7/29/11

Happy Thirty, Brandon!

If all has gone according to plan, while you are reading this, I have my toes dug up into some sand. 

At the same time I have my toes dug up in the sand, my beloved, Brandon, is turning 30.  Yes, you read that right.  I'm on my bachelorette party while my fiance is turning 30. 


But it's all good.  To make up for it, I took him to Doe's AND got him a lemon ice box pie from the Crystal Grill.  And some shorts.  And some towels.


That's one happy dude. 

And one handsome dude. 

Happiest of birthday days to my best friend and future huzban.  Thanks for being so awesome.  And for not complaining when I left you for the beach on your milestone birthday. 

Love you more than cheese grits

7/28/11

K. Urb Challenge (Day 3)

Sorry I missed the challenge yesterday.  I bet y'all were real upset. 

But don't fret...back today!  Wahhooooooooo!  Oh and turns out, the song You'll Think of Me says "take my CAP" and not "CAT." Whoops.  Sorry, I'm not sorry. 

Here we are with Sweet Thing...

Chicken and Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Summer food and winter food are quite different.  While I've enjoyed the light and loveliness that is summer food, sometimes a girl just needs a casserole. 

This casserole contained everything that is right and good:  chicken, artichokes, spinach, cheese, pasta, breadcrumbs, BAM. 

It took a little minute to put it together, but it is make ahead so that works.  I was able to put it together Sunday afternoon and enjoy it Monday night.

That's a mighty bright picture.  It was taken during a crazy-town storm on Monday night...it was dark outside at like six so I couldn't quite get my bearings on the camera. 


Chicken and Spinach Artichoke Casserole
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

8 oz whole wheat pasta
1 tbl butter
salt and pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups of chicken tenders, cut into chunks
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups of skim milk
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
7 oz shredded reduced fat Colby Jack cheese
1 14 oz can of artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbl butter, melted

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt 1 tbl butter in a large skillet, add onions and chicken, season with salt and pepper, cook until the chicken is done.  Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, 2 tbl Parmesan cheese.  Stir in Colby Jack cheese, artichokes, and spinach.  Combine egg mixture, chicken, and pasta and then pour into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. While the casserole is baking, melt 1 tbl of butter.  Add the butter to bread crumbs and paprika; combine well.  Top the casserole with breadcrumbs.  Return to the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.  

Divide into 8 equal servings.  

Serving size 1 slice
Points plus 9 

7/27/11

Soulds and Should Nots (Summer Garden Pasta)

There are things that I should do.  Or, shouldn't do rather.  I should east less carbs.  I should save more money.  I should not have cheese puffs and a peach and consider it a healthy snack.  I should wash my face before I go to bed way more regularly.  I shouldn't rob herb gardens that are situated so close to the police station.  I should stop wearing scrubs to work.  Hey there, slouchy sister! 

But I'm not going to should all over myself today.  Instead, I'm going to celebrate Ina Garten.
 
Oh, Ina.  You sure can make  lovely summer meal.  The ingredients are simple and the taste is fresh.  A welcome meal in this sweltering heat. Thanks, girl. 


Summer Garden Pasta
adapted from Barefoot Contessa via Danica's Daily

4 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbl olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
9 large basil leaves, julienned
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 oz dried angel hair pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In  large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, white balsamic, garlic, basil, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about four hours.

Just before you're ready to serve, cook the pasta according to the package direction.  Drain well and add to the tomatoes.  Add the cheese, stir everything up to combine. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes 6 servings)
Points plus 5

7/26/11

K. Urb Challenge (Day 2)

So today's K. Urb challenge is, well, not much of a challenge.  This is the first Keith Urban song that I ever knew was a Keith Urban song.  Peggers introduced it to me on a car ride one day from Jackson to Greenwood.  If memory serves me right, we were right outside of Belzoni and it was raining something awful. 

Torrential down pours couldn't keep Peggers from singing.  And waving her finger around.  That might have happened. 

I know some of the words, especially the "take your cat and leave my sweater" part, but could always use a refresher. 

And here's an interesting fact...this is Pegger's favorite Keith Urban video.  Now you know. 

Keith Urban "You'll Think of Me"


It's worth mentioning that I have no idea what to do with song titles, book titles, movie titles, etc.  So I'm just going to do what feels right in the moment. 

Chicken Burritos for Two

I love a burrito.  Of all kinds.  Breakfast burrito, chicken burrito, veggie burrito.  All of them really get me jazzed.  I also love a good Saturday lunch.  So it makes sense that a chicken burrito for a Saturday lunch gets me jazzed to the max. 

I based the recipe off of one from LaaLoosh and was quite pleased with the results.  I was also quite pleased with the amount of good times and giggles one can have while photographing lunch.


Well this ones not very much fun, just wanted you to see what it looked like. 


Look, that burrito is coming out of the shadows, about to attack Brandon.


But he doesn't care, one of the James Bond movies is on.


Busted.


Yum. 

I hope you have as much fun with this burrito as I did.  Which might be kind of hard because as you can tell, I kind of had a blast. 

Chicken Burritos for Two
adapted from LaaLoosh

1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 of a purple onion, sliced
chili powder and ground cumin
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of salsa
2 tbl uncooked brown rice
3/4 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbl reduced fat shredded cheese
2 tbl light sour cream
2 tbl guacamole
2 low carb high fiber tortillas

Heat a small skillet and spray with cooking spray.  Add the onions and season with cumin and chili powder.  Once the onions are soft, add the cooked chicken and heat through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring the salsa and the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat.  Add the rice, cover, and cook on low for about five minutes.  Add the black beans and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed. 

To assemble the burritos layer as follows on one tortilla:
tortilla
1/2 of chicken and onions
1/2 of rice mixture
1 tbl of cheese
1 tbl of guacamole
1 tbl of sour cream

Roll everything into a burrito style situation.  Wrap it in foil to at least kind of keep it contained.  Enjoy!

Serving size 1 burrito
Points plus 10

7/25/11

K. Urb Challenge (Day 1)

My mom (Peggers) is a HUGE Keith Urban fan.  Like, HUGE.  It is for this reason that in 12 days me and the sisters are loading up and heading to Nashville for one of his concerts.  While my outfit is already picked out, I'm afraid I don't really know any of his songs.

We all know that attending a concert is much more enjoyable when you can sing along with everyone else.  I hate missing a group sing along because I don't know the words. 

This is why, friends, I am starting the K. Urb Challenge.  I am going to attempt to learn as many songs as I can before we go and I invite you to join me.  Keith maybe isn't your style...that's ok, he's not really mine either.  However, his songs get your toes a tappin' and your sholdies a' rollin.  There are love songs, partyin' songs, break up songs...I'm sure you'll find at least ONE you'd like to listen to. 

First up...Without You

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers

It may be flying by, but there's still plenty of summer left.  Or at least, plenty of steaming hot weather left.  As long as it's hot, I'll be making turkey burgers. True story.   

If you're a fan of the feta, then you should give this one a try.  Not many ingredients, not much prep work, it's pretty much a dream come true.  That is, if your dreams include feta and spinach and turkey (oh my). 


Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
adapted from Eat Live Run

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg
5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3/4 cup of feta cheese

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, mix them up well with your paws. 

Divide the mixture into four equal sections.  Make into four patties, patting each patty to about 1/2 inch thick. 

Cook in a large skillet until fully cooked through, about five minutes or so on each side. 

Serving size 1 patty
Points plus 7

Serve on a light wheat bun (2 points plus) and the toppings of your choice. 

7/22/11

A Few on Friday

Hey ya'll!

I'm just sitting here, eating a scrambled egg + egg white sandwich (4 points plus on 2 slices of light wheat bread, just in case you count), drinking some coffee, and waiting to hit the road and meet my mom and Chick for a big day of wedding dress trying on.  Sister Jennifer wont be able to be with us, but she'll be there in spirit and in technology. 

If you pray, and would like to pray for me, please pray for the following:
  1. That I don't have a self esteem/body image/foot stomping fit.
  2. That I remain patient.
  3. That the dress of my dreams doesn't cost $38,000. 
Can you tell I'm not a good shopper?  I'm not.  But I'm excited.  Like waaaaay excited about the day ahead.  Wish me luck!

I feel like it's time for new exercise shoes.  I'm on week 7 of the Jeff Galloway running program; I've been on these shoes more in the last 7 weeks than I have been in the last 3 years.  I've had the shoes for three yes, yes it's true.  So it's time, wouldn't you say? 

Do you have exercise shoes that you love?  I'm so intrigued by these.  Not saying I'd buy them but I sure as heck want to try them on. If nothing else, they would entertain me when I looked down at my feet.  

Has anyone seen this?


It's the No Heat Curl.  This image has been floating around the pinterest boards for a while and I think I might need to try it.  Is there hope for my hay straight hair?  Find the tutorial here

And speaking of Pinterest, let's wrap this up with a Pinterest image that I just saw and think is great.  Makes me so very excited about next weekend.  I'll be at the beach with some of the most wonderful, and strangest, people in the land.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

find it here

Happiest of Fridays to you all.  Hope it's a great weekend!


7/21/11

Aunt Rita's Blueberry Muffins

I didn't actually make these.  My mom and Chick did.  And then Chick figured out the points.  All I did was show up and take a picture of it.  And I didn't even take a good picture of it.  My mom was the one that suggested that I put the muffin on a cute little china plate.  She's into my food photography.  Which I completely appreciate. 

Anywho.  While I didn't actually make these, I have had them.  And they are lovely.  Just a basic blueberry muffin.  Probably wouldn't be enough to keep you full on it's own for, say, breakfast.  But I'm sure it would rock either paired with something more filling OR to cure the need for something sweet. 

And you may be wondering who Aunt Rita is.  She is my mother's cousin's mother.  Or she's my mother's mother's sister.  Or she's my cousin-in-law's grandmother-in-law. 

Or she's my Great Aunt.  And she's great, let me tell you.  Makes the best rolls and dressing ever.  I know these may be considered fighting words to some of you, but they are true words.  I keep saying this, and I need to stop talking about it and actually do it, but I want to spend some time with her soon to learn her tricks.  Anyone up for a trip to Utica?


Oh one more thing, I typed this recipe out as my mom was giving me the instructions to the recipe.  Just an FYI, in case it sounds like crazy talk...

Aunt Rita's Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 1/2 cups of blueberries (can be frozen, don't even have to thaw them)

Preheat oven to 350. 

Soften the butter to room tempreture.  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time. 

In a seperate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Measure out milk, add vanilla to milk.  Combine.

Add dry ingredients alternately with liquid to sugar and butter, combine.  Fold in blueberries GENTLY.  Mom said that several times.

Divide muffins evenly among 16 paper lined tins.  They aren't giant, which helps.  Again, mom talking.  Love her. 

Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until done.  Check it, in case your oven cooks hot.  Like Mom's does

Serving size 1 muffin
Points plus 5

If you're feeling really sassy, spran-kle some suger on the tops of these before cooking.  It's a nice touch.   

7/20/11

Revisiting an Old Favorite (Chicken Parmesan)

This one is not new.  It's one that Brandon always requests and I usually try to honor said request.  He's such a good sport about eating sometimes strange things that I like to make the guy chicken Parmesan every once in a while. I've figured out that I enjoy making it much more if I make it on a Sunday or Saturday or other day when there's not a whole lot going on.  It's not that it's hard, just takes a while.  

So I'm not going to re post the recipe.  You can go to this page if you'd like to see it again.  Or you can go to this old blog post.  Just know that the points plus value has changed to 8 points plus.  

What I will do is post pics of the process. Because that's fun.  And festive. 

They've just been been dredged in bread crumbs and cooked a few minutes on each side.  The red sauce is to the left of the chicken.  But you can't see it.  But wait for it....

Oh here's the sauce.  Notice the steam.  It's HOT. 

Aaaaannnnnnd there's the cheese.  My personal favorite part.

Now everything has come together.  Pasta comes to this party and is always welcome. 

So there you go. 

7/19/11

Ham Cheese and Hummus Sandwich

I love a festive sandwich.  Especially on the weekend.  I have to pack my lunch every single day.  More times than not, it's a turkey sandwich.  Sooooo if having a sandwich on the weekend,  you can bet your bottom dollar that it's going to be festive. 

What's more festive than hummus?  Not to much.  Not to much at all.  Especially roasted red pepper hummus.  Lindsey and I once ate an entire container in probably 3 minutes.  Not my proudest moment, but it's just that festive. 

Ham, Cheese and Hummus Sandwich
adapted from Dashing Dish

1 light wheat Flat Out sandwich wrap
2 tbl reduced fat mozzarella cheese
3 slices of thin deli ham
2 thin slices of tomato
a few slices of purple onions
1 tbl roasted red pepper hummus

Heat large skillet over medium high heat; spray it with cooking spray. 

Lay the wrap out flat.  Sprinkle cheese on half of it.  Top it with ham, then tomato, then onions.  On the other side of the wrap, spread the hummus in a thin layer. 

Put the wrap in the skillet.  Flip it around a few times to heat it through and get everything melted.

Cut into two cute pieces.

Serving size the whole thing
Points Plus 5

Interesting fact...I made one of these Monday morning before work.  I assembled it, heated it up, and wrapped it in foil.  I microwaved it and had it for lunch at work....smashing success. 

7/18/11

An Old Favorite (Shannon's (Not Peggy's) Pork Tenderloin)

**** I've made a mistake.  This is not "Peggy's Pork Tenderloin." The recipe, in fact, belongs to one of my sister's friends and co-workers, Shannon.  Sorry, Shannon!  And thanks for the sharing the recipe. 

And why did I believe this one was my mom's?  Are all of my childhood (food) memories imagined?  Again, I swear that 3 casseroles in one night meal happened.  Chick, Jen...back me up! 

I'm not changing the original post because I'm lazy. Aaaand I just realized that I didn't spell check this orignial post!  What's wrong with me!  Blogging train wreck, I tell 'ya.   

I'm kind of on pork tenderloin overload.  What can I say?  It's easy, requires minimal effort, and tastes good. 

On this particular night, it was a nice little throwback to 'ole Peggy (my mom).  She made this one a lot (right?) but she would wrap it in bacon.  It was the 80s/90s.  We were eating like maniacs.  Casseroles were plentiful, as was the white bread.  I think I've written about the time that we had poppy seed chicken casserole, shoe peg corn casserole, and green bean casserole in the same night? 

That happened.  I swear it did. 

But this recipe is not bad.  Not bad at all.  I mean it's got butta' in it and it's still not bad.  Point wise.  Taste wise it's awesome.  And now that I think about it...this might not be the one that my mom used to make?  Regardless, you should try it.   


Peggy's Shannon's Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (about 24 oz)
2 tbl flour
1 1/2 tbl butter (melted)
1 tbl Montreal steak seasoning
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine the flour, butter, steak seasoning, and Dijon mustard in a small bone.  Rub this mixture all over the pork.  Be sure to take your rings off.  Ewww.  Pork in your ring is gross. 

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160. 

Remove from the oven and let it rest for about five minutes.  Slice into four equal sections, slice those sections into smaller slices. 

Serving size 1/4 of tenderloin
Points plus 6

7/15/11

A Few on Friday

We had us a rain storm this week.  It was nice, it's been hot here.  The earth needed a drink.  And apparently, the tree in my front yard needed to shed some weight.


It's huge.  Brandon and I had to drag it to the street.  And then I made Brandon go back outside and pretend like he was dragging it again so I could snap pictures.  But then my camera battery died and I was not able to get any with him pretending to drag...only got a single shot of the branchy beast.  

Speaking of snapping pictures, I've been trying to make a point to take the camera with me everywhere.  Here's one I snapped last night while playing a lively game of dominoes.  There was very little (actually no) natural light so I did auto, no flash, then made it black and white. I'm pleased with this shot.  Captures the raw emotion that is dominoes. 

Yeah, we're playing dominoes.  I freaking love dominoes.  And yes, Brandon is his Cruger-Tchula hat on backwards.  He wears that hat backwards to keep his curls to a low roar.  That hair gets BIG.  It fascinates me and my hay-straight hair. 

Fun fact time.  Did you know that a watermelon left to it's own devices in a refrigerator for too long will eventually start to smell like tequila?  I sure didn't.  I snapped a picture of said rotten watermelon as well, but decided against sharing it with you fine people this morning.  

You can thank me later.  It was nasty. 

Mmmhmmm. 

What's not nasty is Minty Cool Meltaway Cookies.  I've never had them, so I can't say for sure, but they look pretty amazing.  They sit patiently on my "Non WW" Pinboard, waiting for the day where I throw points to the wind and cook them up.  I love mint with all that I am.


One day....

But not today. 

But we mustn't fret.  No, not today.  We can't!  Not on Rex Manning Day!

Can anyone name that movie?? 

Happy Friday.  Take care and stay cool this weekend!


  

7/14/11

What I've Been Eatin'

Anyone who has even done any type of weight loss / weight management / general lifestyle change knows that variety is KEY

All of the times in the past where I've lost weight and gained it back usually happened because I got bored.  And tired of counting.  And lazy.  Or maybe it was Christmas.  Or I went out of town.  Or someone invited me to Pizza Inn. 

Wait, what?  Sorry I got distracted. 

So here are a few little things I've been enjoying lately that have been spicing up my eating / points counting.   

Amy's Black Bean Burritos


I'm one of those people that is easily convinced by packaging; the fact that this has organic and non dairy on it a few times, i figure it's fine.  For 7 points plus, it makes a great lunch on the go.  It's filling and tasty and is just fine cooked in the microwave.  Just make sure that you don't wrap it up in a napkin...I may or may not have spent about ten minutes peeling napkin away from my burrito.  Go for a sturdy paper towel.  And find it in the frozen food section of your local grocers freezer; I think they run around 2$ a piece. 

Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies


Yeah, just turn your head.  Not sure why the picture is like that.  I had to run to the grocery store one morning before work and get grapes (it was a necessity) when I realized that I not only forgot my lunch (how i wound up with the Annie's burrito) but also had nothing for breakfast.  I decided to give these beauties a try.  Brownies for breakfast!  Please and thank you.  One brownie is 2 points plus, 2 brownies for 5 points plus.  They are sweet and delightful and 2 kept me full all morning.  Now, I know they are probably processed to hell and back but they worked for me in a pinch.  And did I mention they were awesome?  Find them with the pop tarts / cereal bars in your grocery.  And I just found that on Amazon you can get 38 of them for 24.99$.  Would you judge me if I ordered brownies from Amazon? I hope not. 

Special K Sea Salt Cracker Chips


Check out that awesome serving size!  And see how they kind of look like heaven is shining down upon them?  They really satisfy that chip craving with a good, salty, crunch.  My plan for tonight's date to the Mexican restaurant?  Pack a little ziplock in my purse to enjoy these with salsa.  Oh yeah, I'm totally going to be that girl.  Because being left out of the chips and salsa portion of the evening freaking STINKS.  I found these in the cracker section of my grocery.  Don't remember how much they were. 30 chips for 3 points plus. 

I also have been making sure this summer to enjoy fresh fruits.  Grapes are what I'm digging this week.  Red, seedless ones to be exact.   

So what are your snacks?  How do you keep variety in your food life? 

Strengths and Weakness (Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese)

If you are a regular visitor to the Elevator you know by now that if it's creamy and cheesy and warm, I'm probably going to knock you down for it.  You also probably know by now that I often misspell words and do not have a knack for grammar.

Why am I bringing that up?  Because last night my future mister gently asked me if I realized my spelling / word usage errors and wanted to be alerted to them (collage:college; loose:lose).  He was only asking because he didn't want me to be embarrassed.  I thanked him and told him "No, it's cool."  I can't wrap my brain around spelling and my eyes just don't see the errors so there's really no reason to spend time thinking about it.  It's all about using your strengths and accepting your weakness. 

Go ahead...make a list of your strengths and weakness.  It's fun.

Strengths:  making mix cds and making homemade macaroni and cheese.

Weaknesses:  spelling and grammar. 

See!  It's that simple.  I listen to music and eat mac and cheese to cope with my inability to spell/use proper sentence structure. 

Speaking of macaroni and cheese, I've got some good news for you.  You never have to eat mac and cheese from the box again.  Woo!


Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Laaloosh

2 cups of whole wheat pasta
10 oz frozen, cut broccoli
3 tbl whole wheat flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup shredded sharp (or extra sharp if you can find it) reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1tsp dijon mustard

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta.  Cook for about five minutes.  Add the frozen broccoli, cook for another five minutes or until pasta and broccoli are tender.  Drain and return to pot. 

Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 cup of milk to an almost simmer.  While you are doing that, combine the flour, salt, white pepper, and onion powder.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk to the flour mixture.  Once the milk has come to a simmer, add the flour / milk mixture and whisk it constantly until it has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and dijon mustard.  Stir until cheese is melted. 

Add the cheese sauce to the broccoli and pasta.  Allow it to warm over low heat for about a minute until everything is heated through. 

Serving size 1 1/4 cup (makes four servings)
Points plus 9

7/13/11

Free Stuff from Hello Delta

Just in case you haven't already...mosey on over to Hello Delta's website and enter for your chance to win a photograph from Kallie's portfolio.  Kallie is a good friend of mine, a talented photographer with a killer voice and a beautiful soul.  Follow her blog, buy her photography, thank me later.   

 Image from Hello Delta

I think she's picking a winner this afternoon, so scoot on over!

And then come on back to the elevator and enjoy some Black Key's on this Wednesday morning.  This tune came on my ipod this morning during my run / walk and it was a nice distraction for the fact that I was pouring sweat at 630 am.  I was also wearing the brightest exercise outfit ever so I feel like I was a distraction to drivers. 





Sweet C Does Spaghetti (Crock Pot Pasta Sauce)

I realized something recently.  I get a little defensive when someone asks me details about a crock pot meal.  It's not right, but I do it.  I guess because I feel that many feel that a crock pot is kind of red neck.  And only capable of producing stews. 

Or maybe it's just because I have a touch of paranoia. 

Either way.  I should cool my jets. 

Sweet C (which I've just this second decided to name my crock pot) came through again Sunday night with a, get this, crock pot meat sauce / pasta gravy / whatever you want to call it.  Raising the roof for that.  And for poor grammar. 

My hands smelled like garlic all day long.  Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.


Crock Pot Pasta Sauce
adapted from Skinny Taste

1 lb italian seasoned ground turkey
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp of olive oil
28 oz good canned crushed tomatos
fresh black pepper

In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, brown the meat.  Once it's done, transfer to your crock pot. 

Increase the heat to high heat, wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and return it to the heat.  Add olive oil, let it get hot.  Add the garlic and cook it until it's golden and smelling good.  Don't burn it, though. 

Add the garlic to the crockpot, along with the tomatos and some fresh pepper.  Stir it together.  Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes 6 servings)
Points plus 3

This original recipe calls for italian style chicken sausage, removed from their casings and cooked.  But I couldn't find that, so there you go.  Points plus value is the same for both. 

7/12/11

Goodies from Jackson (Dijon Boneless Pork Chops)

This was an example of a "Honey get the cooler, we goin' to Jackson" meal.  Oh, you don't know what this means?  You obviously live in a town with a multiple grocery store options.  My love for Greenwood is great; but I've shared on here before about how I long for, at least, a Kroger.  And I just tried really hard to figure out a way to word this that left out the "but" after the "My love for greenwood is great." That "but" negated the statement.

Anyway.  If I travel to somewhere with a good grocery I'll usually pack a cooler in the trunk, just in case I want to come home with some goodies.  This last trip, it was pork chops.  And maybe some yogurt pretzels.  And maybe some pasta salad.  Brandon really had his heart on the veal chop.  I gently told him that it would be really sad for him to spend that much money on meat just to have me overcook it.  I'm bad to over cook meat as Trichinosis is one of my biggest fears.  Stay away from meals including walrus, kids. 

So yes, it was a bit overcooked, but still good.  Mine was the lean boneless chop, Brandon's is the bigger, much more manly slab of meat. 


Dijon Boneless Pork Chops
adapted from WW Online

2 lean boneless pork chops
3 tbl Dijon mustard
3 tbl sugar
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
cooking spray
1/4 cup water

Combine the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. 

Top each piece of pork with 1 tbl of the mixture.  Turn the pork to coat.  Let sit for 15 minutes. 

Heat a large pan sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat.  Add the pork, cook for about eight minutes.  Flip the pork over, top with the remaining sauce.  Cook for about four minutes or until just about done.  Add the water to the pan, stir it around and flip the pork over a few times to coat.  Let cook for another 2 minutes, stirring the sauce occasionally to thicken it up. 

Remove the pork and top it with the remaining sauce.

Serving size 1 pork chop (makes two servings)
Points plus 6

7/11/11

Egg-cellent (Egg Salad Sandwiches)

I would eat egg salad sandwiches every day for the rest of my life if it didn't mean that I would have to peel eggs everyday for the rest of my life. 


They (the egg-sperts) (ok, I'll stop) say that eggs should be a little on the older side before you hard boil and peel them.  One site I checked out said that eggs should be like two weeks old.  If I were to follow that rule, I would have had egg salad sandwiches two weeks from now.  But I didn't want them two weeks from now, I wanted them NOW.  'Cause I'm spoiled like that. 

My egg peeling was kind of a disaster.  I chipped off tiny pieces for a lot of minutes until I got them all peeled.  I hope you have more luck. 


Egg Salad Sandwiches
adapted from Danica's Daily

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped up
3 hard boiled egg whites, chopped up
3 tbl light mayo
3 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients.  Serve on whole wheat bread (adjust points for bread).

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes three servings)
Points plus 3

7/8/11

A Few on Friday

Hi!

I'm having scattered thoughts today.  Which is really no different than any other day.  So anyway. 

I want to sew this tomorrow.  And I just might.  A beach bag.  Since I'm going to the beach in THREE WEEKS.  Can't even handle it...

find it here

Found it on the pinterest.  Geeze, I love that pinterest.  It's a good way to really tell what you are interested in.  Turns out I'm interested in food and blue shoes as many of my "pins" are, well, food and blue shoes.  Don't you think I need these for my wedding? 

find it here

Those are blue, right? 

And this is amazing, right?

find it here

A problem with Pinterest is you go to look at one thing and then seven hours later you end up developing the wants for some strange outdoor bed contraption. 

Hope everyone is having a good Friday!  I'm off to renew my car tag.....jealous? 

7/7/11

Roasted Parmesan Tomatoes

I'm running low on groceries.  Like real low.  Like scraping things together low.  But don't worry.  I'm working on my list. It's going to be one of those huge grocery lists where you have to buy things like swiffers and you some how spend massive amounts of money even though you don't have a pack of children.  Nice.   

Minimal cupboards prove the theory that necessity is the mother of all invention.  Here's an example.  This morning, I knew in my mind that I wanted the following for breakfast:  a toasted wheat hamburger bun, a fried egg, and a slice of cheese.  A little sandwich.  Unfortunately, I soon learned that I was out of both cheese AND eggs.  Still had one crusty bun left. 

Soooooo I hit that bun with a little spray butter, got it warm and toasty, and spread some peanut butter on it.  After topping it with a few bananas it was ready to go.  What a treat!  A toasted almost stale hamburger bun with PB and Bananas was quite the hit in my book.  And no, I'm not just saying that because there were no other options.  I actually enjoyed it.  Toasting is key. 

Here's something I made earlier this week as a supper side.  Head out to your local farmers market and pick up some tomatoes.  Quick, easy, fresh, done.   


Roasted Parmesan Tomatoes
adapted from Eating Well

2 large tomatoes, cut in half horizontally
2 tbl Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the tomatoes, cut side up on a baking sheet.  Top each tomato with 1/2 tbl of cheese.  Sprinkle each one with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Drizzle 1/2 tsp of olive oil on each tomato. 

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 seconds. 

Serving size 2 halves (makes 2 servings)
Points plus 2

7/6/11

Tubas and Tap Dancing

How's about some tubas and tap dancing to get us through the rest of this week?


And just in case your afternoon has left  you with a minute to spare, here's an interesting take on the Casey Anthony verdict. 

Happy Wednesday!    

A Big Bowl 'o Comfort (Goat Cheese and Zucchini Pasta)

For the second week in a row, Tuesday night was Pilates night.  Or Yo-lates.  I feel like it's a mixture of both.  But I don't really know what I'm talking about AND that's very besides the point. 

Anywho.  Erin really worked us and my shouldie and thighs were quite fatigued.  Chick thinks my shouldie was fatigued from all that rolling, but that's also besides the point. 

Anywho x 2.  The class was a tough one but worth it.  We pushed and my legs shook and i wanted to army crawl out until we got to the end.  I'm not one who finds it at all easy to quiet my mind and I struggled especially to do so that night.  Then as I acknowledged what my mind was wandering to and returned my focus to my breathing I was able to eventually settle down.  As soon as I heard the instructor say that it was like a big slap in the face.  Duh.  Biggest lesson your therapist will try to get you to see....acknowledge what bothers / scares  you / enrages you then let it go. 

And then the tears came.  Just small ones.  And not ones of sadness.  Or joy.  Just small tears.  Does anyone else cry during pilates / yoga / yo-lates?  It was a nice moment.  With the kinds of things I hear constantly at work I've learned how to kind of glaze my face over and go to a different place when what I'm hearing gets too heavy.  I'm not saying it's the right thing.  It's survival, really.  It can be hard to switch it back on and be present in non-work life.  Turns out focusing on  your breathing helps. 

That and pasta. 

And goat cheese. 

What?  Yeah, I did that.  Got all deep here on the elevator. And I also exercised then came home and ate pasta. So there's a lot going on right now...


This recipe was like something sent down from heaven.  I was looking for something to cook for supper on Tuesday that would be yum, not make a huge amount, and contain goat cheese.  Well, leave it Real Simple and Twitter to really meet a girl's needs.  They shared a recipe that turned out to be easy to reduce to a smaller size and wasn't awful on the points.  The serving size was HUGE and it was really what I needed.  Hope you like!  And click here to see the original recipe for the original measurements, etc. 

Goat Cheese and Zucchini Pasta
adapted from Real Simple

1 1/2 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta **Be sure to save between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of the water that the pasta cooked in**
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
1/2 tsp garlic
3 tbl crumbled goat cheese
fresh lemon zest
salt and pepper

After cooking pasta reserve cooking liquid**, drain it, and measure out 1 1/2 cup.  This turns about to be a little less than 1 1/2 cup dry pasta.  If that makes no sense, I apologize.  After it's drained, return the pasta to the warm pot. 

While pasta is cooking, heat medium pan over medium high heat and add the oil.  Cook zucchini, along with some salt and pepper, for about five minutes or until tender.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, remove from heat.   

Add almost all of the goat cheese to the pasta, along with some salt, pepper, and reserved pasta water.  Stir it up until it's creamy.  Add the cooked zucchini, stir well to combine. 

Transfer to a big 'o pasta bowl.  Top with remaining goat cheese and some fresh lemon zest. 

Serving size entire recipe
Points plus 10

7/5/11

I Need YOU!

Are you a points counter?  Or maybe just a generally healthy eater?  Do you know how to leave a comment on a blog?

Great!  Now's your time to share...

A just got off of the phone with someone who will remain nameless who is planning on starting the counting of the points tomorrow and was trying to get ready and fired up. 

This is where you come in.  What do you eat for breakfast?  Snacks?  What's a typical lunch?  What do you do to get through snacky times? 

I get in food ruts easily and while they are safe and work for me, they might not be appealing to others. 

Come on....share what you've got!!

And since you're sharing with me, I'll share this Beyonce video with you.  Aaaaand I think I've shared it before.  Really just trying to make myself get off the couch and dance along since I ate supper waaaaaaay to late and need to move it around a little before hitting the hay. 

Rocky and Ramblings (Hot Dog and Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich)

Hot dog haters, go on.  Come on back tomorrow. 

Hot dog lovers, kick back and get comfy. 

As I type this, Rocky III is playing in the background.  Brandon has been playing air guitar while singing Eye of the Tiger for more than a minute.  I've even googled Rocky punching bags, making the promise to my future mister that if we are blessed with children, they will have the same one that he had as a kid. 

Childhood memories abound.   

It's only fitting that today's recipe is one for a grilled cheese WITH a hot dog stuffed inside of it.  Stop.  Or don't stop.  Whatever. 

The recipe idea came from the blog Grilled Cheese Social.  This girl is doing all kinds of awesome stuff with a grilled cheese, slathering it up with butter and stuffing it with all kinds of goodness.  When I check out this blog I can't help but poke my lower lip out and wish I had even the slightest shred of self control when it comes to food.  But alas, I don't, so I must trek on with the counting of the points.  

This one was pretty easy to adapt to be WW friendly.  I mean it's probably better with like real live cheese and Texas toast and real butter, but my version aint to shabby. 


Hot Dog and Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich
adapted from Grilled Cheese Social

spray butter
2 slices of light wheat bread
1 light hot dog, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise
2 slices of Kraft reduced fat cheese
1 thin slice of a fresh tomato
4 thin slices of cucumber
a few thin slices of a purple onion
a dash of rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Heat a medium pan over medium high heat.  Layer the sandwich as follows:

bread > cheese > veggies > hot dog > cheese > bread

Put butter on the bread, grill as you would a normal grilled cheese.  Mind the flipping part...things got a little crazy when I was flipping mine. 

Cut the sandwich in half. 

Serving size whole sandwich
Points plus 6

7/4/11

Happy Fourth!

I'm spending a nice little afternoon at home, doing Sunday things on Monday.   You know, like laundry and TV watching.

I'm proud to be an American today.  Proud to live in a country where I can, among other things, listen to the music of my choosing.  How bad would it stink to not have that right?  


HBD, America! 

7/1/11

A Few on Friday

Chances are, while you are reading this, me and my soon to be Mister and heading down south, and then west to Lake Charles for a friend's wedding.  And chances are, that was a poorly punctuated sentence.  And you should have seen how I spelled "sentence" before I spell checked it.

I've been driving a lot over the last few weeks.  Greenwood, Charleston, Ruleville....a bunch of two lane roads and minimal cell phone service.  Thank goodness that my HUGE cd book still hangs out in my car.  I've been listening to such old favorites as Ben Folds, Freakwater, Ani DiFranco

It's amazing the power that music has to bring up memories and remind you where you've been.  I don't know about you but I went through one hell of a "weird stage." That's what I and those close to me call it.  Weird it was.  I was dark, moody, bitter....really any other word you want to use to describe someone who is generally unpleasant to be around.  I wore really unflattering clothes and even tried to give myself dreadlocks once.  Just thinking about it kind of makes me grit my teeth and make a strange noise.  I think i've shared about it before.  But I have no regrets and I'm not (too) embarrased about it.  I think that going through times that are hard make me appreciate the beauty in life more. 

It also allowed me to really turn my sarcasm into an art.  And it gives my close friends / family something to laugh about, so that's good. 

Here's one of my favorite Ani songs.  I couldn't help but smile and turn it up, way up when it came on.  Ani got me through some hard times.  Hey Lauren....this one's for you! And if you're not familiar with Ani, she can be kind of raw....just so you know.


I'm in the market for a new bag.  A big one, please.  One that's big enough to put my camera case in. I can't take the picture if I don't have my camera with me.  How's about this one? 

 find it here

Yes, I'll take it.

As I write here I'm trying extra hard to be aware of my core, my breathing, and whether or not my belly button is hugging my spine.  All of this while i'm trying to push back on the floor in an attempt to keep the floor from pushing me over.  In other words, I went to my first pilates class on Tuesday night.  It was at the Alluvian spa and I was quite pleased.  Sore, but pleased.  I know I'm about 4 years late to the whole Pilates thing.  And I can't even blame it on my small town....Studio A has been operating for quite some time.  I can only blame it on laziness.  And fear of public exercise.  And a few other things that I will not go into.  And you should be glad that I didn't subject you to the entire post I had written on this topic.  It was to be called "The Taming of the Fat Pouch."  Ya'll really dodged a bullet on that one.      

Let's close out with this friendship bracelet.  I'll take that, too, while we're shopping on Etsy...


find it here

 Cute huh?  Thank you, Pinterest for making "the wants" increase 38 fold. 

Happy 4th of July weekend to all!  I hope it's safe AND awesom!