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March 2011

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Hanging with Hannah . . . Dinner and a Movie!

I woke up yesterday to make zucchini lasagna for our lunch at work yesterday.  Before I knew it, it was time to leave for work, so breakfast was 3 leftover almost mock buttermilk pancakes with 3 ounces of sliced turkey breast – which actually tasted really good dipped in the pancake syrup. 😀

10 PointsPlus for breakfast

I had a work obligation and only had 45 minutes – not enough time to make it to the gym and back.  I looked on weather.com, it was 37 degrees at 11:15 in the morning.  I just put on my gym shoes and headed outside and walked for 45 minutes (and was soclose to just skipping a workout – so glad I didn’t!).  There are VERY FEW signs of spring people, and they are talking about possible snow in the next couple days.  Um, tomorrow is April 1 people!


The zucchini lasagna I made previous, I made into 2 servings for 7 points – this time I divided it by 3, so it was 5 points a serving, with a 2 point romaine/carrot/apple salad on the side – with my favorite dressing:  Annie’s Light Goddess dressing. 😀

I don’t know about your teenage kids, buy mine is busy!  With school, babysitting and her job, I’ve said in the past that sometimes we are two ships in the night – I come home for work just as she is leaving.  Well Wednesday nights she almost always if free, so I’ve declared Wednesday as Hanging with Hannah!  We may just go on a walk, or to a group fitness class, but at least we will have a few hours a week with no distractions.

Last night we decided on dinner and a movie – dinner at The Lucky Monk and to see Hall Pass.  The Lucky Monk has the best spinach pizza I’ve ever had.  It’s described as:

Spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and fresh shaved Parmesan cheese

I’ve recreated that pizza at home here.  This may need to be on my party pizza Friday menu! 😀

My guess is that for my portion of pizza and two glasses of wine, dinner comes in at 19 points – totally worth it!  Thanks for being my date Hannah! 😀

Stats for Wednesday:

  • 36 points, 26 flex remaining, 26 activity points earned
  • 45 minute walk at lunch
  • average blood sugar 122
  • spending quality time with my daughter = priceless 😀

Questions of the Day:

  • Do you schedule time with your teen kids?

Guess that I got in the mail . . . I’ve never been called to jury duty ONCE in my life!

  • Have you ever been called for jury duty?

Have a great day!

Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Wicked Workout, Burpy McGhee

When I got home from work yesterday, Tony asked me to guess what he had for lunch.  He said it was something we had in the house – it’s such a fun game we play (feel free to gag at this point if you wish!).  Anywho, he told me he had some of my schiacciata bread with thinly sliced proscuitto.  I instantly knew I wanted to make a breakfast sandwich with that bread, adding some fresh basil for more Italian flavor.  And then the Irish in me added two slices of corned beef! 😀

  • 2 ounces of schiacciata, toasted
  • 1 Pam fried egg
  • 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices corned beef
  • 2 slices fresh basil

Delicious!!  I also thought that roasted red pepper would be a good addition next time. 😀

I had this with an unphotographed blood orange - breakfast comes in at 10 Points Plus

So in order to combat my 1.6 weight gain last week, I decided to challenge myself at my lunch workout.  I got on the Expresso bike,  I skipped past basic and moderate, and landed on “challenging.”  I should have known how hard my workout was going to be when the 8 mile route I took was called “Wicked Workout.”

Holy shit.  This about kicked my ass, and I literally contemplated getting off a few times and doing something else.  At three separate parts in the 8 mile ride, there were hill climbs that ended up at 43% incline – I brought my gears down to 8 mph just so I could keep pedaling.  All the while, a little old man is on the bike next to me.  He keeps burping.  Very out loud.  And after each burp he says “excuuuuuuze me.”

Part of me wanted to laugh, but the other part of me was like, really?  Can’t you see I am dying on this run and you keep burping?  It took me 34:45 to finish the 8 mile ride and I spent the next 15 minutes just lightly pedaling to cool down.  I am so happy I didn’t quit!

So I borrowed the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family cookbook from the library.  They had their take on Tortilla Soup.  I adjusted it a bit, because of course you know I left out the onions, but I also didn’t fry up tortilla strips or use cheese or avocado for garnish – I just used zero point cilantro and lime wedges. 😀

Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

  • Makes 4, 2 1/4 cup servings for 6 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in, chicken breasts (skin removed) or about 1 1/4 pounds (my chicken breasts were smaller, so I used 3)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cored and quartered (any tomato will do, but roma tomatoes were on sale – 2 large regular tomatoes will do)
  • 1/4 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • lime wedges
  • fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Bring broth, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to boil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pan.  Reduce the heat to low, add chicken, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a large plate.  Strain the broth, discard the solids.  When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken off of the bones.
  2. Puree tomatoes, 2 remaining garlic cloves, jalapeno, adobo sauce in a food processor until smooth.  Heat same Dutch oven over high heat and add tomato mixture with additional 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Stir broth mixture into tomato mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add shredded chicken and corn and simmer until heated through, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. To serve, place soup in bowl, crumble 1/2 ounce of tortilla chips (add 2 points), fresh cilantro and a squeeze of 1/4 of a lime.

A delicious 8 point lunch 😀

try to use bone-in chicken breasts if you can - they have so much more flavor

My co-workers always tell me if a dish makes their Top 5 Biz dishes – it doesn’t matter that they have about 20 favorite things 😀  When I got back from my workout, here is the note I found on my desk:

I think the tortillas, cilantro and lime pulled this soup all together

I sometimes have to remind myself that I normally cook dinner for just myself and Tony.  But fresh turkey breasts were on sale, and I couldn’t help myself.  Here is how you cook perfect grilled turkey.

  1. Marinate in 1/2 cup Paul Newman’s light balsamic dressing all day.
  2. Heat your gas grill to 350 degrees.
  3. Put your turkey on a cookie rack on top of a cast iron skillet.  The skillet will collect any drippings so you don’t have any flare-ups.
  4. Listen to your husband when you suggest cooking the turkey skin sound down on the grill grate first, and he tells you that the skin will crisp up nicely if you just set it and forget it.  (Thanks Tony!)
  5. Put a meat thermometer in and remove the turkey when it hits 160 degrees.
  6. Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing.

also multi-task by grilling up pablano peppers for a vegetarian chili I am making for Friday's lunch

I actually enjoy the charred bits

Serve with mashed potatoes, packaged brown gravy (1 point for 1/4 cup!) and green beans – then enjoy!

Dinner is 9 Points

And also pretend that even though the sunset is gorgeous and you wish it were 70 degrees, realize that you should have worn your winter coat because you were grilling in 30 degree weather. 🙁

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 33 points (including wine)
  • 33 flex points remaining, 18 activity points earned
  • 35 minute 8 mile wicked bike ride, 15 minute cool down
  • average blood sugar 112

Come back tomorrow for turkey enchiladas (turns out I have a lot of leftover turkey!) for the BSI this week – Salsa! 😀

Beef/ Weight Watchers

Weeknight Meatballs

A while back I mentioned that I was being interviewed for Diabetes Forecast magazine.  I talked to the reporter for about 30 minutes about how I carb count, how I handle insulin and exercise.  Well, I got one tiny paragraph – but at least I am number one!

Check out the article here – and pass it along to any diabetic family or friends you have – there are some great tips! 😀

Breakfast was three of my almost buttermilk pancakes with 1/4 cup sf syrup and 2 pieces of bacon – 10 points.

When I was putting my meal plan together for me and my co-workers lunches, I decided to shake things up – while I am a soup and chili whore, even though the temps will barely make it out of the 30’s for a while, I decided to make grilled chicken, pan roasted broccoli and lemon thyme quinoa.

On Saturday I took three bone-in chicken breasts and put them in a ziploc bag with:

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of a lemon, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper

I marinated the chicken for 24 hours, then grilled them on the gas grill.  (Still can’t wait to use the Weber grill, but it’s got to be a bit warmer for me!).

Then I found a great way to pan fry broccoli.  Heat a large non-stick skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil and Pam – when the pan is hot, place broccoli that has been cut in half in the hot oil.  Don’t move the broccoli for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons of water with salt and pepper to taste.  After the 2 minutes, put the water in the pan, cover with a top, cook 2 minutes and you will have tender crisp broccoli.

The quinoa side dish is just tossed in 1 tsp. of butter for the whole dish, juice of 1/2 a lemon, lemon zest and thyme – lunch comes in at 8 points.

I had on the menu Involtini from my new cook book – basically its rolled beef that has been stuffed with mortadella, sage and Parmesan cheese, then rolled and cooked in tomato sauce.  Tony ate a really late lunch and wasn’t that hungry.  Luckily for me, I stopped by Mara’s blog yesterday, and knew I would be making homemade pasta and meatballs!

I scaled my recipe down – this is enough pasta for 3 people:

Homemade Pasta

I put everything in a food processor – pulse until just combined, about 15-20 pulses.  Put out on your counter, making sure there is enough flour, then using a pizza cutter, cut your pasta to the size you want.

Weeknight Meatballs

  • makes 24 meatballs – 1 point each – 7 points for 5

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces ground sirloin
  • 8 ounces bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 ounces whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper

Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a non-stick pan, also spray with Pam.  Over medium high heat, sear the meatballs and brown them on all sides.  In a separate pot, have your pasta sauce over medium low heat.  Once the meatballs are seared, put in the tomato sauce to finish cooking.

My plate: 12 points of delicious goodness 😀

Fresh pasta only takes about 5 minutes to cook – just make sure to salt your water really well before adding the pasta.

Stats for Monday:

  • 40 points (including 11 points of wine and sesame sticks, which had way more points than I thought!)
  • 38 flex points left
  • 10 activity points earned
  • 50 minutes on treadmill, walking 3.5 mph at 3% incline tossing a 6 pound medicine ball back and forth
  • average blood sugar 90 (I could only walk because my blood sugar was too low to run) 🙁

While the temperatures are still crap, it’s nice to hear the birds chirping again.  My mom, who lives next to an expressway, whenever she stays at our house she always comments on how noisy the birds are!

I always thought this bird was the Momma bird because it’s belly is so big – Tony says that the prettier birds are always male!

Have a great day – come back tomorrow for a different take on Chicken Tortilla Soup – only 6 WW points for 2 cups!