Happy Halloween!

Our work party was a lot of fun!  And for the third year in a row I won funniest costume!  Now my costume was not elaborate, but it totally fit me – I went as Julia Child!  Bon Appetit!  I was going to do a cooking demonstration, but everyone was hungry and started eating.

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I made mummy hot dogs (no picture – they went fast!) and mummy cupcakes.  I don’t have piping tips or pastry bag, so this is done putting the frosting into a ziploc bag – they may look like crap, but they tasted good!

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There was so much food!  I did pretty well – I didn’t take a picture of my plate, but I had 1/2 Italian beef sandwich, 1/2 cup mac n cheese, fruit salad and this delicious green salad that had strawberries and nuts.

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And I have to show this picture for Mara!  My friend W’s baby M!  He looks like a doll in this picture!

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I called Tony and asked him what he wanted for dinner.  Any regular readers will know that I make pizza just about every Friday night.  Tony gets sick of pizza though, but to my surprise he said “I could go for pizza!”  I made his side a meat lovers – meatballs, bacon, sausage and mushrooms.  My side was broccoli, yellow pepper, red pepper, sausage, shrimp, banana peppers, goat cheese and mozzarella cheese.  While making the pizza dough, I enjoyed this beverage:

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I don’t normally like drinks like this, but I got it in the .99 bin – it was just slightly sweet and I loved it!  Perfect drink for a cold October night! 😀

The toppings ready to go:

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I loved the addition of goat cheese for a nice sour kick mixed with the spicy banana pepper – YUM!

So excited!  Tony and I are going downtown tonight!!!  It’s so funny – we are only about 55 miles NW of Chicago, yet we hardly ever go downtown anymore.  That’s about the only thing I miss about downtown is going to restaurants for lunch like Topolopampo for the best Mexican food, Heaven on Seven for their amazing jalapeno cornbread and bazillion hot sauces!, Wolfgang Puck bistro (not sure if it’s still there!) for their wood burning oven pizzas. 

One of our favorite restaurants in the city is Smith & Wollensky.  We usually would eat in the more casual lower level, but have amazing steaks – and it was years ago at this restaurant where I found out I like asparagus – it was still a touch crunchy – until then I had only had soggy asparagus!  But Chef Hans no longer works there, so we are following him to Trader Vic’s for dinner tonight!  Trader Vic’s has been a Chicago icon, located in the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.  But now its about 1.5 miles away from the hotel on State Street.  Check out the menu – what would you get?

You’ll have to come back tomorrow for our Chicago recap!  Hope everyone enjoys their Halloween!  When I lived in Oak Park I used to have 300+ trick or treaters – it was such a disappointment the first year we were in our house and I only had six trick or treaters!  But I bought for 300+!  The last girl to come to the door had a pillowcase, and I told her to open it up, and I probably dumped about 5 bags of candy into her sack!  She went down our stairs and said “that lady just gave me all her candy!”

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Can’t Wait for Tomorrow!

It’s my office annual Halloween party and my costume is going to kick ass!  You’ll just have to come back tomorrow night for the pictures! 😀

It’s the end of the week, I didn’t do a full grocery shop this week, so it was my yogurt/granola/apple combo – but I added a tablespoon of peanut butter for dipping for extra protein and calories.

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I picked up this jar of peanut butter at Big Lots – it was only $1.80!

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I had some last minute errands to run at lunch so I went to my favorite place – Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup!  While I make a mean copy cat recipe – there is nothing like the real thing!

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When Hannah and I were in Oak Park over the weekend, we drove by Long John Silver’s.  I am happy to say that there are none around me – but Hannah and I started talking about chicken planks and hush puppies.  Then I had an idea of making zucchini cheese fritters! 

Biz’s Zucchini Cheese Fritters

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini – squeezed to remove all water
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used my grated cheese ends)
  • 1/2 cup bisquick

I cooked this in our deep fryer for about 3-4 minutes.  While I know deep frying isn’t the healthiest route, I like that it holds a temperature so the outside sears before the oil soaks in.  Each one comes in at about 50 calories and 4 grams of fat.

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This was just half of the batter!  And while I was skeptical because my batter was really loose, they turned out crunch on the outside, yet tender and fluffy on the inside.  I sprinkled with coarse salt once they came out – see – there is hardly any oil on the paper towel!

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I made patty melts on the side – Tony’s was on rye bread:

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Mine was 4 ounces of burger, 1/2 ounce provolone, 1 arnold thin, dill pickles (LOTS of mustard added at the table! 😀 ) and 4 fritters.

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Stats for the Day

  • 1264 calories
  • 65 fat
  • 130 carbs
  • 55 protien
  • 16 fiber
  • no exercise 🙁

Alright I have to scoot – I have mummy cupcakes to make and I have to pull the rest of my costume together for tomorrow – yippee for Friday tomorrow! 😀

Yet another. . .

reason I love my Tony!  The computer I use to blog is our household computer, not a lap top.  It’s been running slow and he did some clean up on it tonight and now it is lightening fast!  I really need to delete some photos though – considering I’ve been blogging for over a year there are WAY too may pictures of food!  Thanks for fixing the computer Tony! 😀

Remember on Monday when I said my goals were to reduce the cheese and bacon in my diet?  Yeah, that was short lived!  Breakfast was an Arnold Thin, 1 egg, 1/2 ounce cheese, 2 pieces center cut bacon and half of a fuji apple.  It was filling AND delicious!

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I knew I had more chicken brunswick stew in the deep freeze, so I made a quick side salad to go with it – with Annie’s Goddess dressing – I would eat just about anything with this dressing on it!

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Thanks to everyone, especially Gina for giving me some insight on my blood sugars!  Today was yet another interesting day.  Before my 2 mile walk at lunch, my blood sugar was 177.  Considering how much it dropped yesterday, I ate 1/2 of a small cranberry muffin, which I estimated as having about 20 carbs.  Now mind you, this is not that strenuous of a walk – yes, there are a few hills here and there, but we talk the whole time so its not like we are out of breath or anything.  I got back to my desk today – my blood sugar was 50!  So while I heated up my soup I had to eat a couple pretzels to keep me from not passing out!

It was just me and Tony for dinner since Hannah had to work tonight.  I emailed him with three possibilities for dinner:

A.  Patty Melts with Zucchini Cheese Fritters

B.  Penne Pasta with Homemade Meatballs

C.  Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp tacos won!  I ended up brining my shrimp for 15 minutes before Pam frying them.

Brine

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups ice

Boil the water, salt and sugar.  Put in a large bowl, add ice and when ice is almost melted, add the peeled shrimp.

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While I was peeling the shrimp, Tony got to work on making the guacamole – he makes it so good!  Be sure to keep plastic wrap on the top so it stays nice and green!

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Because we were having shrimp tacos, Tony also made a killer sauce – sour cream, cayenne pepper, chile powder, paprika, salt and lemon juice – it was delicious!

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My plate – this x 2!  With the addition of about 6 tortilla chips and maybe some extra guacamole!

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These were so fricken good!  The brine made the shrimp extra tender!  And, of course, the jalapeno was nice and spicy!  Tony just shakes his head when he sees me eat raw jalapeno!

Stats for the Day

  • 1302 calories
  • 107 carbs
  • 62 fat
  • 82 protein
  • 19 fiber
  • 45 minute walk at lunch

Biggest Loser Spoiler!

OMG, I cried with Abby last night.  I was doing okay, I was going to try to hold the tears in, but just as Tony says “you are about to cry aren’t you?” the water works started streaming down my face.

I think my favorite sentence she said is that “I am not existing anymore, I am living!” 

And it reminded me of Sophia!  She’s struggled so much these past few years, and in reading her blog you can see she is finally rising above the fog of her eating disorder – you need to check out her blog if you haven’t already – her writing style is captivating!

And a VERY late thank you to MaryBeth – who shipped me my winning Venom energy drinks.  I had every intention of having my step-son review them, but he’s given up pop and considered them pop.  So I was so surprised when I saw Hannah drinking them!  She loved them, although she wasn’t sure how much energy they gave her – all three are gone already so that says something!  Hannah thanks you!

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Okay, you know the drill – off to snuggle with Tony! :D  See you tomorrow night!

Balancing Act

Today was a balancing act with my blood sugar.  it always happens when I jump back into exercise.  My goal was to work out at the gym two mornings this week, and I thought I set my alarm for 6:30, but it was 6:50.  I probably could have made it, but I decided to stay home and do Level 1 of Jillian’s 30 day shred.  I tested my blood sugar, it was 156 – kinda high, but I was okay with that. 

In the past, I’ve eaten something small, taken a little bit of insulin and I am good to go.  Today I opted to take 4 units of insulin and see what happened.  25 minutes later, after the workout, I was 160.  I would have thought it would have dropped to about 100?  Any dieticians out there – feel free to respond!

Breakfast was an Un-Biz one.  No bacon, no cheese! 🙁

4 ounces of low carb vanilla yogurt, 1 cup diced apple and 1/4 cup Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Seed Granola:

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It was delicious!  But guess what?  That whole bowl was only 220 calories, 4 fat, 43 carbs and 6 protein!  But it kept me full until lunch! 😀

My friend and I walked today at lunch – we are going to take advantage of outdoor walks as long as possible!  Again I tested my blood sugar and it was 166.  Nice!  I thought that would be fine.  2.2 miles and 40 minutes later, as I was getting changed back into my work clothes, I could feel the sweat start to go down my neck.  I know, TMI – gross – but that is the first sign for me of low blood sugar.  Sure enough, when I got back to my desk my blood sugar was 55!

Luckily lunch pulled together really quickly!  Chicken stir fry.

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This generous plate of food was: 397 calories, 2 fat, 62 carbs and 8 protein.  Since my blood sugar was so low, I ate half and then took half the amount of insulin I should.  By this afternoon, I had leveled out at a nice 112!

But according to sparkpeople, I should be eating around 1200 to 1500 calories a day – and since I did Jillian AND walk today for a total of 65 minute of exercise, I knew I had to get more calories in. 

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70 calories, 2 carbs, 6 fat and 3 protein.  Much to my surprise, while these will never be good as smoked, SALTED almonds, I am really liking these!

I’ve been having a jones for scallops so I had a steak that needed to be cooked and we had a different kind of surf and turf.  This time I just used lemon pepper seasoning on the scallops, and seared them on medium-high heat in a tablespoon of butter.

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My plate was: 3 ounces of steak, 5 sea scallops, 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend (Tony thought I made rice-a-roni, so he was a tad bit disappointed!) and about 1 teaspoon of melted butter poured over the top.

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Dinner: 405 calories, 8 fat, 37 carbs and 42 protein.

But guess what?  Even with my meals, I am only at 1091 calories for the day!  I see popcorn in my future tonight! 😀

Stats for the Day:

  • 1091 calories
  • 20 fat
  • 146 carbs
  • 84 protein
  • 17 fiber
  • 65 minutes of exercise! 😀

So here’s my question.  I felt satisfied and full after each of these meals, but felt like I had to eat more to meet my 1500 calorie goal since I worked out today.  Should I add more high calorie snacks during the day?  I found out the hard way that I really can’t eat more than a handful of nuts at one time – so any suggestions would be appreciated!

Biggest Loser is On!  Go watch it so we can discuss tomorrow!  Fingers crossed Tracy gets the kick to the curb! 😀

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday and got back into the swing of things today.  One thing for sure I noticed is that when I work more, the first things to go out the window is exercise and food planning!  I’ll get to that in a minute though! 😀

My eats were pretty unforgettable yesterday, or i.e. bad choices!  I had two homemade chicken wings and shrimp thanks to Tony when I got home from work yesterday (yep, had to work on a Sunday!).  They were so fricken good.  Um, pretty sure I didn’t figure out the calories for this one!

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I met my sister and her mother-in-law at a church in Oak Park (actually right across from my high school!).  The concert was beautiful.  And although my Mom looks serious in this picture, it was right before the first song!

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They did 15 songs altogether – I really enjoyed it Mom!

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After the concert, Mom treated us to caffe DeLuca in Forest Park.  It’s one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  Their insalata is so good – mixed greens, candied walnuts, fresh figs and gorgonzola cheese with balsamic dressing.  So good!  The restaurant was so dim, not one picture turned out!  My dinner was this:

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The Pasta Dorsoduro – grilled chicken, shrimp, fresh garlic with a spicy red pepper parmesan sauce – holy cow this was good!  I ate about 1 cup of pasta, 1/2 the chicken, and when my Mom noticed I still had two shrimp left, ate those! 😀

After dinner we went to my Mom’s house for a little bit.  It was the first time we’ve met her new cat Lucy!  She is a crazy cat – all over the place, but I guess that’s to be expected with a kitten! She likes to lick a lot too!

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Since I didn’t do my normal grocery shop this week, I had to figure out what to make for breakfast and lunch.  I knew I had chicken breasts for dinner, so I marinated them during the day.  Breakfast is an easy go to – spicy oats!  1/2 cup dry oats, 1 cup water, Frank’s hot sauce, 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 Pam fried egg and two slices center cut bacon.

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For lunch I decided to mix up two packets of cup-a-soup (60 calories per pack) with 1 tsp. hot chinese chile sauce and 6 of my chicken wontons from over the weekend.  Spicy good!

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I got a little snacky this afternoon – this did the trick!  170 calories per 1/4 cup.

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Dinner was quick and easy – 4 ounce chicken sandwich on Arnold bread with 1 slice bacon and 1/2 ounce of provolone, 6 ounces of potatoes fried in 1 tsp. olive oil, carrots with ranch dressing – and about a teaspoon of my horseradish sauce on top!  Four ounces ended up being about 2/3 of the right breast.

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So I went on www.calorieking.com to log my info and my subscription expired.  No big deal, until I realized I haven’t gotten my new debit card from when I lost my wallet!  But thanks to Kelly for reminding me about sparkpeople!  I used to use it years ago (in fact when I logged in it said I was 39 and I’ll be 42 in the spring!).  I have to tell Kelly that I think I like it better than calorieking!  It’s much more user friendly than it was when I used it a few ago. 

But before I went to that site, I went to www.thedailyplate.com to see how many calories they said I could have to lose 2 pounds a week.  1719!

www.calorieking.com gave me 1421 calories and now www.sparkpeople.com gave me between 1200 and 1,500.  So I plan on eating closer to 1500 the days I exercise, and 1200 the days I don’t.

I finally got back to the gym at lunch and it felt great!  I did my walk/jog/sprint for 40 minutes – my highest sprint was 7.0 mph and I held it for 60 seconds! Then I did five minute abs on the ball.

Stats for the Day:

  • 1,490 calories
  • 62 fat
  • 139 carbs
  • 98 protein
  • 19 fiber
  • 45 minutes of exercise!

My friend Amy is having a giveaway!   Go check it out! 😀

So I set up some goals just for this week:

  • 2 times work out before work
  • drink at least 64 ounces of water
  • lower the bacon and cheese in my diet 😀  (well, after today!)

See you tomorrow night!

Party Pizza Saturday?

When I asked Tony if he had a taste for anything for dinner he said “I don’t care baby.”  So that means one of two things – tacos or pizza!  Pizza won! 😀

Earlier today I realized I had to use up some ground chicken that I bought to make chicken potstickers – Hannah absolutely loves them and they are good on their own, or in soup.  While time consuming, this is really simple!

Biz’s Chicken Potstickers

  • 1 pound ground chicken, cooked and cooled
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup stir fry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red chile paste

Blend everything together in a large bowl.

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My store routinely has these wrappers for $1.19!

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Place wrapper on board, and fill with one tablespoon of mixture.  Have a small bowl of water on the side, you’ll need to put water on the edges to seal the edges.

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I did these two ways – one was to deep fry, the next was to steam and then pan fry.  I actually think I liked the pan fried better!

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I love how the cilantro peeks through in this pic!

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Here are the pan fried/steamed version.  I basically steam them in about 6 tablespoons of water.  Once the water evaporates, I add a little oil and Pam and they have a crunchy bottom and a soft top. 

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Hannah was very excited when she got home from work – she was so hungry!  Her plate (I was a bit generous with the portions, she ate about 1/2)

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Hannah and I had time to hit up another thrift store to finish up my Halloween costume.  I almost bought this bling!

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Then we went to the store to pick up a couple things – my store has a .99 cent single serve in the liquor department, and this piqued my interest!

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It kind of tasted like piss water with a hint of orange!  Now I know why it was in the sale bin!  And not that I know what piss water tastes like – it was to give you a general idea.  Stay away!  Don’t even look at it if you see it in the store!

So Party Pizza Saturday it was!  So glad that so many people are trying my no rise pizza dough!  And although I used to make it in my food processor – just a bowl and wooden spoon works just fine! 😀

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I may have enjoyed a glass of wine while making dinner.  I am classy.  This one is a box wine that says “crisp white!”

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I opened up a can of my homemade sauce – the perfect base to pizza!

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My side of course is the pepper side – Tony had sausage and sautéed mushrooms.  And I got to use my new pizza peel! 😀

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It was delicious!

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Probably won’t blog until Monday night– my Mom sings in a choir and I am going to be meeting my twin sister, her MIL, my mom (and Hannah will be with me!) for the concert and then dinner afterwards at one of our favorite restaurants in Forest Park – caffe DeLuca!  We once went there for brunch and I had, hands down, probably the best goat cheese spinach quiche I’ve ever had – the kicker?  NO ONIONS!  What would you order off the dinner menu?

So I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!  See you Monday night! 😀

Happy Saturday and ANOTHER Happy Birthday!

To my MIL!  Happy Birthday Bonnie!  We feel bad because we thought my father in law was in Italy for his birthday a couple days ago, but he doesn’t leave until tonight!  So we didn’t actually call him – sorry about that! 🙁

We talked to my MIL this morning and since their birthdays are two days apart – they celebrate both in the middle – they had a nice dinner out, so that’s nice.

I worked late again last night and didn’t feel like blogging believe it or not!  It was windy, rainy, cold.  Tony and I stayed snuggled under a blanket the whole night!  Hannah went to a haunted house last night with friends, but said it wasn’t too scary – she loves all things gory – ever since the last time I was able to dress her for Halloween (which I made her a Christmas tree, she had battery operated lights and small ornaments I sewed onto green felt, and found a head band that had a star that lit up! – um, can you tell that was my favorite costume?!). 

But here was her first costume – a pumpkin! :D  She was seven months old! 

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I packed my lunch the night before yesterday so ensure I had something good to eat!  Breakfast was: english muffin, 2 pieces of bacon, sliced apple and 75% reduced fat Cabot Cheese 😀

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I bought some coconut milk at the Japanese grocery store.  I looked up some recipes, and found something called Tom Kha Gai, which was a Thai coconut chicken soup.  I didn’t have any kaffir lime leaves or galangal (not even sure that that is!) so I made my version!

Biz’s Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  • 1 pouch Lipton Soup Secrets Extra Noodle
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 sliced jalapeno pepper with seeds
  • 1 chopped stalk of lemongrass (love the smell of this when its cut!)
  • 3 tablespoons clam sauce (It called for fish sauce, but I only had clam sauce)
  • 1 chicken breast (mine was about 8 ounces)
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat water so a low simmer over medium low heat. Add chicken breast, jalapenos, and lemongrass.  Cook just until chicken is poached, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove chicken and shred with fork.  Add Lipton soup mix and cook for about 8 minutes until noodles are done.  Remove from heat.  Remove jalapenos and lemongrass.  Serve with chopped cilantro.

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If you want it extra spicy, you could leave the jalapenos in.  Since I knew I would be sharing this with my friend Renee at work, she doesn’t like stuff as spicy as me and I left the ginger out because she’s not a huge fan!  I had half a slice of toasted naan bread on the side – its my first time trying it, and to be honest, I think it tastes just like a whole wheat pita!

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I knew that I had some pork tenderloin leftover from the other night that had to be used up.  A quick look at The Alcoholian’s site with his breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, Tony and I were in!   If you haven’t gone to The Alcoholian’s site yet, you have to check it out.  Not only does John have more kitchen gadgets than I could ever imagine to own, he also built a wine seller and an outdoor kitchen!  He’s also my brother’s friend and co-working in Austin.  Thanks for this idea John – it was delicious!

His idea was to not use flour, but corn starch – not much, only about a tablespoon before dipping into an egg/milk mixture, then panko bread crumbs.

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Once you try panko bread crumbs, like John, you can’t go back!

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I pan fried ours in less oil than John, probably about 2 tablespoons?

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And while he chose mustard, I went with horseradish sauce!  I got this at Siegelman’s Deli the last time we were there.  They have it on all the tables and when I asked if they sold it, she said she would ask the cook.  She came back with a 12 ounce Styrofoam cup filled with this delicious sauce and said “how about $1.25 for this size?”  SOLD!  I used one of the squirt bottles I got from the restaurant supply store last week to put this delicious sauce in. 😀

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Dill pickles from Milwaukee – Hi Mel!

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And since the deep fryer was on the counter, somehow crinkle cut fries got on my plate!

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And since my wallet still hasn’t shown up, Tony and I had to head to the DMV this morning – both of our licenses expire in 2010, so we were both able to renew our licenses – and it only took 15 minutes :D  But we drove to Woodstock, it would have been a different story had it been downtown – those people are mean at the Chicago DMV!

We went to a couple thrift stores to finish my Halloween costume.  It’s mandatory in my office to dress up, and not only dress up, but to DRIVE to work in your costume!  It’s always so much fun! 😀

I have to leave you with this video though.  Tony found it online and it kills!

Alright, off to make chicken wontons – see you tonight and thanks for waiting for my post 😀