Homemade Rice-A-Roni

Some days I wonder if I would leave my head at home if it wasn’t attached to my body!  I was a whirlwind of activity before heading out to the gym.  I didn’t pack my back the night before and I was putting my work clothes in my bag – my worst fear is that after a work out I start to get dressed and I haven’t packed a bra or underwear, just a top and pants!

Got my food. Check!  Got my work clothes.  Check!  Got my camera.  Check!  Got my cell phone. Check!  Got my coffee.  Check!  Got my insulin bag . . .

Doh.  I got nearly to the gym and realized I left my insulin bag on the kitchen counter.  It has my test strips, glucose monitor, glucose tabs and . . . MY FAST ACTING INSULIN!   I have to take insulin every time I eat.  Drat.  But then I thought about it.  I could modify my food that I brought for the day – just make it lower carb.  And while Tony was perfectly willing to make the hour round trip drive to bring it to me, I thought I’d be okay.

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It was a gorgeous sunrise on the way to the gym.  Something about the sun just immediately puts me in a good mood!  On tap yesterday – chest and shoulders.

  • Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 15
  • Cable Crossover: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Plyo Kettlebell Push-Up: 3 X 12
  • One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Squat: 3 sets of 15 reps, each side
  • Jackknife on Bench: 3 sets 15 reps
  • Side Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Upright Row: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Burpee: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Dips: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Roman Chair Leg Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 15 reps

Cardio:

  • 30-second sprints on treadmill; Level 8; 30 seconds on/30 off; 30 minutes total

Surprisingly, the strength portion only took me 35 minutes – nice!  So I went to the treadmill to start the sprints.  Um, no.  I was still sore from the day before.  I wasn’t feeling it, and I didn’t want to do a half ass job, so I quickly switched gears and went swimming for 30 minutes instead.  Ah, that felt good.  Got all the kinks out and when I got out of the pool, I wasn’t sore anymore.

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And I had time to take a 10 minute hot shower.  #love

No picture of breakfast – you’ve seen it so much – another slice of my quiche!  It was only 12 grams of carbs, so I couldn’t eat my fruit or Chobani since I didn’t have my insulin.

I talked to Tony later on, and he thought it was best that I skip my lunch time workout – without my glucose monitor I have no idea where my blood sugar is at.   Even with one of my bosses out I was busy yesterday.  Before I knew it, it was lunch time!  Taco salad – romaine lettuce, a couple tablespoons of corn, carrots, yellow pepper, 4 ounces of taco meat and my salsa/ranch dressing.  21 grams of carbs for lunch.

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One of Tony’s favorite side dishes growing up was Rice-A-Roni.  He remembered an Asian version that had slivered almonds, but I don’t remember that one.  Katie from Chaos in the Kitchen made a homemade version – you guys, this could not be easier!  The only thing I changed was I used 1 tablespoon of butter while I sauteed the rice and pasta, and I added a teaspoon of Italian seasoning for the dried parsley.

I bought this pasta a couple weeks ago because I had a coupon for it.  Neither Tony or I had seen this cut of pasta before!

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I love that the pasta is sitting on my printed out workout for today!   On the side I made fried chicken legs.  I puffy heart fried drumsticks.  I used to never like dark meat and now I love it.  (that’s what she said).

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I promise you that is just one cup of the rice-a-roni.  Oh, is that fucking hot sauce on my chicken?  How the hell did that get there?! Devil

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The chicken was cooked perfectly, and Tony gave dinner two thumbs up.  #winning!  He usually jokes with me when he likes something I make and says stuff like “finally a decent meal around here!”

Since I had to give up all my extras – fruit/yogurt, etc., my calories were a bit light yesterday!  I am pretty happy that when I got home my blood sugar was only 235 – not bad for not taking insulin all day!

Stats for the Day:

  • 1158 calories, 88 carbs, 73 protein, 58 fat, 7.6 fiber (so low!)
  • 44% of calories from fat, 25% from protein and 30% from carbs
  • 35 minutes chest/shoulders for strength
  • 30 minute swim

I want to give a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to blog reader Louise!  She lives up in Appleton, WI – and she makes wonderful greeting cards. I would love it if you could leave a ton of happy birthday comments and let her know I sent you her way!   She’s 67 years young today.  Maybe next summer I’ll have to make the drive up to WI for a meet up! Open-mouthed smile

I got to sleep in this morning.  I have a meeting near my office tonight, but It’s not until 7:15 so I decided to hit the gym after to work to kill time.  On today’s strength menu?  Hamstrings/Glutes/Calves – but no cardio – woop!

Oh, and guess what?  A while back I asked you guys to vote for my Buffalo Chicken Chili that was in Spark Peoples crock pot recipe contest.  I got an email last night that I made the top 15!  They are going to make the Top 15 recipes in the next week and announce a winner on December 2.  The prize?  $5,000 to me and $5,000 to my charity of choice!  Thanks again to Heather for letting me know about the recipe contest!  Wish me luck. Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes

Thanks for all the wonderful comments yesterday on My Bizzy Kitchen’s 5th birthday!  Even though it was a super busy day at work, I kept looking down at my phone whenever another comment was left – I felt the love. Open-mouthed smile

So not having gone grocery shopping this week, it’s been . . . interesting.  I had half a spaghetti squash that was already cooked leftover in the fridge.  I usually just use it as the base for chili or pasta sauce, but I wanted to see what else was out there.

A quick Google search landed me at Half Baked Harvest.  I love it when I stumble upon a blog and instantly love it.  I am following her on Instagram too (halfbakedharvest).

So my idea for these spaghetti squash pancakes was to make them as a base for an open faced egg sammie.  I didn’t have very high hopes for this one, so I set the bar pretty low so I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes

  • makes 6 large pancakes – each one:  110 calories, 5.5 fat, 10.5 carbs, .3 fiber and 5.0 protein

I ended up doubling the recipe since I had two cups of spaghetti squash.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (for frying)
  • salt and pepper
  • that’s it

Mix everything together.  Melt half the butter for the first three pancakes (I also used Pam) and then the second half of the butter to pan fry the second three.

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p.s.  I love using an ice cream scoop for pancake batter

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I scrambled 3/4 cup of egg whites with salt and pepper.  When I got to work I heated up the pancakes for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Then topped each one with two slices of deli ham.  Divided the scrambled eggs between the two and then topped with 1/2 an ounce of cheddar cheese and put it under the broiler until the cheese was nice and melty.  This plate comes in at 426 calories, 17 fat, 25 carbs and a whopping 40 grams of protein.  I didn’t end up eating lunch until 2:15 so this breakfast stuck with me.

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The verdict?? I loved these pancakes.  Just slightly sweet from the spaghetti squash, but with the mix of the salty ham and cheese – it was the perfect bite when you got pancake, ham, egg and cheese.  These are a keeper!

I ended up going to the gym late – not many people there at 1:30 in the afternoon!  Yesterday was legs and calves.  I am happy that I was able to increase my weight on every exercise but one. Open-mouthed smile

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And I have put my weight exercises on my phone so I don’t have to carry around a piece of paper anymore.  The first number is the weight, x 12 reps x 3 sets.  That took me 30 minutes.

I actually had . . . .canned soup for lunch!  I know, crazeballs.  I have no idea how long this has been in my pantry, but the expiration date is next month!

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It actually wasn’t too bad – I added Tabasco to the broth to spice it up – but the whole can was only 200 calories.

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And on the side I had a low carb spinach and cheese wrap – just 1/2 a cup of baby spinach, 1/2 ounce of cheddar and melted in the broiler.  It was crunchy and chewy at the same time.

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My sister doesn’t have Instagram on her phone because she’s got a Windows based phone – I like to send her pictures of my Instagram’s just to show her what she’s missing!  (are you following me??  biz319!)

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This app is called “picplaypost.”  The picture of the weights is actually a video. Open-mouthed smile

When I came home Tony was outside – it was such a nice night.  It was a long couple days of work, so wine won over Insanity. Open-mouthed smile  Tony tried to catch birds again – it hasn’t happened yet but he’ll keep trying!

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I had to work late the night before last so the bone in chicken breast I thawed hadn’t been used yet.  Tony asked if we had any tomato sauce and I said no, so yesterday he did a quick shop and told me not to worry about dinner. #love

He was making chicken cacciatore – and I had to really think about it, but I am not sure I’ve ever had it!  He simmered the bone in chicken breast with canned pureed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and mushrooms and just let it simmer for a couple hours.  The chicken was so tender it shredded easily – the only problem was making sure all the bones were found!  Next time he wants to use dark meat so the bones will be easier to get out.  And next time he’ll add black olives.

We had leftover egg noodles so we threw those in the last few minutes.  This was so good!

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Pure comfort in a bowl.  I had to guess on the calories since I don’t know exactly how Tony made it – but I put this plate at 571 calories.

Stats for the Day:

  • 1875 calories (including wine), 134 carbs, 90 protein, 17 fiber
  • Calorie Count gave my day a C+ for not enough carbs, the alcohol and too much sodium
  • 30 minute legs and calves at lunch

You still have until Monday to leave a comment for a chance to win Nicole’s cookbook!  The winner will be announced on Monday.

Alright, I am off to sauté some zucchini to go with Tony’s leftover cacciatore for lunch.  Happy Friday – make it a great day!

Creamy Stovetop Refried Beans

I loves me some refried beans.  In fact, given the chance, Tony and I could probably eat a Taco Bell Burrito every day.  Back in the day they were only about .39 cents each!

I’ve made Veronica’s crock pot version of refried beans, and they are delicious.  Only one problem.  Since I’ve been making Souper Friday soups at work, I’ve kept my crock pot at work. 

I decided to try making the beans on the stove with dried beans.  My store sells dried beans for .99 to 1.49 a package – anything from pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans etc.  They are so much cheaper than buying canned, just takes a little bit of planning ahead.

Creamy Stovetop Refried Beans

  • Makes 10, 1/2 cup servings: 135 calories, 6 fat, 15 carbs, 4.5 fiber, 4.8 protein and 291 sodium

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
  • water (I’ll explain below)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (this were on the spicy side, adjust as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce of choice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Rinse the beans well.  Put in a pot and cover with enough water so that there is 3-4 inches of water above the dried beans.  Cook with a lid on, medium low heat for 2 1/2 hours, checking periodically to make sure the beans aren’t sticking and there is still enough water covering the beans.

At this point, I just took it off the heat and let it sit until cool.  Drain the beans, reserving the liquid, then put in the food processor.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, and hot sauce and start to puree.  Add enough of the cooking liquid until desired texture – I love creamy refried beans, so I added 2 cups of the liquid.  Season with salt to taste.

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This hot sauce always reminds me of Melissa – I can still send you some Mel – it only costs .99 cents for this giant bottle and its not too spicy, but has a nice vinegary kick.

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Super creamy, just enough spice.  I used some for tacos on Wednesday night, then added 2 cups of this to my Refried Bean Black Bean Soup I posted yesterday. 

I could literally eat any type of Mexican food every day and never get sick of it!  Do you love Mexican food – feel free to link any of your Mexican recipes in the comments section Open-mouthed smile

I have a low key day today. Grocery shopping, baking bread, etc.  It’s 44 degees, overcast and rainy today.  Our backyard looks like a lake!

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I am happy about the daylight savings – last night I grilled in the dark!  Come back tomorrow, I have an amazeballs beef marinade you have to try.  Enjoy your Sunday!

No Fail Potato Gratin

How the hell did it get to be Monday already??  I had a bizzy weekend, and a relaxing one too – best of both worlds!

Tony and I went out to eat Friday night at Wool Street.  Except they didn’t have Rolling Rock on tap – boo. Sad smile  They have awesome burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, but I felt like tacos.  I ordered the shrimp tacos, but sadly forgot to ask if they were breaded, and they were.

I also said “make sure that no onions even come within five feet of my plate – thanks!”  The mango salsa that was slathered over the top?  Chock full of the nasty red onions.  Note to self, don’t order tacos in a place known for burgers and pork!

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The weather was perfect Friday night – around 70 degrees, a light breeze.  Tony and I sat outside and talked and listened to music for a couple hours – nice. Open-mouthed smile

Then Saturday it was unpack my Mom day!  The movers were delivering all her stuff and when I got there around 10:45, the movers were just finishing up – perfect timing.  I love her house – my pictures didn’t turn out so I’ll have to take more the next time I visit her.  It’s a ranch, with a huge basement.

Everything is new, the appliances, paint, floors, etc. – move in condition.  While unpacking some stuff I came across a box that said “hall closet.”  Inside were dolls that my sister and I used to play with . . . 40 years ago!  My Mom made all our doll clothes, these outfits had matching hats.

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They are actually in pretty good shape considering how old they are – I think my sisters daughter Claire is the last one to play with them. 

I got to see Hannah on Saturday so I got to give her lots of hugs and kisses! Red heart  I miss her!

I stayed about 4 hours, then had to high tale it back home – my SIL, her grandson, my nephew and his girl friend came over for dinner.  My nephew and his girl friend are moving to Tennessee in a week and a half, and Saturday night was the last night that we would see them for a while.

Tony, being the wonderful husband that he is, did the grocery shopping for me.  Okay, now I write a grocery list by recipe – so if I am making burgers I’ll have:

  • hamburger meat
  • hamburger buns
  • American cheese

Then if the next recipe is gnocchi gratin, I’d add:

  • gnocchi
  • bacon
  • milk

Tony literally shopped right down my list, so he would go to the meat section to get the burger meat, then to the bread section, then got American cheese, only to back track back to the meat department to get the bacon and then back to dairy to get the milk.  He said he went back and forth across the store 11 times!  Sorry sweets, but you were a big help!

Not only did I have just 2 hours to prepare dinner, which was marinated pork loin with two side dishes, I also put together five dishes for my SIL for the week.  It was like I was on Dinner Impossible!   And speaking of that show, have you seen Chef Robert Irvine’s body – how the hell does a chef have a body like that?  Oh, I guess you have to actually walk into a gym to get a body like that! Open-mouthed smile

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But I got it all done.  I think my favorite dish of the night was a gnocchi & bacon gratin.  I’ve talked about it before, but scalloped potatoes are like my worst enemy. No matter how long I cook them, the potatoes are still crunchy.  The only way I can make a good one is to microwave the casserole, but it always spills over and it is such a pain to clean up.

No more – say hello to my little friend – gnocchi!  Gnocchi is made of potatoes, so there was no way I could screw this up!  I adapted it from this blog, but left off the buttered crumb topping – Tony said he didn’t think it needed it – I think next time I’ll add it for a bit more texture, but this was delicious.

Gnocchi and Bacon Gratin

  • 3 slices of bacon (I used smoked applewood)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 16 ounce package of gnocchi
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Cook gnocchi for 2 minutes, then drain with cold water to stop the cooking process.  While water is coming to a boil, cook the bacon until crisp and cool and chop.

Melt the butter in the pot.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add flour and stir to make a paste.  Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to make a thick sauce.  Remove from the heat and add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and cheese.

Then in a big bowl I added the cooked gnocchi, the broccoli and then dumped the cheese sauce over top and mixed really well.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

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No crunchy potatoes this time!  I’ve never really thought of using gnocchi any other way then just cooking it and putting red sauce on top with some Parmesan cheese.  Do you use gnocchi in a different way?

I somehow over cooked the pork, even though I took it off the grill at 150 and let it rest – oh well, it was tasty, but just a tad on the dry side.

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So yesterday?  Totally relaxing.  I didn’t wake up until 9:00.  I made an unphotographed breakfast panini for breakfast while drinking iced coffee and read the newspaper.  I kinda dozed off here and there for about 30 minutes.  Then finally took a shower around 1:00. 

Tony asked what I wanted to do for lunch and I said “I don’t care!”  So we went to a buffet in Hoffman Estates. 

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For $22 dollars for lunch, I was a bit nervous because the reviews on Yelp were either “Loved it!” or “the food tastes like ass.”  Nothing really in between.

Wow – so much food, so little time.  I started with the build your own stir fry, which was really, really good.

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Lots of veggies!  You just hand the cook your plate with the sauce on the side and he grills it on this flat top grill – super hot.

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They also had tons and tons of seafood – I think next we go – I’ll concentrate on the build your own stir fry and the seafood.

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They also served raw sushi, so Tony well got his $$ worth!  And I tried red bean ice cream for the first time – tasted like vanilla ice cream to me!

I did a clean sweep of my closet and laundry – not only is all of our laundry done, but folded and put away.  I have all my outfits laid out and my gym clothes for the week.  I am so excited to go to the gym – my exercise mojo is back with a vengeance!  I remembered to pack sun screen, so I will try to swim outside today if it isn’t too hot.

What was the highlight of your weekend?  Make it a great day!

Spaghetti Squash Fritatta and reason 2,101 I love Tony!

Remember my spaghetti squash that exploded earlier in the week?  I am sure you were all wondering “did Biz use it?”  I was able to save most of it. :D

I decided to make a spaghetti squash frittata, although I am not sure it is truly a frittata, but that’s what I am calling it.

Spaghetti Squash Frittata (4 servings, 1/4 of pie is only 3 PointsPlus!)

  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash, chopped
  • 1.5 cups egg beaters
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of paprika over the top

Mix all the ingredients together in a pie plate sprayed with Pam.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the top is browned.

Ready for the oven:

Since one serving is only 3 points, I had a half a cup of baked beans on the side for some extra protein – breakfast comes in at 6 points.

Still no walk at work yesterday due to the heat.  But for the last two days all I have done at work is scan documents, so I consider standing on my feet for 7+ hours some sort of exercise. :D

Lunch was more of my grown up spaghettios - I really, really love this soup.

So as I was standing at the copier all day, I texted Tony “what do you want for dinner?”  He said “surprise me!”  I had to pick up my contacts, which was right by KFC, and had planned to buy the grilled chicken.  Um, no such luck.  Apparently they didn’t realize that around 6:00, grilled chicken might be a good thing to have on hand.  So I got original recipe.

Tony had emailed me earlier in the day that he had a surprise for me, but he wasn’t sure it turned out.  When I walked in the kitchen I saw it.  Cornbread!  I absolutely love corn bread.  When I worked in Chicago at least twice a week I walked 10 blocks from my office to Heaven on Seven and would pay $2.50 for a square of their jalapeno corn bread. :D  And that was a lot of money 15 years ago when I was a single mom, that’s how good it was!

Tony’s Cast-Iron Skillet Yellow Cornbread

  • 3 pieces bacon
  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • hot giaardiniera peppers

Instead of putting the skillet in the oven to get hot, Tony cooked up the bacon until crisp, then poured off most of the fat and used the bacon fat in place of shortening.

Heat oven to 425.  Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together the eggs, honey, milk and butter in a medium bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the bacon fat skillet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until place golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This was so good, I forgot all about taking a picture of my dinner!  I had a leg (3 points) a wing (3 points) mashed potatoes and gravy (3 points) cole slaw (3 points) and two servings of corn bread – my guess is dinner was 17 points – totally worth it! :D

Thanks Tony – it was delicious!  Perfect balance of sweet and heat.  Love. :D

Stats for Thursday

  • no exercise
  • 30 points
  • average blood sugar 101

Happy Friday!!  Make it a great day!

 

Israeli Couscous Salad and Saturday WI

You all know that I have anxiously been waiting to get my 10% goal, or 17 pounds lost since March 1.  I only had .8 to reach that goal today.

So.fricken.close.  But I’ll take it – I know my exercise has been changing the shape of my body, even if I don’t have a huge loss each week – but seriously?  .6 three weeks in a row? 

Today’s topic at WW was about the new Chose My Plate concept.  Basically half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 carbs.  Looking back on the last couple weeks of what I have been eating, I think this week I really need to focus on the healthy guidelines, and making sure 1/2 of each meal is fruit and veggies. :D

I figured out a way to have a two hour lunch on Fridays.  Agree to cook lunch for everyone!  We share office space with another company – we have half the building and they have the other half. We share an outdoor patio and they have provided a grill for us to use!

Here is our outdoor patio – its really cool once you put the umbrellas up so you aren’t sitting in the sun.

I sent an email to everyone to ask if they were in and asked for a $3 contribution – everyone who was in the office was game!  On the menu?  Greek chicken pitas with an israeli couscous salad and potato chips.

The chicken was cooked perfectly, but I think I loved the salad more.  I kind of just kept throwing stuff in the mix and adding to the sauce – loved it!

Israeli Couscous Salad

  • heaping 1/2 cup is 4 PointsPlus (makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces couscous, cooked according to package directions, cooled
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 an english cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup roasted sun flower seeds

Mix together the olive oil, garlic, cilantro, crushed red pepper, zest, lemon juice, sugar and salt and pepper and mix well.  In a large bowl, add cooked couscous, chopped romaine, raisins and vinagrette and mix well.  Just before serving, add sunflower seeds so they don’t get mushy.

I loved the softness of the couscous with the crunch of the cucumber and romaine and the sweetness of the raisins against the lemon zest.  Yum!

Check out what I finally ordered for myself:

I like how it says on the first page “you may be so overwhlemed by all the controls on your camera that you haven’t yet ventured beyone fully auto picture-taking mode.  Which is a shame because it’s sort of like buying a Porche 911 and never heading out for the open road.”

Hopefully I will be able to learn how to use my camera better.  Because while I can once in a while take a picture like this:

The very next picture turns out like this:

Enjoy your Saturday!  Tony and I are just about to go out to lunch and hit up a Japanese grocery store. :D

How to Make Perfect Rice and a Winner!

Let’s start out this Monday to find out who won the $50 CSN giveaway from Friday.  And the winner is. . .

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Carol says:

I have been in my house 24 years and I too have an ugly light fixture. I would love to change but have never taken the time, had the money, etc. That is what I would spend the gift card on.

P.S. Glad Tony is doing well. Keep up the blog, I love it…..

Congratulations Carol!  Send me an email at mybizzykitchen.com and I’ll give you the info on how to redeem the gift card – congrats!

Now onto some more fun news.  I had my weigh in on Saturday at Weight Watchers:

I earned 34 activity points last week, so that helped me enjoy some wine and pizza too!  :D  Tony is still not eating big meals, so I enjoyed pizza both Friday and Saturday night.  I’ve said how much I love my no rise pizza dough – I made some Friday night and then used the second half Saturday night – the dough on Saturday was so much better so I think I’ll make my dough the night before from now on.  I just pulled it from the fridge about an hour before using it.

I loved the spiced fresh jalapenos on top :D

We have an electric stove, which has proved very difficult to make perfect rice.  I normally would have to keep one burner on low after the water came to a boil, put the lid on and then would move it to that burner.  But there were mixed results – either the rice on the bottom would be cooked and the top wasn’t – or the rice would still be crunchy all the way around.

Then I bought a cheap $7 rice cooker at Walgreen’s of all places.  Worked like a charm!  Any grain would work – quinoa, red beans and rice, etc.  But we’ve had it for years and the last couple times I’ve used it the rice is still crunchy – I am thinking the heating element is just shot.

So here is how to make perfect rice – I made it with both brown and white rice, both to perfect results.

Perfect Baked Rice (from Alton Brown)

  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Boil the water, butter and salt.  Put the rice in an 8×8 glass dish.  Pour the boiling water over rice, stir to combine.  Put foil tightly on the top and bake at 375 for one hour.  Remove and fluff with a fork.

fluffy and perfectly cooked :D

Last week I saw both Marisa and Nicole make protein pancakes – I decided to make them as well, just adding lemon zest to the batter and 1/2 cup of blueberries to the pancakes before flipping them.  What’s great about these is that for me it made THREE HUGE pancakes that kept me full for hours.   The pancakes come in at 7 points – 8 points all together with 1/4 cup sugar free pancake syrup.

Protein Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg beaters
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Add all the ingredients except for blueberries in a blender.  Mix well and let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes.  Heat a non-stick skillet – I decided to make three large pancakes – I poured the batter straight from my blender container – then hand placed the blueberries in the pancake – cook about 2-3 minutes per side.  Serve with additional blueberries and 1/4 cup sugar free pancake syrup.

I think lemon zest wakes everything up :D

They are almost the size of a dinner plate! :D  This will definitely be a once a week treat – I think next time I’ll saute apples and put that in the batter.

Long time readers will know that I have a twin sister Jennifer.  Growing up we were always put in separate classes, otherwise I am sure we would have just been content being friends with each other and never would need to meet new people.  It was in third grade that my Mom dropped me off at my class, then took my sister to her class.  I noticed a new girl.  Minutes later my mom pulled me out of my class, pointed at the new girl in my room, took me to my sisters room and pointed me to the new girl in that class.  What?!  Another set of twins?!

Before that, we had never known any other twins.  By 8th grade we had four sets of twins in a graduating class of 90 kids, and in high school we had ten sets of twins in my graduating class of 1000 kids!

So we have been friends with D & D for 35 years.  We try to get together at least four times a year and yesterday was our first get together of 2011.  Tony loves to call these get togethers “TwinFest!”

The best part about TwinFest is that since we’ve known each other for so long, I can show up at the host house wearing pajamas, sweats, maybe a shirt with a stain on it, no contacts or makeup – which is why you will not see any pictures of us from yesterday!

We always order pizza – this time deep dish.  My guess is this piece of deep dish sausage comes in at 13 points.  I also brought my baja fresh salsa (first time I used the grill and it was COLD on Saturday) – so 7 points for chips and salsa – lunch comes in at 20 points.

And since Jenn and I have a birthday this Saturday – they sang to us with a cupcake :D

And check out the birthday loot!

And speaking of loot – check out this amazing package I got from Rachel over the weekend!

She wrote Tony and I the nicest card – she said:

Your humor through all this has been inspiring.  I’m so happy the cancer is gone and I hope it stays gone for good!  Hugs!

The front of the card was the best!

And this magnet is now sticking proudly on our fridge!

Thank you so much for thinking of us Rachel!

Check out the recap of last weeks BSI – proscuitto here.

Renee of My Kitchen Adventures is next weeks host – check back to her site later today for this weeks Secret Ingredient.

Time to get ready for work – looking forward to the extra light tonight after work!  Happy Monday!