Last Birthday Celebration of the Month! #pinkyswear

It’s official – the March birthday celebrations have come to an end! 😀  Jacob turned 25 yesterday and he’s the sixth birthday of the month.  Whew!  It was fun while it lasted!

Tony used to tell me that I left all my organizational skills at work, which is partly true.  While my house isn’t 100% organized all the time, my desk is a different story.  I don’t like when stuff starts to pile up and I actually get nervous and anxious if my desk is a mess.  

So I got to work 45 minutes early and my boss was already paging me – gah!  I had started to heat up my breakfast and left it in our little kitchen area, and I got more than a few sideways glances about what was on my plate.

Well, I had spinach that was just about to go bad, so I put half a cup of spinach with 3/4 cup egg whites and made green eggs.  I added salt, pepper and Tapatio hot sauce – they were really delicious!  When my sister, Mom and I were together on Sunday, we stopped by Trader Joe’s and I picked up these chicken patties.  They are fully cooked and just need reheating.  They were pretty good!  I drizzled a bit of sugar free pancake syrup over the top, to make it seem more like breakfast sausage, but I think I’d prefer the texture of these on the grill.  I’ll let you know how they are on the grill.

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Well that breakfast held me pretty much all day.  It was another non-stop day.  I had three court filings all due yesterday which was crazeballs.  I never even looked at my other attorney all day let alone do any of his work.  Around 3:45 I ate my apple and about 2 ounces of cheese to tide me over until dinner.  I just made the 6:00 p.m. train – whew!  Because our dinner reservation was at 7:30.

Normally Jacob loves going to Ruth’s Chris for a huge ass steak for his birthday, but Hannah has lately turned him onto sushi, so he picked Kyoto.  Hannah went there for her birthday too, and they loved the hibachi side, where the food is cooked in front of you.

One of the first places Tony took me when we first started dating was Kyoto, although in their old small location.  I was a super picky eater back then and he ordered this giant boat of sushi.  I kept picking out the raw stuff, eating just the rice – he kept trying to get me to just put the whole thing in my mouth, and I just couldn’t do it.  

One of his all time favorite pieces of sush is fatty tuna.  He would always save it until the end.  Back then that one piece of sushi cost $15!    I met them at the restaurant and the special board caught my eye because one of their specials was fatty tuna!  #misshim

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When you order the hibachi, you pick your meat of choice, and get this soup below, that kind of looks like ass, but tastes amazing.  It’s a chicken noodle soup, but the noodles are thread bear and the top is kind of crunchy.  You get salad, a grilled shrimp appetizer, veggies, rice and your entree.  I shit ton of food.

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This is one of my favorite dishes there – Hannah and I order it pretty much every time we go – agedashi tofu.  A lightly battered tofu dish with this delicious broth and chopped seaweed on top.  I need to figure out how to recreate this at home.

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I love the reaction of the woman across the hibachi from us with the giant flames!  Our cook Danny was hilarious.  I got the New York strip and mushrooms – so delicious.

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Jacob got the fried rice and after the cook served everyone, kept piling up and throwing rice on Jacob’s plate yelling “it’s for the birthday boy!” 

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Jacob’s Mom came with and it was a fun night out.  And Jacob insisted on paying, although I’ll probably Chase pay him back. 😀

While I do love all the celebrations the month of March provides, I am really looking forward to getting back into my groove.  Even without my lunch time walk yesterday, just walking (and sometimes running!) around my office yestereday,  I was at 13,000 steps.  

Hopefully today will be a bit less hectic and I can get stuff off my desk.  Fingers crossed!

Question of the Day:  Do you like sushi?  I can do the cooked stuffed usually, but I am not the biggest fan of seaweed, but Jacob discovered you can ask for soy paper that tastes like nothing, so you only taste the roll, I’ll have to try that sometime.

Make it a great day!

 

Celery Root Puree with Tahini and Lemon

It was a long week at work  last week.  I was pretty spent by Friday night.  The dogs and I snuggled and somehow I stayed up late watching Girls until 1:30 a.m.!  I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late.  I usually like to go to bed the same time on Friday and Saturday as I do the during the work week.

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Our record temps of 82 on Friday?  I enjoyed for all of about 5 minutes of it.  I worked through lunch, and thought that even though it was a bit misty out, I thought I could maybe grill when I got home?  When I left the office at 5:15 it was 78 degrees.  By the time I got off the train an hour later – 47 degrees –gah!

So Saturday was a great day to take it easy – it was rainy and cold.  I don ‘t know what it is about rainy and cold, but it makes me want to hang out at our local library.

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Have you read any of Ruth Reichl’s books?  She used to be the Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine, and this book talks about how she recovered after the magazine shuttered basically without much warning.  She thought her publication would be impervious to reduced subscriptions because it had been around for so long.  But like most of us who find solace in the kitchen, that’s exactly what she did.  Anxious to start reading this one.

If you have Netflix, there is a series called Chef’s Table, and that’s where I first heard of Magnus Nilsson.  I haven’t flipped through this cookbook yet, but just the shear size of it, I am hoping it will be a lot of story telling as well as recipes.  It doesn’t really matter though because I always read cookbooks like fiction book anyway. 😀

I started with NOPI though – I think what drew me to the cookbook was the gold leaf pages.  I was not familiar with this restaurant, not suprisingly because it’s in London.  But Chef Scully has some amazing recipes, and within the first two pages I saw his recipe for a celery root puree with tahini and lemon.  It sounded amazing.

If you are not familiar with celery root, while it has a hint of celery taste, it’s a root vegetable like a potato or turnip.  While the skin may seem really thick, you can easily peel it with a vegetable peeler.  My store sells them for about $1.69 a pound – mine cost about $2 and was 1.2 pounds after peeling.

Serves 3/4 cup

Celery Root Puree with Tahini and Lemon

Adapted from Chef Scully of NOPI - I did leave out the heavy cream at the end to make it more WW point friendly, feel free to add some if you like!

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a skillet with a lid, heat the grapeseed oil. Add the diced celery root and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the celery root starts to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the chicken broth, stir and then place a lid on the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the celery root is fork tender.
  2. Place that mixture into a blender, add the remaining ingredients, and puree. You can also use a stick blender if you have it. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Recipe Type: Side Dish

Notes

If you are new to celery root, you may want to add some potato to help with the texture. However, don't put the potato in the blender otherwise the mixture will get gummy.

Do the same recipe above, but at the end, add cooked potato to the mixture, and use a potato masher to mash together.

6.8
http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/03/27/celery-root-puree-tahini-lemon/

 

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I don’t really have a recipe for my pot roast, because I’ve been making it so long.  I bought a 2 pound chuck roast, seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared on both sides in my cast iron skillet.  I added . . . SLICED ONION!  I know, I can hardly believe it.  If Tony were alive he’d be yelling from the kitchen, what smells like ass?!  I took the pot roast out, put carrots and onions in the bottom of the pan, added 1/2 cup red wine, 2 cups beef stock, garlic, put the meat back in, put a lid on it, and baked it at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Once it was done, I picked out the beef and carrots, then added the onion gravy to a blender, added 1 teaspoon corn starch, blended that, added it back in the pan and brought it to a boil until thickened.  I put the celery root into the WW recipe builder, and each serving came in at 2 smart points.

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Perfect chilly night dinner!

Sunday was my last and final hoorah for my birthday was lunch with my Mom AND my twin sister.  Regular readers will remember that my Mom only spent our birthday with me last week, only proving once again that I am her favorite. Open-mouthed smile

Whenever I go to Oak Park, while I know there are a bazillion places to eat, and new places that pop up, I love going back to The Little Gem Café.   Their burgers are one of the best I’ve ever had.

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Once we heard $5 brunch drinks we all got one – my Mom got a memosa, Jenn got a beer and I got a bloody Mary – I blame my friend Jacky for that one because she posted a picture of her bloody mary on her vacation in New Orleans that looked amazing.  Definitely on my bucket list to visit some day!

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Love, love a place that does a burger medium rare like that – so fricken good!  I ate 3/4 of the burger, about 1/4 of the fries and my blood mary – my guestimate was that lunch set me back about 800 calories.

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And I always have to do a funny pic, which is what we call the “Classic Biz!” picture – ha!  You’re welcome Open-mouthed smile

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It was such a fun lunch!  It was relaxing, and nice to catch up without any interruptions.  We went to Trader Joe’s, then to a local thrift store.  Do you any of you guys remember Feeding Five blog?  She’s a Mom from California who I now follow on Instagram, but she loves thrifting just as much as I do.  Well, I had to send her this text.  I picked up a pair of these Merrell shoes for $10.   Um, they retail for $110!

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I love that I can wear comfortable shoes to work with all the walking around I do at work.  I think each day last week, even on the days that I didn’t get a walk in at lunch, I still got 10k steps.

I actually never ate dinner last night because I was so not hungry.  I prepped for my lunch today and ate a few bits of chips and salsa, but that’s all I was hungry for.

I was at 37 smart points for the day, but just for the heck of it, put in my food into myfitnesspal to see where I was calorie wise:  1219 calories, 102 carbs, 55 fat, 52 protein and 15.5 saturated fat.  I am sure it bumped up the points because of the higher fat day, but interesting to see I only ate around 1200 calories for that amount of points.

This is going to be another busy week at work, so I am gearing up for it.   I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to get a gym workout in, I may have to do it before work.  Or go straight to my office gym right after work.  It’s just hard because I am on the go from the second I take off my coat, I kind of look forward to the hour train ride home just so I can sit down for a solid hour! 

 Happy birthday to Jacob!!  He’s now 25 too – Hannah likes to rub it in that her fiance is a younger man – by all of 20 days.  Hope you have a wonderful day – we are going out for sushi for dinner tonight to celebrate.  

Make it a great day!

French Fry Frittata

There are a lot of people at my office who are on Weight Watchers, which I love.   More people to talk about point friendly food!  One woman though the day before yesterday only ate strawberries and grapes for breakfast and wondered why she was starving at 11:00 a.m.   I asked if she had any protein, hard boiled egg, deli ham, anything else?  Nope.  I told her I would bring in a leftover French Fry Frittata, and she was a bit intrigued!

I brought home all the fries from my lunch out earlier in the week.  I had 3 ounces of fries leftover, which was perfect for two servings of this breakfast.  I put this in the WW recipe builder and each serving came in at 6 smart points.

.

Serves 1/2 of frittata

French Fry Frittata

A great way to use up leftover French fries!

5 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

13 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces leftover French fries, chopped
  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1/3 cup chopped red peppers
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon everything bagel seasoning
  • 4 Jennie-O turkey sausage links, cooked and chopped
  • Coconut oil cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and add coconut oil spray. Put the chopped French fries on the bottom and press down with a spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add in liquid egg whites, chopped red peppers, salt, pepper, dried parsley, turkey sausage and put a lid on the pan, reduce heat to low and cook 6-8 minutes, or until the egg whites are cooked through.
  2. I cut this in half, and after reheating it at work, tossed the diced tomatoes with the everything bagel seasoning and put that on top of my frittata.
Recipe Type: breakfast

Notes

Feel free to add any extra seasonings to the egg mixture - I didn't know if my friend at worked liked spicy stuff (turns out she does!) so I'd add crushed red pepper, or maybe paprika or cayenne.

Luckily I had hot sauce at my desk to kick it up a notch!

6.8
http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/03/24/french-fry-frittata/

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So good – and putting Trader Joe’s everything seasoning on the tomatoes was an awesome idea.  My friend couldn’t believe that she got all that food for 6 points, but more importantly, it kept her full for hours.  #winning #changinglivesonebreakfastatatime

I didn’t end up going to WW before work for my weigh in, because I wanted to get in early so I could leave to go to the lunch time meeting.  I am happy to report that my eating/drinking frenzy that was my birthday weekend, only cost me a 1.8 pound gain!  Congrats to my twin sister though who LOST 2.2 during our birthday weekend.  Great job!

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So I basically have to kick some serious ass this last week of March so that I’ll only have a small gain for the month.  Still down almost 15 pounds though – but I was SO close to being down almost 20!  Gah.

Lunch was on repeat – I fricken love the tomato feta soup from Pret!  

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I worked late and was really thinking of hitting up Burger King on the way home because it’s literally two blocks from the train station and I pass right by it every day to and from the train.  I even opened up the app to see what my choices would be before I slapped myself out of it.  Because a.  I knew I would get a side of fries no matter how healthy my order was, and b.  I had plenty of food at home and knew I could figure something out.

Having a stocked pantry is key – I had canned crushed tomatoes, pasta, and more ground sirloin that needed to be used up, so pasta and meatballs it was!  This was literally so easy – while the water boiled I cooked down the canned tomatoes with garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  I used 3 ounces of ground sirloin (4) to make my mini meatballs, and cooked those up with coconut oil spray.  I bought this at Trader Joe’s and I love it because I can use it over high heat.

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I was still able to get a nice sear and the balls before throwing them in the sauce to finish cooking.  These were tiny balls (sometimes tiny balls are okay!) so they didn’t need to simmer too long before being cooked through.

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And because two ounces of dry pasta is hardly anything, I sautéed up a whole zucchini to bulk up my dinner.   Thanks to Hannah who came in and took the photo for me.

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Not surprisingly I follow lots of WW peeps on Instagram.  What was my life without Instagram?  It’s hilarious because I had no idea Instagram was a photo sharing site when I downloaded it a few years ago, and I took a picture of the train leaving after Hannah came to visit me when she and Jacob were living in the city.  I put a cool filter on it (I thought!) and Hannah texted me and said “love the train shot!” and I was thinking “how the hell did she see that picture?!” 

Anywho, one of my fellow WW ambassadors Catherine (@cheeseandcardio – follow her!) is down nearly 90 pounds since this time last year, and while following the Weight Watcher program with the smart points, she’s chosen to do low carb because that’s what works for her.  She’s been recently getting some “hate” comments, for lack of a better word, telling her that since she’s on WW she can eat ANYTHING she wants, so why not eat more bread, pasta, etc.? 

Well, her plan of WW/low carb is obviously working since she is down 86 pounds, but it just shows that no matter who you are, or what your journey is, do what’s right for you.   I think because of social media that more people are able to hide behind their monitors/ipads/laptops/iphones and just say whatever they want because it’s so anonymous. 

So it was only appropriate that I was thinking about not listening to other people in your journey, when my Instagram motivator posted this:

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So this Friday morning I hope that you #BEtheLION!   Make it a great day!

Blogging from my iPhone

I discovered the only downside of deciding to blog on the way to work.  I got settled on the train this morning, opened my laptop and …it’s not working.  I’ve had problems in the past with it holding a charge but haven’t had any problems for the last couple months.  I’ll have to check that out over the weekend.  Can you even replace the battery in a Mac book?


I’ve seen this ad on instagram on Facebook for this “new” weight loss” system called noom which is apparently a weight watchers type program for millennials. Huh – I guess they fell that Weight watchers is for older folks.

I was curious though, and checked it out, and of course the first caveat on the first page said something like “results based on personal effort and commitment, results may vary.” 

Um, duh! I don’t think it matters what program you do, if you don’t put in the effort you won’t get the results you want. As we are nearing the end of March already, I will most likely have a gain for the month. 

You know why? I lost my focus.  I stopped journaling every day. I haven’t kept up with my strength training.  I need to refocus now before I completely revert to my old habits – drinking wine, snacking after dinner, etc.

Breakfast and lunch:


Another salsa egg white wrap (5) and lunch was a cup of tomato feta soup.  According to the WW app that 8 ounce cup comes in at 13 points, but their website says it’s 110 calories.  I called lunch 8 points with the 1 ounce roll.

When I got home from work I had a package – I love getting packages 😍😂


My step-son Joe and his wife Liz sent me this belated birthday loot.  Um, how did they know I love spicy shit?! 🤗🌶

Guys – that jalapeño ranch from Whataburger? I could do shots of that stuff it’s so good! It’s 2 points a tablespoon but so worth it. I tossed my sautéed green beans in 1/2 a tablespoon with Trader Joe’s everything bagel seasoning, then used the second 1/2 tablespoon to make this buffalo ranch burger.


The label of the ranch dressing said it was the sauce on their Monterey burger. I looked it up and it’s a double cheeseburger with two kinds of cheese and red peppers. Oh, and it’s only 1130 calories and 78 grams of fat 😳

I used a Healthy Life English muffin (2) three ounce sirloin beef patty (4) 1 teaspoon of grape seed oil to sauté the green beans (1) red pepper and mushrooms 🍄 and the tablespoon of the jalapeño ranch (2). 

That was an epic burger. Juicy patty, the spicy buffalo sauce, the tang of the ranch – yum! 

I am weighing in at lunch today, will face whatever the scale says, and just move on. 

Now I still have 30 minutes left of my train ride and am pulling out my journal – something about pen and paper 📝 helps me stay focused. 

Hope you have a great day! 👋🏻👍🏻👊

She Made Me Cry

It was a few weeks back in a Weight Watchers meeting that we were talking about motivation.  How to get it, savor it, and most importantly, hot to keep it.  The first 8 weeks of this year I was tracking like it was my job, making sure I got blue dots on my healthy daily eating chart, and I was focused and determined.  I had two gains the first two weigh ins in March and it’s thrown me off my game.  Now that I’ve got my –112 point for the week going after my birthday weekend, I know this weeks weigh in is not going to be pretty, but I already know that going in.

Being on a train two hours a day commuting gives me lots of time to think.  I put my headphones on, and I can go down the path of watching inspiring videos, just as easily as I can watch videos on how to make a 1000 calorie double grilled cheese burger.  I love them both! Open-mouthed smile

I’ve known Kim on social media for about a year and a half, if not longer.  She and her best friend Lori started posting videos to YouTube, and I loved their honesty from the start.  Whether the week went well, or it didn’t, they discussed the pros and cons of the week and each weekly weigh in and then moved on.

Here is one of their first videos when they started Weight Watchers!

https://youtu.be/tj1iyCadBys

One of Kim’s biggest bucket list things was to run a 5k without stopping.  She just recently hit her 100 (+!) pounds lost and last weekend accomplished her goal of running that 5k!  First, can I just say how cute she looks with her green accessories and red lipstick?!

https://youtu.be/s-zrwuCtito

Oh my gosh you guys!  I watched this on the train ride home and it literally made me cry with happiness for her.  She persevered, she stuck with it.  She had good weeks, she had bad weeks, but most importantly, she never gave up!  Just another reminder that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.  You can get up 30 minutes earlier if that’s what it takes to get a workout in.  Spend 15 minutes less time watching t.v. at night to pack your food for the next day.  Progress, not perfection.  If I ever get a tattoo (Hannah keeps wanting to get matching tattoos!) that might be it!  Or maybe this one?!  But a lot smaller. 😛

still i rise

So Kim (and Lori who doesn’t join her on the YouTube videos anymore, but is there in spirit!) thank you for continuing to be a reminder to never give up.  Hugs!

************

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I had a planned lunch out with a co-worker for a belated birthday lunch, so I planned accordingly and ate this picky breakfast plate – hard boiled egg (2), 3 ounces reduced fat ham off the bone (2), strawberries, bananas and a tablespoon of granola (1).

Blackie’s is in the lobby of my office building so I don’t even need to leave the building to get this delicious burger.  So good.  Perfectly seasoned patty, good patty to bun ratio – I got the Black and Blue burger which was a Cajun spiced burger with blue cheese.  #swoon.  I ate half for 10 points of the burger and plan on making a breakfast frittata with the leftover French fries.

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I was going to make chicken fajitas for dinner, but realized I still had some leftover grilled pork left and these pork tostadas were born.  I had these mini corn tortillas and I crisped them up a bit with 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil in my cast iron skillet.  Then sauteed zucchini and red peppers, and added a bit of Tajin seasoning, and right before taking this off the heat, shredded an ounce of reduced fat Cabot cheese.  This whole plate is 10 points, super delicious and filling.  And a great way to use up leftovers.

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I am loving my new iPhone 7 Plus.  Still figure out all the new features with the phone, but can I just say how much I love the camera?  This was taken in Hannah and Jacob’s room, at night with only side lamps on, yet you can still see all the details of his nose.  

I then asked him if he wanted to sleep with grandma and he went and hid under the bed.  I guess that was a no!

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I am switching up my blog schedule a bit, and utilizing the time on the train to write my blog on the way to work in the morning.  For those of you who read my blog in the morning before work, or when you get up, it will likely be published between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. Chicago time.  I sound as if I have SO many followers, but I have a few dozen that worry about me if I don’t post at my usual time.  Just wanted to give a heads up.

Here’s your motivation today – make it a great day!

I stand corrected . . .–112 points!

While I was on the train ride to work, I was looking at my WW app and realized I never entered my food for dinner Saturday night OR this chocolate pie!   So while I thought I was -82 points for the week, I stand corrected – I am at -112!  #gobigorgohome 😀

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Tony used to buy me this pie every birthday.  It’s a sugar free French silk pie from a local 24 hour diner near out house.  And while it may be sugar free, it is not calorie free, but it’s amazingly delicious, and I love that she remembered that Tony used to get this for me. 

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Breakfast was a simple egg white and salsa breakfast wrap.  I just added 1/2 a coffee cup worth of liquid egg whites with 2 tablespoons of jarred salsa and nuked that at work for a minute and thirty seconds.  I added 1/2 ounce of cheese and chopped romaine and fruit on the side – breakfast was 5 points.

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Right before I left the house and was finishing packing my lunch, I dropped a whole 32 ounce package of strawberries on the floor.  Gah.  For half a second I thought to just leave them and text Hannah to see if she minded cleaning up my mess, but quickly got it cleaned up and was still able to get out of the house on time.  

Sadly, the leftover pork that I had planned for my lunch time wrap never made it into my lunch bag.  Sure enough I texted Hannah and she said “you mean this bag of meat on the kitchen counter?”  Um, that would be yes.  Luckily she was able to put it in the fridge for me. 

But now I needed something to put in my wrap.  There is a diner called Venice Cafe a block from my office that another co-worker was talking about how they have a managers special every day of grilled chicken with sauteed vegetables.  When I looked up their menu, I saw that as a “side” I could get a grilled chicken breast for $3.95.  Nice!

When I got there I saw their specials board, and for a second thought “well, I am already over -112 points for the month, maybe I should try that panini or meatball calzone?!”

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When I ordered my grilled chicken he asked if I wanted it sliced, yes please!  Then asked if I wanted complimentary marinara sauce.  Um, double yes please!  The chicken was delicious and moist and I could have done shots of that marinara sauce.  Good to know there is a place like that near my office. 

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I had the other 1/2 ounce of Swiss cheese from my breakfast so I made kind of a mock chicken parmesan wrap and it was delicious.  I counted the chicken at 5 points, the cheese 2 and the wrap 1 point for an 8 point lunch.

I am having a “situation” with my neighbor.  A week and a half ago it was super windy and my neighbor said that one of my branches fell on his house . . . causing $6000 worth of damage.   His wife suggested that I have some trees cut off my property that were dead – well, if I did that, I would spend $10,000 in tree removal, which just isn’t in the budget.  I kindly thanked her for her suggestion, and did not cut down any trees.  They are now accusing me of being negligent by not cutting down the trees – my neighbor even said that the contractor told him “if this limb went through your window (which was 10 feet from where it landed) and any one of his family was sitting on the family room couch, they most likely would have been killed.”  A bit dramatic if you ask me, but in any event, I was talking to my insurance company as I was walking into the train station and got on the wrong train.

Luckily, it was the right train line, just the 5:33 train vs. the 5:20 train I normally take, which has way more stops so I didn’t get home until 7:00.  

When I walked into the house, Hannah was reheated leftover food from our dinner on Saturday night, and I reheated the bland pizza I ordered.  I brushed it with a bit of olive oil and some sea salt and reheated it on my baking steel so the crust turned out amazing, and that little pop of salt made all the difference.

I cut 2 ounces of pizza (6) and made pizza “croutons” to go over my salad.  Delish!

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I have to say though, that after my “hands in the air, don’t care” eating over my birthday weekend, my old habits want to come back – i.e, the night time snacking, the wine.  I almost contemplated going out and getting a bottle of wine!

But I know if I don’t reign it in right now, it’s a slippery slope and I can go right back to eating whatever I want and drinking whatever I want, and we all know that isn’t going to get me where I want to be. 

I still plan on weighing in on Thursday, because that’s what my sister and I agreed to do at the beginning at the year.  

I have one last birthday lunch with a co-worker today, but plan on eating reasonably.  I have a 4 point breakfast full of fruit which will help balance out my lunch, and I have chicken fajitas on the menu for dinner tonight, so it’s all good.

Here’s some morning motivation for you – make it a great day!

Almost Perfect Birthday

Hannah and Jacob both had to work on my birthday yesterday, and Hannah was so apologetic about it, but I told her it was not a big deal.  I had already planned on going to my Mom’s church yesterday morning and we were going out to lunch.

So Saturday night the kadults took me out to dinner at a new restaurant in our town that touted that they had pizza that was cooked in a 750 degree oven.  Sold!  We got appetizers of fried calamari, a cured meat and cheese platter.  Jacob and Hannah split a salad and Jacob got the stuffed mushrooms and Hannah got the four cheese baked pasta.  Jacob’s Dad came along and he got the carpaccio steak salad.

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Since everything tasted so great, I was so excited to get the pizza.

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Huh.  Where are the charred bits you get on a pizza cooked in a 750 degree oven?  Not only that, the dough had absolutely no flavor whatsoever.  So unfortunately, I will not be going back for the pizza, but I will go back for the wine and everything else that was ordered.  I almost wanted to go back into the kitchen and ask “what’s in your pizza dough?  How long do you proof it?!”  Ha!

The birthday gift I gave to myself was the new iPhone 7 Plus.  I puffy heart this phone!  The camera is amazing, love the portrait setting too.   My old phone was starting to not hold a charge anymore.  I would leave the house at 100%, then get to the train station only to have it give me the symbol to plug it in.  If I didn’t find a seat on the train station that had an electrical outlet, I’d have no phone or laptop access for the whole hour train ride.  I’d get to work, plug it in for 2 minutes and it would be back to 100%.  It didn’t matter if I did a hard reboot or anything. 

Check out this photo of wine from lunch yesterday:

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Mom and I went to caffe DeLuca in Forest Park.   We’ve never been disappointed with food and service there before.  We split the pear/goat cheese/candied walnut salad with balsamic dressing – this is half!

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And once I found out that the quiche of the day was spinach and goat cheese, I was sold!

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It’s the fluffiest, most delicious quiche I’ve ever had.  I have no idea who they get it that fluffy, but it was delicious – a layer of goat cheese on both the top and bottom.  Swoon.

Mom and I walked around for a while before moving on with each of our days – thanks for hanging out with me on my birthday Momma!  Just more proof that she loves me more than my sister, because the last I checked my sister wasn’t with us! Open-mouthed smile

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I liked this picture of my Mom too – she looks amazing for 76!

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On my way home I went grocery shopping.  I had planned to go Saturday afternoon, but drove to a grocery store I normally go to to stock up on meat, only to realize that it closed a month earlier.  I had already done my meal plan off that grocery store’s sale flyer, and I didn’t have time to redo my game plan before heading out to dinner Saturday night. 

When I got back from the store, Hannah and Jacob were napping (they started work at 5:00 a.m.) so I got my grill lit, poured myself a glass of wine, and enjoyed the nice weather.  It was at that moment, that I realized it was almost a perfect birthday.  The only thing missing was Tony.  I could imagine watching him light up a cigar, us listening to Frank Sinatra music and him being bundled up in a parka, hat and gloves in the 52 degree weather, and me being in capri pants and flip flops.  It’s occasions like my birthday that are hard not to be a little sad that he’s not here to celebrate with me.

I told the kadults not to give me anything for my birthday, because I don’t really need anything.  The older you get you realize birthdays are less about the stuff and more about who you share the day with.  But, Hannah did hear me tell her that my commuter back pack was coming unzipped all the time and I had been looking into getting a new one.  This one is really sturdy and I know it will hold up for a long time.

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Of course with such great weather I  couldn’t not grill.  I bought a pork shoulder to make BBQ pork sandwiches on pretzel bread.  For a cut of pork like this, I cook it to 195 degrees, then let it sit for 30 minutes before slicing or shredding.  This was a boneless shoulder, with a nice fat cap on the top.  I cooked it in my Weber grill dedicated cast iron skillet on in direct heat.  It was just over three pounds, and took about an hour and 45 minutes to get to 195.  My coals were a bit hot to begin with so I had to bring the heat down a bit. 

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Love the crust on the outside.  So delicious.  It was nice seeing the dogs outside picking up all the sticks in the yard.  Roz, I thought you would like the random heart in the photo below!

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For the record, I stopped tracking my points when I got to –82 points for the week.  Not kidding on that number!  From pizza and beer Friday night, to my dinner out Saturday night with more beer and wine, and lunch out yesterday . . . with more wine – I am 82 points in the hole for the week.  But I am not upset by that at all.  I am going back to being alcohol free until the next occasion arises.  I have my food planned and packed and I’ll be hitting the gym this week so it’s all good.

And while I wish Tony could have been with me today, that was the only thing missing to an otherwise perfect birthday.  Thanks Mom, Hannah, Jacob, Joe, Lizz, Bonnie and Carl for making my birthday weekend.  Cheers to starting my 49th year!  I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one!