Baking Baby Boomer Mermaid Style

Recipe Conversion Success!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

I have been fooling around with recipe conversions in baking for as long as I can remember, substituting applesauce for oil, experimenting with sugar substitutes, adding pumpkin or other fruits or vegetables to recipes, using egg whites, etc.

My paternal grandmother was the quintessential home baker, and I always wanted to be her, except at a healthy weight. Granted, I bake mostly very simple things like bars, and crisps. Grandma Kate baked the most beautiful challahs, cookies, and coffee cakes. Her kitchen was like a little baking factory. I have experienced many successes as well as failures with my baking experiments, but today was a grand success and I wanted to share it with you. I know Grandma Kate is proud.

Here is the recipe: https://thecafesucrefarine.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-blondies/

As you can see by my photo, I used peanut butter powder in place of creamy peanut butter, slashing the fat and calories (and WW points). I also used a low sugar fruit spread in place of regular jelly. I did also use Splenda brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar. I used the same measurements as called for in the recipe. I am blown away at how delicious and creamy and peanut buttery my blondies are. Please give this a try.

I want to call out another recent baking success – another recipe for you to try. No substitutes needed. This brownie recipe is written perfectly: https://www.skinnykitchen.com/recipes/tag/skinny-brownies/. These are delicious, and came out perfectly both times I made them in recent months.

For more “Sweet” inspiration check out my Sweets Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/marshaleeg/sweets/

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your 4th of July!

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Have A Plan on Hand

No Cook Meal Prep – It’s All About the Groceries

I’m getting busier at work, thankfully, while making maintaining a balance in my life that gives me enough downtime/ self care time. To that end, I decided to keep #mealprepsunday super simple this week. Yesterday I went to Trader Joe’s and bought a package of Nova Lox, 2 cans of tuna, veggie burgers, a bag of Power Greens, and a bag of Broccoli Slaw. My pantry and refrigerator contain everything else I need to turn these ingredients into work lunches for the week. I have 100 calorie multi grain English Muffins (3 points), Everything Bagel Thins (3 points), Ole Whole Wheat Tortillas (1 point), and the fixings for the homemade classic vinaigrette I enjoy so much. Today I put together the tuna with celery, diced red onions, and light mayo I had on hand, and the salad dressing. My other options, the lox sandwiches, and veggie burger sandwiches can be put together on the fly at work.

Easy salad and vinaigrette prep. The recipe for the Vinaigrette came from the June issue of Prevention magazine. This is the 3rd time I’ve made it. 2 alterations – I didn’t have a shallot in the house, so I finely chopped the diced red onions I did have, and instead of 1/2 cup of olive oil I used 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup water. Note that you can use any vinegar in this that you like. You can also switch out the shallot or onion for a clove of garlic. So many good options.
Lunch is ready. I also do have a little fruit as an afternoon snack with me. This week it’s Plumcots. I love summer stone fruits.

During what I refer to the “dog days” of the quarantine, my husband and I started eating serious deserts after dinner. Ice cream, gelato, ice cream novelties, and the like. My clothes started getting a little tight…. During the last few weeks since we have both been getting out of the house again during the day for work, we have made adjustments. I have been prepping fresh summer fruit to have after dinner most nights. We do still indulge in a cheat dessert or 2 on the weekends, but the fruit has been working great for us. The first week, I cut up watermelon. Last week, I prepped strawberries, and bought whipped cream to have with them, and this week we are doing the same with cherries. It’s all been really delicious and satisfying.

That’s my cherry pitter in the foreground. I picked it up at Bed Bath & Beyond a while back for about $12.00. You can also find them on Amazon. I prefer real whipped cream over the processed whipped toppings. This can (and the name brand) are 15 calories/ or 1 point for 2 tablespoons. It is cleaner eating, and tastes so much better.

For breakfast these days I switch off between yogurt, banana, berry bowls, with a hard boiled egg, and scrambled eggs topped with salsa, and rolled into an Ole Whole Wheat tortilla, with a banana. These choices work for me, and keep me full until lunchtime. Easy peasy.

In addition to today’s prep, I wanted to inspire you with this article about the benefits of aquatic exercise, as pools will be opening up soon, and of course, it’s summer. https://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1500. You know me – I cannot wait to get back in the water!

Thanks for stopping by today. Stay safe and healthy. And continue to take good care of yourselves.

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Making Clean Eating a Priority

Clean eating  involves choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. As I have embraced the anti inflammatory diet over the last several months my choices have begun evolving more towards cleaner food choices. I have cut back on my cheeses and processed meats.When I do choose a sausage, I read the label to make sure it doesn’t have too many preservatives or questionable ingredients. For more information on how to incorporate clean eating into your routine, here is a comprehensive article to get you started: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-how-to-eat-clean

Today’s meal prep is straight from the WW website – Very Veggie Turkey Meatloaf. It is clean and healthy. Full of fresh veggies, oats, and fresh ground turkey. And I’ve had a taste. It is really delicious! Here is the recipe: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/very-veggie-turkey-meat-loaf/5c993ed35e84d2001c1cf17f.

To start my very veggie turkey meatloaf I have clean, healthy, yet full flavor ingredients. Not shown are the olive oil used to saute the veggies, and the salt & pepper added, per the recipe.
Mid meal prep – notice the gorgeous colors
The finished product. I will spit this into servings to have ready for my work lunches.
My work lunch side salad
One of the easiest and most budget friendly ways to eat clean is to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet. These are a few of my favorite for summer. Speaking of gorgeous colors!

Make it a great week, my friends. Continue to stay safe and healthy.

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Finding Balance in “The New Normal”

Floral fun from my walks this week. On the left is an artichoke fully flowered. Never saw that before! Love the vibrant colors here.

As the world opens up, and we are so excited to be going back to work, to restaurants, and retail stores, I feel like we should also embrace some of the wonderful things we discovered about staying home. During quarantine, my walks took the place of the pool for me in that I exercise, I use the walks for meditation, and also as a social outlet enjoying phone visits with friends and family. I learned to sit still without television and/ or devices out in my patio, and to just relax. These are things I want to hold on to, as I ease myself back into the world. I don’t want to be as busy as I used to be, or as harried. Taking things at a slower pace is keeping me more centered and focused. I am adjusting how I organize my time and priorities in order to keep this mindset. Of course I still can’t wait until the pool reopens….

Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry was my inspiration for my lunch prep this week. To bulk it up, I added sauteed fresh bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, and the rest of the frozen edamame I had in my freezer to the mix. The basic flavor of the TJ’s cauliflower rice mixture is really good as is, but I wanted to give it a little more oomph, so I added cubes of frozen garlic and frozen ginger to my stir fry, as well as a little coconut aminos. I like Trader Joe’s coconut aminos best. Other brands tend to be a little too sweet for me. Of course you can use soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or Tamari sauce as well to achieve that umami flavor. To pair with the veggies I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, and oven roasted them (roasting instructions: https://pin.it/7cFsfZI). Honestly you can’t go wrong with this combo of flavors. And your house will smell amazing. I encourage you to try this recipe. You’re welcome :).

Here is the basic recipe with the changes I made for my meal prep noted:

Spuds Aloha Zesty Hawaiian Marinade; developed by Michael Gronfein

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used TJ’s coconut aminos)

2 tablespoons oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)

1 teaspoon mustard (I used dry mustard)

1/2 teaspoon ginger (I used dry ginger)

2 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of granulated garlic)

Pepper (I used a couple of pinches of red chile flakes; sriracha sauce is great in this as well)

Lunch prep is done. Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and edamame paired with teriyaki marinated oven roasted chicken breast

Make it a great week, my friends. I know we are still going through some very tough times, but as bad as 2020 has been so far, there is light to be found here. We are on the road to real positive social change in our country, as well as a vaccine for Covid 19. Please be good to yourselves.

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We are All in this Together – All Lives Matter

I had a full blog planned to publish yesterday, but in light of the protests turned riots, I decided it would not be appropriate. I feel the same way today, but a girl has to eat, so I am just going to share my meal prep with you today.


Summer produce is my favorite, and I wanted to celebrate it this week with this easy summer squash salad I saw prepared on the Food Network show, The Kitchen: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/grilled-shrimp-and-summer-squash-salad-7241083. This is a beautiful summer salad. I made changes, Baby Boomer Mermaid style, but the original recipe is beautiful. If I was cooking for company, I would make this as written. Since I am cooking for my weekly lunch meal prep, I made the changes that work for me, and you should do the same.

Summer Squash Salad Baby Boomer Mermaid style

The corn was replaced by celery in my prep. I love a corn on the cob as a treat, but corn is not really my friend, so I hesitated to use it in a meal I plan to eat for a few days. I used celery instead for the fresh crunch. I also subbed the sunflower seeds for toasted almond slices. Just because. I also needed a dark green leafy base for my salad so I combined fresh basil with arugula. I have plenty of my classic vinaigrette dressing left over from last week, so am using that instead of making a new dressing that is actually pretty similar. Other than that, I followed the prep instructions in the recipe – I lightly roasted the seeded summer squash, and blanched the snow peas. My proteins of choice this week will be left over roasted chicken breast, Trader Joe’s shrimp burgers, or Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Sausage. All delicious, all low calories/ points.

One more quick share – it’s cherry season! I pitted these and added them to my yogurt bowl this morning. So sweet and delicious.

Thank you so much for checking in. Please take care. Sending you all much love and big hugs.

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Memorial Day Fly Over, then Meal Prep

Happy Memorial Day, all! We were fortunate enough today to experience a special fly over of an 18-plane formation of historic war planes over So Cal this afternoon. What an awesome experience, and a humbling reminder that this is a day to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and to honor the military that is out there today protecting our freedom, our democracy.

Weekly meal prep is back for me. At least for the moment. We are heading into a heat wave this week, so I stuck with an easy, no cook salad for lunches. I found this White Bean, Tuna & Roasted Pepper Salad in the June 2020 issue of Prevention Magazine. Unfortunately I could not access the link to the recipe online, but here is the list of ingredients, and what I used:

Serves 4

15 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed – I used garbanzo beans

1/4 small red onion chopped

6 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette *see below*

3 hearts of romaine torn into pieces (12 oz; about 6 cups) – I used 1 5 oz bag of romaine and mixed it with a bag of broccoli slaw

2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained, and cut into pieces

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used a little less, and chopped them up)

1/2 cup pitted mixed olives (I used about 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives, that I cut in half)

5 oz canned tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked – I used a 14.75 oz can of wild caught salmon packed in water

No Cook Garbanzo Bean and Salmon Salad, ready to pack up for the office.
The lettuce and broccoli slaw is bagged separately, the salmon is in it’s own container, and the beans and veggies are combined in another container. All I have to do in the morning is layer one serving of this into my special salad container, and put the vinaigrette in it’s own 2 oz serving container. I am going to have Trader Joe’s 3 Seed Beet Crackers on the side.

*Classic Vinaigrette:

To a jar add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water). Cover and shake until emulsified. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

And I did a breakfast prep today too! I follow a U Tube channel called Flav City, hosted by Chef Bobby Parrish. He is a wealth of knowledge, and a heck of a cook. I saw this and had to try it. It’s a copy cat recipe of Starbucks bacon and Gruyere egg bites. I did modify it Baby Boomer Mermaid style, and I am extremely proud to say that I pulled it off. I had a taste of my finished product and these are delicious. Here is the link to the Flav City recipe and video. Chef gives a lot of great culinary tips in a short amount of time. The video is worth the watch: https://www.flavcity.com/keto-breakfast-egg-bites/#viewrecipe

I followed the technical directions and the measurements of the original recipe, but altered the ingredients to fit my needs. I used 1 cup of egg whites, fat free cottage cheese, 4 slices of light Jarlsberg cheese, diced, I added jarred roasted red peppers to get a little veggie in there, and Canadian bacon in place of regular bacon.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have enjoyed the holiday weekend, and that you are feeling good. The world is starting to reopen. In a new way, but it is coming along, I am happy to say. Take care of yourselves.

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Smelling the Roses Again

Palisades Park – The Rose Garden

The city is slowly coming back to life. Santa Monica finally reopened their parks and beaches (for swimming and exercise only). My favorite is Palisades Park, which spans the cliffs just above the ocean. There is the most lovely rose garden there. I missed this little piece of paradise. I am gradually starting to feel whole again.

Last week I started going back to the office to begin prep for the economy reopening. My groceries served me well. I had good, healthy lunches each day. It is indeed all about the groceries. That said, I did want to meal plan for this coming week in the office, so I went to my well stocked freezer. There I found Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (4 pts/ 140 cal per 1 cup serving), their Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (2 pts/ 45 cal per 2 tbsp serving), frozen spinach, and frozen broccoli florets. The light bulb in my Baby Boomer Mermaid head went off, and I decided to combine all of this deliciousness into one veggie forward dish for myself. I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3 points/ 110 calories per 1 sausage serving). This gives me 4 servings, so all things considered, it will be healthy, filling, and really satisfying for the week.

Cauliflower Gnocchi with Creamy Spinach Artichoke dip, spinach, and broccoli

Last weekend, after I published the blog, I got the baking bug. I had a can of pureed pumpkin in the house, along with all of the other ingredients needed, so I made this muffin recipe from Drizzle Me Skinny. No alterations. They came out amazing: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/. I highly recommend you give this a try. 2 pts/ 88 cal per muffin. Almost everything I make is inspired by recipes I find on the interwebs, either from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, the WW website, or just by randomly searching.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins

More scenes from Palisades Park, Santa Monica, Saturday, May 16

Just a reminder that I am still selling hospital grade disposable masks. Masks will be a part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Please contact me privately if you are interested in purchasing some for your home and/ or office: marshaleeg@verizon.net.

Thank you for joining me this week! Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourselves.

Feel free to send me comments, critiques, questions, or meal prep ideas 🙂

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It’s About the Groceries

For me, staying home has become more about the groceries than the meal prep. I don’t want to feel obligated to one or 2 choices for the week during this time, so I have filled my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator with clean, healthy, and mostly “safe” food options…. There has definitely been a little splurging on comfort foods and sweets over the course of the last 6 weeks of quarantine, though. Not gonna lie.

Today I made a broccoli slaw. Super easy with Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Coleslaw Dressing (50 cal for 2 tbsp/ 2 pts). I added a little celery, red onion, and celery seed to bump up the flavors. I put about 1/4 cup of dressing in the entire dish, which will be 3 – 4 servings. Slaw needs to marinate a little, so it’s in the refrigerator getting delicious.

Broccoli Slaw dressed with Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw Dressing
From a couple of weeks ago – Macaroni Salad made with chickpea elbows, roasted red peppers out of the jar, celery, red onions, and a little sweet pickle relish. It is dressed with about 1/4 cup of light mayo, and seasoned with salt & pepper. This prep was inspired by this WW 4 pt recipe – https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/classic-macaroni-salad-1/5626a5f74236657004995d9c

My hearty breakfast was scrambled eggs with caramelized onions and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a solid resource of protein and fiber. Besides the health benefits, it has a cheesy flavor, so mimics that in eggs without the fat, calories, and points of cheese. It is 20 calories a tablespoon (0 pts). Here is a cooking note on scrambled eggs (learned from The Barefoot Contessa, and who doesn’t love her ?) – cook them on low, slowly. You will get a fluffier more uncious finished product. I topped the egg mixture with my favorite jarred salsa, and wrapped it up on an Ole Extreme Whole Wheat Tortilla (50 cal/ 1pt).

Hearty breakfast – scrambled eggs and onions flavored with nutritional yeast, topped with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla 🙂
The tea is my mock chai latte made with Spiced Chai Tea from Trader Joe’s and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
Yesterday’s lunch – Trader Joe’s shrimp burger topped with creamy srircha sauce and a salad made of baby lettuce, broccoli slaw, and grape tomatoes, dressed with Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing (from the refrigerator section). Calling this 4 points total.
The tea is my home brewed ginger/ tumeric iced tea (also Trader Joe’s)

So it is all about the groceries right now. Here are a few tips to make grocery shopping a little easier during these challenging times:

*Make a list (best if you can do it in the order of the aisles in the store)

*Read the labels (and/ or keep your WW scanner handy) to be sure you are making healthy choices

*Buy seasonal produce and proteins on sale to help adhere to your budget

Just a reminder, I am selling hospital grade disposable masks. Find the details on the previous blog from last week (scroll down). Masks are an essential part of the “new normal” as business start to reopen.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. Please send me any comments, critiques, or questions. I would love to hear from you. Stay safe. Be well.

Necessity for the “New Normal”

Phase 1 Started Today; Phase 2 (Open Stores) is Coming Soon!

While navigating through quarantine, I have been cut off from my long time lively hood in the wholesale apparel industry, so I have found a way to create a little income during this challenging time. It has never been my intention to sell anything on this blog, but this is a product for the health and well being of the greater good, so I decided to advertise here.

Disposable Masks. The Highest Quality.

These are hospital quality face masks. You can read most of the details about them on the boxes shown in the image above. They are light weight and breathable. I want to note that they do also have a nose wire, which increases the comfort level.

The cost is $60.00 for a box of 50 masks + postage. If you have interest, please e mail me at: marshaleeg@verizon.net.

Please continue to be safe and stay healthy!!

Coping with Quarantine

Recipe Schmecipe Recap – A Review of A Few of My Best, EASY Meal Preps

Not gonna lie. Although grateful for my overall good health, and the love and companionship of my husband, who’s health I am also grateful for, other than losing my parents, this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. I have lost my way the last few weeks, and in the meantime, tore a muscle in my back while stretching, which has temporarily taken away my ability to get outdoors to walk or to do anything else that resembles being productive. I am healing, taking it a day at a time. Locked up. Chin up. Putting on my big girl pants and moving forward.

Since we all are cooking most of our own meals these days, I thought I would offer you a recap of a few of my favorite past meal preps and tips in the hopes of inspiring you to make something new and fun. If you are new to the blog, my meal prep philosophy has always been budget conscious, pantry based, WW friendly, delicious, and EASY. This will also allow for you to peruse past blogs at the same time, in the hopes that you will find renewed inspiration, and get a few handy tips along the way. Let’s Go!

Pantry tips: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/02/10/your-pantry-is-it-safe-is-it-ready-for-any-emergency/

Cabbage Roll Soup (fan favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/02/18/balancing-act-self-care-vs-obligations/

Slow Cooker Chicken Schwarma (personal favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/04/14/recipe-schmecipe/

Creamy Broccoli Salad (fan favorite): https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/06/16/celebrating-the-fruits-of-summer/

Favorite Low Point Gazpacho: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/06/23/tomato-tomahto/

Snacks: https://babyboomermermaid.com/2019/07/28/routine-vs-yolo/

Scenes from Home, the last couple of weeks

Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to send me your comments, critiques, and questions.

Stay safe, and healthy, my friends.

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