Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Category: Free day foods

Holiday Goodies

Hey there! I hope everyone that celebrates Thanksgiving, had a great one! Time is going by so quickly. Can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of December?!?!?

There’s been so much going on here lately. First, the 2015 Fall Shred is underway and the group is nothing short of amazing. Not only are they working hard to reach their goals, but they encourage one another along the way. I’m honored to be “coaching” this awesome group.


We put up our Christmas decorations already (yes, we’re that family that puts them up before Thanksgiving). We had some extra time this past weekend, so we figured we’d decorate. I cannot put into words the feelings I got when I saw my little girl’s excitement when she saw the decorations for the first time (especially the Christmas tree). It almost feels like I’m experiencing the holidays for the first time myself.

Holiday Goodies

Giant Food Stores was kind enough to send me some sample from their delicious new holiday line. For a limited time, Giant has introduced an assortment of Peppermint Limited Time Original items. There are more than 50 seasonal peppermint-filled products now available for a limited time only at Giant.


Some of these goodies include: peppermint cupcakes, ice cream, gelato, double layer cake or double filled peppermint sandwich cream cookies, peppermint seltzer, peppermint craft soda, peppermint tea, crushed baking chips, milk chocolate covered marshmallows with crushed peppermint, chocolate bark, brownie and cookie mixes.

The peppermint bark was absolutely delicious. You can tell it’s made from top quality dark chocolate. My husband and I also tried the peppermint sandwich cookies. We actually did a “taste test” and compared them with peppermint flavored Oreo cookies. In all honesty, we both preferred Giant’s brand. It had more of a “fresh” cookie crunch and the peppermint filling had actual candy cane pieces in the icing. Yum!

I haven’t made the peppermint whoopie pies just yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know how they are. If you have a Giant Food Store near you, I highly recommend trying out some of these delicious holiday treats. If you do give them a try, let me know what your favorites are!

Full disclosure: Giant Foods sent me the pictured items to sample. However, this review and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Bang Bang Shrimp

Hey there! I hope you had a nice weekend. Ours was nice. We had a low-key weekend and spent our first Valentine’s Day as a family of 4. Since it was so cold and snowy, we had a quiet evening at home. It was perfect.

One of our favorite places to eat is Bone Fish Grill. Their “Bang Bang Shrimp” appetizer is the best. I went onto Pinterest in search of a recipe for the shrimp (as usual, Pinterest didn’t disappoint). While I still think nothing can beat the real thing, this came pretty close! It was delicious!

Bang Bang Shrimp

photo (27)

Servings: 5
Serving Size: about 3 oz. of shrimp and 1 tbsp. sauce
Calories: 449
Fat: 18.8 g
Carbs: 40.3 g
Protein: 25.6 g

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for 4 servings:
Recipe adapted from Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Panko bead crumbs, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar

In a small bowl, beat egg and egg white. Set aside.

In a shallow dish, mix together the corn starch, flour, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

On a small plate, pour remaining 1/2 cup of panko crumbs.

Next, dredge peeled and deveined shrimp into the egg mixture. Then put the shrimp into the flour mixture (be sure to coat completely). Lastly, dip the shrimp into the panko crumbs. Set aside on a large plate. Repeat until all shrimp are coated. Place shrimp in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

While shrimp are setting up in the refrigerator, make the sauce. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Place shrimp into oil and turn over when browned (I cooked the shrimp for a total of 5 minutes). Place cooked shrimp onto a paper towel so that it absorbs any excess oil.

You can drizzle the shrimp with the sauce or just dip the shrimp. Serve & enjoy!

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Cheesecake Cookie Cups

This is definitely not a healthy recipe, but it is a good one! This dessert isn’t a healthier alternative to cheesecake, but rather a smaller portion of cheesecake. I believe that you should never think of any foods as “off limits”. Instead, enjoy treats in moderation while reducing the portion size. This cheesecake is the perfect size to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 24 cookie cups:


  • 1 package-16 oz. sugar cookie dough (you can use any flavor you’d like)
  • 2 packages- 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin foil liners (they won’t stick to the foil liner). Place a piece of cookie dough in each liner.


Bake cookie dough for about 7 minutes (or until the dough spreads out covering the entire muffin liner).


Meanwhile, using a hand mixer blend together the cream cheese, eggs, condensed milk, and vanilla until smooth.


Pour about 3 tbsp. of cheesecake mixture over each sugar cookie.  (oops…blurry pic)


Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Enjoy!


Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie cup is a serving):

  • Calories 191
  • Fat 16.1g
  • Carbohydrates 33g
  • Protein 3.5g
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Chewy Nutella Brownie Cookies

Hey there! I hope you are having a nice week.

My summer vacation has officially started. The last day for teachers was on Monday. It was a bittersweet day for me because it was my last day at my current school and I had to say “goodbye” “see ya later” to a lot of amazing people. The “sweet” side of it is that I’m going to be going back to a school where I first started my teaching career and will be working with some pretty amazing people there too.

Since I haven’t had to work this week, I’ve been spending some time on Pinterest (I have to limit my time on there or I would be on there all day).  I came across a recipe that peaked my interest. It claimed that this delicious cookie only needed 4 ingredients: Nutella, flour, sugar, and an egg.

I figured I’d give it a try, see if the recipe was good (not intending to put it on here until I tested it out to make sure that it was legit). I literally just finished making them and my first thought was that I HAD to share it with you all immediately! (That’s why there are no step-by-step pictures). I modified the recipe and omitted the sugar.

Now, these cookies are not really a healthy cookie, so I would save these for your “free day” or take them to your next cookout.

The best way to describe the flavor of this cookie is that of a brownie. They are slightly crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, and not too sweet. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make about 20 cookies:

  • 1 cup of Nutella
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, place dough on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 6-8 minutes. Enjoy!


Nutrition information: Each cookie has 106 calories, 4.7 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 1.7 grams of protein.

Have you come across any amazing things on Pinterest?

(If you’d like to follow my pins, you can find me as Kila Kina)

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Streusel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Hey there! I haven’t posted since Tuesday because I have been coming home from work, eating dinner, and then going to bed (trying to fight off this cold). It just won’t leave me! My food has been pretty boring this week, mainly due to the fact that all I have really wanted was comfort food. I’m hoping that I’ll feel better soon because tomorrow I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s side of the family. I’m sooo excited about this because I absolutely love hosting. My mother-in-law is bringing most of the sides and my husband and I are in charge of the turkey and desserts.

This morning, I got a head start on the baking.  I made a pumpkin pie and then I tried a new recipe. Let me first just start off by saying that this is one of the best desserts I have ever tried. If you are making desserts this holiday, then this one will be a crowd pleaser.

If you love pumpkin, streusel, and cheesecake, then you’ll LOVE this dessert.  This dessert is definitely not a “healthy” one, so I’d save this for a special occasion. I can’t take credit for this beautiful masterpiece though, I got this recipe from here .

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for about 16-24 bars (depending on how big you slice them). They are pretty rich, so I cut mine into smaller bars.


  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 15 oz. pumpkin pie mix
  • 2.5 oz. evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups of sugar (only 1 cup is pictured here because I didn’t realize that I needed more until after the shot..oops)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (missing from picture…oops..what is going on here?)
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together cake mix, melted butter, and 1 egg until it forms a crumbly/cookie dough type mixture.


Press (all but 2/3 cup) of the cake mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish to form the crust.


Blend together cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar.


Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust.


Mix together the pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, 2 eggs, and pumpkin pie spice.


Pour the pumpkin on top of the cream cheese mixture.


Now for the streusel (my favorite part), mix flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and the remaining 2/3 cup of cake mixture until crumbly.


Put the streusel on top of the pumpkin pie mixture.


It will make these beautiful layers.


Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.


Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting the bars.  Enjoy!



This recipe will definitely be a staple in our house for the holidays!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

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Melted Havarti & Pastrami Sandwich

Best Restaurant & Sandwich Ever!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you’re having a fantastic day! Mine has been productive. My day started out with a Group Power class at the gym. Basically, it is an hour long class that uses barbells (and free weights if you’d like) to strengthen and tone your muscles. It is a full body workout that is lead by an instructor and set to music. This class is great for any fitness levels. If your gym offers this class, I highly recommend it.

Now, onto the food. Smile

My husband and I frequently drive past this cute little restaurant called Lures Bar and Grille. We have never stopped in, but said that one day we’d like to check it out. Well, the other day we did just that and I have to tell you that this is by far my new favorite place to eat. Their menu is completely fresh, in fact, they don’t even have a freezer in the restaurant because nothing is ever frozen. They have an array of seafood dishes, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Here’s their website if you’d like to check it out: Lures Bar and Grille . If you’re ever in the Annapolis area, I highly recommend stopping by this hidden treasure.

When we went, it was my “free day”, so I opted for something completely out of the norm. I ordered “The Lures Special”. This is a sandwich served on warm ciabatta bread with melted havarti cheese, pastrami, grilled onions, and vinaigrette. All I can say is: OMG! This was the most delicious sandwich I have ever tasted. Yum, yum, yum!

Since I enjoyed this sandwich so much, I decided that I would try to re-create it at home (while trying to make a lighter/healthier version of this meal so that I could still enjoy this even when it’s not a free day!). I must say that this sandwich turned out amazingly well!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make 2 sandwiches (that’s pastrami in the deli bag and oops, I forgot to photograph the dressing):


  • 2 oz. ciabatta bread
  • 4 oz. pastrami
  • 2 oz. light havarti cheese
  • sliced onions to taste
  • 2 tbsp. light balsamic dressing

Slice the onions and cook using cooking spray. Cook until caramelized.


While onions are cooking, slice bread, place cheese on top, and put in toaster oven to melt.


Once the onions are caramelized, place pastrami and balsamic dressing into the pan (this will warm the meat and allow the juices from the onion, meat, and dressing mix perfectly).


Once the pastrami is heated, assemble the sandwiches. Enjoy!


Nutrition information: Each sandwich has about 300 calories and the best flavors any sandwich could ever have!

Have you ever stumbled upon a restaurant that ended up becoming your favorite?


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Easy Pecan Caramel Rolls

A New Addition to the Family


Easy Pecan Caramel Rolls

I hope you all had a nice weekend. Did yours go by as quickly as mine did? We had a nice a nice weekend. We went to visit my mother and stepfather to meet their new rescued puppy. Here he is (his name is Clyde). Isn’t he precious!?!?

clydeclyde 2

Look at those eyes!!!

My mother and stepfather always watch our fur baby when we go on vacation, so we thought it would be a good idea to have the dogs meet. Let me first start by saying they both have the same personalities (each one likes to be in charge, they love to snuggle, and they both are fearful of many things). This made for a very interesting doggie meet (to say the least). They had some issues when they first met, but as the weekend went on, they seemed to get along for the most part.

In honor of the weekend with my mom, I am posting a delicious recipe that is a staple when we go there to visit. Now, this is definitely not a healthy recipe, but it is great for a “free day”. I typically have 1 free day a week. These are great for a brunch (or even a dessert). The added bonus is that they are so incredibly easy to make. Okay, brace yourself theses are a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for approx. 12 servings:


  • oil for coating Bundt pan
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package frozen dinner rolls (I used frozen round Parker rolls in bag)
  • ½ cup melted margarine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 oz. package vanilla pudding (not the instant kind)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Grease Bundt pan.


Put nuts on the bottom.


Break apart rolls and place in pan.


Combine and stir melted margarine, brown sugar, vanilla pudding, and cinnamon.


Pour mixture on top of rolls. Cover and let sit overnight.


When you wake up, the rolls should look like this.


Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Enjoy!



Nutrition information: 1 serving has approximately 300 calories. Because these are not considered healthy, I would not recommend eating these every day (they can be habit forming).  Smile


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