I’m sorry, but…yuck! This was not good!

Calico Corn
2 can whole kernel corn
1 TB sugar
1/4 c. Fat Free French Dressing
1 c. chunky salsa

In 2 qt microwavable bowl, combine ingredients. Heat in microwave 3 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 7 (1/2 cup) servings.

The Very Best New Orleans Shrimp

I didn’t have beer so I used a little merlot. They were tasty!

The Very Best New Orleans Shrimp
Servings 2

1/2 pound shrimp
2 Tbsp light margarine
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/4 can or bottle light beer

Seasoning Mix:
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. In a heavy skillet over high heat combine butter, garlic, worcestershire and seasoning mix. When butter is melted, add shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking panback and forth. Do not stir! Add stock and beer and cook an additional 2 minutes, shaking pan. Remove from heat. Serve with white rice and crusty french bread to soak up sauce.

Raspberry Coconut Bars

These were really good but thin so they were nearly impossible to get out of the pan. I’m thinking if I made them in an 11×7 pan instead of 9×13 then the bottom would be thicker and the milk wouldn’t stick to the bottom as bad… of course, there would also be fewer bars and so each bar would have more calories, etc.

Raspberry Coconut Bars

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (1 pkg, crumbled)
1 tablespoon light margarine, melted
3 TB water
2 cups coconut flakes
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, fat free
1 cup sugar free raspberry preserves
1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350^. Combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine and water. Press mixture into 11×7 pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle coconut flakes over crust. Pour milk over coconut. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread preserves over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cut into bars and serve.

Yield: 24 bars. Per bar= 121 Calories; 4g Fat (24.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 75mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Pizza Chili

Why didn’t I think of this before!?

Pizza Chili

15 ounces kidney beans, canned, rinsed and drained
8 ounces ground beef, 95% lean
2 ounces turkey pepperoni
1 ounce sliced black olives
2 cups spaghetti sauce, del monte traditional
14 1/2 ounces stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup bell pepper
1/2 cup water

Brown ground beef in large sauce pan. Add all remaining ingredients. bring to a boil and simmer.

Yield: 5 servings. per serving (about 1 cup)= 295 Calories; 4g Fat (16.0% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 28mg Cholesterol; 1079mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat.