Energy Bars

I don’t make the focus of my having insulin dependent diabetes on the blog too often, for the only reason that it’s just so part of my life, I don’t even think of it.  Well, that’s a lie.  I think about it a lot throughout the day, from what my blood sugar is at any given moment of the day, to wondering how hard I can work out at lunch, etc.  But like most people, I don’t like to have a lot in my stomach before working out, but it’s a necessary evil for me to fuel my workouts so that my blood sugars don’t drop.

Lately I’ve found that most protein bars make me sick to my stomach about 30 minutes after I eat them.  I tried a few different ones in the last several weeks, from lower carb, to higher in protein, but in the end,  it not only didn’t fuel my workouts but abruptly cut them short.   (Photo credit to Hannah for this next pic – thanks Hannah!)

A healthy bar that will fuel any workout.

A healthy bar that will fuel any workout.

So when I saw that Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest make a chocolate honey nut bar, I thought – why don’t I try that?!  I did alter her recipe just a tiny bit.  I reduced some of the nuts, and skipped the flaked salt altogether because the salted nuts had plenty of salt.  I also reduced the amount of dark chocolate.  Um, and I also made them 36 servings.  The WW recipe builder says these are 4 points, but the nutrition label says they are two, so I am calling them 3 points at 36 servings, but I think her original serving was 12-14 – which would be closer to more than half my allotted WW points for the day if I ate that portion!

Energy Bites
Serves 36
I made these bars 36 servings - just enough energy to get you through your workout!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
86 calories
10 g
0 g
5 g
2 g
1 g
18 g
1 g
7 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
18g
Servings
36
Amount Per Serving
Calories 86
Calories from Fat 43
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 1g
6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 1mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 10g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup honey
  2. 1 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  3. 1 tablespoons coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  6. 1/2 cup raw almonds
  7. 1/2 cup roasted, shelled pistachios
  8. 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  9. 1/2 cup raw pepitas
  10. 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  11. 2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350. On a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper that has been rubbed with coconut oil, spread out the peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pepitas and sesame seeds and mix them around until they look combined. In a stock pot, add the honey, brown sugar and coconut oil and bring to a low boil, and boil for 3-4 minutes. I tend to like a crunchy bar – so if you like a soft bar, boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool for 1 minutes, then stir in the vanilla and spread as evenly as you can over the nut mixture. She’s right when you don’t have to worry about it being evenly portioned because the heat of the oven will melt the honey mixture and it will come out just fine. Bake for 25 minutes for chewy bars, or 30 for crunchy ones. I baked mine for 30 minutes.
  2. Important here – let it cool overnight. Only then will you be able to cut it into the bars and get a nice clean edge. Once cut, place the pieces in the freezer for 10 minutes. Two minutes before you remove the bars from the freezer, melt the dark chocolate. Dip each piece just to the top of the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper. Because the bars are now cold, the chocolate will harden almost immediately. I left my bars out for a day, but you can store them in the fridge if you like.
beta
calories
86
fat
5g
protein
2g
carbs
10g
more
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
PicMonkey Collage - energy bites

I tested one of the energy bars out before my Sunday walk.  My blood sugar was 145, I took 4 units of fast acting insulin (in the morning my walk acts like food and raises my blood sugar) and walked a vigorous pace for 45 minutes.  When I came back home my blood sugar was 157 – nice!   The best part?  I know exactly what’s in them – honey, mixed nuts and dark chocolate – no preservatives or anything I can’t pronounce!   I have a feeling I’ll make a batch of these every couple of weeks.

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Friday I was running errands and found myself at Wal-mart and wanted something grab and go.  Not going to lie, the popcorn chicken was calling my name, but I found myself by the prepared salads.  I ended up picking up this BBQ chicken salad and it was delicious!  It came in at 9 smart points and was completely filling.  These would be nice to have on hand to grab and go to work, or have handy in case you get home late and don’t feel like cooking.   They have several other flavors too which I’ll try out next time.

PicMonkey Collage - salad

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Saturday I attended a baby shower.  Tony’s best friend and his wife’s daughter is having a baby.   I hadn’t seen many of these people since Tony died and it nearly made me cry a few times.  One: I had to buy the baby a White Sox outfit because Tony would have wanted his Cubs fan friend’s first grandson to have one.  I wrote a note on the card that said not to worry, that I would provide White Sox merchandise throughout her son’s life in honor of Tony!  

PicMonkey Collage - shower

A couple other women also came up to me after the shower and gave me their condolences, and it was right there at that moment that I realized Tony will never see his grandchildren, and it made me really sad.  Obviously I knew that, but in that instant it was like a sucker punch to the gut and I may have shed a tear or two on the drive home.  I am extremely happy for this almost new Mom though – she and her husband tried for a few years to get pregnant and I know she’ll be an awesome Momma. 

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I had also seen a Timehop earlier in the day and saw this:

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I had to go back and read that post from February of 2011 to remind myself what he was coming home from the hospital for.  I started to google “My Bizzy Kitchen” to find the right link quickly and was shocked to see that “My Bizzy Kitchen husband. . .” is the first thing that pops up.   I guess new readers wanted to find out what happened to him.

However, I did feel him cheering me on though – one thing that I never tackled by myself was putting together furniture from a box.  Like never.  I would bring it home, put it in front of Tony’s recliner, give him any necessary tools that he might need and walk away.  I’d come back a short time later and have the piece of furniture put together.   So I am super proud that I put these shelving units together all by myself!  I just needed Hannah’s help to stack one on top of the other.  Each three shelf unit was $37 at Walmart, and each wire basket was $8.  I had wide open shelving in my closet but it was too hard to keep organized. 

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So this is the first week with me not working!  It doesn’t seem “real” yet – because we leave for vacation on Saturday and will be gone for a week.  And I am headed to Chicago today.  A few weeks ago when I met up with my sister for coffee when I was judging at Kendall College, I met one of my sisters co-workers who subsequently introduced me to one of her friends that works at a catering company in Chicago.  I am having a “conversation and cocktails” meeting this afternoon to visit their facilities and see what their organization is all about.  I have no idea if it will lead anywhere, but since I am open to anything, I figured why not!  And because of the way my train schedule is (i.e. – I live in the sticks and there is a few hour gap in the middle of the day that doesn’t go downtown) I will be having lunch out with my sister!  We are eating at Seven Lions, which has been on my list of restaurants I’ve wanted to try.  Not a bad way to spend the day!

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If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that with my new life came a new hairstyle!  Actually, the grey hair was getting more pronounced, and I finally bit the bullet and got my hair highlighted – you can barely tell, which is what I wanted – it’s just a chestnut color one step up from my natural hair color.  But I went really short!  On the top left picture is how my hair looked after I straightened it before the shower on Saturday.  The problem is my hair is super fine.  Not sure how my twin sister got her thick hair, but you can really tell how thin it is when I straighten it.

PicMonkey Collage - hair

I love it!  I’ve never had my hair cut around my ear before like that, but I like that the part in front of my ear can be tucked behind my ear if I want it.  It just seems so much thicker and healthier too.   It was funny because when I showed the stylist the cut she said “wow, that’s pretty short, are you sure?!” and I said “Yep!” to which she replied – “If you don’t like it, it’s just hair and it will grow back.  There are worst world problems.”  So true!

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And I have a new app Photofy that I forgot I had on my phone, and while I sat with foil in my hair for 25 minutes for the highlights, I played around with it for a bit.  My twin sister is also kicking ass and taking names on WW.  She’s down 12 pounds!  She texted me a picture of her at the track at the high school near her, so I texted her my picture of me walking in my neighborhood – and then had to embellish the picture just a tiny bit.

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And then I sent her this one – which I love, because it’s so true.  The photo was from my walk yesterday morning – in 55 degree weather!

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So that brings us to my weekly WI:  Last week I was 167.3 (January 1 starting weight was 177.9).  Today I am . . . (you’ll be happy to know that Hannah and I got pedicures yesterday!)

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Whoop! Down another 1.2!  That makes my total for the first two months of 2016 11.8 pounds lost.  Jenn, I am trying to catch up with you! 

Now it’s time to get my walking shoes on.  I have two hours before I have to be at the train station.  I think I’ll get used to this not having a job thing pretty quickly. Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I thought my last day of work was going to drag, but surprisingly it went by pretty quickly!  Around 3 in the afternoon we got together in the small conference room and had some treats – my co-worker Janice knows me just a little too well – she knows I love cheese and I’ve always found red velvet cupcakes insulin worthy!  Although I do scrape off most of the frosting – I know most people love buttercream frosting, but it’s a bit too much for me. 

We have a dry erase board in that room, and as I was moving some chairs around, saw this:

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But here’s the weird thing, no one would admit to writing it, so it’s a mystery, but it only made me realize more that I am making the right decision. 

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My office manager boss gave me a sweet card and flowers:

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The office signed a nice card and my two co-worker secretaries gave me a sweet card and a gift card to a restaurant near the office – um, I think to entice me to head that way again and meet up with them!  I do have a track record of not keeping in touch with former co-workers, even if I’ve eaten lunch with you every day for three years, if you or I leave, that’s pretty much the end of the relationship.  But I am trying to do better!  (Hi Alison, Judy, Renee and Whitney!) 

Before I knew it, I packed up the last of my snowman mugs and headed to Courtney’s house for Cooking Club!  I was the head chef this month.  Basically I pick the entrée and then the rest of the sides, appetizers and desserts assigned to the rest of the group.  I knew I was going to make my Chicago Deep Dish pizza when my turn came up.  For a couple of reasons.  1.  It’s super delicious!  and 2. I wanted to show everyone how easy it is to make deep dish pizza at home. 

Only one tiny problem.  One of our fellow cooks has a gluten allergy.  I didn’t want her not to enjoy the main course, so in January when I knew I’d be the head chef, I got to work on coming up with a gluten free pizza dough.  And as luck would have it, my first attempt was a home run.  So while I made that first pizza a thin crust, I thought there shouldn’t be a problem making a deep dish pizza using that dough, and it worked out just fine.  Here’s the thing about the gluten free dough – it’s a bit more crumbly than a regular flour pizza dough.  All it needs is a bit of fat to help roll it out – just a bit of olive oil and you are good to go.

I brought two pizzas already made.  That’s the best part too – you can make these pizzas up to 3 days in advance, just take the pizza out 30 minutes before you bake it for 30 minutes at 425.  You can also freeze the pizza too.  Just defrost in the fridge overnight, and then do the same thing – set it on the counter 30 minutes before baking.

PicMonkey Collage - cooking demo

It looks like I am having such an awful time, right?!  Ha!  I brought another batch of gluten free dough for Julie to take home and try.  Then I brought regular flour deep dish pizza dough and demonstrated how to assemble the pizza – olive oil in the bottom of the pan, spread out the dough, sliced mozzarella cheese, toppings, sauce and Parmesan cheese, in that order.  It’s the America’s Test Kitchen recipe and you can find all the step by step instructions here.  Don’t be intimidated by how long this recipe looks – I’ve made it so many times over the years I can almost do it by memory.

While I demonstrated, the pizzas were cooking, and we ate some amazing appetizers and had a delicious side of stuffed artichokes, which I didn’t think I’d like, but I loved.  And I also deemed the dessert insulin worthy!

PicMonkey Collage - cc

PicMonkey Collage - shrimp

PicMonkey Collage - cath

PicMonkey Collage - artichoke

PicMonkey Collage - lindsay

That top flowery looking dish?  That is called a tarte soleil – fancy word for a French puff pastry dish that looks as if you spent hours on it, but our fellow Chef Tina from Shredded Sprout said it wasn’t complicated to make at all.  I haven’t worked with much puff pastry at home (she used store bought and it was delicious!).   She found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen – you can follow her instructions here.  And while her version of sundried tomatoes and olives dipped in a feta lemon dipping sauce was amazing, Tina recommends reading the comments on this post from all the different variations people used using this same technique – making it sweet by using nutella for instance.  Swoon!

Donna made shrimp spring rolls with a Thai peanut sauce.  I loved the bright fresh flavors in those.   She learned to make these from her tennis partner, so while her recipe didn’t have exact instructions on measurements, etc., I found this recipe that is the closest to her dish.  And guess what guys?  I even ate the chives in the spring rolls!   Baby steps.

Julie made stuffed artichokes.  I am actually not that familiar with using fresh artichokes.  Tony used to love them, but I would cheat and buy the marinated artichoke hearts at the store for his pizza or if I added it to his pasta.   Julie created this recipe from several that she saw online.  We all applauded her efforts in breaking down so many artichokes to get to the hearts!

  • 5 large artichokes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups gluten free bread crumbs (or regular if you don’t have a gluten allergy)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons grated Manchengo cheese
  • Olive oil, salt and mayo

Peal the hard outer leaves from artichokes leaving only the yellow center leaves.  As you are working with each one, keep the remaining artichokes soaking in lemon water to avoid browining.  With a peeler, remove touch outer skin of stalks.  Steam the artichokes for 30 minutes until tender.  Let cool.

Mince the garlic and grate 3 tablespoons lemon zest.  Add 2 tablespoons EVOO to suate pan and garlic and lemon zest . . .2 minutes.  Add bread crumbs and sea salt and toss.s  Let cool.  Add cheese and toss.

Cut the artichokes in half and remove the furry choke with inner leaves.  Place a quarter size dollop of mayo where the choke used to be.  Top each artichoke with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle with EVOO.  Broile on low to heat and brown the topping.

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Mary Beth made a giant antipasto salad.  I didn’t get a good picture of the actual salad – sorry MB!  Turns out you can’t have your finger in front of the lens when you take a picture, who knew?  But she said while you can add anything to the salad that you have on hand – jarred artichokes, mozzarella cheese, salami, proscuitto, etc., the dressing makes the salad.  It was absolutely delicious.

  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 teaspoons white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Put everything except the oil in a food processor.  Blend until combined.  Slowly add oil while continuing to blend.  Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  No food processor, no problem!  Just do it the old fashioned way and whisk in a bowl until combined.  Store in a mason jar.

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Can we talk about Catherine’s shrimp dish for just a second? 

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She brought this over to show us before putting it into the oven, and the smell of garlic wafted up and was intoxicating right from the get go.  Again, there wasn’t a true recipe to this, but she described it:

  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, tails left on
  • 5 cloves of chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 lemons sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • hefty pinch of crushed red pepper

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  She served this with crusty bread so that you could dip it into the wonderful sauce that is left over in the bottom of the pan.  We all agreed that with a fresh garden salad on the side, that in itself could be a dinner.  So good!

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I didn’t get a picture of the cut pizza that I made, but everyone gave it two big thumbs up.  I made one sausage and pepperoni and the other fresh spinach and cheese.  I cut each pie into 8 pieces so we each got a taste.

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And no Cooking Club would be remiss without dessert, and Lindsay made a no bake oatmeal bar that was her Grandma’s recipe:

Louise’s Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2.5 – 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it comes to a rolling boil.  Continue to boil for ONE MINUTE stirring constantly, then remove from heat.  Add in oats, peanut butter and vanilla and mix well.  Drop by heaping teaspoons onto wax paper and refrigerate 15-20 minutes.

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This was such a fun night.  The food was delicious, the company was wonderful and I am just so happy to be a part of this group.  Sadly, I didn’t get any good pictures of our hostess with the mostest Courtney or Tina, but I’ll be a better photographer next time.   Thanks for hosting Courtney – until next time!

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I heard some sad news earlier this week.  One of my blog friend’s Amee who I’ve been on a couple Beef trips with is probably the healthiest person I know.  She works out, does cross training (check out this Instagram!) and has been eating a healthy diet for years.  But cancer didn’t get that memo and last week she was diagnosed with breast cancer.   While I know she’s a fighter and will get through this, it’s just another reminder that life is too short and you have to appreciate every day that is given to you and not take it for granted.  I hope you can head over to her blog and wish her well – give her any positive feedback if you are a breast cancer survivor or know someone who is – be sure to let her know Biz sent you – we need to send her a lot of virtual hugs!

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So here’s to the first day of the rest of my life!  Now I am off to fix a leisurely breakfast because, oh yeah, I don’t have a job!  Hannah and I do have plans today though.  I have a baby shower to shop for and we may or may not hit up a thrift store (um, that would be a given!) and we need to get pedicures before our Texas trip that we leave for in a week. 

I hope you have an awesome weekend and I’ll “see” you on Monday.  You can always find me on Instagram though in the meantime (MyBizzyKitchen).  Make it a great day!

Mushroom Steak Sauce

Somehow (maybe because I watch a lot of Food Network?!) Jacob asked me the other day who my favorite chef is on the network.  I’d have to say food wise, it would be Bobby Flay.  A:  Because I love spicy stuff!  B.  I love meat and he’s a grill master and C. I like his throw down show where he cooks with regular home cooks.

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The last time Hannah and I went to Goodwill, I picked up his cookbook Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook for $1.25.  And as much as I don’t read fiction books all that often, I do read a cookbook like a book!  Jacob and I have brought back Meat Monday, even though Hannah is home on Monday nights.  Which is one less night for me to meal plan – now I have Meat Monday, Leftover Thursday and Party Pizza Friday – makes it so much easier to plan!

He makes a steak sauce at his restaurant, and while he says there are purists out there who think a good steak only needs a dusting of salt and pepper, he feels that a great steak sauce can elevate any cut to perfection.  And while I will make his steak sauce one day for myself, I realized after looking at the ingredient list that Jacob may not like a couple of the ingredients – namely the horseradish, honey and maple syrup.   But I did like the idea of having Dijon mustard and ancho chile powder, so below is my cheaters weeknight version of a steak sauce.

Mushroom Steak Sauce
Serves 2
While a great steak is good - sometimes a great steak sauce makes it even better! You'll love the touch of heat from the ancho chile powder.
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Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
6 min
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
6 min
35 calories
5 g
0 g
0 g
4 g
0 g
138 g
444 g
3 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
138g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35
Calories from Fat 4
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 444mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 3g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
1%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon A-1 steak sauce
  2. 1/3 cup beef broth
  3. 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  4. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, sauté the mushrooms in Pam (or a tiny pat of butter) until they start to brown a bit.  Add in the steak sauce, beef broth, Dijon mustard and chile powder and heat over medium high heat for a minute, or until the sauce starts to thicken.   This should only take a minute or two.  Remove from heat and serve over grilled steak.
Notes
  1. Always make sure your beef is at room temperature before grilling or cooking 😀
Adapted from Bobby Flay
beta
calories
35
fat
0g
protein
4g
carbs
5g
more
Adapted from Bobby Flay
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
Now I had an old cast iron skillet that covered two burners and was flat on one side to make pancakes or grates on the other side to grill.  The only problem was that it would smoke out the house whenever I used it, and it weighed a lot and was kind of hard to clean.  I had some money left on a gift card from Christmas and with my 20% Bed Bath and Beyond coupon, I only paid $10 for this one.   It’s cast iron aluminum and I was hoping that it wouldn’t smoke up the house.  Um, guess again!

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That was just after the first flip!  Jacob and I are both so ready for grilling season, although tomorrow starting at 9:00 a.m. there is a winter storm warning and we could get from 1 – 7 inches depending on where you live in the Chicago area.  But with temps back in the 50s by the weekend, it won’t last long.  But I am really ready for spring!  Also note that not all beef are the same points.  Typically lean beef is 1 point per ounce, but since this is a T-bone, and thus more fatty (that’s where all the flavor is!) my 4 ounce portion was 8 points, and my dinner with the potato and sauce was 15 points, but so totally worth it.  It worked within my points, although I think I may start eating bigger meals for breakfast and lunch and a lighter dinner.  We’ll see how that plays out once I am not working. Open-mouthed smile

So what are some other things I’ve been eating this week?

PicMonkey Collage - food

1. Tostadas from Sunday night turned into breakfast tostadas on Monday.  Two corn tostadas (2) topped with two ounces of beef (2) an ounce of light Cabot cheese (2) and half a cup scrambled egg white (1) for 7 smart points.

2.  Cranberry apple parfait.  The picture was taken on my desk.  My THIRD TO LAST BREAKFAST at that desk – whoop!  I made a cranberry apple sauce before work – 1/2 cup frozen cranberries cooked down with 1 chopped Fuji apple, 2 tablespoons of water, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch (1 point) mixed with plain Chobani (2) and 1/3 cup Kashi cranberry granola (4) for a 7 smart point breakfast.

3.  Saturday night’s dinner of teriyaki beef and vegetables, turned into that beef and veggie stir fry, and that still didn’t use all of my leftovers!   I mixed 1 tablespoon of stir fry sauce with 1 teaspoon of sriracha (1) and had 4 ounces of beef (4) with two cups of veggies, which I am calling 1 point because even though they were “steamed” veggies, I think there might have been a touch of oil, still not bad for that giant bowl of food for 6 smart points!  It actually should have been a 10 point lunch, but I forgot my rice at home.

4.  Lasagna soup is back!!  I figured out the points and my 1.5 cup serving is 6 smart points, I do leave out the cheesy goodness in the original recipe, and I added 1/2 ounce of light Cabot cheese to the top of mine.  I also measured out 1/2 cup cooked pasta for my bowl.  Still so good – I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of that soup.

Last night the other two secretaries took me out for happy hour.  Wok n Fire near our office has 1/2 price apps from 5-7 – nice!  When the server came to the table and asked what I wanted to drink, I almost instinctively said “I’ll have a glass of Pinot Grigio”, but my mouth actually said “I’ll have unsweetened iced tea with lemon!”  We split three appetizers, and as I had 16 points going into dinner, I am calling it a wash.  Nothing was remotely close on the WW app to enter anyway, so I am not too worried about it.  Thanks ladies!!

Since it was only 7 when we went our separate ways, I decided to hit up the gym on my way home.  I did 10 minutes of upper body, then a 2 mile job and then 25 flights on the stair master before my blood sugar started to drop.  When I got home it was 71 – not too bad!  I ate a banana and it was all good.

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So now only TWO days left of work!  I did my last Sam’s Club run for the office yesterday and I’ll just say it out loud, I won’t miss that task at all.   I was asked to “stock up” so that it will be a while before anyone else has to do another run, and it’s up for debate who will get the task because basically no one wants it.

I have Cooking Club tomorrow night at Courtney’s house and I am the head chef!   I decided to show everyone how to make Chicago deep dish pizza at home, except I am making my dough gluten free because one of our members has a gluten allergy.  I’ll post the recap with pics on Friday.  I’ve had several people tell me that they were so happy to make a gluten free pizza at home that didn’t taste like cardboard – and I’ll have to say that I really love how this pizza crust tastes – and I don’t even think I could tell it was gluten free if I didn’t make it myself.  The secret is using Bob’s Red mill Gluten 1 to 1 Baking Flour and like my deep dish pizza dough, I add a bit of butter.  Um, pretty sure butter makes everything better.  Like bacon! Open-mouthed smile

Next time you read this blog I’ll be self-employed!  That’s what I am calling my work hiatus, because I do make $50 a month on this blog, and that is income, right?! 

Make it a great day!

Blueberry Lemon Scones with Orange Zest Glaze

As I am in my LAST WEEK OF WORK I’ve decided to bring in a few of my favorite dishes I’ve made into the office over the years.  Last week I brought a few people my chicken tikka masala, and I brought in a batch of blueberry scones. 

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But most of my scone recipes call for a minimum of six tablespoons of butter, and most recipes can have a stick or two in the recipe.  No wonder those taste so good!  But I wanted to make these a bit more WW friendly so I could incorporate it into an actual breakfast.  The results?  Amazing.  I reduced the butter all the way down to only TWO tablespoons for 16 mini scones – just a tad bit bigger than the vanilla scones at Starbucks.  I bake them on my Baking Steel (still trying to get an invite to their test kitchens!) so the crust has just a hint of crispness to it, but the inside is light and fluffy.  Best part?  These freeze well too.  I took the leftovers and put them on a cookie sheet and froze them for 15 minutes, then added them to a ziploc bag – that way I can just pull one out and pop it in the microwave or toaster oven for later.

Healthy Blueberry Lemon Scones with Orange Zest Glaze
Serves 16
These scones are delicious by themselves, or with a hard boiled egg and fruit to make a complete breakfast. The glaze makes these and only adds one smart point!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
106 calories
21 g
4 g
2 g
2 g
1 g
50 g
45 g
8 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
50g
Servings
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106
Calories from Fat 14
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 4mg
1%
Sodium 45mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 1g
3%
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
5%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons butter, frozen
  6. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  7. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  8. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  9. 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  10. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  11. 1 teaspoon almond milk
  12. 1 tablespoon orange zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, if not using the Baking Steel.  I find that if I spray my baking sheet with Pam, the parchment paper sticks to the pan.  In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Instead of cutting the butter in with your fingers – I grate my butter with a cheese grater right into the flour mixture and that way I don’t have to touch the cold butter with my hands.  Add in the almond milk, lemon juice, and stir just enough until the dough comes together.  I found that I needed to add about 1 tablespoon more of almond milk to incorporate all the flour.
  2. Turn the dough onto a counter that’s lightly floured.  Knead for about 1 minute.  At this point I separated my dough into two sections.  I made each into a round circle about 6 inches around.  I added 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries to each round, then kneaded the dough gently to incorporate the blueberries, then reshaped the dough into rounds and cut each round into 8 sections.
  3. Put those rounds on two separate plates and freeze for 15-20 minutes.  This will help greatly when trying to cut the scones without the dough sticking to the knife and then you get so mad you want to throw the dough straight into the garbage can.  Not that I have any real experience with that or anything.
  4. I put the cut scones on the baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes.  You’ll tell when they are done when the bottom is browned but the top is only slightly browned.  Cool on a baking rack.
  5. Mix the powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon almond milk and orange zest together and dip each cooled scone into the glaze mixture.  The glaze will harden in just a few minutes.  These are 3 smart points without the glaze, 4 with – go ahead and make the glaze, you’ll thank me later!
Notes
  1. The total time includes the freezing time for the dough before cutting. 😀
beta
calories
106
fat
2g
protein
2g
carbs
21g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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You can see how much easier it is to cut once it’s frozen for 15 minutes or so.  I could never get Tony to try a scone because he felt it would just dry his mouth out – but in all my years of convincing him, I couldn’t sway him to try one – I think anyone who says they don’t like scones, just hasn’t had a good one!

**********************

So with my new beginnings with my work ending, I realized it made no sense to continue my gym membership by my office.  First, it’s a 40 minute drive – no thanks!  And second, it’s pricey, even though I get the resident rate because my office is in the town.  Tony surprised me with that membership four years ago this coming summer.   I even told him at the time that it was too much money, but he insisted I was worth it.  Truth be told, I think he was just nervous about me walking around the roads by my office in 90 degree weather and was always worried that my blood sugars would start dropping and I’d be a mile and a half away from the office.

So it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to that gym for the sentimental reasons alone.  I joined the local Y on Saturday though!  Tony and I actually looked at the gym membership 14 years ago, and it was as if we had walked right back into 1955.  The basketball hoops were rusty and hardly had any nets.  The gym “locker room” for lack of a better word was also lined with old, rusty lockers that I didn’t even want to put my shoes into.

Well, fast forward and see what a newly remodeled YMCA looks like:

PicMonkey Collage - Y

They have two pools actually.  The one pool above is for swim meets, but during the week it is open to any member for lap swim.  But Hannah tells me that they keep that pool about 15 or 20 degrees colder than the family pool.  I’ll have to check it out – can’t be any worse than swimming in the outdoor pool at my old gym the first day of summer when it’s open!  They have this gorgeous floor to ceiling fire place, plenty of work space areas with outlets, and a Tropical Smoothie café.  Nice!  I had to take a picture of the Aquatic Center sign – my maiden name is Hills, I thought my family would get a kick out of seeing that! 

Then my Mom came over.  I had gotten us tickets to see all the Academy Award nominated short films at a local theater.  From noon until 4:00 (with only a 20 minute intermission) we saw 10+ short films – ranging in length from 7 to 30 minutes.  I’ve always wondered how people would see any of those movies and when I hear those categories announced that night of the Oscar’s I don’t even really pay attention to it.  But my Mom and I both picked our favorite from the animated and live action categories, and we said if either of those don’t win we could yell at the t.v. and say “what movies were you watching?!  that should have won!”

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We then met up the kadults and hit up our local Italian restaurant for dinner.  We started in the bar area and it was a bit noisy with the live music, so we were happy to have a table in the dining room and talked about their school, politics, etc.  Thanks for hanging out with me Momma!   Mom and I each got the teriyaki steak kabobs – with fresh veggies, and a baked potato.  Neither of us came close to finishing and when I got home I weighed my box and it weighed 1 pound 6 ounces! Insane.  So I have the leftover beef and veggies and made a stir fry for lunch today. 

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So now the countdown begins!!!  I’ve actually gotten a couple of leads in the past few days, and even had to rush to put together a “foodie” resume.  My sister has set me up on Linked In.  I was on there, but up until last week I’d really only been linked with my father in law – hi Carl!   It doesn’t matter if either of those leads even work out, all I know is that it is a giant step in the right direction on where I want to be. 

And that makes me very happy! 

Oh, and before I forget!  It’s my weekly WI!   Last week I was 168.7.  Today I am . . .

Scale 2.23 001

Down another 1.4!  That makes a total of 10.6 pounds so far this year.  I do think the new WW program is helping me make better food choices.  It was interesting because I took some of my old calorie count points for the day – I’d been eating around 1500 calories a day, and if I did the points calculator, some of those days had 40-50 points in a day, and I am allotted only 30 points in a day.  I do use all my 35 flex points for the week, but I don’t eat the exercise points.  I am very happy with my progress so far.

And don’t worry, Hannah and I have plans for a mani/pedi on Friday before we go to Austin – we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the first day of the rest of my life on Friday!

Make it a great day!

Healthy Homemade Pasta

It’s so weird to me sometimes that a few simple ingredients can create such delicious food.  Take flour, salt and eggs and a splash of water.  What have you got?  Homemade pasta!

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So we’ve declared Thursday nights as “spin the fridge wheel” and use up/eat up just what is on hand.  And I didn’t cheat all that much!  Last weekend my store had roma tomatoes on the $1 rack – long time readers know how I am like a bee to honey for that dollar rack!   I actually got four of those packages of tomatoes and only had to throw one out.  I quartered them, added some whole garlic cloves added about a tablespoon of olive oil to the whole GIANT sheet pan and sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

PicMonkey Collage - tom

Once cooled, I just put them in a container, pushed it to the back of the fridge and quickly forgot about it.  Until last night.  I originally thought I’d make tomato soup out of the tomatoes, but then I quickly realized I could make pasta!  I had 16 smart points going into dinner, so pasta for dinner was quickly born.  For the sauce, I heated up my stock pot over medium low heat and added the roasted tomato/garlic mixture.  It was pretty thick, so I added a 14 ounce can of no sugar added diced tomatoes (um, read the labels – A LOT of canned tomatoes have added sugar which adds points!), a tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste.  That simmered while I got my pasta going.

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So I cheated for the pasta.  While most purists will do the flour on the counter, make a well and slowly incorporate the egg into the flour mixture, every.single.time I’ve tried to do that the eggs never incorporate, I’ve got flour on every surface of my kitchen and all over myself.  My hands have more pasta dough on them than the actual counter, and well, it’s a weeknight and I was hungry and decided to make the dough in the food processor.

Healthy Homemade Pasta
Serves 6
So easy you can have fresh pasta on a week night!
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
25 min
187 calories
32 g
93 g
3 g
7 g
1 g
71 g
233 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
71g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 187
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
4%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 93mg
31%
Sodium 233mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 32g
11%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 1-2 tablespoons of water
Instructions
  1. In your food processor, add the flour and salt and give it a couple pulses.  Add the three eggs.  You need to let this run for just 30-60 seconds, until the dough starts to separate from the side of the processor.  I added a tablespoon of water and that was just enough to get it combined.  This dough is not sticky at all.  I simply kneaded it for 30 seconds, shaped it into a disk, put it in a plastic bag and let it rest for 15 minutes while the sauce simmered and my water was coming to a boil.
  2. I made this into six servings, so to control my portion, I cut the pasta dough into 6ths.  My Mom got me a pasta roller but my counters are so crappy there is nothing to hold the pasta roller on to, and after a dozen or so attempts, I finally gave up and went old school.  I mean, did they have pasta machines 100 years ago?!   So I rolled out my 1/6th portion as thin as I could.  Then used my pizza cutter and just hand cut the pasta.  I made sure I had just a bit of flour on my counter so that it didn’t stick to the counter when it was ready to go in the boiling water.
  3. Fresh pasta only takes about 2-3 minutes.  You’ll see the pasta start to float to the top and let it cook an additional minute.
Notes
  1. I am going to see what the difference is and see if you can just make the dough and roll it out and cook it without the rest time. I'll let you know! So the total time stated includes the 15 minutes of time I let the dough rest.
beta
calories
187
fat
3g
protein
7g
carbs
32g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.18.16 077

This is definitely going on the list of things to make all.the.time.  Next time I am going to add baby spinach to the mix and see if I can make spinach pasta!  I am calling the sauce 2 WW points since I roasted the pasta with olive oil and with the tablespoon of shaved Parm, that was an 8 point dinner!

*****************

So what other deliciousness have I eaten this past week?  (note, I am only putting the WW points for my eats.  I know a lot of readers aren’t doing WW but since I am not counting calories, I am already putting my food into WW and didn’t have time to then figure out the calories – thanks!)

PicMonkey Collage - food

  1. Chobani/blueberry/honey bunches of oats.  The Chobani is 2, the blueberries 0 and 1/2 cup of the honey bunches of oats was (3).  This was surprisingly filling for 5 smart points!
  2. Steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s.  Okay, when you do the math, paying $1.79 for two servings of oatmeal is ridiculous, but this is great to have on hand to grab and go so you don’t find yourself going to McDonald’s to get a yogurt parfait but then your mouth says “I’ll have the sausage biscuit combo please!”  Not that it’s happened to me personally. Each oat serving is 5 smart points.
  3. Not too far from the frozen oatmeal in the freezer case was Trader Joe’s very berry cherry frozen mix.  There is no added sugar, so a 1 cup serving is 0 points!  I make my own sauce by taking 1/2 a cup of the frozen fruit and adding a couple tablespoons of water and let it simmer about 5 minutes or so over medium heat until the berries start to melt.  Then I sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch to the mix and bring the heat up to high and cook for another minute until the sauce starts to thicken.
  4. The delicious end result!  The oats (5), the berry sauce (0), the banana (0) and then 1/2 an ounce of mixed nuts for 2, so 7 smart points all together.
  5. Aldi has their Fit & Active line and that giant flat bread is only 2 WW points! 
  6. Beef!  6 ounces of beef is 5 smart points.  I sautéed mushrooms and zucchini (0) and Hannah made skinny twice baked potatoes on the side.  That recipe will be coming soon, but my half of potato was 6 smart points.  My secret though?  Most steak houses brush the beef with clarified butter before it hits your table.  To get that mouth feel of butter, after I cooked the steak, I melted 1/2 teaspoon of butter (1 smart point) and tossed my beef in the butter, so I got a buttery flavor with each bite.  Um, 12 delicious smart points and guess what?  It doesn’t taste like “WW food” because it’s real food.
  7. Greek chicken pitas with home fries and cinnamon apples.  My store sells Greek marinated chicken breasts on sale for $3.99 a pound and they are so flavorful and delicious, that when my Mom comes to my house we usually stop at the store so she can stock up on the chicken.  I had homemade naan dough in the fridge and quickly pan fried them for a quick weeknight dinner.  The naan (2), 4 ounces of chicken (3), tablespoon of tzatziki (0), three ounces of potatoes with ketchup (3) and the sweetest Fuji apple with cinnamon.  Hannah and I both said it was like eating a raw apple pie!
  8. With the Fit & Active flat bread I made a buffalo chicken wrap.  I picked up a piece of breaded chicken tender at the store – it weighed 3 ounces so it was 4 sp.  I added Frank’s hot sauce, red cabbage to the wrap (6 points) and had two tablespoons of Trader Joe’s sriracha hummus (2) and fruit and carrots on the side for an 8 smart point lunch.
  9. With only FIVE workdays left I decided to bring in some baked treats for the office.  I will post this recipe soon, but I made 16 baby blueberry and lemon scones only using two tablespoons of butter for the whole recipe.  Without the glaze the scones are 3 WW points and with the glaze and orange zest, they are 4 points.
  10. I went freezer diving and brought a serving of my beef and bean chili (5) and added 1/2 an ounce of light Cabot cheese (1) and not pictured is 1/2 an ounce of tortilla chips I used for dipping (2) for a 7 smart point lunch. 
  11. My grocery store had chicken thighs on sale for .69 cents a pound so I baked a bunch of them over the weekend.  Jacob LOVES chicken.  These were on the small side, but I baked them in my cast iron skillet with Tony Chacheres creole seasoning at 375 for 25 minutes.  I peeled the skin off and had 4 ounces of chicken thigh (4) with 3.5 ounce twice baked potato (4) and tzatziki sauce (1) with carrots and fruit (0).
  12. Breakfast panini!  Aldi has a one point per slice bread and I ended up scrambling 1 egg (2) with 1/2 cup egg whites (1) with spinach.  At work I put the sammie together with two slices of cooked Trader Joe’s uncured turkey bacon (2) and an ounce of light Cabot cheese (2) with fresh fruit on the side for a 9 smart point breakfast.  Super filling too!
  13. I love the protein pack at Starbuck’s.  Someone at my office bought one and had it in the fridge.  I went and got my phone to scan the bar code and was shocked that it came in at 14 points!  That’s almost half my day!  So I made my own protein plate yesterday.  I had one of my scones (4), with a hardboiled egg (2) with hot sauce, two tablespoons of PBFit (1) and a cinnamon apple. My protein plate comes in at just 7 smart points and this kept me full for hours.  I ate this at 9 am and I didn’t eat lunch until nearly 2:30!

******************

Turns out my last day of work is next Thursday!  My boss realized she was going to be out of town next Friday, and the office would be really quiet, and it didn’t really make sense for me to work when it will be slow.  She asked if it was okay if I left work a day earlier than planned and it was all I could do not to do a back flip out of her office.  Um, yes please!  So ONE WEEK FROM TODAY is the first day of the rest of my life. 

Have you guys seen the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin?  There is a scene where he says he doesn’t need anything.  Anything!  Except this ashtray.  “That’s all I need is this ashtray.  Oh, and this paddle game.  All I need is this ashtray and paddle game.  And these matches!”   I kind of feel that’s how it’s going to be every day until I leave.  I don’t need anything!  Oh, except my crockpot.  That’s all I need is my crockpot!  And my panini maker.  Just the crockpot and the panini maker, that’s all I need!  Oh, and the smoothie maker.  Just the crockpot, panini maker and the smoothie maker!

Um, not to mention the umpteen dishes, plates, silverware, snowman mugs, measuring cups, etc. that have made their home at this office these last five years. Open-mouthed smile

As I was cleaning out a drawer, I found this note from Hannah.  It doesn’t have a date on it, so it could be from last year or five years ago?

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How apropos is that note?  And just the night before last, she tagged me on this from Instagram:

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I am so thrilled that I am showing her by example that you have to fight for what makes you happy and not wait and see if happiness finds you.   So I hope that when you wake up and have the choice, you wake up and chase your dreams!

Have an amazing weekend Open-mouthed smile

Chicken Cilantro Wonton Soup

Over the weekend I was thinking about it.  I can’t really remember NOT having a job since the time I was about 10.  When I was in the 5th grade, I babysat a 3rd grader.  Seems weird to me now that someone hired a 10 year old to watch their 8 year old, but they would pick me up in the morning and drive me to their house.  I’d make breakfast for me and Sherry (I totally need to find her on Facebook and see if she even remembers me!) and we’d walk to school together.  And after school we’d walk back to her house and we would do homework, I’d give her a snack and wait for her parents to come home at dinner time and then drive me home.

So pretty much ever since then, I’ve had some type of job, and pretty much have worked “full time” hours since I was about 16 or 17.  I worked at a restaurant on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  I worked at Benetton after school three days a week.  One time when my sister and our friend Rich got into a fender bender which wasn’t their fault, the woman handed Rich cash to not file a claim because she had taken her husband’s car out without his permission when he was on a business trip.  Do you know what Jennifer and Rich did?  They went to Florida, and somehow my two jobs worked around her two jobs and I worked all four jobs for a week!   I remember them calling me at the pizza place my sister worked at (Jacky, do you remember Old Towne West pizza?) while I was “in the weeds” taking pizza orders and they were telling me how much fun they were having.  OMG, to be young and carefree like that again!   Jenn, do you remember that?! 

And since starting this blog , long time readers will know I’ve had to have two jobs to make ends meet when Tony was out of work or sick.  So as I have just EIGHT days of my job left, I know this is the first time in my adult life that I will not have a job.  And while it’s super scary, it’s also super exciting.  As the firm is starting to panic as my time with them comes to an end, all I could think of as I sit at my desk was “I only have X amount of days before I don’t have to sit in this cubicle with filing cabinets around me.”

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And yes, if you are wondering, my eye brows are on fleek – I just had them threaded Monday night at Wal-mart, and while it hurts like a bitch, it doesn’t look like someone punched me in the face like it does if I get them waxed.

What’s funny though is that I have been busier than I have been in a while.  Suddenly all the files that could have been closed and were just lying around the office need to be organized and moved to a different spot in the office to take to off site storage when it gets nicer out.  I think yesterday I packed and moved about 50 boxes!  And I didn’t mind a bit because I was getting my steps in AND a task like that will no longer be in my future.  Hallelujah! 

*****************

So I have some new finds to share with you.  I forgot how much I love Trader Joe’s.  It’s just normally not in a direction that I travel in regularly, so it’s easy to not keep it on my radar.  Last weekend when Hannah and I went thrifting, we passed by one (literally only 15 minutes from my house, so no excuse!) and I picked up a few things.

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This package has two “hockey” puck sized portions that are frozen.  Each one is 5 smart points, and while it has brown sugar in the ingredient list, AND maple syrup, this is not overly sweet, just a hint.  (Each one also is 150 calories, 2.5 fat, 27 carbs, 4 fiber and 5 protein if you count calories).   I then went over to the frozen fruit section and found this:

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Ingredients?  Cherries, marion blackberries (never heard of those!), blueberries and red raspberries.  That’s it – no added sugar at all, so each 1 cup serving is zero WW points, or 90 calories, 0 fat, 22 carbs, 5 fiber and 1 protein.  I took 1/2 a cup of the berries and added a couple tablespoons of water and let them simmer from frozen for about 5 minutes until they started to defrost.  I mixed 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch with another teaspoon of water, turned the heat on high, added the corn starch mixture and cooked for 1 minute or until the sauce thickened a bit.

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Once at work I just heated up the oats (took 3 minutes) then added the cherry mixture (still a bit warm even!) a small sliced banana and 1/2 ounce of mixed nuts for some texture.  A 7 smart point breakfast and this was totally filling. 

My friend Danica from Danica’s Daily has been a creative WW cook for several years.  She took a break from blogging for a while, so I am glad she is back.  Mainly because I would have missed out on her Chicken Cilantro Wonton Soup recipe!  I did switch it up a bit with what I had on hand, but in the end, each serving ended up being 4 WW points for two cups of the veggie broth and TEN of the pot stickers.  Yes!

Chicken Cilantro Wonton Soup
Serves 4
A super quick week night dinner - only 4 WW points for two cups of broth and TEN mini wontons!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
1785 calories
358 g
7 g
18 g
93 g
4 g
2836 g
1871 g
1 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2836g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1785
Calories from Fat 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
28%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 7mg
2%
Sodium 1871mg
78%
Total Carbohydrates 358g
119%
Dietary Fiber 92g
369%
Sugars 1g
Protein 93g
Vitamin A
2304%
Vitamin C
395%
Calcium
63%
Iron
141%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Trader Joe’s 8 Healthy Chopped Veggies
  2. 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  3. 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
  4. 40 mini chicken cilantro wontons
  5. 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce for my bowl
  6. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  7. 1 teaspoon peanut oil
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot, heat sesame oil over medium low heat.  Add in the chopped veggies and cook until they start to get tender.  About 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and teriyaki sauce and bring to a boil.  While that gets to a boil, in a separate skillet, heat the peanut oil.   Place the frozen pot stickers in the heated oil and cook until the bottoms get browned, about 4 minutes.   By that time, the broth should be at a boil, throw in the pot stickers and cook for 2-3 minutes.  I didn’t have any spinach otherwise I would have added it at the end, but this was delicious and with the sriracha to my bowl, the broth was so spicy delicious.  I can totally see this making an appearance at least once a week, it’s that good.
Adapted from Danica
beta
calories
1785
fat
18g
protein
93g
carbs
358g
more
Adapted from Danica
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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And since the wonton soup was only 4 smart points, I had a 4 ounce pork chop on the side.  Jacob was a bit iffy about the soup, but even he loved it, although I know he loved the pork chop more. Thanks for the inspiration Danica!Open-mouthed smile

************

Our weather has been so weird.  Over the weekend we had lows in the single digits.  Yesterday it snowed an inch in the afternoon, but by the weekend we’ll have temps in the low 50s – so crazy, but I’ll take it!   Although living in Chicago, I know our winter is far from over.  But I loved the fact that I pulled into my driveway at around 5:45 last night and it was just starting to get dark out.  Maybe I’ll pull out the Weber this weekend!

Eight more days to go . . . WEEEEE!  Make it a great day!

Healthy Chicken and Dumplings

It was interesting because usually I view the weekend as “get all the shit done and keep going, going, going.”  But knowing that I only have two weeks left at my job, well, the pace felt a bit different.  Yes, I had a list of things I wanted to get done, but not all of them got done, and well, it was alright by me!

I’ve had a few people ask via email if I am still not drinking alcohol, and the answer to that is yes.  Go me!  Which is why I had no problem signing up for the 8:00 a.m. spin class on Saturday morning.

PicMonkey Collage - spin

But when I reached for my phone and saw that the air temperature was 3 degrees, and the wind chill was –10, I did for a quick second think how nice it would be to stay in my cozy bed, but I am so glad I went.  Since it was my second time, I knew my blood sugars weren’t going to tank and we finished just under 60 minutes.  And I love that the gym has free coffee!

Hannah was off of work this weekend and Jacob had to work on Saturday.  I love our Mom/Daughter time!  She wanted to go to a different Goodwill, and you all know how I feel about thrift shopping!  I sent this picture below to my Instagram friend Marie, who loves second hand clothes probably even more than me.  I told her that was my signature model move, and she was like “duh – I totally know that pose!”  The top is a Michael Kors top that sells for around $50 retail (I found similar shirts, but not exactly – so in the ball park) that was $2.99 and the pants are Coldwater Creek that retail for $59 and I got them for $3.99.  My co-worker Laura gave me that turquoise necklace from Charming Charlie’s – it has matching earrings, and I love how it goes with that outfit.  Andrea, I am trying to learn from you about accessories!   (LADIES!  If you need help putting outfits together, go check out Andrea’s website – she has the best taste in clothes and I love all the outfits she puts together that are age appropriate for the 40 [ahem] crowd).

PicMonkey Collage - model

Long time readers will see that the tiny pony tail is back!  It looks like ass because I was wearing a hat, and of course, no makeup because it’s the weekend.  But I love, love the top and I think it’s super flattering since I carry all my weight in the middle like a can of biscuits that have just popped open.   When I put it all together with hair and makeup, I’ll post another pic.

After Hannah and I got home I saw I had flowers delivered!  My parents-in-law sent them to me.  First, to congratulate me on my new life adventure, whatever that will be, and also because this is already the second Valentine’s Day without my love.  Time keeps on ticking, doesn’t it?!  It was such a sweet gesture.  They also think of me as their daughter vs. their daughter-in-law, so that is special too.  I was so happy they didn’t freeze on the porch!

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And then more loot in the mail!  Now how is this for a small world?!  (Shannon, let me know if this isn’t right!).  I believe Shannon started reading my blog before she “knew” who I was.  Turns out Shannon is the former sister in law of my Aunt Martha!  I think they were having a conversation about a recipe or something, and my Aunt Martha gave Shannon a link to one of my recipes, and Shannon said “I know My Bizzy Kitchen!”  And then my Aunt told her I was her niece!  We tried to get together last summer when I was visiting, but it just didn’t work out, but we hope to get together this summer.  Anywho, she’s a long time blog reader and last week asked for my address. 

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She made that cute card, and gave me that bracelet.  I had just seen it a week ago (maybe the day I quit?!) and thought “that bracelet would be nice to have!”  In case I ever have any doubts about where my life is going, I can just look down on my wrist and use that as my mantra “she believed she could so she did!”  Thank you so much Shannon!

So I had some good eats over the weekend.  Still trying to keep it interesting and not keep eating the same things over and over because I know their point value.  And I also put all my food on Instagram because I want people to know you can eat really good food on Weight Watchers and not just poached chicken, broccoli and brown rice.

PicMonkey Collage  - food

  1. So the thing about diabetes is well, it’s complicated.  It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but exercise in the morning acts like food without insulin in my body.  It has something to do with my body at rest, maybe Nicole could chime in on this.  In any event, if I wake up with a blood sugar of 159, like I did on Saturday morning, and didn’t eat or take any insulin, after my one hour spin class, it would jump to 300.  Alternatively, later in the day, at lunch or after work, it’s the exact opposite.  I’ll need a higher number because it will drop 100-150 after a workout.  So Saturday morning I ate half a Nature Valley bar (one of 2 in the package for 3 points) and gave myself 10 units of fact acting insulin.  After my one hour class, my blood sugar was 170.  Nice!  When I got home I was hangry!  I made 1/2 cup Simply Potato hash browns, two turkey sausage links, 1/2 cup egg whites scrambled with baby spinach and 1/8 cup cheddar cheese and topped with diced tomato.  My second breakfast was 7 points, so with the granola bar, my total breakfast was 10 smart points.  (271 calories, 11 fat, 11 carbs, 1.7 fiber and 32 protein).
  2. I wasn’t going grocery shopping until Sunday, so we used what we had on hand.  Hannah had bought some of Trader Joe’s orange chicken, veggie gyoza and we picked up their green beans on Saturday when we were out and about.  I didn’t realize until we got home that one serving (one cup) of the orange chicken would be 9 points, as well as 5 pot stickers for 9 points!  Not kidding, in the past I would have had one cup of the chicken, 5 of the potstickers AND rice!  So I only used one packet of the glaze from the frozen package, had 2/3 cup of the chicken (6 points) two of the potstickers (which I am calling as 4 because of the oil it cooked in) and garlic green beans which were zero.  So not a bad 10 point dinner that tastes like takeout!   (346 calories, 16 fat, 32 carbs, 5 fiber and 18 protein.
  3. On Saturday when Hannah and I were out all of a sudden we were hungry!  We weren’t in an area we frequent very often so we just drove in a direction to see what we could find.  Um, it was all fast food.  But I was determined to make a healthy choice!  Thanks to my Weight Watcher app, I saw that two chicken tenders were 7 points, so I got a side salad (0) and used half the container of fat free sesame ginger dressing (1).  The chicken is actually really good – all white meat and not a whole lot of breading and the dressing was good too.  Not going to lie though the snickers shake that was on special was very close to being insulin worthy!  (379 calories, 15 fat, 31 carbs, 2 fiber and 22 protein).
  4. Sunday morning I lounged.  It was awesome.  I was in my comfy couch, had a blanket on, heating pad on my back (damn cramps – so over with that!) hot coffee in my hand, spotify playing accoustic music – perfect!  I didn’t eat breakfast until nearly 11 and didn’t get back from grocery shopping and errands until almost 4.  I was a bit hungry, but since dinner was just a couple hours away, I didn’t want to eat too much.  My store has a grab and go section by the deli.  They have everything from Italian beef sandwiches, to Momma’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  On the weekend they have roasted meats, and they had roasted pork loin for $3.99.  Um, yes please!  When I got home I weighed out 3 ounces (3 points) and put them on sliced cucumbers, chopped red cabbage, and Trader Joe’s avocado salsa and some hot sauce – which were all zero points.  This was a delicious snack – the meat was so tender, but I loved the crunch of the cucumber and cabbage.  Not bad for a 3 point snack!  (245 calories, 14 fat, 3.1 carbs, 1.4 fiber and 23 protein.)

When I was meal planning yesterday morning, I nearly fell out of my chair when Hannah asked if I could make chicken and dumplings for dinner.  What the what?!  My mostly non-meat eating daughter was asking for chicken?!  I guess someone at her work brought in his version of it – although he added chicken fat to his dumplings, so I am sure there are a million not so healthy versions of chicken and dumplings out there.   I took inspiration from this recipe, and altered it just a bit to make it a bit more WW friendly.  I also figured out the points for the chicken part and the dumpling part – because I wanted to know how many points the dumplings were each – and the answer to that is 2.  Then 1/4 of the chicken mixture was 5 WW points, so with my two biscuits it came in at a delicious comfort food total of only 9 smart points.

Healthy Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 4
Super healthy, comforting and simple weeknight dinner - on the table in 30 minutes!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
499 calories
69 g
62 g
9 g
36 g
2 g
540 g
810 g
10 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
540g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 499
Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 62mg
21%
Sodium 810mg
34%
Total Carbohydrates 69g
23%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 10g
Protein 36g
Vitamin A
101%
Vitamin C
22%
Calcium
22%
Iron
16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. ½ tsp salt
  4. 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  5. ½ cup buttermilk
  6. Chicken soup
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
  8. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  9. 1 cup carrots, chopped
  10. 1 cup celery stalks, chopped
  11. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  12. 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  13. ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  14. salt and pepper to taste
  15. 2 cups roasted chicken, chopped, not shredded, because if it’s shredded, Hannah won’t eat it
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery and garlic.  I sped things up and just threw all the veggies in the food processor.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  If you want, it would be okay to add onions at this point!   Add in the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for another minute.  Add in the flour (it will clump up, that’s okay) and cook for another minute.  Add in the chicken broth and using a whisk, blend the flour into the broth making sure there are no lumps.  Add in the chopped chicken and bring the broth down to medium low heat.
  2. In another bowl, add the biscuit ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt and parsley and give it a whisk.  Add in the buttermilk – I need to add about a tablespoon more to bring it all together.  I used my melon baller to portion out the biscuits – and got 10 biscuits out of that mixture.  Now the biscuits will puff up, so don’t let your daughter talk you into making double the amount of dumplings, like my daughter almost made me do!  Put a lid on the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. If you want to give a bit of color to the biscuits, just broiler for a few minutes - totally optional.
Adapted from Jo Cooks
beta
calories
499
fat
9g
protein
36g
carbs
69g
more
Adapted from Jo Cooks
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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That’s how the dumplings looked right before the lid went on top.   After the 20 minutes, I popped the whole pot under the broiler to brown the biscuits a bit.

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My plate:

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Comfort food at it’s best!  Super flavorful and ready in just about 30 minutes thanks to rotisserie chicken.   Jacob told me it would be okay if I made this every Sunday night when it’s cold out.  And Hannah went back for seconds!  #winning!

I nearly forgot it’s WI day!   Last week I was 170.1.  Today I am . . .

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So –1.4 for the week!  Slow and steady wins the race.  So I’ve lost 9.2 pounds in six weeks – not too shabby!   I had a few issues with night snacking last week, so I need to just go back to “the kitchen is closed” and drink some mint tea after dinner to tell my brain I am done eating for the day. 

Time to get my stuff together – ONLY TEN MORE WORK DAYS UNTIL MY NEW LIFE!  Yep, that was worth a shout. Open-mouthed smile 

Make it a great day!