Monthly Archives:

January 2016


Smoked Sausage Pasta

My twin sister joined WW yesterday.  We are both WW alums – both having lost 70+ pounds on the program back in 1999.   She tried to start a WW program at work – she only needed 15 members out of an office of over 100 (possibly more!)  365 and couldn’t drum up enough people.  But she didn’t let that stop her, she found another office in her building who offered an at work program, and was able to have the people interested in her office to join the other office.  That office even does a video hook up with their NY office so they can join the meeting remotely – how cool is that?

The only thing I’ve hated about WW is that every.single.year they come out with a new program.  I mostly realize it’s for current members to change things up, and also a way to get new member and well, let’s face it, sell new product!  I can’t tell you how many times I went to a WW meeting in January to see all these women lined up buying all the cereal bars, containers, journals etc., only to not see them three weeks from then.

So my sister found an online calculator that calculates the “smart point” of any given food or recipe.  Fiber is no longer on the table because fruits and vegetables are now zero points, even in baked goods, so they figure you’ll get enough fiber through that avenue.   OMG, back in the day my sister and I would scour the grocery store for the packaged foods that had the highest fiber value so it would end up being lower in points.  So crazy.  So what are they focusing on now?  Calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein.  That’s basically it.   I don’t know what the point range is, but my sister said that the lowest point range would be 30 points, and she gets about 27 flex points a week based on exercise, so that’s what I am going with for this illustration.

First up yesterday was my apple/granola/sugar free caramel parfait.  Shhhhh.  I cheated on Chobani.  I thought I had one more plain Greek yogurt in the fridge, but couldn’t find it, so stole one of Hannah’s Dannon Oikos triple zero vanilla yogurt.  It’s 120 calories and 15 grams of protein!  This parfait comes in at 349 calories, 12 fat, 51 carbs and 34 protein, or 12 Smart Points.

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So based on a 30 point day, that’s not too bad – just over 1/3 of my day.  I don’t eat many snacks – the only time I really do is if my blood sugar is really low.   But this breakfast kind of really spikes my blood sugar – and because of the vanilla yogurt vs. my plain Greek yogurt, this was almost too sweet for me and I ended up eating 3/4 of it.  When I left for my lunch time walk, my blood sugar was 248!   No worries, I was going on my walk at lunch, so that would bring it down.  Being that it was higher than I normally have it, I walked about a mile and a half from my office before turning around and heading back.  As soon as I got about 1/4 mile from the office, I could feel my blood sugar starting to drop, but it didn’t feel too bad – I just knew I’d have to put my lunch together as soon as I got back.

Well, my blood sugar was 49!!  How it dropped 200 points in a 45 minute walk is beyond me, but luckily I had everything chopped and prepped for my leftover pork loin tacos.  Six tortilla chips, 3 ounces of pork, 3/4 ounce of Cabot chipotle cheese, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, baby spinach cilantro and Trader Joe’s avocado salsa.  With the carrots and cucumbers, lunch came in at 405 calories, 18 fat, 20 carbs, 5 fiber and 32 protein – or 11 Smart Points.

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But here’s the weird thing about having low blood sugar.  Obviously I don’t need to take insulin because I am trying to raise my blood sugar with food, but you want that feeling to go away so fast, that you just keep eating, and by the time I finished that plate, I realized I never compensated for the food after my blood sugar could have come around, and of course, then it was 303 when I tested it before hitting the gym after work.

So I ran/walked 1 mile, did 10 minutes of upper body, walked another mile, and then did 10 minutes of stretching.  When I got home my blood sugar was a perfect 111.

As I was driving home I realized I never put the beef roast in my crock pot for French dip beef sandwiches that I had on the menu.  I remembered that Cabot cheese sent me some Dreamfield’s Pasta and thought I had smoked turkey sausage in the fridge, and just like that, I decided that’s what I was making for dinner.  If it were just me and Jacob, I totally would have made a quick marinara sauce, but Hannah isn’t much of a fan.  I know I said I wasn’t going to be a short order cook anymore, and I am not, but it is nice to have a dish that all of us can eat, and one that is healthy to boot.

  • 3/4 box of Dreamfield’s pasta, cooked for 9 minutes and drained (about 8 ounces dry)
  • 12 ounces Eckrich smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 ounces Cabot light cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green onion (for Hannah and Jacob – how nice am I?!)

Cook the pasta for 9 minutes and drain.  Set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, put a large skillet over medium heat, and start to brown the sausage.  Add in the garlic and cook until it starts to get a bit brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in the butter and let melt.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens – about 5 minutes.    Add in the chopped broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, just until the broccoli is tender.  Then remove from heat, stir in the shredded cheese, dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Add back in the cooked pasta and toss to coat.  Each serving is about 3/4 cup of the pasta and 3 ounces of the sausage.

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Everyone gave this two big thumbs up.  It was just enough sauce to coat everything, but not too much, which probably brought down the calories a bit.  Wen I ran it into calorie count it ended up being 459 calories, 20 fat, 48 carbs, 6 fiber and 23 protein, or 14 Smart Points.

So if I were on WW I would have used 30 of my daily points and 7 points from my earned activity points.  Leaving me with just 20 extra points for the remaining 6 days.  I decided to hold off on my final WI for the month of January until Sunday the 31st, and I’ll post that on Monday.  But in just looking at my stats, I know I can do a bit better on the quality of the food I eat – not to say it isn’t healthy, but I’ve never really paid attention to saturated fat before.   We’ll see how it goes!


So I had my next to last appointment with my doctors office to see if I qualify for the year long diabetic clinical trial.  The next step?  A continuous glucose monitor!  I’ was so excited when I read this in the initial information packet.  Basically it’s a sensor that goes under your skin that connects to a receiver.   I’ve always thought it would be so cool if you could just look down and see where you were at.   And even though I test my blood sugar at about the same times every day – pretty much before each meal and before I go to bed.  I’ve always wondered what my blood sugar stats would look like while I sleep.

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Oh hello muffin top!  Now you see where all my weight is – ha!  So that’s the monitor that sticks to my skin, but has a small sensor line that goes under the skin – didn’t hurt a bit.  In a week I was shown a video on how to take it out and then put it on the other side of my body.   They set up my machine at the doctors office, but it would take two hours before I could add in a calibrating blood glucose number from my regular test strip, so I wasn’t really shown how the receiver worked and didn’t even know what questions to ask, so I just took everything with me and decided I would figure it out later.


That’s what it’s supposed to look like – my actual blood sugar at the top (90 in that photo above) and a chart showing the ups and downs of blood sugar over the course of a day.  What did mine look like?

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Huh.  I downloaded the instruction manual, did google searches and could not figure out how to see my stats.  So I texted that picture to my doctors office, and she replied back “that’s what it is supposed to look like – you can’t see the numbers because this is a double blind study.”  Rat farts.  So I suppose after the next two weeks if I don’t make it in the study I could possible ask for the results?  I may also look to see if my insurance company might cover this though.  I mean, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to help me control my diabetes better so I don’t have to spend money on doctors and hospitals later in life because I didn’t have such good control? 

So two weeks from today we’ll find out if I made it.  It’s such a fine line of having my A1C too low or too high – like .3 on the scale – so 7.2 to 7.5 is the A1C range they want me to be in.  I am at 7.3 now, but if it goes up to 7.6 or lower than 7.2 I don’t qualify.   But I figure it’s all for science, and I have to tell you that looking back, I don’t think I normally would check my blood sugar 4 times a day on a weekend – there have been times when I wake up on Monday and check my blood sugar, only to see my last reading was from Friday night – yikes!  So for that reason alone, this has been a positive experience.


  I am off to make a spinach and egg white omelet, hash browns, light turkey sausage and sliced fruit for breakfast, which will be 8 Smart Points.  Open-mouthed smile

Hope you have a wonderful weekend – come back Monday for my January WI.  And for those of you who have asked, Joe and I are still alcohol free for the month.  Open-mouthed smile

Breakfast/ Healthy

Toasted Coconut Pancakes

Monday night I had my make up yoga class.  I kept checking my email because all day long it looked like I was the only one that signed up.  I didn’t like that.  If I go to a group fitness class, I am the one with my mat to the way back of the room.  Like always.  What was I going to do if I was the only one in the class?  There was no where to hide.  I contemplated not showing up, but considering I missed the Saturday class, I didn’t want them to see my name on the sign up sheet and think “she’s such an asshole for not showing up for classes she signs up for!”

I walked in, and the instructor said “are you Biz?”  Yep!  I asked if I was still the only one, and she said she was.  I said off handedly, “if you have to cancel the class because it’s just me, I completely understand.”  She replied “nonsense!  I love having just one student because I can really concentrate on them.”  Fudge crackers.

She asked me my level.  EXTREME BEGINNER.  Yes, I am shouting that, because I wanted to make sure she knew I really had no idea what I was doing.  I think I know three yoga poses by name.  But off we went.  Doing the opening stretches, and that’s when she asked me if I liked to “challenge myself.”  Well, yes, my inner former athlete started to emerge, as well as my competitiveness, and we ended up doing about 30 minutes of complete core work within the 75 minute class.  Some poses I was shaking like a leaf, other poses I was thinking “wow, I am getting stronger!”

The end result?  I LOVED IT.  She was able to push and stretch me into the right positions – what I thought was straight, really wasn’t, and once she moved me into the right position it was like a light bulb went on over my head.  The class zoomed by.  We talked during quiet stretch times, and I think it was a blessing in disguise that I missed that Saturday class.  But what it also taught me was what the fudge am I so afraid of?  I think it’s just my natural instinct to run towards my comfort zone, not away from it.  But I also consider myself an adventurous person, so it’s an interesting dichotomy I find myself in, and I am hoping going forward that I let down the walls of my comfort zone to see what else is on the other side.

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I already know what one of the first things that’s on the outside of my comfort zone – aerial yoga!  I just noticed the aerial equipment Monday night.  That’s definitely going on my list of things to try.  Have you ever tried it before?!  And yes, I am still sporting the Christmas nail polish.  I figure I can let it go until the end of the month Open-mouthed smile

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I bought unsweetened coconut when I was making granola for family at Christmas time.  Um, okay – shredded coconut and unsweetened coconut are two very different animals.  I had no idea how much sugar was actually in shredded coconut.  It’s been sitting in my pantry for the longest time, and I stumbled across Minimalist Baker’s Toasted Coconut Pancakes, and knew I was going to use the unsweetened coconut for this recipe.   Not sure if you’ve been to Dana’s blog, but she and her husband John are mostly vegetarian.  Dana is lactose intolerant and bakes mostly dairy and egg free.  I did switch up her recipe a bit – I used regular flour, and used a regular egg for the flax egg.    So if you want her vegan version, please see the red link above.

Toasted Coconut Pancakes
Serves 8
A delicious, slightly sweet pancake - perfect for the weekends or for a quick breakfast on a weekday morning.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
138 calories
17 g
23 g
7 g
3 g
5 g
66 g
31 g
3 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 138
Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 5g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 23mg
Sodium 31mg
Total Carbohydrates 17g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1 pinch of sea salt
  5. 1 cup white flour
  6. 2 tablespoons quick oats
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  9. 1 tablespoon agave nectar (Trader Joe’s sells it cheap!)
  10. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium low heat. Add the 1/2 cup shredded coconut to the pan and toss until the coconut because slightly browned. Once cooled, stir with the 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  2. On a large bowl, mix the cooled coconut/sugar mixture, baking powder, salt, flour and oats together.  In a small bowl, beat the egg with the coconut oil, agave nectar and almond milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and just mix until combined – lumpy is good!  (thank goodness, am I right ladies?!)  Let the batter sit for at least 10 minutes, if you have the luxury – 30 minutes is awesome because the baking powder has a chance to do it’s magic.  I used a 1/3 cup measure for my pancakes and got 8 pancakes.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
My Bizzy Kitchen
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I smeared a teaspoon of crunchy almond butter in between the pancakes, topped with a tablespoon of pom seeds and some chopped ham on the side for some protein.  Holy yum, these are delicious!  And these were super filling too – I ate these around 8:45 in the morning and I didn’t eat lunch until nearly 2!


I’ve been getting lots of steps in and even ventured out Monday and yesterday to walk during lunch.  Monday I was almost too warm it was near 40 degrees and no wind.  I darkened that top left hand picture to send it to my brother and sister to show them how much grey hair I have.  So not ready to die it yet though!  Yesterday I got nearly 20k steps!  It wasn’t that hard either.  I walked 20 minutes before work, 40 minutes at lunch and after work I did 30 minutes of strength and finished off with a 2 mile walk.  When you break it up like that, it doesn’t seem so bad. 

PicMonkey Collage - fit bit

That lower right hand pic?  Holy balls – it was so cold!  I looked at my weather app and it said 28 degrees – no problem!  But it was super windy and I didn’t bring my hat to work.  So I used an extra jacket that I had in the car and wrapped it around my head and ears.  My North Face jacket is so warm, not sure how I survived a Chicago winter without one before.  When I got back to my desk, it said the wind chill was 16 degrees – no wonder it felt so cold!

And with all these steps, I have a new badge – I’ve reached the Monarch Badge – since Tony got me my first Fitbit in March of 2014 (my last gift from him!) I’ve walked 2500 miles!

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It helps that my Fitbit friends ask me to join challenges on the Fitbit app – if I see someone gaining on me I have to get moving!  Thanks Laura for inviting me to this weeks Workday Week Shuffle!


Fran, I wanted to show you my screen saver at work – I think I use your photographs more than any other for my work screensaver.  Love this one!

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And because you all know I have a sick sense of humor, I loved this on Instagram:

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I won’t be anywhere near 20k steps today – I realize that I have to give my body a break in between days like yesterday.  But guess what?  I still watched two hours of t.v. last night!  I finished watching Biggest Loser and I have to watch American Idol – I’ve watched every season since the beginning!  I stopped watching Hell’s Kitchen – it’s the same show with just different people.  If I hear Gordon Ramsey yell “it’s RAW!” one more time, I’ll poke my eyes out.

But, I am watching Master Chef Junior!  One of my high school field hockey friends daughter Addison made it into the Season Finale which airs on Friday night this week.  That would be so exciting if she won!


Make it a great day!


Jalapeno Popper Pizza

My sister texted my brother and I on Friday that she was taking her youngest through our high school because she’ll be starting high school in the fall and is already picking out classes and seeing what kinds of extra curricular activities and sports are available to her.  Um, it’s a lot.   Um, try 23 sports including field hockey (duh!), water polo and badminton.   And for extra-curricular activities?  Try over 70!  Including: vegetarian/animal rights group; robotics and gospel choir.

Since we went to such a big high school, there are a number of famous alumni.  My sister snapped this picture of the “wall of excellence” and my brother texted “did Thomas Lennon go to school while you guys were there?”  If you don’t know the name Thomas Lennon, you may know one of his favorite charactors:


Yep, Lt. Dangle from Reno 911 graduated in 1988 – my twin sister and I graduated in 1986.  I tried to find a year book that he would have been in, but could only find my 1984 year book quickly.  So I give you Biz and Jennifer circa 1984!  Can you tell which one is me?  I know my niece is going to excel in high school – she’s very much like Hannah as a student – she loves homework, projects, writing notes in different colors, having different colored file folders depending on the class – you get the idea!  Can’t believe she’ll be the class of 2020!  Ten years after Hannah graduated from school. Open-mouthed smile

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Here is a link to the notable/famous alumni of our school.   Yep, it includes Jeff Mauro of Food Network fame and Kathy Griffin!


So you know Party Pizza Friday is alive and well if you follow me on Instagram.  I don’t consider my pizza night a “cheat meal” per se, but I do look forward to it every week, and it’s the one dinner I don’t measure out everything on my plate.  I was trying to think of a different type of pizza to make, and found Damn Delicious’ Japapeno Popper pizza and was like “why the fuck haven’t I made that before!” 

I used half of my no rise pizza dough for the pizza (2 cups water, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water), and I adapted my recipe to what I had on hand.  So mine was inspired by Chungah’s post.  The ingredients below are for one 12 inch pizza.

  • 2 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 sliced jalapeno
  • 3 pieces of candied bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Roll out the dough.  I use my Baking Steel, so it was hot in the oven at 425 degrees.  Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of the pizza that’s on parchment paper.   Top with the sliced mozzarella cheese, the chopped bacon, the sliced jalapeno and the corn.  Brush the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

PicMonkey Collage - pizza

So good!  I loved the poppy seed crust, the cream cheese gave it just a bit of tang, then you get the sweetness from the candied bacon and corn, and then that pop of salt from the bacon.  Delish!


Jacob had to work most of the day on Saturday and Hannah was off.  I love spending the day with Hannah.  About once a month she does a big stock up shop at Walmart – one of her favorite stores.  I only had to replace our bottled water for $12, but somehow managed to spend $92!  Easy to do in a store that big – I was just happy to be getting so many steps in outside of the gym!

My eats were on point over the weekend – I know that Friday night is my night of indulgence, so I made good choices the rest of the weekend.  Top right – breakfast both Saturday and Sunday – egg white omelet with feta cheese, turkey sausage, pom seeds and a cutie.  Saturday lunch was out with Hannah – I ordered posole and it was so good – I ended up bringing 3/4 of it home and had that as a leftover on Sunday for lunch.  Saturday night Hannah and Jacob went out, so it was dinner for one – I made a beef and veggie stir fry.   And Sunday night I made this Cuban Mojo pork roast – so good, but I am waiting to make it again because I think it will be amazeballs on a grill.  And for the record, both my step-son, his wife and I are still alcohol free this month!  Joe texted me a picture of wings and waffle fries and said “this would really go good with a beer!”

PicMonkey Collage - good eats

I’ve been keeping up with my workouts over the weekend – something that normally went by the way side last year.   I’d do great M-F and then all bets were off on the weekends.  I went to bed at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night because I had my hot yoga Saturday morning – and I fucking overslept!  Luckily they have a 24 hour cancellation after the class, so I can make up the class and will be going to a 7:00 p.m. class tonight with no penalty.  Whew!  I guess I needed the sleep!

PicMonkey Collage - workout

The top and lower left hand pick?  That’s my new Kutting Weight top.  I am 5.2 and at my last WI I was 174 pounds.  Nearly all of my weight is in my tummy area, and I am sure other women who have this problem of the “muffin top” find it difficult to do some exercises if your stomach is moving in a different direction of the rest of your body.  Just try doing jumping jacks with a loose pair of sweat pants and a loose shirt and you’ll know what I mean!   I don’t know if their claim of “regardless of whether you’re using the suit for weight loss in a competitive sport or for your own health and fitness goals, the Kutting Weight sauna suit can help you achieve your your ideal physique. The sauna suit clothing is the most advanced product for enhancing weight loss in the fitness industry.”

All I knew was that when I looked at the tank, and read some reviews, it looked like this would be the perfect shirt to keep everything in one place.   I am going to have to do a video soon to show you, but I absolutely love this tank.  It’s tight, but doesn’t feel like I am restricted in any way.  And when I did my quarter mile run intervals at the gym, it was seamless – I didn’t feel any giggling, my tummy fat stayed in place and I could almost picture myself running at a healthy weight!  (let’s not talk about that I have about 34 pounds to go to be at the top end of a healthy weight for my height!).   It’s pricey – $39.99 but with free shipping and I literally got it in two days.  You can’t wash it in a washer – you have to hand wash it and let it hang dry.  One woman said she would wear it about 5 times before washing it – when I take it off it’s pretty wet with sweat, but the neoprene dries super fast and it didn’t smell after the two times I wore it over the weekend.  I’ll keep you posted on that. 

I did find it interesting that when I looked at the sizing chart – the size L was suggested for someone who was 5.7” to 5’11” who weighs between 170-190 pounds!


Yesterday I made some soup and my copycat Starbuck’s lemon loaf for a friend of mine who had emergency surgery last week.  She’s recouping nicely, but thought it might be nice to drop some food off to her and her family.  So many people brought me stuff after Tony died, that I only think it’s fair to pay it forward.  This time though, I got the glaze perfect!  I need to rewrite the original recipe – turns out I needed twice as much powdered sugar, but I had a ton leftover.  And um, for the record?  This lemon loaf is insulin worthy!

PicMonkey Collage - lemon loaf


I have some fun family news!  Tony’s nephew and his wife added a baby girl to their family of three.  Brother Maddux is now a big brother to a sister named Hazel Bonita!  The middle name is after my MIL – happy to say the baby is home and in perfect health.   They live in Tennessee so not sure when I’ll met her yet, but that’s the beauty of social media – I’ll get to see her a lot before I even meet her!

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Hope you all had a great weekend!  See you on Wednesday, until then, you can stalk me on Instagram.   Hugs!