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. :D

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. :D

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! :D

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! :D

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 :D

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!

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! :D

  • 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. :D

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. :D

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 :D

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 :D  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! :D

More Balls and Almost Famous!

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! :D

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 :D

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!

Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This Diet Book Giveaway

I am happy to announce that the publishers of Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This Diet Book are giving away 4 autographed copies of this book to my readers! And to whet your appetite, check out this recipe from his book:

No-Boil Mushroom Lasagna

  • 4 servings: Per Serving: 388 calories, 15 fat, 34 carbs, 3 fiber and 28 portein = 10 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leave parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (about 8 sheets) no boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 10 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 350.  Coat the inside of an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, basil, parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Mix with a spoon until blended.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Line the bottom of the prepared baking pan with two lasagna sheets.  Top with 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture.  Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture so that the noodles are completely covered.  Top with a layer of mushrooms.  Repeat the procedure two ore time.s  On the last layer, place two lasagna sheets on top of the mushrooms.  Spread a layer of the remaining cheese mixture on top. Scatter the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese on top.

Cover tightly with foil and bake in an oven for 30 minutes.  Raise the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.  Uncover the dish and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Going on a diet does not necessarily mean saying farewell to all of your favorite foods! Award-winning celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito changed his life and his health-without giving up the foods he loves or the flavor.  He has lost more than 20 pounds, participated in dozens of triathlons, and-after an inspirational role as a guest chef on The Biggest Loser-changed his own diet and the caloric content of classic dishes on a larger scale.  In NOW EAT THIS! DIET, complete with a foreword by Dr. Mehmet Oz, DiSpirito offers readers a revolutionary 2-week program for dropping 10 pounds quickly, with little effort, no deprivation, and while still eating 6 meals a day and the dishes they crave, like mac & cheese, meatloaf, BBQ pork chops, and chocolate malted milk shakes. The secret: Rocco’s unique meal plans and his 75 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack time, all with zero bad carbs, zero bad fats, zero sugar, and maximum flavor. Now readers can eat more and weigh less-it’s never been so easy!

Here’s how you can win your own signed copy of Now Eat This! Diet, signed by Rocco DiSpirito himself:  Comment on this post and share the following with me: “What’s your motivation to lose weight?”  For example, some choose to lose the weight to be better parents, what’s your reason?  At the end of the contest,  I’ll pick 4 winners to receive the book and announce them on April 4, 2011.

Whether you’re chosen as a lucky winner or not, Rocco shares exclusive healthy tips from his latest cookbook and recipes from his Twitter account so be sure to follow him @RoccoDiSpirito. Also, feel free to use the hashtag “#choose2lose” on Twitter if directing to the contest!  If you tweet about the contest, that will give you an additional entry – good luck! :D

Ready to enter and win? Comment away!

*Please note that the contest is open to US residents only.

You can also buy his book at the following sites:

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/hGdqDl
Books-A-Million – http://bit.ly/elumlG
Borders – http://bit.ly/fAOF5J
Hastings – http://bit.ly/dOKm9Z
Powell’s – http://bit.ly/eKmbjv
Tower Records – http://bit.ly/fgdzt5

I’ll be back to my regular posting tomorrow with a recipe for lemon thyme marinated grilled chicken with quinoa and pan fried broccoli.

Also, check out Heather’s BSI recap of Lemon - there were 22 delicious lemon recipes! And check out this week’s hostess, Tina from Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor – she chose . . . salsa!

BSI – Lemon and Italian Schiacciata

Wow, two posts over the weekend!  I realized that I am doing my giveaway tomorrow, so I decided to post my Bizzy Weekend eats. :D   While I already submitted my Pork Chops with Lemon-Thyme Sauce to this weeks hostess, Heather from Girlichef.   But I had buttermilk pancakes on my brain this morning – only one problem, I didn’t have any buttermilk!

But that didn’t stop me – to make your own buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and you are good to go.  The best part about these pancakes?  Only 2 PointsPlus per pancake.

Mock Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten

Mix dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the middle and add remaining ingredients.  Stir until just combined – the batter will be a bit lumpy, don’t worry.   Now the most important part, and the part Hannah didn’t like this morning because she was hungry – you have to let the batter sit at least 15 minutes.  This will ensure fluffy pancakes every time.

I did throw about 3/4 of a cup of blueberries in the batter because by tomorrow they wouldn't be good

with sugar free pancake syrup - perfect way to start a Sunday!

My parents-in-law bought me a Tuscan Kitchen cookbook for my birthday.  While Tony and I were driving to the grocery store yesterday, I got to the back of the book and found a recipe for schiacciata.  I read the recipe out loud to Tony and he was so excited – he remembers eating schiacciata at his grandpa’s house in Italy, and having sandwiches with salami with this bread.  I knew I had to make it.

The recipe calls for “fresh” yeast.  I have no idea what that means, so I used 1 ounce of yeast from a jar – probably 3 times as much yeast that I normally use, but it worked.

Schiacciata

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 1 ounce yeast
  • 2 cups warm water

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water.  Put flour in large bowl.  Add the yeast water, than the second cup of water.  Mix with a wooden spoon.  While I would normally use my stand mixer to do the work, I decided to go old school and just used a wooden spoon.  Mix as well as you can, then dump on your counter and knead for about 10 minutes.  I actually really enjoy kneading bread.

Put in a bowl, and pour 2 tablespoons good olive oil over the top and 1 teaspoon sea salt.  Let rise 1 hour.  After the first hour, pour the dough on a 9×13 pan.  Spread out and cover with another tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt.   Let rise another hour.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Just before going in the oven, form indentations over the entire surface of the dough using your fingers.  I put rosemary on half of the bread.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

after the 10 minute knead

after the first rise

ready for the oven :D

The inside is tender and light, with a nice crunchy crust on the outside – the only thing I would do a bit different is add 1 teaspoon of salt to the actual dough – but this was so delicious – and Tony loved it.  :D

Thanks again for hosting BSI this week Heather!  See you tomorrow. :D

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Thai Basil Chicken Wonton Cups. . . and Tony Dances!

I went to Weight Watchers this morning . . . I am up 1.6 this week.  Not sure if I didn’t guestimate the points on my birthday right, but I am not going to get discouraged – I’ll just keep on doing what I am doing, and maybe not have as much wine this week! :D

My lunch was so good yesterday, I had to share.  I keep forgetting that it’s lent so my one friend could only enjoy the soup – no chicken wontons for her!  (on a side note, if you use chicken broth in a dish, is that considered a “meat” during lent?).

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

  • makes 4 servings: 1.5 cups for 3 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon canned chipotle pepper (this is still a good amount of heat!)
  • 2/3 cup potato buds (dried instant potatoes)

Combine the pumpkin, broth, coconut milk and chipotle pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the potato buds and puree with stick blender.  Really, its that simple!  The potato buds made it a nice thick soup and the sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk balance perfectly with the little bit of chipotle heat.

Thai Basil Chicken Wonton Cups

  • 4 servings: 5 wonton wrappers are 2 points, 1/4 of chicken mixture is 2 points

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 dried Thai red chili

Put everything in a food processor.  Cook in a pan for about 8-10 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through.  Put 1/4 of chicken mixture in 5 wonton cups (the wonton cups are baked in a muffin tin at 350 for about 7 minutes, just until they are crisp – be careful, they go from crisp to burnt in a minute!).  So my lunch was 7 points and completely filling. :D

I meant to bring cilantro to garnish, but I forgot - and a splash of sriracha on each one would have been good too!

So this morning as I am looking through the grocery store ads, making my meal plan, Tony sings me a lovely song – All I Need is The Air That I Breathe, and You by the Hollie’s.

I chose to videotape the next song he sang – 99 Red Balloons!

Enjoy your weekend – I love you more every day Tony! :D

How’s Tony?

I love that people have been asking how Tony’s doing – either in comments or in side emails.  We are just over five weeks after his colon cancer surgery and I am happy to say that he’s doing a lot better!  This has been a hard recovery.  Since they removed so much of his colon, let’s just say that it takes a while for things to start moving, and sometimes there was no warning that things were moving.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he still has a four inch hole next to his belly button – apparently they want the inside to heal before the outside does.  He sees the surgeon every Monday for check-ups – a couple weeks ago the doctor said “it looks good, but call us right away if your intestines come out of this hole.”  What??!!

Happy to report, his insides are staying inside!  I asked him yesterday if I could take a picture of him to post, and of course, he couldn’t give me a normal picture – but that’s my Tony!

I love you :D

My camera battery was charging during breakfast yesterday – you didn’t miss much – I had a zucchini egg white omelet with a slice of toast – 5 Points Plus.

I called Tony before working out and he asked what I was going to do.  I said “I feel like running.”  He was like “I don’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth!”  So I ran.  I warmed up for 3 minutes, then put the treadmill on 5.0 mph, and then the last half mile I went at 6.0 mph – wow, that seemed really fast for me!  I finished in 38:08, which included the 3 minute warm up.  I am still looking for a local race.  But running outside is so much different than a treadmill.  I have a fear of starting out too fast, and then having to walk – with the treadmill you can keep a steady pace.

My deli just started selling a brand of deli meats and cheeses called Deitz & Watson.  They had a table display with some of their selections.  They had a lean corned beef that comes in at 1 point an ounce.  And this store sells a wide variety of local breads – this dark whole rye is 2 points!  So with 2 points of swiss cheese, zero point sauerkraut, and Dijon mustard instead of Thousand Island dressing – my skinny Reuben sandwich is only 6 points. :D

I "fried" it in Pam to crisp it up - so delicious!

On the side I steamed 4 ounces of potatoes and 2 ounces of green beans, then just tossed them in 1 tsp. of prepared pesto – 3 Points, with strawberries for dessert.  LUnch comes in at 9 points.

When I got home, the sun actually made an appearance.  I took my new 55-200 lens outside – I took these pictures about 35 feet away.  Ed looks so serious!

Tony wasn’t hungry for dinner, so I got to have one of my favorite things – pork chops with sauteed apples and sauerkraut. :D

When I took my pork chops out,  I didn’t realize I had bought pork “cutlets” so they were super thin.  Each one weighed 3 ounces before cooking, so I cooked two.  I heated  my cast iron skillet on high, then sprayed with Pam right before adding the pork.  These only took 2 minutes a side – I removed to a plate, then added 1 sliced Granny Smith apple, 3/4 cup of sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds.

Once they were done, I added the pork chops back in, and added 2 tablespoons of spicy BBQ sauce – dinner was a delicious 9 points.

not the most colorful dish, but this was so good

I loved the addition of caraway seeds to the kraut

Stats for Thursday:

  • 33 points (including peanut m&m’s before working out and one glass of wine)
  • 0 flex points remain
  • I used 4 of 19 activity points
  • Weigh In Tomorrow – I am .2 pounds away from my 5% and 1.2 away from 10 pounds lost :D

I get to wear jeans to work today – spring cleaning today.  :D  Hope everyone has a great weekend – I am probably going to post tomorrow because I have a pumpkin coconut soup and thai basil wonton cups for lunch today – can’t wait for lunch!

Any big weekend plans?  We haven’t any it will be a low key weekend for us – the weather is supposed to be cold anyway.  :(