Spicy Wonton Soup

I posted my wonton soup on the WW connect app, and several people asked for the recipe.  I love having Trader Joe’s cilantro wontons in the freezer – you can get 10 wontons for only 3 smart points!  This is for one big bowl, but after dinner I made a second batch, so next time I’ll double it.  If you make some to have for leftovers, don’t store the wontons in the soup – they’ll end up soggy, just add in the cooked wontons when you reheat the soup the next day.

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili paste
  • 1 large carrot sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee
  • 10 cilantro wontons

In a stock pot, add the chicken broth, water, PB2, garlic, ginger, chili paste and the carrot.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  In a separate small skillet, add the ghee and saute the mushrooms and zucchini for about 5-6 minutes, just until the mushroom start to brown.  Add them to the stock pot.  In the same skillet, add the frozen wontons with 3 tablespoons of water, put a lid on the pan, and steam the wontons for 3-4 minutes.  

Spoon the broth into a bowl, add the wontons, and toss in the fresh chopped spinach at the end.   This giant bowl of soup is only 5 smart points – 3 for the wontons, 1 for the ghee and 1 for the PB2.

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I wish I could come up with a low carb recipe for granola that doesn’t taste like ass, but after several attempts, it hasn’t worked out yet.  Most granola recipes are about 1 smart part PER TABLESPOON.  Yes, I am shouting because I call BS.  This is River Valley Kitchens Cranberry Pecan with Cocoa & Sea Salt Granola: 
Wisconsin rolled oats, brown sugar, pepitas, dried cranberries, pecans, organic coconut, coconut powder, cinnamon, rice oil, sunflower oil and sea salt.

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Here is the perfect bite of my breakfast:  there is Trader Joe’s steel cut frozen oats on the bottom (5), banana, blueberry and two tablespoons of granola (2).

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My sister had a work meeting, so I was on my own, but still got my walking shoes on, even though I had a super busy day.  It’s my inclination to just work through lunch and power out the work, but I realized the work will always be there, it its such a nice break to get outside.  Even though I’ve lived in the Chicago area my whole life, I still love looking up at all the buildings.

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And there is a suprising amount of park areas in and around Chicago.  When we were little and visited our grandparents tiny town in Virginia, the kids used to ask us if we had trees in Chicago. 😀

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But there is always construction going on – whether its highrises being built, or the expressways – it’s never ending.

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When I got back from my walk, I heated up my leftover wonton soup – the broth got extra “mushroomy.”  Not sure if that’s a word, but I am sticking with it.  I also added 2 points of spicy tofu to the mix, making this a 7 point soup.

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The afternoon flew by – check out the temp when I left the office!  It was hotter in Chicago than it was in Austin, Texas!  So strange that just early last week I was still wearing a winter coat to work because it was 37 degrees when I left my house.

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I stopped by Starbucks in the train station to get some water.  Did you know you can get free water at Starbuck’s at any time – stop buying bottled water – they are on like every other block in Chicago – just ask for a Venti ice water to go – bam!  And you don’t have to buy anything either.  FYI, I was at a stop light when I took this pic.

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I saw on Instagram coming home last night that it was National BBQ Day!  Whoop!  I had bone in chicken breasts that I bought over the weekend.  I just did salt, pepper, and a bit of McCormick Montreal steak seasoning.  I grilled them on indirect heat until they reached an internal temperature of 160, because the residual heat will bring them over 165 by the time they rest for 10-15 minutes.

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When I worked the grill event at The Chopping Block a couple weekends ago, we grilled up sweet potatoes and they were delicious.  I used this veggie rub that I bought that day, and absolutely love it.  Just drizzled with about a teaspoon of grapeseed oil, then finished them on the grill when the chicken was hanging out.

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I didn’t eat the skin (um, even though that’s the best part!) but always leave it on when grilling.  You’ll end up with perfectly cooked chicken.

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My sister and I are headed to Macy’s on State street today.  

It’s Macy’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.   If you watched Top Chef on Bravo, you’ll remember Chef Kristin Kish – she’s one of the Chef’s that will be at the lunch event.  Hoping to get a quick picture with her Open-mouthed smile  It runs from 12-2, they have this giant test kitchen at Macy’s and have these events for free every so often.

Kristen-Kish2-e1403596000457

Happy Wednesday – make it a great day!

Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites

I have to be honest, I was a bit surprised with my loss this week.  I had brunch with my Mom and sister with drinks, I had wine last Saturday night, habachi and two beers on Monday night.  I guess my saving grace is that I walk a lot during the day – even on the days I didn’t walk at lunch I was easily at 12,000 steps for the day.  

Now that March is nearly officially over, I can’t use the excuse to celebrate all the birthdays in my family anymore, and it’s time to refocus.  I only tracked 1/3 of the month of March.  And for that I had an overall gain of 1.8 for the month. 

But I am not upset about that at all.  March is a full month for me, and I enjoyed it, but now it’s time to get back to business.

Goals for April:

  • track 25 out of 30 days
  • drink 80 ounces of water a day
  • gym 3 times a week (strength train)
  • minimum 4 pounds to lose (would get me to -20 pounds since Christmas!)
  • maximum 9 pounds to lose (which would get me to -25 pounds since Christmas!)
  • journal every day

I know journaling is key so I need to fit that into my routine.  I am also trying to figure out my workout schedule.  My thought is that if I work out before work: a) it’s done and over with and no matter what my day throws at me, I’ll have already gotten the workout in and b) I can sleep an hour on the train to work if I am tired, so there really is no excuse.  I’ll keep you posted on that one.

I took the early train to get to WW before work to meet my sister, so I didn’t have time to pack my food for the day.  Corner Bakery is in the lobby of the building WW is in, so I got their protein flatbread with avocado and spinach, with a side of fresh fruit.  Not only was this delicious, the salsa was spicy, and this only set me back $5.79 – I am not sure I could get McDonald’s for that price!  (well, if I didn’t get anything off the $1 menu).

One of my bosses was out, so I had no trouble going back to WW for the meeting.  We had a guest leader and I really liked her.  She lost 100 pounds and has maintained that loss for 12 years, but even she admitted that she still has to double check points.  It was funny she said she’d make breakfast and think “that’s probably 6 points” when in reality it was more like 24 points, but she’d have it stuck in her head that breakfast was only 6 points.  

I do love the weekly meetings though – as someone on Connect (Weight Watchers app Facebook) said that she needed the meetings when she had a great week because maybe something she said could influence someone else having a successful week, and when she had a bad week, she still went to get inspiration from others.  I couldn’t agree more.

I picked up lunch at Pret and got a small soup with a hard boiled egg drizzled with Goddess dressing. Lunch was 8 smart points.  I need to make a pot of tomato soup and figure out the points – there is no way that this 110 calorie cup of soup is 13 smart points like the WW app suggests.  It’s delicious though!

Thursday night is what I call “leftover” night because even if I had meal planned, there are always weeks when I plan a meal and then it never happens.  I had tofu in the fridge, so took that as my inspiration.

I think the only person who loves buffalo flavored anything more than me is my DIL Lizz.  She’s been trying to make crispy tofu at home, so I figured this would be an easy recipe to follow.

Serves 4.5 ounces of tofu bites

Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites

If you have a jones for buffalo wings, try this fake out recipe - it's crispy, light and has all the buffalo flavor you want.

5 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

10 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 9 ounces firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce

Instructions

  1. Put the tofu between two paper towels and press with a heavy object. I just used my tea kettle full of water. After 5 minutes, change the paper towels, and repeat that process two more times. I pressed my tofu for a total of 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl add the almond milk. In another bowl, mix together the flour, corn starch, salt and pepper. Dip the tofu into the flour mixture, then into the almond milk, then back into the flour mixture.
  3. Heat deep fryer at 350. Alternatively, pan fry in coconut oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry the tofu for about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then toss in the buffalo sauce. Serve with sweet potato fries, celery and ranch dressing.
Recipe Type: Dinner

Notes

Don't skip the pressing of the tofu part - you'll need to get as much moisture out of the tofu so that it will fry up crispy.

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http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2017/03/31/crispy-buffalo-tofu-bites/

You could make this an even quicker weeknight dinner if you press the tofu in your fridge during the day when you are at work.  Just layer a lot of paper towels on a plate with the tofu, and put a heavy canned good on top. 

I think the corn starch gives it the extra crunch.  I had the points and fully expected this to be one serving of food below, but after eating half, the sweet potato fries and the celery, I was full.  I put the recipe into the WW app, and each serving comes in at 5 smart points.

So spicy and delish!  I love this Whataburger buffalo sauce – spicier than Frank’s Red Hot, but just as flavorful.  I think my daughter-in-law will love this recipe!  Love you Lizz – let me know if you try this 😀

Last day of the month!  I am going to get my taxes done tonight, I have no idea how that will go, so keep your fingers crossed.  

Happy Friday!  

Pork Jalapeno Popper Tacos

I actually don’t mind getting a Timehop that stops me in my tracks.  Obviously nearly 99% of all my Timehops are food related because it grabs the memories from Instagram and Facebook.   Yesterday I had two Tony memories:

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I remember that he called me last minute and wanted to know if I could break away from work and meet him for lunch.  I think this was the first time we went out to eat after his January 2014 nine day hospital stay.  I remember he ate hardly anything and I ate nearly my whole Reuben sandwich Smile with tongue out

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Jacky, you’ll laugh because I went back to the post where Tony gave me this basket.  That night I didn’t go on the computer at all and we caught up on some of our DVR shows.  When I woke up the next day to blog for the day, when I turned on the computer, this is what he put as the background picture.  (For new readers, it’s a long story about this blogger – I had one of my most controversial posts in 2012 – you can check it out here if you feel like it).

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But neither of those posts made me teary.  Sad, yes, but I just continued on with my day and got myself ready for work. 

While I said I was going to up my protein for my meals this week, for some reason Chobani always keeps me full.   I made this banana parfait with my one point fruit sauce (this time cranberry and blueberry) with one Nature’s Valley granola bar crunched over the top.  This whole thing was only 6 smart points.  I actually like how you can see the Chicago skyline in the reflection with our blue skies with puffy clouds Open-mouthed smile

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My co-worker picked up a McDonald’s parfait that was maybe half the size of mine and 7 smart points.   Um, mine was better Open-mouthed smile

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My sister and I were walking buddies again yesterday.  We both decided we don’t walk north very often, and as we were chit chatting away, I realized we were right by The Chopping Block so we stopped by so she could look around.  I saw some people I hadn’t seen in a while, so that was nice.

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It was high 40’s, and with that weather I am fine with a fleece jacket.  In fact I probably would have been okay in just a t-shirt.  I know Shelley you are shaking your head on that one!   And Mom, I am fully prepared for you to tell me that I need to trim my bangs 😀

Since I spent nearly my whole lunch hour walking, I ate lunch at my desk.  I wasn’t feeling what I meal planned, so I had an egg white spinach sandwich with a serving of pretzels (which I already ate before taking this picture!) with carrots/cucumbers at Goddess dressing.

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It wasn’t until I was leaving work, and walking through the train station and everyone was buying chocolates at Fannie Mae and buying flowers with the special vendors that were there, that I really missed the thought of racing home to Tony and making us a nice Valentine’s dinner.   The kadults had plans, so it was just me.  The longer the train went along the tracks closer to home, the more I was thinking “just get a deep dish pizza and a bottle of wine!”  And I was 90% sure that’s what was going to go down, regardless that I’ve already spent my weekly points and have no extras left for the week.  Who cares?!

Turns out I do care.  I turned my mindset around, and as I walked to my parked car, talked myself into coming up with something that I already had at home, and within my points for the day.  Here was my inspiration:

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Leftover ground pork from my pork egg rolls over the weekend, jalapeno and this Laughing Cow cheese that I picked up because it was on sale.  Can’t remember the last time I bought that!  This recipe is for one, but obviously you can multiply it for however big your family is.  Maybe I should write my recipes out for more than one serving?! Smile with tongue out

Pork Jalapeno Popper Tacos
Serves 4
A different alternative to your standard Taco Tuesday - Laughing Cow Cheese is melted into the pork and jalapenos - so good!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
344 calories
14 g
70 g
23 g
21 g
13 g
170 g
366 g
2 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
170g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 344
Calories from Fat 204
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g
36%
Saturated Fat 13g
63%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 70mg
23%
Sodium 366mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 2g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
18%
Vitamin C
33%
Calcium
48%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 ounces lean ground pork
  2. 2 tablespoons jalapeno (chopped – adjust to taste)
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. 3 corn tortillas (mine were 3 for 4 points)
  6. 1 laughing cow wedge, spicy pepper jack
  7. 1/4 cup broccoli slaw, chopped
  8. 1 chopped radish
  9. 1/8 of avocado, chopped
  10. cilantro, tomato and lime for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add the pork and jalapeno together.  I just used a bit of Pam cooking spray on the bottom of my pan.  Cook until the pork is no longer pink.  Remove from heat and stir in the laughing cow cheese wedge and ground cumin and stir until it melts.  Taste pork mixture and season with salt and pepper as needed. In each corn tortilla, place some of the broccoli slaw, then some of the pork/jalapeno filling and Pam fry the tacos for about 2 minutes a side.  Top with the chopped radish, avocado, cilantro and lime and dinner is served!  The Weight Watchers app put these tacos at 3 points each – so 9 points for the whole plate, and I ended my day with 29/30 points.
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calories
344
fat
23g
protein
21g
carbs
14g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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These were so good!  I am trying to think, but I don’t think I’ve ever used ground pork in making tacos before.  Tony didn’t like the smell or taste of pork the last couple years before he passed away, but I am not sure he would have gone for these even when he did like pork.   Hannah thinks that cumin smells like an old man’s armpit, and I could just hear Tony yelling from the living room “What Smells Like Ass?!”  If I ever write a cookbook, that’s going to be the title Open-mouthed smile

And a huge thank you to my parents-in-law for sending me this sweet card – thank you and love you!

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So I didn’t succumb to my typical emotional eating – #nsv!  I had a nice cup of coffee after dinner and that was it – kitchen closed!

Here is your Wednesday Words of Wisdom – make it a great day!

inspiration

Chickpeas and Potato Curry

The great thing about making waffles over the weekend when you have time is that you can have a quick breakfast during the work week.   I love the sweet/savory combo and made waffle breakfast sammies.  One waffle (4) stuffed with 1/2 cup liquid egg white and baby spinach (1) and 1/2 ounce everything bagel Cabot cheese (2) then drizzled with sugar free pancake syrup (1).

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I toasted the waffles when I got to work so they were crunchy, the cheese was salty – it’s basically everything you could ever want in a breakfast.  It was so good that I just might have it again for breakfast!  That’s a whole lot of food for 8 points!

I can’t show you my lunch because it’s a recipe I wrote for my Chopping Block blog post coming up.  It’s a soup recipe – I can tell you that – and it’s only FOUR smart points for two cups.  But even with 1/2 a serving of tortilla chips and a giant apple, I was starving on the train ride home and had to dive into my back pack and ate two Nature Valley bars for 7 points.  

When I got home I was happy to get some mail from my blog reader and friend Allyson!  She told me she sent me a little something, but it had been well over a week since she mailed it and we both thought it just might have gotten lost.  Nope!  Fourteen days after she mailed it from MS!  Thank you Allyson!  How could she have possibly known I liked snowmen?!

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Hannah’s coffee shop is no longer doing appetizer type foods, so she came home with a giant can of chick peas.  While hummus is an obvious choice (and I plan on making some this weekend) I decided to try to make a chickpea/potato/curry dish.  My inspiration came from Recipe Tin.  I did streamline her instructions a bit to make it even faster for a weeknight dinner.  The Weight Watcher recipe app said this was 6 points per serving, which is 1.5 cups of the recipe.  I served it over 1/2 cup cooked rice, so dinner came in at 9 smart points.

Chickpea and Potato Curry
Serves 6
A spicy delicious vegetarian dinner. It could also be vegan if you subbed in veggie stock for the chicken stock.
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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
307 calories
54 g
1 g
4 g
15 g
1 g
248 g
116 g
9 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
248g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 307
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
7%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 116mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 54g
18%
Dietary Fiber 14g
54%
Sugars 9g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
24%
Vitamin C
22%
Calcium
11%
Iron
31%
* 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. 1/4 of a small onion (baby steps!)
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder *
  4. 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  5. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin
  9. salt and pepper
  10. 12 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced
  11. 2 cups chick peas, rinsed and drained
  12. 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  13. 14 ounces water
  14. 1 tablespoon chicken base powder
  15. 2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
Instructions
  1. Peel and dice potatoes and place in a microwave safe dish, and microwave on “fresh vegetable” setting.  Meanwhile, put the onion, garlic, curry powder, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, tomatoes, water and chicken base powder in a blender.  Add that mixture to a small stock pot.  Add in the canned chickpeas, the microwaved potatoes and cook over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add 1/2 cup fresh spinach to each bowl, pour chickpea potato mixture into dish with cooked rice, garnish with chopped green onion or cilantro.
Notes
  1. * taste your curry powder first before adding it to the recipe - all curry powders are not created equal!
Adapted from Recipe Tin
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calories
307
fat
4g
protein
15g
carbs
54g
more
Adapted from Recipe Tin
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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Please note that not all curry powders are the same.  I used this hot curry powder – and literally 1/2 teaspoon was enough to spice up this whole dish.  The original recipe called for TWO tablespoons!  So start with a little and you can always add more.

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The verdict?  I liked it.  I loved all the spice going on in the dish, but truth be told, I missed the meat.  But I guess having one meatless meal during the week won’t kill me!

I’ve got a busy day today!  Going to Weight Watchers before work to weigh in.  We have a bring your lunch AT our Weight Watchers meeting (with tables and chairs with water and fruit provided) and then Cooking Club!  I am happy I am just in charge of a side dish this time.  I believe the head Chef is Donna, and she’s making a salmon dish.  If it wasn’t for this group I never would have tried salmon or halibut, both of which I love now!

Now to figure out what to pack for my WW lunch – something that doesn’t need heating up, and I have about 10 minutes to put it together. Smile with tongue out

Make it a great day!

Food, Health and Happiness

Tony used to make fun of me the way I “read” a cookbook like a great piece of fiction.  It’s true though.  I usually page through it from start to finish, with my little post-it notes flagging the recipes I’d like to try first.

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Oprah actually starts out the cookbook writing about her ups and downs over the years regarding her weight.   Nothing I hadn’t read before – the infamous liquid diet where she pulls out he big wagon of fat to show how much weight she lost, only to gain five pounds in a day after getting off the stage and out of the jeans she said felt like they were painted on.   But I remember thinking back then, that of course Oprah could lose weight – she had people cooking for her, she had personal trainers – she didn’t have to “think” about it – someone would tell her what to eat and how to work out – how simple?!

But it doesn’t matter how much money you make, or what conveniences you have in life, when it comes right down to it, you and only you can make the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle.  You can plan your meals.  You can decide what to eat.  You can decide what to say “no thank you” to.  

Oprah talks about how if Maya Angelou were here, she would ask her “Ok, if anyone knows better when it comes to dieting, it’s me.  So how do you explain my endless struggles with weight?  Why is it that with all this experience and information, I haven’t done better?”  She wrote “My guess is she’d probably smile, and in that commanding voice unlike any I’ve never heard, she’d say, ‘Well, my dear, when you’re truly ready to know, you will.’

“You can tell yourself to eat less and move more, you can cut down on carbs, and salty stacks, you can practice portion control and begin the day with a balance breakfast – at this point we all know the drill.  But it’s one thing to be able to recite the rules of dieting and quite another to fully internalize and know the truth of maintaining a healthy weight.  The reality is that for most of us, diets are a temporary solution at best.  They last as long as our willpower holds out.  But how long can any of us hold our breath before we need a gulp of air.” 

She goes on to say how when Weight Watchers reached out to her, for some reason at that point in time, she was ready to listen.  Something inside her shifted, and I feel the same way these last several weeks.  I’ve realized that I can’t trick the system by trying to play by my old “diet” rules (eat like a pig one day – hope to work it off in the gym the next six days) or feel guilty about eating a cheeseburger and fries when I had every intention of ordering a grilled chicken breast.   I now build my treats into my meal plan, so there is no guilt associated with the food I am eating.  I plan for it.  I balance out the other two meals to make it work.  I wake up the next day to a brand new day, and that’s exactly what it is.  No “falling off the wagon” for a few days (or weeks!) after an indulgent meal because I’ve convinced myself that I have no control over what I eat.

I am living.  I am eating really good food.  I am actually kind of glad that I got this cough because its made me focus on the food, when really that’s what it’s all about to get the scale move.  Yes, the exercise helps reshape your body, burn some extra calories – sure.  But you can never work out enough to overcome a crappy diet.  It’s just not going to happen.  Especially when you’d have to do an hour of high intensity cardio to burn off one chocolate coconut cake donut from Dunkin Donuts. 

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So as I was thumbing through the cookbook, I was thrilled that the first 19 recipes are SOUP recipes!  You guys all know what a soup whore I am.  The first one that caught my eye was the tomato and guajillo chile soup.  Since Weight Watchers is promoting their #freshfoodsfeb, I thought this recipe would be a perfect addition to that challenge to use fresh ingredients.  Carrots, garlic, corn, ripe tomatoes – yes please! 

The only draw back I’ve noticed so far is that they don’t specify what a serving is.  The recipe says that it makes 4 servings at 4 smart points.  But how much is a serving?  Not that it’s that complicated, but I had to measure out one cup portions, to realize I had 8 cups of soup – so two cups was 4 smart points.  Well, that’s not enough for dinner, so I decided to add cheese tortellini and baby spinach to my bowl to make it more of a meal.

If you’ve never used dried guajillo peppers, they are really delicious.   You need to reconstitute them before using them in a recipe.  The seeds also hold the heat, so before soaking them, I tapped out all the seeds after cutting off the top.  They are cheap too – I got a bag of about a dozen for $1.69 at my local grocery store.  The cilantro I bought was bad, so I left that out, but feel free to add it to your soup!

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Tomato and Guajillo Chile Soup
Serves 4
A low point, spicy tomato soup that's perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side, or add some cheese tortellini to make it more of a meal.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
303 calories
18 g
93 g
11 g
34 g
3 g
365 g
601 g
8 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
365g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 303
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 93mg
31%
Sodium 601mg
25%
Total Carbohydrates 18g
6%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 34g
Vitamin A
84%
Vitamin C
57%
Calcium
5%
Iron
13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 dried guajillo chiles
  2. 8 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  3. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  4. 1 small carrot, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 3/4 cup corn (from an ear of corn, or canned)
  9. 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  10. 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped*
  11. 1/2 cup cooked hominy **
  12. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  13. 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Here is how I made this a quick weeknight soup.  In a microwave safe measuring cup – add two cups of water and the dried guajillo peppers (stems chopped and seeds removed) and microwave for three minutes.  Meanwhile, in a stock pot, add the olive oil, carrots, garlic, and corn and cook for about 3-4 minutes, just until the carrots are tender.
  2. In a blender, remove the hot guajillo peppers with tongs and put them in the blender – toss the water.  Add the cooked carrot mixture to the blender, along with the salt, cumin, tomatoes, hominy and tomato paste.  Puree until smooth.  Pour that mixture into the stock pot, add the stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Adjust salt seasoning at the end.  Using my method, this soup was ready in about 20 minutes.  And that included the time it took to cook my cheese tortellini to add to the soup.
Notes
  1. * I left the jalapeno out because I found the dried guajillo peppers to be spicy enough.
  2. ** The original recipe calls for "cooked hominy." I just used canned hominy (but can someone tell me why I can't find small cans of hominy?! 😀
  3. The soup by itself is 2 smart points per cup. I added 7 cheese tortellini (5) and baby spinach to my soup to make it more of a meal.
beta
calories
303
fat
11g
protein
34g
carbs
18g
more
Adapted from Food Health and Happiness Cookbook
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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My bowl would only fit one cup of the soup with the tortellini and baby spinach, and I thought I’d top it off with the second cup once I ate some of it, but I was really full.  The soup is flavorful spicy which I love!  And I like how the corn and hominy thickened up the soup.  Here is the perfect bite:

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I saved the leftover soup in one cup packages.  I can see having this as a late afternoon snack at work to tide me over until dinner before my long train ride home.  I’ve been eating a banana most afternoons, but this would be delicious too.

Because I love this cookbook so much, I am giving away a copy!  I’ll keep it simple.  You don’t have to tag five friends, tweet the giveaway, do twenty jumping jacks, just leave me a comment telling me what state you live in.  I haven’t done that one in a while and I always get a kick to see who is the farthest away (although Fran I already know that’s you – and Roz is a close second!).

I’ll pick a winner on Monday’s post.  Good luck – I know you’ll love this cookbook as much as I do!

Make it a great day!

Jennie-O Turkey Potstickers

You can imagine after having a food blog for any amount of time, you get your share of offers.  Whether it’s people wanting to guest post on my blog and talk about something completely unrelated – like yesterday when I got an email saying that they “loved my content” and could they please write a short article about breastfeeding on my blog?!   Being diabetic I also get lots of emails about products about artificial sweeteners, and early on I would say yes to those products, but literally every artificial sweetener I’ve been sent tasted like ass – I’ll stick to a teaspoon of real sugar, thank you very much.

At the end of last year I got an email from Jennie-O, (check out their Facebook and Twitter!) asking me if I wanted to be an Ambassador for them in 2017.  Hmmmm.  Now that’s something I can use!  But truth be told, I haven’t used ground turkey in a really, really long time.  I had to do a google search on my blog and realized the last time I used ground turkey was in 2010.   After last nights dinner, I am kicking myself for not using this product more often!

Their theme for January is Back to Routine/Resolutions.  After many weeks of hardly grocery shopping or meal planning, it’s been nice getting back into that routine since Christmas.   I will admit the thought of ground turkey turned me off, because it was usually dark meat and I didn’t actually like the flavor all that much.  But they sent me extra lean turkey BREAST!  Gah, sorry about the awful kitchen lighting Smile with tongue out

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Guys – FOUR ounces of ground turkey is only 1 smart point.  EIGHT ounces is only 3 points!  (for the record, I am making a turkey burger for dinner tonight the size of my head).  I meal planned mostly from my pantry/fridge and freezer this week, only spending about $30 on groceries.   The only thing I needed to buy was the coleslaw mix.  I got 20 wontons out of this recipe, or one smart point per wonton.  I cooked them all up and will keep in the fridge for a few days – I plan on using some in a soup later this week, and if I don’t use the rest, they will freeze well.

Jennie-O Turkey Potstickers
Serves 20
A simple, quick weeknight dinner using lean ground turkey! Make a family night of it in the kitchen, and dinner will be on the table in 20 minutes.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
59 calories
5 g
13 g
2 g
4 g
1 g
26 g
64 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
26g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 59
Calories from Fat 21
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
4%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 13mg
4%
Sodium 64mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces extra lean Jennie-O ground turkey
  2. 1 cup coleslaw mix
  3. 1 tablespoon Szechwan stirfry sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  5. salt and pepper
  6. 20 wonton wrapper skins
  7. 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pan, put about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan.  Most wonton wrappers say to cook first with oil, then steam to finish, but when I do that, I lose the crispy bottom, which is what I love – the combo of the crunch and the chew of the wontons.  Place 10 wrappers on your board at a time.  Place a small cup of water to the side.  Mix everything together to combine.  Using just less than a full teaspoon, fill each wonton with the turkey mixture.  Use your finger and dip that into water and brush your wet finger on two sides of the wonton.  Press together to seal and crimp.  Once your water is simmering, place the wontons (I made them in two batches) in your pot and cover with a lid.  Just before all the water evaporates (about 5 minutes) add 1/2 the oil and a generous amount of Pam to the pan, and use a spatula to make sure the wontons aren’t sticking to your pan.  Cook with the lid off until the bottoms are crisp.
Notes
  1. *While I was compensated with free product, all opinions are completely my own. 😀
  2. ** each wonton is 1 smart point no matter how you multiply it - love that! 😀
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calories
59
fat
2g
protein
4g
carbs
5g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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This is the brand of stir-fry sauce that I use – it’s only 1 point per tablespoon and it’s super spicy and delicious. 

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These are the wonton skins that I use. I found them at Wal-mart – they will be in the produce section where all the pre-packaged veggies are.

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Yep, had to use the shelf on my lamp to take these pictures!  But seriously, this literally took about 20 minutes from beginning to end, and if you have a family, you could divide and conquer and do an assembly line – one person puts the mix in the wontons, another one seals it shut with water, and another to crimp and cook.  8 smart points for 8 wontons.  I made some steamed broccoli on the side and did just a drizzle of sriracha, more so for the color than the spice, because I think the Szechwan sauce is very flavorful spicy.

THANK YOU Jennie-O for reintroducing me to this amazing lean protein.  Cannot wait for burger night tonight.

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

Here was the rest of my day:  Parfait for breakfast – 6 points (1 cup of Chobani, 1 cup of my frozen fruit sauce – did mango/blueberry this time – yum! topped with 1/4 cup frosted shredded wheat); lunch was leftover beef and bean chili with PB2 and an apple – 7 points.  I walked at lunch yesterday – it was 28 degrees outside, but with the wind felt like 20 – but I’ll take that over zero degrees any day of the week.   I drank TWO of my Weight Watchers cup before leaving work, and then using a Starbuck’s gift card got a tea for the train ride home.  I was going to get a coffee, but couldn’t figure out what to order that would be point friendly, so I picked tea which was zero points!

PicMonkey Collage

So now the question of the day is:  How many of you have used Jennie-O turkey?   What is your favorite recipe using ground turkey?  I am all ears! 

Make it a great day!

Gumbo

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

What’s weird about my new job is that the days of the week really don’t have any meaning anymore.  When I worked Monday through Friday, I woke up knowing how many more days it was until the weekend.  Now?  Every day could be Thursday and I wouldn’t know!  Which is why I missed my Weight Watchers meeting this morning – I forgot it was Tuesday!

Speaking of Weight Watchers, I was recently asked to be a Weight Watcher Ambassador.  I know, it sounds a bit ironic considering the fact that I’ve not lost any weight since joining this past spring, but they follow me on Instagram – they have nearly half a million followers and only follow 915 people, and I am one of the ones they follow.  They like how creative I am with the Weight Watcher friendly food I make.  I am hoping that by being asked to be a WW Ambassador that it will help me get the scale to move in the right direction.  The first steps I made last night?  I got rid of all the trigger foods that I’ve been binge eating.   I remembered that’s how it helped with Tony was alive, I would stand in front of the pantry wanting to eat shit, but there wasn’t anything that I wanted and the feeling went away.

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I am also going to keep a journal and write in it every time I want to eat anything I shouldn’t.  I am hoping that I can break this stupid cycle and get my life together.   I am still struggling with my job decision – I know I made the right decision – I seriously love every minute I am at work, but financially I can hear Tony telling me that it was a mistake.   I haven’t gotten the hours yet that I had hoped, and while I know that will change as we get into the holiday season, I can’t make a living if I only work 25 hours a week.   I just have to find confidence in myself to embrace this new life I have, even when I am desperately trying to hold onto my past life.

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

I hadn’t been grocery shopping and our fridge was quite bare – well, for the exception of take out containers from Hannah and Jacob.  I have the three day rule with take out food – if you haven’t eaten it three days after you brought it home, it’s fair game.

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I had three slices of deli ham (1) that I stuffed with egg whites, baby spinach and 1/2 an ounce of cheese (3), then Pam fried it so it got a bit crispy like bacon.  On the bottom?  That would be three ounces of leftover French fries that I chopped and made into hash browns (6) with strawberries on the side.  A delicious 10 point breakfast.

I got everything done on my to do list yesterday except the emissions test.  I drove over there and it was closed and a few other cars pulled in too.  We were trying to figure out why, when I pulled out my form and realized it was closed because it was Columbus Day – I should have known that because all the neighborhood kids were out yesterday.  I had to hit up Sam’s Club for k-cups – their store brand is only .25 a cup and it’s really good.  I normally pick up a rotisserie chicken every time I go because they are really big and only $4.98.  But the display was completely empty when I walked by.   But about 5 minutes later when I passed by again, I realized they were just coming out of the oven – all of a sudden there were like 20 people waiting for chicken!

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When I got home, sliced chicken was actually my lunch.  I wasn’t too hungry, but I sliced off a wing and some breast meat and let it cool on the counter before putting it in the fridge.

Sunday night at work we made a sausage and shrimp gumbo.  I was trying to remember if I’d ever made gumbo on the blog before, and it turns out I have a couple times.

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Looking at both of my previous attempts, um, neither one of them look like gumbo.  The second dish just looks like a chicken and carrot stew!  I did adapt The Chopping Block’s recipe a bit because I reduced the butter by half (original recipe called for 1 stick of butter) and I left out the okra because that’s gross and subbed in Brussels sprouts in it’s place.  I also reduced the shrimp to 3/4 of a pound.  So I am not sure how “authentic” this is, but the broth was spot on.  Nice and spicy.

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Serves 8
A super spicy soup that can be made on the weekend to enjoy for a quick weeknight dinner.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
294 calories
16 g
127 g
17 g
18 g
7 g
285 g
907 g
4 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
285g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294
Calories from Fat 152
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 7g
35%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 127mg
42%
Sodium 907mg
38%
Total Carbohydrates 16g
5%
Dietary Fiber 1g
6%
Sugars 4g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
60%
Vitamin C
26%
Calcium
7%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  2. 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  3. salt and pepper to taste
  4. 4 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut in 1/4 inch rounds
  6. 1/2 cup flour
  7. 1/2 onion, diced
  8. 2 stalks celery, diced
  9. 2 carrots, diced
  10. 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts, rough chopped
  11. 1/2 green pepper, diced (which I forgot!)
  12. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  13. 1 tablespoon Cajun Creole seasoning
  14. 5 cups chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Heat a heavy pot over medium high heat, and add the oil.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sear in the hot pan until lightly golden brown on each side.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the sausage to the same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. To make the roux, reduce the heat to medium, and melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour into the butter. Stir the roux constantly until it reaches a deep reddish-brown color.  I may not have let mine get that dark – it could take up to 15 minutes.  Add in the onions, celery, carrots (green pepper if you remember!) and Brussels sprouts to the roux, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and Cajun spice and stir until aromatic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return the sausage to the pot, along with the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.
  4. Stir in the shrimp and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
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calories
294
fat
17g
protein
18g
carbs
16g
more
Adapted from The Chopping Block
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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Yep, we are back to awful kitchen lighting, and it was only 6:45 when I served this.  The broth was thick, spicy and delicious.  I served mine with 1/2 cup of white rice.   Jacob had a friend whose Dad made gumbo (with okra, which turns out Jacob loves) who spent two days making it, so while he enjoyed this “soup” he was expecting something like his friends Dad made.  Hannah?  She ate leftover broccoli cheddar soup that I brought home from the class. 

Today is a work day – whoop!  It’s Beef on the Grill at Lincoln Square – grilled strip steaks with bacon-chive butter and grilled corn and green bean succotash; Greek burgers on Pita with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce and Feta and Ginger and Cumin Spiced Beef and Pineapple Kebabs with cilantro-mint chutney – sounds delicious!

Make it a great day!