Hometown Glory

I've been hunched over my sewing machine for the past 2+ hours, crankin' out ruffled bloomers and cursing.  

Cursing because my machine keeps acting rude AND because Pandora is having an off night.  

Or, rather, WAS having an off night.  

Never heard this song before...

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Back to the trenches...   


This is a public service announcement!

Most of you probably know my sister, Chick, by now.  But today, she's not just my sister.  She's the new face of buffalo gnats. 

When looking at this picture, not only might you notice her sad face, but  you'll also notice her whelps.  This weekend, she was attacked by buffalo gnats at a goat roast. 

Yes, there was just a lot going on in that paragraph. 

Brandon and I ventured east to Greenville yesterday to see a movie, and it was there that I witnessed this poor child dancing all around, trying to scratch her itches. 

It's for this reason that I feel a PSA is appropriate on this blog. 

Buffalo gnats, also known as turkey gnats (which is awesome), usually aren't a problem in our fair state.  However, since they usually breed in fast moving bodies of water (source), they've become much more of a problem since the this year's MS River Flood

So how does this affect you?  Well, unless you live in one of the towns along the MS River, it probably doesn't.  

But if you do...here are some tips.  

1.  Hide your poultry.  Buffalo gnats appear to be more harmful to chickens than humans.  It's not necessarily because they bite them and give them a disease.  It's because they swarm herds of chickens, causing them to panic and stampede and either trample smaller chickens OR run into structures.  Oh, you think I'm making this up?  Source.  

2.  Go inside.  Buffalo gnats rarely go indoors. They are more of an outdoor creature.   

3.  Pull out your vanilla extract. Or other non-DEET repellents like eucalyptus oil. Source I've also heard that Banana Boat sunscreen works...but I can't source it.  

4.  Dress accordingly.  Wear long sleeves, light colors, and long pants.  And your hat with the mesh over your face.  I don't have one of those.  But maybe you do.  Because maybe you double as a bee keeper. 

So there you go.  A little PSA from Decorating the Elevator.  

Just trying to help, people.         


Pasta with Peas and Ham and Today Show Highlights

In keeping with the summer food theme that started yesterday (is it a theme if it's on it's second day?), here's a lovely little pasta dish for you to add to your rotation. 

And just an FYI, cocktail shakers make good vessels in which to mix dressing. 

This pasta dish was fresh and lovely and had the perfect amount of lemony goodness to really make my day.  You should try it, I bet you'd like it.  

Pasta with Peas and Ham
adapted from Noble Pig

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta (i used noodles, but bow ties or penne or something like that would be much easier to measure out)
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup of cooked ham, chopped (I just got a a few slices of ham cut thick at the deli)

Combine lemon juice, pepper, olive oil, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a jar with a lid.  Or a cocktail shaker.  Combine it up real good, set aside. 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but reduce cooking time by two minutes.  Add the peas and the ham, continue cooking for two more minutes.  Drain. 

Combine pasta with the dressing, mix well. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 5 servings)
Points plus 10

So since it's Memorial Day, and I'm on my couch watching the Today show, I figured I'd share just a few of the awesome stories I've heard just in the short time I've been typing this.

There was a book written called Run Like a Girl that discusses how strong women make happy women.  The author is working to take the phrase "run like a girl" and change it from insult to empowerment.  Very cool.  Makes me want to try that running thing again....and NOT give up when I get frustrated over how to time myself correctly. 

A woman named Taryn Davis started a project called American Widow Project after her husband was killed serving our country.  This nonprofit works to help a new generation of widows help each other heal and figure out how to live their lives again.  

Love that.  Love it when people take horrible situations and make good out of them.  I mean, they go sky diving and take weekend trips together.  Very cool.    



Crock Pot Baked Beans

Nothing hollers "SUMMER!!!!" like a baked bean.  And a peeling chest (eww).  And the air being down so low that you have to get under a blanket when you lay on your couch(ahhhhh).  

I'm here today to tell you about a simple little crock pot baked bean that you can take with you to your Memorial Day gathering tomorrow.  Or today, if it's starting late.  Or if you live anywhere near me, you can just come get some of mine.  Because it makes a lot.  Like, a whole lot.  

My crock pot is getting a little skanky...

Crock Pot Baked Beans

14 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
cooking spray
1 cup of ketchup
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbl apple cider vinegar
2 tbl molasses
2 tbl mustard
1/4 cup spicy BBQ sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

In a medium skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook sausage over medium heat for about 6 minutes. Remove sausage from heat, set aside.  In the same skillet, cook onions until soft. 

While sausage and onions are cooking, combine the remainder of the ingredients, excluding the pinto beans. 

Spray crock pot with cooking spray.  Add sausage, onions, sauce, beans to the crock pot.  Stir to combine.  Cook on high for four hours.  

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 14 servings)
Points plus 6

Happy Memorial Day weekend friends!!  


Alex and Leo for Sale!

How cute are these kids?  I have no idea who they are.  But they sure are cute. 

Why am I featuring these cute kids on the blog today?  Because they are sporting the Children's Corner William and Winnie pattern.

What does this have to do with you?  Well, that depends.  Do you have kids that need adorable summer outfits?  Grand kids?  Nieces and nephews?  Friends with kids?  If you answered yes to any of those, then this has everything to do with you!  Now's your chance to get your very own Alex & Leo duds for your very own rugrat.  Nice!

To start, I'm just going to be using the pattern pictured above.  It's simple; it's cute; and paired with a Sand n Sun sandal, it's a classic.  It ranges in sizes from 12 month to 4T.        

Anyone who is interested in ordering an outfit can contact me at lauramerrill.alexander@gmail.com.  The cost will be $28 per outfit and shipping will be extra, if applicable.  I'll accept cash, check, and if I can figure it out...paypal. 

As far as fabric goes...you pick it out, I buy it.  Or I can pick it out.  If you trust me.  Listed below are some of my favorite fabric sites....

Looking forward to giving this a shot!  Let me know if you're interested...


A Few on Friday

Dear Joy the Baker,

My birthday is very soon and I would like for you to make me these....

find it here

Thanks and love,
Laura Merrill

Dear People that actually read this blog,

Maybe one of you guys could make these for me since 'ole Joy probably isn't going to see this. 

Thanks and love,
Laura Merrill

Just figured I'd put it into the universe and see what happens. 

Speaking of putting things out into the universe to see what happens...anyone interested in buying some hand made dresses and / or jon jons??  I'm sewing to sell.  Stay tuned for a post about that this weekend. 

Ah, the weekend.  It's Memorial Day weekend, you know.  And guess who has Monday off?  Me.  I do.  Why is this amazing?  Because depression doesn't take a holiday.  Except for Memorial Day.  Apparently depression takes the Memorial Day holiday. 

I kid.  Well not about me being off Friday but about depression taking a holiday or not.  I'm not making light of any type of emotional distress...Lord knows it's not something to joke around with.  I'm laughing because for the past 6 years I've had very few holidays off; I guess I'm a little jazzed to be able to sleep in Monday.  Well, I won't sleep in because it's impossible for me to sleep in, but I at least will spend some much needed QT with the Today show.  While resting in my couch biscuit. 

Speaking of emotional distress...I've recently started following several very informative sites on twitter that are related to psychology, counseling, and the like.  Psych Central is full of really cool articles, as is the NAMI website.  Check them out if you're into that kind of stuff. 

I need a new book to read.  I finished reading In the Sanctuary of Outcast and it was phenom.  Loved it.  Thanks Lindsey for lending. 

I'm thinking about this one...

find it here

Or maybe could go a little lighter with this one...

find it here

What do you think?  I love a suggestion.  And I love a comment.  But I promise I'm not just hunting comments I really would like some book suggestions.  Thank you. 

Let's end this with some pretty peonies...

find it here

Happy Memorial Day!  


Sloppy Joes! Slop, sloppy Joes!

Let's take it back a few years, shall we? 

Pardon the poor video quality but I had to share one with Chris Farley rolling around on the floor.

This post might be a yawner to those of you who have been with me for a while.  It's a sloppy turkey joe recipe I posted quite some time ago.  Why re post it?  Because I hadn't changed the points from the old to the new.  And because I wanted to.  Bam.

Sloppy Turkey Joes

20 oz lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bbq sauce
1/4 cup mustard
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl vinegar
1 tsp ground celery seeds

Spray a large pan with cooking spray.  Add the onions, turkey, salt and pepper and cook over high heat until done. 

Add the rest of the ingredients, combine.  Reduce heat to low, simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 9 servings)
Points plus 3.  

Serve the joes  on  a light wheat hamburger bun for an extra 2 points plus.  And don't substitute caraway seeds for celery seeds.  Because caraway seeds taste like liquorice.  Not important how I know this.   


I don't have much to talk about food wise, but I do have a lots of things to talk about gratitude wise. 

With the tornadoes and the flooding and the general misery present in the world today, I would like to take some time to make a gratitude list to center myself and remember how lucky I am. 

1.  I am grateful for the physical ability to pick up the limbs that fell from my trees last night. 

2.  I am grateful for technology that keeps me in touch with friends. 

3.  I am grateful for iced coffee from my keurig. 

4.  I am grateful that Brandon will laugh at me when I ask him to put his tennis shoes on before the storm comes, but then will still humor me and put them on. And just that he's an all around amazing dude.

5.  I am grateful for creative people.  

6.  I am grateful to have a job that fulfills me.  

7.  I am grateful for my church. 

8.  I am grateful that the limb in my dads yard fell in his yard and not on his head.  

9.  I am grateful for Van Morrison.

10.  I am grateful for friends that are much better to me than I deserve. 

11.  I am grateful for dresses in the summer. 

12.  I am grateful for Pintrest. 

13.  I am grateful for 2 point a piece egg rolls for lunch. You can get them at the Wal Mart by the deli counter.

14.  I am grateful that I always land on my feet. 

15.  I am grateful for opportunities to be brave. 

16.  I am grateful for google calendars and google docs.  And really just google. 

17.  I am grateful for my nieces.  And that my sister trusts me enough to let me care for them.  Because I bet that was kind of scary...  

     Alex and Mary Kenway...Photography by Twice the Focus

18.  I am grateful my mom and Chick each had the other to ride out the storm with. 

19.  I am grateful for the landscaping outside of my office window. 

20.  I am grateful for my blog readers.

What are YOU grateful for today??


Country Crusin' with Clare

I have never piled up into a car with my family, driven to a bean field, and watched deer. 

But I did yesterday. 

Well not exactly.  Not with my family, but with friend Clare's family.  They do stuff like that.  I'm glad I was able to do it with them. 

The deer are hangin' in this been field, trying to avoid the flood waters on the other side of the levee.  This reminded me not only of the beauty of nature, but also of how terrible my eyesight is.  I couldn't see the deer until they started moving.  This is why the picture above is only of a field, Clare's hair, and her pointing finger. 

Thanks Clare for a fun night!   

My time spent in Rosedale meant that I had to come to work this morning via Cleveland.  I took full advantage of this by stopping off at the Delta Grind (Hey Laura Beth!)  and hooking myself up with a cafe au lait wit skim milk. 

For those of you counting, it was 2 points plus for a large (16 oz.)  Unless, of course, my cup was not a 16 oz.  Which is entirely possible since I have no concept of space and measurement.  Paired with 6 fresh strawberries and 2 morning star farms breakfast patties (4 points plus for 2), it was a kickin' breakfast.

Happy Wednesday!    


Pizza Pocket Failures and Other Adventures

I had this great idea sometime last week to make homemade pizza pockets.  One of my favorite blogs had made them, and just knew that I was going to make them and they were going to be fantastic.  

The Brandon thought differently and shook his head every time I started to excitingly discuss them.  

Well.  Sunday was the big day.  The day that I was going to make the best pizza pockets EVER.  Well.  Turns out.  

It was a complete and total disaster.  Not only did it take forever, make a complete mess, and come out with no flavor, I also burned them to a complete crisp.  

See what happened was that I was working on my fitness by playing the hula hoop game on my Wii and did not hear the timer go off.  And for those of you laughing at me doing the Wii hula hoop, stop.  It's a great ab work out.  

Anyway.  Pizza pockets get burned and recipes fail and we all move on.  

In my case, we move on to a pork tenderloin.  Here's what we had instead for supper on Monday night...

For those of you keeping track, that's 8 oz of pork for 6 points and 1/2 cup of mustard greens for 0 points. 

The Brandon was happy...it's his favorite meal. 

That small point dinner allowed me to have one glass of wine at the Alluvian and a junior candy ice cream sundae from Sonic. Wild, I know.   

The Reeses' one is 4 points but I tracked it as 5 points because sometimes I don't trust Sonic. 

Way to work out, recipe failure!


Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Loin

If you ever want to get me a prize, get me a Dr. Pepper.  More specifically, a Dr. Pepper from Sonic.  A big one. 


Last night's supper was inspired by something that the Pioneer Woman made a bit back.  Mine was a little different, mainly because I didn't think I needed to make enough shredded pork for 18 people.  It's just me and the fiance after all.  You can click here to see her original recipe.

Mine used less pork, a roast tenderloin instead of a shoulder, and a crock pot.  

And yes, that plant is dead and that is Brandon's hat from his now closed high school.  And the kool aid for the evening was black cherry.  

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Loin 
adapted from Pioneer Woman

3 lb pork boneless sirloin roast
salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced
12 oz Dr Pepper
7 oz chipolte peppers in sauce
1 tbl brown sugar  

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot.  Cook on high for six hours.  Once the pork is done cooking, shred it with a fork and discard large pieces of fat.  

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes 10 servings)
Points plus 4

Serve wrapped in a flour tortilla with one tbl of reduced fat mozzarella cheese.  Adjust points as needed!

Some notes on this one.  It's HOT. Like REAL SPICY.  I removed the large peppers to ensure that one wouldn't sneak into my tortilla, but that sauce makes it real hot.  You might want to up the amount of brown sugar help with the heat.  Also, I'm sure Diet Dr. Pepper could be used instead of DP Heavy.  However, due to my aspartame issues, I can't drink it and therefore didn't use it.



A Few on Friday

Fabulous Friday to you friends!

Those people who are able to be at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival are, i'm sure, having a very fabulous Friday.  I've been following them on the twitter and must say I'm a smidge jealous.  Just a smidge. 

image here

Look at those biscuits.  Mesmerizing.  I would totally eat those.

But I can't.  

Instead I'll distract myself with this lovely website that I saw on some blog this morning.  BHLDN is the name, vintage is it's game.  And it plays it well.  Very well, indeed.  

  image here

Wouldn't you love to see that nestled in my hair at the weddin'?  Yeah, I would too.

I THINK I've decided on a reward for my goals.  If I can meet those two goals each week for four weeks, I'll be purchasing myself a fancy new swim suit.  OR a fancy new camera.  One is like 80$, one is like $500.  Something tells me I'm going with the swimsuit.  Trust fund, where you at? 

At least the weekend is here.  It was one of those loooooong days that left me feeling quite spent.  Luckily, the Pandora station that I jammed to this afternoon took turn for the relaxing and played this favorite.  It was my moment of Zen. 

Loves it.

I almost just made these...

Find the recipe and the image here. I mean like I have all of the stuff to make them, and I even plugged them into the WW recipe builder.  FYI, if you make 10 bites it's 2 pp per bite. Why didn't I make them?  Because I have no will power when it comes to chocolate and peanut butter.  Like NONE.  Sooooooo you should make them and then tell me how they are.  Awesome, thanks.  

Thanks for stopping by the 'ole elevator today.  Hope you've had a good one!      


Take a Load Off Annie

If you were to spy on me in my car any time this week, chances are you would spy me jamming out to the "Sing It Sister" mix CD that I made last night.  It incudes such artists as Aretha, Patty Griffin, Susan Tedeschi, Beyonce, Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, and Miranda Lambert (just to name a few).

My favorite one to listen to on repeat (while waving my hand and rolling my neck) has for sure been Aretha's version of "The Weight."  This is why I'm sharing it with you...

More recipes to come next week.  Got some good stuff on deck involving crescent rolls and Dr. Pepper. 


What Up, Wednesday?

No recipes to share today.  I do, however, have some info / finds / strange pictures for you today. 

Let's start with info.  Remember this sandwich that I made a few weeks ago?  Well I've shaved a few points off of it and it was still dee-to-the-lish.  It's now 1 slice of light wheat bread, 1 slice of 1 point pepper jack cheese, 1 fried egg, and 1 morning star farm sausage patty.  This makes it 6 points plus instead of 8.  Score!

And now for a find.  These are potato straws and I'm excited to announce that you can have 38 of these for three points plus.  Great snack.    

You can learn more about them here

And now for a strange picture...

What do YOU think was going on here? 

Happy Wednesday!    


Grilled Flank Steak with Tomatos, Onions, and Balsamic

Bust out the herkys, we had flank steak again last night. I had a little bit of the anxiety related to this meal as it's really touch and go if our fair grocery store will have this cut of meat.  Lucky for me, our fair grocery store is home to some of the kindest butches around and they were able to cut me one.  And it was even the exact size that i needed without me even asking. 

Thank God for small favors...

Truth be told, this was a little bit on the tough side. That's probably because the flank steak isn't at the top of the meat line. Or maybe it's because I can't really cook meat to save my life. 

Either way.  I'm sharing because this was  great base recipe.  The flavors were totally there and it was pretty easy to throw together. 

Grilled Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Onions, and Balsamic

2 lb of flank steak, trimmed of fat
salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 tbl olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1/2 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbl fresh herbs, chopped (i used basil, rosemary, and thyme)

Preheat grill to high (if using indoor grill).  If you're using an outdoor grill you're on your own.  

Pierce the steak with a fork, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Allow meat to rest for about 10 minutes.  Put it on the grill, cook about 7 minutes on each side.  

Meanwhile, combine the balsamic, olive oil, and onions in a bowl.  Let it hang out for a while.  Add tomatoes and herbs.  

When the steak is done, remove from grill and let it rest for about five minutes.  Slice thinly.  Top with tomatoes and onions.  

Serving size 1/8 of steak and tomatoes (just do your best)
Points plus 4  


Goals and Near Amputations

That got your attention, huh? 

We'll start with goals, so that you'll stick around to hear about the near amputation. 

I need your help. 

I've set two goals for this week and am really serious about meeting them.  The goals are as follows...

1.  Exercise 5 out of 7 days for at least 30 minutes each.
2.  Do exact point tracking 5 out of 7 days. 

Not to bad, huh? 

So here's where I need your help. You are more likely to be successful at meeting goals when you reward yourself for your hard work.  I'm stumped as far as what my reward can be.  I'm not exactly rolling in the dough so it's got to be cheap.  And since the goals revolve around improving health, the reward probably shouldn't be pie.  Or french fries. Or anything that resembles pie or french fries. 

So your suggestions are encouraged. 

Ok, so the near amputation. 

I went to Lillo's last night (which is part of the reason that I decided that goal setting was a necessary evil this week) and on the way there my phone slipped into the abyss that is underneath Brandon's front seat.  Seriously...it is an abyss.  Who knows what all is down there that will never be retrieved.

When we got to the restaurant I proceeded to shove my entire arm under the seat and feel around the the phone.  Well, my arm got stuck. Like completely and totally stuck and I immediately began to panic.  I hollered to Brandon that my arm was stuck and that it was probably going to have to be amputated.  Right then and there.  In the parking lot of Lillos. 

He didn't seem to realize the severity of it and continued doing some sort of Lillo's dance / chant or something.  I wasn't really paying attention as I was focused on my arm being stuck and wondering if it was going to be possible for me to learn to write left handed.  

Luckily, my friend Jeannie was there and she was able to help me calm down long enough to shimmy it out.  Then she was able to go into the abyss, as her arms are much smaller than mine.

My phone was rescued and I still have my right arm.  Plus some ware wolf attack looking battle scars.  

Lesson learned.  

Carter and Stella and an Omlet

Meet Carter (brown) and Stella (black)...two of my favorite Shelties.  They are a bit odd...Stella is quite elusive and gets freaked out easily, while Carter is constantly in your face licking the air.

They were my sidekicks while in Starkville.  Following me around, seeing what was up.  Especially when food was involved.  

Here's Carter...posing with my omelet.  

This was a simple omelet that I threw together and it was quite tasty.  It was made even easier by using some frozen onions and peppers.  Yay easy!

An Easy Omelet

1 egg white
1 egg
1/4 cup onions and peppers (thawed)
2 tbl cheese

Beat eggs with a fork.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add onions and peppers.  

Spray a skillet with cooking spray, add the eggs.  Allow them to set and cook.  Flip over.  Place cheese in the middle of the omelet.  Once it's cooked through, fold over.  

Serving size 1 omelet
Points plus 4 


A Few on Friday

You know what you get when Blogger acts like a complete jerk and doesn't let anyone post anything?  Lots of two posts in one day action, that's what.

This first portion of a few on Friday is for my mom.  She requested that I post this video so that all of her friends could see it.  If you're friends with either me or my sister on the facebook, you've probably already seen it.  I know I've watched it no less than 572 times.  Give or take. 

Ok so I can't figure out how to make the video load.  I'm real sorry.  Maybe you can click here and check it out.  It's a long shot, but maybe.  Or befriend me on the facebook...you can see it there!  

It's times like this that I'm glad that I'm the middle child and not the oldest....I can practice holding infants that belong to someone else before (God willing) I have my own.  My skillz have for sure improved with this latest niece, I'm not as terrified when I hold her and can do things like switch her to my other arm so that I can have a sip of my wine.  Kidding.  Or am I? 

Enough about the new baby.  Ha!  Not! One more pic....Alex helping BJ carry her in.  Please take note of Carter the Miniature Collie also getting in on the action.  Yes she picked that bow out and yes I'm fully aware that it does not match.  It was the fourth (and final) bow of the day...

And moving on.

And I just got distracted for like 45 minutes on twitter.  Do you ever just long for the days of car phones and pagers?  I, myself, never had a pager but I for sure had that massive weapon of a car phone in the first Honda.  But back to my original point, technology is a time suck.  

Is anyone else familiar with this song?  I'm going to need a vote.  My brother in law was making a little fun of me and Jen earlier when we hadn't.  That being said...he's never heard the "come on barbie let's go party song" sooooooo people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, man.

Speaking of my brother in law, he's huffing right now as I type this.  Apparently the Ole Miss / MS State baseball game could be going better for him. 

Cakebread is good and I am tired (and maybe a touch delirious)...I bid you goodnight. 

Observations, Pictures, and Salsa Chicken

I've observed several things during my time taking care of the baby girl.  Here are a few of them...

1.  Garbage disposals are among the coolest inventions ever.

2.  Blueberries are pretty great, too.

3.  Cartoons these days are strange.  Like, kind of freak me out strange.

4.  Outsourced (in my opinion) is still not funny. But Parks and Recreation?  Not as bad as I initially thought. 

5.  I am horrible at packing for trips.  I just can't seem to figure it out.  Someone is going to have to pack me for my honeymoon or else I'll end up with 6 sports bras, a ball gown, and a pair of jeans that don't fit.  

6.  I was going to stop at five but here's another one that's worth mentioning...toddlers LOVE crockpots.  Seriously.  

This is the shot of the baby girl enjoying last nights supper.  The meal was a simple crock pot salsa chicken and it's for sure a keeper.  She excitedly exclaimed "Chicken!" and proceeded to clean her plate.  It's worth mentioning, however, that this child doesn't turn down food.  It's more than that nose that tells you she's an Alexander..... 

This dish was simple, quick, and tasty.  I just ate it right out of the bowl but it would be great put inside of a tortilla.  And yes I make stuff like this all the time.  Whatevs. 

Crockpot Salsa Chicken
adapted from Crockpot 365

1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cups of salsa
1.5 cups of frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Place all ingredients in a crockpot.  Cook on high for four hours.  Remove chicken, shred it, return it to the pot.  You know the drill.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes about six cups)
Points plus 6


Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

Feeling very thankful today that the newest member of our ever expanding family got here safe and sound and cute as all get out today.  Seriously...cute as all get out.  The miracle that is birth continues to blow my mind.

You know what else was cute?  Sister meeting sister.  Almost can't even stand it!    

I love her already. 

In doing things i've never done before news, I'm five hours into my role as a single mother and I must admit that it's kind of intense.  Thank goodness for my sister's kind friends and Finding Nemo.  I didn't cook supper as I'd planned but instead ate a grilled cheese standing up with the baby girl on my hip.  And there was snot on my dress.  

Just out of my element, that's all.  It's actually quite fun.  She likes to hang out in my lap, which is cool.  And she cleans up her toys when she dumps them all out on the ground, which is amazing.

Stay tuned....     


Cheese Steaks

Let's give it up for cheese steaks, shall we? 

image here

Aint nothin' wrong with that. 

Unfortunately, your average cheese steak can do quite a number on the caloric intake.  Enter the WW magazine with a quick and easy redo on this sandwich.  Niiiiiiice. 

I changed up the original recipe just a touch and will be presenting it a little different from how the magazine did.  For starters, Brandon was with me at the grocery store and he pretty much did a herky when he saw that they had flank steak.  So flank steak it was.  I also reduced the amount of mushrooms and didn't use a whole wheat baguette.  Because I couldn't find one.  I did, however, get whole wheat sub rolls and pull the insides out of them.  Which led to holes in my bread and messy hands.  But a happy heart.  And isn't that what matters?  Yes.  Yes it is. 

One more thing...my recipe is just for the meat. Whatever bread you use be sure to calculate it in!

Cheese Steaks
adapted from the WW Magazine (May/June 2011)

2 tsp canola oil, divided
1 lb flank steak
3/4 tsp steak seasoning, divided
1 onion, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Heat 1 tsp of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Rub the flank steak with 1/2 tsp of steak seasoning. Cook in the skillet, about three minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from the skillet, let it rest for about five minutes.  Slice against the grain, in small strips.  

Add 1 tsp of canola oil to the skillet, add onions, mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 tsp of the steak seasoning.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.  Add sliced to the skillet, along with the cheese.  Remove from heat and allow the cheese to melt.  

Divide into four equal portions, serve.  

Serving size 1/4 of recipe
Points plus 6

In other news, I'm heading east early, early, early in the AM to await the arrival of Sweet New Baby Cougle.  Please keep my sister, her family, and the medical staff in your prayers tomorrow morning! 

Until next time....


To Waffle House or Not To Waffle House (Sausage Egg and Cheese Sandwich)

Greenwood has a Waffle House.  I'm sure I've talked about it before.  Considering that breakfast is one of my favorite meals, this is kind of a hot spot for me.  

Sometimes, a girl just needs a breakfast sandwich.  

As was the case on Saturday morning.  It was important that I avoid the Waffle House that particular morning; there may or may not have been a Krystal Chick consumed the night before.  

The best option for me was to make my own.

I calculated the points to this AFTER I had already made it; they were a little high for a breakfast (in my mind) but it was delightful.  Worth every point.  Gave waffle house a run for it's money.  Would be a good breakfast-for-supper option.  I've given up making paragraphs flow.   

"Sausage" Egg and Cheese Sandwich

1 egg
2 slices of light wheat bread
1 slice of reduced fat cheese
spray butter
cooking spray

Spray slices of bread with butter, pop into an oven to let them toast.  Add cheese about half way through so it can start melting. 

Meanwhile, fry your egg in some cooking spray.  You could throw your sausage patty in next to your egg or you can heat it up in the microwave; it's up to you. 

Once it's all done, layer it all up and enjoy!

Serving size 1 sandwich
Points plus 8


A Few on Friday

Few on Friday, I've missed you. 

I love Beyonce.  Love her.  I also love JayZ but that's a whole other post in itself.  My most recent Beyonce based fascination comes from her involvement in the First Lady's Lets Move campaign.  Such a cool concept.  Such a needed program.  Such a great song.  Let's dance, party people.  

What about the Mighty Mississippi being all crazy with trying to flood we Deltians out of house and home?  We should be fine where I am but I'm definitely saying some prayers for people that are closer to the danger.  Want to see some pics of the rapidly rising water?  Check out my buddy Kallie's blog for a look into how quickly the water is creeping up on them.

In the words of Hunter S. Thompson..."Call on God, but row away from the rocks." And thanks, Katie, for posting that awesome quote on your FB profile.

I'm traveling to my sister's next week to begin Operation H.A.A., which stands for Help Alex Adjust.  Why is she adjusting?  Because the new baby is coming to town!  I'm going to try my hand at being a single mom and will attempt to raise a two year old, cook meals, blog, exercise, and keep house.  It will be an experiment of sorts.  Your job is to give your suggestions (either in comments or by emailing me) of activities and meals that I can try out with the Baby Girl.  Who's not such a baby anymore.  But who will still be referred to as the Baby Girl.  And the new baby will be referred to as BDub.  At least in my corner of the world.  I'm not sure what her mother will call her, nickname wise.  Anywho.  Help me out all you moms out there....

Looking for plans this weekend?  You know you need to come to the Robert Johnson Festival in Greenwood.  I'll be selling beers for Main Street Greenwood tonight from 6 - 8 so stop on by and say hello. 

Would love this cute little tshirt dress to wear to the fest..

find it here

And I wouldn't turn this bag down...

Find it here
Derby's this weekend.  Which is fun. I'm a fan of the Derby and will be there in person one day.  I can't talk much about horses because my horse loving sister has decided that pharmacy school finals trump the Kentucky Derby but I can talk hats.  And interesting facts.  Like how 23 year old Rosie Napravnik will be the 6th woman ever to ride in the race.  And how as a child, Chick wanted to be a jockey; dad had to break the news to her that her height would probably prevent that from happening. 

Take note of how she's almost as tall as the horses. 
Love you, Chickey. 

And love you, weekend.

And I forgot to talk about hats.