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December 2017


Happy Friday!

I’ve done a pretty good job of cleaning out my fridge and freezer this week without going grocery shopping.  I can always put together a picky plate – breakfast is just 2 points for the cheese stick.

Work was busy as usual – with so many secretaries out I was busy all day.  I’ve gotten nothing done that I wanted to, and I’ve decided to let it go.  No sense obcessing over something I can’t control, so if my desk is messy on the last day of the year, so be it.  Now you can start singing the song out loud “Let it Go!” from Frozen.  Here’s a fun fact, guess what movie I saw for the first time over the weekend?  Moana!  It was really good.  Hannah’s favorite movie though?  Zootopia.  Jacob bought her the DVD for Christmas and she could probably watch that movie every day and never get sick of it. 

Before work yesterday I cooked up a chicken breast and grabbed a half opened bag of mixed greens to make a salad for lunch.  If you watch my Instagram stories (and if you aren’t, why not?!) 😀 one of my tips is that if you know you are going to reheat meat for another dish, only cook it 75% through – that way when you reheat it at work or at home later, you’ll have perfectly cooked meat every time.

Only one tiny problem – the bottom of my bagged salad was already starting to turn, so I had to go to plan B.  There is a place called Mac Kelley’s that has an amazing salad bar.  You know what makes me happy on a salad bar?  All the beans!  Before this new #freestyle plan I was so stingy with the beans, but not yesterday – I had edamame, black beans, kidney beans, chick peas – so good!  I spent $5.20 on my salad, and used my own bagged Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella (1) and Bolthouse Farms avocado ranch (1) and with the sunflowe seeds (1) my salad was 3 points!

I had to work late last night but managed to catch the last express train, so after stopping and picking up water for the house, I didn’t even start thinking about what to make for dinner until 8.  You guys have no idea how close I was to stopping at Burger King though.  I pass right by one on my way home from the train and I was stopped at the corner at a light and could smell the French fries and it smelled so good!

But with the new year coming, and my post yesterday about getting my shit together, I know each and every day it’s MY decision on what goes into my mouth.  And I knew I had a pork chop that I had defrosted and I didn’t want it to go to waste, and Hannah had leftover habachi noodles from Christmas and this carrot, savoy cabbage and pork noodle stir fry took me literally 5 minutes to put together.  And it was delish!  I forget how much I love savoy cabbage.  Dinner comes in at 11 smart points.  

If you are playing along, you’d see that I was at 16 points out of 23 for the day, but I walked in the door with blood sugar of 41 and ate half a cookie (it was big) and ate half of one within 10 seconds of me getting in the door – so that was easily 5 points.  

Tonight is party pizza Friday!  I made this dough before I left work and it will rise in the microwave all day and be ready to go when I get home.  I used regular flour this time, so 1/4 of this dough will be 6 points.

We may get more snow today, so for now, I’ll enjoy the blue sunny skies and it was a balmy 11 degrees waiting for the train this morning.

Happy Friday! If you are off work today – lucky duck!  Just going to keep my head down and power through – looking forward to a three day weekend – I’ve got lots of honey do’s that I want to do around the house this weekend, meal planning, etc.  And *gasp* I may even go to the gym!

Make it a great day!


Getting My Act Together

Oh my Lerd was yesterday a busy day.  It didn’t help matters that my train took 100 minutes to get to work vs. the normal 60, which made me 30 minutes late.  When I walked in I was bombarded with all this work, “Biz can you do this, can you do that, can you check on this, did you do this yet?”  And I hadn’t even taken off my coat yet.

I ate a banana on the train ride to work, and that would be my breakfast.  The morning just slipped through my fingers and before I knew it, it was 1:30 and I hadn’t eaten lunch yet.

I posted a pasta dish the night before last using this bagged veggie mix, and it’s become my new favorite, and I didn’t even think I liked Brussels sprouts – my MIL would be proud because I think that’s her favorite veggie.   I think I like Brussel sprouts when they still have a bit of crunch to them, and they were delicious in my chicken lo mein I made for lunch.

One cup pasta (6), chicken, veggies and a tablespoon of stirfry sauce (1) and sriracha.  Simple and delish!  I ate this at my desk while I continued to work.

I am night secretary on Wednesday and Thursday nights. . .ONLY if someone signs up.  At 5 I called the front desk, no one had signed up!  I was going to catch up on stuff on my desk for an hour and still get the express train home – sweet!  I got a call at 5:01, an attorney signed up and I worked utnil 6:45 on his stuff and my desk still looks like a disaster.

Yep, those are my reading glasses – officially old!   I don’t use them all day, but after looking at the ocmputer all day I tend to rely on them at the end of the day.

I got so many messages on Instagram asking what weather app I use that uses swear words to describe the temperature – its WTForecast and you can adjust the settings if you want a lot of swears, a few, or none at all.  I of course want all the swears.:D

I didn’t get home until just before 9:00, and while I had a pork chop defrosted, didn’t feel like that right before bed, so made this quick pita pizza.  It was just okay – I wished I would have made a quick pizza dough because the pita was a bit soggy in the middle since I broiled this instead of baking it.  But I loved the zucchini/goat cheese combo – I puffy heart goat cheese.

On Christmas morning I opened a gift that had a piece of paper on it that said “journal to come.”  Um, apparently when Jacob asked what I wanted for Christmas, I sent him the link below of the meal planner that I wanted.  Turns out Hannah checked out his purchase the day before Christmas and he bought me a “journal” not the one below, so Hannah is returning that and quickly ordered the one below, that came in the mail yesterday, which I love!

I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants meal planning wise these last few weeks and it’s showing up on the scale.  Picking up a muffin on the fly on the way to work, deciding that a beer for the train ride home is a good idea because “I had a long day.”  

I’ve been getting inspiration from so many of my blog and insta friends about how they want to do better in 2018, and I am on that bandwagon.  For me, if I am in control of a few things, that helps me stay in control of a lot more things.  Like case in point, making my bed in the morning makes me not drop my dirty clothes on the floor, which makes me keep my kitchen clean, which helps me keep my desk area clean and it’s a domino effect.  Conversely, if I don’t care about how my bedroom looks, I tend not to care that there are dishes in the sink, then won’t take the time to put together food for the day, etc.

I am curious how you feel about the new year rapidly approaching.  Does it effect you?  Does it make you want to be a better person?  

I looked back on the first 10 weeks of 2017 – I lost 20 pounds, and I did it by following the WW plan, tracking all my food (I was the blue dot queen!) and didn’t kill myself at the gym.  I just need to get my act together so that a year from now I am not posting about how I gained 20 pounds in 2018!

It’s going to be another busy day today, so I am just going to keep my head down and power through.  Make it a great day!


Beef/ Certified Angus Beef

Steak Crostini

This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media capaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions, however, are my own.

Having grown up in the Midwest, beef was a staple on our dinner table.  Somehow over the years, as my brother and sister have lost interest in beef, my love of it seems to grow year after year, especially after I’ve gotten significantly better grilling skills.

This holiday season was a tough year from my son-in-laws family, it being the first year that they celebrated Christmas without his grandma.  We tried to keep as many traditions she would have had this year, one of which is to have appetizers for Christmas Eve.  I absolutely love finger food, this this was right up my alley.

That’s where steak crotini comes in.  It is versatile, relies on some store bought ingredients and minimal work on your part, but is a show stopper as soon as you put it down on the table.

I bought .99 cent French bread and jarred horseradish sauce from my local grocery store.  I sliced the French bread into 1/2 inch slices, brushed with olive oil, minced garlic and dried parsley, and baked the bread at 350 for 12 minutes, or until the bread is crisp all the way through.  Set aside to cool.  You can find this sauce on the condiment aisle at most grocery stores.  I simply sliced up tomatoes and cherry tomatoes for the topping and mixed it with a touch of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

While the crostini is cooling, open up a package of Certified Angus Beef® brand , and let your beef come to room temperature before you even think of cooking it.  I used a New York strip, but a boneless ribeye or filet mignon would work equally as well.

Season liberally with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  If you cut of beef with some fat on it, I always cook that side first, holding the meat with tongs until the fat is nice and crispy.  Continue to cook each side of the steak over medium high heat – for just 3-4 minutes a side at most depending on how thick your beef is.  

That right there is a perfectly cooked steak that’s been properly rested.  See how there is no juice on the cutting board?  That’s because the beef has rested and the juices have redistributed to have a super juicy piece of steak.

The best way to cook beef perfectly every time is to buy a meat thermometer.  You should always cook your beef to temperature vs. time, because there are so many variables – was my stove an electric stove vs. your gas stove?  Maybe your cut of beef was 1/4 – 1/2 inch thicker than my cut?

Here is my rule of thumb – always pull beef off 10 degrees shy of your desired doneness.  For me this is what I follow:

  • For medium rare beef at 125 degrees, pull beef off heat at 115 degrees
  • For medium beef at 135 degrees, pull beef off heat at 125 degrees
  • For medium well at 145 degrees, pull beef off heat at 135 degrees
  • If you want your beef done more than that, I can’t help you because I think you’ve wasted your money

Another important factor when cooking beef is to let the meat rest.  It used to drive me insane when I grilled that my husband would want to slice into a beef roast within minutes of it coming off the grill.  Your patience will be rewarded with juicy meat every time.

To asemble the crostini, simply spread soft cheddare cheese spread on top of your crostini, place a couple slices of steak on top, then finish with the tomato/spinach mixture and a dollop of horseradish sauce.  So good!

I am so happy to be teaming up with Certified Angus Beef® brand  this coming year.  Their website is an amazing resource as well as their app – if you need to know who big a roast you should get for how many people you are serving, to great recipes and ideas on how kick up your beef game. 

This steak crostini would also be great on New Years Eve – just sayin’ 😀