-2.6!

So my weird dream with Oprah weighing me in with a 4.5 gain was all for nothing! 

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I forgot my WW journal at home that has my weekly WI booklet.  Check that out – only .7 pounds from the 150s!  I am down 17.8 pounds since December 26.  I actually thought “maybe I’ll hit 20 pounds lost by the end of February! Until I realized that next Thursday is already March!  Oh well! 

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My goal now is to be 154 by our birthday, which is a month away – so another 6.6 to go until my next mini goal.  You may be wondering, why 154 pounds?

Well, when I did my six months of Insanity, it took me 6 months to lose 20 pounds.   And the lowest I got was 155.4 before I had to get a second job to make ends meet and gained it all back.  It’s weird, I just went back to that link and I posted it December 2, 2013 – who would have thought Tony would have died exactly a year later?!  So weird sometimes to think about.

But what is different about this time and last time?  I concentrated on getting the workouts in and “tried” to eat better.  “Tried” being the operative words.  Tony and I were still going out for beers on the weekends, which led to ordering onion rings, and then I’d try to work out more to work off what I ate.  Rinse and repeat.   That’s why it took me so long to lose the weight is because I wasn’t consistent with the food.  And when I think about it, while I had meals that were “Weight Watcher friendly” it was all the other crap that I never counted (coffee creamer, wine, beer, extra night snacks).  You get the drill.

But guess what happens when you actually track your food?

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February 9 was Cooking Club (counted points but was at 39 for the day) February 10 was the picky snack night (that was 46 points for the day).  Last Friday night I had two glasses of wine (that put me at 39 points for the day).  So even when I do go over, it’s no where near what I used to do, and no matter what, it goes in the tracker.

My sister also kicked but this week and lost 1.6!  Whoop!  

Had another super busy day at work.  Breakfast was steel cut oats and fruit with granola and a bit of brown sugar for 7 points.  I could literally eat this every day and never get sick of it.  Even when it wasn’t hot anymore, I still loved it. 

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I was able to break away at lunch to go back to WW for the meeting.  Our Leader Cheryl is hysterical – she makes us laugh so much.  Lots more people at the meeting too – I think every seat was filled!   Only one tiny problem.  When I walked from the train station to the WW office to weigh in before work, it was so warm I was sweating balls and I had my giant Eddie Bauer winter coat on.  So when I left to go back at lunch I just had my sweater on and was smacked in the face with cold air – wtf?!  I didn’t have time to go back up and get my coat, so suffered for the six block walk there.  Later in the afternoon I checked the weather – oh, only about a 25 degree drop in temps from the morning:

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Lunch was super quick to put together and was fine to eat room temp.  I used some more of my leftover grilled chicken breast to make a chicken sandwich on an English muffin, garlic hummus and red pepper and carrot for dipping.  Lunch was 7 smart points.

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I didn’t feel hungry until I started walking to the train station, so used some of my Starbuck’s gift card to pick up a banana and string cheese for a 3 smart point snack.  Even though I was eyeing the scones! Smile with tongue out

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I’ve had a crock pot Italian beef recipe on the menu all week, and Hannah assured me that she was going to put it together for the last few days, but so far that hasn’t happened yet Open-mouthed smileSo leftover night it was!   She was making a zesty chicken soup for her and Jacob.  I didn’t partake because swear to God that girl chopped up the biggest onion I’ve ever seen and proceeded to chop it all up and put it in the soup.  Gross.  But I did snag some chicken to make a deconstructed nacho supper for myself.  You know how I love my picky plates!  11 points for dinner – 2 for the chicken, 3 for the avocado, 2 for the black beans, and 4 for the tortilla chips.

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I can’t remember if I’ve shown this on Instagram before or not, and I am too lazy to look, but it’s worth sharing again!  First of all, if you haven’t completed your grocery list for the week, go out and buy Cabot whipped cream.  Hannah is actually my whipped cream aficionado and she has declared this the best whipped cream she’s ever tasted.  1 smart point for 2 tablespoons and 15 calories.  If you click that link you can put in your zip code to see where it’s sold near you.  I found mine at Trader Joe’s.

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This is my favorite after dinner treat – I usually eat it a couple hours after dinner, and while that’s not too long before I go to bed, it keeps me full, satisfied and feels like an actual dessert.  Apples and banana with 1 tablespoon sugar free syrup (1) 11 chopped peanuts (1) and 2 tablespoons of Cabot whipped cream (1).  3 points and delish!  And I haven’t been waking up with low blood sugars.

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I have no concrete plans for the weekend which I am loving.  I think Hannah and Jacob work all day Saturday so it will be nice to have the house to myself and cook and blare MY music Open-mouthed smile I am hoping the snow they think will hit us will go north (sorry Lynne, Jessica and Louise! ), but with temps back up in the 60s next week, I can’t complain too much.  I also officially quit the Y and my membership ends at the end of this month, so I’ll take advantage the last few days I have it. 

I have some goals lined up for March as far as exercise goes – stay tuned!   Happy Friday and have an awesome weekend!

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Zero Point Marinara

I get strange looks when I walk down the hall of my office carrying a stemless wine glass.   I should just throw a box of wine in the office refrigerator to really get them talking!  It’s the perfect size for my parfait.  Hannah actually had bought Great Value (Walmart) brand Greek yogurt and it was delicious!  It wasn’t until just now when I looked to see what size container it was, that I actually READ the container and it was whole milk yogurt – so what I thought was 3 points was now 6!  Totally fine because I had weeklies left yesterday, so this parfait is actually 9 points not 6 like I posted on Instagram.  No wonder it was so delicious!

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Another gorgeous day in the books in Chicago.  I again just wore a light jacket to work.  I had to run an errand for work, but got in a lot of steps in the process. 

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There are some mornings that I feel like I have all the time in the world, and other mornings where I look up and I’ve got ten minutes to get my shit together and out the door.  That was me yesterday – although I hadn’t packed my lunch yet.  I contemplated just picking something up downtown for lunch because I hadn’t touched my $20 weekly budget for eating out yet.  But you know I love a good “throw shit in a bag!” lunch.

  • 2 leaves of romaine
  • a grilled bone in chicken breast
  • red cabbage
  • Trader Joe’s reduced guilt chunky guacamole

And with that and leftover fruit from a work meeting, chicken lettuce wraps it was!  It wasn’t until I put it in the WW app, that I realized my lunch was only 4 points.  3 for the chicken, 1 for the guacamole.

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I really really love this guacamole – it’s made with Greek yogurt, and I am loving it even though I believe there are green onions in there.  It’s got that nice tang from the yogurt, and a bit of spice.  I think it was $2.29 for that container?

I thought I was going to go to my sisters office after work for their chili cookoff.  Usually everyone hangs out and drinks, hence my low points going into dinner, but they had another event immediately after and by the time I would have gotten there, the chili contest would have been over.  The good news is that Jennifer won!   And she won with award winning buffalo chicken chili – the only thing she switched up was she used ground turkey breast instead of chicken, but still won.   Whoop!  If you ever need to enter a chili contest, use this recipe, because everyone who has done that since 2010 when I first published it has won best chili – whether it is at an office party, or block party.

So on the Plan B.  But here’s the thing about only eating 10 points (well, now 13 points!) before dinner.  I was really hungry.  So I picked up Garrett’s popcorn (light butter) and ate that on my train ride home – that little snack set me back 7 points, but totally worth it.

Last weekend Hannah and Jacob had people over for a bonfire and they bought snacks.  They had a whole veggie tray leftover and Hannah was going to throw it out.  What?!  While I could have chopped up the veggies and frozen them for soup, I decided to make an oven roasted marinara with the leftover veggies.

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  • 4-6 cups mixed raw veggies
  • Pam spray
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400.  On parchment paper, place the veggies on the cookie sheet and spray with Pam, salt and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, just until the veggies start to soften.  In a large stock pot, add the roasted veggies, crushed tomatoes, garlic, beef broth (starting with 1/2 a cup) Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes, then using a stick blender blend away.  This is where you may want to add the additional 1/2 cup of beef broth to get to your desired consistency.

I went to measure out the 2 ounce portion of pasta, and can we just say that it’s a bullshit amount of pasta?  I still remember one of the first meals Tony made me.  It was pasta with a rosemary garlic olive oil sauce and it was spectacular.  He brought a bowl into the living room (yep, couldn’t get him to eat in the dining room!) and handed it to me.  I thought that was the serving dish and he left to get dishes to put it on.  Nope, he went to the kitchen and brought me a fork – it was all for me!  Even eating probably a couple cups of pasta, I went to the kitchen and measured out six MORE cups of pasta in my bowl.  No wonder I gained 25 pounds the first six months we were together. Open-mouthed smile

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Thanks to my sister for giving the Vegetti to my Mom, who I then stole it from.  It cleans up really easy, doesn’t take up too much room and this really bulked up my pasta.  All I did was add the zoodles to the pasta water the last minute the pasta cooked.  It will be a bit crunchy, but after it’s drained, the pasta will continue to steam the zucchini.

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The meatball was from Sam’s Club – I didn’t keep the package, but it’s 5 smart points for one.  I only ate half of it because it was really salty for some reason.  I counted dinner as 9 points, so I was at 29/30 for the day.

So it’s another WI day – didn’t that week go by fast!  The night before last I had a dream that I went to my WW meeting and Oprah weighed me in.  I stepped on the scale and it said I was up 4.5 pounds.  And I was telling her “that’s impossible – I still have weekly points left!” and she said “Biz, think about it” and went on to tell me I was only cheating on myself by not tracking everything I ate. Smile with tongue out

Again, no idea how I’ll do, but my sister and I are Team WW Twins and we will not miss a weigh in or a meeting if we can help it.

Hope you have an amazing day! 

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Mini Orange Walnut Scones

I am sure I am not the only one that eats/sleeps/dreams of food pretty much all day.  If I am not meal planning, I am grocery shopping, meal prepping – the list goes on and I basically love it.  Except there are only so many hours in the day that I can actually spend in my kitchen during the week.   So my Pinterest page of “recipes I want to make” keeps growing.   When I was on the train on Monday, I saw that my friend Liz from Floating Kitchen made blood orange scones with hazelnuts and white chocolate drizzle

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Hope you don’t mind me stealing your photo, but they look so amazing!  Only a couple tiny problems.  I wanted to make them.  Like that night.  But I didn’t have white chocolate.  Or blood oranges. And her original recipe calls for heavy cream and a whole stick of butter for 8 scones – which would make each scone 14 smart points.  Damn.  While I normally wouldn’t flinch on making an exception to these, I am a #goaldigger and I wrote out a recipe on the train home on how I could make this a bit more Weight Watcher friendly. 

  • For the Scones
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup Splenda baking
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange segments
  • 1 ounce chopped walnuts
  • For the Chocolate Drizzle
  • 2 ounces chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until you have a coarse crumb.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together 2/3 cups of the heavy cream with the vanilla extract and egg. Add this liquid mixture to your food processor along with the thyme and blood orange zest. Pulse until the dough has just come together. (While Liz folded in her oranges and nuts, I just threw them into the food processor before putting the dough on the counter).  Be sure to just pulse to combine – don’t let your food processor run otherwise it will warm the butter too much.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well floured counter top and use your hands (flouring them will make the dough easier to handle)  being careful not to over work the dough. The dough will be slightly wet.
  5. Continue using your hands to shape the dough into two round disks. Then cut the disk it into eight wedges. Transfer the wedges to your prepared baking sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between them. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and bake the scones for 9-11 minutes. They should be golden brown around the edges. Remove the scones from the oven and allow them to cool on their baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  6. Once the scones have cooled, make the chocolate drizzle. In a small heavy bottom saucepan (or in a double boiler) set over medium heat, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil, stirring frequently. Once smooth, drizzle the melted white chocolate over the scones.
  7. These scones are best when eaten the day they are made, but they will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Allow the white chocolate to set before transferring them to a storage container.  They also freeze really well!

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These are delicious!  And while not as decadent as Liz’s, these are still really light, just slightly sweet and made the best addition to my picky breakfast plate:  My scones come in at 4 smart points.  With the egg (2), the turkey bacon (2) breakfast came in at 8 points.

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I wasn’t actually sure that I would be able to take a lunch.  I missed walking with my sister and her co-worker, but finally came to a good stopping point around 2 and walked for 45 minutes before coming back and heating up my lunch and continued where I left off.  I will share this recipe with you another time, because it looks like ass in this container, but I made laughing cow cheese stuffed zucchini with homemade marinara and  Parmesan cheese.   Because the zucchini didn’t have a lot of protein, I threw in 3 ounces of leftover grilled pork.  Hot mess, but this was delicious and 8 points.  That apple is a Pinata apple – if you can find it, buy them because they are the perfect apple – nice sweet/tart flavor, firm flesh and thin skin.

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And normally I can’t wait to get home and start cooking, last night I just wasn’t feeling it.  I haven’t made a panini since I left my old job nearly a year ago!  I used one of my homemade naan breads, added 3 ounces of grilled chicken, 1/2 ounce of cheese and giardiniera, made some homemade potato chips on the side with fruit for dessert.  11 smart points, quick, delish and easy!

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Look at all that glorious cheese!   I swear there is only 1/2 ounce slice on there.  Hannah bought checkerboard cheese, so I am not sure what the cheese actually is, but pretty sure there isn’t a cheese I don’t like.

Hoping my work schedule will let me leave to meet my sister for a walk tomorrow – our high is going to be 70 degrees!  Just in time to have a possible snow storm Friday into Saturday.  Gah.  At least at this point in the year if we get any snow, it doesn’t last that long.  I’ll continue to enjoy this weather as long as possible.  I’ve already had our heat off for a few days and have slept with the window open.  Love.

Make it a great day! 

Saved By Blue Balls

It’s so weird to have such nice weather in February, that it’s hard to figure out how to dress, what coat to wear.  It was still around 40 degrees when I left the house, but by the time I got downtown it was already 52 degrees.  The weird thing is seeing what other people were wearing downtown.   As I was waiting at a stop light, I saw two women standing side by side.  The woman on the left still had her UGG boots on, North Face down coat and scarf on – while the woman next to her was wearing a mini skirt, bare legs, sandals and short sleeved shirt.  I was just fine in my fleece jacket and actually took it off once I was on the train.

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As I do with my weekly meal prep, I baked off a few baked potatoes to use later in the week.  Gotta love a 10 pound bag for $1!  I normally take the potato filling and mix that with the scrambled egg mixture, but I wanted fruit too and used just 2 ounces of the baked potato shell (2).  I scrambled a whole shredded zucchini with one egg (2), then topped it with an ounce of 50% reduced fat Cabot cheese.  6 points for breakfast.

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My twin sister and walking buddy had the day off yesterday, so it was just me on my walk.  I started walking southwest of my office in a different direction than I usually take.  The streets weren’t nearly as crowded in this area (maybe Greek town?!) because of President’s day.  I got about half way through my walk when I realized that I smelled something amazing – and it was coming from an Indian restaurant.  I stopped to look at the menu and saw they had buttered chicken, fresh naan, basmati rice, and all of a sudden I had thoughts of ditching my lunch that I brought.  I was literally standing there thinking “okay, I still have 22 weeklies left before Thursday’s WI, lunch would probably set me back 15 or so points . . .”  The internal dialogue went on for a couple minutes when I decided to walk around the block and see what I decided.

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Yep – giant BLUE BALLS!  For you non-WW peeps, blue dots are shown on your calendar for the day if you eat within your healthy range – which for me is 27-37 points.  It was a sign to just eat the fricken lunch I brought!  Happy to say I continued on, sans the Indian food.  I don’t know if I’ll ever not be tempted by the smell of certain foods (burgers/fries/pizza/Indian food/Greek food/Italian food . . . !)  I was saved from making a poor food choice by blue balls!  Never thought that would happen to me! Smile with tongue out 

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And I packed a delicious lunch!  Baby pork tacos – 3 mini Mission corn tortillas (3) three ounces leftover grilled pork (3) topped with red cabbage and salsa, cucumbers carrots and apple and not shown, 1/2 a serving of tortilla chips so lunch came in at 8 smart points.  And was delicious!  I found this mini tortillas at Wal-mart – a package of 24 was only $1.79.

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I worked a bit late and missed my usual train, but had time to walk around for about 30 minutes before catching the 6:00 p.m. express train, which got me home in :57 minutes – nice!  I can’t help but walk through the French Market which is below my train station.

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I had my banana and an 1.5 ounce of my Cabot cheese for a snack for the train ride home (3), but I would have given my right arm for this thing of beauty!

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“Delicious milk chocolate cup filled with chocolate moose, topped with fresh fruits and glaze.”  #swoon  Pretty sure that’s insulin worthy!

It was only Monday night and I am already off my meal plan, but in a good way.  I had forgotten I defrosted a small steak over the weekend and never used it, and it had to be cooked.  It had already been sprinkled with Hardcore Carnivore Rub, so dinner came together in a matter of minutes.   After I cooked the steak in my cast iron skillet, I added 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms, sprayed the pan with Pam and cooked them for a couple minutes.  Then added 1/2 teaspoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon flour and cooked that for about 30 seconds, then added 1/2 cup of beef broth and cooked until the pan sauce thickened, just a couple minutes.

My twin sisters daughter Claire LOVES boxed mashed potatoes.  I had a small package of potatoes, but I actually made them completely different from the package instructions.

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That package said that there was six 1/3 cup dry servings in the bag, to make 2/3 cup prepared potatoes with butter and milk.  When I opened the bag up I thought, there is no way that there is six servings in here, and sure enough, it was only 5.  So I calculated the whole bag to be 11 smart points.  In a microwave safe measuring bowl, I heated up 2 cups of water for 3 minutes (or until boiling), I added 3/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk to the water, a teaspoon of Everything But the Bagel seasoning and parsley, and whisked it up.  Each 1/2 cup serving is only 6 smart points, making my dinner just 7 smart points.

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This was literally ready in about ten minutes – perfect on a night when you get home from work a bit late.  That dinner put me at 26/30 points for the day, which left me with 4 points for dessert.  Which you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the recipe.  My friend Liz reposted a recipe for her blood orange scones – they looked amazing, but with heavy cream a whole stick of butter for 8 scones, I knew I had to come up with a healthy, yet tasty alternative using her recipe as inspiration.  I made 16 baby scones that come in at just 4 smart points each – perfect for a picky plate breakfast this morning with a hard boiled egg and fruit.

Hope you had a great start to your work week – here’s to having a great Tuesday!

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Skinny Twice Baked Potatoes and Weekly Menu

What an amazing weather weekend we had!  Not only was the weekend gorgeous, but this was the first full weekend I’ve had off in the longest time – I think since last May?!  I worked the weekends at the farmers markets over the summer, then at The Chopping Block on the weekends.  One of the first things I did was call my Mom up and ask to get on her social calendar.  She’s a busy woman!  All I knew was that I was going to her neck of the woods and we were going to lunch and a movie. 

We never discussed where we were going, so to be on the safe side, Saturday morning I made a 4 point smoothie – a Premiere chocolate protein shake, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 cup of coffee and 1 cup of ice and used Hannah’s Ninja blender to blend it all up. 

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In my pajamas, no bra – thanks for the great photo Hannah!  Aren’t these mason jars amazing?  They hold 24 ounces and for $5 at Wal-Mart you can get a set of four lids with a straw for a grab and go breakfast. 

Hannah was off on Saturday and offered to do my hair and make up.   Hair done, before makeup.  I see more and more grey hair but I am not at the point where I want to die my hair because I know I’ll be horrible with the upkeep.

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Sunroof open – check!  Eyebrows on feel – check!  Makeup on – check!  AND JEWELRY – check!  Hannah was actually my stylist.  If she could just get up every day and make me look good, I would appreciate it.  It’s not too much for a Mom to ask, right?!

We settled on Prasino in LaGrange because it was right across the street from the movie theater.  Perfect!  That way we wouldn’t feel rushed.

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Super cute restaurant.  The service was excellent and I really liked the mediterranean plate that I got.  My Mom’s short rib tacos were a bit on the dry side before she got to the avocado side.

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How cute is my Momma?!   I had to try the sweet potato and coconut bisque – it was delicious and I need to recreate a healthier version of this at home, because I am sure it used full fat coconut milk or heavy cream.  I only ordered a cup and my Mom and I split half of the cup.

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My plate, which I ate 3/4 of and called 12 points.  I wasn’t sure how much olive oil was in the hummus.

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We saw the movie Lion.  I won’t do any spoilers in case you have it on your list of movies to watch, but we both enjoyed it a lot.   And of course I had to take a picture of the two of us together to put on Facebook just to remind my brother and sister who Mom’s favorite is. Open-mouthed smile

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As I was downloading my pictures, when I got to the one above, I thought “I think my face looks a little thinner.”  While I am wearing a size smaller pants, I really haven’t “felt” that much of a change in my body since I’ve been recommitted to Weight Watchers.  I went back and found a picture from late November for comparison.  Is it just me, or can you see a difference?

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The kadults were up early yesterday morning to open the coffee shop.  After the dogs settled in bed with me for a bit, I got up at 7 a.m.  It’s so crazy because I never used to be a morning person.  I’d stay up until 2 in the morning on the weekends, then sleep until noon.  What a waste!  I got so much done before 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning:  made a batch of granola using prunes and a bit of brown sugar for sweetness (recipe coming later this week – Errign, you are going to love it!), a batch of very berry sauce for parfaits later in the week; another batch of cashew milk waffles for sweet/savory breakfast sandwiches later in the week and the rest for the freezer; and I cooked off the rest of the overnight naan dough that’s been in my fridge.  This time using Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s – I want to put this on everything!

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After Hannah and I went grocery shopping and ran a couple errands, I was all prepared to go on a walk/run, but my blood sugar was only 77.  I ate a banana and some strawberries, but could only walk for fear of having my blood sugar tank on me.  I managed to hit just over 10k steps yesterday.  Short sleeve shirt in February #love.

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It was still light out by the time I rounded the corner to my house at 5:15 – look at how tall my pine trees are in front of my house!

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Here was my grocery total this week, which included a $13 chuck roast that’s going to be a dinner this week for all three of us:  $42.84

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Meal Ideas This Week:

Breakfast:

  • breakfast baked potato
  • steel cut oats with fruit and eggs (maybe Starbuck’s sous vide again – which my friend Beth pointed out are 5 points, not 4, but still worth it!)
  • mini bagel sandwich
  • egg white and spinach pita pocket
  • parfait

Lunch:

  • grilled chicken picky plate
  • leftover crockpot Italian beef salad
  • zucchini lasagna boats
  • mini pork tacos with avocado and refried beans
  • leftover Friday

Dinner:

  • grilled pork chops with skinny twice baked potatoes
  • crock pot Italian beef on naan bread
  • meat ravioli with homemade marinara
  • grilled chicken Caesar salad
  • Thursday is leftover night
  • Nancy Silverton’s pizza dough – I am thinking garlic/pepperoni/spinach*

*Nancy Silverton is the famed baker of Le Brea Bakery in California, but if you have Netflix, you have to watch her episode on Chef’s Table.  I love these cooking documentaries on Netflix.  It’s funny because as I was writing part of this blog post last night, my sister messaged me on Facebook and asked if I had seen it – of course my response was, “duh!”  I liked the detail in the pizza dough link above – my plan is to make the dough on Tuesday night for Friday night pizza.

I was so happy to light up my grill for the first time in 2017!  Sadly it was nearly dark out by the time the coals were ready, but Hannah hung some lights up on the gazebo frame and that helped.

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I already grilled up the meat for a pork chop dinner last night, and to have pork later in the week, and I grilled four bone in chicken breasts for the later in the week.  Here’s my meal prep tip to you though – if you plan on grilling meat to use later in the week, cook it about 80%, that way when you use it in a dish later, the chicken won’t be dried out.  And always try to grill bone in – the flavor is so much better.

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My brother and his family sent me Robert’s Reserve Texas Style Hatch Marinade, and that’s what I used to marinate my pork in for about 6 hours before grilling, as well as a drizzle over the top right before eating.  It’s delicious – spicy flavorful and only 15 calories for 2 tablespoons.  Texas folks can find the marinade at HEB.  (Tony used to call the store HIV when we visited his son – and it used to drive Joe crazy whenever Tony said “why don’t we stop by the HIV on the way home and pick up some beers!”

Here is the “skinny” twice baked potato recipe – still 6 smart points but a very generous serving for 6 points!

Skinny Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves 4
A great side dish to any grilled meat.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
264 calories
37 g
17 g
9 g
9 g
4 g
223 g
109 g
2 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
223g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 264
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 4g
21%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 17mg
6%
Sodium 109mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
18%
Calcium
15%
Iron
13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 large baked potatoes
  2. 1/4 cup plain Chobani yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  4. 2 ounces 50% reduced fat Cabot cheese
  5. 1 teaspoon everything but the bagel seasoning (or salt/pepper combo)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake potatoes for 45 minutes, or until a knife goes through cleanly.  Let cool slightly.  Slice in half, remove the potato pulp to a bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch of the potato shell.  Mix the potato with the yogurt, cashew milk, cheese, seasoning just until combined.  I kind of like my twice baked potatoes lumpy but feel free to add another splash of cashew milk to make the filling creamier.  Put under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese gets melty and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.
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calories
264
fat
9g
protein
9g
carbs
37g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
We will have temps in the 60s the next several days and a slight chance of rain on Thursday, which I will take all day long.  Hopefully my sister and I can walk again together this week – we walked together three times last week and it’s nice to catch up with her without distraction.

I also did all my laundry – folded it and put it all away!  I took the Weight Watcher’s weekly focus of Clearing the Clutter challenge seriously, as did my sister when she Facetimed me on Saturday night showing me that she was getting rid of clothes that don’t fit (some to me!) and giving the rest away to Goodwill.  It will be nice to have everything in order this week clothes wise this week. 

Alright, time to get this show on the road – make it a great day!  And I had to laugh at this – my friend Allyson sent this to me over the weekend, and it literally made me laugh out loud – love it!

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Make it a great day!

-2.2!

My sister and I declared 2017 the year of Weight Watchers.  Not that we haven’t done that before, but what we told each other is that good or bad, we’d go to the WW meeting every week and weigh in no matter what.  No matter that I was out of weeklies five days before WI.  No matter that my sister had a 60 point Valentine’s Day dinner with her husband.   We both have though we’ve gone “off the wagon” before, only to skip several weeks in a row, and that mind set just sets you up for failure.

But I really didn’t know what to expect.  I’d had two gains in a row in February – .6 and 1.8 and I didn’t like the direction that was going in.  I’ve talked about journaling and how I was consistent every day in writing in my journal.  I wrote all kinds of things in there from meal plan ideas, things I want to work on, inspirational quotes I find on social media.  But what I found is that I would go back and re-read stuff I wrote from a few days ago to a couple weeks ago, and this kept me inspired and my head in the game.

Once the journaling stopped in February (I have no reason why) things just got . . . out of focus for lack of a better word.  I was talking to another lifetime WW at the meeting yesterday and even though she’s been on WW for 16 years and was lifetime, the second she stopped coming to meetings over time the weight would always creep back.

So I was pleasantly surprised that I was down 2.2 – only 4.8 pounds until I’ve lost 20 pounds since December 26?!  How crazy is that?!  

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Since my sister and I went to the WW meeting before work to weigh in, I had time to accessorize my breakfast.  I put my food together before going to work, and on the train ride I put it all in so I see how my day is lining up.  Too many points for lunch?  What’s on the dinner menu, etc.  When I entered my steel cut oats with banana and blueberries, it was only 5 points (1.25 cups that I made from Quaker Oats – so creamy good!).  I knew if I didn’t add some protein I’d be starving and I knew I was going to be busy at work, so I stopped at Starbuck’s to pick up some hard boiled eggs.

But they didn’t have any.  What did they have?  Sous Vide egg whites!  Two for 170 calories and 13 grams of protein.  Thank God I used my gift card because I am not sure I’d shell out $4.76 for two Sous Vide eggs, but then I tasted them.  And quickly decided $$ or not, these were worth every cent.  

I put the nutrition info into the WW app and these two egg whites of goodness are only 2 smart points each.  I was only going to eat one, but said F that – and ate the second one almost immediately while it was still hot.  I already know this is going to be my breakfast again today it was so good.  They almost taste like mini egg soufflés!

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I was able to get away at lunch to go back to meet my sister for the WW meeting.  We talked about eating out, and how to plan for stuff like that.  This weeks topic  is “Make A Clean Sweep.”  Decluttering your space so that it can help you feel more in control and less stressed.

She challenged us to take a small fifteen minute project to see what we could declutter – not a giant “clean out my closet from head to toe!” where you get all enthusiastic, pull all your clothes out of your closet and throw them on the bed, only to lose interest over the sheer task of it all, and walk away.  And when it comes time for bed and those clothes are still on it?  Either A:  sleep on top of the clothes, or B. push them all off the foot of the bed.  Not that I have experience with either one of those options, I was just giving you an example 😀  I go in spurts – but what happens is that stuff I can’t find a home for just ends up in my basement and that’s a HOT mess.  Now that I have weekends off again, I plan on taking a couple hours over the weekend to declutter that space. 

Lunch was quick and easy – leftover Greek chicken from the night before, one pita, some carrots and an apple – not pictured was a small container of tzatziki for dipping – lunch came in at 8 smart points.

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Work was super busy, I worked about 30 minutes overtime, but was able to catch a train that was express – nice!  I was still home by 7:00 which was nice.  I had chicken thighs that I needed to cook up.  I used to hate chicken thighs growing up – I was a breast and wing person only.  But I can’t beat the price!  I had six chicken thighs in this package.

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While I heated my oven to 375 I just mixed together 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic and marinated the  chicken in that for all of 10 minutes while my oven got to temp.  I cooked the chicken, skin side down, in my cast iron skillet for 30 minutes, or until they reached 165.  They will rest and reach to 170 so they won’t be overcooked.  I just did a quick sauté of zucchini/yellow squash/.5 cup cooked orzo on the bottom.  I am calling dinner 9 points, even though I don’t think the chicken I ate was 5 points as I took off the skin (but I licked it first before giving it to the dogs!), but better save than sorry.  This picture was with my iPhone.

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This one was from my DSLR:

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I am counting the days until its light again when I get home Open-mouthed smile

I am looking forward to having the whole weekend off!  I am working as the night secretary after work tonight for 2 hours, but other than that, wide open!  My Mom and I are going to lunch tomorrow and then see the movie Lion.  I know nothing about the movie, other than my friend Lindsay from Cooking Club said it was really good.   It will be nice to spend time with my Momma, you know, as her favorite child and all.

I hope you all have an awesome weekend.  It’s supposed to be close to 60!  

Here is some weekend motivation for you to stay on track – make it a great day!

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Overnight Naan Bread

I was so happy to see the sun again yesterday morning, but it was deceiving because it was really cold.  It was 26 when I left, but with the windchill it felt like 18 – me no likey.  But, one day closer to spring weather, so I am hanging my hat on that.

My main boss was out yesterday so I was really looking forward to getting my space organized, something I truly felt I haven’t done yet, but needed time to settle in.  But, I was still super busy.  Got farmed out to a couple other attorneys, and my associate had a list of things for me to do, so I hit the ground running as usual. 

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Breakfast was so delicious that I didn’t even mind eating it at room temperature while I ate and worked.  Healthy Life English muffin (2), egg whites with spinach (1), 2 ounces steak (2) and one slice of low fat American cheese (1).  With apples and blueberries on the side.  It is sprinkled with just a bit of cinnamon sugar, but a whole teaspoon is 1 point, so I don’t count that little dusting.

My sister had a meeting around lunch time so we didn’t go walking until 1:00 p.m. and that breakfast held me well.   Since it was still cold out we walked to the State of Illinois Center (Thompson Building) and just walked around indoors for a while.  I’ve always loved the lobby of this building.   It’s crazy that they may tear the whole thing down to build a 115 story building! 

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Shocker, I did not pack a lunch.  I hadn’t used any of my $20 weekly budget for eating out for a while, so we walked around to see what our lunch options were.  KFC, Taco Bell, the usual basically.  But we both stopped at M Burger.

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I saw that they had a “Fowl Mouth” burger, and you all know I can swear like a truck driver, so I was sold.

FOWL MOUTH BURGER
TURKEY PATTY, SPICY BBQ, PEPPERJACK, LETTUCE, PICKLE, ONION
4.99

When she asked me how spicy I said “very spicy!”  What I didn’t realize until I took the first bite was that the bottom layer of the burger was fresh sliced jalapenos.  Yes please! 

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We spent the most of our lunch hour walking and talking, so we each took our lunches back to our offices.  Jenn got the chicken fingers, but said they were pretty dry.  Um, my turkey was about a ten napkin lunch!  We split the fries, but they were really skinny fries, and got cold by the time I got back to the office.  After I reheated my burger in the oven for 30 seconds, I stuck the half order of fries in the microwave, and managed to overcook them – just as well, because I figured this burger to be about 10 points.

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The burger patty had a nice texture, but truth be told, not sure I could tell it was a turkey burger vs. a beef burger because of all the toppings, but it was delicious nonetheless. 

I had hopes of hitting up my office gym after work, but worked about 30 minutes late, and because of all the running around in my office (I was working for an attorney two floors above me so did LOTS of stairs yesterday) when I checked my blood sugar it was 144, and I like it to be about 200 before working out because it will drop at least 100 points at that time of night.  So even without a “formal” workout, I ended yesterday with almost 17,000 steps!

***********

I think the number one question I get from blog readers, or Instagram followers is how I have time to cook so much.  Well, first off, I love to cook.  And second, I meal plan/meal prep and I think ahead for the next day and see if there is something I can do the night before that might be a short cut for the next nights meals – whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Making steel cut oats the night before for example.

My store had Greek marinated chicken on sale so I knew I was going to have a chicken pita for dinner one night this week.  I usually make my naan bread on the weekend because it takes an hour to rise, and then rolling 16 pitas out, cooking them one at a time in my 6 inch skillet is a bit time consuming.  So I wanted to see if I could streamline the process.  The answer to that question?  Hells Yes!  I put the dough together in a matter of minutes the night before last, stuck it in the fridge and let it rise in the fridge and I was ready to go when I got home from work last night, so dinner came together in about 20 minutes.

Overnight Naan Bread
Serves 16
By making the dough the night before and letting it rise in the fridge overnight, you can come home to fresh baked naan on a weeknight in a matter of minutes!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr 30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr 30 min
146 calories
25 g
1 g
4 g
4 g
1 g
49 g
122 g
2 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
49g
Servings
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 146
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
5%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 122mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 25g
8%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
4%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3.5 cups flour
  2. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  3. 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 tablespoon sugar
  6. 1/4 cup really warm water
  7. 1 teaspoon yeast
  8. 3/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  9. 5.3 ounce plain Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.  Heat 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  You just want it warm enough to dissolve the sugar.  Add the sugar to the warm water, and mix.  Add the yeast and let the yeast sit in the sugar water for 5 minutes.  Add the yeast/sugar mixture, the cashew milk and yogurt to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Please note you may need to add a couple more splashes of cashew milk to get the dough to come together – sometimes I need it, sometimes I don’t – have no idea why!  I added about 2 tablespoons to this recipe.
  2. Place in a ziploc bag that is sprayed with Pam.  Throw it in the fridge the night before you want to make the naan and walk away.  Once home, take the dough out and cut into 4 pieces.  Cut those pieces into 4 pieces, so you have 16 portions.  I am a bit anal when it comes to having the same size breads, so I weighed out the whole dough recipe, divided that by 16 and got 1.6 ounces, so that’s how many ounces the dough is per portion.
  3. Roll out into a 6 inch circle.  I brush my pan with a big of olive oil, then cook the naan on one side for about 1-2 minutes – you’ll see the top start to bubble up.  Sprinkle any seasoning you want – sesame seeds, onion flakes – whatever!  Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Repeat until you cook all the naan.
Notes
  1. Once cool, these freeze amazingly well. I’ll take one out of the freezer and toss it in a ziploc and throw it in my lunch bag for the next day and it defrosts nicely.
  2. *The cook time includes the overnight rise in the fridge. But hands on time is only about 30 minutes total to cook off all 16 naan if you were doing them all at the same time.
beta
calories
146
fat
4g
protein
4g
carbs
25g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
PicMonkey Collage

This is the seasoning I used – I bought it at a farmers market last summer and am almost out!

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I actually added dried onions to mine too, but they kind of burned, so I guess I wouldn’t recommend that.   My dinner:  three ounces chicken (2), pita (3), tzatziki (1), red peppers and romaine (0) and potato zoodles on the side (4).

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These pita are so light and fluffy, probably because the yeast had so much time to do its magic in the fridge overnight.  I only cooked off 4 last night, and the dough will be good for several days, and I’ll probably finish cooking them off and freezing them on the weekend when I have more time.  I may even do party PITA pizza Friday this week!

Please let me know if you make this – I promise this is a winner and can easily make it on your weekly dinner menu.  

Today is my weekly WI and I honestly have no idea how I did this week.  After my 46 point day on Friday I reigned it in the rest of the week, but without any weekly points for some wiggle room since Friday, I have no idea.  But my sister and I have promised to hit every weekly meeting and weigh in no matter what, so it is what it is.   I overcame what could have been a giant binge on Valentine’s day this week, so that in and of itself makes this past week a success.

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Make it a great day!