Pork Jalapeno Popper Tacos

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

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

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

vday-032_thumb

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

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

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

mcdonalds_parfait_02

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pork Jalapeno Popper Tacos
Serves 4
A different alternative to your standard Taco Tuesday - Laughing Cow Cheese is melted into the pork and jalapenos - so good!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
344 calories
14 g
70 g
23 g
21 g
13 g
170 g
366 g
2 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
170g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 344
Calories from Fat 204
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g
36%
Saturated Fat 13g
63%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 70mg
23%
Sodium 366mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 2g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
18%
Vitamin C
33%
Calcium
48%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 ounces lean ground pork
  2. 2 tablespoons jalapeno (chopped – adjust to taste)
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. 3 corn tortillas (mine were 3 for 4 points)
  6. 1 laughing cow wedge, spicy pepper jack
  7. 1/4 cup broccoli slaw, chopped
  8. 1 chopped radish
  9. 1/8 of avocado, chopped
  10. cilantro, tomato and lime for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add the pork and jalapeno together.  I just used a bit of Pam cooking spray on the bottom of my pan.  Cook until the pork is no longer pink.  Remove from heat and stir in the laughing cow cheese wedge and ground cumin and stir until it melts.  Taste pork mixture and season with salt and pepper as needed. In each corn tortilla, place some of the broccoli slaw, then some of the pork/jalapeno filling and Pam fry the tacos for about 2 minutes a side.  Top with the chopped radish, avocado, cilantro and lime and dinner is served!  The Weight Watchers app put these tacos at 3 points each – so 9 points for the whole plate, and I ended my day with 29/30 points.
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calories
344
fat
23g
protein
21g
carbs
14g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
2.14.17 019

These were so good!  I am trying to think, but I don’t think I’ve ever used ground pork in making tacos before.  Tony didn’t like the smell or taste of pork the last couple years before he passed away, but I am not sure he would have gone for these even when he did like pork.   Hannah thinks that cumin smells like an old man’s armpit, and I could just hear Tony yelling from the living room “What Smells Like Ass?!”  If I ever write a cookbook, that’s going to be the title Open-mouthed smile

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

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

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

inspiration

Hash Waffle and Weekly Menu

I don’t know what it was about Friday, but I was snacky as shit. 

snack

I normally don’t have wine in the house anymore, but I had 1/3 of a bottle left from my #livefully  party which was 10 ounces – or basically a point an ounce.  After that it was crazy.  I found myself looking for something to eat like every 15 minutes!  But I have to say, I am proud of myself for actually tracking everything I ate.  I even weighed or measured out the food too!  I have no idea why, but in looking back through my eats, I realize I need to bump up the protein big time.  It keeps me fuller longer.  And thanks to my WW app, I stopped my snack total at 31 because I was out of my weekly points, and my WI isn’t until Thursday.  So I just have to be extra careful with how my 30 points are spent each day until WI.

Saturday morning I made hash waffles.  They are the latest craze in the WW people I follow.  I first saw Sophie (who is “Tracking Is The New Black” on Instagram) make these hash waffles back in December and I finally got around to making them.  While she used frozen shredded potatoes which were thawed, I just shredded a raw potato for mine, and it worked just fine.  The recipe is for one waffle – which when put in the WW recipe builder app, comes in at 6 points for just the waffle, and 2 points for my pepper jelly topping.

Steak Hash Waffle
Serves 1
Another great way to use up your waffle maker - make hash waffles!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
13 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
13 min
273 calories
28 g
210 g
8 g
22 g
3 g
268 g
324 g
1 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
268g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 273
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 210mg
70%
Sodium 324mg
14%
Total Carbohydrates 28g
9%
Dietary Fiber 2g
10%
Sugars 1g
Protein 22g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
13%
Calcium
7%
Iron
16%
* 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 ounces potato, shredded and squeezed dry
  2. 1 ounce sirloin steak, cooked and chopped
  3. 1 egg
  4. 3 tablespoons egg whites
  5. salt and pepper *
Instructions
  1. Heat your waffle maker on the highest setting and preheat.  Mix the above together into a batter, and mix well.  Pour evenly in your waffle maker.   Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until desired doneness.  Mine was crispy at 8 minutes.  Since the batter was kind of thick, for the last minute I pressed my waffle maker down to make sure I got that crispy potato crunch.
Adapted from Tracking Is The New Black
beta
calories
273
fat
8g
protein
22g
carbs
28g
more
Adapted from Tracking Is The New Black
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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* you can use any spice seasoning you want – cajun, Tabasco, the possibilities are endless!  I used 1/2 teaspoon of this jalapeno pepper – so good!

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While you guys know I LOVE my sweet and savory combo, I melted one tablespoon of Tabasco pepper jelly with one tablespoon of Smuckers sugar free syrup to drizzle over the top for 2 extra smart points.  On the side was banana and blueberries for dessert.  You guys just might as well drop the mic on this one.  Crunchy, sweet, salty – is it wrong that I want to add Cabot cheese to these waffles to kick it over the top next time?!

This kept me full for hours.  I didn’t eat lunch until nearly 3 in the afternoon when I stopped by the coffee shop where Hannah and Jacob work.  It’s become my weekend treat to take an hour to just relax, meal plan, etc.  The soup that day was chicken noodle, and somehow Hannah knew I like a lot of cracked pepper on my soup.  Did I tell you that Jacob gave me his old Mac Book Pro?  He got a new computer a while back and let me have his old one.  The only problem was that I needed to have it plugged in all the time because the battery was shot, hence why he needed a new one.  That didn’t bother me though because I usually have it plugged in while I watch t.v. in the living room.

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But it works just fine now.  I had it unplugged from 8 in the morning until 10 Saturday night before it beeped that it needed to be charged.  Nice!  I still had time to make it to the gym before it closed.  I did 45 minutes on the treadmill on 8.0 incline at 4.0 mph.

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Here is the after – but I just had to show you how my eyebrows are on fleek!  I had a different girl at Wal-mart thread my eyebrows and it barely hurt at all.

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With last weeks grocery shop at a mere $25, I knew I’d be spending more this week.  Still not too bad!

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$23.24 of that budget went to stocking up on meat – I thought I’d show you what I got for that amount of money, and see if it compares to what your local grocery store prices are. 

PicMonkey Collage

So here are my ideas for the week:

Breakfasts:

  • Chobani parfait with try #2 of PB2 granola (that hasn’t been made yet)
  • Steel cut oats and toasted walnuts and blueberries (from Oprah’s new cookbook)
  • PB2 Banana Muffins picky plate breakfast (that are 4 points each and I’ll share that recipe tomorrow)
  • egg white and spinach breakfast tacos
  • Pork and apple breakfast sausage with egg white avocado toast

Lunches:

  • leftover frozen chili
  • shrimp cocktail picky plate
  • spaghetti squash pasta with pepperoni and mozzarella
  • beef and broccoli stir fry
  • leftovers on Friday of whatever needs to be eaten up

Dinners:

  • beef with zucchini noodles and red pepper orzo
  • baked chicken thighs with rosemary potatoes and spinach
  • pork and broccoli slaw egg rolls (made over the weekend – delish!)
  • skinny New Orleans BBQ shrimp and beef
  • Party Pizza Friday (it’s been too long since I’ve had pizza!)

I am actually glad I had most of this post written yesterday, because I worked late at The Chopping Block last night.  We didn’t get out until nearly 10:00 p.m. (our class ran long) and I drive my friend home because the public transportation isn’t the best on the weekends, and me driving 15 minutes out of my way saves her 45 minutes of walking to and from the train.

It was a fun class – great people, worked with my buddy Chef Nick (pictured below!) doing a surf and turf class.  But a sad one because it was officially my last day of work there.  I’ve only been working one day a week and it’s not worth my time anymore and it takes a huge chunk out of my weekend.  I will still be blogging for them on a regular basis, and I’ll still be involved in their social media and will be a “guest” worker at fun events like Apple Fest.  I really wish I could have made that my full time job, but you can’t always get what you want in life.

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I met some amazing people there that I otherwise never would have met, and for that I will always be grateful.  I need to write a nice note to Shelley the owner thanking her for the opportunity to work at such a great place.

So now I am back to just one job.  A year ago around this time I was just quitting my law firm job, and here I am a year later back at another law firm.  But I had an amazing year and I wouldn’t change a thing.  Except winning the lottery.  Smile with tongue out

UPDATED:  My next post is up on The Chopping Block’s website – you can check it out here – two point Sopa Azteca!  If you could leave me some comment love there, I would appreciate it. 😀

Alright, time to get my stuff together – happy Monday – make it a great day!  Here’s some Monday Motivation:

2e52ea3255f7323c6ae4750e392a2caa

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.

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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.

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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.   

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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.

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

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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.

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

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!)

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!

Jennie-O Turkey Chili with Bush’s Beans

I wish I could tell you I am feeling 100% better, but not yet.  I take that back – I feel fine, but the cough continues.  My nose is less stuffy, so I am taking that sign that I am making progress.  I was happy that while my workday yesterday was steady busy, it wasn’t crazy busy.  Whew!

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Breakfast was two of my breakfast biscuits and fresh fruit.  I didn’t really realize that this was only a 4 point breakfast, but it was surprisingly filling.  Still no walking at lunch, so I hit up the tenant lounge in my building.  Sadly there were only tables on the opposite side of the windows, so it kind of looks like I am eating lunch in a cave.  I had a buffalo turkey wrap, leftover garlic green beans and half an apple.  Again, lunch only came in at 4 smart points!  (1 Ole wrap =1, 2 ounces deli turkey = 1, 1 ounce reduced fat Swiss Lorraine = 1) and 1 point for the green beans because they were cooked in a bit of olive oil.

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So I basically had 22 points going into dinner – so crazy!  So, I did what any person would do who wanted to make sure she got her blue dot in – I got Garrett’s popcorn and a Venti tea from Starbucks for my train ride treat home.

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I ate 3 cups of the buttered popcorn (7) – the last cup was basically crumbs so I just threw it out.  Not bad though – only $2.89 for that bag!  The Starbuck’s was free thanks to a gift card.

While I showed you guys my meal plan for the week yesterday, I didn’t take into account that I wouldn’t be meal prepping over the weekend like I normally do.  Last Saturday I just felt sick and didn’t do much and Sunday my Mom was over.   And I also didn’t take into account that I am working a double today – my day job and at The Chopping Block for a private event.  So I decided to make a turkey chili last night to have for not only dinner last night, but for lunch possibly one or two times later this week.

I actually contemplated on the train ride home to make my award winning Buffalo Chicken Chili except with ground turkey, but that is just so good with the ground chicken, that I didn’t want to mess with that recipe.  So I took a combination of ideas from a bunch of my other chili recipes, and came up with this one.  After making it, measuring out that it made 10 one cup portions, I was thrilled that it came in at only 3 smart points per cup!  And even if you double it or triple it, it still is only 3 points per cup! 

Turkey Chili with Beans
Serves 10
A great weeknight chili recipe, that only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
95 calories
8 g
38 g
1 g
15 g
0 g
165 g
216 g
4 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
165g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 95
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 38mg
13%
Sodium 216mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 4g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
26%
Vitamin C
25%
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. 1 pound extra lean Jennie-O turkey breast
  2. 2 cans Bush's chili beans in mild sauce (do not drain)*
  3. salt and pepper
  4. 2 garlic gloves, minced
  5. 1/4 cup Chili powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  10. 4 cups crushed tomatoes
  11. 2 cups tomato juice (like V8)
  12. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  13. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  14. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. In large stock pot over medium heat, add the ground turkey and cook about 4-5 minutes, just until it starts to cook down and you can chop it up into pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add in the salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Now this tastes really good the night you make it, but those flavors will just get deeper the longer it sits in your fridge.
Notes
  1. * I measured out how many beans I got between the two cans and it was 3 cups - which is what I put in the WW recipe builder to get the 3 points per cup.
  2. ** The recipe insert I use automatically generates a nutrition label which I am not able to edit using the specific ingredients I used. Please rest assured that I enter all my recipes into the Weight Watcher Recipe App to get an accurate account of the points of the recipe.
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calories
95
fat
1g
protein
15g
carbs
8g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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I always use the chili beans in sauce – when I combined those two cans, I got 3 cups of beans, so that’s what I added to the recipe builder.  Oh, and Jenn, do you see the Veggetti?!  I stole it (aka bribed) Nana for it with some beef!   I was basically plotting how I was going to get it from her after you gave it to her for Christmas.  Hannah has already used it three times! 

Since I had so many points going into dinner, I served mine over a cup of leftover spaghetti (5) and some cheese (2).

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This was delicious.  Such an interesting combination of flavors! Although when Hannah and Jacob walked in the door, they asked if there was a man with sweaty balls in the house, because that’s what the chili smelled like.  It was probably because I had just added the vinegar when they walked in.  But having a stuffed up nose, I didn’t smell anything. Open-mouthed smile

Later in the evening I ate 5 smart points of granola which brought me up to 30 points for the day so I could get my blue dot for the day.  Sadly, it doesn’t take much granola to eat 5 points!

I envision another nap on the train ride into work today – nothing like a 45 minute nap on your way to work to get a second wind!

Before I leave, I’ll leave you with a Tuesday Tip!  Make it a great day!

1314058

Copycat Panera Chicken Orzo Lemon Soup

Yesterday morning I was up at 6:45 –  wide awake on my day off.  What the what?  So I got up, posted my blog, had a cup of tea, did some stuff on the computer and around 8:00 I felt like I needed more sleep.  So I did.  And didn’t wake up until 10!

I must have needed it, and truth be told, as the day progressed I could feel my chest start to tighten.  I coughed a bit.  I’ve been vaccinated for everything but bronchitis, so hopefully it turns into nothing.  Since it was raining all.day.long I declared it a Bizzy in my Kitchen day and rest day from working out.  Best.Day.Evah!

I seriously think I can meal plan this week from what I have on hand.  It’s something I like to call “throw shit in a bag” but it does make you think outside the box.  Take my lunch for later today.  I had leftover veggie chili in my freezer, and I cooked up some zucchini and plan on having chili zucchini boats for lunch – doesn’t that sound good?  I have Timehop to thank for that.  I made it for my lunch three years ago.  But Timehop also reminded me that three years ago last night, Tony made me his famous fried rice.  I’ll have to look back on the blog archives, but that may have been the last time he made that for me. Sad smile

zucchini boats

When I worked at The Chopping Block on Sunday, I made a drink that called for macerated strawberries, basil, lime and a bit of sugar.  It was made to go into a wine spritzer, but after I saw what the berries looked like after 15 minutes, immediately thought “this would be great for a parfait!”  And I was correct.  Don’t let the basil sway you – you will barely notice it’s there and then all of a sudden get a bit with the strawberry, basil and Chobani, and it’s the perfect combo.   This is for four servings – each serving comes out to 1 WW smart point.  Simply take 16 strawberries, dice them, throw them in a mason jar.  Add in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  That’s it.  It’s magical!  And yes, that is a tablespoon of fat free whip cream on top.  I used a small mason jar for this breakfast since it was nearly 11:00 by the time I ate breakfast.  All this for only 3 smart points.

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As I was looking through the fridge/pantry and freezer, I realized I had a chicken carcass that needed to be eaten.  Jacob LOVES rotisserie chicken and he can eat a whole one in a few days for lunch or a snack.  I got all of 5 ounces of chicken off it it, but it was plenty for my copycat Panera bread chicken lemon orzo soup.  This made 4 servings of 1.5 cups each for 5 smart points.

Panera Copycat Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup
A light and bright soup.
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668 calories
56 g
126 g
17 g
77 g
4 g
2132 g
3957 g
9 g
0 g
11 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2132g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 668
Calories from Fat 154
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
27%
Saturated Fat 4g
20%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 126mg
42%
Sodium 3957mg
165%
Total Carbohydrates 56g
19%
Dietary Fiber 12g
48%
Sugars 9g
Protein 77g
Vitamin A
649%
Vitamin C
211%
Calcium
58%
Iron
91%
* 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 olive oil
  2. 3 cloves garlic
  3. 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  4. 6 cups chicken broth
  5. 2/3 cup orzo, dried
  6. 2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  7. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  8. pinch of salt
  9. pinch of pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  11. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. 5 ounces chopped cooked chicken
  13. chopped baby spinach for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil.  Add the garlic and celery and cook for a few minutes.  Pour the chicken stock and orzo, and cook for 9-10 minutes, or according to package directions.  When the orzo is cooked, add in the rest of the gang: lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, dried oregano and the chicken.  Remove from heat, and put a lid on, just to cook the chicken through.  I added my soup to my bowl and then added the chopped spinach.
  2. I used Meyer lemons, and since they were small, I used two of them for the juice – so start out with 2 tablespoons and add more for a stronger lemony flavor, which is what I did.
beta
calories
668
fat
17g
protein
77g
carbs
56g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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I also add one of of the cut lemons to the broth while the orzo is cooking – I think it leaches out some of the lemon oil in the skin to give it that extra zing, but leave that part out if you like.  Just remove before storing any leftovers.

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After Hannah tried the Keto diet for the first two weeks of January, and realizing that is not a lifestyle she can live with for more than two weeks, she’s going to do Weight Watchers with me!  I thought for sure she’d be all over this soup for lunch, which is why I seriously almost chopped the chicken to bits, because she’s particular about her chicken.  She ate half a bowl, but declared if I made it again, she’d appreciate it without so much chicken.  Or any chicken at all.  I’ll have enough for two lunches this week, so I am totally fine with that.

So having ditched my grocery shop for the week, I realized I would have to make everything from scratch for dinner.  I made a batch of naan.   I made tzatziki sauce with the last bit of Chobani I had left.  And I made my mini falafel to have sort of a street food dinner.  On the side I had 4 ounces of homemade fries, meaning this whole plate came  in at 11 smart points.  And it was fricken delicious.  I ate every single bite.

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With a new year, I have a new header here at MBK – it’s a work in progress.  It’s funny because it was on my list of things to change this month, and my sister said “you should change your header, the salsa picture is confusing.”  Since I had time, I made one, but hopefully she (or my brother) can make it look as nice as this picture below:  I just have that gap on the left hand side I can’t seem to get rid of. Sad smile

My bizzykitchen header

And I also updated my Facebook page and photo – and while that photo is 3 1/2 years old, that’s when I was in full Insanity mode and I felt really good about how those pictures came out (thanks to A.J. Kane Photography!) and figured it would be a nice bit of motivation when I log onto Facebook to see that picture.  What’s weird is that I was 156 pounds in that picture, which is only 14 pounds from where I am today.  I am taking this weight loss one short goal at a time, so no matter how long it takes me, 156 is the first goal.  Oh, and to also eat really delicious food while losing the weight!

Back to work today, let’s hope this little cough I have going on doesn’t turn into something.  But I’ve got a Tuesday Tip for you before I sign off:

When you focus on your problems, you’ll have more problems.  When you focus on your possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities. – Steve Weatherford

Potato Soup with White Beans and Kale

I believe I left off yesterday’s post stating that I wasn’t sure how my WI would go after such a big one the week before.  But I knew I had followed the plan, stayed away from my beloved wine, etc.  So I was very happy to see a –1.4 weight loss!

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That brings me to –5.2 in two weeks (and a total of 8 pounds since I started WW last spring).  We’ll just ignore the part in the parenthesis Open-mouthed smile

I went to the WW store before work just to weigh in, but planned on heading back to my normal lunch meeting at 12:30.  But my boss was back, needed something right away and I finished what I had to get done at 12:29 – the meeting started at 12:30.  But my twin sister and I have a pact of not missing a meeting this year, and I didn’t want to blow that in just the first WI of 2017, so I jumped in a cab and paid $4 to get there at 12:35.  Hardly missed a thing!  I love the leader we have – she’s super funny and upbeat, which I love.

My breakfast was delish – my lunch?  Not so much.

Breakfast:  my homemade muesli bread with sugar free strawberry jam (5) egg (2) 1/3 cup cottage cheese (2) and a banana and blueberries.

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I tried to make this kind of spaghetti squash/chicken taco thing, but it absolutely did not work for me.  The squash tasted gross with the salsa on top, so I literally only ate the chicken – I went back and put more cheese on the chicken to bump up the points, otherwise my lunch would have been 3 points – so I added 3 points of cheese and had an apple on the side.

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While I thought meal planning a lot of chicken this week was a good idea because they were on sale, I am pretty much chickened out.  I am pretty sure I’d never say that about beef though!  As I was coming home, with temps still in the single digits and the wind chill making it feel like 10 below, soup immediately came to mind.  I knew I had a bag of potatoes, so I went on Instagram and put in potato soup with every intention of making that.  Until I saw Umamigirl’s easy kale soup with white beans, potatoes and savory broth.  Doesn’t that just sound divine?  I had kale, I had white beans – perfect!

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Until I got home and actually read the recipe.  You know I don’t do onions.  Turns out the kadults used the last of the celery for their soup last night, and I wanted it to be a bit more WW point friendly and reduced the canned white beans by half, and used chicken broth instead of veggie broth, I added more seasoning – you get the idea – so I am giving Umamigirl props for providing inspiration in my soup.  This made 12 cups of soup, so each cup is only 3 smart points – you definitely need to eat two cups though!

Potato Soup with White Beans and Kale
Serves 6
Hearty and delicious vegetarian soup perfect for a chilly winter night.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
263 calories
48 g
0 g
3 g
14 g
1 g
535 g
588 g
4 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
535g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
5%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 588mg
25%
Total Carbohydrates 48g
16%
Dietary Fiber 6g
26%
Sugars 4g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
108%
Vitamin C
22%
Calcium
8%
Iron
19%
* 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 olive oil
  2. 3 carrots, not peeled, cleaned and diced
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 6 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  6. 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
  7. 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
  8. 1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped into small pieces
  9. 1 can (2 cups) white beans (rinsed and drained)
  10. 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  11. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  12. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  13. 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  14. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  15. 1 teaspoon Tabasco
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the carrots, and cook for about 5 minutes – add a bit of the chicken broth so that they don’t brown too much.  Add in the garlic and tomato paste.  Cook for a couple minutes.  Add everything else to the pool except for the kale and reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Put the lid on and let cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  I pureed half the soup mixture to thicken it up.  Before serving, place chopped kale in each bowl and top with the hot soup.  Add Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella like I did!) to the top.
Notes
  1. Please note that I run all my recipes through the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder to get the points, which may not be the same as the nutritional label posted in the recipe.
Adapted from Umami Girl
beta
calories
263
fat
3g
protein
14g
carbs
48g
more
Adapted from Umami Girl
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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Crappy picture, but delicious soup.  I am probably having that again for lunch today and I’ll have plenty leftover to store in the freezer for next week.  I didn’t put the kale in the soup because I think after it sits it gets all dark green and gross.  I’ll just add fresh when I reheat it later.

While the soup was cooking, I did another YouTube video on my AppleTV – this was a 30 minute cardio one, that had a bit of kick boxing in it.  I worked up a sweat! 

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of the instructor – that picture right there is the only time she smiled during the 30 minutes.  But, it’s nice to switch up a workout now and again.  I ended up with just under 15k steps yesterday.

Here is your Friday Feeling:  “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long term success.  In order to make the big goals achievable, we must first learn to master the smaller ones.”  – Steve Weatherford

Make it a great day!

Pork Medallions with Cheesy Grits

I am so happy to be eating all this Florida citrus.  The only thing better would be to eat it right off the tree in 80 degree weather!  I have to tell you though, before I started working at The Chopping Block, I think I may have massacred  every piece of grapefruit trying to get all the fruit out – that is until I learned how to supreme citrus.  Check out our Chef Owner Shelley’s video here – works the same for lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. 

I picked up steel cut oats at Pret, with their goji berry add on (not even a couple tablespoons) and then brought pom seeds, a supreme grapefruit, and a peeled tangerine and put together my breakfast.  This whole bowl comes in at 7 smart points.

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Holy yum – 5 points for the steel cut oats, 2 points for the goji berry mix, and the rest is zero.  This took me a while to eat, but I ate every single bite.   I got the inspiration for this breakfast from my friend Ashley’s winter citrus salad – go check that out here!  You have to follow her – she’s recently engaged, has amazing food photography and has a really quirky sense of humor, which is why I like her so much.  Let’s forget the fact that I am old enough to be her Mom! 

Work was busy – never got a chance to leave my desk much, but that’s okay.  I ate lasagna soup at my desk and just kept my head down and kept going. 

The kadults had their coffee shop holiday party last night, so I was solo for dinner.  It’s kind of nice to make what you want for dinner and not have to worry about anyone else’s likes or dislikes.  Jacob loves pork, but it doesn’t agree with him.  Hannah is always a no on pork, so pork it was!  I picked up this 1.3 pound pork tenderloin (Hormel brand) for just under $4.

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First thing I did was trim any visible fat, and remove the silver skin.  Then I was hungry, so I portioned out two 3 ounce pork medallions for dinner, and then made 2 ounce medallions with the rest of the tenderloin.

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Gah, I hate my kitchen lighting!  Anywho, I packaged up two 2 ounce medallions into ziploc bags for three meals later – whether I cook them up for breakfast, or make pork tacos – not bad to get 4 meals of meat for under $4!

My sister told me about grits a while back and I bought a container and never really did anything with them.  I thought for sure over the course of 8 1/2 years of blogging I would have used grits in some way or another.  A quick google search told me the answer to that question was no!  Holy cow, were these delicious – and I made them in the microwave Open-mouthed smile

Pork Medallions over Cheesy Grits
Serves 1
A quick weeknight dinner that's fit for one or a crowd!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
589 calories
30 g
151 g
24 g
63 g
8 g
776 g
1049 g
6 g
0 g
14 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
776g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 589
Calories from Fat 214
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g
37%
Saturated Fat 8g
39%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 151mg
50%
Sodium 1049mg
44%
Total Carbohydrates 30g
10%
Dietary Fiber 6g
25%
Sugars 6g
Protein 63g
Vitamin A
21%
Vitamin C
26%
Calcium
27%
Iron
24%
* 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. two 3 ounce pork medallions
  2. salt and pepper
  3. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  4. 1 cup fresh green beans
  5. 2 teaspoons minces garlic
  6. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  7. 1/2 cup chicken broth
  8. 1 tablespoon good mustard
  9. 1/2 teaspoon honey
  10. one pinch crushed red pepper
  11. 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  12. salt and pepper
  13. 1/4 cup instant grits
  14. 1 cup water
  15. 1 ounce 50% reduced fat Cabot cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup, mix the 1/4 cut instant grits with one cup water, mix well and microwave for five minutes – stirring half way through.   Stir in the Cabot cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, add two tablespoons of water, add the green beans and cook over medium heat until the water evaporates.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of oil, the garlic and cook over medium low heat until the garlic starts to brown.  Set aside.
  3. In another small skillet, heat your pan over medium low heat.  These medallions were about an 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 thick so I wanted to make sure that they were cooked through before I seared them – I do reversed sear on my grill all the time and figured it would work on top of the stove.  I cooked the pork for 4 minutes a side in a skillet with a lid.  I removed the pork, cranked my cast iron skillet to medium high heat, added 1/2 teaspoon oil to the pan and once that was hot, seared both sides for about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the pork to rest a bit.  In a small bowl, mix the chicken broth, mustard, honey, crushed red pepper, corn starch and salt and pepper and mix well.  Using a wooden spoon, pour that mixture into the cast iron skillet and scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan – let the sauce cook for about a minute, or until thickened.
beta
calories
589
fat
24g
protein
63g
carbs
30g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
I plated the green beans on one side.  Poured the cheesy grits next to the beans, then topped with seared pork chops and drizzled with the honey mustard sauce.

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The top picture was with my DSLR, the bottom with my iPhone  – these pictures don’t do this dinner justice – it was pure comfort food on a plate – and healthy to boot!  Only 11 smart points for the whole plate and dinner was literally ready in about 15 minutes or so.  I am pretty sure I am going to find any excuse to have cheesy grits at every meal going forward!

And I have to give a shout out to Weight Watchers who reposted my breakfast baked potato – and in the process I gained 150 new followers on Instagram – thanks WW!

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Seriously if you plan on having a giant group of people over at the holidays, this is the perfect brunch meal.  Bake a bunch of potatoes the night before and just let them hang out on the kitchen counter overnight.  The next day, scoop out the potato filling, scramble with eggs and any veggies or meat you have on hand, refill the potato boats, top with cheese and bam – everyone eats at the same time.  With a bowl of fresh fruit, this is the perfect brunch – you could even do a breakfast potato bar where everyone makes their own filling – so many possibilities!

Alright, time to get this show on the road – we’ve made it to Wednesday!  Make it a great day!