3/31/10

Fear Leaving the Body (Blueberry Pancakes)

In my opinion, Jillian Michaels could tone it down a bit. During the third cycle of ab work on the 30 Day Shred, that is what she hollers out at you. "That knot in your stomach is just fear leaving the body!!!!" So gruff. There are several times in the DVD where I just look at her. However, I know that is my passive aggressive way to get a break after she has told me that if you are only going to work out for 20 minutes, you don't get to take a break.

My second day of 30 Day Shred was this morning, I hear that it REALLY hits you on the second day. I have enjoyed the video thus far. It is challenging, but not so challenging that it makes me want to stop. While I can't find my six pack abs yet, I'm sure they're somewhere. This video has taught me several important lessons. I agree with my co-worker / friend Lauren who said yesterday that after starting the Shred, she learned that she has the upper body strength of a leaf. Me, too. I must admit that the section with push ups has found me taking the opportunity to get a nice child's pose like yoga stretch in. OOOOOooooommmmmmm. I have also learned why the Wii Active system is a good one for me. It calls me out if I cheat. Since the sensor is attached to your leg, it knows if you start to slack. It will say things like "you'll have to work harder than that!" which usually gets me back on track. I hate to get in trouble. Another lesson - I actually don't mind ab work. This shocks me.




All of that fear leaving the body can make a gal hungry. Here is a quick recipe for Blueberry Pancakes. This post could have also been titled "Back of the Box Dos." I had them for breakfast this morning. Quick, easy, yum.

Blueberry Pancakes

1 cup low fat baking mix

2/3 cup water

2 tbl egg substitute

3/4 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries

Stir first three ingredients until blended. Gently stir in blueberries. Pour by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls into well greased pan. Cook until bubbly on top. Turn, cook until golden. Makes 8 pancakes.

Serving size 4 pancakes

WW points 5

Happy Wednesday! And a shout-out to my Nanny - she's a reader of the blog. Hey Nanny! See you Sunday.

3/29/10

Back of the Box (Italian Pizza Bake)

You stop, Bisquick. You stop making my life so easy. No, don't stop. I love it. I have been working this week to simplify. More specifically, simplify my pantry. I am bad to buy one ingredient then let it just sit in the pantry, never to be used again. This is why each time I move, I am amazed at the treasures I find. Or disturbed? Either one. In an effort to try to use things in the pantry - I spent some time with the back of the Bisquick box. I got it a week ago to make the hamburger pie. Little did I know the possibilities it would hold. A thought on back of the box recipes...they intrigue me. Especially the ones on bags of shredded cheese or sour cream. But that's a whole other, non WW post all together. One of the recipes on the back of this particular box is for an Italian Pizza Bake. It was quite easy to make, very cheap, and was perfect for two. I'm working to add more budget friendly recipes - this one is great on the pocket book. I got a package of chicken breast tenderloins, cooked it, shredded it up, and plan on using the rest to make some Chickey salad. In regards to the amount - it only makes two servings so there was not a lot going to waste. I am also bad to NOT eat all of my leftovers. I'm easy to get bored. So here it is! I hope you enjoy - I thought it was yum.

Italian Pizza Bake

1/3 cup reduced fat baking mix (I use Heart Smart Bisquick)

2 tbl fat free egg substitute OR 1 egg white

1 tbl water

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup diced green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup shredded chicken breast

1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes - Italian style

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8x4 inch loaf pan. Stir baking mix, egg, water and garlic powder; spread in pan.

Cook pepper and onion in a lightly sprayed skillet over medium high heat until onion is tender. stir in chicken, tomatoes and seasoning; heat until hot. spoon over batter in pan. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake about 20 minutes. Divide into two pieces.

Serving size 1 piece
WW points 4


On the creativity end of things - here is a picture of my next project. I am way excited. Just need to get the pattern cut out and jump on it! I did finish up a onsie dress today on my lunch break. Onsies and elastic are both kind of tricky. It is for that reason that the skirt is completely slanted. Or is it because i still really don't know what I'm doing? Regardless, the baby girl will just be cute as a button in her crooked skirted dress.
A shred it update - I start tomorrow morning. The DVD came in Saturday and it has been haunting me ever since. Of course, I came up with a pretty good excuse - no weights! And the wal mart didn't have any. Well, they did. Just not the right size. I realized this afternoon that excuse was not going to hold me for very long - off the the store I went. I must say, I got quite the workout just carrying them up to the checkout. We'll see how it goes.

3/28/10

In a Pinch

Frozen meals are good - in a pinch. Or in a non-pinch. Many days at work - it's completely unrealistic to think I will get a lunch break before 3pm. On those days - it's wonderful to be able to pull something out of our tiny dorm refrigerator and eat on the go.
Now yes, frozen meals are not the BEST thing in the world for you...they have quite a large amount of sodium and have very strange words in the ingredient list. But let's face it - I cook with egg substitute sometimes. I'm not bothered. I will rock a lean cuisine, a healthy choice, and on a really exciting day - a Kashi. Kashi's advertising makes me feel like I'm being extremely healthy and could go on a really hip hiking expedition after eating them. Not to mention they are good. Usually I don't get Kashi's at the store, the can be a little high. But this morning, there was a "use it instantly" coupon on the box. $1.50 off - heck yeah! I got the Tuscan Veggie Bake (pictured above) and had it for lunch. Yum. It's my new favorite. I just ate it, so obviously I'm still full, but I'm hoping it will keep me full for a while. This particular Kashi is 5 WW points.
I am glad I had a light meal for lunch....
Mary Neff's 2nd Annual Birthday Catfish Fry Bonanza is this afternoon. And if you think that WW keeps me from eating catfish - you crazy.

3/26/10

My Favorite (Southwestern Turkey Burgers)

This is my absolute favorite WW recipe - ever. I love it. It makes me REAL excited. It's very summery, very light, pretty easy, and taste test approved by non WW peeps. I wish I had a picture of myself smiling real big while I ate it - but I don't. So here it is!

Southwestern Turkey Burgers
adapted from weightwatchers.com

1 lb uncooked lean ground turkey
6 baked tortilla chips, crushed
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
3 green onions, chopped fine
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
cooking spray
4 light wheat hamburger buns
lettuce
tomato
additional salsa

Combine first 8 ingredients. This is a lot easier if you just dive in there with your bare hands. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts - shape into a 1/2 inch thick patty.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat - coat with cooking spray. Add patties to pan. Cook until done on one side, then flip over and cook until done on the other side. How long is hard to say - the meat will turn white. I usually do it about ten minutes on each side. However, my stove is kind of crazy and doesn't always cook on the temp it says it does. Cut one open if you have to.

Put a burger on each bun, top with lettuce, tomato, and additional salsa. Sometimes - i throw a piece of reduced fat cheese on top (adjust points.)

Serving size 1 burger
WW points 5

TGIF, people. TGIF. Seriously.

May this be a weekend full of favorites.

3/22/10

I'm amazed! (Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches)

I spend a lot of my time being amazed. Like mouth hanging open, totally shocked, amazed. I love that feeling. Here are just a few of the things that have me amazed today.
1. I'm amazed by the fact that plants grow, regardless of what you do with them. Took a few blurry pictures of what I have growing, just for examples. Please allow me to introduce (starting at top right, going clockwise) Blueberry Bush, Hydrangea, Mini Roses, and Clematis. The blueberry bush was planted last year. It was full of blueberries - all of which either fell off or were eaten by birds. Hoping for a good harvest this year. The hydrangea should be filled with huge, white blooms. Absolutely lovely. Last year, they spend most of the time lying flat on the mulch after a heavy rain. Hoping for stronger stalks this year. Brandon planted the miniature roses right after we started dating - claiming that I would now have roses any time i want them. Awwwww. People keep saying that at some time, you have to start doing something with roses. I continue to ignore them, other than snipping off the flowers for mini vases in the window. Hoping that lasts a while. And finally - clematis. This is actually clematis II, clematis I lost a battle with a weed eater last summer. I just knew it wasn't coming back - seeing as how all winter it was just a twig sticking out of the ground. But ah ha! Blooms! So exciting. Again - I'm amazed.
2. I'm amazed at how much my mood is affected by the weather. This morning - it was so nasty. Cold, rainy, no fun. I had to go home at lunch and change into my tennis shoes. Let's take a second to think about how attractive that was with black jeans and a grey sweater. Moving on. But now - the sun is out! I'm so much happier.
3. I'm amazed at how much of my Sunday i spent yesterday watching "16 and Pregnant." I just can't turn away from it. I guess that is something that amazed me yesterday but the amazement has continued on into today.
4. I'm amazed at how much easier a rotisserie chicken from the County Market Place makes dinner. Even though I still hate messing with chicken - it's so much easier when it's already cooked. I wonder what Jamie Oliver thinks about rotisserie chickens?
5. I'm amazed that "Jane Says" is still one of my favorite songs ever. You would think it would get old, but no.
6. I'm amazed at how my poor, broke down camera continues to take pictures. Are they good pictures? No. Am I in the market for a new camera? Yes.

7. That I continue to watch Hoarders even though it almost makes me sick.
8. My final amazement for the day has been about the new recipe I tried out. It came in a packet from WW - a promotion for a new cookbook they are selling. I usually stay away from offers like this. Anyone remember BMG or Columbia House? I would always sign up, claiming to my mom that I would send the cards back in time. But of course I didn't and I would always end up with the most random cds. What 14 year old girl doesn't want Don Henley's greatest hits!? After a week of agonizing I finally mailed the card in today. The pictures of the recipes - they were just so pretty! To bad you can't get grouper in Greenwood. Anywho - glad I sent it in. If this preview is anything like the actual cookbook - it's on. Super easy, super tasty - enjoy!

Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1 (10 oz) package of angel hair coleslaw
1/3 cup coleslaw dressing
6 light wheat hamburger buns
3 cups shredded, roasted chicken (enter rotisserie chicken from County Market Place)
6 tbl honey BBQ sauce

Combine coleslaw and dressing in a bowl, tossing well. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
Top the bottom of each bun with 1/2 cup of chicken, 1 tbl BBQ sauce, and 1/2 cup of coleslaw mixture. Place top of bun atop coleslaw mixture. Serve immediately.

Serving size 1 sandwich
WW points 7

I have high hopes for this as a left over lunch meal.
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3/21/10

F.Y.I. (Beef Soft Tacos)

No intense culinary masterpiece here. Nope, not today. Today, I had tacos. I had them for lunch AND dinner. Whoa. So just a little F.Y.I. on the points value of a soft taco. Just in case anyone was wondering. If not, carry on.

Beef Soft Tacos

1 lb lean ground beef (7 % fat or less)
1 onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix

Brown ground beef and onions until done. Add the taco seasoning package and 3/4 cup water. Allow to simmer for about five minutes.

Serving size 1/2 cup
WW points 2

I had this today with Mission brand reduced fat flour tortillas. 1 is 2 WW points. They were good served with reduced fat cheese, FF sour cream, and salsa. Just be sure to adjust points. Salsa is free as far as points goes, so load it on!

How great was this weekend? I love weekends. What else I love - this new Jamie Oliver Food Revolution show. Or maybe I just love Jamie Oliver?

Happy week.

3/18/10

Dabbling (Veggie Burrito)

I absolutely love that word. Dabbling. I often dabble in life. I think it's fun. What I don't dabble in, however, is my love of a drink. Not like an adult beverage, but a sugary drink throughout the day. I love a coke heavy. I love cocoa. I love anything to drink that is laden with calories. I must admit, when first starting the WW it was hard to give up the "empty calorie" drinks (as my mom would call them) and drink only water. Sure, water is great. It's done wonders for my face. It's great to feel all hydrated. But sometimes, just sometimes, I need something more. Enter my WW lifesaver: kool aid. Yes. Regular old kool aid (with splenda). Craving a little something sweet? Enter a tall, cool glass of black cherry kool aid. Is it as good as cheesecake? No. Does it get me through the craving? Most of the time. Summer's right round the corner - buy kool aid.
Speaking of dabbling, I played around with being a vegetarian today. It was fun. Refreshing. But not something I could get behind on a daily basis. Kind of like wearing heels. I wrapped up my vegetarian dabbling day with a veggie burrito. It's not really a recipe, more like a list of ingredients found in the most recent WW magazine. It's pretty obvious, but good. It was great to do for one, I chopped up the veggies and have them sitting in the fridge waiting for tomorrow night. Warning - it's a tad messy to eat. Or at least it was for me, I have no idea how to do that neat little burrito fold thing. To be on the safe side, I would not eat this in any outfit that requires dry cleaning.

Veggie Burrito

from Weight Watchers Magazine

1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion (sliced)
1/2 cup green bell pepper (sliced)
1/2 cup spinach
1 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese
3 tbl salsa
1 whole wheat tortilla

Saute onion and green bell pepper in olive oil. When the onion and bell pepper start getting soft, add spinach and let it wilt.
Meanwhile, combine cheese and salsa in a small bowl. Place onion, spinach, and bell pepper in tortilla. Top with salsa mixture.

Serving size 1
WW points 4

3/15/10

Hamburger Pie?


Really? As a WW meal. Yes. Now it doesn't taste like this bad boy to my left (I heart burgers) but it's pretty tasty. And it satisfies my need for meaty cheesy goodness. It also satisfied Brandon's need for a hearty meal after spending all day mowing and raking my yard. Sweetness.
I often make rookie mistakes when cooking. Things like forget to add salt, forget to grease a pan (almost did that tonight). Or, like tonight, forget to adjust the heat on the oven. Last night's roasted shrimp dinner was cooked in a 450 degree oven, the HP called for a 375 oven. Oh dear. It was definitely "done" after 25 minutes. Amazingly enough, still pretty good!
Hamburger Pie
1 cup + 2 tbl low fat baking mix
1/4 cup fat free milk
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fat free egg substitute
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make crust, mix 1 cup of baking mix and 1/4 cup fat free milk until a soft dough forms. Transfer to lightly floured surface and knead 5 times. Roll out dough to 6 inch round and ease into a lightly sprayed pie plate. Press the crust evenly against the bottom and side of pie plate.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with spray and set over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Stir in 2 tbl baking mix and remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile (back at the ranch) combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and 2 tbl Parmesan cheese. Spread beef mixture evenly over crust, top evenly with cheese mixture. Bake until filling is set and crust is golden, 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Cut into six wedges.
Serving size 1/6 of pie
WW points 5

3/14/10

Welcome, Time Change! (Roasted Shrimp with Peppers and Lemon)

I am so glad you are here. I love the extra hours of daylight. In fact, late this afternoon the extra few hours got hostas planted, the bathroom cleaned, and a pretty fine dinner cooked. It felt nice to get some stuff done around the homestead. Hopefully, my car is parked for a bit and I can get back into my beloved routine.
Travels took me to Jackson this weekend, it was my cousin's wedding and a wonderful chance to spend some time with family. The above photo montage is a snapshot of the weekend. Please notice the floral outfit that Baby A is rockin', handmade by yours truly. I am glad to have the little bug to practice making things for. Practice being the key word - the apron top does not appear to be a 12 -18 month as the pattern promised, but more like a 3 month. Thankfully, her head is small and we were able to stuff her into it for some pictures. The bloomers were much more successful despite the fact that I accidentally sewed the ruffles to the actual bloomers. There's always next time. Funny thing about seven month olds - they are not to keen on posing for the pictures in a way that successfully shows off an outfit. Now, a fresh, new recipe.
Roasted Shrimp with Peppers and Lemon
adapted from Real Simple
1 cup of brown rice
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 green onions
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb frozen shrimp, peeled and devained
1/2 tsp paprika
Preheat oven to 450. Cook brown rice. In a medium bowl, toss bell pepper, lemon, thyme, green onions, ground red pepper, 1 tbl of the olive oil, and 1/4 each of salt and pepper. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet. In the same bowl, toss shrimp, paprika, 1 tbl of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Nestle the shrimp over the pepper mixture. Roast in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes. Serve over brown rice.
Serving size 1/4 of shrimp mixture and 1/4 cup of rice
WW Points 8
Just a few notes - this for sure had some spice in it. If you are not a fan of the heat, I would ease back on the ground red pepper. Also - buy a keurig and watch Up In the Air. Love them both. Don't love how I can't get this thing to left align.

3/10/10

Accountability

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of goals, especially short term ones. In group most Fridays, we talk about setting goals for the weekend. We discuss the importance of setting goals that are measurable, attainable, and positive. We discuss how goals act as our "MAP" (ha, get it?) to help keep you on track and get to where we want to be. We also review the importance of having an "accountability partner" or someone who you tell you are going to do something. In theory, telling someone that you are going to do something kind of nudges you to do it for real. Which brings me to my point.
Starting this blog is all about accountability. As per usual, however, just when I thought things were all calm, they got all crazy. Work has been wild, I've been running all over the place every weekend, and I have all but stopped cooking. As it is in the therapy process, I try to do things to hold myself accountable when I feel like things are getting wild. Now I'm really getting to the point.
This whole accountability idea is the reason behind me talking nonstop about "30 Day Shred" all day today. I was inspired by a friend of mine who has started the program and has stamped it with "intense" thus far. I'm ready to shred it. It's a 20 minute, 30 day workout. When things are crazy and I don't have time to cook, I can at least fit that in, right? Anyway, if I talk about doing it to people, then I have to do it. Right? And then if I introduce it to the blog then i really have to do it. The world wide web is my accountability partner. First step, buying the DVD. I'm probably really going to regret writing this. If you need me, I'll be workin' on my fitness.
Recipes soon. I've got some goodies.

3/7/10

New Tags and Growing Things

Etsy. The greatest website. If you can't find it on Etsy, chances are it doesn't exist. When I started my sewing adventure, I knew I wanted a name for the things that I made. Enter sew-in labels from Etsy. Now, it was just time for a name. The first thing that came was "Alex & Leo" - a combination of my niece and my dear friend's son. I, personally, think it's kind of adorable. These are blankets that I made for Alex and Leo - they have patiently sat in the sewing room for several weeks, just waiting for their name tags. At this time - blankets have been delivered to the babes, moms are excited, and I'm gearing up for my first clothes show late spring. Wait a minute, not really. I should probably back it on up considering that just a few minutes ago, when turning my tote bag inside out, I realized that the straps were somehow sewn in the inside of the bag. Not sure what that even means, much less how it happens. What I do know that a tote bag without straps is not a tote bag at all. I'm not giving up though. Heck, I have way to many tags to give up now.
I'm just back from a weekend adventure in New Orleans. My friend Leah celebrated her bachelorette party and a good time was had by all. I much enjoyed hangin' with my dear friend Win. In true bachelorrette party form, there was over-indulgence on all fronts. When coming down from a big, over-indulgent weekend I try my best to do something productive on Sunday to get myself back into the swing of things. This productive moment came by way of gardening. I am now the proud owner of a mini Jiffy greenhouse. I have seven herbs and one tomato working to take root and then be planted outside. I am looking forward to using said herbs in lots of new, fresh WW meals. I love to attempt to grow things. Posted by Picasa

3/2/10

A Birthday and some Chili (Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili)


Happy Birthday to my favorite big sister Jennifer!! I can't help but have a little moment of reminiscing as I think about Jen's birthday - making up dances to Dad's Bangles CD, her and her friend taking me and Leah to the Smashing Pumpkins concert (I'm sure she was real fired up about that one), and her leaving me outside, in the rain, in a flooded yard, armed with a rain hat, in an inflatable boat. Mom was not real fired up about that one. God has blessed me with an amazing family - specifically amazing sisters. They've loved me when I was weird, they've loved me what I was down, they've loved me when I was not being very nice. For that, sisters, I am grateful. Today's about you Jen, have a glorious birthday! Chickey - if you're reading - you have a glorious day, too.


If food news, things are winding down for the crock pot. This hurts my heart a little but I know that everything has it's own place in our lives. Crock pot's place is in the winter. I must start letting go of this little kitchen gem, aside for its occasional use when making BBQ. It should come as no surprise that today's recipe is Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili. Long name, huh? Funny story about this one. I made it, or what I thought was it, last night. However, I knew that it did not taste how I remembered, but I just went with it. It has been a busy few weeks and I'm not as organized as I usually am. Just now, preparing to type out the recipe, I have realized that last night I did not make CPCTC. Turns out I made some other form of crock pot chicken. I believe I combined a few recipes, not really sure where it came from. This is strange, as I value my crock pot dinners and usually do exactly what I know works.

Tonight I am posting the original recipe. It is fantastic. You should enjoy it during this unseasonably cold March.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

from Gina's

1 onion, chopped

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

10 oz frozen corn kernels

2 cans rotel

1 pack of taco seasoning

1 tbl cumin

1 tbl chili powder

24 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast

chopped fresh cilantro

Combine onion, black beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, corn, rotel, taco seasoning, chili powder and cumin in crock pot. Place chicken on top. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Top with fresh cilantro

Serves 10

Serving size 10 oz

4 WW points

This is really good topped with reduced fat cheese and fat free sour cream. Also good over brown rice. Remember to adjust points value! Brown rice helped it to be even more filling.

Enjoy!