Vegan Mushroom Bites

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

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

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

culinary competition

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

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

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

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

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

For the ponzu sauce:

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

For the cucumber salad:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sox game

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

Sox win!

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

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

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

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

+1.8 Weekly WI

I knew I would be up this week.  Mainly because after such a big loss last week, I got cocky, thinking I can have another bite of this, or another glass of wine.  That thinking and eating caught up with me, but I am happy to say I am still in the 150s by the hair on my chin!

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Huh, and I just realized that my weekly points went down from 35 to 28!  That could be another reason!  Also, didn’t carb cycle as strict as last week.  And even though its a holiday weekend, I am bound and determined to meal plan and grocery shop for the week, not just for Easter Sunday. My momma is coming over and I’ll be grilling up something – hopefully a ham. 😀

I met Jennifer before work to weigh in and I’ve told her about the Amish people that are in teh train station on Thursdays.  When I walk off the train into the station, it’s like I’ve just walked into my grandmas kitchen it smells so good.  They have pastries, pies, cakes, brittle, muffins, two pounds of butter even! 

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 As I walked by the end table  I picked up this brittle and came SO close to buying it.  But cooler heads prevailed and I put it back and walked on by – didn’t even ask for a sample (which you can by the way!)

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I also wore my new WW uniform.  I think I told you that I cut off a pair of tights to make them leggings, but looking at this picture, um, I think it looks like fricken tights!  They are super comfy though!

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Corner Bakery for the rescue for breakfast.  This is their avocado and spinach power flatbread – I looked again and it’s actually 8 points not the six I posted on Insagram, but this is delicious, the salsa is not oniony and Jenn and I each got a large fruit cup to go. I ate half that cup with breakfast and the second half with lunch.

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I was all set to leave for my WW meeting at lunch, when my boss had a client come in unexpectedly and I had to stick around to put some docs together.  I was  pissed because the topic was protein – protein is my jam! I would have probably taken over the meeting though! Open-mouthed smile

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I haven’t read the whole weekly yet, but I am definitely putting this on my menu next week – works for both Weight Watchers and for a low carb dinner option with my carb cycling.  Mom, do you like capers??  I am not sure I’ve had them like this, but I think I would love the briney/vinegar combo.

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Since I haven’t meal planned, picked up lunch at Pret.  I appreciate that they put the nutrtion labels on all the shelves.  I picked this salad because it was 280 calories, and regardless of how many points that turned out to be, an under 300 calorie salad is fine by me.   I picked up the skinny Dijon dressing, and was happy that I looked at the label, because that small container is TWO servings.  The salad was 8 points, and the dressing was 2.  It was delicious – although I may bring extra veggies to add to it next time.

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I worked through lunch and 45 minutes after quitting time, and just as I was about to leave, my friend Tia texted me to tell me there was a delay on the train.  Rat farts.

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The train got in 90 minutes later than usual since all the trains were backed up . . .I had to crack up when Tia told me to go downstairs in the train station because they sell tiny bottles of wine you can drink on the train ride home.  She knows me so well!  But alas, I’ve got to kick the alcohol to the curb again except for special occasions – Mom, you’ll be happy to know that Easter is a special occasion.

When my sister and I were walking Wednesday I mentioned that we stopped at a candy store – one of the things I bought were these:

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I had them in my backpack, and I was thankful they were there because fifteen minutes into the train ride home I felt that I had low blood sugar, and sure enough, it was 70.  I ate 5 points worth approximately, but I didn’t have any fruit with me.  Um, these are delicious though!

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That would be my new Weight Watcher’s journal I finally started using.  I just finished my old journal, so it was good timing.  When I get a few days into it, I’ll show you pics.   At first I thought the days had too much space, but now I realize I may need to write smaller.

So after a long train ride home, I was hangry:

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This is a 10 minute one skillet meal.  It’s not really a recipe, but I got a few messages on IG from yesterdays post.

In a non-stick or cast iron skillet heat pan to medium high.  I used 5 ounces of chicken tenders (3), that I sprinkled with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Spray your pan with coconut oil or non-stick spray.  Put the chicken in the pan, let it cook for 1.5 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (I used my one point sauce from the freezer ), flip your chicken over, put a lid on and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove the lid, add chopped fresh spinach and 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese, put the lid back on for another minute, and you are done. 

Obviously you could serve this over pasta, or spaghetti squash.  Since I didn’t eat until nearly 8:30 I was too lazy to cook my spaghetti squash.  

Stats for the Day:  

  • 28 smart points
  • 1147 calories, 122 carbs, 43 fat, 17 saturated far, 80 grams of protein.

Inspirational quote of the day – “great things take time, belief and persistence.” – Steve Weatherford

Make it a great day and Happy Friday!!

Goat Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I have to laugh at my blog post title today.  My blog friend Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest (well, she probably doesn’t know who I am, but I still consider us friends!) usually has the longest blog title recipe posts, but I think this beats here longest! Open-mouthed smile

Before we get to dinner though, let’s start with breakfast, shall we?!  Today was a lower carb day, meaning all of my carbs came from fruits and veggies.

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I loved the guacamole on top of the hard boiled eggs – so good!  In my meal prep a baked off a dozen hard boiled eggs.  You can check out this blog post to see how to do that. 

Because my work has been so busy, I’ve been working through lunch a lot, and decided that needed to stop.  I work for four people (two attorneys, two paralegals), so I sent an email out yesterday that I would be taking lunch from 12:30 – 1:30 every day.  And after I sent that email, texted my sister to see if she could walk. 

When I was doing my meal plan for the week, I saw a recipe for a Mexican meatball soup, and thought, did I do that before?  Yep!  Nearly six years ago to the day, I made this ancho chile albondigas soup.  

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I deemed this one a keeper, but like most food bloggers, I have to laugh that it took me nearly six years to the day to make it again.  The only thing I did was add more veggies: carrots, celery and more zucchini.  For instagram purposes, I stole the picture from that 2011 post, but here is the soup below – not as photogenic, but delicious!  The broth has a complex heat.  

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Gave myself too much insulin, moved around too much at work, blood sugar 52.  So I had 1/4 cup granola, with a banana, and then later to get my points up for the day, a package of these nuts.

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And I still had money on a gift card, so got a cold brew for the train ride home – 1 smart point for the fat free milk. 

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I have Kevin of Closet Cooking to thank for last nights recipe.  I adapted his recipe a bit for one serving (although Jacob loved the roasted red pepper sauce over his steak!), but this was a simple, delicious dinner and was ready in about 15 minutes.  This is for one serving, and comes in at 8 smart points.

  • 6 ounces chicken breast
  • 1 ounce herbed goat cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup jarred red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon grape seed oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 cup fresh green beans

Microwave the green beans on vegetable setting.  Meanwhile, lay the two pieces of chicken on a cutting board, season with salt and pepper and use 1/2 the goat cheese in the chicken, top with the baby spinach, and roll up, and season with more salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet with grape seed oil, and cook seam side down first (I should have just kept it on the seam side down, because when I tried to flip the chicken, it unrolled a bit).   While the chicken is cooking, add the red pepper, chicken broth, corn starch, 2 cloves of garlic, crushed red pepper and half and half to a blender and puree.

When the chicken is nearly done (about 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken), remove to a plate.  Add the remaining clove of garlic to your skillet and cook for a couple minutes.  Add in the microwaved green beans and salt and pepper – I just added a spray of coconut oil spray, but you could add a touch more grape seed oil.  Cook a couple minutes, and set aside.

Now pour the roasted red pepper sauce back in the pan, add the chicken back in, and put a lid on the pan and cook over medium heat for a couple minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.

Plate the green beans on the plate, top with the chicken, drizzle the roasted red pepper sauce (which will be too much, but it will be great leftover!) and sprinkle with dried parsley and the remaining 1/2 ounce of goat cheese.

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I don’t normally buy thin sliced chicken, but this package was perfect for two servings for me.  I used just under 6 ounces of chicken for dinner last night, and I’ll use the rest for chicken lettuce wraps with veggies.  Not bad for $1.82!

No need to pound out  either which is a time saver.  Because these were so thin, I just cooked them in my cast iron skillet.  My store had spinach bunches for .69 cents a bunch – look at how big the leaves are!

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Sear on the seam side, and because the chicken is so thin, keep it on this side so it holds together.

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So simple and delicious!   The above dinner comes in at 8 smart points, or 394 calories, 16 carbs, 13 fat, 46 protein, 5 saturated fat and 8 grams of sugar.

So I am tracking both calories and points while I carb cycle this week.  I ate more carbs and calories than I wanted to, but blame that on the low blood sugar by having the banana and granola.  

Stats for the Day:

I had 32 points for the day and 1510 calories, 120 carbs, 69 fat, 107 protein, 22 saturated fat, and 55 grams of sugar.  Without the banana and granola, I would have been at about 80 grams of carbs for the day, and around 1300 calories.

Another dreary day in Chicago, but hopefully the rain will stay away so Jenn and I can walk today.  I had close to 14k steps yesterday.

Happy Tuesday – make it a great day!

Steel Cut Oat Waffles

I love Saturday and Sunday mornings because there is no rush.  I can get up, make my Chemex coffee, sip on that for a while before thinking about what I want for breakfast.  Lately I’ve been in a waffle mood.  I was short on flour, so decided to see if I could you steel cut oats to replace most of the flour, and it worked surprisingly well!

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I just used my coffee grinder to grind up the oats.  

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Love the texture of this flour – it’s coarser than regular flour which gave my waffles an added crispness.

Serves 1 waffle

Steel Cut Oat Waffles

A different take on waffles by using steel cut oat flour - the waffles are super crispy, yet light.

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 1 cup steel cut oat flour*
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Mix the oat flour, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. In another bowl, mix the milk, eggs and vanilla until combined.
  2. Mix those together and let the batter sit for 15 minutes while your waffle maker gets hot. I used a heaping 1/3 measure per waffle, to get 5 waffles at 5 smart points each. Cook according to manufacture directions (mine took about 4-5 minutes each on medium heat).
  3. Serve with fresh fruit, and bacon!
Recipe Type: Breakfast


The total time includes cooking all the waffles. These will stay in the fridge for several days, just reheat in a toaster.

I just put the steel cut oats into a coffee grinder to process it into a flour.


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These waffles were crisp on the outside, yet light on the inside.  This recipe made 5 waffles, at 5 smart points each.  Topped with SF syrup (1) and two slices of turkey bacon (2), this was a very filling breakfast.

I had plans to head to The Chopping Block on Saturday for the first of two events to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.  Even though I only worked there five months, I know I’ve made lifelong friends and it is still the best job I ever had – I loved going to work every day to work with food, talk about food, and just be around people who were as passionate to get the country cooking as I was.

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I didn’t get there until nearly 2:30, but just in time to hear Shelley, the founder and owner, talk about one of the first dishes that she ever made when she first started the cooking school – it was a blue cheese and caramelized onion tart.  But as she started talking, she started crying.  Crying because that recipe was one of her Mom’s recipes, and sadly her Mom died of breast cancer this past December.   You guys, I cry at weddings I watch on Youtube for people I don’t even know!  I immediately started tearing up, but then she said something funny and I was able to keep it together.

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Most of the savory food was gone by the time I got there, but there were plenty of sweets! 

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I had a glass of wine – this pinot grigio was really good:

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I nearly bought this, but couldn’t figure out where I would put it Open-mouthed smile

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And after Shelley’s demo, there was cake and champagne, which I ate too – loved seeing a full house!

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It was a fun afternoon, and I am happy I went.  I just forgot how awful the traffic was.  It took me nearly 90 minutes to drive 40 miles!  Totally worth it though.

I got my cleaning pants and meal planning pants on yesterday and I feel good about my eats this week.  I have a couple new recipes to share this week – another hash waffle – this one was over the top because it had crispy shredded gouda cheese on top:

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And this butternut squash mac n cheese – holy balls is this one good!  I adapted it from here, but made it more Weight Watcher friendly – left out the butter completely and scaled it back for two servings. 

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Anything new on your meal plan this week?  I’d love to hear!   I am actually doing a carb cycle again to shake things up, while still following the points for WW.  Three days lower carb (around 75-100 carbs) then day 4 is high carb (175-200 carbs), day 6 is low carb (75-100) and day 7 is high carb again.  I like that the two higher carb days fall on Thursday (after my weekly weigh in) and on Sunday, because that’ s a fun day!  Most of my carbs will be coming from fruits and veggies. 

Here’s some Monday motivation for you – make it a great day!

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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

Save Recipe


  • 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


  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


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.


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!  

Banana Nut Muffins

There is temptation all around me every day working in Chicago.  From the coffee shop across from my train station that has THE BEST glazed donuts, to all the food stalls at the train station, the nearly 20 restaurants within a two block radius of my office – it’s everywhere!

Lately though, I’ve had a taste for a giant muffin.  You know the ones I am talking about – the giant ones you can buy at Sam’s Club – chocolate chip chunk, lemon poppy seeds.  I did a quick WW app search and those muffins can range anywhere from 18-28 EACH.  I used to eat an Otis Spunkmeyer banana muffin and a Dr. Pepper for breakfast before high school.  😛  Of course, I was an athlete back then and I could eat whatever I wanted – oh how times have changed!

I had bananas that needed to be used up, so decided to make muffins.  Most muffins call for some type of oil or butter, but I decided to leave that out completely and see what happened.  The result?  A delicious, 5 point banana muffin that cured my muffin jones.

Serves 1 muffin

Banana Nut Muffins

A super delicious, fluffy banana nut muffin that won't break the calorie bank!

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda baking
  • 1 5.3 ounce container plain Chobani greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/8 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds


  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium sized bowl add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mash the bananas, the sugar, Splenda, Chobani together. Mix those two together and fold together just until combined. You don't want to over mix your batter because then you get a more dense muffin.
  3. Put batter into muffin tins about 3/4 of the way up - I got 10 muffins out of this recipe, so if you stretch it out to 12 muffins it drops the points down to 4 points per muffin. Mix the brown sugar, flour, oats and sunflower seeds together and sprinkle over the tops of the muffin batter. Press down a bit to make sure the nuts stick into the batter
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Mine took exactly 20 minutes. Let cool in the muffin tin. I used paper muffin cups, but I still sprayed them with coconut oil spray so the paper wouldn't stick, and that worked just fine. If you don't use paper cups, be sure to spray your muffin tin before adding the batter.
Recipe Type: Breakfast

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I met my sister at WW and I was up .6 for the week.  Not bad to maintain, but looking back at my points tracker, I can see that I relied on my brain tracking, and not actually tracking on my app, and I know if I am not 95% on top of tracking EVERYTHING that the scale isn’t going to move in my favor.  

I did manage to pull away at lunch to go back to our meeting at lunch – I love our leader.  Having a great leader in WW makes all the difference!   I picked up tomato/feta soup at Pret to eat at my desk since I was so busy. 

Well, I got so busy that I didn’t eat that soup until 5:00 p.m.  

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I worked an hour overtime and somehow justified that since I worked so hard and hardly had any food, that I DESERVED popcorn.  Not just any popcorn, but Garrett’s popcorn.  A small bag, but 3/4 butter and 1/4 caramel.

I normally respond to social media on the train ride home since I literally am offline all day, but I just wanted to veg out and started watching My 600 Pound Life.  

As I am listening to this woman talk about how she eats breakfast and then wonders what she’s going to have lunch, and then eats lunch and wonders what she’s going to have for dinner, all while I am stuffing my face with popcorn I realized that there was no difference between the woman I was watching any myself, other than the fact that she had 500 pounds on me.

I was literally thinking in my head “woman, get some control over your food!” as I had a handful of popcorn ready to shove in my mouth.  I stopped in my tracks, took the half eaten bag of popcorn and threw it in the garbage – well, after I poured water on it.  NOT that I would go back into the trash and fish it out, but better safe than sorry!

I got home at 7 and loved that there was still a bit of light left.  My town has a “downtown” that is really only one block long, but it’s really cute.

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Thursday night is usually leftover night, because it’s a great way to use up stuff before the weekend.  I am sure I’ve talked about these tortillas before, but they are 1 smart point each, super soft and pliable and delicious.  

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I defrosted this chicken before I went to work – a couple weekends ago I hit up the discount meat bin at Jewel, while this one said Today’s special, the one next to it said Buy 1 Get 1 Free – so I got two chicken breast for $1.35.  I used half of this chicken for dinner last night.

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I have never heard of Cilantro’s Taco and Grill, but one of Hannah’s customers brought this to her and lucky for me, it’s too spicy for her – this dressing is amazeballs!  It’s tangy, spicy and creamy.  1 point per tablespoon.

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So I made a deconstructed taco night – 4 ounces chicken (3), red pepper, romaine, carrots, cilantro, Cabot cheese (2) the Ole tortilla (1) and the Cilantro dressing for a dip (1).

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My mini tacos – only 7 points for the whole plate:

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It’s my birthday weekend!  My twin sister and I turn 49 on Sunday!   Hannah and Jacob have to work all day Saturday and Sunday, but they are taking me out for pizza tomorrow night at a new restaurant that just opened up in our town that has pizzas cooked in a 750 degree oven.  

Then I am having lunch with my Mom on Sunday, and depending on the weather, I may try to grill a pork shoulder Sunday night.  

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

Pork Potsticker Noodle Bowl

Um, can I just say it’s bullshit that work is getting in the way of me posting my eats on Instagram?!  Hahahaha!   I am kidding . . .a little bit.  The minutes and hours go by so fast.  I’ll have my phone plugged in under my desk and even though it’s on mute, I can hear the vibrations of notifications on my social media, and I have to wait until the end of the day to catch up with you all.

So question:  has anyone had trouble viewing my posts?  I’ve gotten a couple dozen emails, texts and messages on Instagram asking if I am okay, because they haven’t seen a post since March 8 or 9th.  I know my posts are published, other people are commenting on them, just wondering so I can let my brother know.  I have no idea how the back end of my blog works, even after nearly 9 years Smile with tongue out

Breakfast and lunch were good, but nothing out of the ordinary.   Breakfast was an egg, deli roast beef and spinach tortilla (6 points) and lunch was more deli roast beef with spinach, cucumbers, tzatziki and the best potato chips I’ve ever had from a place in the French Market near my office called Frietkoten.   Note to self, I’ll have to go back for some Belgian beer, but these potato chips were insanely delicious – so much so that I ate the whole small bag (the portion on this plate was about 1/4 of the bag) and my guess was 7 points, but so worth it!

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The reason I stopped at the French Market was because the wind was so strong, even though it was sunny, it was cold AF.   So I got my steps walking around the market – how cute are these marzipan?!

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I am not sure I’ve ever even eaten marzipan but I wanted to buy a pig, a hot dog and a taco!  

At least when it snows this late in the year, it doesn’t last long. 

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And before I knew it, it was time to call it a day and head home.  Some people have a hard time with daylight savings, but it does nothing to me.  But what it does do is make me happy when I step off the train at 6:30 and the sun is just setting.

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My store had ground pork on sale for $1.99 a pound – did you know that you can buy 96% lean ground pork?   It’s only 2 points for 3 ounces, and a quick Pinterest search landed me on Kristin’s page (Iowa Girl Eats) for her pork potsticker noodle bowl.  She’s gluten free, so I took inspiration from her recipe.  She also called for A LOT of soy sauce, and this being my weigh in day, I wanted to reduce the sodium in the dish as much as possible without sacrificing flavor.

These are the noodles I use to make this a super quick week night dinner.  I found them in the Asian aisle at my regular grocery store.  Each packet contains two servings – and I just cut the bag in half and microwave the noodles for a minute and they are ready to go.

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This recipe is for my one serving:

Serves 1 bowl

Pork Potsticker Noodle Bowl

A super quick and easy weeknight dinner, that tastes just like eating the inside of a pork potsticker, without the deep fryer.

5 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

13 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 3 ounces lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon szechwan sauce (I use House of Tsang)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 3/4 cup noodles (mine were 5 smart points)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Normally I would salt and pepper the pork before cooking, but I think the sauce has enough salt so it's not necessary. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork and add ground pepper, and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, chicken broth, szechwan sauce, sriracha, ginger and garlic and mix until combined. Add this mixture to the pork and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the cabbage, carrots and zucchini and cooked pasta, and cook for an additional minute or so. Plate and garnish with fresh cilantro or green onions.
Cuisine: Asian | Recipe Type: Dinner


While I used pre-cooked noodles, feel free to sub in any pasta you want - gluten free noodles, ramen - just be sure to check the points.

I also used 96% lean ground pork, so using the Weight Watcher recipe builder, this comes in at 10 smart points


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That, my friends, is the perfect bite!  It literally does taste like the inside of a pork potsticker, without the deep fryer.  Although I did think that a pan fried wonton wrapper or two crumbled over the top would be a nice addition.  Love that this was so super quick too.

It’s Thursday, so it’s WI day for me.  Hopefully the sodium packed dinner wasn’t a bad idea.  For those of you following along I gained 1.6 last week after a couple mini binges and Hannah’s birthday.  I had a good week this week, although my strength training is not going as well as I had hoped.  I need to figure out how to squeeze that into my day.

So here is your daily motivation – make it a great day!

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