I stand corrected . . .–112 points!

While I was on the train ride to work, I was looking at my WW app and realized I never entered my food for dinner Saturday night OR this chocolate pie!   So while I thought I was -82 points for the week, I stand corrected – I am at -112!  #gobigorgohome 😀

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Tony used to buy me this pie every birthday.  It’s a sugar free French silk pie from a local 24 hour diner near out house.  And while it may be sugar free, it is not calorie free, but it’s amazingly delicious, and I love that she remembered that Tony used to get this for me. 

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Breakfast was a simple egg white and salsa breakfast wrap.  I just added 1/2 a coffee cup worth of liquid egg whites with 2 tablespoons of jarred salsa and nuked that at work for a minute and thirty seconds.  I added 1/2 ounce of cheese and chopped romaine and fruit on the side – breakfast was 5 points.

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Right before I left the house and was finishing packing my lunch, I dropped a whole 32 ounce package of strawberries on the floor.  Gah.  For half a second I thought to just leave them and text Hannah to see if she minded cleaning up my mess, but quickly got it cleaned up and was still able to get out of the house on time.  

Sadly, the leftover pork that I had planned for my lunch time wrap never made it into my lunch bag.  Sure enough I texted Hannah and she said “you mean this bag of meat on the kitchen counter?”  Um, that would be yes.  Luckily she was able to put it in the fridge for me. 

But now I needed something to put in my wrap.  There is a diner called Venice Cafe a block from my office that another co-worker was talking about how they have a managers special every day of grilled chicken with sauteed vegetables.  When I looked up their menu, I saw that as a “side” I could get a grilled chicken breast for $3.95.  Nice!

When I got there I saw their specials board, and for a second thought “well, I am already over -112 points for the month, maybe I should try that panini or meatball calzone?!”

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When I ordered my grilled chicken he asked if I wanted it sliced, yes please!  Then asked if I wanted complimentary marinara sauce.  Um, double yes please!  The chicken was delicious and moist and I could have done shots of that marinara sauce.  Good to know there is a place like that near my office. 

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I had the other 1/2 ounce of Swiss cheese from my breakfast so I made kind of a mock chicken parmesan wrap and it was delicious.  I counted the chicken at 5 points, the cheese 2 and the wrap 1 point for an 8 point lunch.

I am having a “situation” with my neighbor.  A week and a half ago it was super windy and my neighbor said that one of my branches fell on his house . . . causing $6000 worth of damage.   His wife suggested that I have some trees cut off my property that were dead – well, if I did that, I would spend $10,000 in tree removal, which just isn’t in the budget.  I kindly thanked her for her suggestion, and did not cut down any trees.  They are now accusing me of being negligent by not cutting down the trees – my neighbor even said that the contractor told him “if this limb went through your window (which was 10 feet from where it landed) and any one of his family was sitting on the family room couch, they most likely would have been killed.”  A bit dramatic if you ask me, but in any event, I was talking to my insurance company as I was walking into the train station and got on the wrong train.

Luckily, it was the right train line, just the 5:33 train vs. the 5:20 train I normally take, which has way more stops so I didn’t get home until 7:00.  

When I walked into the house, Hannah was reheated leftover food from our dinner on Saturday night, and I reheated the bland pizza I ordered.  I brushed it with a bit of olive oil and some sea salt and reheated it on my baking steel so the crust turned out amazing, and that little pop of salt made all the difference.

I cut 2 ounces of pizza (6) and made pizza “croutons” to go over my salad.  Delish!

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I have to say though, that after my “hands in the air, don’t care” eating over my birthday weekend, my old habits want to come back – i.e, the night time snacking, the wine.  I almost contemplated going out and getting a bottle of wine!

But I know if I don’t reign it in right now, it’s a slippery slope and I can go right back to eating whatever I want and drinking whatever I want, and we all know that isn’t going to get me where I want to be. 

I still plan on weighing in on Thursday, because that’s what my sister and I agreed to do at the beginning at the year.  

I have one last birthday lunch with a co-worker today, but plan on eating reasonably.  I have a 4 point breakfast full of fruit which will help balance out my lunch, and I have chicken fajitas on the menu for dinner tonight, so it’s all good.

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

Almost Perfect Birthday

Hannah and Jacob both had to work on my birthday yesterday, and Hannah was so apologetic about it, but I told her it was not a big deal.  I had already planned on going to my Mom’s church yesterday morning and we were going out to lunch.

So Saturday night the kadults took me out to dinner at a new restaurant in our town that touted that they had pizza that was cooked in a 750 degree oven.  Sold!  We got appetizers of fried calamari, a cured meat and cheese platter.  Jacob and Hannah split a salad and Jacob got the stuffed mushrooms and Hannah got the four cheese baked pasta.  Jacob’s Dad came along and he got the carpaccio steak salad.

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Since everything tasted so great, I was so excited to get the pizza.

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Huh.  Where are the charred bits you get on a pizza cooked in a 750 degree oven?  Not only that, the dough had absolutely no flavor whatsoever.  So unfortunately, I will not be going back for the pizza, but I will go back for the wine and everything else that was ordered.  I almost wanted to go back into the kitchen and ask “what’s in your pizza dough?  How long do you proof it?!”  Ha!

The birthday gift I gave to myself was the new iPhone 7 Plus.  I puffy heart this phone!  The camera is amazing, love the portrait setting too.   My old phone was starting to not hold a charge anymore.  I would leave the house at 100%, then get to the train station only to have it give me the symbol to plug it in.  If I didn’t find a seat on the train station that had an electrical outlet, I’d have no phone or laptop access for the whole hour train ride.  I’d get to work, plug it in for 2 minutes and it would be back to 100%.  It didn’t matter if I did a hard reboot or anything. 

Check out this photo of wine from lunch yesterday:

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Mom and I went to caffe DeLuca in Forest Park.   We’ve never been disappointed with food and service there before.  We split the pear/goat cheese/candied walnut salad with balsamic dressing – this is half!

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And once I found out that the quiche of the day was spinach and goat cheese, I was sold!

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It’s the fluffiest, most delicious quiche I’ve ever had.  I have no idea who they get it that fluffy, but it was delicious – a layer of goat cheese on both the top and bottom.  Swoon.

Mom and I walked around for a while before moving on with each of our days – thanks for hanging out with me on my birthday Momma!  Just more proof that she loves me more than my sister, because the last I checked my sister wasn’t with us! Open-mouthed smile

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I liked this picture of my Mom too – she looks amazing for 76!

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On my way home I went grocery shopping.  I had planned to go Saturday afternoon, but drove to a grocery store I normally go to to stock up on meat, only to realize that it closed a month earlier.  I had already done my meal plan off that grocery store’s sale flyer, and I didn’t have time to redo my game plan before heading out to dinner Saturday night. 

When I got back from the store, Hannah and Jacob were napping (they started work at 5:00 a.m.) so I got my grill lit, poured myself a glass of wine, and enjoyed the nice weather.  It was at that moment, that I realized it was almost a perfect birthday.  The only thing missing was Tony.  I could imagine watching him light up a cigar, us listening to Frank Sinatra music and him being bundled up in a parka, hat and gloves in the 52 degree weather, and me being in capri pants and flip flops.  It’s occasions like my birthday that are hard not to be a little sad that he’s not here to celebrate with me.

I told the kadults not to give me anything for my birthday, because I don’t really need anything.  The older you get you realize birthdays are less about the stuff and more about who you share the day with.  But, Hannah did hear me tell her that my commuter back pack was coming unzipped all the time and I had been looking into getting a new one.  This one is really sturdy and I know it will hold up for a long time.

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Of course with such great weather I  couldn’t not grill.  I bought a pork shoulder to make BBQ pork sandwiches on pretzel bread.  For a cut of pork like this, I cook it to 195 degrees, then let it sit for 30 minutes before slicing or shredding.  This was a boneless shoulder, with a nice fat cap on the top.  I cooked it in my Weber grill dedicated cast iron skillet on in direct heat.  It was just over three pounds, and took about an hour and 45 minutes to get to 195.  My coals were a bit hot to begin with so I had to bring the heat down a bit. 

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Love the crust on the outside.  So delicious.  It was nice seeing the dogs outside picking up all the sticks in the yard.  Roz, I thought you would like the random heart in the photo below!

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For the record, I stopped tracking my points when I got to –82 points for the week.  Not kidding on that number!  From pizza and beer Friday night, to my dinner out Saturday night with more beer and wine, and lunch out yesterday . . . with more wine – I am 82 points in the hole for the week.  But I am not upset by that at all.  I am going back to being alcohol free until the next occasion arises.  I have my food planned and packed and I’ll be hitting the gym this week so it’s all good.

And while I wish Tony could have been with me today, that was the only thing missing to an otherwise perfect birthday.  Thanks Mom, Hannah, Jacob, Joe, Lizz, Bonnie and Carl for making my birthday weekend.  Cheers to starting my 49th year!  I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one!

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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Steak With Lemon Pepper Pan Sauce

I switched bags that I travel to and from work because the zipper on my back pack keeps coming undone without me knowing.  On more than one occasion, my backpack has been wide open while I am walking through the train station with my laptop, wallet, etc. just hanging out in the wind.  So what I failed to do was put my gloves in my temporary new bag and when I got to the train station, realized my mistake.  It was 11 degrees out.

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This is what it looked like at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning – overcast, cold, gross.   We haven’t really had a bad winter, and I can’t complain with all the snow my friends in the Northeast have gotten this winter, but I want to see spring flowers and green grass.  Okay, enough whining about the weather!

It was a low carb eating day for me yesterday, except for breakfast.  And while I love, love my breakfast parfaits, they are high on the carb count because of all the fruit, which is totally insulin worthy if you ask me.  However, after I took this picture, a co-worker stopped to talk about a project, and after we talked, I sat down and started eating my breakfast.  Until about 90 minutes later I thought, did I take my insulin?  Well, the answer to that was a big fat no – and a quick blood sugar check and it was up to 422! Gah.  It’s not the end of the world, I just gave myself fast acting insulin as if I were eating food, and 45 minutes later it was back to normal.  Um, adding chocolate Cheerios was a delicious idea.

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My day flew by.  Seriously I think I could work at my desk 24 hours a day and still have plenty of work to do.  I had a couple rushes, and the typical time I take lunch just came and went, so I ate lunch at my desk.  I took a video and put it on Instagram (can’t figure out how to put it here) but it doesn’t matter – I made a Thai noodle soup, but it needs tweaking, so back to the drawing board on that one.  I made turkey meatballs to go in the soup, and while they tasted delicious straight out of my cast iron skillet when they had a nice crispy texture, once reheated in the soup they became mushy.  And ladies, am I right that mushy balls in your mouth isn’t all that appealing?!  (#sorrymom!).

Luckily I had my fruit as a snack on my train ride home – loving that it’s light outside by the time I get home.

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Since it was a low carb day I knew I had steak on the menu with green beans and mushrooms, but thought it needed something to tie it all together.  Duh – a pan sauce!  A pan sauce is nothing more than using all the goodness your steak leaves behind in your cast iron skillet to make a tasty sauce.  This dinner literally cold not have been easier – it was ready in about 15 minutes.

  • 5 ounces sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup fresh green beans
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fat free half and half

Trim the green beans and put in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.  Set aside.  In a cast iron skillet, or non-stick pan, spray coconut oil spray (or use grapeseed or coconut oil – something that can handle the high heat).  I used Hardcore Carnivore rub on my steak, but feel free to stick with salt and pepper, or your favorite BBQ seasoning.  I like my beef on the rare side, so over high heat, I cooked my beef for 2 minutes per side, then set that aside.  Return the heat to low, add the grapeseed oil and cook the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes.  Add in the green beans and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Mix in the corn starch and lemon pepper seasoning with the chicken broth and add that to the pan.  Cook for a minute or so until the sauce starts to thicken, then stir in the half and half.

I put the green beans and mushrooms in the bottom of the pan, sliced the steak and placed that on top, then drizzled the lemon pepper pan sauce over the top.  You probably won’t use all this pan sauce, but if you had a baked potato, it would be delicious over the top of that.

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This picture really doesn’t do it justice, but this was so flavorful and delicious.  Can’t wait to do this again with grilled steak.   I just barely made my points today – after dinner I had only eaten 21 points.  If it had been a high carb day that would have been easy to get the points in, so I had 1/3 cup of almonds and a piece of cheese for 7 points to bring me to 28 points for the day.  I always forget how much fuller I feel with so much protein, but, turns out I love carbs, so I like the carb cycling.  We’ll see how it plays out on the scale this week. 

Here is more motivation for you – love this one!

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So keep moving forward my friends!  #keepswimming 

Make it a great day!

Ricotta Pan Pasta with Jennie-O Turkey Meatballs

I hate snow in March.   I really really do.  But I know we are never out of the clear for snow in March.  Some birthdays when Hannah was little we had water balloon fights because it was so warm, other times we had five inches of snow.  I remember on Hannah’s 7th birthday it worked out perfect because she was going to school for an art fair the morning of her birthday party from 9-12, and her party started at 1.  I had it planned perfectly – I’d wrap her gifts, shovel the snow down my front walk, finish decorating her cake – three hours was plenty of time to get that all done!

Except when I went to leave, she begged me to stay.  Not just for a few minutes, but THE WHOLE TIME.  I was in a panic – how was I going to get it all done?  Well, the fast answer was, I didn’t.  And Hannah was none the wiser.  The only caveat was that I never did get a chance to shovel my walk to the front door, and a couple parents gave me a stern look Smile with tongue out

So here is what I woke up to:

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Just noticed Hannah never brought in the extension cord when she and Jacob had a bonfire a couple weeks ago and hung up lights around the gazebo!  #klassy

So my breakfast was a plate of sunshine on the cold, snowy, overcast day.  I made an egg white omelet microwaved dish – 2 ounces of canned potatoes on the bottom, 1/2 cup egg whites, baby spinach – cook on high for 2-3 minutes until the eggs are cooked, then flipped it and added 1/2 ounce of cheese on the top.  On the side was turkey sausage and fresh fruit – pineapple to make me think I was in Hawaii!  #not

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When I took this picture, it looked like I had sliced banana on top of my eggs, and a couple people on Instagram thought I had lost my damn mind!  (thank you Christina and Kym for your concern!) Open-mouthed smileMy sister and I talked mid-morning and she definitely did not want to walk in the cold/snow, and neither did I to tell the truth.  I thought I’d just hit up my office gym and walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes before heating up my lunch.  But I remembered I didn’t have my key card to get into the gym (I switched bags) and it would have been a hassle to get a temporary one from the office of the building, so I just bundled up and got to walking.  I was trying to get the Sears Tower in the picture, and didn’t notice the light post coming out of my head!

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Yesterday was a higher carb day, so I had chicken fried rice for lunch.  Since I was walking by myself, I walked to Mariano’s – not even thinking of buying anything, but just walking around getting more steps indoors.  But then I saw this wasabi sauce and it made me stop in my tracks.  I did not alter that picture below at all – that’s the actual color of the sauce, and if you love wasabi like I do, go buy this.  It’s only 10 calories (zero points) a serving and it has the zip of heat that goes away after a few seconds like wasabi does.  Even though Tony didn’t like spicy stuff, he could tolerate wasabi when he ate sushi because the heat didn’t last.  I still have yet to recreate a stir fry like Tony even close to what he could make.  I even watched the video Tony made, but to no avail.  I did use less soy sauce than he normally did, although his always turned out great, so I don’t know why I question the amount I use.  My plate came in at 8 smart points – 6 for the rice, 2 for the chicken and the rest was free.

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I actually got a lot of stuff done at work that I wanted to.  Are any of you like me that have a list of things you want to get off your desk, but constant interruptions foil your attempts to cross anything of your list?  Well surprisingly yesterday both my attorneys hardly bothered me at all.   So that means today I’ll probably be swamped Open-mouthed smile

I am on Jennie-O Turkey’s Blogger program and I am given products to try every other month.  In January I made the perfect turkey burger and turkey and bean chili.   I did just realize that I was supposed to make a breakfast dish with this turkey sausage they sent me, but is it wrong that I thought of meatballs when I first saw the product?  You all know how I am about the balls!

This dinner was ready in less than 20 minutes, and while I only made one serving, I am writing the recipe for 4 servings.  Each serving on the WW recipe app is 12 smart points.

Serves 1 cup pasta with 3 ounces turkey meatballs

Ricotta Pan Pasta with Jennie-O Turkey Meatballs

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 8 ounces dry pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 4 tablespoons part skim ricotta
  • 12 ounces Jennie-O turkey sausage
  • 1 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach


  1. Heat water for pasta.  Meanwhile mix the sausage, Italian seasoning, garlic, crushed red pepper, parsley, salt and pepper and mix just until combined.  For each 3 ounce portion, I made 6 meatballs, but feel free to make them however big you like them.  Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat and spray with coconut oil spray (it can withstand the high heat) and sear the outside of the turkey meatballs.  Reduce the heat, and add the marinara sauce and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce until the pasta is ready.  Drain the pasta, add that to the meatball marinara pan, stir in the ricotta cheese and baby spinach, and put a lid on the pan for 1-2 minutes until the spinach starts to wilt - it will seem like too much, but no worries!
Cuisine: Italian | Recipe Type: dinner

Each serving is 1 cup of the cooked pasta and 6 meatballs (or three ounces).  Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and dinner is served!


This was so delicious.  Pure healthy comfort food at it’s best.  I defrosted my zero point marinara for this dinner before I went to work, but just check the labels of store bought marinara if you go that route – a lot have a ton of added sugar in them (look at the ingredient list). 


On my way home from work I saw two different people make my chili and each gave it two thumbs up!  First up my friend Meg from Instagram:

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And then my high school friend Matt who I am friends with on Facebook made my buffalo chicken chili.

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That’s basically what I do – changing lives, one chili recipe at a time! (ha!)

I forgot to mention that my latest post is on The Chopping Block website – Kris, you’ll be happy to see a Vegan dish for my daughter-in-law.  If you could send me some comment love over there, I would appreciate it!  I made a lentil pasta with a kale pesto – so good, even coming from a meat eater like myself. Open-mouthed smile

Protein Pancakes Two Ways

For some reason lately I’ve had a taste for pancakes.   Friday night I worked as the night secretary.  I actually volunteer when the opportunity arises because it’s overtime and a lot of times no one needs help, so I get the peace and quiet with no interruptions and actually get a lot done.   I didn’t get home until nearly 9 p.m. on Friday night and while you all know I love my party pizza  Friday, when I walked into the train station I could feel my blood sugar dropping, checked it really quick, it was 63 and I had nothing in my bag for the hour and 15 minute train ride home.   I had 6 minutes until my train, and Burrito beach was the only food court spot that didn’t have a line, so I bought chips and spicy salsa, which cost me 6 smart points. 

I had 16 points going into dinner for my planned pizza, but now I was down to 10, and decided to just make breakfast for dinner.  I made a batch of Premier Protein pancakes – I tweaked a few recipes I saw online to come up with this one – this whole recipe made 10 pancakes for 2 points each.

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1 container chocolate premier protein

Mix the dry ingredients together, then the liquid ingredients, then mix just until combined. These pancakes never looked like they were “cooked.”  You know how pancakes are golden brown?  These were pretty good, and with bacon, syrup and strawberries, this was a quick and easy dinner (I ate 2 of the 4 pancakes shown).

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When I was cleaning out the pantry, I found this lone Quest protein package –  I think I bought these last summer?

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That package is 1 smart point and is meant to be a protein shake mixed with 8 ounces of water.  I decided to make that my “flour” but after mixing everything together, I needed a batter that was a bit more tight, and added 2 tablespoons of flour – that did the trick!  This recipe is for 1 serving and made 4 pancakes for 4 smart points.

  • 1 (one ounce) single serve Quest protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 mashed banana

In a bowl, mash the banana.  Add the egg, egg white, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.  Mix in the protein powder, flour, baking powder and salt and let the batter sit for 15 minutes to let the baking powder do its magic.  This was when I cooked up my Jennie-O turkey sausage (2 links for 1 point!).

I used 1/3 cup measure spoon per pancake, and cooked for about 2 minutes a side until golden brown.

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That syrup?  That’s 2 tablespoons of PB2 mixed with 1/4 cup Smucker’s sugar free pancake syrup.  This breakfast is a protein punch – 22 grams for the pancakes, 8 for the turkey sausage and 5 for the PB2 syrup.

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The Quest protein pancakes were amazeballs.  Like, I could eat these every day amazeballs.  Super fluffy, you didn’t taste the “protein powder” taste you sometimes get with those products, and that plate kept me full FOR HOURS.   I believe I picked up the individual packages of Quest at GNC – and if memory serves, each one was .99 cents.  There were lots of flavors to choose from too, so the possibilities are endless, but these tasted like I was eating fresh out of the oven banana bread with the vanilla notes from the protein powder and added vanilla extract. 

I can’t remember if I posted it here, or on Facebook, but I am carb cycling this week (actually started on Saturday).  I just toggle between lower carb and higher carb foods every other day.  The only exception is breakfast.  And by low carb, I don’t go below 125 grams of carbs a day – still need carbs in a healthy diet.  I still count points too, but I’ll show you what I mean below for my food ideas this week (LC=low carb; HC=high carb).  On the low carb days, nearly all of my carbs will be coming from fruits and veggies.


  • individual potato crusted zucchini quiche (HC) with fresh fruit
  • egg white omelet with zucchini, turkey sausage and cheese (LC) with fresh fruit
  • steel cut oats with fresh fruit (HC)
  • steak and eggs (LC) with fresh fruit
  • breakfast burrito on low carb wrap (LC) with fresh fruit


  • chicken fried rice (HC)
  • chicken fajitas (LC)
  • roast beef veggie roll ups (LC)
  • leftover pork potsticker noodle bowl (HC)
  • grilled chicken picky plate with veggies (LC)


  • pork with roasted carrots and zucchini (LC)
  • potsticker noodle bowls (HC)
  • grilled chicken Caesar salad (LC)
  • steak with mango salsa and garlic green beans (LC)
  • spinach ricotta pasta with turkey sausage meatballs (HC)
  • Thai red curry coconut soup with turkey sausage meatballs (LC)

Here’s how my grocery shopping went this week:  

PicMonkey Collage

$24.96 at my regular grocery store – although I was pissed because I wasn’t paying attention – I asked for 1/4 pound of roast beef and she sold me 3/4 of a pound – which cost more than the sirloin steak that I bought!

$55.03 at Sam’s Club – $38.00 was for food – stocking up on chicken breasts, fresh cut fruit, etc., the rest was paper products and laundry detergent

$7.88 at Jewel at the 50% meat discount bin for pork chops, Italian sausage and more chicken breasts that will go in the freezer.  So I spent $71.28 for food this week, but a lot of the meat will be used in the next two weeks, so I’ll spend considerably less the next couple weeks.


I got my cleaning pants on this weekend and tackled my basement.  One of Hannah’s regular customers was giving away a brand new four drawer filing cabinet and Hannah picked it up for me a couple weeks ago.  I have lots of photos, papers, etc. that needed to find a central home.   I came across some things I had forgotten about!  That’s a drawing my Dad did of Hannah when she was three.

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Tony had a thing of hanging onto every single chord we ever owned.  I’ve walked by this basket of chords every time I go to do laundry, and other than pulling out extension chords that I know I will use, I have never touched or needed a chord from that basket in years, and now that it’s been more than two years since Tony passed away and I still haven’t needed a chord for anything, I threw the whole thing out.

I found my Weight Watcher card from 2000! I was maintaining my weight around 140 pounds.  I met Tony in May of 2000.

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Kashi was my go to cereal back then.  I used to eat 1 cup of that cereal with 1/4 cup of Lucky Charms most days of the week.  The first time I was spending the night over at Tony’s house, he found my favorite cereal, and scanned the box with that note and emailed it to me.  I still remember opening up my email and my heart fluttered when I read that – we’d only known each other a few weeks, but we both already knew. 

Tony wrote me notes all the time.  I am so glad that I saved them – I loved this one in particular:

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For newer readers, my husband’s real name was Jeff, not Tony – Tony was the name he wanted to use on the blog because he’s Italian and always wished he had more of an Italian name.  And I should mention that he was also half French Canadian on his Mom’s side, but for some reason would never acknowledge that, so Bonnie, that’s for you!  (and one of his nicknames for me was Booger Butt, among dozens of others over the years!).


I am not looking forward to the weather this week – snow, when we didn’t get any snow in January and February, and highs in the low 30s, with lows in the low teens.  I am so ready for spring!

Make it a great day!

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