Salmon Salad with Hearts of Palm and Melting Goat Cheese

When I woke up yesterday morning, I got a little teary right off the bat.  This was my Timehop picture from just 3 years ago.

2.9.17 001

He was being so goofy in this picture, but what I can’t believe is that I let him help me shovel snow when he spent the first nine days of 2014 in the hospital.  It’s not that I don’t think about him every day, but when I opened that photo it’s hard to believe how much my life has changed in that short amount of time.

I went to WW before work to meet my sister to weigh in so we don’t have to waste our lunch meeting time waiting at the scale.  I’ve tracked everything for 44 days straight, and even though I’ve not worked out in three weeks because of my cough, expected a loss at the scale today nonetheless.

2.9.17 002

Huh.  UP 1.8.  But then I had to look at the big picture – I am still down 13 pounds since Christmas, whatever I do the seven days prior isn’t automatically going to show up just because it’s Weigh In day, and I am in this for the long haul.  No harm, no foul.  Just keep on keeping on.  I am SO happy that my cough is finally gone – only took 3 1/2 weeks.  I plan to get back to the gym tomorrow and plan to take a group exercise class at the Y this weekend.

Last night marked our NINTH Cooking Club dinner!   You can read this post from when it first began.  In August we’ll have kept it up two years already!  Courtney always hosts and provides delicious wine.

2.9.17 024

I was going to recap all the recipes in this post, but that would be way too long, so I’ll space it out a bit.  Here is a nice collage of the night though!

PicMonkey Collage

But I have to tell you, while all the food was delicious, I think the dish Head Chef Donna made was my favorite.  She got the recipe from the Neiman Marcus restaurant cookbook.  It’s a Salmon Salad with Hearts of Palm and Melting Goat Cheese.  Not going to lie, most of the cooking shows I watch Chefs always denounce cheese with seafood.  Mainly because if you have fresh seafood why would you want to mask that with cheese.  But goat cheese on salmon?  Pure genius.  This salad came together in no time, as the salmon doesn’t take that long to cook.  Being that I have never cooked salmon at home, I got some pointers from Donna.  She bought the salmon from Costco, so the skin was already taken off.   Just a quick sear on both sides before being topped with the goat cheese and finished in the oven for a few minutes.  #swoon

Salmon Salad with Hearts of Palm and Melting Goat Cheese
Serves 4
Company worthy salmon salad that will turn anyone into a salmon lover.
Write a review
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
572 calories
33 g
115 g
26 g
56 g
10 g
983 g
773 g
14 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
983g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572
Calories from Fat 232
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
40%
Saturated Fat 10g
51%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 115mg
38%
Sodium 773mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 33g
11%
Dietary Fiber 13g
53%
Sugars 14g
Protein 56g
Vitamin A
94%
Vitamin C
119%
Calcium
24%
Iron
33%
* 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 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 20 ounces salmon fillets, about 5 ounces each
  3. 2 pinches kosher salt
  4. 2 pinches cracked black pepper
  5. 8 ounces goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
  6. 8 cups mixed greens
  7. 1 cup hearts of palm, chopped
  8. 4 radishes, sliced thin
  9. 16 ounces artichoke hearts, packed in water and drained
  10. 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan oven proof pan over medium heat.  Season the salmon fillets with the salt and pepper and place top-side down in the pan.  Sear the salmon for about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove the pan from the heat and top each fillet with 2 slices of the goat cheese.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until desired doneness.
  2. Divide the mixed greens between the plates and arrange the hearts of palm, sliced radishes, artichokes and cherry tomatoes around the greens. Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette, top with the salmon, and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. I left out the balsamic vinaigrette in the recipe above in case you decide to use bottled dressing, and need a more accurate nutrition label.
  2. However, this dressing that Donna made from the same cookbook was delicious. I probably only added a tablespoon to the salad and it was perfect.
  3. 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 3/4 cup olive oil
  5. 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  6. 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  7. 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  9. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  10. 1/2 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
beta
calories
572
fat
26g
protein
56g
carbs
33g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.9.17 029

2.9.17 037

2.9.17 055

2.9.17 056

I could have just eaten the salmon and goat cheese on its own, but once paired with the salad and the dressing, it pulled everything together.

2.9.17 064

That was my plate.  Just one serving of everything.  You would think after a gain of 1.8 I would have restrained myself, but I only go to Cooking Club every other month.  I enjoyed the company, the conversation, the food and the wine.   Some nights just aren’t meant for counting all the points.  That being said, I had 14 points going into dinner, and plan on using 10 points of my weeklies for the meal.   Which means I will have approximately 40 points for yesterday, so the first time in 44 days I will not get a blue dot because I went over the healthy range cap of 37 points.  Again, I don’t mind in the least!  I had a great time and at the end of the day, isn’t that all that really matters?

Can I just show you Courtney’s gorgeous dining room?!

2.9.17 049

Hopefully it won’t be 15 degrees the next time we meet in April!  I am secretly hoping that if we get together in the summer (we usually take some time off during the summer) that I can be a head chef for grilling!  Hint, hint Courtney Open-mouthed smile

We made it to Friday!  Hope you have an amazing weekend – make it a great day!

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).

2.8.17 015

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?!

2.8.17 047

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.
Write a review
Print
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
beta
calories
307
fat
4g
protein
15g
carbs
54g
more
Adapted from Recipe Tin
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.8.17 050

2.8.17 051

2.8.17 052

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.

2.8.17 001

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!

Zero Point Pan Steak Sauce

I had hoped to post a recipe for a PB2 granola that doesn’t taste like ass and is low in points, but that my friends, hasn’t happened yet.  But I had a parfait on my breakfast menu, and darn it, it’s just not the same without granola.  Why does granola have to have so many points?!   I had Kashi Go Lean in my desk drawer at work, but I still wanted granola, so I splurged (point wise not $$ wise) and picked up a box of Nature Valley oat and honey granola bars.  Two bars is 7 points, and while that seems like a lot (most granolas are 7-10 points per half cup!) the Oikos brand granola I bought was only 2 points, and I made a blueberry/cranberry one point fruit sauce, so 10 points for breakfast.  This was surprisingly filling even though it was so delicious I ate it in less than 10 minutes.

2.7.17 025

It was near 50 degrees in Chicago, even if a bit overcast and rainy.  I’ll take it.  Today’s high will be about 20 degrees colder.  I spent 30 minutes eating my lunch and 30 minutes walking outside.  Since I mostly meal planned out of my freezer, I didn’t realize how much beef I had in the freezer, so the night before last I cooked off a 3 ounce piece to have for a steak salad.  I think I’ve talked about this salad dressing before (Randi and Rhonda told me it’s a Kroger brand) so it should be readily available.   Two tablespoons is 2 smart points.  And I do have veggies in this salad, they just all fell to the bottom of bowl.  Three points for the beef, 2 points for the dressing a 1 for the drizzle of shredded Parmesan cheese.

2.7.17 035

If you live in a big town, you may have Divvy bikes – or bikes that you share.  As I was walking past and saw all of these bikes ready to go, I thought it might be a good idea to maybe get a membership to switch it up this summer?  They are all over the loop area, and the lakefront.  It’s $99 a year for a membership – but only for the first 30 minutes – then you have to pay $1.50 for an extra half hour.  But here’s my thought – what if you ride one bike for 30 minutes, put it back, and then just get another one for another 30 minutes?!  Worth looking into at the very least.

2.7.17 036

So far I’ve enjoyed spacing out my weekly chores over the week, instead of doing it all on one day over the weekend.  Last night I had to get my tax stuff together, I registered my new insurance card online and at Walgreen’s, got gas, did a short Sam’s Club run before they closed at 8:30 (weird time to close!) and even purged a garbage bag of clothes from my closet to give to Goodwill.  So much adulting last night!

I am not sure I mentioned it before, but I’ve drastically reduced my t.v. watching.  Tony had the t.v. on 24/7 and I am more of a music person.  But that’s not to say I didn’t have my share of shows that I would DVR.  But every year I go through my AT&T bill and see what can be cut, and I realized the two channels I watch the most – HGTV and Food Network cost me $50 a month – the cheapest t.v. package that included those two channels cost me $69 a month.  Basic cable costs only $19.  Huh.  I suddenly realized how many times did I actually see a show I hadn’t seen before?  So many re-runs.  Was I really getting $600 a years worth of entertainment from those two shows?  When put in that context, the answer was a big fat Hell No!  So now Friday night is usually my Netflix night and I can watch This is Us on my AppleTV on demand. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I made a delicious FIVE point dinner, and you’ll see why I did that in just a minute.  Not a shocker – more beef!  This time a 5 ounce New York strip.  This recipe is so simple it shouldn’t even be a recipe, but I am going to type it out anyway Open-mouthed smile

You’re welcome!

Zero Point Pan Steak Sauce
Serves 1
A delicious zero point pan sauce that's great over a perfectly cooked steak.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
397 calories
17 g
109 g
16 g
48 g
4 g
318 g
467 g
3 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
318g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 397
Calories from Fat 136
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 4g
22%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 109mg
36%
Sodium 467mg
19%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 3g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
14%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
10%
Iron
26%
* 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. 5 ounce New York strip steak
  2. 3/4 cup fresh green beans
  3. 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  4. 1/8 cup beef broth
  5. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  6. 1/8 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  7. 1 teaspoon horseradish mustard
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. pinch of crushed red pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Spray with Pam and cook the green beans for about 4-5 minutes, or just until fork tender.  Remove to a separate bowl.  Add more Pam and cook mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly browned.  Add to the green bean bowl.  Crank the heat to medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until desired doneness – this was a thick cut, so I did closer to 3 minutes a side, and it was still medium rare.  While the steak cooks, mix the broth, garlic, cashew milk, mustard, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper together.  Once you take the steak out of the pan to rest, reduce heat to low, and carefully add this broth mixture to the pan, and using a whisk, scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan and stir until the sauce starts to thicken – just takes a couple minutes.
  2. Add everything back in the pan for the last minute to reheat the green beans and mushrooms.  Plate and pour the sauce all over the top of the steak and try not to lick the hot pan, because you will want to.
beta
calories
397
fat
16g
protein
48g
carbs
17g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.7.17 028

Gah, I cannot wait to have natural light again at dinner time.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was a whole lot of goodness.  Perfectly cooked steak, crisp green beans and that hint of horseradish in the pan sauce was amazeballs.

So you want to know why I had such a point friendly dinner?

2.7.17 016

Guess who got Enlightened Ice Cream in the mail?!!  That would be this girl.  And the funny thing is, I am not much of an ice cream person.  Hold up.  Let’s just say when I grocery shop it’s rare for me to throw any ice cream in my basket.  But this stuff?!  It’s delicious.  Low sugar, high fiber and most of them are 3 smart points per half cup, and that’s plenty for anyone’s sweet tooth.  I had 7 points after dinner and had 1/2 a cup of the frozen hot chocolate (amazing!) and a bite of the peanut butter, mint chocolate chip and oatmeal, and each one is amazing in it’s own right.   There is no “artificial” taste to them, they just taste like really good ice cream.  Mom, next time you come over you’ll have to try some!  I just called my dessert 7 points to make my day 30/30.  #bluedotstreakcontinues!

Time to get my stuff together – I haven’t put my food together for breakfast or lunch yet, but it won’t take too long.  I hope to make the potato and chick pea curry dish for dinner tonight if everything works out to plan. 

Question of the Day:  Love or Hate Indian Food?!

Make it a great day!

4 weight watcher smart points

Chicken and Waffles

I finally got a chance to download my pictures from the weekend.  I had such a great time at Kendall College for the high school culinary semi-finals, and saw some of the same people from last year which was nice.

2.5.17pm 007

The students practiced three separate menus and didn’t know until last Friday morning when they got to the college what menu they would be doing.  Vegetarian Indian food for the win!  The kids are grouped in threes, but they were grouped with strangers – not who they go to school with.  It’s fascinating to see who takes the leader roll, who is just fine taking orders and following.  And because someone is a leader doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to lead their team to greatness.  One girl who I initially thought was quite a good leader, delegated the tasks, etc.  Until I realized she was micromanaging the others dishes so much, she never actually got her dish on the plate.  I could just see the tears welling up in her eyes as the director counted down the last ten seconds.

2.5.17pm 022

All in all, each team did a great job.  But the potato and chick pea dish was really good, and I’ll be making a variation on that dish later this week for one of my dinners.  Loved the spice of that dish.  If any of you live in the Chicago area, you can eat there – the culinary students cook lunch and dinner at their dining hall.  You can check it out here.   

2.5.17pm 023

I finished around 2:00 p.m. so headed to my sisters office.  It’s the longest I’ve walked since I’ve had my cough – it was near 40 and sunny skies.

2.5.17pm 027

I walked passed the iconic parking garage made famous by the Blues Brothers movie – it’s half condos/half parking garage. 

2.5.17pm 029

Here’s a better view – thanks google images Open-mouthed smile

marina-towers-garage

I surprised my sister.  I wasn’t sure I’d have time to meet up with her, but she was able to have coffee with me, and it was close enough to 5 that I stayed for their office happy hour which was fun.

2.5.17pm 030

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

Since I spent so little at the grocery store over the weekend, that meant I made a lot of stuff from scratch.  One of the recipes was waffles.  I was going to buy almond milk, but cashew milk was on sale for only $2.49 a container.  Score!  And only 25 calories per cup.  I have a simple Oster waffle maker – I used 2/3 cup of batter per waffle to get 8 waffles out of this recipe.  According to the Weight Watcher recipe builder, each waffle comes in at 4 smart points (or 1 point per 1/4!)

2.5.17pm 089

Cashew Milk Waffles
Serves 8
A simple waffle recipe that is great to make on the weekends when you have more time, and just go from freezer to toaster during the week for a quick breakfast.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
323 calories
36 g
48 g
16 g
10 g
4 g
94 g
105 g
4 g
0 g
12 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
94g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 323
Calories from Fat 134
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 48mg
16%
Sodium 105mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 36g
12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
0%
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 eggs
  2. 1.75 cups cashew milk
  3. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  7. 2 cups flour
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Mix the eggs, cashew milk, vinegar, yogurt and vanilla and let that sit while your waffle toaster gets to temperature.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar and mix to combine.  Mix the wet into the dry ingredients, and stir until combined.  Use 2/3 cup batter per waffle for eight waffles.  Follow your waffle iron for cooking instructions - mine takes about 4-5 minutes for each one.
  2. These store awesome in the freezer.  Simply go straight from the freezer to your toaster like you would any regular frozen waffle.
beta
calories
323
fat
16g
protein
10g
carbs
36g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/

For dinner last night I made chicken and waffles.  Tyson brand buffalo tenders are 6 smart points for 3 ounces.  I baked the tenders for 20 minutes, so this was a super quick weeknight dinner.  I cleaned the bathroom (one of my week night chores!) while the chicken cooked.  Then toasted the waffles and topped with a bit more buffalo sauce and 1/8 cup of Smucker’s sugar free pancake syrup, so dinner came in at 11 smart points.

2.6.17 033

This is the best of all worlds – sweet/spicy/crunchy/vinegary.  And even though I had half of a Reuben sandwich at lunch when I had lunch out with my friend, I still ended up with 31/30 points for the day.  Don’t worry, I do have fruits and veggies planned in my meal plan today.  But again, I like that I can incorporate my favorite foods into my healthy guidelines.  And I am happy to report that my cough is 90% gone and I hope to get a walk in at lunch – we are supposed to have temps near 50 today and I don’t want to miss out on that.

Make it a great day!

3 Point Biscuits and Accountability

Before we get into today’s blog post, can we find out who the winner is of the Oprah Cookbook?!

Darlene
Hi Biz!
Thanks for the giveaway. I enjoy reading your posts every day. Wishing you lots of success on your WW journey.  Louisiana

Congrats Darlene!  Shoot me an email at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com and I’ll get your copy in the mail.

I had a very busy weekend.  So much so that I am ill prepared for today’s blog post, but I will be doing a short recap of my culinary judging at Kendall College on Friday.  It was a lot of fun!

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

Every Thursday Oprah does a video on the WW Connect app, and I just listened to her video yesterday morning and it really spoke to me.  The topic was Accountability.  Not only to have friends and family in and around your life who can hold you accountable to your goals, but having accountability with yourself.

When I first started this blog (wow – 8 1/2 years ago!) I literally thought if I just “put myself out there” that I would somehow guilty myself into losing weight.  I was 168 pounds when I started this blog, and I thought if everyone knew that number, and knew I was trying to lose weight, that it would force me to make better choices because “people were watching me.”  Ha!  I can laugh about that now, but at the time, I thought it would be just the thing to get me to that magic number on the scale.

I may as well have written the script Oprah was talking about.  About how I “knew” what the points of stuff were so I didn’t need to actually track my food, because I know what I am doing.  Or saying I won’t start tracking until after such and such event, or waiting until the following Monday to get “back on track.”   Eating great for a few days and telling yourself you “deserve a weekend off” only to wash away any progress you had made the previous few days. 

She said that it wasn’t until she held HERSELF accountable, and no one else, was when the scale started to move.  I couldn’t agree more.  As of yesterday, I have tracked everything I’ve put in my mouth for the last 41 days.  I don’t think I ever tracked all my food for four days STRAIGHT in all of 2016.   And I realize that tracking has made all the difference.  No more guessing about how much I was eating (or drinking!), because I know even if I eat Popeye’s for dinner like I did in Friday night, it was within my point range and I still got a blue dot for the day for being within my healthy point range.

Saturday was my only day off this last week, and as I was doing stuff around the house, I felt this overwhelming sensation to “get it all done.”  The meal planning, prepping food, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping.  And then for some reason I just stopped.  I sat down and thought to myself “is anyone going to care if I clean the bathroom today or next Tuesday?” And suddenly I thought why am I putting so much pressure on myself when I can space out all the things that need to get done (and some I delegated to the kadults) later in the week.

So I went to the coffee shop.  They were having an artists exhibit, and I brought my journal and a couple cooking magazines, and looked at the photography, talked to one of the artists, and found a seat and grabbed a cup of coffee.

2.5.17pm 082

It was wonderful.  No distractions like I would have had I been home (laundry, etc.) and I spent nearly an hour reading my magazines, doing my meal plan and enjoying a skim cappuccino with cinnamon on top.

I will say, that since the kadults and I are doing our own meal planning, my grocery bill has gone down immensely.   I jotted down a few things I knew I had in my pantry/fridge/freezer before I left the house, and came up with the following ideas for meals this week.  Last week I hardly followed my meal plan at all, so this week we’ll see!

Breakfasts:

  • steak, hard boiled egg and fruit
  • egg white and spinach breakfast tacos
  • Chobani parfait with blueberry/cranberry sauce and PB granola*
  • waffle breakfast sandwich
  • steel cut oats with blueberries and toasted walnuts*

Lunches:

  • out to lunch today with a co-worker
  • leftover sopa azteca (a new recipe for my next Chopping Block blog post)
  • leftover frozen turkey chili mac
  • buffalo chicken salad
  • leftovers on Friday

Dinners:

  • buffalo chicken and cashew milk waffles*
  • chickpeas and potato curry with steamed broccoli*
  • pork chops, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy*
  • Cooking Club!
  • Party Pizza Friday

2.5.17pm 085

So this was all I needed to fill in the gaps for my weekly meal plan.  The two giant bags of green beans is going to be part of my side dish for Cooking Club.  My steal of the day?

2.5.17pm 086

$1 for 1.27 pounds of pork chops!  There are three chops in the package, so one will be for a dinner one night, and the other two will be for another meal.  Gotta love the Discount Meat Bin at Jewel!  So I ended up spending:

2.5.17pm 087

Yes, you read that correctly – I spent $25.81!  Granted, I am going out to lunch today and to Cooking Club on Thursday, but that’s not too bad in my book!   The meal plan items with an asterisk are recipes I hope to share with you later this week.

But the first recipe I have to share is my latest 3 smart point biscuit.  When the Wal-mart near my office went out of business a few weeks ago, I bought twenty packages of sausage gravy mix because they were only .50 cents each.   I wasn’t even thinking about how many points it was, but actually without the added breakfast sausage, is only 2 points per 1/4 cup of prepared gravy mix.  But if you have gravy mix, you have to have biscuits, right?!

So I came up with these simple drop biscuits.  They come together in a matter of minutes, and take only 14 minutes to bake. 

Cashew Milk Biscuits
Serves 6
A quick weekend morning drop biscuit - ready in about 20 minutes!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
160 calories
20 g
5 g
7 g
4 g
2 g
39 g
305 g
1 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
39g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 5mg
2%
Sodium 305mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
5%
Iron
6%
* 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 cup flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  6. 1 Tablespoon cold butter
  7. 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  8. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper, and then mix in the cold butter with fork until crumbly.  In a small bowl mix the cashew milk with the apple cider vinegar.  Heat your oven to 375.  When your oven gets to temp, mix the cashew milk/vinegar mixture with the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.   It will be a wet, shaggy dough, which is perfect for drop biscuits.  I used two scoops of my melon baller per biscuit.  Bake for 14 minutes, or until the bottom of the biscuit is browned.  Let cool before slicing.
beta
calories
160
fat
7g
protein
4g
carbs
20g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.5.17pm 120

Since I worked yesterday, I knew I wanted a big breakfast to carry me for a long time.  Two biscuits (6), egg white and spinach scramble in the middle (1) then topped with 1/2 cup gravy (4) with fruit on the side.  This was so delicious!  Tasted so sinful, but not bad at 11 smart points.  And this kept me full for hours.

It’s time to finish getting myself ready for work.  I hope you all had a great weekend!   I saw this sign at my work last night, and I love it – hope you can make someone happy today!

2.5.17pm 129

Banana Blueberry Pancakes – 4 SP for 3!

I don’t normally blog on the weekends, but wanted to provide a link to share these delicious banana and blueberry pancakes.  While I was writing the recipe down as I went along, in my head I thought for sure they’d be about 7 smart points a serving, but after I put it in the WW recipe builder, 1/2 a serving, or 3 pancakes, came in at just 4 smart points each – and they are delicious!

Since Hannah and Jacob are on their keto diet (Hannah went to WW for a day, then Vegan for 3 days, then back to keto!) I always have a giant container of this Splenda:

 

Banana Blueberry Pancakes
Serves 2
Low smart point pancakes for the win! Even if you ate the whole recipe, it would only be 8 smart points. Paired with sugar free pancake syrup and more blueberries on top? #winning
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
277 calories
60 g
0 g
2 g
6 g
0 g
229 g
5 g
16 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
229g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277
Calories from Fat 11
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 5mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 60g
20%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 16g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
17%
Calcium
24%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2. 1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 mashed bananas
  4. 1 tablespoon Splenda*
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  6. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 cup rolled oats
  8. 1 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients from vanilla to almond milk well, then let sit for 10 minutes. The vinegar is going to turn your almond milk into buttermilk - nice and thick!
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. You can cook them off right now, but I like to let the baking powder do it's magic and let that batter sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Warning: These are going to be a bit hard to flip - there isn't a lot of flour for binding, and these will also take longer to cook - about 3-4 minutes for the first side, and 2-3 minutes for the second side. I took my time with the flip using a fish spatula, but be patient - it will work!
Notes
  1. You can always add vinegar (or lemon juice) to any milk if you don't have buttermilk - usually 1 tablespoons per each cup of milk. It won't be as thick as store bought buttermilk, but it will work!
  2. *I use Splenda Baking Super - it comes in a 32 ounce package at Wal-mart for $6.12 a bag.
beta
calories
277
fat
2g
protein
6g
carbs
60g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
These pancakes are delicious and really filling.  I almost thought to add a scoop of protein powder, but ditched that idea because I know not everyone has protein powder lying around, and that stuff is expensive!

 

The pancakes are 4 points, the sugar free syrup is 1 points, and the hard boiled egg is 2.   So breakfast only came in at 7 points – 23 points left for the day!  I do have turkey burgers on my menu tonight, and might splurge and make onion rings on the side.  So looks like I’ll be eating a late lunch to get all my points in.  I hate when that happens.  (said no one ever!).

Happy Saturday – make it a great day!

Microwave Chocolate Cake

A few of you mentioned in my last post about the nutrition label for the tomato soup.  The plug in that I use gets automatically generated when I enter the ingredients.  However, sometimes it’s not that accurate, like yesterday’s recipe.  The nutrition based on Oprah’s cookbook for the tomato soup is 173 calories, or 4 smart points for two cups.  Whenever I post a recipe, I always put it in the WW recipe builder to get the actual points based on the exact ingredients that I use.  So just take the nutrition label as a bench mark, but trust my smart points – I am a blue dot seeker and want to get the most food for my points!

I don’t know what it was about my meal plan this week, but I wanted nothing to do with it.  Guess what I had a taste for?  Cereal!

2.2.17 016

Kashi cinnamon squares (6) with 1/3 cup skim milk (2) and blackberries.  I actually love when the squares get soggy.  It was quick and easy to eat at my desk because I hit the ground running. 

I was pissed because I normally weigh in before work (in my Weight Watcher uniform, i.e. the same clothes every week) but I took a nap on my train ride home the night before last and set my alarm for 6:20 PM so I wouldn’t miss my stop.  When I set my alarm the night before last, I had already taken my contacts out, but saw 6:20 and set it.  Thankfully I woke up at 6:50, but the train I wanted to take left at 7.  Rats.  I knew it was going to be a busy day, so I wasn’t sure I’d make the WW meeting at lunch. 

However, I got everything done I needed to, and high tailed it to the meeting and was only 5 minutes late.  I will say that my sister and I do a majority of the talking – not sure if it’s because people are new, or we just talk to much!   One woman talked about how she does great during the week, but tracking goes by the way side come the weekend.  Been there sista!  It’s taken me all this time to figure out that I couldn’t do that anymore, and finally the scale is moving in the right direction.  That, and ditching my beloved wine Open-mouthed smile

So in my regular work clothes, having eaten breakfast, coffee and water, I was up .6.

2.2.17 046

At home I was down –.2 – either way it was a maintenance week – which I expected having a loss of 3.6 last week and it’s that time of month (for the record, I get my period the day after Hannah gets hers and she always texts me saying #sorry!).   I cropped it so you didn’t see my awful feet (pedicure hopefully this weekend!) and my unshaven legs.  You’re welcome!  And yes, my scale has my name on it – all three of us use the same scale.  I bought it last year with a gift card at Bed Bath & Beyond.  It syncs with your iPhone, and since I added my phone number to it, after I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, the scale sent me a text saying “you are at a new low!” 

162.8

At the meeting I was telling everyone about this microwave cake that I made.  I think this is one of those recipes that has been around the WW circles for a while, but depending on what plan was going on at the time (Points Plus, etc.) the points varied a lot.  My Instagram friend Kelly (check out her blog here!)  posted a recipe for a microwave chocolate cake.  Huh.  Now, I normally don’t have a sweet tooth – I can literally walk by chocolate chip cookies no problem, but if it’s a bag of Kettle potato chips, I’ll knock you down for those. 

But Tuesday night I found myself with six points left for the day, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Regardless of what the nutritional label says, it’s 5 smart points for the cake alone, and then add any extra points for your toppings.  I chose banana and a teaspoon of sugar free caramel sauce for 1 extra point.  You could do strawberries and whip cream, blackberries and powdered sugar – the possibilities are endless!

Microwave Chocolate Cake
I love that this chocolate cake isn't too sweet - but feel free to add some chocolate chips - just don't forget to add the extra points!
Write a review
Print
44 calories
10 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
0 g
39 g
32 g
5 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
39g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 44
Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 32mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 10g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
3%
Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
22%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 T PB2*
  2. 1 T cocoa powder
  3. 1 T flour
  4. 1 T brown sugar
  5. 1 t baking powder
  6. 3 T egg whites
  7. 2 T water
Instructions
  1. Mix together to make a batter.  I used a 4 inch ramekin and sprayed it with Pam.  Microwave at 70% power for 40 seconds.  At this point, my “cake” was still a bit soupy, so I added 20 seconds at 50% power.  Let cool slightly.  Top with anything!  Just remember to add the extra points.
Notes
  1. * PB2 is powdered peanut butter. There are several brands out there, and you can find it on the same aisle as the peanut butter in most grocery stores.
Adapted from No Thanks To Cake
beta
calories
44
fat
0g
protein
2g
carbs
10g
more
Adapted from No Thanks To Cake
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.1.17 027

2.1.17 030

2.1.17 038

The verdict?!  I loved it.  It’s not overly sweet, and the banana and caramel sauce balanced out the cake.  I can definitely see myself making this at least once a week.  Who knew you could make chocolate cake in 60 seconds?!

I passed around my phone so everyone could see how delicious this was, and then used the board to write down my email address if anyone wanted the recipe.  I had to laugh that my sister took a picture and sent it to our brother and said this:

2.2.17 020

Our leader Cheryl is amazing – and I wasn’t taking over the meeting.  Well, maybe for a minute!

I got back to my office and again, so busy.  I ate my tomato soup at my desk – I didn’t have any more tortellini cooked, but Hannah had leftover cooked pasta, so I added 1/2 a cup to my soup – lunch came in at 6 points.

2.2.17 022

I worked a bit late and didn’t get home until nearly 7:15.  I picked off some more meat off my Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken ($4.98 – can’t beat that price) and made chicken and red cabbage tacos with pineapple mango salsa.  6 points for this whole plate.  Because someone (me!) ate popcorn on the train ride home for 5 smart points.

2.2.17 041

I have TODAY OFF!   Long time readers will remember that a year ago this time I took the day off from my day job to be a culinary judge for the semi-finals for Illinois high schools culinary arts program.   It was at that time that I realized I’d been working at a job I had no passion for, and it was the beginning what I like to call “the year of Biz!”  Really I was still trying to find my way in the world.   Figuring out my new “normal” without being a caretaker and wife anymore.  I know if Tony were still here he would have talked me out of quitting my job, would have told me that it was stupid to use my own car last summer for the farmers market I worked and all the driving I did.  You get the idea.  But that’s kind of how I am – I just do things and worry about the consequences later.

I don’t regret a single thing I did last year.  If I hadn’t given it a shot in the culinary world, I would have regretted it.  I obviously know now that I couldn’t continue to make a living wage without a spouse to support me, but I love that I still have my foot in the door at The Chopping Block, even if I only work on the weekends.  I love that I am a Weight Watcher Ambassador, a Jennie-O Ambassador, on the Cabot Cheese Board – it’s a great balance from my day job (which I actually enjoy now because I am very productive!)  And who knows where that will take me someday?

Which takes me to today – I am going to be a Culinary Judge again at Kendall College today for the high school semi-finals.   Be sure to check me out in my chef jacket on Instagram later today. Open-mouthed smile

If you missed yesterday’s post, I am giving away Oprah’s new cookbook!  Just leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner on Monday.  Hope you all have an amazing weekend!  Hugs!