7/31/10

Ole, Omelet!

I'm gearing up for a long day. Heading to Jackson for some tax free shopping. I feel like I should stretch. Or at the least eat a good breakfast.

Here's a quick idea:

Ole Omelet

1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup WW shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup salsa or picante sauce

Beat eggs with a fork. Add a little salt and pepper. Pour eggs in a well sprayed pan. Allow eggs to set, flip when almost done. Add salsa and cheese, fold over. Let cheese melt and remove from pan.

Serving size 1 omelet
WW points 5
Points Plus 5

7/30/10

At least we've got dessert....

Sometimes, you gotta know when to fold 'em. It's just not been my week in the kitchen.

I left work early yesterday to hurry up and get home to start preparing Brandon's birthday meal. The plan was chicken Parmesan, broccoli with lemon and butter, and ranch potatoes. That's me being a sweet, sweet girlfriend as those are all his favorites. For a birthday dessert I planned to make Lime Squares. More on that in a minute.

Might as well just cut to the chase....the chicken didn't have much taste, the potatoes and broccoli were just undercooked. I guess it was all the pressure, you know? But probably not. It was probably because it's just an off week in the kitchen and I was too excited about going out and celebrating the big birthday to give supper adequate attention. If your heart was set on Chicken Parmesan, here is a good, time tested recipe. If you're more interested in Lime Squares, take a gander at this.

Hello, lovely. Not my picture - you know mine weren't near this pretty. Sure did taste good. Here's the recipe if you're interested. They make me very happy.

If you are not interested in either Chicken Parmesan or Lime Squares, then I've got nothing.

Three cheers for Friday!

Big City Happenings

If you are anywhere near Greenwood - come to this! Dicky Doo and Don'ts are pretty much the most amazing 90s country band EVER and Jimbo Mathus is always a good time. I'll see you there?

7/29/10

Happy Birthday!

Happy Thursday, party people. No recipes today. I made a disastrous chicken, rice and artichoke number on Monday, had a tortilla pizza on Tuesday, and a chest cold on Wednesday. Whenever I have a cold, I automatically want Chinese food. If you have ever played on the WW online Chinese food cheat sheet, you know that Chinese food has about a million points in it. Doesn't really matter what you get just know that it has a million points in it. That, my friends, is why there are no recipes today. What we do have today is my main man Brandon's birthday. The big 2-9. Last year in your twenties, dude. Happy day! Here are the top ten reasons why I think this guy rocks...



1. He goes to things with me. This may not sound like much but it's a big deal when every time you turn around there's a wedding or a shower or a party. In fact, the picture above was taken just a few days after his appendectomy at Leah's wedding. He pulled it all together and made it happen. My mom was pretty worried about him and kept asking him if he needed to go lay down.

2. He loves my friends. He gets just as excited as I do when they come visit and gets just as sad when they leave.

3. He loves my family. He has even survived Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day with the Alexander crew. Our family Christmas is pretty much the most fun thing ever but might be a little overwhelming for an outsider.


4. He is a true gentleman. It was pouring the night of our first date and he came to my front door to pick me up with an umbrella. I swooned.

5. He has his own signiture dance move. He's not afraid to use it.

6. He is an extremely hard worker.

7. He respects me.

8. He is extremely supportive and keeps me level when I freak out about silly things.

9. He makes me more social. If it weren't for him, I'd probably never leave my house. We provide a good balance for each other.

10. He eats all the food I cook, good or bad. He has also accepted the fact that it's pretty much always going to be made with ground turkey. And that butter is out of the picture. And that we're not frying anything, ever. And that if he orders dessert or french fries and I don't because i'm trying to be "good", I'm going to eat most of his.

There we go, a quick list of why B is the bomb. Not all of the reasons, there are many more, but just a quick birthday list. I'm cooking Chicken Parm tonight (his favorite) and will share the recipe tomorrow. Fingers crossed it's going to be a winner!

7/26/10

Fresh from the garden (Creamy Corn Salad)

Mmmmm mmmm mmmm. I love some fresh summer food. Almost makes me want to till up my side yard and start a garden. Then I remember that I can't grow tomatoes and usually forget to water plants after a few weeks.

This recipe was posted on Fly Through Our Window last week and it's been a hot topic of conversation around my office. My co-worker Susan was the first to try it and gave it mega thumbs up. I put it together yesterday afternoon and had a large time stealing spoonfuls out of the bowl while it sat in the fridge.

Creamy Corn Salad
from Fly Through Our Window

1 can shoepeg corn, drained
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tomato, peeled and diced (or you could use about a handful or cherry or grape tomatoes)
1 red onion, diced small
1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
3 tbl dill pickle juice
salt - I used Krazy Jane's
pepper

Combine all ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to hang out in the fridge for awhile before serving.

Serving size 1/2 cup
WW points 2
Points Plus 3

7/25/10

Watch It (Tortilla Pizza)

Somethings I'll never learn. For example...I'm pretty sure I'll never figure out how to make cornbread, how to tell my left from my right with one hundred percent accuracy, or how to order my own meat at a restaurant. Medium rare? Well done? I just don't know. Thank goodness for Brandon.

We can now add using the broiler function on my oven to the list of things I will probably never figure out. How quickly your food goes from perfect to burnt up. It's seconds, I swear.

This is a meal that I've done for a long while but have always worked to figure out the best way to cook it. While I haven't figured out the secrete to the cooking of the tortilla pizza just yet - I can say that they way I did it tonight was probably not it. Still good though. Anyone have any suggestions? I just did a little research that suggests toasting the tortilla in the oven out and then pulling it out and putting the toppings on. Then return it to the oven and let everything warm up and melt.

Tortilla Pizza

1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup pizza sauce
10 turkey pepperonis
green bell pepper (chopped, however much you like)
onion (chopped, however much you like)
1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella

Layer all ingredients. Try to figure out a way to cook it without burning it. I let it go about 10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. After that I let it sit in the oven on broil for about 2 minutes. And then it burned.

Serving size 1 pizza
WW points 4
Points Plus 6

Rompers and Blankets

I've been sewin' this weekend. It's a bit warm to do much of anything else.
Finally conquered a little boy's outfit. It's for Leo, the other half of "Alex and Leo." Leo belongs to my dear friend Emily - I can't wait to see the little dude in it. Bless his heart, I was so ate up with ruffles and diaper covers and floral fabric that his outfit came along waaaaay later than it should have been. My apologies.
And these birds? For Baby Girl A. A slightly bigger blanket to take to "school" for when she naps on her cot. She's pretty busy - I'm sure napping on a cot will be interesting.

7/24/10

Busy Breakfast Round 2 (Ham Egg and Cheese Thin Bun)

Happy weekend! Are you jealous that I get to drink coffee out of a fighting okra mug? You kinda should be. It's pretty cool.
What's also pretty cool is this breakfast sandwich. I found it on the Tasty Kitchen website and I'm glad to have it in my arsenal.

Ham Egg and Cheese Thin Bun
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

spray butter
1/3 cup egg whites (about 2 eggs)
3 slices deli ham
1 wedge laughing cow cheese (I used light Swiss)
1 thin bun

Spray a small skillet with butter. Add the egg whites and scramble. Once eggs are set scoot them to the side and throw the ham in there to get warm.

Meanwhile, spread the laughing cow on one side of the thin bun. Top with egg, then ham.

Serving size 1 sandwich
WW points 2
Points Plus 5

7/22/10

Carb Loading

Now that I'm training for the 5K I feel like it's extremely important to eat the appropriate amount of carbohydrates. I've got to keep my energy level up and don't want to go into the cramps.

Silly me. I'm just looking for an excuse to eat pasta. It's true. I'm a justifyer from time to time.

I found this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website and also borrowed this picture from her. Of course, on the day that I make one of the top 5 five pasta dishes EVER my camera decides to act like a jerk. Any one know what to do when your camera says "memory card locked"? If you do, help a girl out.

So like I said, this pasta is pretty much the bomb. I changed things up from the original recipe and it was still delish. So delish, in fact, that I'm half way convinced that I've made a mistake in the point calculation. But I've looked and relooked and calculated and recalculated and I think it's correct. And if it's not, it was totally worth the extra points.

photo from pioneerwoman.com

Bow-tie "Lasagna"

adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 lb extra lean ground turkey

1 box (about 13 oz) whole wheat pasta (try to find the one with the highest fiber / lowest points

1 jar (about 3 cups) light spaghetti sauce

1/2 tbl olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Brown turkey meat in a medium skillet. While meat is browning, begin boiling pasta in a large pot. Drain pasta, return to large pot.

Add olive oil to pasta, toss. Add spaghetti sauce, seasonings, cheese, sour cream. Combine all ingredients. Smile happily and carb load.

Serving size about 1 cup

WW points about 3

What about those low points, huh? Very cool.

7/20/10

Vegetable Polenta Bake

This post kicks off my adventure into trying every single recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website. Maybe not every single recipe...I do plan to put a dent in it though. This recipe gave me a good excuse to tackle that polenta again. Luckily, this time I had a bit more success.
Overall, I was pleased with this recipe. I will, however, do some tweaking next time. I chopped everything up yesterday afternoon after work so it was pretty easy to throw together after the run (more on that later.) Nice a filling and a good way to get those veggies in. Give it a try!


Vegetable Polenta Bake
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
1 cup greens, chopped **
1 cup light spaghetti sauce
1/2 tbl dried parsley OR 1 tbl fresh parsley
1/4 cups polenta OR yellow cornmeal
1 cup water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 oz part skim Mozzarella cheese
2 tbl fresh Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and cook for a few minutes. Next, add squash and zucchini and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add greens and stir until they begin to wilt. Add pasta sauce and stir until greens have cooked down. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

In another small pot, combine polenta (or cornmeal), water, garlic powder, and salt. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Once it starts to thicken, stir constantly until the mixture is pretty thick.

Take a small baking dish, spray with cooking spray. Layer half of the vegetable mixture, half of the polenta/cornmeal mixture, then half of the cheese. Repeat. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Serving size 1/2 of recipe
WW points 6

Points Plus 7

A few notes on this one. I used mustard greens - I don't recommend that you do that. The original recipe called for kale or chard but I could not find that. I think next time I'll use spinach. Also - I could not get the layering to work out. Mine was just all the veggies, then the polenta, then the cheese and it was fine.

This was a great post run meal. However, was quite difficult to do things like open the oven door and lift the spoon to stir the polenta. It wasn't until after I finished eating that my heart rate finally went down to a normal level. I think I'm going to get 6 pack abs from breathing so hard. It's the attempt that matters, right?

7/19/10

Grey Goose

No, I'm not having a toddy at work. I'm telling you about the cool new website my Aunt Lisa (who is really not my aunt, but whatever) just told me about. Grey Goose is an Etsy shop that sells super cool jewelry. Check it out! I like this little guy, I think he would be happy around my neck.

image here

Fiesta by the Pool (Monterrey Jack Salsa)

I love a pool party. I especially love a pool party with a Mexican theme. Throw in Lemon Pie? I'm basically putty in your hands.

Good friends Ginny and Hank hosted a pool party at their home yesterday. The weather was nice, the company was nicer, and I brought dip. Shocking, right? Probably even more shocking that I brought one of the three dips that I take to every gathering. The three are as follows: Monterrey Jack Salsa, Festive Bean Spread, and Corn Dip. Monterrey Jack Salsa, turned into a nice WW friendly dip, Festive Bean spread probably wouldn't be to bad, but Corn Dip is impossible. Don't ever try to make it with reduced fat ingredients. It just made me mad. What doesn't make me mad is how yummy corn dip is. But enough about that.

So back to the dip. It's a great summer dip, easy to throw together, and very light. Take it to your next pool party....

Monterrey Jack Salsa
Adapted from Come on In

1 small can diced green chilies
1 small can diced black olives
5 green onions, chopped
1 cup WW Mexican Cheese (shredded)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup light Italian dressing
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients, refrigerate. Serve with the dipper of your choice.

Serving size 1/4 cup
WW points 1

Think about me this afternoon, the 5K training continues. I'm a little nervous. And still haven't gotten a sponsorship from Nike.

7/15/10

Blast from the Past (Chicken Cordon Bleu)

What about that hunk of love in that pic? Looks like a tummy ache waiting to happen. Good news....it's not! I have recently discovered this website that has tons of tasty recipes. The site is put together by The Pioneer Woman so you know it's got to be good. I tried this Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe last night and was very impressed. It felt like a very old school meal - I almost popped in my Devo CD.

Just ignore the sad pile of asparagus, apparently I am not the queen of sides. Also ignore the blurry picture, I'm working on a new camera.

Back to the chicken. It requires a lot of hands on the chicken action which made me pretty nervous. I thought about bringing home a pair of gloves from the hospital but then decided that I just need to get over the whole chicken issue. Although it requires some hands on time, it doesn't take to long to prepare. Perfect weeknight meal!


Chicken Cordon Bleu
adapted from Tasty Kitchen


2 boneless / skinless chicken breast, trimmed up
6 slices of lean ham
2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese (I used the light Swiss flavor)
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Take each piece of chicken, pound them flat with a pan, meat mallet, or other weapon of your choice. Place three slices of ham on each chicken breast. Place one wedge of cheese atop the ham. Slightly smoosh it down. Fold the edges of the ham over the cheese, then fold the chicken over the ham like a burrito. Roll it around in the breadcrumbs, making sure it's good and coated. Secure with a toothpick.

Place it in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until chicken is done, mine went about 40 minutes.

Serving size 1 chicken breast
WW points 6

7/14/10

Darlin' Dogs (Turkey Chili Cheese Dogs)

I know. It's not cool or healthy to like hot dogs. But guess what? I do. I'm yelling it from the top of the wellness center that is under construction outside of my office....I AM A FAN OF HOT DOGS! My most favorite hot dog? A chili cheese dog from Sonic. Mmmm hmmmm. Love it.
This love of chili cheese dogs inspired me to try my hand at making a lightened up version. Score one for hot dog lovers, it was a success! Very quick to put together, perfect for one person (Brandon refuses to eat hot dogs), and relatively inexpensive. Enjoy!

Turkey Chili Cheese Dogs

1 light hot dog bun
1 light beef hot dog
1/3 cup canned turkey chili (no beans)
2 tbl WW Mexican cheese
2 tbl onions

Serving size 1 chili dog
WW points 6

Heat everything up however you fancy, layer everything into a bun. Grab several napkins, sit in the middle of your floor, and enjoy this tasty treat. At least I sat in the middle of my floor. I felt that was the best way to enjoy it. Knife and fork may be required.

7/13/10

Run, LM, Run

Guess what I started yesterday? A couch to 5K training program. Yes - it's true. Me the girl who doesn't run actually has run twice this week. Once yesterday, once this morning. Proud does not even begin to describe the feeling. I actually finished, did not finish dead last, did not vomit, did not pass out in full body cramps, and did not cry. These are all very large accomplishments.

Greenwood's Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a program that's helps you get ready for our fair city's 300 Oaks Race. I walked it a few years ago but never really gave much thought to running. I'm looking forward to giving it a shot this year, it's even more fun as several friends from Greenwood are also doing it. It's kicking my exercise routine up a notch which I have been needing. I also want a runners body, is that to much to ask?

So if anyone wants to join me in this adventure, this program appears to be pretty much what we are doing. And Nike, if you are out there, don't you want to sponsor me and give me cute running clothes? Thanks.

7/12/10

News Flash!

Guess what we here in Ruleville have discovered??!!

Yes! Pretzle M&M's! Run out to your local gas station if you're having a sweet tooth and have some extra calories to spend. One package is 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fiber. That equals out to 3 WW points.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, you just need something sweet as a little pick me up. I think this one is perfect. Yay, candy!

It's Making a Comeback (Grilled Flank Steak with Onions)

Flank steak, that is. I've been looking at the recipe on the WW website for a while. Unfortunately, I can't get flank steak any where so that delayed my cooking it. When I was in Jackson Saturday, I stopped by the Fresh Market to drool and see if I could find it. Luckily, I did. I also found instant polenta but more about that later.

I figured that grilled flank steak would be a perfect Sunday night meal. I like to do classic meals on Sundays, like a pot roast or pasta. Mmmm. Comfort food. It's also fun to have company for dinner on Sunday nights, I guess I'm drawn to the concept of "Sunday Night Suppers" as my dad and step mom have practiced this for years.


So, the Seaberghs came to dinner, as well as Brandon's friend Neil and his girl. It's worth pointing out that Neil and Nick are both chefs and I'd never cooked either of the dishes I was serving. I was a tad bit nervous. They were both kind and helpful and helped me to figure out the moment when the steak was no longer alive, but had not yet turned into a tire. For this, I was grateful. I did have to put up with a few snarky comments about my knives but it was all in good fun. Instead of using an outdoor grill, I used my Cuisinart table top grill. Seriously, who wants to deal with the heat and mosquitoes involved in outdoor grilling. Not me.

Grilled Flank Steak with Onions

from WW Online

3 tbl red wine vinegar

1 tbl olive oil

2 tst dried oregano

2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 raw lean flank steak

3/4 tsp table salt, divided

1 large red onion, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

cooking spray

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add the flank steak, seal tightly and place in the fridge. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, spray onions with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Toss.

Remove steak from marinade, discard marinade. Heat outdoor grill (or indoor grill to high). Grill steak, turning once, for about 15 minutes. Or longer, depending on how done you like it. Remove steak from grill, place on a cutting board to rest. While steak is resting, place onion slices on grill - turn occasionally.

To serve: thinly slice steak against the grain and place on platter. Sprinkle onions on top.

Serving size about 3 1/2 oz steak and 1/3 cup of onions
WW points 4
Now, a word on polenta. This recipe (the yellow blob on the picture) is one that I have been eyeing for a while. However, like flank steak, it's tough to find a box of polenta in the 'Wood. So i find the polenta, and am all excited about trying the recipe, Parmesan Polenta it was. Well...it flopped. In my opinion at least. I think it was good at first but after it sat for a while something happened. I'm not going to post the recipe because I would like to keep working on it. Fingers crossed everyone.

The rest of the meal included vegetables by Neil (with a stick of butter, mind you) and a Cesar Salad by Mary Neff and Nick. Yum, yum. Good meal, good night!

In blog house keeping news, I am going to start putting the dish featured in each post in the title. This might look a little strange but I'm hoping that it will help people re-find recipes that they loved.

7/11/10

Twinkle Toes

Look at those toes. I'm sure that Chick will send me an angry text when she sees that I posted this pic of her with the tissue between her toes. But don't they look sharp? One of the many things I enjoy about living in Greenwood is the Alluvian Spa. Fantastic pedicure. If you're ever in the area, stop on in and see them. It's not like I am the kind of gal that gets a pedi weekly, but it sure is nice when I do treat myself. Don't even get me started on the amazingness that is their facial. But today was all about the toes.

You may be wondering what brought all of these sets of toes together. Well...today was my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday to Pegs! We (the sisters) got her a mani/pedi from the spa for mothers day and were all able to get together today for some pampering. It was lovely. Great time to visit, laugh with each other, and discuss the possibility of family reunions.
After the spa, we headed out for some lunch. Our hearts were broken when we learned that the Crystal Grill was closed for a little R and R. Yanni's saved the day. Hello, buffet. NOT weight watchers. But it was a birthday, so what they hey.

Here is Peg's posing outside of Yanni's with her new Alex and Leo cropped pj pants. How cute is she? Real cute. I'm glad she's my mom. And I'm glad her birthday allowed me to get together with Chick and Jen. And I'm glad I don't have to worry about my toes for a while.

Happy Birthday Mom! Love you!



7/10/10

I Can't Have Nice Things

I have been looking forward to today all week. I was planning to get up early, leave Greenwood at about 8:30, and head to Jackson for Brandon's sister-in-law's baby shower. After that, I planned to meet up with Jen, BJ, Baby Girl A, and The Smiths for lunch. I don't know about you, but I like to outfit plan. It's kind of like meal planning, but with clothes (Captain Obvious, I know.) So. Earlier in the week, I went to Jackson with my sweet Mom. We spent the day bumming around, having a large time, often talking about white jeans. Mom discussed how much she loved her white pants, and I talked about how much I wanted a pair of white jeans. Low and behold, we found a pair at J Crew, on sale even! Being the sweet woman that she is, she got them for me. Yay, Mom! Instantly, I began to outfit plan. I planned to wear the new white jeans, paired with a new black and white racer-back top to the baby shower today. It was going to be grand. Are you picturing it with me?

Ok, so enter the part about me not being able to have nice things. I'm the girl, who a few months ago, lost her great grandmother's diamond ring down the shower drain. Luckily, said ring was retrieved by a nervous plumber as i was (hysterically) crying in my den. I also drop crock pots, wash things that are dry clean only, and sometimes accidentally hit things with my car. So it's no surprise that I had a white jean / clumsy Laura Merrill issue. I was running right on schedule...it was about 8:25 and I had just finished pumping gas at the Scott station. Like a good girl, I was going to record the transaction in my check book registry. That's when it happened. Happened so fast, just like the ring down the shower drain. I uncapped the pen, opened the registry, and then i saw it. Blue ink dripping down my hand. I closed my eyes. Please, Lord, no. It wasn't so bad at first. There was a big blue ink spot on my blouse. Luckily, it was right on top of a black dot so it wasn't all that noticeable. Since I don't know any of Stacy's (B's sister in law) friends, I thought it was really something that I needed to take care of so I wouldn't be considered as the trashy girl friend from Greenwood. I ran to Walgreens, looking for a Tide pen. It's worth mentioning that I was driving my car in a very odd position, trying to make sure that the ink did not spread. So I get to Walgreens, no Tide pens. I opt instead for an Oxy Clean spray. Oxy Clean works, right? Maybe it does, but it didn't work for me. I sprayed it on my blouse which caused the ink to spread, spread down the shirt and onto the waste band of my new white jeans. That I'd never worn before. Oh. No.

So, I (safely) speed back home, run into the house like a crazy person, strip out of the jeans, treat them with spray and wash, start the washer, add some bleach, and hope for the best. The blouse I left soaking in spray and wash. I was much less concerned with the blouse. Yes I love it and yes it was it's debut, but it was from Target so wasn't going to be much of a loss. I find a random dress, throw it on, and run back out of the house. At this point, it's 9:00. Slightly behind schedule.

I made it to the shower just a few minutes late. Had a wonderful time then went onto meet the family for lunch. Good visits and fish tacos were had, and Baby Girl A showed us how she likes to pretend to swim in the juice from her peaches. When getting ready to leave, I volunteered/demanded to go with Jen and BJ to Joseph A. Banks and watch Baby Girl while they shopped for dress shirts.




This child melts my heart. She melts my heart even more when she shows up wearing an Alex and Leo outfit. And sun and sand sandals. Can't even handle it. While mom and dad shopped, we spent our time playing in the mirror, getting it good and smudged up so the sales clerks would have something to do later. She even took the time to show me her almost walking skills and model her outfit. And p.s. - Jen got the Tom's wedges. How cute!

Those of you who are still with me after this long and wordy adventure, the outfit is just fine. The blouse looks the same as it did the day I bought it, and the jeans have just the smallest light blue spot by the button. Fingers crossed that baby t's don't come back around any time soon.

Happy weekend!

7/7/10

Down on the Bayou (Mock Maque Choux)

I do not claim to be an expert in cooking, much less cooking in the Cajun style. I do, however, claim to be an expert on what tastes good to my buds. Friends - this one did. I did some straying away from the original recipe, which I think did some straying from the classic recipe. Any Cajun food purist out there - just ignore this. And ignore the delusional statement that I just made thinking that food purist read this blog.
Moving on.
Anyone out there who reads Southern Living may find that this recipe looks familiar. That's because it was featured on the cover this last month. I just made a few minor adjustments to make it more WW friendly. My favorite thing about this meal was how fresh it was. The color was great, too. You always hear people saying "Eat like the rainbow!" This one does that for you. Pretty simple to prepare as well, just some chopping. Run out to your local farmers market this weekend and pick this stuff up!

Mock Maque Choux
adapted from Southern Living

7 oz smoked turkey sausage
Tonys (to taste)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups (about 4 ears) fresh corn
1 cup fresh okra, sliced
1 cup (about 2) peeled, seeded, and diced tomato
salt and pepper to taste

Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Add sausage, season with Tonys. Brown over medium high heat, about 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and saute for about five minutes or until tender. Add corn, okra, and tomato. Cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serving size 1 cup
WW points 2

7/6/10

Party Time, Party Food (Potato Skins with Creamy Spinach)

I could live on dips alone. For reals. Dips and other party foods. I tried this one out Friday and it's for sure a keeper.
One of Brandon's favorite things in the world is a Potato Skin from Websters. You know the ones. Just like a potato skin any where - an inch of cheese, bacon, green onions. Always paired with a tub 'o sour cream. These are much lighter, much less guilt inducing, very tasty. You should try them!

Potato Skins with Creamy Spinach
from weightwatchers.com

3 medium potatoes, baked, sliced in half and cooled
cooking spray
20 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
3 slices crisp cooked turkey bacon, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scoop out all but 1/4 of the flesh of the potato. Discard or use it for some mashed potatoes.

Place potato halves on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake for about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, combine spinach, cream cheese, and salt and pepper. Remove potato skins from the oven and fill each potato half with 3 tbl of the spinach mixture. Return the potato skins to the oven and bake for about five minutes or until warmed through. Evenly distribute turkey bacon among the potato skins.

Serving size 1/2 potato skin
WW points 2

7/5/10

There's Pesto on My Ceiling (Fresh Tomato Pesto Pizza)

No, really. There is. I'm not trying to be cute. Look left for the picture of my fresh tomato-pesto pizza and you'll understand why there was pesto on my ceiling. Let's start from the beginning.
My dear friend Win decided to come up from New Orleans for a holiday in Greenwood. There were many things exciting about this event, one of which being it gave me an excuse to try out a new recipe. Win and I always have a riot of a time together - preparing this pizza was no different. Armed with tomatoes from the farmers market and basil from my patio - we set out to cooking. I don't have a food processor...I had one but it died a long time ago. I use a blender for all situations that require chopping. Of course - top off the blender, spatula in the blender - for some reason i turn the blender on. Pesto everywhere, including on the ceiling. And maybe it's still there.

Fresh Tomato Pesto Pizza
adapted from MyRecipes

Pesto:
4 cups fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fat free, less sodium chicken brother
1 tbl fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tbl olive oil

Place the basil leaves and the garlic in a food processor / blender. Make sure the top is on. Pulse five time or until finely chopped. With processor / blender on, add broth, parm, and oil through the chute. Process until well blended.

Pizza:
1 whole wheat pizza crust (premade)
3 cups chopped/seeded tomato
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup part skim mozzarella

Preheat oven according to directions on the crust package. Place crust on baking sheet. Spread pesto over the crust; top with tomato, garlic slices, and mozzarella cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and everything is warmed through - this will vary from pizza to pizza.

Serving size 1/6 of pizza
WW points 4

Added bonus: the pest sauce is 1 pt for 1/4 of the recipe - I think it would be yummy over pasta.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I know mine was great...good friends, good food, good mojitos.

Happy 4th on the 5th!

7/1/10

Milestones


One thing that we discuss a lot in therapy is milestones. Celebrating milestones is an important way to recognize success and keep motivated to reach your goals. I've experienced several milestones on this journey - loosing the first twenty pounds, being able to borrow clothes from skinny friends, not being recognized by people. All of these have been very exciting.

My most recent milestone involves a pair of skinny jeans. I always told myself that I would really felt like I had made it when I was able to squeeze into a pair of "designer" jeans. You may not realize this but if you are a certain size you can't really find fancy, hip jeans to fit you. This has never really bothered me because (a) I'm cheap and (b) I'm just fine with my Gap jeans. I've almost bought several pairs since reaching my goal weight but just really haven't found any that got me fired up.

Until about a month ago.

I have gotten the Gilt Groupe emails for a while now but they usually just end up getting deleted. End of May an advertisement came through for a sale on J Brand Jeans. Hmmmm. I'd heard good things about these little darlings and decided to get myself a pair. Well, it was quite nerve-racking considering that I had no clue what size i wore and the had written under the picture, big bold print, THESE JEANS RUN VERY SMALL, PLEASE CONSIDER GOING UP A SIZE. How can i go up a size if if have no clue what size I am? Also - I accidentally got two pairs instead of one. Two pairs wound up in my basket, I couldn't figure out how to remove one, so I just decided it was a sign to get them both.

As of yesterday, I have in my possession two fresh pairs of fancy jeans - one black, one indigo, both "skinny" and very low rise. The low rise part is a hilarity in itself considering that I inherited my mother's naturally high waist. But they feel good, fit like a glove actually. Quite comfortable to boot. I am now a believer in the fancy jean. Doesn't mean that I'm abandoning the Gap for good - but I'll for sure keep my eye out for future sales.

Enough about jeans, lets talk carbohydrates. With the holiday coming up, don't you want a new potato salad recipe? This one is good. Not mayonnaise-y, very light and flavorful. Take it to your par-tay.

Baby Red Potato Salad
from Gina

4 cups baby red potatoes, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/4 cup red onion
3 green onions, diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl reduced fat mayo
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until tender, about ten minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine onion, bell pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to potatoes and combine. Add greed onions and give another good stir. Refrigerate.

Serving size 3/4 cup
WW points 2