12/31/10

Happy last day of 2010! I hope it's been a good year for you.  If it hasn't.....here's to next year being better.  For me it's been pretty good.  You know, just kind of rolling along.  I've got a few little plans for next year. Yesterday at work we did a big education group on the importance of setting resolutions (if you choose to) that are specific and attainable.  Here are just a few of the ones I am planning on doing.

  • Exercise at least 4 days a week, each week (planning on doing this....how cool?!)
  • Counting points, for real
  • Saving money each pay period for this couch
  • Traveling more.  Someone, give me your plane....
What better way to wrap up a great year than by attending the wedding of a dear friend/family member.  Pictured below is my cousin Peyton and I, having what appears to be a pretty major dance party on the front porch of my sisters old house.  Faculty housing on the MSU campus, no less.  Geeze, when was this? 


How could his wedding not be fun?  I've got my sassy one shoulder dress, my pumps, and a spray tan and am ready to go. 

In eating certain foods for luck news....have you secured your greens and black eyed peas yet?  I will be enjoying this recipe for greens and this recipe for black eyed peas.  The greens I will follow the recipe exactly, the black eyed peas I am going to play around with it to make it more point friendly.  Stay tuned for details on that one. 

Happy New Year to you!  Have a rockin' 2011!!! 

12/30/10

Misty Chicken (Chicken Scallopini)

Check out that pic! Operation Misty Chicken, huh? Using my fancy new phone for the pictures these days, figuring I needed to jazz things up since I can't take them in front of the tree anymore. That sucker was down by 12 noon on December 26.


Why am I talking about the tree? Back to the chicken.


This is little dish was discovered on the faithful 'old WW message boards.  Love those message boards like I love my snuggie.  And Reeses' peanut butter cups.  What? 

The flavor in this dish was phenom and it was pretty simple to put together.  Amazingly enough - I had most of the ingredients on hand so it was a relatively inexpensive dish.  I'm not sure why I had capers in the fridge but I'm just going to go with it. 


Chicken Scallopini
adapted from WW Message Boards

17 oz boneless skinless chicken breast (try to make it into four equal pieces - I had two smaller breasts and one bigger one, just chopped the bigger one in two)
salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp of each
2 tbl lemon juice
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 tsp capers
1 tbl butter

Place chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper, pound to 1/4 inch thickness.  I did this by beating the heck out of it with a skillet.  I think I scared my neighbor half to death. Brush chicken with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.  Dredge each side through the bread crumbs.  

Heat a large pan over medium high heat, cook chicken breast on each side until done.  Remove chicken from pan, set aside and keep warm. 

Add broth and wine to the pan, stir constantly for about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and add capers and butter.  allow butter to melt. 

Serve chicken covered with sauce.  And maybe have some 0 point Brussel sprouts?  I think so. 

Makes 4 servings
Serving size 1 piece of chicken and 1/4 of sauce
Points Plus 6

12/29/10

Wrap It Up All Warm and Snuggly

No, I've not made another wrap sandwich.  In fact, I'm still working on that soup I made earlier in the week.  Leftovers - you are both a blessing and a curse. 

I just wanted to share with you one of my most favorite Christmas gifts I received.  It was from my little sister Chickey and I must say that it rocks. In fact, I'm kind of bummed that I wore it  yesterday as today would have been the most perfect day to wear it.  It's all clouded out here in Ruleville.  


Doesn't that look all warm and cozy?  I by no means consider myself to be a fashion expert of any kind, but this is one of those things that is comfortable and cozy while not making you look like you are wearing a potato sack.  Which is awesome.  I have the taupe heather but am thinking that this heather one with the coral stripe would be a nice addition.  You should get yourself one.  You can find them here.  They're on sale. 

Holler.      

12/28/10

Touching Base

Hey there. Happy Tuesday.  

Not to much going on in my corner of the world, just dog sittin' and trying to recover from the holidays.  Wanted to touch base (I'm turning into my mom) and let you know about the great recipe transformation of 2010.  That will probably become the great recipe transformation of 2011 as well.  Since the switch from WW Points to Points Plus, I've been working to get all of the recipes on the blog switched over to the new point values.  This has been more annoying than I predicted.  I can't really pin point one thing about it that is annoying, just that I'm annoyed. 

But it must be done. 

I'm hoping to have all of the recipes switched over in the next few days.  It's also worth mentioning that some of them have been kind of wonky as they were switched over.  And some of them I couldn't switch over because of things like not having a clue how many serving sizes the dish was or something silly like that. 

This got me to thinking that I should remind everyone that all of the serving sizes, points, etc on this blog are approximations.  I do my best to get them as close to perfect as possible, but the only person perfect is the Lord and I'm not trying to compete. 

I leave you with some Sufjian. 

12/27/10

Comfort in a Bowl (A la Carte Vegetable Tortellini Soup)

I had the privilege of graduating from one of the finest schools in Mississippi.  What school you ask?  Delta State University.  Was it the stellar education I received?  That's part of it, yes.  Was it the fact that our mascot is the fighting okra?  Yes, that too.  The main thing that made it so cool?  The fact that when I had a few extra dollars I could treat myself to lunch at one of the finest places around...A la Carte Ally.  Oh yeah.  Take me home, wine and cheese dressing.  

This little lunch spot also served a soup called Vegetable Tortellini Soup.  In all honesty, I don't think I ever ordered it at the restaurant.  I was much to consumed with consuming the many wrap sandwiches they offered.  It was after I received the cookbook that the restaurant published that I discovered the soup.

This soup is quite similar to one I made a few months ago. That one was good, but this one is really where it's at.  

   
And yes, there really is soup in there.  It's just covered up by all of the tortellini. I mean, seriously? How could you know want to make up a dance a dedicate it to this soup? I'm dancing as I eat and type.  Because I'm good like that.  

Jokes.  

This might get a little hard to follow.  The original recipe calls for you to cook all of the tortellini and then stir it into the soup.  I don't do that because (1) it's harder to get the exact points as the tort is way higher in points than the actual soup and (2) if you store this in the fridge, and you will because it makes a ton, the tort will absorb all of the juice from soup and you will just have tort and no soup.  Still with me?  Good.  So I just cook the number of servings of tortellini that I plan to eat and keep them separate from each other.  And here's a neat little plan for carrying it to work...put one serving or tortellini in a Tupperware container and one serving of soup in a zip lock bag.  Place the zip lock bag atop the tort and cover with the lid.  When I get ready for lunch tomorrow I'll just combine them and heat it up.  And yes it would've been easier to put the soup in the Tupperware and the tortellini in the bag but my brain didn't work like that.  For the record, I used Barilla Tortellini (dry, spinach and ricotta flavor).  The points plus value for this is 6 for 3/4 of a cup (uncooked).

If you are still with me, I'm impressed at your dedication to getting the recipe for this soup. 

A la Carte Vegetable Tortellini Soup
adapted from Absolutely A la Carte

1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of zucchini, chopped
1 cup of squash, chopped
2 large cans Italian style diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley

Spinach and cheese tortellini (try to find the lowest points possible)

Stir fry carrot and celery in a large pot coated with cooking spray.  Toss constantly, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and garlic.  Add the next seven ingredients, bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat and simmer for an hour, hour and a half. 

Towards the end of the cooking time for the soup, cook pasta according to the package directions.  I cooked two servings of my pasta (1 1/2 cup dry) and divided it once I was done. 

Measure out 1 cup of soup into a bowl, add pasta to soup.  Curl up and rock out. 

Serving size 1 cup of the soup (no tortellini, makes about 15 cups)
Points plus 1 (again, just the soup, no tortellini)

The total points for mine was 7 (6 for 3/4 cup of pasta, 1 for 1 cup of soup)

I apologize for making this recipe so chaotic.  I believe I'm still in some sort of a sugar coma from Christmas. 

Go to A la Carte!
  

12/26/10

Spinach and Cheese Omelet

Props to you if you didn't over indulge over Christmas. You rock, and I'm raising the roof to you right now.


If you are like me and did have a little to much, now is the time to get back on track. I whipped up this quick and simple omelet this morning for only two points.  Heck yeah!  Back on track.  If I can just stay there....


Spinach and Cheese Omelet

4 oz egg beaters
salt and pepper
1/2 cup uncooked spinach
1 tbl Parmesan cheese

Spray a small pan with cooking spray.  Pour eggs into pan, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, turning once.  When almost done, add spinach and cheese.  Fold over.  Cook until cheese is melted and spinach is wilted. 

Serving size 1 omelet
Points Plus 2

You may be wondering who that majestic creature is in the above picture.  No, I didn't get a collie for Christmas.  That's one of my two house guests for the next few days.  Stella and Carter belong to my sister and her family and will be vacationing in Greenwood...it's nice because they follow me around constantly and appear to be very interested in what I'm doing at all times.  It's like my own posse.  It's also a good excuse to go for a walk. 

We'll see, there's snow on my windshield. 

12/25/10

Merry Christmas!

As Christmas comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on all of the wonderfulness that lies in this holiday. 

Memories from loooooong ago....


As well as the ones made this year.

I hope your holiday was wonderful.  I hope you felt the peace of the holiday, laughed with the people that you love, and ate a ton of food.

Blessings to you and yours....Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!     

12/24/10

Christmas Pictures - Jewlery

Stop focusing on how amazing my sweatsuit is for a second and check out my mom's face. 

That's a look of pure fired up excitement about a gift.


I hope you give the gift this year that rocks someones world!

12/23/10

Christmas Pictures - Christmas Color Coordination

'Tis the season to dress your children in coordinating Christmas fashions. 


It's almost here! Christmas, that is.

I'm having ghi time tonight, family time kicks off tomorrow.  So excited!!      

12/22/10

Shout Out to Rachael (Sloppy Jerky Turkey Joes)

Only Rachael Ray can come up with a name like Sloppy Jerky Turkey Joes. Bless you, queen of quirkiness and thirty minute meals.  Say what you will about her, but I am a huge fan.  In fact, one year I had a Merry Rachael Ray Christmas that involved a box full of cookbooks and DVDs of hers...pretty good stuff in my opinion. 

I like a lot of her recipes because they are relatively simple while still being tasty, don't call for crazy ingredients, and are, for the most part, healthy. 


This was one that required minimal alterations to become more WW friendly.  It was quite tasty and a step up from the usual turkey joes that I make.  They require a bit of preparation but get in that kitchen and get your chop on!

Sloppy Jerky Turkey Joes
adapted from Rachael Ray

cooking spray
1.2 lb extra lean ground turkey (1.2 lb is the size of the package I always get)
1 tbl vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tbl paprika (or smoked sweet paprika)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

sauce:
2 tbl cider vinegar
2 tbl dark brown sugar
1 tbl Worcestershire sauce
2 tbl lime juice
1 cup tomato sauce

Spray pan with cooking spray.  Add turkey, cook until done.  Add vegetable oil, onion, both peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, paprika, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, cilantro.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine ingredients for sauce.  Add to meat mixture, allow sauce to heat through. 

Serving size approx 1/2 cup (makes about 11 cups)
Points Plus 2

Enjoy these jerky joes on a whole wheat bun - I used Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bus for 3 points each.

Christmas Memories - Keep it Fancy

Many of my Christmas Morning memories involve getting some sort of dress up attire. Princess accessories, ballet outfits...one year Jennifer and I got an entire set of wigs. 

This year it was all about the crown, the heels, the purse, the fir stole, and lambchop.  This was also the year we got Foxey. 

Go Pegs and Andy for creating some pretty rockin' Christmas morning memories!


I hope you get fun, fancy party clothes from Santa...

12/21/10

Tomato, Spiniach, and Pepper Lasagna

This meal was so good that there wasn't even any left to take a picture of. 

Jokes.

The leftovers are in the fridge and I've battling the lazies at this time.  So let's move on.

This meal was good, I made it on Sunday afternoon to split up and carry for my lunch to work.  I've been impressed thus far.  Pair with a little side salad? Done. 

Tomato, Spinach, and Pepper Lasagna
adapted from WW Online

24 oz store bought marinara sauce
1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes, drained, diced
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fat free egg substitute
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
6 dry lasagna noodles
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, water packed, cut into strips
5 oz fresh spinach

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pot, combine marinara sauce and tomatoes; set over low heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese, stir to combine.  Stir in egg substitute, salt, pepper, and oregano.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, layer as follows:
1/2 of sauce
3 noodles
1/2 of cheese mixture
peppers
spinach
3 noodles
rest of cheese
rest of sauce

Cover loosely with foil, bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil, bake until sauce is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to firm up.  Slice into 8 squares.

Serving size 1 square
Points Plus 6

12/20/10

Christmas Pictures - Trimming the Perfect Tree

After hunting the perfect tree you must trim said perfect tree. Hopefully you will have a super tall grandfather like we had when we were kids.  


This is Grandaddy and Jennifer.  And that angel tree topper was crafted by my dad.  And something tells me that my grandmother still puts those snowmen up at Christmas time.  And those green overalls are just about the cutest things I've ever seen.  

12/19/10

Biscuits in my Enchiladas (Biscuit Enchiladas)

I feel like everything is better with a biscuit, including enchiladas. Biscuit Enchiladas? Yes, please. There is nothing wrong with that.

Quick, crowd pleasing, cheap, comforting - perfect for the rush of the holidays. 

Biscuit Enchiladas

1 lb lean ground beef (93% lean)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp taco seasoning
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can reduced fat biscuits (I used Grands Reduced Fat Buttermilk)
1 cup WW Mexican shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ground beef, onion, taco seasoning.  Cook.  Stir in enchilada sauce and tomato sauce.  Take biscuits (uncooked) and quarter them.  Stir biscuits into meat mixture.  

Place meat mixture into lightly sprayed baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake for another five minutes.  

Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Cut into either 6 or 8 squares. 

Serving size 1 square
Points Plus 11 for six servings; 8 for 8 servings 

*Can also use ground turkey; may affect points value!

12/17/10

Christmas Pictures - Hunting the Perfect Tree

There's nothing that gets me in the holla-day spirit like looking at old pictures. Ya'll know I love me an old picture.

Here I am with the sisters, I think we were at PawPaws Christmas Tree Farm.  I guess we got a tree?  But I think we went more for the Christmas Card photo opp.  I like mine and Jennifer's matching Christmas shells, Chick looks amazing in that Christmas light sweatshirt.  See Jennifer's bangs?  Mom was so impressed with how easy they made her life that I got some cut of my very own.  


Stay tuned for more bangs, matching outfits, and Christmas cheer. 

Oreo Fudge Bars

Do you love Oreos? Are you looking for a sweet to take to that Christmas Party?  You should make this.  I did.  Not just for me, of course, but for my office Christmas Party.  It's been hanging out in my fridge (glaring at me) for the last few days and I was glad to get it out of the house Wednesday for the party. 


I found the recipe of The Crepes of Wrath website; this girl has a gazillion recipes that I want to try.  To bad they are for things like 'Smore Bars and White Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Fudge and not salads and lean meats.  Oh well, it's the holla-days. 

If you're interested in the recipe you can find it by clicking here

A lesson in white chocolate:  it's not really chocolate.  What?  Yeah, that's what Chef Nick told me.  The fact that it's not really chocolate.  This means it doesn't melt.  Thank goodness I was having a chef over for dinner.  So this is now Nick saved the day and made sure that I could have something yummy to drizzle over the bars....

1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 stick of butter
about 1 tbl of Nutella (yes!)

Heat butter and stick of butter, combine.  Stir in Nutella.  Pour into a small zip lock bag.  Cut a small corner in the bag, drizzle over the bars. 

Or you could just forget about a drizzle and sprinkle white chocolate chips over your bars. 

Have a sweet Friday.  We'll all get back on track after Christmas....

12/16/10

Christmas Par-tays (White Bean Chicken Chili)

Last night was a lovely night.  Mary Neff hosted an ornament swap, it was a good mix between festive and relaxed.  The company was great, the sausage balls were fantastic, the house looked swank, and I feel like I scored (one of the) best ornaments on the block. 


Here she is.  All nestled up in the tree.  Looking all cute.  Not only is this ornament aesthetically pleasing, it's also a good reminder of the meaning of the season.  Makes my heart smile.  

Dinner last night was Weight Watchers White Bean Chicken Chili.  This is always a hit.  It's great for a party because it makes about a ton.  If you're not making it for a party then it freezes really well.  Maybe you should make it for your holiday guests this next week?  I think so.  This one has been posted on this blog before, but I'm going to re post it.  I'm nice like that. 

WW White Bean Chicken Chili

32 oz fat free chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern beans
1 (15 oz) can Navy beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 packet McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
2 tsp ground red pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.  Thirty minutes before serving, remove chicken breast from the crock pot and shred. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes approximately 16 servings)
Points Plus 4

Serve with reduced fat cheddar cheese and reduced fat sour cream - just be sure to adjust the points!

12/14/10

Cold Weather and Hair Products (Chicken Tortilla Soup)

Hey there, 15 degrees.  These temperatures are for the birds and make me do things like get tangled up in my snuggie and refuse to clean out my car.  Both of these are totally unrelated but are a direct result of me being cold.  At least there's soup.  Heck, for me there's always soup but whatever.

This is supposed to be chicken tortilla soup - and it is except for I got ate up with the lazy and did not make tortilla chips.  Or buy them.  Instead I made cornbread.  From the box.  Bam! 
   

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
15 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
10 oz enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz can chopped green Chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of water
14.5 oz chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
10 oz frozen corn
1 tbl chopped cilantro

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 10 hours.  30 minutes before eating, remove chicken from pot, shred it, and return. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes 10 servings)
Points Plus 3

Great topped with sour cream and cheese; just be sure to adjust the points values!

In hair volume news....meet my new friend:  Root Pump Spray More specifically, Big Sexy Root Pump Spray.  Love it love it love it.  It's making my new short 'do have much more bounce. 

You should get some. 

Happy Tuesday peeps! 

12/13/10

HoliDelta

Are you looking for something to do Tuesday night?  Do you live in / near the 'Wood?  Good!  I'll see you there...


Tuesday, December 14
Delta Bistro -- Greenwood MS
5:30 - 8:30

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops

Yesterday I made the venture to Jackson.  Why you ask?  Because it was the kick off to our family Christmas season with the Pond side of the family.  It was great to see everyone, even more great to watch Baby Girl try to figure out how to function with gloves on her hands. 

Like many people who travel from Greenwood to Jackson, I just had to stop at the Fresh Market to pick up some goodies.  It's like Christmas up in there.  I could spend my pay check on cheeses alone.  

This time at the FM, I picked up some pork chops.  It's no surprise that I feel the same way about cooking pork as I do cooking chicken; it's touch and go whether I'll eat it if I cook it.  It helps with my weirdness to get ingredients that appear to be of a higher quality.  At least if I got it from Fresh Market, I can trick myself into believing it's a higher quality.  Not sure if it actually is or not but who knows. 
   
 

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops
from WW online

1 1/2 tbl chili powder
1 tbl brown sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
4 lean boneless pork chops, 1/2 thick

Turn oven to broil.  Spray broil pan with cooking spray. 

Combine the first 5 ingredients, mix until a paste forms.  Rub past over pork chops. 

Broil in oven for 4 minutes on each side

Serving size 1 chop
Points plus 6

12/10/10

The Beatles - Rocky Racoon

This afternoon was an afternoon of errand running.  Fun errands, like picking up monogrammed Christmas stockings and picking out ornaments for an ornament swap.  Seems like everyone was running errands, both Cleveland and Greenwood were all a-bustle.  Traffic got kind of hairy a few times, well Delta traffic hairy at least, and this jam helped to bring my annoyed level down a few notches.   

Here's to a stress free weekend! 

Cajun White Beans

So I stumbled upon this food blog the other day.  It's called Deep South Dish and it is a-mazing.  Is it a WW blog?  No, it's not.  But again.  A-mazing.  If you think that I'm not going to be making Mac and Cheese Soup sometime in the very near future, you're nuts. 

So as I was poking around the site, drooling, I found a recipe for Cajun White Beans and Rice. I decided that this was one for me, as well as one that could be revamped to be more Weight Watchers friendly without to much trouble.  The end result turned out well.  It's quite warm and comforting and perfect for a day where it looks like it might snow at any second.  But you know it's not going to snow so you just move on and eat Cajun White Beans.  And get in your snuggie.  

I have not tried this with rice yet but I'm sure it would be knock out.  You should try it and tell me if it's good or not.  

I know this is not in front of the tree. I figured that me, by myself, trying to take a picture of my huge pot of soup in front of the tree might be disastrous.  And I was to rushed to snap one once it got in front of the tree.  But see how it's a red pot and a green towel?  Always thinkin'.


Cajun White Beans
adapted from Deep South Dish

1 lb dried Great Northern Beans
1 tsp canola oil
14 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
dried parsley (about a palmful)
1 tsp Tony's seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Soak white beans overnight (or in my case, while you are at the workplace).  Drain and set aside. 

In a large pot heat canola oil.  Add sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, cook until soft.  Add garlic, cook for about a minute.  Add white beans.  Cover with enough water to cover the beans plus about an inch and a half.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. 

Stir in parsley, green onions, Tony's, salt and pepper.  Cook for another 5 minutes. 

Serving size: 1 cup (makes approximately 9 servings)
Points Plus:  7

12/9/10

Lessons from the Salon

I have hair issues.  Really, I do.  It's thin.  It's flat.  There's not a lot of it.  The colors kind of mousy.  It kind of looks like the guy from Silverchair's.  Actually, after researching pictures of the guy from Silverchair circa 1990s, I've realized that he has a little bit more volume than I do. 

Again.  I have hair issues. 

I have been discussing said hair issues at work for the past month, talking about how it's gotten way to long and something should be done about this.  All of this came to a head when last week, my co worker Susan took it upon herself to contact my salon and make me an appointment.  I was instantly nervous because (a) now I have to actually do something about the long hair and (b) I was positive that the staff at the salon now think of me as the lunatic that has other people make her hair appointments.  We'll pretend that Susan is my personal assistant.  Is that ok Susan?  Great. 

So I'm heading to my hair appointment, trying to get myself pumped up, when I remember a conversation that I had with a friend of mine a few weeks ago.  She was discussing how her hair dresser gets onto her when she doesn't wear make up to her hair appointments.  I then realized that to my hair appointment I was wearing blue scrubs, tennis shoes, a grey fleece pullover, and my hair in a knot.  Looked like I'd just left the track meet. 

I was even more aware of this when I walked into the salon and remembered how darn adorable all of the girls are that work there.  Good hair, cute clothes, nails did.  All of that.  Here I am, totally looking like a slob. 

The hair cut went well, my stylist worked her magic as usual.  Six inches later, I was done.  Initially I was quite pleased with it....until I realized how my outfit was really bringing the picture down.  I thanked the stylest, paid for the cut, and made my way to the Wal Mart.  During my time at the Wal Mart I couldn't help but think about how I would really be able to rock this cut more if I wasn't so painfully aware of my fleece.  This is probably why I forgot to get straight pins. 

I returned home, put up my groceries, and immediately pulled out my makeup, a pair of jeans, and a bright sweater.  Instantly, I felt better.  There's a little sass in my step.  Thank goodness. 

The lesson of this extremely long and wordy story?  Dress for the salon.  It will make your hair look better. 

12/7/10

Fake Out! (Cincinatti Turkey Chili)

I bet you think this is a picture of spaghetti.


Well.  Probably not.  My attempts at a fake out have been ruined by posting the name of this dish in the title.  I've never been good at surprises.  

This dish reinforces the fact that I have the taste buds of a 6 year old.  Put it on top of pasta, top it with cheese, I'll eat it.  Really - that's kind of what sent me to Weight Watchers to begin with.  My unstoppable love of starches and dairy products.  But I digress.  

Back to the food.  This meal is great for a cozy night in doors.  It would also be good to serve if you suddenly had a family of 10 arrive on your doorstep hungry.  You would have to entertain them for an hour while it cooks, but that shouldn't be to hard. 

Luckily, I can handle a leftover.  This meal is already portioned out in all of it's layer-ey goodness, ready to be carried to Ruleville and eaten for lunch.  

Life is good.  

Cincinnati Turkey Chili
adapted from WW Online

1 lb extra lean ground turkey
2 tsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
4 oz copped green chilies, canned, mild
6 tbl chili powder
1 tbl unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 cup salsa, mild, chunky
1 cup water

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup 2% cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onion, garlic, and pepper.  Cook until soft.  Add chili powder, green chilies, cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, sugar, and salt.  Allow to cook for about a minute.  Add the ground turkey, cook until done.  

Add tomatoes (do not drain), tomato sauce, salsa and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook for about an hour until chili is thickened and flavors are blended.  

Towards the end of the cook time for chili, prepare pasta according to the package directions.  

Serving size generous 1/2 cup of pasta, 1 cup of chili, 1 tbl of cheese
Points Plus 5

A few notes on this one:
  • I don't remember what kind of green pepper I used, but it looked like a really dark green bell pepper.  It could have been a green bell past its prime - I can't say for sure.  Regardless, it wasn't to much heat.
  • Before adding the spices, it helps to have them all measured out before trying to add them.  If not the onions could burn while you try to get all of the spices measured out.  Here's a good time to use that adorable small bowl that is sitting in your kitchen without a purpose.  
  • It's kind of hard to tell when the turkey is cooked due to how dark it is when mixed with the spices.  Just go with your instinct and remember that it's going to cook for another hour.
  • Speaking of spices - you should use all 6 tbl of chili powder.  I initially reduced this to 3 tbl (I was scared) but added the other 3 after I smelled how sweet it was.  The chili powder and the sweet spices balance each other out to make a lovely flavor.  
  • If not eating all of this at once, just cook however much pasta you will want to eat.  I cooked enough for the initial meal plus what I want to have for lunch.  That one is kind of obvious. 
  • This meal could also be made with lean ground chicken.  That's what the recipe called for and what I would have used had I been able to find it.  The point values would not change as long as it is lean.   
  • I can't figure out how to make the bulleting stop so I'm just going to end it here.  Keep warm, my friends!    

12/6/10

Getting in the Spirit

For starters, I bet that my duplex neighbor is getting real tired of me walking around the house belting out Christmas songs at the top of my lungs.  I can hear her microwave her breakfast in the morning so I'm pretty positive she's listening to me try to hit every note in O Holy Night.  I can't hit every note in O Holy Night, just in case you were wanting to hire me out for your next holiday party. 

I have started to listen to this song over and over again so at least I have some music to back me.  Sorry, Mrs. T.  If I sounded like girl from Sugarland, I would sing everything that came out of my mouth.  With soul.   


I digress.  Back to getting into the spirit. 

Like any crafty nerd, I spent a big chunk of my Saturday night finishing up my Christmas stockings.  This was intense, considering that I didn't have a pattern and had to use my seam ripper more than twice.  Here they are, hanging on my particle board bookshelves , right in front of the Phish Companion and a book about The Grateful Dead.  Just a-waitin' to get monogrammed.  Red?  White?  What kind of script?  



Anyone interested in sewing their own stockings for Christmas - it's very easy.  I based these stockings on this pattern and only made a few alterations.  I did not use the stocking crown and added a contrasting pattern on top.  I also added a lining and played around with it until it worked how I wanted.  In one of them, the lining cuts off right in the center.  After trying to stuff the lining down into the curly q toe, I went into a small fit of rage and just hacked the lining in half.  Luckily, I remembered to sew the lining together so Christmas gifts wouldn't get lost in the abyss.  Only problem is that whoever gets this stocking will only get half the loot as the other stocking.  This means no extra large bottles of body wash.  And probably no oranges.  Cash would fit nicely though....

I hope this post finds you getting in the holiday spirit...or perhaps annoying your neighbors and / or loved ones with constant singing.  Both would be good. 

12/5/10

My Ghis.....

A "ghi," in chase your wondering, is the same thing as a "girl." It is a hard G and is pronounced the same as "knee."

This weekend, just a few of my ghis came together to witness the Greenwood Christmas Parade and enjoy a rollicking good time together.  Some of them, especially Kathryn, share my appreciation for a good marching band and a fireworks display.  As she said as the first band marched by....

"It touches my soul."

Dually noted, ghi.
 
 
Me, Lindsey, Kathryn, Kallie, Leah

Of course, these are not all of the ghis.  Several were missing due to distance, child raising, and the overall weight of life.  The rest of you were greatly missed.  

I love my ghis dearly - their support and love and encouragement help me more and more the older I get.  Not to mention, the most of them are kind of lunatics so the situations that we find ourselves in never cease to be amazing.  

Friends are a gift.....be they new or old, transitional or permanent, just like you or completely different.  I am grateful for mine. 

That is all.  Happy Sunday. 

12/3/10

It's Christmas Parade Day!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Why you ask? It's Parade Day. Christmas Parade Day to be exact.  I'm sure lots of towns have Christmas Parades, few are as amazing as Greenwood's....

Image here

Great floats, great music, a little bit of booty shakin' to a wide array of Christmas Carols...you really can't describe it.

Not only will the Sonic Boom be there, but I have 4 buddies making the trek to Greenwood to join in the festivities. AND I've taken the whole day off work today.  AND there are fireworks. 

I am so excited I almost can't even handle it! 

If you live anywhere near Greenwood and are looking for something to do today around 3 pm - join us!  Great way to get into the spirit.  I'll be there, possibly wearing a Christmas sweater.    

12/2/10

Party for Breakfast (Potato, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Bowl)

I'm a girl that needs a big breakfast.  I actually spend an abnormally large amount of time researching new ideas for breakfast.  This is one that I stumbled upon the other day while cruising the WW message boards.   I also talk about cruising the WW message boards a lot.  That's also a bit odd.  


This one took a few minutes to put together this morning.  It's not as easy as, say, a Nutrigrain blueberry waffle, but it's much tastier and quite filling.  You know what else you could do?  You could have breakfast for supper with this.  How good is breakfast for supper??  Love it.  

Potato, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Bowl
adapted from WW Message Boards

1/2 of a baking potato, diced up small
3 egg whites
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup salsa
1 slice of 2% American cheese

Spray a small pan with spray butter, add potato.  Season with salt to taste.  Allow to cook until soft and brown in some spots.  

Remove potatoes from heat once cooked, set aside.  Spray same pan with cooking spray, add egg whites.  Scramble until done.  Add to potatoes, along with green onions, cheese and salsa.  Allow cheese to melt.  

Makes one serving
Points Plus 5 

When having this for breakfast I will put everything together once its cooked in a tupperware container.  Once I get to work, I will warm it up in the microwave and dig in.        

12/1/10

Racoons and Red Neck Cuisine (Red Neck Casserole)

I saw a raccoon at work yesterday. Why is this a big deal?  It's not really.  But it did put a few things into action.  For starters....I didn't really think that raccoons spent a lot of time mulling around during the day.  I thought they were more of a night time creature.  Also - why was said raccoon in the hospital parking lot?  Not sure.  It also allowed me to have a lively conversation with the merry band of construction workers that were equally as fascinated with the 'coon.  The conversation went a little like this:  

Me:  Did ya'll see that raccoon?

Merry Band of Construction Workers:  Yeah.

Me:  Are ya'll going to trap it?

MBoCW:  Yea.  And eat it.

Me:  Well don't eat it Friday.  I'll be off then. 

MBoCW:  We'll save you some.  

Me:  Awesome.  

This conversation gave me a little shiver, thinking about some of the strange things people consume.  I consider raccoon to be a red neck dish.  Call me crazy.  

My mind soon drifted to what I would be having for supper.  The recipe was from my sister; I had originally entitled it "Jen's Casserole." I quickly decided to change the name to "Red Neck Casserole."  If there's anything I love more than a casserole, it's one that is a little bit red.  Funny thing is, my sister is not a redneck.  She's the furthest thing from it.  In fact, I don't even think she ever went through the expected red neck phase that most girls born and raised in the delta go through.  Good thing you can love this dish no matter the color of your neck. 

Before I share the recipe, I would like to make two, completely unrelated, notes.  For starters, please notice the cone shaped ornament behind the dish.  I call it my purse.  Lindsey gave it to me and it is one of the stranger ornaments I've seen.  Second - this dish was amazingly cheap to make.  I spent $11.41 purchasing the ingredients.  This comes out to a whopping $1.41 per serving.  How cool?
    

Red Neck Casserole

8 oz whole wheat "Egg Style" noodles (I used Ronzoni brand)
1 lb lean ground beef (94% fat free)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
15 oz tomato sauce
8 oz reduced fat sour cream
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
6 green onions, chopped
1 tbl sugar
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare noodles according to package directions, drain and return to pot they were cooked in.

Brown meat, onion, and garlic in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray until done.  Add sour cream, cream cheese, green onions, tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Pour the meat mixture into pot with the noodles.  Mix well. 

Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour in meat and noodles.  Top with cheese.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Divide into 8 equal parts.

Serving size 1 piece
Points plus:  8