Happy New Years Eve!

It seems so strange that it’s the end of 2009 and tomorrow will be 2010!  When Hannah was born, I thought ahead to what year it would be when she would graduate from high school – it seemed so far away at the time!

Breakfast yesterday was delicious – my classic egg sammie on Arnold thin with egg white/spinach/cheese and Greek yogurt with Sophia’s amazing Granola!

338 calories, 14 fat, 34 carbs, 16 protein, 5 fiber

217 calories, 7 fat, 19 carbs, 17 protein, 5 fiber

Lunch was what I like to call “whatever vegetables I have” stirfry!  I had some shrimp to use up too – I made brown rice in my rice maker – I am sure I’ve mentioned it before but since I have an electric stove, it was impossible for me to make stove top rice!  At Walgreen’s I bought a $7 rice maker and it makes any grain to perfection – even quinoa!

494 calories, 6 fat, 77 carbs, 36 protein, 12 fiber

I added about 1 tsp. of red chile paste so this version was REALLY spicy and good! 😀

For Christmas my Mom gave me a 9.13 stoneware baking pan from Pampered Chef.  In the box were some recipes, and one was called Chicken Alfredo Lasagna.  I mixed a combination of recipes to come up with my version.  I added fresh baby spinach to half of the recipe.

Biz’s Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

  • 9 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken breasts
  • 5 ounce fresh baby spinach
  • 2 (15) ounce jars alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (melts really well!)
  • 10 ounces low fat cottage cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook noodles.  In one bowl, add alfredo sauce, chicken, salt pepper and garlic powder.  In a second bowl, add eggs, cottage cheese, and oregano.

Layer: 1st layer chicken mixture just to cover bottom, layer 3 noodles, then cottage cheese mixture, another layer of noodles/chicken and cheese, ending with noodles.  Then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and fontina cheese on top.  Bake covered in foil for 30 minutes, remove foil and broil to get the top nice and brown and bubbly.

I cheated and used jarred sauce!

This made 8 servings, each serving: 410 calories, 10 fat, 31 carbs, 42 protein and 1 fiber

I made a small spinach/red pepper/cucumber salad on the side mixed with 1 tablespoon of Annie’s Goddess dressing – the last of my bottle! 🙁

495 calories, 16 fat, 35 carbs, 45 protein and 3 fiber

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 1,535 calories
  • 42 grams fat
  • 164 carbs
  • 117 protein
  • 26 fiber
  • the slowest 5k of my life (took me 45 minutes!)
  • 5 minutes of abs

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Years Eve tonight – Tony and I are staying in – on the menu:

  • King Crab Legs
  • Shrimps in a Blanket
  • Shrimp Toast
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Asti!

See you in 2010! 😀

Polenta Fries!

I got home from work and Tony was in the kitchen with me while I started putting dinner together and said “a lot of people had questions about the polenta fries!”  Didn’t know they would be such a hit!  And Errign was correct – the deep fat fryer was involved! 😀

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It takes a little planning!  Remember my shrimp and tomato basil suace on polenta the other night?  Well, it all started out with baking polenta.  When i saw the recipe at first, I thought that it called for too much water, but it worked out perfectly!

Baked Polenta

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (probably could have left this out)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups polenta (I got it out of the bin the last time I was at Whole Foods)

Heat oven to 350.  Mix everything together in a 13 x 9 baking dish.  Bake for one hour, remove and let cool.  I then just cut it into squares, but my co-worker had a great idea to use cookie cutters to make cool shapes! 😀

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There is no pepper in this dish, but the top kind of came out like it had pepper on it!   Since it made so much I decided to cut them into fries and deep fry.  My first batch didn’t go so well.  I put them in the deep fryer, put the lid on, and walked away – two minutes later they were one giant pile!  So I put less in the second time around and fried each batch for about 2 minutes, and repeated until I was done.  I kept the deep fryer on and right before serving, I added them all to the basket in one layer, and gently submerged the basket so they would all be hot at the table.

Remember when we went to the soft opening at The Lucky Monk earlier this month – the place with the amazing burgers??!!  Well the following week the chef was on our local t.v. station, and the only seasoning they put on their burgers is salt and pepper!  The perfect ratio?  4:14 tablespoons of salt mixed with 1 tablespoon of pepper.  I now have a mixture next to my stove and have been using it on lots of things – including the fries as soon as they came out of the fryer.  The best part?  These were not greasy at all – the fryer keeps a constant temperature so the oil never cools and gets absorbed into the food. 😀

Off to take out my Chicken Alfredo and Spinach Lasagna out of the oven – its semi-homemade – I cheated and used jarred Alfredo sauce!  See you in the morning 😀

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Yesterday’s lunch was so good!  You’ll have to wait to see my breakfast though! 😀

Breakfast was a zucchini frittata – the bottom layer being sliced canned potatoes, then 4 ounces of shredded zucchini, topped with1 egg, 1/2 cup of egg whites and 1/4 cup reduced fat Colby cheese.  I put it in an oven safe frying pan and baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  This was so filling!

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Lunch was another recipe out of January’s Bon Appetit magazine – Pork Meatball Bahn Mi.  When the recipe called for 1/4 cup fresh basil, I thought it was too much, but it was perfect!  And the addition of sriracha sauce really kicked it up a notch!

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I used my melon baller and got 24 meatballs out of the 1 pound mixture – or 6 meatballs per serving.

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Then just Pam fried them (with about 1 tsp. sesame oil)

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To assemble – I used greek yogurt mixed with sriracha sauce instead of mayo.  The only thing I should have done was used a soft bun, this one was a bit too crunchy.

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It was so flavorful!  This one is definitely a keeper!  Dinner was leftovers – I had to use up left over roast beef so I made cheezy beef sammies with polenta fries. 

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I had mine on an Arnold thin, 1 oz. of mozzarella cheese, 3 ounces of beef and 3 ounces of polenta – I really liked how the fries turned out!  I had trouble logging on the internet this morning, so I don’t have the exact stats for the day, but it was around 1450.  I also did a 35 minute Firm DVD at lunch with a 10 minute run after that and 5 minute cool down.

Wow, I have exactly six minutes to get ready for work – good thing I am low maintenance! 😀

Morning!

I’ve decided to write my blogs in the morning before work – it makes perfect sense!  It’s quiet, I can enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the news on the t.v. in the background.  It’s a balmy 9 degrees this morning! 🙁

For full disclosure, here is my scale picture from weigh in Monday.  Thanks for all your kind words on agreeing that 2.2 pounds is not a big deal. 😀

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My sister gave me a CleanEating cookbook for Christmas, and I adapted their black bean breakfast burrito:

  •   1 low carb tortilla
  • 1/2 cup egg wites
  • 1 ounce reduced fat colby cheese
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans
  • diced orange bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup canned potatoes, diced

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This was so filling and good!  I also added Tabasco after this pic was taken! :D  343 calories, 6 fat, 44 carbs, 36 protein, 13 fiber

Since I was off of work the week of Christmas, I had some gifts waiting for me!  First up – probably the cutest snowman ornament ever!  Thanks Kathy!

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Then I got a beautiful green fruit bowl – the bottom said it was hand made in Portugal!  Thanks Genette!

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And then my boss gave me a 4.5 quart All-Clad soup pot!  Thanks Nancy!

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Then it was time to get to work – upon booting up my computer, I was greeted with this:

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Thankfully only 30% were actually work related, but it took me a good hour to get through them all. 

Lunch was a ham and reduced fat swiss lorraine sandwich on an Arnold Thin, 3/4 cup mixed fruit, carrots, orange pepper, 2 tablespoons jalapeno hummus with 1 ounce of pita chips.  This took forever to eat – I made a dill spread on my sandwich – 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. spicy mustard and 1/4 tsp. dill – it tasted like a dill pickle! :D  495 calories, 17 fat, 55 carbs, 30 protein, 8 fiber

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Later in the afternoon, I had one ounce of dry roasted peanuts: 166 calories, 14 fat, 6 carbs, 7 protein, 2 fiber

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Does anyone subscribe to Bon Appetit Magazine?  January 2010 issue is AMAZING!  I wanted to make everything in it this week!  I settled on two though – first up:

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They had this as a side dish, so I decided to kick it up a notch and pair it with scallops/shrimp and a small steak on the side.  Recipes can be found on page 82 of the magazine.

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I marinated the shrimp for about 20 minutes in olive oil, oregano and minced garlic:

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I baked the polenta on Sunday and tried to pan fry it to get a crispy outside, while the polenta is tender.  It just didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked – I may have to bring the deep fryer out! 😀

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Dinner comes in at 490 calories, 17 fat, 40 carbs, 62 protein and 1 fiber.

Stats for Monday:

  • 1,493 calories
  • 54 fat
  • 145 carbs
  • 134 protein
  • 24 fiber 😀
  • 45 minute The Firm DVD at lunch

I was happy to learn that my co-worker didn’t work out over the holiday either – wow, we both felt it yesterday after that tape!  I thought I would be sore today, but I am not, so that’s a good thing!

The second recipe I am making from the magazine is a Pork Meatball Bahn Mi sandwich for my lunch – hopefully mine will look like this!

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Have a wonderful Tuesday! 😀

Weigh In Monday and Back to Work

Being off of work all week, I had every intention of going to the gym every day, but that dream pretty quickly faded on day 1!  My co-worker and I are definitely hitting the gym at lunch this week – no excuses! 😀

It will be nice to get back into a routine and have some normal “Biz” eats.  I haven’t used Calorieking all week, but managed to do pretty good managing my blood sugar – my weekly average was 102!

Saturday afternoon Tony brought me a package.  One of the gifts he got me for Christmas was backordered, so I thought it was that, but it was a lovely gift from Sophia of Burp and Slurp!   She sent me zesty nuts(spiked with Tabasco!) and the best granola I have ever had!  I am not kidding!  So while that previous link goes to a link on her page to the recipe, Ms. Sophia is moving on up and has a new domain!  She is a wonderful writer, recovering anorexic (which no longer defines her!), student at USC and all around just a wonderful person trying to find her path in life.  If you haven’t read her blog, you are really missing out!

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It’s crunchy, slightly sweet.  Although granola is high in carbs for me, I will use this as a topping for Greek yogurt – YUM!  And she wrote the cutest note with my name!

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Thanks Sophia!  And speaking of loot, I got Val’s giveaway last week and have forgotten to say thank you in my last few posts!  I got some Vegan cookies, some cinnamon mints and TONS of Stoneyfield yogurt coupons, all wrapped up in a reusable bag.  Thanks Val! 

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This morning we woke up to about another two inches of snow – we ended up getting 11 inches in total!  I always like how pretty clean snow looks, but sadly it doesn’t stay that way long! 🙁

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I made Hannah a pizza when she got home from work on Saturday, and had some dough leftover.  I actually left it on the counter overnight and actually loved the flavor of this dough!   I decided to make Tony and I breakfast pizza!

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I’ve learned to roll the sides of the dough up just a bit so the egg whites won’t run off:

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While I don’t like a runny yolk, I don’t mind a soft one.  My half of the pizza”

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I hadn’t gone to the grocery store yet, but yesterday was Football Sunday and I had no man food!  I quickly looked around and discovered I could make Tony a steak sandwich on a croissant!  Not bad for thinking I had nothing to fix 😀

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Then the rest of the day was menu planning, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.  and snuggling with Tony on the couch.  The perfect ending of a wonderful holiday week!

So today is weigh-in day, and while I am not surprised, I actually thought it could be worse!  My camera is charging, so I’ll post the picture of the scale tonight, but I weighed in at 163.0, which is a gain of 2.2.  I am looking forward to getting back on track this week!

Off to finish getting ready for work – have a great Monday!

I’m So Full!

Of wonderful memories, the love of family, laughing until my stomach hurt and delicious food!  I have so much to be thankful for this year! 😀

Christmas morning started early – Joe had to work so he was at our house at 8:00 a.m.!  Luckily I made his favorite cinnamon rolls the night before, then finished the glaze after he arrived.  Hannah, who doesn’t even like cinnamon LOVED THESE!  Well, what’s not to love?  They are Paula Deen’s cinnamon roll recipe, and all told from the dough, the filling and glaze, has 17 tablespoons of butter!

Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe

For the dough:

  • 1/4 ounce package yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3.5 to 4 cups flour (I used 3.5 for the right consistency)

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (yep, that is 8 tablespoons of butter!)
  • 3.4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • no nuts, raisins or pecans, because Joe doesn’t like them

For the Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – 6 tablespoons hot water (I ended up using 4 tablespoons)
  • FYI, I only used HALF of this glaze – it made a lot!

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and warm water, set aside.  In standing mixer, add milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth (I used my dough hook).  Add yeast mixture, then mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.  I kneaded the dough in the mixer for 10 minutes.  Then removed to an oiled bowl for 1 1/2 hours.

After that, punch dough down and roll to 15×9 rectangle.  Using a brush, I brushed on the 1 stick of melted butter.  I mixed the sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkled over the top.  Role up dough and pinch edge together to seal.  Cut into 8 slices.

Coat the bottom of a pan with Pam.  Place cinnamon rolls close together and let rise for another hour.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Here’s how they look after the hour of rising:

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Above picture is after they came out of the oven.  I let them cool, then wrapped the dish in plastic wrap and put it in my microwave so they wouldn’t dry out.  I popped each one in the microwave for 30 seconds the next morning, then added the glaze before serving.

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I also made a egg/sausage casserole as my other dish.  The base of this recipe was actually croissants cut in half!  Sinfully delicious!

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Then it was time to open presents, but not before a picture of the kids! 😀

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It still amazes me how much they look like real brother and sister and not step-siblings! :D  I got a ton of great stuff: gift cards, two scarves, an antique pasta roller (thanks Mom!), a couple cookbooks, an electronic wine opener, (which is awesome), kitchen tools and Adobe’s Elements software!  Thanks for everyone’s gifts! 😀

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I installed the software earlier today, but still need to figure out how it works!

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Tony and I decided to do a different type of surf and turf for Christmas Eve dinner:  lobster tail claws and New York strip with homemade crunchy potato chips.  We have never seen just lobster claws before – and on sale for only $6.99 a pound!  Tony searched for cooking recipes, and while we concluded that we should use the same method as our Best Cocktail Shrimp Ever, these turned out great though!

Butter Poached Lobster Claws

  • 2 pounds of lobster claws
  • 8 cups hot water mixed with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • enough butter to cover the lobster (while this was 6 tablespoons, we didn’t keep the butter)

Put thawed lobster claws in big stock pot.  Put water and vinegar in tea kettle to boil.  Pour over lobster claws and let sit, covered, for 7 minutes.  Put in an ice bath.  Have your husband crack the claws while you melt the butter.  Add to butter and poach for 4 minutes, put back in ice bath, then pat dry and put in a clean bowl and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

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My plate:

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While Hannah doesn’t like lobster OR steak, she opted for tempura shrimp and vegetables – so basically it was a fried feast for her – but she loved it!  It was actually a Zataran’s Seasoned mix, and it had a nice kick to it.

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After watching the Hangover after Joe left for work yesterday, it was an hour drive to go back to my Mom’s house for Christmas dinner.  I was surprised how few pictures I took! 

Here is my Mom’s table before sitting down (I love how I forgot to close the bathroom door before taking the picture!):

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Everyone about to sit down:

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And then I have one dinner picture of my Italian Sunday Gravy.  Everyone loved it and it was a big hit!

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My mom’s scalloped potatoes are always so good – Tony always makes fun of me when I try (over and over!) to make them! 😀

Today turned into a Winter Wonderland!  We got 8 inches of snow and may get up to 10 to 12 before its through.  Hannah had to work today, so Tony and I dropped her off in the Explorer since her car doesn’t drive all that well in the snow.  Tony and I went to Friday’s to hang out – we ate lunch at 3:30 this afternoon!  Not sure I’ll even make dinner tonight, maybe just throw a pizza together later. 

All I know is that I have indulged a bit too much this past week, and haven’t exercised AT ALL!  I plan on making a healthy grocery list and planning my exercises for the beginning of the work week.

I am glad I have one more day off before going back to work on Monday!  See you tomorrow night – don’t forget its BSI – Balsamic Vinegar!  One more day to get your entries in! 😀

Hope everyone had a great Christmas too!  See you tomorrow night!

Merry Christmas!

My brother Charlie and his family are in town so I spent yesterday at my Mom’s house and ended up spending the night.  Charlie didn’t get in until almost 9:00 and then we were up until almost midnight talking and laughing!  He drove 21 hours from Austin to Chicago!  Needless to say he was a bit sleepy, but seemed to get a second wind once he wasn’t cooped up behind the wheel!  This was taken this morning after he got some rest! 😀

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So yesterday while we were waiting for him to arrive, I took Hannah and my two nieces out for some last minute shopping and lunch.  Sarah is 16, Hannah is 17 and Rachel is 13 – yet they are all about the same height, i.e. short! 😀

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After shopping, we stopped at Chipotle for lunch.  I ended up with the burrito bowl, which just doesn’t have a flour tortilla.  I loved how flavorful the rice was at the bottom – almost an cilantro lime?  I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to go there, although I haven’t looked up the nutrition, so that may keep me away in the future!

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We also stopped by the grocery store to get the fixins for Taco Fiesta.   Upon returning home, I realized I didn’t pick up taco seasoning!  So we did a quick Google search and came up with this combo – not bad!

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  • 6 tablespoons paprika
  • 5 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. hot Mexican ground chile powder

My plate – the rice was just okay – it was from a box! 😀

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Then I enjoyed a glass or two of wine when my brother got in!

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And the girls always ready for a photo op!

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This morning I made an egg sammie – my Mom has these english muffins that are so good – and from Aldi!  I’ll have to ask her the brand name.

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Hannah left this morning to get her hair cut – once she gets in in her mind, she goes for it and found a place open on Christmas Eve!  I love Rachel in the background on this picture!

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And while I am waiting for my cinnamon bun dough to rise, I am finally posting my Spicy Red-Pepper Jelly Recipe!

Spicy Red-Pepper Jelly

  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Sure-Jell
  • 3 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup salt

Sterilize jars in dishwasher and boil rings and lids until ready to use.  Meanwhile, put sure-jell and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.  Next, put red pepper and pepper flakes into food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Next, put pepper mixture, vinegar, butter, salt and remaining 3 cups sugar in a large heavy pot.  Bring to a vigorous boil over high heat, and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add pectin/sugar mixture and whisking constantly, bring back to a boil and stir 2 minutes, or until it starts to thicken, no more than 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Fill jars and add to water bath so water covers over 2 inches to the top of the jars.  Heat on high and once the water comes to a boil, boil for 15 minutes.  Remove with rubber tongs and let sit on the counter to cool.  You may hear the popping sound that they are sealed, but double check the next day when completely cool.  If they didn’t seal, put in refrigerator and use within 1 month.

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For full disclosure, I have to say that my not posting my normal posts, some not so healthy meals have been had.  And while I haven’t posted each meal over the last 4 days or so, when I do weigh in Monday next week, you’ll know why the scale might be up a bit! 😀

Chili Cheese Dog with Jalapeno Potato Chips

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Biz’s Recreation of The Lucky Monk Burger

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Buffalo Wild Wings Boneless Wings (hot sauce on the side!)

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And finally, two words:  CHEX MIX!

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I think the only vegetable I’ve had has been in deep fried potato form, and I don’t think lettuce on a bacon cheese burger constitutes a vegetable serving!  And I haven’t exercised – hopefully the scale won’t be too hard on me next week! 😀

My next post will be the day after Christmas for a recap.

I wish everyone is able to spend time with family and friends and gets to their destinations safely. 😀

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Here is our favorite Christmas youtube video – enjoy! 😀