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Appetizer/ Sauces

Broiled Tomatillo Salsa

Yesterday I was prepared for the weather!   When I left the house it was 15 degrees, but with the wind felt like 4.  My brother gave me this hat for Christmas a couple years ago and I love it.  I work leggings under my pants, my boots – I was toasty!

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I walked into my building and forgot that the building was having a tenant breakfast.  The first thing I saw was this donut bar – are you kidding me?  Frosting, sprinkles, nuts, and look at that tiny cup of fruit?!  I walked by as quickly as I could so I wouldn’t be tempted.

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I ate the breakfast I brought instead.  I still need to check my app, but when I put this Mexican casserole in the recipe builder, it counted the points for the eggs, making this 5 points, which is totally fine for breakfast, but several people told me that it must be a glitch because recipes they have put in the builder show eggs as zero.  Not ready to post the recipe for this one yet – it was good, not great.  

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Our office provided lunch which was Zoop, which you all know what a soup whore I am, but they were mostly cream based soup – lobster bisque, chicken pot pie.  I went with a broth based soup (which I will try to recreate at home) that had chicken and kale in it, but it was so chock full of onions, that was all I could taste. ๐Ÿ˜›

So I stuck with the lunch I brought – more buffalo chicken chili with 1/2 cup of wagon wheel pasta.  Whenever Hannah makes pasta she’s convinced that the shaped pasta has more flavor. 

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I left work on time last night – can I get a hells yes!!  I was home by 6:45 – so much time for activities!  First up was making taco Tuesday.  Over the weekend I made tomatillo salsa because my store had tomatillos on sale for .59 cents a pound.  Hannah loves this salsa, especially with those lime tortilla chips.  

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Here is the breakdown of the tacos – only 5 points!  I also made a quick creama, not sure what to call it, but it was just plain Chobani and the sauce from a can of adobo sauce – so good!  Why haven’t I used Greek yogurt for sour cream before?!

I have to tell you that I am feeling so satisfied on this new program – I don’t know if its because I’ve switched my mindset to get back on plan or what, but I haven’t gone “looking” for food after dinner the last two nights.  That seems to be the time of day that gets me in trouble – from 9-10 p.m.  Maybe I should go to bed at nine?! ๐Ÿ˜›

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This salsa is so simple, it should really be a recipe.  

  • 2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeno (see how spicy your jalapeno is first – start with 1/4 and add more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • that’s fucking it

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Broile the tomatillos until they are browned.  I do miss the deep char I get on the grill, but this is still good.  There will be a lot of juice in your pan, so be sure to use a jelly roll pan to broil these.  Dump all the ingredients, and the juice on the cookie sheet into a blender, blend, and try not to eat the whole thing with a bag of chips in one sitting.  Not that I know that personally, but I heard a friend did that once. ๐Ÿ˜€

broiled tomatillo salsa

Also, be sure to have about 18 separate things on your counter when doing this.  That’s how the professional kitchens work. 

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Tonight is my office Christmas party, and I have about 7 extra points banked, and my breakfast and lunch together will only be about 10 points, so I’ll have about 20 points to work with tonight – totally doable.  Going to have one glass of wine (4) and hopefully have salad with some type of protein – it’s a buffet so I don’t know what my choices are, but it’s one night and I am not going to sweat it.

We made it to Wednesday – make it a great day!  And go make this salsa and let me know if you make it – I could do shots of it without the chips!

Appetizer/ dinner/ Weight Watchers

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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.
Write a review
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
Amount Per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 191
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 54mg
Sodium 497mg
Total Carbohydrates 8g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 5g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 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
  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.
  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.
My Bizzy Kitchen


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!

Appetizer/ Vegetable/ Weight Watchers

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โ€“ he was one of the judges next to me โ€“ heโ€™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 โ€œthis would be perfect if it had more salt and a bit more acid.โ€  We looked at each other like that scene in Brothers and I said โ€œdid we just become best friends?!โ€

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 โ€œCellโ€) 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 Tonyโ€™s ashes (which is the bottom right pic).  it was bitter sweet โ€“ 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 Iโ€™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 donโ€™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!