Stuffed Mushrooms

Does anyone else walk down every aisle at the grocery store to get more steps in?  No?  It’s good and bad.  Good that you are getting more steps in, but bad because you tend to throw stuff in the cart that wasn’t on your list.  This Scramble though, was a good decision.  It was in the egg aisle (duh) – they had several different varieties to chose from – I chose the rancheros one because it didn’t have any onions in it – black beans, yellow and red peppers, jalapenos.  

I won a gift card to Corner Bakery, so I picked up some egg whites and a cup of fruit, and topped it with the rancheros – two tablespoons below is only 30 calories and 1 smart point.  I thought it would be spicier with the jalapenos, but you all know I have hot sauce at my desk. 😀

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It was a gorgeous day yesterday – we have really lucked out with our weather while my friends on the West Coast are melting.  I had to private message my friend Rhonda my temps when I think it was 62 here and it was 119 where she lived.  Fuck dry heat – 119 is hot no matter what!

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My sister and I decided to do the River Walk at lunch.  

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We walked by this bike rental station, and one day this summer, we are going to rent one of those bikes – its only $30 for an hour – I think we would laugh so hard riding this bike!   

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I had more lasagna soup for lunch.  I really never get sick of this soup 😀

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I had defrosted ground beef to make a burger salad, but when I was doing a quick rearrange of the refrigerator, in the back saw that I bought these mushroom caps last Saturday and they needed to be used up.  I still had some Italian sausage leftover, so I decided on the spur of  the moment to make stuffed mushrooms for dinner.  I just used my teaspoon measure to scrape out the fills to make room for the filling.

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scrape the sides

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Now I know this doesn’t look that appetizing, but it was delicious!

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Stuffed Mushrooms
Serves 3
Who says you can't have stuffed mushrooms for dinner?! These are spicy, meaty and delicious - feel free to pair with a side salad or fresh fruit for dinner.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
274 calories
8 g
54 g
21 g
14 g
8 g
189 g
497 g
5 g
0 g
12 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
189g
Servings
3
Amount Per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 191
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
33%
Saturated Fat 8g
42%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 54mg
18%
Sodium 497mg
21%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 5g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
12%
Vitamin C
10%
Calcium
14%
Iron
8%
* 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. 6 mushroom caps
  2. 6 ounces cooked Italian sausage
  3. 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  4. 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  6. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  7. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (reduce or eliminate for less spicy)
  8. 1 ounce cheddar cheese, finely grated
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400. Prepare mushrooms by scraping out the gills of the mushrooms, careful not to cut through the bottom of the mushroom. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet, brown the Italian sausage (taken out of the casing) and garlic together until cooked through. Add in the ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and cook an additional minute.
  3. Divide that mixture among the six mushroom caps. Top with the shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes.
Notes
  1. These could easily be prepared over the weekend to pop in the oven for a quick week night dinner. They would last a few days before they would need to be baked. You could also freeze them, and defrost in the fridge during the day while you are at work.
beta
calories
274
fat
21g
protein
14g
carbs
8g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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SUMMER BUCKET LIST:

As yesterday was the first day of summer, I realized I didn’t have a “bucket list” of things I wanted to do.  I know the summer will be over in the blink of an eye – I am waiting to walk into Walmart any day now and see the school supplies lined up.

One of the things I wanted to do was go to Green City Market, and I am going on Saturday.  They are going to have a Chef’s demo at 10:30 and so many vendors – check it out!  Any Chicago peeps want to meet me there?  Either way, I am going to go.  I’ll be sure to get a lot of great produce and get in lots of steps. 

I need to start doing some research about what else I want to do this summer.  Kayaking on the Chicago River was one of them, but we watched a guy kayaking by himself yesterday on our walk, and there is just too much boat traffic for my  liking.  I may see if they have kayaking near where I live that isn’t so crowded.

What’s on your bucket list this summer?  Do you make a list or just wing it?!

On my way to Weight Watchers for WI – I was a bit snacky and had wine this past weekend, but I also killed it in the step department, averaging 16,000 steps a day.  We will see!  

Make it a great day!

Vegan Mushroom Bites

What a whirlwind weekend!  Last week my sister asked if I’d be willing to volunteer as a culinary judge for one of her principals who is passionate about this local ACT-SO program, showing kids that there are many ways to make it to college without sports.  They have 32 categories that kids could compete in to possibly advance to nationals, with the hope of winning scholarship money.  The categories ranged from dance, architecture, computer science and in the last two years, they have added culinary.

I jumped at the chance, then afterwards realized it was being held on the South side of Chicago, I had to be there at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, and that’s 60 miles from where I live, so I left my house at 6:15 in the morning.  You all know I hate being late and I didn’t know if there would be any construction delays, but I got there by 7:30 – 30 minutes to spare 😀

Three young girls competed for a chance to make it to nationals in Baltimore this summer.  Each girl was given two hours and 30 minutes to cut down their protein, show it to judges for inspection, then cook an appetizer, entree, and side dish, present and clean up.

culinary competition

I was literally blown away with the knife skills and menu planning these girls did.  One of the contestants made this vegetarian mushroom bite appetizer that was stellar.  Like, I wanted to climb over the judges table and take her display dish and eat that too!

I met a new friend Keith – he was one of the judges next to me – he’s probably 28 or 29 if that, but we got along like peas and carrots.  When we tried one of the dishes, we both said at the same time “this would be perfect if it had more salt and a bit more acid.”  We looked at each other like that scene in Brothers and I said “did we just become best friends?!”

We both said that we would be making this appetizer soon.  For me – it was Saturday night, then Keith posted his picture on Instagram on Sunday.  We did both have to tweak her recipe.  Not sure if she left off an ingredient, but as written, the mushroom balls didn’t stay together, even after I thought I may have to freeze them for a few minutes before frying.  

So this is my interpretation of her dish, that was inspired by hers.  I also made my version vegan, so my daughter in law could make it.  Love you Lizz!

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

For the ponzu sauce:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cilantro

For the cucumber salad:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper

For the mushrooms:  combine all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse, just until combined.  The balls should be wet enough to stay together when formed into a ball – I got 14 balls out of this recipe.  Deep fry for 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.*  Salt immediately after coming out of the fryer.

For the ponzu sauce – combine everything into a food processor and pour into a mason jar until ready to serve.

For the cucumber salad – put all the ingredients except the cucumber and peppers, into a food processor.  Pour over the cucumber and peppers and marinate.

*since I deep fry, my balls are not greasy.  No one likes greasy balls.  To figure out the points though, I added 1 tablespoon of oil to the recipe, so each ball is 1 smart point.  The ponzu sauce is 1 point per tablespoon, and the cucumber salad is 1 point for 1/3 cup.

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Such a great balance of flavors!  Salty, sweet, crunchy – Hannah and I both made this our dinner on Saturday night.  I ate the plate above, and I think she ate the rest (Jacob may have had a couple).  Without the salad and sauce, each mushroom ball is 1 smart point.   Hannah said “I could eat these for dinner every night!”  #winning

I went to bed early Saturday since I was up at 5:45 in the morning, and was taking my Mom to the White Sox game.   Tony had asked that some of his ashes be spread at One was Sox Park, what we will always refer to as Comiskey Park, not US Cellular Field (the “Cell”) or now Guaranteed Rate field. 

sox game

I scooped Mom up at church and we got to the park about an hour before the game.  Plenty of time to walk around, see what the tailgaters were cooking up, and also to scope out our lunch options.  We decided to skip the stuff we can get anywhere outside of the ball park (pizza, Italian beef, etc.).  We both stopped when we saw Cuban sandwich.  It was 800 calories for the whole thing (they had that info on the cart!) so we decided to split it.  I originally tracked it was 7 points, but changed that to 9 later on.  So delicious!  We also split popcorn (5) and I had a Bud Light beer (7).  That was the first beer Tony and I had together nearly 17 years ago on our first date.  New readers can check out that story here.

Sox win!

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There was tons of security, but after the game scattered Tony’s ashes (which is the bottom right pic).  it was bitter sweet – a bit emotional, but I knew the time was right.   My Mom and I had a fun day and I was glad she was with me to help me carry this out.  Love you Momma!

So after a 21 point lunch, I made this quick and simple buffalo shrimp dinner for 3 points.  Perfect snacky plate dinner after a long, yet fun weekend.

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Today is the first day at my new office, which I’ve never been to.  It was crazy the last two weeks with the deadline of last Friday at 3:00  p.m., we had to be out of our old space to let the movers do their thing.  Now I don’t care if it takes me a month to unpack, I know eventually it will get organized. 

The train just made it into the station, so signing off – make it a great day!  Happy Monday!

Cooking Club! Chipotle Bang Bang Shrimp Bites

It was nearly 55 degrees by the time I got to work yesterday, such a beautiful day.

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I knew it was going to be a busy day, it being the last full day at the office.  I had a taste for oats for some reason, so hit up Pret for their steel cut oats – so creamy and only 4 smart points.  They have tiny cups of brown sugar and granola that go with the granola, so I am calling my “extras” 3, with sliced banana, so breakfast came in at 7 points.  I’ve packed all my bowls, so my glass coffee mug had to step in.  I couldn’t use it anyway because the coffee machines were already packed for our office move.

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And Pret again for lunch!  This was a bacon and egg breakfast sammie – this bread is amazing, I haven’t looked up the points yet, but I am calling it 10. 

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TODAY IS MOVING DAY!  I am sure you guys are sick of having me talk about it, but this has been my life the last two weeks.  Packing boxes, throwing out old shit (my boss had papers in his office from 1979!).   Still so much to do, but if I end up throwing stuff in a box just to move it, that’s what’s going to have to happen. 

So it was a nice reprieve to have Cooking Club last night! Courtney is always the hostest with the mostest!

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Our Cooking Club meets every two months.  Courtney assigns the head chef, the theme of the dinner is decided and everyone is assigned either a signature drink, appetizer, side dish or dessert.  

I was assigned an appetizer.  I have to be a bit creative because I come straight from work.  Courtney had already told me she was making queso fundido, so I wanted to do a lighter app to balance it.  I cooked the shrimp and made the sauce the night before, then had Hannah meet me at the train station to bring me my food and I assembled this in a couple minutes at Court’s house.

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Serves 1 bite each

Chipotle Bang Bang Shrimp Bites

5 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

10 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp (I used 40-51 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup Chobani plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup guacamole (make it easy and use Wholly Guacamole)
  • 1 tablespoon real mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle seasoning (such as Mrs. Dash)
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the shrimp. Toss the taco seasoning over the shrimp and the juice of one lime and mix and cook until the shrimp are opague - these shrimp are small, so it only took about 4 minutes. Let cool.
  2. To make the chipotle bang bang shrimp sauce, combine the yogurt, mayo, garlic powder, juice of 1 lime, cilantro, Tajin and Chipotle seasoning and puree in a mini food processor, or mix well with a whisk (just chop up the cilantro). Season with salt to taste.
  3. To assemble: slice cucumber, top with guacamole, dip the cooled shrimp in the Chipotle sauce, top the shrimp on the avocado and top with more chopped cilantro.
Recipe Type: Appetizer

Notes

Tajin can be found in the Mexican aisle - it's a seasoning that has a citrus note to it - it wakes up any Mexican dish.

7.3
http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/04/21/cooking-club-chipotle-bang-bang-shrimp-bites/

Everything was delicious.  Lindsay made a cucumber and honeydew melon sangria; Courtney made queso fundido; Tina made chicken and salsa verde enchiladas with a pineapple avocado salsa; Catherine brought chips and salsa; Mary Beth made a Mexican street food corn salad (so spicy good – I could have eaten the whole bowl!); Julie made a cowboy caviar salad with roasted corn, black beans, black eyed peas, avocado and cherry tomatoes with a delicious dressing (middle picture below); and because we hadn’t eaten enough, finished with Donna’s sopapilla cheese cake pie that was amazing and definitely insulin worthy.  Pretty sure everything I ate will be on my dinner menu next week 😀

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Great food and friends, delicious wine and so much to be thankful for in this crazy mixed up world we live in.

I was also happy to meet my friend Mary Beth’s new adopted son Jude.  I want to share his picture, but I didn’t want to post it without her permission, but I know I’ll be doing some babysitting in the near future – he looks like a cabbage patch doll, is only 2 months old and stayed awake the whole time just looking at everything that was going on around him.  MB, he can come to every Cooking Club get together 😀

I have a busy weekend!  Tomorrow I am a culinary judge for the ACT-SO program on the south side of Chicago – I have to be there bright and early at 8:00 a.m.  And on Sunday my Mom and I are going to the White Sox game.  Joe, I keep meaning to call you this week, but it’s been crazy, but I plan on spreading some of your Dad’s ashes at the game on Sunday – it’s the first game I’ve gone to since he passed away.  A co-worker of mine has season tickets in the first row on the 3rd base side that she couldn’t use.  The weather is supposed to be sunny and 60 – perfect baseball weather in my book!  I’ll try to take some video for you. 

I hope you have an amazing weekend!  Make it a great day 😀

Baked Brie with Toasted Peptitas, Pom Seeds and Maple Syrup

The sun does amazing things to my soul.  Jacob and my brother would actually prefer rainy/cloud/foggy days, but no matter what the temperature is, if the sun is out, it just makes me happy.

Chicago had amazing weather this weekend – temps near 80 on Saturday and in the 70s yesterday.  I can remember some Easter Sunday’s when it was so cold Hannah had to wear a winter coat and boots with her sleeveless Easter dresses.

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I love seeing the green grass, although I just look and see how I haven’t really taken care of the yard as Tony would.  He was very particular about the lawn – me?  Not so much!   The dogs love being outside running around.  It is a rare feet to get Roman to sit still but I caught him just as he was resting.  

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It’s hard to believe that picture was taken on my iPhone!  I used the portrait mode, which softens the background around him.  

I didn’t get home from work until 10:00 on Friday night – so much work to do with the office move this week.  Saturday morning I was in my pajamas, on my laptop, with coffee with the windows open and it was divine.  I got a lot of paperwork done, had to dispute a charge on my credit card, just a bunch of stuff that I’ve been meaning to cross of my list and it was nice to do that.  Who says you can’t be productive in your p.j.s?  The kadults were at work Saturday morning and called to see if I wanted to meet for lunch – yes please!  Always say yes to lunch with your kids 😀

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Beef tostadas for the win.  #nsv?  I only ate two chips to see how hot the salsas were, and skipped the queso fundido (that looked amazing by the way!).  While at lunch we made the menu for Easter. . .  while the kadults went home to take a nap, I went grocery shopping – pretty much my favorite thing to do.  I know some people hate it, but I love it.  Check out the size of this carrot?!

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At Sam’s Club, I’ve been eyeing this bone-in ribeye for quite a while.  With perfect grilling conditions, I knew Saturday was going to be the day – the cook on this will be another post later this week – it’s a reverse seared steak and the perfect way to cook a steak that is 2.5 pounds.

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I love that shot that Hannah got!  Stay tuned later this week about this amazeball steak. 

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Not a shocker that my Mom spent Easter Sunday with me, you know, being her favorite child and all.   I always like to have a little tasting plate when she gets here since we weren’t eating dinner until nearly 6.  If you haven’t checked out Aldi for cheese, you really should.  They have an amazing variety and the prices are nearly half of that of regular grocery stores.  Take for instance that brie cheese – $2.99!

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Heat oven to 350.  Place the brie on parchment paper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons real maple syrup.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese starts to soften.  Top with salted toasted pepita seeds (I had raw pepita seeds that I just toasted in my cast iron skillet with sea salt for 8 minutes) and pom seeds.  I loved this combo – the maple syrup kind of caramalized on the bottom of the cheese, so you got a sweet/salty punch with each bite.  

I grilled a ham (the beef was meat my Mom brought that she wanted me to cook for her for later in the week – she doesn’t have a grill anymore).  

Aunt Martha, I totally misplaced this grill mat that you gave me for Christmas LAST year and am kicking myself because it’s awesome.  I cooked my green beans on the stove for about 5 minutes after the water boiled, then ran them under cold water to stop cooking.  I marinated the green beans in a tablespoon of balsamic dressing, then finished them off on the grill – the mat worked great – they didn’t fall through the grill grate, yet they still got charred.  Then I put the green beans on a cookie sheet, put a couple ounces of herbed goat cheese on top and put them under the broiler.  So good!

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Mom brought a bake in a bag turkey breast from Jennie-O.  It was great that it went straight from the freezer to the oven and cooked in a bag.   Hannah made a ramen noodle salad, that’s really delicious.  I guess I thought I could eat a lot!  I only ate a little over half of this plate.  So delicious and lots of leftovers for the week.

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I am keeping my meal plan simple this week because of my work schedule – I think I’ll have to work late every day to get all my work done before the move.   But there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks Momma for coming over!

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This is the look you have when your Mom tells you that you need to cut your bangs Open-mouthed smile

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And thanks for bringing this amazing dessert – I am going to post this recipe later this week – it’s a WW recipe that is kind of like a dark chocolate mousse in this light phyllo dough.  It looks so simple, but this was divine.

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Hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Easter with good friends, family and food.  Happy Monday – make it a great day!  The sun is shining, so I already know it’s going to be a great day.

Pork Pot stickers . . .and awake!

You aren’t going to believe this, but lyrics to a song I’ve listened to 1,000 times before suddenly smacked me in the face last week.  One of my favorite movies is She’s Having A Baby with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern.   It first introduced me to the singer Kate Bush, and I have some of her music saved to my Spotify lineup.

So let me just back up a bit.  Like I started to tell you yesterday – is that I started to figure out why, when, how I overeat at times.  It’s not all the time, sometimes I can go a couple weeks, a couple months, hell, even a couple years without a problem. 

Long time readers will remember that I didn’t have a weight problem growing up.  I was a four season athlete – fall was field hockey, winter was indoor track, spring was outdoor track and summer was softball.  So it’s pretty obvious I could eat anything I wanted and maintain my weight because there was always a sport going on.  Breakfasts could be Suzy-Qs, with a large Dr. Pepper.  Lunch was a two slice pizza lunch with fries and two warm just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.  After school was practice.  It wasn’t unusual to hook up with my twin sister and our best friends who are twins to meet at Baker’s Square and share two baskets of fries and each get a slice of pie, and then go home and eat whatever my Mom made for dinner.  I weighed probably 120 pounds in that picture below.

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So when I started gaining weight, I have to be honest, I didn’t really even notice.  It was gradual.  After leaving college after they dropped the field hockey program, I got a desk job, and well, let’s just say that any exercise I did before came to a screeching halt.  Running laps and lifting weights was soon replaced with sitting on my ass and lifting cheese sticks and beers to my lips after work.

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In that picture above, my sister on the left is pregnant with her son Paul who is now 20.   Why the hell I thought a flowered shapeless dress could somehow camouflage how fat I had become is beyond me.  I am not kidding that I actually didn’t realize how big I’d gotten (even when I had to buy bigger clothes!) until my stomach touched my steering wheel in my car, and I was the only one who drove the car.

But when I look back on it, I know exactly why I let myself get so big.  I was heartbroken.  Hannah’s Dad basically chose to move on with his life and we weren’t part of that life.  He’s now married and has a couple kids, and hasn’t seen Hannah since she was maybe six months old when he stopped by my work and handed me $50 – he may have given me $300 her whole life.  His family doesn’t even know that Hannah exists.  That, is not the point of this post.  (although as a weird coincidence, Hannah actually follows her half-sister on Instagram – she looks to be about 16?!).  The point is that I didn’t want to get hurt again, and making myself unattractive to the opposite sex would make that easier for my life at that time.  No boyfriend, no heartache.  Plus I’d seen so many of my friends who were either divorced, didn’t marry their child’s father, date someone else, break up, and it really took a toll on their kids, and I vowed not to even TRY to look for love until Hannah was 8.

So in 1999, my sister and I lost 70 pounds with Weight Watchers and in 2000, the month of my birthday, I finally got the courage to put an online personal and just see what would happen.  I was about 135 pounds, I felt fit, and I really loved myself, and I am convinced that once I loved me, love would find me!  And you can read here to how Tony and I met a mere two months later, and married December of 2000

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But I’ve had various points in my life when I’ve gained the weight, only to lose it, and gain it again.  It seems to be a never ending cycle.  Over the past few weeks, without the interference of a job, I’ve really tried to figure out why I keep doing it.  And it can be correlated directed with events going on in my life.  Not a shocker there.   But I realized that at the times that my overeating really takes over is when I am either thinking about the past or the future.  Not today.

Overeating because I didn’t get to have a long term relationship with Hannah’s dad.  Overeating because Tony is sick and not able to leave the house, thus cutting my social life to a halt.  After he died, keeping one foot in the past and afraid to step the other foot into the unknown future of my new life without him.  The times when I was successful?  I was living in the present.  Taking each day as it came and making the best choices.  Take the summer of 2013 when I did Insanity 101 days in a row and lost 20 pounds in six months and lots of inchesThat fall I had a professional photo shoot for a diabetes magazine, and I was so happy that I jumped at the chance because I loved how I looked.  I know I would have declined the opportunity if I were 20 pounds heavier.

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I reread through a bunch of my blog entries from the summer of 2013.  Longtime bloggers, how often do you reread old posts you’ve written?  I have to say I haven’t done it all that often, and it was really eye-opening to me.  Granted, Tony was relatively healthy that summer, but I didn’t let anything from stopping me from doing Insanity 101 days in a row.  Not working late, or going on vacation – nothing.  I just made the best of each day and then the next day, did the same thing.

I think the times that I am stuck in the past, or worried about the future, I don’t pay attention to TODAY.  And I am not going to say that I am not going to miss Tony anymore, or wonder where my next job is going to be.   I finally really listened to the lyrics of this Kate Bush song and it helped me have closure, if you will, on Tony’s passing.  I think you could interpret these lyrics any way you want, but for me, I have to let go of the “should haves, would haves.”

I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left

I should be crying but I just can’t let it show
I should be hoping but I can’t stop thinking
All the things we should’ve said that I never said
All the things we should’ve done but we never did
All the things we should’ve given but I didn’t

Oh, darling, make it go, make it go away

Give me these moments
Give them back to me
Give me your little kiss

I was actually walking in my neighborhood when I really listened to the lyrics, it completely spoke to me.   And I am sure I am reading too much into this, but it was almost as if Tony was trying to tell me that I’ve got life in me yet, and strength.  It’s rare for me to cry in front of other people, still feel I have to be the strong one around everyone.  I was brought back to Tony’s memorial and I met several people that I hadn’t met before, and even if they were crying or tearing up, I was the one comforting them, and looking back on it, I am sure they were thinking “why doesn’t she seem to be upset her husband died?”  “I should be crying but I just can’t let it show.”  I cried all the way home the last mile of my walk.  I have to let go of the things that I cannot change, hoping that I said enough, we did enough during the time I had Tony in my life.  And while I want it to all go away, and that I’ll wake up and he’ll be napping on his beloved recliner, I know that’s not going to happen.   I still miss that kiss though!

And with that cathartic cry, I removed my foot from the past, and planted it firmly in TODAY.  No one is guaranteed a tomorrow.  No amount of food stuffed into my face is going to bring him back.  Later that day I had errands to run.  Fricken Easter candy is still on sale – I am surprised they don’t have 4th of July shit out yet!  Not a week ago I would have grabbed a couple bags (now 90% off!) and thrown them into my basket without a second thought, other than I’d safely hide them in my bedroom so one one would know.  But I walked right on by and didn’t even give it a second thought.  And while I know that I am still going to have moments when eating a shit ton of stuff is going to make me feel better – for a split second, just knowing why I am hoping will keep me present, and mindful and I just won’t anymore.

I am really writing this post for myself – to remember how I am feeling at this point in time.  A luxury of having an online diary for 7 1/2 years to look back on.  Thank you for taking the time to read this if you’ve made it down this far, and if you don’t get it, that’s okay too.  All I know is that I feel awake, the fog is long behind me and it feels…amazing!

And because this is a food blog, and several people asked me for my skinny pork pot stickers, here is my adaptation of Damn Delicious Pork Pot stickers.

Making pot stickers at home is so easy - you'll never get takeout again!

Making pot stickers at home is so easy – you’ll never get takeout again!

Skinny Pork Potstickers
Serves 4
Making pot stickers at home is really quite easy once you try it - you'll never order takeout again!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
28 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
28 min
363 calories
35 g
60 g
15 g
21 g
5 g
157 g
643 g
0 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
157g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 363
Calories from Fat 136
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
23%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 60mg
20%
Sodium 643mg
27%
Total Carbohydrates 35g
12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 0g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
23%
Calcium
6%
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. 8 ounces lean (96% lean) ground pork*
  2. 1 cup cole slaw mix
  3. 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  4. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  5. 1 tablespoon sriracha (adjust if you don't like it too spicy!)
  6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon chili paste
  8. 24 wonton wrappers
  9. 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the wonton wrappers and oil.
  2. To assemble, place 1/2 ounce portion, or about a tablespoon of filling into each wonton wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over, and crimp to close and pinch the edges to seal.
  3. Place two inches of water into a non-stick skillet. Add the pot stickers and steam with a lid on for about 3-4 minutes, or until the water is almost evaporated.
  4. Add in the 1/2 tablespoon oil, and you may need to make sure that the pot stickers aren't sticking to your pan, and swirl the wontons around in the oil, until the bottom starts to crisp up.
  5. Because I am using significantly less oil than the original recipe, they won't have as crispy bottom, but it will have a bit of crunch.
Notes
  1. * I had no idea you could buy lean ground pork! If you don't see it at the meat section of your store, ask the butcher about it.
Adapted from Chungah
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calories
363
fat
15g
protein
21g
carbs
35g
more
Adapted from Chungah
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/

Herbed Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes Crackers

I had to get up bright and early for my doctors appointment. 

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My appointment was at 8:00 a.m., and even with the slow traffic on I-90, I got there about 7:50.  I had to go to the bathroom, but they said “hold on, they might need a sample.”  A few minutes later she said “Jackie isn’t even here yet, so go ahead.”  She finally came and got me at 8:20.  Only to present me with a 27 page consent form – um, somebody couldn’t have handed this to me while I was waiting for 25 minutes in the waiting room?

PicMonkey Collage - trial

This is a double blind study, so neither I nor my doctor will know whether or not I am given the placebo, or the actual drug in two different doses.  Yesterday they took my measurements, took blood work, I filled out a very long questionnaire, and an hour later got to leave with a $50 check.  Each visit I’ll get $50 for my time and gas – nice!

Since this was a fasting appointment, I was really hungry by the time I left.  Immediately across the street I saw a Dunkin Donuts and ended up getting their egg white, turkey sausage flat bread.  It was barely warm by the time I got in the office, so I heated it up in my panini maker at work.  It was just okay.  Not a whole lot of flavor, but it did the trick.

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My boss wanted Panera, so if she buys, I fly.  I ended up getting their tomato soup and you have to get the baguette for dipping.  It’s the right thing to do.

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Last night was the third Cooking Club of the year, and it being the holiday season, our hostess Courtney decided to make it an all appetizer party with desserts. Perfect!  I was given an appetizer to make and after searching Pinterst, I saw a recipe for roasted grapes that I thought I could make into a cracker appetizer.  I switched it up a bit and below is my recipe:

Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Crackers
Serves 12
So simple, yet packs a bunch of flavors - perfect balance of sweet, salty and savory!
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
106 calories
8 g
4 g
7 g
3 g
2 g
34 g
203 g
1 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
34g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 4mg
1%
Sodium 203mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
3%
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. 1.5 cups black grapes
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  5. 2 teaspoons Walnut Pear balsamic reduction*
  6. 4 ounces herbed goat cheese
  7. 1.5 ounces Whitley honey roasted peanuts
  8. 24 Triscuit crackers
  9. 2 teaspoons dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350.  Mix the grapes, olive oil, salt and pepper together and roast the grapes for 30-40 minutes, or until they start to shrivel a bit.  We aren’t looking for raisins here.  Remove from heat and let cool.  To assemble cracker:  first layer is goat cheese, top each cracker with 2 roasted grapes, 2 honey roasted peanuts, then drizzle with the balsamic glaze and top with a pinch of dried parsley.  The parsley is more just for color.  I thought of adding fresh basil but I thought that would over power the grapes.  This was the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory.  It looks really simple, which it is, but the flavors really work well together.  The Triscuit holds up well too – I put the cheese and grapes on the crackers at work before I went so I didn’t have that much to do once I got there and the crackers were still nice and crisp.
  2. *balsamic glazes are now readily available in your vinegar aisle – check it out the next time you go grocery shopping
beta
calories
106
fat
7g
protein
3g
carbs
8g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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The rest of the deliciousness!

PicMonkey Collage food

Top left – Catherine made chocolate chip holiday tea cakes.  These reminded me a lot like one of the cookies my MIL used to make – so delicate and delicious!

  • 2 sticks of butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Beat the butter and the powdered sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the flour.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and put on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set and light golden brown.  Microwave the remaining chocolate chips in a thick plastic bag for10-20 second intervals, until melted.  Cut the corner off the bag and pipe the chocolate over the top.  Refrigerate the cookies for about 5 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Store in an airtight container

Julie made an amazing Ahi Tuna and Cheese Spread:

  • layer cream cheese, wasabi, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of soy sauce on one side.   Serve with diced fresh, sushi grade Ahi tuna and serve with rice crackers

Second row left:  Tina made these delicious potato laced bread sticks to be dipped into homemade marinara.  I may be stealing this idea for Christmas apps because it looks so pretty with the thinly sliced potatoes and fresh thyme.

In the middle is Lindsay’s 7 layer dip.  It had a black bean puree with cumin and finely chopped jalapeno on the bottom, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cheese, olives and green onions and was served with black bean tortillas.  I could have eaten three of these – so good!

Mary Beth made mini open faced Reuben’s.  I knew there was a reason I really liked this girl!  Seriously if there is a Reuben sandwich on a menu, I will get it.  Tony used to make so much fun of me when I would look through a menu and he’d look at me and say “why are you even looking, you know you are getting the Reuben!”  Um, I may have even made Reuben pizza I love it so much.  Mary Beth, you need to try this Reuben pizza at home, I think you’d love it.

MB

Then last, but not least, Donna’s dessert of Salted Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.   Okay, I am going to need a moment here while I go get a napkin to wipe the drool from my mouth.  You guys know that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth at all.  But I tried both desserts, because it’s the polite thing to do.  While Catherine’s cookies were light, delicate with just a hint of sweetness, these bars were pretty amazeballs.  They are layered with Keebler butter crackers!

bars

If you have to bring dessert to any holiday gathering this year, that recipe above is a winner winner lobster dinner.  Courtney made Christmas Champagne!  Pour chilled champagne in a champagne glass, top with a bit of cranberry seltzer, then add fresh raspberries and mint.  Delish!

PicMonkey Collage - girls

We ate apps in the kitchen/family room, then had dessert in her living room while listening to Christmas music in the background, with the fireplace and we talked about holiday traditions old and new.  I had no idea what a big deal Elf on a Shelf was until last night!  Pretty sure I am glad our kids are grown!  It was a lovely evening, nice to get to know these women a bit better since I am kind of the odd person out, and a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.

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Today is my work Christmas luncheon.  Fingers crossed everything works out with it, because I am in charge of it.  No one wanted to have an ugly sweater contest though, which I thought would have been hilarious – maybe I’ll be the only one!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  See you on Instagram in the meantime Open-mouthed smileMake it a great day! 

Asian Takeout Night . . . In!

I am not going to lie.  I LOVE eating out.  Trying new foods, new wines, new places.  If we won the lottery I wouldn’t mind eating out every Friday and Saturday night.  But, I have to be realistic.  Eating out right now is just now in our budget, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make take out food just as good, if not better, than spending the money on picking it up at your local take out place.

Tony and I both love the salad dressing that comes on the salad at Benihana.   When the kids were little we used to take them to Benihana, they loved the show the cooks put on, but after spending so much money, we realized they both only liked the shrimp dish.  Neither one ate the soup, salad, veggies, etc.  So we quickly made the decision after that to make the kids shrimp at home and skip all the sides that they didn’t like.  But Tony and I love that simple salad.  I guessed that it had radishes in it, but Tony found a copycat recipe that I followed to the T, but it was missing something.  It didn’t taste quite right – Tony suggested adding in carrots, and that did the trick.

Benihana Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped

Throw everything into the food processor and pulse.  It will be slightly chunky but that’s okay.  It’s tangy, surprisingly light, and you only need a little bit to coat the salad.  Sorry I don’t have a better picture, but it was already dark and this was the one and only picture of the salad.

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But the star of the show was the potstickers!   I adapted Damn Delicious’s recipe – I left out the onions, obviously, used button mushrooms instead of shitake mushrooms, and sadly left out the sriracha so Tony would like them.  I also added a teaspoon of fish sauce.  If you haven’t tried it yet, do it – I was afraid of it for the longest time – I don’t like fish so why the hell would I put fish sauce on my food!  But it’s a salty umami flavor that really adds a lot to a dish.

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That picture was taken in my fluorescent kitchen.  Yesterday I was able to take some pics in natural light – much better!  I love the crispiness of the bottom of the wonton, but the top is still chewy.  I ended up adding sriracha to this dipping sauce and I got the kick of heat that I thought was missing in the actual wonton.

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Tony gave this dinner two big thumbs up, and that makes me happy.  He normally doesn’t like most of the food that I make, so to make him happy with my food is just icing on the cake. Open-mouthed smile

I feel that my knee is back to 100%, and that means back to the gym.  September was kind of a blur exercise wise, and I want to get back on track.  I don’t want to fall into the “it’s the holidays!” trap and just eat like shit for three months.  I haven’t weighed in for a while, so it was time to suck it up and see where I am at.

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Well, I have to say I thought that number was going to be a lot worse!  But I am going to take a positive spin on it – I am only 12.6 pounds away from the 150s! Open-mouthed smile

Alright, time to get this show on the road – make it a great day!