And the Winner Is.........................

Paige!  Of the blog Two Runners and a Brown Dog. Mosey over there and give her a visit...she's real cute, as is her dog.  And she makes me want to run.  Paige....hit me on my email (lauramerrill.alexander@gmail.com) with your mailing address and I'll drop it in the mail today! 

Thanks a million to everyone that entered this little giveaway!  I was thrilled with the number of people that comment and thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments.  Hopefully, more giveaways to come.  

No recipes today, I was a bit lazy on the cooking this weekend.  Well, I did a few little things that I might post this afternoon; we sha'll see.  

Keep reading and commenting and living the life! 


A Few on Friday

Hi there! I've been up since 3:30 am! Forgive me if I ramble.  Since I've been awake for so long,  I've had plenty of time to ramble about the 'net and think about random things. 

And watch the Australian Open.  I enjoy a good tennis match.  Really. I do.  I mean I don't watch it all that much but I enjoy it.  Watching it at 4 am made me feel like a really devoted tennis fan.  In fact, the announcers kept telling me how devoted I was. 

In no particular order, here are some things.  Maybe they'll help to keep you entertained until it's time to head home.  Or head to happy hour.  Whatever. 

My friend Swayze sent me the link to the blog Southern Burbon Mountains.  It made me laugh out loud.  You should read it.  But only if you like to laugh out loud.  Thanks Swayze!

This print was found after stalking the Urban Grace blog.  Talented, those girls.  Good taste.  Fancy taste, even.  Anywho.  The blog led me to John Derian Company website which appears to be full of things that I can't really afford.  I do, however, have a fondness for dreaming.  Dream on, I shall. 

find it here

Have you heard that the skinny jean is on its way out?  Or maybe not so much that it's on its way out as a wider leg is on its way in.  Heck, I don't know. Leah?  Help. I'm still wearing leggings and over sized tops even though Tim Gunn told me not to.  

So if a flair / wider leg / not a skinny is coming back...what about these?  First of all, they are cheap.  That makes my little heart go pitter-patter.  Second of all, they have that wide waist band.  I wonder if that would help with my muffin top?  I wonder if it is appropriate to discuss ones muffin top on a blog?  These are the questions I don't know the answers to.     

find them here

I do know that I like this song.  It's by Pinback.  They sure can do a catchy tune.  I wonder how those people got in that bottle?  Hmmm. 

Did you know that Kindle books now outsell actual books?  I didn't.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself.

Florence + the Machine's "Lungs" is one of the most amazing albums I've heard in a while.  Decembrists "The King is Dead" ain't bad either.

I want this pattern.  But just for the pants.  That's a lot of color happening there....

find it here

While we're at it, I'll also take this one.  And I'm probably going to try to expand the pattern to an adult size so you just let me know if you need your own tie-at-the-shoulder dress.  And yes, it's reversible. 

find it here

Looking for some new food blogs?  Go here and check some of these out.  I, myself, am interested in checking out Sodium Girl and Tigress in a Jam.  If anything, just for the names. 

If you are looking for a mean burger you should go to Inner City in Ruleville, MS.  So when I'm tired I don't make the best food choices.  Sue me.  And they don't have a website or else I'd link you to it.

So I think that's it.  That's all I got in my tired little brain.  Except for if you haven't commented on this post for your chance to win the tote bag you should.  And you should also tell at least 3 friends to do the same.  

Happy Friday friends!  Hope it's a goodun'.       


Pesto Minestrone Soup

For starters, I have a band aid on my left ring finger that is making it a little tough to type. I'm going to make this quick. 

Or not.  We'll just play it by ear. 

Everyone knows about the huge love I have for my crock pot; this love grew even stronger yesterday with the addition of Pesto Minestrone Soup to the cooking rotation.  

I love pesto, FYI.  Love it.  

Another FYI, this soup is even good if you accidentally space and leave out two pretty important ingredients.  In fact, I didn't even know that I had left them out until I opened my fridge this morning (to get my coffee creamer) and spotted the spinach.  Oh well, life goes on. 

Pesto Minestrone Soup
adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of carrots, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 new potatoes, chopped (no need to peel)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 cup of pesto
4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas (which I forgot)
1 cup spinach (which I forgot)

Place all ingredients except the peas and spinach in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.  

About 15 minutes before eating, stir in peas and spinach.  Cook until peas are done and spinach is wilted. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 13 cups)
Points Plus 5

Sorry I completely forgot to put the points in first time I posted!


Here's to the Future of Country Music

In honor of a friend of mine who is teeterng on the edge of country music stardom, let's listen to a country music video.

A few notes.....

1.  Chickey, I'm still waiting on my country music mix CD.  

2.  You should hear me sing this when it comes on the radio.  It's magical, really.  And with my intensive training in "facials" from the high school drill team?  Move over Kelly.  

3.  Jason A. and Kelly C. are a bit awkward in this one.  Try to look past that and just enjoy the music.   

Chicken Parmesan, Again

Whenever I ask Brandon what he would like to me to cook for supper he says either chicken parmesan, pork tenderloin, or sloppy joes. My response to this is usually something along the lines of yeah, I know you like all of that but dude, I write a blog that calls me to try new recipes all the time so how 'bout you pick something else?  Rude.  Rude rude rude.

So the other day, I asked the same old question.  This time, the Brandon zeroed in on some chicken parm.  I went a different route and instead of requesting he come up with something else, I decided I could just as easily find a new recipe.  Compromise.  It's all about the compromise. 

This new version of healthy(er) chicken Parmesan is from Ellie Krieger and I'm happy to report that it didn't disappoint.  Seemed to have a little bit more flavor than some of the other ones I've made.  

I think it's worth mentioning that I found the points on this one a little difficult to calculate.  This is because (a) I forgot how much chicken I used and (b) it seemed like a lot of the ingredients were never used.  For example...after breading the chicken there's lots of bread crumbs left over.  Does all of this count?  Not sure.  What I decided to do was just count it as is...if I was a little bit over in the pointage so be it.  Means I just had less calories that day.  Also, the day I made it was the same day I spoke at Nanny's church...I ignored the points in the ham / potato salad / bread meal that I ate while I was there.  

I feel as though it all works out in the end....

Chicken Parmesan
adapted from Food Network

1 cup of dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 egg whites
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (divided into 5 equal pieces; pounded to 1/2 inch thick)
2 cups spaghetti sauce (I used Prego heart smart)
3/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbl Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine bread crumbs, oregano, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp of the salt and pepper.  In another bowl combine the egg whites and the milk.  In a third bowl combine the flour and the rest of the salt and pepper.  Might want to make these three bowls shallow. 

Take each piece of chicken and dip in the flour (shake off excess), the egg, and the bread crumbs (shake off excess) in that order. 

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Place chicken in the dish and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until brown and done. 

Add the sauce and the cheeses evenly over the chicken.  REturn to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. 

Serving size 1/5 of recipe
Points Plus 10


Forever Young - Remembering My Roots

I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to speak at my grandmother's "Forever Young" luncheon. Put on by the church I grew up in, it was a wonderful opportunity to remember my roots and see some faces that I haven't seen in a very long time.

Like a REAL long time.

There were women that came up to me, hugged my neck, and told me about how they used to rock me in the nursery when i was a "bed baby." There were old teachers, both Sunday School and grade school, along with choir directors and friends.  It was such a surreal feeling to see all of these people again that literally helped me grow up. 

While I may belong to a different church now in another town, I remember and respect where I came from and was happy to be able to return and maybe even give back in some way.  

In honor of the Forever Young bunch, here's a song by my girl Patty.  Its an old hymn that talks about life when you get to heaven.  Not that any of these folks seemed to have a problem with growing old, they seemed to be a hip and adorable bunch.  

Thanks again, Nanny, for inviting me to speak! I had a blast...


Quick Fast and In A Hurry (15ish Minute Vegetarian Chili)

Chili purist everywhere just died a little. 

15 minute chili probably shouldn't exist.  Isn't the whole point of chili to let it simmer all day, filling your house with yummy goodness?  I don't know, that's not my call. 

15 minute chili existed in my house last night.  Not because I only had 15 minutes (it was Sunday, all I HAD to do was drive back from Oxford) but because I just wanted to try it.  And because I had most of the ingredients.  

Is this chili going to be entered in my church's chili cook off competition next year?  No, it's not.  Is it the most amazing thing you've ever put in your mouth?  Nope.  But is it a good, solid recipe?  Yes.  Is it quick to put together? Yes.  Warm and comforting?  Yes and yes.  

Score one for the busy people out there....

15ish Minute Vegetarian Chili
adapted from WW Online

1 tsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
15 oz tomato sauce
14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 tbl chili powder (less if your scared)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onions and cook until soft.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, cooking frequently.  

Add the rest of the ingredients.  Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil.  Stir frequently for about five minutes until sauce is thickened and flavors have melded together.  

Serving size 1 1/4 cup (makes four servings)
Points Plus 8

Serve with whatever you like; I did about a tablespoon of WW Mexican cheese.  I bet it would also rock with some sour cream and maybe a few green onions.  But that would have required me going BACK to the grocery store and I'm not into that.  

Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post for a chance to win the tote bag!


A Giveaway + One Year of Blogging

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Decorating the Elevator,
Happy birthday to you!

Yeah, I just sang happy birthday to my blog.  It just felt right.  I enjoy celebrating the milestones in life.  I might bake the blog a cake.  Funfetti?  I think so. 

Or maybe not.  As that would kind of go against everything that the Elevator stands for.  You know, staying accountable to weight watchers and all. 

Anyways.  It was a year ago that, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to give the whole blog thing a try.  I admit that I've gotten way more into it than I thought I would and enjoy using this as my venue to completely nerd out on a regular basis.   

A few things I've learned / relearned since starting this journey:

1.  I can't spell.
2.  I don't proofread. 
3.  Accountability works. 
4.  Telling your story, whatever it is, can be helpful to others. 
5.  I need a new camera.  
6.  Life is way better when you can make fun of yourself. 
7.  It's also way better when you laugh with people as they (kindly) make fun of you.  Especially about spelling and proofreading. 
8.  I write like I think.  And talk. 
9.  I really don't like "healthy" food.  I'm more of a smother it in cheese kind of gal.
10.  I might have a touch of OCD as I was not able to leave this list at "9" but instead had to add this last one to make it a nice even "10."

A million thank yous to everyone out there that reads this blog.  Whether you are a secret stalker or an outspoken commenter - you are awesome!  

Just to let you know how awesome you are - I'm giving you a chance to win your very own Alex and Leo tote bag.  How bout that?  The bag is pictured below and is made up of a nice home decor weight dark brown fabric and lined with Amy Butler's Delhi Bloom in Lime.  Quite lovely fabric if you ask me.

Here's how this is going to go down.
1.  Become a follower of this blog.  Ok you don't HAVE to but you can.  It's an option that's out there.  Just go down the page until you see the option to "follow" and go from there.  

2.  Leave a comment on this post.  You can just say hey, or you can say what you would put in this tote, or you can say why you deserve to win, or you can even make fun of it (ahem, you know who you are) and I won't even delete the comment!

Now, the choosing the winner part of this is kind of complicated so stay with me.  You have until next Sunday (January 30th) to leave your comment.  Let's say next Sunday at, um, 10 pm.  I'll probably be asleep then but whatever.  

I will then write all names on a scrap of paper, put them into a basket of some sorts, and draw the winner.  I promise I will not rig or cheat or engage in any other shenanigans.  Those of you that know me know that I hate shenanigans.  

So check back next Monday (January 31) to see if you won!  

If you pick the comment anonymously option, just be sure to write your name into the comment box.  And tell your friends.  Not necessarily about the commenting anonymously part but about the giveaway.  

If you win, you have to drive to Greenwood and get it.  Kidding.  I'll mail it to you, you can email your address.  
The Tote. 

The Inside of the Tote. 

Thanks again for reading!  


Friday, You Are the Best Thing

Here's hoping that your weekend will be the best thing! 

And it's worth mentioning that if you haven't gotten Ray's newest CD you should.  A little weekend prize for yourself.  Listen to it while you make yourself a healthy WW friendly meal and then tell me about it....

Cooking Lessons (Sweet Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin)

I'm a soup and casserole girl for a reason.  Reason is:  it doesn't take a whole lot of skills to make them. Not that I don't have some cooking skills.  I do.  In some situations you might even say that I have mad skills. But only in some situations. 

Situations in which I don't have mad skills: grilling, cooking chicken, cooking pork tenderloin, making corn bread, making a meal with several sides and having everything get ready at the same time.  Just to name a few. 

So what does one do when their sweet boyfriend's FAVORITE meal in the world is a pork tenderloin?  You practice.  Well first you make him buy you a meat thermometer and then you practice.

So that's what I've been doing.  Practicing making pork tenderloin.  There's been a lot of anxiety and a little bit of overcooking but I'd say it's going well. 

Look at that happy guy.  Cute, too. 

This weeks pork tenderloin adventure was taken for this month's Real Simple magazine.  It was way easy and quite tasty.  This time when cooking, I used the broiler on my oven. I started out with the rack way to close to the top,which almost caused the tenderloin to go up in flames.  The fire risk appeared to drop when I lowered the rack.  Thank goodness. 

So it might have been a little bit on the "done" side but the flavor was good and the ease of the dish made everything worth it.  Not mad skills yet but getting closer every day....

Sweet Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 lb lean pork tenderloin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbl maple syrup

Preheat oven to broil.

Combine salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Rub all over pork. Cook, turning several times and basting with the maple syrup twice.  Cook until internal temperature reaches 155.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.  

Slice into 12 equal slices

Serving size 3 slices (or 1/4 of tenderloin)
Points plus 5  


Pasta Is Always There For Me

This has been a week of culinary ups and downs for me.  It bees that a-way sometimes. 

I attempted to force myself to like sweet potatoes on Tuesday night...I ran into an issue cooking them, decided it was a sign, and did not proceed.  I also attempted a shrimp dish that was saltier than I could handle.  Oh dear, I was going to starve. 

Or was I?

Enter some leftover Barilla pasta I found nestled in the pantry. 

Hey, friend. 

3/4 cup for six points + 1 tbl of parm for 1 point = I didn't go to bed hungry. 

Maybe I'm being dramatic.  But it did save me from having a turkey sandwich.  Sometimes I feel like if I eat another turkey sandwich I might cry.  Ok, I'm being dramatic again. 

I was meant for the stage....


Cheese Fries - For Real

So I'm sure many of you are sitting on pins and needles, just waitin' for the big unveil of the cheese fry, cheese fry, glorious cheese fry recipe.  However, before we get to that, let's talk for a minute about how damaging it can be when you go to a restaurant and start ordering fries with things smothered on top of them.  I'm doing this to scare myself because sometimes I look twice at a smothered fry when ordering....

image and nutritional information here

Krystal Chili Cheese Fries:  15 Points Plus

I'm not saying that I spend a lot of time at the Krystal burger but sometimes it's late and it just happens, you know?  Can I get an amen?

chili cheese fries from Sonic 

Ok so apparently no one likes just a CHEESE fry, it's got to be a CHILI CHEESE fry.  These are from Sonic and come in at 8 points plus for a small.  Who gets a small?  Anyways.  better than Krystal but still kind of rough.  

Enough with the pictures.  According to the WW website, 1 serving of cheese fries from a restaurant will cost about 18 points plus.  Hey there, not being able to eat much of anything else that day besides bananas!  I think I'll pass.  

And make these instead!

They were pictured on yesterdays post and I was quite pleased.  Ok, I'll stop rambling now.

WW Cheese Fries
from WW online

2 large potatoes, peeled
2 oz low fat cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a large pan with cooking spray.  

Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch thick strips, arrange on the baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for twenty minutes, flip potatoes, continue baking for another 20 minutes. **Or just make sure you bake them until they are golden brown and fork tender.  Mine could have definitely gone longer..... 

Lump the fries together, sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake for five minutes.  

Serving size 1/4 of recipe
Points Plus 3 


Wierdly Easy (Pepperoncini Roast)

Weirdly easy...that's what this one was.  And spicy.  And a little comforting.  It worked; I was happy with it.  That is all.  

No, that is not all.  There were also cheese fries.  Glorious, glorious cheese fries.  But that's another post all together.  Stay tuned.

This recipe was found on the blog A Year of Slow Cooking AKA the coolest blog EVER.  Check it out, crock your little heart out. 

Pepperoncini Roast

2 lb lean roast - I used eye of round
16 oz jar of pepperoncini peppers

Take the roast put it in the skillet for a little bit to brown the outside.  Transfer to a crock pot.  Pour entire jar of peppers atop the roast.  Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.  Right before it's done, take two forks and shred the meat. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes 7 servings)
Points Plus 5

I ate this with two slices of light wheat bread and one slice of reduced fat pepper jack; just be sure to adjust the points!

Stay tuned for cheese fries, cheese fries, glorious cheese fries.



....what I'm trying this week.  I wonder if it will work with just a mixer?  Best try and see. 

image here

Visit this site to get more information on making banana "ice cream."  If you think I'm not adding peanut butter to mine, you're nuts.  

Real Simple No Diet Diet

I made supper last night.  It was made in the crock pot and was smothered in cheese sauce.  I really had high hopes. 

That will teach me to not use cheese sauce. 

It was a total food fail.  Luckily it was just me and no one else had to fake smile and pretend like it was good.  I'm not sure what made it not taste good to me, it was possibly a creepy chicken issue.  Who knows. 

What I do know is that I spent a considerable amount of time last night on the couch, alternating between watching the Golden Globes and reading my new Real Simple. 

Just in case you were wondering, Clare Danes' dress was my favorite.  I do believe it's my color and would love to have it if anyone wants to get that for me.  Thanks.

image here

Moving on.  To the Real Simple.  I found myself more interested in it than in the GGs.  

These are a few of the articles I found myself interested in.  There was a section on recipes for well balanced meals (half the plate should be fruits and veggies, a fourth of the plate should be lean meat, a fourth of the plate should be a whole grain), as well as a section on ways to really sass up your potato. 

The part that I found most interesting was the section on the foods that you should be eating this year.  They call it the "no diet diet". Turns out I'm going to have to take the plunge and learn to like sweet potatoes.  And sardines.  And kale.  But I read that you can tear the kale up and bake it into chips so that's probably what I'll do.  As was discussed previously, I love a chip. 

I've got a lot to learn about the super foods.  It's a good thing a subscribe to Real Simple.  You should pick it up.  


Snack Time (Cauliflower Poppers)

I love a snack.  In fact, it's probably one of my downfalls.  My love of snacking.  And chips.  Mmmmmm. 

Here's a snack that wont blow the points bank but still satisfies that urge to get your snack on.  Take it from me, a self proclaimed snacks-pert.

Did I mention that this is a 0 points plus snack?  Oh yeah.  It is.  High fives all around.

Cauliflower Poppers
from WW Online

1 head of cauliflower, chopped up into bite size pieces
1/2 tsp of each of the following:  salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cauliflower and seasonings in a large bowl.  Combine. 

Place cauliflower on baking sheet, cook for five minutes, stir; continue cooking for another five minutes. 


Supper With a Side of Frustration

Any long time weight watchers might feel me on this.  Just go on ahead and give me an "amen." Oh wow, I heard it!  Cool. 

Let me start by saying this.  I like the new program.  I like the free fruit (I might turn into a banana), I like the free veggies, I like that it's made me become aware again, and I like that it kind of forces you to make better food choices. 

What I don't like, however, is that I'm having to relearn everything.  Yes, I should've done this in December but it was the holidays and we're not even going there.  Where I used to do lunch and snacks out of habit without really thinking about it, I know find myself staring blankly at food kind of forgetting what to do with it. 

Enter old favorites. 

Like a spicy black bean burger with a slice of cheese and mustard on light wheat bread. 

New points on this old favorite:

black bean burger (Morningstar Farms): 3
Wonderbread light wheat bread: 2 for 2 slices
reduced fat Sargento pepper jack cheese: 1
mustard: 0

Learning it, remembering it, moving on, eating a banana. 

One meal at a time, just like in the beginning. 



A Birthday Poem for Chickey

Today is a pretty big day you see;
the little sis Chick has turned 23.

Wait just a second?  How could this be?
I remember when over the counter she could not see.   

From Chiclet to Chickey in a very short time;
when she got those braces off, we knew she would shine.

Lover of horses, hot chocolate, and bulldogs too;
with her fierce determination there's nothing she cannot do.

She's sweet, for sure, but cross her if you dare;
I say this because on my head, she once broke a chair.

Payback this was as I once told a little lie,
explaining that if she ate ice she would, for sure, die.

Mean, I agree, but she's turned out just fine.
Enjoying ice now, sometimes with a lime.

The baby she is of our fam-a-ly
and she is so funny it will make you slap your knee.

I am certain, for sure, she gets this from me
or maybe it's from our stellar family tree.

Smart as a whip, pretty and kind;
good at giving advice when I am in a bind.

Do you have a little sister that brightens your day?
If you do you should call her, just to say 'hey!'

Join me as I send mine birthday love and big cheers;
make it so loud that she hears them in her ears.

Happy Birthday to you, my sweet little Chick;
may the joy you have today forever and always stick.

I love you!

Don't worry readers, I'm not going to quit my day job to persue a job in poetry writing.  And I apologize for the offensive grammar. 


The Biscuits are Back (Biscuit Pizza)

Did you really think I would stop at Biscuit Enchiladas?  Heck no.  I feel as though it is my duty as a person to try out every dish in the WW catalog and contains a biscuit.  Or 8.  I do it for you, dear reader.  I do it for you. 

This dish, along with getting in my quitters at 530 pm, was the perfect end to an unnecessarily frigid day.  It was warm, it was cheesy, it was a big dish of comfort just waiting to give me a hug. 

Take me home, country road. 

Biscuit Pizza

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
16 oz tomato sauce
1 can of light biscuits (I used Grand's Home style light with 8 large biscuits)
chopped vegetables for topping (i used chopped onions and bell peppers)
17 turkey pepperonis
1 1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a large skillet, cook meat, onion, and garlic.  Add Italian seasoning, basil, and tomato sauce; combine. 

Divide uncooked biscuits into fourths.  Place in the bottom of a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Add the meat mixture to the biscuits; make sure it's all even. 

Top with vegetables and turkey ronis. 

Bake for 25 minutes.  Add cheese, bake for another 10 minutes or until biscuits are done.  Allow to stand. Divide into 8 equal pieces. 

Serving size 1 piece
Points Plus 8


Lucy, Lucy, Lucy

Don't worry, worker bees.  We're halfway to the weekend.

Thanks to Susan for cackling in my ear the whole time we watched this clip...made it even better.

What Win's Having

I had big plans for supper last night.  I had all of my ingredients, I was all excited, it was going to be great.  The dish was going to be portobello pizza, a recipe I found on one of my new favorites, The Slender Kitchen.  Here it is if you are interested in trying it.

Why didn't I make it you ask?  Because when I excitedly pulled my portobellos out of the fridge last night, I was disappointed to find that they were past their prime.  Ewwww.  So I had a lean pocket instead.  It did not make me very happy.  

Since I don't have a recipe to share this morning, I'll share one that someone else made. 

My friend Win took a cue from Gina's Skinny Recipes and gave her Chicken Pot Pie Soup a try.  Her review?  The recipe was a good one.  She did report having to add a little salt, pepper, and Tony's to give it a little more flavor, but it was overall a tasty dish with satisfying flavor.  

Click here to find this recipe.  I, myself, can't wait to try it! 

What have you tried lately?     


Tuesday Jam

This morning, as rolled to work through the snowy country side, I was delighted to hear that The Decemberists had taken over one of my favorite radio stations - Sirius XMU.

I was even more delighted to hear that they have a new album coming out January 18...I do believe I'll pick it up!  Here's a single from it.  Sit back and jam out. 

Keepin' the Vampires Away (40 Garlic Chicken)

I love garlic.  I love my crock pot.  I've now found a love for leeks.  All of these forces combined for the greater good.  It was a good dish.  Good dish, indeed.  It's worth pointing out, however, that if you do not love garlic, you should probably just stop reading right here and now...this one is not for you. 

There was a point in the cooking process where I was not sure if I would ever actually eat the chicken because I thought I was going to pass out from the strong garlic smell.  Thankfully, I didn't. 

This recipe is courtesy of The Slender Kitchen.  If you have not checked this blog out...you should!  Be sure to click this link to see an idea for how to use up the leftover chicken.

And that big hunk 'o love in the bottom corner of the picture is a baked potato.  I felt the need to clarify as it kind of looks weird. 

40 Garlic Crock Pot Chicken
from The Slender Kitchen

1.2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 onion chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
3 bulbs of garlic, peel each clove (like three whole things of garlic)
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 bay leaf

Spray a pan with cooking spray.  Add the leaks, cook them for about five minutes or until soft. 

Add onions, chicken, salt, pepper, paprika, leeks and garlic to the crock pot.  Combine well.  Add chicken broth and the bay leaf. 

Cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 7-8 hours. 

Divide into 6 equal servings....just do your best.

Serving size 1/6 of recipe
Points Plus 4


Snow Day (Caramelized Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bread)

Here is the view outside of my window...

And here is what I had for breakfast....

Three cheers for a snow day.  And for Kathy Lee and Hoda.  They are kind of funny.  I've always been a Today show girl but have really watched their show.  Silly, silly girls.  I like it. 

I also like caramelized banana oatmeal chocolate chip bread.  Well, let's go ahead and make that love.  I love this bread.  This is what I did yesterday to keep myself entertained between snow showers.  I must say, it was quite worth it. 

Caramelized Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bread
from The Slender Kitchen

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flower
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup splenda
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas
1 cup old fashioned, uncooked oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place bananas (peels on) in the oven and cook until the skins are completely black; about 10 minutes.

Combine all dry ingredients (baking powder, splenda, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats).  Set aside.

Remove banana peels, mash up bananas in a large bowl.  Add egg and egg whites and combine.  Add banana mixture to dry ingredients.  Combine well.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Place mixture in a loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted. 

Divide into 10 slices

Serving size 1 slice
Points Plus 4


Chowdy (Jamaican Seafood Chowder)


You know.....like howdy.  But we're cooking chowder so today it's chowdy.  I really do crack myself up.

This is a recipe that I saw on the super cute blog Must Be the Waters.  Not only is the blog super cute, but Maggie wore a super cute dress to the New Years Eve wedding that I just can't get over.  Cuteness abounds. 

This is one of this recipes that I just couldn't get out of my head.  I was so curious.  Could this work?  Could this work with the changes it would need to be a little more point friendly?  I was on a mission. 

I should also be on a mission to stop chipping my dishes.  

The end result was quite impressive.  Good flavor, lots of spice, the perfect amount of chowdery comfort for this chilly chilly weekend.  Did I mention it was easy?  Because it's easy as pie.  It's also got some heat to it....so be warned.  It kind of made my nose run. 

I do wish that I would have had access to fresh seafood.  However, the canned shrimp didn't kill me, and the crab I found at my store claimed to be real and natural.  Heck, it was expensive enough.  

Jamaican Seafood Chowder

1 small package of Red Beans and Rice (I used this one)
2 cups of fat free sour cream
3 cups of fat free milk
8 oz shrimp (I used canned)
8 oz crab meat
2 tbl jerk seasoning
10 slices of reduced fat pepper jack cheese, Sargento brand, chopped up
15 oz can of corn, drained
small can of green chilies, drained
1 tbl lime juice

In a large pot, prepare the red beans and rice according to package directions, omitting butter/oil.  Add sour cream, milk, cheese.  Heat, stirring until cheese melts.  Do not bring to a boil. 

Add corn, chilies, lime juice, stir until combined. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 11 servings)
Points Plus 5

P.S. - We haven't been hit by the crazy-town winter weather yet....it's coming though.  It's coming.    


Winter Weather Memories

So here in Mississippi, everyone is talking about the possible "Winter Weather."  If anyone is reading from up north, this probably makes you laugh a little.  However, we down south develop a strange mix of excitement / terror when ever our weatherperson starts to utter the words "Winter Weather."

I think this is because we just don't know what to do with ourselves.

Schools clothes, people forget how to drive, there's a run on bottled water at the Wal Mart.  

However, most of the time....nothing ever happens.  We start to develop a sort of "whatevs" attitude towards it.  I was talking to my friend Emily Friday on my way home from work, laughing because her mom had reminded her that she was, in fact, a mother now and should possible get some supplies.  Just in case.  Since I, too, was on my way to the store, I decided to get some supplies.  Just in case.  

Sometimes, however, things get a little crazy and we get some weather.  Like ice.  If you are from Greenville, chances are you remember The Ice Storm of '94. 
image found here

Dude.  That was some serious "winter weather." Serious enough in fact that there were t-shirts printed that read "I survived Ice Storm '94.  Told you it was serious.  And really wish I could get my hands on one of those. 

Thinking about the possible "winter weather" has gotten me thinking about my own Ice Storm '94 memories.  Here they are, in no particular order....
  • We were out of school.  For like a week, or maybe two.  I didn't have to give my country report on..........I have no idea what country I had. 
  • I was able to put off studying from that blasted spelling test that was forever making me miserable.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that spelling is not one of my strengths. 
  • We got to eat a lot of pop tarts.
  • We played a lot of "spit" by the light of the fire.  The card game. 
  • Jennifer and I slept together on the tiniest fold out couch  you have ever seen.  This is a good thing because.....
  • A branch fell through Jennifer's window. 
  • We fled town when Greenville lost water.  Mom just couldn't take it anymore.
  • Our back yard looked like a jungle. 
  • We camped out at the La Quinta Inn....the dog came with us which was one of the coolest things ever.
  • Jennifer had to miss Valentine's day with her high school boyfriend.  That high school love is something serious.  Hee hee hee you know I love you, Jen. 
I chuckle about this, but at the same time my fingers are crossed real hard that we don't get anything to wild.  While I enjoyed being out of school as a 6th grader, I know that if that happened to me as an adult it would not be cool at all. I'm not sure that my 1 jug of spring water would not last me to long.... 

Do you have a fovorite winter weather memory?