Heading West!

To Greenville, that is. We spent the weekend living it up for Leah and Judson's Stock the Bar Party. I think that as a group of friends, we often forget that we are not 19 anymore - I can feel the late night in my bones. Ok - that's maybe a little dramatic, but I am tired and using it as a good excuse to not leave the couch. The weekend kicked off with Lindsey and Gringo coming to visit Friday night. I was really only using her for her SUV. Kidding. We had wonderful intentions to get up early Saturday morning and head to Greenville to prepare for the event. However, to our dismay, Lindsey's back hatch was frozen shut and totally not coming open. We rearranged in the freezing cold and were able to cram in several McCarty serving pieces, a fire pit, a galvanized bucket, a (large) golden retriever, an assortment of cheeses, a fruit tray, and some wine glasses into the car. There were also computer speakers, a large umbrella, and more cute dresses than you could shake a stick at. None of this has anything to do with anything other than this cute picture of Grings. I just wanted a chance to post it.

The Stock the Bar was a HIT. I think its always successful when a dance party breaks out at your Mom's house.
To bad WW friendly apps don't commonly star at a Stock the Bar Party. To be fair, we did have fresh fruit and asparagus. But if you think that's all I ate, then you're crazy. I've never been able to stand up to a corn dip...the corn dip usually wins. And we are not even going to talk about Pasqualie's. But we can talk about planning for the week. I've got a very busy one up ahead, so it's important (especially after the weekend I just had) that I stay on track. Stay tuned for yummy meat loaf and quesadillas and possibly more enlightening stories from the road. Yes, friends, I will be returning to the "Planned City" this Tuesday and Wednesday. Jealous?


Oh, Amory.

I'm just not used to having this much time on my hands. Such is the life of the traveling therapist. Here are some interesting facts about this little jewel of a town.
1. It is 2.5 hours away from EVERYWHERE.
2. It is home to a large stray cat population, most of which have taken up residence in an abandoned building right next to the Best Western. Or the Worst Western. Jury is still out.
3. It is a dry county. However. The restaurants still have bars in them? Like big, nice wooden bars with huge clear bottles of colored liquid in them. I inquired about this strange phenomenon tonight at the Oasis (its where European cuisine becomes paradise or something like that) and our waitress just grinned. I declare shenanigans.
4. There are more hair salons and auto parts stores than I have ever seen. Why is this?
5. The Amory website reads as follows: "Amory - A Planned City." What does that even mean?
I have so many questions. What I don't have a lot of though is WW points left for the day. In fact - pretty sure I've dipped on into that 30 point reserve for the week that I try to ignore. Phooey on you, traveling for work. It has always been so hard for me to stay on track when traveling. And exercise? Whatever! I am choosing to ignore the exercise room that the hotel offers out of fear that there will be a cat hiding under the treadmill. What's cool though is that tomorrow is a new day. And I shall rock it. And I shall also rock the new Patty Griffin CD.


Cute little Cubans...(Cuban Sandwiches)

...make me VERY happy. A Cuban sandwich is my favorite sandwich around so this weekend I got to work and figured out their points value. Not a huge under taking but important none the less, seeing is how this blogging adventure is all about taking the time to know exactly what I'm chomping on. Now, this is not what most would call a real live Cuban sandwich but it works for me. It's simple really...turkey, ham, swiss, pickles, mustard, and some bread. When you break everything down, this is how it works.

3 slices of turkey (.5 point)
3 slices of ham (.5 point)
1 slice of Swiss cheese (2 points)
mustard (free!)
pickles (free! Oh yeah!)
Wheat Hogie bun (4 points)

Stack everything up then press it in the panini machine. Or put it in a pan and put a brick on top to smush it down. Whatever you fancy!

This adds up to a grand total of 7 points. I am planning on doing more research to find a hogie bun that is less points, as well as a reduced fat cheese. But, alas, I live and shop in Greenwood and our aisles aren't always pouring with options. Such is life.
To me, this seemed like a lot of points for a sandwich. Let me say this...very worth it. I had this for lunch and stayed full through out the afternoon.

On the social end of things, I went to a Saints Par-tay at my friends the Seabergh's house. As always, the food was knockout (Jambalaya and a warm and creamy bacon dip -not WW but amazing) and the energy was even better. Lots of jumping up and down and pointing at the TV. Good times.


"Chickey" Salad

This is a chicken salad recipe given to me by my sister, to whom I affectionately refer to as "Chickey." So it only makes sense to call it "Chickey" Salad. Here is Chick holding Baby A right after she was born. Love it.
Chicken salad is always a good thing to have around - great low point, quick lunch.
Chickey Salad
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
3 tablespoons light mayo
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons grated onion

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, celery, and onion. Add the yogurt mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour before serving.
Serving size...1 cup
WW Points...4

I usually eat this with 1 point wheat bread. You can add grapes if you want, they say it's good. I prefer a smooth chicken salad...grapes would kind of get in the way of that. Chunky celery does as well, so those usually get diced up pretty small. When I'm feeling really wild, I'll throw some green onions in the mix.


Decorating the Elevator (Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew)

So, I was at this therapy workshop a few years ago. Like most things therapy, it started with a good 'ole relaxation exercise. The idea was this - you imagine yourself inside an elevator. As the elevator moves, you allow your self to relax...escape in a way. I immediately started to panic, which is pretty much the opposite of what you're supposed to do in a relaxation exercise but whatever. The source of my panic was the concept of the elevator. What was the elevator supposed to look like? Was I to be sitting in the elevator? Is it a comfortable place? Is there music playing? Do I get to pick the music? Oh dear. The rest of the group was all chill and ready to dive into work. The leader, who luckily I know well, asked how I felt after the exercise. I shook my head I told her that I really didn't get very relaxed as I was to busy decorating my elevator. She just laughed.

I still find myself spending a lot of time decorating elevators. This idea of blogging has been a elevator decoration in process for a few years. Something that I've always wanted to do but spent to much time thinking about doing instead of doing. Today, I do. Today I make this crazy concept of a blog a place to have fun, relax, and keep accountable to the goals I've set for myself. A few days ago, a dear friend of mine suggested that I start a blog to share the Weight Watchers recipes that I have found to be yummy, easy, and worthy of serving to people that don't count points. I have been on the WW for a little over a year now. I've had great success but have lately found myself getting comfortable and straying. I'm 3ish pounds away from my goal weight and I hope that blogging about the food I cook can keep me motivated.

Its not just about the food though. I think I have hilarious friends and cute family that will for sure be mentioned more often than not.

Let's get this party started....

This is something that I made last night for Brandon and a friend of his. I would have pictures, but there really wasn't much left. And my camera is kind of old school. This is something that I tore out of a magazine, I'm pretty sure it was a Cooking Light. It comes together pretty quick and is relatively inexpensive (double score).

Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced turkey smoked sausage (about 6 oz)
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles (undrained)
8 oz peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the oil, give it a swirl. Add bell pepper, sausage, and garlic to pan. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp and beans; cover and reduce heat and simmer for about six minutes or until shrimp is done. Sprinkle with parsley. Or don't, I forgot to.

Serving size...about 1 cup
Yields...4 servings
WW points...4

*The first time I made this I served it over brown rice. Very good.