2/28/10

Meal Plannin'

Just some fun pics from the weekend. It's been a good one. Now I'm enjoying one of my favorite Sunday traditions - meal plannin'.

A word on meal plannin'. I understand that this is usually an activity reserved for working mothers of five, but I've found that it helps me to stay on track as well. Also, meal planning is something that WW magazine always gets real fired up about. I ignored it a for a while. However, once I started actually doing it I realized how much it helps me. When I have everything planned out and purchased, I am much more likely to stay within points range AND have more time after work to just chill. Which makes me very happy. I know, I'm a huge nerd. But i'm a happy nerd. And an organized one.

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2/23/10

Miracle Meatloaf (Turkey Meatloaf)

It is a complete and total miracle that this meal made it to the table last night. First, I broke the vacuum cleaner when I inadvertently rolled over a bra. Then, my sewing machine experienced something that could only be compared to a gorilla tap dancing on a trashcan. Turns out it was a simple bobbin issue. Whew! Up next - that horrible McDonald's fillet o' fish jingle got stuck in my head. Give me that fillet o' fish....give me that fish! If you haven't heard it, I hope you never do.
For some reason or another, I decided to brave the kitchen to cook some supper. This in itself was a big deal, considering I was coming off of a pretty big cooking disappointment that occurred Sunday night. I attempted to make some oven fried chicken strips. I'm sure they were good, but my eerie feelings towards cooking chicken got the best of me and I didn't eat them. I decided to make a turkey meatloaf that I found on Real Simple. It was not until after I got the old girl shaped up into a 10 inch loaf that I realized I had forgotten the salt and pepper. Then, it was half way through the cook time that I realized I had also forgotten the most important part of meatloaf...the ketchup. It was at this point that I felt defeated. Enter - Miracle Meatloaf. It actually worked! And who knows how amazing it would have been if I would not have forgotten the S and P? Well, we will know, because this one is a keeper. If you like meatloaf - check this one out!

Turkey Meatloaf
1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
4 cups spinach, thick stems removed and leaves chopped
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbl dijon mustard
1 large egg white
1/2 each salt and pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine turkey onion, spinach, parsley, bread crumbs, mustard, egg white, salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and form it into a 10 inch loaf. Spread with ketchup. Bake until cooked through, 45 - 50 minutes

Servings 6
WW points 5

Happy Tuesday!
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2/20/10

A Slightly Different 'Dilla (Turkey and Cheese Dillas)

Today was such a lovely day. So relaxing, so not rushed, so pretty outside. I loved it. I went to sewing lessons, finished my tote bag, purchased some fabric, wandered around my house, and ended it with a quick, easy, point friendly meal. Nothing complicated at all but I figured I would share. So i have about 37 corn tortillas in my pantry. Seriously - why must so many come in a package? Anyway. I also had spinach, turkey, and cheese. So why not put them all together for supper? Exactly. So that is what I did! And here is how it breaks down, point wise.
Turkey and Cheese 'Dillas
2 corn tortillas
1 serving of turkey (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup WW Mexican blend shredded cheese
fresh spinach
Put turkey, cheese, spinach between the two corn tortillas. Heat in a small skillet until the cheese melts.
Serving size 1 'dilla
WW points 4

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The above montage is of today's adventures in creativity. Top left: my new bulletin board in the sewing room (thanks Brandon!) Bottom left: curtains for the kitchen. Middle: stack 'o fabric (please note the pink seersucker). Right: a fully lined tote bag.
I'm not sure why this post is all centered. I'm usually more of a left-aligned kind of gal.

2/19/10

Fishin' for One (Tilapia)

This is a big day for me. Seriously. I just cooked, ate, and actually enjoyed fish. I would have taken a picture had I not devoured the whole thing in a matter of minutes. What's even better, said fish was not dripping in butter and flour. A while back, while visiting Jennifer and company in Starkville, I picked up some frozen Tilapia. She had recommended it, saying that she and BJ eat it pretty regularly. Knowing that I need to eat more fish, for health benefits and all that jazz, I picked some up. I have cooked it twice since then. The first time, it was dripping in flour and butter and I almost burned my house down. The second time, I tried to lighten it up. However, I convinced myself that it was not cooked all the way and I was going to contract some horrid illness if I ate it. In the trash it went. I had a Lean Cuisine instead. But tonight is one of those nights that I didn't want a Lean Cuisine. Its been a busy week at work and I was really hankerin' for something cooked at home, not eaten while driving like a maniac down highway 82. But alas, Brandon is working tonight so I didn't want to do anything big that was going to leave behind a lot of leftovers. My mind traveled to the fish in the freezer. Did some research, plugged some info into my trusty WW recipe builder, and went fishin' for one.

Tilapia for One
1 4 oz Tilapia fillet
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 T butter
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic, saute for about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, remove from heat. Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray, place fish in the dish. Top with butter mixture, salt and pepper, and parsley. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Plate the fish, pour any juices from the dish over the fish.

Serving size 1 fillet with butter mixture
WW points 4

I am so thrilled that it is the weekend. I am even more thrilled that I am making a pair of shorts in my sewing class tomorrow. My teacher is really excited about us learning how to make shorts...she claims that we are just going to love them. My fingers are crossed that these "shorts" are really going to be a cute pair of diaper covers, since I was wanting to make some of those for the Baby Girl A. However, if i end up making myself a pair of elastic waist shorts, I promise I will post pictures. I might even wear them to work Monday with a nice pair of tights.

2/15/10

Turkey Breath (Turkey Joes)

Hey, turkey breath. If you know my mom at all, she has probably called you "turkey breath" before. Or, she has referred to you as a "big ole rat" (that's me and my friends when we would come in too late.) Or she's called you a "rack monster" That one is generally referring to Chickey when she does not get out of the bed. Here's a picture of mom and Alex - it's one of my favorites ever. When I was cooking supper tonight, I couldn't help but think of mom. I knew that she calls people something related to a turkey, but I couldn't quite remember what. She quickly informed me that it is "turkey breath." That's my mom - love it.
With all of the turkey talk, here is a great WW recipe featuring turkey. When I first started the plan, I made this constantly. I dusted it off for supper tonight and I'm very glad I did. Gobble, gobble.
Turkey Joes
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
1/4 cup bbq sauce
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl vinegar (maybe a little less, i usually use a capful)
1/2 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper to taste
light wheat hamburger buns

In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown turkey, onions, and garlic. Once it is done, add the rest of the ingredients (minus the bun, obviously). Reduce heat to low, simmer for about twenty minutes. Serve with light hamburger buns.

Serving size about 1 cup - serves 5
WW points 4

You can adjust the "sloppyness" of these by adjusting the amount of ketchup, mustard, and bbq. I wouldn't get to crazy though or else it will alter the points value. Enjoy!

2/14/10

Oooommmmmm

That is me centering. Keeping calm and carrying on...into another week, that is. As a member of the helping profession, I am always working to stay calm, take care of myself while at the same time being available for the people that I work with. Not always the easiest thing to do. Work has been a bit hectic lately, with all of the traveling to and fro. However, I remain eternally grateful to have found a profession and a job that makes me feel so fulfilled, so a part of something bigger than myself. It is weeks like this that I have to remember what it is that I do, which is help people to get through rough patches, while at the same time gaining skills that will help them later in life. This poster is one that I recently ordered from this Etsy store and it has just made me so happy. It has also reminded me of the basics of coping - center, walk through the issue, carry on. Don't make mole hills into mountains, eat a whale one bite at a time, use what works, and so on. Since this is a WW blog, I feel like I should mention that stress is one of my huge food triggers. Having a bad day at work? Perfect excuse to eat a cheeseburger. Lot's of stuff going on? Sure, skip that work out. I have had to remind myself to stay on track and do what I know works - because all losing weight really is is taking care of yourself. If anyone else out there is looking at a grizzly bear of a week - keep calm and carry on. And order this poster and put it in your kitchen - it helps.
Another thing that helps - a hobby. I have been sewing a lot over the last week and it has helped me to relax and shake the day off. This little number hanging on the door knob is something that Mary Neff sent to me. I'm still quite the beginner and it felt good to be able to whip up something pretty in a short amount of time. The dishtowel is from the Viking Store here in Greenwood, the strap is a pair of old scrub pants that did not fit anymore. One must be very resourceful when living in Greenwood. Naturally, the pretty plastic bag organizer was given to Mary Neff to hang in her kitchen. Here's hoping the fact that I didn't know how to back stitch yet won't affect it to much.
I don't have a recipe today, but I do have a great go to meal idea. This soup is something that I found at Wal - Mart. I really like the roasted red pepper and tomato. It's nice and creamy and only 2 points for 1 cup. I try to keep it on hand and pair it with a grilled cheese (1 point for two slices of wheat bread, 1 point for one slice of cheese) for a quick, comforting, low point meal. I needed a low point meal after lunch today - I tried my hand at a Valentine's Day brunch for me and Brandon. It's probably a good thing I burned the candied bacon. I do, however, still have 16 pounds of coffee cake that I need to find something to do with.
Since Brandon is working tonight, I'm spending my Valentine's Eve watching strange sports on TV, doing laundry, and having a picnic in the den. Please notice the rose - it was presented to me last night while walking out of Vince's in Leland. Gotta love a stranger in a red sport coat giving you flowers....

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2/12/10

Slow Jam Jambalaya

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed Nick Seabergh's Jambalaya. Since that night, I've thought a lot about Jambalaya and how It could be whipped up to be more WW friendly. This recipe is one that I found on the world wide web, I'm pretty sure from Allrecipes. I adjusted a few of the ingredients to be more points friendly and it's not to shabby if you ask me! And of course, I love that it is made in the crock pot - hence it's name "Slow Jam" Jambalaya. There is a decent amount of chopping, I did all of that the night before and just put everything in the fridge. It was pretty fun - rockin out in the kitchen to some good tunes while dancin' and choppin' is one of my favorite past times. That way, it was nothing to dump everything in the pot the next day. Let's jam!

Slow Jam Jambalaya

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves cut into 1 inch cubes

1 lb smoked turkey sausage

28 oz diced tomatoes with juice

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup fat free chicken broth

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp Tonys

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 lb frozen, cooked shrimp without tails

In a crock pot, mix the first 12 ingredients. Cover, cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or high for 3 - 4 hours. Shir in shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Servings 11

WW Points 5 points for 1 cup

Just a few notes on this one - next time I make this I will put more seasonings in. It was good, just could have used another kick. Also - I ate mine with brown rice. 3/4 of a cup of minute brown rice is two points.
Working on a sewing project that involves a dishtowel and a pair of scrub pants. Curious?
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2/9/10

Vegetarians, welcome! (BB and P Burgers)


If it weren't for my intense love for sausage and cheese plates, I would totally be a vegetarian. I have already discussed my feelings towards raw chicken and don't get me started on how overrated a steak is. That is why I always get real excited when I find a meat free meal that is actually good and filling. Enter Black Bean and Portobello Burgers. Hello, love! The boyfriend even liked them. In fact - he had two! It is packed full of yummy vegetables and is great for leftovers. In fact, I had it for lunch today and did not feel hungry again until much later in the afternoon. This is not the prettiest burger you'll encounter, and it can get a little messy when making it, but I think it is completely worth it. Drum roll, please!
BB and P Burgers
adapted from Epicurious
cooking spray
2 medium portobellos, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp paprika
1 (or more) tsp chopped garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 egg whites
1 tbl honey mustard
1 tbl worcestershire sauce
6 tbl dried breadcrumbs
Heat a large skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Add beans, paprika, garlic, and pepper. Cook, mashing the beans with the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in egg white, honey mustard, worcestershire, and breadcrumbs. This process works much better if you dive in there with your hands and mix. Form mixture into four patties. Respray skillet, heat to medium heat. Cook the burgers until they begin to brown and feel warm. It's tough to say an exact time - mine went about 10 minutes on each side.
Servings 4
WW Points 3
To make the meal, I used 1 point wheat buns (I get the "bunny" brand), a slice of tomato and a little shy of a tablespoon of BBQ sauce. Lettuce would have added a nice crunch but I was out. I did not count the BBQ sauce in my total points value. Why? Because BBQ sauce is 1 point for 2 tablespoons, so i just used less and did not count it. Served with one cup of frozen mixed veggies for a 5 point supper. Score! And a big shout out goes to Brandon for slicing those limes up so pretty.
I think tomorrow should be wear your fleece pants to work day.

2/8/10

Saints and Babies (Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip)

This photo montage pretty much sums up the weekend. Lots of food, a little sewing, some QT with my man, and a really cute baby. Alex and Jen stopped by the house Sunday on the way back to Starkville. She just melts my heart and is quite the flirt for a six month old. She also has MAD rolling over skills.
In social news, we went to a charming little super bowl party at Mary Neff and Nick's house. Good times, good food, good people. Not a bad football game, either! I contributed two dishes to the evening - a lightened up version of Buffalo Chicken Dip and an Asian Cole Slaw. Now, be warned. The Asian Cole Slaw is not weight watchers. It have calculated the points before, but it just wasn't worth it considering that cole slaw is not exactly the most filling food in the world. Alas, I will share it because it is really good. Let's start with the healthy things first.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip
adapted from Gina's WW Recipes

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (softened)
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup hot sauce *
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar *
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Mix the first four ingredients together until smooth. Add the chicken and toss in the crock pot (yay!). Cook on low for 3 - 4 hours. Serve warm with celery and / or crackers

This recipe requires just a few notes. For some reason when I made this I felt led to add the whole 1/2 cup of hot sauce. Not sure why, seeing as I have the heat tolerance of a penguin. After tasting (and tearing up a little) I had to add some more cream cheese and blue cheese to cut the heat. This, of course, affected the points value. Next time, I will not add the whole 1/2 cup. Also...the original recipe calls for white wine vinegar. I could not find this type so I used white balsamic vinegar. It worked out nicely, I think. I have always struggled with finding WW friendly apps to take to gathering. I thought it was good - hopefully other people did too! One person at the party even said that they liked it better than an original buffalo chicken dip as it did not have all of the oil floating on top. This statement made me feel kind of icky and glad that it was a lightened up dip. Let's head east.

Asian Cole Slaw

1 pkg cole slaw
1 bunch green onions (i usually use about three as i love them)
1 cup diced almonds
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 pkg ramen noodles (either chicken or Asian will do)

Mix slaw, onions, almonds, and ramen noodles. Set aside.
Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, and noodle seasoning until well blended. Pour this mixture over the slaw mixture. Refrigerate for 4 - 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Serves 10

I made this slightly differently than I usually do. I was trying to be sassy and use purple cabbage. Well, it was way more cabbage than dressing so it ended up having slightly less taste than I would have liked. Oh well. Pretty sure no one starved last night!

Loved, loved, loved, loved my sewing lessons. I can tell it is one of those things that is going to be very relaxing. My first project (a pillow case) is in the photo montage. Stop laughing, I did not pick the fabric. Pretty proud of it though, I'm probably going to put it in a shadow box. Kidding. I spent the earlier part of this evening taking things apart so that I could sew them together again. Very proud that I was able to thread the machine again. I did learn an important lesson though - always make sure that your pillow is turned right side out before stuffing. I know this may sound simple but I was in the ZONE. I'm to the point now where I want to know how to sew EVERYTHING. But that's usually my personality...I start something and immediately wanted to know all there is to know about it. Same thing with starting WW - the first week or two I did nothing but print out recipes and obsess about every detail. On the deck for supper tonight - black bean and portobello burgers. Stay tuned!

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2/5/10

My Crock Pot Runneth Over (WW White Bean Chicken Chili)

Seriously. Would you like to come to dinner? Because I have enough. However, enough of this amazingly yummy White Bean Chicken Chili is far from a bad thing. I got this from my dear friend Mary Straton and it does not disappoint. If you are not a follower of hers, you should be.
I have lots of favorites about this recipe, among them are the low point value, the amazing taste, how cheap it is to make, and the fact that it is made in a crock pot. I am a huge fan of a crock pot. Nothing better than coming home from a long, hard day and walking into supper being all hot and bubbly and ready to eat. I made only two tweaks to this recipe. I used a whole instead of a half onion and I put my chicken breasts in the crock pot whole. Thirty minutes before it was done, I took the chicken out, shredded it, and returned it to the pot. I did this only because I am extremely grossed out by raw chicken and do everything within my power to not have to touch it. Here we go...


WW White Bean Chicken Chili
32 oz fat free chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
2 (15 oz) cans of Great Northern beans
1 (15 oz) navy beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 packet McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
2 tsp ground red pepper
4 raw chicken breast
Cut chicken breast into small pieces and place in the crock pot. Add onion and dump the remaining ingredients in. Cook in the crock pot on low for 8 - 10 hours.
Serving size 1 cup (makes approximately 16 cups)
WW points 3
*Great with a little reduced fat cheese and sour cream, just be sure to adjust the points value!

Be warned...make sure you have a large crock pot . I worried all day at work that I was going to come home with a kitchen full of chicken chili. Wouldn't that be for the birds to walk in to on a Friday? It's a good thing, however, as I already have my ziplocks out, ready to fill up, label, and stick in the freezer. I hear it freezes well.

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In crafting news, I'm heading to Starkville in the morning to start my sewing lessons. I could not be more thrilled. I hope to be whipping out fully lined tote bags in no time. To bad I have NO CLUE how to turn the thing on. They promise me its a beginner class.
Happy Crocking!

2/3/10

Black Bean & Spinich 'Dillas

614 miles later, I'm home. I have no witty anecdotes, only an achy back and a recipe for quesadillas. Thinking about having this for supper is what got me through the last 144 miles of the journey. This idea came from the always delightful blog Spoonful. Its pretty much the same thing, all I did was measure out ingredients and calculate the points. Let's take a look at the evolution of this little 'dilla.
Round up your ingredients: tortillas, veggies, and cheese. I used corn tortillas for these, they are one point a piece and very high in fiber. Veggies were onions, spinich, and black beans; cheese was WW shredded mexican cheese.
Now layer them up together, put it in a big skillet over medium heat, flip it a few times, then enjoy. The putting it in a big skillet and flipping it a few times is where things always get tricky for me.

During my flip, things usually get a little crazy and the ingredients fly out all over the pan. Being the resourceful chick that I am, I just scooped them up, put them on the plate, and pretended they were a cute little garnish.

Here it is in more organized form....

Black Bean & Spinich 'Dillas
2 corn tortillas
1/3 cup black beans
1/2 onion
1/3 cup WW shredded Mexican cheese
1 handful of fresh spinich
Layer all ingredients atop one of the tortillas, place the second on top. Heat on top of the stove for a few minutes, flip, repeat. Serve with fat free sour cream and salsa.
Serving size 1 quesadilla
WW points 5

2/1/10

Your Foil is in my Meat Loaf (Southwestern Meat Loaf)


If there is one thing I love more than meatloaf, it's a good story about meat loaf. Throughout my time at Delta State, I lived with one of my oldest and dearest friends Emily. Emily is the gal in the smokey picture to your left, her husband Brian is there with her. Emily and I lived in a very tiny rental house our junior year. I'm not talking about not enough closets tiny, I'm talking about no hallway tiny. The front part of the house was one room, made up of a kitchen and a den. The kitchen had negative counter space so cooking was always an adventure. Brian often cooked for us, this particular evening he was cooking his meat loaf. Did I mention it was a very small house? Moving on. It was just about time to eat and the three of us were falling all over each other trying to get the table set. Things got heated, the happy couple appeared to be having a slight disagreement about something. Being the non-confrontational person that I am, I tip toed around trying to do my part while at the same time staying out of the way. I was reaching up top the fridge to retrieve the foil when of course I knocked it off, right in the middle of the piping hot meat loaf. There was a splat, the clicking of dog claws, and two very confused people staring at me. Luckily Emily has known me forever and Brian is just as clumsy as I am. Box of foil removed, laughter ensued, and a good meal was had by all.

Speaking of a good meal...this one is a beauty. Southwestern Meat Loaf. Doesn't that just sound yum? Its from Cooking Light and is very quick to put together. You can probably tell from the picture who is being aware of portion sizes and who is not.

Southwestern Meat Loaf
1 lb ground round
1 cup frozen whole-kernal corn
1/2 cup picante sauce
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 cup fresh minced cilantro
1 tbl chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 large egg white
cooking spray
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Spray a loaf pan down with cooking spray and fill it up with the meat loaf. Brush ketchup over the meat loaf. Bake for 50 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serves 4
WW points 4 for two slices.

This can be made in advance and frozen if you fancy. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, wrap tightly in heavy duty plastic wrap, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake as directed above. Its very filling for four points and extremely tasty.
I'm off to Amory in the morning, armed with left over meat loaf, lightly salted almonds, and nutrigrain bars. Figured I'd pack food to keep myself from falling victim to chicken on a stick at the gas station.
Enjoy!